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On the Choice of Books

by Thomas Carlyle

            APRIL 2, 1866.

I have accepted the office you have elected me to, and have now the duty to return thanks for the great honour done me. Your enthusiasm towards me, I admit, is very beautiful in itself, however undesirable it may be in regard to the object of it. It is a feeling honourable to all men, and one well known to myself when I was in a position analogous to your own. I can only hope that it may endure to the end--that noble desire to honour those whom you think worthy of honour, and come to be more and more select and discriminate in the choice of the object of it; for I can well understand that you will modify your opinions of me and many things else as you go on. (Laughter and cheers.) There are now fifty-six years gone last November since I first entered your city, a boy of not quite fourteen--fifty-six years ago--to attend classes here and gain knowledge of all kinds, I know not what, with feelings of wonder and awe-struck expectation; and now, after a long, long course, this is what we have come to. (Cheers.) There is something touching and tragic, and yet at the same time beautiful, to see the third generation, as it were, of my dear old native land, rising up and saying, "Well, you are not altogether an unworthy labourer in the vineyard: you have toiled through a great variety of fortunes, and have had many judges." As the old proverb says, "He that builds by the wayside has many masters." We must expect a variety of judges; but the voice of young Scotland, through you, is really of some value to me, and I return you many thanks for it, though I cannot describe my emotions to you, and perhaps they will be much more conceivable if expressed in silence. (Cheers.)

When this office was proposed to me, some of you know that I was not very ambitious to accept it, at first. I was taught to believe that there were more or less certain important duties which would lie in my power. This, I confess, was my chief motive in going into it--at least, in reconciling the objections felt to such things; for if I can do anything to honour you and my dear old Alma Mater, why should I not do so? (Loud cheers.) Well, but on practically looking into the matter when the office actually came into my hands, I find it grows more and more uncertain and abstruse to me whether there is much real duty that I can do at all. I live four hundred miles away from you, in an entirely different state of things; and my weak health--now for many years accumulating upon me--and a total unacquaintance with such subjects as concern your affairs here,--all this fills me with apprehension that there is really nothing worth the least consideration that I can do on that score. You may, however, depend upon it that if any such duty does arise in any form, I will use my most faithful endeavour to do whatever is right and proper, according to the best of my judgment. (Cheers.)

In the meanwhile, the duty I have at present--which might be very pleasant, but which is quite the reverse, as you may fancy--is to address some words to you on some subjects more or less cognate to the pursuits you are engaged in. In fact, I had meant to throw out some loose observations--loose in point of order, I mean--in such a way as they may occur to me--the truths I have in me about the business you are engaged in, the race you have started on, what kind of race it is you young gentlemen have begun, and what sort of arena you are likely to find in this world. I ought, I believe, according to custom, to have written all that down on paper, and had it read out. That would have been much handier for me at the present moment (a laugh), but when I attempted to write, I found that I was not accustomed to write speeches, and that I did not get on very well. So I flung that away, and resolved to trust to the inspiration of the moment--just to what came uppermost. You will therefore have to accept what is readiest, what comes direct from the heart, and you must just take that in compensation for any good order of arrangement there might have been in it.

I will endeavour to say nothing that is not true, as far as I can manage, and that is pretty much all that I can engage for. (A laugh.) Advices, I believe, to young men--and to all men--are very seldom much valued. There is a great deal of advising, and very little faithful performing. And talk that does not end in any kind of action, is better suppressed altogether. I would not, therefore, go much into advising; but there is one advice I must give you. It is, in fact, the summary of all advices, and you have heard it a thousand times, I dare say; but I must, nevertheless, let you hear it the thousand and first time, for it is most intensely true, whether you will believe it at present or not--namely, that above all things the interest of your own life depends upon being diligent now, while it is called to-day, in this place where you have come to get education. Diligent! That includes all virtues in it that a student can have; I mean to include in it all qualities that lead into the acquirement of real instruction and improvement in such a place. If you will believe me, you who are young, yours is the golden season of life. As you have heard it called, so it verily is, the seed-time of life, in which, if you do not sow, or if you sow tares instead of wheat, you cannot expect to reap well afterwards, and you will arrive at indeed little; while in the course of years, when you come to look back, and if you have not done what you have heard from your advisers--and among many counsellers there is wisdom--you will bitterly repent when it is too late. The habits of study acquired at Universities are of the highest importance in after-life. At the season when you are in young years the whole mind is, as it were, fluid, and is capable of forming itself into any shape that the owner of the mind pleases to order it to form itself into. The mind is in a fluid state, but it hardens up gradually to the consistency of rock or iron, and you cannot alter the habits of an old man, but as he has begun he will proceed and go on to the last. By diligence, I mean among other things--and very chiefly--honesty in all your inquiries into what you are about. Pursue your studies in the way your conscience calls honest. More and more endeavour to do that. Keep, I mean to say, an accurate separation of what you have really come to know in your own minds, and what is still unknown. Leave all that on the hypothetical side of the barrier, as things afterwards to be acquired, if acquired at all; and be careful not to stamp a thing as known when you do not yet know it. Count a thing known only when it is stamped on your mind, so that you may survey it on all sides with intelligence.

There is such a thing as a man endeavouring to persuade himself, and endeavouring to persuade others, that he knows about things when he does not know more than the outside skin of them; and he goes flourishing about with them. ("Hear, hear," and a laugh.) There is also a process called cramming in some Universities (a laugh)--that is, getting up such points of things as the examiner is likely to put questions about. Avoid all that as entirely unworthy of an honourable habit. Be modest, and humble, and diligent in your attention to what your teachers tell you, who are profoundly interested in trying to bring you forward in the right way, so far as they have been able to understand it. Try all things they set before you, in order, if possible, to understand them, and to value them in proportion to your fitness for them. Gradually see what kind of work you can do; for it is the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe. In fact, morality as regards study is, as in all other things, the primary consideration, and overrides all others. A dishonest man cannot do anything real; and it would be greatly better if he were tied up from doing any such thing. He does nothing but darken counsel by the words he utters. That is a very old doctrine, but a very true one; and you will find it confirmed by all the thinking men that have ever lived in this long series of generations of which we are the latest.

I daresay you know, very many of you, that it is now seven hundred years since Universities were first set up in this world of ours. Abelard and other people had risen up with doctrines in them the people wished to hear of, and students flocked towards them from all parts of the world. There was no getting the thing recorded in books as you may now. You had to hear him speaking to you vocally, or else you could not learn at all what it was that he wanted to say. And so they gathered together the various people who had anything to teach, and formed themselves gradually, under the patronage of kings and other potentates who were anxious about the culture of their populations, nobly anxious for their benefit, and became a University.

