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It may be taken for granted that to a mind | pen to present itself, without passionately deconstituted as yours is, no profession will be siring that one doctrine may turn out to be satisfactory which does not afford free play strong in evidence and another unsupported. to the intellectual powers. You might no doubt exercise resolution enough to bind yourself down to uncongenial work for a term of years, but it would be with the intention of retiring as soon as you had realized a competency. The happiest life is that which constantly exercises and educates what is best in us.
And so we find the clergy, as a class, anxious rather to discover aids to faith, than the simple scientific truth; and the more the special priestly character develops itself, the more we find them disposed to use their intellects for the triumph of principles that are decided upon beforehand. Sometimes this disposition leads them to see the acts of laymen in a colYou had thoughts, at one time, of the ored light and to speak of them without strict Church, and the Church would have suited accuracy. Here is an example of what I you in many respects very happily, yet not, mean. A Jesuit priest preached a sermon in I think, in all respects. The clerical profes- London very recently, in which he said that sion has many great felicities and advan-"in Germany, France, Italy, and England, tages: it educates and develops, by its mild but gigantic efforts were being made to rob Chrisregular discipline, much of our higher nature; tian children of the blessing of a Christian it sets before us an elevated ideal, worth striv-education." "Herod, though dead," the ing for at the cost of every sacrifice but one, preacher continued, "has left his mantle beof which I intend to say something farther on; and it offers just that mixture of public and private life which best affords the alternation of activity and rest. It is an existence in many respects most favorable to the noblest studies. It offers the happiest combination of duties that satisfy the conscience with leisure for the cultivation of the mind; it gives the easiest access to all classes of society, providing for the parson himself a neutral and independent position, so safe that he need only conduct himself properly to preserve it. How superior, from the intellectual point of view, is this liberal existence to the narrower one of a French curé de campagne! I certainly think that if a good curé has an exceptional genius for sancitity, his chances of becoming a perfect saint are better than those of a comfortable English incumbent, who is at the same time a gentleman and man of the world, but he is not nearly so well situated for leading the intellectual life. Our own clergy have a sort of middle position between the curé and the layman, which without at all interfering with their spiritual vocation, makes them better judges of the character of laymen and more completely in sympathy with it.
hind him; and I wish that the soldiers of Herod in those countries would plunge their swords into the breasts of little children while they were innocent, rather than have their souls destroyed by means of an unchristian and uncatholic education." No doubt this is very earnest and sincere, but it is not accurate and just thinking. The laity in the countries the preacher mentioned have certainly a strong tendency to exclude theology from State schools, because it is so difficult for a modern State to impose any kind of the ological teaching without injustice to minorities; but the laity do not desire to deprive children of whatever instruction may be given to them by the clergy of their re spective communions. May I add, that to the mind of a layman it seems a sanguinary desire that all little children should have swords plunged into their breasts rather than be taught in schools not clerically directed? The exact truth is, that the powerful lay element is certainly separating itself from the ecclesiastical element all over Europe, because it is found by experience that the two have a great and increasing difficulty in working harmoniously together, but the ecclesiastical element is detached and not destroyed.
And yet, although the life of a clergyman is favorable to culture in many ways, it is The quotation I have just made is in itself a not wholly favorable to it. There exists, in sufficient illustration of that very peculiarity clerical thinking generally, just one restric- in the more exalted ecclesiastical temperation or impediment, which is the overwhelm- ment, which often makes it so difficult for ing importance of the professional point of priests and governments, in these times, to view. Of all the professions the ecclesiasti- get on comfortably together. Here is first a cal one is that which most decidedly and most very inaccurate statement, and then an outconstantly affects the judgment of persons burst of most passionate feeling, whereas the and opinions. It is peculiarly difficult for a intellect desires the strictest truth and the clergyman to attain disinterestedness in his most complete disinterestedness. As the temthinking, to accept truth just as it may hap-per of the laity becomes more and more intel
lectual (and that is the direction of its move- disinterested than clergymen.* Sometimes ment), the sacerdotal habit will become more they take up some study outside of their proand more remote from it. fession and follow it disinterestedly, but this The clerical life has many strong attrac-is rare. A busy lawyer is much more likely tions for the intellectual, and just one draw-than a clergyman to become entirely absorbed back to counterbalance them. It offers tran- in his professional life, because it requires so quillity, shelter from the interruptions and much more intellectual exertion. I remember anxieties of the more active professions, and asking a very clever lawyer who lived in Lonpowerful means of influence ready to hand; don, whether he ever visited an exhibition of but it is compatible with intellectual freedom pictures, and he answered me by the counterand with the satisfaction of the conscience, inquiry whether I had read Chitty on Cononly just so long as the priest really remains a tracts, Collier on Partnerships, Taylor on Evbeliever in the details of his religion. Now, al-idence, Cruse's Digest, or Smith's Mercantile though we may reasonably hope to retain the Law? This seemed to me at the time a good chief elements of our belief, although what a instance of the way a professional habit may man believes at twenty-five is always what narrow one's views of things, for these lawhe will most probably believe at fifty, still, in books were written for lawyers alone, whilst an age when free inquiry is the common the picture exhibitions were intended for the habit of cultivated people of our sex, we may public generally. My friend's answer would well hesitate before taking upon ourselves have been more to the point if I had inquired any formal engagement for the future, es- whether he had read Linton on Colors, and pecially in matters of detail. The intellectual Burnet on Chiaroscuro. spirit does not regard its conclusions as being at any time final, but always provisional; we hold what we believe to be the truth until we can replace it by some more perfect truth, but cannot tell how much of to-day's beliefs to-morrow will retain or reject. It may be observed, however, that the regular perform-represent the lawyers, and the players repreance of priestly functions is in itself a great help to permanence in belief by connecting it closely with practical habit, so that the clergy do really and honestly often retain through life their hold on early beliefs which as laymen they might have lost.
