The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324,
April, 1886, by Various

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Title: The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324, April, 1886

Author: Various

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NO. CCCXXIV.       APRIL, 1886.       VOL. CLXII.


I. Matthew Parish

II. The Christian Brothers.—Religious Schools in France and England.

III. Archives of the Venetian Republic.

IV. Yeomen Farmers in Norway.

V. Oliver Cromwell: his character illustrated by himself.

VI. Travels in the British Empire.

VII. The Bishop of Durham on the Ignatian Epistles.

VIII. Books and Reading.

IX. Characteristics of Democracy.

X. The Gladstone-Morley Administration.

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Art. Page

I.—Matthæi Parisiensis, Monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica Majora. Edited by Henry Richards Luard, D.D., Fellow of Trinity College, Registrary of the University, and Vicar of Great St. Mary's Cambridge. Published by the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the direction of the Master of the Rolls. 7 vols. 8vo. London, Vol I. 1872—Vol. VII. 1883. 293

II.—1. The Christian Brothers, their Origin and Work, with a sketch of the Life of their Founder, The Venerable Jean Baptiste de la Salle. By Mrs. R. F. Wilson. London, 1883.

2. La Première Année d'Instruction Morale et Civique: notions de droit et d'économie politique (Textes et Récits) pour répondre à la loi du 28 Mars 1882 sur l'enseignement primaire obligatoire: ouvrage accompagné de Résumé, de Questionnaires, de Devoirs, et d'un Lexique des mots difficiles. Par Pierre Laloi. Quatorzième Edition. Paris, 1885.

3. Report of the Committee of Council on Education (England and Wales). 1884-85.

4. Seventy-fourth Annual Report of the Incorporated National Society. 1885.325

III.—The State Papers of the Venetian Republic; namely, Cancelleria Inferiore, Cancelleria Ducale, Cancelleria Secreta, preserved in the Convent of the Frari, at Venice. 356

IV.—1. Journal of a Residence in Norway during the years 1834, 1835, and 1836. By Samuel Laing, Esq. London, 1837.

2. Le Royaume de Norvège et le Peuple Norvégien. Par le Dr. O. I. Broch. Christiania, 1878.

3. Official Reports of Prefects on the Economic Condition of the Provinces of Norway in 1876-80. Christiania, 1884.

4. Publications of the Statistical Bureau Christiania. 384

V.—A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Esq.; Secretary, first to the Council of State, and afterwards to the Two Protectors, Oliver and Richard Cromwell. In Seven Volumes, containing authentic Memorials of the English affairs from the year 1638 to the Restoration of King Charles II. Vol. III. London, 1742. 414

VI.—1. Oceana, or England and her Colonies. By James Anthony Froude. London, 1886.

2. Through the British Empire. By Baron von Hübner. 2. vols. London, 1886.

3. The Western Pacific and New Guinea. By Hugh Hastings Romilly, Deputy Commissioner of the Western Pacific. London, 1886. 443

VII.—The Apostolic Fathers: S. Ignatius, S. Polycarp. Revised Texts, with Introductions, Notes, Dissertations, and Translations. By J. B. Lightfoot, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D., Bishop of Durham. London, 1885. 2 vols. 467

VIII.—1. An Address delivered to the Students of Edinburgh University on Nov. 3, 1885. By the Earl of Iddesleigh, Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh.

2. Hearing, Reading and Thinking: an address to the Students attending the Lectures of the London Society for the Extension of University Teaching. By the Rt. Hon. G. J. Goschen, M.P.

3. The Choice of Books and other Literary Pieces. By Frederic Harrison. London, 1886. 501

IX.—1. Popular Government. Four Essays. By Sir Henry Sumner Maine. Second Edition. London, 1886.

2. Democracy in America. By Alexis de Tocqueville. Translated by Henry Reeve. New Edition. London, 1862.

3. On the State of Society in France before the Revolution of 1789. Translated by Henry Reeve. Second Edition. London, 1873. 518

And other Works.

X.—1. Fourth Midlothian Campaign. Political Speeches delivered, November, 1885, by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. Edinburgh, 1886.

2. John Morley: The Irish Record of the New Chief Secretary, 1886.

3. Ireland: A Book of Light on the Irish Problem. Edited by Andrew Reid. London, 1886. 544

And other Works.

[Pg 293]

ART. I.—Matthæi Parisiensis, Monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica Majora. Edited by Henry Richards Luard, D.D., Fellow of Trinity College, Registrary of the University, and Vicar of Great St. Mary's, Cambridge. Published by the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the direction of the Master of the Rolls. 7 vols. 8vo. London, Vol. I. 1872—Vol. VII. 1883.

Some of our readers are not likely yet to have forgotten the remarkable essay which the late Professor Brewer contributed to our pages in 1871, and which has since been reprinted in the volume of 'English Studies,' published shortly after the author's death in 1879. English History owes a larger debt to few men of our time than it owes to Mr. Brewer. As a teacher whose pupils were always eager to listen to all that fell from his lips, and whose enthusiasm never failed to awake a kindred spark in the minds of those who looked to him for light in dark places and guidance along tortuous paths of research, Mr. Brewer has had few equals, and perhaps has left no successor who can compare with him. As a writer he was always brilliant, lucid, and vigorous, and his unrivalled 'Introductions' to the Calendars of Letters and Papers, concerned with the reign of Henry VIII., will long continue to be read by all students of our History, as necessary and indispensable interpreters of the vast storehouses of original documents which he did so much to rescue from the oblivion or obscurity to which they had previously been consigned. But it was as an organizer of research that Mr. Brewer earned his greatest fame and achieved his greatest success, and it was to him more than to any one man, to his immense persistence in urging upon the powers that be a more generous freedom of access to our Records, and to his prodigious powers of work in arranging and tabulating the enormous masses of documents of all kinds which constitute the[Pg 294] Apparatus of English History, that this country stands indebted, and will remain indebted as long as our literature lasts.

In the Essay on 'New Sources of English History' the learned author has given us a startling account of the deplorable condition into which some of the most precious of our national manuscripts had been allowed to fall—of the utterly chaotic state of our depositories—of the hopelessness, the despair which must needs have come upon one student after another who might be fortunate enough to be turned loose into the various prison-houses of our muniments—and of the efforts made, and happily at last made with splendid success, to cleanse the Augean stable, and to let the world know something of the wealth it contained. With characteristic modesty Mr. Brewer said nothing of his own part in all that laborious and sagacious organization which resulted in our obtaining the magnificent Calendars, which have opened out to us all 'that new world which is the old' that had become almost forgotten or unknown. He was not the man to assert himself, he knew that posterity would give him his due, but with a simple desire to stimulate research, and to show how much remained to be done, and how much to be discovered and made known, he drew the attention of his readers chiefly and primarily to the value of the Calendars, and to the important results which those Calendars had already produced, and were destined to produce hereafter. He had quite enough to say upon this point, and if his life had been spared, it is probable that he would eventually have given us a more comprehensive account of the series of volumes which, though now issuing from the press pari passu with the Calendars, were originally undertaken a little later. Such an Essay by such a master would indeed have been an important aid to the student, but at the time of Mr. Brewer's lamented death the day had hardly come for such a résumé; and even now, though so much has been achieved, so much and so well, the hour has hardly arrived nor the man for taking a comprehensive survey, and giving to the public an intelligent and intelligible account of that other Library of Chronicles, and biographies, and letters, and cartularies, and those other memorials of the Middle Ages in England, which it is to be feared are hardly as well known as they ought to be, nor as widely studied as they deserve.

Meanwhile it is high time that attention should be drawn to that noble series of volumes now issuing from the press under the editorship of scholars whose reputation is assured, and whose work continues to enhance their reputation—high time that we should begin to do something like justice to the labourers,[Pg 295] who have deserved so well at the hands of such Englishmen as have any sentiment of loyalty to the great thoughts, the great doings, and the noble lives of their forefathers. The philosopher, who 'holds the mirror up to nature,' has not of late, as a rule, missed his reward. The historian, who in his dogged, patient, toilsome fashion holds the mirror up to the life of bygone ages, has received among us scant recognition, and generally is rewarded with but barren honour. What has been done and still is doing will be best understood by briefly reviewing the progress of that movement, which has brought about the great revival of English Historical study, and under the influence of which the opinions and convictions of educated men have passed through a very decided change, one destined to produce still greater and more unlooked for changes of sentiment and belief before the present century shall have closed.

It is just fifty years since 'the Father of Record Reform,' as he has been justly called, received his patent creating him Master of the Rolls. Although as far back as the year 1800 a Commission was issued for the methodizing and digesting the National Records, and for printing such calendars and indexes as should be thought advisable; and though during the next twenty-seven years many works of supreme interest and importance were printed at the public expense, the enormous extent of our National Records were known to few, and the difficulty of consulting them, (dispersed as they were through a score of different depositories) was enough to deter all but the most resolute enquirers. It was Lord Langdale who first set himself to reduce the chaos of our archives into something like order. When the old Record Commission expired in 1837, it was by Lord Langdale's influence that the Public Record Act was passed on the 14th of August, 1838, whereby the Records named therein were placed under the custody of the Master of the Rolls for the time being, and hereupon a new era began. Nevertheless it was not till July 1850 that a vote was obtained from the Treasury for the erection of a national depository, wherein our vast archives should be assembled under a single roof, and not till 1855 that the magnificent Tabularium in Fetter Lane was opened for the reception of our muniments.

Lord Langdale died in April 1851;[1] he was succeeded in the Mastership of the Rolls by Lord Romilly, then Sir John. A happier choice could not have been made. To Lord Langdale belongs the credit of carrying out the grand scheme for consolidating[Pg 296] the various collections of documents, which, as we have said, had up to this time been widely dispersed, and the very existence of the larger mass of which was known only to a few experts. To Lord Romilly we owe it that the great original sources of English History so assembled have been rendered accessible to any student who desires to consult them; and it is to him, too, that we are indebted for the issue of that unrivalled series of 'Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland, from the Invasion of the Romans to the Reign of Henry VIII.,' which has laid the foundation for a science of history firmer and deeper and wider than before was believed to be even attainable.

Great men are at once the leaders and the product of their age. When Lord Langdale set himself to his task he was only attempting that which had been talked of since the reign of Edward II. For five centuries the unification of our National Records had been recommended and advised by lawyers, statesmen, and scholars from generation to generation, but no practical scheme had ever been suggested, and the difficulties in the way of reform were supposed to be insuperable. It was a Herculean task, and one that grew ever more arduous the longer it was postponed. During the first quarter of the present century profound dissatisfaction had begun to be felt at the condition of our historical literature. The ordinary text-books were full of fables, more than suspected to be fables, and which yet it was extremely difficult to disprove satisfactorily. Theories which had long passed current were being rudely assailed, and yet—in the face of the obstacles that hindered research—stubbornly held their ground, or were repeated with peremptory dogmatism. A deep distrust of the old methods and the old assumptions had given rise to a widespread desire to drag forth from their hiding-places any documents, however dry or recondite, which might throw some clear light upon our national life and manners, and not only upon mere events of national importance during Medieval times. A desire to know the truth was in the air. The science of history had passed out of its infancy, and the stirrings of a new craving—the passion of Research—were making themselves felt in that mysterious restlessness which indicates that the old smooth-faced docility, the old childish submission to tutelage, the old unquestioning acceptance of authority, has gone for ever, and a new life has begun. The year before Lord Langdale received his appointment as Master of the Rolls, the Surtees Society had been founded for the printing of unedited MSS. illustrative of the history of the northern counties; and[Pg 297] in the same year that the old Record Commission expired, the English Historical Society was started, a society which numbered amongst its promoters such men as the late Mr. Kemble, Mr. H. O. Coxe, Sir T. Duffus Hardy, and Mr. Stevenson—the leaders and teachers of that school of younger men who have so ably followed in the steps of their seniors, and who, mounting on the shoulders of the giants, have gained a wider view than it was given to those others to attain. The five years that followed saw the foundation of the Camden, the Percy, and the Chetham Societies, not to mention many another that has done useful work in its way. The labours of these pioneers soon made it quite apparent that the sources of our national history—social, ecclesiastical, and political—were quite too voluminous for private enterprise to deal with, and would demand the co-operation of a body of trained scholars and the resources of the public exchequer to make them available as apparatus for the teachers of the future.

On the 26th of January, 1857, Sir John Romilly submitted to the Treasury his memorable proposal for the publication of certain materials for the History of England;[2] and on the 9th of February a Treasury Minute was put forth approving of the plan that had been drawn up as one 'well calculated for the accomplishment of this important national object in an effectual and satisfactory manner within a reasonable time.' Forthwith arrangements were made for the issue of that series of works which is now known as the 'Rolls Series,' a collection which has already extended to upwards of 200 volumes.

The lines laid down by Sir John Romilly were almost exactly those which had been followed by the English Historical Society. Every editor was to 'give an account of the MSS. employed by him, of their age and their peculiarities;' he was to add 'a brief account of the life and times of the author, and any remarks necessary to explain the chronology; but no other note or comment was to be allowed, except what might be necessary to establish the correctness of the text.' The restriction was absolutely necessary if only for this, that when the 'Rolls Series' was first commenced even the most accomplished of its editors were mere learners. The time had not yet arrived for comments. The text was wanted first in its completeness and integrity.

Looking back to this period—little more than a quarter of a century ago—it is difficult for us to realize the deplorable condition[Pg 298] into which our historical literature had been allowed to fall. Kemble's great work, the 'Codex Diplomaticus ævi Saxonici,' the first volume of which appeared in 1839, and his 'History of the Saxons in England,' published in 1849, came upon the great body of intelligent men as the revelation of new things. It is sufficient to turn to the chapter on the Constitutional History of England before the Conquest, in Hallam's 'History of the Middle Ages,' to be assured how meagre and superficial even Hallam's knowledge was of everything before the Norman invasion. It was no fault of his; he made good use of all such materials as were then accessible to the student—that is, all such as had been printed; for that incomparably larger apparatus which since Hallam's days has been published to the world, it was for all practical purposes as if it had never existed at all. Even men of culture and learning were persuaded that all that was ever likely to be known about the religious houses had been collected in the new edition of Dugdale's 'Monasticon.' It is hardly too much to say that of the history of English monasticism Hallam knew nothing. Dr. Lingard himself had very little more to say of the great Abbeys than his predecessors, and had a very inadequate conception of the part they played in the development of our institutions; and when Dr. Maitland wrote his brilliant 'Essays on the Dark Ages,' he hardly names St. Edmundsbury or St. Alban's, and though one of his most fascinating chapters is concerned with the early days of Croyland, his only authority for the beautiful story, which he has handled so skilfully, is a romantic narrative attributed to Ingulphus, which has been demonstrated to be a somewhat clumsy though a clever forgery. Of the Mendicant Orders—of the work they did, of the influence they exercised, and of the attitude adopted towards them in the 13th century by the parochial clergy on the one hand, and by the monks on the other—even less was known, if less were possible, than of their wealthier rivals.

Two years had scarcely elapsed since the issue of the Treasury Minute of February, 1857, before it began to be said that the history of England would have to be written anew. In the single year 1858 eleven works of the highest importance were printed, and it was evident that neither original materials nor scholarly editors would be wanting to make the 'Rolls Series' all that it was desired it should become. The 'Chronicles of the Monasteries of Abingdon and of St. Augustine at Canterbury,' the contemporary 'Life of Edward the Confessor,' and the priceless 'Monumenta Franciscana,' telling the wonderful story of the settlement of the Minorites among us, were printed[Pg 299] from unique MSS. Next year the 'Chronicle of John of Oxnedes' was brought out by Sir Henry Ellis, and the 'Historia Anglicana' of Bartholomew Cotton, by Dr. Luard, neither work having ever before been printed. Volume followed volume in rapid succession, a steady improvement becoming observable in the style of editing, as the several editors became more familiar with the results of their predecessors' labours.

It was while working at Bartholomew Cotton that Dr. Luard was brought into intimate relations with the 13th century. Hitherto the composite character of such chronicles as had been published had indeed been perceived, but no attempt had been made to trace the original authority for statements repeated in the same words by one writer after another. Dr. Luard opened out a new line of enquiry, and in his edition of Cotton's Chronicle he endeavoured to distinguish in every instance the material which might fairly be called original from that which his author had borrowed from older writers and incorporated into his text. The borrowed matter was printed in smaller type, and the sources from which it had been derived were indicated by references given at the foot of the page. Cottons' own additions were printed in a bolder type, so as at once to catch the eye. While conducting the laborious researches necessitated by this new method of editing his text, it became clear to Dr. Luard that Cotton had borrowed largely from Matthew Paris—who had lived just a generation before him—and that he had also borrowed from a mysterious writer much read in the 14th and 15th centuries, who went by the name of Matthew of Westminster. As to this Matthew of Westminster, Dr. Luard postponed dealing with him till some future time. He might prove a mere mythic personage, and it was suspected he would; but Matthew Paris was certainly no shadow, but a very real man, whose greatness seemed to grow greater the more he was studied and the better he was known. Yet as Dr. Luard became more familiar with the text of Paris, he was soon convinced that in its printed form it was bristling with the grossest inaccuracies of all kinds. Originally it had been published under the authority of Archbishop Parker in 1571; and though other editions had appeared, in this country and on the Continent, several times since then, Paris's great work had remained exactly in the same state as Parker (or whoever his agent was) had left it three centuries ago. That is to say, that by far the most important work on English history during the 13th century—not to mention European affairs—and by far the most minute and trustworthy picture of English life and manners during the reign of Henry III.—a[Pg 300] record, too, drawn up by a contemporary writer of rare genius and literary skill—was defaced by blunders, audacious tampering with the text and gross inaccuracies, to such an extent that no conscientious student could allow himself to quote the printed work without first referring to one of the very MSS. which the Archbishop professed to have used.

Nevertheless, the task of bringing out a critical edition of the 'Chronica Majora' did not appear less formidable as fresh sources of information cropped up; and Dr. Luard shrank from the immense labour that such an edition involved, it was because he had formed a correct notion of its magnitude. In 1861 he brought out in the same series the 'Letters of Robert Grosseteste,' the heroic and magnanimous Bishop of Lincoln; and while working at this volume, the England of the 13th century became more and more alive and present to the mind of the student.

But distinctly and grandly as one noble character after another revealed itself, there was a strange mist that required to be dispelled before even the importance of great events could be rightly estimated. The inner life of the monasteries, great and small, must be enquired into, so far as it was possible to get any information on so obscure a subject; and, above all, the paramount influence which so magnificent an institution as the Abbey of St. Alban's exercised upon the intellectual life of the country must be studied with patient impartiality. Before a scholar with so lofty an ideal of an editor's duty could venture upon his magnum opus, there was indeed an enormous mass of preliminary work to get through. The horizon seemed to widen everywhere as the years of historical discovery went on. It was left to Mr. Riley to attack that wonderful collection of documents to which he gave the title of 'Chronica Monasterii Sancti Albani'—a series occupying twelve thick volumes, and which furnish us not only with a priceless apparatus, by the help of which a hundred problems perplexing the historian are furnished with a clue towards their solution—but which afford such an insight into the life of the greatest monastery in England during its best times as nobody expected could ever be forthcoming. While Mr. Riley was occupied with the Chronicles of St. Alban's and the lives of its Abbots, Dr. Luard was engaged in collecting all the Annals of the lesser monasteries which he could lay his hands on. Some of these had already been printed more or less carelessly; others had never seen the light since they were written. Such as were printed were extremely difficult to procure—scarce and costly. Dr. Luard took six years in bringing out his five volumes—volumes[Pg 301] referring to the golden age of English Monasticism, which threw all sorts of side-light upon Mr. Riley's 'Chronicles,' while they were in turn continually being explained and illustrated by them.

While the 'Monastic Annals' were passing through the press, a very startling announcement was made by no less a person than Sir Frederick Madden, Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum. Sir Frederick declared that he had come upon a copy of what was commonly called the 'Historia Minor' of Matthew Paris, not only written by the author himself, but actually annotated, corrected, and illustrated with drawings by his own hand. Such an announcement made by an expert of European reputation, one who had been handling MSS. all his life, necessarily created a sensation in the literary world. If it were accepted and proved true, it was one of the most curious romances in the history of literature. But was it true? To most critics the antecedent improbability of the theory put forth by Sir Frederick was so great as to relegate it to the domain of extravagant paradox; but the name and fame of its supporter were too high to allow of its being dismissed without refutation. For two or three years no one ventured to enter the lists against so formidable a champion who had staked his reputation upon the issue. At last another great specialist, not a whit less competent than the other, came forward to controvert the opinions and theory which had been so confidently maintained by Sir Frederick. In 1871 Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy brought out the third volume of his Catalogue, and it was in the famous Introduction to this volume that the Madden Hypothesis was first assailed with damaging effect. Sir Thomas, it must be remembered, was Deputy Keeper of the Records. Sir Frederick was Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum. Each was the representative man in his own department, and a very pretty quarrel arose. Into the merits of that quarrel it is impossible to enter here; it is a matter for specialists, not for outsiders, to pronounce upon. This, however, may be said with confidence, that if we except that school of very able and accomplished experts which the British Museum has trained, experts whose range of diplomatic knowledge must needs be wider than that of any 'Record man,' the refutation of Sir Frederick Madden by Sir Thomas Duffus was generally regarded as unanswerable and triumphant. With the exception indicated—a very important exception indeed—the Madden Hypothesis was believed to be utterly demolished, in fact 'blown into the air.' Nevertheless there are those, from whom something may be expected some day in[Pg 302] the way of rejoinder who are by no means sure that the last word on this question has been said that deserve to be said, and even so scrupulous and sagacious a critic as Dr. Luard seems to be less certain than he was that Madden was quite wrong in all he affirmed, and Hardy quite right in all he denied.

The attention which had been drawn to Matthew Paris by this remarkable controversy could not but have its effect in awakening a desire for that critical edition of the larger Chronicle which Dr. Luard had been so long preparing. The way was cleared for such an edition now; it was not likely that any more MSS. of the author would be discovered. Such as were deposited in the various libraries had been carefully scrutinized, or their homes were known, and the long years of preparatory study had been turned to good account—no pains had been spared nor any labour grudged. In 1872 the first volume of the 'Chronica Majora' appeared in the 'Rolls Series.' In 1884 the seventh and last volume was issued, containing the learned editor's last preface, glossary, and emendations, and an Index to the whole work, extending over nearly 600 pages. It is a long time since an English scholar has had the good fortune to carry to its completion so important a work as this, projected on so large a scale, executed with such conscientious care—characterized by so much critical skill and scrupulous accuracy—all this achieved single-handed in the midst of other duties, professional and academical, which would be quite sufficient to exhaust the energies of an ordinary man.

Now that the work has been done, and done so thoroughly that it may safely be asserted the standard edition of the 'Chronic Majora' has been published once for all, we are in a better position than we ever were heretofore for taking a survey of the life and labours of its author, and for answering the enquiries which of late have been made with increasing frequency, and made too among those who might have been expected to be able to answer them. Who and what was Matthew Paris? What did he do, and what did he write that the learned few should speak of him with so much reverence, though to the unlearned many he is little more than a famous and familiar name?

Perhaps before dealing with his personal history, or entering into any examination of his literary labours, it will be well first to answer the question—What was Matthew Paris? for it is simply impossible to estimate rightly the debt we owe to him, or to understand the brief account that could be drawn up of his career till we have learned to know something of the profession to which he belonged, and the great foundation of which he was so distinguished an ornament. By profession Matthew[Pg 303] Paris was a monk. A monk 'professed' is a term indicating the higher grade to which not every brother in a monastery attained. The very term 'profession' may be traced to the cloister. In its usual acceptation it is modern.

To dilate upon the various monastic orders, which were almost as numerous in the 13th century as the different religious denominations are in the 19th, would be out of place here. Suffice it to say that the English monasteries in Henry III.'s time counted by hundreds. But there were monasteries and monasteries. Some the homes of the scholar, the devout and the high-minded, the seats of learning and the resting-places of the studious and the aged, who hated war and tumult, and only longed for repose. Some that were mere hiding holes for the lazy and the incompetent, the failures among the younger sons of the gentry, who had not the power of pushing their way in the world, or whose career had been a disappointment. Such men, where all else failed, could get themselves admitted into some smaller religious house by the interest of the patron; sometimes bringing in a trifling addition to the common property, sometimes simply 'pitchforked' into a vacancy, it is difficult to say how. Then they became 'brethren' of the monastery, and sharers in most of the good things that it could offer; they were almost exactly in the same position as Fellows of Colleges were twenty years ago, holding their preferment for life, with this difference, that a Fellowship at the smallest College in Oxford or Cambridge always implied some qualification for the post. A College Fellow, at the worst, must have had some claims to learning or culture; whereas in the smaller and more remote monasteries a man might be scandalously ignorant, and yet gain admittance as a brother of the house.

