I am great friends with Brodie, and still more so, I think, with Ward, whom I like very much. I have seen more of him and of Lake than of any one else.
It is supposed that but for this Hertford, which has turned out so ill for us, all knowledge of Latin in the University of Oxford would have been by this time quite extinct, except as surviving in College graces and University oaths; those also not understood.
I wish that you were at Oxford; it is, I am sure, so much better a place than Cambridge, and you would have the great advantage of a good chance of becoming a disciple of υ μεγας Νεανδρος, whom I like much better than I did, and admire in many points exceedingly.
It is very striking that there is a German divine among the large assortment living and thinking here, who has come to a mystical view which is no less difficult than Newman’s, though not in form the same. Olshausen is his name. His notion is of a mysterious union of our bodies with our Lord’s, though not by the bread and wine.
Stanley was as much delighted as you were with Whately, and was greatly rejoiced too at finding you so unusually (for a Cambridge man) like an Oxford man. There is, I suppose, no doubt much more interest in such matters (theological, ecclesiastical, political, &c.) here, than with you; though the society —— sees is much the most inquiring, at any rate, on them, than any in Oxford, and it is not a very large set. The Newmanistic undergraduates mostly shut their ears and call it blasphemy, but not quite universally, and of course they, though they will not listen to anything else, have a scheme of church, government, &c., which they uphold, not to say anything about understanding or appreciating it.
If you were to come here (as I hope you will after your degree is done with), you would at once have Ward at you, asking you your opinions on every possible subject of this kind you can enumerate; beginning with Covent Garden and Macready, and certainly not ending till you got to the question of the moral sense and deontology. I don’t quite like hearing so much of these matters as I do, but I suppose if one can only keep steadily to one’s work (which I wish I did), and quite resolve to forget all the words one has heard, and to theorise only for amusement, there is no harm in it. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, in a very good University Sermon last Sunday, on the Duty of Private judgment as opposed to the Right, seemed to say that undergraduates were to mind their Latin and Greek and nothing else; or nearly so. And many people here speak of the Union as an institution of very doubtful usefulness.
Concerning the Newmanitish phantasm, as some people term the Church, I do not know very much; but perhaps you may be enlightened a little, and even softened by the knowledge that Newman (I believe decidedly in words, and certainly his real notion is such) holds the supremacy of the αυτη καθ αυτην ειλικρινης ξιανοια, but says that submission to a divinely-appointed body of teachers and governors, to wit, bishops and presbyters and deacons, is the course that is pointed out to us by the aforesaid ειλικρινης διανοια: inasmuch as it is evident to the reason from the circumstances of the case, &c., that the preponderance of probabilities is for this view, viz. that Christian privileges and covenanted salvation have been attached to the use of certain forms and sacraments whose only qualified administrators are the Apostles’ successors, the clergy; and that these gifts and graces cannot be obtained except through the medium of these divinely-appointed priests. All persons therefore who wilfully refuse to receive God’s blessings through this channel are guilty of very great sin, and put out of the covenanted privileges of Christians. ‘Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the rivers of Judah? may I not wash in them and be clean?’ Such is, I believe, the doctrine which they say is but a proper carrying out of the argument of Butler’s Analogy. I think its proper answer must be in the lives of good men out of the influence of any such ordinances, though when anyone speaks of such they at once cry ‘name,’ which it is perhaps difficult to do. As for Milton, he is rejected altogether because of his divorce notions and his neglect of devotions as stated in Johnson’s life of him. Doddridge is often mentioned, but I believe there is some charge against him also. This disquisition, counting the Greek, must, I think, make this letter a due member of the proportion proposed in your last—viz:
As your letter: a repartee:: this: something digestible.
I have been reading five books of Plato’s Republic, and wish to examine you in return as to whether you be a Platonist. 1st. Do you believe that πασα μαθησις αναμνησις εστι? 2ndly. Do you agree to dividing human nature into το φιλυσοφον, το επιθυμοειδ and το επιθυμητικον? 3rdly. Do you believe that all wickedness is ακουσιον and δι αγοιαν? 4thly. Do you agree to this assertion, ‘That the world will never be happy till philosophers are kings, or kings philosophers’? 5thly. Do you think it would be advisable to turn H.M.’s colony of Van Diemen’s Land into a Platonic Republic? the φυλακες whereof should be educated at —— College ——? (the blanks you must fill up yourself; Queen’s College, Vandiemensville, is what I conjecture).
If you have not hitherto studied this wondrous book I recommend you to cast aside those heterodox and heretical authors, Calvin and Milton, and immediately commence upon it. Plato not being a Christian is quite orthodox; in fact, Sewell says that his Republic is realised in, and indeed is a sort of prophecy of, the Catholic Church; Coleridge meanwhile declaring it the most wonderful anticipation of Protestant Christianity. You must really come to Oxford, overcoming circumstances and cacoëthes and everything else; as otherwise I have no prospect whatever of seeing you. It is also advisable that you should see the Arch-Oxford-Tractator before you leave this part of the world, that you may not be ignorant on a topic doubtless interesting even to the remote barbarians in Van Diemen’s Land. It is said that Romanists are increasing, Newmanists increasing, Socinians also, and Rationalists increasing, but all other kinds of men rapidly decreasing, so that on your return to England perhaps you will find Newman Archbishop of Canterbury and Father Confessor to the Queen; Lord Melbourne (if not burnt) excommunicated, and philosophers in the persons of the Apostles’ apostolically ordained successors fairly and Platonically established as kings. The seeds of which contingent revolutions it is requisite that you should come and contemplate in Oxford. You will also have the opportunity of seeing Conybeare Pater issuing fulminatory condemnations of the Fathers at the heads of astonished Newmanists from St. Mary’s pulpit; himself in shape, conformation, and gestures most like one of his own ichthyosauri, and his voice evidently proceeding from lungs of a fossil character. Again, you will see Chevalier Bunsen, Poet Wordsworth, and Astronomer Herschel metamorphosed into doctors of civil law; a sight worthy, especially in the second case, of all contemplation. Furthermore, there will be boat-races, with much shouting and beer-drinking; a psychological study of great interest. Cum multis aliis, quæ nunc describere longum est. Nil mihi rescribas, attamen ipse veni.
I hope you will carry out with you, or send home for, a good Germanised Cambridge scholar or historian, as that (next to Paley’s ‘Horæ Paulinæ’ and ‘Rationalistic Divinity’) is the great bulwark against Newmanism. And I have to tell you that Bishop Broughton, your diocesan to be, has lately been sending to Oxford to beg for contributions of spare books, μαλιστα μεν; new, but if not, old, to set up a clerical library in Australia. Such opportunities of disseminating Patristical and Ecclesiastical vigor, are never missed by the ardent Newmanistic spirits, old and young, specially the latter. Whereby, unless the convict Clerisy be slower than their convict parishioners in their intellectual development, Newmanism is not improbably already founded in the far East on the foundation of Kerr and Bramhall, St. Ignatius, St. Basil, and the Oxford tracts.
