Poems and Prose Remains, Vol. I


From 1836 to 1849.


Arthur Hugh Clough

To his Father.
Oxford: November 26, 1836.        
I HAVE just come out from Balliol, of which college I am now a scholar. The examination concluded this morning about twelve o’clock, and it has just been given out I have got the head one, which also includes an exhibition added to it to make it more valuable, as of themselves the scholarships are not worth much. We have had a long and laborious examination, but I am quite well, and not much tired, at least I do not feel so at present. I stay up here till next Wednesday, as the inauguration is on Tuesday evening.


To J. N. Simpkinson, Esq.
Rugby: December 9, 1836.        
I am sitting in Arnold’s drawing-room, of all places in the world, for my nine days at Oxford have so tired me, that after vainly trying yesterday to return to regular work, to-day I have resolved to stay out and rest myself; and as there are to be, I believe, half-a-score fellows in the sick room, Mrs. Arnold kindly took me in here. The examination was, on the whole, I think, neither very favourable nor yet unfavourable to me, and it pleased God that I should be in health and strength and good spirits, and not much excited during the days of the work. I could not but feel, from what I heard and saw, that I had a very good chance among them, and that in one or two things I had the advantage.


To his Sister.
Balliol College: Oct. 15, 1837.        
Behold, I am in Oxford, safe and sound, capped and gowned; have attended chapel twice, once with and once without surplice; have been to Hall (signifying dinner in Hall); also twice to a wine party; also to call on the Master, and to the University Sermon this morning; so that by to-morrow evening, when, I hope, my books will be arrived and arranged on my shelves, and when also, I trust, I shall be furnished with a kettle and set of tea-things (for as yet I have been dependent on the bountiful hospitality of my friends), I shall be pretty completely settled. I came up with Stanley and with two other Rugbeians on Friday evening, and got established in my rooms that night. They consist of one small and one smaller room, both, however, considerably larger than my study at Rugby, in the attics of No. 4 Staircase, outer quadrangle.


To J. P. Gell, Esq.
Hope Street, Liverpool: Jan. 15, 1838.        
Did the intelligence arrive in your parts of Arnold’s wonderful victory in the Senate of London University? i.e. the introduction of an examination in the Gospels and Acts into the Degree Examination, which must seem a strange novelty in that godless place. It must have been a very grand thing to see him get up among all those people and declare that they must do something to show that they were Christians and that it was a Christian University. I do not know what would become of the various shades of Whigs now existing in the University if Hawkins were to be made a Bishop. These people, however, have done a vast deal of good at Oxford, where anything so ‘ungentlemanly’ and ‘coarse’ and in such bad taste as Evangelicalism would never be able to make very much way. It seems just the sort of religious activity and zeal which one would expect to develope itself in an age of activity and shaking up in such a place as the University of Oxford.

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.


To the same.
Oxford, Balliol College: April 8, 1838.    
Do you not envy me my idleness? you, who, I suppose, are in the miseries of entering the Trinity College Examination. I have got through all my trouble, and am now fully at liberty to lie in bed, go to the newsroom, read reviews and novels, learn to skiff, and finally to insult you and Simpkinson.

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.


To the same.
Balliol: May 8, 1838.        
One thing, I suppose, is clear—that one must leave the discussion of the Τα Νεανδρωπικα κ.τ.λ, all snug and quiet for after one’s degree. And it is no harm, but rather good, to give one self up a little to learning Oxford people, and admiring their good points, which lie, I suppose, principally in all they hold in opposition to the Evangelical portion of society—the benefit and beauty and necessity of forms—the ugliness of feelings put on unnaturally soon, and consequently kept up by artificial means, ever strained and never sober. I should think very likely, too, their anti-Calvinistic views of justification were, if not just, at least very useful to lead us to the truth. I should be very sorry ever to be brought to believe their further views of matter acting on morals as a charm of sacramentalism, and the succession-notion so closely connected with it. All this, and their way of reading and considering Scripture—such a contrast to the German fashions—rests, I suppose, entirely on their belief in the infallibility of the Church down to a certain period, to which they are led by a strong sense of the necessity of some infallible authority united with a feeling of the insufficiency of the New Testament. Indeed, I think a good deal of what they say as to this latter point is stronger than anything I ever heard against it. Newman is now giving lectures on the Mystical Power of the Sacraments, and seems to have stated the objection to it Scripturally in a very fair and candid manner. If I had said a quarter of this to ——, he would have set me down at once for a thorough-going convert ad Newmanismum. But you will not be so rash; and you remember that you asked me to write about it.

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.


To the same.
Rugby: September 1838.        
Arnold is coming with Bunsen to Cambridge next Christmas holidays; about the time, I suppose, of your going up for your degree. He is quite well again, being restored by Bunsen’s visit. I think, for myself, I would give two years of my life to come to have back the last one I spent at Rugby. Many of the big, unruly fellows who are troubling the school so much now, and were in my time only showing the beginnings of their badnesses, quite haunt me at times; but that cannot be helped, so one can only hope earnestly for Theodore, who seems indeed very brave and manly. One sees very little of Arnold here, and indeed to talk with him almost nothing.


Balliol: November 18, 1838.        
You must know when you modestly requested me to answer your letter by return of post, that I was then in the midst of preparations for my little-go, which fiery ordeal I have passed through now nearly three weeks. Also that Congreve and I have come to the conclusion that time in fee simple does not exist in Oxford, but only on credit, and that with heavy interest.

