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Latter-Day Pamphlets by Thomas Carlyle

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grooms of the chambers, and expensive crowds of eye-servants,
more imaginary than real: while here, Science, Human Intellect
and Beneficence have searched and sat studious, eager to do their
very best; they have chosen a real Artist in Governing to see
their best, in all details of it, done. Happy regiments of the
line, what soldier to any earthly or celestial Power has such a
lodging and attendance as you here? No soldier or servant direct
or indirect of God or of man, in this England at present. Joy to
you, regiments of the line. Your Master, I am told, has his
Elect, and professes to be "Prince of the Kingdoms of this
World;" and truly I see he has power to do a good turn to those
he loves, in England at least. Shall we say, May _he_, may the
Devil give you good of it, ye Elect of Scoundrelism? I will
rather pass by, uttering no prayer at all; musing rather in
silence on the singular "worship of God," or practical "reverence
done to Human Worth" (which is the outcome and essence of all
real "worship" whatsoever) among the Posterity of Adam at this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Proposal is, That Secretaries under and upper, that all
manner of changeable or permanent servants in the Government
Offices shall be selected without reference to their power of
getting into Parliament;--that, in short, the Queen shall have
power of nominating the half-dozen or half-score Officers of the
Administration, whose presence is thought necessary in
Parliament, to official seats there, without reference to any
constituency but her own only, which of course will mean her
Prime Minister's. A very small encroachment on the present
constitution of Parliament; offering the minimum of change in
present methods, and I almost think a maximum in results to be
derived therefrom.--The Queen nominates John Thomas (the fittest

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