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ing) Nothing;—this was he who, the sport of the wracking winds, saw himself whirled aloft to command la première nation de l'univers, and all men shouting long life to him; one of the most lamentable, tragic, sea-green objects ever whirled aloft in that manner, in any country, to his own swift destruction and the world's long wonder."
We, for our own part, and not without considerable 'consideration and meditation, believe that (Oliver Cromwell not excepted) there is no other man who has played a great part in troublous times whom History has so persistently and cruelly maligned and misrepresented ; and we believe that some day the man will arise who will secure for the memory of the French Autocrat that meed of justice which Carlyle has secured for the memory of the great English Lord Protector. Carlyle himself in the end, when describing the terrible tragedy of the death of Robespierre, almost seems inclined to do something like tardy justice to the man:
THE DEATH OF ROBESPIERRE. “Robespierre lay in an anteroom of the Convention Hall, while his Prison-escort was getting ready; the mangled jaw bound up rudely with bloody linen: a spectacle to men. He lies stretched on a table, a deal box his pillow; the sheath of the pistol with which he had shot himself, is still clenched convulsively in his hand. Men bully him, insult him: his eyes indicate intelligence; he speaks no word. ... The death-tumbrils with their motley batch of Outlaws, some twenty-three or so, roll on. All eyes are on Robespierre's Tumbril, where he, his jaw bound in dirty linen, with his half-dead brother and half-dead Henriot, lie shattered; the seventeen hours of agony about to end. The Gendarmes point their swords at him, to show the people which is he. A woman springs on the Tumbril; clutching the side of it with one hand; waving the other sibyl-like; and exclaims: "The death of thee gladdens my very heart, m'énivre de joie !! Robespierre opened his eyes :
Scélérat, go down to Hell with the curses of all wives and mothers!' At the foot of the scaffold they stretched him on the ground till his turn caine. Lifted aloft, his eyes again opened; caught the bloody axe. Samson wrenched the coat off him; wrenched the dirty linen from his jaw: the jaw fell powerless, there burst from him a cry ;-hideous to hear and see. Samson, thou canst not be too quick!
“Samson's work done, there bursts forth shout on shout of applause. Shout which prolongs itself not only over Paris, but over France, but over Europe, and down to this generation. Deservedly, and also undeservedly. O unhappiest Advocate of Arras, wert thou worse than other Advocates ? Stricter man, according to his formula, to his Credo and his Cant, of probities, benevolences, pleasures-of-virtue, and suchlike, lived not in that age. A man fitted, in some luckier settled age, to have become one of those incorruptible barren Pattern-Figures, and have had marble-tablets and funeral-sermons. His poor Landlord, the Cabinet-maker in the Rue SaintHonoré, loved him; his Brother died for him. May God be merciful to him and to us !".
We think it not unlikely that the British public, if left to themselves, would in course of time
have discovered that this Thomas Carlyle was a man not altogether destitute of talent; but they were fearfully slow in finding it out. The “French Revolution,” like “Sartor Resartus,” was famous in America long before it excited any special notice in England. The “ Athenæum” (which Bulwer styled the “ Assinæum”) pitched into it briefly, and in its most flippant style. Still there were some Englishmen who appreciated Carlyle ; and among them were his two friends Mill, the editor of the “Westminster Review," and John Sterling. In 1839 Sterling put forth in the “Review” a highly laudatory critique upon Carlyle, who thus in his “Life of Sterling ” refers to it :
"I well remember the deep silent joy, not of a weak or ignoble nature, which it gave to myself in my then mood and situation; as well it might. The first generous human recognition, expressed with heroic emphasis, a clear conviction visible amidst its fiery exaggerations, that one's poor battle in this world is not quite a mad and futile; that it is perhaps a worthy and manful one, which will come to something yet. The thought burnt in me like a lamp for several days, lighting up into a sort of heroic splendor the sad volcanic wrecks, abysses, and convulsions of said poor battle.”
CHARTISM.-HEROES AND HERO-WORSHIP.-PAST
EARLY in 1840 Carlyle put forth “ Chartism," a little book, or rather pamphlet, evidently hastily written. Heretofore he had appeared mainly as an ethical philosopher and historian. He now took upon himself the eharacter of a political philosopher, treating upon the rights and wrongs, the duties and obligations, of civil and political and social life. “A feeling,” he says, “very generally exists that the condition and disposition of the working classes is a rather ominous matter at present ; that something ought to be done in regard to it. ... To us individually, this matter appears, and has for many years appeared, to be the most ominous of all practical matters whatever ; matter in regard to which if something be not done, something will do itself one day, and in a fashion that will please nobody. The time is verily come for acting in it ; how much more for consultation about acting in it; for speech and articulate inquiry about it.”
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHARTISM. “ We are aware that, according to the Newspapers Chartism is extinct; that a Reformed Ministry has put down the Chimera of Chartigm' in the most felicitous effectual manner. So say the Newspapers ;-and yet, alas, most readers of newspapers know withal that it is indeed the · Chimera’ of Chartism, and not the Reality, which has been put down.' The distracted incoherent embodiment of Chartism, whereby in late months it took shape and became visible, has been put down; or rather has fallen down and gone asunder by Gravitation and the Law of Nature: but the living essence of Chartism has not been put down.
" Chartism means the bitter discontent, grown fierce; and mad, the wrong condition of the Working Classes of England. It is a new name for a thing which has had many names, and which will yet have many. The matter of Chartism is weighty, deep-rooted, far-extending ; did not begin yesterday; will by no means end this day or to-morrow. Reform Ministry, constabulary, rural police, new levy of soldiers, grants of money to Birmingham; all this is well, or is not well; all this will only put down the Embodiment or Chimera' of Chartism. The Essence continuing, new and ever new embodiments, Chimeras madder or less mad, have to continue.
“The melancholy fact does remain, that this thing known at present by the name of Chartism does exist; has existed; and either put down’into secret treason, with rusty pistols, vitriol-bottle and match-box, or openly brandishing pike and torch (one knows not in which case more fatal looking ), is like to exist till quite other methods have been tried with it. What means this bitter discontent of the Working Classes? Whence comes it; whither goes it? Above all, at what price, on what terms, will it probably consent to depart from us and die into rest? These are the questions."