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that is, the present writer-feel called upon across him, he was smitten as if by enchantment. here distinctly to declare that with scarcely His mind dwindled away under the spell, from any living author have we less agreement gigantic elevation to dwarfish littleness. Those thản with Carlylé ; yet we are, nevertheless, its force, were now as much astonished at its
who had lately been admiring its amplitude and sensible of great benefit derived from his strange narrowness and feebleness as the fisherwritings. There is an indirect teaching not man in the Arabian tale, when he saw the genie, less valuable than the direct teaching. No whose stature had overshadowed the whole seaserious thinker writes in vain. Carlyle has coast, and whose might seemed equal to a contest his affectations, his shams; but he has his with armies, contract himself to the dimensions realities. Had he not lived, some of the most
of his small prison, and lie there, the helpless active minds of our generation would have slave of the charm of Solomon. been different ; they would assuredly have treme severity the evidence for all stories which
“ Johnson was in the habit of sifting with exbeen active, it may be, wiser, but certainly were merely odd. But when they were not only different. Now it is impossible, we think, to odd, but miraculous, his severity relaxed. He say that any human being would have been began to be credulous precisely at the point where otherwise had Macaulay never written. Some most credulous people begin to be sceptical. It is few might have written less picturesquely curious to observe, both in his writings and in his and less elegantly, but no human soul would conversation, the contrast between the disdainful
manner in which he rejects unauthenticated anechave been poorer.
dotes, even when they are consistent with the The distinction between Macaulay and general laws of nature, and the respectful manCarlyle is curiously exhibited in their arti ner in which he mentions the wildest stories recles on Johnson. Both give graphic and lating to the invisible world. A man who told delightful pictures of this remarkable man, him of a waterspout or a meteoric stone, generally whose monumental common sense almost had the lie given him for his pains. A man who amounted to genius; but Macaulay has told him of a prediction or a dream wonderfully
accomplished, was sure of a courteous hearing. painted the surface, Carlyle the soul. It is · Johnson, observes Hogarth, 'like king. David, not that Carlyle reasons better than Macau- says in his haste that all men are liars. His lay, it is simply that he sees more. His in- incredulity,' says Mrs. Thrale, "amounted almost tuitions are deeper, if not always truer. All to disease' She tells us how he browbeat a the peculiarities of Johnson's person and gentleman, who gave him an account of a hurrimanners are, by Macaulay, depicted with
cane in the West Indies; and a poor Quaker, felicitous strokes; all the apparent contra
who related some strange circumstances about
the red-hot balls fired at the siege of Gibraltar. dictions of his mind are assembled and mar • It is not so. It cannot be true. Don't tell shalled out, so as to produce a striking that story again. You cannot think how poor a effect. But that is all. We see the man, figure you make in telling it.' He once said, half we do not understand him. The mystery of jestingly we suppose, that for six months he rehis nature is exh bited to us, but is not
fused to credit the fact of the earthquake at Lis
bon, and that he still believed the extent of the explained; a mystery it remains, as far as
calamity to be greatly exaggerated. Yet he rethe biographer is concerned. We must lated, with a grave face, how old Mr. Cave, of St. quote one passage, which, in spite of its John's gate, saw a ghost, and how this ghost was length, is both too amusing and too signifi- something of a shadowy being. He went himself cant to be passed over.
on a ghost-hunt to Cock-lane, and was angry with
John Wesley for not following up another scent “ The characteristic peculiarity of his intellect of the same kind with proper spirit and persewas the union of great powers with low preju- verance. He rejects the Celtic genealogies and dices. If we judged of him by the best parts of poems without the least hesitation; yet he dehis mind, we should place him almost as high as clares himself willing to believe the stories of the he was placed by the idolatry of Boswell ; if by second sight. If he had examined the claims of the the worst parts of his mind, we should place him Highland seers with half the severity with which he even below Boswell bimself. Where he was not sified the evidence for the genuineness of Fingal, under the influence of some strange scruple, he would, we suspect, have come away from Scotor some domineering passion, which prevented land with a mind fully made up. In his 'Lives him from boldly and fairly investigating a subject, of the Poets' we find that he is unwilling to give he was a wary and accurate reasoner; a little credit to the accounts of Lord Roscommon's early too much inclined to scepticism, and a little too proficiency in his studies; but he tells with great fond of paradox. No man was less likely to be solemnity an absurd romance about some intelliimposed upon by fallacies in argnment, or by ex gence preternaturally impressed on the mind of aggerated statements of facts. But if, while he that nobleman. He avows himself to be in great was beating down sophisms, and exposing false doubt about the truth of the story, and ends by testimony, some childish prejudices, such as would warning his readers not wholly 10 slight such excite langhter in a well-managed nursery, came impressions.
