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Downing Street." The theme is one on which Mr Carlyle might fairly be expected to show his remarkable powers of demolishing shams. Ke makes a most characteristic exposure of the “dead pedantries, unveracities, indolent, somnolent impotencies, and accumulated dung-mountains" in Downing Street. His descriptions of Downing Street, and the circumstances, habits, and doings of its officials, are often not more striking than true. But he is invariably more successful in pointing out evils than in prescribing remedies. Indeed, until lately, he never troubled himself to hint what the remedies might be to the evils which he so graphically described and so sternly denounced. But now he does talk of cures. When these, however, happen to be of a comprehensive character, he is singularly vague in all that he says about them, and never hints where they are to be got, nor how they are to be applied. The chief remedy for Downing Street is that the Queen should have the prerogative of calling from out of the nation, and not exclusively from out of parliament, fit persons to be “upper and under secretaries” both for home and foreign affairs, and that her majesty should also have the power of giving those officials a seat in parliament:
“ The proposal is, That Secretaries under and upper, that all manner of changeable or permanent servants in the Government offices shall be selected without reference to their power of getting into Parliament--that, in short, the Queen shall have power of nominating the half-dozen or half-score oficers of the Administration, whose presence is thought necessary in Parliavient, to official seats there, without reference to any constituency but her own only, which of course means her Prime Ministers-a very small encroachment on the present constitution of Parliament, offering a minimum of change in present methods, and I almost think a maximum in results to be derived therefrom. The Queen nominates Jolin Thomas (the fittest man she, much-inquiring, can hear tell of in her three kingdoms), President of the Poor Law Board, Under Secretary of the Colonies, Under or perhaps even Upper Secretary of what she and her Premier find suitablest for a working head so eminent, a talent so precious; and grants him, by her direct authority, seat and vote in Par- liament so long as he holds that office. Upper Secretaries having more to do in Parliament, and being so bound to be in favour there, would, I suppose, at least till new times and habits come, be expected to be chosen from among the People's Members as at present. But whether the Prime Minister himself is, in all times, bound to be first a People's Member; and which, or how many, of his Secretaries and subordinates he might be allowed to take as Queen's Members, my authority does not say--perhaps has not himself settled; the project being yet in the mere outline or foreshadow, the practical embodiment in all details to be fixed by authorities much more competent than he. The soul of his project is, that the Crown also have power to elect a few members to Parliament. From which project, however wisely it were embodied, there could probably, at first or all at once, vo great' accession of intellect 'to the Government Offices ensue; though a little might, even at first, and a little is always precious: but in its ulterior operation, were that faithfully developed and wisely presided over, I fancy an immense accession of intellect might ensue—a natural ingress thereby might be opened to all manner of acces. sions, and the actual flower of whatever intellect the British Nation bad might be attracted towards Downing Street, and continue flowing steadily thither! For let us see a little what effects this simple change carries in it the possibilities of. Here are beneficent germs, which the presence of one truly wise man as Chief Minister, steadily fostering them for even a few years, with the sacred fidelity and vigilance that would beseem him, might ripen into living practices and habitual facts invaluable to us all." Now, really, this is a small and most trifling cure.
Let us suppose that the Queen had the prerogative to make Thomas Carlyle, who is not an M.P. for any constituency, Secretary for the Colonies, and to give him a seat in Parliament, how is the Queen to be induced to exercise her prerogative in favour of said Thomas ? Though she had it in her power to appoint to offices of state the very best men in the kingdom, who are not at present, nor are likely ever to be, members of Parliament, is it probable that she would appoint them? How will Mr Carlyle get over this difficulty?