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.


To the same.
Oxford: 1838.        
We have been up here just a month and a day, enjoying for the last week of it most glorious weather, greatly to the increase of hunting and boating, and to the decrease of reading. Among other incidents I have had the pleasure of twice meeting the heresiarch αυτοτατος, namely, John Henry Newman, once at a dinner-party, and once at a small and select breakfast. I was introduced, and had the honour of drinking wine with him; on the strength of all which of course, as is one’s bounden duty, I must turn Newmanist. As a first step in which process, I should rebuke you for the heresy of your last letter, dated (more shame to me) Nov. 22. I hoped very much you would come here after your degree was done, but if you continue to rest on Milton’s Christian Doctrines for one leg, and Calvin’s Institutes for the other, I recommend you to walk away on them as fast as you can from this seat and citadel of orthodoxy. It is difficult here even to obtain assent to Milton’s greatness as a poet; quite impossible, I should think, if you are unable to say that you ‘do not know anything about his prose writings.’ Also you must be ready to give up that ‘irreverent’ third book. Were it not for the happy notion that a man’s poetry is not at all affected by his opinions or indeed character and mind altogether, I fear the ‘Paradise Lost’ would be utterly unsaleable, except for waste paper, in the University.

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.


To the same.
Oxford: April 18, 1839.        
I found that at Rugby I had been quite set down among theological gossips as a Newmanist, but the impression was pretty well removed by the time I came away. P——, as usual, flowed with a continuous stream of German divinity and Biblical philology.


Whit-Sunday, May 30.        
June 12th is Commemoration day; I hope we shall have one Rugby prize between the five attempts made by Stanley, Lake, and myself; and indeed, I believe Congreve and Arnold have also made one apiece; but the English poems are this year fifty in number, and better than usual in quality, according to Keble, and as mine was rather worse than usual. I have but little hope of proving a prize gooseberry; indeed I am afraid I possess none of the necessary qualifications you enumerate.

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.


May 2, 1839.        

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.


To J. N. Simpkinson, Esq.
Oxford: Die Celeberrimi Laurentii Sheriffii, 1839.        
I wish you would recommend me some book to give Gell before he goes to Tasmania. I should not like to give him anything ephemeral, which is a fault attaching itself, I suppose, even to ‘Carlyle’s Essays,’ which are just published, though I admire him extremely in general, and these essays even more than the ‘Revolution.’ Has he got a ‘Boswell’s Johnson’? I suppose so. Carlyle says Johnson is the last of the English Tories; all since him have been but Toryish men. He has got an article on Boswell which is extremely beautiful; likewise on Burns, which is so too. He is certainly, however, somewhat heathenish; but that, it seems to me, is the case with all literature, old and new, English and foreign, worth calling literature, which comes in one’s way.

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.


To the same.
Tuesday, December 25, 1839.        
Q——’s Newmanistic tendencies are, I am afraid, as certain if not as strong as you represent. He is so determined on having a conscious system that these tendencies are, I think, not unnatural. I hope you do not think me much perverted. The resistance, when there is occasion for it, against proselytisers is of the most vague unsystematic kind, resting in the most unstable way on intuitions, idealities, &c. &c., but I am not conscious of being in any wise leavened by them.

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.


November 24, 1839.        

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.


To J. P. Gell, Esq.

New Year’s Day, 5840 (To Hobart Town, V. D. L.).        
Liverpool: January 56, 1840.        
Of the three principal theological appearances spoken, of for this past autumn, two have appeared—‘Arnold on Prophecy,’ as you know, I suppose, and two fresh volumes of ‘Froude’s Remains;’ the third, ‘Julius Hare’s Sermons,’ are still only in preparation. Oxford is, as usual, replete with Newmanism and Newmanistic gossip, from which it is one blessing for you that you are preserved. I saw a letter from Arnold, dated Fox How, January, in which he said that not the school-house only, but the school would be, he believed, full next half-year.


To J. N. Simpkinson, Esq.
26 Castle Street, Liverpool: August 27, 1840.        
The English verse disappointment, as you suppose, was no heavy burden to bear, and if Burbidge has sent you the specimen line he threatened to do, you will say that it should have been no disappointment at all. I have been since the vacation three weeks at Grasmere with Ward, not very far from Thorney How; the rest of the time here studying the ethics, &c., for November. I shall go for a day or two to Rugby at the beginning of October, and then to Oxford about a fortnight before term commences, to effect the removal I must undergo from College to lodgings; indeed, I should go earlier for the sake of better reading, but my two brothers are going out to America together (the younger for the first time), and will hardly be off sooner than October.

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.


To the same.
Oxford: Feb. 16, 1841.        
I should like much to have heard Carlyle’s complaint against Coleridge. I keep wavering between admiration of his exceedingly great perceptive and analytical power, and other wonderful points, and inclination to turn away altogether from a man who has so great a lack of all reality and actuality. By the bye, there is a new and very striking portrait of him just published by Holloway, which I have seen in our Coleridge’s rooms, and which, he says, is said by those who knew him to be the best by far there exists.

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.