Between the highest and the lowest of that great army of monks, dispersed through the length and breadth of the land, when English monarchism had declined from its earlier ideal, there was as great a distance as there is at this moment between the Fellows of Balliol or Trinity, and the poor brethren of the Charterhouse, or the bedesmen in the cathedrals of the old foundation.

In the first half of the 13th century English monarchism was at its best; the 12th century was emphatically the reformation age of British monarchism. All the many schemes for starting new orders with improved Rules, and all the efforts to improve the discipline of the religious houses and fan the fire of devotion among their members, assumed that the monasteries were then living institutions with vast powers for good; and institutions[Pg 304] which needed only to be reformed to make them all that the most earnest and ardent enthusiast claimed that they ought to be, and might become. In the fifty years preceding the accession of King John, more than 200 monasteries had been built and endowed—some of them munificently endowed, and the only purely English order (that of St. Gilbert of Sempringham) had been founded, and in little more than fifty years could count no less than fourteen considerable houses. Englishmen believed in the monastic system as they have never believed in anything else since then; never have such prodigious sacrifices been made, never has such lavish munificence been shown by the upper classes as during the century ending with the accession of Edward I. In the next hundred years they were chiefly the townsmen and traders, not the landed proprietors, who emptied their money-bags into the lap of the Begging friars. Certainly the great religious houses at the end of the 13th century had the entire confidence of the country, and it is impossible to understand the long reign of Henry III. unless we are fully awake to the fact that then, too, the monasteries were not only thriving and powerful, but were institutions on whose help and power the people leant with an assured confidence, because they were pre-eminently the people's friends. But between the old foundations which had a history and the new houses that were springing up in every shire, some feeling of jealousy and soreness was sure to arise. The old abbeys, with a history that looked back into a past all clouds and mist, but none the less glorious for that, affected a supercilious tone towards the mushrooms that had of late sprouted into vigorous life. A man need not be an old man who can remember when the Eton and Winchester boys at the Universities affected an air of contempt for all the 'modern' places of education, and disdained to number such institutions as Cheltenham or Clifton among the 'public schools.' These were all very well in their way, but where were their traditions? So with the older and grander Benedictine monasteries, with charters from Saxon kings, let alone anything else. Glastonbury, where men said two of the Apostles had built themselves a house of prayer, and where St. Patrick and St. Dunstan lay entombed; Canterbury, where Augustine, the English apostle, found a home; Malmesbury, where St. Aldhelm preached to the barbarous people, and when they tired of his sermon played to them upon his harp, and, anticipating Mr. Sankey, sang David's Psalms to the crowds that moved by him as they passed over the bridge of Avon. These venerable foundations, about whose origin a glamour of mystery had gathered, whose history had become strangely[Pg 305] obscured by the body of myths that had grown up in the lapse of centuries—which had survived pillage and anarchy, and all the horrors of fire and sword, desolating, devastating—were there before men's eyes, testifying to the amazing vitality which a millennium of strange vicissitude had not only not destroyed, but not even impaired. Such a mighty pile of buildings, as had risen up to heaven there in the old Roman town of Verulam, appealed to the imagination of mankind—the very materials of the massive tower, ruddy in the blaze of the noon-day, must have been a wonder and astonishment to many an awe-struck pilgrim perplexed at the first sight of Roman bricks burnt on the spot a thousand years ago. There stood the mighty Roman rampart, vast, enormous—the ground beneath his feet teeming with the tangible memories of grisly conflict, or of an old civilization that had been blotted out long ago—the swords of Roman legionaries, the bones of British heroes, coins with legends that few could read turned up by the ploughman's share. Yonder, men said, away there at Redburn, the heathen pursuers had come upon England's proto-martyr and slain the saint of God, whose bones since then had been gathered up, and were now resting in their sumptuous shrine. When the Norman came, and the new order was set up in the land—not a day before it was needed—the thirteenth Abbot of St. Alban's was of the blood royal, and heir, they said, to Cnut, the Danish king, who had passed away. It was to him that the awful Conqueror made oath he would bind himself by the Confessor's laws, an oath which, if he ever meant to keep, he meant to interpret according to his mood. Even the very laxity and shortcomings of the abbots of generations back, which tradition, and something more to be trusted than tradition, declared to have been matters of scandal, proved no more than that the great Abbey could live through evil times, outride the storms which would wreck weaker vessels, and right itself, though overloaded with abuses which timid pilots would have shrunk from throwing overboard: and now that 400 years had passed since Offa, the Saxon king—(stirred thereto by Karl, the Emperor)—had founded the monastery in St. Alban's honour, and from generation to generation vast building operations had been going on almost without interruption, and the old Abbey still held up its head proudly, its Abbot taking precedence of every other in the land; any man might be excused for thinking that to become a monk of St. Alban's Abbey was to become a personage of no small consideration.

Verily it was a great abbey in the days of King John. There, in the eighth year of that King's reign, was held that memorable[Pg 306] council which, if it had been let alone, would doubtless have issued its protest against the intolerable aggression of the Pope and his curia. There, six years afterwards, another assembly was convened; the first occasion on which we find any historical proof that representatives were summoned to a national council in England. Eight times during his reign the ruffian King was himself a guest at the Abbey. Once after John's death, when Louis was desperately struggling to hold his own against young Henry's friends and supporters, he too came to St. Alban's, and threatened to give it over to fire and sword: only money saved it from a sack. There was always something to take, and yet always wonderful state kept up. The magnates in Church and State were for ever going in and out; the mere domestic expenditure was enormous. Yet, even when the country was groaning under horrible anarchy, and grinding taxation, and war and poverty, the building went on as if men lived only to glorify the great house, and to raise its church tower, or beautify the west front, or fill the windows with stained glass, or erect the splendid pulpit in the nave—a miracle of art.

It would be a very great mistake to conclude that all this lavish expenditure implied the enjoyment of large rents from land. The revenue derived from the tenants of the Abbey and the profits of farming were no doubt considerable; but that revenue could never have sufficed alone to defray the cost of keeping up the establishment. In point of fact, when a monastery, great or small, depended wholly upon its landed property, it invariably got into debt; sometimes it got hopelessly into debt. It is clear that before the Dissolution a very large number of the religious houses were insolvent. The striking paucity in the number of 'religious' at the time of the suppression—for hardly one house in ten had its full complement of inmates—is by no means wholly to be attributed to the reluctance on the part of people in general to take upon themselves the monastic vows. Where a monastery was financially in a critical condition, the brotherhood resorted to the expedient which is at this moment being carried out at more than one College in Oxford and Cambridge. Now, when times are bad, we temporarily suppress a Fellowship; then, on the death of a brother of the house, they chose no monk into his place.

The income from landed estates at St. Alban's was probably at no time equal to what may be called the extraordinary income. The offerings at the shrines of SS. Alban and Amphibalus, the proceeds of the offertory at those magnificent and dramatic functions in which the multitude delighted, and the[Pg 307] douceurs that were always expected and almost always given in return for hospitality, which only in theory was free,—these and many another source of profit, which the universal habit of giving money for 'pious uses' supplied, all made up a sum total, in comparison with which the proceeds of the rent-roll were insignificant. In the taxation of Pope Nicholas (a. d. 1291) the whole revenue of the Abbey from rent and dues in the liberty of St. Alban's is set down at 392l. 8s. 3-1/4d., a sum which in those days would go as far as 5000l. a-year now. Even granting that this was only half the net income derivable from the Abbey's estates, which were widely distributed, an expenditure of 10,000l. a year would go in our own time a very little way towards meeting the charges which such an enormous establishment involved. The mere keeping up the buildings at all times entailed a very heavy annual outlay. Already in the 13th century the precincts of the Abbey were overcrowded with palatial edifices, which were never pulled down except to make room for larger ones. There were acres of roofs within the Abbey walls.

And what return was being made to the nation, that every rank and every class were keeping up a rivalry in munificence in favour of such an institution as this? What had they done, what were they doing, these seventy men, with their Abbot at their head, who were in the enjoyment of an income larger than that of many a principality? How was it that no one in those days accused them of being indolent drones? Mere burdens upon the earth, as they were called frequently enough, and loudly enough, and angrily enough, three centuries later? It was the age for the expansion of the monastic system—none then wished to sweep the monks away. One of the reasons why the monasteries had retained their hold upon the affection of the people, and were regarded with reverence and pride and confidence, lay in this, that they had moved with the times, and that the monasticism of the 13th was very different indeed from the monasticism of the 9th century. The primitive asceticism had almost vanished; it had not, however, died, leaving nothing in its place. No one now expected to find the religious houses filled with religious people, everyone holy, devout, and fervent; the personal sanctity of the inmates was one thing, the sanctity of their churches and shrines was quite another. In the old days the monks were separate from the world, living to save their own souls at best; examples to such as trembled at the wrath of God, and longed for the life to come. As time went on they mixed more boldly with the sinful world, and gradually they became more and more the illuminators of the darkness[Pg 308] round them. Now they were regarded as in great measure the salt of the earth, and if that salt should lose its savour, where was such virtue elsewhere to be found? Personally, the men might be worldly—vicious, as a rule, they certainly were not—they were, mutatis mutandis, what in our time would be called cultured gentlemen, courteous, highly educated and refined, as compared with the great mass of their contemporaries; a privileged class who were not abusing their privileges; a class from whence all the art and letters and accomplishments of the time emanated, allied in blood as much with the low as the high, the aristocracy of intellect, and the pioneers of scientific and material progress. The model farming of the 13th century would be regarded as barbaric by our modern theorists; but such as it was, it was only to be met with on the demesne lands of the larger monasteries, and was a prodigious advance upon the petite culture of the open fields. The Priory at Norwich made an income out of its garden in the days of Edward III., and probably much earlier; the pisciculture of the religious houses remains a mystery as yet unsolved; the skill exhibited in the management of the water-power of many a district round even the smaller houses, still awakes wonder in those who think it worth their while to study it. At St. Alban's, as at Glastonbury, St. Edmund's Abbey, and elsewhere, the culture of the vine was made profitable for generations. The monasteries were the first to give personal freedom to the villeins, and the first to commute for money payments the vexatious services which worried the best men and maddened the worst. The landlords in the 13th century were real lords of the land. They were, as a class, very poor, spite of the privileges they enjoyed and the power that they possessed of making themselves disagreeable; and though the constitution of a manor was a limited monarchy, and the limits were very many, yet the lord could exercise a great deal of petty tyranny in his little kingdom if he were so disposed. In the manors which were in the possession of the religious houses the lord was necessarily non-resident, and the tenants were left to manage their own affairs with very little interference. The tenants of the monasteries were in a far more favoured condition than the tenants of some small lord, needy and greedy, who extorted his dues literally to the last farthing, and who knew exactly what the best beast was, on the land that owed him a heriot; and, when the tenant was in extremis, kept a sharp look-out that a fat bullock or a promising young horse should not be driven off before the owner died.

So the monasteries at the time we are now concerned with[Pg 309] were regarded at once with pride and affection by the great bulk of the people; they were places of refuge where, in a turbulent time, men and women who had been stricken, bereaved or wronged, might find a quiet refuge and hide their heads and be forgotten and fall asleep, with the prayers of other sufferers to console and support them in their passage through the valley of the shadow of death. The gentlest spirits here could taste the bliss of a holy tranquillity; the ascetic could indulge his most fantastic self-immolation; the morbid visionary could dream at his will and give his imagination full play, none hindering him; evil demons might chatter and gibe and twit him at his prayers; choirs of angels might calm his despair with celestial lullabies; awful forms might rise from clouds of incense as the gorgeous procession moved along the vast church aisles, or stopped before some glittering shrine. What then? Who would question the reality of a miracle, or doubt that sublime revelations might be made to any holy monk as he wrestled in prayer with a rapture of the soul, and found himself lifted to the seventh heaven in ecstasy unutterable?

What has been said applies mainly to the older houses, those which were under what may be called the primitive Benedictine rule. If men were moved to rigid asceticism, however, and had a taste for bald simplicity; if art, and music, and ornate architecture, had no charm for them, and they dreamt that God could only be sought and found in the wilderness, the Cistercian houses offered such a congenial asylum. The Cistercians were the Puritans of the monasteries, and appealed to that mysterious sentiment which makes some minds shrink with fear from the touch of luxury, and regard culture as antagonistic to personal holiness. The sentiment was strong in the reign of Henry II., when nineteen Cistercian houses were founded; but it is not improbable that other motives, beside mere taste for a stricter discipline, led to the foundation of eight more in the reign of King John. Meanwhile the Benedictines had become by far the most learned and most educating body in the land, and pre-eminent above them all was the great Abbey of St. Alban's. If it was not at this time the centre of intellectual life in England, it was because at this time centralization was unknown. Eadmer, Florence of Worcester, Gervase of Canterbury, William of Malmesbury, Simeon of Durham, were all 12th-century Benedictines. They were all students and writers of history, and history meant literature till Peter Lombard arose at the end of the 12th century and revolutionized the world of thought—at any rate the domain of logic. John of Salisbury fiercely assails the intellectual innovators of his time on the ground that the[Pg 310] new lights of the 12th century disdained to be students of history and affected contempt for the past. It was the old story; literary culture found itself in antagonism with scientific culture, and the vigorous childhood of scientific research was aggressive, insolent, and noisily insubordinate. The old seminaries, whose homes were in the Benedictine monasteries, refused to welcome the new learning. Its teachers settled themselves elsewhere; at Paris, on the other side of the water, they had a hard fight of it. Once in 1209 the Synod of Paris actually prohibited the reading of Aristotle's 'Metaphysics.' At Oxford they seem to have met with a more generous reception. Perhaps it was because that reception was too enthusiastic that King Stephen at the close of his miserable reign expelled Vacarius, the first teacher of scientific law in England. Whereupon young men of parts and ambition crossed the Channel, seeking and finding at Pavia and Bologna what was not to be had at home. The monastic schools held their own, and went on in the old groove; the intellectual revolution which soon came about by the agency of the Mendicant Orders was not yet dreamt of. St. Alban's, Malmesbury, and other such mighty foundations, stuck to the old studies, just as Eton and Winchester stuck to Latin Verse as the one thing needful, and reluctantly gave into the newfangled notion of having a 'modern side.'

Outside the Abbey precincts, a hundred yards from the great gate, and separated from it by the Rome land, which may possibly have served the boys as a playground, stood the Grammar School. Whether it offered a different training from that which was usually supplied to the scholars who were under training in the cloister, it is difficult to say. Within the precincts, when the 13th century began, there stood the great church—enriched by the accumulated offerings of centuries, and glowing with dazzling splendour of jewels and cloth of gold, and glass that glorified the very sunshine, and wonders of sculpture and colour and needlework filling the heart to overflowing with inexplicable hopes and longings for an ideal that seemed possible of realization, if only the Church in heaven should be as far removed above the actual of the Church on earth, as the glories of the Church on earth were removed above the squalid life of the common workday world. All this in witness that the great Abbey was, first and foremost, a religious foundation, raised in the first instance to the glory of God, and meant to help forward the worship of God, and make the worship worthy of the Most High.

But besides being primarily and emphatically a religious foundation, the Abbey in the 13th century had grown into[Pg 311] something else, and had become the home of a corporation of scholars and students, who were the leaders of art and culture in an age when art and culture were to be met with nowhere outside the walls of a great monastery. There, in what might be called the museum of the Abbey, you might see no mean collection of antique gems that had once been the pride of Roman magistrates. Mysterious specimens of barbaric goldwork, fashioned by unknown craftsmen for the necks of nameless chieftains who had drawn the sword and perished, none knew when. Engraved gems that had been dug up in mysterious sepulchres, about which even imagination despaired of telling any story; relics of saints and martyrs, charters of Saxon kings, granted centuries before the Normans came to ring out the old and ring in the new. The wealth of mere archæological specimens at St. Alban's made it such a museum of antiquities as provokes wonder and bitterness, as we read the catalogue of what was once there, and has perished utterly and for ever.[3]

The range of buildings to the south of the church covered a far larger area than that which the church itself occupied. Uncertain though the exact site may be and is, there had already been added in Brother Matthew's time what we should now call an Art school, a Library, and, almost more famous than all, the Scriptorium. By-and-bye, too, came the printing-press which John Herford set up in 1480. Wynkyn de Worde was sometime schoolmaster of Saint Alban's, and Lady Juliana Berners' famous volume issued from the Abbey Press, while Caxton was still pursuing his craft in the almonry of another monastery at Westminster.

In the days of King John, however, people had so little idea of the possibility of the printing-press, that they were almost equally ignorant of such a material as paper for literary purposes. Yet it is a huge mistake which has not yet been exploded, as it ought to be, that reading and writing were rare accomplishments in the 13th century. Knowledge of a certain kind was disseminated far more effectively and far more universally than is generally believed. The country parson was expected to be the schoolmaster of his parish, and generally was so, and there was hardly a village in England during the reign of Henry III, in which there were not one or more persons who could write a clerkly hand, draw up accounts in Latin, and keep the records of the various petty courts and[Pg 312] gatherings that were continually being held, sometimes to the annoyance and grievous vexation of the rural population. The professional writers were so numerous, and their training so severe, that they had got for themselves privileges of a very exceptional kind; the clerk took rank with the clergyman, and the writer of a book was almost as much esteemed as its author.

The scriptorium of a great monastery was at once the printing-press and the publishing office. It was the place where books were written, and whence they issued to the world. With the traditional exclusiveness of the older monasteries there was less desire, no doubt, to diffuse and disperse than to accumulate books, but the composing and the multiplication of books was always going on. The scriptorium was a great writing school too, and the rules of the art of writing which were laid down there were so rigidly and severely adhered to, that to this day it is difficult to decide at a glance whether a book was written in St. Alban's or St. Edmund's Abbey. Sometimes as many as twenty writers were employed at once, and besides these there were occasionally supernumeraries, who were professional scribes, and who were paid for their services; but nothing short of perfect penmanship, such trained skill, for instance, as would now be required for an engraver, would qualify a copyist to take part in the finished work, which the copying of important books required.

One of the conclusions which Sir Thomas Hardy arrived at during the course of his minute examination of Sir Frederick Madden's theory is so curious, and opens out such an unexpected view of the way in which our monasteries may have been brought under the influence of foreign literature, that it is worth while in this connection to quote the great critic's own words:

'After minutely examining every page of the manuscripts in question, as well as others, which were undoubtedly written in the monastery of St. Alban's, and comparing them with others executed in various parts of England and on the Continent, I can come to no other conclusion than that during the latter half of the 13th century, and perhaps a little earlier, there prevailed among the scribes in the Scriptorium of St. Alban's, a peculiar character of writing which is not recognizable in any other religious house in England during that period; but which is traceable in some foreign manuscripts, and even in private deeds executed in England in the neighbourhood of St. Alban's during the 12th and 13th centuries. These facts lead me to the inference, that the schoolmaster who taught the art of writing to Matthew Paris and the other members and scholars of the establishment at St. Alban's was a foreigner; that his pupils not only imitated their instructor in the formation of his letters, but also in his exceptional orthography.'

[Pg 313]

What questions suggest themselves as we accept the conclusion arrived at! Who was he, this 'foreigner,' who had come from across the sea to bring in his outlandish novelties into the great scriptorium? Was he some 'Frenchman' imported from sunny Champagne, where Thibaut, the mawkish singer was making verses which his people loved to listen to? Did he teach the young novices French as well as writing? Did he touch the lute himself on Feast-days, and charm them with some new lyric of Gasse Bruslé, or delight them with one of Rutebeuf's merry ditties? France was all alive with song at this time, and princes were rivals now for poetic fame. It may be that this 'foreigner' brought in a taste for light literature as well as for a new fashion in penmanship, and made known to his pupils such alluring novelties as the 'Roman d'Alexandre, soon to be eclipsed by the 'Roman de la Rose.'

The scriptorium at St. Alban's was founded by Abbot Paul, a kinsman of Archbishop Lanfrance, when the great Abbey had already existed for three centuries. Paul became Abbot eleven years after the Conquest, and he showed himself an able and earnest administrator. From this time learning and a love of books became a tradition of the house. Abbot after abbot continued to add to the collection of MSS., and to increase the value of the library. But St. Alban's had never had a great historian of its own. Strange and shameful fact! East and west and north and south, all over the land, there were great writers holding up their proud heads. Out in the desolate wilds there at Peterborough, they had been actually keeping up a chronicle for centuries—aye, and written in the vernacular too. The lonely monastery of Ely, among the swamps, had its historian. Malmesbury boasted her learned William; and Worcester, which St. Wulstan had raised from the dust, as it were, only the other day, had already her Florence. In the great houses of the Northern Province there had been no lack of writers to whom the past was an open book. Even Westminster had long ago had her chronographer, and far away in furthest Wales, Geoffrey, the Monmouth man, was making men open their eyes very wide indeed with tales—idle tales they might be, but they were well worth the reading—and there was talk too of another young Welshman, Giraldus, who was on the way towards outdoing the other by-and-bye. What are we coming to? Holy St. Alban, shalt thou and thy house be put to shame?—that be far from us!

Thus it came to pass that about a century after the foundation of the scriptorium, and when the library had grown to an imposing size, Abbot Simon bestirred himself, and a new office[Pg 314] was created in the Abbey, to wit, that of Historiographer. In our time we should have given this functionary a grander title, and called him Professor of History; but in the 12th century, they called him what he was, a writer of history, and from this time, in fact, the writing of history, after a certain authorized method, began, and what had been called, and deserves to be called, the St. Alban's School of History took its rise.

It is evident that before the 13th century had well begun, an historical compendium of great value had already been drawn up, which must have been compiled by careful students with a command of books such as during this age was rare.

'The compilation,' says Dr. Luard, 'whenever and by whomsoever it was written must be regarded as a very curious and remarkable one. The very large number of sources consulted, the miscellaneous character of many of the extracts, the mixture of history and legend, the giving fixed years to stories which even writers like Geoffrey of Monmouth had left undated, the care at one time and the carelessness at another, the slavishness with which one authority is followed, and the recklessness with which another is altered, the frequent confusion of dates, their ignorance and want of care, the blunders displayed in many instances from the compiler not understanding the author whom he is copying, as is especially the case in the extracts from the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle;" all these characteristics may well earn for the author the title that Lappenberg has given to him, though under the name of "Matthew of Westminster," namely, that of the "Verwirrer der Geschichte." At the same time there is no doubt that he had access to some materials which we no longer possess: and my object has been to trace all his statements, where possible, to their source, and to distinguish any additions that the compiler has made when they are merely rhetorical amplifications of his own, or when they are really from some source not now extant.'—Pref. to vol. i., p. xxxiii.

After all that can be said, the work surprises us by the erudition it displays. Nor is that surprise lessened when we have gone through the masterly analysis of its contents, which Dr. Luard has given us in the Preface to his first vol. Such as it was, it became the great text-book on which Roger of Wendover founded his own labours when he incorporated it into the chronicle which he left behind him. Roger of Wendover did good work, and laboriously epitomized, supplemented and improved, but he was a mere literary monk after all; a student, a bookworm, simple, conscientious, and truthful; a trustworthy reporter, 'a picker-up of learning's crumbs,' a monkish historiographer, in short; but by no means a historian of large views and of original mind. Roger of Wendover died in 1236, and Matthew Paris succeeded to his office and work.[Pg 315]

From what has been said, the reader may be presumed to have gained something like an answer to our first question: What was Brother Matthew? Briefly, he was a representative monk of the most powerful monastery in England during the 13th century, when that monastery was at its best, and doing the work which in after times the Universities and great schools of the country took out of the hands of the religious houses; work, too, which since those days has been done by the printing-press, and by many other institutions better fitted to deal with the requirements of an immensely larger population, and to be the instruments of diffusing culture and refinement through the nation after it had outgrown the older machinery.

When we come to look into the personal history of Brother Matthew, the details of his biography need not detain us long. Sir Henry Taylor's famous line is only half true, after all;

'The world knows nothing of its greatest men'

really means that the world knows less about them than it would like to know. And yet the world knows almost as much about them as is good for it. The leading facts of a man's career are all that concern most of us—the main lines—not the details. Of Matthew Paris we know enough, because he has himself given us so faithful a picture of his times, and so charming an insight into the daily life which he led.