No. 5 is the “Stump Orator,” and its aim is to rebuke those endless words which, in and out of Parliament, take the place of necessary deeds. “ Hansard” furnishes capital scope for Mr Carlyle's sarcastic descriptions,
- long debates ending in nothing, occupying, with rhetoric bad and good, time which ought to have been devoted to the conception and execution of measures for the public weal. The country will never be delivered or preserved, or even bettered, by mere talk, however fine. How little good have our great statesmen—such as Pitt, Fox, Burke, Brougham, Peel, and Russell —done, compared with the words which they have spoken. The “Stump Orator” is by far the most vigorous tract of the series, wonderfully graphic, and occasionally giving profound glimpses into the philosophy both of thought and of language. The following paragraph is admirable, and may be placed beside the best passages which Thomas Carlyle ever wrote:
“In the old ages, when universities and schools were first instituted, this function of the schoolmaster, to teach mere speaking, was the natural one. In those healthy times, guided by silent instincts and the monition of nature, men had from of old been used to teach themselves what it was essential to learn, by the one sure method of learning anything-practical apprenticeship to it. This was the rule for all classes; as it now is the rule, unluckily, for only one class. The working man as yet sought only to know his craft, and educated himself sufficiently by ploughing and hammering, under the conditions given, and in fit relation to the persons given : a course of education, then, as now and ever, really opulent in manful culture and instruction to him; teaching him many solid virtues, and most indubitably useful knowledges ; developing in him valuable faculties not a few, both to do and to endure, among which the faculty of elaborate grammatical utterance, seeing he had so little of extraordinary to utter or to learn from spoken or written utterances, was not bargained for; the grammar of Nature, which he learned from his mother, being still amply sufficient for him. This was, as it still is, the grand education of the working man. As for the priest, though his trade was clearly of a reading and speaking natare, be knew also, in those veracious times, that grammar, if needful, was by no means the one thing needful, or the chief thing. By far the chief thing needful, and indeed the one thing then as now, was, that there should be in him the feeling and the practice of reverence to God and to men; that in his life's core there should dwell, spoken or silent, a ray of pious wisdom, fit for illuminating dark human destinies ;not so much that he should possess the art of speech, as that he should have something to speak! And for that latter requisite the priest also trained himself by apprenticeship, by actual attempt to practise, by manifold long-continued trial, of a devout and painful nature, such as his superiors prescribed to him. This, when once judged satisfactory, procured him ordination; and his grammar-learning, in the good times of priesthood, was very much of a parergon with him, as indeed, in all times, it is intrinsically quite insignificant in comparison. The young noble, again, for whom grammar-school masters were first hired, and high seminaries founded, he too, without these, or over and above these, had from immemorial time been used to learn his business by apprenticeship. The young noble, before the schoolmaster as after him, went apprentice to some elder noble; entered himself as page with some distinguished earl or duke; and here, serving upwards from step to step, under wise monition, learned his chivalries, his practice of arms and of courtesies, his baronial duties and manners, and what it would beseem him to do and to be in the world—by practical attempt of his own, and example of one whose life was a daily concrete pattern for him. To such a one, already filled with intellectual substance, and possessing what we may call the practical gold-bullion of human culture, it was an obvious improvement that he should be taught to speak it out of him on occasion : that he should carry a spiritual bank-note, producible on demand for what of 'gold-bullion' he bad, not so negotiable otherwise, stored in the cellars of his mind. A man with wisdom, insight, and heroic worth already acquired for him, naturally demanded of the schoolmaster this one new faculty-the faculty of uttering, in fit words, what he had. A valuable superaddition of faculty; and yet we are to remember it was scarcely a new faculty; it was but the tangible sign of what other faculties the man bad in the silent state : and many a rugged inarticulate chief of men, I can believe, was most enviably “educated,' who had not a book on his premises; whose signature, a true sigo-manual, was the stamp of his iron hand, duly inked and clapt upon the parchment; and whose speech in Parliament, like the growl of lions, did indeed convey his meaning, but would have torn Lindley Murray's nerves to pieces ! To such a one the schoolmaster adjusted himself very naturally in that manner, as a man wanted for teaching grammatical utterance, the thing to utter being already there. The thing to utter, here was the grand point! And perhaps this is the reason why, among earnest nations as among the Romans, for example—the craft of the schoolmaster was held in little regard; for, indeed, as mere teacher of grammar, of ciphering on the abacus, and suchlike, how did he differ much from the dancingmaster or fencing-master, or deserve much regard ? Such was the rule in the ancient healthy times. Can it be doubtful that this is still the rule of human education—that the human creature needs first of all to be educated, not that he may speak, but that he may have something weighty and valuable to say! If speech is the bank-note for an inward capital of culture, of insight, and noble human worth, then speech is precious, and the art of speech shall be honoured. But if there is no inward capital; if speech represent no real culture of the mind, but an imaginary culture; no bullion, but the fatal and now almost hopeless deficit of such ? Alos, alas, said bank-note is then a forged one, passing freely current in the market, but bringing damages to the receiver, to the payer, and to all the world, which are in sad truth infallible, and of amount incalculable. Few think of it at present, but the truth remains for ever so. Io parliaments and other loud assemblages, your eloquent talk, disunited from Nature and her facts, is taken as wisdom and the correct image of said facts; but Nature well knows what it is, Nature will not have it as such, and will reject your forged note one day, with huge costs. The foolish traders in the market pass it freely, nothing doubting, and rejoice in the dexterous execution of the piece; and so it circulates from hand to hand, and from class to class; gravitating ever downwards towards the practical class, till at last it reaches some poor working hand, who can pass it no farther, but must take it to the bank to get bread with it, and there the answer is, * Unhappy caitiff, this note is forged. It does not mean performance and reality, in parliaments and elsewhere, for thy behoof; it means fallacious semblance of performance; and thod, poor dupe, art thrown into the stocks on offering it here !!! Yet Mr Carlyle, in his strong denunciations of the too copious use, and, in most instances, the positive and flagrant abuse of speech, would annihilate language altogether, and reduce the world to silence ; fondly imagining that then some true prophet's voice would break through the hush and tell the nations what to do, and whom to follow and obey. He wishes to cut the tongue both out of Church and State; but how the patients are to be coaxed to have this operation performed on them he does not concern himself.