Pray come; and write and let me know. I said in my last—Nil mihi rescribas, attamen ipse veni. But Latin is of course to be taken rhetorically and figuratively, and ‘nil mihi rescribas’ means only—Come, if you can, before your letter.
I truly hope to escape the vortex of philosophism and discussion (whereof Ward is the centre), as it is the most exhausting exercise in the world; and I assure you I quite makarize you at Cambridge for your liberty from it.
What do you think I have been bestowing the firstfruits of Christmas idleness upon? The first part of ‘Die Leiden des jungen Werthers,’ and really with more satisfaction and admiration than I expected; or rather, I have found all the power and little of the extravagance I looked for. I have read, too, with great pleasure, Schiller’s ‘Votiv-Tafeln;’ at least, about half of them. Here is one—
Hast du etwas? so theile mir’s mit, and ich zahle was recht ist.|
Bist du etwas? o denn tauschen die Seelen wir aus.
Allen gehört was du denkst, dein Eigen ist nur was du fühlest;|
Soll er dein Eigenthum seyn, fühle den Gott den du denkst.
I have but little appetite for work, mathematical or classical; and there is as little compulsion to it, and as much enticement from it, as is possible in our ways of life at Oxford.
Whence comest thou, shady lane? and why and how?|
Thou, where with idle heart, ten years ago,
I wandered, and with childhood’s paces slow
So long unthought of, and remembered now!
Again in vision clear thy pathwayed side
I tread, and view thy orchard plots again
With yellow fruitage hung,—and glimmering grain
Standing or shocked through the thick hedge espied.
This hot still noon of August brings the sight;
This quelling silence as of eve or night,
Wherein Earth (feeling as a mother may
After her travail’s latest bitterest throes)
Looks up, so seemeth it, one half repose,
One half in effort, straining, suffering still.
This I wrote in some cornfields near Liverpool, on one of our few fine days.
That I have been a good deal unsettled in mind at times at Oxford, and that I have done a number of foolish things, is true enough, and I dare say the change from Rugby life to its luxury and apparent irresponsibility has had a good deal of ill effect upon me.
We had a two days’ visit from Arnold just before the half year began. I thought he was not in very good spirits; but he was certainly not out of heart.
Oxford is now in full enjoyment of the Carnival. You have no idea how fast things are going here Romewards. The more need, therefore, for Hare’s defence of Luther, who is in terrible ill odour here. Is it ever to appear? I have some idea of going to London at Easter, to get some lectures of Lowe, my tutor of Easter Term, who is now established there.
I heard the other day that Walrond was to come up to try for our scholarship. Burbidge has spoken a good deal of his coming here instead of to Cambridge. I told him that I thought your discipline infinitely superior in the way of instruction; and so I feel sure it must be, though I am willing we should be thought superior in other points.
I did not like going up last October, though I dare say I should have done better then, because I had not read what I ought; but after having so read, I had so much less care about it than I ought to have had, that I mismanaged everything in every way I could.
Besides, you know the object of honours is to make men read and not to make them distinguished, and if I have read, it is all the same whether I am distinguished or not, and, so far as I am concerned, perhaps better. The disappointment has been general; two or three certain firsts, besides myself, are in the second, and two or three hopeful ones in the third. Balliol has, however, got two of the four prizes. So we are getting up again in the world.
I only wish I might go home, but if I don’t stay here every day to eat bread and butter out of the College buttery till Wednesday fortnight I shall lose 601. Wherefore you and I must both be patient.
Commemoration is to be a week earlier, as Prince Albert and the Duke are to be here at that time.
I had a delightful walk to Braunston and Rugby, and still more so back here—about fifty miles, and mostly through fields and green lanes—quite a new way, and far pleasanter than the old one.
What to do, if I don’t stay at Oxford, is a very different question. I do not dislike the tutor’s work at Oriel, but without taking an M.A. I cannot go on with it; and if, as I supposed, I give up both this and residence, where to go and what to do will be a perplexity. However, I shall do nothing ωστε ανηκεστον τι παθειν before this time year; though, as to the tutorship, I shall probably have to decide before this reaches you.
I have employed this Midsummer vacation half in going abroad, and half with pupils at Grasmere. I left England, July 1, with Walrond; went to Havre, Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Genoa, Leghorn, where Burbidge joined us; with him we went to Pisa and Florence, and from Florence made excursions to the monasteries of Vallombrosa, Camaldoli, and Laverna. I was then ill for about a week at Florence; left Walrond and Burbidge, and started for England. I went by Bologna, Parma, and Piacenza, to Milan; saw the Cathedral, the most beautiful building I ever beheld, as also the Leonardo da Vinci, which is, I think, the most beautiful painting. Then I crossed the Simplon, went up the Rhone, over the Grimsel Pass, and one or two others in the Bernese Oberland, and so to Thun and Berne, and thence by Basle and the Rhine home. I liked Switzerland much better than Italy myself, principally, perhaps, because it was so exceedingly hot, and so impossible to enjoy exercise, in the latter; perhaps, also, in some degree, from being continually lionised about galleries and the like, which is far less agreeable than walking through the beauty of a country.
I went off directly after my return to Grasmere, where I had a party of pupils waiting for me, and there passed six weeks of a very pleasant mixture of work and walking about. Stanley was at Fox How for the last three weeks, working at the memoir.
We have all been reading a grand new philosophy-book, “Mill on Logic;’ very well written at any rate, and ‘stringent if not sound.’
I have got two beautiful white water-lilies floating in a green dessert dish beside me. Enviest thou not, O Sicilian Shepherd? or hast thou thyself also such treasures?
I suppose Stanley’s memoir will somehow or other have reached you. I found the letters more interesting even than I had expected, and the biographical part as good, though I think in some parts it is wanting. It is very judicious in keeping the right mean between reserve and exposure.
I have in the last ten days also seen the monument, which is placed at a considerable height, so as to rise above any one’s head in the pew, in the north division of the east wall looking down the chapel I think I should have preferred it on one side; the figure, also, though from the recumbent position it is of less matter, Is sadly devoid of likeness; the design in other respects is good, and I liked Bunsen’s epitaph better than I thought I should have done.
The chapel looks very well with its five painted windows; the St. Thomas is, though modern, as good, I think, as the old ones. They are making alterations in the quadrangle. Tait wants the school-house fellows to have single studies throughout, and is in consequence building fresh studies over the cloister opposite the writing-school.
I am considerably inclined just now to set to work at Political Economy, for the beneft of the rising generation, and to see if I cannot prove the Apostle of ‘anti-laissez-faire.’
Yesterday we went to Helvellyn, meeting a party from Fox How, Ambleside, and Grasmere at the top. I have been up three times before, so that I had no objection to see the hills as they were yesterday, namely, in a good deal of haze, and by no means distinct.
