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´╗┐Title: Latter-Day Pamphlets
Author: Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881
Language: English
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by Thomas Carlyle

     But as yet struggles the twelfth hour of the Night.  Birds
     of darkness are on the wing; spectres uproar; the dead walk;
     the living dream.  Thou, Eternal Providence, wilt make the
     Day dawn!--JEAN PAUL.

     Then said his Lordship, "Well.  God mend all!"--"Nay, by
     God, Donald, we must help him to mend it!" said the other.--
     RUSHWORTH (_Sir David Ramsay and Lord Rea, in 1630_).







NO. I. THE PRESENT TIME. [February 1, 1850.]

The Present Time, youngest-born of Eternity, child and heir of all the
Past Times with their good and evil, and parent of all the Future, is
ever a "New Era" to the thinking man; and comes with new questions and
significance, however commonplace it look: to know _it_, and what it
bids us do, is ever the sum of knowledge for all of us. This new Day,
sent us out of Heaven, this also has its heavenly omens;--amid the
bustling trivialities and loud empty noises, its silent monitions, which
if we cannot read and obey, it will not be well with us! No;--nor is
there any sin more fearfully avenged on men and Nations than that same,
which indeed includes and presupposes all manner of sins: the sin which
our old pious fathers called "judicial blindness;"--which we, with our
light habits, may still call misinterpretation of the Time that now
is; disloyalty to its real meanings and monitions, stupid disregard of
these, stupid adherence active or passive to the counterfeits and mere
current semblances of these. This is true of all times and days.

But in the days that are now passing over us, even fools are arrested
to ask the meaning of them; few of the generations of men have seen
more impressive days. Days of endless calamity, disruption, dislocation,
confusion worse confounded: if they are not days of endless hope too,
then they are days of utter despair. For it is not a small hope that
will suffice, the ruin being clearly, either in action or in prospect,
universal. There must be a new world, if there is to be any world at
all! That human things in our Europe can ever return to the old sorry
routine, and proceed with any steadiness or continuance there; this
small hope is not now a tenable one. These days of universal death
must be days of universal new-birth, if the ruin is not to be total and
final! It is a Time to make the dullest man consider; and ask himself,
Whence _he_ came? Whither he is bound?--A veritable "New Era," to the
foolish as well as to the wise.

Not long ago, the world saw, with thoughtless joy which might have been
very thoughtful joy, a real miracle not heretofore considered possible
or conceivable in the world,--a Reforming Pope. A simple pious creature,
a good country-priest, invested unexpectedly with the tiara, takes up
the New Testament, declares that this henceforth shall be his rule
of governing. No more finesse, chicanery, hypocrisy, or false or foul
dealing of any kind: God's truth shall be spoken, God's justice shall be
done, on the throne called of St. Peter: an honest Pope, Papa, or Father
of Christendom, shall preside there. And such a throne of St. Peter;
and such a Christendom, for an honest Papa to preside in! The European
populations everywhere hailed the omen; with shouting and rejoicing
leading articles and tar-barrels; thinking people listened with
astonishment,--not with sorrow if they were faithful or wise; with awe
rather as at the heralding of death, and with a joy as of victory beyond
death! Something pious, grand and as if awful in that joy, revealing
once more the Presence of a Divine Justice in this world. For, to such
men it was very clear how this poor devoted Pope would prosper, with his
New Testament in his band. An alarming business, that of governing
in the throne of St. Peter by the rule of veracity! By the rule of
veracity, the so-called throne of St. Peter was openly declared, above
three hundred years, ago, to be a falsity, a huge mistake, a pestilent
dead carcass, which this Sun was weary of. More than three hundred years
ago, the throne of St. Peter received peremptory judicial notice to
quit; authentic order, registered in Heaven's chancery and since legible
in the hearts of all brave men, to take itself away,--to begone, and
let us have no more to do with _it_ and its delusions and impious
deliriums;--and it has been sitting every day since, it may depend upon
it, at its own peril withal, and will have to pay exact damages yet for
every day it has so sat. Law of veracity? What this Popedom had to do
by the law of veracity, was to give up its own foul galvanic life, an
offence to gods and men; honestly to die, and get itself buried.

Far from this was the thing the poor Pope undertook in regard to
it;--and yet, on the whole, it was essentially this too. "Reforming
Pope?" said one of our acquaintance, often in those weeks, "Was there
ever such a miracle? About to break up that huge imposthume too, by
'curing' it? Turgot and Necker were nothing to this. God is great; and
when a scandal is to end, brings some devoted man to take charge of
it in hope, not in despair!"--But cannot he reform? asked many simple
persons;--to whom our friend in grim banter would reply: "Reform a
Popedom,--hardly. A wretched old kettle, ruined from top to bottom, and
consisting mainly now of foul _grime_ and _rust_: stop the holes of it,
as your antecessors have been doing, with temporary putty, it may hang
together yet a while; begin to hammer at it, solder at it, to what you
call mend and rectify it,--it will fall to sherds, as sure as rust is
rust; go all into nameless dissolution,--and the fat in the fire will be
a thing worth looking at, poor Pope!"--So accordingly it has proved. The
poor Pope, amid felicitations and tar-barrels of various kinds, went on
joyfully for a season: but he had awakened, he as no other man could
do, the sleeping elements; mothers of the whirlwinds, conflagrations,
earthquakes. Questions not very soluble at present, were even sages
and heroes set to solve them, began everywhere with new emphasis to be
asked. Questions which all official men wished, and almost hoped,
to postpone till Doomsday. Doomsday itself _had_ come; that was the
terrible truth!

For, sure enough, if once the law of veracity be acknowledged as the
rule for human things, there will not anywhere be want of work for the
reformer; in very few places do human things adhere quite closely to
that law! Here was the Papa of Christendom proclaiming that such was
actually the case;--whereupon all over Christendom such results as we
have seen. The Sicilians, I think, were the first notable body that set
about applying this new strange rule sanctioned by the general Father;
they said to themselves, We do not by the law of veracity belong to
Naples and these Neapolitan Officials; we will, by favor of Heaven and
the Pope, be free of these. Fighting ensued; insurrection, fiercely
maintained in the Sicilian Cities; with much bloodshed, much tumult and
loud noise, vociferation extending through all newspapers and countries.
The effect of this, carried abroad by newspapers and rumor, was great
in all places; greatest perhaps in Paris, which for sixty years past has
been the City of Insurrections. The French People had plumed themselves
on being, whatever else they were not, at least the chosen "soldiers of
liberty," who took the lead of all creatures in that pursuit, at least;
and had become, as their orators, editors and litterateurs diligently
taught them, a People whose bayonets were sacred, a kind of Messiah
People, saving a blind world in its own despite, and earning for
themselves a terrestrial and even celestial glory very considerable
indeed. And here were the wretched down-trodden populations of Sicily
risen to rival them, and threatening to take the trade out of their

No doubt of it, this hearing continually of the very Pope's glory as
a Reformer, of the very Sicilians fighting divinely for liberty
behind barricades,--must have bitterly aggravated the feeling of every
Frenchman, as he looked around him, at home, on a Louis-Philippism
which had become the scorn of all the world. "_Ichabod_; is the glory
departing from us? Under the sun is nothing baser, by all accounts and
evidences, than the system of repression and corruption, of shameless
dishonesty and unbelief in anything but human baseness, that we now live
under. The Italians, the very Pope, have become apostles of liberty, and
France is--what is France!"--We know what France suddenly became in the
end of February next; and by a clear enough genealogy, we can trace a
considerable share in that event to the good simple Pope with the New
Testament in his hand. An outbreak, or at least a radical change and
even inversion of affairs hardly to be achieved without an outbreak,
everybody felt was inevitable in France: but it had been universally
expected that France would as usual take the initiative in that matter;
and had there been no reforming Pope, no insurrectionary Sicily, France
had certainly not broken out then and so, but only afterwards and
otherwise. The French explosion, not anticipated by the cunningest men
there on the spot scrutinizing it, burst up unlimited, complete, defying
computation or control.

Close following which, as if by sympathetic subterranean electricities,
all Europe exploded, boundless, uncontrollable; and we had the year
1848, one of the most singular, disastrous, amazing, and, on the whole,
humiliating years the European world ever saw. Not since the irruption
of the Northern Barbarians has there been the like. Everywhere
immeasurable Democracy rose monstrous, loud, blatant, inarticulate
as the voice of Chaos. Everywhere the Official holy-of-holies was
scandalously laid bare to dogs and the profane:--Enter, all the world,
see what kind of Official holy it is. Kings everywhere, and reigning
persons, stared in sudden horror, the voice of the whole world bellowing
in their ear, "Begone, ye imbecile hypocrites, histrios not heroes! Off
with you, off!" and, what was peculiar and notable in this year for the
first time, the Kings all made haste to go, as if exclaiming, "We _are_
poor histrios, we sure enough;--did you want heroes? Don't kill us;
we couldn't help it!" Not one of them turned round, and stood upon his
Kingship, as upon a right he could afford to die for, or to risk
his skin upon; by no manner of means. That, I say, is the alarming
peculiarity at present. Democracy, on this new occasion, finds all Kings
conscious that they are but Play-actors. The miserable mortals, enacting
their High Life Below Stairs, with faith only that this Universe may
perhaps be all a phantasm and hypocrisis,--the truculent Constable of
the Destinies suddenly enters: "Scandalous Phantasms, what do _you_
here? Are 'solemnly constituted Impostors' the proper Kings of men?
Did you think the Life of Man was a grimacing dance of apes? To be led
always by the squeak of your paltry fiddle? Ye miserable, this Universe
is not an upholstery Puppet-play, but a terrible God's Fact; and you,
I think,--had not you better begone!" They fled precipitately, some
of them with what we may call an exquisite ignominy,--in terror of the
treadmill or worse. And everywhere the people, or the populace, take
their own government upon themselves; and open "kinglessness," what
we call _anarchy_,--how happy if it be anarchy _plus_ a
street-constable!--is everywhere the order of the day. Such was the
history, from Baltic to Mediterranean, in Italy, France, Prussia,
Austria, from end to end of Europe, in those March days of 1848. Since
the destruction of the old Roman Empire by inroad of the Northern
Barbarians, I have known nothing similar.

And so, then, there remained no King in Europe; no King except the
Public Haranguer, haranguing on barrel-head, in leading article; or
getting himself aggregated into a National Parliament to harangue. And
for about four months all France, and to a great degree all Europe,
rough-ridden by every species of delirium, except happily the murderous
for most part, was a weltering mob, presided over by M. de Lamartine, at
the Hotel-de-Ville; a most eloquent fair-spoken literary gentleman,
whom thoughtless persons took for a prophet, priest and heaven-sent
evangelist, and whom a wise Yankee friend of mine discerned to be
properly "the first stump-orator in the world, standing too on
the highest stump,--for the time." A sorrowful spectacle to men of
reflection, during the time he lasted, that poor M. de Lamartine; with
nothing in him but melodious wind and _soft sawder_, which he and others
took for something divine and not diabolic! Sad enough; the eloquent
latest impersonation of Chaos-come-again; able to talk for itself, and
declare persuasively that it is Cosmos! However, you have but to wait a
little, in such cases; all balloons do and must give up their gas in the
pressure of things, and are collapsed in a sufficiently wretched manner
before long.

And so in City after City, street-barricades are piled, and truculent,
more or less murderous insurrection begins; populace after populace
rises, King after King capitulates or absconds; and from end to end of
Europe Democracy has blazed up explosive, much higher, more irresistible
and less resisted than ever before; testifying too sadly on what
a bottomless volcano, or universal powder-mine of most inflammable
mutinous chaotic elements, separated from us by a thin earth-rind,
Society with all its arrangements and acquirements everywhere, in the
present epoch, rests! The kind of persons who excite or give signal to
such revolutions--students, young men of letters, advocates,
editors, hot inexperienced enthusiasts, or fierce and justly bankrupt
desperadoes, acting everywhere on the discontent of the millions
and blowing it into flame,--might give rise to reflections as to
the character of our epoch. Never till now did young men, and almost
children, take such a command in human affairs. A changed time since
the word _Senior_ (Seigneur, or _Elder_) was first devised to signify
"lord," or superior;--as in all languages of men we find it to have
been! Not an honorable document this either, as to the spiritual
condition of our epoch. In times when men love wisdom, the old man will
ever be venerable, and be venerated, and reckoned noble: in times that
love something else than wisdom, and indeed have little or no wisdom,
and see little or none to love, the old man will cease to be venerated;
and looking more closely, also, you will find that in fact he has ceased
to be venerable, and has begun to be contemptible; a foolish boy still,
a boy without the graces, generosities and opulent strength of young
boys. In these days, what of _lordship_ or leadership is still to be
done, the youth must do it, not the mature or aged man; the mature man,
hardened into sceptical egoism, knows no monition but that of his own
frigid cautious, avarices, mean timidities; and can lead no-whither
towards an object that even seems noble. But to return.

This mad state of matters will of course before long allay itself, as
it has everywhere begun to do; the ordinary necessities of men's daily
existence cannot comport with it, and these, whatever else is
cast aside, will have their way. Some remounting--very temporary
remounting--of the old machine, under new colors and altered forms, will
probably ensue soon in most countries: the old histrionic Kings will
be admitted back under conditions, under "Constitutions," with national
Parliaments, or the like fashionable adjuncts; and everywhere the old
daily life will try to begin again. But there is now no hope that
such arrangements can be permanent; that they can be other than poor
temporary makeshifts, which, if they try to fancy and make themselves
permanent, will be displaced by new explosions recurring more speedily
than last time. In such baleful oscillation, afloat as amid raging
bottomless eddies and conflicting sea-currents, not steadfast as
on fixed foundations, must European Society continue swaying, now
disastrously tumbling, then painfully readjusting itself, at ever
shorter intervals,--till once the _new_ rock-basis does come to light,
and the weltering deluges of mutiny, and of need to mutiny, abate again!

For universal _Democracy_, whatever we may think of it, has declared
itself as an inevitable fact of the days in which we live; and he
who has any chance to instruct, or lead, in his days, must begin by
admitting that: new street-barricades, and new anarchies, still more
scandalous if still less sanguinary, must return and again return, till
governing persons everywhere know and admit that. Democracy, it may be
said everywhere, is here:--for sixty years now, ever since the grand or
_First_ French Revolution, that fact has been terribly announced to all
the world; in message after message, some of them very terrible indeed;
and now at last all the world ought really to believe it. That the world
does believe it; that even Kings now as good as believe it, and know,
or with just terror surmise, that they are but temporary phantasm
Play-actors, and that Democracy is the grand, alarming, imminent and
indisputable Reality: this, among the scandalous phases we witnessed
in the last two years, is a phasis full of hope: a sign that we are
advancing closer and closer to the very Problem itself, which it will
behoove us to solve or die; that all fighting and campaigning and
coalitioning in regard to the _existence_ of the Problem, is hopeless
and superfluous henceforth. The gods have appointed it so; no Pitt, nor
body of Pitts or mortal creatures can appoint it otherwise. Democracy,
sure enough, is here; one knows not how long it will keep hidden
underground even in Russia;--and here in England, though we object to it
resolutely in the form of street-barricades and insurrectionary pikes,
and decidedly will not open doors to it on those terms, the tramp of
its million feet is on all streets and thoroughfares, the sound of its
bewildered thousand-fold voice is in all writings and speakings, in all
thinkings and modes and activities of men: the soul that does not now,
with hope or terror, discern it, is not the one we address on this

What is Democracy; this huge inevitable Product of the Destinies, which
is everywhere the portion of our Europe in these latter days? There
lies the question for us. Whence comes it, this universal big black
Democracy; whither tends it; what is the meaning of it? A meaning it
must have, or it would not be here. If we can find the right meaning of
it, we may, wisely submitting or wisely resisting and controlling, still
hope to live in the midst of it; if we cannot find the right meaning,
if we find only the wrong or no meaning in it, to live will not be
possible!--The whole social wisdom of the Present Time is summoned, in
the name of the Giver of Wisdom, to make clear to itself, and lay deeply
to heart with an eye to strenuous valiant practice and effort, what
the meaning of this universal revolt of the European Populations, which
calls itself Democracy, and decides to continue permanent, may be.

Certainly it is a drama full of action, event fast following event; in
which curiosity finds endless scope, and there are interests at stake,
enough to rivet the attention of all men, simple and wise. Whereat the
idle multitude lift up their voices, gratulating, celebrating sky-high;
in rhyme and prose announcement, more than plentiful, that _now_ the
New Era, and long-expected Year One of Perfect Human Felicity has
come. Glorious and immortal people, sublime French citizens, heroic
barricades; triumph of civil and religious liberty--O Heaven! one of the
inevitablest private miseries, to an earnest man in such circumstances,
is this multitudinous efflux of oratory and psalmody, from the universal
foolish human throat; drowning for the moment all reflection whatsoever,
except the sorrowful one that you are fallen in an evil, heavy-laden,
long-eared age, and must resignedly bear your part in the same. The
front wall of your wretched old crazy dwelling, long denounced by you
to no purpose, having at last fairly folded itself over, and fallen
prostrate into the street, the floors, as may happen, will still hang
on by the mere beam-ends, and coherency of old carpentry, though in a
sloping direction, and depend there till certain poor rusty nails
and worm-eaten dovetailings give way:--but is it cheering, in such
circumstances, that the whole household burst forth into celebrating
the new joys of light and ventilation, liberty and picturesqueness of
position, and thank God that now they have got a house to their mind? My
dear household, cease singing and psalmodying; lay aside your fiddles,
take out your work-implements, if you have any; for I can say with
confidence the laws of gravitation are still active, and rusty nails,
worm-eaten dovetailings, and secret coherency of old carpentry, are not
the best basis for a household!--In the lanes of Irish cities, I
have heard say, the wretched people are sometimes found living, and
perilously boiling their potatoes, on such swing-floors and inclined
planes hanging on by the joist-ends; but I did not hear that they sang
very much in celebration of such lodging. No, they slid gently about,
sat near the back wall, and perilously boiled their potatoes, in silence
for most part!--

High shouts of exultation, in every dialect, by every vehicle of speech
and writing, rise from far and near over this last avatar of Democracy
in 1848: and yet, to wise minds, the first aspect it presents seems
rather to be one of boundless misery and sorrow. What can be more
miserable than this universal hunting out of the high dignitaries,
solemn functionaries, and potent, grave and reverend signiors of
the world; this stormful rising-up of the inarticulate dumb masses
everywhere, against those who pretended to be speaking for them and
guiding them? These guides, then, were mere blind men only pretending
to see? These rulers were not ruling at all; they had merely got on the
attributes and clothes of rulers, and were surreptitiously drawing
the wages, while the work remained undone? The Kings were Sham-Kings,
play-acting as at Drury Lane;--and what were the people withal that took
them for real?

It is probably the hugest disclosure of _falsity_ in human things that
was ever at one time made. These reverend Dignitaries that sat amid
their far-shining symbols and long-sounding long-admitted professions,
were mere Impostors, then? Not a true thing they were doing, but a
false thing. The story they told men was a cunningly devised fable; the
gospels they preached to them were not an account of man's real position
in this world, but an incoherent fabrication, of dead ghosts and unborn
shadows, of traditions, cants, indolences, cowardices,--a falsity
of falsities, which at last _ceases_ to stick together. Wilfully and
against their will, these high units of mankind were cheats, then; and
the low millions who believed in them were dupes,--a kind of _inverse_
cheats, too, or they would not have believed in them so long. A
universal _Bankruptcy of Imposture_; that may be the brief definition
of it. Imposture everywhere declared once more to be contrary to Nature;
nobody will change its word into an act any farther:--fallen insolvent;
unable to keep its head up by these false pretences, or make its pot
boil any more for the present! A more scandalous phenomenon, wide as
Europe, never afflicted the face of the sun. Bankruptcy everywhere; foul
ignominy, and the abomination of desolation, in all high places: odious
to look upon, as the carnage of a battle-field on the morrow morning;--a
massacre not of the innocents; we cannot call it a massacre of the
innocents; but a universal tumbling of Impostors and of Impostures into
the street!--

Such a spectacle, can we call it joyful? There is a joy in it, to the
wise man too; yes, but a joy full of awe, and as it were sadder than
any sorrow,--like the vision of immortality, unattainable except through
death and the grave! And yet who would not, in his heart of hearts, feel
piously thankful that Imposture has fallen bankrupt? By all means let it
fall bankrupt; in the name of God let it do so, with whatever misery to
itself and to all of us. Imposture, be it known then,--known it must
and shall be,--is hateful, unendurable to God and man. Let it understand
this everywhere; and swiftly make ready for departure, wherever it yet
lingers; and let it learn never to return, if possible! The eternal
voices, very audibly again, are speaking to proclaim this message,
from side to side of the world. Not a very cheering message, but a very
indispensable one.

Alas, it is sad enough that Anarchy is here; that we are not permitted
to regret its being here,--for who that had, for this divine Universe,
an eye which was human at all, could wish that Shams of any kind,
especially that Sham-Kings should continue? No: at all costs, it is
to be prayed by all men that Shams may _cease_. Good Heavens, to what
depths have we got, when this to many a man seems strange! Yet strange
to many a man it does seem; and to many a solid Englishman, wholesomely
digesting his pudding among what are called the cultivated classes, it
seems strange exceedingly; a mad ignorant notion, quite heterodox, and
big with mere ruin. He has been used to decent forms long since
fallen empty of meaning, to plausible modes, solemnities grown
ceremonial,--what you in your iconoclast humor call shams, all his life
long; never heard that there was any harm in them, that there was any
getting on without them. Did not cotton spin itself, beef grow, and
groceries and spiceries come in from the East and the West, quite
comfortably by the side of shams? Kings reigned, what they were pleased
to call reigning; lawyers pleaded, bishops preached, and honorable
members perorated; and to crown the whole, as if it were all real and
no sham there, did not scrip continue salable, and the banker pay in
bullion, or paper with a metallic basis? "The greatest sham, I have
always thought, is he that would destroy shams."

Even so. To such depth have _I_, the poor knowing person of this epoch,
got;--almost below the level of lowest humanity, and down towards the
state of apehood and oxhood! For never till in quite recent generations
was such a scandalous blasphemy quietly set forth among the sons of
Adam; never before did the creature called man believe generally in
his heart that lies were the rule in this Earth; that in deliberate
long-established lying could there be help or salvation for him, could
there be at length other than hindrance and destruction for him. O
Heavyside, my solid friend, this is the sorrow of sorrows: what on earth
can become of us till this accursed enchantment, the general summary and
consecration of delusions, be cast forth from the heart and life of
one and all! Cast forth it will be; it must, or we are tending, at all
moments, whitherward I do not like to name. Alas, and the casting of
it out, to what heights and what depths will it lead us, in the sad
universe mostly of lies and shams and hollow phantasms (grown very
ghastly now), in which, as in a safe home, we have lived this century
or two! To heights and depths of social and individual _divorce_ from
delusions,--of "reform" in right sacred earnest, of indispensable
amendment, and stern sorrowful abrogation and order to depart,--such
as cannot well be spoken at present; as dare scarcely be thought at
present; which nevertheless are very inevitable, and perhaps rather
imminent several of them! Truly we have a heavy task of work before us;
and there is a pressing call that we should seriously begin upon it,
before it tumble into an inextricable mass, in which there will be no
working, but only suffering and hopelessly perishing!

Or perhaps Democracy, which we announce as now come, will itself manage
it? Democracy, once modelled into suffrages, furnished with ballot-boxes
and such like, will itself accomplish the salutary universal change from
Delusive to Real, and make a new blessed world of us by and by?--To the
great mass of men, I am aware, the matter presents itself quite on this
hopeful side. Democracy they consider to _be_ a kind of "Government."
The old model, formed long since, and brought to perfection in England
now two hundred years ago, has proclaimed itself to all Nations as the
new healing for every woe: "Set up a Parliament," the Nations everywhere
say, when the old King is detected to be a Sham-King, and hunted out or
not; "set up a Parliament; let us have suffrages, universal suffrages;
and all either at once or by due degrees will be right, and a real
Millennium come!" Such is their way of construing the matter.

Such, alas, is by no means my way of construing the matter; if it were,
I should have had the happiness of remaining silent, and been without
call to speak here. It is because the contrary of all this is deeply
manifest to me, and appears to be forgotten by multitudes of my
contemporaries, that I have had to undertake addressing a word to them.
The contrary of all this;--and the farther I look into the roots of all
this, the more hateful, ruinous and dismal does the state of mind all
this could have originated in appear to me. To examine this recipe of a
Parliament, how fit it is for governing Nations, nay how fit it may now
be, in these new times, for governing England itself where we are used
to it so long: this, too, is an alarming inquiry, to which all thinking
men, and good citizens of their country, who have an ear for the small
still voices and eternal intimations, across the temporary clamors and
loud blaring proclamations, are now solemnly invited. Invited by the
rigorous fact itself; which will one day, and that perhaps soon, demand
practical decision or redecision of it from us,--with enormous penalty
if we decide it wrong! I think we shall all have to consider this
question, one day; better perhaps now than later, when the leisure
may be less. If a Parliament, with suffrages and universal or any
conceivable kind of suffrages, is the method, then certainly let us set
about discovering the kind of suffrages, and rest no moment till we
have got them. But it is possible a Parliament may not be the method!
Possible the inveterate notions of the English People may have settled
it as the method, and the Everlasting Laws of Nature may have settled it
as not the method! Not the whole method; nor the method at all, if
taken as the whole? If a Parliament with never such suffrages is not the
method settled by this latter authority, then it will urgently behoove
us to become aware of that fact, and to quit such method;--we may depend
upon it, however unanimous we be, every step taken in that direction
will, by the Eternal Law of things, be a step _from_ improvement, not
towards it.

Not towards it, I say, if so! Unanimity of voting,--that will do nothing
for us if so. Your ship cannot double Cape Horn by its excellent plans
of voting. The ship may vote this and that, above decks and below, in
the most harmonious exquisitely constitutional manner: the ship, to get
round Cape Horn, will find a set of conditions already voted for, and
fixed with adamantine rigor by the ancient Elemental Powers, who are
entirely careless how you vote. If you can, by voting or without voting,
ascertain these conditions, and valiantly conform to them, you will get
round the Cape: if you cannot, the ruffian Winds will blow you ever back
again; the inexorable Icebergs, dumb privy-councillors from Chaos, will
nudge you with most chaotic "admonition;" you will be flung half frozen
on the Patagonian cliffs, or admonished into shivers by your iceberg
councillors, and sent sheer down to Davy Jones, and will never get round
Cape Horn at all! Unanimity on board ship;--yes indeed, the ship's crew
may be very unanimous, which doubtless, for the time being, will be very
comfortable to the ship's crew, and to their Phantasm Captain if they
have one: but if the tack they unanimously steer upon is guiding them
into the belly of the Abyss, it will not profit them much!--Ships
accordingly do not use the ballot-box at all; and they reject the
Phantasm species of Captains: one wishes much some other Entities--since
all entities lie under the same rigorous set of laws--could be brought
to show as much wisdom, and sense at least of self-preservation, the
first command of Nature. Phantasm Captains with unanimous votings: this
is considered to be all the law and all the prophets, at present.

If a man could shake out of his mind the universal noise of political
doctors in this generation and in the last generation or two, and
consider the matter face to face, with his own sincere intelligence
looking at it, I venture to say he would find this a very extraordinary
method of navigating, whether in the Straits of Magellan or the
undiscovered Sea of Time. To prosper in this world, to gain felicity,
victory and improvement, either for a man or a nation, there is but
one thing requisite, That the man or nation can discern what the true
regulations of the Universe are in regard to him and his pursuit, and
can faithfully and steadfastly follow these. These will lead him to
victory; whoever it may be that sets him in the way of these,--were
it Russian Autocrat, Chartist Parliament, Grand Lama, Force of Public
Opinion, Archbishop of Canterbury, M'Croudy the Seraphic Doctor with his
Last-evangel of Political Economy,--sets him in the sure way to please
the Author of this Universe, and is his friend of friends. And again,
whoever does the contrary is, for a like reason, his enemy of enemies.
This may be taken as fixed.

And now by what method ascertain the monition of the gods in regard to
our affairs? How decipher, with best fidelity, the eternal regulation
of the Universe; and read, from amid such confused embroilments of
human clamor and folly, what the real Divine Message to us is? A divine
message, or eternal regulation of the Universe, there verily is, in
regard to every conceivable procedure and affair of man: faithfully
following this, said procedure or affair will prosper, and have the
whole Universe to second it, and carry it, across the fluctuating
contradictions, towards a victorious goal; not following this, mistaking
this, disregarding this, destruction and wreck are certain for every
affair. How find it? All the world answers me, "Count heads; ask
Universal Suffrage, by the ballot-boxes, and that will tell." Universal
Suffrage, ballot-boxes, count of heads? Well,--I perceive we have got
into strange spiritual latitudes indeed. Within the last half-century or
so, either the Universe or else the heads of men must have altered very
much. Half a century ago, and down from Father Adam's time till then,
the Universe, wherever I could hear tell of it, was wont to be of
somewhat abstruse nature; by no means carrying its secret written on its
face, legible to every passer-by; on the contrary, obstinately hiding
its secret from all foolish, slavish, wicked, insincere persons, and
partially disclosing it to the wise and noble-minded alone, whose number
was not the majority in my time!

Or perhaps the chief end of man being now, in these improved epochs,
to make money and spend it, his interests in the Universe have become
amazingly simplified of late; capable of being voted on with effect
by almost anybody? "To buy in the cheapest market, and sell in the
dearest:" truly if that is the summary of his social duties, and the
final divine message he has to follow, we may trust him extensively
to vote upon that. But if it is not, and never was, or can be? If the
Universe will not carry on its divine bosom any commonwealth of mortals
that have no higher aim,--being still "a Temple and Hall of Doom," not
a mere Weaving-shop and Cattle-pen? If the unfathomable Universe
has decided to _reject_ Human Beavers pretending to be Men; and will
abolish, pretty rapidly perhaps, in hideous mud-deluges, their "markets"
and them, unless they think of it?--In that case it were better to think
of it: and the Democracies and Universal Suffrages, I can observe, will
require to modify themselves a good deal!

Historically speaking, I believe there was no Nation that could subsist
upon Democracy. Of ancient Republics, and _Demoi_ and _Populi_, we have
heard much; but it is now pretty well admitted to be nothing to our
purpose;--a universal-suffrage republic, or a general-suffrage one, or
any but a most-limited-suffrage one, never came to light, or dreamed of
doing so, in ancient times. When the mass of the population were slaves,
and the voters intrinsically a kind of _kings_, or men born to
rule others; when the voters were real "aristocrats" and manageable
dependents of such,--then doubtless voting, and confused jumbling of
talk and intrigue, might, without immediate destruction, or the need of
a Cavaignac to intervene with cannon and sweep the streets clear of it,
go on; and beautiful developments of manhood might be possible beside
it, for a season. Beside it; or even, if you will, by means of it,
and in virtue of it, though that is by no means so certain as is often
supposed. Alas, no: the reflective constitutional mind has misgivings as
to the origin of old Greek and Roman nobleness; and indeed knows not how
this or any other human nobleness could well be "originated," or brought
to pass, by voting or without voting, in this world, except by the grace
of God very mainly;--and remembers, with a sigh, that of the Seven
Sages themselves no fewer than three were bits of Despotic Kings, [Gr.]
_Turannoi_, "Tyrants" so called (such being greatly wanted there);
and that the other four were very far from Red Republicans, if of any
political faith whatever! We may quit the Ancient Classical concern, and
leave it to College-clubs and speculative debating-societies, in these
late days.

Of the various French Republics that have been tried, or that are still
on trial,--of these also it is not needful to say any word. But there
is one modern instance of Democracy nearly perfect, the Republic of
the United States, which has actually subsisted for threescore years or
more, with immense success as is affirmed; to which many still appeal,
as to a sign of hope for all nations, and a "Model Republic." Is not
America an instance in point? Why should not all Nations subsist and
flourish on Democracy, as America does?

Of America it would ill beseem any Englishman, and me perhaps as little
as another, to speak unkindly, to speak unpatriotically, if any of us
even felt so. Sure enough, America is a great, and in many respects a
blessed and hopeful phenomenon. Sure enough, these hardy millions of
Anglo-Saxon men prove themselves worthy of their genealogy; and, with
the axe and plough and hammer, if not yet with any much finer kind of
implements, are triumphantly clearing out wide spaces, seedfields for
the sustenance and refuge of mankind, arenas for the future history of
the world; doing, in their day and generation, a creditable and cheering
feat under the sun. But as to a Model Republic, or a model anything, the
wise among themselves know too well that there is nothing to be said.
Nay the title hitherto to be a Commonwealth or Nation at all, among the
[Gr.] _ethne_ of the world, is, strictly considered, still a thing
they are but striving for, and indeed have not yet done much towards
attaining. Their Constitution, such as it may be, was made here,
not there; went over with them from the Old-Puritan English
workshop ready-made. Deduct what they carried with them from England
ready-made,--their common English Language, and that same Constitution,
or rather elixir of constitutions, their inveterate and now, as it
were, inborn reverence for the Constable's Staff; two quite immense
attainments, which England had to spend much blood, and valiant sweat of
brow and brain, for centuries long, in achieving;--and what new elements
of polity or nationhood, what noble new phasis of human arrangement, or
social device worthy of Prometheus or of Epimetheus, yet comes to light
in America? Cotton crops and Indian corn and dollars come to light;
and half a world of untilled land, where populations that respect the
constable can live, for the present _without_ Government: this comes
to light; and the profound sorrow of all nobler hearts, here uttering
itself as silent patient unspeakable ennui, there coming out as vague
elegiac wailings, that there is still next to nothing more. "Anarchy
_plus_ a street-constable:" that also is anarchic to me, and other than
quite lovely!

I foresee, too, that, long before the waste lands are full, the very
street-constable, on these poor terms, will have become impossible:
without the waste lands, as here in our Europe, I do not see how he
could continue possible many weeks. Cease to brag to me of America, and
its model institutions and constitutions. To men in their sleep there
is nothing granted in this world: nothing, or as good as nothing, to men
that sit idly caucusing and ballot-boxing on the graves of their heroic
ancestors, saying, "It is well, it is well!" Corn and bacon are granted:
not a very sublime boon, on such conditions; a boon moreover which, on
such conditions, cannot last!--No: America too will have to strain its
energies, in quite other fashion than this; to crack its sinews, and all
but break its heart, as the rest of us have had to do, in thousand-fold
wrestle with the Pythons and mud-demons, before it can become a
habitation for the gods. America's battle is yet to fight; and we,
sorrowful though nothing doubting, will wish her strength for it. New
Spiritual Pythons, plenty of them; enormous Megatherions, as ugly as
were ever born of mud, loom huge and hideous out of the twilight Future
on America; and she will have her own agony, and her own victory, but on
other terms than she is yet quite aware of. Hitherto she but ploughs
and hammers, in a very successful manner; hitherto, in spite of her
"roast-goose with apple-sauce," she is not much. "Roast-goose with
apple-sauce for the poorest workingman:" well, surely that is something,
thanks to your respect for the street-constable, and to your continents
of fertile waste land;--but that, even if it could continue, is by
no means enough; that is not even an instalment towards what will be
required of you. My friend, brag not yet of our American cousins! Their
quantity of cotton, dollars, industry and resources, I believe to be
almost unspeakable; but I can by no means worship the like of these.
What great human soul, what great thought, what great noble thing that
one could worship, or loyally admire, has yet been produced there? None:
the American cousins have yet done none of these things. "What they have
done?" growls Smelfungus, tired of the subject: "They have doubled
their population every twenty years. They have begotten, with a rapidity
beyond recorded example, Eighteen Millions of the greatest _bores_
ever seen in this world before,--that hitherto is their feat in
History!"--And so we leave them, for the present; and cannot predict the
success of Democracy, on this side of the Atlantic, from their example.

Alas, on this side of the Atlantic and on that, Democracy, we apprehend,
is forever impossible! So much, with certainty of loud astonished
contradiction from all manner of men at present, but with sure appeal
to the Law of Nature and the ever-abiding Fact, may be suggested and
asserted once more. The Universe itself is a Monarchy and Hierarchy;
large liberty of "voting" there, all manner of choice, utmost free-will,
but with conditions inexorable and immeasurable annexed to every
exercise of the same. A most free commonwealth of "voters;" but with
Eternal Justice to preside over it, Eternal Justice enforced by Almighty
Power! This is the model of "constitutions;" this: nor in any Nation
where there has not yet (in some supportable and withal some constantly
increasing degree) been confided to the _Noblest_, with his select
series of _Nobler_, the divine everlasting duty of directing and
controlling the Ignoble, has the "Kingdom of God," which we all pray
for, "come," nor can "His will" even _tend_ to be "done on Earth as
it is in Heaven" till then. My Christian friends, and indeed my
Sham-Christian and Anti-Christian, and all manner of men, are invited
to reflect on this. They will find it to be the truth of the case. The
Noble in the high place, the Ignoble in the low; that is, in all times
and in all countries, the Almighty Maker's Law.

To raise the Sham-Noblest, and solemnly consecrate him by whatever
method, new-devised, or slavishly adhered to from old wont, this,
little as we may regard it, is, in all times and countries, a practical
blasphemy, and Nature will in nowise forget it. Alas, there lies the
origin, the fatal necessity, of modern Democracy everywhere. It is
the Noblest, not the Sham-Noblest; it is God-Almighty's Noble, not the
Court-Tailor's Noble, nor the Able-Editor's Noble, that must, in
some approximate degree, be raised to the supreme place; he and not a
counterfeit,--under penalties! Penalties deep as death, and at
length terrible as hell-on-earth, my constitutional friend!--Will the
ballot-box raise the Noblest to the chief place; does any sane
man deliberately believe such a thing? That nevertheless is the
indispensable result, attain it how we may: if that is attained, all is
attained; if not that, nothing. He that cannot believe the ballot-box
to be attaining it, will be comparatively indifferent to the ballot-box.
Excellent for keeping the ship's crew at peace under their Phantasm
Captain; but unserviceable, under such, for getting round Cape Horn.
Alas, that there should be human beings requiring to have these things
argued of, at this late time of day!

I say, it is the everlasting privilege of the foolish to be governed
by the wise; to be guided in the right path by those who know it better
than they. This is the first "right of man;" compared with which all
other rights are as nothing,--mere superfluities, corollaries which will
follow of their own accord out of this; if they be not contradictions
to this, and less than nothing! To the wise it is not a privilege; far
other indeed. Doubtless, as bringing preservation to their country, it
implies preservation of themselves withal; but intrinsically it is the
harshest duty a wise man, if he be indeed wise, has laid to his hand. A
duty which he would fain enough shirk; which accordingly, in these
sad times of doubt and cowardly sloth, he has long everywhere been
endeavoring to reduce to its minimum, and has in fact in most cases
nearly escaped altogether. It is an ungoverned world; a world which we
flatter ourselves will henceforth need no governing. On the dust of our
heroic ancestors we too sit ballot-boxing, saying to one another, It is
well, it is well! By inheritance of their noble struggles, we have
been permitted to sit slothful so long. By noble toil, not by shallow
laughter and vain talk, they made this English Existence from a savage
forest into an arable inhabitable field for us; and we, idly dreaming it
would grow spontaneous crops forever,--find it now in a too questionable
state; peremptorily requiring real labor and agriculture again. Real
"agriculture" is not pleasant; much pleasanter to reap and winnow (with
ballot-box or otherwise) than to plough!

Who would govern that can get along without governing? He that is
fittest for it, is of all men the unwillingest unless constrained.
By multifarious devices we have been endeavoring to dispense with
governing; and by very superficial speculations, of _laissez-faire_,
supply-and-demand, &c. &c. to persuade ourselves that it is best so. The
Real Captain, unless it be some Captain of mechanical Industry hired
by Mammon, where is he in these days? Most likely, in silence, in
sad isolation somewhere, in remote obscurity; trying if, in an evil
ungoverned time, he cannot at least govern himself. The Real Captain
undiscoverable; the Phantasm Captain everywhere very conspicuous:--it is
thought Phantasm Captains, aided by ballot-boxes, are the true method,
after all. They are much the pleasantest for the time being! And so no
_Dux_ or Duke of any sort, in any province of our affairs, now _leads_:
the Duke's Bailiff _leads_, what little leading is required for getting
in the rents; and the Duke merely rides in the state-coach. It is
everywhere so: and now at last we see a world all rushing towards
strange consummations, because it is and has long been so!

I do not suppose any reader of mine, or many persons in England at
all, have much faith in Fraternity, Equality and the Revolutionary
Millenniums preached by the French Prophets in this age: but there are
many movements here too which tend inevitably in the like direction; and
good men, who would stand aghast at Red Republic and its adjuncts, seem
to me travelling at full speed towards that or a similar goal! Certainly
the notion everywhere prevails among us too, and preaches itself abroad
in every dialect, uncontradicted anywhere so far as I can hear, That
the grand panacea for social woes is what we call "enfranchisement,"
"emancipation;" or, translated into practical language, the cutting
asunder of human relations, wherever they are found grievous, as is like
to be pretty universally the case at the rate we have been going for
some generations past. Let us all be "free" of one another; we
shall then be happy. Free, without bond or connection except that of
cash-payment; fair day's wages for the fair day's work; bargained for by
voluntary contract, and law of supply-and-demand: this is thought to be
the true solution of all difficulties and injustices that have occurred
between man and man.

To rectify the relation that exists between two men, is there no method,
then, but that of ending it? The old relation has become unsuitable,
obsolete, perhaps unjust; it imperatively requires to be amended; and
the remedy is, Abolish it, let there henceforth be no relation at all.
From the "Sacrament of Marriage" downwards, human beings used to be
manifoldly related, one to another, and each to all; and there was no
relation among human beings, just or unjust, that had not its grievances
and difficulties, its necessities on both sides to bear and forbear. But
henceforth, be it known, we have changed all that, by favor of Heaven:
"the voluntary principle" has come up, which will itself do the business
for us; and now let a new Sacrament, that of Divorce, which we call
emancipation, and spout of on our platforms, be universally the order of
the day!--Have men considered whither all this is tending, and what it
certainly enough betokens? Cut every human relation which has anywhere
grown uneasy sheer asunder; reduce whatsoever was compulsory to
voluntary, whatsoever was permanent among us to the condition of
nomadic:--in other words, loosen by assiduous wedges in every joint, the
whole fabric of social existence, stone from stone: till at last, all
now being loose enough, it can, as we already see in most countries,
be overset by sudden outburst of revolutionary rage; and, lying as mere
mountains of anarchic rubbish, solicit you to sing Fraternity, &c., over
it, and to rejoice in the new remarkable era of human progress we have
arrived at.

Certainly Emancipation proceeds with rapid strides among us, this good
while; and has got to such a length as might give rise to reflections
in men of a serious turn. West-Indian Blacks are emancipated, and
it appears refuse to work: Irish Whites have long been entirely
emancipated; and nobody asks them to work, or on condition of finding
them potatoes (which, of course, is indispensable), permits them to
work.--Among speculative persons, a question has sometimes risen: In the
progress of Emancipation, are we to look for a time when all the
Horses also are to be emancipated, and brought to the supply-and-demand
principle? Horses too have "motives;" are acted on by hunger, fear,
hope, love of oats, terror of platted leather; nay they have vanity,
ambition, emulation, thankfulness, vindictiveness; some rude outline
of all our human spiritualities,--a rude resemblance to us in mind and
intelligence, even as they have in bodily frame. The Horse, poor dumb
four-footed fellow, he too has his private feelings, his affections,
gratitudes; and deserves good usage; no human master, without crime,
shall treat him unjustly either, or recklessly lay on the whip where
it is not needed:--I am sure if I could make him "happy," I should be
willing to grant a small vote (in addition to the late twenty millions)
for that object!

