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Latter-Day Pamphlets by Thomas Carlyle

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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_).



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

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

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 hand.

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

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

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 occasion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 become?

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 be 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

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

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

_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 Realms_.

"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 is.

"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

"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

"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 servitude!

"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 again_:]

"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

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

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

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 cleanness.

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 abolished.

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

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