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pauper dealers should be and do. The propounder of new truth. It is chiefly founder of Christianity did not condescend, new in point of expression, and the vividin the midst of his mission, to act even ness of that expression is, of course, enincidentally as a political tutor either to tirely literary. In assailing literature, Herod or to Cæsar. But a Life of John then, he has broken the sword by which Sterling is greatly lower from Mr Carlyle's he has conquered. self-chosen vocation, than the 'Latter The truth is, that Mr Carlyle's most day Pamphlets.
characteristic views are grossly exaggeIt is a curious coincidence that the man rated. Because the gift of speech has who, in America, occupies the same pro been abused, he would cut out every phetic post as Carlyle in this country, has tongue, or muffle it; and because the pen recently made the same descent. Emerson has frequently lied or twaddled, he would has written the Memoirs of Margaret have it thrown away for ever. He is now Fuller, a noted Yankee Blue-stocking. In in full tilt against every occupation under the case of both, also, their subjects of bio- | the sun, and against every attitude which graphy were disciples, and disciples who, man may assume, from his sitting down though dearly loved, were but indifferently to his up-rising. If men sleep, he bids admired. Emerson's opinion of Margaret them get up wide awake, or be shovelled Fuller is neither high nor impassioned ; into a ditch grave; if men speak, he bids and Carlyle is often a severe critic of what them think; if they think, he bids them John Sterling was and did intellectually. work; and if men work, whether in meEmerson's is a cold and unadmiring nature;chanical inventions or in philanthropic or and Carlyle is whimsical, having many religious enterprises, he drives them to moods of bad temper from disappointment. | and fro all the posts in the field of human We believe that in the instances on hand, labour; whilst he slanders the whole protheir criticism is just, though, probably, cess as vain, and the result as a nullity. had they not been friends and survivors We cannot call this conduct a display of to those whose biographies they have writ mere caprice, but of immense vanity, ten, it would have been as unkind as un mixed with terrible agony. He imagines just. Friendship, so far from leading himself to be the mainspring of all right them to exaggerate and go beyond the motion in Christendom, and his evertruth, has only led them up to the truth, changing and ever-contradictory directions beneath which they would otherwise have are but the painful shiftings of himself kept a long way.
from side to side-in ignorance of wheFor several years, Carlyle has been de- ! ther he should put his right or his left nouncing 'Literature, and those who pro- foot foremost. secute it. His professed contempt for it He is an intensely disappointed man, is quite as great as Louis Napoleon's fear. having aspired to be the teacher of the He cannot away with the potency of the age, and having got, as yet, no articulate
pen,' and all such cant. He classes writ lessons to communicate. His system is ing, whether in prose or poetry, with one of consonants without vowels. His
stump oratory; and brands it as the mark very alphabet is incomplete; and, when of a feeble and talkative age. He thinks he is to get beyond that, is known only to the press only a very few degrees better his friends, the 'Silences. His efforts to than the pulpit; and to him the poet's regenerate the world have been made in pen moves as idly and unprofitably as the every direction, and they have failed clergyman's tongue. Literature, however, nay, they have not even been efforts, but needs no defence, even against the sneers only abortive ideas. And no wonder; for of Carlyle, until he shall have succeeded he has been perfectly unintelligible, both in annihilating the whole class of readers, as to what the regeneration was to be, and or in getting them fixed down to an exclu what should be its means. Sometimes he sive study of his own books. Nor, when looks hopefully to a new Mahomet, a new .we allege that Carlyle's present position Luther, a new Knox, or a new Cromwell; of influence has been gained, and is still but never to the second coming, either held, by literature, do we bring forward literal or spiritual, of Christ~'the same all the strong reasons that exist for his Jesus' who turned the world upside speaking respectfully of what has been his down,' and introduced all the good that life—at least, his bread. The success of has existed, now exists, or will ever exist those assaults of his upon all institutions, | in it. With a scorn which, after running which have attracted many admiring dis through all the decent terms of sarcastic ciples, is entirely owing to the literary phraseology, vents itself in coarse nickform into which he cast his destructive names, such as, Old Hebrew Clothes, ideas. No man, as a sceptic, is so much and 'damnable, dead, putrescent cant,' he indebted as Carlyle to the literary expres sets aside Christianity as an agency-nay, sion into which he has put doubt and he places it in the list of things deserving denial. And this is also true of him as a and waiting to be abolished. It is un