Him too you occasionally tyrannize over; and with bad result to
yourselves, among others; using the leather in a tyrannous unnecessary
manner; withholding, or scantily furnishing, the oats and ventilated
stabling that are due. Rugged horse-subduers, one fears they are a
little tyrannous at times. "Am I not a horse, and half-brother?"--To
remedy which, so far as remediable, fancy--the horses all "emancipated;"
restored to their primeval right of property in the grass of this Globe:
turned out to graze in an independent supply-and-demand manner! So long
as grass lasts, I dare say they are very happy, or think themselves so.
And Farmer Hodge sallying forth, on a dry spring morning, with a sieve
of oats in his hand, and agony of eager expectation in his heart, is he
happy? Help me to plough this day, Black Dobbin: oats in full measure if
thou wilt. "Hlunh, No--thank!" snorts Black Dobbin; he prefers glorious
liberty and the grass. Bay Darby, wilt not thou perhaps? "Hlunh!"--Gray
Joan, then, my beautiful broad-bottomed mare,--O Heaven, she too answers
Hlunh! Not a quadruped of them will plough a stroke for me. Corn-crops
are _ended_ in this world!--For the sake, if not of Hodge, then of
Hodge's horses, one prays this benevolent practice might now cease, and
a new and better one try to begin. Small kindness to Hodge's horses to
emancipate them! The fate of all emancipated horses is, sooner or later,
inevitable. To have in this habitable Earth no grass to eat,--in Black
Jamaica gradually none, as in White Connemara already none;--to roam
aimless, wasting the seedfields of the world; and be hunted home to
Chaos, by the due watch-dogs and due hell-dogs, with such horrors of
forsaken wretchedness as were never seen before! These things are not
sport; they are terribly true, in this country at this hour.

Between our Black West Indies and our White Ireland, between these two
extremes of lazy refusal to work, and of famishing inability to find any
work, what a world have we made of it, with our fierce Mammon-worships,
and our benevolent philanderings, and idle godless nonsenses of one kind
and another! Supply-and-demand, Leave-it-alone, Voluntary Principle,
Time will mend it:--till British industrial existence seems fast
becoming one huge poison-swamp of reeking pestilence physical and moral;
a hideous _living_ Golgotha of souls and bodies buried alive; such a
Curtius' gulf, communicating with the Nether Deeps, as the Sun never saw
till now. These scenes, which the _Morning Chronicle_ is bringing home
to all minds of men,--thanks to it for a service such as Newspapers have
seldom done,--ought to excite unspeakable reflections in every mind.
Thirty thousand outcast Needlewomen working themselves swiftly to
death; three million Paupers rotting in forced idleness, _helping_ said
Needlewomen to die: these are but items in the sad ledger of despair.

Thirty thousand wretched women, sunk in that putrefying well of
abominations; they have oozed in upon London, from the universal Stygian
quagmire of British industrial life; are accumulated in the _well_ of
the concern, to that extent. British charity is smitten to the heart,
at the laying bare of such a scene; passionately undertakes, by enormous
subscription of money, or by other enormous effort, to redress that
individual horror; as I and all men hope it may. But, alas, what next?
This general well and cesspool once baled clean out to-day, will begin
before night to fill itself anew. The universal Stygian quagmire is
still there; opulent in women ready to be ruined, and in men ready.
Towards the same sad cesspool will these waste currents of human ruin
ooze and gravitate as heretofore; except in draining the universal
quagmire itself there is no remedy. "And for that, what is the method?"
cry many in an angry manner. To whom, for the present, I answer only,
"Not 'emancipation,' it would seem, my friends; not the cutting loose of
human ties, something far the reverse of that!"

Many things have been written about shirtmaking; but here perhaps is
the saddest thing of all, not written anywhere till now, that I know of.
Shirts by the thirty thousand are made at twopence-halfpenny each; and
in the mean while no needlewoman, distressed or other, can be procured
in London by any housewife to give, for fair wages, fair help in sewing.
Ask any thrifty house-mother, high or low, and she will answer. In high
houses and in low, there is the same answer: no _real_ needlewoman,
"distressed" or other, has been found attainable in any of the houses I
frequent. Imaginary needlewomen, who demand considerable wages, and have
a deepish appetite for beer and viands, I hear of everywhere; but their
sewing proves too often a distracted puckering and botching; not sewing,
only the fallacious hope of it, a fond imagination of the mind. Good
sempstresses are to be hired in every village; and in London, with its
famishing thirty thousand, not at all, or hardly,--Is not No-government
beautiful in human business? To such length has the Leave-alone
principle carried it, by way of organizing labor, in this affair of
shirtmaking. Let us hope the Leave-alone principle has now got its
apotheosis; and taken wing towards higher regions than ours, to deal
henceforth with a class of affairs more appropriate for it!

Reader, did you ever hear of "Constituted Anarchy"? Anarchy;
the choking, sweltering, deadly and killing rule of No-rule; the
consecration of cupidity, and braying folly, and dim stupidity and
baseness, in most of the affairs of men? Slop-shirts attainable three
halfpence cheaper, by the ruin of living bodies and immortal souls?
Solemn Bishops and high Dignitaries, _our_ divine "Pillars of Fire by
night," debating meanwhile, with their largest wigs and gravest look,
upon something they call "prevenient grace"? Alas, our noble men of
genius, Heaven's _real_ messengers to us, they also rendered nearly
futile by the wasteful time;--preappointed they everywhere, and
assiduously trained by all their pedagogues and monitors, to "rise in
Parliament," to compose orations, write books, or in short speak words,
for the approval of reviewers; instead of doing real kingly work to be
approved of by the gods! Our "Government," a highly "responsible"
one; responsible to no God that I can hear of, but to the twenty-seven
million _gods_ of the shilling gallery. A Government tumbling and
drifting on the whirlpools and mud-deluges, floating atop in a
conspicuous manner, no-whither,--like the carcass of a drowned ass.
Authentic _Chaos_ come up into this sunny Cosmos again; and all men
singing Gloria in _excelsis_ to it. In spirituals and temporals, in
field and workshop, from Manchester to Dorsetshire, from Lambeth Palace
to the Lanes of Whitechapel, wherever men meet and toil and traffic
together,--Anarchy, Anarchy; and only the street-constable (though with
ever-increasing difficulty) still maintaining himself in the middle of
it; that so, for one thing, this blessed exchange of slop-shirts for
the souls of women may transact itself in a peaceable manner!--I, for my
part, do profess myself in eternal opposition to this, and discern well
that universal Ruin has us in the wind, unless we can get out of this.
My friend Crabbe, in a late number of his _Intermittent Radiator_,
pertinently enough exclaims:--

"When shall we have done with all this of British Liberty, Voluntary
Principle, Dangers of Centralization, and the like? It is really getting
too bad. For British Liberty, it seems, the people cannot be taught
to read. British Liberty, shuddering to interfere with the rights of
capital, takes six or eight millions of money annually to feed the
idle laborer whom it dare not employ. For British Liberty we live over
poisonous cesspools, gully-drains, and detestable abominations; and
omnipotent London cannot sweep the dirt out of itself. British Liberty
produces--what? Floods of Hansard Debates every year, and apparently
little else at present. If these are the results of British Liberty, I,
for one, move we should lay it on the shelf a little, and look out for
something other and farther. We have achieved British Liberty hundreds
of years ago; and are fast growing, on the strength of it, one of the
most absurd populations the Sun, among his great Museum of Absurdities,
looks down upon at present."

Curious enough: the model of the world just now is England and her
Constitution; all Nations striving towards it: poor France swimming
these last sixty years in seas of horrid dissolution and confusion,
resolute to attain this blessedness of free voting, or to die in chase
of it. Prussia too, solid Germany itself, has all broken out into
crackling of musketry, loud pamphleteering and Frankfort parliamenting
and palavering; Germany too will scale the sacred mountains, how steep
soever, and, by talisman of ballot-box, inhabit a political Elysium
henceforth. All the Nations have that one hope. Very notable, and
rather sad to the humane on-looker. For it is sadly conjectured, all the
Nations labor somewhat under a mistake as to England, and the causes of
her freedom and her prosperous cotton-spinning; and have much misread
the nature of her Parliament, and the effect of ballot-boxes and
universal suffrages there.

What if it were because the English Parliament was from the first,
and is only just now ceasing to be, a Council of actual Rulers, real
Governing Persons (called Peers, Mitred Abbots, Lords, Knights of the
Shire, or howsoever called), actually _ruling_ each his section of
the country,--and possessing (it must be said) in the lump, or when
assembled as a Council, uncommon patience, devoutness, probity,
discretion and good fortune,--that the said Parliament ever came to be
good for much? In that case it will not be easy to "imitate" the English
Parliament; and the ballot-box and suffrage will be the mere bow of
Robin Hood, which it is given to very few to bend, or shoot with to
any perfection. And if the Peers become mere big Capitalists, Railway
Directors, gigantic Hucksters, Kings of Scrip, _without_ lordly quality,
or other virtue except cash; and the Mitred Abbots change to mere
Able-Editors, masters of Parliamentary Eloquence, Doctors of
Political Economy, and such like; and all _have_ to be elected by a
universal-suffrage ballot-box,--I do not see how the English Parliament
itself will long continue sea-worthy! Nay, I find England in her own
big dumb heart, wherever you come upon her in a silent meditative hour,
begins to have dreadful misgivings about it.

The model of the world, then, is at once unattainable by the world, and
not much worth attaining? England, as I read the omens, is now called a
second time to "show the Nations how to live;" for by her Parliament,
as chief governing entity, I fear she is not long for this world! Poor
England must herself again, in these new strange times, the old methods
being quite worn out, "learn how to live." That now is the terrible
problem for England, as for all the Nations; and she alone of all, not
_yet_ sunk into open Anarchy, but left with time for repentance and
amendment; she, wealthiest of all in material resource, in spiritual
energy, in ancient loyalty to law, and in the qualities that yield such
loyalty,--she perhaps alone of all may be able, with huge travail, and
the strain of all her faculties, to accomplish some solution. She will
have to try it, she has now to try it; she must accomplish it, or perish
from her place in the world!

England, as I persuade myself, still contains in it many _kings_;
possesses, as old Rome did, many men not needing "election" to command,
but eternally elected for it by the Maker Himself. England's one hope
is in these, just now. They are among the silent, I believe; mostly far
away from platforms and public palaverings; not speaking forth the image
of their nobleness in transitory words, but imprinting it, each on his
own little section of the world, in silent facts, in modest valiant
actions, that will endure forevermore. They must sit silent no longer.
They are summoned to assert themselves; to act forth, and articulately
vindicate, in the teeth of howling multitudes, of a world too justly
_maddened_ into all manner of delirious clamors, what of wisdom they
derive from God. England, and the Eternal Voices, summon them; poor
England never so needed them as now. Up, be doing everywhere: the hour
of crisis has verily come! In all sections of English life, the god-made
_king_ is needed; is pressingly demanded in most; in some, cannot
longer, without peril as of conflagration, be dispensed with. He,
wheresoever he finds himself, can say, "Here too am I wanted; here is
the kingdom I have to subjugate, and introduce God's Laws into,--God's
Laws, instead of Mammon's and M'Croudy's and the Old Anarch's! Here is
my work, here or nowhere."--Are there many such, who will answer to the
call, in England? It turns on that, whether England, rapidly crumbling
in these very years and months, shall go down to the Abyss as her
neighbors have all done, or survive to new grander destinies _without_
solution of continuity! Probably the chief question of the world at

The true "commander" and king; he who knows for himself the divine
Appointments of this Universe, the Eternal Laws ordained by God the
Maker, in conforming to which lies victory and felicity, in departing
from which lies, and forever must lie, sorrow and defeat, for each and
all of the Posterity of Adam in every time and every place; he who has
sworn fealty to these, and dare alone against the world assert these,
and dare not with the whole world at his back deflect from these;--he,
I know too well, is a rare man. Difficult to discover; not quite
discoverable, I apprehend, by manoeuvring of ballot-boxes, and riddling
of the popular clamor according to the most approved methods. He is not
sold at any shop I know of,--though sometimes, as at the sign of the
Ballot-box, he is advertised for sale. Difficult indeed to discover:
and not very much assisted, or encouraged in late times, to discover
_himself_;--which, I think, might be a kind of help? Encouraged rather,
and commanded in all ways, if he be wise, to _hide_ himself, and
give place to the windy Counterfeit of himself; such as the universal
suffrages can recognize, such as loves the most sweet voices of the
universal suffrages!--O Peter, what becomes of such a People; what can

Did you never hear, with the mind's ear as well, that fateful Hebrew
Prophecy, I think the fatefulest of all, which sounds daily through
the streets, "Ou' clo! Ou' clo!"--A certain People, once upon a time,
clamorously voted by overwhelming majority, "Not _he_; Barabbas, not
he! _Him_, and what he is, and what he deserves, we know well enough:
a reviler of the Chief Priests and sacred Chancery wigs; a seditious
Heretic, physical-force Chartist, and enemy of his country and mankind:
To the gallows and the cross with him! Barabbas is our man; Barabbas, we
are for Barabbas!" They got Barabbas:--have you well considered what
a fund of purblind obduracy, of opaque _flunkyism_ grown truculent and
transcendent; what an eye for the phylacteries, and want of eye for the
eternal noblenesses; sordid loyalty to the prosperous Semblances, and
high-treason against the Supreme Fact, such a vote betokens in these
natures? For it was the consummation of a long series of such; they and
their fathers had long kept voting so. A singular People; who could both
produce such divine men, and then could so stone and crucify them; a
People terrible from the beginning!--Well, they got Barabbas; and they
got, of course, such guidance as Barabbas and the like of him could give
them; and, of course, they stumbled ever downwards and devilwards, in
their truculent stiffnecked way; and--and, at this hour, after eighteen
centuries of sad fortune, they prophetically sing "Ou' clo!" in all the
cities of the world. Might the world, at this late hour, but take note
of them, and understand their song a little!

Yes, there are some things the universal suffrage can decide,--and about
these it will be exceedingly useful to consult the universal suffrage:
but in regard to most things of importance, and in regard to the choice
of men especially, there is (astonishing as it may seem) next to no
capability on the part of universal suffrage.--I request all candid
persons, who have never so little originality of mind, and every man has
a little, to consider this. If true, it involves such a change in our
now fashionable modes of procedure as fills me with astonishment and
alarm. _If_ popular suffrage is not the way of ascertaining what the
Laws of the Universe are, and who it is that will best guide us in
the way of these,--then woe is to us if we do not take another method.
Delolme on the British Constitution will not save us; deaf will the
Parcae be to votes of the House, to leading articles, constitutional
philosophies. The other method--alas, it involves a stopping short, or
vital change of direction, in the glorious career which all Europe, with
shouts heaven-high, is now galloping along: and that, happen when it
may, will, to many of us, be probably a rather surprising business!

One thing I do know, and can again assert with great confidence,
supported by the whole Universe, and by some two hundred generations of
men, who have left us some record of themselves there, That the few Wise
will have, by one method or another, to take command of the innumerable
Foolish; that they must be got to take it;--and that, in fact, since
Wisdom, which means also Valor and heroic Nobleness, is alone strong in
this world, and one wise man is stronger than all men unwise, they can
be got. That they must take it; and having taken, must keep it, and do
their God's Message in it, and defend the same, at their life's peril,
against all men and devils. This I do clearly believe to be the backbone
of all Future Society, as it has been of all Past; and that without it,
there is no Society possible in the world. And what a business _this_
will be, before it end in some degree of victory again, and whether the
time for shouts of triumph and tremendous cheers upon it is yet come, or
not yet by a great way, I perceive too well! A business to make us all
very serious indeed. A business not to be accomplished but by noble
manhood, and devout all-daring, all-enduring loyalty to Heaven, such as
fatally _sleeps_ at present,--such as is not _dead_ at present either,
unless the gods have doomed this world of theirs to die! A business
which long centuries of faithful travail and heroic agony, on the part
of all the noble that are born to us, will not end; and which to us, of
this "tremendous cheering" century, it were blessedness very great to
see successfully begun. Begun, tried by all manner of methods, if there
is one wise Statesman or man left among us, it verily must be;--begun,
successfully or unsuccessfully, we do hope to see it!

In all European countries, especially in England, one class of Captains
and commanders of men, recognizable as the beginning of a new real
and not imaginary "Aristocracy," has already in some measure developed
itself: the Captains of Industry;--happily the class who above all, or
at least first of all, are wanted in this time. In the doing of material
work, we have already men among us that can command bodies of men.
And surely, on the other hand, there is no lack of men needing to be
commanded: the sad class of brother-men whom we had to describe as
"Hodge's emancipated horses," reduced to roving famine,--this too has in
all countries developed itself; and, in fatal geometrical progression,
is ever more developing itself, with a rapidity which alarms every one.
On this ground, if not on all manner of other grounds, it may be truly
said, the "Organization of Labor" (_not_ organizable by the mad methods
tried hitherto) is the universal vital Problem of the world.

To bring these hordes of outcast captainless soldiers under due
captaincy? This is really the question of questions; on the answer
to which turns, among other things, the fate of all Governments,
constitutional and other,--the possibility of their continuing to exist,
or the impossibility. Captainless, uncommanded, these wretched outcast
"soldiers," since they cannot starve, must needs become banditti,
street-barricaders,--destroyers of every Government that _cannot_ put
them under captains, and send them upon enterprises, and in short render
life human to them. Our English plan of Poor Laws, which we once piqued
ourselves upon as sovereign, is evidently fast breaking down. Ireland,
now admitted into the Idle Workhouse, is rapidly bursting it in pieces.
That never was a "human" destiny for any honest son of Adam; nowhere but
in England could it have lasted at all; and now, with Ireland sharer
in it, and the fulness of time come, it is as good as ended. Alas, yes.
Here in Connemara, your crazy Ship of the State, otherwise dreadfully
rotten in many of its timbers I believe, has sprung a leak: spite of
all hands at the pump, the water is rising; the Ship, I perceive, will
founder, if you cannot stop this leak!

To bring these Captainless under due captaincy? The anxious thoughts of
all men that do think are turned upon that question; and their efforts,
though as yet blindly and to no purpose, under the multifarious
impediments and obscurations, all point thitherward. Isolated men,
and their vague efforts, cannot do it. Government everywhere is called
upon,--in England as loudly as elsewhere,--to give the initiative. A
new strange task of these new epochs; which no Government, never
so "constitutional," can escape from undertaking. For it is vitally
necessary to the existence of Society itself; it must be undertaken, and
succeeded in too, or worse will follow,--and, as we already see in Irish
Connaught and some other places, will follow soon. To whatever
thing still calls itself by the name of Government, were it never so
constitutional and impeded by official impossibilities, all men will
naturally look for help, and direction what to do, in this extremity.
If help or direction is not given; if the thing called Government merely
drift and tumble to and fro, no-whither, on the popular vortexes, like
some carcass of a drowned ass, constitutionally put "at the top of
affairs," popular indignation will infallibly accumulate upon it; one
day, the popular lightning, descending forked and horrible from the
black air, will annihilate said supreme carcass, and smite it home
to its native ooze again!--Your Lordship, this is too true, though
irreverently spoken: indeed one knows not how to speak of it; and to me
it is infinitely sad and miserable, spoken or not!--Unless perhaps the
Voluntary Principle will still help us through? Perhaps this Irish leak,
in such a rotten distressed condition of the Ship, with all the crew so
anxious about it, will be kind enough to stop of itself?--

Dismiss that hope, your Lordship! Let all real and imaginary Governors
of England, at the pass we have arrived at, dismiss forever that
fallacious fatal solace to their do-nothingism: of itself, too clearly,
the leak will never stop; by human skill and energy it must be stopped,
or there is nothing but the sea-bottom for us all! A Chief Governor of
England really ought to recognize his situation; to discern that, doing
nothing, and merely drifting to and fro, in however constitutional a
manner, he is a squanderer of precious moments, moments that perhaps are
priceless; a truly alarming Chief Governor. Surely, to a Chief Governor
of England, worthy of that high name,--surely to him, as to every
living man, in every conceivable situation short of the Kingdom of the
Dead--there is _something_ possible; some plan of action other than that
of standing mildly, with crossed arms, till he and we--sink? Complex as
his situation is, he, of all Governors now extant among these distracted
Nations, has, as I compute, by far the greatest possibilities. The
Captains, actual or potential, are there, and the million Captainless:
and such resources for bringing them together as no other has. To these
outcast soldiers of his, unregimented roving banditti for the present,
or unworking workhouse prisoners who are almost uglier than banditti;
to these floods of Irish Beggars, Able-bodied Paupers, and nomadic
Lackalls, now stagnating or roaming everywhere, drowning the face of the
world (too truly) into an untenantable swamp and Stygian quagmire, has
the Chief Governor of this country no word whatever to say? Nothing but
"Rate in aid," "Time will mend it," "Necessary business of the Session;"
and "After me the Deluge"? A Chief Governor that can front his Irish
difficulty, and steadily contemplate the horoscope of Irish and British
Pauperism, and whitherward it is leading him and us, in this humor, must
be a--What shall we call such a Chief Governor? Alas, in spite of old
use and wont,--little other than a tolerated Solecism, growing daily
more intolerable! He decidedly ought to have some word to say on this
matter,--to be incessantly occupied in getting something which he could
practically say!--Perhaps to the following, or a much finer effect?

_Speech of the British Prime-Minister to the floods of Irish and other
Beggars, the able-bodied Lackalls, nomadic or stationary, and the
general assembly, outdoor and indoor, of the Pauper Populations of these

"Vagrant Lackalls, foolish most of you, criminal many of you, miserable
all; the sight of you fills me with astonishment and despair. What to
do with you I know not; long have I been meditating, and it is hard to
tell. Here are some three millions of you, as I count: so many of you
fallen sheer over into the abysses of open Beggary; and, fearful to
think, every new unit that falls is _loading_ so much more the chain
that drags the others over. On the edge of the precipice hang uncounted
millions; increasing, I am told, at the rate of 1200 a day. They hang
there on the giddy edge, poor souls, cramping themselves down, holding
on with all their strength; but falling, falling one after another; and
the chain is getting _heavy_, so that ever more fall; and who at last
will stand? What to do with you? The question, What to do with you?
especially since the potato died, is like to break my heart!

"One thing, after much meditating, I have at last discovered, and now
know for some time back: That you cannot be left to roam abroad in this
unguided manner, stumbling over the precipices, and loading ever heavier
the fatal _chain_ upon those who might be able to stand; that this
of locking you up in temporary Idle Workhouses, when you stumble, and
subsisting you on Indian meal, till you can sally forth again on fresh
roamings, and fresh stumblings, and ultimate descent to the devil;--that
this is _not_ the plan; and that it never was, or could out of England
have been supposed to be, much as I have prided myself upon it!

"Vagrant Lackalls, I at last perceive, all this that has been sung and
spoken, for a long while, about enfranchisement, emancipation, freedom,
suffrage, civil and religious liberty over the world, is little other
than sad temporary jargon, brought upon us by a stern necessity,--but
now ordered by a sterner to take itself away again a little. Sad
temporary jargon, I say: made up of sense and nonsense,--sense in small
quantities, and nonsense in very large;--and, if taken for the whole
or permanent truth of human things, it is no better than fatal infinite
nonsense eternally _untrue_. All men, I think, will soon have to quit
this, to consider this as a thing pretty well achieved; and to look out
towards another thing much more needing achievement at the time that now

"All men will have to quit it, I believe. But to you, my indigent
friends, the time for quitting it has palpably arrived! To talk of
glorious self-government, of suffrages and hustings, and the fight
of freedom and such like, is a vain thing in your case. By all human
definitions and conceptions of the said fight of freedom, you for your
part have lost it, and can fight no more. Glorious self-government is
a glory not for you, not for Hodge's emancipated horses, nor you. No; I
say, No. You, for your part, have tried it, and _failed_. Left to walk
your own road, the will-o'-wisps beguiled you, your short sight could
not descry the pitfalls; the deadly tumult and press has whirled you
hither and thither, regardless of your struggles and your shrieks; and
here at last you lie; fallen flat into the ditch, drowning there and
dying, unless the others that are still standing please to pick you
up. The others that still stand have their own difficulties, I can tell
you!--But you, by imperfect energy and redundant appetite, by doing too
little work and drinking too much beer, you (I bid you observe) have
proved that you cannot do it! You lie there plainly in the ditch. And
I am to pick you up again, on these mad terms; help you ever again, as
with our best heart's-blood, to do what, once for all, the gods
have made impossible? To load the fatal _chain_ with your perpetual
staggerings and sprawlings; and ever again load it, till we all lie
sprawling? My indigent incompetent friends, I will not! Know that,
whoever may be 'sons of freedom,' you for your part are not and cannot
be such. Not 'free' you, I think, whoever may be free. You palpably are
fallen captive,--_caitiff_, as they once named it:--you do, silently
but eloquently, demand, in the name of mercy itself, that some genuine
command be taken of you.

"Yes, my indigent incompetent friends; some genuine practical command.
Such,--if I rightly interpret those mad Chartisms, Repeal Agitations,
Red Republics, and other delirious inarticulate howlings and bellowings
which all the populations of the world now utter, evidently cries of
pain on their and your part,--is the demand which you, Captives, make of
all men that are not Captive, but are still Free. Free men,--alas,
had you ever any notion who the free men were, who the not-free, the
incapable of freedom! The free men, if you could have understood it,
they are the wise men; the patient, self-denying, valiant; the Nobles
of the World; who can discern the Law of this Universe, what it is, and
piously _obey_ it; these, in late sad times, having cast you loose, you
are fallen captive to greedy sons of profit-and-loss; to bad and ever to
worse; and at length to Beer and the Devil. Algiers, Brazil or Dahomey
hold nothing in them so authentically _slave_ as you are, my indigent
incompetent friends!

"Good Heavens, and I have to raise some eight or nine millions annually,
six for England itself, and to wreck the morals of my working population
beyond all money's worth, to keep the life from going out of you: a
small service to you, as I many times bitterly repeat! Alas, yes; before
high Heaven I must declare it such. I think the old Spartans, who would
have killed you instead, had shown more 'humanity,' more of manhood,
than I thus do! More humanity, I say, more of manhood, and of sense for
what the dignity of man demands imperatively of you and of me and of us
all. We call it charity, beneficence, and other fine names, this brutish
Workhouse Scheme of ours; and it is but sluggish heartlessness, and
insincerity, and cowardly lowness of soul. Not 'humanity' or manhood,
I think; perhaps _ape_hood rather,--paltry imitancy, from the teeth
outward, of what our heart never felt nor our understanding ever saw;
dim indolent adherence to extraneous and extinct traditions; traditions
now really about extinct; not living now to almost any of us, and still
haunting with their spectralities and gibbering _ghosts_ (in a truly
baleful manner) almost all of us! Making this our struggling 'Twelfth
Hour of the Night' inexpressibly hideous!--

"But as for you, my indigent incompetent friends, I have to repeat with
sorrow, but with perfect clearness, what is plainly undeniable, and is
even clamorous to get itself admitted, that you are of the nature of
slaves,--or if you prefer the word, of _nomadic, and now even vagrant
and vagabond, servants that can find no master on those terms_;
which seems to me a much uglier word. Emancipation? You have been
'emancipated' with a vengeance! Foolish souls, I say the whole world
cannot emancipate you. Fealty to ignorant Unruliness, to gluttonous
sluggish Improvidence, to the Beer-pot and the Devil, who is there that
can emancipate a man in that predicament? Not a whole Reform Bill, a
whole French Revolution executed for his behoof alone: nothing but God
the Maker can emancipate him, by making him anew.

"To forward which glorious consummation, will it not be well, O indigent
friends, that you, fallen flat there, shall henceforth learn to take
advice of others as to the methods of standing? Plainly I let you know,
and all the world and the worlds know, that I for my part mean it so.
Not as glorious unfortunate sons of freedom, but as recognized captives,
as unfortunate fallen brothers requiring that I should command you, and
if need were, control and compel you, can there henceforth be a relation
between us. Ask me not for Indian meal; you shall be compelled to earn
it first; know that on other terms I will not give you any. Before
Heaven and Earth, and God the Maker of us all, I declare it is a scandal
to see _such_ a life kept in you, by the sweat and heart's-blood of your
brothers; and that, if we cannot mend it, death were preferable! Go to,
we must get out of this--unutterable coil of nonsenses, constitutional,
philanthropical, &c., in which (surely without mutual hatred, if with
less of 'love' than is supposed) we are all strangling one another!
Your want of wants, I say, is that you be _commanded_ in this world,
not being able to command yourselves. Know therefore that it shall be
so with you. Nomadism, I give you notice, has ended; needful permanency,
soldier-like obedience, and the opportunity and the necessity of hard
steady labor for your living, have begun. Know that the Idle Workhouse
is shut against you henceforth; you cannot enter there at will, nor
leave at will; you shall enter a quite other Refuge, under conditions
strict as soldiering, and not leave till I have done with you. He that
prefers the glorious (or perhaps even the rebellious _in_glorious)
'career of freedom,' let him prove that he can travel there, and be the
master of himself; and right good speed to him. He who has proved that
he cannot travel there or be the master of himself,--let him, in the
name of all the gods, become a servant, and accept the just rules of

"Arise, enlist in my Irish, my Scotch and English 'Regiments of the New
Era,'--which I have been concocting, day and night, during these three
Grouse-seasons (taking earnest incessant counsel, with all manner of
Industrial Notabilities and men of insight, on the matter), and have now
brought to a kind of preparation for incipiency, thank Heaven! Enlist
there, ye poor wandering banditti; obey, work, suffer, abstain, as all
of us have had to do: so shall you be useful in God's creation, so shall
you be helped to gain a manful living for yourselves; not otherwise than
so. Industrial Regiments [_Here numerous persons, with big wigs many
of them, and austere aspect, whom I take to be Professors of the Dismal
Science, start up in an agitated vehement manner: but the Premier
resolutely beckons them down again_]--Regiments not to fight the French
or others, who are peaceable enough towards us; but to fight the Bogs
and Wildernesses at home and abroad, and to chain the Devils of the Pit
which are walking too openly among us.

"Work, for you? Work, surely, is not quite undiscoverable in an Earth
so wide as ours, if we will take the right methods for it! Indigent
friends, we will adopt this new relation (which is _old_ as the world);
this will lead us towards such. Rigorous conditions, not to be violated
on either side, lie in this relation; conditions planted there by God
Himself; which woe will betide us if we do not discover, gradually more
and more discover, and conform to! Industrial Colonels, Workmasters,
Task-masters, Life-commanders, equitable as Rhadamanthus and inflexible
as he: such, I perceive, you do need; and such, you being once put under
law as soldiers are, will be discoverable for you. I perceive, with
boundless alarm, that I shall have to set about discovering such,--I,
since I am at the top of affairs, with all men looking to me. Alas, it
is my new task in this New Era; and God knows, I too, little other than
a red-tape Talking-machine, and unhappy Bag of Parliamentary Eloquence
hitherto, am far behind with it! But street-barricades rise everywhere:
the hour of Fate has come. In Connemara there has sprung a leak, since
the potato died; Connaught, if it were not for Treasury-grants and
rates-in-aid, would have to recur to Cannibalism even now, and Human
Society would cease to pretend that it existed there. Done this thing
must be. Alas, I perceive that if I cannot do it, then surely I shall
die, and perhaps shall not have Christian burial! But I already raise
near upon Ten Millions for feeding you in idleness, my nomadic friends;
work, under due regulations, I really might try to get of--[_Here
arises indescribable uproar, no longer repressible, from all manner
of Economists, Emancipationists, Constitutionalists, and miscellaneous
Professors of the Dismal Science, pretty numerously scattered about;
and cries of "Private enterprise," "Rights of Capital," "Voluntary
Principle," "Doctrines of the British Constitution," swollen by the
general assenting hum of all the world, quite drown the Chief Minister
for a while. He, with invincible resolution, persists; obtains hearing

"Respectable Professors of the Dismal Science, soft you a little.
Alas, I know what you would say. For my sins, I have read much in those
inimitable volumes of yours,--really I should think, some barrowfuls of
them in my time,--and, in these last forty years of theory and practice,
have pretty well seized what of Divine Message you were sent with to me.
Perhaps as small a message, give me leave to say, as ever there was
such a noise made about before. Trust me, I have not forgotten it, shall
never forget it. Those Laws of the Shop-till are indisputable to me;
and practically useful in certain departments of the Universe, as the
multiplication-table itself. Once I even tried to sail through the
Immensities with them, and to front the big coming Eternities with them;
but I found it would not do. As the Supreme Rule of Statesmanship, or
Government of Men,--since this Universe is not wholly a Shop,--no. You
rejoice in my improved tariffs, free-trade movements and the like, on
every hand; for which be thankful, and even sing litanies if you choose.
But here at last, in the Idle-Workhouse movement,--unexampled yet on
Earth or in the waters under the Earth,--I am fairly brought to a stand;
and have had to make reflections, of the most alarming, and indeed
awful, and as it were religious nature! Professors of the Dismal
Science, I perceive that the length of your tether is now pretty well
run; and that I must request you to talk a little lower in future. By
the side of the shop-till,--see, your small 'Law of God' is hung up,
along with the multiplication-table itself. But beyond and above the
shop-till, allow me to say, you shall as good as hold your peace.
Respectable Professors, I perceive it is not now the Gigantic Hucksters,
but it is the Immortal Gods, yes they, in their terror and their beauty,
in their wrath and their beneficence, that are coming into play in the
affairs of this world! Soft you a little. Do not you interrupt me, but
try to understand and help me!--

--"Work, was I saying? My indigent unguided friends, I should think some
work might be discoverable for you. Enlist, stand drill; become, from a
nomadic Banditti of Idleness, Soldiers of Industry! I will lead you to
the Irish Bogs, to the vacant desolations of Connaught now falling into
Cannibalism, to mistilled Connaught, to ditto Munster, Leinster, Ulster,
I will lead you: to the English fox-covers, furze-grown Commons, New
Forests, Salisbury Plains: likewise to the Scotch Hill-sides, and bare
rushy slopes, which as yet feed only sheep,--moist uplands, thousands of
square miles in extent, which are destined yet to grow green crops, and
fresh butter and milk and beef without limit (wherein no 'Foreigner can
compete with us'), were the Glasgow sewers once opened on them, and you
with your Colonels carried thither. In the Three Kingdoms, or in the
Forty Colonies, depend upon it, you shall be led to your work!

"To each of you I will then say: Here is work for you; strike into it
with manlike, soldier-like obedience and heartiness, according to the
methods here prescribed,--wages follow for you without difficulty; all
manner of just remuneration, and at length emancipation itself follows.
Refuse to strike into it; shirk the heavy labor, disobey the rules,--I
will admonish and endeavor to incite you; if in vain, I will flog you;
if still in vain, I will at last shoot you,--and make God's Earth, and
the forlorn-hope in God's Battle, free of you. Understand it, I advise
you! The Organization of Labor"--[_Left speaking_, says our reporter.]

"Left speaking:" alas, that he should have to "speak" so much! There are
things that should be done, not spoken; that till the doing of them is
begun, cannot well be spoken. He may have to "speak" seven years yet,
before a spade be struck into the Bog of Allen; and then perhaps it will
be too late!--

You perceive, my friends, we have actually got into the "New Era" there
has been such prophesying of: here we all are, arrived at last;--and
it is by no means the land flowing with milk and honey we were led
to expect! Very much the reverse. A terrible _new_ country this: no
neighbors in it yet, that I can see, but irrational flabby monsters
(philanthropic and other) of the giant species; hyenas, laughing hyenas,
predatory wolves; probably _devils_, blue (or perhaps blue-and-yellow)
devils, as St. Guthlac found in Croyland long ago. A huge untrodden
haggard country, the "chaotic battle-field of Frost and Fire;" a country
of savage glaciers, granite mountains, of foul jungles, unhewed forests,
quaking bogs;--which we shall have our own ados to make arable and
habitable, I think! We must stick by it, however;--of all enterprises
the impossiblest is that of getting out of it, and shifting into
another. To work, then, one and all; hands to work!

No. II. MODEL PRISONS. [March 1, 1850.]

The deranged condition of our affairs is a universal topic among men at
present; and the heavy miseries pressing, in their rudest shape, on the
great dumb inarticulate class, and from this, by a sure law, spreading
upwards, in a less palpable but not less certain and perhaps still more
fatal shape on all classes to the very highest, are admitted everywhere
to be great, increasing and now almost unendurable. How to diminish
them,--this is every man's question. For in fact they do imperatively
need diminution; and unless they can be diminished, there are many other
things that cannot very long continue to exist beside them. A serious
question indeed, How to diminish them!

Among the articulate classes, as they may be called, there are two ways
of proceeding in regard to this. One large body of the intelligent
and influential, busied mainly in personal affairs, accepts the social
iniquities, or whatever you may call them, and the miseries consequent
thereupon; accepts them, admits them to be extremely miserable,
pronounces them entirely inevitable, incurable except by Heaven, and
eats its pudding with as little thought of them as possible. Not a very
noble class of citizens these; not a very hopeful or salutary method of
dealing with social iniquities this of theirs, however it may answer in
respect to themselves and their personal affairs! But now there is the
select small minority, in whom some sentiment of public spirit and human
pity still survives, among whom, or not anywhere, the Good Cause may
expect to find soldiers and servants: their method of proceeding, in
these times, is also very strange. They embark in the "philanthropic
movement;" they calculate that the miseries of the world can be cured by
bringing the philanthropic movement to bear on them. To universal public
misery, and universal neglect of the clearest public duties, let private
charity superadd itself: there will thus be some balance restored, and
maintained again; thus,--or by what conceivable method? On these terms
they, for their part, embark in the sacred cause; resolute to cure a
world's woes by rose-water; desperately bent on trying to the uttermost
that mild method. It seems not to have struck these good men that no
world, or thing here below, ever fell into misery, without having first
fallen into folly, into sin against the Supreme Ruler of it, by adopting
as a law of conduct what was not a law, but the reverse of one; and
that, till its folly, till its sin be cast out of it, there is not the
smallest hope of its misery going,--that not for all the charity and
rose-water in the world will its misery try to go till then!

This is a sad error; all the sadder as it is the error chiefly of the
more humane and noble-minded of our generation; among whom, as we
said, or elsewhere not at all, the cause of real Reform must expect its
servants. At present, and for a long while past, whatsoever young soul
awoke in England with some disposition towards generosity and social
heroism, or at lowest with some intimation of the beauty of such
a disposition,--he, in whom the poor world might have looked for a
Reformer, and valiant mender of its foul ways, was almost sure to become
a Philanthropist, reforming merely by this rose-water method. To admit
that the world's ways are foul, and not the ways of God the Maker, but
of Satan the Destroyer, many of them, and that they must be mended or
we all die; that if huge misery prevails, huge cowardice, falsity,
disloyalty, universal Injustice high and low, have still longer
prevailed, and must straightway try to cease prevailing: this is what
no visible reformer has yet thought of doing: All so-called "reforms"
hitherto are grounded either on openly admitted egoism (cheap bread to
the cotton-spinner, voting to those that have no vote, and the like),
which does not point towards very celestial developments of the
Reform movement; or else upon this of remedying social injustices by
indiscriminate contributions of philanthropy, a method surely still more
unpromising. Such contributions, being indiscriminate, are but a new
injustice; these will never lead to reform, or abolition of injustice,
whatever else they lead to!

Not by that method shall we "get round Cape Horn," by never such
unanimity of voting, under the most approved Phantasm Captains! It is
miserable to see. Having, as it were, quite lost our way round Cape
Horn, and being sorely "admonished" by the Iceberg and other dumb
councillors, the pilots,--instead of taking to their sextants, and
asking with a seriousness unknown for a long while, What the Laws of
wind and water, and of Earth and of Heaven are,--decide that now, in
these new circumstances, they will, to the worthy and unworthy, serve
out a double allowance of grog. In this way they hope to do it,--by
steering on the old wrong tack, and serving out more and more,
copiously what little _aqua vitae_ may be still on board! Philanthropy,
emancipation, and pity for human calamity is very beautiful; but the
deep oblivion of the Law of Right and Wrong; this "indiscriminate
mashing up of Right and Wrong into a patent treacle" of the
Philanthropic movement, is by no means beautiful; this, on the contrary,
is altogether ugly and alarming.

Truly if there be not something inarticulate among us, not yet uttered
but pressing towards utterance, which is much wiser than anything we
have lately articulated or brought into word or action, our outlooks are
rather lamentable. The great majority of the powerful and active-minded,
sunk in egoistic scepticisms, busied in chase of lucre, pleasure, and
mere vulgar objects, looking with indifference on the world's woes, and
passing carelessly by on the other side; and the select minority, of
whom better might have been expected, bending all their strength to cure
them by methods which can only make bad worse, and in the end
render cure hopeless. A blind loquacious pruriency of indiscriminate
Philanthropism substituting itself, with much self-laudation, for the
silent divinely awful sense of Right and Wrong;--testifying too clearly
that here is no longer a divine sense of Right and Wrong; that, in
the smoke of this universal, and alas inevitable and indispensable
revolutionary fire, and burning up of worn-out rags of which the world
is full, our life-atmosphere has (for the time) become one vile London
fog, and the eternal loadstars are gone out for us! Gone out;--yet very
visible if you can get above the fog; still there in their place,
and quite the same as they always were! To whoever does still know of
loadstars, the proceedings, which expand themselves daily, of
these sublime philanthropic associations, and "universal
sluggard-and-scoundrel protection-societies," are a perpetual
affliction. With their emancipations and abolition principles, and
reigns of brotherhood and new methods of love, they have done great
things in the White and in the Black World, during late years; and are
preparing for greater.

In the interest of human reform, if there is ever to be any reform, and
return to prosperity or to the possibility of prospering, it is urgent
that the nonsense of all this (and it is mostly nonsense, but not quite)
should be sent about its business straightway, and forbidden to deceive
the well-meaning souls among us any more. Reform, if we will understand
that divine word, cannot begin till then. One day, I do know, this, as
is the doom of all nonsense, will be drummed out of the world, with due
placard stuck on its back, and the populace flinging dead cats at it:
but whether soon or not, is by no means so certain. I rather guess,
_not_ at present, not quite soon. Fraternity, in other countries, has
gone on, till it found itself unexpectedly manipulating guillotines by
its chosen Robespierres, and become a fraternity like Cain's. Much
to its amazement! For in fact it is not all nonsense; there is an
infinitesimal fraction of sense in it withal; which is so difficult
to disengage;--which must be disengaged, and laid hold of, before
Fraternity can vanish.

But to our subject,--the Model Prison, and the strange theory of life
now in action there. That, for the present, is my share in the wide
adventure of Philanthropism; the world's share, and how and when it is
to be liquidated and ended, rests with the Supreme Destinies.

Several months ago, some friends took me with them to see one of the
London Prisons; a Prison of the exemplary or model kind. An immense
circuit of buildings; cut out, girt with a high ring-wall, from the
lanes and streets of the quarter, which is a dim and crowded one.
Gateway as to a fortified place; then a spacious court, like the square
of a city; broad staircases, passages to interior courts; fronts of
stately architecture all round. It lodges some thousand or twelve
hundred prisoners, besides the officers of the establishment. Surely one
of the most perfect buildings, within the compass of London. We looked
at the apartments, sleeping-cells, dining-rooms, working-rooms, general
courts or special and private: excellent all, the ne-plus-ultra of human
care and ingenuity; in my life I never saw so clean a building; probably
no Duke in England lives in a mansion of such perfect and thorough

The bread, the cocoa, soup, meat, all the various sorts of food, in
their respective cooking-places, we tasted: found them of excellence
superlative. The prisoners sat at work, light work, picking oakum, and
the like, in airy apartments with glass roofs, of agreeable temperature
and perfect ventilation; silent, or at least conversing only by secret
signs: others were out, taking their hour of promenade in clean flagged
courts: methodic composure, cleanliness, peace, substantial wholesome
comfort reigned everywhere supreme. The women in other apartments,
some notable murderesses among them, all in the like state of methodic
composure and substantial wholesome comfort, sat sewing: in long ranges
of wash-houses, drying-houses and whatever pertains to the getting-up
of clean linen, were certain others, with all conceivable mechanical
furtherances, not too arduously working. The notable murderesses were,
though with great precautions of privacy, pointed out to us; and we were
requested not to look openly at them, or seem to notice them at all,
as it was found to "cherish their vanity" when visitors looked at them.
Schools too were there; intelligent teachers of both sexes, studiously
instructing the still ignorant of these thieves.

