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Full text of "Thomas Carlyle"

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THOMAS CARLYLE; 



G.K.CHESTERTON 

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J.E.HODDER WILLIAMS 



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THOMAS CARLYLE 

FROM THE PORTRAIT BY WILLIAM BARR 



Photographed by T. & R. Annan & Sons. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the 
Editor of " Britannia." 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



BY 



G. K. CHESTERTON 

AND 

J. E. HODDER WILLIAMS 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS 



London 

HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

27, Paternoster Row 
1902 



PRINTED BY 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD., 
LONDON AND AYLESBURY. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



PORTRAIT OF THOMAS CARLYLE ....... Frontispiece 

THOMAS CARLYLE S MOTHER .......... 1 

ARCH HOUSE, ECCLEFECHAN .......... 2 

THE ROOM AT ARCH HOUSE IN WHICH CARLYLE WAS BORN .... 2 

ECCLEFECHAN, DUMFRIESSHIRE ......... 3 

MAINHILL FARM . . . . . , . . . . .4 

HODDAM HILL . . . . . . . . . . . .4 

THOMAS CARLYLE (from a Portrait by Maclise) ...... 5 

A PORTRAIT OF CARLYLE ENGRAVED BY F. CROLL FROM A DAGUERREOTYPE 

BY BEARD ............ 6 

THOMAS CARLYLE (from a Sketch by Count D^Orsay) ... .7 

CARLYLE S FIRST EDINBURGH LODGING IN SIMON SQUARE .... 8 

1, MORAY STREET (NOW SPEY STREET), LEITH WALK, EDINBURGH ... 9 
THOMAS CARLYLE (from Photo) . . . . . . . . .10 

MRS. CARLYLE S BIRTHPLACE . . . . . . . . . .11 

THE HOUSE IN WHICH CARLYLE LIVED WHILE FIRST TEACHING AT KIRKCALDY 

SCHOOL . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 

SCOTSBRIG . . . . . . . . . . . .12 

TEMPLAND, NEAR THORNHILL, DUMFRIESSHIRE. . . . . . .12 

THOMAS CARLYLE (from Painting by Whistler) . . . . . .13 

21, COMELY BANK, EDINBURGH . . . . . . . . .14 

THOMAS CARLYLK (from Sir J. E. Boehnis Medallion) . . . . .15 

THOMAS CARLYLE, ABOUT I860 ......... 16 



iv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



THOMAS CARLYLE, 1865 . . . . . . . . . .17 

A POKTKAIT OF CAULYLE TAKEX IX 1879 ..... .18 

FACSIMILES OF CARLYLE S SIGNATURE . . . . . ... .18 

CRAIGENPUTTOCK . . . . . . . . . . . .19 

PORTRAIT GROUP TAKEN AT KIRKCALDY . . . . . . . .19 

THOMAS CARLYLE (from Sir J. E. Boehnfs Bust) 20 

CARLYLE S HOUSE AT 5 (NOW 24). CHEYXE Row, CHELSEA . . . .21 

JANE WELSH CARLYLE . . . ." . . . . . . .21 

CORNER IN DRAWING-ROOM AT No. 5, CHEYXE Row . . . . .22 

THE GARDEN AT No. 5, CHEYXE Row ........ 23 

THOMAS CARLYLE (from Drawing in " Sartor Resartus ") . . . .24 

MRS. CARLYLE ABOUT 1864 . . . . . . . / ... 25 

CARLYLE S GRAVE AT ECCLEFECHAN . . . . . . .26 

MRS. CARLYLE S GRAVE IN HADDIXGTON CHURCH . . . ; . .26 

THOMAS CAULYLE (from Sir J. E. Millais 1 Portrait) 27 

THE GROUND-FLOOR ROOMS AT No. 5, CHEYNE Row (1900) . . .28 

THE GARRET STUDY AT CHEYNE Row (1857) ...... 29 

THOMAS CARLYLE, .ET. 73 (from Painting by G. F. Watts, R.A.) . . 30 

THE SOUND-PROOF STUDY AT CHEYNE Row IN 1900, SHOWING THE DOUBLE 

WALLS . . . . . , . . . . . .31 

THE KITCHEN AT No. 5, CHEYNE Row (1900) . . . .32 

CARLYLF/S WRITING-DESK AND CHAIR ........ 33 

STATUE OF CARLYLE (by Sir J. E. Boehm) ....... 35 



THOMAS CARLYLE 

HERE are few cultivated 
people who do not pretend 
to have read Mr. Lecky s " History 
of Rationalism in Europe." That 
very able work covers the whole of 
one very important side of modern 
development. But the picture of 
the real progress, the real mental and 
moral improvement of our species 
during the last few centuries, will 
not be complete until Mr. Lecky 
publishes a companion volume en 
titled " The History of Irrationalism 
in Europe." The two tendencies, 
acting together, have been respon 
sible for the whole advancement of 
THOMAS CARLYLE S MOTHER the Western world. Rationalism is, 

(Reproduced by kind permission of Mr. Alexander Carlyle) 

ot course, that power which makes 

people invent sewing machines, understand Euclid, reform vestries, 
pull out teeth, and number the fixed stars. Irrationalism is that other 
force, if possible more essential, which makes men look at sunsets, 
laugh at jokes, go on crusades, write poems, enter monasteries, and 
jump over hay-cocks. Rationalism is the beneficent attempt to make 
our institutions and theories fit the world we live in, as clothes fit the 
wearer. Irrationalism is the beneficent reminder that, at the best, 

1 




THOMAS CARLYLE 




From a photo by J, Patrick, Edinburgh 

ARCH HOUSE, ECCLEFECHAN 

The Birthplace of Thomas Carlyle 



they do not fit. Ir- 
rationalism exists to 
point out that that 
eccentric old gentle- 

nrr^J "" l**iW : Tl man? " The World " is 

I I 1 1 1 1 If l : IBTwTBrnil such a curiouslyshaped 

old gentleman that the 

most perfect coats and 
waistcoats have an ex 
traordinary way of 
leaving parts of him 
out, sometimes whole 
legs and arms, the existence of which the tailor had not suspected. 
And as surely as there arises a consistent theory of life which seems 
to give a whole plan of it, there will appear within a score or two 
of years a great Irrationalist to tell the world of strange seas and 
forests which are nowhere down on the map. The great movement 
of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which rose to its height 
in the French Revolution and the Positivist philosophy, was the 
last great Rationalistic synthesis. The inevitable Irrationalist who 

followed it was Thomas 
Carlyle. This is the 
first and most essential 
view of his position. 