speakably mournful and surprising that once attained it, they can never retroCarlyle, who has so many sympathies, grade.' both with truth and goodness, should have In an introductory chapter, Mr Carlyle a quarrel with Christianity; and more explains why he writes a Life of Sterling, especially since, as a sceptic, he alleges | when that was so ably and affectionagainst it no want of celestial evidence ately done, a few years ago, by Archdeacon and signs, and seeks no new and more Hare, and done, too, on Mr Carlyle's exauthentic certificate of its divinity, but press suggestion. Mr Hare's biography simply accuses it of a want of life in, represented Sterling as, in spite of scepand influence over, men. He treats it as ticism on many important points, 'almost exhausted, spent, dead; and he would a Christian' in creed, and quite one in have it buried out of sight. But he will heart. Mr Carlyle was indignant at this, not come to the proof, otherwise he would as a misrepresentation of one whom he find, that if Christianity ever had life, it fancied to be his disciple, and not a Chrishas it now, larger and purer ; that if tian at all. Mr Hare had fixed upon the Christianity ever did work and rule, it brief period during which Sterling offidoes so now, more actively and potently ciated as a curate, as not only the most in a wider sphere. Has it not equally satisfactory period, but also the most mirgenuine and faithful disciples and mar ror-like one that gave a genuine glimpse, tyrs in far greater numbers than ever? | with a few subsequent changes to be alIs not its humane spirit abroad in the lowed for in the expression, of Sterling's world almost as extensively as its name? religious developments. But Mr Carlyle and has it lost any of its specific power to estimates the clerical period as something change men who shall afterwards, through properly aside from Sterling's real career, it, be consecrated, purified, consoled, and a brief month or two absurdly and violently spiritualized ? What it was it still is in flung into his history by the wildest more abundant and varied manifestations chance; nor will he consent that it should -what it did it still does on a larger give any complexion to Sterling's characscale. It is its very success in the world ter, either in the preceding or succeeding which has drawn into its train the hypo portions of life. He says: 'Mr Hare crites whom Mr Carlyle stigmatizes, and takes up Sterling as a clergyman merely. whom, with the grossest injustice, he re Sterling, I find, was a curate for exactly gards as representative Christians. Its eight months: during eight months, and lazy and plundering camp followers he no more, had he any special relation to the wickedly mistakes for its true soldiers. Church. But he was a man, and had a Now, separate Christianity from our ex relation to the universe for eight-andisting Churches, and it has life to rush thirty years; and it is in this latter charimmediately into new embodiments. The acter to which all the others were but feaBird of Heaven would soon find or make tures and transitory hues, that we wish to a new nest. Lift Christianity out of the know him. His battle with hereditary pulpit, and it has life enough forth with to Church formulas was severe; but it wa's cry aloud in all our streets. Its inde by no means his one battle with things instructible essence could enter all varieties | herited, nor indeed his chief battle; neiof organization, or, at least, would still ther, according to my observation of what dwell in countless hearts; and its irre it was, is it successfully delineated or sistible power could seize upon all kinds summed up in Mr Hare's book. A pale, of, means and appliances, or, at least, sickly shadow in torn surplice is presented would communicate itself from man to to us: weltering bewildered amid heaps of man along the natural tie of brotherhood. | Hebrew Old Clothes : wrestling, with imCarlyle himself once said, many years ago, potent impetuosity, to free itself froin the • The Christian religion, once here, cannot baseful imbroglio, as if that had been its again pass away: in one or other form it one function in life: who in this miserable will endure through all time: as in Scrip figure would recognise the brilliant beauture, so also in the heart of man, is written, tiful and cheerful John Sterling, with his “The gates of hell shall not prevail against ever-flowing wealth of ideas, fancies, imait.” Were the memory of this faith never ginations with his frank affections, inexso obscure, as, indeed, in all times the haustible hopes, audacities, activities, and coarse passions and perceptions do all but general radiant vivacity of heart and intelobliterate it in the hearts of most: yet, in ligence which made the presence of him every pure soul, in every poet and wise an illumination and inspiration wherever man, it finds a missionary, a new martyr, he went? It is too bad. Let a man be till the great volume of universal history honestly forgotten when his life ends; but is finally closed, and man's destinies are let him not be misremembered in this fulfilled in this earth. It is a height to way." which the human species were fated and The foregoing account of the portrait enabled to attain; and from which, having by Archdeacon Hare is anything but cor. rect. Sterling was not sketched as a lean The impression left by Carlyle's Meyouth dieting on doubts about Church moir is, that Sterling, on leaving his formulas. His doubts were represented curacy, lived and died a confirmed doubter. as