He thoroughly believed in literature; but in politics he seemed to have no belief at all. Men in so-called public life were to him, I will not say insincere men, but so placed as to be by their calling almost beyond the pale of sincerity. To his feeling, all departmental work was the bungled, muddled routine of the Circumlocution Office. Statecraft was odious to him; and though he would probably never have asserted that a country could be maintained without legislative or executive, he seemed to regard such devices as things so prone to evil, that the less of them the better it would be for the country,--and the farther a man kept himself from their immediate influence the better it would be for him. I never heard any man call Dickens a radical; but if any man was ever so, he was a radical at heart,--believing entirely in the people, writing for them, speaking for them, and always desirous to take their part against some undescribed and indiscernible tyrant, who to his mind loomed large as an official rather than as an autocratic despot.That seems impressively acute for having been written in the moment and by a temperament so opposed. But having written in praise of Trollope's assessment I feel I should also point out where he goes wrong (though I'll cop to sharing this next passage largely because its air of bafflement is so much fun to quote):
Of DIckens's style it is impossible to speak in praise. It is jerky, ungrammatical, and created by himself in defiance of rules--almost as completely as that created by Carlyle. To readers who have taught themselves to regard language, it must therefore be unpleasant. . . . No young novelist should ever dare to imitate the style of Dickens. If such a one wants a model for his language, he can take Thackeray.At least he had the restraint not to suggest himself as a model.