In order to ex 
plain the matter more 
clearly, it is necessary 
to recur to our image 
of the old gentleman 
whom no tailor could 
fit. Not only do the 

From a photo by G. G. Napier, M.A. 
THE ROOM AT ARCH HOUSE IN WHICH CARLYLE WAS BORN tailorS tend tO think 




THOMAS CARLYLE 




From a photo by G. G. Napier, M.A. 

MAINHILL FARM 
The Home of Carlyle s Parents from 1815 to 1825 



that clothes can be 
made to fit the old 
gentleman, but they 
tend very often to think 
that the whole ques 
tion is a question of 
clothes. Thus, for in 
stance, the Popes and 
Bolingbrokes of the 
earlier eighteenth 
century tried to make 
man a purer symbol 
of civilisation. They tried to pluck from him altogether his love of 
the savage and primeval, as they might have plucked off a shaggy wig 
from the old gentleman in order to put on a powdered one. A by 
stander of the name of Byron, who was indeed none other than the 
inevitable Irrationalist, startled them by pointing out that the shaggy 
object was not a wig at all, but the poor old gentleman s own hair ; 
that, in other words, the love of the savage, the primeval, the lonely 
and unsociable, was a part of man, and it was their business to recog 
nise it. Then arose 
the new fashion in cos 
mic clothes, which did 
recognise this natural 
element. Rousseau 
and Shelley took the 
old gentleman in hand, 
and provided him 
with spring-like gar 
ments, coloured like 

From a photo ly J. Patrick, Edinburgh the clouds of 

HODDAMHILL fi f 

Where Carlyle lived in 1825 



I 





THOMAS CARLYLE 



From a 

portrait ly 

Daniel Maclise, R.A. 

ntnv in the 

Victoria 

and 

A Ibert 

Museum 

Rischgitz Collection 







6 



THOMAS CARLYLE 





A PORTRAIT OF CAR 
LYLE ENGRAVED BY 
F. CROLL FROM A 
DAGUERREOTYPE BY 
BEARD 

Rischgitz Collection 



principles was the absolute principle of equality. Finding, therefore, 
that the old gentleman was wearing a curiously shaped hat, com 
pounded of crown, coronet, and mitre, the great hat of Godhood, 
kinghood, and superiority, they proceeded, in order to make him 
more natural, to knock it off; and to them suddenly appeared the 
inevitable Irrationalist, a Scotch gentleman from Dumfriesshire, who, 
addressing them politely, said, "You believe that that regal object 
you are knocking off is his hat : believe me, gentlemen, it is his head. 
Such mistakes will occur after a hasty inspection, but that kingship is 
really a part of the old gentleman, and it is your business to recognise 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



THOMAS CARLYLE 

From a. sketch by Count 
D Orsay (1839) 

Rischgitz Collection 




it." As Byron had come, just as the classic edifice of polite deism had 
been completed, to point out that the fact remained that he, Byron, did 
prefer walking by the seashore to taking tea in the garden, so Carlyle 
appeared, just as the austere temple of political equality was erected, 
to point out that the fact remained that he did think many people 
a great deal better than himself, and very many people a great deal 
worse. Thus, then, as the asserter of the natural character of king 
ship against the natural character of equality, it is that Thomas Carlyle 
primarily stands twenty-one years after his death. 

Now I do not think, as I shall show later, that Carlyle ever really 







8 



THOMAS CARLYLK 




CARLYLE S FIRST 

EDINBURGH 

LODGING IN SIMON 

SQUARE 

From a photograph by 

Mr. Thomas Clark, 

Edinburgh 



understood the true doctrine of equality ; but it is certainly at 
least equally true that the egalitarians and the ordinary opponents 
of Carlyle have never done the least justice to Carlyle s doctrine 
of hero-worship. The usual theory is that he believed in a race of 
arrogant strong men, brutally self-sufficient and brazenly indifferent 
to ethical limits, and that he wanted these men to frighten and 
dominate the populace as a keeper or a doctor frightens and dominates 
the lunatic in a cell. It is not too much to say that there is scarcely 
a trace in Carlyle s works of this barbarous and ridiculous idea. If 
there be a trace of it here and there, it is mere explosion of personal 
ill-temper, and has nothing whatever in common with Carlyle s 
deliberate theory of the hero. His theory of the hero was that he was 
a man whom men followed, not because they could not help fearing, 
but because they could riot help loving him. His theory, right or 
wrong, was that when a man was your superior you were acting 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



9 



r, MORAY STREET 

(NOW SPEY 

STREET), LEITH 

WALK, EDINBURGH 

From a photograph by 

Mr. Thomas Clark, 

Edinburgh 




naturally in looking up to him, and were therefore happy ; that you 
were acting unnaturally in equalising yourself with him, and were 
therefore unhappy. Most people, except those solemn persons who 
are called with some humour free-thinkers, would agree, for instance, 
that the worship of God was a human function, and therefore gave 
pleasure to the performer of it, like eating or taking exercise. Now 
Carlyle held, rightly or wrongly, that the worship of man, of the great 
man, was also a human function, and therefore gave pleasure to the 
performer of it. It all depends upon whether we do take an egalitarian 
or an aristocratic view of the spiritual world. If the spiritual world is 
based upon equality, then, no doubt, to keep a man in an inferior 
position must spiritually depress and degrade him ; but if beings in 
the spiritual world have higher and lower functions, it is obvious that 
it is equally depressing and degrading to a man to take him out of his 
position and make him either a citizen or an emperor. 



10 



THOMAS CARLYLE 




THOMAS CARLYLE 

From a photo by the 
London Stereoscopic Co. 



Moreover, the real practical truth that underlay Carlyle s gospel 
of the hero has in other ways been misunderstood. The general 
idea is that Carlyle thought that, if a man were only able, every 
thing was to be excused to him. If Carlyle, even at any moment, 
thought this, it can only be said that for that moment Carlyle was 
a fool, as many able men may happen to be. But, as a matter of 
fact, what Carlyle meant was something much sounder. To say 
that any man may tyrannise so long as he is able, is as ridiculous 
as saying that any man may knock people down so long as he is 
six feet high. But in urging this very obvious fact the opponents of 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



11 




From a photo by G. G. Napier, M.A. 

MRS. CARLYLE S BIRTHPLACE 
Dr. Welsh s House at Haddington. 