I daresay, perhaps, you have heard it said that all that is greatly altered by the invention of printing, which took place about midway between us and the origin of Universities. A man has not now to go away to where a professor is actually speaking, because in most cases he can get his doctrine out of him through a book, and can read it, and read it again and again, and study it. I don't know that I know of any way in which the whole facts of a subject may be more completely taken in, if our studies are moulded in conformity with it. Nevertheless, Universities have, and will continue to have, an indispensable value in society--a very high value. I consider the very highest interests of man vitally intrusted to them.

In regard to theology, as you are aware, it has been the study of the deepest heads that have come into the world--what is the nature of this stupendous universe, and what its relations to all things, as known to man, and as only known to the awful Author of it. In fact, the members of the Church keep theology in a lively condition (laughter), for the benefit of the whole population, which is the great object of our Universities. I consider it is the same now intrinsically, though very much forgotten, from many causes, and not so successful as might be wished at all. (A laugh.) It remains, however, a very curious truth, what has been said by observant people, that the main use of the Universities in the present age is that, after you have done with all your classes, the next thing is a collection of books, a great library of good books, which you proceed to study and to read. What the Universities have mainly done--what I have found the University did for me, was that it taught me to read in various languages and various sciences, so that I could go into the books that treated of these things, and try anything I wanted to make myself master of gradually, as I found it suit me. Whatever you may think of all that, the clearest and most imperative duty lies on every one of you to be assiduous in your reading; and learn to be good readers, which is, perhaps, a more difficult thing than you imagine. Learn to be discriminative in your reading--to read all kinds of things that you have an interest in, and that you find to be really fit for what you are engaged in. Of course, at the present time, in a great deal of the reading incumbent on you you must be guided by the books recommended to you by your professors for assistance towards the prelections. And then, when you get out of the University, and go into studies of your own, you will find it very important that you have selected a field, a province in which you can study and work.

The most unhappy of all men is the man that cannot tell what he is going to do, that has got no work cut out for him in the world, and does not go into it. For work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind--honest work, which you intend getting done. If you are in a strait, a very good indication as to choice--perhaps the best you could get--is a book you have a great curiosity about. You are then in the readiest and best of all possible conditions to improve by that book. It is analogous to what doctors tell us about the physical health and appetites of the patient. You must learn to distinguish between false appetite and real. There is such a thing as a false appetite, which will lead a man into vagaries with regard to diet, will tempt him to eat spicy things which he should not eat at all, and would not but that it is toothsome, and for the moment in baseness of mind. A man ought to inquire and find out what he really and truly has an appetite for--what suits his constitution; and that, doctors tell him, is the very thing he ought to have in general. And so with books. As applicable to almost all of you, I will say that it is highly expedient to go into history--to inquire into what has passed before you in the families of men. The history of the Romans and Greeks will first of all concern you; and you will find that all the knowledge you have got will be extremely applicable to elucidate that. There you have the most remarkable race of men in the world set before you, to say nothing of the languages, which your professors can better explain, and which, I believe, are admitted to be the most perfect orders of speech we have yet found to exist among men. And you will find, if you read well, a pair of extremely remarkable nations shining in the records left by themselves as a kind of pillar to light up life in the darkness of the past ages; and it will be well worth your while if you can get into the understanding of what these people were and what they did. You will find a great deal of hearsay, as I have found, that does not touch on the matter; but perhaps some of you will get to see a Roman face to face; you will know in some measure how they contrived to exist, and to perform these feats in the world; I believe, also, you will find a thing not much noted, that there was a very great deal of deep religion in its form in both nations. That is noted by the wisest of historians, and particularly by Ferguson, who is particularly well worth reading on Roman history; and I believe he was an alumnus in our own University. His book is a very creditable book. He points out the profoundly religious nature of the Roman people, notwithstanding the wildness and ferociousness of their nature. They believed that Jupiter Optimus--Jupiter Maximus--was lord of the universe, and that he had appointed the Romans to become the chief of men, provided they followed his commands--to brave all difficulty, and to stand up with an invincible front--to be ready to do and die; and also to have the same sacred regard to veracity, to promise, to integrity, and all the virtues that surround that noblest quality of men--courage--to which the Romans gave the name of virtue, manhood, as the one thing ennobling for a man.

In the literary ages of Rome, that had very much decayed away; but still it had retained its place among the lower classes of the Roman people. Of the deeply religious nature of the Greeks, along with their beautiful and sunny effulgences of art, you have a striking proof, if you look for it.

In the tragedies of Sophocles, there is a most distinct recognition of the eternal justice of Heaven, and the unfailing punishment of crime against the laws of God.

I believe you will find in all histories that that has been at the head and foundation of them all, and that no nation that did not contemplate this wonderful universe with an awe-stricken and reverential feeling that there was a great unknown, omnipotent, and all-wise, and all-virtuous Being, superintending all men in it, and all interests in it--no nation ever came to very much, nor did any man either, who forgot that. If a man did forget that, he forgot the most important part of his mission in this world.

In our own history of England, which you will take a great deal of natural pains to make yourselves acquainted with, you will find it beyond all others worthy of your study; because I believe that the British nation--and I include in them the Scottish nation--produced a finer set of men than any you will find it possible to get anywhere else in the world. (Applause.) I don't know in any history of Greece or Rome where you will get so fine a man as Oliver Cromwell. (Applause.) And we have had men worthy of memory in our little corner of the island here as well as others, and our history has been strong at least in being connected with the world itself--for if you examine well you will find that John Knox was the author, as it were, of Oliver Cromwell; that the Puritan revolution would never have taken place in England at all if it had not been for that Scotchman. (Applause.) This is an arithmetical fact, and is not prompted by national vanity on my part at all. (Laughter and applause.) And it is very possible, if you look at the struggle that was going on in England, as I have had to do in my time, you will see that people were overawed with the immense impediments lying in the way.

A small minority of God-fearing men in the country were flying away with any ship they could get to New England, rather than take the lion by the beard. They durstn't confront the powers with their most just complaint to be delivered from idolatry. They wanted to make the nation altogether conformable to the Hebrew Bible, which they understood to be according to the will of God; and there could be no aim more legitimate. However, they could not have got their desire fulfilled at all if Knox had not succeeded by the firmness and nobleness of his mind. For he is also of the select of the earth to me--John Knox. (Applause.) What he has suffered from the ungrateful generations that have followed him should really make us humble ourselves to the dust, to think that the most excellent man our country has produced, to whom we owe everything that distinguishes us among modern nations, should have been sneered at and abused by people. Knox was heard by Scotland--the people heard him with the marrow of their bones--they took up his doctrine, and they defied principalities and powers to move them from it. "We must have it," they said.