intermittent and of a far higher kind. The biographer uses the word “victoIt was only occasionally that they gave a rious;' but wherefore? Victorious over thoughtful pallor to the face of the por- doubt? what then was the faith to which trait; and certainly did not turn the ra- he attained? Why is it not exbibited ? diant' Sterling into a pale, sickly shadow Why has not Carlyle's genius kindled on in torn surplice. By the way, in reference its shores a watch-fire to invite and attract to such phrases (and they occur in every all poor wretches who are swimming page of his writings) as 'torn surplice,' through doubt, ignorant of what land they we wonder greatly that a man like Carlyle are making for, or, indeed, if they are should take the trouble of waxing angry making for any land ? Sterling's last at the mere dress of clergymen. The letter to Carlyle, written when he was largest proportion of his declamation is dying, contains the following confession: against their canonicals. Why did not — I tread the common road into the great the Geneva gown damn John Knox in Car- darkness, without any thought of fear and lyle's estimation? It is quite evident that with very much of hope. Certainty, indeed, whenever Thomas succeeds in introducing I have none. It is all very strange, but a new religious dispensation, the tailor not one hundredth part so sad as it seems will be a very essential functionary. Snip to the standers by. An acknowledgment will have to devise a Carlyleist costume, that he was anchorless! Poor Sterling, not to be cut and shaped, we hope, out of on leaving the curacy, got into Doubting the same 'Immensities' as the creed of Castle; and we grieve to add that it apthe sect, though it would then find plenty pears that Mr and Mrs Carlyle were the of scope for cabbaging. In the meantime, Giant Despair and his wife, who kept him it may be hinted that Jeremy Taylor, quite in safe durance there, belabouring him with as ' brilliant and beautiful as John Ster-jokes and arguments whenever he sought ling, looked very well in his “surplice;' | to escape. Whenever he peeped out at a and that Thomas Chalmers was not less a door, his head would be broken by both noble and true teacher because he wore a Pan and Pot. clergyman's gown and bands. We should We need not attempt to settle whether think neither better nor worse of Mr Car- Mr Carlyle's or Mr Hare's account be lyle himself for any garment he might the correct one. Sterling's scepticism, choose to wear, unless he were to call it whatever was its kind and degree, was no Elijah's mantle. As for the term applied test of Christianity. Christianity had not to the Bible, ' Hebrew Old Clothes, it is been either long or profoundly studied by not worth while noticing its coarse pro- him; and his speculative faculty was just fanity; and we here simply point it out as an extempore feeder to his conversational one of the many instances to be found in and debating eloquence. Even Mr Carlyle Carlyle's writings, of the extremely puerile says— The fact was, you could observe, in and offensively low cast of his associations spite of his sleepless intellectual vivacity, of ideas. He himself does not blush to he was not properly a thinker at all; his tell us in the course of this volume that faculties were of the active, not of the paswhen in a conversation Sterling branded | sive, or contemplative sort. A brilliant some remark of his as sheer Pantheism,' | improvisatore; rapid in thought, in word, he replied, 'Well, what though it were and in act; everywhere the promptest and Pot-theism?' To Carlyle, whose mind must least hesitating of men.' have been then on the kitchen level, pan | Concerning the general manner of this suggested pot! Thomas Hood's faculty Biography, it is Carlyle's very best. The of punning, never even when hard pressed incidents are told with striking effect; and and driven to any shift, threw off such a all the characters grouped around Sterling wretched oddity. Henceforth, when there are admirably exhibited and harmonized. is an inquiry about the worst specimen of Sterling was not a notable man, compared joking extant, let Carlyle’s ‘Pot-theism' be with either Lord Jeffrey or Dr Chalmers, mentioned, and it is sure to carry off the vet his short and uneventful life. in Carprize. Coleridge, in his Table Talk," lyle's hands, gathers an interest and a speaks of the cry of the Jewish oid charm which Ďr Hanna and Lord CockClothesmen in London, Old Clo! Old | burn have failed to give to their biograClo!' as being at the very extreme of the phical works. Carlyle's remarkable genius magnificent Hebrew oracle which begins - forms a spell around everything which it 'Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!' | touches. His very naming of dates is like It must have been this remark of Cole- the solemn striking of a clock, or the ridge's which suggested Carlyle's epithet merry ringing of bells before some event for the Bible. So shockingly low in his or spectacle. His localities are neither association of ideas.
| dots on a map, nor landscape drafts, but enshrine the genius of the place, so that the historical style of the young runaway of scenery seems to be evolved and unfolded, | twelve, narrating merely, not in the least with all its gossamer lines of association apologizing,' is very laughable. At the Aoating along and athwart it, from Ster- age of sixteen, he was sent to Glasgow ling's own mind.