Carlyle too often forget 
a simpler truth at the 
back of the Carlyle 
gospel. It is that, while 
in one sense the same 
moral test is to be ap 
plied to all men, there 
does remain in ordinary 
charitable practice a 
very great difference 
between the people who 
consider it necessary to 
see some definite thing 
done before they die, 
and the people who cheerfully admit that two hundred years will 
scarcely bring what they require, and that meanwhile they desire to 
do nothing. A Tolstoian anarchist who thinks that men should be 
morally persuaded for the next two or three centuries to give up 
every kind of physical 
compulsion may, it is 
quite conceivable, be 
more right than the 
English Home Secre 
tary who finds himself 
responsible for the sup 
pression of a riot in 
Manchester; but surely 
it is patently ridiculous 
to say that it is just as 
much to the anarchist s 
credit that he avoids 
shooting Manchester 




From a photo by A . Miilikcn, Kirkcaldy. 

THE HOUSE IN WHICH CARLYLE LIVED WHILST TEACHING 
AT KIRKCALDY SCHOOL 



12 



THOMAS CARLYLE 




From a photo by G. G. Napier, M.A. 

SCOTSBRIG 

A farm in the neighbourhood of Ecclefechan to which the Carlyles removed 

from Mainhill in 1826 



workmen as it would 
be to the Home Secre 
tary s credit if he 
avoided shooting them. 
It would be equally 
ridiculous to say that, 
if the Home Secretary 
conceived it necessary 
to shoot them, from a 
sense of responsibility, 
that his action, even if 
wrong, was really as 
wrong as the conduct of a Tolstoian who should shoot them without 
any reason at all. In this sense, therefore, there is really a different 
test, and a perfectly fair one, for men of action and for men of 
abstract theories and remote hopes. 

Now, it must definitely be set to the credit of men like Cromwell 
and Mirabeau, that they were undoubtedly opposed to and embar 
rassed by men whose projects, even in their own eyes, were scarcely 

a part of practical 
politics. These men 
exist in every country 
and in every age. They 
are wilfully and etern 
ally in opposition. 
They do not agree 
sufficiently with the 
active powers even to 
argue with them with 
any profit. Their ideal 

From a photo by J. Patrick, Edmbitrg Ii * 

TEMPLAND, NKAR THORN HILL, DUMFRIESSHIRE is SO fill aWay that 

Thomas Carlyle married Jane Baillie Welsh on October i/th, 1826, at , , 

Templand, Mrs. Welsh s residence tllC do llOt CVCn 





From the painting by J. McNeill Whistler 

THOMAS CARLYLE 

(Reproduced by kind permissson of Messrs. T. & R. Annan & Sons, by courtesy 
of the Glasgow Corporation) 



14 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



it with any immediate hunger. They count it a pleasant and natural 
thing to live and die in revolt. They are ready to be critics, they 
are ready to be martyrs, they are emphatically not ready to be 
rulers. In this way Cromwell, considering how he might make some 
English polity out of a chaos of English parties, had to argue for 
hours together with Fifth Monarchy men, to whom the vital question 
was whether the children of malignants should not be slain, and 
whether a man who was caught swearing should not be stoned to 
death. In this way Mirabeau, striving to keep the tradition of 
French civilisation intact amid a hundred essential reforms, found 
his way blocked by men who insisted on discussing whether in the 
ideal commonwealth men would believe in immortality, or go through 




From a pJwto. by Mr. Thomas Clark, Edinburgh 

21, COMELY BANK, EDINBURGH 
Carlyle and his wife lived at Comely Bank for eighteen months after their marriage 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



15 



a rite of marriage. Now, while fully granting that both types have an 
eternal value, it is certainly not just that precisely the same ethical 
test should be applied to Cromwell and the Fifth Monarchy men, 
to Mirabeau and the worshipper of pure reason. It is not just that we 




from a wood engraving by Pearson of Sir J. E. Boelun s gold medallion 

THOMAS CARLYLE 
(Reproduced by kind permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall) 

should judge in precisely the same way the pace of a butcher s cart 
which is obliged to get to Pimlico, and the pace of a butcher s 
cart which is designed at some time or other to reach the site of 
the Garden of Eden. It is not just that we should judge in the same 
way the man who is simply anxious to erect a parish pump, and 



16 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



the opponent of the pump, 
who looks forward to a 
day when there shall not 
only be no pump, but 110 
parish. The man of action, 
then, really has in this 
sane and limited sense a 
claim to a peculiar kind 
of allowance, in that it is 
of vital necessity to him 
that a certain limited 
grievance should be re 
moved. It is easy enough 
to be the man who lives 
in a contented impotence ; 
the man who luxuriates in 
an endless and satisfied 
defeat. He does not desire 
to be effective ; he only 
desires to be right. He 
does not desire passionately 
that something should be 
done ; he only desires that 
it should be triumphantly proved to be necessary. 

This is the real contribution of Carlyle to the philosophy of the 
man of action. He revealed, entirely justly, and entirely to the 
profit of us all, the pathos of the practical man. He made us 
feel, what is profoundly true, that the tragedy of the death of Mary, 
Queen of Scots, is nothing to the tragedy of the death of Elizabeth ; 
that the tragedy of the death of Charles I. is nothing to the 
tragedy of the death of Cromwell. A man like Charles I. died 
triumphantly ; he did not indeed die as a martyr, but he died 




From a photo by the London Stereoscopic Co. 

THOMAS CARLYLE, 1 ABOUT 1860 



;.< - 






THOMAS CARLYLE 



17 



as something 1 which is much more awful and exceptional a con 
sistent man. He was worse than a tyrant, he was a logician. But 
a man like Cromwell is in a much harder case, for he does not 
wish to die and be a spectacle, but to live and be a force. He has 
to break altogether with the splendid logic of martyrdom. He 
has to eat his own words for breakfast, dinner, and supper. He has 
to outlive a hundred incarnations, and always reject the last ; his 
progress is like that unnerving initiation in the wild tale of Tom 
Moore s, in which the disciple had to climb up a stone stairway 
into the sky, every step of which fell away the moment his foot 
had left it. This is the only genuine truth that Carlyle brought 
from his study of strong men. If ever lie said that we must 
blindly obey the strong 
man, he was merely 
angry and personal, 
and untrue to his 
essentially generous 
and humane spirit. 
When he said that we 
must reverence the 
strong man he some 
times expressed him 
self with a certain 
heated confusion, and 
left it doubtful whether 
he meant that we 
should reverence the 
strong man as we re 
spect Christ, or merely 
as we respect Saridow. 
But we should all 