Unnecessary doubt has been suggested as to his parentage, and whether his extraction was or was not from a stock that could boast of gentle blood. For our part we incline strongly to the belief, that Brother Matthew was called Paris because that was his name, and had been his father's name before him. A family of that name held lands in Bedfordshire in Henry III.'s time; others of the same stock were settled in Lincolnshire earlier still; and the Cambridgeshire family (one of whom was among the visitors of the monasteries under Henry VIII.) boasted of a long line of ancestors, and retained their estates in the Eastern Counties till late in the 17th century. Young Matthew probably received his education in the school at St. Alban's, and soon showed a decided taste for learning and the student's life, and that in the 13th century meant an inclination for the life of the cloister. Many a precocious lad is even now taught from his childhood to look forward to the glories of a College Fellowship, and the career which such an academic success may open to him; and in the 13th century a schoolboy's ambition was directed to the goal of admission to a great monastery—that step on the ladder which whosoever could reach, there was no knowing how high he might climb—how high[Pg 316] above the common sons of earth or, if he preferred it, how high towards the heaven that is above the earth.

Matthew was probably born about the year 1200, and in January 1217 he became a monk at St. Alban's, i. e., he became a novice. At this time a lad could commence his noviciate at 15; but the age was subsequently advanced to 19, the younger limit having been found, as a rule, too early even for the preliminary discipline required. On the day after the lad was admitted, a frightful scene took place in the monastery. A band of Fawkes de Breauté's cut-throats had stormed the town of St. Alban's, burst into the Abbey, and slaughtered at the door of the church one Robert Mai, a servant of the Abbot. William de Trumpington was Abbot at this time, a vigorous and resolute personage, who ruled the convent with a firm hand. Like all really able men, he was ably seconded, for he knew how to choose his subordinates. At first the monks had repented of their choice, and there were quarrels and litigation and appeals to the Pope, and many serious 'unpleasantnesses;' but as time went on, Abbot William had won the allegiance of all the convent, and they were proud of him. He was a man of books, among his other virtues, and had an eye for bookish men; and when he deposed Roger de Wendover from being Prior of Belvoir with a somewhat high hand, and brought him back to St. Alban's, he doubtless did so because he knew that at Belvoir he was a square man in a round hole, while in the scriptorium of the Abbey he would be in his right place. Certainly the event proved that the Abbot was right, and it was to this judicious removal of a student and man of letters to his proper home that we owe so much of our knowledge of those interesting minutiæ of English history which the writer has revealed. It was under the eye of Robert de Wendover that Matthew Paris grew up, rendering him every year more and more substantial assistance in the library and in the scriptorium.

But the young man was not only a bookworm and a copyist, he soon got to be looked upon as a prodigy. He was a universal genius; he could do whatever he set his hand to, and better than any one else. He could draw, and paint, and illuminate, and work in metals. Some said he could even construct maps; he was versed in everything, and noticed everything from 'the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop upon the wall;' he was an expert in heraldry; he could tell you about whales, and camels, and buffaloes, and elephants—he could even draw an elephant—illustrate his history, in fact, with the elephant's portrait, the first elephant, he says, that had ever been seen in our northern climes. It was centuries before men had[Pg 317] dreamt of what the science of geology would one day reveal. Then, too, he had vast capacity for work, and was a courtly person, and he had the gift of tongues, and had been a great traveller; he had early been sent by the convent to study at the University of Paris, and wherever he went, he was the man to make friends. When the Benedictines in Norway had convinced themselves that there was sore need of a reform of their rule and discipline, they applied to Pope Innocent IV. to send them a Visitor furnished with the necessary authority for carrying out so delicate and difficult a mission, and they made choice of Matthew Paris as the fittest possible person for such a work. Reluctantly Brother Matthew was compelled to undertake the task; he started on his northern voyage in 1248, and was absent about a year. In Norway he soon grew into high favour with King Hacon, who peradventure would have kept him at his side if he could. This seems to have been the most important episode in his otherwise uneventful life. But the advantages and opportunities which were at the command of any ambitious and studious young monk at St. Alban's were in themselves extraordinary. We have said that building was always going on. It was going on on a very large scale indeed in Abbot William's time. That means that there were the plans and sections and working drawings to be copied for the architect, and measurements and calculations by the thousand to be made—a school of architecture, in short: and besides that, what Roger de Wendover was in the scriptorium, that Walter of Colchester, pictor et sculptor incomparabilis, was in the painting room. Walter was a sculptor; indeed he wrought at his marvellous pulpit which the Abbot set up in the middle of the church: and he carved the story of St. Alban upon the great beam over the high altar, and did many another thing of which we have only too brief descriptions. Then, too, there was Richard, the monk who decorated the grand new guests' hall deliciose, as we are told, and who painted pictures and carried out other works of embellishment at a pace which none could have kept up, but that he had his father to help him with his brush, and another artist, John of Wallingford, to carry out his great designs, and many more skilled limners whose names have gone down into silence.

When Abbot William's reign came to an end, the monks were unanimous in choosing John of Hertford as his successor, and the new Abbot lost no time in showing favour to Matthew Paris. Next year Roger de Wendover died, and who could there be so worthy to succeed him as historiographer as the versatile and accomplished brother, who by this time was the boast of the great house? And historiographer accordingly Matthew became—mutatis[Pg 318] mutandis, a sort of 13th-century editor of the 'Times;' his business was to gather from all points of the compass, if not the latest news, yet the best and most trustworthy reports upon whatever was worth recording. He had his correspondents all over Europe, and that he sifted the evidence as it came to him we know.

Wherever there was any great event that deserved a place in the Abbey Chronicle, some splendid pageant to describe, some battle, or treaty, or pestilence, or flood, or famine, straightway tidings came to the vigilant historiographer; and there was a comparison of the evidence brought in, and some testing of witnesses, and finally the narrative was drawn up and incorporated into Matthew's history. Again and again it happened that a great personage who, while himself making history, was anxious that his own part in a transaction should be represented favourably, would try and get the right side of the famous chronicler, and would furnish him with private information. Even the King himself thought it no scorn to communicate facts and documents to Brother Matthew. Once when Henry saw him in a crowd on a memorable occasion, he picked him out, and bade him take his seat by his side, and see to it that he made a true and faithful report of what was going on; and it is evident that the royal favour which he enjoyed through life must have extended to furnishing him with many a story and many a detail which none but the King could have supplied. The minute account of the attempt to assassinate Henry in 1238; the curious State paper giving a narrative of the dispute between the King and his nobles in 1242; the strange scene at the tomb of William Marshall in 1245, and scores of other incidents in the career of Bishop Grossteste and Richard of Cornwall, were evidently 'inspired,' and can only have come from eye-witnesses of the events recorded. Nevertheless Matthew, though he was willing enough to receive information, and to utilise facts and documents, was by no means the man to reproduce them exactly in the form in which they came to him. More than once he ventured to remonstrate with the King, and very much oftener than once he expresses his opinion of him in no measured terms. Some of the severest censures he had marked for omission, and some expressions he modified considerably, for we have the good fortune to possess his chronicle both in an earlier and in a later form; but even though the fuller and more outspoken record had perished, we should still have had enough proof to make it clear that we have in Matthew Paris an instance of a born historian, one who never consented to be a mere advocate, taking a side and seeing[Pg 319] only half the truth of anything; but a man gifted with the judicial faculty, that precious gift without which a man may be anything you please—a rhetorician, a special pleader, a picturesque writer, a laborious collector of facts; but an historian never. And yet Matthew Paris was a magnificent hater, with a fund of indignant scorn and righteous anger which never fails him upon occasion. Friend of King and nobles as he was, he will not spare his words of wrathful censure upon the tyrant, or upon any that he held deserving of rebuke for cruelty, oppression and avarice. When he has to lay the lash on such as had proved themselves enemies to his much-loved Abbey, or who had wronged and defrauded it, he is well-nigh as fierce as Dante. He singles them out—the doomed wretches—and holds them, as it were, over the fire of hell before he drops them down into the burning flame.

Did Ralph Cheinduit, that blustering, burly knight, cry aloud 'A fig for St. Alban and his monks! Since they excommunicated me—look you! I have only increased in girth, behold me fat and jolly, in faith almost too big for my saddle. A fig for them all!' Did he say so, the impious wretch? Be it known that from that very day Sir Knight began to shrink and waste and pine, and if he had not repented and been absolved in time, he had gone down to the bottomless pit with never a hope of deliverance.

Did not Sir Adam Fitz William show the evil spirit that was in him when he sided against us time and again? And now, look to his awful end! Gorged with meat and drink one night, he sprawled upon his bed, indigestus, as you may say, and he never woke more. Aye! and he died intestate too. And as though that was not bad enough, his wife too died, straightway, like another Sapphira slain by the shock of the tidings. And then there was Alan de Beccles, too, always notorious for setting himself against us and our house, he too perished as the other did, for he loved choice dainties overmuch, and he dined late and he ate as none should eat, and when he could eat no more, suddenly his speech failed him and his veins burst, smitten with an apoplexy. And many another, whom it would take too long to name, following his evil course, and being prosecutors of Holy Alban's Church, perished for ever by God's vengeance.

It is no longer the fashion now to denounce the Pope and his myrmidons, but if the rage of Exeter Hall should ever recur, and the orators of the old platform should revive a taste for anti-papal agitation, they might find in Matthew Paris as rich a repertory of testimonials against Roman aggression and greed as the most rabid Irish Protestant could desire. 'O thou[Pg 320] Pope,' he bursts out once, 'thou the father of all the fathers in Christ, how it is that thou sufferest the realms of Christendom to be fouled by such creatures as are thine?' The 'creatures' were the papal legates and nuncios and all their belongings, who were plundering England without shame. 'Harpies they were and blood-suckers,' says Matthew, 'mere plunderers, skinning the sheep, not shearing them only.' Then there were the King's Justiciars—'Justice'—nay, with that they had nothing to do. Why tell of their unrighteous deeds? he asks. 'Better forbear from vainly writing about the wrongers, and return to the story of the wronged.'

Of course the friars come in for their share of strong words—chiefly because the Pope made use of them so vilely, and not less because they set themselves above their betters—us, to wit—monks of the old houses.

'They started with such fair professions, they were going to be so very poor, and so very unworldly, and were going to supplement our work and interfere with nobody, and give us all a helping hand. Look at them now!' says Matthew; 'they march through the streets in pompous array with banners flaunting in the sun and waxen tapers, and rich burghers in holiday garments joining in the long train, and if they have no land they have money, good store, and as for their churches, they are eclipsing us all. Their invasion of our territory is a dreadful scandal, and they sneer at us and at all other religious men and women and they flout the parish priests and call them humdrums, and schism is at work horribly, and the people are running away from the old guides, and there is no end to them. Actually in the year of grace 1257,' he says, 'a new order of these fellows turned up in London. Friars of the sack, forsooth, because they were clothed in sackcloth! Of course they came armed with a papal licence as usual. What did these fellows come for? Was it to make confusion worse confounded? Alas! Alas! If we had only been as we were in the golden age, these friars would never have had a chance—not they! We too are not as the monks of old were; they lived the guileless life—austere, hard, self-denying, saintly! What are we in comparison with them?

'Did not we find the bones of our brethren there, hard by the High Altar, when we were beautifying the same? O ye degenerate sons of this degenerate age! Two centuries ago and our monks were men of faith and prayer. In the year of grace one thousand two hundred and fifty-one, we found more than thirty of them buried together, and their bones were lying there, white and sweet, redolent with the odor of sanctity every one; each man had been buried as he died, in his monastic habit, and his shoes upon his feet too. Aye, and such shoes—shoes made for wear and not for wantonness. The soles of these shoes were sound and strong, they might have served the purpose for poor men's naked feet even now, after centuries of[Pg 321] lying in the grave. Blush ye! ye with your buckles, and your pointed toes and your fiddle faddle. These shoes upon the holy feet that we dug up were as round at the toe as at the heel, and the latchets were all of one piece with the uppers. No rosettes in those days, if you please! They fastened their shoes with a thong, and they wound that thong around their blessed ankles, and they cared not in those holy days whether their shoes were a pair. Left foot and right foot each was as the other: and we, when we gazed at the holy relics—we bowed our heads at the edifying sight, and we were dumbfounded, even to awe, as we swung our censers over the sacred graves of the ages past!'

The anecdotes and out-of-the-way pieces of information in the 'Chronica Majora,' which may be said to represent the paragraphs of modern journalism, are countless. Brother Matthew enlivens his history with these cross-lights at every page, and what gives to these scraps an added charm is that Matthew himself seems to be always with us when he prattles on. Not even Herodotus has succeeded more entirely in impressing his quaint personality upon his narrative. It is always something which he has seen, or heard from some living man who saw it with his own eyes.

'There was my friend John of Basingstoke, had studied at Paris, and a wonder of learning he was, but he told me himself that his best teacher by far was the young lady Constantina, daughter of an archbishop she. Archbishop of Athens, too—archbishops may marry out there! Before she was twenty she knew all that men may know; she was worth two universities of Paris any day; she foretold the coming of plagues and storms, and eclipses—and—more wonderful still—the coming of earthquakes too: and John of Basingstoke was her scholar, and whatever he knew that was deep and rare, he learnt it of the lady Constantina, the Archbishop's daughter.'

Matthew is very great when he has to tell of omens and portents:

'We were scurvily treated by Pope Innocent III.,' he says, 'in the days of Abbot John. Spite of all our privileges and indulgences, the Pope would have him come to Rome every third year; a sore burden and harm to us all. Forthwith evil omens came. Thrice in three years was our tower struck by lightning. After that wrong of his Holiness it was no wonder that the impression of the papal seal in wax, which we had taken good care to fix on the top of the steeple, availed not to keep off the thunderbolt—small good you see in that kind of thing.'

Besides the miscellaneous paragraphs, there are periodical reports of the weather, and the storms, and the droughts, and the harvests. Moreover, there are what answer to our police[Pg 322] reports, and details of criminal proceedings against Jew and Gentile, and births and deaths and marriages, and now and then brief notes upon the state of the markets, and sometimes hints and reflections upon the desirability of certain reforms in Church and State; and all this not in the spirit of modern journalism, which at its best too often bears the marks of haste, and betrays the literary soldier of fortune paid for his work at so much a column, but genuine, hearty, throbbing with a certain passionate loyalty to a tradition, or an idea which you may say is exploded, grotesque, or fanciful, but which in the 13th century honest men and devout ones lived by and lived for, and were trying in their own way to carry out into action.

But now that we have got this precious 'Chronicle,' not to mention other works in the composition of which Brother Matthew had at least a large share—though our space forbids us dwelling upon them or their contents, and we must refer our readers to Dr. Luard's elaborate prefaces if they would desire to know all about them—another question suggests itself, which sooner or later will become a pressing question—What are we going to do with such a national work of which this country has great reason to be proud?

The days are gone by when a man was supposed to be educated in proportion as he was familiar with the literature of Greece and Rome and ignorant of everything else. Already at Oxford candidates for the highest honours in the final schools think it no shame to read their Plato or their Aristotle in English translations, and in half the time that was needed under the old plan they get a mastery of their Thucydides or Herodotus, devoting themselves to the subject-matter after they have proved at 'Moderations' that they have a respectable acquaintance with the language of the authors.

May the day be far off when Homer and Æschylus shall cease to be read in the original! The great writers of Hellas and Italy were poets or orators, great teachers or great thinkers; but they were something more. They were perfect instrumentalities too. Their thoughts, their lessons, their aspirations, their regrets, you may interpret and transfer into the speech and the idioms of the moderns; but the music of their language, the subtleties of melody and rhythm, and harmony and tone, can no more be translated than a symphony for the strings can be adequately represented upon the organ. You may persuade yourself that you have got the substance; you have missed the perfection of the form. Yet who but a narrow pedant will insist that the study of any literature, ancient or modern, is valuable chiefly for familiarizing us with the language, not for[Pg 323] enriching our minds with the subject matter? Do we desire to understand the past and so to be better able to estimate the importance of great movements that are going on in the present or, by the help of the experience of bygone ages, to forecast the future? Then it behoves us to see that our induction shall be made from as wide a view as may be, and to avail ourselves of any light that may be gained. But it is mere waste of time to be for ever staring at the lamp which may be pretty to look at in itself, but is then most precious when it serves as a means to an end. If we are ever to construct a Science of History, the old methods must give place to something which may approximate to philosophic enquiry. When we come to think of it, how very small an area of time or space is covered by the historians of Greece and Rome: how small an area and how superficially dealt with! Even Thucydides hardly ventures to lift the veil which separates the civilization of his own age from that of an earlier period; he lifts it for a moment, then drops the curtain and passes on. It is true indeed that Herodotus introduces us to a world that is not Hellenic, and brings us into some sort of relation with men whose habits and art and religion had a character of their own; but then these nations were not as we, and not as men even of our race could ever become. We never seem to be in touch with Egypt or Assyria, and when he prattles on about these nations it is less as a historian than as an observant traveller that Herodotus delights and allures. Xenophon's passing notices of the manners and education, of the feudalism and the social life of the Medes, are too brief to be anything but tantalizing; but the neglect of Xenophon by professed students is not creditable, however significant. Perhaps of all the Greek writers Polybius was the man who had the truest conception of the historian's vocation; perhaps, too, it was just because he was so much before his age that his voluminous and ambitious work has come down to us little more than a fragment. Because he was something better than a compiler of annals, they who read history only to be amused found him dull, and the moderns have not yet reversed the verdict which was passed upon him. Who ever heard of a candidate for honours taking Polybius into the schools?

It is from the Latin historians that we might have expected so much and from whom we get so little. What do they tell us of ancient Spain—the Spain that Sertorius pretended he was going to regenerate, and whose civilization, literature, and national life he did so much to extinguish? If it were not for what Aristotle has told us in the Politics, what should we know of that mighty commercial Republic which monopolized the[Pg 324] carrying trade of the old world? It never seems to have occurred to Livy that the political organization of Carthage could be worth his notice. His business was to glorify Rome, and to tell how Rome grew to greatness—grew by war and conquest and pillage, and the ferocious might of her relentless soldiery. The 'Germania' of Tacitus stands alone—unique in ancient literature; but what would we not give for such a monograph upon the Britain which Cæsar attempted to conquer, or the Gaul which he plundered and devastated? The great captain's famous missive might be inscribed as the motto of his 'Commentaries.' Veni! vidi! vici! sums up in brief the substance of what they contain. It was always Rome's way! Rome swept a sponge that was soaked in blood over all the past of the nations she subdued. She came to obliterate, never to preserve. Her chroniclers disdained to ask how these or those doughty antagonists had grown formidable, how their national life had developed; whether their progress had been arrested by the conquerors or whether they had become weak and enervated by social deterioration or moral corruption. Enough that they were Barbarians.

The science of history can be but little advanced by writers such as these, who pass from battlefield to battlefield—

'Crimson-footed, like the stork,
Through great ruts of slaughter,'

and to whom the silent growth of institutions and the evolution of ethical sentiments and the development of the arts of peace were matters which never presented themselves as worthy of their attention. You may call this history if you will, in truth it is little better than Empiricism. The world is a larger world than Rome or Athens dreamt of, and students of history are beginning to realize that not quite the last thing they have to do is 'to look at home.' Such a work as the 'Chronica Majora' of Matthew Paris is a national heritage which it is shameful to allow much longer to be known only by the curious and erudite. Now that there is no excuse for our neglect, is it too much to hope that the day may not be far distant when the name of this great Englishman may become as familiar to schoolboys as that of Sallust or Livy, of Cornelius Nepos or Cæsar—his name as familiar, and his writings better known and more loved?


[1] Lord Langdale resigned three weeks before his death.

[2] The proposal to print and publish the Calendars had been approved by authority of the new Record Commissioners as early as January 1840. See preface to Mr. Lemons' 'Calendar' (Domestic, 1547-1580), p. viii.

[3] In Luard's sixth volume there are two facsimiles of certain coloured drawings of the more precious gems at St. Alban's, with careful descriptions of them, these and the illustrations being most probably executed by Mathew Paris himself.

[Pg 325]

Art. II. 1.—The Christian Brothers, their Origin and Work, with a sketch of the Life of their Founder, The Venerable Jean Baptiste de la Salle. By Mrs. R. F. Wilson, London, 1883.

2. La Première Année d'Instruction Morale et Civique: notions de droit et d'économie politique (Textes et Récits) pour répondre à la loi du 28 Mars 1882 sur l'enseignement primaire obligatoire: ouvrage accompagné de Résumé, de Questionnaires, de Devoirs, et d'un Lexique des mots difficiles. Par Pierre Laloi. Quatorzième Edition. Paris, 1885.

3. Report of the Committee of Council on Education (England and Wales). 1884-85.

4. Seventy-fourth Annual Report of the Incorporated National Society. 1885.

Most travellers in France will have met occasionally in Paris and in the provincial towns a school of boys walking two and two, and followed by a serious-looking superintendent of very solemn deportment. The boys are in no marked respect different from other boys, but they are orderly and well conducted. They are probably on their way to a church; and if you watch them, you will see them march in with much propriety. The superintendent is evidently not an ordinary schoolmaster; you would suppose that he is an ecclesiastic of some kind. He wears a loose black cloak, a hat with a low crown and a portentous brim, and bands such as were much worn by English clergymen till late years, and which, when strongly developed, were supposed to indicate a sympathy with Calvanistic theology. Nevertheless, the solemn-featured young man is not an ecclesiastic, neither is he a Protestant minister. He is one of the Frères Chrétiens, or Christian Brothers; and the boys whom he has under his charge are pupils in one of the Écoles Chrétiennes, or Christian Schools.

We will venture to assume, that some of our readers are not well acquainted with the story and the principles of the remarkable institution known as the Schools of the Christian Brothers, or with the life of their remarkable founder. We propose in this article to supply some information upon the subject, not only because we think that such information will be interesting in itself, but also because we believe that from the story of the work and principles of the French schools of the Christian Brothers, we may proceed without difficulty, and almost by necessary consequence, to some useful considerations with respect to English schools as now established and conducted amongst ourselves.

Jean Baptiste de la Salle was born in Rheims, April 30,[Pg 326] 1651. The house in which he was born is still standing, and is regarded with reverence. He came of a noble family, which was originally of Bearn. His grandfather settled at Rheims, of which he became an honoured citizen, but was apparently in no way himself remarkable. His second son, Louis, was the father of a child, who received the name of Jean Baptiste on the same day as that upon which he was born.

This child, whose career we purpose briefly to follow as that of the founder of the Christian Brothers, exhibited early signs of a devotional spirit; he learned to recite the Breviary from his grandfather, and continued to do so even before being bound to the practice by his ordination vows; and he soon made it clear to himself and to others that his vocation was that of the priestly office. His conduct as a student in the University of Rheims, which he entered at eight years old, was marked by diligence in study and gentle docility.

Before he had reached the age of sixteen he was made a canon of the cathedral; such were the strange ecclesiastical possibilities of those times. An aged relative resigned in his favour, and died the following year. The preferment, however, did not spoil him; he looked upon it as a call to duty. He was diligent in attendance upon the offices of the Church, diligent in private prayer, diligent in study—in every way a remarkable boy-canon!

In October 1670 he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, where, amongst other fellow-students, was Fénelon, subsequently the great Archbishop of Cambrai. Little is recorded of his seminary life, except that it was gentle, modest, blameless. In 1672 he lost his father, and in the same year returned to Rheims to take charge of his younger brothers and sisters. The responsible position in which he was thus placed seems to have shaken for a time his persuasion that he had a true vocation for the priesthood; but after consultation with a friend who knew him well, his doubts vanished, and on the eve of Trinity Sunday in this same year he was admitted to the subdiaconate.

Then follow six years of quiet home work and retirement. During this time he attended the theological course of the University, provided for the education of his brothers and sisters, and gave himself very earnestly to prayer and good works. In the year 1678, on Easter Eve, he was ordained Priest.

