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was conveyed to us by the other sufferer may be. But indeed this two great historical studies. The historian's love is as much to be work perhaps was too great, the dreaded as his hatred – as his material too immense, the details recent works have proved. The too minute and voluminous. There picturesque and vivid workmanwas less unity in the interest, and ship of Mr Kinglake, the epic consequently less force in the pic- of a great campaign; the valuture. The comparatively brief nar- able labours of Dr Stubbs, of rative of the Abbot Samson and Mr Freeman, and of other wellhis surrourdings in Past and Pres- known living writers, who still ent,' perhaps the most completely continue to enrich our records, lovable and delightful of all Car- and whose work we hope will not lyle's work, shows his power of yet for a long time be recognisable throwing himself into the scene he as complete, do not require more depicts, and his wonderful sym. than a mention. There is now a pathetic realisation of character great school of historical investiand power of poetic vision at their gation, bringing to the elucidation
of our national records much fine To make a list of all the re- understanding and manly work, a markable historical works which few crotchets, and a great deal of have distinguished our age, would admirable talent and skill. Inbe of itself a laborious undertak- stead of long silence, broken now ing. Chief among them are the and then by a chapter of classical highly coloured, and in many re- history, or a learned prelection spects most effective and pictur- on some distant and unattractive esque, studies of Mr. Froude, in theme, we have a crowd of enerwhich the strong parti pris, the getic workers, clearing the very incapacity for regarding almost springs of history, and spreading enany event or character simply, and lightenment and knowledge round. on its own merits, do not hinder- In Scotland, too, a group of denay, perhaps rather help to secure voted patriotic students have given -the absorbed attention of the their best efforts to the authenreader. Nor does the singular heat tication of our ancient history, of hostile feeling with which he among whose names that of the pursues not only certain favourite late John Hill Burton—whose expersonages, but even such a great cellent and valuable • History of institution as the Church of Eng- Scotland' is scarcely less remarkland for example—or the remark- able than the delightful "Bookable peculiarity of moral vision, Hunter,' which has originated which raises so many grievances quite a little school of its ownalong his path wherever that was for a long time the first. distinguished writer has passed - And a corresponding group in detract from the interest. The Ireland has been labouring, unreader, who cannot fail to have moved by all external clamour, been impressed and stirred by his upon the primitive records of vivid pictures, will yet remember the Isle of Saints.
The great with what relentless hatred he popular acceptance of the brilliant pursued Mary Stuart to the block little History for the People of the and the grave, untouched by even late Rev. J. R. Green, did that inthat natural sentiment which is genious writer wrong; for it forced impressed by every courageous and into the position of an independdignified death-scene, whoever the ent work of personal research and
thought what was intended only tion in the literary world, and the for a more lucid and attractive amiable recluse fouud himself famstatement of the work done by ous to his great surprise and conothers; and thus perhaps wore siderable embarrassment. Howout more quickly than otherwise ever, he took his fame with much might have been, the strength and seriousness, and without any mislife of the writer, whose forces givings as to the result. Buckle were unequal, and whose time was was one of the first of the band of too short for such a task.
philosophical thinkers rejecting the We have spoken (with the one creed of Christianity and even of exception of Carlyle) only of works Theism, which have made so great of English history. But the his- an appearance in our day; and his torical writers of the half-century name naturally leads us to those have not been confined to this sub- of others in many respects more ject. The great work of Grote remarkable than his own, who upon ancient Greece has for a long have given to our philosophical time put every competitor out of literature a new development, and the field, and become in its weighty who have established Natural conscientiousness and power the Science, with all the philosophies chief authority upon that ever-in- dependent on it, as one of the teresting theme. We have al- greatest subjects and most intiready referred to the most prodi- mate occupations of the time. gious piece of work of all, a His- We have again to recur to the tory which has been perhaps more name of Carlyle when we enter, popular than any big book of its or rather before we enter, this field. dimensions ever was, and which His historical works, though so rewas for a long time almost as pro- markable, perhaps scarcely took so ductive as an estate, a most valu- strong a hold upon the mind of his able piece of literary property, Sir generation as those which for want Archibald Alison's History of of a better title we must call philoEurope.' The History of Civili- sophical. He had no system of sation of the late Mr Buckle was philosophy, however, to set forth, still greater in its conception, and but rather the mind and thoughts could it ever have been carried out, upon all things in heaven and earth would no doubt have reached to of one of the most remarkable of some prodigious number of volumes, human beings, a man half prophet, worthy of the huge collection of half iconoclast, in whom a devout books in which its author had heart, instinct with all the lore of built himself up with a curious a cottage-taught religion, and the symbolical fitness. For though his austere morality and rustic intolertheme was mankind, his knowledge ance of a Scotch peasant, were was of books alone, and his work linked with a spirit which had is full of those strange ignorances caught fire at that of Goethe, and clever mistakes to which a and had thrown off all allegiance mind trained in the atmosphere of of faith—a spirit full of sardonic a literary hothouse, out of reach of humour and powers of mockery all practical contact with the na- and vituperation unrivalled, fierceture he attempted to define and ly unsympathetic with all that chronicle, is naturally subject. was uncongenial to his nature, The appearance of his first volume, while tender to every touch of however, the introduction to his feeling within its intense vast subject, created a great sensa- but limited range.