From a photo by Elliott & Fry 

agree with him in his THOMAS CARLYLE, i86 5 




THOMAS CARLYLE 



essential and eternal con 
tribution that we should 
pity the strong man more 
than an idiot or a cripple. 
It may be said that 
there is a certain incon 
sistency between these 
tw r o justifications of 
Carlyle s hero - worship : 
that we cannot at the 
same time respect a man 
because he is above us in 
a definite spiritual order, 
and* because he is in what 
is popularly called a hole ; 
that we cannot at once 
reverence Mirabeau be 
cause he was strong and 
because he was weak. 
This kind of inconsistency 
does exist in Carlyle ; it 

is, I may say with all reverence and with all certainty, the eternal and 

inevitable inconsistency which characterises those who receive divine 

revelations. The larger world, which our systems attempt to explain 

and chiefly succeed 

in hiding, must, when 

it breaks through 

upon us, take forms 

which appear to be 

conflicting. The 

spiritual world is so 

rich that it is varied ; 




A PORTRAIT OF CARLYLE TAKEN IN 1879 
Rischgitz Collection 











FACSIMILES OF 
CARLYLE S SIGNATURE 

(Reproduced by kind 
permission of Messrs. 
Chapman & Hall 



THOMAS CARLVLE 



19 




From a photo l>y J. Patrick, 

CRAIGENPUTTOCK 
Carlyle s residence from 1828 to 1834 



so varied that it is in 
consistent. That is 
why so many saints 
and great doctors of 
religion have pinned 
their faith to paradoxes 
like the " Credo Quia 
Impossible," the great 
theological paradoxes 
which are so much 
more dazzling and 
daring than the para 
doxes of the modern flaneur. The supreme glory of Carlyle was 
that he heard the veritable voices of the Cosmos. He left it to 
others to attune them into an orchestra. Sometimes the truth he 
heard was this truth, that some men are to be commanded and 
some obeyed ; sometimes that deeper and more democratic truth 
that all men are above all things to be pitied. 

It will be found relevant to what I have to say hereafter to remark 
at this point that I do 
not myself accept 
Carlyle s conception of 
the spiritual world as 
exhaustive. I believe 
in the essence of the 
old doctrine of equality, 
because it appears to 
me to result from all 
conceptions of the 

divinity of man. Of 

f . - . 

course there are in- From a p/loto by J - Pa - tr ^> E 

,... . PORTRAIT GROUP TAKEN AT KIRKCALDY 

equalities, and ObVlOUS Thomas Carlyle, his niece, his brother, and Provost Swan 




20 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



ones, but though they are not insignificant positively, they are 
insignificant comparatively. If men are all really the images of God, 
to talk about their differences has its significance, but only about the 
same significance which may be found in talking about the respective 
heights of twenty men, all of whom have received the Victoria Cross, 
or the respective length of the moustaches of twenty men, all of whom 
have died to save their fellow-creatures. In comparison with the 
point in which they are equal, the point in which they are unequal 
is not merely decidedly, but almost infinitely, insignificant. But my 
reason for indicating my own opinion on the matter, at this point, 

is a definite one. Carlyle s 
view of equality does not 
happen to be mine ; but it has 
an absolute right to be stated 
justly, and to be stated from 
Carlyle s point of view. It was 
not a brutal fear or a mean 
worship of force ; it was a 
serious belief that some found 
blessedness in commanding, 
and some in obeying. Now 
this kind of intellectual justice 
was the one great quality 
which was lacking in Carlyle 
himself. He would not consent 
to listen to Rousseau s gospel, 
as I have suggested that we 
should listen to Carlyle s gospel. 
He would not put Rousseau s 

pr 

From a terra-cotta bust in the National Portrait Gallery, 
by Sir J. E. Boehm, R.A. 

THOMAS CARLYLE 




(Reproduced f fromJ s Past 



to!? 



gOSpel from RoUSSCau s pOlllt 

-. , i , 

of view. And consequently to 

the end of Ills dayS llC HCVCF 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



21 




understood any gospel exeept 
Carlyle s gospel. 

When a literary man is known 
to have been almost a monster of 
industry, when he has produced a 
colossal epic like " Frederick the 
Great " on the dullest of all earthly 
subjects Germany in the eighteenth 
century when he has piled up all 
the complicated material of the 
history of the French Revolution, 
lost it, and by a portent of heroism 
piled it all up again ; when he lias 



From a photo ly J. Patrick, Edinburgh 

CARLYLE S HOUSE AT 5 (now 24), CHEYNE 
ROW, CHELSEA 

achieved such masterpieces of 
research as the discovery of 
sense in Cromwell s speeches, 
and good qualities in Frederick 
of Prussia : when an author 
has done all this, it may seem a 
singular comment upon him to 
say that his main characteristic 
was a lack of patience. But 
this was in reality the chief 
weakness, in fact the only real 
weakness, of Carlyle as a moral 
ist. It is very much easier to 

JANE WELSH CARLYLE 

What may be Called lllOral (Reproduced by kind permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall) 




22 



THOMAS CARLYLE 




CORNER 

IN 

DRAWING- 
ROOM 

AT 5 

CHEYNE 

ROW, 

with Carlyle s 
Reading Chair, 

given him 
by John Forster 

Drawn by R. 

Gray from a 

photograph by 

C. Baly (1881) 

(Reproduced 

from Reginald 

Blunt s " The 

Carlyles Chelsea 

Home," by kind 

permission of 

the author) 



patience or mental patience than to have something which may best 
be described as spiritual patience. Carlyle was patient with facts, dates, 
documents, intolerably wearisome memoirs ; but he was not patient 
with the soul of man. He was not patient with ideas, theories, 
tendencies, outside his own philosophy. He never understood, and 
therefore persistently undervalued, the real meaning of the idea of 
liberty, which is a faith in the growth and life of the human mind; 
vague indeed in its nature, but transcending in its magnitude even 
our faith in our own faiths. He was something of a Tory, something 
of a Sans-culotte, something of a Puritan, something of an Imperialist, 
something of a Socialist ; but he was never, even for a single moment, 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



23 



a Liberal. He did not believe as the Liberal believes, first indeed 
in his own truth, which in his eyes is pure truth, but beyond that 
also in that mightier truth which is made up of a million lies. 
And this spiritual impatience of Carlyle has left its peculiar mark 



THE 
GARDEN 

AT 

No. 5, 

CHEYNE 

ROW 





From a drawing by E, J. Sullivan 

THOMAS CARLYLE 

(Reproduced from the illustrated "Sartor Resartus," by kind permission of 
Messrs. George Bell & Sons) 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