Your request for a sermon cannot be acceded to. I am not, nor am likely as yet, to be aught but a laic, and lay sermons I leave for Johnson and Coleridge. You must, therefore, be content with such poor and scanty sermones repentes per humum as you get in my rare epistles. You shall have one when I go into orders—oh, questionable when!
What, according to your experience, is the best division of the day in this country? The question centres in that other momentous question, ‘What is the properest hour to eat?’ We began with—breakfast, 8; work, 9.30 to 2.30; bathe, dinner, walk, and tea, 2.30 to 9.30; work, 9.30 to 11. We now have revolutionised to the following constitution, as yet hardly advanced beyond paper:—Breakfast, 8; work, 9.30 to 11.30; bathe, dinner, 11.30 to 3; work, 3 to 6; walk, ad infinitum; tea, ditto.
M. has gone out fishing, when he ought properly to be working, it being nearly four o’clock, and to-day proceeding in theory according to Constitution No. 2: it has, however, come on to rain furiously; so Walrond, who is working sedulously at Herodotus, and I, who am writing to you, rejoice to think that he will get a good wetting.
Your letter was in answer to mine written exactly twelve months before, when I was in doubt about subscription to the thirty-nine Articles. It certainly was very curious getting an answer to feelings which were of a year’s standing, especially as I had pro tempore (perhaps tempori serviens) laid them by almost completely; and indeed you know already that I signed without demur, and have been working away in the thoroughly terrestrial element of College tutorism, not to speak of Mendicity Societies and the like. Nevertheless, I still consider the old scruple to be a sort of St. Paul who ought not to be put off by any, in however high place, to a more convenient season, or at any rate ought to have a convenient season found him before long. And I can’t profess myself one whit appeased by your burst of wonder and opposition. So the sooner you come home the better, otherwise you will perhaps hear of some very desperate step, though of becoming an Independent minister I certainly have no present thought or desire.
My own justification to myself for doing as I am doing is, I fear, one which would be as little approved of by you as my objections on the other hand. However, it is simply that I can feel faith in what is being carried on by my generation, and that I am content to be an operative-to dress intellectual leather, cut it out to pattern, and stitch it and cobble it into boots and shoes for the benefit of the work which is being guided by wiser heads. But this almost cuts me out of having any religion whatever; if I begin to think about God, there arise a thousand questions, and whether the thirty-nine Articles answer them at all, or whether I should not answer them in the most diametrically opposite purport, is a matter of great doubt. If I am to study the question, I have no right to put my name to the answers beforehand, or to join in the acts of a body and be to practical purpose one of a body who accept these answers of which I propose to examine the validity.
I will not assert that one has no right to do this, but it seems to me to destroy one’s sense of perfect freedom of inquiry in a great degree; and I further incline to hold that inquiries are best carried on by turning speculation into practice, and my speculations no doubt in their earlier stages would result in practice considerably at variance with thirty-nine-Article subscription. Much as I like, fond as I am of Oxford, and much as I should hate the other element undisguised, I verily believe that, as a preliminary stage, it would be far better to be at Stinkomalee (the London University acknowledges that agnomen, I believe). Amongst the irreligious, I should have Abdielitish tendencies: here, what religion I have I cannot distinguish from the amalgamations it is liable to, and I am, right or wrong, as matter of fact, exceedingly averse to act on anything but what I have got from myself, or have so distinctly appropriated as to allow my original tenants as it were time and space to state and vindicate their claim against the new comers.
Without in the least denying Christianity, I feel little that I can call its power. Believing myself to be in my unconscious creed in some shape or other an adherent to its doctrines, I keep within its pale; still, whether the spirit of the age, whose lacquey and flunkey I submit to be, will prove to be this kind or that kind, I can’t the least say. Sometimes I have doubts whether it won’t turn out to be no Christianity at all. Also, it is a more frequent question with me whether the master whom I work under, and am content to work under, is not carrying out his operations himself elsewhere, while I am, as it were, obeying the directions of a bungling journeyman no better than myself
As the great Goethe published in his youth the ‘Sorrows of the Young Werther,’ so may I, you see, the great poet that am to be, publish my ‘Lamentations of a Flunkey out of place.’ You, perhaps, will say the lamentations are more out of place than the flunkey. And certainly Flunkey hath no intention of giving notice to quit just at present, nor of publishing lamentations at all. Thou, however, in thy wisdom, consider the sad examples and perplexities that encounter said flunkey amidst all the most flunkeyish occupations of his flunkeydom, and in the hope that at this time next year he will still be engaged in these same occupations, transmit to him advice and good counsel as to those same scruples and perplexities. In the meantime he must dress and put on his livery for dinner.
The beauties of Parson’s Pleasure, where we were wont to bathe in the early morning, have been diminished by the unsightly erection, by filthy lucre-loving speculators, of a bathinghouse, and I have therefore deserted it. But a substitute is to be found.
If you do not come soon, I shall perhaps have fled from my tutorial bower and committed something ανηκεστον.
It is really the most beautiful glen I ever saw. I went seven miles up, and was still far from the end. You first go up what appears a sort of glorification of Grisedale; then a sudden turn at right angles leads you into a sort of magnified Hartsop—the birch-wood and ashes being here accompanied with the native Scotch fir. And at the bottom all along rolls a stream of the clear water over rocks and stones of porphyry, which give it a most glorious yellow-red colour.
In the evening we moved southward by land to Ballahulish, on Loch Leven; thence the next morning by Glencoe, a magnificent pass into a moorland country, wherein are the sources of some feeders of the Tay, running eastward. We descended into the glen of Loch Tulla and the Orchay, which leads off to Loch Awe; Loch Awe is very fine, but rather cold. Ben Cruachan, which rises above it, is a very fine peaked mountain. We crossed over and reached Inverary for bed. On Thursday, we passed through Glencroe, descended on the fine salt Loch Long, crossed the four miles intervening, and found ourselves on Loch Lomond, six or seven miles from its head. We went up it about three miles in a steamer, to ‘the rough falls of Inversneyd,’ crossed a high moor of five miles, and found ourselves at the head of Loch Katrine, rowed twelve miles down, and were landed in the Trosachs. On Friday T. A. and T. W. crossed the hills to Loch Ard, and I went up the lake, and there took a pony and joined them in a round-about way, passing a very beautiful water called Loch Chon. I came back and slept at Inversneyd; they remained and attended a highland-reel party in a shoemaker’s hut at Loch Ard, and after staying up dancing and drinking milk and whisky till half-past two rose at half-past four, walked eleven miles to a hasty breakfast with me, and then took steam down to the foot of Loch Lomond, and so by Dumbarton we came home, dirty, and dusty, and bankrupt. Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond are both like Ullswater; the former less beautiful, the latter, I think, more so. Both are less cultivated; Loch Katrine quite wild, and the little land-locked lakelet at its foot, cut off by the Lady’s Island and one or two promontories, is exceedingly beautiful. The heather also is a great accession to the Highlands. So endeth my story.