To his Sister.
[After failing to obtain a first-class in the schools.]
Oxford: Sunday, June 6, 1841.        
You must not trouble yourself about my class. I do not care a straw for it myself, and was much more glad to get it over than I was disappointed at hearing of its result. I suppose a good many, whom I ought to wish to gratify, are disappointed a good deal, and it will perhaps leave me without an adequate supply of pupils this summer; but I have already an offer of one for a month, and do not despair of two or three more before term ends. Otherwise it does not matter, I think, at all; and I can assure you it has not lessened my own opinion of my ability, for I did my papers not a quarter as well as my reading would naturally have enabled me to do; and if I got a second with my little finger, it would not have taken two hands to get a double first (there’s for you!). Neither must you think that it is about my class that I have been bothered during the last year, and that I must therefore be disappointed. I can assure you that it was principally about other things altogether, though you need not read or say this to my father or mother, unless you think it will do any good, which I suppose it won’t.

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.


Oxford: June 1841.        
I am glad my explanations have relieved your disappointment, though I hope you will not blab my bravado any further. However, it is not perhaps so great as you may think, for I do not doubt there are many in every examination who are capable of as much and fail much in the same way as I, only nobody knows. I am not sorry to lose reputation, for it is often a troublesome companion. Did I tell you that my friend Ward has been turned out of his tutorship for Ultra-Newmanism?


To. J. N. Simpkinson, Esq.
Oxford: July 11, 1841.        
. . . And now to thank you for the kindness of your letter. You will have seen that I am inclined rather to care too little than too much about it. My papers, I am quite sure, deserved no more than a second, and so I was, too, at the time; there can be no question as to the fairness of the decision. At the same time, knowing as I do how far my papers were from representing my acquirement and my usual ability of writing upon that acquirement, I can measure more than any one else how much was in my average grasp. As for the causes of this mismanagement, I do not feel very guilty about them, though it does not therefore follow that I ought not so to feel. The only real loss that I care about is that of pupils whom I should have been glad to have had this summer for the money’s sake, and now I hardly expect to get any.


To Rev. J. P. Gell.
Liverpool: October 8, 1843.        
I do not think I am particularly inclined to become a Puseyite, though it is very likely my Puseyite position may prevent my becoming anything else; and I am ruminating, in the hope of escaping these terrible alternatives, a precipitate flight from Oxford, that is, as soon as my exhibition expires, for I cannot think of sacrificing 601. on any consideration. Also, I have a very large amount of objection, or rather repugnance, to sign ‘ex animo’ the thirty-nine Articles, which it would be singular and unnatural not to do if I stayed in Oxford, as without one’s M.A. degree one of course stands quite still, and has no resource for employment except private pupils and private reading. It is not so much from any definite objection to this or that point, as general dislike to subscription, and strong feeling of its being a bondage and a very heavy one, and one that may cramp and cripple one for life.

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.’


To Rev. T. Burbidge.
Oxford: June, 1844.        
I have just received your letter with a rejoinder to my anti-non-interference philippic. Of course I do not mean that if a labourer has at present his proper proportion for twelve hours’ work, he should have the same sum for ten. But I do believe that he has not his proper proportion, that capital tyrannises over labour, and that Government is bound to interfere to prevent such bullying; and I do believe, too, that in some way or other the problem now solved by universal competition or the devil-take-the-hindmost may receive a more satisfactory solution. It is manifestly absurd that, to allow me to get my stockings a halfpenny a pair cheaper, the operative stockingweaver should be forced to go barefoot. It is, surely, not wholly Utopian to look for some system which will apportion the due reward to the various sets of workmen, and evade this perpetual struggle for securing (each man to the exclusion of his neighbour) the whole market.

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?


To Rev. J. P. Gell.
Liverpool: July 13, 1844.        
I believe my last letter was written at the end of last long vacation. I remember I was at that time in doubt about signing the Articles; I did, however, sign them, though reluc tantly enough, and I am not quite sure whether or not in a justifiable sense. However, I have for the present laid by that perplexity, though it may perhaps recur some time or other, and in general I do not feel perfectly satisfied about staying in my tutor capacity at Oxford.

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.’


To his Sister.
Patterdale: July 26, 1844.        
I cannot say that I believe that the walk to the Orme’s Head, however beautiful, was equal to what we have here; but then I am very fond of lakes, and not very partial to the sea. There is no part of Wales equal to this, except the immediate districts of Snowdon and Cader Idris, and I am not sure that they are.

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.


To Rev. J. P. Gell.
Patterdale: July 31, 1844.        
I came to Fox How about three weeks ago to meet Matt, and stayed one day. Walrond joined us here after the first week; at the end of the 5th I depart, go home to see my father, who has just got home from America, after a visit by the way, superinduced by south-easters, to the vicinity of the Hebrides, and then I go to coach two pupils in Yorkshire for a month or five weeks. The vacation then will be ‘welly’ (as they say here for ‘well-nigh’) run out, and I shall then presently return to my tutorialities at Oxford.

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.


To the same.
Oriel: Nov. 25, 1844.        
Your letter reached me just at the time of my father’s death. In August, when I wrote, he was improving, and our alarm had ceased; but he had a relapse not long after, and for a month before the end we were in full expectation of such a result. He died on October 19, a few hours after the arrival of my brother from America.

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.

[Exit Flunkey.