Many of his sentiments on religious subjects / surface, Carlyle seeks to make you aware of are worthy of a liberal and enlarged mind. He what lay underneath the surface. Here is could discern clearly enough the folly and mean
one brief passage from Carlyle's essay: ness of all bigotry except his own. When he spoke of the scruples of the Puritans, he spoke like a person who had really obtained an insight “ More legibly is this influence of the loving into the divine philosophy of the New Testament, heart to be traced in his intellectual character. and who considered Christianity as a noble What, indeed, is the beginning of intellect, the scheme of government, tending to promote the first inducement to the exercise thereof, but athappiness and to elevate the moral nature of traction towards somewhat — affection for it ? man. The horror which the sectaries felt for Thus, too, who ever saw or will see, any true cards, Christmas ale, plum-porridge, mince-pies, talent--not to speak of genius—the foundation of and dancing-bears, excited his contempt. To che which is not goodness, love ? From Johnson's arguments urged by some very worthy, people strength of affection, we deduce many of his against showy dress, he replied, with admirable intellectual peculiarities; especially that threatensense and spirit, Let us not be found, when our ing array of perversions, known under the name Master calls us, stripping the lace off our waist- of®Johnson's Prejudices.' Looking well into coats, but the spirit of contention from our souls the root from which these sprang, we have long and tongues. Alas, sir, a man who cannot get to ceased to view them with hostility; can pardon, heaven in a green coat, will not find his way and reverently pity them. Consider with what thither the sooner in a grey one !' Yet he was force early imbibed opinions must have clung to himself under the tyranny of scruples as unrea. a soul of this affection. Those evil-famed prejusonable as those of Hudibras or Ralpho; and dices of his, that Jacobitism, Church-of-Englandcarried his zeal for ceremonies and for ecclesi- ism, hatred of the Scotch, belief in witches, and astical dignities to lengths altogether inconsistent such like--what were they but the ordinary with reason or with Christian charity. He has beliefs of well-doing, well-meaning provincial gravely noted down in his diary, that he once Englishmen in that day? First gathered by his committed the sin of drinking coffee on Good father's hearth, round the kind country fires' of Friday. In Scotland, he thought it his duty to native Staffordshire; they grew with his growth, pass several months without joining in public and strengthened with his strength; they were worship, solely because the ministers of the kirk hallowed by fondest sacred recollections; to part had not been ordained by bishops. His mode of with them was parting with his heart's blood." if estimating the piety of his neighbors was some the man who has no strength of affection, strength what singular. Campbell,' said he, 'is a good of belief, have no strength of prejudice, let him man, a pious man. I'am afraid he has not been thank Heaven for it, but to himself take small in the inside of a church for many years ; but he thanks.” never passes a church without pulling off his hat; this shows he has good principles.””
The power of Macaulay's writing is not
the force of opinions, but the force of picHow different is Carlyle's treatment of the tures. As we have said, he is not a teacher, same topic! These contradictions he per- but a rhetorician; not a discoverer, but an ceives to be only apparent, not real contra- expositor. That he is the most estimable dictions. He sees how the peculiarity of and brilliant example of his class now living Johnson's intellect was not the union of great may be ungrudgingly admitted. He has powers with low prejudices, but that these adorned our gallery with splendid producprejudices arose out of the very strength of tions, and enriched our literature with some reverence and of belief in things supernatural masterly pages of eloquence. His vast and -out of the holy awe which filled his mind varied knowledge never betrays him into whenever he contemplated the mysterious pedantry, but is always at command for apt relation of man to the Infinite. Where Mac- illustration. Moreover, he has no petty preaulay delights to notice incongruity, Carlyle, judices, no unseemly affectations, no illiberal looking deeper, sees congruity; where Mac- bigotry, no cramping narrowness. There is aulay is astonished at a keen intellect becom- nothing offensive in him. The tone of his ing credulous, Carlyle sees nothing but the writings is uniformly liberal, manly, healthy, very principle of faith which characterized and straightforward. His sympathies are that intellect—a faith which dared not suffer always with what is generous and noble in its sacred precincts to be invaded by scepti- practical life; his admiration for one kind of cal reason.