From an inner upper room or gallery, we looked down into a range of
private courts, where certain Chartist Notabilities were undergoing
their term. Chartist Notability First struck me very much; I had seen
him about a year before, by involuntary accident and much to my disgust,
magnetizing a silly young person; and had noted well the unlovely
voracious look of him, his thick oily skin, his heavy dull-burning eyes,
his greedy mouth, the dusky potent insatiable animalism that looked
out of every feature of him: a fellow adequate to animal-magnetize most
things, I did suppose;--and here was the post I now found him arrived
at. Next neighbor to him was Notability Second, a philosophic or
literary Chartist; walking rapidly to and fro in his private court, a
clean, high-walled place; the world and its cares quite excluded, for
some months to come: master of his own time and spiritual resources to,
as I supposed, a really enviable extent. What "literary man" to an equal
extent! I fancied I, for my own part, so left with paper and ink, and
all taxes and botherations shut out from me, could have written such a
Book as no reader will here ever get of me. Never, O reader, never here
in a mere house with taxes and botherations. Here, alas, one has to
snatch one's poor Book, bit by bit, as from a conflagration; and to
think and live, comparatively, as if the house were not one's own, but
mainly the world's and the devil's. Notability Second might have filled
one with envy.

The Captain of the place, a gentleman of ancient Military or Royal-Navy
habits, was one of the most perfect governors; professionally and by
nature zealous for cleanliness, punctuality, good order of every kind;
a humane heart and yet a strong one; soft of speech and manner, yet with
an inflexible rigor of command, so far as his limits went: "iron hand
in a velvet glove," as Napoleon defined it. A man of real worth,
challenging at once love and respect: the light of those mild bright
eyes seemed to permeate the place as with an all-pervading vigilance,
and kindly yet victorious illumination; in the soft definite voice it
was as if Nature herself were promulgating her orders, gentlest mildest
orders, which however, in the end, there would be no disobeying, which
in the end there would be no living without fulfilment of. A true
"aristos," and commander of men. A man worthy to have commanded and
guided forward, in good ways, twelve hundred of the best common-people
in London or the world: he was here, for many years past, giving all
his care and faculty to command, and guide forward in such ways as there
were, twelve hundred of the worst. I looked with considerable admiration
on this gentleman; and with considerable astonishment, the reverse of
admiration, on the work he had here been set upon.

This excellent Captain was too old a Commander to complain of anything;
indeed he struggled visibly the other way, to find in his own mind that
all here was best; but I could sufficiently discern that, in his natural
instincts, if not mounting up to the region of his thoughts, there was
a continual protest going on against much of it; that nature and all his
inarticulate persuasion (however much forbidden to articulate itself)
taught him the futility and unfeasibility of the system followed here.
The Visiting Magistrates, he gently regretted rather than complained,
had lately taken his tread-wheel from him, men were just now pulling
it down; and how he was henceforth to enforce discipline on these bad
subjects, was much a difficulty with him. "They cared for nothing but
the tread-wheel, and for having their rations cut short:" of the two
sole penalties, hard work and occasional hunger, there remained now only
one, and that by no means the better one, as he thought. The "sympathy"
of visitors, too, their "pity" for his interesting scoundrel-subjects,
though he tried to like it, was evidently no joy to this practical mind.
Pity, yes: but pity for the scoundrel-species? For those who will not
have pity on themselves, and will force the Universe and the Laws
of Nature to have no "pity on" them? Meseems I could discover fitter
objects of pity!

In fact it was too clear, this excellent man had got a field for his
faculties which, in several respects, was by no means the suitable one.
To drill twelve hundred scoundrels by "the method of kindness," and of
abolishing your very tread-wheel,--how could any commander rejoice to
have such a work cut out for him? You had but to look in the faces of
these twelve hundred, and despair, for most part, of ever "commanding"
them at all. Miserable distorted blockheads, the generality; ape-faces,
imp-faces, angry dog-faces, heavy sullen ox-faces; degraded underfoot
perverse creatures, sons of _in_docility, greedy mutinous darkness,
and in one word, of STUPIDITY, which is the general mother of such.
Stupidity intellectual and stupidity moral (for the one always means
the other, as you will, with surprise or not, discover if you look)
had borne this progeny: base-natured beings, on whom in the course of
a maleficent subterranean life of London Scoundrelism, the Genius
of Darkness (called Satan, Devil, and other names) had now visibly
impressed his seal, and had marked them out as soldiers of Chaos and of
him,--appointed to serve in _his_ Regiments, First of the line, Second
ditto, and so on in their order. Him, you could perceive, they would
serve; but not easily another than him. These were the subjects whom our
brave Captain and Prison-Governor was appointed to command, and
reclaim to _other_ service, by "the method of love," with a tread-wheel

Hopeless forevermore such a project. These abject, ape, wolf, ox, imp
and other diabolic-animal specimens of humanity, who of the very gods
could ever have commanded them by love? A collar round the neck, and a
cart-whip flourished over the back; these, in a just and steady human
hand, were what the gods would have appointed them; and now when, by
long misconduct and neglect, they had sworn themselves into the Devil's
regiments of the line, and got the seal of Chaos impressed on their
visage, it was very doubtful whether even these would be of avail for
the unfortunate commander of twelve hundred men! By "love," without hope
except of peaceably teasing oakum, or fear except of a temporary loss
of dinner, he was to guide these men, and wisely constrain
them,--whitherward? No-whither: that was his goal, if you will think
well of it; that was a second fundamental falsity in his problem. False
in the warp and false in the woof, thought one of us; about as false
a problem as any I have seen a good man set upon lately! To guide
scoundrels by "love;" that is a false woof, I take it, a method that
will not hold together; hardly for the flower of men will love alone do;
and for the sediment and scoundrelism of men it has not even a chance
to do. And then to guide any class of men, scoundrel or other,
_No-whither_, which was this poor Captain's problem, in this Prison with
oakum for its one element of hope or outlook, how can that prosper by
"love" or by any conceivable method? That is a warp wholly false. Out of
which false warp, or originally false condition to start from, combined
and daily woven into by your false woof, or methods of "love" and such
like, there arises for our poor Captain the falsest of problems, and for
a man of his faculty the unfairest of situations. His problem was, not
to command good men to do something, but bad men to do (with superficial
disguises) nothing.

On the whole, what a beautiful Establishment here fitted up for the
accommodation of the scoundrel-world, male and female! As I said, no
Duke in England is, for all rational purposes which a human being can
or ought to aim at, lodged, fed, tended, taken care of, with such
perfection. Of poor craftsmen that pay rates and taxes from their day's
wages, of the dim millions that toil and moil continually under the
sun, we know what is the lodging and the tending. Of the Johnsons,
Goldsmiths, lodged in their squalid garrets; working often enough amid
famine, darkness, tumult, dust and desolation, what work _they_ have
to do:--of these as of "spiritual backwoodsmen," understood to be
preappointed to such a life, and like the pigs to killing, "quite used
to it," I say nothing. But of Dukes, which Duke, I could ask, has cocoa,
soup, meat, and food in general made ready, so fit for keeping him
in health, in ability to do and to enjoy? Which Duke has a house so
thoroughly clean, pure and airy; lives in an element so wholesome, and
perfectly adapted to the uses of soul and body as this same, which is
provided here for the Devil's regiments of the line? No Duke that I
have ever known. Dukes are waited on by deleterious French cooks,
by perfunctory grooms of the chambers, and expensive crowds of
eye-servants, more imaginary than real: while here, Science, Human
Intellect and Beneficence have searched and sat studious, eager to do
their very best; they have chosen a real Artist in Governing to see
their best, in all details of it, done. Happy regiments of the line,
what soldier to any earthly or celestial Power has such a lodging and
attendance as you here? No soldier or servant direct or indirect of
God or of man, in this England at present. Joy to you, regiments of the
line. Your Master, I am told, has his Elect, and professes to be "Prince
of the Kingdoms of this World;" and truly I see he has power to do a
good turn to those he loves, in England at least. Shall we say, May
_he_, may the Devil give you good of it, ye Elect of Scoundrelism? I
will rather pass by, uttering no prayer at all; musing rather in silence
on the singular "worship of God," or practical "reverence done to
Human Worth" (which is the outcome and essence of all real "worship"
whatsoever) among the Posterity of Adam at this day.

For all round this beautiful Establishment, or Oasis of Purity, intended
for the Devil's regiments of the line, lay continents of dingy poor
and dirty dwellings, where the unfortunate not _yet_ enlisted into
that Force were struggling manifoldly,--in their workshops, in their
marble-yards and timber-yards and tan-yards, in their close cellars,
cobbler-stalls, hungry garrets, and poor dark trade-shops with
red-herrings and tobacco-pipes crossed in the window,--to keep the Devil
out-of-doors, and not enlist with him. And it was by a tax on these
that the Barracks for the regiments of the line were kept up. Visiting
Magistrates, impelled by Exeter Hall, by Able-Editors, and the
Philanthropic Movement of the Age, had given orders to that effect.
Rates on the poor servant of God and of her Majesty, who still serves
both in his way, painfully selling red-herrings; rates on him and his
red-herrings to boil right soup for the Devil's declared Elect! Never
in my travels, in any age or clime, had I fallen in with such Visiting
Magistrates before. Reserved they, I should suppose, for these ultimate
or penultimate ages of the world, rich in all prodigies, political,
spiritual,--ages surely with such a length of ears as was never
paralleled before.

If I had a commonwealth to reform or to govern, certainly it should
not be the Devil's regiments of the line that I would first of all
concentrate my attention on! With them I should be apt so make rather
brief work; to them one would apply the besom, try to sweep _them_, with
some rapidity into the dust-bin, and well out of one's road, I should
rather say. Fill your thrashing-floor with docks, ragweeds, mugworths,
and ply your flail upon them,--that is not the method to obtain sacks
of wheat. Away, you; begone swiftly, _ye_ regiments of the line: in the
name of God and of His poor struggling servants, sore put to it to
live in these bad days, I mean to rid myself of you with some degree of
brevity. To feed you in palaces, to hire captains and schoolmasters
and the choicest spiritual and material artificers to expend their
industries on you, No, by the Eternal! I have quite other work for that
class of artists; Seven-and-twenty Millions of neglected mortals who
have not yet quite declared for the Devil. Mark it, my diabolic friends,
I mean to lay leather on the backs of you, collars round the necks of
you; and will teach you, after the example of the gods, that this world
is _not_ your inheritance, or glad to see you in it. You, ye diabolic
canaille, what has a Governor much to do with you? You, I think, he
will rather swiftly dismiss from his thoughts,--which have the whole
celestial and terrestrial for their scope, and not the subterranean of
scoundreldom alone. You, I consider, he will sweep pretty rapidly into
some Norfolk Island, into some special Convict Colony or remote
domestic Moorland, into some stone-walled Silent-System, under hard
drill-sergeants, just as Rhadamanthus, and inflexible as he, and there
leave you to reap what you have sown; he meanwhile turning his endeavors
to the thousand-fold immeasurable interests of men and gods,--dismissing
the one extremely contemptible interest of scoundrels; sweeping that
into the cesspool, tumbling that over London Bridge, in a very brief
manner, if needful! Who are you, ye thriftless sweepings of Creation,
that we should forever be pestered with you? Have we no work to do but
drilling Devil's regiments of the line?

If I had schoolmasters, my benevolent friend, do you imagine I would set
them on teaching a set of unteachables, who as you perceive have already
made up their mind that black is white,--that the Devil namely is the
advantageous Master to serve in this world? My esteemed Benefactor
of Humanity, it shall be far from me. Minds open to that particular
conviction are not the material I like to work upon. When once my
schoolmasters have gone over all the other classes of society from
top to bottom; and have no other soul to try with teaching, all
being thoroughly taught,--I will then send them to operate on _these_
regiments of the line: then, and, assure yourself, never till then. The
truth is, I am sick of scoundreldom, my esteemed Benefactor; it always
was detestable to me; and here where I find it lodged in palaces and
waited on by the benevolent of the world, it is more detestable, not to
say insufferable to me than ever.

Of Beneficence, Benevolence, and the people that come together to talk
on platforms and subscribe five pounds, I will say nothing here; indeed
there is not room here for the twentieth part of what were to be said of
them. The beneficence, benevolence, and sublime virtue which issues in
eloquent talk reported in the Newspapers, with the subscription of
five pounds, and the feeling that one is a good citizen and ornament to
society,--concerning this, there were a great many unexpected remarks to
be made; but let this one, for the present occasion, suffice:--

My sublime benevolent friends, don't you perceive, for one thing,
that here is a shockingly unfruitful investment for your capital of
Benevolence; precisely the worst, indeed, which human ingenuity could
select for you? "Laws are unjust, temptations great," &c. &c.: alas, I
know it, and mourn for it, and passionately call on all men to help in
altering it. But according to every hypothesis as to the law, and the
temptations and pressures towards vice, here are the individuals who, of
all the society, have yielded to said pressure. These are of the
worst substance for enduring pressure! The others yet stand and
make resistance to temptation, to the law's injustice; under all the
perversities and strangling impediments there are, the rest of the
society still keep their feet, and struggle forward, marching under
the banner of Cosmos, of God and Human Virtue; these select Few, as I
explain to you, are they who have fallen to Chaos, and are sworn
into certain regiments of the line. A superior proclivity to Chaos is
declared in these, by the very fact of their being here! Of all the
generation we live in, these are the worst stuff. These, I say, are the
Elixir of the Infatuated among living mortals: if you want the worst
investment for your Benevolence, here you accurately have it. O my
surprising friends! Nowhere so as here can you be certain that a given
quantity of wise teaching bestowed, of benevolent trouble taken, will
yield zero, or the net _Minimum_ of return. It is sowing of your wheat
upon Irish quagmires; laboriously harrowing it in upon the sand of the
seashore. O my astonishing benevolent friends!

Yonder, in those dingy habitations, and shops of red herring and
tobacco-pipes, where men have not yet quite declared for the Devil;
there, I say, is land: here is mere sea-beach. Thither go with your
benevolence, thither to those dingy caverns of the poor; and there
instruct and drill and manage, there where some fruit may come from it.
And, above all and inclusive of all, cannot you go to those Solemn human
Shams, Phantasm Captains, and Supreme Quacks that ride prosperously in
every thoroughfare; and with severe benevolence, ask them, What they
are doing here? They are the men whom it would behoove you to drill a
little, and tie to the halberts in a benevolent manner, if you could!
"We cannot," say you? Yes, my friends, to a certain extent you can. By
many well-known active methods, and by all manner of passive methods,
you can. Strive thitherward, I advise you; thither, with whatever
social effort there may lie in you! The well-head and "consecrated"
thrice-accursed chief fountain of all those waters of bitterness,--it is
they, those Solemn Shams and Supreme Quacks of yours, little as they or
you imagine it! Them, with severe benevolence, put a stop to; them send
to their Father, far from the sight of the true and just,--if you would
ever see a just world here!

What sort of reformers and workers are you, that work only on the
rotten material? That never think of meddling with the material while
it continues sound; that stress it and strain it with new rates and
assessments, till once it has given way and declared itself rotten;
whereupon you snatch greedily at it, and say, Now let us try to do some
good upon it! You mistake in every way, my friends: the fact is, you
fancy yourselves men of virtue, benevolence, what not; and you are not
even men of sincerity and honest sense. I grieve to say it; but it is
true. Good from you, and your operations, is not to be expected. You may
go down!

Howard is a beautiful Philanthropist, eulogized by Burke, and in
most men's minds a sort of beatified individual. How glorious, having
finished off one's affairs in Bedfordshire, or in fact finding them very
dull, inane, and worthy of being quitted and got away from, to set out
on a cruise, over the Jails first of Britain; then, finding that
answer, over the Jails of the habitable Globe! "A voyage of discovery,
a circum-navigation of charity; to collate distresses, to gauge
wretchedness, to take the dimensions of human misery:" really it is very
fine. Captain Cook's voyage for the Terra Australis, Ross's, Franklin's
for the ditto Borealis: men make various cruises and voyages in
this world,--for want of money, want of work, and one or the other
want,--which are attended with their difficulties too, and do not make
the cruiser a demigod. On the whole, I have myself nothing but
respect, comparatively speaking, for the dull solid Howard, and his
"benevolence," and other impulses that set him cruising; Heaven
had grown weary of Jail-fevers, and other the like unjust penalties
inflicted upon scoundrels,--for scoundrels too, and even the very Devil,
should not have _more_ than their due;--and Heaven, in its opulence,
created a man to make an end of that. Created him; disgusted him with
the grocer business; tried him with Calvinism, rural ennui, and sore
bereavement in his Bedfordshire retreat;--and, in short, at last got
him set to his work, and in a condition to achieve it. For which I am
thankful to Heaven; and do also,--with doffed hat, humbly salute John
Howard. A practical solid man, if a dull and even dreary; "carries
his weighing-scales in his pocket:" when your jailer answers, "The
prisoner's allowance of food is so and so; and we observe it sacredly;
here, for example, is a ration."--"Hey! A ration this?" and solid John
suddenly produces his weighing-scales; weighs it, marks down in his
tablets what the actual quantity of it is. That is the art and manner of
the man. A man full of English accuracy; English veracity, solidity,
 simplicity; by whom this universal Jail-commission, not to be paid for
in money but far otherwise, is set about, with all the slow energy, the
patience, practicality, sedulity and sagacity common to the best English
commissioners paid in money and not expressly otherwise.

For it is the glory of England that she has a turn for fidelity in
practical work; that sham-workers, though very numerous, are rarer than
elsewhere; that a man who undertakes work for you will still, in various
provinces of our affairs, do it, instead of merely seeming to do it.
John Howard, without pay in money, _did_ this of the Jail-fever, as
other Englishmen do work, in a truly workmanlike manner: his distinction
was that he did it without money. He had not 500 pounds or 5,000 pounds
a year of salary for it; but lived merely on his Bedfordshire estates,
and as Snigsby irreverently expresses it, "by chewing his own cud." And,
sure enough, if any man might chew the cud of placid reflections, solid
Howard, a mournful man otherwise, might at intervals indulge a little
in that luxury.--No money-salary had he for his work; he had merely the
income of his properties, and what he could derive from within. Is this
such a sublime distinction, then? Well, let it pass at its value. There
have been benefactors of mankind who had more need of money than he, and
got none too. Milton, it is known, did his _Paradise Lost_ at the
easy rate of five pounds. Kepler worked out the secret of the Heavenly
Motions in a dreadfully painful manner; "going over the calculations
sixty times;" and having not only no public money, but no private
either; and, in fact, writing almanacs for his bread-and-water, while
he did this of the Heavenly Motions; having no Bedfordshire estates;
nothing but a pension of 18 pounds (which they would not pay him), the
valuable faculty of writing almanacs, and at length the invaluable
one of dying, when the Heavenly bodies were vanquished, and battle's
conflagration had collapsed into cold dark ashes, and the starvation
reached too high a pitch for the poor man.

Howard is not the only benefactor that has worked without money for us;
there have been some more,--and will be, I hope! For the Destinies are
opulent; and send here and there a man into the world to do work,
for which they do not mean to pay him in money. And they smite him
beneficently with sore afflictions, and blight his world all into grim
frozen ruins round him,--and can make a wandering Exile of their Dante,
and not a soft-bedded Podesta of Florence, if they wish to get a _Divine
Comedy_ out of him. Nay that rather is their way, when they have worthy
work for such a man; they scourge him manifoldly to the due pitch,
sometimes nearly of despair, that he may search desperately for his
work, and find it; they urge him on still with beneficent stripes when
needful, as is constantly the case between whiles; and, in fact, have
privately decided to reward him with beneficent death by and by, and not
with money at all. O my benevolent friend, I honor Howard very much;
but it is on this side idolatry a long way, not to an infinite, but to
a decidedly finite extent! And you,--put not the modest noble Howard, a
truly modest man, to the blush, by forcing these reflections on us!

Cholera Doctors, hired to dive into black dens of infection and despair,
they, rushing about all day from lane to lane, with their life in their
hand, are found to do their function; which is a much more rugged one
than Howard's. Or what say we, Cholera Doctors? Ragged losels gathered
by beat of drum from the overcrowded streets of cities, and drilled a
little and dressed in red, do not they stand fire in an uncensurable
manner; and handsomely give their life, if needful, at the rate of a
shilling per day? Human virtue, if we went down to the roots of it, is
not so rare. The materials of human virtue are everywhere abundant
as the light of the sun: raw materials,--O woe, and loss, and scandal
thrice and threefold, that they so seldom are elaborated, and built into
a result! that they lie yet unelaborated, and stagnant in the souls of
wide-spread dreary millions, fermenting, festering; and issue at last as
energetic vice instead of strong practical virtue! A Mrs. Manning "dying
game,"--alas, is not that the foiled potentiality of a kind of heroine
too? Not a heroic Judith, not a mother of the Gracchi now, but a
hideous murderess, fit to be the mother of hyenas! To such extent can
potentialities be foiled. Education, kingship, command,--where is it,
whither has it fled? Woe a thousand times, that this, which is the
task of all kings, captains, priests, public speakers, land-owners,
book-writers, mill-owners, and persons possessing or pretending to
possess authority among mankind,--is left neglected among them all;
and instead of it so little done but protocolling, black-or-white
surplicing, partridge-shooting, parliamentary eloquence and popular
twaddle-literature; with such results as we see!--

Howard abated the Jail-fever; but it seems to me he has been the
innocent cause of a far more distressing fever which rages high just
now; what we may call the Benevolent-Platform Fever. Howard is to be
regarded as the unlucky fountain of that tumultuous frothy ocean-tide
of benevolent sentimentality, "abolition of punishment," all-absorbing
"prison-discipline," and general morbid sympathy, instead of hearty
hatred, for scoundrels; which is threatening to drown human society as
in deluges, and leave, instead of an "edifice of society" fit for
the habitation of men, a continent of fetid ooze inhabitable only by
mud-gods and creatures that walk upon their belly. Few things more
distress a thinking soul at this time.

Most sick am I, O friends, of this sugary disastrous jargon of
philanthropy, the reign of love, new era of universal brotherhood, and
not Paradise to the Well-deserving but Paradise to All-and-sundry, which
possesses the benighted minds of men and women in our day. My friends, I
think you are much mistaken about Paradise! "No Paradise for anybody:
he that cannot do without Paradise, go his ways:" suppose you tried that
for a while! I reckon that the safer version. Unhappy sugary brethren,
this is all untrue, this other; contrary to the fact; not a tatter of it
will hang together in the wind and weather of fact. In brotherhood with
the base and foolish I, for one, do not mean to live. Not in brotherhood
with them was life hitherto worth much to me; in pity, in hope not yet
quite swallowed of disgust,--otherwise in enmity that must last through
eternity, in unappeasable aversion shall I have to live with
these! Brotherhood? No, be the thought far from me. They are Adam's
children,--alas yes, I well remember that, and never shall forget it;
hence this rage and sorrow. But they have gone over to the dragons; they
have quitted the Father's house, and set up with the Old Serpent: till
they return, how can they be brothers? They are enemies, deadly to
themselves and to me and to you, till then; till then, while hope yet
lasts, I will treat them as brothers fallen insane;--when hope has
ended, with tears grown sacred and wrath grown sacred, I will cut them
off in the name of God! It is at my peril if I do not. With the servant
of Satan I dare not continue in partnership. Him I must put away,
resolutely and forever; "lest," as it is written, "I become partaker of
his plagues."

Beautiful Black Peasantry, who have fallen idle and have got the Devil
at your elbow; interesting White Felonry, who are not idle, but
have enlisted into the Devil's regiments of the line,--know that my
benevolence for you is comparatively trifling! What I have of
that divine feeling is due to others, not to you. A "universal
Sluggard-and-Scoundrel Protection Society" is not the one I mean to
institute in these times, where so much wants protection, and is sinking
to sad issues for want of it! The scoundrel needs no protection. The
scoundrel that will hasten to the gallows, why not rather clear the
way for him! Better he reach _his_ goal and outgate by the natural
proclivity, than be so expensively dammed up and detained, poisoning
everything as he stagnates and meanders along, to arrive at last a
hundred times fouler, and swollen a hundred times bigger! Benevolent men
should reflect on this.--And you Quashee, my pumpkin,--(not a bad fellow
either, this poor Quashee, when tolerably guided!)--idle Quashee, I say
you must get the Devil _sent away_ from your elbow, my poor dark friend!
In this world there will be no existence for you otherwise. No, not as
the brother of your folly will I live beside you. Please to withdraw out
of my way, if I am not to contradict your folly, and amend it, and put
it in the stocks if it will not amend. By the Eternal Maker, it is on
that footing alone that you and I can live together! And if you had
respectable traditions dated from beyond Magna Charta, or from beyond
the Deluge, to the contrary, and written sheepskins that would thatch
the face of the world,--behold I, for one individual, do not believe
said respectable traditions, nor regard said written sheepskins except
as things which _you_, till you grow wiser, will believe. Adieu,
Quashee; I will wish you better guidance than you have had of late.

On the whole, what a reflection is it that we cannot bestow on an
unworthy man any particle of our benevolence, our patronage, or whatever
resource is ours,--without withdrawing it, it and all that will grow
of it, from one worthy, to whom it of right belongs! We cannot, I
say; impossible; it is the eternal law of things. Incompetent Duncan
M'Pastehorn, the hapless incompetent mortal to whom I give the cobbling
of my boots,--and cannot find in my heart to refuse it, the poor drunken
wretch having a wife and ten children; he _withdraws_ the job from
sober, plainly competent, and meritorious Mr. Sparrowbill, generally
short of work too; discourages Sparrowbill; teaches him that he too may
as well drink and loiter and bungle; that this is not a scene for
merit and demerit at all, but for dupery, and whining flattery, and
incompetent cobbling of every description;--clearly tending to the ruin
of poor Sparrowbill! What harm had Sparrowbill done me that I should
so help to ruin him? And I couldn't save the insalvable M'Pastehorn;
I merely yielded him, for insufficient work, here and there a
half-crown,--which he oftenest drank. And now Sparrowbill also is

Justice, Justice: woe betides us everywhere when, for this reason or
for that, we fail to do justice! No beneficence, benevolence, or other
virtuous contribution will make good the want. And in what a rate of
terrible geometrical progression, far beyond our poor computation,
any act of Injustice once done by us grows; rooting itself ever anew,
spreading ever anew, like a banyan-tree,--blasting all life under it,
for it is a poison-tree! There is but one thing needed for the world;
but that one is indispensable. Justice, Justice, in the name of Heaven;
give us Justice, and we live; give us only counterfeits of it, or
succedanea for it, and we die!

Oh, this universal syllabub of philanthropic twaddle! My friend, it is
very sad, now when Christianity is as good as extinct in all hearts, to
meet this ghastly-Phantasm of Christianity parading through almost all.
"I will clean your foul thoroughfares, and make your Devil's-cloaca of
a world into a garden of Heaven," jabbers this Phantasm, itself a
phosphorescence and unclean! The worst, it is written, comes from
corruption of the best:--Semitic forms now lying putrescent, dead and
still unburied, this phosphorescence rises. I say sometimes, such a
blockhead Idol, and miserable _White_ Mumbo-jumbo, fashioned out of
deciduous sticks and cast clothes, out of extinct cants and modern
sentimentalisms, as that which they sing litanies to at Exeter Hall and
extensively elsewhere, was perhaps never set up by human folly before.
Unhappy creatures, that is not the Maker of the Universe, not that,
look one moment at the Universe, and see! That is a paltry Phantasm,
engendered in your own sick brain; whoever follows that as a Reality
will fall into the ditch.

Reform, reform, all men see and feel, is imperatively needed. Reform
must either be got, and speedily, or else we die: and nearly all the men
that speak, instruct us, saying, "Have you quite done your interesting
Negroes in the Sugar Islands? Rush to the Jails, then, O ye reformers;
snatch up the interesting scoundrel-population there, to them be
nursing-fathers and nursing-mothers. And oh, wash, and dress, and teach,
and recover to the service of Heaven these poor lost souls: so, we
assure you, will society attain the needful reform, and life be still
possible in this world." Thus sing the oracles everywhere; nearly all
the men that speak, though we doubt not, there are, as usual, immense
majorities consciously or unconsciously wiser who hold their tongue. But
except this of whitewashing the scoundrel-population, one sees little
"reform" going on. There is perhaps some endeavor to do a little
scavengering; and, as the all-including point, to cheapen the terrible
cost of Government: but neither of these enterprises makes progress,
owing to impediments.

"Whitewash your scoundrel-population; sweep out your abominable gutters
(if not in the name of God, ye brutish slatterns, then in the name of
Cholera and the Royal College of Surgeons): do these two things;--and
observe, much cheaper if you please!"--Well, here surely is an Evangel
of Freedom, and real Program of a new Era. What surliest misanthrope
would not find this world lovely, were these things done: scoundrels
whitewashed; some degree of scavengering upon the gutters; and at a
cheap rate, thirdly? That surely is an occasion on which, if ever
on any, the Genius of Reform may pipe all hands!--Poor old Genius of
Reform; bedrid this good while; with little but broken ballot-boxes, and
tattered stripes of Benthamee Constitutions lying round him; and on the
walls mere shadows of clothing-colonels, rates-in-aid, poor-law unions,
defunct potato and the Irish difficulty,--he does not seem long for this
world, piping to that effect?

Not the least disgusting feature of this Gospel according to the
Platform is its reference to religion, and even to the Christian
Religion, as an authority and mandate for what it does. Christian
Religion? Does the Christian or any religion prescribe love
of scoundrels, then? I hope it prescribes a healthy hatred of
scoundrels;--otherwise what am I, in Heaven's name, to make of it? Me,
for one, it will not serve as a religion on those strange terms. Just
hatred of scoundrels, I say; fixed, irreconcilable, inexorable enmity
to the enemies of God: this, and not love for them, and incessant
whitewashing, and dressing and cockering of them, must, if you look
into it, be the backbone of any human religion whatsoever. Christian
Religion! In what words can I address you, ye unfortunates, sunk in the
slushy ooze till the worship of mud-serpents, and unutterable Pythons
and poisonous slimy monstrosities, seems to you the worship of God? This
is the rotten carcass of Christianity; this mal-odorous phosphorescence
of post-mortem sentimentalism. O Heavens, from the Christianity of
Oliver Cromwell, wrestling in grim fight with Satan and his incarnate
Blackguardisms, Hypocrisies, Injustices, and legion of human and
infernal angels, to that of eloquent Mr. Hesperus Fiddlestring
denouncing capital punishments, and inculcating the benevolence on
platforms, what a road have we travelled!

A foolish stump-orator, perorating on his platform mere benevolences,
seems a pleasant object to many persons; a harmless or insignificant
one to almost all. Look at him, however; scan him till you discern the
nature of him, he is not pleasant, but ugly and perilous. That
beautiful speech of his takes captive every long ear, and kindles into
quasi-sacred enthusiasm the minds of not a few; but it is quite in the
teeth of the everlasting facts of this Universe, and will come only
to mischief for every party concerned. Consider that little spouting
wretch. Within the paltry skin of him, it is too probable, he holds few
human virtues, beyond those essential for digesting victual: envious,
cowardly, vain, splenetic hungry soul; what heroism, in word or thought
or action, will you ever get from the like of him? He, in his necessity,
has taken into the benevolent line; warms the cold vacuity of his inner
man to some extent, in a comfortable manner, not by silently doing some
virtue of his own, but by fiercely recommending hearsay pseudo-virtues
and respectable benevolences to other people. Do you call that a good
trade? Long-eared fellow-creatures, more or less resembling himself,
answer, "Hear, hear! Live Fiddlestring forever!" Wherefrom follow
Abolition Congresses, Odes to the Gallows;--perhaps some dirty little
Bill, getting itself debated next Session in Parliament, to waste
certain nights of our legislative Year, and cause skipping in our
Morning Newspaper, till the abortion can be emptied out again and sent
fairly floating down the gutters.

Not with entire approbation do I, for one, look on that eloquent
individual. Wise benevolence, if it had authority, would order that
individual, I believe, to find some other trade: "Eloquent individual,
pleading here against the Laws of Nature,--for many reasons, I bid thee
close that mouth of thine. Enough of balderdash these long-eared have
now drunk. Depart thou; _do_ some benevolent work; at lowest, be silent.
Disappear, I say; away, and jargon no more in that manner, lest a worst
thing befall thee." _Exeat_ Fiddlestring!--Beneficent men are not they
who appear on platforms, pleading against the Almighty Maker's Laws;
these are the maleficent men, whose lips it is pity that some authority
cannot straightway shut. Pandora's Box is not more baleful than the
gifts these eloquent benefactors are pressing on us. Close your pedler's
pack, my friend; swift, away with it! Pernicious, fraught with mere woe
and sugary poison is that kind of benevolence and beneficence.

Truly, one of the saddest sights in these times is that of poor
creatures, on platforms, in parliaments and other situations, making and
unmaking "Laws;" in whose soul, full of mere vacant hearsay and windy
babble, is and was no image of Heaven's Law; whom it never struck that
Heaven had a Law, or that the Earth--could not have what kind of Law you
pleased! Human Statute-books, accordingly, are growing horrible to think
of. An impiety and poisonous futility every Law of them that is so
made; all Nature is against it; it will and can do nothing but mischief
wheresoever it shows itself in Nature: and such Laws lie now like an
incubus over this Earth, so innumerable are they. How long, O Lord, how
long!--O ye Eternities, Divine Silences, do you dwell no more, then, in
the hearts of the noble and the true; and is there no inspiration of
the Almighty any more vouchsafed us? The inspiration of the Morning
Newspapers--alas, we have had enough of that, and are arrived at the
gates of death by means of that!

"Really, one of the most difficult questions this we have in these
times, What to do with our criminals?" blandly observed a certain
Law-dignitary, in my hearing once, taking the cigar from his mouth, and
pensively smiling over a group of us under the summer beech-tree, as
Favonius carried off the tobacco-smoke; and the group said nothing, only
smiled and nodded, answering by new tobacco-clouds. "What to do with our
criminals?" asked the official Law-dignitary again, as if entirely at a
loss.--"I suppose," said one ancient figure not engaged in smoking, "the
plan would be to treat them according to the real law of the case; to
make the Law of England, in respect of them, correspond to the Law of
the Universe. Criminals, I suppose, would prove manageable in that way:
if we could do approximately as God Almighty does towards them; in a
word, if we could try to do Justice towards them."--"I'll thank you
for a definition of Justice?" sneered the official person in a cheerily
scornful and triumphant manner, backed by a slight laugh from the
honorable company; which irritated the other speaker.--"Well, I have no
pocket definition of Justice," said he, "to give your Lordship. It has
not quite been my trade to look for such a definition; I could rather
fancy it had been your Lordship's trade, sitting on your high place this
long while. But one thing I can tell you: Justice always is, whether we
define it or not. Everything done, suffered or proposed, in Parliament
or out of it, is either just or else unjust; either is accepted by the
gods and eternal facts, or is rejected by them. Your Lordship and I,
with or without definition, do a little know Justice, I will hope; if
we don't both know it and do it, we are hourly travelling down
towards--Heavens, must I name such a place! That is the place we are
bound to, with all our trading-pack, and the small or extensive budgets
of human business laid on us; and there, if we _don't know_ Justice, we,
and all our budgets and Acts of Parliament, shall find lodging when the
day is done!"--The official person, a polite man otherwise, grinned as
he best could some semblance of a laugh, mirthful as that of the ass
eating thistles, and ended in "Hah, oh, ah!"--

Indeed, it is wonderful to hear what account we at present give
ourselves of the punishment of criminals. No "revenge"--O Heavens, no;
all preachers on Sunday strictly forbid that; and even (at least
on Sundays) prescribe the contrary of that. It is for the sake of
"example," that you punish; to "protect society" and its purse and skin;
to deter the innocent from falling into crime; and especially withal,
for the purpose of improving the poor criminal himself,--or at lowest,
of hanging and ending him, that he may not grow worse. For the poor
criminal is, to be "improved" if possible: against him no "revenge" even
on week-days; nothing but love for him, and pity and help; poor fellow,
is he not miserable enough? Very miserable,--though much less so than
the Master of him, called Satan, is understood (on Sundays) to have long
deservedly been!

My friends, will you permit me to say that all this, to one poor
judgment among your number, is the mournfulest twaddle that human
tongues could shake from them; that it has no solid foundation in the
nature of things; and to a healthy human heart no credibility whatever.
Permit me to say, only to hearts long drowned in dead Tradition, and for
themselves neither believing nor disbelieving, could this seem credible.
Think, and ask yourselves, in spite of all this preaching and perorating
from the teeth outward! Hearts that are quite strangers to eternal Fact,
and acquainted only at all hours with temporary Semblances parading
about in a prosperous and persuasive condition; hearts that from
their first appearance in this world have breathed since birth, in
all spiritual matters, which means in all matters not pecuniary, the
poisonous atmosphere of universal Cant, could believe such a thing. Cant
moral, Cant religious, Cant political; an atmosphere which envelops all
things for us unfortunates, and has long done; which goes beyond
the Zenith and below the Nadir for us, and has as good as choked the
spiritual life out of all of us,--God pity such wretches, with little
or nothing _real_ about them but their purse and their abdominal
department! Hearts, alas, which everywhere except in the metallurgic
and cotton-spinning provinces, have communed with no Reality, or awful
Presence of a Fact, godlike or diabolic, in this Universe or this
unfathomable Life at all. Hunger-stricken asphyxied hearts, which have
nourished themselves on what they call religions, Christian religions.
Good Heaven, once more fancy the Christian religion of Oliver Cromwell;
or of some noble Christian man, whom you yourself may have been blessed
enough, once, long since, in your life, to know! These are not _untrue_
religions; they are the putrescences and foul residues of religions that
are extinct, that have plainly to every honest nostril been dead some
time, and the remains of which--O ye eternal Heavens, will the
nostril never be delivered from them!--Such hearts, when they get upon
platforms, and into questions not involving money, can "believe" many

I take the liberty of asserting that there is one valid reason, and
only one, for either punishing a man or rewarding him in this world; one
reason, which ancient piety could well define: That you may do the will
and commandment of God with regard to him; that you may do justice to
him. This is your one true aim in respect of him; aim thitherward, with
all your heart and all your strength and all your soul, thitherward,
and not elsewhither at all! This aim is true, and will carry you to
all earthly heights and benefits, and beyond the stars and Heavens. All
other aims are purblind, illegitimate, untrue; and will never carry you
beyond the shop-counter, nay very soon will prove themselves incapable
of maintaining you even there. Find out what the Law of God is with
regard to a man; make that your human law, or I say it will be ill with
you, and not well! If you love your thief or murderer, if Nature and
eternal Fact love him, then do as you are now doing. But if Nature and
Fact do _not_ love him? If they have set inexorable penalties upon
him, and planted natural wrath against him in every god-created human
heart,--then I advise you, cease, and change your hand.

Reward and punishment? Alas, alas, I must say you reward and punish
pretty much alike! Your dignities, peerages, promotions, your kingships,
your brazen statues erected in capital and county towns to our select
demigods of your selecting, testify loudly enough what kind of
heroes and hero-worshippers you are. Woe to the People that no longer
venerates, as the emblem of God himself, the aspect of Human Worth; that
no longer knows what human worth and unworth is! Sure as the Decrees of
the Eternal, that People cannot come to good. By a course too clear,
by a necessity too evident, that People will come into the hands of the
unworthy; and either turn on its bad career, or stagger downwards to
ruin and abolition. Does the Hebrew People prophetically sing "Ou'
clo'!" in all thoroughfares, these eighteen hundred years in vain?

To reward men according to their worth: alas, the perfection of this,
we know, amounts to the millennium! Neither is perfect punishment,
according to the like rule, to be attained,--nor even, by a legislator
of these chaotic days, to be too zealously attempted. But when he does
attempt it,--yes, when he summons out the Society to sit deliberative on
this matter, and consult the oracles upon it, and solemnly settle it in
the name of God; then, if never before, he should try to be a little
in the right in settling it!--In regard to reward of merit, I do not
bethink me of any attempt whatever, worth calling an attempt, on the
part of modern Governments; which surely is an immense oversight on
their part, and will one day be seen to have been an altogether fatal
one. But as to the punishment of crime, happily this cannot be quite
neglected. When men have a purse and a skin, they seek salvation at
least for these; and the Four Pleas of the Crown are a thing that
must and will be attended to. By punishment, capital or other, by
treadmilling and blind rigor, or by whitewashing and blind laxity, the
extremely disagreeable offences of theft and murder must be kept down
within limits.

And so you take criminal caitiffs, murderers, and the like, and hang
them on gibbets "for an example to deter others." Whereupon arise
friends of humanity, and object. With very great reason, as I consider,
if your hypothesis be correct. What right have you to hang any poor
creature "for an example"? He can turn round upon you and say, "Why make
an 'example' of me, a merely ill-situated, pitiable man? Have you no
more respect for misfortune? Misfortune, I have been told, is sacred.
And yet you hang me, now I am fallen into your hands; choke the life out
of me, for an example! Again I ask, Why make an example of me, for your
own convenience alone?"--All "revenge" being out of the question, it
seems to me the caitiff is unanswerable; and he and the philanthropic
platforms have the logic all on their side.

The one answer to him is: "Caitiff, we hate thee; and discern for some
six thousand years now, that we are called upon by the whole Universe
to do it. Not with a diabolic but with a divine hatred. God himself, we
have always understood, 'hates sin,' with a most authentic, celestial,
and eternal hatred. A hatred, a hostility inexorable, unappeasable,
which blasts the scoundrel, and all scoundrels ultimately, into black
annihilation and disappearance from the sum of things. The path of it
as the path of a flaming sword: he that has eyes may see it, walking
inexorable, divinely beautiful and divinely terrible, through the
chaotic gulf of Human History, and everywhere burning, as with
unquenchable fire, the false and death-worthy from the true and
life-worthy; making all Human History, and the Biography of every man, a
God's Cosmos in place of a Devil's Chaos. So is it, in the end; even
so, to every man who is a man, and not a mutinous beast, and has eyes to
see. To thee, caitiff, these things were and are, quite incredible;
to us they are too awfully certain,--the Eternal Law of this Universe,
whether thou and others will believe it or disbelieve. We, not to
be partakers in thy destructive adventure of defying God and all the
Universe, dare not allow thee to continue longer among us. As a palpable
deserter from the ranks where all men, at their eternal peril, are bound
to be: palpable deserter, taken with the red band fighting thus against
the whole Universe and its Laws, we--send thee back into the whole
Universe, solemnly expel thee from our community; and will, in the name
of God, not with joy and exultation, but with sorrow stern as thy own,
hang thee on Wednesday next, and so end."

Other ground on which to deliberately slay a disarmed fellow-man I can
see none. Example, effects upon the public mind, effects upon this and
upon that: all this is mere appendage and accident; of all this I make
no attempt to keep account,--sensible that no arithmetic will or can
keep account of it; that its "effects," on this hand and on that,
transcend all calculation. One thing, if I can calculate it, will
include all, and produce beneficial effects beyond calculation, and
no ill effect at all, anywhere or at any time: What the Law of the
Universe, or Law of God, is with regard to this caitiff? That, by all
sacred research and consideration, I will try to find out; to that I
will come as near as human means admit; that shall be my exemplar and
"example;" all men shall through me see that, and be profited _beyond_
calculation by seeing it.