It was at that time the Puritan struggle arose in England, and you know well that the Scottish Earls and nobility, with their tenantry, marched away to Dunse-hill, and sat down there; and just in the course of that struggle, when it was either to be suppressed or brought into greater vitality, they encamped on the top of Dunse-hill thirty thousand armed men, drilled for that occasion, each regiment around its landlord, its earl, or whatever he might be called, and eager for Christ's Crown and Covenant. That was the signal for all England rising up into unappeasable determination to have the Gospel there also, and you know it went on and came to be a contest whether the Parliament or the King should rule--whether it should be old formalities and use and wont, or something that had been of new conceived in the souls of men--namely, a divine determination to walk according to the laws of God here as the sum of all prosperity--which of these should have the mastery; and after a long, long agony of struggle, it was decided--the way we know. I should say also of that Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell's--notwithstanding the abuse it has encountered, and the denial of everybody that it was able to get on in the world, and so on--it appears to me to have been the most salutary thing in the modern history of England on the whole. If Oliver Cromwell had continued it out, I don't know what it would have come to. It would have got corrupted perhaps in other hands, and could not have gone on, but it was pure and true to the last fibre in his mind--there was truth in it when he ruled over it.

Machiavelli has remarked, in speaking about the Romans, that democracy cannot exist anywhere in the world; as a Government it is an impossibility that it should be continued, and he goes on proving that in his own way. I do not ask you all to follow him in his conviction (hear); but it is to him a clear truth that it is a solecism and impossibility that the universal mass of men should govern themselves. He says of the Romans that they continued a long time, but it was purely in virtue of this item in their constitution--namely, that they had all the conviction in their minds that it was solemnly necessary at times to appoint a Dictator--a man who had the power of life and death over everything--who degraded men out of their places, ordered them to execution, and did whatever seemed to him good in the name of God above him. He was commanded to take care that the Republic suffered no detriment, and Machiavelli calculates that that was the thing that purified the social system from time to time, and enabled it to hang on as it did--an extremely likely thing if it was composed of nothing but bad and tumultuous men triumphing in general over the better, and all going the bad road, in fact. Well, Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, or Dictatorate if you will, lasted for about ten years, and you will find that nothing that was contrary to the laws of Heaven was allowed to live by Oliver. (A laugh, and applause.) For example, it was found by his Parliament, called "Barebones"--the most zealous of all Parliaments probably--the Court of Chancery in England was in a state that was really capable of no apology--no man could get up and say that that was a right court. There were, I think, fifteen thousand or fifteen hundred--(laughter)--I don't really remember which, but we shall call it by the last (renewed laughter)--there were fifteen hundred cases lying in it undecided; and one of them, I remember, for a large amount of money, was eighty-three years old, and it was going on still. Wigs were waving over it, and lawyers were taking their fees, and there was no end of it, upon which the Barebones people, after deliberation about it, thought it was expedient, and commanded by the Author of Man and the Fountain of Justice, and for the true and right, to abolish the court. Really, I don't know who could have dissented from that opinion. At the same time, it was thought by those who were wiser, and had more experience of the world, that it was a very dangerous thing, and would never suit at all. The lawyers began to make an immense noise about it. (Laughter.) All the public, the great mass of solid and well-disposed people who had got no deep insight into such matters, were very adverse to it, and the president of it, old Sir Francis Rous, who translated the Psalms--those that we sing every Sunday in the church yet--a very good man and a wise man--the Provost of Eton--he got the minority, or I don't know whether or no he did not persuade the majority--he, at any rate, got a great number of the Parliament to go to Oliver the Dictator, and lay down their functions altogether, and declare officially with their signature on Monday morning that the Parliament was dissolved.

The thing was passed on Saturday night, and on Monday morning Rous came and said, "We cannot carry on the affair any longer, and we remit it into the hands of your Highness." Oliver in that way became Protector a second time.

I give you this as an instance that Oliver felt that the Parliament that had been dismissed had been perfectly right with regard to Chancery, and that there was no doubt of the propriety of abolishing Chancery, or reforming it in some kind of way. He considered it, and this is what he did. He assembled sixty of the wisest lawyers to be found in England. Happily, there were men great in the law--men who valued the laws as much as anybody does now, I suppose. (A laugh.) Oliver said to them, "Go and examine this thing, and in the name of God inform me what is necessary to be done with regard to it. You will see how we may clean out the foul things in it that render it poison to everybody." Well, they sat down then, and in the course of six weeks--there was no public speaking then, no reporting of speeches, and no trouble of any kind; there was just the business in hand--they got sixty propositions fixed in their minds of the things that required to be done. And upon these sixty propositions Chancery was reconstituted and remodelled, and so it has lasted to our time. It had become a nuisance, and could not have continued much longer.

That is an instance of the manner in which things were done when a Dictatorship prevailed in the country, and that was what the Dictator did. Upon the whole, I do not think that, in general, out of common history books, you will ever get into the real history of this country, or anything particular which it would beseem you to know. You may read very ingenious and very clever books by men whom it would be the height of insolence in me to do any other thing than express my respect for. But their position is essentially sceptical. Man is unhappily in that condition that he will make only a temporary explanation of anything, and you will not be able, if you are like the man, to understand how this island came to be what it is. You will not find it recorded in books. You will find recorded in books a jumble of tumults, disastrous ineptitudes, and all that kind of thing. But to get what you want you will have to look into side sources, and inquire in all directions.

I remember getting Collins' Peerage to read--a very poor peerage as a work of genius, but an excellent book for diligence and fidelity--I was writing on Oliver Cromwell at the time. (Applause.) I could get no biographical dictionary, and I thought the peerage book would help me, at least tell me whether people were old or young; and about all persons concerned in the actions about which I wrote. I got a great deal of help out of poor Collins. He was a diligent and dark London bookseller of about a hundred years ago, who compiled out of all kinds of treasury chests, archives, books that were authentic, and out of all kinds of things out of which he could get the information he wanted. He was a very meritorious man. I not only found the solution of anything I wanted there, but I began gradually to perceive this immense fact, which I really advise every one of you who read history to look out for and read for--if he has not found it--it was that the kings of England all the way from the Norman Conquest down to the times of Charles I. had appointed, so far as they knew, those who deserved to be appointed, peers. They were all Royal men, with minds full of justice and valour and humanity, and all kinds of qualities that are good for men to have who ought to rule over others. Then their genealogy was remarkable--and there is a great deal more in genealogies than is generally believed at present.