During all this time De la Salle's attention does not seem to have been turned to that which ultimately became the great work of his life. As not unfrequently happens, the real bent[Pg 327] was given to his energies by what might be described as accidental circumstances. The friend whom he consulted when in doubt concerning holy orders was one Canon Roland. This good man had interested himself much about an orphanage for girls at Rheims, which had fallen under bad management, and urgently needed reform. Canon Roland was taken ill just before De la Salle's ordination, and, dying not long after, left the young priest his executor, commending to his special care the orphanage just mentioned. De la Salle could not refuse the charge; it was not much to his taste, but it was the bequest of his friend; it was the leading of God; and he girded himself to the task. He applied through the Archbishop to the King for letters patent recognizing the institution, and thus put it upon a lasting foundation; he bore the expense of the whole transaction; then he supplemented the funds out of his own means; and having thus satisfied his obligations to his deceased friend, he returned to his quiet devotional life. The thought that this orphanage for girls would constitute a valuable training school for schoolmistresses seems already to have crossed his mind.

Now comes the turning-point of De la Salle's life, and it comes in a curious way. There was a certain rich, fashionable, and extravagant married lady living in Rouen, who, like the rich man in the parable, was clothed in fine linen and fared sumptuously every day, while Lazarus lay at the gate. One day a poor beggar, who had been harshly repulsed from the door, touched the heart of a servant by his manifest misery, and was received into the stables, where he died the same night. The dead man must needs be buried; so the servant went to the mistress, confessed his fault, received some violent language and notice of dismissal, but at the same time procured a sheet to serve as a shroud for the corpse. At dinner-time the lady perceived the very sheet, which she had given for the burial, folded up and lying in her own chair; some mysterious hand had brought back the ungracious present, as though the deceased beggar would not receive a favour in death from one who had been so cruel to him in life.

This strange and apparently not very important occurrence changed the whole course of the lady's life. She gave up all her old habits of magnificence and extravagance, lived the life of a devotee, and soon succeeded in separating from herself all her old companions and friends, who, in fact, deemed her mad. After her husband's death she became still more strict in her habits, and devoted to the service of the poor a large part of her fortune.[Pg 328]

Amongst other charities which she assisted was the female orphanage, of which we have already spoken as having been cared for by Canon Roland, and after his death by M. de la Salle. She conceived the idea of establishing something of the same kind for boys in her native town of Rheims, and she consulted Canon Roland on the subject. Ultimately she engaged a devout layman, named Adrien Nyel, who had experience of poor schools in Rouen, promised him maintenance for himself and a young assistant, gave him a letter of introduction to her relative M. de la Salle, and sent him to Rheims to open a school there for poor boys.

This school, which was commenced in 1679, was the germ of the great system of Écoles Chrétiennes. Its success led a pious lady in Rheims to wish to establish another of the same kind in a different part of the town. She consulted M. de la Salle, who had become patron of the first school, on the subject; and thus he became, without any special wish or intention of his own, drawn into the work of the education of poor boys. His own account of the matter is worth quoting:—

'It was,' he wrote, 'by the chance meeting with M. Nyel, and by hearing of the proposal made by that lady [to whom reference has been made], that I was led to begin to interest myself about boys' schools. I had no thought of it before. It was not that the subject had not been suggested to me. Many of M. Roland's friends had tried to interest me about it, but it took no hold of my mind, and I had not the least intention of occupying myself with it. If I had ever thought that the care which out of pure charity I was taking of schoolmasters would have brought me to feel it a duty to live with them, I should have given it up at once; for as I naturally felt myself very much above those whom I was obliged to employ as schoolmasters, especially at first, the bare idea of being obliged to live with such persons would have been insupportable to me. In fact, it was a great trouble to me when first I took them into my house, and the dislike of it lasted for two years. It was apparently for this reason that God, who orders all things with wisdom and gentleness, and who does not force the inclinations of men, when He willed to employ me entirely in the care of schools, wrought imperceptibly and during a long space of time, so that one engagement led to another in an unforeseen way.'

This passage somewhat anticipates events; but it is convenient for the condensed character of this narrative that it should be so. We will therefore briefly fill up the gap left by M. de la Salle's own statement by saying, that he found the work of directing schools for the poor increase upon his hands in a wonderful manner. The success of those which he visited and superintended led to the establishment of others. Soon the[Pg 329] masters themselves formed a small body which required superintendence and guidance. He took a house in which he placed them; the home of course needed rules for its orderly and efficient working; these M. de la Salle supplied. But still all was not quite as it should be. Cathedral duties took up much of the Canon's time; these duties were of primary obligation, and left comparatively little of the day to be given to the superintendence of schoolmasters. But more than this, the difference of station and comfort and habits between a well-endowed Canon of a Cathedral, enjoying in addition a private fortune of his own, and poor schoolmasters taken from the humblest ranks, and living in the most humble manner, was quite immeasurable. It was comparatively easy to have the whole company to dine with him, and so to meet them half way down the social hill; but this was not enough. M. de la Salle began gradually to realize the fact, that his great undertaking of supplying schools and schoolmasters for the gratuitous education of the poor, could only be crowned with complete success on the condition of his own adoption of poverty in all its thoroughness. Accordingly he determined to resign his canonry and spend his fortune upon the poor. Not altogether so easy a thing as might at first sight appear. Great opposition was made by his friends: the Archbishop was unwilling to accept his resignation: nothing but persevering determination on the part of De la Salle could have carried the business through; but he was full of perseverance and full of determination, and in 1683 he at last succeeded in divesting himself of his Cathedral preferment. The sale of his property, and spending the money upon the poor, was an easier matter, especially as the year 1684 was one of dearth; in the course of that year and the following he managed to get rid of all.

This parting with his money, instead of spending it upon his great work, may well seem to be a conduct of doubtful wisdom; especially as at a later period much difficulty was encountered for want of funds. But it is hard, and perhaps not justifiable, to find fault with a man, who adopts the course of selling all that he has and giving to the poor, after using devoutly such a prayer as the following:—

'My God, I do not know whether to endow or not. It is not for me to found communities, or to know how they should be founded. It, is for Thee, Oh my God. Thou knowest how, and canst do it in the way which is pleasing to Thee. If Thou foundest them, they will be well founded. If Thou foundest them not, they will be without foundation. I beseech Thee, my God, make me know Thy will.'

Soon after the last livre was spent, De la Salle had occasion[Pg 330] to make a journey in connection with his work. He went on foot, as needs he must, and begged his way. An old woman gave him a piece of black bread; he ate it with joy, feeling that now he was indeed a poor man. He had at this time reached the age of thirty-three years.

Behold the Society of the Christian Brothers, and the Christian Schools, taking form at last with De la Salle at the head! Let us examine that work and see how matters stand.

In the first place, so far as the founder was himself concerned, his life was one of asceticism, but still more of prayer:—

'He prayed by day and by night—his life was one incessant communion with God. He would fain have avoided even the interruption caused by sleep, and he grudged every moment given to it, because it shortened his time of prayer. He slept on the ground, or sometimes in his chair, and was the first to rise at the sound of the morning bell. While at Rheims he regularly spent Friday night in the Church of Saint Rémi; he made the sacristan lock him in, and there poured out his soul in prayer for help, and guidance, and success in his work.'

The Superior and the Brothers of course lived a common life. The great principle of bringing himself exactly to the level of those who worked under him, which had led to his resignation of his stall and the sale of his property, made it quite certain that he would not call upon the Brothers to do or to bear anything which he was not willing to do and to bear himself. But the burden was heavier to him than to them. They were poor men originally, accustomed to hard work and rough fare; while he had been brought up in ease and plenty, and had never known what want and poverty were. Consequently it cost De la Salle much effort and self-denial to enter upon his new life; but he was satisfied with no half measures; the sacrifice was to be absolute and complete; he fought the battle and gained it,—yet not he, but the grace of God that was in him. At the first starting of the Society there was no distinct rule, but the following arrangements were made:—

The food was to be substantial but frugal, fit for labourers engaged in hard toil; nothing costly, nothing but what was necessary; on the other hand no special rigour of abstinence, beyond that demanded of other Christians.

For dress was adopted a capote, such as was common in the country, made of coarse material, and black; together with a black cassock, thick shoes, and a broad-brimmed hat.

For a name they chose that of 'Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes,' or, as commonly abbreviated, 'Frères Chrétiens.'

With regard to vows, De la Salle decided that they should[Pg 331] take the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but for three years only. They might make them perpetual the following year.

As to the Superior himself, he had little difficulty with regard to the first two points, for his only possessions were a New Testament, a copy of the 'Initiation,' a Crucifix and a Rosary; and to celibacy he was already committed. With regard to obedience, the fulfilment of the vow was not easy to a man in his position; but he endeavoured to find a way to make this vow also a practical one, by the method of resigning his post and putting one of the Brothers in his place; this he ultimately succeeded in doing, though only for a short time.

We must leave to the reader's imagination the manner in which the work grew under such remarkable auspices, the growth of M. de la Salle's reputation as a saint, and the constantly increasing load of responsibilities of all kinds which rested upon his shoulders.

In the year 1688 the work extended to Paris. When De la Salle arrived there he left behind him in Rheims a principal house containing sixteen Brothers, and a training college for country schoolmasters, containing thirty men, besides fifteen lads in their noviciate. For the purpose of his work in Paris he hired a house in the village of Vaugirard; this he occupied for seven years, collecting the Brothers about him in their vacations, and making it a home for the sick and weary, and a place where postulants might make proof of their profession. We shall not follow his footsteps during this time, except to say that the work flourished wonderfully well under his hand, as it always did, notwithstanding all kinds of difficulties. We may produce, however, a striking document of self-dedication which belongs to this period. The Brothers seem to have been strongly moved by the desire of making their vows perpetual, instead of only for three years; the Superior opposed the innovation, but finding them resolute, he at length gave way, and commenced the new system by a formal dedication of himself, expressed in the following remarkable words:—

'Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, prostrate in deepest reverence before Thine infinite and adorable Majesty, I consecrate myself wholly to Thee, to seek Thy glory in all ways possible to me, or to which Thou shalt call me. And to this end I, Jean Baptiste de la Salle, Priest, promise and vow to unite myself to, and abide in society with, the Brothers [here follow twelve names], and in union and association with them to hold free schools in any place whatsoever (even though, in order to do so, I should have to beg for alms, and live on dry bread), or to do in the said Society any work[Pg 332] which may be appointed for me, whether by the Community or by the Superior who shall have the direction of it. For which reason I promise and vow obedience as well to the Society itself as to the Superior of it. And these vows of association with, and steadfastness in, the said Community, and of obedience, I promise to keep inviolable during my whole life; in witness whereof I have signed. Done at Vaugirard, this sixth day of June, being the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, in the year 1694.

'(Signed) De la Salle.'

Having taken this step, De la Salle made a great effort to divest himself of his post as Superior, but in vain. He argued, but the Brothers were not convinced. He insisted upon an election, and every single vote was given for him. He begged for a second voting, but the result was the same. The Brothers said it would be time enough for them to elect his successor, when death had deprived them of him. So in his post of Superior he remained; and doubtless the Brothers were right, and he was wrong, as to the point in dispute between them.

Let us now look for a moment at the rule of the Christian Brothers in the complete form which it ultimately assumed.

The first article sets forth the purpose of the Society as follows:—

'The Institute of the Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes is a Society, the profession of whose members is to hold schools gratuitously. The object of this Institute is to give a Christian education to children, and it is for this purpose that schools are held, in order that the masters, who have charge of the children from morning to night, may bring them up to lead good lives, by instructing them in the mysteries of our Holy Religion and filling their minds with Christian maxims, while they give them such an education as is fitting for them.'

Thus the schools were to be free, and they were to be essentially and fundamentally Christian; but there was no intention of making them exclusively religious and banishing secular studies. On the other hand, the greater part of the time given to the children was devoted, as in reason it must be, to secular teaching; and only a small portion retained for teaching of a more solemn kind. No doubt De la Salle depended for the religious results of schooling more upon the men who taught and the general atmosphere of his schools, than upon amount of religious lessons actually taught and learnt: this is indicated by the following article of the Rule:—

'The Brothers of the Society will have a very deep reverence for the Holy Scriptures, and in token of it they will always carry about them a copy of the New Testament, and will pass no day without[Pg 333] reading a portion of it, in faith, respect, and veneration for the Divine Words which it contains. They will look upon it as their prime and principal Rule.'


'The spirit of the Institute consists in a burning zeal for the instruction of children, that they may be brought up in the fear and love of God, and led to preserve their innocence, where they have not already lost it; to keep them from sin, and to instil into their minds a great horror of evil, and of everything that might rob them of purity.'

The great purpose of De la Salle was to form men suitable for the work of education as thus conceived; and one notable feature of his scheme was that they should be laymen; even with regard to the Superior of the Society, De la Salle, though himself a Priest, bound the Brethren down to a pledge that they would not, when he was gone, elect a Priest into his room. It is needless to say that he had no prejudice against the priestly office as such; but he was genuinely persuaded that the work which he wished to have done could best be performed by laymen; partly because they could give themselves up to it more completely, partly because they could be had more cheaply, and partly because poor men such as he enlisted, and intended to enlist, were more thoroughly on a level with the poor, whose children he desired to educate. It was in the same spirit that he forbade to the Brothers the knowledge of Latin.

There are five vows in the Society. Brothers who have not attained the age of twenty-five years can take them for only three years. No one may take them even for three years, until he has been at least two years in the Society, and has had one year's experience of the Noviciate, and one year's teaching in the schools. The vows are as follows:—

1. Poverty.
2. Chastity.
3. Obedience.
4. Steadfastness.
5. Giving gratuitous instruction to children.

By this last vow they also bind themselves to take all possible pains to teach them well and to bring them up Christianly; and they promise neither to ask nor to accept, from the scholars, or from their parents, anything, be it what it may, either as a gift, or in any other form of remuneration whatsoever.

The rule of daily life is given by the following table:—

4.30 a.m. Hour of rising.

5. Prayer and meditation.[Pg 334]

6. Attend Mass, reading, &c.

7.15. Breakfast; prayer and preparation for school.

8 till 11. School, and children taken to Church.

11.30. Particular examination of conscience; dinner and recreation.

1 p.m. Prayer in oratory, and depart to various schools.

1.30 till 5. School; half an-hour given to catechism.

5.30. Spiritual reading and mental prayer. The reading begins with a portion of the New Testament, read upon the knees.

6. Mental prayer, and confession of faults one to another.

6.30. Supper; reading at all meals; recreation.

8. Study of catechism.

8.30. Prayers in oratory.

9. Retire to dormitory; in bed by 9.15.

So much for the Rule of the Christian Brothers. It is sufficiently strict; but, as before remarked, not intensified by any special austerities. The general order prescribed is, however, strengthened by injunctions against unnecessary communications with persons outside the Brotherhood, unnecessary possessions, unnecessary exercise of the will: the devotion to the rule is absolute, the poverty complete, the submission of the will unbounded. Very wonderful all this, but quite true.

In connection with the rule, it may be well to say a few words concerning the manuals which De la Salle composed for the guidance of the Brothers. The principal was a book entitled, 'Conduite à l'usage des Écoles Chrétiennes;' this was circulated in manuscript, and a copy given to each Brother in charge of a school, but was not printed during the author's lifetime. He revised it in 1717, when he had retired from his post as Superior, and it was printed in 1720, a year after his death. It has been the guide of the Brothers ever since, and is read through twice a year in every one of their houses. The book shows great insight and good sense. Here is an instruction for a lesson in arithemetic:—

'After the children have done their sums on the paper, instead of correcting them himself the master will make the children find out their mistakes for themselves, by rational explanation of the processes. He will ask them, for instance, why in addition of money they begin with the lowest coin, and other questions of the same sort, so as to make sure that they have an intelligent understanding of what they do.'

When the subject is religious teaching, the tone of the book rises to the occasion:[Pg 335]

'The masters will take such great care in the instruction of all their scholars, that not one shall be left in ignorance, at least of the things which a Christian ought to believe and do. And to the end they may not neglect a thing of such great importance, they will often meditate earnestly on the account which they will have to give to God, and that they will be guilty in his sight of the ignorance of the children who shall have been under their care, and also of the sins into which their ignorance may have caused them to fall.'

The faults which De la Salle regards as worthy of being treated with most severity are these: untruthfulness, quarrelling, theft, impurity, misbehaviour in church. It is notable that idleness and inattention to lessons, sauciness, and other boyish faults, which have brought much trouble upon many thousands of urchins, are not here enumerated at all; probably the wise Superior of the Christian Brothers thought that these and the like infirmities could be more successfully treated by other means than by severe punishment. We incline to believe that he was right. Certainly we shall have no difficulty in assenting to the wisdom of the rules laid down as to the conditions of punishment being useful: it must be (1) disinterested, that is, free from all feeling of revenge; (2) charitable, that is, inflicted from a real love to the child; (3) just; (4) proportioned to the fault; (5) moderate; (6) free from anger; (7) prudent; (8) voluntary on the part of the scholar, that is, understood and accepted by him; (9) received with respectful submission; (10) in silence on both sides.

These samples must suffice to indicate M. de la Salle's practical and simple wisdom.

The thought of all that we wish to say before concluding this article compels us once more to appeal to the reader's imagination with regard to the success of De la Salle's work. His fame went through France and beyond it; he became the recognized apostle of elementary education; when he made an expedition to Calais and the north in the latter part of his career, it was almost a triumphal progress; nothing, however, could spoil the sweet simplicity of his character, or interfere with his utter devotion to his work, and his humble desire to shift the burden upon what he believed to be stronger shoulders than his own. This desire was at length accomplished, and on the 8th of May, 1717, after much earnest consideration and religious observance, a second Superior of their Society was unanimously elected by the Christian Brothers.

And now this remarkable man had nothing more to do in this world but to await his call and to depart in peace. At the earnest entreaty of the Brethren he took up his abode with[Pg 336] them in their house at Rouen; and there, in the midst of increasing infirmities, and in the exercise (so far as was possible) of his priestly office, he tarried the Lord's leisure. We give the closing scene in the words of the interesting volume, the title of which heads this article, and from which we have been drawing the materials of our sketch.

'The Festival of St. Joseph, March 19, was approaching. He had always had a special veneration for that great Saint, whom he had chosen for patron of his Society, and he had a great wish to celebrate once more on that Festival. He could hardly have hoped to do so, for he had now for some time been quite unable to leave his bed; but in the evening of the 18th, about ten o'clock, his pain was unexpectedly relieved, and he was conscious of some return of strength. The night was quiet, and on the morning of the Festival he was able to crawl to the Altar, and to celebrate the Holy Mysteries in the presence of all the Brothers, who could scarcely believe their eyes. All that day he continued better, was able to converse with the Brothers, listened for the last time to their confidential talk, and gave them some last counsels. But the pain came on again, and he was obliged to go to bed.

'The Curé of the parish, hearing that he was worse, hastened to visit him, and thinking from the bright cheerfulness of his face that the dying man was not aware of his own condition, said to him, "Do you know that you are dying, and must soon appear before the presence of God?" "I know it," was the answer, "and I wait His commands; my lot is in His hands, His will be done." In truth, his soul dwelt continually in unbroken communion with God, and he only waited with longing for the moment when the last ties that bound him to earth should be severed. Several days passed thus. Feeling that he was getting worse, he asked for the Viaticum, and it was arranged that he should receive it on the following day, which was Wednesday in Holy Week. He spent the whole night in preparation, and his little cell was decorated as well as the poverty of the house allowed. When the time came, he insisted on being taken out of bed, and dressed, and placed in a chair, vested in a surplice and stole. At the sound of the bell announcing the approach of the Priest, he threw himself on his knees, and received his last Communion with the same wonderful devotion which had often formerly struck those who assisted at his Mass, only with even more of the fire of love in his face. It was the last gleam of a dying light, which was being extinguished on earth, to shine with undiminished brightness "as the stars for ever and ever."

'The next day he received Extreme Unction. His mind was still quite clear, and the Superior asked him to give his blessing to the Brothers who were kneeling round him, as well as to all the rest of the Community. He raised his eyes to heaven, stretched out his hands, and said, "The Lord bless you all."

'Later in the day he became unconscious, and the prayers for the[Pg 337] dying were said; but again he revived. About midnight the death agony came on: it was the night of the Agony in Gethsemane. It lasted till after two: then there was another interval of comparative ease, and he was able to speak. The Superior asked him whether he accepted willingly all his sufferings. "Yes," he replied, "I adore in all things the dealings of God with me." These were his last words; at three o'clock the agony returned, but only for a short hour. At four o'clock in the morning of Good Friday, the 7th of April, 1719, he fell asleep.

'As soon as the news of his death was spread abroad, the house was beset by crowds desiring to see him. All revered him as a Saint, and wanted to look once more on the venerable face, and to carry away something in remembrance of him. He had nothing belonging to him but a Crucifix, a New Testament, and a copy of the Imitation; but his poor garments were cut up, and distributed in little bits to satisfy the people.'

The Christian Brothers since the death of their great founder have steadily continued their charitable self-denying work. They have received much encouragement from high authorities in Church and State, much also from the good opinion which their work has gained for them wherever it has been known. Their history, however, records reverses: the chief of them connected with the catastrophe of the great Revolution. With regard to this, it might have been expected on general grounds, that in a social upheaval, which was essentially a rising of the poor and oppressed against the rich and the privileged, a society which had poverty as its foundation principle, and the free education of the children of the poor as its only reason of existence, must have been spared by general consent in the midst of the social ruin by which so much was overwhelmed. At first it seemed that this might have been so; when the Religious Orders were suppressed by decree of the National Assembly in 1790, exception was made in favour of those engaged in public instruction and the care of the sick; but in 1792 all corporations, specially including the Christian Brothers, were abolished, on the ground that their existence was incompatible with the conditions of a really free State. During the Reign of Terror the Institute was broken up, the Brothers scattered, and many suffered. There was a revival under Napoleon, which lasted till the Revolution of 1830. At this time the Institute was shaken, as was almost everything else in France; but the recognized merits of the Christian Brothers carried them safely through the storm, and one of the most telling and triumphant facts in their history is the confidence reposed in them by M. Guizot, when Minister of Public instruction under Louis Philippe. More than once[Pg 338] M. Guizot endeavoured, but in vain, to persuade the Superior to accept the Cross of the Legion of Honour.

The work of the Christian Brothers in France at the present time is of special value; but also carried on under much chilling discouragement. A systematic attempt is being made to secularize education, and to drive every indication of religious faith from the primary schools. It remains to be seen what will be the result of the fanatical opposition to all that is dear to the minds of many French men and almost all French women, which is carried on so persistently by the Legislature and the Government. Already there are signs of reaction; the result of the late elections, which has substantially changed the proportion of parties in the representative Chamber, is probably not a little connected with the enforcement of an utterly godless education.[4] Meanwhile it would seem, as a matter of fact, that the number of children under the teaching of the Christian Brothers has increased instead of diminishing: there are still some French people left who have not bowed the knee to Secularism, and Materialism, and Atheism: even those who tremble at Priestcraft can accept the ministration of the Christian Brothers, who cannot (as we have seen) be Priests, according to their fundamental rule: and so, although the secularist flood is just now frightfully high, there is a gleam of hope to be found in the work of the Christian Schools, and the light which shines in them and from them may serve as a witness for God till the tyranny be overpast, and then may perhaps serve as a light at which the torch of religious teaching will be lighted again once more.

We have placed at the head of this article the title of one of the manuals in use in the primary schools of France. It is worth studying in connection with the work of the Christian Brothers, and on other grounds as well. The entire absence of all reference to God or to any kind of religious knowledge or religious principle in connection with duty is startling, and gives the book a complexion somewhat strange to an English mind; and there are portions which can scarcely fail to strike[Pg 339] an Englishman as droll; but is full of French ingenuity. It contains a vast amount of compressed information, and the dry instruction of the text is enforced, or rather sweetened and made palatable, by a series of stories in the form of a running commentary or collection of foot-notes, in which the heroes of the stories illustrate the lessons which the scholars have to learn.

We take two or three specimens from the manual, which we will present in a free translation:—

Our Duties Towards Ourselves

'As you grow older, you become more serious. Consider what your duties are.

'You have duties towards yourselves, that is, towards your bodies and towards your souls.

'Sound health must be taken care of; weak health must be strengthened by a good hygiene.

'Hygiene demands cleanliness; wash your whole body carefully and frequently.

'Keep nothing dirty upon you, nor in your house, nor near your house.

'Hygiene demands good air: air your bed, your chamber, and all places in which you live and work.

'Hygiene forbids all excess, and the use of injurious things, as alcohol and tobacco. It prescribes temperance and sobriety.

'Hygiene requires you to avoid a sudden change from heat to cold. When you are in a perspiration, do not lie down upon the ground, do not expose yourself to draughts, and do not drink cold water.