To the same.
Liverpool: April 2, 1845.        
Easter vacation should furnish forth a letter, more especially as I anticipate a singularly busy Easter Term, since one of our three tutors is to be examiner in the schools. First of all; you will be glad to hear that Matt Arnold is elected Fellow of Oriel. This was done on Friday last, March 28, just thirty years after his father’s election. Mrs. Arnold is of course well pleased, as also the venerable poet at Rydal, who had taken M. under his special protection. Mrs. Arnold I saw at Fox How; she was looking remarkably well, though the party seemed strangely small, all the boys being away.

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.


To ———
August 17, 1845.        
About the National Debt, I believe the ‘Prospective’ reviewer is wrong. Arnold, according to the best authorities on such matters, is quite right in regarding it as a grievous burden. I can’t see that it can be otherwise, but people have fancied it rather a blessing than the reverse. The article on Blanco White seems to be temperate enough; with the Inquisition hanging over him, he could not be otherwise than he was—he could not but fancy throughout his life that he was being bullied into a sham belief. At the same time I believe there is a vicious habit of poking into intellectual questions merely for the fun of it, or the vanity of it, only not quite so common as people make out. At any rate, taking it easy and acquiescing in anything is much more common. Perhaps every clergyman is not called upon to fit himself for cases like Blanco White’s. How could it be?


To Rev. T. Burbidge.
Calder Park, Glasgow: August 31, 1845.        
It is too hot to go out (72° in the shade), and in Scotland we are too sabbatic to read anything but sermons. It remains therefore that I retire to my room and do as I am doing. We returned yesterday from our Highland expedition. We went by steamer up Loch Fyne, across the Mull of Cantire in a canal boat, and again in a steamer among the multitudinous isles, the skirts of the Hebrides, up the great fiord of Loch Linnhe, which narrows gradually, and at the headland of Ardgower is transmuted into the inland lake, a salt Winandermere, of Loch Eil, at the head of which stands Fort William, where begins the Caledonian Canal. This, our most northerly point, we attained on Monday. Tuesday was devoted by the rest to Ben, by me to Glen-Nevis. The former hid his head in a cloud—the latter arrayed his woody sides for me in glorious light and shade (!!)

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.


September 5.        
On Wednesday morning we started for the Falls of Clyde. We breakfasted at Milton Lockhart, lionised Craignethan Castle, the original of Tillietudlem, returned to luncheon, and to songs from Miss Lockhart, and after this went on to see Stonebyres, Cora Linn, and Bonnyton, the three falls, which are all very fine—nothing new in feature, but remarkable for size. We slept at Lanark, and came back to breakfast here.

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.


To the same.
Calder Park: September 11, 1845.        
We went to Edinburgh on Tuesday; saw the Castle and Holyrood, including Queen Mary’s apartments and Rizzio’s blood, the Calton Hill, and Flaxman’s statue of Burns, which I admired much.

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.


To Rev J. P. Gell.
Liverpool: September 21, 1845.        
Is it news to you that Ward has at last gone over to Rome, wife and all; is at this present moment at St. Mary’s College, Oscott, having just received confirmation? Newman, it is said, will not go over finally till Christmas, but his intention to do so is definitely announced. It is thought that his immediate followers will not be many; ten or twelve subordinates and Oakeley is large allowance. But a great many will be rendered uneasy by his departure, and one may look out for changes in one way or other: it will be ‘dropping weather’ in the Romanising line for some time to come, I dare say. Newman’s Apologia, entitled ‘Notes of the Church,’ is expected to appear soon. So also the volumes of the reprint of Arnold’s Lives, in the ‘Encyclopædia Metropolitana.’ The miscellaneous volume, including the Church Reform and Catholic Emancipation pamphlets, the Sheffield and Hertford letters and other minora, has been out for a month. The Catholic Emancipation I had never read till to-day; to-day I did so with great delight. My last reading before that was (strong meat) the ‘Life of Blanco White:’ almost wholly from his own papers; a very striking production, which has called out a review from Gladstone in the ‘Quarterly,’ and a more powerful one by Mozley in the ‘Christian Remembrancer’ (Puseyitic extreme). For me, almost it persuaded me to turn Unitarian, that is, for the moment; and even now I feel no common attraction towards the book and the party who have brought it out, viz. the high Unitarians, such as Miss Martineau’s brother, a preacher here; Mr. Thom, his colleague, the editor of book, &c., and others. They have a review, the ‘Prospective,’ ‘Aspice, Respice, PROSPICE’ (sic) being the motto, in each of the eight numbers of which Arnold’s volume, the Life, the Fragment on the Church, and the last miscellaneous volume have received an article; and in their particular section of the people they are, I should think, doing a great deal of good.

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.


To Rev. T. Burbidge.
Liverpool: September 23, 1845.        
I have been reading ‘The Improvisatore,’ a Danish novel translated by Mary Howitt. You know I hate Corinne. This is in the Corinne high beauty-beatification style, Italy, art, and love à l’æsthétique; but the thing is rendered truthful and sober in Dano-Gothic colouring. But this kind of book makes me long for genuine live-and-act story, such as the ‘Rose of Tistelon,’ which I recommend you.

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.


Oxford: September 28.        

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.