There is just one situation in which we all may feel for a short time as lawyers feel habitually. Suppose that two inexperienced players sit down to a game of chess, and that each is backed by a clever person who is constantly giving him hints. The two backers
sent their clients. There is not much disinterested thought in a situation of this kind, but there is a strong stimulus to acuteness.
I think that lawyers are often superior to phil 30phers in their sense of what is relatively important in human affairs with reference to limited spaces of time, such as half a century. They especially know the enormous importance of custom, which the speculative mind very readily forgets, and they have in the highest degree that peculiar sense which fits men for dealing with others in the affairs of ordinary life. In this respect they are remarkably superior to clergymen, and superior also to artists and men of science.
The profession of the law provides ample opportunities for a critical intellect with a strong love of accuracy and a robust capacity for hard work, besides which it is the best of worldly educations. Some lawyers love their work as passionately as artists do theirs, others dislike it very heartily, most of them seem to take it as a simple business to be done for daily bread. Lawyers whose heart is in their work are invariably men of superior ability, which proves that there is The profession of medicine is, of all fairly something in it that affords gratification to lucrative professions, the one best suited to the the intellectual powers. However, in speak-development of the intellectual life. Having ing of lawyers, I feel ignorant and on the out- to deal continually with science, being conside, because their profession is one of which the interior feelings can be known to no one who has not practised. One thing seems clear, they get the habit of employing the whole strength and energy of their minds for especial and temporary ends, the purpose being the service of the client, certainly not the revelation of pure truth. Hence, although they become very acute, and keen judges of that side of human nature which they habitually see (not the best side), they are not more
stantly engaged in following and observing the operation of natural laws, it produces a sense of the working of those laws which prepares the mind for bold and original speculation, and a reliance upon their unfailing regularity, which gives it great firmness and assurance. A medical education is the best possible preparation for philosophical pur
*The word "disinterested" is used here in the sense explained in Part II. Letter III.
suits, because it gives them a solid basis in|dition to Egypt, notwithstanding the prosthe ascertainable. The estimation in which pects of advantage that it offered. The reathese studies are held is an accurate meter of son he gave for this refusal was, that he the intellectual advancement of a community. could do more for science in the tranquillity When the priest is reverenced as a being above of the Jardin des Plantes. He was a strict ordinary humanity, and the physician slightly economist of time, and dreaded the loss of it esteemed, the condition of society is sure to involved in following an army, even though be that of comparative ignorance and barba- his mission would have been purely scientific. rism; and it is one of several signs which in- How much more would Cuvier have dreaded dicate barbarian feeling in our own aristocra- the interruptions of a really military existcy, that it has a contempt for the study of ence! It is these interruptions, and not any medicine. The progress of society towards want of natural ability, that are the true exenlightenment is marked by the steady social planation of the intellectual poverty which rise of the surgeon and the physician, a rise characterizes the military profession. Of all which still continues, even in Western Europe. the liberal professions it is the least studious. It is probable that before very long the medical profession will exercise a powerful influence upon general education, and take an active share in it. There are very strong reasons for the opinion that schoolmasters educated in medicine would be peculiarly well qualified to train both body and mind for a vigorous and active manhood. An immense advantage, even from the intellectual point of view, in the pursuit of medicine and surgery, is that they supply a discipline in mental heroism. Other professions do this also, but not to the same degree. The combination of an accurate training in positive science with the habitual contempt of danger and contemplation of suffering and death, is the finest possible preparation for noble studies and arduous discoveries. I ought to add, however, that medical men in the provinces, when they have not any special enthusiasm for their work, seem peculiarly liable to the deadening influences of routine, and easily fall behind their age. The medical periodicals provide
the best remedy for this.