'Hygiene requires gymnastic exercises, which make the body supple, healthy, and strong.

'Attention to health gives a chance of long life.

'In order to fulfil your duties towards your soul, you must continue to cultivate your intelligence and to educate yourself.

'Do not forget that you can educate yourself at any age.

'You must fight against sensuality, which would make you gluttons, drunkards, and debauchees; against idleness, which would make you useless to others and a burden to them; against selfishness and vanity, which would make others detest you; envy, which would render you unhappy and hateful; anger and hatred, which might lead you to all kinds of evil deeds.'

These lessons are enforced by an extract from the French Law, which informs scholar that the persons found in a condition of manifest intoxication in the street or a public-house are punished by a fine of from 1 to 15 francs; that for a second offence the punishment is imprisonment for three days; and that for a third breach of the law the offender may be sentenced to imprisonment for from six days to a month, and to a fine of from 16 to 300 francs. In addition to this, the offenders will be[Pg 340] declared incapable of exercising their political rights for two years.

This is a very practical teaching; but the duties which little boys owe to their bodies and souls are rendered more attractive, than either the dicta concerning hygiene or the threatened results of evil ways are likely to make them, by the history of a certain Dr. John Burnett, a physician, who made an immense fortune in New York. This is found as a feuilleton at the foot of the page, under the title 'Un Bon Charlatan.'

The pith of the teaching under the head of Morals, is contained in the following summary:—

'1. I will fulfil my duties towards myself. My duties towards my body are, cleanliness, sobriety, temperance, precaution against the inclemency of the seasons, exercise.

'2. I will fulfil my duties towards my soul by continuing to educate myself, and by combating all bad passions.

'3. I will not do to another that which I would not that he should do to me.

'4. I will not do him wrong, either by striking him, or robbing him, or deceiving him, or lying to him, or by breaking my promise, or by speaking evil of him, or by calumniating him.

'5. I will do to another that which I should wish him to do to me.

'6. I will love him, I will be grateful, exact, discreet, charitable.'

Very good resolutions these, but one cannot avoid the thought that the little scholar might estimate 3 and 5 not the less, perhaps the more, if informed of the life and character of Him who first spoke these apparent simple rules in such a manner as to impress them upon the heart of the world. Would not all the resolutions gain strength from the belief that duty towards God is the true spring of duty towards our neighbours and ourselves, and that the grace of God is necessary to make the best resolutions practically operative in the life?

We will now give our readers a specimen of the tales by which the lessons of the manual are illustrated and enforced. It shall be taken from the section entitled Society, the second subsection of which is as follows:—

'Freedom of Labour.

'In France; labour is free; every one employs, as he pleases, his intelligence and his arms.

'You may choose any profession you please; but everybody else has the same right as yourself.

'Competition is therefore permitted; never complain of competition.

'If you hinder your neighbour from working as he pleases, you may yourself be hindered in like manner.[Pg 341]

'Competition excites the workman to do his best and at the cheapest rate.

'Thus competition is advantageous to all. Never ask Society to interfere with the freedom of labour, but work hard yourself.'

These wholesome lessons on competition are illustrated by the following tale:—

Gregory's Views on Competition.

'Our friend Gregory is a good husband; but he sometimes has little arguments with his wife.

'The other day, Mrs. Gregory was angry, because she had found out that a shoemaker was going to establish himself in the village. "What do we want another shoemaker for," said she "when you and I are here already? The Government ought to prevent such things."

'Gregory, who was at his work, lifted his head and said: "The Government ought to prevent women from talking nonsense. Suppose that I was the shoemaker who had just established himself in the village; what would you say if any one interfered with my carrying on my trade? You would not be very well pleased, I fancy."

'He then explained to his wife the necessity of competition.

'"There is plenty of work for everybody," said he. "If there had been already two or three shoemakers in the place, this new fellow would not have come to settle here. He would have seen that there was nothing for him to do. I am surprised that no competing shoemaker has come here before. You know very well that we have sometimes to refuse work, and that there are people in the village who have to go to the town to get their shoes. Beyond doubt the newcomer will take some of our custom; but it is our business to look after that. We must work better than we have done hitherto; and that's all about it."

'Mrs. Gregory was not convinced, but she said nothing.

'"You see," continued Gregory, "you must look a little beyond the end of your nose. You wish that there should be only one shoemaker in the place. The linendraper wishes that there should be only one linendraper; the grocer only one grocer; and so on through all the trades. Very well; don't you remember when we had only one linendraper how dear shirts used to be? And don't you remember some twenty years ago, when there was only one smith? You could never get hold of him; and when you did, his charges were tremendous. I recollect him putting a bell to our front door. When he gave me the bill, and I had seen the amount, I said to him, 'my good fellow, I didn't order a silver bell.' 'And I have not put up a silver bell,' was the reply. 'Oh! I thought from the price it must have been silver,' said I. This vexed him, and he answered, 'If you are not satisfied, go elsewhere.' That was well enough; he was the only smith in the neighbourhood. I could not send for a man from Pekin: he would have been sure to be lost on the road, and I should have been obliged to provide for his family."[Pg 342]

'Gregory made some other good remarks to show that if competition prevents a shopkeeper from selling his goods at a high price, it enables him to buy from others at a cheap rate. "So on the whole," concluded he, "do not let us fuss and make ourselves ill. I would much rather have some coffee, than be compelled to take medicine."'

Gregory must have had some of the saintly qualities of his great namesakes to enable him to take so calm a view of the invasion of his shoemaking monopoly. We trust that Mrs. Gregory was eventually convinced by his wise and philosophical arguments, and still more, that the generation of Frenchmen who enjoy such teaching from their early years may emulate so bright an example.

We cannot refrain from making one more extract from our little manual. The thirteenth section deals with 'The Rights and Duties of the Citizen' and the third subsection treats as follows of:—

'Political Duties.

'The French people ought more than any other people, to respect the law made by its own deputies.

'It ought without murmuring to pay the taxes voted by the Chambers, and to fulfil its military duties.

'It ought to respect the authority of all the agents of the Government, from the lowest to the highest, from the garde champêtre to the Ministers and the President of the Republic, for the agents of authority are the servants of the law, and all are chosen directly or indirectly, by the deputies of the people.

'The greater the rights of citizens, the greater their duties.

'It used to be said, Noblesse oblige. This meant: a nobleman ought to behave himself better than another, to be worthy of his nobility.

'It should now be said, Liberté oblige. This means that a free citizen ought to behave himself better than another, in order to be worthy of liberty.

'You have the duty of putting your name upon the electoral roll at the Mairie of the Commune in which you reside.

'You have the duty of voting, and you must vote according to your conscience.

'You have not the right of being indifferent to public affairs, and of saying that they do not concern you.

'You have an interest in securing to your Commune good Municipal Councillors, who will look well after the finances, will take care of the schools, and of the roads, and attend to all wants.

'You have an interest in securing to your Department good General Councillors, who will do for the Department what the Municipal Councillors do for the Commune.

'You have an interest in nominating good Deputies and good[Pg 343] Senators, who may make useful and just laws, choose a President of the Republic worthy of that supreme honour, and keep the Government in good ways.

'You ought to make a good choice, not merely for your own interest, but for the love of your country.

'Love those republican institutions which France has provided for herself.

'Endeavour to make them loved, respecting the while your neighbour's opinions, and restraining yourself from all hatred and from all violence.

'The future of the Republic depends upon each of you. If each of you does his duty, it will be strong: strong enough to make our lives happy, and to restore to us one day the brothers whom we have lost—the Brothers of Alsace and Lorraine.'

This is the conclusion of the manual. All works up to Alsace and Lorraine. (The capital letters are in the original.) Is it not delightful? Is it not most truly French?

We should be sorry to see a parody or parallel to this French manual introduced into our schools. At the same time we think there is something to be learnt from studying it. Our neighbours seem to have in some respect learnt better than ourselves the maxim of Horace:—

'pueris dant crustula blandi
Doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima.'

The pages of our manual are full of literary crustula; and we imagine that most boys would find themselves sufficiently amused to read and study the book, whether they were desirous of profiting by the contents or not. And after all it is a great thing to get hold of a boy, whether it be by the loving and evidently self-sacrificing efforts of the Christian Brothers, or by the ingenious mental food provided by the Minister of Public Instruction. Notwithstanding such ingenuity, we do not, however, believe that the present system of French teaching can answer: it is hollow and unsound: it ignores the deepest of motives, and disregards the most potent of influences: it may breed a desire to fight with Germany for the recovery of Alsace and Lorraine, but it can scarcely produce the highest class of citizens and heroes, because it does not acknowledge the fear of God as the beginning of wisdom, and the love of God as the best foundation of the love of man. The principles of duty inculcated in the manual from which we have been exhibiting a few elegant extracts will never rear such a character as De la Salle, nor supply the foundation of such an institution as that of the Christian Brothers.[Pg 344]

But we must come nearer home—

'Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.'

We have not yet arrived in England at the complete secularization of our elementary schools; but we are, in the opinion of some and in the wish of others, within measurable distance of the Paradisiacal terminus of secularism and secular reform; and therefore, with the thought of what has been going on and is still going on in France, we may do well to look for a few moments to our own country, and examine what has been going on and is going on there.

Let us beware, however, of exaggeration or alarmism. We do not at all desire to imply that there is anything approaching to parallelism in the conditions and possibilities of the two countries. Had it been proposed to do in England what has been done in France, the opposition would have been indignant and overwhelming. There is no such desire for emancipation from Priests and Priestcraft in England as has long existed and still exists in France. To be sure we hear something on this side of the Channel of sacerdotal pretensions and unwarrantable clerical claims; but the men by whom the offence comes are few in number, and, at the worst, they and their conduct are but as a drop in the great bucket of the English Church and its influence upon the nation. In France matters are painfully different. While the women are largely dévotes, the men are very sparingly dévots. Unfortunately the admission of superstitious practices, the practical hiding of Holy Scripture, the adoption under the patronage of the Church of foolish tales of miracles, and the absence of effectual protest against the unwarrantable assumptions of the Vatican, have combined to offer to the intellect of France an unnecessary obstacle, which in too many instances causes shipwreck to faith; and so, while in England the men, who make the laws, are, speaking broadly, Christian believers, in France the men, who equally make the laws, are as broadly unbelievers. This difference is not likely to disappear. France has reached a point at which the disease of unbelief may be said to have become chronic; England, on the other hand, although there have been of late, and are still, symptoms of infidel proclivities, appears nevertheless, so far as her condition can be tested to be sound at heart, and in some respects in a more healthy state of religious conviction and activity than has been manifested hitherto.

The question of the comparative conditions of France and England is one with which we have no desire to enter at length; and indeed a native of one of the countries is very[Pg 345] unlikely to be in a condition to take a quite just and fair view of the other. We only desire to guard ourselves from appearing to assume the probability of the secularization of our English schools on the ground of the step having been already taken in France. And having premised this caution, we will ask our readers to accompany us in the consideration of some details, suggested by the Report of the National Society, and by that of the Committee of the Privy Council on Education. Afterwards we will submit a few general reflections, and so close our article.

It was feared by some and hoped by others fifteen years ago, when the law of compulsory education and School Boards was enacted in this country, that Voluntary Schools would undergo what was described at the time as a 'process of painless extinction,' and that Board Schools would reign supreme. These fears and hopes have been curiously falsified; the Voluntary Schools have not been extinguished either painlessly or otherwise; on the other hand, they have increased, both in work done and in support given, to an extent which could never have been anticipated. It will be observed that the question is not purely and simply between Board and Voluntary Schools; it may be so in some parishes, where with unanimity on the part of the parishioners, one Parish School can be made to supply the wants of all; but generally the question is that of supporting Voluntary Schools and paying towards Board Schools as well; the support of one does not exclude the legal claim of the other, as it has been frequently argued that it ought in equity to do; consequently Voluntary Schools are heavily handicapped, and nothing but a deep sense of the advantage of freedom in religious teaching, and an utter dread of secularism, can account for the remarkable results exhibited by the progress of Voluntary Schools under such manifest difficulties.

The following Tables are so exceedingly instructive, that we make no apology for introducing them:—


Day Schools, Year ended August 311882.1883.1884.
British, &c.384,060386,839394,009
Roman Catholic269,231272,760284,514

[Pg 346]

Number on the Registers.

Day Schools, Year ended August 31.1882.1883.1884.
British, &c.339,812337,531333,510
Roman Catholic232,620226,567226,082

Average Attendance.

Day Schools, Year ended August 31.1882.1883.1884.
British, &c.245,493247,990253,044
Roman Catholic160,910162,310167,841

Voluntary Contributions.

Day Schools, Year ended August 31.1882.1883.1884.
£.   s.    d.£.    s.    d.£.   s.   d.
Church581,179   5    3577,313 16    5585,071  11 10
British, &c.75,132  11   871,519    2    972,978 10   0
Wesleyan15,705   2    215,271 14    116,802    2    0
Roman Catholic51,283  11   751,564 15    257,672    1    2
Board1,545   2    21,420    1    31,603   7 10
724,845 12 10717,089   9    8734,127 12 10

From these Tables it appears that in spite of the surrender of some Church Schools to Boards, a process which is always to some extent going on, and which causes an increase in the number of Board Schools beyond that produced by actual building, the accommodation in Church Schools rose in 1884 by 41,112, and the average attendance by 45,316. The Church was also educating about half as many again as were being educated in Board Schools, and the amount voluntarily contributed during the year was more than 585,000l., in addition to a large sum expended on buildings and improvements.

This does not look much like speedy extinction, and we[Pg 347] sincerely trust that that event is still far distant. It is not so much that we are opposed to Board schools on principle, still less that we disapprove of the national determination that every child shall be educated, which logically leads to some national machinery involving the principle of Board Schools in some form or other,—not so much this, as that we are persuaded that the existence of Voluntary Schools is an unspeakable benefit even to the Board Schools themselves. We hold that a definite system of religious teaching, according to which the religious studies of the school and the secular are co-ordinate and equally regarded, and the religious atmosphere which such consideration implies, are of the very essence of a rightly ordered school; the ideal may be reached in a Voluntary School, it is impossible that it should be reached in a Board School; nevertheless, there may be Board schools and Board Schools; in some there may be simple secularism, and in others there may be a good religious spirit and fair religious teaching; and the degree in which the average quality of Board Schools will approximate to the latter limit rather than the former, will depend very much upon the standard set up by the Voluntary Schools. A reference to the Report of the Committee of Council on Education proves that Voluntary Schools are worked more cheaply, and, so far as can be judged by the results of examination, are secularly not less successful than schools upon the Board system; and therefore even with reference to economy there is some advantage in keeping the two classes of school going side by side. But all questions of comparative economy, and of advantages arising from an honourable competition, are as nothing compared with the reflected influence in the direction of bringing up the average religious character of Board Schools to the highest point which the shackles of legislation allow.

In addition to the work of voluntary elementary schools, there are two other departments in which voluntary efforts are doing much in support of the religious and Christian character of English Education.

There are no less than thirty Training Colleges in connection with the Church. The pupils trained in these Colleges are not in general bound by any rule to accept posts only in Church schools; as a matter of fact, many are drafted into Board Schools; but it is impossible to exaggerate the importance to the subsequent influence for good, in a school of whatever kind, of a thorough religious training in youth upon definite religious principles. So far as an opinion can be formed, it would seem that these Training Colleges must always rest upon a voluntary foundation; it is difficult to conceive of their being carried on[Pg 348] upon State principles; you may make religious teaching optional in an elementary day school, and the evil results may be not easily perceptable; but when eighty or a hundred young men or young women are brought together into one home, to lead a common family life with common purposes and prospects, the religious equality principle breaks down; you must have common religious teaching and common worship, and these must be utterly vapid and miserable, unless there be a hearty agreement upon the grounds and articles of faith, such as is only possible for those who are of one Church, or at all events of one denomination. Doubtless on this very account efforts have been made, and efforts will be made, to break down the Church Training College system, or to erect something on broader principles which shall gradually extinguish it; but on all grounds we trust that these efforts may fail, and that at all events no change may be introduced which shall be successful in rendering impossible the carrying on of institutions, to which we are convinced that the education of the poor children of England is indebted more than to almost any other. We have but been working out under new conditions the great problem which De la Salle perceived to lie at the root of elementary education: the forming of the instrument wherewith to do the work was, as he clearly perceived, the great thing to be accomplished; and for that purpose personal influence was needed; it was necessary to stir up in each young aspirant to the office of a teacher something of the enthusiasm of teaching, to breed a high conception of the value and responsibilities of the office, to make it felt that self-denial and self-devotion were essential conditions of any lasting success. English Training Colleges differ very widely from that community which De la Salle established, and over which he presided; in our opinion, they, at least their managers, might profit by studying his work and emulating his spirit; but after all, they will still be widely different, and any attempt at exact imitation amongst ourselves would perhaps produce a parody rather than an adequate copy. Any one who can remember the early work of Derwent Coleridge at St. Mark's, Chelsea, and the vast change which was brought about in the training of the schoolmaster, the estimate of his qualifications, and his general status, by the admirable and laborious efforts of that good and able man, will be conscious that a work has been done amongst us in these latter days, upon which De la Salle himself would have looked with a kindly smile of approval, though in some respects he might have imagined, and perhaps with justice, that it was not so thorough as his own.[Pg 349]

The other department of voluntary action to which we proposed to refer, is that which is known as Diocesan Inspection.

This system of inspection is carried on by Clergymen, who are appointed with the approval and in connection with the Bishops, and whose stipends are provided by voluntary contribution. The action is not uniform throughout the Dioceses, but there is scarcely a Diocese in which the work is not carried on with great energy. These Inspectors visit the schools, in some Dioceses and Board Schools as well as those in connection with the Church; they examine the children, confer with the masters and mistresses, give advice and encouragement as may seem to be necessary and fitting, and make a report upon the general condition of the school with reference to religious knowledge. In most Dioceses there is in addition some kind of prize scheme, by means of which children are encouraged to give special attention to the religious side of their education.

We think it worth while to call attention to this system of Diocesan Inspection, because it is well that Englishmen, and especially English Churchmen, should be awake to the religious needs of our times, and the efforts which are being made to meet them. We are aware that all such machinery as that which we have described must be ineffectual in implanting in the minds of children that 'fear of the Lord,' which is 'the beginning of wisdom.' No system of inspection and examination, and no careful grinding of certain lessons, whether they be taken from Holy Scripture or from any other book, into the minds of little children, can be a substitute for the true influence of heart upon heart; the teacher who would generate religious life in the soul of a child must imitate the Prophet, who put his mouth to the child's mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands, and prayed that the child might awake to new life; nevertheless on the supposition that no pains are spared in obtaining suitable masters and mistresses, much may be done to encourage them in their difficult work by making it manifest that the heart of England and of England's Church is with them. And indeed it is a difficult work: the education of children will never be a simple and easy thing as long as the world lasts: the value of the finished article may generally be taken as some measure of the labour and care necessary to produce it: and the value of a pure, simple-hearted, well-taught Christian child is so immeasurably and indescribably great, that we may safely conclude that the workmen and workwomen employed in producing the result must have spent upon their work an incredible amount of honest self-denying[Pg 350] toil: a perfunctory discharge of the office of schoolmaster,—so many hours a week, and so much pay,—will never do: the master of the Elementary School must ever be a Christian Brother in reality, if not in name.

Passing for a moment from the religious side of the educational question, the reader may be interested by looking at a few statistics, indicating the general position of England, or rather England and Wales, with reference to elementary education.

In the year ending August 31, 1884, Her Majesty's Inspectors visited 18,761 day schools, having on their registers the names of 4,337,321 children. Of these, 3,273,134 were, on an average, in daily attendance throughout the year. The amount of income arising from school-pence, it may be worth while noting, was 1,734,115l., or nearly two millions. The Government grants reached 2,722,351l., or nearly three millions.

Besides the day schools, 847 night schools were examined. In many parts of the country these night schools were very important: they afford big boys the only opportunity of keeping up their knowledge, or intellectually improving themselves. Nearly twenty-five thousand scholars over twelve years of age are, on an average, in attendance each night.

There are nearly forty thousand certificated teachers at work; and 3214 students are being prepared in forty-one Training Colleges.

The expense of education at different places varies remarkably, and apparently without any intelligible principle. Thus the income per scholar from voluntary contributions in Voluntary Schools, and from rates in Board Schools, is in certain selected towns as follows:—

£   s.   d.£   s.   d.
London0  9   0¼1   9   9
Brighton0   11   7½0   17   7
Birmingham0   5   3¾0   13   10¾
Bradford0   2   11¾0   13   2
Sheffield0   2   4¾0   9   8
Manchester0   4   70   10   10

We submit the above figures and facts to the reader's consideration, and we are compelled to confess that we do not find ourselves in a condition to offer a satisfactory solution of the difficulties which they suggest. We should probably have expected that London would be in an exceptional position with[Pg 351] regard to this as to many other matters; but the magnificent manner in which its Board contributions exceed those of any other town quite baffles us; it will be observed that the odd shillings and pence of London more than pay the whole expense at Sheffield. Possibly the practical difficulty of understanding this economical anomaly may have had something to do with the results of the late Board election in London.

On the whole, we English people seem to be solving the national education question more nostro. We have got a system not quite symmetrical, not quite logical, not the perfect exponent of the crotchets of any particular school, but nevertheless one which has on the whole produced remarkable results, and seems to have in it sufficient powers of adaptation and development. Of late a new question has been opened—and an important one—namely, that of making elementary education entirely gratuitous. There is something to be said in favour of the proposal, and it is a pity that the merits of the question should have been somewhat obscured by the intolerable, but to some persons perhaps attractive, suggestion that the additional expenditure necessary for making education gratuitous should be supplied by the robbery of the Church, or (in politer phrase) by the appropriation to the purposes of education of the national property hitherto supplied to the support of religion. This cat can scarcely be said to have been let out of the bag, for her head was no sooner seen peeping out than the alarm created was dangerously great, and Puss was concealed again in a twinkling; but she is inside the bag still. A much less objectionable proposal was speedily made, namely, that the deficiency created by the remission of school-pence should be supplied by a Parliamentary grant. And this proposal, we presume, may be regarded as at present before the country.

Looking upon the matter from a Chancellor of the Exchequer point of view, it is a serious thing to think of having to make an addition of about two millions to the annual national expenditure; and it may be observed that leading statesmen on both sides of politics may be found who are at present unconvinced. Doubtless an expenditure of two millions would not be grudged by the nation for any necessary purpose; but when the proposal is to substitute a payment of two millions by the Exchequer for the two millions paid in driblets by the persons most interested, for the most part gladly and with special provisions for preventing the payment pressing hardly upon the exceptionally poor, it may well be that many sensible persons will ask the question, Cui bono?

Independently, however, of any fiscal considerations, it seems[Pg 352] to us that there are weighty arguments against the proposal of a gratuitous education.

It may be observed, and we think it an important observation, that the proposal of free education is in the teeth of all our recent policy; and some pressing reasons ought to be given for a complete and sudden reversal of all that we have hitherto been doing. There are many free schools in the country, endowed by 'pious founders,' and established for the special purpose of giving free education to the children of particular parishes. Some of these schools have had to pass through the hands of the School Commissioners and to receive new schemes. It has been, we believe, the invariable practice to insert into these new schemes the condition of school-pence; the portion of the endowment so saved has been applied to the foundation of exhibitions and other methods of assisting deserving children. The inhabitants of the parishes in which this innovation has been introduced have grumbled and submitted; it has in some cases been a bitter pill, but the law-abiding character of the Englishman has caused it to be swallowed without noisy remonstrance. We cannot, without raising a suspicion of having practised educational quackery, retreat from the position which we have thus taken up.

What is the argument for the position? It is sometimes stated thus, that people value a thing more when it costs them something to get it. The argument is not to be despised; but we think that it yields in importance to the consideration, that the payment of the school fees is almost the only indication left of the great truth, that the parent is responsible for his children's education. We have sometimes trembled when we have seen in Board Schools directions concerning the doings of the children, which would seem to have had a right to come from parents, but which do in fact come 'by order of the Board.' We have almost feared lest in the Fifth Commandment our boys and girls of the rising generation should be tempted to substitute 'Board' for 'father and mother.' Certainly there is great danger in virtue of modern social arrangements lest parents should forget their highest duties to their children, and children cease to honour their parents in the good old-fashioned way. We confess, therefore, that we are jealous of the proposal to take away from the father the proud privilege of paying for his children's schooling, even though it may sometimes cost him an effort to do so.