At present there are staying here young Walter Scott Lockhart, who is just leaving Cambridge to join the army in his uncle Sir Walter’s regiment; also his sister. Young Walter is thought a good deal like his grandfather, but, though far from dull, he is anything but literary, and is going out to join his uncle’s regiment in India, rather against his father’s wish, as he is heir to Abbotsford, and to Milton Lockhart, where his father’s elder brother lives, and where they are now staying.
The ‘Quarterly’ was at Milton Lockhart, and I had some conversation with him; he spoke of the prevalence of infidelity, even among the country folk of Scotland, saying that all the small farmers in that neighbourhood were avowed unbelievers. He ascribed it greatly to Burns. Chalmers, he said, was once in a factory at Glasgow, and began to talk to some of the workpeople in his way, when he was interrupted by an old woman, who told him that he ‘needna go on; there are nae Christians in this ward, Doctor.’
In Monday’s ‘Times’ appeared a letter written by Ward to the ‘Oxford Herald,’ announcing his intention of leaving the English Church at last; and implying the like on Newman’s part, that indeed being his own ground for changing his opinion. His defence of his position in the English Church had rested, he said, on the facts—1st. That the said Church allowed Romanist teaching.—2nd. That Romanisers (like Newman) found themselves feel continually better satisfied with the resolution of remaining in the English communion. The late decision of the Ecclesiastical Courts had, he said, destroyed the former ground, and Newman’s change the latter.
We went to dine and sleep at Houston, the house of Shairp, and lionised the grounds of Hopetoun next day, which lie on the Forth, over against Dunfermline gray, &c. &c. I liked the place very much; it is a tall, perpendicular house, four stories and attics; such peep-hole windows in thick stone walls; all manner of useless little rooms on all manner of unequally disposed levels; a stone staircase from bottom to top. Wainscoted partition walls, and old folks by the dozen looking down on you therefrom; among the rest, Archbishop Sharpe, who seems to have been of the family, but is hardly acknowledged, as they are now Presbyterians. And the second Flower of Yarrow, really a beautiful face, though in the picture rather faded, who lived at Houston with her sister, who had married its owner. The garden, moreover, of flowers and kitchenry without distinction, with high hedges of beech and yew, &c., running hither and thither about it, was very pleasant.
I renewed my acquaintance at the Lakes this year with Hartley Coleridge. The only thing worth recording from his lips is a saying which he repeated as his father’s, that etymology is in danger of death from a plethora of probabilities.
Item.—I have bought a Cowley, rather a scrubby 18mo, but the first edition after his death. I think Cowley has been Wordsworth’s model in many of his lyrical rhythms, and some of his curious felicities.
I told you perhaps that I had some thoughts of laying down my toga tutoria and going abroad for a year with a pupil; nor has the plan evaporated wholly as yet.
I went to Rugby on my way. The school is in number 490: They have built a new school-room at the back of the fives court, between the chapel and the stables.
Jowett comes hither, having been Stanley’s companion in Germany. They saw Schelling, who spoke to them of Coleridge with high praise, saying that it was an utter shame to talk of his having plagiarised from him, Schelling.
Moreover, I think it very likely I may give up this tutorship (quod tamen to tacere debes), and as private tutor I could not, without more work than I should like, make the same sum per annum which I now receive from the College.
There is also (a portentous portent) another article not at all to be despised, on the Moral Discipline of the Army, specially in regard of Chaplains; in a postscript to which announcement is made that certain improvements have just been ordered by Government, as for instance the building of chapels for barracks.
The poet Faber, men say, will go, but the ultra-Puseyites in general seem inclined not to take headers à la Ward, but to sneak in and duck their heads till they are out of their depth.
Liddell, it appears, is standing for the Moral Philosophy chair. I hope he will get it; he is a man who will work, and who will be listened to.
The Irish Colleges are to be, I believe, at Belfast, and certainly at Cork and Galway. This last would be wholly Roman Catholic, I suppose, otherwise I should like it, for the country near it is very beautiful. There is a great lake, some forty miles long, Lough Corrib, the upper part of which they say is like Wastwater.
Belfast would be chiefly Presbyterian; at any rate, Protestant. Cork is to be under a Dr. Kane, a chemist and I fancy a very able and sensible man. I think it possible I may some day find myself at one of these places. I don’t much mind which. But they won’t be ready for two years, I should think.
F. Newman, by the bye, is the author of the paper in the ‘Prospective Review,’ on Arnold’s Miscellaneous Works. I really think I ought not to miss this opportunity of seeing him, so I trust you and mother will forgive my truancy for once, though I fear that you will have but a meagre Christmas party.
An evening or two after I wrote I met Martineau accidentally. I liked him greatly. He talked simply, courteously, and ably, and has a forehead with a good deal of that rough-hewn mountainous strength which one used to look at when at lesson in the library at Rugby not without trembling.
Concerning marriage, what you say is true enough, but to fall in love without knowledge is foolery; to obtain knowledge without time and opportunity and something like intimate acquaintance is, for the most part, impossible; and to obtain time and opportunity is just the thing. Then, again, there comes the question of reconciling marriage with one’s work, which for me is a problem of considerable difficulty. It is not every one who would like to be a helpmate in the business I am likely to have.
You must remember what a great advantage for intercourse with the poor is given by any sort of cultivation, music, drawing, dancing, German, French, &c. &c. They feel this distinction very sensibly, and carry their liking of a lady almost to the vice of liking a fine lady.
The spring of 1847, as will be remembered, was the time of the great Irish famine. The distress caused by it, not only in Ireland, moved Clough greatly, and stirred him to write an appeal to the undergraduates at Oxford, of which the substance is given in the next chapter.
The object of the new education measures is merely to assist schools, by pensioning masters and mistresses in their old age, and assisting clever boys in getting instructed for the business of teaching, and all that the Government require in return is the right of inspection; and any school which declines to receive assistance may refuse to be inspected. The dissenters are bigoted fools, in my judgment. It is the very least which Government could do.
My Scotch plans are still somewhat uncertain, as the accommodation at Drumnadrochet is dearer and also less comfortable than we had expected.
I have not read ‘Emilia Wyndham,’ but I did read a long time ago ‘Two Old Men’s Tales’ by the same author, and they certainly were, as I am told ‘Emilia Wyndham’ is, too pathetic a great deal. I don’t want to cry except for some good reason; it is ‘pleasant, but wrong,’ in my mind. A novel ought to make you think, and if it does that, the more vivid it is the better, and of course it follows that now and then it will make you cry; but I am not aware that Mrs. Marsh does make you think.