To his Sister.
Oriel: October, 1845.        
What shall be done in the summer? Shall we go to Switzerland together, see the Italian lakes and Milan, taking the Seine and Paris one way, and the Rhine and Belgium the other? Alas! I fear there will be no money to spare. Potatoes and all ‘bread-stuffs’ are like to be terribly dear; and we shall have to live on butcher’s meat for lack of cheaper food. Or have you laid in a stock of rice? Government, it seems, will not open the ports for foreign corn: the free traders are outvoted in Privy Council, and for the present at any rate we must let our neighbours buy for themselves without any interference of ours.

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.


To Rev. T Burbidge.
Oxford: October 19, 1845.        
There is a good article (a portent) in the ‘Quarterly,’ pronounced to be Milman’s, on the Relation of Clergy to People, against priestcraft and authority, and extolling marriage; it is really very well done.

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.


October 28.        
I have, however, in the last three days found time to read ‘Jeanne, par George Sand,’ the most cleanly French novel I ever read, and not cleanly only, but pure. If I knew French well enough, and was not a college tutor, I would translate it, and I believe it would take; for one thing the hero is an Englishman, and by no means a common, but a very veritable hero.


Liddell, thank Heaven, is elected Professor of Moral Philosophy. The election brought Vaughan up, and we had the pleasure of seeing him. He is very agreeable, converses very well, and I wish sincerely he was up here always.


Nov. 1st.        
Potato-disease, and abolition of corn-laws—at any rate, immediate opening of ports for foreign corn, which ports it may be found somewhat hard to close again; panic in the railway market gradually dispelled again, not unlikely howbeit to reappear; such is the news of the week. Cobden sounds a note of triumph at Manchester, and dubs Hudson with the title of ‘King of Spades,’ in joint allusion to his innumerable army of navigators and his gifts at shuffling and card-tricks. O’Connell, called upon by the Saxon press to do something more for his starving countrymen than vapouring at the Conciliation Hall, comes out with a 10 per cent. tax on all landowners, and 50 per cent. on absentees. London, meantime, fearless of lack of funds, proposes to adorn itself with a grand verandah system—at least for all shopping streets. A very desirable plan, I think. I have often wondered that the hint of Chester rows had not been taken long ago.


To his Sister.
Oriel: Nov. 23, 1845.        
Another convert is gone over to Rome—Faber, the poet, who used to excite admiration when preaching some seven years ago at Ambleside; and at Cambridge a flitting from the Camden is expected.

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.


To the same.
Rugby: Dec. 23, 1845.        
I hope you will forgive me. I am not coming home before Monday. It appears that F. Newman (Newman’s brother) is coming here on Friday; and I am very desirous to see him, and my hosts urge me to stay.

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.


To Rev. T. Burbidge.
Liverpool: Jan. 19, 1846.        
Price has been writing a letter or two in the ‘Balance,’ a newspaper set up on principles which may be described as Arnoldite out of Evangelical, a somewhat mongrel progeny, perhaps, with more of profession than fervour; and the paper is certainly weak, though certainly at the same time well meaning. It wishes to become a sort of Sunday newspaper for all sorts of people, gentle and simple, nobleman, and serving man, and working man. Gurney, I believe, is editor; Lord Robert Grosvenor and some others have promised to pay the piper for a while. Gurney puts poems into it. I wrote a letter myself which is to appear in its columns next week. Another newspaper, ‘The Daily News,’ is placarding itself for issue on the 21st, the literary department under the direction of Charles Dickens. Is Boz proposing to reform the press? to combat, a printer’s ink St. Michael, the Dragon immorality of the ‘Times?’ It is open to conjecture. But perhaps it is only a quiet little job in the money-making way. Half-a-dozen new newspapers are commencing their career; it is almost like a railway mania.

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.


To his Sister.
Oxford: Feb. 1846.        
I have only just time to sign my name. My lectures go on from ten till two these days. Just at this time, too, there are numerous parties—breakfasts, namely, and dinners—which cut me out of the usual odds and ends that do for letter writing. I have been very gay this week; there is always a sort of carnival at Oxford, and this year it happens to coincide with the end of the Rugby holidays. We had several Rugby masters up—Tait, Arnold, Congreve, and Bradley, &c.; and on Tuesday there was a Rugby dinner, which was very successful and pleasant.

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.


To the same.
Castleton Braemar:1 August 9, 1846.        
Our house is very comfortable, and affords us two sitting rooms, one of which is conceded to my special use. The other has a nice look-out up the Glen of Clunie, a little stream which dashes through the granite just beside us, and gives us a pool to bathe in. But the country in general is not what I require for full delight. The hills are round, and somewhat tame, though beautifully clad with heather. The Dee, which is the great river of the district, into which the Clunie runs, is very pretty, and indeed beautiful, three miles higher up. And the mountain excursions still farther off, in the region of Benmacdhui and Cairngorm, will I dare say prove satisfactory. The kirk to which we went this morning is fairly administered, but not very much attended. I fancy more go to the Free Kirk; and there is also a Roman Catholic Chapel in the village, and a good many of the poorer folks are Papists. I have given up the idea of the school at Birmingham, having settled to stay out my time at Oxford.

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.


