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he is safe above ground:-and poor Will? Descending eagerly, they find Will too, as if by miracle, buried under rocks which had arched themselves over him, and little injured: he, too, is brought up safe, and all ends joyfully, say the newspapers.'
So far the tale; now for the comment of the philosopher who hates cant:
'Such a piece of manful promptitude, and salutary human heroism, was worth investigating. It was investigated; found to be accurate to the letter-with this addition and explanation, that Will, an honest, ignorant, good man, entirely given up to Methodism, had been perfect in the 'faith of assurance;' certain that he should get to heaven if he died; certain that Jack would not, which had been the ground of his decision in that great moment.'
The Methodist hero' has a subscription made for him, and Mr. Carlyle ends by telling us that he is a prosperous, modest dairyman, thankful for the upper light and safety from the wrath
The italics are ours; and we think we may fairly ask, if this man had been a Buddhist or a Mahammedan, should we have had these sneers about 'ignorant goodness,' and 'safety from the wrath to come'? We believe not; and perhaps, also, Mr. Carlyle will tell us whether he thinks it his duty to carp at convictions the truth of which he cannot gainsay? and to cast ridicule on that which is either solemn matter of belief, or, at all events, matter not discussed so far as to lead to philosophical indifferentism in the case of nine out of ten of his readers? 'Safety from the wrath to come.' Awful words! Eternity behind us and eternity before; a consciousness of guilt; a premonition of punishment; a certainty that we too must go 'the common road into the great darkness;'—and this apostle of the new creed standing by to light us on a way, which is to him as great a blank as to ourselves, with that miserable lucifer match of his, in the shape of a small joke, which goes out in foulness, and leaves the darkness as deep and more noisome than before! And this gibing about such things, and at such moments-this is wisdom-the new, the better philosophy!
There is but one feature more to notice in this grievous book, and that is, the selection of letters. The first letter which appears as written to the biographer, is dated very shortly after the beginning of the acquaintance, and turns entirely on Sartor Resartus,' which had then been just published. It is, in fact, devoted to the biographer, and only interesting so far as it shows what Sterling thought of him. It is pretty evident, however, that the biographer thinks the public will be interested to know what Sterling did think of him; although, perhaps, opinions of
this nature would figure as well in a life of Carlyle by Sterling, were such a thing possible, as in a life of Sterling by Carlyle. Most of the remaining letters have not much to interest the general reader, and for the most part contain the ordinary staple of a gossiping and friendly correspondence. But the last which is printed is one of a very peculiar character. It is dated Aug. 10, 1844, about five weeks before death put at rest the active brain and affectionate heart of the writer. The letter is evidently written under pressure. It is a message of farewell, but not the free and unrestrained expression of feeling which, in the case of an intimacy like that of Sterling and Carlyle, would have been only what might be looked for at so solemn a juncture.
'To Thomas Carlyle, Esq., Chelsea, London.
'Hillside, Ventnor, Aug. 10th, 1844.
'MY DEAR CARLYLE,-For the first time for many months it seems possible to send you a few words; merely, however, for remembrance and farewell. On higher matters there is nothing to say. I tread the common road into the great darkness, without any thought of fear, and with very much of hope. Certainty, indeed, I have none. With regard to you and me I cannot begin to write; having nothing for it but to keep shut the lid of those secrets with all the iron weights that are in my power. Towards me it is still more true, than towards England, that no man has been and done like you. Heaven bless you! If I can lend a hand when THERE, that will not be wanting. It is all very strange, but not one-hundredth part so sad as it seems to the standers-by.
"Your wife knows my mind towards her, and will believe it without asseverations.
'Yours to the last,
On higher matters there is nothing to say.' Nine years and a half of constant intercourse-the intercourse of philosopher and scholar, of tutor and pupil-and at the end of all, when the scholar is looking over the brink of the precipice respecting which he has so often speculated, he has nothing to say to the tutor who has been so long inculcating the encouraging doctrine, that 'the 'old spiritual highways and recognised paths to the Eternal are all 'submerged in unutterable mud oceans of hypocrisy and unbelievability, of brutal living atheism and damnable dead putres'cent cant.' Surely it is marvellous that this should be the letter which the tutor chooses to print! The pupil cannot enter into the discussion of the connexion which had existed between them. He keeps shut the lid of those secrets with all the iron weights in his power. What secrets?-But he cannot help looking down the face of the cliff. If I can lend a hand when
THERE, that will not be wanting.' One might smile at the promise, were it not so sad. The poor human soul, whirled down the resistless surges of necessity, what can he avail to help his fellow, following hard after him, rapt by the next billow, slave of the same tremendous fate?
But we will not leave the dying man under the impression which this letter would convey. Let us think of it as of the half ludicrous sacrifice from the death-bed of Socrates. Let us leave the paganizing biographer, and turn to the pages of him who has risked much and suffered much in endeavouring to Christianize his hero.