blem of this curiously mingled with crags and precipices and nature, so open to malign inter- heaven-pointing needles, sometimes pretations, yet so attractive to resplendent in the glory of setting all the enthusiasms, puzzled yet de- suns, sometimes clad in the greys lighted the world as it revealed and purples of distance, to which itself in the often grand and some- neither verdure nor snows will cling. times chaotic literary utterance, a A very different apparition is style which was in reality the sub- that of the philosopher whose conlimated but most genuine style of tact with Carlyle has afforded a a Scotch peasant of genius, full of curious anecdote to literary hisreflections from the Hebrew elo- tory, and a still more curious conquence of the Old Testament, and trast between two men as unlike from that prodigious gigantic as any two that could be got togeancient German, which were per- ther at random in any thoroughhaps the two things nearest to his fare, though both so influential in own heroic old Saxon-Scotch. Per- their different ways and so remarkhaps it needs an acquaintance with able. Everybody knows the tragic that ponderous and solemn speech incident of the destruction of Carof the old shepherds and plough- lyle's precious manuscript, the first men, slow and grandiose in unin- volume of the French Revolution,' tended solemnity, “such as grave upon which all his hopes of fame livers do in Scotland use," to com- and even of daily bread hung, by prehend the naturalness and sim- horrible misadventure or carelessplicity of Carlyle's often contorted ness, in the hands of John Stuart and sometimes convulsive utter- Mill; and that memorable scene ance. And it certainly requires a when the pair of penniless people knowledge no longer at all general in London, hearing suddenly of of the primitive moorland peasant this tremendous misfortune, could of the beginning of the century to not by more than a look commuunderstand the fashion of a man, nicate to each other their despair, all astray among fine English liter so
was it to console ary folks in Queen Victoria's reign. the misery of the destroyer, who, These curious contradictions and in- “deadly pale,” came to tell them comprehensibilities will make him of what had happened. What a always a most interesting figure in curious picture! The culprit, rich literary history, even under the and at his ease, to whom a hundred shade which has been thrown or even a thousand pounds was over his name, and nothing can nothing, could that make up for impair the splendour of his contri- this thing which was irremediable, butions to literature. Such works pale and trembling, before that as Sartor Resartus' stand detached proud, passionate, eloquent, fiery like great poems from all surround- pair, either of whom could have ings, and are indeed more rare annihilated with desperate, vehethan the greatest of poems. It ment words any offender. What would be difficult to apportion to lava - torrents of indignation and Carlyle his place in any literature. despair ought to have covered him He stands apart like a great lonely as he stood, turning him to a peak in a world of mountains, not cinder ! As a matter of fact, they loftier perhaps than the great forms were the consolers of his despair, about him veiled in summer ver- not he of theirs. And everybody dure or eternal snow_but more knows also the strange training of conspicuous in solitary grandeur, Mill as disclosed in his Autobiography, and the amiable, benevo- The philosophers who have follent, gentle nature of the man thus lowed Mill in this field—his contwisted and tortured out of hu- temporaries, yet successors—are manity, and how he took refuge too many and too important to be in woman-worship and learned a dealt with here. Mr Herbert wistful hope in immortality out of Spencer, who is a host in himself, the. intolerable pang of bereave. is fortunately still with us; and ment. His great work on · Logic' so are, a band almost uncountis another of the books which make able, the school of English writers, a distinct epoch and new beginning; many of them most accomplished and we perhaps can scarcely esti- and eloquent, to whom the philomate how much the general public sophy of Comte is more attractive has derived its present conceptions that that of the Gospel. There of individual right and social res- have never perhaps been so many ponsibility from the famous · Essay attractive and charming unbelievers on Liberty, which has stimulated in the field; yet we do not enterso many minds, and grown into tain the apprehensions expressed the common code so completely by many for the permanence of that thousands recognise its tenets the older faith. as born with their birth, without It is difficult to dissociate the two any consciousness from whence men above considered, Carlyle and they came. His other works on Mill, in their very different developPolitical Economy, the Utilitarian ments, from their productions; but system, and other cognate subjects, when we turn to Charles Darwin, are all important and interesting. who perhaps is the most influential These were hereditary tenets and of all the scientific writers of our occupations, for he was brought epoch, we associate no personality up under the shadow of Jeremy with his work, and feel no temptaBentham, and was in a great tion to inquire what manner of degree the expositor and prophet man he was. This is one drawback of his father James Mill, another which attaches to wealth, comfort, stern Scotch dogmatist and theorist, and a quiet life, that there is little into whose immovable mould the attraction for human sympathy in gentler, more sensitive, and im- them. But the importance of Darpressionable nature of the son was win in the literary and scientific compressed with