What this Law of the Universe, or Law made by God, is? Men at one time
read it in their Bible. In many Bibles, Books, and authentic symbols
and monitions of Nature and the World (of Fact, that is, and of
Human Speech, or Wise Interpretation of Fact), there are still clear
indications towards it. Most important it is, for this and for some
other reasons, that men do, in some way, get to see it a little! And if
no man could now see it by any Bible, there is written in the heart of
every man an authentic copy of it direct from Heaven itself: there, if
he have learnt to decipher Heaven's writing, and can read the sacred
oracles (a sad case for him if he altogether cannot), every born man may
still find some copy of it.

"Revenge," my friends! revenge, and the natural hatred of scoundrels,
and the ineradicable tendency to _revancher_ oneself upon them, and
pay them what they have merited: this is forevermore intrinsically a
correct, and even a divine feeling in the mind of every man. Only
the excess of it is diabolic; the essence I say is manlike, and even
godlike,--a monition sent to poor man by the Maker himself. Thou, poor
reader, in spite of all this melancholy twaddle, and blotting out of
Heaven's sunlight by mountains of horsehair and officiality, hast still
a human heart. If, in returning to thy poor peaceable dwelling-place,
after an honest hard day's work, thou wert to find, for example, a
brutal scoundrel who for lucre or other object of his, had slaughtered
the life that was dearest to thee; thy true wife, for example, thy true
old mother, swimming in her blood; the human scoundrel, or two-legged
wolf, standing over such a tragedy: I hope a man would have so much
divine rage in his heart as to snatch the nearest weapon, and put a
conclusion upon said human wolf, for one! A palpable messenger of Satan,
that one; accredited by all the Devils, to be put an end to by all the
children of God. The soul of every god-created man flames wholly into
one divine blaze of sacred wrath at sight of such a Devil's-messenger;
authentic firsthand monition from the Eternal Maker himself as to what
is next to be done. Do it, or be thyself an ally of Devil's-messengers;
a sheep for two-legged human wolves, well deserving to be eaten, as thou
soon wilt be!

My humane friends, I perceive this same sacred glow of divine wrath, or
authentic monition at first hand from God himself, to be the foundation
for all Criminal Law, and Official horsehair-and-bombazine procedure
against Scoundrels in this world. This first-hand gospel from the
Eternities, imparted to every mortal, this is still, and will forever
be, your sanction and commission for the punishment of human scoundrels.
See well how you will translate this message from Heaven and the
Eternities into a form suitable to this World and its Times. Let not
violence, haste, blind impetuous impulse, preside in executing it; the
injured man, invincibly liable to fall into these, shall not himself
execute it: the whole world, in person of a Minister appointed for that
end, and surrounded with the due solemnities and caveats, with bailiffs,
apparitors, advocates, and the hushed expectation of all men, shall do
it, as under the eye of God who made all men. How it shall be done? this
is ever a vast question, involving immense considerations. Thus Edmund
Burke saw, in the Two Houses of Parliament, with King, Constitution, and
all manner of Civil-Lists, and Chancellors' wigs and Exchequer budgets,
only the "method of getting twelve just men put into a jury-box:" that,
in Burke's view, was the summary of what they were all meant for. How
the judge will do it? Yes, indeed:--but let him see well that he does
do it: for it is a thing that must by no means be left undone! A
sacred gospel from the Highest: not to be smothered under horsehair
and bombazine, or drowned in platform froth, or in any wise omitted or
neglected, without the most alarming penalties to all concerned!

Neglect to treat the hero as hero, the penalties--which are inevitable
too, and terrible to think of, as your Hebrew friends can tell you--may
be some time in coming; they will only gradually come. Not all at once
will your thirty thousand Needlewomen, your three million Paupers, your
Connaught fallen into potential Cannibalism, and other fine consequences
of the practice, come to light;--though come to light they will; and
"Ou' clo'!" itself may be in store for you, if you persist steadily
enough. But neglect to treat even your declared scoundrel as scoundrel,
this is the last consummation of the process, the drop by which the cup
runs over; the penalties of this, most alarming, extensive, and such as
you little dream of, will straightway very rapidly come. Dim oblivion of
Right and Wrong, among the masses of your population, will come; doubts
as to Right and Wrong, indistinct notion that Right and Wrong are not
eternal, but accidental, and settled by uncertain votings and talkings,
will come. Prurient influenza of Platform Benevolence, and "Paradise
to All-and-sundry," will come. In the general putrescence of your
"religions," as you call them, a strange new religion, named of
Universal Love, with Sacraments mainly of--_Divorce_, with Balzac, Sue
and Company for Evangelists, and Madame Sand for Virgin, will come,--and
results fast following therefrom which will astonish you very much!

"The terrible anarchies of these years," says Crabbe, in his _Radiator_,
"are brought upon us by a necessity too visible. By the crime of
Kings,--alas, yes; but by that of Peoples too. Not by the crime of one
class, but by the fatal obscuration, and all but obliteration of the
sense of Right and Wrong in the minds and practices of every class. What
a scene in the drama of Universal History, this of ours! A world-wide
loud bellow and bray of universal Misery; _lowing_, with crushed
maddened heart, its inarticulate prayer to Heaven:--very pardonable to
me, and in some of its transcendent developments, as in the grand French
Revolution, most respectable and ever-memorable. For Injustice reigns
everywhere; and this murderous struggle for what they call 'Fraternity,'
and so forth has a spice of eternal sense in it, though so terribly
disfigured! Amalgam of sense and nonsense; eternal sense by the grain,
and temporary nonsense by the square mile: as is the habit with poor
sons of men. Which pardonable amalgam, however, if it be taken as the
pure final sense, I must warn you and all creatures, is unpardonable,
criminal, and fatal nonsense;--with which I, for one, will take care not
to concern myself!

"_Dogs should not be taught to eat leather_, says the old adage:
no;--and where, by general fault and error, and the inevitable nemesis
of things, the universal kennel is set to diet upon _leather_; and from
its keepers, its 'Liberal Premiers,' or whatever their title is, will
accept or expect nothing else, and calls it by the pleasant name of
progress, reform, emancipation, abolition-principles, and the like,--I
consider the fate of said kennel and of said keepers to be a thing
settled. Red republic in Phrygian nightcap, organization of labor _a la_
Louis Blanc; street-barricades, and then murderous cannon-volleys _a la_
Cavaignac and Windischgratz, follow out of one another, as grapes, must,
new wine, and sour all-splitting vinegar do: vinegar is but _vin-aigre_,
or the self-same 'wine' grown _sharp_! If, moreover, I find the Worship
of Human Nobleness abolished in any country, and a _new_ astonishing
Phallus-Worship, with universal Balzac-Sand melodies and litanies in
treble and in bass, established in its stead, what can I compute
but that Nature, in horrible throes, will repugn against such
substitution,--that, in short, the astonishing new Phallus-Worship, with
its finer sensibilities of the heart, and 'great satisfying loves,'
with its sacred kiss of peace for scoundrel and hero alike, with its
all-embracing Brotherhood, and universal Sacrament of Divorce, will have
to take itself away again!"

The Ancient Germans, it appears, had no scruple about public executions;
on the contrary, they thought the just gods themselves might fitly
preside over these; that these were a solemn and highest act of worship,
if justly done. When a German man had done a crime deserving death,
they, in solemn general assembly of the tribe, doomed him, and
considered that Fate and all Nature had from the beginning doomed him,
to die with ignominy. Certain crimes there were of a supreme nature;
him that had perpetrated one of these, they believed to have declared
himself a prince of scoundrels. Him once convicted they laid hold of,
nothing doubting; bore him, after judgment, to the deepest convenient
Peat-bog; plunged him in there, drove an oaken frame down over him,
solemnly in the name of gods and men: "There, prince of scoundrels, that
is what we have had to think of thee, on clear acquaintance; our grim
good-night to thee is that! In the name of all the gods lie there, and
be our partnership with thee dissolved henceforth. It will be better for
us, we imagine!"

My friends, after all this beautiful whitewash and humanity and
prison-discipline; and such blubbering and whimpering, and soft Litany
to divine and also to quite other sorts of Pity, as we have had for a
century now,--give me leave to admonish you that that of the Ancient
Germans too was a thing inexpressibly necessary to keep in mind. If that
is not kept in mind, the universal Litany to Pity is a mere universal
nuisance, and torpid blasphemy against the gods. I do not much respect
it, that purblind blubbering and litanying, as it is seen at present;
and the litanying over scoundrels I go the length of disrespecting,
and in some cases even of detesting. Yes, my friends, scoundrel is
scoundrel: that remains forever a fact; and there exists not in the
earth whitewash that can make the scoundrel a friend of this Universe;
he remains an enemy if you spent your life in whitewashing him. He won't
whitewash; this one won't. The one method clearly is, That, after fair
trial, you dissolve partnership with him; send him, in the name of
Heaven, whither _he_ is striving all this while and have done with him.
And, in a time like this, I would advise you, see likewise that you be
speedy about it! For there is immense work, and of a far hopefuler sort,
to be done _elsewhere_.

Alas, alas, to see once the "prince of scoundrels," the Supreme
Scoundrel, him whom of all men the gods liked worst, solemnly laid hold
of, and hung upon the gallows in sight of the people; what a lesson to
all the people! Sermons might be preached; the Son of Thunder and the
Mouth of Gold might turn their periods now with some hope; for here, in
the most impressive way, is a divine sermon acted. Didactic as no
spoken sermon could be. Didactic, devotional too;--in awed solemnity,
a recognition that Eternal Justice rules the world; that at the call of
this, human pity shall fall silent, and man be stern as his Master and
Mandatory is!--Understand too that except upon a basis of even such
rigor, sorrowful, silent, inexorable as that of Destiny and Doom, there
is no true pity possible. The pity that proves so possible and plentiful
without that basis, is mere _ignavia_ and cowardly effeminacy; maudlin
laxity of heart, grounded on blinkard dimness of head--contemptible as a
drunkard's tears.

To see our Supreme Scoundrel hung upon the gallows, alas, that is far
from us just now! There is a worst man in England, too,--curious to
think of,--whom it would be inexpressibly advantageous to lay hold
of, and hang, the first of all. But we do not know him with the least
certainty, the least approach even to a guess,--such buzzards and
dullards and poor children of the Dusk are we, in spite of our
Statistics, Unshackled Presses, and Torches of Knowledge;--not eagles
soaring sunward, not brothers of the lightnings and the radiances we;
a dim horn-eyed, owl-population, intent mainly on the catching of mice!
Alas, the supreme scoundrel, alike with the supreme hero, is very far
from being known. Nor have we the smallest apparatus for dealing
with either of them, if he were known. Our supreme scoundrel sits, I
conjecture, well-cushioned, in high places, at this time; rolls softly
through the world, and lives a prosperous gentleman; instead of sinking
him in peat-bogs, we mount the brazen image of him on high columns: such
is the world's temporary judgment about its supreme scoundrels; a mad
world, my masters. To get the supreme scoundrel always accurately the
first hanged, this, which presupposes that the supreme hero were always
the first promoted, this were precisely the millennium itself, clear
evidence that the millennium had come: alas, we must forbear hope of
this. Much water will run by before we see this.

And yet to quit all aim towards it; to go blindly floundering along,
wrapt up in clouds of horsehair, bombazine, and sheepskin officiality,
oblivious that there exists such an aim; this is indeed fatal. In every
human law there must either exist such an aim, or else the law is not a
human but a diabolic one. Diabolic, I say: no quantity of bombazine, or
lawyers' wigs, three-readings, and solemn trumpeting and bow-wowing
in high places or in low, can hide from me its frightful infernal
tendency;--bound, and sinking at all moments gradually to Gehenna,
this "law;" and dragging down much with it! "To decree _injustice_ by
a _law_:" inspired Prophets have long since seen, what every clear soul
may still see, that of all Anarchies and Devil-worships there is none
like this; that this is the "Throne of Iniquity" set up in the name of
the Highest, the human Apotheosis of Anarchy itself. "_Quiet_ Anarchy,"
you exultingly say? Yes; quiet Anarchy, which the longer it sits "quiet"
will have the frightfuler account to settle at last. For every doit of
the account, as I often say, will have to be settled one day, as sure as
God lives. Principal, and compound interest rigorously computed; and the
interest is at a terrible rate per cent in these cases! Alas, the aspect
of certain beatified Anarchies, sitting "quiet;" and of others in a
state of infernal explosion for sixty years back: this, the one view our
Europe offers at present, makes these days very sad.--

My unfortunate philanthropic friends, it is this long-continued oblivion
of the soul of law that has reduced the Criminal Question to such a pass
among us. Many other things have come, and are coming, for the same sad
reason, to a pass! Not the supreme scoundrel have our laws aimed at;
but, in an uncertain fitful manner, at the inferior or lowest scoundrel,
who robs shop-tills and puts the skin of mankind in danger. How can
Parliament get through the Criminal Question? Parliament, oblivious of
Heavenly Law, will find itself in hopeless _reductio ad absurdum_ in
regard to innumerable other questions,--in regard to all questions
whatsoever by and by. There will be no existence possible for Parliament
on these current terms. Parliament, in its law-makings, must really try
to attain some vision again of what Heaven's Laws are. A thing not
easy to do; a thing requiring sad sincerity of heart, reverence, pious
earnestness, valiant manful wisdom;--qualities not overabundant in
Parliament just now, nor out of it, I fear.

Adieu, my friends. My anger against you is gone; my sad reflections
on you, and on the depths to which you and I and all of us are sunk in
these strange times, are not to be uttered at present. You would have
saved the Sarawak Pirates, then? The Almighty Maker is wroth that the
Sarawak cut-throats, with their poisoned spears, are away? What must his
wrath be that the thirty thousand Needlewomen are still here, and the
question of "prevenient grace" not yet settled! O my friends, in sad
earnest, sad and deadly earnest, there much needs that God would mend
all this, and that we should help him to mend it!--And don't you think,
for one thing, "Farmer Hodge's horses" in the Sugar Islands are pretty
well "emancipated" now? My clear opinion farther is, we had better quit
the Scoundrel-province of Reform; better close that under hatches, in
some rapid summary manner, and go elsewhither with our Reform efforts. A
whole world, for want of Reform, is drowning and sinking; threatening to
swamp itself into a Stygian quagmire, uninhabitable by any noble-minded
man. Let us to the well-heads, I say; to the chief fountains of these
waters of bitterness; and there strike home and dig! To puddle in the
embouchures and drowned outskirts, and ulterior and ultimate issues and
cloacas of the affair: what profit can there be in that? Nothing to be
saved there; nothing to be fished up there, except, with endless peril
and spread of pestilence, a miscellany of broken waifs and dead dogs! In
the name of Heaven, quit that!

No. III. DOWNING STREET. [April 1, 1850.]

From all corners of the wide British Dominion there rises one complaint
against the ineffectuality of what are nicknamed our "red-tape"
establishments, our Government Offices, Colonial Office, Foreign
Office and the others, in Downing Street and the neighborhood. To me
individually these branches of human business are little known; but
every British citizen and reflective passer-by has occasion to wonder
much, and inquire earnestly, concerning them. To all men it is evident
that the social interests of one hundred and fifty Millions of us depend
on the mysterious industry there carried on; and likewise that the
dissatisfaction with it is great, universal, and continually increasing
in intensity,--in fact, mounting, we might say, to the pitch of settled

Every colony, every agent for a matter colonial, has his tragic tale
to tell you of his sad experiences in the Colonial Office; what blind
obstructions, fatal indolences, pedantries, stupidities, on the right
and on the left, he had to do battle with; what a world-wide jungle of
red-tape, inhabited by doleful creatures, deaf or nearly so to human
reason or entreaty, he had entered on; and how he paused in amazement,
almost in despair; passionately appealed now to this doleful creature,
now to that, and to the dead red-tape jungle, and to the living Universe
itself, and to the Voices and to the Silences;--and, on the whole, found
that it was an adventure, in sorrowful fact, equal to the fabulous
ones by old knights-errant against dragons and wizards in enchanted
wildernesses and waste howling solitudes; not achievable except by
nearly superhuman exercise of all the four cardinal virtues, and
unexpected favor of the special blessing of Heaven. His adventure
achieved or found unachievable, he has returned with experiences new
to him in the affairs of men. What this Colonial Office, inhabiting
the head of Downing Street, really was, and had to do, or try doing, in
God's practical Earth, he could not by any means precisely get to know;
believes that it does not itself in the least precisely know. Believes
that nobody knows;--that it is a mystery, a kind of Heathen myth;
and stranger than any piece of the old mythological Pantheon; for it
practically presides over the destinies of many millions of living men.

Such is his report of the Colonial Office: and if we oftener hear such
a report of that than we do of the Home Office, Foreign Office or the
rest,--the reason probably is, that Colonies excite more attention at
present than any of our other interests. The Forty Colonies, it appears,
are all pretty like rebelling just now; and are to be pacified with
constitutions; luckier Constitutions, let us hope, than some late ones
have been. Loyal Canada, for instance, had to quench a rebellion the
other year; and this year, in virtue of its constitution, it is
called upon to pay the rebels their damages; which surely is a rather
surprising result, however constitutional!--Men have rents and moneys
dependent in the Colonies; Emigration schemes, Black Emancipations,
New-Zealand and other schemes; and feel and publish more emphatically
what their Downing-Street woes in these respects have been.

Were the state of poor sallow English ploughers and weavers, what we may
call the Sallow or Yellow Emancipation interest, as much in object with
Exeter-Hall Philanthropists as that of the Black blockheads now all
emancipated, and going at large without work, or need of working, in
West-India clover (and fattening very much in it, one delights to hear),
then perhaps the Home Office, its huge virtual task better understood,
and its small actual performance better seen into, might be found still
more deficient, and behind the wants of the age, than the Colonial
itself is.

How it stands with the Foreign Office, again, one still less knows.
Seizures of Sapienza, and the like sudden appearances of Britain in the
character of Hercules-Harlequin, waving, with big bully-voice, her huge
sword-of-sharpness over field-mice, and in the air making horrid circles
(horrid catherine-wheels and death-disks of metallic terror from
said huge sword), to see how they will like it,--do from time to time
astonish the world, in a not pleasant manner. Hercules-Harlequin, the
Attorney Triumphant, the World's Busybody: none of these are parts this
Nation has a turn for; she, if you consulted her, would rather not play
these parts, but another! Seizures of Sapienza, correspondences with
Sotomayor, remonstrances to Otho King of Athens, fleets hanging by their
anchor in behalf of the Majesty of Portugal; and in short the whole,
or at present very nearly the whole, of that industry of protocolling,
diplomatizing, remonstrating, admonishing, and "having the honor to
be,"--has sunk justly in public estimation to a very low figure.

For in fact, it is reasonably asked, What vital interest has England
in any cause now deciding itself in foreign parts? Once there was a
Papistry and Protestantism, important as life eternal and death eternal;
more lately there was an interest of Civil Order and Horrors of the
French Revolution, important at least as rent-roll and preservation of
the game; but now what is there? No cause in which any god or man of
this British Nation can be thought to be concerned. Sham-kingship, now
recognized and even self-recognized everywhere to be sham, wrestles
and struggles with mere ballot-box Anarchy: not a pleasant spectacle to
British minds. Both parties in the wrestle professing earnest wishes of
peace to us, what have we to do with it except answer earnestly, "Peace,
yes certainly," and mind our affairs elsewhere. The British Nation has
no concern with that indispensable sorrowful and shameful wrestle now
going on everywhere in foreign parts. The British Nation already, by
self-experience centuries old, understands all that; was lucky enough
to transact the greater part of that, in noble ancient ages, while the
wrestle had not yet become a shameful one, but on both sides of it there
was wisdom, virtue, heroic nobleness fruitful to all time,--thrice-lucky
British Nation! The British Nation, I say, has nothing to learn there;
has now quite another set of lessons to learn, far ahead of what
is going on there. Sad example there, of what the issue is, and how
inevitable and how imminent, might admonish the British Nation to
be speedy with its new lessons; to bestir itself, as men in peril of
conflagration do, with the neighboring houses all on fire! To obtain,
for its own very pressing behoof, if by possibility it could, some real
Captaincy instead of an imaginary one: to remove resolutely, and replace
by a better sort, its own peculiar species of teaching and guiding
histrios of various name, who here too are numerous exceedingly, and
much in need of gentle removal, while the play is still good, and the
comedy has not yet become _tragic_; and to be a little swift about it
withal; and so to escape the otherwise inevitable evil day! This Britain
might learn: but she does not need a protocolling establishment, with
much "having the honor to be," to teach it her.

No:--she has in fact certain cottons, hardwares and such like to sell in
foreign parts, and certain wines, Portugal oranges, Baltic tar and
other products to buy; and does need, I suppose, some kind of Consul, or
accredited agent, accessible to British voyagers, here and there, in the
chief cities of the Continent: through which functionary, or through the
penny-post, if she had any specific message to foreign courts, it would
be easy and proper to transmit the same. Special message-carriers, to be
still called Ambassadors, if the name gratified them, could be sent when
occasion great enough demanded; not sent when it did not. But for all
purposes of a resident ambassador, I hear persons extensively and well
acquainted among our foreign embassies at this date declare, That a
well-selected _Times_ reporter or "own correspondent" ordered to reside
in foreign capitals, and keep his eyes open, and (though sparingly) his
pen going, would in reality be much more effective;--and surely we see
well, he would come a good deal cheaper! Considerably cheaper in expense
of money; and in expense of falsity and grimacing hypocrisy (of which no
human arithmetic can count the ultimate cost) incalculably cheaper!
If this is the fact, why not treat it as such? If this is so in any
measure, we had better in that measure admit it to be so! The time, I
believe, has come for asking with considerable severity, How far is it
so? Nay there are men now current in political society, men of weight
though also of wit, who have been heard to say, "That there was but one
reform for the Foreign Office,--to set a live coal under it," and with,
of course, a fire-brigade which could prevent the undue spread of the
devouring element into neighboring houses, let that reform it! In
such odor is the Foreign Office too, if it were not that the Public,
oppressed and nearly stifled with a mere infinitude of bad odors,
neglects this one,--in fact, being able nearly always to avoid the
street where it is, _escapes_ this one, and (except a passing curse,
once in the quarter or so) as good as forgets the existence of it.

Such, from sad personal experience and credited prevailing rumor, is the
exoteric public conviction about these sublime establishments in Downing
Street and the neighborhood, the esoteric mysteries of which are indeed
still held sacred by the initiated, but believed by the world to be mere
Dalai-Lama pills, manufactured let not refined lips hint how, and quite
_un_salvatory to mankind. Every one may remark what a hope animates the
eyes of any circle, when it is reported or even confidently asserted,
that Sir Robert Peel has in his mind privately resolved to go, one day,
into that stable of King Augeas, which appalls human hearts, so rich
is it, high-piled with the droppings of two hundred years; and
Hercules-like to load a thousand night-wagons from it, and turn running
water into it, and swash and shovel at it, and never leave it till the
antique pavement, and real basis of the matter, show itself clean again!
In any intelligent circle such a rumor, like the first break of day
to men in darkness, enlightens all eyes; and each says devoutly,
"_Faxitis_, O ye righteous Powers that have pity on us! All England
grateful, with kindling looks, will rise in the rear of him, and from
its deepest heart bid him good speed!"

For it is universally felt that some _esoteric_ man, well acquainted
with the mysteries and properties good and evil of the administrative
stable, is the fittest to reform it, nay can alone reform it otherwise
than by sheer violence and destruction, which is a way we would avoid;
that in fact Sir Robert Peel is, at present, the one likely or possible
man to reform it. And secondly it is felt that "reform" in that
Downing-Street department of affairs is precisely the reform which were
worth all others; that those administrative establishments in Downing
Street are really the Government of this huge ungoverned Empire; that
to clean out the dead pedantries, unveracities, indolent somnolent
impotences, and accumulated dung-mountains there, is the beginning of
all practical good whatsoever. Yes, get down once again to the actual
_pavement_ of that; ascertain what the thing is, and was before dung
accumulated in it; and what it should and may, and must, for the life's
sake of this Empire, henceforth become: here clearly lies the heart of
the whole matter. Political reform, if this be not reformed, is naught
and a mere mockery.

What England wants, and will require to have, or sink in nameless
anarchies, is not a Reformed Parliament, meaning thereby a Parliament
elected according to the six or the four or any other number of "points"
and cunningly devised improvements in hustings mechanism, but a Reformed
Executive or Sovereign Body of Rulers and Administrators,--some improved
method, innumerable improvements in our poor blind methods, of getting
hold of these. Not a better Talking-Apparatus, the best conceivable
Talking-Apparatus would do very little for us at present;--but an
infinitely better Acting-Apparatus, the benefits of which would be
invaluable now and henceforth. The practical question puts itself with
ever-increasing stringency to all English minds: Can we, by no industry,
energy, utmost expenditure of human ingenuity, and passionate invocation
of the Heavens and Earth, get to attain some twelve or ten or six men to
manage the affairs of this nation in Downing Street and the chief posts
elsewhere, who are abler for the work than those we have been used to,
this long while? For it is really a heroic work, and cannot be done by
histrios, and dexterous talkers having the honor to be: it is a heavy
and appalling work; and, at the starting of it especially, will
require Herculean men; such mountains of pedant exuviae and obscene
owl-droppings have accumulated in those regions, long the habitation
of doleful creatures; the old _pavements_, the natural facts and real
essential functions of those establishments, have not been seen by eyes
for these two hundred years last past! Herculean men acquainted with the
virtues of running water, and with the divine necessity of getting down
to the clear pavements and old veracities; who tremble before no amount
of pedant exuviae, no loudest shrieking of doleful creatures; who
tremble only to live, themselves, like inane phantasms, and to leave
their life as a paltry _contribution_ to the guano mountains, and not as
a divine eternal protest against them!

These are the kind of men we want; these, the nearest possible
approximation to these, are the men we must find and have, or go
bankrupt altogether; for the concern as it is will evidently not hold
long together. How true is this of Crabbe: "Men sit in Parliament
eighty-three hours per week, debating about many things. Men sit in
Downing Street, doing protocols, Syrian treaties, Greek questions,
Portuguese, Spanish, French, Egyptian and AEthiopian questions;
dexterously writing despatches, and having the honor to be. Not a
question of them is at all pressing in comparison with the English
question. Pacifico the miraculous Gibraltar Jew has been hustled by some
populace in Greece:--upon him let the British Lion drop, very rapidly
indeed, a constitutional tear. Radetzky is said to be advancing upon
Milan;--I am sorry to hear it, and perhaps it does deserve a despatch,
or friendly letter, once and away: but the Irish Giant, named of
Despair, is advancing upon London itself, laying waste all English
cities, towns and villages; that is the interesting Government despatch
of the day! I notice him in Piccadilly, blue-visaged, thatched in rags,
a blue child on each arm; hunger-driven, wide-mouthed, seeking whom he
may devour: he, missioned by the just Heavens, too truly and too sadly
their 'divine missionary' come at last in this authoritative manner,
will throw us all into Doubting Castle, I perceive! That is the
phenomenon worth protocolling about, and writing despatches upon, and
thinking of with all one's faculty day and night, if one wishes to have
the honor to be--anything but a Phantasm Governor of England just now!
I entreat your Lordship's all but undivided attention to that Domestic
Irish Giant, named of Despair, for a great many years to come. Prophecy
of him there has long been; but now by the rot of the potato (blessed be
the just gods, who send us either swift death or some beginning of
cure at last!), he is here in person, and there is no denying him, or
disregarding him any more; and woe to the public watchman that ignores
him, and sees Pacifico the Gibraltar Jew instead!"

What these strange Entities in Downing Street intrinsically are; who
made them, why they were made; how they do their function; and what
their function, so huge in appearance, may in net-result amount to,--is
probably known to no mortal. The unofficial mind passes by in dark
wonder; not pretending to know. The official mind must not blab;--the
official mind, restricted to its own square foot of territory in the
vast labyrinth, is probably itself dark, and unable to blab. We see the
outcome; the mechanism we do not see. How the tailors clip and sew, in
that sublime sweating establishment of theirs, we know not: that the
coat they bring us out is the sorrowfulest fantastic mockery of a coat,
a mere intricate artistic network of traditions and formalities, an
embroiled reticulation made of web-listings and superannuated thrums and
tatters, endurable to no grown Nation as a coat, is mournfully clear!--

Two kinds of fundamental error are supposable in such a set of Offices;
these two, acting and reacting, are the vice of all inefficient Offices
whatever.--_First_, that the work, such as it may be, is ill done in
these establishments. That it is delayed, neglected, slurred over,
committed to hands that cannot do it well; that, in a word, the
questions sent thither are not wisely handled, but unwisely; not decided
truly and rapidly, but with delays and wrong at last: which is the
principal character, and the infallible result, of an insufficient
Intellect being set to decide them. Or _second_, what is still fataler,
the work done there may itself be quite the wrong kind of work. Not
the kind of supervision and direction which Colonies, and other such
interests, Home or Foreign, do by the nature of them require from the
Central Government; not that, but a quite other kind! The Sotomayor
correspondence, for example, is considered by many persons not to
be mismanaged merely, but to be a thing which should never have been
managed at all; a quite superfluous concern, which and the like of which
the British Government has almost no call to get into, at this new epoch
of time. And not Sotomayor only, nor Sapienza only, in regard to that
Foreign Office, but innumerable other things, if our witty friend of the
"live coal" have reason in him! Of the Colonial Office, too, it is urged
that the questions they decide and operate upon are, in very great part,
questions which they never should have meddled with, but almost all
of which should have been decided in the Colonies themselves,--Mother
Country or Colonial Office reserving its energy for a quite other class
of objects, which are terribly neglected just now.

These are the two vices that beset Government Offices; both of them
originating in insufficient Intellect,--that sad insufficiency from
which, directly or indirectly, all evil whatsoever springs! And these
two vices act and react, so that where the one is, the other is sure to
be; and each encouraging the growth of the other, both (if some cleaning
of the Augeas stable have not intervened for a long while) will be found
in frightful development. You cannot have your work well done, if the
work be not of a right kind, if it be not work prescribed by the law of
Nature as well as by the rules of the office. Laziness, which lies in
wait round all human labor-offices, will in that case infallibly leak
in, and vitiate the doing of the work. The work is but idle; if the
doing of it will but pass, what need of more? The essential problem,
as the rules of office prescribe it for you, if Nature and Fact say
nothing, is that your work be got to pass; if the work itself is worth
nothing, or little or an uncertain quantity, what more can gods or men
require of it, or, above all, can I who am the doer of it require, but
that it be got to pass?

And now enters another fatal effect, the mother of ever-new mischiefs,
which renders well-doing or improvement impossible, and drives bad
everywhere continually into worse. The work being what we see, a stupid
subaltern will do as well as a gifted one; the essential point is, that
he be a quiet one, and do not bother me who have the driving of him.
Nay, for this latter object, is not a certain height of intelligence
even dangerous? I want no mettled Arab horse, with his flashing glances,
arched, neck and elastic step, to draw my wretched sand-cart through the
streets; a broken, grass-fed galloway, Irish garron, or painful ass with
nothing in the belly of him but patience and furze, will do it safelier
for me, if more slowly. Nay I myself, am I the worse for being of a
feeble order of intelligence; what the irreverent speculative, world
calls barren, red-tapish, limited, and even intrinsically dark and
small, and if it must be said, stupid?--To such a climax does it come
in all Government and other Offices, where Human Stupidity has once
introduced itself (as it will everywhere do), and no Scavenger God
intervenes. The work, at first of some worth, is ill done, and becomes
of less worth and of ever less, and finally of none: the worthless
work can now _afford_ to be ill done; and Human Stupidity, at a
double geometrical ratio, with frightful expansion grows and
accumulates,--towards the unendurable.

The reforming Hercules, Sir Robert Peel or whoever he is to be, that
enters Downing Street, will ask himself this question first of all, What
work is now necessary, not in form and by traditionary use and wont, but
in very fact, for the vital interests of the British Nation, to be done
here? The second question, How to get it well done, and to keep the
best hands doing it well, will be greatly simplified by a good answer to
that. Oh for an eye that could see in those hideous mazes, and a heart
that could dare and do! Strenuous faithful scrutiny, not of what is
_thought_ to be what in the red-tape regions, but of what really is
what in the realms of Fact and Nature herself; deep-seeing, wise and
courageous eyes, that could look through innumerable cobweb veils,
and detect what fact or no-fact lies at heart of them,--how invaluable
these! For, alas, it is long since such eyes were much in the habit
of looking steadfastly at any department of our affairs; and poor
commonplace creatures, helping themselves along, in the way of
makeshift, from year to year, in such an element, do wonderful works
indeed. Such creatures, like moles, are safe only underground, and their
engineerings there become very daedalean. In fact, such unfortunate
persons have no resource but to become what we call Pedants; to ensconce
themselves in a safe world of habitudes, of applicable or inapplicable
traditions; not coveting, rather avoiding the general daylight of
common-sense, as very extraneous to them and their procedure; by long
persistence in which course they become Completed Pedants, hidebound,
impenetrable, able to _defy_ the hostile extraneous element; an alarming
kind of men, Such men, left to themselves for a century or two, in any
Colonial, Foreign, or other Office, will make a terrible affair of it!

For the one enemy we have in this Universe is Stupidity, Darkness of
Mind; of which darkness, again, there are many sources, every _sin_ a
source, and probably self-conceit the chief source. Darkness of mind,
in every kind and variety, does to a really tragic extent abound: but of
all the kinds of darkness, surely the Pedant darkness, which asserts
and believes itself to be light, is the most formidable to mankind! For
empires or for individuals there is but one class of men to be trembled
at; and that is the Stupid Class, the class that cannot see, who alas
are they mainly that will not see. A class of mortals under which as
administrators, kings, priests, diplomatists, &c., the interests
of mankind in every European country have sunk overloaded, as under
universal nightmare, near to extinction; and indeed are at this moment
convulsively writhing, decided either to throw off the unblessed
superincumbent nightmare, or roll themselves and it to the Abyss. Vain
to reform Parliament, to invent ballot-boxes, to reform this or that;
the real Administration, practical Management of the Commonwealth,
goes all awry; choked up with long-accumulated pedantries, so that your
appointed workers have been reduced to work as moles; and it is one vast
boring and counter-boring, on the part of eyeless persons irreverently
called stupid; and a daedalean bewilderment, writing "impossible" on all
efforts or proposals, supervenes.

The State itself, not in Downing Street alone but in every department of
it, has altered much from what it was in past times; and it will again
have to alter very much, to alter I think from top to bottom, if it
means to continue existing in the times that are now coming and come!

The State, left to shape itself by dim pedantries and traditions,
without distinctness of conviction, or purpose beyond that of helping
itself over the difficulty of the hour, has become, instead of a
luminous vitality permeating with its light all provinces of our
affairs, a most monstrous agglomerate of inanities, as little adapted
for the actual wants of a modern community as the worst citizen need
wish. The thing it is doing is by no means the thing we want to have
done. What we want! Let the dullest British man endeavor to raise in his
mind this question, and ask himself in sincerity what the British Nation
wants at this time. Is it to have, with endless jargoning, debating,
motioning and counter-motioning, a settlement effected between the
Honorable Mr. This and the Honorable Mr. That, as to their respective
pretensions to ride the high horse? Really it is unimportant which of
them ride it. Going upon past experience long continued now, I should
say with brevity, "Either of them--Neither of them." If our Government
is to be a No-Government, what is the matter who administers it? Fling
an orange-skin into St. James's Street; let the man it hits be your man.
He, if you breed him a little to it, and tie the due official bladders
to his ankles, will do as well as another this sublime problem of
balancing himself upon the vortexes, with the long loaded-pole in his
hands; and will, with straddling painful gestures, float hither and
thither, walking the waters in that singular manner for a little while,
as well as his foregoers did, till he also capsize, and be left floating
feet uppermost; after which you choose another.

What an immense pother, by parliamenting and palavering in all corners
of your empire, to decide such a question as that! I say, if that is the
function, almost any human creature can learn to discharge it: fling out
your orange-skin again; and save an incalculable labor, and an emission
of nonsense and falsity, and electioneering beer and bribery and
balderdash, which is terrible to think of, in deciding. Your National
Parliament, in so far as it has only that question to decide, may be
considered as an enormous National Palaver existing mainly for imaginary
purposes; and certain, in these days of abbreviated labor, to get itself
sent home again to its partridge-shootings, fox-huntings, and above all,
to its rat-catchings, if it could but understand the time of day, and
know (as our indignant Crabbe remarks) that "the real Nimrod of this
era, who alone does any good to the era, is the rat-catcher!"

The notion that any Government is or can be a No-Government, without
the deadliest peril to all noble interests of the Commonwealth, and
by degrees slower or swifter to all ignoble ones also, and to the
very gully-drains, and thief lodging-houses, and Mosaic sweating
establishments, and at last without destruction to such No-Government
itself,--was never my notion; and I hope it will soon cease altogether
to be the world's or to be anybody's. But if it be the correct
notion, as the world seems at present to flatter itself, I point out
improvements and abbreviations. Dismiss your National Palaver; make the
_Times_ Newspaper your National Palaver, which needs no beer-barrels or
hustings, and is _cheaper_ in expense of money and of falsity a thousand
and a million fold; have an economical red-tape drilling establishment
(it were easier to devise such a thing than a right _Modern
University_);--and fling out your orange-skin among the graduates, when
you want a new Premier.

A mighty question indeed! Who shall be Premier, and take in hand the
"rudder of government," otherwise called the "spigot of taxation;" shall
it be the Honorable Felix Parvulus, or the Right Honorable Felicissimus
Zero? By our electioneerings and Hansard Debatings, and ever-enduring
tempest of jargon that goes on everywhere, we manage to settle that; to
have it declared, with no bloodshed except insignificant blood from
the nose in hustings-time, but with immense beershed and inkshed
and explosion of nonsense, which darkens all the air, that the Right
Honorable Zero is to be the man. That we firmly settle; Zero, all
shivering with rapture and with terror, mounts into the high saddle;
cramps himself on, with knees, heels, hands and feet; and the horse
gallops--whither it lists. That the Right Honorable Zero should attempt
controlling the horse--Alas, alas, he, sticking on with beak and claws,
is too happy if the horse will only gallop any-whither, and not throw
him. Measure, polity, plan or scheme of public good or evil, is not
in the head of Felicissimus; except, if he could but devise it, some
measure that would please his horse for the moment, and encourage him
to go with softer paces, godward or devilward as it might be, and save
Felicissimus's leather, which is fast wearing. This is what we call a
Government in England, for nearly two centuries now.

I wish Felicissimus were saddle-sick forever and a day! He is a dreadful
object, however much we are used to him. If the horse had not been bred
and broken in, for a thousand years, by real riders and horse-subduers,
perhaps the best and bravest the world ever saw, what would have become
of Felicissimus and him long since? This horse, by second-nature,
religiously respects all fences; gallops, if never so madly, on the
highways alone;--seems to me, of late, like a desperate Sleswick
thunder-horse who had lost his way, galloping in the labyrinthic lanes
of a woody flat country; passionate to reach his goal; unable to reach
it, because in the flat leafy lanes there is no outlook whatever, and
in the bridle there is no guidance whatever. So he gallops stormfully
along, thinking it is forward and forward; and alas, it is only round
and round, out of one old lane into the other;--nay (according to
some) "he mistakes _his own footprints_, which of course grow ever more
numerous, for the sign of a more and more frequented road;" and his
despair is hourly increasing. My impression is, he is certain soon, such
is the growth of his necessity and his despair, to--plunge _across_ the
fence, into an opener survey of the country; and to sweep Felicissimus
off his back, and comb him away very tragically in the process! Poor
Sleswicker, I wish you were better ridden. I perceive it lies in the
Fates you must now either be better ridden, or else not long at all.
This plunging in the heavy labyrinth of over-shaded lanes, with one's
stomach getting empty, one's Ireland falling into cannibalism, and no
vestige of a goal either visible or possible, cannot last.

Colonial Offices, Foreign, Home and other Offices, got together under
these strange circumstances, cannot well be expected to be the best that
human ingenuity could devise; the wonder rather is to see them so good
as they are. Who made them, ask me not. Made they clearly were; for we
see them here in a concrete condition, writing despatches, and drawing
salary with a view to buy pudding. But how those Offices in Downing
Street were made; who made them, or for what kind of objects they were
made, would be hard to say at present. Dim visions and phantasmagories
gathered from the Books of Horace Walpole, Memoirs of Bubb Doddington,
Memoirs of my Lady Sundon, Lord Fanny Hervey, and innumerable others,
rise on us, beckoning fantastically towards, not an answer, but some
conceivable intimations of an answer, and proclaiming very legibly the
old text, "_Quam parva sapientia_," in respect of this hard-working
much-subduing British Nation; giving rise to endless reflections in a
thinking Englishman of this day. Alas, it is ever so: each generation
has its task, and does it better or worse; greatly neglecting what is
not immediately its task. Our poor grandfathers, so busy conquering
Indias, founding Colonies, inventing spinning-jennies, kindling
Lancashires and Bromwichams, took no thought about the government of
all that; left it all to be governed by Lord Fanny and the Hanover
Succession, or how the gods pleased. And now we the poor grandchildren
find that it will not stick together on these terms any longer; that our
sad, dangerous and sore task is to discover some government for this
big world which has been conquered to us; that the red-tape Offices
in Downing Street are near the end of their rope; that if we can get
nothing better, in the way of government, it is all over with our world
and us. How the Downing-Street Offices originated, and what the meaning
of them was or is, let Dryasdust, when in some lucid moment the whim
takes him, instruct us. Enough for us to know and see clearly, with
urgent practical inference derived from such insight, That they were not
made for us or for our objects at all; that the devouring Irish Giant
is here, and that he cannot be fed with red-tape, and will eat us if we
cannot feed him.

On the whole, let us say Felicissimus made them;--or rather it was
the predecessors of Felicissimus, who were not so dreadfully hunted,
sticking to the wild and ever more desperate Sleswicker in the leafy
labyrinth of lanes, as he now is. He, I think, will never make anything;
but be combed off by the elm-boughs, and left sprawling in the ditch.
But in past time, this and the other heavy-laden red-tape soul had
withal a glow of patriotism in him; now and then, in his whirling
element, a gleam of human ingenuity, some eye towards business that must
be done. At all events, for him and every one, Parliament needed to
be persuaded that business was done. By the contributions of many such
heavy-laden souls, driven on by necessity outward and inward, these
singular Establishments are here. Contributions--who knows how far back
they go, far beyond the reign of George the Second, or perhaps the reign
of William Conqueror. Noble and genuine some of them were, many of them
were, I need not doubt: for there is no human edifice that stands long
but has got itself planted, here and there, upon the basis of fact;
and being built, in many respects, according to the laws of statics: no
standing edifice, especially no edifice of State, but has had the
wise and brave at work in it, contributing their lives to it; and is
"cemented," whether it know the fact or not, "by the blood of heroes!"
None; not even the Foreign Office, Home Office, still less the National
Palaver itself. William Conqueror, I find, must have had a first-rate
Home Office, for his share. The _Domesday Book_, done in four years,
and done as it is, with such an admirable brevity, explicitness and
completeness, testifies emphatically what kind of under-secretaries and
officials William had. Silent officials and secretaries, I suppose;
not wasting themselves in parliamentary talk; reserving all their
intelligence for silent survey of the huge dumb fact, silent
consideration how they might compass the mastery of that. Happy
secretaries, happy William!