I never heard tell of any clever man that came out of entirely stupid people. If you look around the families of your acquaintance, you will see such cases in all directions. I know that it has been the case in mine. I can trace the father, and the son, and the grandson, and the family stamp is quite distinctly legible upon each of them, so that it goes for a great deal--the hereditary principle in Government as in other things; and it must be recognised so soon as there is any fixity in things.

You will remark that if at any time the genealogy of a peerage fails--if the man that actually holds the peerage is a fool in these earnest striking times, the man gets into mischief and gets into treason--he gets himself extinguished altogether, in fact. (Laughter.)

From these documents of old Collins it seems that a peer conducts himself in a solemn, good, pious, manly kind of way when he takes leave of life, and when he has hospitable habits, and is valiant in his procedure throughout; and that in general a King, with a noble approximation to what was right, had nominated this man, saying "Come you to me, sir; come out of the common level of the people, where you are liable to be trampled upon; come here and take a district of country and make it into your own image more or less; be a king under me, and understand that that is your function." I say this is the most divine thing that a human being can do to other human beings, and no kind of being whatever has so much of the character of God Almighty's Divine Government as that thing we see that went all over England, and that is the grand soul of England's history.

It is historically true that down to the time of Charles I., it was not understood that any man was made a peer without having a merit in him to constitute him a proper subject for a peerage. In Charles I.'s time it grew to be known or said that if a man was by birth a gentleman, and was worth £10,000 a-year, and bestowed his gifts up and down among courtiers, he could be made a peer. Under Charles II. it went on with still more rapidity, and has been going on with ever increasing velocity until we see the perfect break-neck pace at which they are now going. (A laugh.) And now a peerage is a paltry kind of thing to what it was in these old times, I could go into a great many more details about things of that sort, but I must turn to another branch of the subject.

One remark more about your reading. I do not know whether it has been sufficiently brought home to you that there are two kinds of books. When a man is reading on any kind of subject, in most departments of books--in all books, if you take it in a wide sense--you will find that there is a division of good books and bad books--there is a good kind of a book and a bad kind of a book. I am not to assume that you are all ill acquainted with this; but I may remind you that it is a very important consideration at present. It casts aside altogether the idea that people have that if they are reading any book--that if an ignorant man is reading any book, he is doing rather better than nothing at all. I entirely call that in question. I even venture to deny it. (Laughter and cheers.) It would be much safer and better would he have no concern with books at all than with some of them. You know these are my views. There are a number, an increasing number, of books that are decidedly to him not useful. (Hear.) But he will learn also that a certain number of books were written by a supreme, noble kind of people--not a very great number--but a great number adhere more or less to that side of things. In short, as I have written it down somewhere else, I conceive that books are like men's souls--divided into sheep and goats. (Laughter and applause.) Some of them are calculated to be of very great advantage in teaching--in forwarding the teaching of all generations. Others are going down, down, doing more and more, wilder and wilder mischief.

And for the rest, in regard to all your studies here, and whatever you may learn, you are to remember that the object is not particular knowledge--that you are going to get higher in technical perfections, and all that sort of thing. There is a higher aim lies at the rear of all that, especially among those who are intended for literary, for speaking pursuits--the sacred profession. You are ever to bear in mind that there lies behind that the acquisition of what may be called wisdom--namely, sound appreciation and just decision as to all the objects that come round about you, and the habit of behaving with justice and wisdom. In short, great is wisdom--great is the value of wisdom. It cannot be exaggerated. The highest achievement of man--"Blessed is he that getteth understanding." And that, I believe, occasionally may be missed very easily; but never more easily than now, I think. If that is a failure, all is a failure. However, I will not touch further upon that matter.

In this University I learn from many sides that there is a great and considerable stir about endowments. Oh, I should have said in regard to book reading, if it be so very important, how very useful would an excellent library be in every University. I hope that will not be neglected by those gentlemen who have charge of you--and, indeed, I am happy to hear that your library is very much improved since the time I knew it; and I hope it will go on improving more and more. You require money to do that, and you require also judgment in the selectors of the books--pious insight into what is really for the advantage of human souls, and the exclusion of all kinds of clap-trap books which merely excite the astonishment of foolish people. (Laughter.) Wise books--as much as possible good books.

As I was saying, there appears to be a great demand for endowments--an assiduous and praiseworthy industry for getting new funds collected for encouraging the ingenious youth of Universities, especially in this the chief University of the country. (Hear, hear.) Well, I entirely participate in everybody's approval of the movement. It is very desirable. It should be responded to, and one expects most assuredly will. At least, if it is not, it will be shameful to the country of Scotland, which never was so rich in money as at the present moment, and never stood so much in need of getting noble Universities to counteract many influences that are springing up alongside of money. It should not be backward in coming forward in the way of endowments (a laugh)--at least, in rivalry to our rude old barbarous ancestors, as we have been pleased to call them. Such munificence as theirs is beyond all praise, to whom I am sorry to say we are not yet by any manner of means equal or approaching equality. (Laughter.) There is an overabundance of money, and sometimes I cannot help thinking that, probably, never has there been at any other time in Scotland the hundredth part of the money that now is, or even the thousandth part, for wherever I go there is that gold-nuggeting (a laugh)--that prosperity.

Many men are counting their balances by millions. Money was never so abundant, and nothing that is good to be done with it. ("Hear, hear," and a laugh.) No man knows--or very few men know--what benefit to get out of his money. In fact, it too often is secretly a curse to him. Much better for him never to have had any. But I do not expect that generally to be believed. (Laughter.) Nevertheless, I should think it a beautiful relief to any man that has an honest purpose struggling in him to bequeath a handsome house of refuge, so to speak, for some meritorious man who may hereafter be born into the world, to enable him a little to get on his way. To do, in fact, as those old Norman kings whom I have described to you--to raise a man out of the dirt and mud where he is getting trampled, unworthily on his part, into some kind of position where he may acquire the power to do some good in his generation. I hope that as much as possible will be done in that way; that efforts will not be relaxed till the thing is in a satisfactory state. At the same time, in regard to the classical department of things, it is to be desired that it were properly supported--that we could allow people to go and devote more leisure possibly to the cultivation of particular departments.

We might have more of this from Scotch Universities than we have. I am bound, however, to say that it does not appear as if of late times endowment was the real soul of the matter. The English, for example, are the richest people for endowments on the face of the earth in their Universities; and it is a remarkable fact that since the time of Bentley you cannot name anybody that has gained a great name in scholarship among them, or constituted a point of revolution in the pursuits of men in that way. The man that did that is a man worthy of being remembered among men, although he may be a poor man, and not endowed with worldly wealth. One man that actually did constitute a revolution was the son of a poor weaver in Saxony, who edited his "Tibullus" in Dresden in the room of a poor comrade, and who, while he was editing his "Tibullus," had to gather his pease-cod shells on the streets and boil them for his dinner. That was his endowment. But he was recognised soon to have done a great thing. His name was Heyne.