Schiller made the same impression on me, when I used to read him in St. James’s Terrace, which he does now on you. Coleridge has been to me the antidotive power; he was a philosopher and a firm believer (so far as one can make out) in Christianity, not only as a doctrine, but as a narrative of events. My own feeling certainly does not go along with Coleridge in attributing any special virtue to the facts of the Gospel History. They have happened, and have produced what we know, have transformed the civilisation of Greece and Rome and the barbarism of Gaul and Germany into Christendom. But I cannot feel sure that a man may not have all that is important in Christianity even if he does not so much as know that Jesus of Nazareth existed. And I do not think that doubts respecting the facts related in the Gospels need give us much trouble. Believing that in one way or other the thing is of God, we shall in the end know, perhaps, in what way and how far it was so. Trust in God’s justice and love, and belief in His commands as written in our conscience, stand unshaken, though Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or even St. Paul, were to fall.
The thing which men must work at will not be critical questions about the Scriptures, but philosophical problems of Grace, and Free Will, and of Redemption as an idea, not as a historical event. What is the meaning of ‘Atonement by a crucified Saviour?’ How many of the Evangelicals can answer that?
That there may be a meaning in it, which shall not only be consistent with God’s justice, that is, with the voice of our conscience, but shall be the very perfection of that justice, the one true expression of our relations to God, I don’t deny; but I do deny that Mr. M‘Neile, or Mr. Close, or Dr. Hook, or Pusey, or Newman himself, quite know what to make of it. The Evangelicals gabble at it, as the Papists do their Ave Marys, and yet say they know; while Newman falls down and worships because he does not know, and knows he does not know.
I think others are more right who say boldly, we don’t understand it, and therefore we won’t fall down and worship it. Though there is no occasion for adding, ‘there is nothing in it,’ I should say, until I know, I will wait, and if I am not born with the power to discover, I will do what I can with what knowledge I have—trust to God’s justice, and neither pretend to know, nor, without knowing, pretend to embrace; nor yet oppose those who, by whatever means, are increasing or trying to increase knowledge. This is not very clear, perhaps, but one can’t correct in letter-writing.
You must know that a friend of mine (not naturally scrupulous) stole a book from a shop when he was at school, was never found out, has never paid for it in any way, has it on his bookshelf still, and makes no difficulty about his friends knowing how he came by it (not that he did it by way of bravado at all, which is another kind of thing). Well, I don’t think worse of him on the whole for this; I respect him for his present frankness; and though I think he ought to have gone afterwards and told the bookseller, and paid him, yet I don’t think it’s very much matter.
Well, you know better about the way the children and their parents would take it; but, for my own part, I should speak out to them all, tell them what has happened, say that the thing must not go on, you must give up the class if it continues, but that you don’t mean to disgrace any of them for it at present. Explain why stealing cannot be allowed, and why people are wrong in stealing. If you choose, tell them that Elizabeth —— has confessed, and let her say that she is sorry for it, and sees that it is wrong; and ask those who have done the same to confess, and promise to take care in like manner. Or, if you think this would be too public a disgrace, can’t it be done privately without publishing the names? or you may give the general exhortation without noticing either E—— or the other thefts.
You needn’t, I think, insist on restitution. Say that you don’t want the things back (you’ve got the locket, I suppose); that you will put up with the loss. I hope you will excuse all this lengthy advice, which I dare say, or rather I am sure, mother, and I dare say you, will not think quite high-principled; but it is quite my conviction. Frighten a child, and it cries, and is perhaps in an agony; but afterwards it says to itself, ‘Well, indeed I can’t see that it’s wrong,’ and does it again. You frighten it again, and again it is in an agony. And so it gets into a way of living by the fear of man (at best), instead of by its own sense of right and wrong, and that is not likely to keep it safe under temptation; indeed, one can hardly wish that it should.
I advise you to go on the 8th to Westmoreland. Wednesday fortnight will see me at home. Thursday will bring me with mother on my arm to Lake-land, where we will lie upon the grass and forget.
Meantime, I would not, I think, trouble them with any advice. Laissez-faire, laissez-aller.
I think I shall wait upon Providence till the end of my time at Oriel; though undoubtedly there are temptations in the Liverpool Mechanics.
My pupils are getting attached to this Glen Urquhart. I continue to think it anything but beautiful. But Loch Ness offers a good deal. Yesterday I went to Foyers. It is by far the highest of the Scotch waterfalls, and there is a pleasant, quiet, sabbatic country-inn,3 overlooking the whole lake, with our highest hill, Mealfourvonie, just over the water, and with the Foyers river less than a mile off.
I have been as far as Arisaig, a poor place, curious perhaps, but nothing more. On the way, I saw Loch Aylort and Loch na-Nuagh (salt), and Loch Aylt (fresh), all of them fine. At Glenaladale’s house of Borradale, Charles Edward landed. It stands off Loch na-Nuagh.
Glenaladale is the great man here: he marches with Lochiel close by, and the lake separates him from Sir James Riddell of Ardnamurchan, and Colonel Maclean of Ardgower. He is to have a deer-stalking party to-morrow, Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, and other majestarian officers.
This place is certainly very beautiful; scarcely however sufficiently exalted out of the lake-country style to meet my expectations of the genuine West. But whether I shall explore, as you suggest, all the lochs up to Loch Broom, viz. Aylort, na-Nuagh, na-Gaul, Morrer, Nevish, Hourn, Ahsh, Carron, Torridon, Gairloch, Ewe, and Maree (on referring to the map I find that I have missed two—the rest I may say I know by heart), whether I shall do more than learn the names by heart, is more than doubtful.
Did you ever see a waterfall turned inside out, downside up? The south-wester is doing this to one opposite the window.
I came back here yesterday. If I could have forced myself sooner out of the Highlands, I would have quitted Liverpool, and come to Rugby sooner also; but I could not. Woe’s me, but one doesn’t like going back to Oxford, nor coming to Liverpool either; no, nor seeing the face of hat and coat-wearing man, nor even of elegantly-attired woman.
The scribbling puerities is not very strong on me at present. I’m not going to write history, nor poetry neither—not a blessed verse, I believe, have I manufactured since October. But it’s history, is it, that you and Walrond recommend?—ειεν,—but I don’t think it will do.
Meantime, did Macpherson really say the ‘Bothie’ had paid? I have been in distress about the worthy bibliopole, and hardly know whether I can trust your report.
I am reading the ‘Inferno’ with John Carlyle’s translation, which seems good, and is certainly useful to me. I recommend the ‘Inferno’ to you; it will burn out your rose water, old boy, for a time, but the spring is with you indestructible.
I think you people are making great donkeys of yourselves about ——’s freedom of speech. Go to the Bible, thou prude; consider its language, and be wise. Consult also Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, also . . . . and in fact ‘all great poets.’
