Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/110

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

restrain men from those excesses and faults of taste into which even the greatest Englishmen are apt to fall, and which should keep distinctly before our minds the conviction that we only obtain worthy intellectual liberty when we recognise the necessity of subordination to the highest minds. To imbibe the teaching of the Zeitgeist, to know what is the true living thought of the age and who are its great men, is to accept a higher rule, and not merely (as he put it) to exchange the errors of Miall for the errors of Mill: to become a vulgar Freethinker instead of a vulgar Dissenter.

The doctrine of culture is, of course, in some sense the common property of all cultivated men. Carlyle, like Arnold, wished for an exit from Houndsditch and a relinquishment of Hebrew old clothes. But Arnold detested Carlyle's Puritanism, and was alienated by his sulphurous and volcanic explosiveness. Mill hated the tyranny of the majority, and, of course, rejected the Puritan theology. But Mill was a Benthamite, and Benthamism was the natural doctrine of the Philistine. Mill's theories would lead, though in spite of himself, to that consummation which Arnold most dreaded—the general dominion of the Commonplace: to the definitive imposition