CONTENTS I. JOGELIN OF BRAKELOND II. ST. EDMUNDSBUKY III. LANDLORD EDMUND IV. ABBOT HUGO V. TWELFTH CENTURY VI. MONK SAMSON VII. THE CANVASSING VIII. THE ELECTION IX. ABBOT SAMSON X. GOVERNMENT XI. THE ABBOTS WAYS XII. THE ABBOTS TROUBLES XIII. IN PARLIAMENT XIV. HENRY OF ESSEX XV. PRACTICALDEVOTIONAL XVI. ST. EDMUND XVII. WORKINTRODUCTIONI. Past and Present, published in April, 1843, was written Jat a heat3 in the first seven weeks of that year its composi tion formed a pleasant interlude in the four rears of abstruse toil, obscure speculation, futile wrestling, and misery which Carlyle spent over his Onmicefl. The purpose of the book as a whole is apparent in its title: it is an attempt to find in the past a remedy for the present. Carlyle as he explains in Chapter I Bad been horrified by the sight of fifty robust paupers idly sitting outside the Workhouse of St. Ives in Huntingdonshire this he thought typical of the condition of England: cin the midst of plethoric plenty, the people perish And, happening to read the recently edited Chronicle of Jocelin, he drew, by way of contrast, a somewhat idealized picture of the benevolent dis cipline of a mediaeval monastery, under the government of a truly heroic figure, the Abbot Samson. With the Present sections of the work we are not here concerned: Book II, The Ancient Monk, is alone printed in this edition.1 Nor has the world at large any great interest in the rest of the book. The conditions which infuriated Carlyle have changed, and, though it would be folly to deny the existence of similar defects in our social organization, still the particular grievances of the Chartists have dis 1 appeared. Again, regarded as literature, the Abbot Sam son episode is plainly the finest part of the book. Carlyle ith a few omissions. One has only to read the Chronicle to pr,e:vf that Carlyle hus extracted every incident, indeed every phrae, worthy of remembrance it is he who turns to our ae the w macjie speculum: in which these ancient monks still Mve for us Caiiyle, not Jocelin, is the sacer vates of imcn. And though it may be true as the Dictionary of Stiww? Bwgwpy asserts that Cariyles hero is rather a rhetorical construction than a historical personage, and though he is certainly more infallible than in Jocelins pages, yet, on the whole, it is a, true and sympathetic picture that Carlyle presents of Samsons character and work. II. The Benedictine monastery of Bury St. Edmunds was founded by Canute in 1050, in honour of the relics of St. Edmund, which had been brought there more than a century before. Samson 11351211, the tenth abbot, was consecrated in 11S2. Under his rule the Abbey prospered he added to its buildings, and founded St. Saviours Hospital in the Cf. this illuminating criticism by George Meredith Letter to Captain Masse, Jan. 2, 1870: I hold that he Carlyle is the nearest to being an inspired writer of any man in our times he does proclaim inviolable law : lie speaks from the deep springs of life. All this.