I had not, I think, seen the Rajah Brooke when you departed. I liked him extremely; met him once at breakfast with Stanley, and once in the evening with our Provost; quite a kingly man, clear-sighted and simple-minded, full of will and purpose, but without a grain of self-will or ambition. Stanley says that he deprecated English, or indeed European, colonisation in Borneo as bad for the natives. He had had 2,000 offers, but declined generally, saying the time was not yet come.
No, but remember withal, that no man moves without having one leg always off, as well as one leg always on the ground. Your stationary gentleman undoubtedly has both for a basis, and much good may his double pedestal do him. —— and —— go shuffling along, lifting their feet as little as possible from the earth. There are also horses, are there not, called ‘daisycutters?’ not, as I am told, the best breed.
The mere carnal understanding, I grant you, goes on its belly in the shape of the serpent. While this and other reptile faculties grovel on the ground, imagination and fancy, with the eagle and the butterfly, move in liquid air. But the vivipara, my friend, ‘in whom should meet the properties of all,’ must do neither, or both. Expect therefore from me, if not the stately march of the sublimest mammalian type, at any rate nothing worse than the per-saltum locomotion of the kangaroo.
However powerful my centrifugal force, I shall be certain to be recalled by the at least equally powerful gravitation of hunger and thirst, not to mention nakedness.
The spirit truly is centrifugal, but the flesh centripetal; wherefore man, being a compound, revolveth in a sphere. Under cover of which theory I retreat to my bed.
Switzerland has had its revolution, and Naples also; Tuscany and the Sardinian States have in consequence got new Constitutions, and the Pope has turned off his cardinals and replaced them by lay ministers, and it is said is preparing a constitution. Surely the Frenchman mustn’t be behindhand! One can hardly talk of other things when one once gets on this topic.
Well, and when shall I see you again? ο Θεος οιδεν. Will you hire yourself out as a common labourer? I hope not; but one may do worse, undoubtedly; ’tis at any rate honester than being a teacher of XXXIX Articles. I rejoice to see before me the end of my servitude, yea, even as the weary foot-traveller rejoices at the sight of his evening hostelry, though there still lies a length of dusty road between. But what will follow I can’t say. The chances of going abroad will very likely be cut off, for we may shortly see Europam flagrare bello: the Austrians driven out of Lombardy by French bayonets. Alter erit tum Lodi, and another Arcola shall crown delectos heroas with, we will hope, a better-used victory. But the French armies are not quite apostolic, nor do I put much faith in Michelet’s holy bayonets as preachers of any kind of Gospel.
There is a story-book called ‘Loss and Gain,’ ascribed to Newman, truly or falsely as the case may be. You may read and see, if you please.
Edward has been here to breakfast—a phantom of the ancient glories. If it were not for all these blessed revolutions, I should sink into hopeless lethargy.
Up here at Oxford I keep in general company very quiet; insomuch that I heard yesterday that people not unfrequently take me for some little time after introduction to be no less than a Puseyite; but at the same time, I could sometimes be provoked to send out a flood of lava boiling hot amidst their flowery ecclesiastical fields and parterres. Very likely living in this state of suppressed volcanic action makes one more exasperated than one should be when any sort of a crater presents itself. Natheless, there is wisdom in withholding.
Tell mother not to finish all her furnishings, and get ‘everything handsome about her’ before I come home, which will be about the 1st of May, for then I shall be able to stay if I please for three weeks or more, as my tutorship will be in the hands of another.
George Sand’s newspaper, the ‘Vraie Rèpublique,’ disapproves of the new Provisional Government (Arago, Marie, Garnier-Pagès, Lamartine, and Ledru-Rollin) altogether, though privately she is friendly with and indeed attached to Lamartine.
People are coming up from the country to the great national fête of Sunday next, and of course they all want to go to hear the debates. The weather is splendid; the sun glorifies us by day, the moon by night.
Lamartine’s culmination is said to be over; his declared desire not to part with Ledru-Rollin is the commonly supposed cause of his sinking to the fourth place in the votes. But some say that the bourgeoisie, to shirk the organisation of labour question, are eager for war, and Lamartine, having proclaimed ‘Paix à tout prix,’ is therefore thought an obstacle. On all hands, there is every prospect, on dit, of war. To-day the rumour ran that the armies had entered Piedmont, and tomorrow comes the Polish question. The Socialists, i.e. the leaders, for the most lament this extremely. The people of course are excited about Poland, and either are indifferent to the Socialist ideas or are blind to the certainty of these questions being then indefinitely adjourned. The boys (17 and 18) of the garde mobile are infected with bourgeoisitic loyalty, also the new members of the national guard. The Socialists simply deplore the whole result; regard the whole thing as at present a failure—a bourgeoisitic triumph. ‘ Mais attendons.’ ‘Voilà, mon cher,’ the socialistic statements as received by me into arrect ears last night from a distinguished St. Simonian.
The Champ de Mars was not by any means ready yesterday morning for the postponed fête; when I went I found there only the great statue ‘La République en plâtre,’ and a few boards, &c., and not many men at work. There’s been thunder and lightning, and ‘grandes eaux,’ not of Versailles, so perhaps it’s as well. Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing the ‘rappel;’ a foolish, unnecessary order, on account of a quiet Polish petition presentation, and now no one acknowledges to having signed it. However it made row enough at the time. The Socialist party is too weak to attempt anything; in fact they profess that the bourgeoisie is eager to attack and slaughter them. However, I did see some St. Antoine-ish giants in bonnet-rouge and blouse, who had a very who’s afeard? appearance, arguing with and defying well-dressed multitudes in the Rue de Rivoli, about the rappel time yesterday. Citizen Blanqui had, I confess, a certain hang-dog conspirator aspect, which did him no credit.
Lamartine continues to live in his own house, and is not going to the Elysee Bourbon, nor the other men to the Petit Luxembourg. The Assembly will go on till the next revolution, probably.
‘Les journaux du soir!’ ‘Voilà, “La Presse,” dernière édition du soir!’ . . . “ La Séance,” demandez “La Séance,” “L’Assemblée.”’ . . . ‘Colère du père Duchesne! . . . le père en colère!—cinq centimes, un sou.’ . . . ‘“La Patrie,” voilà “La Patrie!”’ . . . ‘Les éditions du soir, dernières nouvelles de Pologne!’ . . . ‘L’insurrection de Madrid, par le citoyen Cabet, “Le Populaire,”—cinq centimes, un sou.’ ‘Demandez “La Presse:” grande colère du père Duchesne, le père Duchesne est en véritable colère! le père’ . . . ‘“Le National,” demandez “Le National!” “L’Assemblée Constituante!”’
L——, attaché of the English press, is of opinion that if the money hold out till confidence in a new government gets itself fairly established, all will be well. The people mean to wait and see if their condition is to be mended; if so, well, whatever the form of government; if not, ‘we must go into the streets again.’