Without in any way applauding excellence does not intercept his admiration Johnson's prejudices, Carlyle understands for every other kind. A genial, pleasant, the difficulty which puzzles Macaulay-un- happy spirit animates his pages. His views derstands it because he has looked into are distinguished by an amiable good sense. Johnson's soul. In a word, Macaulay con He seems anxious to steer between extremes tents himself with noting what lay on the in politics, in religion, and in morals. He is
neither a bigoted Tory nor a bigoted Radi- | thinker cannot write well; and all language cal; neither Catholic nor Calvinist ; neither is rude until labor, assisting the delicate Cavalier nor Puritan, but an amiable Whig. sense of beauty, has fashioned it into harSympathizing with the polished demeanor monious shapes. In consequence of this and the social graces of the Cavaliers, he con- duplex condition, it not unfrequently happens demns their frivolity and dissoluteness ; ap- that some men attain a certain mastery over plauding the seriousness and rectitude of the the form, who have very little matter of their energetic Puritans, he laughs at their affecta own to fashion ; just as there are men with tions of sanctity, at their illiberality, and very little poetic genius who nevertheless nasal twang. He will take it as no disre- attain so much of the “accomplishment of spect if we liken him to the accomplished verse," as to produce very readable verses. person, whom he has so felicitously portrayed But no great prose writer, any more than a in the calm, sceptical, and polished Halifax. great poet, was ever made by labor alone.
He is fond of moral reflections. One may The style is the man. As the mind is will say of them, that, though sometimes trite the style be: a great mind cannot altogether enough, they are generally very sensible, dwarf itself, a small mind cannot greatly exand being always happily expressed are alt itself; natural grace will show itself, always acceptible. They force your respect, even in the awkwardness of incult speech, and on the whole win your regard for the and the grace which is acquired will, after writer. They imply a generous and a all, be only the grace of a dancing-master. healthy mind. Even when they have a Macaulay's style is characteristic of his satirical turn, the tone is pleasant, as in the mind, in its excellencies and in its deficienfollowing well-timed and well-turned admo- cies. It is eminently a cultivated style, the nition of public opinion :
writing of an accomplished, well-trained
mind. It is perhaps the very best style “We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the
ever written by one who was not an original British public in one of its periodical fits of mo thinker. Its main defect is the absence of a rality. In general, elopements, divorces, and strong personality, of an unmistakable origifamily quarrels pass with little notice. We read nality. By originality, we of course do not the scandal, talk about it for a day, and forget it. But once in six or seven years our virtue becomes impress which is given to the style by every
mean eccentricity; we mean that peculiar outrageous. We cannot suffer the laws of religion and decency to be violated. We must
mind which thinks for itself, and writes as it make a stand against vice. We must teach thinks, not as others have thought. The libertines that the English people appreciate the parentage of Macaulay's style is easily traceimportance of domestic ties. Accordingly, some able. The influence of Burke is so visible, unfortunate man, in no respect more depraved than that no one has ever failed to remark it ; hundreds whose offences have been treated with there is indeed some kinship in the minds of lenity, is singled out as an expiatory sacrifice. If Burke and Macaulay, which makes the lathe has children, they are to be taken from him. If he has a profession, he is to be driven from it
. ter's imitation less of an imitation (so to He is cut by the higher orders, and hissed by the speak) than it would otherwise have been. lower. He is, in t’uth, a sort of whipping-boy, by The influence of Sydney Smith
Macauwhose vicarious agonies all the other transgres- lay's style has not, that we are aware, been sors of the same class are, it is supposed, suf- noticed. The very turn and trick of phrase, ficiently chastised. We reflect very complacently the easy winding of the sentences, and the on our own severity, and compare with great pride the high standard of morals established in peculiar diction which we remark in MacauEngland, with the Parisian laxity. At length, lay, may be found in Sydney Smith whenour anger is satiated. Our victim is ruined and ever they are not in Burke. It would occubroken-hearted. And our virtue goes quietly to py too much space to show this fully; we sieep for seven years more.”