From Archdeacon Hare we learn that
'On the 16th September there was a great and sudden increase of weakness, which convinced him and those around him that the end was at hand. In this conviction, he said, 'I thank the all-wise One.' His sister remarked, the next day, that he was unusually cheerful. He lay on the sofa quietly, telling her of little things that he wished her to do for him, and choosing out books to be sent to his friends. On the 18th, he was again comforted by letters from Mrs. Trench and Mr. Mill, to whom he took pleasure in scribbling some little verses of themselves. Then writing a few lines in pencil, he gave them to his sister, saying, 'This is for you; you will care more for this!' The lines were
These were the last words he wrote. He murmured over the last two lines to himself. He had been very quiet all that day, little inclined to read or speak, until the evening, when he talked a little to his sister. As it grew dark, he appeared to be seeking for something, and on her asking what he wanted, said, 'Only the old Bible, which I used so often at Herstmonceux in the cottages,' and which generally lay near him. A little later his brother arrived from London, with whom he conversed cheerfully for a few minutes. He was then left to settle for the night. But soon he grew worse; and the servant summoned the family to his room. He was no longer able to recognise them. The last struggle was short; and before eleven o'clock his spirit had departed.'*
We have thought it right to bring Mr. Carlyle's 'Life of John
The sister' mentioned in this extract was, we believe, Mrs. Maurice, properly speaking, a sister of Mrs. Sterling, not of his own. She, too, is gone, leaving no reminiscences but endearing ones, in the hearts of those by whom she was known while living.
THE DOCTRINE OF NON-INTERVENTION.
Sterling' before our readers, not from the intrinsic interest which it possesses as a biography, but in order to protest against this sideway attempt to preach a gospel which is anything but good news to those who hear it. If Mr. Carlyle, instead of indulging in loose assertion and overbearing bluster, would take the trouble to sit down and tell us fairly what he thinks about Christianity, we should feel personally much indebted to him, though we doubt whether the world at large would be benefited by the exposition. It would then be time to discuss his whole theory. But so long as he is resolved to do no more than skirmish about the subject, it is impossible that we should ourselves do more than attack him in detail. The book appears to us a failure, for the author has not succeeded in giving a view of his subject other than that which had been previously given. All that he has done is to find for himself easy opportunities of indulging in his own peculiar vein, and to rehearse some passages in Sterling's life and correspondence which, perhaps, had better have been buried in his grave.
We trust that the harm which the book may do will be confined to the memory of its subject. But we feel that we should not be doing justice to our readers did we not point out to them the inherent vanity, prejudice, and bad taste which characterize this whole affair. Mr. Carlyle cannot succeed in writing what is dull; but there are, or ought to be, other considerations in the mind of a biographer besides those which appear to have been uppermost in the present publication.
ART. X.-(1.) Kossuth's Speeches in England. London: Gilpin. 1851. (2.) Tracts of the Society of the Friends of Italy. No. I. 'NonIntervention.' London: Offices of the Society. 1851.
THE doctrine which we propose to discuss in this paper has recently been brought before the public in a very conspicuous manner; and there is no doubt that the speculations which are taking place upon it will have a vast effect on the practice of our own and of other nations in reference to foreign affairs. Before proceeding to such remarks on the subject, as appear to us most pertinent to the present moment, it may be well to lay before our readers one or two extracts exhibiting the various lights in which the substance of the doctrine has from time to time been regarded.
Saying of Cicero respecting the Duties owing to Foreign Nations.'Magis est secundum naturam, pro omnibus gentibus, si fieri possit,
conservandis, aut juvandis, maximos labores molestiasque suscipere, imitantem Herculem illum quem hominum fama, beneficiorum memor, in concilium Cœlestium collocavit, quam vivere in solitudine, non modo sine ullis molestiis, sed etiam in maximis voluptatibus, abundantem omnibus copiis. Quocirca optimo quisque et splendidissimo ingenio longe illam vitam huic anteponit. Qui autem civium
rationem dicunt habendam, externorum negant, hi dirimunt communem humani generis societatem ; quâ sublata, beneficentia, liberalitas, bonitas, justitia funditus tollitur: quæ qui tollunt etiam adversus Deos immortales impii judicandi sunt; ab iis enim constitutam inter homines societatem evertunt.' (It is more according to nature to take on hand the greatest labours and troubles for the preservation and assistance, if possible, of all nations, herein imitating that Hercules whom the tradition of men, mindful of beneficent deeds, has placed in the assembly of the Celestials, than to live on in isolation, not only without troubles, but even in the greatest luxury and with overflowing abundance of all good things. Wherefore every man remarkable for the superiority and splendour of his genius is seen to prefer the former kind of life to the latter. . . And they who, admitting that one ought to take account of one's fellowcitizens, deny that the same duty extends to foreigners-such persons take away all common social existence from the human race; which being taken away, beneficence, liberality, goodness, justice, are uprooted: and those that uproot these are to be adjudged as guilty of impiety even against the immortal gods; for they overturn the fellowship established by those gods amongst men.)- Cicero de Officiis, iii. 5, 6.
Vattel on National Rights and International Duties.-The purpose of the natural social fellowship established amongst all men being that they may lend each other mutual assistance towards their own improvement and the improvement of their condition; and nations, considered as so many free personalities existing together in a state of nature, being obliged to cultivate fellowship with each other, it follows that the purpose of the social fellowship established by nature amongst all nations is also mutual assistance towards their improvement and the improvement of their condition. The first general law, therefore, involved in the very purpose of that social fellowship which exists, amongst nations, is, that every nation ought to contribute as much as lies in its power to the happiness and improvement of all others . . . . Nations being free and independent, just as men are naturally free and independent, the second general law of international fellowship is, that every nation ought to be left in the peaceable enjoyment of this liberty which it derives from nature . . .. In this liberty and independence it is implied that it belongs to every nation to judge of what its conscience requires it to do, of what it is possible or impossible for it to do, and of what it is expedient or inexpedient for it to do. And in all cases in which it appertains to a nation to judge what it ought to do, no other nation can justly constrain it