very curious history of his time is not to be effects. The strange little book mistaken. His works have been on the “Subjection of Woman' read according to a very usual belongs to a very different phase formula not so applicable now as of his character, to the much-re- in former days—like novels. It pressed emotional side, which only would perhaps be a truer form of got vent under the feminine influ- applause to say of a successful novel ence which to him seemed all but that it has been read like Darwin. divine in the latter part of his life. His works have been discussed His books, excepting the highly in every drawing-room as well as popular • Essay on Liberty,' are studied in every scientific retirechiefly for the student; and have ment; but this, we are disposed to had an immense influence upon the believe, as has been the case with teaching of Mental Science; but many other of the scientific works the image of the man as revealed of the period, rather because of in his own story is of the greatest the lucidity and interest of the interest to all.
style and the manner of putting
these wonderful new doctrines- almost all thinkings on these subfrom their character as literature, in jects. To undervalue the weight short—than from interest in their and importance of these works subjects or conviction of their because we are personally unable truth. It is harder than any phil- to be convinced by them, or to conosopher has ever conceived to make sider them otherwise than as largely ordinary men and women consider founded on the conjectures of a in any other light than that of a remarkable imagination, backed up piquant pleasantry, touching upon by equally remarkable powers of the burlesque, the idea that they reasoning would be an unworthy are themselves the offspring of jelly- attempt. Darwin's work has the fish. Notwithstanding this, there peculiarity that it is unpolemical; can be no doubt that the doctrine his conclusions are worked out with of Evolution has had the greatest all the calm of scientific research, effect in science, has exercised a with none of that lively pleasure considerable influence upon the re- in Alinging a challenge to the upligious polemics or apologetics of holders of religious systems, whose the time, and has been very start- theory of the origin of man is that ling to many minds and very stim- he was developed from above and ulating to many others. Whether not from below, which actuates, for the problem of human existence is instance, the writings and utterthus simply solved, and whether ances of Professors Huxley and the scientific reasoner is at liberty to Tyndall, and other philosophers of believe that he may jump the vast their class. It pleased Darwin's gap which exists between the evolu- observant genius to watch the tion of the highest animal and that labours of the earthworms, the wonderfully different creature, the subjects of his latest work, throwspeaking, thinking, inventing, crea- ing up their little inequalities on tive being man, we are not called the earth's surface, and to calcuupon to decide. It may be taken as late how by these unnoticed means an example of humility more strik- the outer husk of the great globe ing than any ever exacted from a itself was sustaining continual momonk in the elder ages, that such difications—better than to shake a man as Darwin is able to con- his demonstrative fist in the face ceive of himself as sufficiently of the world. And in these later accounted for by the processes he observations he had the inestidescribes, and on which he founds mable advantage of being on the his theory of the succession of the spot, which he unfortunately was races, taking the tremendous ath- not during any one of the greater letic exercise of that last great developments by which, according leap as possible and permissible to his theory, the naked savage without danger to life or limb. came out of the loins of La Bête, His works on the Origin of Species,' as M. Cherbuliez has called it, his theories of the survival of the to develop somehow-how? by an fittest, and of those developments evolution quite miraculous and inwhich he considered owing to the comprehensible_into Charles Dardesire of one sex to please the win and other eloquent philosoother (a desire, alas ! singularly in- phers of his kind. operative in adding to the beauty The extraordinary growth of of the human species nowadays), this new branch of literature, and took the scientific world by storm, the change it has made even in the and have since shaped more or less very nomenclature of things, and