I can remember it was quite a revolution in my mind when I got hold of that man's book on Virgil. I found that for the first time I had understood him--that he had introduced me for the first time into an insight of Roman life, and pointed out the circumstances in which these were written, and here was interpretation; and it has gone on in all manner of development, and has spread out into other countries.

Upon the whole, there is one reason why endowments are not given now as they were in old days, when they founded abbeys, colleges, and all kinds of things of that description, with such success as we know. All that has changed now. Why that has decayed away may in part be that people have become doubtful that colleges are now the real sources of that which I call wisdom, whether they are anything more--anything much more--than a cultivating of man in the specific arts. In fact, there has been a suspicion of that kind in the world for a long time. (A laugh.) That is an old saying, an old proverb, "An ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy." (Laughter.) There is a suspicion that a man is perhaps not nearly so wise as he looks, or because he has poured out speech so copiously. (Laughter.)

When the seven free Arts on which the old Universities were based came to be modified a little, in order to be convenient for or to promote the wants of modern society--though, perhaps, some of them are obsolete enough even yet for some of us--there arose a feeling that mere vocality, mere culture of speech, if that is what comes out of a man, though he may be a great speaker, an eloquent orator, yet there is no real substance there--if that is what was required and aimed at by the man himself, and by the community that set him upon becoming a learned man. Maid-servants, I hear people complaining, are getting instructed in the "ologies," and so on, and are apparently totally ignorant of brewing, boiling, and baking (laughter); above all things, not taught what is necessary to be known, from the highest to the lowest--strict obedience, humility, and correct moral conduct. Oh, it is a dismal chapter, all that, if one went into it!

What has been done by rushing after fine speech? I have written down some very fierce things about that, perhaps considerably more emphatic than I would wish them to be now; but they are deeply my conviction. (Hear, hear.) There is very great necessity indeed of getting a little more silent than we are. It seems to me the finest nations of the world--the English and the American--are going all away into wind and tongue. (Applause and laughter.) But it will appear sufficiently tragical by-and-bye, long after I am away out of it. Silence is the eternal duty of a man. He wont get to any real understanding of what is complex, and, what is more than any other, pertinent to his interests, without maintaining silence. "Watch the tongue," is a very old precept, and a most true one. I do not want to discourage any of you from your Demosthenes, and your studies of the niceties of language, and all that. Believe me, I value that as much as any of you. I consider it a very graceful thing, and a proper thing, for every human creature to know what the implement which he uses in communicating his thoughts is, and how to make the very utmost of it. I want you to study Demosthenes, and know all his excellencies. At the same time, I must say that speech does not seem to me, on the whole, to have turned to any good account.

Why tell me that a man is a fine speaker if it is not the truth that he is speaking? Phocion, who did not speak at all, was a great deal nearer hitting the mark than Demosthenes. (Laughter.) He used to tell the Athenians--"You can't fight Philip. You have not the slightest chance with him. He is a man who holds his tongue; he has great disciplined armies; he can brag anybody you like in your cities here; and he is going on steadily with an unvarying aim towards his object: and he will infallibly beat any kind of men such as you, going on raging from shore to shore with all that rampant nonsense." Demosthenes said to him one day--"The Athenians will get mad some day and kill you." "Yes," Phocion says, "when they are mad; and you as soon as they get sane again." (Laughter.)

It is also told about him going to Messina on some deputation that the Athenians wanted on some kind of matter of an intricate and contentious nature, that Phocion went with some story in his mouth to speak about. He was a man of few words--no unveracity; and after he had gone on telling the story a certain time there was one burst of interruption. One man interrupted with something he tried to answer, and then another; and, finally, the people began bragging and bawling, and no end of debate, till it ended in the want of power in the people to say any more. Phocion drew back altogether, struck dumb, and would not speak another word to any man; and he left it to them to decide in any way they liked.

It appears to me there is a kind of eloquence in that which is equal to anything Demosthenes ever said--"Take your own way, and let me out altogether." (Applause.)

All these considerations, and manifold more connected with them--innumerable considerations, resulting from observation of the world at this moment--have led many people to doubt of the salutary effect of vocal education altogether. I do not mean to say it should be entirely excluded; but I look to something that will take hold of the matter much more closely, and not allow it slip out of our fingers, and remain worse than it was. For if a good speaker--an eloquent speaker--is not speaking the truth, is there a more horrid kind of object in creation? (Loud cheers.) Of such speech I hear all manner and kind of people say it is excellent; but I care very little about how he said it, provided I understand it, and it be true. Excellent speaker! but what if he is telling me things that are untrue, that are not the fact about it--if he has formed a wrong judgment about it--if he has no judgment in his mind to form a right conclusion in regard to the matter? An excellent speaker of that kind is, as it were, saying--"Ho, every one that wants to be persuaded of the thing that is not true, come hither." (Great laughter and applause.) I would recommend you to be very chary of that kind of excellent speech. (Renewed laughter.)

Well, all that being the too well-known product of our method of vocal education--the mouth merely operating on the tongue of the pupil, and teaching him to wag it in a particular way (laughter)--it had made a great many thinking men entertain a very great distrust of this not very salutary way of procedure, and they have longed for some kind of practical way of working out the business. There would be room for a great deal of description about it if I went into it; but I must content myself with saying that the most remarkable piece of reading that you may be recommended to take and try if you can study is a book by Goethe--one of his last books, which he wrote when he was an old man, about seventy years of age--I think one of the most beautiful he ever wrote, full of mild wisdom, and which is found to be very touching by those who have eyes to discern and hearts to feel it. It is one of the pieces in "Wilhelm Meister's Travels." I read it through many years ago; and, of course, I had to read into it very hard when I was translating it (applause), and it has always dwelt in my mind as about the most remarkable bit of writing that I have known to be executed in these late centuries. I have often said, there are ten pages of that which, if ambition had been my only rule, I would rather have written than have written all the books that have appeared since I came into the world. (Cheers.) Deep, deep is the meaning of what is said there. They turn on the Christian religion and the religious phenomena of Christian life--altogether sketched out in the most airy, graceful, delicately-wise kind of way, so as to keep himself out of the common controversies of the street and of the forum, yet to indicate what was the result of things he had been long meditating upon. Among others, he introduces, in an aŽrial, flighty kind of way, here and there a touch which grows into a beautiful picture--a scheme of entirely mute education, at least with no more speech than is absolutely necessary for what they have to do.