will, however, give two examples. These
examples are taken almost at random in Macaulay's style is of paramount import-opening the “Edinburgh Review," and are ance in any estimate of his claims; for style chosen from the level passages, because is to a rhetorician what thought is to a such passages better prove our case than teacher, principium et fons. Style is an art, happy sentences, antitheses, or witticisms, and, like every other art, demands the con- in which all styles more or less resemble junction of genius and labor: genius, to fur- each other, Here is one: nish the matter; labor, to give the form. With a blunt chisel the best sculptor will “ We do not think it has any great value as a bungle; with a rude language, the greatest history; nor is it very admirable as a piece of
composition. It comprehends too short a period ; | dor, whose polished, stately style, better includes too few events to add much to our know- bears minute inspection than continuous ledge of facts; and abounds too little with splen- reading. Macaulay has a tendency to be did passages to lay much hold on the imagination. verbose and tautologous; he overlays his The reflections which it contains, too, are generally more remarkable for their truth and sim- sentences with words, much in the same way plicity, than for any great fineness or profundity as he overlays his arguments with illustraof thinking."
tions. His ease, also, sometimes relapses
into negligence, and his sentences become Here is another from the opposite page : weak and faltering But he is never weak
for two pages together. One peculiarity in " It can admit of no doubt, we suppose, that his fluent narrative is worthy of remark, and trade, which has made us rich, has made us still deserves imitation; it is the rarest of all pemore luxurious; and that the increased necessity. culiarities—graceful rapidity. There is no supplying it. Almost every individual now finds hurry, no abruptness; all the transitions are it more difficult to live on a level with his equale gradual, and nevertheless it dwells with such than he did when all were poorer; almost every minuteness upon every point, that it would man, therefore, is needy; and he who is both be inexpressibly tedious were not the seneedy and luxurious holds his independence on a lected points so salient, and so well fitted to very precarious tenure.”
convey the whole of what was intended,
that in a brief time you are carried over a Every onc acquainted with Macaulay's large space, and thus the valuable conjuncwritings will recognize their tone in these tion of fullness with brevity is secured. examples. Indeed, when, some time ago, Much of the effect of Macaulay's style we were reading Sydney Smith's collected arises from picturesque grouping of details ; Essays, the well-known sentences of Macau- something also from his employment of lay were constantly ringing in our names which in themselves are pictures. Let us admit, however, that the imitation The reader of Milton well knows the magiboth of Burke and of Sydney Smith has cal power with which he employed long never the disagreeable effect of mere servile lists of sounding names, justly calculating on imitation. Macaulay has light of his own to their double effect of music and association. add to the light which he reflects. If the It was a power he sometimes abused, and bow he bends be the great bow of Ulysses, Macaulay, who has similar power, is open he at any rate has the strength, so rare, to to a similar charge. He revels in geographbend it with ease, and to use it with effect. ical and historical wealth; he scatters about Make every allowable deduction for imita- high-sounding names of mighty rivers and tion, and his style still remains an admirable remote provinces, of great heroes and distant example of the powers of writing. It has empires, with a prodigality which often saits tricks ; short, sharp sentences are splin vors of barbaric pomp, but which always tered into the texture of periods whose fills the mind with splendid images. If he length is unwieldy, but whose clearness is wants an illustration, he draws it from some unrivalled; and caprices of punctuation play such place as the "Spice Islands in the amidst a prodigality of antitheses. These Eastern Seas;" if he speaks of English comtricks find imitators, who imagine that the moners, it is as “ untitled men well known charm lies there. But Macaulay's effects to be descended from knights who had broare produced by more legitimate means, by ken the Saxon ranks at Hastings, and scaled richness of diction, picturesqueness of selec- the walls of Jerusalem.” Is not that Miltion, wonderful power of illustration, and a tonic? A couple of examples will go fursense of grace and harmony-all which ther than a dozen pages of explanation, and qualities are not imitable. There is another we take them from his masterly article on reason why his imitators fail; he writes in Lord Clive: the language of the eighteenth century, so that the diction and the idioms he employs “ Such, or nearly such, was the change which are not those in which his imitators think. passed on the Mogul empire during the forty
Any one page of Macaulay would, per- years which followed the death of Aurangzebe. haps, but ill withstand close criticism ; but it A series of nominal sovereigns, sunk in indolence is impossible to read any number of pages palaces, chewing bang, fondling concubines, and