To the same.
Castleton Braemar: September 10, 1846.        
Our neighbours continue to send us grouse and venison, which reduces our butcher’s bills. To-morrow three weeks I expect to have done. I mean, however, to get a little rambling to make up for the somewhat poor scenery of this Valley of Dee, and I fear shall only pay you but a brief visit before I go up to Oxford, about the 15th of October. We are enjoying fine weather, sunshine and moonshine both, but perhaps a little cold, though bathing continues as usual. To-night we all go to a party at General Duff’s to see Highland dancing.


September 26.        
On Wednesday we had a regular flood, and it has been raining more or less ever since, with intervals, however, yesterday, of very respectable sunshine. Our two sportsmen (did I tell you two pupils were gone up the hills?) have returned, bringing a few grouse and a haunch of venison (not their own killing this last) from our neighbour the Duke of Leeds.


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.


To ———
March 28, 1847.        
Perhaps what you say is true about Unitarians in general, but in this particular case I think they were not very far wrong in declining to have any service. I think it presumptuous. to set down the famine to Divine displeasure, and not particularly wise to have a holiday (for such it was in general) at the very time when people ought to be working hardest to produce all they can to make up for the loss. Let people save and curtail their enjoyments as much as they please; that’s a very different thing, and a thing which I hope the good self-humiliating fast-observers will not forget, now the fast is over.

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.


To J. C. Shairp, Esq.
March, 1847.        
Thanks for your letter. I can only say that I have made up my mind against leaving this till my sixth year ends and turns me out.


To his Sister.
Oriel: May 1847.        
You will see that the adorable Swede, Jenny Lind, has enchanted all the world. I greatly rejoice at it, and think I must go and see her. I have promised to go and see Tom at Whitsuntide, and so I dare say I shall do the thing then. Have you seen the lady’s picture? Look and see if you can find a not very beautiful but very pleasant and true-looking face, lithographed.

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.


To the same.
[On hearing of a case of stealing among school-children.]
Oriel: May 31. 1847.        
Sad indeed it is to hear of the evil doings of the children; and what you are to do with them, I really can’t say. However I wouldn’t exaggerate either the sin or the evil. With the education (so to call it) that these children get at home, what is to be expected from them? And really in some children pilfering is a matter of mere fancy or habit—a sort of trick, like biting their nails or shaking their legs. Of course, it is necessary they should know that the thing is wrong, and also why it is wrong; the former is not much use without the latter. I am convinced it is very bad for children to be frightened into believing themselves to have done wrong and to be very wicked. But you might easily show them that people can never live with each other in the world without respecting the rules of property; that it would come otherwise to the strongest or the cunningest taking away what other people had earned by their own hard work, and that they would see to be really wicked, whereas they can’t exactly see at present that what they do is so very wrong; you can easily spare the things, and don’t much mind the loss; you are very rich (compared to them) and very kind and liberal; what can it matter?

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.


To ———
June 1847.        
As for your making the marriage, I trust it was made elsewhere, where they say all true marriages are made. All you did was to hinder an unnatural divorce; i.e. you made the wedding, perhaps, in some degree. And if she loves him, why all the better, whatever comes of it—pain and grief, suicide and murder, all the tragics you can think of. After all, pain and grief (for suicide and murder we will dismiss as unnecessary) would be far better than that life-in-death with papa and mamma in —— Street, or elsewhere.

Meantime, I would not, I think, trouble them with any advice. Laissez-faire, laissez-aller.


To his Sister.

Drumnadrochet:2 July 26, 1847.        

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.


To J. C. Shairp, Esq.
Glenfinnan Inn, Fort William: September 1, 1847.        
Excuse a blotted sheet. I am out of the realm of civility, being in your own well-beloved West, at Glenfinnan on Loch Shiel. The mountains are extremely fine, but not the weather; the waters glorious, specially the rain, which comes in upon my paper as I write, the window above me being exposed to a raving, raging south-wester.

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.


To the same.
Liverpool: October 3, 1847.        
I wrote to you last from Glenfinnan. I enjoyed myself greatly in that Hesperian seclusion, though I did not go and see Skye, nor yet Loch Hourn, nor yet Loch Nevish, nor yet Loch Morrer, but only Loch Aylort and Loch na-Nuagh, and a strange solitary place called Loch Beoraik, where, verily, I think Saxon foot had never been before. Also, I have seen and rowed up Loch Ericht. Dallungart, where you and T. slept, I also have slept at. With mine host of Tynaline, in Saxon called Georgetown, I held discourse concerning Saxon swindlers, &c.

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.


To the same.
51 Vine Street, Liverpool: January 1848.        
Last night I saw you in my dreams, sternly interrogating, ‘What hast thou done with all those many commissions? and wherefore tarries in thy purse the postal penny?’

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.’


To T. Arnold, Esq.
Oriel: Jan. 31, 1848.        
In England we go on in our usual humdrum way; the ecclesiastical world agitated by all manner of foolish Hampden-rows of the confused babble about which all quiet people are infinitely tired. I have given our Provost notice of my intention to leave his service (as tutor) at Easter. I feel greatly rejoiced to think that this is my last term of bondage in Egypt, though I shall, I suppose, quit the fleshpots for a wilderness, with small hope of manna, quails, or water from the rock. The Fellowship, however, lasts for a year after next June.

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.


To a Friend.
[In answer to a remonstrance against his intention of resigning his Fellowship.]
February 20, 1848.        
Be not afraid: I love my mother earth, and ‘in the air will never float:’ ‘Until I get a little boat,’ and of a better build than the famous ‘Crescent Moon.’

