Carlyle at His Zenith (1848-53)

By David Alec Wilson | Go to book overview

XXVII
LOUIS BLANC (1849)

LOUIS BLANC had become famous in 1840 by a fine work on the Organization of Labour,--it may have been from him that Carlyle had learned that phrase. His exposure of the rascality of King Louis-Philippe had helped to cause the revolution last year, and he had been a leading member of the Provisional Government at Paris. John Robertson brought him to Cheyne Row this spring, and excited Mrs. Carlyle by telling her,--1 "It was in his arms that Godefroi Cavaignac died. He talks of him as a Divinity."

On 26.4.49 Carlyle was writing in his journal:--' Louis Blanc was here twice--a pretty little miniature of a man, well shaped, long black head, brown skin; every way French aspect; quick, twinkling, earnest black eyes; a smallish melodious voice, which rather quavers in its tones; free, lively, ingenious utterance, full of friendliness, transparency, logical definiteness, and seeming good faith; not much vanity either; a good little creature, to whom, deeply as I dissented from him, I could not help wishing heartily well.'

He could abundantly satisfy Carlyle's curiosity about the "national workshops," and was sure of his approval for the last thing he had been doing,--his "solemn warning" to his countrymen about the end of 1848 not to have any President elected by universal suffrage.2 He thought General Cavaignac a "very inferior" person to the General's brother Godefroi; and the election of Napoleon the Little made him prefer to live in London.

____________________
1
J. W. Carlyle, Letters, &c., by Leonard Huxley, p. 320.
2
Autobiography of Moncure D. Conway, II, p. 240.

-87-

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