The military and naval professions are too active, and too much bound to obedience in their activity, for the highest intellectual pursuits; but their greatest evil in this respect is the continual privation of solitude, and the frequency of interruption. A soldier's life in the higher ranks, when there is great responsibility and the necessity for personal decision, undoubtedly leads to the most brilliant employment of the mental powers, and develops a manliness of character which is often of the greatest use in intellectual work; so that a man of science may find his force augmented, and better under control, for having passed through a military experience; but the life of barracks and camps is destructive to continuity of thinking. The incompatibility becomes strikingly manifest when we reflect how impossible it would have been for Ney or Massena to do the work of Cuvier or Comte. Cuvier even declined to accompany the expe
Let me say a word in conclusion about the practical pursuit of the fine arts. are often remarkable for pleasant conversational power, and a degree of intelligence strikingly superior to their literary culture. This is because the processes of their art can be followed, at least under certain circumstances, by the exercise of hand and eye, directed merely by artistic taste and experience, whilst the intellect is left free either for reflection or conversation. Rubens liked to be read to when he painted; many artists like to hear people talk, and to take a share occasionally in the conversation. The truth is that artists, even when they work very assiduously, do in fact enjoy great spaces of intellectual leisure, and often profit by them. Painting itself is also a fine discipline for some of the best faculties of the mind, though it is well known that the most gifted artists think least about their art. Still there is a large class of painters, including many eminent ones, who proceed intellectually in the execution of their works, who reason them out philosophically step by step, and exercise a continual criticism upon their manual labor as it goes forward. I find, as I know art and artists better, that this class is more numerous than is commonly suspected, and that the charming effects which we believe to be the result of pure inspiration have often been elaborately reasoned out like a problem in mathematics. We are very apt to forget that art includes a great science, the science of natural appearances, and that the technical work of painters and engravers cannot go forward safely without the profoundest knowledge of certain delicate materials, this being also a science, and a difficult one. The common tendency is to underrate (from ignorance) what is intellectual in the practice of the fine arts; and yet the artists of past times have left evidence enough that they thought about art, and thought deeply. Artists are often illiterate; but it is possible to be at the
same time illiterate and intellectual; as we every man has some two or three or more acsee frequent examples of book-learning in complishments which he fancies would be people who have scarcely a single idea of quite adequate to his support; and remem
bering with what success the exercise of these gifts has ever been hailed in the society of his friends, he has a sort of generous dislike to be obliged to eclipse some poor drudge of a professional, who, of course, will be con
TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO HAD LITERARY signed to utter oblivion after his own per
AND ARTISTIC TASTES, BUT NO PROFESSION.
The world only recognizes performance-Uselessness of botchhandicraft—Delusions of the well-to-do-Quotation from Charles Lever-Indifference, and even contempt, for skill -Moral contempt for skill-The contempt which comes from the pride of knowledge-Intellectual value of skill
work-Vastness of the interval between botch-work and
and of professional di ciplin..
formance. Augustus Bramleigh was certainly not a conceited or a vain man, and yet he had often in his palmy days imagined how easy it would be for him to provide for his own support. He was something of a musician; he sang pleasingly; he drew a little; he knew something of three or four modern languages; he had that sort of smattering acIt is not a graceful thing for me to say, nor quaintance with questions of religion, polipleasant for you to hear, that what you have tics, and literature which the world calls bedone hitherto in art and literature is neither ing well-informed,' and yet nothing short of of any value in itself nor likely to lead you the grave necessity revealed to him that towto that which is truly and permanently satis-ards the object of securing a livelihood a fying. I believe you have natural ability, cobbler in his bulk was out-and-out his masthough it would not be easy for any critic to ter. The world has no need of the man of measure its degree when it has never been small acquirements, and would rather have. developed by properly-directed work. Most its shoes mended by the veriest botch of a critics would probably err on the unfavorable professional than by the cleverest amateur side, for we are easily blind to powers that that ever studied a Greek sandal." are little more than latent. To see anything encouraging in your present performance, it would need the sympathy and intelligence of the American sculptor Greenough, of whom it was said that "his recognition was not limited to achievement, but extended to latent powers." The world, however, recognizes nothing short of performance, because the performance is what it needs, and promises are of no use to it.