College, and three years afterwards to TriJohn Sterling was born in the Isle of nity College, Cambridge. At the latter Bute, on the 20th July 1806. His parents, place he had Mr Hare for his tutor, who was though Irish by birth, were of Scotch ex- fascinated by the youth's gifts and graces, traction. His father was Captain Edward | especially by his brilliant debating faculty Sterling, who, though bred for the bar, in conversation. At this time he was an took to a military life for a few years, and ecclesiastical and political radical, not a afterwards was famous as the thunderer young Joe Huine, but of a loftier and of the Times newspaper,' a man without more generous type. In 1827, at the age much expansion, but with great and ever of 21, he left Cambridge, universally acready energy, of soul, a Captain Whirlwind, complished rather than profoundly learned, as Carlyle calls him.
and with full and ready mastery over all On leaving the army, he had gone to his abilities. He turned away from the Kaimes Castle, "a kind of dilapidated ba three learned professions, feeling that he ronial residence, to which a small farm was was unsuited to them, and they to him. attached, which he rented in Bute, his Carlyle, along with all his friends, thinks only income being his half-pay and an in that he was pre-eminently qualified for herited pension of £200 a year. He had | Parliamentary life. taken a fancy for farming, but wanted both 'Here,' he says, 'beyond question, had agricultural skill and agricultural perse. the gross material conditions been allowed, verance. The rainy climate of Bute was his spiritual capabilities were first-rate. uncongenial to his restless, ardent, and in an arena where eloquence and arguenergetic character, and, neglecting his ment was the point, this man was calcufarm, he made frequent runs to Dublin and lated to have borne the bell from all London. John was born during this ex competitors. In lucid ingenious talk and periment in farming. In three years, the logic, in all manner of brilliant utterance family removed to a pleasant cottage in and tongue fence, I have hardly known the "Village of Llanblethian, close by his fellow. So ready lay his store of knowCowbridge in Glamorganshire. Five ledge around him, so perfect was his ready years were there spent; and of the scenery | utterance of the same, in coruscating wit, and schoolboy days, John ever retained in jocund drollery, in compact, articulated delightful impressions. His father had clearness, or high poignant emphasis, become Adjutant of the Glamorganshire as the case required, he was a match for Militia, and in 1811 published a pamphlet any man in argument before a crowd of on Military Reform. The following year | men. One of the most supple-wristed, he wrote a series of Letters to the Times, dexterous, graceful, and successful fencers which, by their trenchant and bold style, in that kind. A man, as Mr Hare has attracted much notice. During the peace said, “able to argue with four or five at in 1814, he went with his family to Paris, | once," and could do the parrying all round, with the view of qualifying himself to be in a succession swift as light, and plant his the Foreign Correspondent of the Times ; | hits wherever a chance offered. In Parbut in three months, on the escape of Na- liament, such a soul put into a body of poleon from Elba, was obliged to return the due toughness might have carried it to London. There he fixed his own and far.' his family's residence, and by degrees got The elder Sterling appears to have been into closer and closer connexion with the so much engrossed in the management of Times, until he became a co-proprietor the Times, as neither to have had, nor and the leading editor. John was grow-wished to have, any influence over his son. ing up, a singularly quick, enthusiastic, Yet it might have been thought that, as a gallant and adventurous youth, but with politician, he would have been anxious to health delicate. We may infer from the see young Sterling, with his reinarkable fact that at the age of twelve, he, for some powers of eloquence and debate, enter petty cross, ran away from home, at a the Parliamentary arena. Perhaps that time when he had been bereaved of several son's radicalism frightened the editor, and little brothers and sisters, and when his made him abandon a fatherly ambition. gentle mother was almost broken-hearted Young Sterling, however, took to literathat there was a want of depth, or at least ture as his profession, and purchased the of consistency of tender feeling, in his copyright of the Atheneum which he and nature, or that through his restlessness his college friend Frederic Maurice were and volatility, it was moved and lashed to conduct. This periodical, which has into thin spray. On being arrested, and long had remarkable success, was then in in writing to · Dear Mamma,' the steady | its struggling infancy; and Sterling was