The sixth tract is entitled “ Parliaments,” and is but a repetition of the views in tract first. Mr Carlyle has no faith in reforming Parliament by ballot-box, or universal suffrage, or, indeed, by any conceivable means; but he has a strong wish to abolish it! He then grandly sketches the man who is fit to govern the destinies of England, and makes him brave, wise, and pious; but never hints how such a man may step into the seat of authority.
All the pamphlets are filled with the gloomiest views of the present state of our country, and with darkest forebodings about the future. We dare say that our readers will, on reflection, admit the following to be a true characteristic of Mr Carlyle in his views and spirit as a reformer :
- When the good is pretty large, and is rapidly (rapidly, considering the many and fearfully influential counteractives) leavening the bad, he has little or no admiration ; but when the bad has reached such an enormity as to begin to be suicidal (though, alas! evil is never allowed to finish a case of suicide, for the devil, or some of the devil's innumerable servants, always come in opportunely, and cut the rope, and restore suspended animation to the monster, who by and by revives and works again)—when times are so bad that a revolution takes place, dethroning, by dire convulsion of systems and immense shedding of human blood, one kind or form of iniquity for another which is perhaps only a little less repulsive and mischievous, then Carlyle is seized with profoundest interest and admiration. Our space will not permit us to give examples; but let our readers take our remark in hand, and go through any of Mr Carlyle's productions, and they will find it amply verified in every page. He has but small sympathy with quietly progressive good; he does not see, he does not hear, the grass growing, and he will not acknowledge that it grows.
We know not how long the series of “Latter-day Pamphlets” is to be, yet we suspect that we have already got the best ones. The tract which, probably, will have appeared ere this sheet be in the hands of our readers, is entitled “ Hudson's Statue;” and Mr Carlyle must have uttered all his solemn views upon grand political and social questions when he turns his attention to such a small and contemptible object as Mr Hudson and his scrip. He must have got all his national projects stated when he proceeds to give his opinion of the Railway King. We may then confidently assume that the forthcoming pamphlets will be inferior to those already published, which appear to contain the pith and essence of Mr Carlyle's principles and views; and if so, all admirers of his genius, who expected valuable discussions resulting in a creed as clear and permanent as the estimate of Cromwell's character, which he recently brought out, will be greatly disappointed. It is FEUDALISM (though, in some respects, of a novel kind) which he preaches and labours to establish.
The "Latter-day Pamphlets" will only obtain a wide reading and keep up their interest by their publication in the light serial form. Had they appeared complete in a volume, we believe that they would soon have been numbered with his “Chartism" and his “ Past and Present”. works which are scarcely known.
LINES ON THE TOMB OF MADAME LANGHANS, AT HINDELBANK,
NEAR BERNE. Madame Langhans was the wife of the pastor of the rural parish of Hindelbank, and died in 1790, on Easter morning, after giving birth to an infant who did not survive her. A monument was erected to commemorate her many virtues and rare beauty; it stands in the church where her husband officiated, and represents her as bursting from the sepulchre, with her infant in her arms, at the resurrection. It is the work of the artist Nahl, and is regarded as a chef d'ouvre of its kind; unhappily it is only in freestone, and that not of the finest sort. The inscription was furnished by the celebrated Haller, and concludes thus—“Lo here am I and the child thou hast
She died in her young beauty ; like a light
W. L. A.