It may be said, of course, that every man does pay indirectly, because he pays according to his means to the taxes of the country, and that therefore the proposal only gives him of his own. The[Pg 353] argument is defective, because it ignores the fact that whatever a man may pay indirectly in taxes, there is a conscious effort in finding the pence for the children's schooling, which morally is of great importance. But the argument fails also on other grounds: it assumes that all men have children equally; it asserts that the married man with his five children has no more responsibility than the elderly spinster who lives next door; it supposes that the parents have not a special interest in their children, distinct from that which can be felt by any other person whatever. It may be further urged, that if a man pays for his children while they are in process of education, the pressure comes upon him when he is in full vigour, and most able to bear it; whereas if the payment of pence be commuted for a perpetual tax, the pressure becomes one of a lifelong character, and is not relieved when the powers of earning begin to diminish.

We do not deny that painful cases have occurred, and are likely to still occur, in which parents are summoned before the magistrates for the non-attendance of children at school. But free education will not get rid of these painful cases. Already arrangements are made by law for the payment of fees for very poor parents who make the proper application; and if there be any obstacle in the way of the smooth working of the law, the matter should be looked into and the law amended; but the great difficulty in the way of good attendance on the part of very poor children lies, as we apprehend, not more with school-pence, than with school-clothes, and school-dinners. Attendance cannot be enforced completely all round, unless free education comprise in its idea free food and clothing, as well as free books and lessons.

We cannot but fear also lest the remission of school-pence should be another step towards the destruction of Voluntary Schools. It is evident that the proposal is so regarded; and though it may not be difficult to find arguments to show, that if the loss from school-pence be made up from the Exchequer, the compensation will work equally and fairly with respect to all schools, whether Voluntary or Board, still there can be little doubt that the additional grant will give a handle for proposing to introduce some more direct interference with the management of Voluntary Schools than has existed hitherto: and it is probably a true instinct which leads many friends of Voluntary Schools to look upon the free system with sincere apprehension. Certainly the indirect abolition of Voluntary Schools would be a great calamity; and if the views already expressed be correct, the abolition would leave a legacy of weakness, and a permanent[Pg 354] injury to the Board Schools, when they found themselves 'monarchs of all they survey,' and without the wholesome rivalry of Voluntary Schools.

There was no such objection to the free education offered to his poor brethren by the hero of this article, the sainted De la Salle. He made himself poor and bound all his disciples to a life of poverty, in order that they might have fullest sympathy with the poor, and might teach their children for no other payment or purpose but the love of God. The atmosphere of a school conducted upon such principles would be so saturated with the spirit of holiness and godly love, that there would be no danger of duty to parents, or indeed of any duty either to God or man, being left out of sight. It would never be forgotten in such schools that the formation of character is the chief aim of education: manners makyth man—as William of Wickham, our great English father of liberal education, has taught us: and manners, taken in the broadest and best sense, even more than the three Rs and all the extra subjects of all the standards, is what we want in our elementary schools, and what we shall never get, except upon the condition of a religious tone and a pure atmosphere, and teachers whose hearts are animated by the love of little children and by the love of God.

We gladly turn once more, before laying down our pen, to the volume which we have already introduced to the reader, and out of which we have told the tale of De la Salle, and the Christian Brothers. We do so for the purpose of showing what kind of men these good Brothers are, when put to the test in a severe and unexampled manner.

'After the disasters of the Prussian invasion in 1871,' says our author, 'the City of Boston, in America, placed at the disposal of the French Academy a special prize of two thousand francs to be given to whoever should be judged most worthy of the honour, on account of services rendered during the siege and in presence of the enemy. The Academy could find no more fitting recipient of this distinction than the Community, which during the whole time of the war had sent five hundred infirmarians into the battlefields, one of whom had fallen under the fire of the Prussians, among the wounded at Bourget. Public opinion fully endorsed the decision, when the first literary body in the world adjudged this reward to the humble and despised corps of the Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes. At the same time the National Defence Government insisted on decorating their venerable Superior with a cross of honour. He would have refused it, as he and his predecessors had already done many times, and he only yielded when he was told that there was nothing personal in the honour; that it belonged to his Institute; and that it was only as the representative of the Society that he was asked to wear it. The[Pg 355] eminent Dr. Ricord, who had been an eyewitness of the devotion of the Brothers, was charged with the office of fastening the cross on the cassock of Frère Philippe, in the great hall of the mother-house. This was the most embarrassing moment in the life of that man of God. He could not bear to wear the cross of honour, and in fact he never did wear it. When he returned after conducting the Doctor to the door at the end of the ceremony, he somehow managed that no one should perceive his decoration. The cross was not to be seen; and it has remained ever since as a kind of myth, or mysterious souvenir; it was never found.'

Thus in France Ministers of Public Instruction and Superiors of the Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes agree in removing the cross from elementary schools: but how marvellous the distance between the religious principles which lead to the two kinds of removal!

And now, in these days of payment by results, let us look for one moment to the Écoles Chrétiennes from this point of view; and then we will bid the Brothers a respectful farewell.

'For the last forty years a certain number of exhibitions or scholarships (bourses) have been offered by the City of Paris for competition amongst the scholars of elementary or primary schools, which give to the successful candidates a right of free education in the higher class schools. The number of scholarships which are offered varies. In 1848 there were twenty-nine; in 1871, fifty; in 1874, eighty; and in 1877 the number was raised to a hundred. Competition is open to all elementary schools, whether taught by the Christian Brothers, or by lay teachers of no religious order or society.

'The result, taking the thirty years from 1847 to 1877, has been that of 1445 exhibitions gained by scholars, 1148 have been won by boys from the Christian schools, and 297 by those from other schools. Or to take the last seven years of that period, during which every effort has been made by the Government, at a lavish outlay, to promote the efficiency of the secular schools, the results, though the numbers are not quite so disproportioned, yet show a marked superiority in the schools of the Christian Brothers. Out of 490 exhibitions, 364 have been adjudged to their pupils, and 126 to those of the secular schools.'

Well done, Christian Brothers! You have preached an admirable sermon to all those who take an interest in the education of children upon those comprehensive and deep-reaching words of Christ, 'Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'[Pg 356]


[4] 'The policy of the late Chamber with regard to religion, education, and the army had very much greater weight with the electors.... The persistent threat held out by certain Republicans to destroy the Church, either by a hypocritical fulfillment of the Concordat or by the forcible separation of Church and State, has been skilfully used by their adversaries amongst the peasantry, who dread nothing so much as having to pay their curé themselves. The Government was so well aware of this fact, that in some of the departments the Catechism was ordered to be recited in the schools during the last week before the elections, though only two months earlier the teachers had been strictly forbidden to use it. This childish stratagem had, as might have been expected, no great success.'—Gabriel Monod, in 'Contemporary Review,' of December, 1885.

Art. III.—The State Papers of the Venetian Republic; namely, Cancelleria Inferiore, Cancelleria Ducale, Cancelleria Secreta, preserved in the Convent of the Frari, at Venice.

In recent years a new tendency has been given to historical studies by the avidity with which scholars have investigated the masses of State documents accumulated through centuries, almost untouched, in the Record Offices of various nations. This tendency has been in the direction of minuteness and accuracy of detail. The finer shades of policy, the subtler turns in the game of nations, have been revealed by this intimate study of the documents which record them. Among the archives of Europe there is none superior, in historical value and richness of minutiæ, to the Archives of the Venetian Republic, preserved now in the convent of the Frari at Venice. The importance of these archives is due to three causes: the position of the Republic in the history of Europe, the fullness of the archives themselves, and the remarkable preservation and order which distinguishes them, in spite of the many dangers and vicissitudes through which they have passed. Venice enjoyed a position, unique among the States of Europe, for two reasons. Until the discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good Hope, she was the mart of Europe in all commercial dealings with the East—a position secured to her by her supremacy in the Levant, and by the strength of her fleet; and, in the second place, the Republic was the bulwark of Europe against the Turk. These are the two dominant features of Venice in general history; and under both aspects she came into perpetual contact with every European Power. The universal importance of her position is faithfully reflected in the diplomatic documents contained in her archives. The Republic maintained ambassadors and residents at every Court. These men were among the most subtle and accomplished diplomatists of their time, and the government they served was exacting and critical to the highest degree. The result is that the dispatches, newsletters and reports of the Venetian diplomatic agents, form the most varied, brilliant, and singular gallery of portraits, whether of persons or of peoples, that exists. There is hardly a nation in Europe that will not find its history illustrated by the papers which belong to the Venetian department for foreign affairs. Nor are the papers which relate to the home government of the Republic less copious and valuable. Each magistracy has its own series of documents, the daily record of its proceedings: in this we find the whole of that elaborate machinery of State laid bare before us in all its intricacy of[Pg 357] detail; and we are enabled to study the construction, the origin, development, and ossification, of one of the most rigid and enduring constitutions that the world has ever seen; a constitution so strong in its component parts, so compact in its rib-work, that it sufficed to preserve a semblance of life in the body of the Republic long after the heart and brain had ceased to beat.

Admirable as are the preservation and order of these masses of State papers, it is not to be expected that each series, each magisterial archive, should be complete. There are many broad lacunæ, especially in the earlier period, which must ever be a cause for regret: for Venice growing is a more attractive and profitable subject than Venice dying. During the nine hundred and eighty-seven years that the Government of the Republic held its seat in Venice, the State papers passed through many dangers from fire, revolution, neglect, or carelessness. When we recal the fires of 1230, 1479, 1574, and 1577, it is rather matter for congratulation that so much has escaped, than for surprise that so much has been destroyed. The losses would, undoubtedly, have been much more severe had all the papers and documents been preserved in one place, as they are now. But the Venetians stored the archives of the various magistracies either at the offices of those magistrates, or in some public building especially set apart for the purpose. The Secret Chancellery, which was always an object of great solicitude, containing as it did all the more private papers of the State, was deposited in a room on the second floor of the Ducal Palace. Many of the criminal records belonging to the Council of Ten were stored in the Piombi under the roof of the Palace; and the famous adventurer Casanova relates how he beguiled some of his prison hours by reading the trial of a Venetian nobleman, which he found among other papers piled at the end of the corridor where he was allowed to take exercise. Soon after the fall of the Republic, the following disposition of the papers was made. The political archive was stored at the Scuola di S. Teodoro; the judicial, at the convent of S. Giovanni Laterano; the financial, at S. Procolo. In the year 1815, the Austrian Government resolved to collect and arrange all State papers in one place. The building chosen was the convent of the Frari; and the work was entrusted to Jacopo Chiodo, the first director of the archives. The scheme suggested by Chiodo has served as a basis for the arrangement that has been already carried out, or is still in hand.

Under the Republic it was natural that access to important diplomatic papers and to secrets of State should be granted with reserve, and only to persons especially authorized to make[Pg 358] research. The directors appointed by the Austrian Government showed a disposition to maintain that precedent; and M. Baschet relates that it was only by a personal appeal to the Emperor that he obtained access to the archives of the Ten. The Italian Government allow nearly absolute liberty; and nothing can exceed the courtesy of the officials under their distinguished director, the Commendatore Cecchetti.

Any attempt to explain the archives of Venice and to display their contents, must be preceded by a statement of the main features of the constitution of the Republic upon which the order and the arrangement of the archives is based. The constitution of Venice has frequently been likened to a pyramid, with the Great Council for its base and the Doge for apex. The figure is more or less correct; but it is a pyramid that has been broken at its edges by time and by necessity. The legislative and political body was originally constructed in four groups, or tiers—if we are to preserve the pyramidal simile—one rising above the other. These four tiers were the Maggior Consiglio or Great Council, the Lower House; the Pregadi or Senate, the Upper House; the Collegio, or the Cabinet; and the Doge. The famous Council of Ten and its equally famous Commission, the Three Inquisitors of State, did not enter into the original scheme; they are an appendix to the State, an intrusion, a break in the symmetry of the pyramid. Later on we shall explain their construction and relation to the main body of government. For the present we leave them aside, and confine our attention to the four departments of the Venetian constitution above mentioned.

The Great Council, as is well known, did not assume its permanent form and place in the Venetian constitution till the year 1296. At that date the famous revolution, known as the closing of the Great Council, took place. By that act, which was only the final step in a revolution that had been for long in process, those citizens who were excluded from the Great Council remained for ever outside the constitution; all functions of government were concentrated in the hands of those nobles who were included by the Council; the constitution of the Republic was stereotyped as a rigid oligarchy. Previous to the year 1296, a great council had existed, created first in the reign of Pietro Ziani (1172); but this council was really democratic in character, not oligarchic; it was elected each September, and its members were chosen from the whole body of the citizens. Earlier still than the reign of Ziani, the population used to meet tumultuously and express their opinion upon matters of public interest, such as the election of a Doge or a declaration of war,[Pg 359] first in the Concione under their tribunes, while Venetia was still a confederation of lagoon-islands; and then in the Arengo under their Doge, when the confederation was centralized at Rialto. But of these assemblies the latter was disorderly and irregular, and the former was of doubtful authority. It is from the closing of the Great Council that we must date the positive establishment of the Venetian oligarchy, and the completion of that constitution which endured for five hundred years, from 1296 till the fall of the Republic in 1797.

The age at which the young nobles might take their seats in the Council, that is to say, might enter upon public life, was fixed at twenty-five, except in the cases of the Barbarelli, or thirty nobles between the ages of twenty and twenty-five, who were elected by ballot on the fourth of each December, St. Barbara's day; and in the case of those who, in return for money advanced to the State, obtained a special grace to take their seats before their twenty-fifth year.

The chief functions of the Great Council were the passing of laws, and the election of magistrates. But in process of time the legislative duties of the Council were almost entirely absorbed by the Senate; and the Maggior Consiglio only retained its great and distinguished function, the election of almost every officer of State, from the Doge downwards. The large number of these magistracies, and the various seasons of the year at which they fell vacant, engaged the Great Council in a perpetual series of elections. It is not our intention to explain in detail the elaborate process by which the Venetians carried out their political elections; such an explanation would carry us beyond our scope, which is to state the position and functions of each member in the constitution of the Republic. But, briefly, the process was this. The law required either two or four competitors for every vacant magistracy, and the election to that magistracy was said to take place a due or a quattro mani, respectively. If the office to be filled required quattro mani, the whole body of the Great Council balloted for four groups of nine members each, who were chosen by drawing a golden ball from among the silver ones in the balloting urn. Each of these groups retired to a separate room, and there each group elected one candidate to go to the poll for the vacant office. The names of the four candidates were then presented to the Council and balloted. The candidate who secured the largest number of votes, above the half of those present, was elected to the vacant office. Thus the election to the magistracy was a triple process; first, the election of the nominators, then the election of the candidates, and finally the election to the office.[Pg 360]

The Great Council, as representing the whole Republic, possessed certain judicial functions, which were used on rare occasions only, when the State believed itself placed in grave danger through the fault of its commanders. The famous case of Vettor Pisani, after his defeat at Pola, in 1379, and the case of Antonio Grimani, in the year 1499, were both sent to the Grand Council, who passed sentence on those generals. But, broadly speaking, the judicial functions of the Maggior Consiglio hardly existed, its legislative functions dwindled away, and were absorbed by the Senate, and its chief duty and prerogative lay in the election of almost every State official.

Coming now to the second tier in the pyramid of the constitution, the Senate, or Pregadi,—the invited, we find that the Senate proper was composed of sixty members, elected in the Great Council, six at a time. The elections took place once a week, and were so arranged that they should be complete by the first of October in each year. In addition to the Senate proper, another body of sixty, called the Zonta or addition, was elected by the outgoing Senate at the close of its year of office; but it was necessary that the names of the Zonta should be approved by the Great Council before their election was valid. The Senate and the Zonta together formed one hundred and twenty members; and besides these, the Doge, his six councillors, the Council of Ten, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and many special magistrates, who presided over departments of Finance, Customs, and Justice, belonged ex officio to the Senate, and brought the number of votes up to two hundred and forty-six. Further, fifty-one magistrates of minor departments also sat, with the right to debate, but without the right to vote.

The Senate was the real core of the Administration. The presence, ex officio, of so many and such various officers of State sufficiently indicates the wide field which was covered by the authority of the Pregadi. The large number of the Senatorial body, and the diversity of subjects with which it dealt, required that business should be carried on with parsimony of time and precision of method; and therefore private members were restricted to the right of debate. Only the Doge, his councillors, the Savii Grandi and the Savii di Terra ferma had the right to move the Senate; and their propositions related to peace, war, foreign affairs, instructions to ambassadors, and representatives of foreign Courts, to commercial treaties, finance, and home legislation. The various measures were spoken to by their proposers, and by the magistrates whose offices they affected. As in the case of the Great Council, the Senate also on rare occasions exercised judicial functions. It was in the discretion[Pg 361] of the College to send a faulty commander for trial either to the Great Council or to the Senate; but in that case the charge must be one of negligence or misjudgment; if the charge implied treason, it was taken before the Council of Ten. A few of the higher officers of State were elected in the Senate, among them the Savii Grandi and the Savii di Terra ferma, and the Admiral of the Fleet. The functions of the Senate were legislative, judicial, and elective. But just as the Great Council was pre-eminently the elective body, so the Senate was pre-eminently the legislative body in the constitution of Venice.

The Collegio or Cabinet of Ministers, formed the third tier in the pyramid. The College was composed of the following members: The Doge, his six councillors, and the three chiefs of the Court of Appeal; these ten persons formed the Collegio minore, or Serenissima Signoria; in addition to these there were the six Savii Grandi; the five Savii di Terra ferma, and the five Savii da mar; a body of twenty-six persons in all, forming the College. Beginning with the lowest in rank, the Savii agli ordini, or da mar, were, as their name implies, a Board of Admiralty; but they acted in that capacity under the orders of the Savii Grandi upon whom the naval affairs of the Republic immediately depended. The Savii agli ordini had a vote but no voice in the College; this post was given, for the most part, to young and promising politicians; it was a training school for statesmen: 'Officio loro,' says Giannotti, 'è tacere ed ascoltare.' The office lasted for six months only; and so there was a constant stream of young men passing through the political school, and becoming intimately acquainted with the affairs of the Republic and the methods of government. How excellent that school must have been will become apparent as we proceed to note the functions of the College of which the Savii agli ordini formed a silent part.

Next in order above the Savii agli ordini came the Savii di Terra ferma. This Board was composed of five members; the Savio alia Scrittura, or Minister for War; the Savio Cassier, or Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Savio alle ordinanze, or minister for the native militia in the cities on the mainland; the Savio ai da mò, or minister for the execution of all measures voted urgent; the Savio ai Ceremoniali, or Minister for Ceremonies of State. These Savii di Terra ferma, like the Savii agli ordini, held office for six months only.

The six Savii Grandi, who came above the Savii di Terra ferma, superintended the actions of the two boards below them, and, if necessary, issued orders which would override those of the other ministers. They were, in fact, the responsible directors of[Pg 362] the State. The Savii Grandi were required to prepare all business to be laid before the College, where it was first discussed and arranged before being submitted to the Senate for approval. To facilitate this labour of preparation, each of the Savii Grandi took a week in turn, and the Savio of the week was, in fact, Prime Minister of Venice. It was he who read dispatches, granted audiences to ambassadors, and prepared official replies. The Doge presided in the College, it is true, but it was the Savio of the week who opened the business, and suggested the various measures to be adopted.

Besides these boards of Savii, the College included the Ducal Councillors, and the three chiefs of the Court of Appeal. We shall speak of these latter when we come to the judicial department of the constitution. The office of Ducal Councillor was, perhaps, the most venerable in Venice. These six men held, as it were, the Ducal honours and functions in commission; they embodied the authority of the Doge to such an extent, that without their presence he could not act; he became a nonentity unless supported by four at least of his council; while, on the other hand, the absence of the Doge in no way diminished the authority of the Ducal Councillors. For example, the Doge without his council could not preside, neither in the Maggior Consiglio, nor in the Senate, nor in the College, but four Ducal Councillors had the power to preside without the Doge. The Doge might not open dispatches except in the presence of his council, but his council might open dispatches in the absence of the Doge. Yet, great as were the external honours of the Ducal Councillors, the office was rather ornamental than important. It was the Savii Grandi who were the directing spirit through all the multitudinous affairs of the College. As we have seen, those affairs embraced the whole field of government, except the field of Justice. The College had no judicial functions, nor did it legislate. As the Maggior Consiglio was the elective member, and the Senate the legislative, so the College was the initiative and executive member of the State. The College proposed measures which became law in the Senate; and the execution of those laws was entrusted to the College which had the machinery of State at its disposal. It is this right of initiating which distinguishes the College; and it is just upon this point that the Ducal Councillors appear to have a slight pre-eminence; for the Doge, his council, and the Savii alone, had the right to initiate in the Senate; the Doge, his council, and the chiefs of the Ten alone, had the right to initiate in the Council of Ten; the Doge and his council alone had the right to initiate in the Maggior Consiglio. The Doge and his council[Pg 363] alone move through all departments of government, presiding and initiating, embodying the spirit of the Republic; and yet in no case is their power great; for the Savii had more influence in the Senate, the Chiefs of the Ten in the Council of Ten; and the Great Council, where the Doge and his councillors had the field to themselves, was of little importance in the direction of affairs.

At the apex of the constitutional pyramid we find the Doge. The Doge also had his distinctive functions in the State; his duties were ornamental rather than administrative. Though all the acts of the Government were executed in his name, laws passed, dispatches sent, treaties made, and war declared, yet it is not in these departments that the Doge stands pre-eminent; it is throughout the pomp and display of the Republic that he is supreme; and the archive wherein his glory shows most brightly is the Ceremoniali.

The Doge was elected for life. When a Doge died, the eldest Ducal Councillor filled the office of Vice-Doge until the election of the new Prince. The remains of the deceased Doge were laid out in the Chamber of the Pioveghi, on the first floor of the Ducal Palace, dressed in robes of State, the mantle of cloth of gold and the ducal beretta. Twenty Venetian noblemen were appointed to attend in the chapelle ardente. On the third day the Doge was buried; and the Great Council on the same day elected the officers who were to revise the coronation oath, and to render its provisions more stringent if the conduct of the deceased had revealed any point where a future Doge could exercise even the smallest independence in constitutional matters. At the same time the Council elected another body of officers, who were required to examine the conduct of the late Doge, and, if he had violated his coronation oath, his heirs paid the penalty by a fine. Immediately after the appointment of these officers, the Maggior Consiglio proceeded to create the forty-one electors to the dukedom. The process of election was long and intricate, and occupied five days at the least; for there was a quintuple series of ballots and votings to be concluded before the forty-one were finally chosen. When the forty-one noblemen had been appointed they were taken to a chamber specially prepared for them, where, as in the case of a papal election, they were obliged to stay until they had determined upon the new Doge. They were bound by oath never to reveal what took place inside this election chamber. But this oath was not always observed in the spirit; and memoranda of the proceedings of the forty-one are still preserved in the private archives of the Marcello family. The[Pg 364] first step was to elect three priors, or presidents, and two secretaries. The presidents took their seats at a table on which stood a ballot-box and an urn. The secretaries gave to every elector a slip of paper, upon which each one wrote the name of the man whom he proposed as Doge. The forty-one slips of paper were then placed in the urn, and one was drawn out at hazard. If the noble, whose name was written upon the slip, chanced to be an elector, he was required to withdraw. Then each of the electors was at liberty to attack the candidate, to point out defects and recal misdeeds. These hostile criticisms, which covered the whole of a candidate's private life, his physical qualities and his public conduct, were written down by the secretaries, and the candidate was recalled. The objections urged against him were read over to the aspirant, without the names of the urgers appearing, and he was invited to defend himself. Attack and defence continued till no further criticisms were offered, and then the name of the candidate was balloted before the priors. If it received twenty-five favourable votes, its owner was declared Doge; if less than twenty-five, a fresh name was drawn from the urn, and the whole process was repeated until some candidate secured the necessary five-and-twenty votes. As soon as this issue was reached, the Signoria was informed of the result, and the new Doge, attended by the electors, descended to Saint Mark's, where, from the pulpit on the left side of the choir, the Prince was shown to the people, and where, before the high altar, he took the coronation oath and received the standard of Saint Mark. The great doors of the Basilica were then thrown open, and the Doge passed in procession round the Piazza and returned to the Porta della Carta. At the top of the Giants' Stair the eldest Ducal Councillor placed the beretta on his head, and he was brought to the Sala dei Pioveghi, where the late Doge had lain in state, and where he too would one day come. Then the Doge retired to his private apartments, and the ceremony of election closed.