You know I am a bad hand at lionising. I do little else than potter about under the Tuileries chestnuts, and here and there about bridges and streets, pour savourer la république. I contemplate with infinite thankfulness the blue blouses garnished with red of the garde mobile; and emit a perpetual incense of devout rejoicing for the purified state of the Tuileries, into which I find it impossible, meantime, to gain admittance. I growl occasionally at the sight of aristocratic equipages which begin to peep out again, and trust that the National Assembly will in its wisdom forbid the use of livery servants. But there is not very much to complain of generally one cannot better express the state of Paris in this respect, than by the statement that one finds it rather pointed to be seen in the streets with gloves on.
Meantime, the glory and the freshness of the dream is departed. The very garde mobile has dropped its dear blouse and red trimmings for a bourgeoisie-prætorian uniform, with distinctive green hired-soldier epaulettes. The voice of clubs is silenced: inquisitors only and stone walls of Vincennes list the words of Barbès. Anti-rappel Courtais no longer hushes the drum which, as he said, vexes the people (‘cela fâche le peuple’); conciliatory active Caussidière gives place to a highshop successor. Wherefore, bring forth, ye millionnaires, the three-months-hidden carriages; rub clean, ye new nobles, the dusty emblazonries; ride forth, ye cavalier-escorted amazons, in unfearing flirtations, to your Bois de Boulogne. The world begins once more to move on its axis, and draw on its kidgloves. The golden age of the republic displays itself now, you see, as a very vulgar parcel-gilt era; nevertheless, in all streets and gardens, proclaims itself ‘ L’Ère Nouvelle’ ‘La Liberté!’ ‘La Réforme!’ . . . ‘Vraie République!’ ‘Grande Séance de l’Assemblée Nationale: dix centimes, deux sous; seulement deux sous.’ ‘Arrestation!’ ‘Demandez “La Presse;” la lettre du citoyen Blanqui!’ . . . ‘Derniers soupirs du père Duchesne!’
The weather performed a most dramatic change; and Sunday morning, the day of the fête, dawned all glorious. There was a noise of drums as early as four o’clock. I got up about six, and found myself on the Place de la Concorde at a quarter to seven, with a considerable crowd.
The deputies did not leave the Chamber till half-past eight. They sat on the steps mostly, with their scarfs, &c. About half-past eight they came down and headed the procession. There were parties from the departments, in and out of uniform, with each its flag. Poland, Italy, and Germany mustered a considerable show. There were not above six or seven ‘noirs affranchis,’ and under a green flag, proclaiming in front ‘L’Irlande,’ and behind ‘Club des Irlandais,’ walked about three of our fellow-subjects of the sister-island. ‘Les blessés’ were noticeable, and ‘les vieux de la vieille.’ There was a great deal of confusion, marching and counter-marching, and there was a full half-hour’s interval in the procession before ‘le char’ came up; and it was an ugly affair when it did come. The ‘jeunes filles’ looked pretty in their white dresses, with the tricolor streaming from the left shoulder, and artificial oak-wreaths in their hair; pretty en masse, but individually not by any means remarkable either for face or figure. Moreover, they were declassicised by their use of parasols. I don’t think they and the char got fairly to their work’s end till one o’clock. I passed and proceeded to the Champ de Mars, where, a little after twelve, went up the tricolor balloon, but in a rather disorganised condition. My modesty prevented my getting through the exterior circle of national guards; so that I did not come into the presence of the Government and Assembly, which I believe I might have done. But the perpetual gun-firing gave me a head-ache, and I retired early. The illumination in the Champs Élysées was extremely pretty; the whole avenue was like a great ball-room, with double rows of pendant chandeliers and continuous festoons of ‘lampions’ on each side. The crowd was enormous. It was funny in the afternoon to see the classical virgins walking about with their papas and mammas, people of the under-shoe-making and back-street shopkeeping class. A good many of them got into the enclosure round the Bourse, and were, about 6 P.M., dancing vigorously (without music) with gardes mobiles, and other indiscriminates.
The new elections, you know, are on the 5th; I shall stay till that night at any rate. The cry, ‘To your Clubs, O Israel!’ is commencing. Thiers and Girardin will probably get in, but not for Paris. I have just heard them crying, ‘Lettre d’Henri Cinq au Président de I’Assemblée: cinq centimes, un sou.’ For the last time but one I return from Rachel’s ‘Marseillaise.’ To-night there is some ‘ rappel-’ ing going on somewhere.
Have you seen in any of the papers revelations of the purposes of the Constituent Committee? An Assembly of 750; and a President by universal suffrage; gratuitous education, and right of work. So I read in the ‘Démocratie pacifique,’ with corroboration.
The coalition of the more democratic Clubs amongst the representatives will be, I presume, a great assistance to the Government. You know that two, one in the Rue des Pyramides, the other in the Palais National, amounting to 200 représentants together, and one containing Carrot and another minister, the other presided over by Dupont de l’Eure, have united, and a third is expected to send in its adhesion.
I have just been to the Club de la Révolution, ci-devant Barbès. They had a lively and almost fierce debate about ‘fusion.’ Were they to ‘fusionner’ with the National? advances having been made and ill received, should they be renewed? News of Barbès’ condition and behaviour in prison were given, and received with clamorous Vive Barbès!! Said Barbès, I hear, is a man of wealth, enjoying, usually in prison, 4,000l. a year.
I am grieved to hear of the mutilation of our statute. But I should myself accept the most deformed renovation. The list of Chartist petitioners (so to call them) was forwarded to me here, costing about three francs. We, I presume, might easily make up a list of five points: Abolition of Subscription; Reconstitution of Fellowships; New Hebdomadal Board; Extra-Collegial Matriculation; and Permanent Commission.
To-morrow there is to be an ‘interpellation’ in the Assembly about the Neapolitan business. One great subject under discussion in the Bureaux (where most of the work is done) is the ‘projet de divorce,’ simply restoring, I believe, the provisions of the Code Napoléon, which in 1816, on the return of the Bourbons, were in like manner simply erased.
Divorce is allowed for ‘sévice,’ and for incompatibility of temper under restrictions; e.g. the husband must be above twenty-five, and the wife above twenty-one and under forty-five and consent of parents must be obtained. Nor can divorce for this cause be allowed except after two (or three) years of marriage. I see it stated that the Bureaux are not favourable. But the great subject of subjects is of course the question of the ateliers nationaux. The statistics published in the ‘Constitutionnel’ are of course utterly repudiated by the other party, and indeed they are partly withdrawn by the ‘Constitutionnel’ itself. But there must be a great deal of irregularity and unfair dealing. For the real ouvriers out-of-work, a franc a day throughout, plus two francs extra for two or three days’ work, is not, if a man has a family, very extravagant. But lots of porters, e.g., are on the list.
