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ever; the old calmness and clearness is fast passing by, and our Artist is becoming a Ranter— his prophetic inspiration is exchanged for the vapors of the Delphic temple.
Tlie thought of this paper is striking, strong, and presented in ten thousand shades, and from uncounted points of view; but though some suggestions are original and deep far beyond anything in the article on Voltaire, we do not think it, upon the whole, comparable to that in point of thought or imaginative illustration. Its exposure of the Atheistical tendency of the Mechanical philosophy, however direct and pungent, and its bold declaration that the annibilation of self must be the beginning of all inoral action,” may, with much else, satisfy us that Carlyle has not lost all sanity, though we feel that he is from top to toe ulcerated. Nor, when we turn to the last of Carlyle's periodical essays which we shall notice, that on Mirabeau, do we find that the evils which seemed to crowd and cramp him in 1833, have diminished; bis style is perhaps less offensive, though not less peculiar; be presents every thing in the same strange way, and lives in the same idea, that of Genuineness : the living lies, and empty, imitative “ clothes screens,” that played so prominent a part during the Revolution, appear to have pushed his reverence for a true man, who walks by the light of a Vital Spirit within, and not by dead Formulas without, almost to idolatry; - and Mirabeau, dirty, dishonest, cowardly, and utterly astray from all Spiritual progress, becomes venerable to our writer, because he was mighty, and himself in good and ill. Indeed, although this paper on the typical Frenchman of the early Revolution is full of power, particularly of descriptive power ; and though it, (like its immediate predecessors,) shows a reach of thought, an exuberance of fancy and imagination, and a freedom of expression far surpassing what we see in Carlyle's earlier writings, we still think that their superior calmness, clearness, tolerance, natural humor, and pure earnestness, give them, as wholes, the higher place. For calmness, we have now novelty and odd combination ; for tolerance, we have indifference to all but truth to nature; for flowing, we have forced humor, spiced with sarcasm and mere farce ; and for earnestness, a sort of swaggering declamation. Let none suppose, however, that we think these later writings permanently hurtful; here and there the old healthful spirit speaks clearly in them, and to that, not to the false and diseased, we believe men will listen ; and in that faith we leave them, trusting to see their author free from his encumbering and injurious falsity, and working once more calm, and clear, and universal, as of old, with greater freedom however, and a wider view, and stronger faith in himself.
And now, looking back from this point, (for we leave the French Revolution till another time,) what do the writings at which we have so hastily glanced show us of the writer ?
We see bim, in them, as a Poet: his criticism is poetical, he reconceives and reproduces the work which he is criticising, if a work be before him; and if a character, he draws it as a poet, more or less perfectly; that essay on Burns, which we think the best of his writings that have come before us, is all poetry ; let but verse be added to it, and the whole world would recognise it as a poem. In his teaching he is a poet also ; rather speaking to what is in us directly, and thereby leading us to recognise its existence, thao speaking of it to the mere intellect.
We see him also as a fearless and frank speaker of what is in him : his imitation results from love, not subserviency, and never is thorough and deadening; and this very imitation he speaks out boldly; will not assume to be other than he is, while he is diseased, for we doubt not Carlyle knows that his mind is in no healthy state, as well as any of his critics.
We see him as an original thinker; by which we mean not a giver of new thoughts, but an originator of the thoughts given, be they new or old.
He is a man of Genius, of Insight, not leading us to new truths by argument, but by revelation, to matters for meditation, and recognition; what he says may have no meaning to-day, and but a misty meaning to-morrow, and yet, on the third day, be clear to us, for it is not a merely new combination of old truths, but the statement of a new truth, which we must see by our own exertion of the power that is in us. He is a man of keen understanding, too; seeing relations as quickly as any one, and capable of combination, and arrangement, and the most strict logical speech. He is a man of enthusiasm ; his heart is in his labor; he lives, as we have said, in an Idea ; thence come bis earnest sympathy, his hearty scorn, his warm approval, his deep dislike ; and from these, and his noble openness, come bis mixture of tolerance and bigotry, his ironical indifference, his assumed but not sustained impartiality: he is bigoted, however, with regard to principles, not men; he goes wholly neither for nor against any man, indeed, there is much that would lead us to fear that he cares less for men than abstractions; that he looks at them, not as immortal spirits, but
as the individual exhibitions for a time of the true, and pure, and holy.