As we have already observed, the position of the Doge in the Republic of Venice was almost purely ornamental. The Doge presided, either in person or by commission through his councillors, at every Council of State; he presided, however, not as a guiding and deliberating chief, but as a symbol of the Majesty of Venice. He is there not as an individual, a personality, but as the outward and visible sign of an idea, the idea of the Venetian oligarchy. The history of the personal authority of the Doge falls into three periods. A period of great vigour and almost despotic power dates from the foundation of the[Pg 365] Dukedom, in the year 697, down to the reign of Pietro Ziani in 1172. During this first period, the Ducal authority showed a tendency to become concentrated, and almost hereditary in the hands of one or two powerful families. For example, we have seen Doges of the Partecipazio house, five Doges of the Candiani, and three of the Orseoli. But the rivalry and balanced power of these great families eventually exhausted one another, and preserved the Dukedom of Venice from ever becoming a kingdom. A second period extends from the year 1172 down to 1457, and is marked by the emergence of the great commercial houses, and the development of the oligarchy upon the basis of a Great Council. The aristocracy during this period were engaged in excluding the people from any share in the government, and in curbing and finally crushing the authority of the Doge. The steps in this process are indicated by the closing of the Great Council, the revolution of Tiepolo, the trials of Marino Faliero, Lorenzo Celsi, and the Foscari. The third period covers what remains of the Republic, from 1457 down to 1797. During this period the Doge was little other than the figurehead of the Republic; the point of least weight and greatest splendour; the brilliant apex to the pyramid of the Venetian constitution.

So far, then, we have examined the four tiers in the original structure of the constitution, the Doge, the College, the Senate, and the Great Council; and we have seen that, broadly speaking these were, respectively, ornamental, initiative and executive, legislative, and elective. But this pyramid of the constitution was not perfectly symmetrical; its edges were broken. This interruption of outline was caused by the Council of Ten. The exact position in the Venetian constitution occupied by this famous Council, and its relations to the other members of the government, have proved a constant source of difficulty and error to students of Venetian history. Leaving aside the obscure problem of the origin of the Ten, it is still possible for us to indicate the constitutional necessity which called that Council into existence. As we have pointed out, the College could not act on its own responsibility without the Senate; the Senate could not initiate without the College, for the preparation of all affairs passed through the hands of the College. To establish connection between these two branches of the administration was a process that required some time; it could not be done swiftly and secretly. In all crises of political importance, whether home or foreign, some instrument, more expeditious than the Senate, was required to sanction the propositions of the College. That instrument, acting swiftly and[Pg 366] secretly, with a speed and secrecy impossible in so large a body as the Senate, was created with the Council of Ten. The Ten were an extraordinary magistracy, devised to meet unexpected pressure upon the ordinary machine of government. The emergence of the Ten proves this view. Without determining whether the Council existed previous to the year 1310, we may take that year as the date of its first appearance as a potent element in the State. The rebellion of Tiepolo and Querini, an aristocratic revolt against the growing power of the new commercial nobility, paralysed the ordinary machinery of State, and revealed the danger inherent in a large and slow-moving body of rulers. The Ten were called to power, just as the Romans created the Dictatorship, in order to save the State in a dangerous crisis.

The place of the Ten in the constitutional structure is below the College and parallel with the Senate. Below the College the administration bifurcates, the ordinary course of business flows through the Senate, the extraordinary through the Ten. The Ten possessed an authority equal to that of the Senate; the choice of which instrument should be used, rested with the College. The Ten appear to be of more importance than the Senate, solely because they were used upon more critical and dramatic occasions. Wherever the machinery of the College and Senate moves too slowly, we find the swifter machinery of the College and the Ten in motion. And so not only in political affairs, home and foreign, but also in affairs financial and judicial, the Council of Ten takes its part. The Ten, as being the readier instrument to the hands of the College, gradually absorbed more and more of the functions which originally belonged to the Senate. This process of absorption, and the extension of the province of the Ten, is marked by the establishment of its sub-commissions, that took their place in every department side by side with the delegations of the Senate and the ordinary magistrates. In politics and foreign affairs there is the famous office of the Three Inquisitors of State. In the region of Justice all cases of treason and coining, and certain cases of outrage on public morals, came before the Ten; and it was always open to the College to remove a case from the ordinary courts to the Ten, when State reasons rendered it expedient to do so. In the Police department the Esecutori contro la Bestemmia, and in Finance the Camerlenghi, were officers of that Council. In the War Office the artillery was under their control; and in the arsenal certain galleys, marked C.X., were always at their disposal.

These five great members of the State, four regular and one[Pg 367] irregular, formed the political and legislative departments of the Venetian Government. It would require too many details to give a similar account of the Judicial, Educational, and Religious machinery.

One of the most remarkable features in the Venetian constitution is the infinite subdivision of government, and the number of offices to be filled. Nobles alone were eligible for the majority of these offices, and if we consider how small a body the Great Council really was, it is clear that the larger number of Venetian noblemen must have been employed in the service of the State at some time in their lives. The great political and administrative activity which reigned inside the comparatively small body that formed the ruling caste, as compared with the absolute stagnation and quiet which marked the life of the ordinary citizen, is one of the most noteworthy points in the history of Venice. Every noble above the age of twenty-five was a member of the Maggior Consiglio; every week that council had to fill up some office of State, had some new candidate before it. The tenure of all offices, except the Dukedom and the Procuratorship of St. Mark, was so brief, rarely exceeding a year, or sixteen months, that the fret and activity of elections must have been nearly incessant. This constant unrest bore its fruit in perpetual intrigues, and the censors were appointed to check the rampant canvassing and bribery. But the main point which is impressed upon us is the universality of political training to which all the nobles of Venice were subjected. No matter how frivolous a young patrician might be, he would be obliged to sit in the Great Council; he would be called upon to assist in electing the Ten, whose omniscience and severity he had every reason to dread; he might even find himself named to fill some minor post. It was impossible, under these circumstances, that he should fail to be educated politically, or that he should ever lose the keenest interest in every movement of the State. It is to this political activity that we may possibly look for one of the reasons which conduced to that extraordinary longevity which the constitution of Venice displayed.

Each of the Government offices, many as they were, possessed its own collection of papers. These are either still in loose sheets, just as they left the office, or bound in volumes. They are indicated by the name of the Government department, the subject dealt with, and the date. The pages are of three kinds; first, there are the files or filze, the original minutes of the Board, written down in actual Council by the secretaries, and with the filze are the dispatches or other documents upon[Pg 368] which the Council took measures. In many of the more important departments, such as the Senate, the Ten, or the College, these filze were epitomized; the substance of each day's business was written out in large volumes known as Registri; each entry was signed by the secretary who had made the digest, and was accepted as authentic for all purposes of reference. These registers are, in many cases, of the greatest value where the files have been destroyed or lost. They were more constantly in use, and therefore more carefully preserved; and now they frequently form our sole authority for certain periods. As a rule the registers are very full and good; they contain all that is of importance in the files; but in making research upon any point it is never safe to ignore the files where they exist. In some cases the secretaries made a further digest of the registers in volumes known as Rubrics, which contain in brief the headings of all materials to be found in the registers. As the registers sometimes supply the place of lost files, so the rubrics are occasionally our only authority where registers and files are both missing. The rubrics are often of the highest value. As an instance, we may cite the twenty volumes of rubrics to the dispatches from England between the years 1603 and 1748. The method of research, therefore, where all three kinds of documents exists is this, to examine first the rubrics, then the registers, and then the files. But the infinite subdivisions of the Government offices in Venice render the task of research somewhat bewildering; and a student cannot be certain that he has exhausted all the information on his subject, until he has examined a large number of these minor offices. He will probably find some notice of the point he is examining in the papers of the Senate or of the Ten, and, if it be a matter of home affairs, he can trace it thence through the various magistracies under whose cognizance it would come; or if it be a matter of foreign policy, he will find further information in the papers of the College.

Under the Republic these collections of State papers were not known as archives, but as chancelleries. The collections of highest interest, the papers to which the student is most likely to turn his attention, are those relating to the ceremony, to the home, and to the foreign policy of Venice. These three groups are contained in the Ducal, the Secret, and the Inferior Chancelleries. The three chancelleries were committed to the charge of the Grand Chancellor and his staff of secretaries, who received, arranged, and registered the official papers as they issued from the various Councils of State. The Grand Chancellor was not a patrician; he was chosen from that upper class[Pg 369] of commoners known as cittadini originarii, an inferior order of nobility, ranking below the governing caste, but bearing coat armour. The office of Grand Chancellor was of great dignity and antiquity, and was held for life. The Chancellor was head and representative of the people, as the Doge was head and representative of the patricians; and, when the nobility began to exclude the people from all share in the government, the Grand Chancellor was allowed to be present at all sessions of the Great Council and of the Senate as the silent witness of the people, confirming the acts of the Government, and bridging, though by the finest thread, the gulf that otherwise separated the governed from the governing. The part which the Grand Chancellor took in the business of the Maggior Consiglio and of the Senate was a constant and an active part. It was his duty to superintend the arrangements for every election, to direct the secretaries in attendance, to announce the names of the candidates for office, and to proclaim the successful competitor. His seat in the Great Council Hall was on the left-hand of the Doge's daïs, and his secretaries sat below him. But the custody of the State papers was by far the most important function which the Grand Chancellor had to perform. To assist him in these labours he was placed at the head of a large College of Secretaries, trained in a school especially established to fit them for their duties. In the year 1443 a decree of the Great Council required the Doge and the Signoria to elect each year twelve lads to be taught Latin, rhetoric and philosophy, and the number of the pupils was gradually increased. From this school they passed out by examination, and became first extra-ordinaries and ordinaries, called Notaries Ducal, then secretaries to the Senate, and finally secretaries to the Ten. The post of secretary was one which required much diligence and discretion. The secretaries were in constant attendance on the various Councils of State, and thus became intimately acquainted with all the secret affairs of the Republic. They were frequently sent on delicate missions. It was a secretary of the Ten who brought Carmagnola to Venice to stand his trial; and, as we shall presently relate, it was a secretary of the Senate who announced to Thomas Killigrew, the English Minister, his dismissal from Venice. The secretaries were sometimes accredited as Residents to foreign Courts, though they were not eligible for the post of Ambassador. Inside the Chancellery the secretaries were entirely at the disposal of the Grand Chancellor, and their duties were to study, to invent, and to read cipher; to transcribe the registers and[Pg 370] rubrics; to keep the annals of the Council of Ten, and to enter the laws in the statute book.

We may now turn our attention to the principal series of State papers which issued from the five great members of the Constitution, the Maggior Consiglio, the Senate, the Ten, the College, and the Doge, and show how these papers were arranged under the three Chancelleries of which we have spoken.

The Cancelleria Inferiore was preserved in one large room near the head of the Giants' Staircase in the Ducal Palace, and was entrusted to the care of the Notaries Ducal, the lowest order of secretaries. The documents in this Chancellery related chiefly to the Doge; his rights, his official possessions, his restrictions, and his state. Among these papers, accordingly, we find the coronation oaths, the Reports of the Commissioners appointed to examine those oaths, and the Reports of the Commissioners appointed to review the life of each Doge deceased. This series is valuable as revealing the steps by which the aristocracy slowly curtailed the personal authority of the Doge, and bound his office about with iron fetters, and crushed his power. In addition to these papers the Inferior Chancellery contained the documents relating to the dignitaries of St. Mark's in its capacity as Ducal Chapel; the order and ceremony of the Ducal household; the expenditure of the Civil List; and the archives of the Procurators of Saint Mark, which contained the will, trusts, and bequests of private citizens.

The Ducal Chancellery, which the Council of Ten once called 'cor nostri status,' was preserved on the upper floor of the palace, and was reached by the Scala d'oro. The papers were arranged in a number of cupboards surmounted by the arms of the various Grand Chancellors who had presided in that office. The documents of the Ducal Chancellery are of far higher importance than those contained in the Cancelleria Inferiore; they consist of political papers which it was not necessary to keep secret. Among the many interesting series of documents which fell to the Ducal Chancellery, the most valuable are the 'Compilazione delle Leggi,' or statute-books distinguished by the various colours of their bindings—gold, roan, and green—to mark the statutes which relate to the Maggior Consiglio, the Senate, and the College respectively; the Secretario alle voci, or record of all elections in the Great Council; the Libri gratiarum, or special privileges. But most important of all is the great series of documents which include the whole legislation of the State relating to Venetian affairs on sea and land. Of this vast series those marked[Pg 371] Terra contain 3128 volumes of files, 411 volumes of registers, and 7 volumes of rubrics; those marked Mar number 1286 volumes of files, 247 volumes of registers, and 7 volumes of rubrics. It will easily be seen how important the Ducal Chancellery is both for the verification of dates, and also as displaying so large a tract of the Venetian home administration.

But important as the Ducal Chancellery undoubtedly is, it cannot vie in interest with the Cancelleria Secreta, which might, with every justice, have been called 'cor nostri status', for it is in the papers of that Chancellery that the long history of the growth, splendour, and decline of the Republic is to be traced in all its manifold details and complicated relations. The Secret Chancellery was established by a decree of the Great Council in the year 1402. Its object was to preserve those papers of the highest State importance, from the publicity to which the Ducal Chancellery was exposed. The regulation of the Secret Chancellery was undertaken by the Council of Ten, and the rigorous orders which they issued from time to time abundantly prove the difficulty they experienced in securing the secrecy which they desired. The Secret Chancellery became the depository of all State papers of great moment; and if we take the chief members of the constitution in order, and note the documents issuing from them which fell to the custody of the Secreta, we shall see how the great flow of Venetian history is to be followed here rather than in any other department of the archives.

To begin with the Maggior Consiglio, we have the long series of registers containing the deliberations of the Council from the year 1232 down to the fall of the Republic in 1797, occupying forty-two volumes, and distinguished, at first, by such capricious names as Capricornus, Philosus, Presbiter, and Fronesis; and later on by the names of the secretaries who prepared them, Ottobonus primus, Ottobonus filius, Busenellus, and Vianolus. In the special archive of the Avogadori di Commun a contemporary series of registers is to be found; it covers from 1232 to 1547, and should be consulted together with the first series, for it is more voluminous and minute. The first reference to England that occurs in the Venetian archives is in the volume Fronesis (1318-1385). This, and all other documents relating to Great Britain, have been collected and rendered accessible in the splendid and monumental series of the 'Calendar of State Papers,' edited with such diligence and care by the late Mr. Rawdon Brown. Mr. Brown's published work goes down to the year 1552; and it is only after that date that any work relating to England[Pg 372] remains to be done. That work, however, is voluminous, for the regular and unbroken series of dispatches from England does not begin till the reign of James I. Little more respecting England is to be expected from the papers of the Great Council, however; for at the date where Mr. Brown's work ends, the Maggior Consiglio had ceased to occupy a high position in the direction of Venetian foreign policy; its functions were chiefly confined to the election of magistrates.

The Senate supplied a far larger number of papers to the Secret Chancellery than that yielded by the Great Council. This was to be expected, owing to the central position of the Senate in the constitution, and its prominent place in the management of Venetian policy, home and foreign. The oldest documents in the archives of Venice belong to the Senate. They are contained among the volumes of Pacts or treaties, seven in number, without including the volume Albus, which is devoted to treaties between the Republic and the Eastern Empire, nor the volume Blancus, which contains the treaties between Venice and the Emperors of the West. The thirty-three volumes of Commemoriali formed a sort of commonplace book for the use of statesmen; in them were registered briefly the most important events and abstracts of principal documents which passed through the hands of the Government. The Commemoriali cover the years 1293 to 1797; but after the middle of the sixteenth century they were neglected, and they are chiefly valuable down to that date only. After the Patti and Commemoriali we begin the record of the regular proceedings in the Senate. This series contains papers relating to home government, foreign policy, the dominions of Venice on the mainland, in Dalmatia and the Levant, ecclesiastical matters, relations with Rome, instructions to ambassadors and reports from governors. So widely spread and so varied were the attributes of the Senate, that the analysis of a single day's proceedings in that house would prove most instructive to the student of the Venetian constitution, and would, in all probability, bring him into contact with a large number of the leading magistracies of the Republic. The series of senatorial papers proceeds in almost unbroken completeness from the year 1293 down to the close of the Republic; and counting files, registers and rubrics, numbers 1599 volumes. This main series is known by different names at different periods, and shows signs of that tendency to subdivision which characterizes all Venetian Government offices. The volumes which run from the year 1293 to 1440 were known as Registri misti; those covering from 1491 to 1630, and overlapping the first Misti,[Pg 373] were called Registri secreti. After the year 1630 the papers of the Senate are divided into those known as Corti, relating to foreign Powers; and those known as Rettori, relating to the government of the Venetian dominion.

Besides this great series of Deliberazioni, containing the general movement of business in the Senate, there is another voluminous series of documents, equally important, and even more interesting to the student of general history, the dispatches received from Venetian representatives in foreign Courts, and the Relazioni, or reports which ambassadors read before the Senate upon their return from abroad. Nothing can exceed the brilliancy of this series; and the value of the Relazioni at least has been fully recognized. Yet it should be borne in mind that the Relazioni are only a part of the series, and that, taken alone and isolated from the dispatches, they lose much of their value. For we must not forget that the Relazioni were drawn up on more or less conventional lines; the headings, under which the report was to fall, were indicated by the Government, and were invariable; and, further, the home-coming ambassador handed his report to his successor, who frequently used it as a basis in drawing up his own. The result is that, except in the descriptions of Court life, and in the sketches of prominent characters, the Relazioni are apt to repeat themselves. But, taken with the dispatches, which arrived almost daily, they form the most varied, brilliant, and minute gallery of national portraits that the world possesses. The reports and dispatches were made by men whose whole political training had rendered them the acutest of observers, and they were presented to critics who were filled with the keenest curiosity, and were accustomed to demand full and precise information. Not a detail is omitted as unimportant; the diurnal gossip of the Court, the daily movements of the sovereign and his favourites; are all recorded with impartial and unerring observation. The relation of the Dispacci to the Relazioni is the relation of the study to the picture. The Relazioni are the large canvas upon which the whole nation is broadly depicted, the Dispacci are the patient and minute studies upon which the excellence of the picture depends. The majority of the Venetian Relazioni between the years 1492 and 1699 have been published; the earlier part by Signor Alberi, and the later by Signori Barozzi and Berchet. The eighteenth century still remains to be worked out. In the series of Relazioni and Dispacci, Great Britain occupies a comparatively small space. While France, Germany, and Constantinople, each give five volumes of reports, England gives one only, dating from 1531 to 1763. Of dispatches[Pg 374] from England there are 139 volumes in all; while from Constantinople we have 242, from France 276, from Milan, 230, and from Germany 202.

Previous to the year 1603, when the regular series of dispatches from England begins, there had been intermittent relations between the Republic and the English Court. Sebastian Giustiniani was Venetian ambassador in London in the reign of Henry VIII. (1515-1519); and in the reign of Mary, Giovanni Michiel represented the Republic for four years—from 1554 to 1558. The Protestant reign of Elizabeth caused a long break, during which the Republic received its information about the affairs of England from its ambassadors in France and Spain. Permanent relations were not resumed between the two Powers till the accession of James I., one of whose earliest acts was to send Sir Henry Wotton to Venice as his ambassador. The appointment of Sir Henry Wotton was a movement of gratitude on the part of the King; and the cause of it cannot be better told than in the words of Sir Henry's biographer, who thus describes this 'notable accident:'

'Immediately after Sir Henry Wotton's return from Rome to Florence—which was about a year before the death of Queen Elizabeth—Ferdinand, the Great Duke of Tuscany, had intercepted certain letters that discovered a design to take away the life of James, the then King of Scots. The Duke abhorring this fact, and resolving to endeavour a prevention of it, advised with his Secretary Vietta, by what means a caution might be best given to that King; and after consideration it was resolved to be done by Sir Henry Wotton, whom Vietta first commended to the Duke, and the Duke had noted and approved of above all the English that frequented his Court.

'Sir Henry was gladly called by his friend Vietta to the Duke, who dispatched him into Scotland with letters to the King, and with those letters such Italian antidotes against poison as the Scots till then had been strangers to.

'Having parted from the Duke, he took up the name and language of an Italian; and thinking it best to avoid the line of English intelligence and danger, he posted into Norway, and through that country towards Scotland, where he found the King at Stirling. Being there, he used means, by Bernard Lindsey, one of the King's bed-chamber, to procure him a speedy and private conference with his Majesty.

'This being by Bernard Lindsey made known to the King, the King required his name—which was said to be Octavio Baldi—and appointed him to be heard privately at a fixed hour that evening.

'When Octavio Baldi came to the Presence-chamber door, he was requested to lay aside his long rapier—which, Italian-like, he then wore;—and being entered the chamber, he found there with the King three or four Scotch Lords standing distant in several corners of the[Pg 375] chamber; at the sight of whom he made a stand; which the King observing, bade him be bold and deliver his message; for he would undertake for the secrecy of all that were present. Then did Octavio Baldi deliver his letters and message to the King in Italian; which when the King had graciously received, after a little pause, Octavio Baldi steps to the table, and whispers to the King in his own language that he was an Englishman, beseeching him for a more private conference with his Majesty, and that he might be concealed during his stay in that nation; which was promised and really performed by the King, during all his abode there, which was about three months. All which time was spent with much pleasantness to the King, and with as much to Octavio Baldi himself as that country could afford; from which he departed as true an Italian as he came thither.'

The presence of Sir Henry in Venice, where he was a persona gratissima, both for his love of Italy and his knowledge of the language, did much to strengthen the new relations between England and the Republic. The feeling between Venice and the Stuart kings became extremely cordial; but on the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1642, the Republic suspended the commission of Vincenzo Contarina, who had been appointed to succeed Giovanni Giustinian as ambassador to England. The secretary Girolamo Agostino, however, continued to discharge Venetian affairs till the year 1645; and his dispatches contain minute particulars concerning the progress of the Civil War. In the year 1645, Agostino was recalled, and the interests of Venice in England were entrusted to Salvetti, the Florentine resident. Agostino left behind him in England a secret agent, with instructions to forward a weekly report on the progress of affairs to the Venetian ambassador in France, among whose dispatches we find these newsletters from London. After the death of Charles I it is not likely that the Republic would have been represented at the Court of Cromwell, towards whom the feeling of Venice was not cordial, had she not been in great straits for help against the Turk. But in the year 1652 she resolved to dismiss the representative of Charles II, then in Venice; and, at the same time, the Government instructed the ambassador at Paris to send his secretary, Lorenzo Pauluzzi, to London to open negociations with Cromwell. With Pauluzzi the series of dispatches from London recommences; but these dispatches are to be found among the communications from the Venetian ambassador in Paris, by whom they were forwarded to the Senate. The dispatches of Pauluzzi are of great importance, and give us a vivid though hostile picture of Cromwell and his surroundings. 'Nell' universale,' he says, 'ha pochissimo affetto;' and further on, 'non ardiscono tentare alcuna cosa nè[Pg 376] parlare che tra i denti; ma ognuno sta sperando un giorno verificate le profizie che questo governo non possa a lungo durare.' In 1655 the negociations between England and Venice had advanced so far that the Republic had determined to send an Ambassador Extraordinary to the Protector's Court. Giovanni Sagredo, ambassador at Paris, was chosen, and the closing paragraph of his first dispatch shows how strongly Cromwell's personality impressed him. 'Per il resto,' he writes, 'è uomo di 56 anni, con pochissima barba, di complessione sanguigna, di statura media e robusta e di presenza marziale. Ha una fisonomia cupa e profonda. Porta una gran spada al fianco. Soldato insieme ed oratore, e dotato di talenti per persuadere e per operare.' The result of Sagredo's mission is contained in the long and brilliant Relazione which he read in the Senate on his return to Venice in 1656. In this splendid specimen of a Venetian report, he gives, with singular lucidity and grasp, a brief sketch of the condition of Great Britain; of the causes of the Civil War; of Cromwell's rise to power; of his foreign relations; and closes with a portrait of the Protector which confirms Pauluzzi's unfavourable view, and draws a terrible picture of that restlessness and dread which clouded Cromwell's last days—'più temuto che amato ... vive con sempiterno sospetto.' When Sagredo returned to Venice, his secretary Francesco Giavarnia was left behind in England, as Venetian resident, and continued to hold that post till the Restoration, sending dispatches every week direct to Venice, detailing the close of the Protectorate, and the return of Charles II., whom he was the first to welcome at Canterbury the day after his landing. In 1661 the Republic gladly re-opened full relations with the Stuarts. Giavarnia was superseded by two Ambassadors Extraordinary, who conveyed to Charles two gondolas for the water in St. James's Park, and from that date onwards the diplomatic connection between England and the Republic followed the ordinary course.