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.


To T. Arnold, Esq.
Oriel: February 25, 1848.        
Diis aliter visum—so my packet had to lie by a month. Meanwhile, Willie has gone to India, and the French have begun a new revolution. Possibly my letter may bring the news.

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.


To J. C. Shairp, Esq.
March 16, 1848.        
Another three weeks will see me at the end of these tutorial—what shall I call them?—wearinesses, now at any rate. But whither the emancipated spirit will wing its flight can’t be guessed. Paradise, or purgatory, or ——? the limbo of meditation, the penal worms of ennui, or the paradise of ——? Vanitas vanitatum—omnia vanitas.

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.


To his Sister.
Oriel: April 18, 1848.        
I am glad you liked the Blumen-Frucht-und-Dorn-Stücke. If there is any fault in Richter, it is perhaps that he is too sentimental; but it is a great comfort to get a little taste of that sweetmeat now and then; and in him you have it always not in its merely luscious form, but tempered with agreeable acids and delicate laurel-leaf bitters.

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.


To the same.
Paris: Thursday, May 11, 1848.        
The only events since I wrote on Tuesday have been my visit to the Théâtre de la République to see Rachel in ‘Phèdre,’ and the arrival of Emerson. With the former I was a little disappointed, but I am going again to study the thing. I have been to see the Jardin des Plantes, and the column erected to the honour of the revolution of July 1830, on the site of the Bastille. It was here that the Republic was solemnly inaugurated in February, and here I think it was they burnt the throne.

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.

Sunday, May 14.        
I don’t expect much good will come of this present Assembly. It is extremely shopkeeperish and merchantish in its feelings, and won’t set to work at the organisation of labour at all; but will prefer going to war to keep the people amused, rather than open any disagreeable social questions. The Socialist people are all in the dumps.
Tuesday, May 16.        
P.S.—Yesterday was a day of great peril and disorder: an émeute. The Chamber was invaded and turned out by a mob, and the hall occupied by them for two hours. At last the national guard turned them out. A new government had been named by the mob, and some of the chiefs went off to the Hôtel de Ville, a mile off, to set it going. However, the national guard followed and put it down. Lamartine came with Ledru-Rollin and rode along the quays to finish the work, with dragoons and cannon. I was at his side for a quarter of a mile, and saw him of course distinctly. There was no firing, and scarce any fighting. The whole thing is put down for the present; and I am glad it is, on the whole. The cry was ‘Vive la Pologne;’ but the object was to get rid of the Assembly, and setup a more democratic set of people. From 11 A.M. to 9 P.M., or even later, there was nothing to be seen but crowds and excitement; fifty or sixty are arrested.


To Rev. A. P. Stanley.
Paris: May 14, 1848.        
Sunday, the fête as should have been.
I am still a stranger to the Assembly. The difficulty is extreme. Miss Jewsbury got a diplomatic ticket for two or three hours: she describes them as very good sensible-looking men. She has never been in the House of Commons.

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.


To the same.
Paris: May i9, 1848.        
Ichabod, Ichabod, the glory is departed! Liberty—Equality and Fraternity, driven back by shopkeeping bayonets, hides her red cap in dingiest St. Antoine.. Well-to-do ism shakes her Egyptian scourge to the tune of ‘Ye are idle, ye are idle;’ the tale of bricks will be doubled: and Moses and Aaron of Socialism can at the best only pray for plagues; which perhaps will come, paving stones for vivats, and émeutes in all their quarters.

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!’

Saturday, May 20.        
To judge from ‘Galignani’s’ extracts, the English papers are as usual exaggerating. I don’t believe the affair of the 15th was anything like the conspiracy described in the ‘Times’ and ‘Chronicle.’

Monday, May 22.        

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.


To his Sister.
Paris: May 22.        
There is no prospect whatever of any immediate recurrence of disturbances. The old leaders and conspirators are either arrested or in concealment. Within three months’ time, I have little doubt there will be another émeute. But for the next month I think the Assembly is quite secure, and if only it contrives to find out its wise men, it may survive all troubles, and gradually regenerate the nation. But in this if a great deal of difficulty is involved. There are very few English here, but a good many Americans.


To Rev. A. P. Stanley.
4 Rue Mont Thabor: May 26, 1848.        
It is quite certain that the government are hampered extremely by the old Gauche Dynastique, Odillon-Barrot et Cie, who are adroit debaters, and frighten down the new men. Lamartine thinks it impossible to do the thing without Ledru-Rollin, and the democracy who trust in him; and in many ways he would wish to conciliate and even confide in the bonnet-rouge. But the old Gauche, with the garde boutiquière to back them, think they may carry things with a high hand; and in the Chamber are not unsuccessful. Yet it is wholly impossible that a Gauche-Dynastique Republic should succeed; Lamartine would be fool as well as knave to support such a chimera. It is very possible he may have to go out for a while, of course with Ledru-Rollin; but unless Thiers comes in to the Chamber and aggravates the mischief by lending his real oratorical power to the Gauche, and indeed I hope even in that contingency, it is very probable Lamartine will gradually discipline the inexperienced new members into a good working majority. I don’t hear any one say Lamartine has been paying his debts; I suppose Ledru-Rollin has. George Sand has gone into the country. She says that the air of Paris seemed ‘lourde’ to her, after hearing the ‘à-bas’ of the national guard, and after the arrests of so many generous-minded men. Pierre Leroux was arrested, but is released.