1st. The Government exposition of the events of May 15, with which may be read Lamartine’s speech of Tuesday night. The blame is left on De Courtais and —— the 1st Legion of the National Guard! Notice towards the end the phrase ‘Y a-t-il eu de complot? Qui sont les coupables?’—questions left at present unsettled.
2nd. The candidature of our friend A. Dumas. It is due to the Marquis Alexandre to give his own words: ‘Ce qu’il faut à la Chambre, c’est des hommes d’énergie. Des hommes qui parlent hautement leur pensée. Des hommes qui la soutiennent avec la voix, avec la plume, avec le bras, si besoin est. Je crois avoir prouvé par la guerre que je fais depuis deux mois à la réaction et à la terreur que je suis de ces hommes. Voulez-vous de moi pour représentant? AL. DUMAS.’
3rd. The candidature of A. Dumas’ friend Joinville, who is proposed by a shopkeeper, who gave his name, dating from the Rue Bergère. ‘The Assembly has expatriated him; true; but the people made the Assembly; ergo, if the people choose Joinville . . . .’ q.e.d.
The elections (eleven for the Seine, i.e. Paris) are considered very uncertain; there is all kind of division. Caussidière, perhaps? D’Alton Shee, not unlikely; Changarnier. Not Émile de Girardin, nor Thiers; nor, I presume, any socialist, such as Pierre Leroux, Thorès, Proudhon, Cabet.
Here is a ‘mot’ on the situation: ‘Les seuls hommes possibles sont incapables; et les seuls capables sont impossibles.’ Another clever suggestion is that there should always be a provisional government, as the only security for permanence.
Remembrances to all my concitoyens at Oriel; how many tricolor nœuds shall I bring?
For myself, I went to Paris on the 1st of May, and stayed there five weeks; saw the opening of the Assembly, the émeute or échauffourée (as they prefer calling it) of the 15th, and the fete of the following Sunday. After the 15th the sky was certainly overcast, but in my first fortnight, and in a degree through the whole time, I was in extreme enjoyment, walked about Jerusalem and told the towers thereof with wonderful delight; the great impression being that one was rid of all vain pretences, and saw visibly the real nation. The sentry posts were all occupied by men in blouse, of the national or mobile or republican guard, and the Tuileries gardens full of the same blue blouse; while the Palace itself showed occasionally on its balcony some convalescent ‘blessé de février,’ helped along, as he took the air, by wife and child. All things quite ‘decently and in order,’ without any visible repressive external force; indeed, for two days between ‘the resignation of the Provisional and its reappointment as the Executive Committee, there was no government whatever, barring of course the Assembly.
Lamartine (I saw him and Ledru-Rollin ride to the Hôtel de Ville on the 15th) seems certainly to have been deficient in definite purpose and practicality; but I fancy he and his colleagues hardly had a fair chance; they had no time to get the Assembly into working condition, hampered in it as they were by Odillon-Barrot and Co., who are very skilful debaters, before the people began to get angry and suspicious. The four days of June I dare say you have heard spoken of in a somewhat shrieky accent. But the cruelties are unquestionably exaggerated, and are attributable to the forçats, who naturally mixed with the ouvriers, and there are many opposite traits recounted. The story of the cantinières selling poisoned brandy was not verified by the examination before magistrates, or by the analysis of the chemists. I confess I regard it in the same light as a great battle, with, on the whole, less horror, and certainly more meaning, than most great battles that one reads of.
However, there is no doubt that France’s prospects are dubious and dismal enough, and one is almost inclined to think that the outbreak was premature; with their ideas so far from ripe, the French had better, if possible, have endured a little longer the immorality of Louis-Philippe’s government; but yet, on the whole, one accepts the thing with gratitude. It will, I think, probably accelerate change in England: and perhaps you may yet live to see some kind of palingenesy effected for your repudiated country. ζαυμ αν πορρωθεν ιδοιμην.
The next topic is Emerson, whom I left yesterday on the deck of the Halifax steamer, and saw pass rapidly down the Mersey on his way home.
He came to Oxford just at the end of Lent term, and stayed three days. Everybody liked him, and as the orthodox mostly had never heard of him, they did not suspect him; he is the quietest, plainest, unobtrusivest man possible; will talk, but will rarely discourse to more than a single person, and wholly declines ‘roaring.’ He is very Yankee to look at, lank and sallow, and not quite without the twang; but his looks and voice are pleasing nevertheless, and give you the impression of perfect intellectual cultivation, as completely as would any great scientific man in England—Faraday or Owen, for instance, more in their way perhaps than in that of Wordsworth or Carlyle. I have been with him a great deal; for he came over to Paris and was there a month, during which we dined together daily: and since that I have seen him often in London, and finally here. One thing that struck everybody is that he is much less Emersonian than his Essays. There is no dogmatism or arbitrariness or positiveness about him.
Next to myself, —— is, I suppose, accounted the wildest and most écervelé republican going. I myself, à propos of a letter of Matt’s, which he directed to Citizen Clough, Oriel Lyceum, Oxford, bear that title par excellence.
I believe I shall probably, in about six weeks’ time, publish, conjointly with Burbidge, a volume of poems.4 Some of them I hope you will like, but I don’t think much will come of it. I don’t intend writing any more verse, but have a notion for essays. I gave my tutorship up at Easter, and I seriously think of doing the same with the fellowship in October at latest.
My little book, I hope, will be out in ten days.
I have an invitation to stand for the Headship of the new University Hall (on the Oxford and Cambridge College system) to be attached to University College, London. My poem ‘The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich,’ in about 2,000 hexameters, ‘A Long-Vacation Pastoral,’ has appeared, and has tolerable success in Oxford; but that its local allusions might readily give it.
A —— belongs, I see, to the new High Churchites, who want to turn all the quiet people adrift; it is the New Plot; but so long as one isn’t obliged to sign articles, or go to daily service, or prayer-meeting, or the like, I don’t see why one should excommunicate oneself. As for the Unitarians, they’re better than the other Dissenters, and that’s all; but to go to their chapels,—no!
You may fancy how truly welcome all your kind praise of the first of them has been to me; so far as praise goes I hardly venture to accept it, but as recognition I heartily feed on it. Meantime, in England I shall not be troubled with a very onerous weight of celebrity. Mr. Kingsley, a chief writer in ‘Fraser,’ devoted the whole of a cordial eulogistic article to the ‘Pastoral,’ and has made it tolerably known; but the ‘Spectator’ was contemptuous; and in Oxford, though there has been a fair sale and much talk of. it, the verdict is, that it is ‘indecent and profane, immoral and (!) communistic.’
Will you convey to Mr. Longfellow the fact that it was a reading of his ‘Evangeline’ aloud to my mother and sister, which, coming after a reperusal of the ‘Iliad,’ occasioned this outbreak of hexameters?
1. Clough at this time was with a reading party, which furnished him with many of the scenes and characters afterwards reproduced in his poem of the
3. ‘The inn by the Foyers Fall, where