But indeed nobody knows what inarticulate traditions, remnants of old
wisdom, priceless though quite anonymous, survive in many modern things
that still have life in them. Ben Brace, with his taciturnities, and
rugged stoical ways, with his tarry breeches, stiff as plank-breeches,
I perceive is still a kind of _Lod-brog_ (Loaded-breeks) in more senses
than one; and derives, little conscious of it, many of his excellences
from the old Sea-kings and Saxon Pirates themselves; and how many Blakes
and Nelsons since have contributed to Ben! "Things are not so false
always as they seem," said a certain Professor to me once: "of this
you will find instances in every country, and in your England more than
any--and I hope will draw lessons from them. An English Seventy-four, if
you look merely at the articulate law and methods of it, is one of the
impossiblest entities. The captain is appointed not by preeminent merit
in sailorship, but by parliamentary connection; the men [this was spoken
some years ago] are got by impressment; a press-gang goes out, knocks
men down on the streets of sea-towns, and drags them on board,--if the
ship were to be stranded, I have heard they would nearly all run ashore
and desert. Can anything be more unreasonable than a Seventy-four?
Articulately almost nothing. But it has inarticulate traditions, ancient
methods and habitudes in it, stoicisms, noblenesses, _true_ rules
both of sailing and of conduct; enough to keep it afloat on Nature's
veridical bosom, after all. See; if you bid it sail to the end of the
world, it will lift anchor, go, and arrive. The raging oceans do not
beat it back; it too, as well as the raging oceans, has a relationship
to Nature, and it does not sink, but under the due conditions is borne
along. If it meet with hurricanes, it rides them out; if it meet an
Enemy's ship, it shivers it to powder; and in short, it holds on its
way, and to a wonderful extent _does_ what it means and pretends to do.
Assure yourself, my friend, there is an immense fund of truth somewhere
or other stowed in that Seventy-four."

More important than the past history of these Offices in Downing Street,
is the question of their future history; the question, How they are
to be got mended! Truly an immense problem, inclusive of all others
whatsoever; which demands to be attacked, and incessantly persisted in,
by all good citizens, as the grand problem of Society, and the one thing
needful for the Commonwealth! A problem in which all men, with all their
wisdoms and all their virtues, faithfully and continually co-operating
at it, will never have done _enough_, and will still only be struggling
_towards_ perfection in it. In which some men can do much;--in which
every man can do something. Every man, and thou my present Reader canst
do this: _Be_ thyself a man abler to be governed; more reverencing the
divine faculty of governing, more sacredly detesting the diabolical
semblance of said faculty in self and others; so shalt thou, if not
govern, yet actually according to thy strength assist in real governing.
And know always, and even lay to heart with a quite unusual solemnity,
with a seriousness altogether of a religious nature, that as "Human
Stupidity" is verily the accursed parent of all this mischief, so
Human Intelligence alone, to which and to which only is victory and
blessedness appointed here below, will or can cure it. If we knew
this as devoutly as we ought to do, the evil, and all other evils were
curable;--alas, if we had from of old known this, as all men made in
God's image ought to do, the evil never would have been! Perhaps few
Nations have ever known it less than we, for a good while back, have
done. Hence these sorrows.

What a People are the poor Thibet idolaters, compared with us and
our "religions," which issue in the worship of King Hudson as our
Dalai-Lama! They, across such hulls of abject ignorance, have seen into
the heart of the matter; we, with our torches of knowledge everywhere
brandishing themselves, and such a human enlightenment as never was
before, have quite missed it. Reverence for Human Worth, earnest devout
search for it and encouragement of it, loyal furtherance and obedience
to it: this, I say, is the outcome and essence of all true "religions,"
and was and ever will be. We have not known this. No; loud as our
tongues sometimes go in that direction, we have no true reverence
for Human Intelligence, for Human Worth and Wisdom: none, or too
little,--and I pray for a restoration of such reverence, as for the
change from Stygian darkness to Heavenly light, as for the return
of life to poor sick moribund Society and all its interests. Human
Intelligence means little for most of us but Beaver Contrivance, which
produces spinning-mules, cheap cotton, and large fortunes. Wisdom,
unless it give us railway scrip, is not wise.

True nevertheless it forever remains that Intellect is the real object
of reverence, and of devout prayer, and zealous wish and pursuit, among
the sons of men; and even, well understood, the one object. It is the
Inspiration of the Almighty that giveth men understanding. For it must
be repeated, and ever again repeated till poor mortals get to discern
it, and awake from their baleful paralysis, and degradation under foul
enchantments, That a man of Intellect, of real and not sham Intellect,
is by the nature of him likewise inevitably a man of nobleness, a man
of courage, rectitude, pious strength; who, even _because_ he is and has
been loyal to the Laws of this Universe, is initiated into _discernment_
of the same; to this hour a Missioned of Heaven; whom if men follow, it
will be well with them; whom if men do not follow, it will not be well.
Human Intellect, if you consider it well, is the exact summary of Human
_Worth_; and the essence of all worth-ships and worships is reverence
for that same. This much surprises you, friend Peter; but I assure you
it is the fact;--and I would advise you to consider it, and to try
if you too do not gradually find it so. With me it has long been an
article, not of "faith" only, but of settled insight, of conviction as
to what the ordainments of the Maker in this Universe are. Ah, could you
and the rest of us but get to know it, and everywhere religiously
act upon it,--as our _Fortieth_ Article, which includes all the other
Thirty-nine, and without which the Thirty-nine are good for almost
nothing,--there might then be some hope for us! In this world there
is but one appalling creature: the Stupid man _considered_ to be the
Missioned of Heaven, and followed by men. He is our King, men say,
he;--and they follow him, through straight or winding courses, I for one
know well whitherward.

Abler men in Downing Street, abler men to govern us: yes, that, sure
enough, would gradually remove the dung-mountains, however high they
are; that would be the way, nor is there any other way, to remedy
whatsoever has gone wrong in Downing Street and in the wide regions,
spiritual and temporal, which Downing Street presides over! For the Able
Man, meet him where you may, is definable as the born enemy of Falsity
and Anarchy, and the born soldier of Truth and Order: into what
absurdest element soever you put him, he is there to make it a little
less absurd, to fight continually with it till it become a little sane
and human again. Peace on other terms he, for his part, cannot make with
it; not he, while he continues _able_, or possessed of real intellect
and not imaginary. There is but one man fraught with blessings for this
world, fated to diminish and successively abolish the curses of the
world; and it is he. For him make search, him reverence and follow; know
that to find him or miss him, means victory or defeat for you, in all
Downing Streets, and establishments and enterprises here below.--I leave
your Lordship to judge whether this has been our practice hitherto;
and would humbly inquire what your Lordship thinks is likely to be the
consequence of continuing to neglect this. It ought to have been our
practice; ought, in all places and all times, to be the practice in this
world; so says the fixed law of things forevermore:--and it must cease
to be _not_ the practice, your Lordship; and cannot too speedily do so I

Much has been done in the way of reforming Parliament in late years; but
that of itself seems to avail nothing, or almost less. The men that sit
in Downing Street, governing us, are not abler men since the Reform
Bill than were those before it. Precisely the same kind of men; obedient
formerly to Tory traditions, obedient now to Whig ditto and popular
clamors. Respectable men of office: respectably commonplace in
facility,--while the situation is becoming terribly original! Rendering
their outlooks, and ours, more ominous every day.

Indisputably enough the meaning of all reform-movement, electing and
electioneering, of popular agitation, parliamentary eloquence, and all
political effort whatsoever, is that you may get the ten Ablest Men in
England put to preside over your ten principal departments of affairs.
To sift and riddle the Nation, so that you might extricate and sift
out the true ten gold grains, or ablest men, and of these make your
Governors or Public Officers; leaving the dross and common sandy or
silty material safely aside, as the thing to be governed, not to govern;
certainly all ballot-boxes, caucuses, Kennington-Common meetings,
Parliamentary debatings, Red Republics, Russian Despotisms, and
constitutional or unconstitutional methods of society among mankind, are
intended to achieve this one end; and some of them, it will be owned,
achieve it very ill!--If you have got your gold grains, if the men
you have got are actually the ablest, then rejoice; with whatever
astonishment, accept your Ten, and thank the gods; under this Ten your
destruction will at least be milder than under another. But if you have
_not_ got them, if you are very far from having got them, then do not
rejoice at all, then _lament_ very much; then admit that your sublime
political constitutions and contrivances do not prove themselves
sublime, but ridiculous and contemptible; that your world's wonder of a
political mill, the envy of surrounding nations, does not yield you real
meal; yields you only powder of millstones (called Hansard Debatings),
and a detestable brown substance not unlike the grindings of dried
horse-dung or prepared street-mud, which though sold under royal
patent, and much recommended by the trade, is quite unfit for culinary

But the disease at least is not mysterious, whatever the remedy be. Our
disease,--alas, is it not clear as the sun, that we suffer under what is
the disease of all the miserable in this world, _want of wisdom_; that
in the Head there is no vision, and that thereby all the members are
dark and in bonds? No vision in the head; heroism, faith, devout insight
to discern what is needful, noble courage to do it, greatly defective
there: not seeing eyes there, but spectacles constitutionally ground,
which, to the unwary, _seem_ to see. A quite fatal circumstance, had
you never so many Parliaments! How is your ship to be steered by a Pilot
with no _eyes_ but a pair of glass ones got from the constitutional
optician? He must steer by the _ear_, I think, rather than by the eye;
by the shoutings he catches from the shore, or from the Parliamentary
benches nearer hand:--one of the frightfulest objects to see steering
in a difficult sea! Reformed Parliaments in that case, reform-leagues,
outer agitations and excitements in never such abundance, cannot profit:
all this is but the writhing, and painful blind convulsion of the
limbs that are in bonds, that are all in dark misery till the head be
delivered, till the pressure on the brain be removed.

Or perhaps there is now no heroic wisdom left in England; England, once
the land of heroes, is itself sunk now to a dim owlery, and habitation
of doleful creatures, intent only on money-making and other forms of
catching mice, for whom the proper gospel is the gospel of M'Croudy, and
all nobler impulses and insights are forbidden henceforth? Perhaps these
present agreeable Occupants of Downing Street, such as the parliamentary
mill has yielded them, are the _best_ the miserable soil had grown?
The most Herculean Ten Men that could be found among the English
Twenty-seven Millions, are these? There _are_ not, in any place, under
any figure, ten diviner men among us? Well; in that case, the riddling
and searching of the twenty-seven millions has been _successful_. Here
are our ten divinest men; with these, unhappily not divine enough, we
must even content ourselves and die in peace; what help is there? No
help, no hope, in that case.

But, again, if these are _not_ our divinest men, then evidently there
always is hope, there always is possibility of help; and ruin never is
quite inevitable, till we _have_ sifted out our actually divinest
ten, and set these to try their band at governing!--That this has been
achieved; that these ten men are the most Herculean souls the English
population held within it, is a proposition credible to no mortal. No,
thank God; low as we are sunk in many ways, this is not yet credible!
Evidently the reverse of this proposition is the fact. Ten much diviner
men do certainly exist. By some conceivable, not forever impossible,
method and methods, ten very much diviner men could be sifted
out!--Courage; let us fix our eyes on that important fact, and strive
all thitherward as towards a door of hope!

Parliaments, I think, have proved too well, in late years, that they are
not the remedy. It is not Parliaments, reformed or other, that will ever
send Herculean men to Downing Street, to reform Downing Street for us;
to diffuse therefrom a light of Heavenly Order, instead of the murk of
Stygian Anarchy, over this sad world of ours. That function does not lie
in the capacities of Parliment. That is the function of a _King_,--if
we could get such a priceless entity, which we cannot just now! Failing
which, Statesmen, or Temporary Kings, and at the very lowest one real
Statesman, to shape the dim tendencies of Parliament, and guide them
wisely to the goal: he, I perceive, will be a primary condition,
indispensable for any progress whatsoever.

One such, perhaps, might be attained; one such might prove discoverable
among our Parliamentary populations? That one, in such an enterprise as
this of Downing Street, might be invaluable! One noble man, at once
of natural wisdom and practical experience; one Intellect still really
human, and not red-tapish, owlish and pedantical, appearing there in
that dim chaos, with word of command; to brandish Hercules-like the
divine broom and shovel, and turn running water in upon the place, and
say as with a fiat, "Here shall be truth, and real work, and talent
to do it henceforth; I will seek for able men to work here, as for the
elixir of life to this poor place and me:"--what might not one such man
effect there!

Nay one such is not to be dispensed with anywhere in the affairs of
men. In every ship, I say, there must be a _seeing_ pilot, not a mere
hearing one! It is evident you can never get your ship steered through
the difficult straits by persons standing ashore, on this bank and that,
and shouting _their_ confused directions to you: "'Ware that Colonial
Sandbank!--Starboard now, the Nigger Question!--Larboard, _larboard_,
the Suffrage Movement! Financial Reform, your Clothing-Colonels
overboard! The Qualification Movement, 'Ware-re-re!--Helm-a-lee! Bear a
hand there, will you! Hr-r-r, lubbers, imbeciles, fitter for a tailor's
shopboard than a helm of Government, Hr-r-r!"--And so the ship wriggles
and tumbles, and, on the whole, goes as wind and current drive. No ship
was ever steered except to destruction in that manner. I deliberately
say so: no ship of a State either. If you cannot get a real pilot on
board, and put the helm into his hands, your ship is as good as a wreck.
One real pilot on board may save you; all the bellowing from the banks
that ever was, will not, and by the nature of things cannot. Nay your
pilot will have to succeed, if he do succeed, very much in spite of said
bellowing; he will hear all that, and regard very little of it,--in a
patient mild-spoken wise manner, will regard all of it as what it is.
And I never doubt but there is in Parliament itself, in spite of its
vague palaverings which fill us with despair in these times, a dumb
instinct of inarticulate sense and stubborn practical English insight
and veracity, that would manfully support a Statesman who could take
command with really manful notions of Reform, and as one deserving to
be obeyed. Oh for one such; even one! More precious to us than all the
bullion in the Bank, or perhaps that ever was in it, just now!

For it is Wisdom alone that can recognize wisdom: Folly or Imbecility
never can; and that is the fatalest ban it labors under, dooming it to
perpetual failure in all things. Failure which, in Downing Street and
places of _command_ is especially accursed; cursing not one but hundreds
of millions! Who is there that can recognize real intellect, and do
reverence to it; and discriminate it well from sham intellect, which is
so much more abundant, and deserves the reverse of reverence? He that
himself has it!--One really human Intellect, invested with command, and
charged to reform Downing Street for us, would continually attract real
intellect to those regions, and with a divine magnetism search it out
from the modest corners where it lies hid. And every new accession of
intellect to Downing Street would bring to it benefit only, and would
increase such divine attraction in it, the parent of all benefit there
and elsewhere!

"What method, then; by what method?" ask many. Method, alas! To secure
an increased supply of Human Intellect to Downing Street, there will
evidently be no quite effectual "method" but that of increasing the
supply of Human Intellect, otherwise definable as Human Worth, in
Society generally; increasing the supply of sacred reverence for it, of
loyalty to it, and of life-and-death desire and pursuit of it, among
all classes,--if we but knew such a "method"! Alas, that were simply the
method of making all classes Servants of Heaven; and except it be devout
prayer to Heaven, I have never heard of any method! To increase the
reverence for Human Intellect or God's Light, and the detestation
of Human Stupidity or the Devil's Darkness, what method is there? No
method,--except even this, that we should each of us "pray" for it,
instead of praying for mere scrip and the like; that Heaven would please
to vouchsafe us each a little of it, one by one! As perhaps Heaven, in
its infinite bounty, by stern methods, gradually will? Perhaps Heaven
has mercy too in these sore plagues that are oppressing us; and means
to teach us reverence for Heroism and Human Intellect, by such baleful
experience of what issue Imbecility and Parliamentary Eloquence lead to?
Such reverence, I do hope, and even discover and observe, is silently
yet extensively going on among us even in these sad years. In which
small salutary fact there burns for us, in this black coil of universal
baseness fast becoming universal wretchedness, an inextinguishable
hope; far-off but sure, a divine "pillar of fire by night." Courage,

Meanwhile, that our one reforming Statesman may have free command
of what Intellect there is among us, and room to try all means for
awakening and inviting ever more of it, there has one small Project
of Improvement been suggested; which finds a certain degree of favor
wherever I hear it talked of, and which seems to merit much more
consideration than it has yet received. Practical men themselves approve
of it hitherto, so far as it goes; the one objection being that the
world is not yet prepared to insist on it,--which of course the world
can never be, till once the world consider it, and in the first place
hear tell of it! I have, for my own part, a good opinion of this
project. The old unreformed Parliament of rotten boroughs _had_ one
advantage; but that is hereby, in a far more fruitful and effectual
manner, secured to the new.

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 Officers of the Administration, whose
presence is thought necessary in Parliament, to official seats there,
without reference to any constituency but her own only, which of course
will mean her Prime Minister's. A very small encroachment on the present
constitution of Parliament; offering the minimum of change in present
methods, and I almost think a maximum in results to be derived
therefrom.--The Queen nominates John 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 Parliament so long as he holds that
office. Upper Secretaries, having more to do in Parliament, and being
so bound to be in favor 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 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, no 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;--nay a natural ingress might thereby
be opened to all manner of accessions, and the actual flower of whatever
intellect the British Nation had 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.

What it is that Secretaries of State, Managers of Colonial
Establishments, of Home and Foreign Government interests, have really
and truly to do in Parliament, might admit of various estimate in these
times. An apt debater in Parliament is by no means certain to be an able
administrator of Colonies, of Home or Foreign Affairs; nay, rather
quite the contrary is to be presumed of him; for in order to become a
"brilliant speaker," if that is his character, considerable portions of
his natural internal endowment must have gone to the surface, in order
to make a shining figure there, and precisely so much the less (few men
in these days know how much less!) must remain available in the internal
silent state, or as faculty for thinking, for devising and acting,
which latter and which alone is the function essential for him in his
Secretaryship. Not to tell a good story for himself "in Parliament and
to the twenty-seven millions, many of them fools;" not that, but to do
good administration, to know with sure eye, and decide with just and
resolute heart, what is what in the _things_ committed to his charge:
this and not that is the service which poor England, whatever it may
think and maunder, does require and want of the Official Man in Downing
Street. Given a good Official Man or Secretary, he really ought, as far
as it is possible, to be left working in the silent state. No mortal can
both work, and do good talking in Parliament, or out of it: the feat is
impossible as that of serving two hostile masters.

Nor would I, if it could be helped, much trouble my good Secretary with
addressing Parliament: needful explanations; yes, in a free country,
surely;--but not to every frivolous and vexatious person, in or out of
Parliament, who chooses to apply for them. There should be demands
for explanation too which were reckoned frivolous and vexatious, and
censured as such. These, I should say, are the not needful explanations:
and if my poor Secretary is to be called out from his workshop to answer
every one of these,--his workshop will become (what we at present see
it, deservedly or not) little other than a pillory; the poor Secretary
a kind of talking-machine, exposed to dead cats and rotten eggs; and
the "work" got out of him or of it will, as heretofore, be very
inconsiderable indeed!--Alas, on this side also, important improvements
are conceivable; and will even, I imagine, get them whence we may, be
found indispensable one day. The honorable gentleman whom you interrupt
here, he, in his official capacity, is not an individual now, but the
embodiment of a Nation; he is the "People of England" engaged in the
work of Secretaryship, this one; and cannot forever afford to let the
three Tailors of Tooley Street break in upon him at all hours!--

But leaving this, let us remark one thing which is very plain: That
whatever be the uses and duties, real or supposed, of a Secretary
in Parliament, his faculty to accomplish these is a point entirely
unconnected with his ability to get elected into Parliament, and has
no relation or proportion to it, and no concern with it whatever.
Lord Tommy and the Honorable John are not a whit better qualified for
Parliamentary duties, to say nothing of Secretary duties, than plain
Tom and Jack; they are merely better qualified, as matters stand,
for getting admitted to try them. Which state of matters a reforming
Premier, much in want of abler men to help him, now proposes altering.
Tom and Jack, once admitted by the Queen's writ, there is every reason
to suppose will do quite as well there as Lord Tommy and the Honorable
John. In Parliament quite as well: and elsewhere, in the other
infinitely more important duties of a Government Office, which indeed
are and remain the essential, vital and intrinsic duties of such a
personage, is there the faintest reason to surmise that Tom and Jack,
if well chosen, will fall short of Lord Tommy and the Honorable John? No
shadow of a reason. Were the intrinsic genius of the men exactly equal,
there is no shadow of a reason: but rather there is quite the reverse;
for Tom and Jack have been at least workers all their days, not idlers,
game-preservers and mere human clothes-horses, at any period of their
lives; and have gained a schooling _thereby_, of which Lord Tommy and
the Honorable John, unhappily strangers to it for most part, can form no
conception! Tom and Jack have already, on this most narrow hypothesis,
a decided _superiority_ of likelihood over Lord Tommy and the Honorable

But the hypothesis is very narrow, and the fact is very wide; the
hypothesis counts by units, the fact by millions. Consider how many Toms
and Jacks there are to choose from, well or ill! The aristocratic class
from whom Members of Parliament can be elected extends only to certain
thousands; from these you are to choose your Secretary, if a seat in
Parliament is the primary condition. But the general population is of
Twenty-seven Millions; from all sections of which you can choose, if
the seat in Parliament is not to be primary. Make it ultimate instead of
primary, a last investiture instead of a first indispensable condition,
and the whole British Nation, learned, unlearned, professional,
practical, speculative and miscellaneous, is at your disposal! In the
lowest broad strata of the population, equally as in the highest and
narrowest, are produced men of every kind of genius; man for man, your
chance of genius is as good among the millions as among the units;--and
class for class, what must it be! From all classes, not from certain
hundreds now but from several millions, whatsoever man the gods had
gifted with intellect and nobleness, and power to help his country,
could be chosen: O Heavens, could,--if not by Tenpound Constituencies
and the force of beer, then by a Reforming Premier with eyes in his
head, who I think might do it quite infinitely better. Infinitely
better. For ignobleness cannot, by the nature of it, choose the noble:
no, there needs a seeing man who is himself noble, cognizant by internal
experience of the symptoms of nobleness. Shall we never think of this;
shall we never more remember this, then? It is forever true; and Nature
and Fact, however we may rattle our ballot-boxes, do at no time forget

From the lowest and broadest stratum of Society, where the births are by
the million, there was born, almost in our own memory, a Robert Burns;
son of one who "had not capital for his poor moor-farm of Twenty
Pounds a year." Robert Burns never had the smallest chance to got into
Parliament, much as Robert Burns deserved, for all our sakes, to have
been found there. For the man--it was not known to men purblind, sunk
in their poor dim vulgar element, but might have been known to men of
insight who had any loyalty or any royalty of their own--was a born king
of men: full of valor, of intelligence and heroic nobleness; fit for
far other work than to break his heart among poor mean mortals, gauging
beer! Him no Tenpound Constituency chose, nor did any Reforming Premier:
in the deep-sunk British Nation, overwhelmed in foggy stupor, with the
loadstars all gone out for it, there was no whisper of a notion that it
could be desirable to choose him,--except to come and dine with you, and
in the interim to gauge. And yet heaven-born Mr. Pitt, at that period,
was by no means without need of Heroic Intellect, for other purposes
than gauging! But sorrowful strangulation by red-tape, much _tighter_
then than it now is when so many revolutionary earthquakes have tussled
it, quite tied up the meagre Pitt; and he said, on hearing of this Burns
and his sad hampered case, "Literature will take care of itself."--"Yes,
and of you too, if you don't mind it!" answers one.

And so, like Apollo taken for a Neat-herd, and perhaps for none of the
best on the Admetus establishment, this new Norse Thor had to put
up with what was going; to gauge ale, and be thankful; pouring his
celestial sunlight through Scottish Song-writing,--the narrowest chink
ever offered to a Thunder-god before! And the meagre Pitt, and his
Dundasses and red-tape Phantasms (growing very ghastly now to think of),
did not in the least know or understand, the impious, god-forgetting
mortals, that Heroic Intellects, if Heaven were pleased to send such,
were the one salvation for the world and for them and all of us. No;
they "had done very well without" such; did not see the use of such;
went along "very well" without such; well presided over by a singular
Heroic Intellect called George the Third: and the Thunder-god, as was
rather fit of him, departed early, still in the noon of life, somewhat
weary of gauging ale!--O Peter, what a scandalous torpid element of
yellow London fog, favorable to owls only and their mousing operations,
has blotted out the stars of Heaven for us these several generations
back,--which, I rejoice to see, is now visibly about to take itself away
again, or perhaps to be _dispelled_ in a very tremendous manner!

For the sake of my Democratic friends, one other observation. Is
not this Proposal the very essence of whatever truth there is in
"Democracy;" this, that the able man be chosen, in whatever rank be
is found? That he be searched for as hidden treasure is; be trained,
supervised, set to the work which he alone is fit for. All Democracy
lies in this; this, I think, is worth all the ballot-boxes and
suffrage-movements now going. Not that the noble soul, born poor, should
be set to spout in Parliament, but that he should be set to assist in
governing men: this is our grand Democratic interest. With this we
can be saved; without this, were there a Parliament spouting in
every parish, and Hansard Debates to stem the Thames, we perish,--die
constitutionally drowned, in mere oceans of palaver.

All reformers, constitutional persons, and men capable of reflection,
are invited to reflect on these things. Let us brush the cobwebs from
our eyes; let us bid the inane traditions be silent for a moment; and
ask ourselves, like men dreadfully intent on having it _done_, "By what
method or methods can the able men from every rank of life be gathered,
as diamond-grains from the general mass of sand: the able men, not
the sham-able;--and set to do the work of governing, contriving,
administering and guiding for us!" It is the question of questions.
All that Democracy ever meant lies there: the attainment of a truer and
truer Aristocracy, or Government again by the _Best_.

Reformed Parliaments have lamentably failed to attain it for us; and I
believe will and must forever fail. One true Reforming Statesman, one
noble worshipper and knower of human intellect, with the quality of an
experienced Politician too; he, backed by such a Parliament as England,
once recognizing him, would loyally send, and at liberty to choose his
working subalterns from all the Englishmen alive; he surely might do
something? Something, by one means or another, is becoming fearfully
necessary to be done! He, I think, might accomplish more for us in
ten years, than the best conceivable Reformed Parliament, and utmost
extension of the suffrage, in twice or ten times ten.

What is extremely important too, you could try this method with safety;
extension of the suffrage you cannot so try. With even an approximately
heroic Prime Minister, you could get nothing but good from prescribing
to him thus, to choose the fittest man, under penalties; to choose, not
the fittest of the four or the three men that were in Parliament, but
the fittest from the whole Twenty-seven Millions that he could hear
of,--at his peril. Nothing but good from this. From extension of
the suffrage, some think, you might get quite other than good. From
extension of the suffrage, till it became a universal counting of heads,
one sees not in the least what wisdom could be extracted. A Parliament
of the Paris pattern, such as we see just now, might be extracted: and
from that? Solution into universal slush; drownage of all interests
divine and human, in a Noah's-Deluge of Parliamentary eloquence,--such
as we hope our sins, heavy and manifold though they are, have not yet
quite deserved!

Who, then, is to be the Reforming Statesman, and begin the noble work
for us? He is the preliminary; one such; with him we may prosecute the
enterprise to length after length; without him we cannot stir in it at
all. A true _king_, temporary king, that dare undertake the government
of Britain, on condition of beginning in sacred earnest to "reform" it,
not at this or that extremity, but at the heart and centre. That will
expurgate Downing Street, and the practical Administration of our
Affairs; clear out its accumulated mountains of pendantries and cobwebs;
bid the Pedants and the Dullards depart, bid the Gifted and the Seeing
enter and inhabit. So that henceforth there be Heavenly light there,
instead of Stygian dusk; that God's vivifying light instead of Satan's
deadening and killing dusk, may radiate therefrom, and visit with
healing all regions of this British Empire,--which now writhes through
every limb of it, in dire agony as if of death! The enterprise is great,
the enterprise may be called formidable and even awful; but there is
none nobler among the sublunary affairs of mankind just now. Nay tacitly
it is the enterprise of every man who undertakes to be British Premier
in these times;--and I cannot esteem him an enviable Premier who,
because the engagement is _tacit_, flatters himself that it does not
exist! "Show it me in the bond," he says. Your Lordship, it actually
exists: and I think you will see it yet, in another kind of "bond" than
that sheepskin one!

But truly, in any time, what a strange feeling, enough to alarm a very
big Lordship, this: that he, of the size he is, has got to the apex of
English affairs! Smallest wrens, we know, by training and the aid
of machinery, are capable of many things. For this world abounds in
miraculous combinations, far transcending anything they do at Drury Lane
in the melodramatic way. A world which, as solid as it looks, is made
all of aerial and even of spiritual stuff; permeated all by incalculable
sleeping forces and electricities; and liable to go off, at any
time, into the hugest developments, upon a scratch thoughtfully or
thoughtlessly given on the right point:--Nay, for every one of us, could
not the sputter of a poor pistol-shot shrivel the Immensities together
like a burnt scroll, and make the Heavens and the Earth pass away with a
great noise? Smallest wrens, and canary-birds of some dexterity, can be
trained to handle lucifer-matches; and have, before now, fired off
whole powder-magazines and parks of artillery. Perhaps without much
astonishment to the canary-bird. The canary-bird can hold only its own
quantity of astonishment; and may possibly enough retain its presence of
mind, were even Doomsday to come. It is on this principle that I explain
to myself the equanimity of some men and Premiers whom we have known.

This and the other Premier seems to take it with perfect coolness. And
yet, I say, what a strange feeling, to find himself Chief Governor
of England; girding on, upon his moderately sized new soul, the old
battle-harness of an Oliver Cromwell, an Edward Longshanks, a William
Conqueror. "I, then, am the Ablest of English attainable Men? This
English People, which has spread itself over all lands and seas, and
achieved such works in the ages,--which has done America, India, the
Lancashire Cotton-trade, Bromwicham Iron-trade, Newton's Principia,
Shakspeare's Dramas, and the British Constitution,--the apex of all its
intelligences and mighty instincts and dumb longings: it is I? William
Conqueror's big gifts, and Edward's and Elizabeth's; Oliver's lightning
soul, noble as Sinai and the thunders of the Lord: these are mine, I
begin to perceive,--to a certain extent. These heroisms have I,--though
rather shy of exhibiting them. These; and something withal of the
huge beaver-faculty of our Arkwrights, Brindleys; touches too of
the phoenix-melodies and _sunny_ heroisms of our Shakspeares, of
our Singers, Sages and inspired Thinkers all this is in me, I will
hope,--though rather shy of exhibiting it on common occasions. The
Pattern Englishman, raised by solemn acclamation upon the bucklers of
the English People, and saluted with universal 'God save THEE!'--has
now the honor to announce himself. After fifteen hundred years of
constitutional study as to methods of raising on the bucklers, which
is the operation of operations, the English People, surely pretty well
skilled in it by this time, has raised--the remarkable individual now
addressing you. The best-combined sample of whatsoever divine qualities
are in this big People, the consummate flower of all that they have done
and been, the ultimate product of the Destinies, and English man of men,
arrived at last in the fulness of time, is--who think you? Ye worlds,
the Ithuriel javelin by which, with all these heroisms and accumulated
energies old and new, the English People means to smite and pierce, is
this poor tailor's-bodkin, hardly adequate to bore an eylet-hole, who
now has the honor to"--Good Heavens, if it were not that men generally
are very much of the canary-bird, here, are reflections sufficient to
annihilate any man, almost before starting!

But to us also it ought to be a very strange reflection! This, then,
is the length we have brought it to, with our constitutioning, and
ballot-boxing, and incessant talk and effort in every kind for so
many centuries back; this? The golden flower of our grand alchemical
projection, which has set the world in astonishment so long, and been
the envy of surrounding nations, is--what we here see. To be governed by
his Lordship, and guided through the undiscovered paths of Time by this
respectable degree of human faculty. With our utmost soul's travail we
could discover, by the sublimest methods eulogized by all the world, no
abler Englishman than this?

Really it should make us pause upon the said sublime methods, and ask
ourselves very seriously, whether, notwithstanding the eulogy of all
the world, they can be other than extremely astonishing methods, that
require revisal and reconsideration very much indeed! For the kind of
"man" we get to govern us, all conclusions whatsoever centre there, and
likewise all manner of issues flow infallibly therefrom. "Ask well, who
is your Chief Governor," says one: "for around him men like to him will
infallibly gather, and by degrees all the world will be made in his
image." "He who is himself a noble man, has a chance to know the
nobleness of men; he who is not, has none. And as for the poor
Public,--alas, is not the kind of 'man' you set upon it the liveliest
symbol of its and your veracity and victory and blessedness, or
unveracity and misery and cursedness; the general summation and
practical outcome of all else whatsoever in the Public and in you?"

Time was when an incompetent Governor could not be permitted among men.
He was, and had to be, by one method or the other, clutched up from his
place at the helm of affairs, and hurled down into the hold, perhaps
even overboard, if he could not really steer. And we call those ages
barbarous, because they shuddered to see a Phantasm at the helm of their
affairs; an eyeless Pilot with constitutional spectacles, steering by
the ear mainly? And we have changed all that; no-government is now the
best; and a tailor's foreman, who gives no trouble, is preferable to any
other for governing? My friends, such truly is the current idea; but you
dreadfully mistake yourselves, and the fact is not such. The fact, now
beginning to disclose itself again in distressed Needlewomen, famishing
Connaughts, revolting Colonies, and a general rapid advance towards
Social Ruin, remains really what it always was, and will so remain!

Men have very much forgotten it at present; and only here a man and
there a man begins again to bethink himself of it: but all men will
gradually get reminded of it, perhaps terribly to their cost; and the
sooner they all lay it to heart again, I think it will be the better.
For in spite of our oblivion of it, the thing remains forever true; nor
is there any Constitution or body of Constitutions, were they clothed
with never such venerabilities and general acceptabilities, that avails
to deliver a Nation from the consequences of forgetting it. Nature,
I assure you, does forevermore remember it; and a hundred British
Constitutions are but as a hundred cobwebs between her and the penalty
she levies for forgetting it. Tell me what kind of man governs a People,
you tell me, with much exactness, what the net sum-total of social worth
in that People has for some time been. Whether _they_ have loved
the phylacteries or the eternal noblenesses; whether they have been
struggling heavenward like eagles, brothers of the radiances, or groping
owl-like with horn-eyed diligence, catching mice and balances at their
banker's,--poor devils, you will see it all in that one fact. A fact
long prepared beforehand; which, if it is a peaceably received one, must
have been acquiesced in, judged to be "best," by the poor mousing owls,
intent only to have a large balance at their banker's and keep a whole

Such sordid populations, which were long blind to Heaven's light,
are getting themselves burnt up rapidly, in these days, by
street-insurrection and Hell-fire;--as is indeed inevitable, my esteemed
M'Croudy! Light, accept the blessed light, if you will have it when
Heaven vouchsafes. You refuse? You prefer Delolme on the British
Constitution, the Gospel according to M'Croudy, and a good balance at
your banker's? Very well: the "light" is more and more withdrawn; and
for some time you have a general dusk, very favorable for catching
mice; and the opulent owlery is very "happy," and well-off at its
banker's;--and furthermore, by due sequence, infallible as the
foundations of the Universe and Nature's oldest law, the light _returns_
on you, condensed, this time, into _lightning_, which there is not any
skin whatever too thick for taking in!

No. IV. THE NEW DOWNING STREET. [April 15, 1850.]

In looking at this wreck of Governments in all European countries, there
is one consideration that suggests itself, sadly elucidative of our
modern epoch. These Governments, we may be well assured, have gone to
anarchy for this one reason inclusive of every other whatsoever, That
they were not wise enough; that the spiritual talent embarked in
them, the virtue, heroism, intellect, or by whatever other synonyms we
designate it, was not adequate,--probably had long been inadequate, and
so in its dim helplessness had suffered, or perhaps invited falsity
to introduce itself; had suffered injustices, and solecisms, and
contradictions of the Divine Fact, to accumulate in more than tolerable
measure; whereupon said Governments were overset, and declared before
all creatures to be too false.

This is a reflection sad but important to the modern Governments now
fallen anarchic, That they had not spiritual talent enough. And if this
is so, then surely the question, How these Governments came to sink for
_want_ of intellect? is a rather interesting one. Intellect, in some
measure, is born into every Century; and the Nineteenth flatters itself
that it is rather distinguished that way! What had become of this
celebrated Nineteenth Century's intellect? Surely some of it existed,
and was "developed" withal;--nay in the "undeveloped," unconscious, or
inarticulate state, it is not dead; but alive and at work, if mutely
not less beneficently, some think even more so! And yet Governments, it
would appear, could by no means get enough of it; almost none of it came
their way: what had become of it? Truly there must be something very
questionable, either in the intellect of this celebrated Century, or in
the methods Governments now have of supplying their wants from the
same. One or other of two grand fundamental shortcomings, in regard to
intellect or human enlightenment, is very visible in this enlightened
Century of ours; for it has now become the most anarchic of Centuries;
that is to say, has fallen practically into such Egyptian darkness that
it cannot grope its way at all!

Nay I rather think both of these shortcomings, fatal deficits both, are
chargeable upon us; and it is the joint harvest of both that we are now
reaping with such havoc to our affairs. I rather guess, the intellect of
the Nineteenth Century, so full of miracle to Heavyside and others,
is itself a mechanical or _beaver_ intellect rather than a high or
eminently human one. A dim and mean though authentic kind of intellect,
this; venerable only in defect of better. This kind will avail but
little in the higher enterprises of human intellect, especially in that
highest enterprise of guiding men Heavenward, which, after all, is the
one real "governing" of them on this God's-Earth:--an enterprise not to
be achieved by beaver intellect, but by other higher and highest kinds.
This is deficit _first_. And then _secondly_, Governments have, really
to a fatal and extraordinary extent, neglected in late ages to supply
themselves with what intellect was going; having, as was too natural
in the dim time, taken up a notion that human intellect, or even beaver
intellect, was not necessary to them at all, but that a little of
the _vulpine_ sort (if attainable), supported by routine, red-tape
traditions, and tolerable parliamentary eloquence on occasion, would
very well suffice. A most false and impious notion; leading to fatal
lethargy on the part of Governments, while Nature and Fact were
preparing strange phenomena in contradiction to it.

These are two very fatal deficits;--the remedy of either of which would
be the remedy of both, could we but find it! For indeed they are vitally
connected: one of them is sure to produce the other; and both once in
action together, the advent of darkness, certain enough to issue in
anarchy by and by, goes on with frightful acceleration. If Governments
neglect to invite what noble intellect there is, then too surely all
intellect, not omnipotent to resist bad influences, will tend to become
beaverish ignoble intellect; and quitting high aims, which seem shut up
from it, will help itself forward in the way of making money and such
like; or will even sink to be sham intellect, helping itself by methods
which are not only beaverish but vulpine, and so "ignoble" as not
to have common honesty. The Government, taking no thought to choose
intellect for itself, will gradually find that there is less and less
of a good quality to choose from: thus, as in all impieties it does,
bad grows worse at a frightful _double_ rate of progression; and your
impiety is twice cursed. If you are impious enough to tolerate darkness,
you will get ever more darkness to tolerate; and at that inevitable
stage of the account (inevitable in all such accounts) when actual light
or else destruction is the alternative, you will call to the Heavens and
the Earth for light, and none will come!

Certainly this evil, for one, has _not_ "wrought its own cure;" but
has wrought precisely the reverse, and has been hourly eating away what
possibilities of cure there were. And so, I fear, in spite of rumors to
the contrary, it always is with evils, with solecisms against Nature,
and contradictions to the divine fact of things: not an evil of them has
ever wrought its own cure in my experience;--but has continually grown
worse and wider and uglier, till some _good_ (generally a good _man_)
not able to endure the abomination longer, rose upon it and cured or
else extinguished it. Evil Governments, divested of God's light because
they have loved darkness rather, are not likelier than other evils to
work their own cure out of that bad plight.

It is urgent upon all Governments to pause in this fatal course;
persisted in, the goal is fearfully evident; every hour's persistence in
it is making return more difficult. Intellect exists in all countries;
and the function appointed it by Heaven,--Governments had better not
attempt to contradict that, for they cannot! Intellect _has_ to
govern in this world and will do it, if not in alliance with so-called
"Governments" of red-tape and routine, then in divine hostility to such,
and sometimes alas in diabolic hostility to such; and in the end, as
sure as Heaven is higher than Downing Street, and the Laws of Nature are
tougher than red-tape, with entire victory over them and entire ruin to
them. If there is one thinking man among the Politicians of England, I
consider these things extremely well worth his attention just now.

Who are available to your Offices in Downing Street? All the gifted
souls, of every rank, who are born to you in this generation. These are
appointed, by the true eternal "divine right" which will never become
obsolete, to be your governors and administrators; and precisely as you
employ them, or neglect to employ them, will your State be favored of
Heaven or disfavored. This noble young soul, you can have him on either
of two conditions; and on one of them, since he is here in the world,
you must have him. As your ally and coadjutor; or failing that, as
your natural enemy: which shall it be? I consider that every Government
convicts itself of infatuation and futility, or absolves and justifies
itself before God and man, according as it answers this question. With
all sublunary entities, this is the question of questions. What talent
is born to you? How do you employ that? The crop of spiritual talent
that is born to you, of human nobleness and intellect and heroic
faculty, this is infinitely more important than your crops of cotton or
corn, or wine or herrings or whale-oil, which the Newspapers record
with such anxiety every season. This is not quite counted by seasons,
therefore the Newspapers are silent: but by generations and centuries, I
assure you it becomes amazingly sensible; and surpasses, as Heaven does
Earth, all the corn and wine, and whale-oil and California bullion, or
any other crop you grow. If that crop cease, the other crops--please to
take them also, if you are anxious about them. That once ceasing, we may
shut shop; for no other crop whatever will stay with us, nor is worth
having if it would.

To promote men of talent, to search and sift the whole society in every
class for men of talent, and joyfully promote them, has not always been
found impossible. In many forms of polity they have done it, and still
do it, to a certain degree. The degree to which they succeed in doing it
marks, as I have said, with very great accuracy the degree of divine
and human worth that is in them, the degree of success or real ultimate
victory they can expect to have in this world.--Think, for example,
of the old Catholic Church, in its merely terrestrial relations to the
State; and see if your reflections, and contrasts with what now is, are
of an exulting character. Progress of the species has gone on as with
seven-league boots, and in various directions has shot ahead amazingly,
with three cheers from all the world; but in this direction, the most
vital and indispensable, it has lagged terribly, and has even
moved backward, till now it is quite gone out of sight in clouds of
cotton-fuzz and railway-scrip, and has fallen fairly over the horizon to

In those most benighted Feudal societies, full of mere tyrannous steel
Barons, and totally destitute of Tenpound Franchises and Ballot-boxes,
there did nevertheless authentically preach itself everywhere this
grandest of gospels, without which no other gospel can avail us much,
to all souls of men, "Awake ye noble souls; here is a noble career for
you!" I say, everywhere a road towards promotion, for human nobleness,
lay wide open to all men. The pious soul,--which, if you reflect,
will mean the ingenuous and ingenious, the gifted, intelligent and
nobly-aspiring soul,--such a soul, in whatever rank of life it were
born, had one path inviting it; a generous career, whereon, by human
worth and valor, all earthly heights and Heaven itself were attainable.
In the lowest stratum of social thraldom, nowhere was the noble soul
doomed quite to choke, and die ignobly. The Church, poor old benighted
creature, had at least taken care of that: the noble aspiring soul, not
doomed to choke ignobly in its penuries, could at least run into the
neighboring Convent, and there take refuge. Education awaited it there;
strict training not only to whatever useful knowledge could be had
from writing and reading, but to obedience, to pious reverence,
self-restraint, annihilation of self,--really to human nobleness in many
most essential respects. No questions asked about your birth, genealogy,
quantity of money-capital or the like; the one question was, "Is there
some human nobleness in you, or is there not?" The poor neat-herd's
son, if he were a Noble of Nature, might rise to Priesthood, to
High-priesthood, to the top of this world,--and best of all, he had
still high Heaven lying high enough above him, to keep his head steady,
on whatever height or in whatever depth his way might lie!