Three of the wisest men that can be got are met to consider what is the function which transcends all others in importance to build up the young generation, which shall be free from all that perilous stuff that has been weighing us down and clogging every step, and which is the only thing we can hope to go on with if we would leave the world a little better, and not the worse of our having been in it for those who are to follow. The man who is the eldest of the three says to Goethe, "You give by nature to the well-formed children you bring into the world a great many precious gifts, and very frequently these are best of all developed by nature herself, with a very slight assistance where assistance is seen to be wise and profitable, and forbearance very often on the part of the overlooker of the process of education; but there is one thing that no child brings into the world with it, and without which all other things are of no use." Wilhelm, who is there beside him, says, "What is that?" "All who enter the world want it," says the eldest; "perhaps you yourself." Wilhelm says, "Well, tell me what it is." "It is," says the eldest, "reverence--Ehrfurcht--Reverence! Honour done to those who are grander and better than you, without fear; distinct from fear." Ehrfurcht--"the soul of all religion that ever has been among men, or ever will be." And he goes into practicality. He practically distinguishes the kinds of religion that are in the world, and he makes out three reverences. The boys are all trained to go through certain gesticulations, to lay their hands on their breast and look up to heaven, and they give their three reverences. The first and simplest is that of reverence for what is above us. It is the soul of all the Pagan religions; there is nothing better in man than that. Then there is reverence for what is around us or about us--reverence for our equals, and to which he attributes an immense power in the culture of man. The third is reverence for what is beneath us--to learn to recognise in pain, sorrow, and contradiction, even in those things, odious as they are to flesh and blood--to learn that there lies in these a priceless blessing. And he defines that as being the soul of the Christian religion--the highest of all religions; a height, as Goethe says--and that is very true, even to the letter, as I consider--a height to which the human species was fated and enabled to attain, and from which, having once attained it, it can never retrograde. It cannot descend down below that permanently, Goethe's idea is.

Often one thinks it was good to have a faith of that kind--that always, even in the most degraded, sunken, and unbelieving times, he calculates there will be found some few souls who will recognise what that meant; and that the world, having once received it, there is no fear of its retrograding. He goes on then to tell us the way in which they seek to teach boys, in the sciences particularly, whatever the boy is fit for. Wilhelm left his own boy there, expecting they would make him a Master of Arts, or something of that kind; and when he came back for him he saw a thundering cloud of dust coming over the plain, of which he could make nothing. It turned out to be a tempest of wild horses, managed by young lads who had a turn for hunting with their grooms. His own son was among them, and he found that the breaking of colts was the thing he was most suited for. (Laughter.) This is what Goethe calls Art, which I should not make clear to you by any definition unless it is clear already. (A laugh.) I would not attempt to define it as music, painting, and poetry, and so on; it is in quite a higher sense than the common one, and in which, I am afraid, most of our painters, poets, and music men would not pass muster. (A laugh.) He considers that the highest pitch to which human culture can go; and he watches with great industry how it is to be brought about with men who have a turn for it.

Very wise and beautiful it is. It gives one an idea that something greatly better is possible for man in the world. I confess it seems to me it is a shadow of what will come, unless the world is to come to a conclusion that is perfectly frightful; some kind of scheme of education like that, presided over by the wisest and most sacred men that can be got in the world, and watching from a distance--a training in practicality at every turn; no speech in it except that speech that is to be followed by action, for that ought to be the rule as nearly as possible among them. For rarely should men speak at all unless it is to say that thing that is to be done; and let him go and do his part in it, and to say no more about it. I should say there is nothing in the world you can conceive so difficult, prima facie, as that of getting a set of men gathered together--rough, rude, and ignorant people--gather them together, promise them a shilling a day, rank them up, give them very severe and sharp drill, and by bullying and drill--for the word "drill" seems as if it meant the treatment that would force them to learn--they learn what it is necessary to learn; and there is the man, a piece of an animated machine, a wonder of wonders to look at. He will go and obey one man, and walk into the cannon's mouth for him, and do anything whatever that is commanded of him by his general officer. And I believe all manner of things in this way could be done if there were anything like the same attention bestowed. Very many things could be regimented and organized into the mute system of education that Goethe evidently adumbrates there. But I believe, when people look into it, it will be found that they will not be very long in trying to make some efforts in that direction; for the saving of human labour, and the avoidance of human misery, would be uncountable if it were set about and begun even in part.

Alas! it is painful to think how very far away it is--any fulfilment of such things; for I need not hide from you, young gentlemen--and that is one of the last things I am going to tell you--that you have got into a very troublous epoch of the world; and I don't think you will find it improve the footing you have, though you have many advantages which we had not. You have careers open to you, by public examinations and so on, which is a thing much to be approved, and which we hope to see perfected more and more. All that was entirely unknown in my time, and you have many things to recognise as advantages. But you will find the ways of the world more anarchical than ever, I think. As far as I have noticed, revolution has come upon us. We have got into the age of revolutions. All kinds of things are coming to be subjected to fire, as it were; hotter and hotter the wind rises around everything.

Curious to say, now in Oxford and other places that used to seem to live at anchor in the stream of time, regardless of all changes, they are getting into the highest humour of mutation, and all sorts of new ideas are getting afloat. It is evident that whatever is not made of asbestos will have to be burnt in this world. It will not stand the heat it is getting exposed to. And in saying that, it is but saying in other words that we are in an epoch of anarchy--anarchy plus the constable. (Laughter.) There is nobody that picks one's pocket without some policeman being ready to take him up. (Renewed laughter.) But in every other thing he is the son, not of Kosmos, but of Chaos. He is a disobedient, and reckless, and altogether a waste kind of object--commonplace man in these epochs; and the wiser kind of man--the select, of whom I hope you will be part--has more and more a set time to it to look forward, and will require to move with double wisdom; and will find, in short, that the crooked things that he has to pull straight in his own life, or round about, wherever he may be, are manifold, and will task all his strength wherever he may go.

But why should I complain of that either?--for that is a thing a man is born to in all epochs. He is born to expend every particle of strength that God Almighty has given him, in doing the work he finds he is fit for--to stand it out to the last breath of life, and do his best. We are called upon to do that; and the reward we all get--which we are perfectly sure of if we have merited it--is that we have got the work done, or, at least, that we have tried to do the work; for that is a great blessing in itself; and I should say there is not very much more reward than that going in this world. If the man gets meat and clothes, what matters it whether he have £10,000, or £10,000,000, or £70 a-year. He can get meat and clothes for that; and he will find very little difference intrinsically, if he is a wise man.

I warmly second the advice of the wisest of men--"Don't be ambitious; don't be at all too desirous to success; be loyal and modest." Cut down the proud towering thoughts that you get into you, or see they be pure as well as high. There is a nobler ambition than the gaining of all California would be, or the getting of all the suffrages that are on the planet just now. (Loud and prolonged cheers.)