25 



in the only defect which can really 
be found in his historical works. 
Of the astonishing power and humour 
and poignancy of those historical 
works I think it scarcely necessary 
to speak. A man must have a very 
poor literary sense who can read one 
of Carlyle s slighter sketches, such as 
" The Diamond Necklace," and not 
feel that he has at the same time 
to deal with one of the greatest 
satirists, one of the greatest mystics, 
and incomparably one of the finest 
story-tellers in the world. Xo his 
torian ever realised so strongly the 
recondite and ill-digested fact that 
history has consisted of human beings, 
each isolated, each vacillating, each 
living in an eternal present ; or, in 
other words, that history has not 
consisted of crowds, or kings, or Acts 
of Parliament, or systems of government, or articles of belief. And 
Carlyle has, moreover, introduced into the philosophy of history one 
element which had been absent from it since the writing of the Old 
Testament the element of something which can only be called humour 
in the just government of the universe. " He that sitteth in the heavens 
shall laugh them to scorn, the Lord shall have them in derision," is a 
note that is struck again in Carlyle for the first time after two 
thousand years. It is the note of the sarcasm of Providence. Any 
one who will read those admirable chapters of Carlyle on Chartism 
will realise that, while all other humanitarians were insisting upon 
the cruelty or the inconsistency or the barbarism of neglecting the 




From a photo in possession of 

IV. Robertson Nicoll, LL.D. 

MRS. CARLYLE ABOUT 1864 



26 



THOMAS CARLYLE 




From a thoto by G. G. Napier M.A. 

CARLYLE S GRAVE AT ECCLEFECHAN 
Thomas Carlyle died on February 5th, 1881 



problem of labour, 
Carlyle is rather rilled 
with a kind of almost 
celestial astonishment 
at the absurdity of 
neglecting it. 

But a definite 
defect there is, as I 
have suggested, in 
Carlyle, considered as 
an historian, and it 
flows directly from that 
real moral defect in his nature, an impatience with other men s ideas. 
In judging of men as men, he was not only quick and graphic and 
correct, but in the main essentially genial and magnanimous. Only a 
very superficial critic will think that Carlyle was misanthropic because 
he was surly. There is very much more real sympathy with human 
problems and temptations in a page of this shaggy old malcontent 
than in whole libraries of constitutional history by dapper and polite 
rationalists, who treat men as automata, and put their virtues and 

vices into separate 
pigeonholes. If I had 
made a mistake or 
committed a sin that 
had any sort of human 
character about it, I 
would very much 
rather fall into the 
hands of Carlyle than 
into the hands of 




From a photo by J. F. Gordon, Haddington 

MRS. CARLYLE S GRAVE IN HADDINGTON CHURCH 

Mrs. Carlyle died on April 2ist, 1866 



JMr. 



Or JVlr. 
fi 




Front t lie portrait painted by Sir J. E. Millais, P. R. A., for Mr. /. A. Fronde in 1877 

THOMAS CARLYLE 

In the National Portrait Gallery. Rischgitz Collection. 
27 



28 



THOMAS CARLYLE 




THE GROUND-FLOOR ROOMS AT 5, CHEVNE ROW (1900) 
(Reproduced from Reginald Blunt s "Historical Handbook to Chelsea," by kind permission of the author) 

Carlyle did realise the fact that every man carries about with him his 
own life and atmosphere, he did riot realise that other truth, that every 
man carries about with him his own theory of the world. Each one 
of us is living in a separate Cosmos. The theory of life held by 
one man never corresponds exactly to that held by another. The 
whole of a man s opinions, morals, tastes, manners, hobbies, work 
back eventually to some picture of existence itself which, whether it 
be a paradise or a battle-field, or a school or a chaos, is not precisely 
the same picture of existence which lies at the back of any other brain. 
Carlyle had not fully realised that it was a case of one man, one 
Cosmos. Consequently, he devoted himself to asking what place any 
man, say Robespierre or Shelley, occupied in Carlyle s Cosmos. It 
never occurred to him sufficiently clearly to ask what place Shelley 




29 




Photo by Frederick Hollyer 



THOMAS CARLVLE, XT. 73 

From the painting by G. F. Watts, R.A., now in the National Portrait Gallery 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



31 




THE SOUND-PROOF STUDY AT CHEYNE ROW IN 1900, SHOWING THE DOUBLE WALLS 

(Reproduced from Reginald Blunt s "Historical Handbook to Chelsea," by kind permission 

of the author) 

occupied in Shelley s Cosmos, or Robespierre in Robespierre s Cosmos. 
Not feeling the need of this, he never studied, he never really listened 
to, Shelley s philosophy or Robespierre s philosophy. Here, after a 
somewhat long circuit, we have arrived at the one serious deficiency 
in Carlyle s histories, a neglect to realise the importance of theory 
and of alternative theories in human affairs. 

The standing example of this is the " History of the French Revo 
lution." Carlyle s conception of the French Revolution is simply and 
absolutely that of an elemental outbreak, an explosion of nature in 
history, an earthquake in the moral world. Human nature, Carlyle 
seems to tell us, had been stifled more and more in the wrappings 
of artificiality, until, when its condition had just passed the tolerable. 



THOMAS CARLYLE 




THE KITCHEN AT No. 5, CHEYNE ROW (1900) 
(Reproduced from Reginald Blunt s " Historical Handbook to Chelsea," by kind permission of the author) 

gagged, blinded, deaf, and ignorant of what it really wanted, by a 
gigantic muscular effort it burst its bonds. 

So far as it goes, that is perfectly true of the French Revolu 
tion ; but only so far as it goes. The French Revolution was 
a sudden starting from slumber of that terrible spirit of man 
which sleeps through the greater number of the centuries ; and 
Carlyle appreciates this, and describes it more powerfully and 
fearfully than any human historian, because this idea of the spirit 
of man breaking through formulae and building again on funda 
mentals was a part of his own philosophical theory, and therefore 
he understood it. But he never, as I have said, took any real 
trouble to understand other people s philosophical theories. And 
he did not realise the other fact about the French Revolution- 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



33 




CARLYLE S WRITING-DESK AND CHAIR 
(Reproduced by kind permission of Mr. Reginald Blunt) 

the fact that it was not merely an elementary outbreak, but was 
also a great doctrinal movement. It is an astonishing thing that 
Carlyle s " French Revolution " contrives to be as admirable and as 
accurate a history as it is, while from one end to the other there is 
hardly a suggestion that he comprehended the moral and political 
theories which were the guiding stars of the French Revolutionists. 
It was not necessary that he should agree with them, but it was 
necessary that he should be interested in them ; nay, in order that 
he should write a perfect history of their developments, it was neces 
sary that lie should admire them. The truly impartial historian is 
not he who is enthusiastic for neither side in a historic stru-o-lc : 

oo 

that method was adopted by the rationalistic historians of the 
Hallam type, and resulted in the dullest and thinnest and most 



34 THOMAS CARLYLE 

essentially false chronicles that were ever compiled about mankind. 
The truly impartial historian is he who is enthusiastic for both sides. 
He holds in his heart a hundred fanaticisms. The truly philosophical 
historian does not patronise Cromwell and pat the King on the head, 
as Hallam does ; the true philosophical historian could ride after 
Cromwell like an Ironside and adore the King like a Cavalier. 