A thrice-glorious arrangement, when I reflect on it; most salutary to
all high and low interests; a truly human arrangement. You made the born
noble yours, welcoming him as what he was, the Sent of Heaven: you did
not force him either to die or become your enemy; idly neglecting or
suppressing him as what he was not, a thing of no worth. You accepted
the blessed _light_; and in the shape of infernal _lightning_ it needed
not to visit you. How, like an immense mine-shaft through the dim
oppressed strata of society, this Institution of the Priesthood ran;
opening, from the lowest depths towards all heights and towards Heaven
itself, a free road of egress and emergence towards virtuous nobleness,
heroism and well-doing, for every born man. This we may call the living
lungs and blood-circulation of those old Feudalisms. When I think of
that immeasurable all-pervading lungs; present in every corner of human
society, every meanest hut a _cell_ of said lungs; inviting whatsoever
noble pious soul was born there to the path that was noble for him;
and leading thereby sometimes, if he were worthy, to be the Papa
of Christendom, and Commander of all Kings,--I perceive how the old
Christian society continued healthy, vital, and was strong and heroic.
When I contrast this with the noble aims now held out to noble souls
born in remote huts, or beyond the verge of Palace-Yard; and think of
what your Lordship has done in the way of making priests and papas,--I
see a society without lungs, fast wheezing itself to death, in horrid
convulsions; and deserving to die.

Over Europe generally in these years, I consider that the State has
died, has fairly coughed its last in street musketry, and fallen down
dead, incapable of any but _galvanic_ life henceforth,--owing to this
same fatal want of _lungs_, which includes all other wants for a State.
And furthermore that it will never come alive again, till it contrive
to get such indispensable vital apparatus; the outlook toward which
consummation is very distant in most communities of Europe. If you let
it come to death or suspended animation in States, the case is very
bad! Vain to call in universal-suffrage parliaments at that stage:
the universal-suffrage parliaments cannot give you any breath of life,
cannot find any _wisdom_ for you; by long impiety, you have let the
supply of noble human wisdom die out; and the wisdom that now courts
your universal suffrages is beggarly human _attorneyism_ or sham-wisdom,
which is _not_ an insight into the Laws of God's Universe, but into the
laws of hungry Egoism and the Devil's Chicane, and can in the end profit
no community or man.

No; the kind of heroes that come mounted on the shoulders of the
universal suffrage, and install themselves as Prime Ministers and
healing Statesmen by force of able editorship, do not bid very fair
to bring Nations back to the ways of God. Eloquent high-lacquered
_pinchbeck_ specimens these, expert in the arts of Belial
mainly;--fitter to be markers at some exceedingly expensive
billiard-table than sacred chief-priests of men! "Greeks of the Lower
Empire;" with a varnish of parliamentary rhetoric; and, I suppose,
this other great gift, toughness of character,--proof that they have
_persevered_ in their Master's service. Poor wretches, their industry
is mob-worship, place-worship, parliamentary intrigue, and the multiplex
art of tongue-fence: flung into that bad element, there they swim for
decades long, throttling and wrestling one another according to their
strength,--and the toughest or luckiest gets to land, and becomes
Premier. A more entirely unbeautiful class of Premiers was never raked
out of the ooze, and set on high places, by any ingenuity of man. Dame
Dubarry's petticoat was a better seine-net for fishing out Premiers than
that. Let all Nations whom necessity is driving towards that method,
take warning in time!

Alas, there is, in a manner, but one Nation that can still take warning!
In England alone of European Countries the State yet survives; and might
help itself by better methods. In England heroic wisdom is not yet dead,
and quite replaced by attorneyism: the honest beaver faculty yet abounds
with us, the heroic manful faculty shows itself also to the observant
eye, not dead but dangerously sleeping. I said there were many _kings_
in England: if these can yet be rallied into strenuous activity, and set
to govern England in Downing Street and elsewhere, which their function
always is,--then England can be saved from anarchies and universal
suffrages; and that Apotheosis of Attorneyism, blackest of terrestrial
curses, may be spared us. If these cannot, the other issue, in such
forms as may be appropriate to us, is inevitable. What escape is there?
England must conform to the eternal laws of life, or England too must

England with the largest mass of real living interests ever intrusted to
a Nation; and with a mass of extinct imaginary and quite dead interests
piled upon it to the very Heavens, and encumbering it from shore to
shore,--does reel and stagger ominously in these years; urged by the
Divine Silences and the Eternal Laws to take practical hold of its
living interests and manage them: and clutching blindly into its
venerable extinct and imaginary interests, as if that were still the way
to do it. England must contrive to manage its living interests, and quit
its dead ones and their methods, or else depart from its place in this
world. Surely England is called as no Nation ever was, to summon out its
_kings_, and set them to that high work!--Huge inorganic England, nigh
choked under the exuviae of a thousand years, and blindly sprawling amid
chartisms, ballot-boxes, prevenient graces, and bishops' nightmares,
must, as the preliminary and commencement of organization, learn to
_breathe_ again,--get "lungs" for herself again, as we defined it. That
is imperative upon her: she too will die, otherwise, and cough her last
upon the streets some day;--how can she continue living? To enfranchise
whatsoever of Wisdom is born in England, and set that to the sacred
task of coercing and amending what of Folly is born in England: Heaven's
blessing is purchasable by that; by not that, only Heaven's curse is
purchasable. The reform contemplated, my liberal friends perceive, is
a truly radical one; no ballot-box ever went so deep into the roots: a
radical, most painful, slow and difficult, but most indispensable reform
of reforms!

How short and feeble an approximation to these high ulterior results,
the best Reform of Downing Street, presided over by the fittest
Statesman one can imagine to exist at present, would be, is too apparent
to me. A long time yet till we get our living interests put under due
administration, till we get our dead interests handsomely dismissed. A
long time yet till, by extensive change of habit and ways of thinking
and acting, _we_ get living "lungs" for ourselves! Nevertheless, by
Reform of Downing Street, we do begin to breathe: we do start in the way
towards that and all high results. Nor is there visible to me any other
way. Blessed enough were the way once entered on; could we, in our evil
days, but see the noble enterprise begun, and fairly in progress!

What the "_New_ Downing Street" can grow to, and will and must if
England is to have a Downing Street beyond a few years longer, it is
far from me, in my remote watch-tower, to say with precision. A Downing
Street inhabited by the gifted of the intellects of England; directing
all its energies upon the real and living interests of England, and
silently but incessantly, in the alembics of the place, burning up the
extinct imaginary interests of England, that we may see God's sky a
little plainer overhead, and have all of us a great accession of "heroic
wisdom" to dispose of: such a Downing Street--to draw the plan of it,
will require architects; many successive architects and builders will
be needed there. Let not editors, and remote unprofessional persons,
interfere too much!--Change in the present edifice, however, radical
change, all men can discern to be inevitable; and even, if there shall
not worse swiftly follow, to be imminent. Outlines of the future edifice
paint themselves against the sky (to men that still have a sky, and
are above the miserable London fogs of the hour); noble elements of new
State Architecture, foreshadows of a new Downing Street for the New Era
that is come. These with pious hope all men can see; and it is good
that all men, with whatever faculty they have, were earnestly looking
thitherward;--trying to get above the fogs, that they might look

Among practical men the idea prevails that Government can do nothing
but "keep the peace." They say all higher tasks are unsafe for it,
impossible for it,--and in fine not necessary for it or for us. On this
footing a very feeble Downing Street might serve the turn!--I am well
aware that Government, for a long time past, has taken in hand no other
public task, and has professed to have no other, but that of keeping
the peace. This public task, and the private one of ascertaining
whether Dick or Jack was to do it, have amply filled the capabilities
of Government for several generations now. Hard tasks both, it would
appear. In accomplishing the first, for example, have not heaven-born
Chancellors of the Exchequer had to shear us very bare; and to leave an
overplus of Debt, or of fleeces shorn _before_ they are grown, justly
esteemed among the wonders of the world? Not a first-rate keeping of the
peace, this, we begin to surmise! At least it seems strange to us.

For we, and the overwhelming majority of all our acquaintances, in this
Parish and Nation and the adjacent Parishes and Nations, are profoundly
conscious to ourselves of being by nature peaceable persons; following
our necessary industries; without wish, interest or faintest intention
to cut the skin of any mortal, to break feloniously into his industrial
premises, or do any injustice to him at all. Because indeed, independent
of Government, there is a thing called conscience, and we dare not.
So that it cannot but appear to us, "the peace," under dexterous
management, might be very much more easily kept, your Lordship; nay,
we almost think, if well let alone, it would in a measure keep _itself_
among such a set of persons! And how it happens that when a poor
hardworking creature of us has laboriously earned sixpence, the
Government comes in, and (as some compute) says, "I will thank you for
threepence of that, as per account, for getting you peace to spend the
other threepence," our amazement begins to be considerable,--and I think
results will follow from it by and by. Not the most dexterous keeping
of the peace, your Lordship, unless it be more difficult to do than

Our domestic peace, we cannot but perceive, as good as keeps itself.
Here and there a select Equitable Person, appointed by the Public
for that end, clad in ermine, and backed by certain companies of
blue Police, is amply adequate, without immoderate outlay in money or
otherwise, to keep down the few exceptional individuals of the scoundrel
kind; who, we observe, by the nature of them, are always weak and
inconsiderable. And as to foreign peace, really all Europe, now
especially with so many railroads, public journals, printed books,
penny-post, bills of exchange, and continual intercourse and mutual
dependence, is more and more becoming (so to speak) one Parish; the
Parishioners of which being, as we ourselves are, in immense majority
peaceable hard-working people, could, if they were moderately well
guided, have almost no disposition to quarrel. Their economic interests
are one, "To buy in the cheapest market, and sell in the dearest;" their
faith, any _religious_ faith they have, is one, "To annihilate shams--by
all methods, street-barricades included." Why should they quarrel?
The Czar of Russia, in the Eastern parts of the Parish, may have other
notions; but he knows too well he must keep them to himself. He, if
he meddled with the Western parts, and attempted anywhere to crush or
disturb that sacred Democratic Faith of theirs, is aware there would
rise from a hundred and fifty million human throats such a _Hymn of the
Marseillaise_ as was never heard before; and England, France, Germany,
Poland, Hungary, and the Nine Kingdoms, hurling themselves upon him in
never-imagined fire of vengeance, would swiftly reduce his Russia and
him to a strange situation! Wherefore he forbears,--and being a person
of some sense, will long forbear. In spite of editorial prophecy, the
Czar of Russia does not disturb our night's rest. And with the other
parts of the Parish our dreams and our thoughts are of anything but of
fighting, or of the smallest need to fight.

For keeping of the peace, a thing highly desirable to us, we strive to
be grateful to your Lordship. Intelligible to us, also, your Lordship's
reluctance to get out of the old routine. But we beg to say farther,
that peace by itself has no feet to stand upon, and would not suit us
even if it had. Keeping of the peace is the function of a policeman, and
but a small fraction of that of any Government, King or Chief of men.
Are not all men bound, and the Chief of men in the name of all, to do
properly this: To see, so far as human effort under pain of eternal
reprobation can, God's Kingdom incessantly advancing here below, and His
will done on Earth as it is in Heaven? On Sundays your Lordship knows
this well; forgot it not on week-days. I assure you it is forevermore a
fact. That is the immense divine and never-ending task which is laid on
every man, and with unspeakable increase of emphasis on every Government
or Commonwealth of men. Your Lordship, that is the basis upon which
peace and all else depends! That basis once well lost, there is no peace
capable of being kept,--the only peace that could then be kept is that
of the churchyard. Your Lordship may depend on it, whatever thing takes
upon it the name of Sovereign or Government in an English Nation such
as this will have to get out of that old routine; and set about keeping
something very different from the peace, in these days!

Truly it is high time that same beautiful notion of No-Government should
take itself away. The world is daily rushing towards wreck, while that
lasts. If your Government is to be a Constituted Anarchy, what issue can
it have? Our one interest in such Government is, that it would be kind
enough to cease and go its ways, _before_ the inevitable arrive. The
question, Who is to float atop no-whither upon the popular vertexes,
and act that sorry character, "carcass of the drowned ass upon the
mud-deluge"? is by no means an important one for almost anybody,--hardly
even for the drowned ass himself. Such drowned ass ought to ask himself,
If the function is a sublime one? For him too, though he looks sublime
to the vulgar and floats atop, a private situation, down out of sight in
his natural ooze, would be a luckier one.

Crabbe, speaking of constitutional philosophies, faith in the ballot-box
and such like, has this indignant passage: "If any voice of deliverance
or resuscitation reach us, in this our low and all but lost estate, sunk
almost beyond plummet's sounding in the mud of Lethe, and oblivious of
all noble objects, it will be an intimation that we must put away all
this abominable nonsense, and understand, once more, that Constituted
Anarchy, with however many ballot-boxes, caucuses, and hustings
beer-barrels, is a continual offence to gods and men. That to be
governed by small men is not only a misfortune, but it is a curse and
a sin; the effect, and alas the cause also, of all manner of curses and
sins. That to profess subjection to phantasms, and pretend to accept
guidance from fractional parts of tailors, is what Smelfungus in his
rude dialect calls it, 'a damned _lie_,' and nothing other. A lie which,
by long use and wont, we have grown accustomed to, and do not the least
feel to be a lie, having spoken and done it continually everywhere for
such a long time past;--but has Nature grown to accept it as a veracity,
think you, my friend? Have the Parcae fallen asleep, because you wanted
to make money in the City? Nature at all moments knows well that it is
a lie; and that, like all lies, it is cursed and damned from the

"Even so, ye indigent millionnaires, and miserable bankrupt populations
rolling in gold,--whose note-of-hand will go to any length in
Threadneedle Street, and to whom in Heaven's Bank the stern answer is,
'No effects!' Bankrupt, I say; and Californias and Eldorados will not
save us. And every time we speak such lie, or do it or look it, as we
have been incessantly doing, and many of us with clear consciousness,
for about a hundred and fifty years now, Nature marks down the exact
penalty against us. 'Debtor to so much lying: forfeiture of existing
stock of worth to such extent;--approach to general damnation by so
much.' Till now, as we look round us over a convulsed anarchic Europe,
and at home over an anarchy not yet convulsed, but only heaving towards
convulsion, and to judge by the Mosaic sweating-establishments, cannibal
Connaughts and other symptoms, not far from convulsion now, we seem to
have pretty much _exhausted_ our accumulated stock of worth; and unless
money's 'worth' and bullion at the Bank will save us, to be rubbing very
close upon that ulterior bourn which I do not like to name again!

"On behalf of nearly twenty-seven millions of my fellow-countrymen, sunk
deep in Lethean sleep, with mere owl-dreams of Political Economy and
mice-catching, in this pacific thrice-infernal slush-element; and
also of certain select thousands, and hundreds and units, awakened or
beginning to awaken from it, and with horror in their hearts perceiving
where they are, I beg to protest, and in the name of God to say, with
poor human ink, desirous much that I had divine thunder to say it with,
Awake, arise,--before you sink to death eternal! Unnamable destruction,
and banishment to Houndsditch and Gehenna, lies in store for all Nations
that, in angry perversity or brutal torpor and owlish blindness, neglect
the eternal message of the gods, and vote for the Worse while the Better
is there. Like owls they say, 'Barabbas will do; any orthodox Hebrew
of the Hebrews, and peaceable believer in M'Croudy and the Faith of
Leave-alone will do: the Right Honorable Minimus is well enough; he
shall be our Maximus, under him it will be handy to catch mice, and
Owldom shall continue a flourishing empire.'"

One thing is undeniable, and must be continually repeated till it get
to be understood again: Of all constitutions, forms of government, and
political methods among men, the question to be asked is even this, What
kind of man do you set over us? All questions are answered in the answer
to this. Another thing is worth attending to: No people or populace,
with never such ballot-boxes, can select such man for you; only the man
of worth can recognize worth in men;--to the commonplace man of no or
of little worth, you, unless you wish to be _mis_led, need not apply on
such an occasion. Those poor Tenpound Franchisers of yours, they are not
even in earnest; the poor sniffing sniggering Honorable Gentlemen they
send to Parliament are as little so. Tenpound Franchisers full of mere
beer and balderdash; Honorable Gentlemen come to Parliament as to an
Almack's series of evening parties, or big cockmain (battle of all the
cocks) very amusing to witness and bet upon: what can or could men in
that predicament ever do for you? Nay, if they were in life-and-death
earnest, what could it avail you in such a case? I tell you, a million
blockheads looking authoritatively into one man of what you call genius,
or noble sense, will make nothing but nonsense out of him and his
qualities, and his virtues and defects, if they look till the end of
time. He understands them, sees what they are; but that they should
understand him, and see with rounded outline what his limits are,--this,
which would mean that they are bigger than he, is forever denied them.
Their one good understanding of him is that they at last should loyally
say, "We do not quite understand thee; we perceive thee to be nobler and
wiser and bigger than we, and will loyally follow thee."

The question therefore arises, Whether, since reform of parliament and
such like have done so little in that respect, the problem might not
be with some hope attacked in the direct manner? Suppose all our
Institutions, and Public Methods of Procedure, to continue for the
present as they are; and suppose farther a Reform Premier, and the
English Nation once awakening under him to a due sense of the infinite
importance, nay the vital necessity there is of getting able and abler
men:--might not some heroic wisdom, and actual "ability" to do what must
be done, prove discoverable to said Premier; and so the indispensable
Heaven's-blessing descend to us from _above_, since none has yet
sprung from below? From above we shall have to try it; the other
is exhausted,--a hopeless method that! The utmost passion of the
house-inmates, ignorant of masonry and architecture, cannot avail to
cure the house of smoke: not if _they_ vote and agitate forever, and
bestir themselves to the length even of street-barricades, will the
_smoke_ in the least abate: how can it? Their passion exercised in such
ways, till Doomsday, will avail them nothing. Let their passion rage
steadily against the existing major-domos to this effect, "_Find_ us
men skilled in house-building, acquainted with the laws of atmospheric
suction, and capable to cure smoke;" something might come of it! In the
lucky circumstance of having one man of real intellect and courage to
put at the head of the movement, much would come of it;--a New Downing
Street, fit for the British Nation and its bitter necessities in this
Now Era, would come; and from that, in answer to continuous sacred
fidelity and valiant toil, all good whatsoever would gradually come.

Of the Continental nuisance called "Bureaucracy,"--if this should alarm
any reader,--I can see no risk or possibility in England. Democracy
is hot enough here, fierce enough; it is perennial, universal, clearly
invincible among us henceforth. No danger it should let itself be flung
in chains by sham secretaries of the Pedant species, and accept their
vile Age of Pinchbeck for its Golden Age! Democracy clamors, with its
Newspapers, its Parliaments, and all its twenty-seven million throats,
continually in this Nation forevermore. I remark, too, that, the
unconscious purport of all its clamors is even this, "Find us men
skilled,"--_make_ a New Downing Street, fit for the New Era!

Of the Foreign Office, in its reformed state, we have not much to say.
Abolition of imaginary work, and replacement of it by real, is on all
hands understood to be very urgent there. Large needless expenditures
of money, immeasurable ditto of hypocrisy and grimace; embassies,
protocols, worlds of extinct traditions, empty pedantries, foul
cobwebs:--but we will by no means apply the "live coal" of our witty
friend; the Foreign Office will repent, and not be driven to suicide! A
truer time will come for the Continental Nations too: Authorities based
on truth, and on the silent or spoken Worship of Human Nobleness,
will again get themselves established there; all Sham-Authorities, and
consequent Real-Anarchies based on universal suffrage and the Gospel
according to George Sand, being put away; and noble action, heroic
new-developments of human faculty and industry, and blessed fruit as
of Paradise getting itself conquered from the waste battle-field of
the chaotic elements, will once more, there as here, begin to show

When the Continental Nations have once got to the bottom of _their_
Augean Stable, and begun to have real enterprises based on the eternal
facts again, our Foreign Office may again have extensive concerns with
them. And at all times, and even now, there will remain the question to
be sincerely put and wisely answered, What essential concern _has_ the
British Nation with them and their enterprises? Any concern at all,
except that of handsomely keeping apart from them? If so, what are
the methods of best managing it?--At present, as was said, while Red
Republic but clashes with foul Bureaucracy; and Nations, sunk in
blind ignavia, demand a universal-suffrage Parliament to heal their
wretchedness; and wild Anarchy and Phallus-Worship struggle with
Sham-Kingship and extinct or galvanized Catholicism; and in the Cave of
the Winds all manner of rotten waifs and wrecks are hurled against
each other,--our English interest in the controversy, however huge said
controversy grow, is quite trifling; we have only in a handsome manner
to say to it: "Tumble and rage along, ye rotten waifs and wrecks;
clash and collide as seems fittest to you; and smite each other into
annihilation at your own good pleasure. In that huge conflict, dismal
but unavoidable, we, thanks to our heroic ancestors, having got so far
ahead of you, have now no interest at all. Our decided notion is, the
dead ought to bury their dead in such a case: and so we have the
honor to be, with distinguished consideration, your entirely
devoted,--FLIMNAP, SEC. FOREIGN DEPARTMENT."--I really think Flimnap,
till truer times come, ought to treat much of his work in this way:
cautious to give offence to his neighbors; resolute not to concern
himself in any of their self-annihilating operations whatsoever.

Foreign wars are sometimes unavoidable. We ourselves, in the course of
natural merchandising and laudable business, have now and then got into
ambiguous situations; into quarrels which needed to be settled, and
without fighting would not settle. Sugar Islands, Spice Islands, Indias,
Canadas, these, by the real decree of Heaven, were ours; and nobody
would or could believe it, till it was tried by cannon law, and so
proved. Such cases happen. In former times especially, owing very much
to want of intercourse and to the consequent mutual ignorance, there did
occur misunderstandings: and therefrom many foreign wars, some of
them by no means unnecessary. With China, or some distant country, too
unintelligent of us and too unintelligible to us, there still sometimes
rises necessary occasion for a war. Nevertheless wars--misunderstandings
that get to the length of arguing themselves out by sword and
cannon--have, in these late generations of improved intercourse, been
palpably becoming less and less necessary; have in a manner become
superfluous, if we had a little wisdom, and our Foreign Office on a good

Of European wars I really hardly remember any, since Oliver Cromwell's
last Protestant or Liberation war with Popish antichristian Spain some
two hundred years ago, to which I for my own part could have contributed
my life with any heartiness, or in fact would have subscribed money
itself to any considerable amount. Dutch William, a man of some heroism,
did indeed get into troubles with Louis Fourteenth; and there rested
still some shadow of Protestant Interest, and question of National and
individual Independence, over those wide controversies; a little money
and human enthusiasm was still due to Dutch William. Illustrious Chatham
also, not to speak of his Manilla ransoms and the like, did one thing:
assisted Fritz of Prussia, a brave man and king (almost the only
sovereign King I have known since Cromwell's time) like to be borne down
by ignoble men and sham-kings; for this let illustrious Chatham too have
a little money and human enthusiasm,--a little, by no means much. But
what am I to say of heaven-born Pitt the son of Chatham? England sent
forth her fleets and armies; her money into every country; money as
if the heaven-born Chancellor had got a Fortunatus' purse; as if this
Island had become a volcanic fountain of gold, or new terrestrial sun
capable of radiating mere guineas. The result of all which, what was
it? Elderly men can remember the tar-barrels burnt for success and
thrice-immortal victory in the business; and yet what result had we? The
French Revolution, a Fact decreed in the Eternal Councils, could not
be put down: the result was, that heaven-born Pitt had actually been
fighting (as the old Hebrews would have said) against the Lord,--that
the Laws of Nature were stronger than Pitt. Of whom therefore there
remains chiefly his unaccountable radiation of guineas, for the
gratitude of posterity. Thank you for nothing,--for eight hundred
millions _less_ than nothing!

Our War Offices, Admiralties, and other Fighting Establishments, are
forcing themselves on everybody's attention at this time. Bull grumbles
audibly: "The money you have cost me these five-and-thirty years, during
which you have stood elaborately ready to fight at any moment, without
at any moment being called to fight, is surely an astonishing sum. The
National Debt itself might have been half paid by that money, which has
all gone in pipe-clay and blank cartridges! "Yes, Mr. Bull, the
money can be counted in hundreds of millions; which certainly is
something:--but the "strenuously organized idleness," and what mischief
that amounts to,--have you computed it? A perpetual solecism, and
blasphemy (of its sort), set to march openly among us, dressed in
scarlet! Bull, with a more and more sulky tone, demands that such
solecism be abated; that these Fighting Establishments be as it were
disbanded, and set to do some work in the Creation, since fighting
there is now none for them. This demand is irrefragably just, is growing
urgent too; and yet this demand cannot be complied with,--not yet while
the State grounds itself on unrealities, and Downing Street continues
what it is.

The old Romans made their soldiers work during intervals of war. The New
Downing Street too, we may predict, will have less and less tolerance
for idleness on the part of soldiers or others. Nay the New Downing
Street, I foresee, when once it has got its "_Industrial_ Regiments"
organized, will make these mainly do its fighting, what fighting
there is; and so save immense sums. Or indeed, all citizens of the
Commonwealth, as is the right and the interest of every free man in
this world, will have themselves trained to arms; each citizen ready to
defend his country with his own body and soul,--he is not worthy to have
a country otherwise. In a State grounded on veracities, that would be
the rule. Downing Street, if it cannot bethink itself of returning to
the veracities, will have to vanish altogether!

To fight with its neighbors never was, and is now less than ever, the
real trade of England. For far other objects was the English People
created into this world; sent down from the Eternities, to mark with its
history certain spaces in the current of sublunary Time! Essential, too,
that the English People should discover what its real objects are; and
resolutely follow these, resolutely refusing to follow other than these.
The State will have victory so far as it can do that; so far as it
cannot, defeat.

In the New Downing Street, discerning what its real functions are, and
with sacred abhorrence putting away from it what its functions are not,
we can fancy changes enough in Foreign Office, War Office, Colonial
Office, Home Office! Our War-soldiers _Industrial_, first of all;
doing nobler than Roman works, when fighting is not wanted of them.
Seventy-fours not hanging idly by their anchors in the Tagus, or off
Sapienza (one of the saddest sights under the sun), but busy, every
Seventy-four of them, carrying over streams of British Industrials to
the immeasurable Britain that lies beyond the sea in every zone of the
world. A State grounding itself on the veracities, not on the semblances
and the injustices: every citizen a soldier for it. Here would be new
_real_ Secretaryships and Ministries, not for foreign war and diplomacy,
but for domestic peace and utility. Minister of Works; Minister of
Justice,--clearing his Model Prisons of their scoundrelism; shipping his
scoundrels wholly abroad, under hard and just drill-sergeants (hundreds
of such stand wistfully ready for you, these thirty years, in the
Rag-and-Famish Club and elsewhere!) into fertile desert countries;
to make railways,--one big railway (says the Major [Footnote: Major
Carmichael Smith; see his Pamphlets on this subject]) quite across
America; fit to employ all the able-bodied Scoundrels and efficient
Half-pay Officers in Nature!

Lastly,--or rather firstly, and as the preliminary of all, would there
not be a Minister of Education? Minister charged to get this English
People taught a little, at his and our peril! Minister of Education;
no longer dolefully embayed amid the wreck of moribund "religions," but
clear ahead of all that; steering, free and piously fearless, towards
his divine goal under the eternal stars!--O heaven, and are these things
forever impossible, then? Not a whit. To-morrow morning they might all
begin to be, and go on through blessed centuries realizing themselves,
if it were not that--alas, if it were not that we are most of us
insincere persons, sham talking-machines and hollow windy fools! Which
it is not "impossible" that we should cease to be, I hope?

Constitutions for the Colonies are now on the anvil; the discontented
Colonies are all to be cured of their miseries by Constitutions. Whether
that will cure their miseries, or only operate as a Godfrey's-cordial to
stop their whimpering, and in the end worsen all their miseries, may
be a sad doubt to us. One thing strikes a remote spectator in these
Colonial questions: the singular placidity with which the British
Statesman at this time, backed by M'Croudy and the British moneyed
classes, is prepared to surrender whatsoever interest Britain, as
foundress of those establishments, might pretend to have in the
decision. "If you want to go from us, go; we by no means want you to
stay: you cost us money yearly, which is scarce; desperate quantities
of trouble too: why not go, if you wish it?" Such is the humor of the
British Statesman, at this time.--Men clear for rebellion, "annexation"
as they call it, walk openly abroad in our American Colonies; found
newspapers, hold platform palaverings. From Canada there comes duly by
each mail a regular statistic of Annexationism: increasing fast in this
quarter, diminishing in that;--Majesty's Chief Governor seeming to take
it as a perfectly open question; Majesty's Chief Governor in fact seldom
appearing on the scene at all, except to receive the impact of a
few rotten eggs on occasion, and then duck in again to his private
contemplations. And yet one would think the Majesty's Chief Governor
ought to have a kind of interest in the thing? Public liberty is carried
to a great length in some portions of her Majesty's dominions. But
the question, "Are we to continue subjects of her Majesty, or start
rebelling against her? So many as are for rebelling, hold up your
hands!" Here is a public discussion of a very extraordinary nature to
be going on under the nose of a Governor of Canada. How the Governor
of Canada, being a British piece of flesh and blood, and not a Canadian
lumber-log of mere pine and rosin, can stand it, is not very conceivable
at first view. He does it, seemingly, with the stoicism of a Zeno. It is
a constitutional sight like few.

And yet an instinct deeper than the Gospel of M'Croudy teaches all
men that Colonies are worth something to a country! That if, under the
present Colonial Office, they are a vexation to us and themselves, some
other Colonial Office can and must be contrived which shall render them
a blessing; and that the remedy will be to contrive such a Colonial
Office or method of administration, and by no means to cut the Colonies
loose. Colonies are not to be picked off the street every day; not a
Colony of them but has been bought dear, well purchased by the toil
and blood of those we have the honor to be sons of; and we cannot just
afford to cut them away because M'Croudy finds the present management
of them cost money. The present management will indeed require to be cut
away;--but as for the Colonies, we purpose through Heaven's blessing to
retain them a while yet! Shame on us for unworthy sons of brave fathers
if we do not. Brave fathers, by valiant blood and sweat, purchased for
us, from the bounty of Heaven, rich possessions in all zones; and we,
wretched imbeciles, cannot do the function of administering them? And
because the accounts do not stand well in the ledger, our remedy is, not
to take shame to ourselves, and repent in sackcloth and ashes, and
amend our beggarly imbecilities and insincerities in that as in other
departments of our business, but to fling the business overboard, and
declare the business itself to be bad? We are a hopeful set of heirs to
a big fortune! It does not suit our Manton gunneries, grouse-shootings,
mousings in the City; and like spirited young gentlemen we will give it
up, and let the attorneys take it?

Is there no value, then, in human things, but what can write itself down
in the cash-ledger? All men know, and even M'Croudy in his inarticulate
heart knows, that to men and Nations there are invaluable values which
cannot be sold for money at all. George Robins is great; but he is not
onmipotent. George Robins cannot quite sell Heaven and Earth by auction,
excellent though he be at the business. Nay, if M'Croudy offered his own
life for _sale_ in Threadneedle Street, would anybody buy it? Not I, for
one. "Nobody bids: pass on to the next lot," answers Robins. And yet to
M'Croudy this unsalable lot is worth all the Universe:--nay, I believe,
to us also it is worth something; good monitions, as to several things,
do lie in this Professor of the dismal science; and considerable sums
even of money, not to speak of other benefit, will yet come out of his
life and him, for which nobody bids! Robins has his own field where he
reigns triumphant; but to that we will restrict him with iron limits;
and neither Colonies nor the lives of Professors, nor other such
invaluable objects shall come under his hammer.

Bad state of the ledger will demonstrate that your way of dealing
with your Colonies is absurd, and urgently in want of reform; but to
demonstrate that the Empire itself must be dismembered to bring the
ledger straight? Oh never. Something else than the ledger must intervene
to do that. Why does not England repudiate Ireland, and insist on the
"Repeal," instead of prohibiting it under death-penalties? Ireland has
never been a paying speculation yet, nor is it like soon to be! Why does
not Middlesex repudiate Surrey, and Chelsea Kensington, and each county
and each parish, and in the end each individual set up for himself
and his cash-box, repudiating the other and his, because their mutual
interests have got into an irritating course? They must change the
course, seek till they discover a soothing one; that is the remedy, when
limbs of the same body come to irritate one another. Because the paltry
tatter of a garment, reticulated for you out of thrums and listings in
Downing Street, ties foot and hand together in an intolerable manner,
will you relieve yourself by cutting off the hand or the foot? You will
cut off the paltry tatter of a pretended body-coat, I think, and fling
that to the nettles; and imperatively require one that fits your size

Miserabler theory than that of money on the ledger being the primary
rule for Empires, or for any higher entity than City owls and their
mice-catching, cannot well be propounded. And I would by no means advise
Felicissimus, ill at ease on his high-trotting and now justly impatient
Sleswicker, to let the poor horse in its desperation go in that
direction for a momentary solace. If by lumber-log Governors, by
Godfrey's cordial Constitutions or otherwise, be contrived to cut
off the Colonies or any real right the big British Empire has in her
Colonies, both he and the British Empire will bitterly repent it one
day! The Sleswicker, relieved in ledger for a moment, will find that
it is wounded in heart and honor forever; and the turning of its wild
forehoofs upon Felicissimus as he lies in the ditch combed off, is not
a thing I like to think of! Britain, whether it be known to Felicissimus
or not, has other tasks appointed her in God's Universe than the making
of money; and woe will betide her if she forget those other withal.
Tasks, colonial and domestic, which are of an eternally _divine_ nature,
and compared with which all money, and all that is procurable by money,
are in strict arithmetic an imponderable quantity, have been assigned
this Nation; and they also at last are coming upon her again, clamorous,
abstruse, inevitable, much to her bewilderment just now!

This poor Nation, painfully dark about said tasks and the way of doing
them, means to keep its Colonies nevertheless, as things which somehow
or other must have a value, were it better seen into. They are portions
of the general Earth, where the children of Britain now dwell; where the
gods have so far sanctioned their endeavor, as to say that they have a
right to dwell. England will not readily admit that her own children
are worth nothing but to be flung out of doors! England looking on her
Colonies can say: "Here are lands and seas, spice-lands, corn-lands,
timber-lands, overarched by zodiacs and stars, clasped by many-sounding
seas; wide spaces of the Maker's building, fit for the cradle yet of
mighty Nations and their Sciences and Heroisms. Fertile continents
still inhabited by wild beasts are mine, into which all the distressed
populations of Europe might pour themselves, and make at once an Old
World and a New World human. By the eternal fiat of the gods, this
must yet one day be; this, by all the Divine Silences that rule this
Universe, silent to fools, eloquent and awful to the hearts of the wise,
is incessantly at this moment, and at all moments, commanded to begin to
be. Unspeakable deliverance, and new destiny of thousand-fold expanded
manfulness for all men, dawns out of the Future here. To me has fallen
the godlike task of initiating all that: of me and of my Colonies, the
abstruse Future asks, Are you wise enough for so sublime a destiny? Are
you too foolish?"

That you ask advice of whatever wisdom is to be had in the Colony, and
even take note of what _un_wisdom is in it, and record that too as an
existing fact, will certainly be very advantageous. But I suspect the
kind of Parliament that will suit a Colony is much of a secret just now!
Mr. Wakefield, a democratic man in all fibres of him, and acquainted
with Colonial Socialities as few are, judges that the franchise for
your Colonial Parliament should be decidedly select, and advises a high
money-qualification; as there is in all Colonies a fluctuating migratory
mass, not destitute of money, but very much so of loyalty, permanency,
or civic availability; whom it is extremely advantageous not to consult
on what you are about attempting for the Colony or Mother Country. This
I can well believe;--and also that a "high money-qualification," in
the present sad state of human affairs, might be some help to you
in selecting; though whether even that would quite certainly bring
"wisdom," the one thing indispensable, is much a question with me. It
might help, it might help! And if by any means you could (which you
cannot) exclude the Fourth Estate, and indicate decisively that Wise
Advice was the thing wanted here, and Parliamentary Eloquence was not
the thing wanted anywhere just now,--there might really some light of
experience and human foresight, and a truly valuable benefit, be found
for you in such assemblies.

And there is one thing, too apt to be forgotten, which it much behooves
us to remember: In the Colonies, as everywhere else in this world, the
vital point is not who decides, but what is decided on! That measures
tending really to the best advantage temporal and spiritual of the
Colony be adopted, and strenuously put in execution; there lies
the grand interest of every good citizen British and Colonial. Such
measures, whosoever have originated and prescribed them, will gradually
be sanctioned by all men and gods; and clamors of every kind in
reference to them may safely to a great extent be neglected, as
clamorous merely, and sure to be transient. Colonial Governor, Colonial
Parliament, whoever or whatever does an injustice, or resolves on an
_un_wisdom, he is the pernicious object, however parliamentary he be!

I have known things done, in this or the other Colony, in the most
parliamentary way before now, which carried written on the brow of them
sad symptoms of eternal reprobation; not to be mistaken, had you painted
an inch thick. In Montreal, for example, at this moment, standing amid
the ruins of the "Elgin Marbles" (as they call the burnt walls of the
Parliament House there), what rational British soul but is forced to
institute the mournfulest constitutional reflection? Some years ago the
Canadas, probably not without materials for discontent, and blown upon
by skilful artists, blazed up into crackling of musketry, open flame of
rebellion; a thing smacking of the gallows in all countries that pretend
to have any "Government." Which flame of rebellion, had there been no
loyal population to fling themselves upon it at peril of their life,
might have ended we know not how. It ended speedily, in the good way;
Canada got a Godfrey's-cordial Constitution; and for the moment all was
varnished into some kind of feasibility again. A most poor feasibility;
momentary, not lasting, nor like to be of profit to Canada! For this
year, the Canadian most constitutional Parliament, such a congeries
of persons as one can imagine, decides that the aforesaid flame of
rebellion shall not only be forgotten as per bargain, but that--the
loyal population, who flung their lives upon it and quenched it in the
nick of time, shall pay the rebels their damages! Of this, I believe,
on sadly conclusive evidence, there is no doubt whatever. Such, when you
wash off the constitutional pigments, is the Death's-head that discloses
itself. I can only say, if all the Parliaments in the world were to
vote that such a thing was just, I should feel painfully constrained to
answer, at my peril, "No, by the Eternal, never!" And I would recommend
any British Governor who might come across that Business, there or here,
to overhaul it again. What the meaning of a Governor, if he is not
to overhaul and control such things, may be, I cannot conjecture. A
Canadian Lumber-log may as well be made Governor. _He_ might have
some cast-metal hand or shoulder-crank (a thing easily contrivable in
Birmingham) for signing his name to Acts of the Colonial Parliament; he
would be a "native of the country" too, with popularity on that score if
on no other;--he is your man, if you really want a Log Governor!--

I perceive therefore that, besides choosing Parliaments never so well,
the New Colonial Office will have another thing to do: Contrive to send
out a new kind of Governors to the Colonies. This will be the mainspring
of the business; without this the business will not go at all. An
experienced, wise and valiant British man, to represent the Imperial
Interest; he, with such a speaking or silent Collective Wisdom as he can
gather round him in the Colony, will evidently be the condition of all
good between the Mother Country and it. If you can find such a man, your
point is gained; if you cannot, lost. By him and his Collective Wisdom
all manner of _true_ relations, mutual interests and duties such as they
do exist in fact between Mother Country and Colony, can be gradually
developed into practical methods and results; and all manner of true and
noble successes, and veracities in the way of governing, be won.
Choose well your Governor;--not from this or that poor section of the
Aristocracy, military, naval, or red-tapist; wherever there are born
kings of men, you had better seek them out, and breed them to this work.
All sections of the British Population will be open to you: and, on the
whole, you must succeed in finding a man _fit_. And having found him, I
would farther recommend you to keep him some time! It would be a great
improvement to end this present nomadism of Colonial Governors. Give
your Governor due power; and let him know withal that he is wedded to
his enterprise, and having once well learned it, shall continue with it;
that it is not a Canadian Lumber-log you want there, to tumble upon
the vertexes and sign its name by a Birmingham shoulder-crank, but
a Governor of Men; who, you mean, shall fairly gird himself to his
enterprise, and fail with it and conquer with it, and as it were live
and die with it: he will have much to learn; and having once learned it,
will stay, and turn his knowledge to account.

From this kind of Governor, were you once in the way of finding him
with moderate certainty, from him and his Collective Wisdom, all good
whatsoever might be anticipated. And surely, were the Colonies
once enfranchised from red-tape, and the poor Mother Country once
enfranchised from it; were our idle Seventy-fours all busy carrying
out streams of British Industrials, and those Scoundrel Regiments all
working, under divine drill-sergeants, at the grand Atlantic and Pacific
Junction Railway,--poor Britain and her poor Colonies might find that
they _had_ true relations to each other: that the Imperial _Mother_ and
her constitutionally obedient Daughters were not a red-tape fiction,
provoking bitter mockery as at present, but a blessed God's-Fact
destined to fill half the world with its fruits one day!

But undoubtedly our grand primary concern is the Home Office, and its
Irish Giant named of Despair. When the Home Office begins dealing with
this Irish Giant, which it is vitally urgent for us the Home Office
should straightway do, it will find its duties enlarged to a most
unexpected extent, and, as it were, altered from top to bottom. A
changed time now when the question is, What to do with three millions
of paupers (come upon you for food, since you have no work for them)
increasing at a frightful rate per day? Home Office, Parliament, King,
Constitution will find that they have now, if they will continue in this
world long, got a quite immense new question and continually recurring
set of questions. That huge question of the Irish Giant with his Scotch
and English Giant-Progeny advancing open-mouthed upon us, will, as I
calculate, change from top to bottom not the Home Office only but
all manner of Offices and Institutions whatsoever, and gradually the
structure of Society itself. I perceive, it will make us a new Society,
if we are to continue a Society at all. For the alternative is not, Stay
where we are, or change? But Change, with new wise effort fit for the
new time, to true and wider nobler National Life; or Change, by indolent
folding of the arms, as we are now doing, in horrible anarchies and
convulsions to Dissolution, to National Death, or Suspended-animation?
Suspended-animation itself is a frightful possibility for Britain: this
Anarchy whither all Europe has preceded us, where all Europe is now
weltering, would suit us as ill as any! The question for the British
Nation is: Can we work our course pacifically, on firm land, into the
New Era; or must it be, for us too, as for all the others, through black
abysses of Anarchy, hardly escaping, if we do with all our struggles
escape, the jaws of eternal Death?

For Pauperism, though it now absorbs its high figure of millions
annually, is by no means a question of money only, but of infinitely
higher and greater than all conceivable money. If our Chancellor of the
Exchequer had a Fortunatus' purse, and miraculous sacks of Indian meal
that would stand scooping from forever,--I say, even on these terms
Pauperism could not be endured; and it would vitally concern all British
Citizens to abate Pauperism, and never rest till they had ended it
again. Pauperism is the general leakage through every joint of the ship
that it is rotten. Were all men doing their duty, or even seriously
trying to do it, there would be no Pauper. Were the pretended Captains
of the world at all in the habit of commanding; were the pretended
Teachers of the world at all in the habit of teaching,--of admonishing
said Captains among others, and with sacred zeal apprising them to what
place such neglect was leading,--how could Pauperism exist? Pauperism
would lie far over the horizon; we should be lamenting and denouncing
quite inferior sins of men, which were only tending afar off towards
Pauperism. A true Captaincy; a true Teachership, either making all men
and Captains know and devoutly recognize the eternal law of things, or
else breaking its own heart, and going about with sackcloth round its
loins, in testimony of continual sorrow and protest, and prophecy of
God's vengeance upon such a course of things: either of these divine
equipments would have saved us; and it is because we have neither of
them that we are come to such a pass!