Finally, gentlemen, I have one advice to give you, which is practically of very great importance, though a very humble one.

I have no doubt you will have among you people ardently bent to consider life cheap, for the purpose of getting forward in what they are aiming at of high; and you are to consider throughout, much more than is done at present, that health is a thing to be attended to continually--that you are to regard that as the very highest of all temporal things for you. (Applause.) There is no kind of achievement you could make in the world that is equal to perfect health. What are nuggets and millions? The French financier said, "Alas! why is there no sleep to be sold?" Sleep was not in the market at any quotation. (Laughter and applause.)

It is a curious thing that I remarked long ago, and have often turned in my head, that the old word for "holy" in the German language--heilig--also means "healthy." And so Heil-bronn means "holy-well," or "healthy-well." We have in the Scotch "hale;" and, I suppose our English word "whole"--with a "w"--all of one piece, without any hole in it--is the same word. I find that you could not get any better definition of what "holy" really is than "healthy--completely healthy." Mens sana in corpore sano. (Applause.)

A man with his intellect a clear, plain, geometric mirror, brilliantly sensitive of all objects and impressions around it, and imagining all things in their correct proportions--not twisted up into convex or concave, and distorting everything, so that he cannot see the truth of the matter without endless groping and manipulation--healthy, clear, and free, and all round about him. We never can attain that at all. In fact, the operations we have got into are destructive of it. You cannot, if you are going to do any decisive intellectual operation--if you are going to write a book--at least, I never could--without getting decidedly made ill by it, and really you must if it is your business--and you must follow out what you are at--and it sometimes is at the expense of health. Only remember at all times to get back as fast as possible out of it into health, and regard the real equilibrium as the centre of things. You should always look at the heilig, which means holy, and holy means healthy.

Well, that old etymology--what a lesson it is against certain gloomy, austere, ascetic people, that have gone about as if this world were all a dismal-prison house! It has, indeed, got all the ugly things in it that I have been alluding to; but there is an eternal sky over it, and the blessed sunshine, verdure of spring, and rich autumn, and all that in it, too. Piety does not mean that a man should make a sour face about things, and refuse to enjoy in moderation what his Maker has given. Neither do you find it to have been so with old Knox. If you look into him you will find a beautiful Scotch humour in him, as well as the grimmest and sternest truth when necessary, and a great deal of laughter. We find really some of the sunniest glimpses of things come out of Knox that I have seen in any man; for instance, in his "History of the Reformation," which is a book I hope every one of you will read--a glorious book.

On the whole, I would bid you stand up to your work, whatever it may be, and not be afraid of it--not in sorrows or contradiction to yield, but pushing on towards the goal. And don't suppose that people are hostile to you in the world. You will rarely find anybody designedly doing you ill. You may feel often as if the whole world is obstructing you, more or less; but you will find that to be because the world is travelling in a different way from you, and rushing on in its own path. Each man has only an extremely good-will to himself--which he has a right to have--and is moving on towards his object. Keep out of literature as a general rule, I should say also. (Laughter.) If you find many people who are hard and indifferent to you in a world that you consider to be unhospitable and cruel--as often, indeed, happens to a tender-hearted, stirring young creature--you will also find there are noble hearts who will look kindly on you, and their help will be precious to you beyond price. You will get good and evil as you go on, and have the success that has been appointed to you.

I will wind up with a small bit of verse that is from Goethe also, and has often gone through my mind. To me it has the tone of a modern psalm in it in some measure. It is sweet and clear. The clearest of sceptical men had not anything like so clear a mind as that man had--freer from cant and misdirected notion of any kind than any man in these ages has been This is what the poet says:--
  The Future hides in it
  Gladness and sorrow:
  We press still thorow;
  Nought that abides in it
  Daunting us--Onward!
  And solemn before us,
  Veiled, the dark Portal,
  Goal of all mortal.
  Stars silent rest o'er us--
  Graves under us, silent.
  While earnest thou gazest
  Comes boding of terror,
  Come phantasm and error;
  Perplexes the bravest
  With doubt and misgiving.
  But heard are the voices,
  Heard are the Sages,
  The Worlds and the Ages:
  "Choose well: your choice is
  Brief, and yet endless."
  Here eyes do regard you
  In Eternity's stillness;
  Here is all fulness,
  Ye brave, to reward you.
  Work, and despair not.[A]
[Footnote A: Originally published in Carlyle's "Past and Present," (Lond. 1843,) p. 318, and introduced there by the following words:-- "My candid readers, we will march out of this Third Book with a rhythmic word of Goethe's on our tongue; a word which perhaps has already sung itself, in dark hours and in bright, through many a heart. To me, finding it devout yet wholly credible and veritable, full of piety yet free of cant; to me joyfully finding much in it, and joyfully missing so much in it, this little snatch of music, by the greatest German man, sounds like a stanza in the grand Road Song and Marching Song of our great Teutonic kindred,--wending, wending, valiant and victorious, through the undiscovered Deeps of Time!"]
One last word. Wir heissen euch hoffen--we bid you be of hope. Adieu for this time.


The following is a letter addressed by Mr. Carlyle to Dr. Hutchison Stirling, late one of the candidates for the Chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh:--

"Chelsea, 16th June, 1868.


"You well know how reluctant I have been to interfere at all in the election now close on us, and that in stating, as bound, what my own clear knowledge of your qualities was, I have strictly held by that, and abstained from more. But the news I now have from Edinburgh is of such a complexion, so dubious, and so surprising to me; and I now find I shall privately have so much regret in a certain event--which seems to be reckoned possible, and to depend on one gentleman of the seven--that, to secure my own conscience in the matter, a few plainer words seem needful. To whatever I have said of you already, therefore, I now volunteer to add, that I think you not only the one man in Britain capable of bringing Metaphysical Philosophy, in the ultimate, German or European, and highest actual form of it, distinctly home to the understanding of British men who wish to understand it, but that I notice in you farther, on the moral side, a sound strength of intellectual discernment, a noble valour and reverence of mind, which seems to me to mark you out as the man capable of doing us the highest service in Ethical science too: that of restoring, or decisively beginning to restore, the doctrine of morals to what I must ever reckon its one true and everlasting basis (namely, the divine or supra-sensual one), and thus of victoriously reconciling and rendering identical the latest dictates of modern science with the earliest dawnings of wisdom among the race of men.