Something of this illusion, which Charles Lever has touched so truly, may be due to a peculiarity of the English mind in its present (not quite satisfactory) stage of development, a peculiarity which I am not the first to point out, since it has been already indicated by Mr. Pointer, the distinguished artist; and 1 think that this peculiarity is to be found in very great force, perhaps in greater force than elsewhere, in that well-to-do English middle In this rough justice of the world there is a class in which you have been born and edunatural distribution of rewards. You will be cated. It consists in a sort of indifference to paid, in fame and money, for all excellent skill of all kinds, which passes into something work; and you will be paid, in money, though not very far from active contempt when a not in fame, for all work that is even simply call is made for attention, recognition, admigood, provided it be of a kind that the world ration. The source of this feeling will probaneeds, or fancies that it needs. But you will bly be found in the inordinate respect for never be paid at all for botch-work, neither wealth, between which and highly developed in money nor in fame, nor by your own in-personal skill, in anything, there is a certain ward approval. antagonism or incompatibility. The men of For we all of us either know that our botch-real skill are almost always men who earn work is worthless, or else have serious mis- their living by their skill. The feeling of the givings about it. That which is less common- middle-class capitalists concerning the skilful ly realized by those who have not undergone man may be expressed, not unjustly, as folthe test of professional labor is the vastness lows: "Yes, he is very clever; he may well of the interval that separates botch-work be clever-it is his trade; he gets his living from handicraft, and the difficulty of getting by it." This is held to exonerate us from the over it. "There are few delusions," Charles burden of admiration, and there is not any se Lever said in "The Bramleighs, more rious interest in the achievements of human common with well-to-do people than the be- endeavor as evidence of the marvellous natural lief that if 'put to it' they could earn their endowments and capabilities of the human own livelihood in a variety of ways. Almost organism. In some minds the indifference to
skill is more active and grows into very real, being "at the head of the profession"? Bythough not openly expressed contempt. This ron's vexation was not entirely due to jealcontempt is partly moral, The skilful man ousy of Wordsworth, though that may have always rejoices in his skill with a heaven-be- had something to do with it, nor was it due stowed joy and delight-one of the purest and either to an aristocratic dislike of being in a most divine pleasures given by God to man- "profession" himself, though this feeling may an encouragement to labor, and a reward, the have had a certain influence; it was due to best reward, after his arduous apprenticeship. a proper sense of the dignity of the intellectBut there is a sour and severe spirit, hating ual life. Buffon could not bear to be called a all innocent pleasures, which despises the glad-"naturalist," and Cuvier in the same way ness of the skilful as so much personal vanity. disliked the title of Hellenist, because it There is also the contempt for skill which sounded professional: he said that though he comes from the pride of knowledge. To at- knew more Greek than all the Academy he tain skill in anything a degree of application was not a Hellenist as Gail was, because he is necessary which absorbs more time than did not live by Greek. the acquisition of knowledge about the thing, Now, if this feeling had arisen merely from so that the remarkably skilful man is not a dislike to having it supposed that one is likely to be the erudite man. There have obliged to earn his own living, it would have been instances of men who possessed both been a contemptibly vulgar sentiment, whoskill and learning. The American sculptor ever professed it. Nothing can be more honGreenough, and the English painter Dyce, orable to a man than to earn his bread by were at the same time both eminently skilful, honest industry of any kind, whether it be in their craft and eminently learned out of manual or intellectual, and still I feel with it; but the combination is very rare. There-Byron, and Buffon, and Cuvier, that the great fore, the possession of skill has come to be con- instruments of the world's intellectual culture sidered presumptive evidence of a want of ought not to be, in the ordinary sense, profesgeneral information. sions. Byron said that poetry, as he understood it, was "an art, an attribute," but not what is understood by a "profession." Surely the same is true of all the highest intellectual work, in whatever kind. You could scarcely consider Faraday's life to be what is commonly understood by a professional life. Tyndall says that if Faraday had chosen to employ his talents in analytical chemistry he might have realized a fortune of 150,000. Now that would have been a professional existence; but the career which Faraday chose (happily for science) was not professional, but intellectual. The distinction between the professional and the intellectual lives is perfectly clear in my own mind, and therefore I ought to be able to express it clearly. Let me make the attempt.
But the truth is that professional skill is knowledge tested and perfected by practical application, and therefore has a great intellectual value. Professional life is to private individuals what active warfare is to a military state. It brings to light every deficiency, and reveals our truest needs. And therefore it seems to me a matter for regret that you should pass your existence in irresponsible privacy, and not have your attainments tested by the exigencies of some professional The discipline which such a career affords, and which no private resolution can ever adequately replace, may be all that is wanting to your development
The purpose of a profession, of a profession pure and simple, is to turn knowledge and talent to pecuniary profit. On the other hand, the purpose of cultivated men, or men of genius, who work in an unprofessional spirit, is to increase knowledge, or make it more accurate, or else simply to give free exercise to high faculties which demand it. The distinction is so clear and trenchant that most intellectual men, whose private fortunes are not large, prefer to have a profession distinct from their higher intellectual work, in order to secure the perfect independence of the latter. Mr. Smiles, in his valuable book on 'Character," gives a list of eminent intellectual men who have pursued real professional