Carlyle at His Zenith (1848-53)

By David Alec Wilson | Go to book overview

XLIII
TIP-TOP JOURNALISM (1849)

DUFFY was suffering from lack of help in producing his revived paper, the Nation, tho the help he needed was not such as Espinasse could supply. As he has explained,1 --'All my colleagues in the earlier Nation were either dead, exiled, suffering the penalties of treason, or in a very few cases disheartened by failure. I aimed to enlist recruits to fill their places, but I did not conceal from such new-comers the hard terms the service of Ireland imposed, or that the work to be done would be slow and obscure. They were no longer invited to share in literary projects. Our ship was a wreck. Whoever could help would be welcome.' So Duffy wrote an appeal which he reprinted in 1892 in his Conversations with Carlyle. Here is what may suffice to show its drift.--


'WANTED, A FEW WORKMEN.

Ireland has urgent need of workmen, able and willing to work--of men who will gradually create about them, each in his own city, hamlet, or narrow corner, a circle of light and vital warmth, where there is now ignorance and lethargy. . . . If there be practical sagacity anywhere in this country, it never had a more favourable field in the world. The very offices of Government are vacant--nearly as vacant as if a revolution had given up Dublin Castle to the people. Not the official uniform, and the salary indeed; but the power to create and guide operations, and get work done--the true essence of authority.

'The places are vacant,' but in short competent candidates are few. 'Spouting, speechifying, and operations of that sort can be performed by a large proportion of the adult population of this island. The faculty of writing

____________________
1
Conversations with Carlyle, by Sir C. Gavan Duffy, pp. 134-50.

-205-

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