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Thomas Carlyle
by [?]

James Carlyle with his own hands built, in Seventeen Hundred Ninety, this house at Ecclefechan. The same year he married an excellent woman, a second cousin, by name Janet Carlyle. She lived but a year. The poor husband was heartbroken, and declared, as many men under like conditions had done before and have done since, that his sorrow was inconsolable. And he vowed that he would walk through life and down to his death alone.

But it is a matter for congratulation that he broke his vow.

In two years he married Margaret Aitken–a serving-woman. She bore nine children. Thomas was the eldest and the only one who proved recreant to the religious faith of his fathers.

One of the brothers moved to Shiawassee County, Michigan, where I had the pleasure of calling on him, some years ago. A hard-headed man, he was: sensible, earnest, honest, with a stubby beard and a rich brogue. He held the office of school trustee, also that of pound-master, and I was told that he served his township loyally and well.

This worthy man looked with small favor on the literary pretensions of his brother Tammas, and twice wrote him long letters expostulating with him on his religious vagaries. “I knew no good could come of it,” sorrowfully said he, and so I left him.

But I inquired of several of the neighbors what they thought of Thomas Carlyle, and I found that they did not think of him at all. And I mounted my beast and rode away.

Thomas Carlyle was educated for the Kirk, and it was a cause of much sorrow to his parents that he could not accept its beliefs. He has been spoken of as England’s chief philosopher, yet he subscribed to no creed, nor did he formulate one. However, in “Latter-Day Pamphlets” he partially prepares a catechism for a part of the brute creation. He supposes that all swine of superior logical powers have a “belief,” and as they are unable to express it he essays the task for them.

The following are a few of the postulates in this creed of The Brotherhood of Latter-Day Swine:

“Question. Who made the Pig?

“Answer. The Pork-Butcher.

“Question. What is the Whole Duty of Pigs?

“Answer. It is the mission of Universal Pighood; and the duty of all Pigs, at all times, is to diminish the quantity of attainable swill and increase the unattainable. This is the Whole Duty of Pigs.

“Question. What is Pig Poetry?

“Answer. It is the universal recognition of Pig’s wash and ground barley, and the felicity of Pigs whose trough has been set in order and who have enough.

“Question, What is justice in Pigdom?

“Answer. It is the sentiment in Pig nature sometimes called revenge, indignation, etc., which if one Pig provoke, another comes out in more or less destructive manner; hence laws are necessary–amazing quantities of laws–defining what Pigs shall not do.

“Question. What do you mean by equity?

“Answer. Equity consists in getting your share from the Universal Swine-Trough, and part of another’s.

“Question. What is meant by ‘your share’?”

“Answer. My share is getting whatever I can contrive to seize without being made up into Side-Meat.”

I have slightly abridged this little extract and inserted it here to show the sympathy which Mr. Carlyle had for the dumb brute.

One of America’s great men, in a speech delivered not long ago, said, “From Scotch manners, Scotch religion and Scotch whisky, good Lord deliver us!”

My experience with these three articles has been somewhat limited; but Scotch manners remind me of chestnut-burs–not handsome without, but good within. For when you have gotten beyond the rough exterior of Sandy you generally find a heart warm, tender and generous.

Scotch religion is only another chestnut-bur, but then you need not eat the shuck if you fear it will not agree with your inward state. Nevertheless, if the example of royalty is of value, the fact can be stated that Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India, is a Presbyterian. That is, she is a Presbyterian about one-half the time–when she is in Scotland, for she is the head of the Scottish Kirk. When in England, of course she is an Episcopalian. We have often been told that religion is largely a matter of geography, and here is a bit of something that looks like proof.