In a word, we see in these writings a man of great Insight, keen and clear Understanding, most unlimited Fancy, and an Imagination that can raise the dead, and build the fallen temples again ; and this Intellect is combined with deep earnestness, quick sympathy, and perfect fearlessness: this whole nature comes before us undeveloped, but self-possessed ; as it looks forth into the depths of Creation, its powers unfold and stretch abroad, but in the fever of growth lose their self-possession, and are, for a time, unbound by force without, or law within: this man has looked up to the heights, and down into the abysses, of Being, till he is dizzy, and staggers like a drunk
of the particular views of Carlyle we may be expected to speak, but have not much to say. He regards man as a spirit; and as he believes the Father of Spirits to have Truth within himself, so he believes Man to have received from God knowledge of Truth; in this Truth, which was from our birth in us, he finds the only safe foundation for a knowledge of what is without us; in this he finds the only grounds for morality. His morality is, to do what we know to be Right because it is Right, without regard to consequences here or hereaster; to obey God, whether He speak through our Reason or an Inspired Teacher, unquestioning as to the effects of obedience. His religion is to worship God in spirit and in truth ; his views of Christianity are nowhere clearly explained, and those of this journal are too well known to require exposition here, or, we trust, to allow any to think we mean to approve of the Pantheism or Rationalism which many, with whom Carlyle is associated in men's minds, hold to. When we find clear exposition of religious faith, we can meet it; we shall not fight shadows and dim hints. What we know of his political views, we shall consider when speaking of bis Revolution ;-one thing, meanwhile, is clear, that he is no believer in the doctrine of majorities, — the voice of His Maker is not heard by him in the shout of the mass; far more likely in the whispers of one or two pure and truth-seeing spirits.
But it is not Carlyle's particular system on any subject that we think worthy of thought, (if, indeed, he can be said to even hint at any system,) but only that principle of spiritualism which he holds in common with many, but which he has so variously and vividly set before us in forms more suited to general readers than those used by more systematic writers : his writings will
lead any attentive reader of them to meditate, and in that is their great worth. That the Spiritual view may become known and effective everywhere is our earnest prayer; not known in words; and phrases, and oddities, but in a Faith that shall walk through affliction unfearing, a Courage that shall make martyrdom easy as it was of old, a Love that shall bind men together with stronger bonds than those of municipal law. That the Utilitarian system can never produce such Faith, Courage, and Love, may be readily scen by reading it as it is written in the Book of Ethics, called Deontology, by Bentham ; and that such should be produced by a true system no believer in the New Testament can doubt. In Spiritualism, let it come in the German, French, or some new English or American form, we think will be found the central metaphysical idea of the Christian Theology, for in Spiritualism we see most clearly the utter mystery of man's whole being, and learn to realize that illustration used by Jesus: “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
In closing, we may as well say a few words upon one subject now strongly pressed upon the thoughts of all our countrymen, we mean the tendency to Ultraism in every direction : Temperance has become Grahamitism; peace has reached the point of refusing to prosecute for crime, or sue for debt; religious tolerance will soon hold it wrong to denounce error; religious freethinking will put aside all forms as worm-eaten tapestry, and receive the Hindoo Brahmin as readily as the Christian Priest ; Democracy cries aloud to abolish law; Equality to distribute worldly goods; and Freedom pleads for the abolition of all servitude and subordination. Against these tendencies we take our stand, and shall strive unweariedly against excess, let us see it where we may; but we shall not oppose one extreme by passing to another, - that would but hasten the work of ruin : our ultra friends are true men, holding, as we think, error ; — their truth we receive and respect, the error they hold we condemn. We would have man free, but not free from law; and until the law within is mighty to rule, we would bind him by a law without: we would have opinion unfettered, but not unopposed: in kindness but with perfect freedom we shall denounce all that we hold to be error, and shall speak what we are assured is Truth, let Expediency whisper what she will; for if it be of men it will come to nought; but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it.”
ART. VII. - Homeward Bound, or the Chase. A Tale of the
Sea. By the Author of the Pilot, the Spy, etc. Philadel
phia : 1838. Carey, Lea, and Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo. 2. Home as Found. By the Author of Homeward Bound, the
Pioneers, etc. Philadelphia : 1838. Lea and Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo.
The author of Homeward Bound, and Home as Found, has of late been so frequently at the bar of public criticism, either as accused or accuser, that our readers would doubtless pardon us, were we in the present number of our journal to pass him over in silence ; and this we should do, did we not regard him as filling too important a place in the republic of letters, and exercising too great an influence upon opinions at home and abroad, to justify the omission. He holds not merely the pen of a ready writer, but one which often evinces' talent of a high order, and which has sometimes flowed with the inspirations of real genius, and traced his name too deeply on the pediment of our national pantheon, to be ever obliterated. It must however be confessed, that several of his later productions have threatened it with an expunging mark. They contain little that is worthy of his previously high and well-earned reputation, and much that is alike unworthy of his head and heart; of this class, none are more prominent than the two now selected for remark.
Homeward Bound, according to its preface, is a response to the cry of “ more ship.” An opportunity being thus given him to appear anew on that element, which seems to have been assigned to him for his dominion in the distribution of intellectual power, it was reasonable to expect that we should see him himself again. But whether it is, that the merchant service is not congenial to one of his lofty bearing, or that his taste has become too fastidious, by the refinements of Europe, for a faithful narrator of nautical adventures, it is unnecessary to decide :whatever may be the cause, the result is certain — the trident has fallen from his hand, and the spirit of the ocean no longer acknowledges his sway.
Taking as the groundwork of his story the return passage of a "London liner,” he has framed his incidents mainly with a
NO. VII.-VOL. IV.