Carlyle at His Zenith (1848-53)

By David Alec Wilson | Go to book overview

XXV
DIZZY AND JEWS IN GENERAL (1852)

COMING to London as a Member of Parliament late in 1852, Gavan Duffy resorted regularly to Cheyne Row.1 On Sunday afternoons he and Carlyle used to walk in the parks together, and often they might have been seen on the grass at the back of the house with two or three others sitting or standing about, discussing politics and things in general. There was now a real Irish party in the Commons, and the first thing they wanted was tenant-right. Disraeli was willing to deal with them, but not so his leader, Landlord Derby, nor Dublin Castle. So when Disraeli brought in a bad Budget in December, Duffy and Company turned the scale against his crowd, and the Government went out.

In telling Carlyle about this, Duffy said:--"Tho I voted against them, I could not help having a certain sympathy for Disraeli for the indomitable pluck with which he faced his enemies, at the head of a party which distrusted him only a little less" than those opposite. "The Peelites seemed to hate him with a preternatural animosity, but I had never heard that he had done anything cruel or cowardly against them or anyone else. He was a political gladiator, no doubt, as Bolingbroke and Canning had been before him," (which refers to Dizzy's jibes in the final debate, when he called a Mr. Goulburn a "weird Sibyl," and told Sir James Graham that he regarded him but did not respect him, and so on.) "It is idle," said Duffy, "to complain that he struck deft blows at his opponents; that is his vocation."

"A base vocation!" Carlyle exclaimed. "The case is not a perplexing one at all, it seems to me. A cunning Jew gets a parcel of people to believe in him, tho no man of the smallest penetration can have any doubt that he is an

____________________
1
Conversations with Carlyle, by Sir C. Gavan Duffy, pp. 179-80; and My Life in Two Homisphores, by Sir C. G.D., II, pp. 46, &c.

-451-

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