We may depend upon it, where there is a Pauper, there is a sin; to
make one Pauper there go many sins. Pauperism is our Social Sin grown
manifest; developed from the state of a spiritual ignobleness, a
practical impropriety and base oblivion of duty, to an affair of the
ledger. Here is not now an unheeded sin against God; here is a concrete
ugly bulk of Beggary demanding that you should buy Indian meal for it.
Men of reflection have long looked with a horror for which there was no
response in the idle public, upon Pauperism; but the quantity of meal it
demands has now awakened men of no reflection to consider it. Pauperism
is the poisonous dripping from all the sins, and putrid unveracities and
god-forgetting greedinesses and devil-serving cants and jesuitisms, that
exist among us. Not one idle Sham lounging about Creation upon false
pretences, upon means which he has not earned, upon theories which he
does not practise, but yields his share of Pauperism somewhere or
other. His sham-work oozes down; finds at last its issue as human
Pauperism,--in a human being that by those false pretences cannot live.
The Idle Workhouse, now about to burst of overfilling, what is it
but the scandalous poison-tank of drainage from the universal Stygian
quagmire of our affairs? Workhouse Paupers; immortal sons of Adam rotted
into that scandalous condition, subter-slavish, demanding that you would
make slaves of them as an unattainable blessing! My friends, I perceive
the quagmire must be drained, or we cannot live. And farther, I
perceive, this of Pauperism is the corner where we must _begin_,--the
levels all pointing thitherward, the possibilities lying all clearly
there. On that Problem we shall find that innumerable things, that all
things whatsoever hang. By courageous steadfast persistence in that, I
can foresee Society itself regenerated. In the course of long strenuous
centuries, I can see the State become what it is actually bound to be,
the keystone of a most real "Organization of Labor,"--and on this Earth
a world of some veracity, and some heroism, once more worth living in!

The State in all European countries, and in England first of all, as I
hope, will discover that its functions are now, and have long been, very
wide of what the State in old pedant Downing Streets has aimed at;
that the State is, for the present, not a reality but in great part a
dramatic speciosity, expending its strength in practices and objects
fallen many of them quite obsolete; that it must come a little nearer
the true aim again, or it cannot continue in this world. The "Champion
of England" eased in iron or tin, and "able to mount his horse with
little assistance,"--this Champion and the thousand-fold cousinry of
Phantasms he has, nearly all dead now but still walking as ghosts,
must positively take himself away: who can endure him, and his solemn
trumpetings and obsolete gesticulations, in a Time that is full of
deadly realities, coming open-mouthed upon us? At Drury Lane, let him
play his part, him and his thousand-fold cousinry; and welcome, so long
as any public will pay a shilling to see him: but on the solid earth,
under the extremely earnest stars, we dare not palter with him, or
accept his tomfooleries any more. Ridiculous they seem to some; horrible
they seem to me: all lies, if one look whence they come and whither they
go, are horrible.

Alas, it will be found, I doubt, that in England more than in any
country, our Public Life and our Private, our State and our Religion,
and all that we do and speak (and the most even of what we _think_),
is a tissue of half-truths and whole-lies; of hypocrisies,
conventionalisms, worn-out traditionary rags and cobwebs; such a
life-garment of beggarly incredible and uncredited falsities as no
honest souls of Adam's Posterity were ever enveloped in before. And we
walk about in it with a stately gesture, as if it were some priestly
stole or imperial mantle; not the foulest beggar's gabardine that ever
was. "No Englishman dare believe the truth," says one: "he stands, for
these two hundred years, enveloped in lies of every kind; from nadir to
zenith an ocean of traditionary cant surrounds him as his life-element.
He really thinks the truth dangerous. Poor wretch, you see him
everywhere endeavoring to temper the truth by taking the falsity
along with it, and welding them together; this he calls 'safe course,'
'moderate course,' and other fine names; there, balanced between God and
the Devil, he thinks he _can_ serve two masters, and that things will go
well with him."

In the cotton-spinning and similar departments our English friend
knows well that truth or God will have nothing to do with the Devil or
falsehood, but will ravel all the web to pieces if you introduce
the Devil or Non-veracity in any form into it: in this department,
therefore, our English friend avoids falsehood. But in the religious,
political, social, moral, and all other spiritual departments he freely
introduces falsehood, nothing doubting; and has long done so, with a
profuseness not elsewhere met with in the world. The unhappy creature,
does he not know, then, that every lie is accursed, and the parent of
mere curses? That he must _think_ the truth; much more speak it? That,
above all things, by the oldest law of Heaven and Earth which no man
violates with impunity, he must not and shall not wag the tongue of
him except to utter his thought? That there is not a grin or beautiful
acceptable grimace he can execute upon his poor countenance, but is
either an express veracity, the image of what passes within him; or else
is a bit of Devil-worship which he and the rest of us will have to pay
for yet? Alas, the grins he executes upon his poor _mind_ (which is all
tortured into St. Vitus dances, and ghastly merry-andrewisms, by the
practice) are the most extraordinary this sun ever saw.

We have Puseyisms, black-and-white surplice controversies:--do not,
officially and otherwise, the select of the longest heads in England
sit with intense application and iron gravity, in open forum, judging of
"prevenient grace"? Not a head of them suspects that it can be improper
so to sit, or of the nature of treason against the Power who gave an
Intellect to man;--that it can be other than the duty of a good citizen
to use his god-given intellect in investigating prevenient grace,
supervenient moonshine, or the color of the Bishop's nightmare, if that
happened to turn up. I consider them far ahead of Cicero's Roman Augurs
with their chicken-bowels: "Behold these divine chicken-bowels, O Senate
and Roman People; the midriff has fallen eastward!" solemnly intimates
one Augur. "By Proserpina and the triple Hecate!" exclaims the other,
"I say the midriff has fallen to the west!" And they look at one another
with the seriousness of men prepared to die in their opinion,--the
authentic seriousness of men betting at Tattersall's, or about to
receive judgment in Chancery. There is in the Englishman something
great, beyond all Roman greatness, in whatever line you meet him; even
as a Latter-Day Augur he seeks his fellow!--Poor devil, I believe it is
his intense love of peace, and hatred of breeding discussions which lead
no-whither, that has led him into this sad practice of amalgamating true
and false.

He has been at it these two hundred years; and has now carried it to a
terrible length. He couldn't follow Oliver Cromwell in the Puritan
path heavenward, so steep was it, and beset with thorns,--and becoming
uncertain withal. He much preferred, at that juncture, to go heavenward
with his Charles Second and merry Nell Gwynns, and old decent
formularies and good respectable aristocratic company, for escort; sore
he tried, by glorious restorations, glorious revolutions and so
forth, to perfect this desirable amalgam; hoped always it might be
possible;--is only just now, if even now, beginning to give up the
hope; and to see with wide-eyed horror that it is not at Heaven he
is arriving, but at the Stygian marshes, with their thirty thousand
Needlewomen, cannibal Connaughts, rivers of lamentation, continual wail
of infants, and the yellow-burning gleam of a Hell-on-Earth!--Bull, my
friend, you must strip that astonishing pontiff-stole, imperial mantle,
or whatever you imagine it to be, which I discern to be a garment of
curses, and poisoned Nessus'-shirt now at last about to take fire upon
you; you must strip that off your poor body, my friend; and, were it
only in a soul's suit of Utilitarian buff, and such belief as that a
big loaf is better than a small one, come forth into contact with your
world, under _true_ professions again, and not false. You wretched man,
you ought to weep for half a century on discovering what lies you have
believed, and what every lie leads to and proceeds from. O my friend, no
honest fellow in this Planet was ever so served by his cooks before; or
has eaten such quantities and qualities of dirt as you have been made
to do, for these two centuries past. Arise, my horribly maltreated yet
still beloved Bull; steep yourself in running water for a long while, my
friend; and begin forthwith in every conceivable direction, physical and
spiritual, the long-expected _Scavenger Age_.

Many doctors have you had, my poor friend; but I perceive it is the
Water-Cure alone that will help you: a complete course of _scavengerism_
is the thing you need! A new and veritable heart-divorce of England from
the Babylonish woman, who is Jesuitism and Unveracity, and dwells not
at Rome now, but under your own nose and everywhere; whom, and her foul
worship of Phantasms and Devils, poor England _had_ once divorced, with
a divine heroism not forgotten yet, and well worth remembering now: a
 Phantasms which have too long nestled thick there, under those
astonishing "Defenders of the Faith,"--Defenders of the Hypocrisies, the
spiritual Vampires and obscene Nightmares, under which England lies in
syncope;--this is what you need; and if you cannot get it, you must die,
my poor friend!

Like people, like priest. Priest, King, Home Office, all manner of
establishments and offices among a people bear a striking resemblance to
the people itself. It is because Bull has been eating so much dirt that
his Home Offices have got into such a shockingly dirty condition,--the
old pavements of them quite gone out of sight and out of memory, and
nothing but mountains of long-accumulated dung in which the poor cattle
are sprawling and tumbling. Had his own life been pure, had his own
daily conduct been grounding itself on the clear pavements or actual
beliefs and veracities, would he have let his Home Offices come to such
a pass? Not in Downing Street only, but in all other thoroughfares and
arenas and spiritual or physical departments of his existence, running
water and Herculean scavengerism have become indispensable, unless the
poor man is to choke in his own exuviae, and die the sorrowfulest death.

If the State could once get back to the real sight of its essential
function, and with religious resolution begin doing that, and putting
away its multifarious imaginary functions, and indignantly casting out
these as mere dung and insalubrious horror and abomination (which they
are), what a promise of reform were there! The British Home Office,
surely this and its kindred Offices exist, if they will think of it,
that life and work may continue possible, and may not become impossible,
for British men. If honorable existence, or existence on human terms
at all, have become impossible for millions of British men, how can
the Home Office or any other Office long exist? With thirty thousand
Needlewomen, a Connaught fallen into potential cannibalism, and the Idle
Workhouse everywhere bursting, and declaring itself an inhumanity and
stupid ruinous brutality not much longer to be tolerated among rational
human creatures, it is time the State were bethinking itself.

So soon as the State attacks that tremendous cloaca of Pauperism, which
will choke the world if it be not attacked, the State will find its real
functions very different indeed from what it had long supposed them!
The State is a reality, and not a dramaturgy; it exists here to render
existence possible, existence desirable and noble, for the State's
subjects. The State, as it gets into the track of its real work, will
find that same expand into whole continents of new unexpected, most
blessed activity; as its dramatic functions, declared superfluous,
more and more fall inert, and go rushing like huge torrents of extinct
exuviae, dung and rubbish, down to the Abyss forever. O Heaven, to see
a State that knew a little why it was there, and on what ground, in this
Year 1850, it could pretend to exist, in so extremely earnest a world as
ours is growing! The British State, if it will be the crown and keystone
of our British Social Existence, must get to recognize, with a veracity
very long unknown to it, what the real objects and indispensable
necessities of our Social Existence are. Good Heavens, it is not
prevenient grace, or the color of the Bishop's nightmare, that is
pinching us; it is the impossibility to get along any farther for
mountains of accumulated dung and falsity and horror; the total
closing-up of noble aims from every man,--of any aim at all, from many
men, except that of rotting out in Idle Workhouses an existence below
that of beasts!

Suppose the State to have fairly started its "Industrial Regiments of
the New Era," which alas, are yet only beginning to be talked of,--what
continents of new real work opened out, for the Home and all other
Public Offices among us! Suppose the Home Office looking out, as for
life and salvation, for proper men to command these "Regiments." Suppose
the announcement were practically made to all British souls that the
want of wants, more indispensable than any jewel in the crown, was that
of men _able to command men_ in ways of industrial and moral well-doing;
that the State would give its very life for such men; that such men
_were_ the State; that the quantity of them to be found in England
lamentably small at present, was the exact measure of England's
worth,--what a new dawn of everlasting day for all British souls! Noble
British soul, to whom the gods have given faculty and heroism, what men
call genius, here at last is a career for thee. It will not be needful
now to swear fealty to the Incredible, and traitorously cramp thyself
into a cowardly canting play-actor in God's Universe; or, solemnly
forswearing that, into a mutinous rebel and waste bandit in thy
generation: here is an aim that is clear and credible, a course fit
for a man. No need to become a tormenting and self-tormenting mutineer,
banded with rebellious souls, if thou wouldst live; no need to rot in
suicidal idleness; or take to platform preaching, and writing in Radical
Newspapers, to pull asunder the great Falsity in which thou and all of
us are choking. The great Falsity, behold it has become, in the very
heart of it, a great Truth of Truths; and invites thee and all brave men
to cooperate with it in transforming all the body and the joints into
the noble likeness of that heart! Thrice-blessed change. The State aims,
once more, with a true aim; and has loadstars in the eternal Heaven.
Struggle faithfully for it; noble is _this_ struggle; thou too,
according to thy faculty, shalt reap in due time, if thou faint not.
Thou shalt have a wise command of men, thou shalt be wisely commanded by
men,--the summary of all blessedness for a social creature here below.
The sore struggle, never to be relaxed, and not forgiven to any son of
man, is once more a noble one; glory to the Highest, it is now once more
a true and noble one, wherein a man can afford to die! Our path is now
again Heavenward. Forward, with steady pace, with drawn weapons, and
unconquerable hearts, in the name of God that made us all!--

Wise obedience and wise command, I foresee that the regimenting of
Pauper Banditti into Soldiers of Industry is but the beginning of
this blessed process, which will extend to the topmost heights of our
Society; and, in the course of generations, make us all once more a
Governed Commonwealth, and _Civitas Dei_, if it please God! Waste-land
Industrials succeeding, other kinds of Industry, as cloth-making,
shoe-making, plough-making, spade-making, house-building,--in the end,
all kinds of Industry whatsoever, will be found capable of regimenting.
Mill-operatives, all manner of free operatives, as yet unregimented,
nomadic under private masters, they, seeing such example and its
blessedness, will say: "Masters, you must regiment us a little; make our
interests with you permanent a little, instead of temporary and nomadic;
we will enlist with the State otherwise!" This will go on, on the one
hand, while the State-operation goes on, on the other: thus will
all Masters of Workmen, private Captains of Industry, be forced to
incessantly co-operate with the State and its public Captains; they
regimenting in their way, the State in its way, with ever-widening
field; till their fields _meet_ (so to speak) and coalesce, and there be
no unregimented worker, or such only as are fit to remain unregimented,
any more.--O my friends, I clearly perceive this horrible cloaca of
Pauperism, wearing nearly bottomless now, is the point where we
must begin. Here, in this plainly unendurable portion of the general
quagmire, the lowest point of all, and hateful even to M'Croudy, must
our main drain begin: steadily prosecuting that, tearing that along with
Herculean labor and divine fidelity, we shall gradually drain the entire
Stygian swamp, and make it all once more a fruitful field!

For the State, I perceive, looking out with right sacred earnestness for
persons able to command, will straightway also come upon the question:
"What kind of schools and seminaries, and teaching and also preaching
establishments have I, for the training of young souls to take command
and to yield obedience? Wise command, wise obedience: the capability of
these two is the net measure of culture, and human virtue, in every man;
all good lies in the possession of these two capabilities; all evil,
wretchedness and ill-success in the want of these. He is a good man that
can command and obey; he that cannot is a bad. If my teachers and my
preachers, with their seminaries, high schools and cathedrals, do train
men to these gifts, the thing they are teaching and preaching must be
true; if they do not, not true!"

The State, once brought to its veracities by the thumb-screw in this
manner, what will it think of these same seminaries and cathedrals!
I foresee that our Etons and Oxfords with their nonsense-verses,
college-logics, and broken crumbs of mere _speech_,--which is not even
English or Teutonic speech, but old Grecian and Italian speech, dead
and buried and much lying out of our way these two thousand years last
past,--will be found a most astonishing seminary for the training of
young English souls to take command in human Industries, and act a
valiant part under the sun! The State does not want vocables, but manly
wisdoms and virtues: the State, does it want parliamentary orators,
first of all, and men capable of writing books? What a rag-fair of
extinct monkeries, high-piled here in the very shrine of our existence,
fit to smite the generations with atrophy and beggarly paralysis,--as we
see it do! The Minister of Education will not want for work, I think, in
the New Downing Street!

How it will go with Souls'-Overseers, and what the _new_ kind will be,
we do not prophesy just now. Clear it is, however, that the last finish
of the State's efforts, in this operation of regimenting, will be to get
the _true_ Souls'-Overseers set over men's souls, to regiment, as the
consummate flower of all, and constitute into some Sacred Corporation,
bearing authority and dignity in their generation, the Chosen of the
Wise, of the Spiritual and Devout-minded, the Reverent who deserve
reverence, who are as the Salt of the Earth;--that not till this is done
can the State consider its edifice to have reached the first story, to
be safe for a moment, to be other than an arch without the keystones,
and supported hitherto on mere wood. How will this be done? Ask not; let
the second or the third generation after this begin to ask!--Alas, wise
men do exist, born duly into the world in every current generation; but
the getting of _them_ regimented is the highest pitch of human Polity,
and the feat of all feats in political engineering:--impossible for us,
in this poor age, as the building of St. Paul's would be for Canadian
Beavers, acquainted only with the architecture of fish-dams, and with no
trowel but their tail.

Literature, the strange entity so called,--that indeed is here. If
Literature continue to be the haven of expatriated spiritualisms, and
have its Johnsons, Goethes and _true_ Archbishops of the World, to show
for itself as heretofore, there may be hope in Literature. If Literature
dwindle, as is probable, into mere merry-andrewism, windy twaddle,
and feats of spiritual legerdemain, analogous to rope-dancing,
opera-dancing, and street-fiddling with a hat carried round for
halfpence, or for guineas, there will be no hope in Literature. What
if our next set of Souls'-Overseers were to be _silent_ ones very
mainly?--Alas, alas, why gaze into the blessed continents and delectable
mountains of a Future based on _truth_, while as yet we struggle far
down, nigh suffocated in a slough of lies, uncertain whether or how we
shall be able to climb at all!

Who will begin the long steep journey with us; who of living statesmen
will snatch the standard, and say, like a hero on the forlorn-hope for
his country, Forward! Or is there none; no one that can and dare? And
our lot too, then, is Anarchy by barricade or ballot-box, and Social
Death?--We will not think so.

Whether Sir Robert Peel will undertake the Reform of Downing Street for
us, or any Ministry or Reform farther, is not known. He, they say, is
getting old, does himself recoil from it, and shudder at it; which is
possible enough. The clubs and coteries appear to have settled that
he surely will not; that this melancholy wriggling seesaw of red-tape
Trojans and Protectionist Greeks must continue its course till--what
_can_ happen, my friends, if this go on continuing?

And yet, perhaps, England has by no means so settled it. Quit the clubs
and coteries, you do not hear two rational men speak long together upon
politics, without pointing their inquiries towards this man. A Minister
that will attack the Augeas Stable of Downing Street, and begin
producing a real Management, no longer an imaginary one, of our affairs;
_he_, or else in few years Chartist Parliament and the Deluge come: that
seems the alternative. As I read the omens, there was no man in my time
more authentically called to a post of difficulty, of danger, and of
honor than this man. The enterprise is ready for him, if he is ready for
it. He has but to lift his finger in this enterprise, and whatsoever
is wise and manful in England will rally round him. If the faculty and
heart for it be in him, he, strangely and almost tragically if we look
upon his history, is to have leave to try it; he now, at the eleventh
hour, has the opportunity for such a feat in reform as has not, in these
late generations, been attempted by all our reformers put together.

As for Protectionist jargon, who in these earnest days would occupy many
moments of his time with that? "A Costermonger in this street," says
Crabbe, "finding lately that his rope of onions, which he hoped would
have brought a shilling, was to go for only sevenpence henceforth, burst
forth into lamentation, execration and the most pathetic tears. Throwing
up the window, I perceived the other costermongers preparing impatiently
to pack this one out of their company as a disgrace to it, if he would
not hold his peace and take the market-rate for his onions. I
looked better at this Costermonger. To my astonished imagination, a
star-and-garter dawned upon the dim figure of the man; and I perceived
that here was no Costermonger to be expelled with ignominy, but a
sublime goddess-born Ducal Individual, whom I forbear to name at this
moment! What an omen;--nay to my astonished imagination, there dawned
still fataler omens. Surely, of all human trades ever heard of, the
trade of Owning Land in England ought _not_ to bully us for drink--money
just now!"

"Hansard's Debates," continues Crabbe farther on, "present many
inconsistencies of speech; lamentable unveracities uttered in
Parliament, by one and indeed by all; in which sad list Sir Robert Peel
stands for his share among others. Unveracities not a few were spoken in
Parliament: in fact, to one with a sense of what is called God's truth,
it seemed all one unveracity, a talking from the teeth outward, not as
the convictions but as the expediencies and inward astucities directed;
and, in the sense of God's _truth_, I have heard no true word uttered in
Parliament at all. Most lamentable unveracities continually _spoken_ in
Parliament, by almost every one that had to open his mouth there. But
the largest veracity ever _done_ in Parliament in our time, as we all
know, was of this man's doing;--and that, you will find, is a very
considerable item in the calculation!"

Yes, and I believe England in her dumb way remembers that too. And
"the Traitor Peel" can very well afford to let innumerable Ducal
Costermongers, parliamentary Adventurers, and lineal representatives of
the Impenitent Thief, say all their say about him, and do all their do.
With a virtual England at his back, and an actual eternal sky above him,
there is not much in the total net-amount of that. When the master of
the horse rides abroad, many dogs in the village bark; but he pursues
his journey all the same.

No. V. STUMP-ORATOR. [May 1, 1850.]

It lies deep in our habits, confirmed by all manner of educational and
other arrangements for several centuries back, to consider human talent
as best of all evincing itself by the faculty of eloquent speech. Our
earliest schoolmasters teach us, as the one gift of culture they have,
the art of spelling and pronouncing, the rules of correct speech;
rhetorics, logics follow, sublime mysteries of grammar, whereby we may
not only speak but write. And onward to the last of our schoolmasters in
the highest university, it is still intrinsically grammar, under various
figures grammar. To speak in various languages, on various things, but
on all of them to speak, and appropriately deliver ourselves by tongue
or pen,--this is the sublime goal towards which all manner of beneficent
preceptors and learned professors, from the lowest hornbook upwards, are
continually urging and guiding us. Preceptor or professor, looking over
his miraculous seedplot, seminary as he well calls it, or crop of young
human souls, watches with attentive view one organ of his delightful
little seedlings growing to be men,--the tongue. He hopes we shall
all get to speak yet, if it please Heaven. "Some of you shall be
book-writers, eloquent review-writers, and astonish mankind, my young
friends: others in white neckcloths shall do sermons by Blair and
Lindley Murray, nay by Jeremy Taylor and judicious Hooker, and be
priests to guide men heavenward by skilfully brandished handkerchief and
the torch of rhetoric. For others there is Parliament and the election
beer-barrel, and a course that leads men very high indeed; these shall
shake the senate-house, the Morning Newspapers, shake the very spheres,
and by dexterous wagging of the tongue disenthrall mankind, and lead our
afflicted country and us on the way we are to go. The way if not where
noble deeds are done, yet where noble words are spoken,--leading us if
not to the real Home of the Gods, at least to something which shall more
or less deceptively resemble it!"

So fares it with the son of Adam, in these bewildered epochs; so, from
the first opening of his eyes in this world, to his last closing of
them, and departure hence. Speak, speak, oh speak;--if thou have
any faculty, speak it, or thou diest and it is no faculty! So in
universities, and all manner of dames' and other schools, of the very
highest class as of the very lowest; and Society at large, when we
enter there, confirms with all its brilliant review-articles, successful
publications, intellectual tea-circles, literary gazettes, parliamentary
eloquences, the grand lesson we had. Other lesson in fact we have none,
in these times. If there be a human talent, let it get into the tongue,
and make melody with that organ. The talent that can say nothing for
itself, what is it? Nothing; or a thing that can do mere drudgeries, and
at best make money by railways.

All this is deep-rooted in our habits, in our social, educational and
other arrangements; and all this, when we look at it impartially, is
astonishing. Directly in the teeth of all this it may be asserted that
speaking is by no means the chief faculty a human being can attain to;
that his excellence therein is by no means the best test of his general
human excellence, or availability in this world; nay that, unless we
look well, it is liable to become the very worst test ever devised for
said availability. The matter extends very far, down to the very roots
of the world, whither the British reader cannot conveniently follow me
just now; but I will venture to assert the three following things, and
invite him to consider well what truth he can gradually find in them:--

First, that excellent speech, even speech _really_ excellent, is not,
and never was, the chief test of human faculty, or the measure of a
man's ability, for any true function whatsoever; on the contrary, that
excellent _silence_ needed always to accompany excellent speech, and was
and is a much rarer and more difficult gift.

_Secondly_, that really excellent speech--which I, being possessed
of the Hebrew Bible or Book, as well as of other books in my own and
foreign languages, and having occasionally heard a wise man's word among
the crowd of unwise, do almost unspeakably esteem, as a human gift--is
terribly apt to get confounded with its counterfeit, sham-excellent
speech! And furthermore, that if really excellent human speech is among
the best of human things, then sham-excellent ditto deserves to be
ranked with the very worst. False speech,--capable of becoming, as some
one has said, the falsest and basest of all human things:--put the case,
one were listening to _that_ as to the truest and noblest! Which, little
as we are conscious of it, I take to be the sad lot of many excellent
souls among us just now. So many as admire parliamentary eloquence,
divine popular literature, and such like, are dreadfully liable to
it just now: and whole nations and generations seem as if getting
themselves _asphyxiaed_, constitutionally into their last sleep, by
means of it just now!

For alas, much as we worship speech on all hands, here is a _third_
assertion which a man may venture to make, and invite considerate men
to reflect upon: That in these times, and for several generations back,
there has been, strictly considered, no really excellent speech at all,
but sham-excellent merely; that is to say, false or quasi-false
speech getting itself admired and worshipped, instead of detested and
suppressed. A truly alarming predicament; and not the less so if we find
it a quite pleasant one for the time being, and welcome the advent of
asphyxia, as we would that of comfortable natural sleep;--as, in so
many senses, we are doing! Surly judges there have been who did not much
admire the "Bible of Modern Literature," or anything you could distil
from it, in contrast with the ancient Bibles; and found that in the
matter of speaking, our far best excellence, where that could be
obtained, was excellent silence, which means endurance and exertion, and
good work with lips closed; and that our tolerablest speech was of the
nature of honest commonplace introduced where indispensable, which
only set up for being brief and true, and could not be mistaken for

These are hard sayings for many a British reader, unconscious of any
damage, nay joyfully conscious to himself of much profit, from that side
of his possessions. Surely on this side, if on no other, matters stood
not ill with him? The ingenuous arts had softened his manners; the
parliamentary eloquences supplied him with a succedaneum for government,
the popular literatures with the finer sensibilities of the heart:
surely on this _wind_ward side of things the British reader was not ill
off?--Unhappy British reader!

In fact, the spiritual detriment we unconsciously suffer, in every
province of our affairs, from this our prostrate respect to power of
speech is incalculable. For indeed it is the natural consummation of
an epoch such as ours. Given a general insincerity of mind for several
generations, you will certainly find the Talker established in the
place of honor; and the Doer, hidden in the obscure crowd, with activity
lamed, or working sorrowfully forward on paths unworthy of him. All
men are devoutly prostrate, worshipping the eloquent talker; and no man
knows what a scandalous idol he is. Out of whom in the mildest
manner, like comfortable natural rest, comes mere asphyxia and death
everlasting! Probably there is not in Nature a more distracted phantasm
than your commonplace eloquent speaker, as he is found on platforms,
in parliaments, on Kentucky stumps, at tavern-dinners, in windy, empty,
insincere times like ours. The "excellent Stump-orator," as our admiring
Yankee friends define him, he who in any occurrent set of circumstances
can start forth, mount upon his "stump," his rostrum, tribune, place
in parliament, or other ready elevation, and pour forth from him
his appropriate "excellent speech," his interpretation of the said
circumstances, in such manner as poor windy mortals round him shall cry
bravo to,--he is not an artist I can much admire, as matters go! Alas,
he is in general merely the windiest mortal of them all; and is admired
for being so, into the bargain. Not a windy blockhead there who kept
silent but is better off than this excellent stump-orator. Better off,
for a great many reasons; for this reason, were there no other: the
silent one is not admired; the silent suspects, perhaps partly admits,
that he is a kind of blockhead, from which salutary self-knowledge
the excellent stump-orator is debarred. A mouthpiece of Chaos to poor
benighted mortals that lend ear to him as to a voice from Cosmos, this
excellent stump-orator fills me with amazement. Not empty these musical
wind-utterances of his; they are big with prophecy; they announce, too
audibly to me, that the end of many things is drawing nigh!

Let the British reader consider it a little; he too is not a little
interested in it. Nay he, and the European reader in general, but he
chiefly in these days, will require to consider it a great deal,--and to
take important steps in consequence by and by, if I mistake not. And in
the mean while, sunk as he himself is in that bad element, and like a
jaundiced man struggling to discriminate yellow colors,--he will have to
meditate long before he in any measure get the immense meanings of the
thing brought home to him; and discern, with astonishment, alarm, and
almost terror and despair, towards what fatal issues, in our Collective
Wisdom and elsewhere, this notion of talent meaning eloquent speech, so
obstinately entertained this long while, has been leading us! Whosoever
shall look well into origins and issues, will find this of eloquence
and the part it now plays in our affairs, to be one of the gravest
phenomena; and the excellent stump-orator of these days to be not only
a ridiculous but still more a highly tragical personage. While the
many listen to him, the few are used to pass rapidly, with some gust of
scornful laughter, some growl of impatient malediction; but he deserves
from this latter class a much more serious attention.

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

As for the Priest, though his trade was clearly of a reading and
speaking nature, he 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

The young Noble again, for whom grammar schoolmasters were first hired
and high seminaries founded, he too without these, or above and over
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 banknote producible on demand
for what of "gold-bullion" he had, 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 had 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
sign-_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 such like, how did he differ
much from the dancing-master 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 of an inward capital of culture, of insight and
noble human worth, then speech is precious, and the art of speech shall
be honored. 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? Alas, 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 forever so. In
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 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 thou, poor
dupe, art thrown into the stocks on offering it here!"

Alas, alas, looking abroad over Irish difficulties, Mosaic
sweating-establishments, French barricades, and an anarchic Europe, is
it not as if all the populations of the world were rising or had risen
into incendiary madness;--unable longer to endure such an avalanche
of forgeries, and of penalties in consequence, as had accumulated upon
them? The speaker is "excellent;" the notes he does are beautiful?
Beautifully fit for the market, yes; _he_ is an excellent artist in his
business;--and the more excellent he is, the more is my desire to lay
him by the heels, and fling _him_ into the treadmill, that I might save
the poor sweating tailors, French Sansculottes, and Irish Sanspotatoes
from bearing the smart!

For the smart must be borne; some one must bear it, as sure as God
lives. Every word of man is either a note or a forged note:--have these
eternal skies forgotten to be in earnest, think you, because men go
grinning like enchanted apes? Foolish souls, this now as of old is the
unalterable law of your existence. If you know the truth and do it,
the Universe itself seconds you, bears you on to sure victory
everywhere:--and, observe, to sure defeat everywhere if you do not
do the truth. And alas, if you _know_ only the eloquent fallacious
semblance of the truth, what chance is there of your ever doing it?
You will do something very different from it, I think!--He who well
considers, will find this same "art of speech," as we moderns have
it, to be a truly astonishing product of the Ages; and the longer he
considers it, the more astonishing and alarming. I reckon it the saddest
of all the curses that now lie heavy on us. With horror and amazement,
one perceives that this much-celebrated "art," so diligently practised
in all corners of the world just now, is the chief destroyer of whatever
good is born to us (softly, swiftly shutting up all nascent good, as if
under exhausted glass receivers, there to choke and die); and the grand
parent manufactory of evil to us,--as it were, the last finishing and
varnishing workshop of all the Devil's ware that circulates under the
sun. No Devil's sham is fit for the market till it have been polished
and enamelled here; this is the general assaying-house for such, where
the artists examine and answer, "Fit for the market; not fit!" Words
will not express what mischiefs the misuse of words has done, and is
doing, in these heavy-laden generations.

Do you want a man _not_ to practise what he believes, then encourage
him to keep often speaking it in words. Every time he speaks it, the
tendency to do it will grow less. His empty speech of what he believes,
will be a weariness and an affliction to the wise man. But do you wish
his empty speech of what he believes, to become farther an insincere
speech of what he does not believe? Celebrate to him his gift of speech;
assure him that he shall rise in Parliament by means of it, and achieve
great things without any performance; that eloquent speech, whether
performed or not, is admirable. My friends, eloquent unperformed speech,
in Parliament or elsewhere, is horrible! The eloquent man that delivers,
in Parliament or elsewhere, a beautiful speech, and will perform nothing
of it, but leaves it as if already performed,--what can you make of that
man? He has enrolled himself among the _Ignes Fatui_ and Children of
the Wind; means to serve, as beautifully illuminated Chinese Lantern,
in that corps henceforth. I think, the serviceable thing you could do
to that man, if permissible, would be a severe one: To clip off a bit
of his eloquent tongue by way of penance and warning; another bit, if
he again spoke without performing; and so again, till you had clipt the
whole tongue away from him,--and were delivered, you and he, from at
least one miserable mockery: "There, eloquent friend, see now in silence
if there be any redeeming deed in thee; of blasphemous wind-eloquence,
at least, we shall have no more!" How many pretty men have gone this
road, escorted by the beautifulest marching music from all the "public
organs;" and have found at last that it ended--where? It is the _broad_
road, that leads direct to Limbo and the Kingdom of the Inane. Gifted
men, and once valiant nations, and as it were the whole world with one
accord, are marching thither, in melodious triumph, all the drums and
hautboys giving out their cheerfulest _Ca-ira_. It is the universal
humor of the world just now. My friends, I am very sure you will
_arrive_, unless you halt!--

Considered as the last finish of education, or of human culture, worth
and acquirement, the art of speech is noble, and even divine; it is
like the kindling of a Heaven's light to show us what a glorious world
exists, and has perfected itself, in a man. But if no world exist in the
man; if nothing but continents of empty vapor, of greedy self-conceits,
common-place hearsays, and indistinct loomings of a sordid _chaos_
exist in him, what will be the use of "light" to show us that? Better
a thousand times that such a man do not speak; but keep his empty
vapor and his sordid chaos to himself, hidden to the utmost from all
beholders. To look on that, can be good for no human beholder; to
look away from that, must be good. And if, by delusive semblances of
rhetoric, logic, first-class degrees, and the aid of elocution-masters
and parliamentary reporters, the poor proprietor of said chaos should
be led to persuade himself, and get others persuaded,--which it is the
nature of his sad task to do, and which, in certain eras of the world,
it is fatally possible to do,--that this is a cosmos which he owns; that
_he_, being so perfect in tongue-exercise and full of college-honors,
is an "educated" man, and pearl of great price in his generation; that
round him, and his parliament emulously listening to him, as round some
divine apple of gold set in a picture of silver, all the world should
gather to adore: what is likely to become of him and the gathering
world? An apple of Sodom set in the clusters of Gomorrah: that, little
as he suspects it, is the definition of the poor chaotically
eloquent man, with his emulous parliament and miserable adoring
world!--Considered as the whole of education, or human culture, which
it now is in our modern manners; all apprenticeship except to mere
handicraft having fallen obsolete, and the "educated man" being with us
emphatically and exclusively the man that can speak well with tongue
or pen, and astonish men by the quantities of speech he has _heard_
("tremendous _reader_," "walking encyclopaedia," and such like),--the
Art of Speech is probably definable in that case as the short summary of
all the Black Arts put together.

But the Schoolmaster is secondary, an effect rather than a cause in
this matter: what the Schoolmaster with his universities shall manage
or attempt to teach will be ruled by what the Society with its practical
industries is continually demanding that men should learn. We spoke once
of vital lungs for Society: and in fact this question always rises as
the alpha and omega of social questions, What methods the Society has of
summoning aloft into the high places, for its help and governance, the
wisdom that is born to it in all places, and of course is born chiefly
in the more populous or lower places? For this, if you will consider it,
expresses the ultimate available result, and net sum-total, of all the
efforts, struggles and confused activities that go on in the Society;
and determines whether they are true and wise efforts, certain to be
victorious, or false and foolish, certain to be futile, and to fall
captive and caitiff. How do men rise in your Society? In all Societies,
Turkey included, and I suppose Dahomey included, men do rise; but the
question of questions always is, What kind of men? Men of noble gifts,
or men of ignoble? It is the one or the other; and a life-and-death
inquiry which! For in all places and all times, little as you may heed
it, Nature most silently but most inexorably demands that it be the one
and not the other. And you need not try to palm an ignoble sham upon
her, and call it noble; for she is a judge. And her penalties, as quiet
as she looks, are terrible: amounting to world-earthquakes, to anarchy
and death everlasting; and admit of no appeal!--

Surely England still flatters herself that she has lungs; that she can
still breathe a little? Or is it that the poor creature, driven into
mere blind industrialisms; and as it were, gone pearl-diving this long
while many fathoms deep, and tearing up the oyster-beds so as never
creature did before, hardly knows,--so busy in the belly of the oyster
chaos, where is no thought of "breathing,"--whether she has lungs or
not? Nations of a robust habit, and fine deep chest, can sometimes take
in a deal of breath _before_ diving; and live long, in the muddy deeps,
without new breath: but they too come to need it at last, and will die
if they cannot get it!

To the gifted soul that is born in England, what is the career, then,
that will carry him, amid noble Olympic dust, up to the immortal gods?
For his country's sake, that it may not lose the service he was born
capable of doing it; for his own sake, that his life be not choked and
perverted, and his light from Heaven be not changed into lightning
from the Other Place,--it is essential that there be such a career. The
country that can offer no career in that case, is a doomed country; nay
it is already a dead country: it has secured the ban of Heaven upon it;
will not have Heaven's light, will have the Other Place's lightning; and
may consider itself as appointed to expire, in frightful coughings of
street musketry or otherwise, on a set day, and to be in the eye of law
dead. In no country is there not some career, inviting to it either the
noble Hero, or the tough Greek of the Lower Empire: which of the two do
your careers invite? There is no question more important. The kind of
careers you offer in countries still living, determines with perfect
exactness the kind of the life that is in them,--whether it is natural
blessed life, or galvanic accursed ditto, and likewise what degree of
strength is in the same.

Our English careers to born genius are twofold. There is the silent or
unlearned career of the Industrialisms, which are very many among us;
and there is the articulate or learned career of the three professions,
Medicine, Law (under which we may include Politics), and the Church.
Your born genius, therefore, will first have to ask himself, Whether he
can hold his tongue or cannot? True, all human talent, especially all
deep talent, is a talent to _do_, and is intrinsically of silent nature;
inaudible, like the Sphere Harmonies and Eternal Melodies, of which it
is an incarnated fraction. All real talent, I fancy, would much rather,
if it listened only to Nature's monitions, express itself in rhythmic
facts than in melodious words, which latter at best, where they are good
for anything, are only a feeble echo and shadow or foreshadow of the
former. But talents differ much in this of power to be silent; and
circumstances, of position, opportunity and such like, modify them
still more;--and Nature's monitions, oftenest quite drowned in foreign
hearsays, are by no means the only ones listened to in deciding!--The
Industrialisms are all of silent nature; and some of them are heroic
and eminently human; others, again, we may call unheroic, not eminently
human: _beaverish_ rather, but still honest; some are even _vulpine_,
altogether inhuman and dishonest. Your born genius must make his choice.

If a soul is born with divine intelligence, and has its lips touched
with hallowed fire, in consecration for high enterprises under the sun,
this young soul will find the question asked of him by England every
hour and moment: "Canst thou turn thy human intelligence into the beaver
sort, and make honest contrivance, and accumulation of capital by it? If
so, do it; and avoid the vulpine kind, which I don't recommend. Honest
triumphs in engineering and machinery await thee; scrip awaits
thee, commercial successes, kingship in the counting-room, on the
stock-exchange;--thou shalt be the envy of surrounding flunkies, and
collect into a heap more gold than a dray-horse can draw."--"Gold, so
much gold?" answers the ingenuous soul, with visions of the envy of
surrounding flunkies dawning on him; and in very many cases decides that
he will contract himself into beaverism, and with such a horse-draught
of gold, emblem of a never-imagined success in beaver heroism, strike
the surrounding flunkies yellow.

This is our common course; this is in some sort open to every creature,
what we call the beaver career; perhaps more open in England, taking in
America too, than it ever was in any country before. And, truly, good
consequences follow out of it: who can be blind to them? Half of a most
excellent and opulent result is realized to us in this way; baleful
only when it sets up (as too often now) for being the whole result. A
half-result which will be blessed and heavenly so soon as the other half
is had,--namely wisdom to guide the first half. Let us honor all honest
human power of contrivance in its degree. The beaver intellect, so
long as it steadfastly refuses to be vulpine, and answers the tempter
pointing out short routes to it with an honest "No, no," is truly
respectable to me; and many a highflying speaker and singer whom I have
known, has appeared to me much less of a developed man than certain
of my mill-owning, agricultural, commercial, mechanical, or otherwise
industrial friends, who have held their peace all their days and gone on
in the silent state. If a man can keep his intellect silent, and make it
even into honest beaverism, several very manful moralities, in danger
of wreck on other courses, may comport well with that, and give it a
genuine and partly human character; and I will tell him, in these days
he may do far worse with himself and his intellect than change it into
beaverism, and make honest money with it. If indeed he could become a
_heroic_ industrial, and have a life "eminently human"! But that is not
easy at present. Probably some ninety-nine out of every hundred of our
gifted souls, who have to seek a career for themselves, go this
beaver road. Whereby the first half-result, national wealth namely, is
plentifully realized; and only the second half, or wisdom to guide it,
is dreadfully behindhand.

But now if the gifted soul be not of taciturn nature, be of vivid,
impatient, rapidly productive nature, and aspire much to give itself
sensible utterance,--I find that, in this case, the field it has in
England is narrow to an extreme; is perhaps narrower than ever offered
itself, for the like object, in this world before. Parliament, Church,
Law: let the young vivid soul turn whither he will for a career, he
finds among variable conditions one condition invariable, and extremely
surprising, That the proof of excellence is to be done by the tongue.
For heroism that will not speak, but only act, there is no account
kept:--The English Nation does not need that silent kind, then, but only
the talking kind? Most astonishing. Of all the organs a man has, there
is none held in account, it would appear, but the tongue he uses
for talking. Premiership, woolsack, mitre, and quasi-crown: all is
attainable if you can talk with due ability. Everywhere your proof-shot
is to be a well-fired volley of talk. Contrive to talk well, you will
get to Heaven, the modern Heaven of the English. Do not talk well, only
work well, and heroically hold your peace, you have no chance whatever
to get thither; with your utmost industry you may get to Threadneedle
Street, and accumulate more gold than a dray-horse can draw. Is not this
a very wonderful arrangement?