"This is truly my opinion, and how important to me, not for the sake of Edinburgh University alone, but of the whole world for ages to come, I need not say to you! I have not the honour of any personal acquaintance with Mr. Adam Black, late member for Edinburgh, but for fifty years back have known him, in the distance, and by current and credible report, as a man of solid sense, independence, probity, and public spirit; and if, in your better knowledge of the circumstances, you judge it suitable to read this note to him--to him, or indeed to any other person--you are perfectly at liberty to do so.

"Yours sincerely always,



Mr. Carlyle, ex-Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh, being asked before the expiration of his term of office, to deliver a valedictory address to the students, he sent the following letter to Mr. Robertson, Vice-President of the Committee for his election:--

"Chelsea, December 6, 1868.


"I much regret that a valedictory speech from me, in present circumstances, is a thing I must not think of. Be pleased to advise the young gentlemen who were so friendly towards me that I have already sent them, in silence, but with emotions deep enough, perhaps too deep, my loving farewell, and that ingratitude or want of regard is by no means among the causes that keep me absent. With a fine youthful enthusiasm, beautiful to look upon, they bestowed on me that bit of honour, loyally all they had; and it has now, for reasons one and another, become touchingly memorable to me--touchingly, and even grandly and tragically--never to be forgotten for the remainder of my life. Bid them, in my name, if they still love me, fight the good fight, and quit themselves like men in the warfare to which they are as if conscript and consecrated, and which lies ahead. Tell them to consult the eternal oracles (not yet inaudible, nor ever to become so, when worthily inquired of); and to disregard, nearly altogether, in comparison, the temporary noises, menacings, and deliriums. May they love wisdom, as wisdom, if she is to yield her treasures, must be loved, piously, valiantly, humbly, beyond life itself, or the prizes of life, with all one's heart and all one's soul. In that case (I will say again), and not in any other case, it shall be well with them.

"Adieu, my young friends, a long adieu, yours with great sincerity,



At a meeting of the Senatus Academicus of Edinburgh University, a few weeks after his decease, a deed of mortification by Thomas Carlyle in favour of that body, for the foundation of ten Bursaries in the Faculty of Arts, was read. The document opens as follows:--

"I, Thomas Carlyle, residing at Chelsea, presently Rector in the University of Edinburgh, from the love, favour and affection which I bear to that University, and from my interest in the advancement of education in my native Scotland, as elsewhere, for these and for other more peculiar reasons, which also I wish to record, do intend, and am now in the act of making to the said University, a bequest, as underwritten, of the estate of Craigenputtoch, which is now my property. Craigenputtoch lies at the head of the parish of Dunscore, in Nithsdale, Dumfriesshire. The extent is of about 1,800 acres; rental at present, on lease of nineteen years, is £250; the annual worth, with the improvements now in progress, is probably £300. Craigenputtoch was for many generations the patrimony of a family named Welsh, the eldest son usually a 'John Welsh,' in series going back, think some, to the famous John Welsh, son-in-law of the reformer Knox. The last male heir of the family was John Welsh, Esq., surgeon, Haddington. His one child and heiress was my late dear, magnanimous, much-loving, and, to me, inestimable wife, in memory of whom, and of her constant nobleness and piety towards him and towards me, I am now--she having been the last of her kindred--about to bequeath to Edinburgh University with whatever piety is in me this Craigenputtoch, which was theirs and hers, on the terms, and for the purposes, and under the conditions underwritten. Therefore I do mortify and dispose to and in favour of the said University of Edinburgh, for the foundation and endowment of ten equal Bursaries, to be called the 'John Welsh Bursaries,' in the said University, heritably and irredeemably, all and whole the lands of Upper Craigenputtoch. The said estate is not to be sold, but to be kept and administered as land, the net annual revenue of it to be divided into ten equal Bursaries, to be called, as aforesaid, the 'John Welsh Bursaries.' The Senatus Academicus shall bestow them on the ten applicants entering the University who, on strict and thorough examination and open competitive trial by examiners whom the Senatus will appoint for that end, are judged to show the best attainment of actual proficiency and the best likelihood of more in the department or faculty called of arts, as taught there. Examiners to be actual professors in said faculty, the fittest whom the Senatus can select, with fit assessors or coadjutors and witnesses, if the Senatus see good, and always the report of the said examiners to be minuted and signed, and to govern the appointments made, and to be recorded therewith. More specially I appoint that five of the 'John Welsh Bursaries' shall be given for the best proficiency in mathematics--I would rather say 'in mathesis,' if that were a thing to be judged of from competition--but practically above all in pure geometry, such being perennial, the symptom not only of steady application, but of a clear, methodic intellect, and offering in all epochs good promise for all manner of arts and pursuits. The other five Bursaries I appoint to depend (for the present and indefinitely onwards) on proficiency in classical learning, that is to say, in knowledge of Latin, Greek, and English, all of these, or any two of them. This also gives good promise of a young mind, but as I do not feel certain that it gives perennially or will perennially be thought in universities to give the best promise, I am willing that the Senatus of the University, in case of a change of its opinion on this point hereafter in the course of generations, shall bestow these latter five Bursaries on what it does then consider the most excellent proficiency in matters classical, or the best proof of a classical mind, which directs its own highest effort towards teaching and diffusing in the new generations that will come. The Bursaries to be open to free competition of all who come to study in Edinburgh University, and who have never been of any other University, the competition to be held on or directly before or after their first matriculation there. Bursaries to be always given on solemnly strict and faithful trial to the worthiest, or if (what in justice can never happen, though it illustrates my intention) the claims of two were absolutely equal, and could not be settled by further trial, preference is to fall in favour of the more unrecommended and unfriended under penalties graver than I, or any highest mortal, can pretend to impose, but which I can never doubt--as the law of eternal justice, inexorably valid, whether noticed or unnoticed, pervades all corners of space and of time--are very sure to be punctually exacted if incurred. This is to be the perpetual rule for the Senatus in deciding."

After stating some other conditions, the document thus concludes:

"And so may a little trace of help to the young heroic soul struggling for what is highest spring from this poor arrangement and bequest. May it run for ever, if it can, as a thread of pure water from the Scottish rocks, trickling into its little basin by the thirsty wayside for those to whom it veritably belongs. Amen. Such is my bequest to Edinburgh University. In witness whereof these presents, written upon this and the two preceding pages by James Steven Burns, clerk to John Cook, writer to the signet, are subscribed by me at Chelsea, the 20th day of June, 1867, before these witnesses: John Forster, barrister-at-law, man of letters, etc., residing at Palace-gate House, Kensington, London; and James Anthony Froude, man of letters, residing at No. 5, Onslow Gardens, Brompton, London.

"(Signed) T. CARLYLE.
"J.A. FROUDE, } Witnesses.

Terms Defined

Referenced Works