The only history that is worth knowing, or worth striving to 
know, is the history of the human head and the human heart, and 
of what great loves it has been enamoured : truth in the sense of 
the absolute justice is a thing for which fools look in history and 
wise men in the Day of Judgment. It is the glory of Carlyle 
that he did realise that the intellectual impartiality of the rationalist 
historian was merely emotional ignorance. It was his only defect 
that he extended his sympathy, in cases like that of the French 
Revolution, only to headlong men and impetuous actions, and 
not to great schools of revolutionary doctrine and faith. He made 
somewhat the same mistake with regard to the Middle Ages, 
touching which his contributions are unequalled in picturesqueness 
and potency. He conceived the mediaeval period in Europe as a 
barbaric verity, " a rude, stalwart age " ; he did not realise what is 
more and more unfolding itself to all serious historians, that the 
mediaeval period in Europe was a civilisation based upon a certain 
scheme of moral science of almost unexampled multiplicity and 
stringency, a scheme in which the colours of a lacquey s coat could 
be traced back to a system of astronomy, and the smallest bye-law 
for a village green had some relation to great ecclesiastical and 
moral mysteries. It is remarkable that we always call a rival civili 
sation savage : the Chinese call us barbarians, and we call them 
barbarians. The Middle Ages were a rival civilisation, based upon 
moral science, to ours based upon physical science. Most modern 
historians have abused this great civilisation for being barbarous : 
Carlyle had made one great stride beyond them in so far that he 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



35 



admired it for being barbarous. But his fatal strain of intel 
lectual impatience prevented him from getting on to the right 
side of Catholic dogmas, just as it prevented him from getting on 
to the right side of Jacobin dogmas. He never really discovered 
what other people meant by Apostolic Succession, or Liberty, or 
Equality, or Fraternity. 

Probably his few mis 
takes arose from his un 
fortunate tendency to find 
" shams." Some have sup 
posed this to be the essence 
and value of his message ; it 
was in truth its worst pitfall 
and disaster. A man is 
almost always wrong when 
he sets about to prove the 
unreality and uselessness of 
anything : he is almost in 
variably right when he sets 
about to prove the reality 
and value of anything. I 
have a quite different and 
much more genuine right to 
say that bull s-eyes are nice 
than I have to say liquorice 
is nasty : I have found out 
the meaning of the first 
and not of the second. 
And if a man goes on a 
tearing hunt after shams, as 
Carlyle did, it is probable STATUE OF CARLYLE 

, , .,, ,, .. T i By Sir J. E. Boehm, R.A. In the Gardens on the Chelsea Embankment 

that he will find little Rischgitz collection. 




36 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 



or nothing real. He is tearing off the branches to find the 
tree. 

T have said all that is to be said against Carlyle s work almost 
designedly : for he is one of those who are so great that we rather 
need to blame them for the sake of our own independence than 
praise them for the sake of their fame. He came and spoke a word, 
and the chatter of rationalism stopped, and the sums would no 
longer work out and be ended. He was a breath of Nature turning 
in her sleep under the load of civilisation, a stir in the very stillness 
of God to tell us He was still there. 



Arch House, 
Ecclefechan 

see page 2 
Carlyle s mother 

see page i 

Ecclefechan, 
Dumfriesshire 

see page 3 



The room in 
which Carlyle 
was born 

see page 2 



Carlyle s first 
Edinburgh 
lodging in Simon 
Square 

see page 8 



1, Moray Street 
(now Spey Street), 
Leith Walk, 
Edinburgh 

see page 9 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 

In a house which his father, a mason, had built with his own hands, 
Thomas Carlyle was born on December 4th, 1795. His mother, Margaret 
Aitken, "a woman of the fairest descent, that of the pious, the just and 
wise," was the second wife of James Carlyle, and Thomas was the eldest of 
their nine children. 

In the Entepfuhl of Sartor Jicxartnx Carlyle has pictured his native 
village. It consisted of a single street, down the side of which ran an open 
brook. "With amazement," he writes, " I began to discover that Entepfuhl 
stood in the middle of a country, of a world. ... It was then that, 
independently of Schiller s Wilhelm Tdl, I made this not quite insignificant 
reflection (si) true also in spiritual things) : Any road, this simple 
Entepfuhl road, will lead you to the end of the world ! The room 
at Arch House in which he was born now contains some interesting 
mementoes. On the mantelpiece are two turned wooden candlesticks, a 
gift of John Sterling, sent from Rome ; the table provides a resting-place 
for his study-lamp and his tea-caddy. Most of the furniture came from 
Cheyne Row. 

Carlyle came up from Ecclefechan to attend Edinburgh University when 
he was scarcely fourteen years of age, and with a companion, Tom Smail, 
journeyed the entire distance on foot. They secured a clean-looking and 
cheap lodging in Simon Square, a poor neighbourhood on the south side of 
Edinburgh, off Nicholson Street. After residing in various parts of the old 
town, Carlyle removed in 1821 to better quarters, and the most interesting of 
his various abodes in Edinburgh was at 1, Moray Street (now Spey Street), 
Leith Walk. Here lie commenced his literary work in earnest, and began 
to regard life from a brighter standpoint. Leith Walk is described in ton-far 
li,>x<i)-tnx as the Hut- Xaiiit-Thnmax >/<> / Knfer. " All at once," he writes, " there 
rose a thought in me, and I asked myself, What art thou afraid of ? . . 
It is from this hour that I incline to date my spiritual new birth or baphometic 
fire-baptism ; perhaps 1 directly thereupon began to be a man." 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 



The house in 
which Carlyle 
lived whilst 
teaching at 
Kirkcaldy school 
see page n 



It was at Kirkcaldy that Carlyle first met Edward Irving, the master of a 
rival school in the town. They became intimate friends. "But for Irving," 



Mainhill Farm 

see page 4 



Hoddam Hill 

see page 4 

Scotsbrig 

see page 12 



Jane Welsh 
Carlyle 

see page 21 



Mrs. Carlyle s 

Birthplace, 

Haddington 

see page n 



Templand, near 

Thornhill, 

Dumfriesshire 

see page 12 

21, Comely Bank 
Edinburgh 

see page 14 



Craigenputtock 

see page 19 



he 



saj> 



I had never known what the communion of man with man means." 
It was here, too, that he made the acquaintance of Miss Margaret Gordon, 
the " Blumine " of Sartor Itesartus. C arlyle describes the town in the 
Reminiscences: " Kirkcaldy itself . . . was a solidly diligent, yet by no means 
a panting, puffing, or in any way gambling Lang Toun. I, in particular, 
always rather liked the people though from the distance, chiefly ; chagrined 
and discouraged by the sad trade one had ! 