I have heard of races done by mortals tied in sacks; of human
competitors, high aspirants, climbing heavenward on the soaped pole;
seizing the soaped pig; and clutching with cleft fist, at full gallop,
the fated goose tied aloft by its foot;--which feats do prove agility,
toughness and other useful faculties in man: but this of dexterous talk
is probably as strange a competition as any. And the question rises,
Whether certain of these other feats, or perhaps an alternation of all
of them, relieved now and then by a bout of grinning through the collar,
might not be profitably substituted for the solitary proof-feat of talk,
now getting rather monotonous by its long continuance? Alas, Mr. Bull,
I do find it is all little other than a proof of toughness, which is a
quality I respect, with more or less expenditure of falsity and
astucity superadded, which I entirely condemn. Toughness _plus_
astucity:--perhaps a simple wooden mast set up in Palace-Yard, well
soaped and duly presided over, might be the honester method? Such a
method as this by trial of talk, for filling your chief offices in
Church and State, was perhaps never heard of in the solar system
before. You are quite used to it, my poor friend; and nearly dead by the
consequences of it: but in the other Planets, as in other epochs of your
own Planet it would have done had you proposed it, the thing awakens
incredulous amazement, world-wide Olympic laughter, which ends in
tempestuous hootings, in tears and horror! My friend, if you can, as
heretofore this good while, find nobody to take care of your affairs
but the expertest talker, it is all over with your affairs and you. Talk
never yet could guide any man's or nation's affairs; nor will it yours,
except towards the _Limbus Patrum_, where all talk, except a very select
kind of it, lodges at last.

Medicine, guarded too by preliminary impediments, and frightful
medusa-heads of quackery, which deter many generous souls from entering,
is of the _half_-articulate professions, and does not much invite the
ardent kinds of ambition. The intellect required for medicine might be
wholly human, and indeed should by all rules be,--the profession of the
Human Healer being radically a sacred one and connected with the
highest priesthoods, or rather being itself the outcome and acme of all
priesthoods, and divinest conquests of intellect here below. As will
appear one day, when men take off their old monastic and ecclesiastic
spectacles, and look with eyes again! In essence the Physician's task
is always heroic, eminently human: but in practice most unluckily at
present we find it too become in good part _beaverish_; yielding a
money-result alone. And what of it is not beaverish,--does not that too
go mainly to ingenious talking, publishing of yourself, ingratiating
of yourself; a partly human exercise or waste of intellect, and alas a
partly vulpine ditto;--making the once sacred [Gr.] _'Iatros_, or Human
Healer, more impossible for us than ever!

Angry basilisks watch at the gates of Law and Church just now; and
strike a sad damp into the nobler of the young aspirants. Hard bonds
are offered you to sign; as it were, a solemn engagement to constitute
yourself an impostor, before ever entering; to declare your belief
in incredibilities,--your determination, in short, to take Chaos for
Cosmos, and Satan for the Lord of things, if he come with money in his
pockets, and horsehair and bombazine decently wrapt about him. Fatal
preliminaries, which deter many an ingenuous young soul, and send him
back from the threshold, and I hope will deter ever more. But if you do
enter, the condition is well known: "Talk; who can talk best here? His
shall be the mouth of gold, and the purse of gold; and with my [Gr.]
_mitra_ (once the head-dress of unfortunate females, I am told) shall
his sacred temples be begirt."

Ingenuous souls, unless forced to it, do now much shudder at the
threshold of both these careers, and not a few desperately turn back
into the wilderness rather, to front a very rude fortune, and be
devoured by wild beasts as is likeliest. But as to Parliament, again,
and its eligibility if attainable, there is yet no question anywhere;
the ingenuous soul, if possessed of money-capital enough, is predestined
by the parental and all manner of monitors to that career of talk; and
accepts it with alacrity and clearness of heart, doubtful only whether
he shall be _able_ to make a speech. Courage, my brave young fellow. If
you can climb a soaped pole of any kind, you will certainly be able to
make a speech. All mortals have a tongue; and carry on some jumble,
if not of thought, yet of stuff which they could talk. The weakest of
animals has got a cry in it, and can give voice before dying. If you are
tough enough, bent upon it desperately enough, I engage you shall make
a speech;--but whether that will be the way to Heaven for you, I do not

These, then, are our two careers for genius: mute Industrialism, which
can seldom become very human, but remains beaverish mainly: and the
three Professions named learned,--that is to say, able to talk. For the
heroic or higher kinds of human intellect, in the silent state, there is
not the smallest inquiry anywhere; apparently a thing not wanted in this
country at present. What the supply may be, I cannot inform M'Croudy;
but the market-demand, he may himself see, is _nil_. These are our three
professions that require human intellect in part or whole, not able to
do with mere beaverish; and such a part does the gift of talk play in
one and all of them. Whatsoever is not beaverish seems to go forth
in the shape of talk. To such length is human intellect wasted or
suppressed in this world!

If the young aspirant is not rich enough for Parliament, and is deterred
by the basilisks or otherwise from entering on Law or Church, and cannot
altogether reduce his human intellect to the beaverish condition, or
satisfy himself with the prospect of making money,--what becomes of
him in such case, which is naturally the case of very many, and ever
of more? In such case there remains but one outlet for him, and notably
enough that too is a talking one: the outlet of Literature, of trying
to write Books. Since, owing to preliminary basilisks, want of cash, or
superiority to cash, he cannot mount aloft by eloquent talking, let
him try it by dexterous eloquent writing. Here happily, having three
fingers, and capital to buy a quire of paper, he can try it to all
lengths and in spite of all mortals: in this career there is happily
no public impediment that can turn him back; nothing but private
starvation--which is itself a _finis_ or kind of goal--can pretend to
hinder a British man from prosecuting Literature to the very utmost, and
wringing the final secret from her: "A talent is in thee; No talent is
in thee." To the British subject who fancies genius may be lodged in
him, this liberty remains; and truly it is, if well computed, almost the
only one he has.

A crowded portal this of Literature, accordingly! The haven of
expatriated spiritualisms, and alas also of expatriated vanities and
prurient imbecilities: here do the windy aspirations, foiled activities,
foolish ambitions, and frustrate human energies reduced to the vocable
condition, fly as to the one refuge left; and the Republic of Letters
increases in population at a faster rate than even the Republic of
America. The strangest regiment in her Majesty's service, this of the
Soldiers of Literature:--would your Lordship much like to march through
Coventry with them? The immortal gods are there (quite irrecognizable
under these disguises), and also the lowest broken valets;--an extremely
miscellaneous regiment. In fact the regiment, superficially viewed,
looks like an immeasurable motley flood of discharged play-actors,
funambulists, false prophets, drunken ballad-singers; and marches not
as a regiment, but as a boundless canaille,--without drill, uniform,
captaincy or billet; with huge over-proportion of drummers; you would
say, a regiment gone wholly to the drum, with hardly a good musket to
be seen in it,--more a canaille than a regiment. Canaille of all the
loud-sounding levities, and general winnowings of Chaos, marching
through the world in a most ominous manner; proclaiming, audibly if
you have ears: "Twelfth hour of the Night; ancient graves yawning; pale
clammy Puseyisms screeching in their winding-sheets; owls busy in the
City regions; many goblins abroad! Awake ye living; dream no more; arise
to judgment! Chaos and Gehenna are broken loose; the Devil with his
Bedlams must be flung in chains again, and the Last of the Days is about
to dawn!" Such is Literature to the reflective soul at this moment.

But what now concerns us most is the circumstance that here too the
demand is, Vocables, still vocables. In all appointed courses of
activity and paved careers for human genius, and in this unpaved,
unappointed, broadest career of Literature, broad way that leadeth to
destruction for so many, the one duty laid upon you is still, Talk,
talk. Talk well with pen or tongue, and it shall be well with you;
do not talk well, it shall be ill with you. To wag the tongue with
dexterous acceptability, there is for human worth and faculty, in our
England of the Nineteenth Century, that one method of emergence and no
other. Silence, you would say, means annihilation for the Englishman of
the Nineteenth Century. The worth that has not spoken itself, is not;
or is potentially only, and as if it were not. Vox is the God of this
Universe. If you have human intellect, it avails nothing unless you
either make it into beaverism, or talk with it. Make it into beaverism,
and gather money; or else make talk with it, and gather what you can.
Such is everywhere the demand for talk among us: to which, of course,
the supply is proportionate.

From dinners up to woolsacks and divine mitres, here in England, much
may be gathered by talk; without talk, of the human sort nothing. Is
Society become wholly a bag of wind, then, ballasted by guineas? Are our
interests in it as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal?--In Army or
Navy, when unhappily we have war on hand, there is, almost against our
will, some kind of demand for certain of the silent talents. But in
peace, that too passes into mere demand of the ostentations, of the
pipeclays and the blank cartridges; and,--except that Naval men are
occasionally, on long voyages, forced to hold their tongue, and converse
with the dumb elements, and illimitable oceans, that moan and rave there
without you and within you, which is a great advantage to the Naval
man,--our poor United Services have to make conversational windbags and
ostentational paper-lanterns of themselves, or do worse, even as the

My friends, must I assert, then, what surely all men know, though all
men seem to have forgotten it, That in the learned professions as in the
unlearned, and in human things throughout, in every place and in every
time, the true function of intellect is not that of talking, but of
understanding and discerning with a view to performing! An intellect may
easily talk too much, and perform too little. Gradually, if it get into
the noxious habit of talk, there will less and less performance come
of it, talk being so delightfully handy in comparison with work; and
at last there will no work, or thought of work, be got from it at
all. Talk, except as the preparation for work, is worth almost
nothing;--sometimes it is worth infinitely less than nothing; and
becomes, little conscious of playing such a fatal part, the general
summary of pretentious nothingnesses, and the chief of all the curses
the Posterity of Adam are liable to in this sublunary world! Would you
discover the Atropos of Human Virtue; the sure Destroyer, "by painless
extinction," of Human Veracities, Performances, and Capabilities to
perform or to be veracious,--it is this, you have it here.

Unwise talk is matchless in unwisdom. Unwise work, if it but persist, is
everywhere struggling towards correction, and restoration to health;
for it is still in contact with Nature, and all Nature incessantly
contradicts it, and will heal it or annihilate it: not so with unwise
talk, which addresses itself, regardless of veridical Nature, to the
universal suffrages; and can if it be dexterous, find harbor there
till all the suffrages are bankrupt and gone to Houndsditch, Nature not
interfering with her protest till then. False speech, definable as the
acme of unwise speech, is capable, as we already said, of becoming the
falsest of all things. Falsest of all things:--and whither will the
general deluge of that, in Parliament and Synagogue, in Book and
Broadside, carry you and your affairs, my friend, when once they are
embarked on it as now?

Parliament, _Parliamentum_, is by express appointment the Talking
Apparatus; yet not in Parliament either is the essential function, by
any means, talk. Not to speak your opinion well, but to have a good and
just opinion worth speaking,--for every Parliament, as for every man,
this latter is the point. Contrive to have a true opinion, you will get
it told in some way, better or worse; and it will be a blessing to all
creatures. Have a false opinion, and tell it with the tongue of Angels,
what can that profit? The better you tell it, the worse it will be!

In Parliament and out of Parliament, and everywhere in this Universe,
your one salvation is, That you can discern with just insight, and
follow with noble valor, what the law of the case before you is, what
the appointment of the Maker in regard to it has been. Get this out
of one man, you are saved; fail to get this out of the most August
Parliament wrapt in the sheepskins of a thousand years, you are
lost,--your Parliament, and you, and all your sheepskins are lost.
Beautiful talk is by no means the most pressing want in Parliament! We
have had some reasonable modicum of talk in Parliament! What talk has
done for us in Parliament, and is now doing, the dullest of us at length
begins to see!

Much has been said of Parliament's breeding men to business; of the
training an Official Man gets in this school of argument and talk. He is
here inured to patience, tolerance; sees what is what in the Nation and
in the Nation's Government attains official knowledge, official
courtesy and manners--in short, is polished at all points into official
articulation, and here better than elsewhere qualifies himself to be
a Governor of men. So it is said.--Doubtless, I think, he will see and
suffer much in Parliament, and inure himself to several things;--he
will, with what eyes he has, gradually _see_ Parliament itself, for one
thing; what a high-soaring, helplessly floundering, ever-babbling yet
inarticulate dark dumb Entity it is (certainly one of the strangest
under the sun just now): which doubtless, if he have in view to get
measures voted there one day, will be an important acquisition for him.
But as to breeding himself for a Doer of Work, much more for a King, or
Chief of Doers, here in this element of talk; as to that I confess
the fatalest doubts, or rather, alas, I have no doubt! Alas, it is
our fatalest misery just now, not easily alterable, and yet urgently
requiring to be altered, That no British man can attain to be a
Statesman, or Chief of _Workers_, till he has first proved himself
a Chief of _Talkers_: which mode of trial for a Worker, is it not
precisely, of all the trials you could set him upon, the falsest and

Nay, I doubt much you are not likely ever to meet the fittest material
for a Statesman, or Chief of Workers, in such an element as that. Your
Potential Chief of Workers, will he come there at all, to try whether he
can talk? Your poor tenpound franchisers and electoral world generally,
in love with eloquent talk, are they the likeliest to discern what man
it is that has worlds of silent work in him? No. Or is such a man, even
if born in the due rank for it, the likeliest to present himself, and
court their most sweet voices? Again, no.

The Age that admires talk so much can have little discernment for
inarticulate work, or for anything that is deep and genuine. Nobody, or
hardly anybody, having in himself an earnest sense for truth, how can
anybody recognize an inarticulate Veracity, or Nature-fact of any
kind; a Human _Doer_ especially, who is the most complex, profound, and
inarticulate of all Nature's Facts? Nobody can recognize him: till once
he is patented, get some public stamp of authenticity, and has been
articulately proclaimed, and asserted to be a Doer. To the worshipper of
talk, such a one is a sealed book. An excellent human soul, direct from
Heaven,--how shall any excellence of man become recognizable to
this unfortunate? Not except by announcing and placarding itself as
excellent,--which, I reckon, it above other things will probably be in
no great haste to do.

Wisdom, the divine message which every soul of man brings into this
world; the divine prophecy of what the new man has got the new and
peculiar capability to do, is intrinsically of silent nature. It cannot
at once, or completely at all, be read off in words; for it is written
in abstruse facts, of endowment, position, desire, opportunity, granted
to the man;--interprets itself in presentiments, vague struggles,
passionate endeavors and is only legible in whole when his work is
_done_. Not by the noble monitions of Nature, but by the ignoble, is a
man much tempted to publish the secret of his soul in words. Words, if
he have a secret, will be forever inadequate to it. Words do but disturb
the real answer of fact which could be given to it; disturb, obstruct,
and will in the end abolish, and render impossible, said answer. No
grand Doer in this world can be a copious speaker about his doings.
William the Silent spoke himself best in a country liberated; Oliver
Cromwell did not shine in rhetoric; Goethe, when he had but a book in
view, found that he must say nothing even of that, if it was to succeed
with him.

Then as to politeness, and breeding to business. An official man must be
bred to business; of course he must: and not for essence only, but even
for the manners of office he requires breeding. Besides his intrinsic
faculty, whatever that may be, he must be cautious, vigilant,
discreet,--above all things, he must be reticent, patient, polite.
Certain of these qualities are by nature imposed upon men of station;
and they are trained from birth to some exercise of them: this
constitutes their one intrinsic qualification for office;--this is their
one advantage in the New Downing Street projected for this New Era; and
it will not go for much in that Institution. One advantage, or temporary
advantage; against which there are so many counterbalances. It is the
indispensable preliminary for office, but by no means the complete
outfit,--a miserable outfit where there is nothing farther.

Will your Lordship give me leave to say that, practically, the intrinsic
qualities will presuppose these preliminaries too, but by no means _vice
versa_. That, on the whole, if you have got the intrinsic qualities, you
have got everything, and the preliminaries will prove attainable; but
that if you have got only the preliminaries, you have yet got nothing.
A man of real dignity will not find it impossible to bear himself in a
dignified manner; a man of real understanding and insight will get
to know, as the fruit of his very first study, what the laws of his
situation are, and will conform to these. Rough old Samuel Johnson,
blustering Boreas and rugged Arctic Bear as he often was, defined
himself, justly withal, as a polite man: a noble manful attitude of soul
is his; a clear, true and loyal sense of what others are, and what he
himself is, shines through the rugged coating of him; comes out as
grave deep rhythmus when his King honors him, and he will not "bandy
compliments with his King;"--is traceable too in his indignant trampling
down of the Chesterfield patronages, tailor-made insolences, and
contradictions of sinners; which may be called his _revolutionary_
movements, hard and peremptory by the law of them; these could not be
soft like his _constitutional_ ones, when men and kings took him for
somewhat like the thing he was. Given a noble man, I think your Lordship
may expect by and by a polite man. No "politer" man was to be found in
Britain than the rustic Robert Burns: high duchesses were captivated
with the chivalrous ways of the man; recognized that here was the true
chivalry, and divine nobleness of bearing,--as indeed they well might,
now when the Peasant God and Norse Thor had come down among them again!
Chivalry this, if not as they do chivalry in Drury Lane or West-End
drawing-rooms, yet as they do it in Valhalla and the General Assembly of
the Gods.

For indeed, who _invented_ chivalry, politeness, or anything that is
noble and melodious and beautiful among us, except precisely the like
of Johnson and of Burns? The select few who in the generations of
this world were wise and valiant, they, in spite of all the tremendous
majority of blockheads and slothful belly-worshippers, and noisy ugly
persons, have devised whatsoever is noble in the manners of man to man.
I expect they will learn to be polite, your Lordship, when you give them
a chance!--Nor is it as a school of human culture, for this or for
any other grace or gift, that Parliament will be found first-rate
or indispensable. As experience in the river is indispensable to the
ferryman, so is knowledge of his Parliament to the British Peel or
Chatham;--so was knowledge of the OEil-de-Boeuf to the French Choiseul.
Where and how said river, whether Parliament with Wilkeses, or
OEil-de-Boeuf with Pompadours, can be waded, boated, swum; how the
miscellaneous cargoes, "measures" so called, can be got across it,
according to their kinds, and landed alive on the hither side as
facts:--we have all of us our _ferries_ in this world; and must know the
river and its ways, or get drowned some day! In that sense, practice
in Parliament is indispensable to the British Statesman; but not in any
other sense.

A school, too, of manners and of several other things, the Parliament
will doubtless be to the aspirant Statesman; a school better or
worse;--as the OEil-de-Boeuf likewise was, and as all scenes where men
work or live are sure to be. Especially where many men work together,
the very rubbing against one another will grind and polish off their
angularities into roundness, into "politeness" after a sort; and the
official man, place him how you may, will never want for schooling,
of extremely various kinds. A first-rate school one cannot call this
Parliament for him;--I fear to say what rate at present! In so far as it
teaches him vigilance, patience, courage, toughness of lungs or of soul,
and skill in any kind of swimming, it is a good school. In so far as it
forces him to speak where Nature orders silence; and even, lest all the
world should learn his secret (which often enough would kill his secret,
and little profit the world), forces him to speak falsities, vague
ambiguities, and the froth-dialect usual in Parliaments in these times,
it may be considered one of the worst schools ever devised by man; and,
I think, may almost challenge the OEil-de-Boeuf to match it in badness.

Parliament will train your men to the manners required of a statesman;
but in a much less degree to the intrinsic functions of one. To these
latter, it is capable of mistraining as nothing else can. Parliament
will train you to talk; and above all things to hear, with patience,
unlimited quantities of foolish talk. To tell a good story for yourself,
and to make it _appear_ that you have done your work: this, especially
in constitutional countries, is something;--and yet in all countries,
constitutional ones too, it is intrinsically nothing, probably even
less. For it is not the function of any mortal, in Downing Street or
elsewhere here below, to wag the tongue of him, and make it appear that
he has done work; but to wag some quite other organs of him, and to
do work; there is no danger of his work's appearing by and by. Such an
accomplishment, even in constitutional countries, I grieve to say, may
become much less than nothing. Have you at all computed how much less?
The human creature who has once given way to satisfying himself with
"appearances," to seeking his salvation in "appearances," the moral life
of such human creature is rapidly bleeding out of him. Depend upon it,
Beelzebub, Satan, or however you may name the too authentic Genius of
Eternal Death, has got that human creature in his claws. By and by you
will have a dead parliamentary bagpipe, and your living man fled away
without return!

Such parliamentary bagpipes I myself have heard play tunes, much to the
satisfaction of the people. Every tune lies within their compass; and
their mind (for they still call it _mind_) is ready as a hurdy-gurdy
on turning of the handle: "My Lords, this question now before the
House"--Ye Heavens, O ye divine Silences, was there in the womb of
Chaos, then, such a product, liable to be evoked by human art, as that
same? While the galleries were all applausive of heart, and the Fourth
Estate looked with eyes enlightened, as if you had touched its lips with
a staff dipped in honey,--I have sat with reflections too ghastly to
be uttered. A poor human creature and learned friend, once possessed of
many fine gifts, possessed of intellect, veracity, and manful conviction
on a variety of objects, has he now lost all that;--converted all that
into a glistering phosphorescence which can show itself on the outside;
while within, all is dead, chaotic, dark; a painted sepulchre full of
dead-men's bones! Discernment, knowledge, intellect, in the human sense
of the words, this man has now none. His opinion you do not ask on any
matter: on the _matter_ he has no opinion, judgment, or insight; only
on what may be said about the matter, how it may be argued of, what tune
may be played upon it to enlighten the eyes of the Fourth Estate.

Such a soul, though to the eye he still keeps tumbling about in the
Parliamentary element, and makes "motions," and passes bills, for aught
I know,--are we to define him as a _living_ one, or as a dead? Partridge
the Almanac-Maker, whose "Publications" still regularly appear, is known
to be dead! The dog that was drowned last summer, and that floats up and
down the Thames with ebb and flood ever since,--is it not dead? Alas,
in the hot months, you meet here and there such a floating dog; and at
length, if you often use the river steamers, get to know him by sight.
"There he is again, still astir there in his quasi-stygian element!"
you dejectedly exclaim (perhaps reading your Morning Newspaper at the
moment); and reflect, with a painful oppression of nose and imagination,
on certain completed professors of parliamentary eloquence in modern
times. Dead long since, but _not_ resting; daily doing motions in that
Westminster region still,--daily from Vauxhall to Blackfriars, and
back again; and cannot get away at all! Daily (from Newspaper or river
steamer) you may see him at some point of his fated course, hovering in
the eddies, stranded in the ooze, or rapidly progressing with flood or
ebb; and daily the odor of him is getting more intolerable: daily the
condition of him appeals more tragically to gods and men.

Nature admits no lie; most men profess to be aware of this, but few in
any measure lay it to heart. Except in the departments of mere material
manipulation, it seems to be taken practically as if this grand truth
were merely a polite flourish of rhetoric. What is a lie? The question
is worth asking, once and away, by the practical English mind.

A voluntary spoken divergence from the fact as it stands, as it has
occurred and will proceed to develop itself: this clearly, if adopted by
any man, will so far forth mislead him in all practical dealing with
the fact; till he cast that statement out of him, and reject it as an
unclean poisonous thing, he can have no success in dealing with the
fact. If such spoken divergence from the truth be involuntary, we lament
it as a misfortune; and are entitled, at least the speaker of it is,
to lament it extremely as the most palpable of all misfortunes, as the
indubitablest losing of his way, and turning aside from the goal instead
of pressing towards it, in the race set before him. If the divergence is
voluntary,--there superadds itself to our sorrow a just indignation: we
call the voluntary spoken divergence a lie, and justly abhor it as the
essence of human treason and baseness, the desertion of a man to the
Enemy of men against himself and his brethren. A lost deserter; who has
gone over to the Enemy, called Satan; and cannot _but_ be lost in the
adventure! Such is every liar with the tongue; and such in all nations
is he, at all epochs, considered. Men pull his nose, and kick him out
of doors; and by peremptory expressive methods signify that they can and
will have no trade with him. Such is spoken divergence from the fact; so
fares it with the practiser of that sad art.

But have we well considered a divergence _in thought_ from what is the
fact? Have we considered the man whose very thought is a lie to him and
to us! He too is a frightful man; repeating about this Universe on every
hand what is not, and driven to repeat it; the sure herald of ruin to
all that follow him, that know with _his_ knowledge! And would you learn
how to get a mendacious thought, there is no surer recipe than carrying
a loose tongue. The lying thought, you already either have it, or will
soon get it by that method. He who lies with his very tongue, _he_
clearly enough has long ceased to think truly in his mind. Does he, in
any sense, "think"? All his thoughts and imaginations, if they
extend beyond mere beaverisms, astucities and sensualisms, are false,
incomplete, perverse, untrue even to himself. He has become a false
mirror of this Universe; not a small mirror only, but a crooked,
bedimmed and utterly deranged one. But all loose tongues too are akin
to lying ones; are insincere at the best, and go rattling with little
meaning; the thought lying languid at a great distance behind them, if
thought there be behind them at all. Gradually there will be none or
little! How can the thought of such a man, what he calls thought, be
other than false?

Alas, the palpable liar with his tongue does at least know that he is
lying, and has or might have some faint vestige of remorse and chance
of amendment; but the impalpable liar, whose tongue articulates mere
accepted commonplaces, cants and babblement, which means only, "Admire
me, call me an excellent stump-orator!"--of him what hope is there?
His thought, what thought he had, lies dormant, inspired only to invent
vocables and plausibilities; while the tongue goes so glib, the thought
is absent, gone a wool-gathering; getting itself drugged with the
applausive "Hear, hear!"--what will become of such a man? His idle
thought has run all to seed, and grown false and the giver of falsities;
the inner light of his mind is gone out; all his light is mere putridity
and phosphorescence henceforth. Whosoever is in quest of ruin, let him
with assurance follow that man; he or no one is on the right road to it.

Good Heavens, from the wisest Thought of a man to the actual truth of
a Thing as it lies in Nature, there is, one would suppose, a sufficient
interval! Consider it,--and what other intervals we introduce! The
faithfulest, most glowing word of a man is but an imperfect image of the
thought, such as it is, that dwells within him; his best word will never
but with error convey his thought to other minds: and then between his
poor thought and Nature's Fact, which is the Thought of the Eternal,
there may be supposed to lie some discrepancies, some shortcomings!
Speak your sincerest, think your wisest, there is still a great gulf
between you and the fact. And now, do not speak your sincerest, and what
will inevitably follow out of that, do not think your wisest, but think
only your plausiblest, your showiest for parliamentary purposes, where
will you land with that guidance?--I invite the British Parliament, and
all the Parliamentary and other Electors of Great Britain, to reflect
on this till they have well understood it; and then to ask, each of
himself, What probably the horoscopes of the British Parliament, at this
epoch of World-History, may be?--

Fail, by any sin or any misfortune, to discover what the truth of the
fact is, you are lost so far as that fact goes! If your thought do not
image truly but do image falsely the fact, you will vainly try to work
upon the fact. The fact will not obey you, the fact will silently resist
you; and ever, with silent invincibility, will go on resisting you,
till you do get to image it truly instead of falsely. No help for you
whatever, except in attaining to a true image of the fact. Needless to
vote a false image true; vote it, revote it by overwhelming majorities,
by jubilant unanimities and universalities; read it thrice or three
hundred times, pass acts of parliament upon it till the Statute-book can
hold no more,--it helps not a whit: the thing is not so, the thing is
otherwise than so; and Adam's whole Posterity, voting daily on it till
the world finish, will not alter it a jot. Can the sublimest sanhedrim,
constitutional parliament, or other Collective Wisdom of the world,
persuade fire not to burn, sulphuric acid to be sweet milk, or the Moon
to become green cheese? The fact is much the reverse:--and even the
Constitutional British Parliament abstains from such arduous attempts
as these latter in the voting line; and leaves the multiplication-table,
the chemical, mechanical and other qualities of material substances
to take their own course; being aware that voting and perorating, and
reporting in Hansard, will not in the least alter any of these. Which is
indisputably wise of the British Parliament.

Unfortunately the British Parliament does not, at present, quite know
that all manner of things and relations of things, spiritual equally
with material, all manner of qualities, entities, existences whatsoever,
in this strange visible and invisible Universe, are equally inflexible
of nature; that, they will, one and all, with precisely the same
obstinacy, continue to obey their own law, not our law; deaf as the
adder to all charm of parliamentary eloquence, and of voting never so
often repeated; silently, but inflexibly and forevermore, declining to
change themselves, even as sulphuric acid declines to become sweet milk,
though you vote so to the end of the world. This, it sometimes seems
to me, is not quite sufficiently laid hold of by the British and other
Parliaments just at present. Which surely is a great misfortune to
said Parliaments! For, it would appear, the grand point, after all
constitutional improvements, and such wagging of wigs in Westminster as
there has been, is precisely what it was before any constitution was yet
heard of, or the first official wig had budded out of nothing: namely,
to ascertain what the truth of your question, in Nature, really is!
Verily so. In this time and place, as in all past and in all future
times and places. To-day in St. Stephen's, where constitutional,
philanthropical, and other great things lie in the mortar-kit; even as
on the Plain of Shinar long ago, where a certain Tower, likewise of a
very philanthropic nature, indeed one of the desirablest towers I ever
heard of, was to be built,--but couldn't! My friends, I do not laugh;
truly I am more inclined to weep.

Get, by six hundred and fifty-eight votes, or by no vote at all, by
the silent intimation of your own eyesight and understanding given you
direct out of Heaven, and more sacred to you than anything earthly, and
than all things earthly,--a correct image of the fact in question, as
God and Nature have made it: that is the one thing needful; with that it
shall be well with you in whatsoever you have to do with said fact. Get,
by the sublimest constitutional methods, belauded by all the world, an
incorrect image of the fact: so shall it be other than well with you; so
shall you have laud from able editors and vociferous masses of mistaken
human creatures; and from the Nature's Fact, continuing quite silently
the same as it was, contradiction, and that only. What else? Will Nature
change, or sulphuric acid become sweet milk, for the noise of vociferous
blockheads? Surely not. Nature, I assure you, has not the smallest
intention of doing so.

On the contrary, Nature keeps silently a most exact Savings-bank,
and official register correct to the most evanescent item, Debtor and
Creditor, in respect to one and all of us; silently marks down, Creditor
by such and such an unseen act of veracity and heroism; Debtor to such
a loud blustery blunder, twenty-seven million strong or one unit strong,
and to all acts and words and thoughts executed in consequence of
that,--Debtor, Debtor, Debtor, day after day, rigorously as Fate (for
this is Fate that is writing); and at the end of the account you
will have it all to pay, my friend; there is the rub! Not the
infinitesimalest fraction of a farthing but will be found marked there,
for you and against you; and with the due rate of interest you will have
to pay it, neatly, completely, as sure as you are alive. You will have
to pay it even in money if you live:--and, poor slave, do you think
there is no payment but in money? There is a payment which Nature
rigorously exacts of men, and also of Nations, and this I think when
her wrath is sternest, in the shape of dooming you to possess money. To
possess it; to have your bloated vanities fostered into monstrosity
by it, your foul passions blown into explosion by it, your heart and
perhaps your very stomach ruined with intoxication by it; your poor life
and all its manful activities stunned into frenzy and comatose sleep by
it,--in one word, as the old Prophets said, your soul forever lost by
it. Your soul; so that, through the Eternities, you shall have no
soul, or manful trace of ever having had a soul; but only, for certain
fleeting moments, shall have had a money-bag, and have given soul and
heart and (frightfuler still) stomach itself in fatal exchange for
the same. You wretched mortal, stumbling about in a God's Temple, and
thinking it a brutal Cookery-shop! Nature, when her scorn of a slave is
divinest, and blazes like the blinding lightning against his slavehood,
often enough flings him a bag of money, silently saying: "That! Away;
thy doom is that!"--

For no man, and for no body or biggest multitude of men, has Nature
favor, if they part company with her facts and her. Excellent
stump-orator; eloquent parliamentary dead-dog, making motions, passing
bills; reported in the Morning Newspapers, and reputed the "best speaker
going"? From the Universe of Fact he has turned himself away; he is gone
into partnership with the Universe of Phantasm; finds it profitablest
to deal in forged notes, while the foolish shopkeepers will accept
them. Nature for such a man, and for Nations that follow such, has her
patibulary forks, and prisons of death everlasting:--dost thou doubt
it? Unhappy mortal, Nature otherwise were herself a Chaos and no Cosmos.
Nature was not made by an Impostor; not she, I think, rife as they
are!--In fact, by money or otherwise, to the uttermost fraction of a
calculable and incalculable value, we have, each one of us, to settle
the exact balance in the above-said Savings-bank, or official register
kept by Nature: Creditor by the quantity of veracities we have done,
Debtor by the quantity of falsities and errors; there is not, by any
conceivable device, the faintest hope of escape from that issue for one
of us, nor for all of us.

This used to be a well-known fact; and daily still, in certain edifices,
steeple-houses, joss-houses, temples sacred or other, everywhere spread
over the world, we hear some dim mumblement of an assertion that such is
still, what it was always and will forever be, the fact: but meseems
it has terribly fallen out of memory nevertheless; and, from Dan to
Beersheba, one in vain looks out for a man that really in his heart
believes it. In his heart he believes, as we perceive, that scrip will
yield dividends: but that Heaven too has an office of account, and
unerringly marks down, against us or for us, whatsoever thing we do
or say or think, and treasures up the same in regard to every
creature,--this I do not so well perceive that he believes. Poor
blockhead, no: he reckons that all payment is in money, or approximately
representable by money; finds money go a strange course; disbelieves the
parson and his Day of Judgment; discerns not that there is any judgment
except in the small or big debt court; and lives (for the present) on
that strange footing in this Universe. The unhappy mortal, what is
the use of his "civilizations" and his "useful knowledges," if he have
forgotten that beginning of human knowledge; the earliest perception
of the awakened human soul in this world; the first dictate of Heaven's
inspiration to all men? I cannot account him a man any more; but only
a kind of human beaver, who has acquired the art of ciphering. He lives
without rushing hourly towards suicide, because his soul, with all
its noble aspirations and imaginations, is sunk at the bottom of his
stomach, and lies torpid there, unaspiring, unimagining, unconsidering,
as if it were the vital principle of a mere _four_-footed beaver. A soul
of a man, appointed for spinning cotton and making money, or, alas,
for merely shooting grouse and gathering rent; to whom Eternity and
Immortality, and all human Noblenesses and divine Facts that did not
tell upon the stock-exchange, were meaningless fables, empty as the
inarticulate wind. He will recover out of that persuasion one day, or be
ground to powder, I believe!--

To such a pass, by our beaverisms and our mammonisms; by canting of
"prevenient grace" everywhere, and so boarding and lodging our poor
souls upon supervenient moonshine everywhere, for centuries long; by our
sordid stupidities and our idle babblings; through faith in the divine
Stump-orator, and Constitutional Palaver, or august Sanhedrim of
Orators,--have men and Nations been reduced, in this sad epoch! I
cannot call them happy Nations; I must call them Nations like to perish;
Nations that will either begin to recover, or else soon die. Recovery is
to be hoped;--yes, since there is in Nature an Almighty Beneficence, and
His voice, divinely terrible, can be heard in the world-whirlwind now,
even as from of old and forevermore. Recovery, or else destruction and
annihilation, is very certain; and the crisis, too, comes rapidly on:
but by Stump-Orator and Constitutional Palaver, however perfected, my
hopes of _recovery_ have long vanished. Not by them, I should imagine,
but by something far the reverse of them, shall we return to truth and

I tell you, the ignoble intellect cannot think the _truth_, even
within its own limits, and when it seriously tries! And of the ignoble
intellect that does not seriously try, and has even reached the
"ignobleness" of seriously trying the reverse, and of lying with its
very tongue, what are we to expect? It is frightful to consider. Sincere
wise speech is but an imperfect corollary, and insignificant outer
manifestation, of sincere wise thought. He whose very tongue utters
falsities, what has his heart long been doing? The thought of his heart
is not its wisest, not even _its_ wisest; it is its foolishest;--and
even of that we have a false and foolish copy. And it is Nature's Fact,
or the Thought of the Eternal, which we want to arrive at in regard
to the matter,--which if we do _not_ arrive at, we shall not save the
matter, we shall drive the matter into shipwreck!

The practice of modern Parliaments, with reporters sitting among them,
and twenty-seven millions mostly fools listening to them, fills me with
amazement. In regard to no _thing_, or fact as God and Nature have made
it, can you get so much as the real thought of any honorable head,--even
so far as _it_, the said honorable head, still has capacity of thought.
What the honorable gentleman's wisest thought is or would have been,
had he led from birth a life of piety and earnest veracity and heroic
virtue, you, and he himself poor deep-sunk creature, vainly conjecture
as from immense dim distances far in the rear of what he is led to
_say_. And again, far in the rear of what his thought is,--surely long
infinitudes beyond all _he_ could ever think,--lies the Thought of God
Almighty, the Image itself of the Fact, the thing you are in quest of,
and must find or do worse! Even his, the honorable gentleman's, actual
bewildered, falsified, vague surmise or quasi-thought, even this is not
given you; but only some falsified copy of this, such as he fancies may
suit the reporters and twenty-seven millions mostly fools. And upon that
latter you are to act;--with what success, do you expect? That is the
thought you are to take for the Thought of the Eternal Mind,--that
double-distilled falsity of a blockheadism from one who is false even as
a blockhead!

Do I make myself plain to Mr. Peter's understanding? Perhaps it will
surprise him less that parliamentary eloquence excites more wonder than
admiration in me; that the fate of countries governed by that sublime
alchemy does not appear the hopefulest just now. Not by that method, I
should apprehend, will the Heavens be scaled and the Earth vanquished;
not by that, but by another.

A benevolent man once proposed to me, but without pointing out the
methods how, this plan of reform for our benighted world: To cut from
one generation, whether the current one or the next, all the tongues
away, prohibiting Literature too; and appoint at least one generation to
pass its life in silence. "There, thou one blessed generation, from the
vain jargon of babble thou art beneficently freed. Whatsoever of truth,
traditionary or original, thy own god-given intellect shall point out to
thee as true, that thou wilt go and do. In doing of it there will be a
verdict for thee; if a verdict of True, thou wilt hold by it, and ever
again do it; if of Untrue, thou wilt never try it more, but be eternally
delivered from it. To do aught because the vain hearsays order thee, and
the big clamors of the sanhedrim of fools, is not thy lot,--what worlds
of misery are spared thee! Nature's voice heard in thy own inner being,
and the sacred Commandment of thy Maker: these shall be thy guidances,
thou happy tongueless generation. What is good and beautiful thou shalt
know; not merely what is said to be so. Not to talk of thy doings, and
become the envy of surrounding flunkies, but to taste of the fruit of
thy doings themselves, is thine. What the Eternal Laws will sanction for
thee, do; what the Froth Gospels and multitudinous long-eared Hearsays
never so loudly bid, all this is already chaff for thee,--drifting
rapidly along, thou knowest whitherward, on the eternal winds."

Good Heavens, if such a plan were practicable, how the chaff might be
winnowed out of every man, and out of all human things; and ninety-nine
hundredths of our whole big Universe, spiritual and practical, might
blow itself away, as mere torrents of chaff whole trade-winds of chaff,
many miles deep, rushing continually with the voice of whirlwinds
towards a certain FIRE, which knows how to deal with it! Ninety-nine
hundredths blown away; all the lies blown away, and some skeleton of a
spiritual and practical Universe left standing for us which were true:
O Heavens, is it forever impossible, then? By a generation that had
no tongue it really might be done; but not so easily by one that had.
Tongues, platforms, parliaments, and fourth-estates; unfettered presses,
periodical and stationary literatures: we are nearly all gone to tongue,
I think; and our fate is very questionable.

Truly, it is little known at present, and ought forthwith to become
better known, what ruin to all nobleness and fruitfulness and
blessedness in the genius of a poor mortal you generally bring about, by
ordering him to speak, to do all things with a view to their being seen!
Few good and fruitful things ever were done, or could be done, on those
terms. Silence, silence; and be distant ye profane, with your
jargonings and superficial babblements, when a man has anything to do!
Eye-service,--dost thou know what that is, poor England?--eye-service
is all the man can do in these sad circumstances; grows to be all he has
the idea of doing, of his or any other man's ever doing, or ever having
done, in any circumstances. Sad, enough. Alas, it is our saddest woe of
all;--too sad for being spoken of at present, while all or nearly all
men consider it an imaginary sorrow on my part!

Let the young English soul, in whatever logic-shop and nonsense-verse
establishment of an Eton, Oxford, Edinburgh, Halle, Salamanca, or other
High Finishing-School, he may be getting his young idea taught how to
speak and spout, and print sermons and review-articles, and thereby show
himself and fond patrons that it _is_ an idea,--lay this solemnly to
heart; this is my deepest counsel to him! The idea you have once spoken,
if it even were an idea, is no longer yours; it is gone from you, so
much life and virtue is gone, and the vital circulations of your self
and your destiny and activity are henceforth deprived of it. If you
could not get it spoken, if you could still constrain it into silence,
so much the richer are you. Better keep your idea while you can: let
it still circulate in your blood, and there fructify; inarticulately
inciting you to good activities; giving to your whole spiritual life a
ruddier health. When the time does come for speaking it, you will speak
it all the more concisely, the more expressively, appropriately; and
if such a time should never come, have you not already acted it, and
uttered it as no words can? Think of this, my young friend; for there is
nothing truer, nothing more forgotten in these shabby gold-laced days.
Incontinence is half of all the sins of man. And among the many kinds of
that base vice, I know none baser, or at present half so fell and fatal,
as that same Incontinence of Tongue. "Public speaking," "parliamentary
eloquence:" it is a Moloch, before whom young souls are made to pass
through the fire. They enter, weeping or rejoicing, fond parents
consecrating them to the red-hot Idol, as to the Highest God: and they
come out spiritually _dead_. Dead enough; to live thenceforth a galvanic
life of mere Stump-Oratory; screeching and gibbering, words without
wisdom, without veracity, without conviction more than skin-deep. A
divine gift, that? It is a thing admired by the vulgar, and rewarded
with seats in the Cabinet and other preciosities; but to the wise, it is
a thing not admirable, not adorable; unmelodious rather, and ghastly and
bodeful, as the speech of sheeted spectres in the streets at midnight!

Be not a Public Orator, thou brave young British man, thou that art
now growing to be something: not a Stump-Orator, if thou canst help
it. Appeal not to the vulgar, with its long ears and its seats in the
Cabinet; not by spoken words to the vulgar; _hate_ the profane vulgar,
and bid it begone. Appeal by silent work, by silent suffering if there
be no work, to the gods, who have nobler than seats in the Cabinet for
thee! Talent for Literature, thou hast such a talent? Believe it not, be
slow to believe it! To speak, or to write, Nature did not peremptorily
order thee; but to work she did. And know this: there never was a talent
even for real Literature, not to speak of talents lost and damned
in doing sham Literature, but was primarily a talent for something
infinitely better of the silent kind. Of Literature, in all ways, be
shy rather than otherwise, at present! There where thou art, work, work;
whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it,--with the hand of a man, not
of a phantasm; be that thy unnoticed blessedness and exceeding great
reward. Thy words, let them be few, and well-ordered. Love silence
rather than speech in these tragic days, when, for very speaking, the
voice of man has fallen inarticulate to man; and hearts, in this loud
babbling, sit dark and dumb towards one another. Witty,--above all, oh
be not witty: none of us is bound to be witty, under penalties; to be
wise and true we all are, under the terriblest penalties!

Brave young friend, dear to me, and _known_ too in a sense, though never
seen, nor to be seen by me,--you are, what I am not, in the happy case
to learn to _be_ something and to _do_ something, instead of eloquently
talking about what has been and was done and may be! The old are what
they are, and will not alter; our hope is in you. England's hope, and
the world's, is that there may once more be millions such, instead
of units as now. _Macte; i fausto pede_. And may future generations,
acquainted again with the silences, and once more cognizant of what is
noble and faithful and divine, look back on us with pity and incredulous

Italicized text is represented in the etext with underscores _thusly_.
Greek text has been transliterated into English, with notation "[Gr.]"
appended to it. Otherwise the etext has been left as it was in the
printed text. Footnotes have been embedded directly into the text, with
the notation [Footnote: ...].

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