soon glad to get quit of it as a property. code for the esoteric, what can it be or About this period of his history, he was have to the vulgar millions ? introduced to the 'myriad-minded' Cole Carlyle's spite at Coleridge as a Chrisridge, from whose wonderful monologues tian appears very offensively in the followhe seems to have got his first ideas of ing anecdote :Christianity in connexion with, and mas There is no doubt but Coleridge could tery over, philosophy. Carlyle's lengthy speak plain words on things plain: his sketch of Coleridge is one of consummate observations and responses on the trivial ability, here and there, however, running matters that occurred were as simple as into caricature of his conversations, and, the commonest man's, or were even diswhat is much worse, the whole animated tinguished by superior simplicity as well with bitter and scornful hatred of his as pertinency. “Ah! your tea is too cold, Christian creed. Christianity is made to Mr Coleridge!" mourned the good Mrs rise from its solid foundations, and diffuse Gilman once, in her kind, reverential, itself into the mists and haze of Coleridge's and yet protective manner, handing him a talk about Church constitutions. Carlyle very tolerable though belated cup. “It's remarks—'Coleridge had skirted the howl- better than I deserve !" snufled he, in a ing deserts of infidelity: this was evident low, hoarse murmur, partly courteous, enough; but he had not had the courage, chiefly pious, the tone of which still abides in defiance of pain and terror, to press with me: “It's better than I deserve !!! resolutely across said deserts to the new If it be remembered what poignant refirm lands of faith beyond: he preferred to morse Coleridge felt for that irresolution 'create logical fata-morganas for himself on of will which had thrown him off from all this hither side, and laboriously solace the resources of a livelihood and an indehimself with these! Why has not Mr pendence, which his wonderful genius Carlyle pointed out these 'new firm lands could easily have secured, and made him of faith beyond ?' We may presume that indebted for support to strangers, to whom he himself has a solid footing on them; he could make no return, his remark, even and why will he not enable a few com-over Mrs Gilman's cup of tea, 'It's better panions to join him there? Still his own than I deserve,' will lose all its appearance initiated John Sterling, at the moment of of cant. Gratitude to Providence, along death, when faith gathers strength from with a touch of penitence, is not one of weakening sense, confessed that, instead of Mr Carlyle's laughable peculiarities. No standing upon firm land, he had 'no cer- biographer will have to sneer at him for tainty. Not so Coleridge, who, in a noble sonnet, says :
Coleridge was none of your narrow, dull,
mechanical souls who move in the beaten • Born unto God in Christ-in Christ, my all! track of a creed; but a man endowed with What that earth boasts were not lost cheaply, the most original powers of speculation, rather
which he exercised every moment; and Than forfeit that blest name by which we call yet, in his best, and down to his last days,
The Holy One, the Almighty God, our Father? he found the amplest scope for them Father! in Christ we live; and, Christ in Thee! within Christianity, and read a memorable Eternal Thou, and everlasting we!
lesson to all daring and lawless thinkers The heir of Heaven, henceforth I dread not death: that to hold fast by its peculiar and essen
In Christ I live; in Christ I draw the breath tial doctrines is glorious liberty. Hence Of the true life. Let sea, and earth, and sky Carlyle's hatred of him. Unfortunately,
Wage war against me; on my front I show Coleridge's subtle and dreamy talk, not to Their mighty Master's seal! In vain they try speak of his sanguine views and projects To end my life who can but end its woe.
for reforming such a corrupt institution as Is that a death-bed where the Christian lies? the Church of England, furnished Cariyle Yes ; but not his : 'tis Death itself there dies.' with materials for ridicule; and Carlyle
has unjustly transferred these materials As for Carlyle's 'FAITH,' it has no truth, into the very heart of Coleridge's Christian much less a system of truth; it has no creed. He has dexterously but dishonourworship; and it has neither a life nor a ably put Coleridge's mists into the place rule of practice. It cannot speak; it can- of the everlasting hills on which Coleridge not kneel; it cannot work. Whoever rested. There is, however, one living saw or heard of it in connexion with a philosopher, with whose subtle and compositive doctrine, a tangible ceremony, ora | prehensive disquisitions on Christianity visible fruit? And if, among philosophers, / we challenge Mr Carlyle to meddle. Let and even with its philosophical author him try Thomas De Quincey! Instead of himself, it is an undeclared and unshaped mist, he would find impenetrable mail. nonentity, how is it to take possession of, The most mournful episode in the vostir, and rule the common but various / lume is Sterling's connexion with Torrijos world ? If it have no book, no altar, no ) and the Spanish exiles. Torrijos, prompted