In 1815 the Carlyles moved to Mainhill Farm, and hene he "first learned 
German, studied Faust in a dry ditch, and completed his translation of 
Wilhelm Meister \ " Ten years later Carlyle took possession of Hoddam 
Hill Farm, his mother going with him as housekeeper, and his brother Alick 
as practical farmer. Here they remained until 1826. " With all its manifold 
petty troubles," says Carlyle, in the Reminiscences, "this year at Hoddam 
Hill has a rustic beauty and dignity to me ; and lies now like a not ignoble 
russet-coated idyll in my memory." 

The abrupt termination of Carlyle s tenancy of Hoddam Hill occurred 
simultaneously with the expiration of his father s lease of Mainhill, and in 
1826 the family removed to Scotsbrig, that excellent " shell of a house for 
farming purposes," where Carlyle s parents spent the remainder of their lives. 
In this unpretentious home Carlyle passed many restful holidays among his 
own people. 

" In the ancient county-town of Haddington," he writes, " on July 14th, 
1801, there was born to a lately wedded pair a little daughter, whom they 
named Jane Baillie Welsh, and whose subsequent and final name (her own 
common signature for many years) was Jane Welsh Carlyle. . . . Oh, she 
was noble, very noble, in that early as in all other periods, and made the 
ugliest and dullest into something beautiful ! I look back on it as if through 
rainbows the bit of sunshine hers, the tears my own." 

Mrs. Carlyle, in her Early Letters, mentions her father s home at Haddington 
where she was born. " It is my native place still ! and after all, there is much 
in it that I love. I love the bleaching green, where I used to caper, and roll, 
and tumble, and make gowan necklaces and chains of dandelion stalks, in the 
days of my wee existence. 

Carlyle s marriage with Jane Baillie Welsh took place on October 17th, 
1826, at Templand, where Mrs. Welsh then resided. The ceremony was of 
the quietest description, his brother John Carlyle being the only person present 
besides Miss Welsh s family. 

For eighteen months after their marriage the Carlyles lived at 21, Comely 
Bank, the "trim little cottage, far from all the uproar and putrescence 
(material and spiritual) of the reeky town, the sound of which we hear not, 
and only see over the kiiowe the reflection of its gaslights against the dusky 
sky." It was during this time that Carlyle contributed essays to the Edinburgh 
and Foreign Quarter/;/ JieHeu-x. In 1828 a removal was made to Mr. >\ elsh s 
manor at Craigenputtock, where in the solitude "almost druidical" Sartor 
Rexartnx was written. " Poor Puttock ! " he exclaims in one of his letters, 
" Castle of many chagrins ; peatbog castle, where the devil never slumbers nor 



38 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 



Carlyle s house 
at 5 (now 24), 
Cheyne Row, 

Chelsea 

see page 21 



Corner in 
Drawing-room at 
5, Cheyne Row 

see page 22 



The Garden at 
5, Cheyne Row 

see page 23 



The Sound-proof 
study at Cheyne 
Row 

see page 31 



The gurret study 
in 1857 

see page 29 



sleeps ! very touching art thou to me when I look on thy image here." In this 
lonely spot, cut off from all social intercourse, the Carlyles remained until 
1834, when, after " six years imprisonment on the Dumfriesshire moor," they 
moved to Chelsea and took up their residence at No. 5, Cheyne Row, in the 
house which was to be their home until death. 

After a week s wearisome house-hunting in London under the guidance of 
Leigh Hunt, Carlyle sent a long description of the proposed new residence to 
his wife, of which the following is an extract : " We are called Cheyne Row 
proper (pronounced Chainie Row) and are a genteel neighbourhood, two old 
ladies on the one side, unknown character on the other, but with pianos as 
Hunt said. The street is flag-pathed, sunk-storied, iron-railed, all old- 
fashioned and tightly done up. . . . The house itself is eminent, antique, 
wainscoted to the very ceiling, and has been all new painted and repaired. . . . 
On the whole a most massive, roomy, sufficient old house, with places, for 
example, to hang, say, three dozen hats or cloaks on, and as many crevices 
and queer old presses and shelved closets as would gratify the most covetous 
Goody rent 35 ! I confess I am strongly tempted." 

The brightest and happiest part of Carlyle s day was the early evening. 
" Home between five and six, with mud mackintoshes off, and the nightmares 
locked up for a while, I tried for an hour s sleep before my (solitary, dietetic, 
altogether simple) bit of dinner ; but first always came up for half an hour to 
the drawing-room and her ; where a bright, kindly fire was sure to be burning 
(candles hardly lit, all in trustful chiaroscuro). . . . This was the one bright 
portion of my black day. Oh, those evening half-hours, how beautiful and 
blessed they were ! " 

The garden at Cheyne Row was much appreciated by the Carlyles, who 
turned to the best advantage this " poor sooty patch." Mrs. Carlyle writes : 
" Behind we have a garden (so called in the language of flattery) in the worst 
of order, but boasting of two vines which produced two bunches of grapes in 
the season, which might be eaten, and a walnut tree, from which I gathered 
almost sixpence-worth of walnuts." Here stood the quaint china barrels she 
often referred to as " noblemen s seats," but Carlyle generally used one of the 
,kitchen chairs by preference. He found the garden " of admirable comfort 
in the smoking way," and sometimes in summer would have his writing-table 
placed under an awning stretched for that purpose, and with a tray full of books 
at his side would work there when the heat drove him from his garret study. 

The construction of this sound-proof study was proposed as far back as 
1843, but not until ten years later was the enterprise put into practical execu 
tion. On August llth, 1853, Carlyle wrote to his sister: "At length, after 
deep deliberation, I have fairly decided to have a top story put upon the house, 
one big apartment, twenty feet square, with thin doable walls, light from the 
top, etc., and artfully ventilated, into which no sound can come ; and all the 
cocks in nature may crow round it without my hearing a whisper of them ! 