Saturday, May 27.        
So you see, I rely on the wisdom of Lamartine’s tactics, however untriumphant at present; not that I imagine he has got the solution of the labour problem, or that mere well-meaningness and generous aspiration will suffice. But at present no man can absolutely affirm that by any definite plan more is attainable.

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.

Monday, May 29.        
They are going to remodel, perhaps destroy, the ateliers. I hope not destroy, for I conceive the system to be good, if it were only well managed. At present, undoubtedly, there are great irregularities. Alexander Dumas has written a Protest against the Decree of Banishment (of the Royal Family), which his friend ‘La Liberté’ declines to insert (so declareth A. D. in the ‘Assemblée Nationale’) for fear of pecuniary loss. The ‘Assemblée Nationale’ is a vile Guizotin journal, conducted, I hear, by the man who perjured himself about the pistols in the famous duel case. De Tocqueville voted for the Decree. Odillon-Barrot shirked; Louis Blanc, apparently, against it.

Paris: May 30, 1848.        
Paris is tranquil and dull. The bourgeoisie, which had at first awkwardly shuffled on the blouse, is gradually taking heart to slip on its fine clothes again; and perhaps ere long will unbutton the breeches-pocket.

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.

Wednesday, May 31.        
Last night I visited the Club des Femmes, presided over by a Mme. Niboyer. Alas, poor woman I she has a terrific task; not to speak of having to keep women silent, she has to keep men, or say beasts, in order. The place is filled with them, and a more grievous spectacle of the unpolitesse of Frenchmen I never saw; but I believe it has been a good deal worse. However, Mme. Niboyer is a woman of considerable power and patience, and she works through it, though to what effect I don’t know. Perhaps it may be useful for Frenchmen to see a woman face them, and present herself before them not for purposes of flirtation. I got disgusted with my male neighbours, and came away before it ended. The subject was divorce. The feeling, I think, was against the present project, the cries certainly so.

Édition du soir.        
To-day has produced three remarkable documents:

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?


To the same.
June 6, 1848.        
I am safe again under the umbrageous blessing of constitutional monarchy, at Long’s Hotel, Bond Street. I left Paris yesterday. The République was ‘as well as can be expected.’ Of the city of Paris my report must be ‘left voting,’—voting, and reading in huge attroupements the new edict against attroupements. To-day was to tell the fate of the candidates, and to-morrow commences the reorganisation of the ateliers nationaux.


To T. Arnold, Esq.
Liverpool: July 16, 1848.        
When I last wrote to you, the three days of February were still echoing, and now the four days of June have scarcely ceased to reverberate; between which times a good deal has happened both to myself and to the world in general.

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.


Waterhead: September 4.        
I have been visiting Fisher in Patterdale, where he has his first reading-party. He got a first-class duly and honourably at Easter, πατρος αμεινων, outdoing his coach.

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.


To ———.
Oxford: October 23, 1848.        
My relations wrote kindly and temperately (on hearing of the resignation of the fellowship), on the whole; made the most of conscientiousness, but were alarmed with ideas of extreme and extravagant views.

My little book, I hope, will be out in ten days.


To T. Arnold, Esq.
99 Holywell, Oxford: November 6, 1848.        
I have given up the fellowship, though the Provost still forbears to go through the formal step of officially announcing my resignation; so that I am loose on the world, and, being just out of my old place, I am ready to look at every new place, and likely enough to go to none. Even if literature does look likely, I confess I should like to knock about the world a little bit more before I do much n that way; yea, though I am all but thirty already. I am extremely jolly meantime, rejoicing in my emancipation. I stay up here; it is now three weeks within twenty-four hours since I resigned; and people don’t cut me at all. I dine at some high tables, and generally (retaining my gown, for I don’t wish to volunteer to cast that off) I am treated as a citizen.

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.


To his Sister.
December, 1848.        
It is far nobler to teach people to do what is good because it is good simply, than for the sake of any future reward. It is, I dare say, difficult to keep up an equal religious feeling at present, but it is not impossible, and is necessary. Besides, if we die and come to nothing it does not therefore follow that life and goodness will cease to be in earth and heaven. If we give over dancing, it doesn’t therefore follow that the dance ceases itself, or the music. Be satisfied, that whatever is good in us will be immortal; and as the parent is content to die in the consciousness of the child’s survival, even so, why not we? There’s a creed which will suffice for the present.

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!


To R. W. Emerson, Esq.
February 10, 1849.        
My dear Sir,—How could I tell you of my Pastoral-to-be when it had not been thought of? It was only begun in September, and when I left you in July on the deck of your steamer, I had no thought of that or any other new poem. I hope ere this a little volume, half belonging to me, half to an old school friend, will have reached you: this does contain old things, the casualties of at least ten years.

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 Bothie    [back]

2. This was the scene of another reading party—
    ‘Up on the side of Loch Ness, in the beautiful valley of Urquhart.’    [back]

3.                        ‘The inn by the Foyers Fall, where
        Over the loch looks at you the summit of Mealfourvonie.’

4. This volume appeared in 1849, under the name of Ambarvalia.    [back]

Poems and Prose Remains vol. I - Contents

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