and debauchery, sauntered away life in secluded without delight, and the stupidest of his listening to buffoons. A series of ferocious inreaders never yawned over his volumes. In vaders had descended through the western passes this respect we may compare him with Lan- to prey on the defenseless wealth of Hindostan,
A Persian conqueror crossed the Indus, marched | intensely prosaic than that which peers through the gates of Delhi, and bore away in tri- through the shabby finery of cast-off poetic umph those treasures of which the magnificence diction in the pages of the “ History of Euhad astounded Roe and Bernier; the Peacock Throne, on which the richest jewels of Golconda rope” we have seldom noticed in an ambihad been disposed by the most skillful hands of tious writer. Mr. Alison has the naiveté to Europe, and the inestimable Mountain of Light, suppose that by perpetually talking of courwhich, after many strange vicissitudes, lately age “chaining victory to the standards,” or shone in the bracelet of Runjeet Sing, and is now Napoleon's “carrying his standards from destined to adorn the hideous idol of Orissa. the Elbe to the Kremlin,” he is eloquent The Afghan soon followed to complete the work and pictorial. A dictionary-maker might as of devastation which the Persian had begun well imagine he had rivalled Milton. The warlike tribes of Rajpoots threw off the Mussulman yoke. A band of mercenary soldiers oc
truth, poetic diction is a delicate thing, and cupied Rohilcund. The Seiks rúled on the will not bear handling by prosaic men. We Indus. The Jauts spread terror along the Jum- say this, not for Mr. Alison's benefit—he is nah. The high lands which border on the west- incorrigible--but for the benefit of young ern sea-coast of India poured forth a yet more aspirants who may fancy they can produce formidable race; a race which was long the terror of every native power, and which yielded effect is produced; forgetting that art de
an effect because they understand how the only, after many desperate and doubtful struggles, to the fortune and genius of England. It was pends on other faculties than criticism. under the reign of Aurungzebe that this wild clan
We have not done yet with Macaulay's of plunderers first descended from the mountains; style; we have still to notice its unsurpassand soon after his death, every corner of his wide ed clearness. No mortal ever for an instant empire learned to tremble at the mighty name of paused over one of Macaulay's sentences, in the Mahrattas. Many fertile viceroyalties were entirely subdued by them. Their doininions
doubt as to its meaning. The writer has no stretched across the Peninsula from sea to sea.
goes direct to the point, and Their captains reigned at Poonah, at Gaulior, in his phrases fall naturally into their proper Guzerat, in Berar, and in Tanjore.”
places. This is partly mastery over expres
sion ; but it is also partly owing to that A few paragraphs further on we meet absence of deep meditation and continuous with this second example of poetical prose: thought, which we have already noticed as
characteristic of his mind. Every clear
thinker will of course write clearly; but “ Scarcely any man, however sagacious, would depth of thought is not always compatible have thought it possible, that a trading company with transparency of expression. On the separated from India by fifteen thousand miles of sea, and possessing in India only a few acres for other hand, it is not every shallow stream purposes of commerce, would, in less than a hun- which is clear; and no mistake is more dred years, spread its empire from Cape Comorin general than that of men supposing their to the eternal snow of the Himalayas ; would writings are profound when they are simply compel Mahratta and Mohammedan to forget their obscure. mutual feuds in common subjection ; would tame down even those wild races which had resisted robes itself ; sometimes it is an antique pan
Style is as a garment in which the mind the most powerful of the Moguls; and, having established a government far stronger than any oply beneath whose weight the mind stagever known in those countries, would carry its gers, trying to be grand and dignified; somevictorious arms far to the east of the Burrampoo- times it is a flowing robe which bends with ter, and far to the west of the Hydaspes; dictate every movement of the mind, betraying in terms of peace at the gates of Ava, and seat its every winding of its phrase all the mind's vassals on the throne of Candahar."
grace, all its abruptness, all its vigor, and all
its hesitation. Now Macaulay never hesiThis may perhaps be thought a trick, an tates, and his style is unperplexed. He sees easy method of producing an effect which sharply enough all the surfaces presented to ordinary writers might employ. We advise his view, and can accurately distinguish all them not to attempt it. Mr. Alison has their differences. But he has no misgivings done so, and his “ History of Europe” is the as to the existence of anything beyond what best possible refutation of such an idea. he sees. His style is, therefore, never overThe donkey in the fable did not less success- powered, never borne down by the weight of fully imitate the caressing grace of the span- what it would express, never ruffled by the iel fawning on its master, than Mr. Alison perplexity of his thoughts, never confused by has imitated the splendor of Macaulay's the flashing of cross lights, never darkened geographical prodigality. A spirit more by the shadow of mysteries unexplored. It