The scheme looked promising on paper, but the result was " irremediably 
somewhat of a failure." Although the noises in the immediate neighbour 
hood were excluded, sounds in the distance, "evils that he knew not of" in 
the lower rooms, became painfully audible ; nevertheless he occupied the 
room as his study until 1865, and here, "whirled aloft by angry elements," 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 



39 



Carlyle s writing- 
table and chair 

see page 33 



The ground floor 
rooms at 5, 
Cheyne Row 

see page 28 



The kitchen at 
5, Cheyne Row 
see page 32 



Mrs. Carlyle s 
grave 

see page 26 



Carlyle s grave 

see page 26 



lie completed what Dr. Garnett named well "His Thirteen Years War 
with Frederick." His writing-table and arm-chair stood near the centre, and 
within easy reach was the little mahogany table for the books lie happened 
to be using or such of them as were not on the floor. 

C arlyle bequeathed his writing-table to Sir James Stephen. " I know," 
he wrote in his will, " he will accept it as a distinguished mark of my esteem. 
He knows that it belonged to my father-in-law and his daughter, and that I 
have written all my books upon it, except only Schiller, and that for fifty 
years azid upwards that are now passed I have considered it among the most 
precious of my possessions." 

It was into the ground-floor room at that time spoken of as the 
"parlour" that Edward Irving was ushered when he paid his one visit 
to Cheyne Row, in autumn 1834. " I recollect," writes Carlyle in the 
Reminiscence*, " how he complimented her (as well he might) on the pretty 
little room she had made for her husband and self ; and, running his eye over 
her dainty bits of arrangement, ornamentations (all so frugal, simple, full 
of grace, propriety, and ingenuity as they ever were), said, smiling : You 
are like an Eve, and make a little Paradise wherever you are. 

No description of Carlyle s Chelsea home would be complete without 
mention of the kitchen where Mrs. Carlyle made marmalade " pure as liquid 
amber, in taste and look almost poetically delicate " ; and where, too, she 
stirred Leigh Hunt s endlessly admirable morsel of Scotch porridge." 
Readers of the Letters mid Memorial* will obtain many glimpses of this 
apartment and its occupants. The fittings were very old-fashioned, espe 
cially the open kitchen-range with its " kettle-crane " and " movable 
niggards." The dresser which stood there in 1834 remains against the 
south wall ; the table still stands in the centre, and there is a sink in 
the corner beside the disconnected pump. 

When Carlyle was resting at Dumfries, after the exhaustion of his 
triumphant Inaugural Address upon his installation as Lord Rector of 
Edinburgh University, he received the announcement of his wife s sudden 
death whilst driving in her carriage in Hyde Park on April 21st, 18(5(3. 
The effect of the calamity upon him was terrible. " There is no spirit 
in me to write," lie said, "though I try it sometimes." 

Mrs. Carlyle was buried in Haddington Church. " I laid her in the grave 
of her father," writes Carlyle in the Ih iiiiiim encex, "according to covenant 
of forty years back, and all was ended. In the nave of old Abbey Kirk, 
long a ruin, now being saved from further decay, with the skies looking 
down on her, there sleeps my little Jeannie, and the light of her face will 
never shine on me more." 

The inscription on Carlyle s tombstone is very simple : the family crest 
(two wyverns), the family motto (Humilitate), and then these few words : 

"Here rests Thomas Carlyle, who was born at Ecclefechan, 
4th December, I79o, and died at 24, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, 
London, 011 Saturday, oth February, 1881. 

"No monument," writes Froude, "is needed for one who has made an 
eternal memorial for himself in the hearts of all to whom truth is the 
dearest of possessions." 



THOMAS 

CARLYLE 



NOTE ON SOME 
PORTRAITS OF THOMAS CARLYLE. 



From a portrait 
by Daniel 
Maclise, R.A. 

see page 5 



From a sketch by 
Count D Orsay 
(1839) 

see page 7 

From Sir J. E. 
Boehm s gold 
medallion 

see page 15 

From a drawing 
by E. J. Sullivan 

see page 24 



From the 
painting by 
J. McNeill 
Whistler 

seepage 13 



From the 
painting by 
G. F. Watts, R.A., 
act. 73 

see page 30 



From the 
portrait painted 
by Sir J. E. 
Millais, P.R.A. 

see page 27 



From a statue by 
Sir J. E. Boehm, 
R.A. 

see page 35 



Tins portrait is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. " Carlyle," 
writes David Hannay in the Magazine of Art, "already the author of 
Sartor Reaurtus, stands leaning against the traditional pillar with the con 
ventional air of colourless good breeding. There is neither line in his 
face nor light in his eye." 

" He (D Orsay) has contrived," says the same writer, "to make Carlyle 
look like the hero of a lady s novel an excellent young man with a curl 
in his upper lip and a well-combed head of hair." 

The medallion has been reproduced from a wood engraving by Pearson. 
It was presented to Carlyle in 187-% on his eightieth birthday, by friends and 
admirers in Edinburgh. 

" Professor Diogenes Teufelsdrockh, of Weissnichtwo, is nothing if he 
is not Carlyle in disguise, the projection of the Scotchman s individuality 
upon a half-humorous, half-philosophical German background." Ernest 
Rhys : Introductory Note to Sartor Resartus. 

" Mr. Whistler, in the Glasgow Corporation Art Galleries, has distinctly 
succeeded in making the face of Carlyle interesting. He has avoided any 
thing like exaggeration. He has not tried to make capital out of the rugged 
mass of the hair, or to give a wild-man-of-the-woods look to the face by laying 
stress on its deep lines and stern contours. The head is noble, quiet, and 
sad. The artist has tried to paint a serious portrait rather than to give a 
view, and he has succeeded." David Hannay in the Magazine of Art. 

This portrait, executed for John Forster, who was very pleased with it, 
is now in the National Portrait Gallery. Carlyle himself describes it as 
"a delirious-looking mountebank, full of violence, awkwardness, atrocity, 
and stupidity, without recognisable likeness to anything I have ever known 
in any feature of me. Fnit in fatix. What care I, after all ? Forster is 
much content." 

The picture by Millais, also in the National Portrait Gallery, was painted 
in 1877 for Mr. J. A. Froude. His opinion of it was as follows : " And yet 
under Millais s hands the old Carlyle stood again upon the canvas as I had 
not seen him for thirty years. The inner secret of the features had been 
evidently caught. There was a likeness which no sculptor, no photographer, 
had yet equalled or approached. Afterwards, I knew not how, it seemed to 
fade away. Millais grew dissatisfied witli his work, and, I believe, never 
completed it." 

In the gardens on the Chelsea Embankment stands a statue of Thomas 
Carlyle in bron/e by the late Sir Edgar Boehm, which was placed there by 
subscription in 1882. Mr. Froude considered it "as satisfactory a likeness 
in face and figure as could be rendered in sculpture ; and the warm regard 
which had grown up between the artist and Carlyle had enabled Boehm to 
catch with more than common success the shifting changes of his expression." 



THOMAS CARLYLE S WORKS. 



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