William Rees-Mogg laments the fact that Thomas Carlyle "remains almost unread even by well-read people."
If you want to know why he's unread, try this, his Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question, in which he asserts the inferiority of blacks:
Our interesting black population, equalling almost in number of heads one of the Ridings of Yorkshire, and in worth, in (quantity of intellect, faculty, docility, energy, and available human valor and value) perhaps one of the streets of Seven Dials, are all doing remarkably well.
And defends slavery:
No black man who will not work according to what ability the gods have given him for working, has the smallest right to eat pumpkin, or to any fraction of land that will grow pumpkin, however plentiful such land may be; but has an indisputable and perpetual right to be compelled, by the real proprietors of said land, to do competent work for his living...
If the black gentleman is born to be a servant, and, in fact, is useful in God’s creation only as a servant, then let him hire not by the month, but by a very much longer term.
In saying this, Carlyle was not merely expressing the views of his age. He begins his drone by saying his readers "probably...will not in the least like it."
But here's a queer thing. Rees-Mogg goes on to praise this biography of John Locke, saying that lovers of liberty will find it indispensable. Which raises the question. Why does Rees-Mogg fail to see that lovers of liberty will also find Carlyle utterly repellent?