[Chapter 6, note 11, of the author's Carlyle and the Search for Authority, which the Ohio State University Press published in 1991. It appears in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright. indicates a link to material not in the original print version. GPL]

Carlyle's defense of Eyre has sometimes been confused with his implicit proslavery arguments in "The Negro Question" and "Ilias in Nuce." Those writings had used the argument that slavery constitutes a potentially superior form of relationship between employers and workers to industrial capitalism. But the Eyre controversy had to do with the relationship between governors and governed, not employers and employed. The merits of his earlier argument aside, Carlyle's argument in this case has to do with sustaining social order-saving the ship — -rather than creating just social relationships, and the charge against Eyre was not that he intervened paternalistically to make the Jamaicans work — the action Carlyle advocated in "The Negro Question" but that he had treated them ruthlessly and unjustly.


Contents last modified 26 October 2001