Page:Studies of a Biographer 1.djvu/48

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34
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

Perhaps a more interesting glimpse of the same period is given by the history of Richard Carlile, the freethinker, who suffered over nine years' imprisonment for spreading opinions offensive to most of his neighbours, but of whom it is said—and, I think, justly—that he did more than any man of his time to promote the freedom of the Press. His career, at any rate, is curiously illustrative of the final struggle in that cause. If you prefer a martyrdom in a different cause, you may look at the life of Edmund Castle, who made 'an epoch in Semitic scholarship.' He was a man of property who chose to labour eighteen or nineteen hours a day at a lexicon—a dictionary-maker again! He lost his health, suffered (it does not quite appear how) fractures and contusions of his limbs, almost lost his sight, and spent all his money. He published his immortal work by subscription, and had to wait for months at the place of sale before he could get a small part of his edition sold. The poor man got a little preferment at last towards the end of his life; but certainly scholars will not grudge him some sympathy. I will, however, go no further. I see many more suggestive names. The Cartwrights, for example, include an important inventor of