We come now to the papers of the Council of Ten; all of these were committed to the custody of the Secret Chancellery. We have already seen that the Council of Ten was an extraordinary office, used upon extraordinary occasions, where secrecy and speed were required. Its chief occupations may be summed up under three heads—safety of the State, protection of citizens, and public morals. That being the case, the number and interest of its documents is very great—greater than that of any other Council of State; but this interest is confined, for the most part, to matters affecting the home policy of the Republic; foreign affairs finds comparatively little illustration among the[Pg 377] papers of the Ten. The series of documents, containing the ordinary business of the Ten, dates from the year 1315 to the close of the Republic. The documents are arranged according to the matter they deal with, that is to say political matter, parti communi and secreti, or criminal matter, parti crimminali. The immense importance and interest attaching to the papers of the Ten will be illustrated by the statement, that there we find the cases of Marino Faliero, of the Carraresi, of Carmagnola, of Foscari, of Caterina Cornaro, and of Foscarini.

Among the papers of the Collegio we find ourselves once more in the general current of foreign politics. The ordinary proceedings of the College, the papers containing the arrangement and discussion of affairs to be presented to the Senate, are included in the volumes of files and registers, known as the Notatorii del Collegio. The College was entrusted, as we have said, to receive all the representatives of foreign Powers and to open all letters and dispatches addressed to the Government. It is in the three series known as Lettere Principi, Espozioni Principi, and Ceremoniali, that we obtain the fullest information about the action of the agents from foreign Courts resident in Venice. The series called Lettere Principi, letters from royal personages, covers the years between 1500 and 1797, and is contained in fifty-four volumes of filze. England is represented by two of these, beginning with the year 1570, and ending with 1796, entitled 'Collegio, Secreta, Lettere. Rè e Regina d'Inghilterra.' These volumes contain one hundred and seventy-one letters, thus distributed among the various sovereigns; there are thirteen in the reign of Elizabeth; forty in that of James I.; four in that of Charles I.; three from Oliver Cromwell; one from Richard Cromwell; one from Speaker Lenthal: ten during the reign of Charles II.; five during that of his brother; three during the reign of William, including one from the Old Pretender; seven in the reign of Anne; eight in that of George I.; twenty-one from George II; and fifty-five from George III. These letters are concerned with formal announcements and the exchange of courtesies, the credentials of ambassadors and notices of royal births, marriages and deaths. Their historical importance is very slight. The long series of George III. is almost entirely occupied by noting the yearly increase of his family. The autographs of the ministers who countersigned the letters, form their greatest attraction. The late Mr. Rawdon Brown has published facsimiles of these autographs down to the year 1659; but after that date we find such interesting endorsements as those of Lauderdale, Arlington, Bolingbroke, Carteret, Pitt, Halifax, Henry Conway, Shelburne, and Charles James Fox.[Pg 378] On a loose parchment among these letters is one very curious document. It is dated Bologna, 21st February, 1671, and begins 'Carlo Dudley per la gratia di Dio Duca di Northumbria et del Sacro Romano Impero, Conte di Woruih e di Licester, et Pari d'Ingliterra.' The document goes on to state that Charles Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, in consideration of the affection and partiality always shown towards his person and house, grants to Ottavio Dionisio, noble of Verona, the title of Marquis to him and to his eldest son, to his younger sons and to his brothers and their sons the title of Count, in perpetuity; and this in virtue of the declaration and authority of His Holiness Pope Urban VIII., which conferred on Charles Dudley and his eldest born the right to exercise all the privileges of an independent prince. At the date which this document bears, 1671, there was no Duke of Northumberland; that title had lately been bestowed by Charles II. on an illegitimate son, and had perished with him. This Charles Dudley was probably some pretender to the honours of the Dudley family who once held the dukedom of Northumberland. The document is curious, for the noble family on whom Charles Dudley conferred this title of Marquis still exists, and we do not know if any British subject, either before or after, has even claimed to be a fountain of honour. But Charles Dudley is not the only English pretender who figures among the papers at the Frari. Filza 8 of the loose papers, titled 'Miscellanea Diversi Manoscritti,' contains the marriage certificate and will of James Henry de Boveri Rossano Stuart, natural son of Charles II., and seven letters from his son James Stuart, dated Milan, Gemona and Padua, 1722 to 1728. The majority of these letters are addressed to Cardinal Panighetti, from whom this 'povero principe Stuardo,' as he calls himself, hoped to receive money and support in some imaginary claims on the Crown of England. The letters are full of a certain pathos—the pathos which cannot fail to attach itself to fallen royalty. The handwriting is that of an uneducated man; and James Stuart, in these letters, certainly shows no signs of the ability required to meet so trying a situation. He appeals to the Cardinal first on the grounds of his creed. It is 'for the Faith that he finds himself in the miserable little town' of Gemona. Failing upon this line, James Stuart abandons himself to astrology, in the hope that the stars may give an answer favourable to his hopes. But to all his appeals the Cardinal replies with cold reserve, and when he hears of astrology, he adds a sharp and crushing reprimand.

Leaving the Lettere Principi we come to the last two series of State papers of which we shall speak, the Espozioni[Pg 379] Principi, or record of all audiences granted to ambassadors and of the communications made by them in the name of the Power they represented; and the Libri Ceremoniali, or record of the great functions of State, coronations and funerals of the Doges, the elections of the Grand Chancellors, the reception accorded to ambassadors, princes and distinguished travellers. The Republic of Venice was as punctilious as any Court of Europe upon the points of precedence, ceremony, and etiquette. The reader will not have forgotten the amusing account, given by the elder Disraeli, of the long struggle between the Master of the Ceremonies and the Venetian ambassador at the Court of St. James. The Government required from its representatives a minute account of every detail of etiquette observed towards them, and replied in kind in their treatment of foreign ministers in Venice. The Republic was punctilious abroad, and no less so at home. Every stage in the public entry, first audience and congé of foreign ambassadors were carefully regulated and based upon precedent. The ambassadors of Spain and France had each a special volume devoted to the ceremonies and etiquette which the Republic observed towards them. M. Baschet describes at length the receptions of the French ambassadors, for whom he claims the highest rank among the representatives of foreign Powers at Venice. Great Britain sent fifty-eight embassies, in all, to the Republic, between the years 1340 and 1797. Of these ambassadors, Sir Gregory Cassalis filled the office twice, Sir Henry Wotton thrice, the Earl of Manchester twice, and Elizeus Burgess twice. The ceremony to which the ambassador was entitled may be gathered from the accounts of these embassies preserved in the Esposizioni Principi and the Ceremoniali.

The reception of Lord Northampton in the year 1762 will afford us the most detailed view of the ceremony, for on that occasion some questions of precedent arose, and the Cavaliere Ruzzini, who was entrusted with the conduct of the affair, presented a long report to the Senate on the subject. The ambassador was not officially recognized by the Government until he had made his public entry, and presented his credentials at his first audience in the College. Until that had taken place, he remained incognito, and was in fact supposed not to be in Venice. Before the ambassador arrived, the English Consul was expected to hire a palace for his use. There was no fixed embassy in Venice; Thomas Killigrew lodged at San Cassano, Lord Holdernesse at San Benedetto, Lord Manchester at San Stae. John Udny, who was consul at the time of Lord Northampton's Embassy, rented the Palazzo[Pg 380] Grimani at Cannaregio for the ambassador whenever his appointment was announced, and an amusing and characteristic story attaches to this affair. The palace belonged to a Contessa Grimani, and was in bad repair; but the owner promised to restore and fit it up for the ambassador. When the consul went to see the palace, shortly before the ambassador's arrival, he found that nothing had been done to it, and moreover that a gondolier and his wife occupied the ground-floor and refused to move. He wrote at once to the Contessa requesting her to remove the gondolier, to which he received for answer that the gondolier's wife had been nurse to one of the Countess's boys, and the Grimanis had promised her twenty ducats a-year; if the ambassador liked to pay that amount, the gondolier would turn out; if not, they must manage to share the palace between them. The consul appealed to the English Resident, John Murray, who wrote an angry letter to the Government, complaining of this treatment; 'La carità della nobile donna,' he says, 'verso la moglie del gondoliere merita senza dubbio gran lode, ma il sottoscritto s'imagina che l'avvocato più scaltro si troverebbe bene intrigato di produrre una legge o esempio per incaricare l'Ambasciatore Inglese di questa carità.'

The matter was probably arranged, for on the 22nd of October Lord Northampton arrived, incognito, of course, with all his suite, and took up his residence. Lord Northampton was ill, and it was not until the beginning of the next year that he took the necessary steps to make his entry and to secure his first audience. The etiquette observed upon such occasions required that the ambassador should send his secretary to leave copies of his credentials at the door of the College, and to ask on what day the Doge would receive him. The College reply through one of their secretaries that an answer will be sent. The Doge was then consulted what day would suit him, and he answers by putting himself at the disposal of the College. The Senate is then informed of the ambassador's arrival, and sixty senators, under the direction of a leader, are appointed to attend the ambassador until the ceremonies of his reception shall be completed. The days selected for Lord Northampton's reception were the 29th and 30th of May, 1763; and the Caveliere Ruzzini was named as head of the sixty senators who were to attend the ambassador. Ruzzini informed Lord Northampton of these arrangements, and at the same time sent him a programme of the ceremony, which was based upon that observed towards Lord Holdernesse, and was identical with that which the Republic offered to the ambassador of the King of Sardinia. Before his public entry, the ambassador and all his suite went[Pg 381] to the island of San Spirito, in the lagoon towards Malamocco. The fiction of the ceremony supposed all ambassadors to be lodged there until they had presented their credentials. San Spirito was chosen as the point of departure for the ambassadorial procession because the distance between that island and Venice was supposed to correspond exactly with the distance between London and Greenwich, whence the Venetian ambassador was wont to begin his progress. Sir Henry Wotton's second embassy forms a rare exception to this rule, for the Venetians were so fond of that charming and accomplished poet, that they allowed him to make his entry from San Giorgio Maggiore, which is much nearer the city and more convenient. After midday on the 29th, Ruzzini and his sixty senators, each in his gondola, arrived at San Spirito, and found the household of the ambassador drawn up along the landing-place en grande tenue. Lord Northampton was informed of Ruzzini's arrival, and came to meet him on the staircase. After exchanging the prescribed compliments, Ruzzini, with the ambassador on his right hand, descended, and both entered the Cavaliere's gondola. The whole procession left San Spirito and proceeded by the Grand Canal to the ambassador's lodging at San Girolamo, accompanied, as Ruzzini says, by 'un immenso popolo spettatore del nostro viaggio;' for these official entries were among the most popular of the Venetian spectacles, and the whole city went out to witness them. At the palace fresh speeches and compliments followed. Lord Northampton was suffering acutely from an illness of which he died that same year, but Ruzzini reports with obvious satisfaction that he did not spare him a single ceremony, 'adempi ad ogni parte del consueto ceremoniale.' The next day Ruzzini and the sixty senators again attended at the ambassador's palace to conduct him to his audience in the College. Lord Northampton was worse than he had been the day before; but Ruzzini was implacable. It cost the ambassador three-quarters of an hour to ascend the Giant's Stair. When at last he reached the door of the Collegio, the Doge and all the College rose; the ambassador uncovered and made three bows, and, leaving his suite behind him, he mounted the daïs and took his seat on the right hand of the Doge. The ambassador then covered his head, and simultaneously one of each order of the Savii did the same. The ambassador handed his credentials to the Doge, and remained uncovered while they were being read. The Doge made a brief and formal reply, welcoming the ambassador to Venice, and each time the King's name occurred, the ambassador raised his cap. After repeating his three bows,[Pg 382] the ambassador retired, and was accompanied to his palace by the sixty senators who had waited for him at the door of the Collegio. This closed the ceremony of entry.

The English Ambassador Extraordinary enjoyed certain privileges which were established on the precedent of the embassy of Lord Falconberg, Cromwell's son-in-law. Among these privileges was the right to lodging and maintenance at the cost of the Republic, a right which the ambassador usually compounded for the sum of five or six hundred ducats; a box at each theatre in Venice was placed at his disposal, and when he took his congé the Senate voted him a gold chain and medal of the value of two thousand scudi. The ambassadors ordinary enjoyed certain exemptions from customs dues. These exemptions were frequently abused, and were the cause of constant friction between the Government and the representatives of the Powers. In the year 1763 Mr. John Murray's Istrian wine was seized, and he only recovered it after expressing himself ben mortificato. Mr. Murray was constantly in trouble on this subject. The year before he had addressed an indignant letter to the Government because 'a certain official of the Custom House had accused him of allowing his servants to sell wine and flour at the door of the Residency. It is but a poor satisfaction after so long a period of suspicion to know that that official is bankrupt and no proof of the accusation is forthcoming.' But by far the most curious episode of this nature was that which befell Tom Killigrew, the poet, grandfather of the Mrs. Anne Killigrew of Dryden's famous ode and a friend of Pepys, who recals him as 'a merry droll, but a gentleman of great esteem with the King, who told us many merry stories,' this, perhaps, among the number. Killigrew was sent to represent Charles II. at Venice in 1649, just after the execution of Charles I., and while his son was a ramingo, or knocking about, as the Venetian ambassador politely puts it. Killigrew was received in the usual way on February 10, 1650, and made his address 'in lingua cattiva,' as the report affirms. But the Republic soon tired of its alliance with an exiled king, and resolved to dismiss Killigrew as soon as possible. Killigrew was poor, and his master had little or nothing to give him, so he hit upon the expedient of keeping a butcher's shop, where he could sell meat, cheaper than any one else in Venice, by availing himself of his exemptions from octroi. The Senate resolved to fasten upon this illicit traffic as a pretext for dismissing Killigrew; and on the 22d of June, 1652, they sent their Secretary, Busenello, to tell Killigrew, vivâ voce, that he must go. Busenello went to San Fantin, and there found one of Killigrew's butchers, who[Pg 383] told him that the Resident only kept his shop there, but lived himself at San Cassano. At San Cassano Busenello was told that Killigrew was dining at Murano, and would not be home till evening; but very soon after he saw the Resident at his window, and insisted on being announced. He explained 'with all possible delicacy,' as he says, the order of the Senate; but Killigrew received the message with every sign of anger and pain. With tears in his eyes he declared that it was the other ambassadors who robbed the customs, while he had all the blame. It was true that he did keep 'a little bit of a butcher's shop to support himself,' but that could not hurt the revenue; and he added that, under any circumstance he should leave Venice, for he had received his letters of recall from France, four days previously. The Senate no more than their secretary believed in the existence of this letter of recall; but Killigrew really had the letter, dated March 14th, and it was sent into the College, along with a brief exculpatory epistle from the Resident, on the 27th of June. Killigrew left Venice the same day as he was bound to do by ambassadorial etiquette; and Charles had not another recognized agent to the Republic until his restoration; for the Venetians definitely adopted the policy of courting Cromwell, in the vain hope that he would assist them against the Turk.

With the papers of the College we close this notice of the political documents in the archives at the Frari. The other departments of the Government had each their own series of papers, equally copious and valuable. The heraldic and genealogical archives of the Avvogadori di Commun, for example, the Charters of the German and Turkish Exchanges and the records of the Mint and the public Banks, offer a wide and a rich field for study; and in spite of the profound and extensive labours of such scholars as Thomas, Checchetti, Barozzi, Berchet, Fulin, Lamansky, Mas Latrie, and Rawdon Brown, it will be long before the materials in the vast storehouse of the Frari are exhausted or even adequately displayed.

[Pg 384]

Art. IV.—1. Journal of a Residence in Norway during the years 1834, 1835 and 1836. By Samuel Laing, Esq. London, 1837.

2. Le Royaume de Norvège et le Peuple Norvègien. Par le Dr. O. I. Broch. Christiania, 1878.

3. Official Reports of Prefects on the Economic Condition of the Provinces of Norway in 1876-80. Christiania, 1884.

4. Publications of the Statistical Bureau, Christiania.

The advocates of a general redistribution of landed property in Ireland, as well as those who are holding out to the agricultural labours of other portions of the United Kingdom the Arcadian lure figuratively known as the 'three acres and a cow,' will find in the work cited at the head of this article the amplest materials for the justification of the views they are pressing for adoption partly as a remedy for agricultural distress, but essentially in application of the Socialist doctrine that the people of a country have an inherent right to an absolute, proportionate possession of its soil.

Mr. Laing's 'Journal' is, indeed, not a record of travel and adventure, but a treatise, admirably written and replete with facts, in demonstration of the great superiority of the Norwegian system of land tenure over that of any other part of civilized Europe. His views have, moreover, been to a great extent adopted in the numerous works that have since been produced by British travellers who, after a rapid drive over the main routes of Norway, have described in terms equally glowing the happy and enviable condition of the Bonde or yeoman farmer of that country.

Considering there is much in common in regard to race, religion, language, character, and civilization, between the inhabitants of that interesting little country and its maritime neighbours—the populations, more especially, of England and Scotland, it will be instructive, on the eve of the agrarian revolution with which the United Kingdom is threatened, to study and analyse the statements and conclusions of Mr. Laing, and to trace the subsequent and present operation of the peculiar land laws which he so highly extolled in the earlier part of this century.

With that object we proceed to describe, almost in Mr. Laing's own words, the condition of the peasant proprietors of Norway at a period (1835) when, out of a population of 1,194,827, only about eleven per cent. inhabited towns, the land in rural districts being held by 103,192 proprietors and tenants, the proportion of the two latter being respectively seventy and thirty per cent.[Pg 385]

'The Norwegians,' wrote Mr. Laing, 'are the most interesting and singular group of people in Europe. They live under ancient laws and social arrangements totally different in principle from those which regulate society and property in the feudally constituted states. Their country is peculiarly interesting to the political economist. It is the only part of Europe in which property from the earliest ages has been transmitted upon the principle of partition among all the children. The feudal structure of society with its law of primogeniture, and its privileged class of hereditary nobles, never prevailed in Norway. In this remote corner of the civilized world we may therefore see the effects upon the condition of society of the peculiar distribution of property; it will exhibit, on a small scale, what America and France will be a thousand years hence.... Here are the Highland glens without the Highland lairds.... If there be a happy class of people in Europe it is the Norwegian Bonde, king of his own land, and landlord as well as king.'

This state of happiness is, according to Mr. Laing, the result of the still existing Odels ret or Allodial Right, under which, he asserts, the land of Norway was always the property of the people, not of a feudal class of high nobility. But although this assertion does not much affect the main and practical object of our enquiry, it may be as well to point out at once that, whatever might have been the inherent right of every Norwegian to a portion of the soil on which he was born, Dr. Broch, an eminent native authority, maintains that a considerable portion of the land belonged anciently to the kings of Norway, and had been acquired, as in other countries, partly by confiscation from nobles. Those lands were leased and, gradually, to a certain extent, sold. In the days of Roman Catholicism, the Church also held great landed estates, which the State appropriated at the Reformation. No inconsiderable part of the State domains was then leased, and, in short, before the middle of the seventeenth century, leases comprised a little more than half of the landed property of the country; while even in 1814, they constituted one-third of it. Later, the State lands, and those which had been distributed among nobles at the Reformation, were repartitioned among the bulk of the population or sold.

But to return to the Odels ret. It gives, Mr. Laing shows,

'to all the kindred of the Odelsmand in possession, in the order of consanguinity, a certain interest in it. If the Odelsmand should sell or alienate his land, the next of kin is entitled to redeem it on paying the purchase-money; and should he decline to do so, it is in the power of the one next to him to claim his Odelsbaarn ret.'

At the present time, the allodial right is acquired only by the[Pg 386] uninterrupted possession of the same person, his descendants or his wife, during a period of at least twenty years, and it is lost if the property has been in strange hands for three years. Testamentary dispositions, in the case of persons leaving issue, are now limited to one quarter of the testator's property; whereas before 1854, a testator could not bequeath anything individually. Since the year 1860, also, there is perfect equality between the two sexes in the division of real and personal property. At the period when Mr. Laing visited Norway, the division of land among children had

'not had the effect of reducing properties to the minimum size that would barely support human existence. One sells to the other and turns his capital and industry to pursuits that would enable him to acquire the necessaries of life. The heirs who sell, very often, instead of a sum of money, which is seldom at the command of the parties, take a life-rent payment or annuity of so much grain, the keep of so many cows, so much firewood, a dwelling-house on the property, or some equivalent of that kind. Few properties have no such burthens.' He argued that 'in a country where land is held, not in tenancy merely, as in Ireland, but in full ownership, its aggregation by the death of co-heirs, and by the marriages of female heirs,[5] will balance its subdivision by the equal succession of children; and also, that in such a condition of society, the whole mass of property would be found in such a State to consist of as many estates of 1000l., as many of 100l., as many of 10l. a year, at one period as at another.'

'Norway,' our author urges, 'affords a strong confutation of the dreaded excessive subdivision of land. Notwithstanding, the partition system, continued for ages, it contains farms of such extent that the owner possesses forty cows.'

On the whole, the farms appeared to him to be of various sizes: many so large that a bell was used to call the labourers to or from their work; while some were so small as to have only a few sheaves of corn, or a rig or two of potatoes, scattered among the trunks of the trees. These, however, were occupied by the farm servants, or cotters, paying for their houses and land in work (Husmœna). Twenty to forty cows could be counted on the large farms. In the district of Verdal (Trondhjemsfiord) Mr. Laing saw beautiful little farms of forty to fifty acres, each having a pasturage or grass tract in the mountains, where the cattle were kept during the summer until the crops were taken in, and upon each such out-farm, or Sœter, there was a house and regular dairy, to which, he informs us, 'the whole of the[Pg 387] cattle and the dairy-maids, with their sweethearts, are sent to junket and to amuse themselves for three or four months of the year.[6] We can well believe that, in such circumstances, Mr. Laing found 'this class of Bönder the most interesting people in Norway,' and that 'there are none similar to them in the feudal countries of Europe.' He appears to have been more particularly impressed with

'the farms large enough to keep a score of cows, six horses and a small flock of sheep and goats, and to maintain a family and servants in all that land usually produces, leaving a surplus for sale sufficient to pay taxes, wages, and to provide the comforts and necessaries of life to a fair extent,' all which could be bought 'for 1000l. or 1200l., or even less.'

As regards the agricultural labourer, or cotter, Mr. Laing conceived 'his average condition to be that of holding land on which he could sow three-quarters of an imperial quarter of corn and three imperial quarters of potatoes, and which would enable him to keep two cows, or an equivalent number of sheep or goats.' His wages are stated to have been 4-1/2d. to 6d. per diem, in addition to his food. It was consequently 'amusing to recollect the benevolent speculations in our Agricultural Reports, of the Sir Johns and Sir Thomases in our midland counties of England, for bettering the condition of labourers in husbandry, by giving them, at a reasonable rent, a quarter of an acre of land to keep a cow on, or by allowing them to cultivate the slips of land on the roadside, outside of their hedges.' He also derides 'the agricultural writers' who 'tell us, indeed, that labourers in agriculture are much better off as farm servants, than they would be as small proprietors,' for 'if property is a good and desirable thing, the very smallest quantity of it is good and desirable.' It was obvious to Mr. Laing that the forty families of two or three Norwegian highland glens, 'each possessing and living on its own little spot of ground and farming well or ill, as the case might be, were in a better and happier state, and formed a more rationally constituted society, than if the whole belonged to one of these families (and it would be no great estate), while the other thirty-nine families were tenants and farmers.'

Mr. Laing found the happy agricultural population of Norway[Pg 388] 'much better lodged than our labouring and middling classes, even in the south of Scotland;' and that no nation was at that period either better housed, or so well provided with fuel. The standard of living appeared to be higher in Norway than in most of our Scotch highland districts, although the materials were the same, namely, oatmeal, barley meal, potatoes, fish—fresh and salted—cheese, butter, and milk. He understood that it was even usual for the yeoman farmers to have animal food—'salt beef and black-puddings'—at least twice a week. At all events, he says, four meals a day formed the regular fare, and with two of those meals even the labourers had a glass of home-made brandy, distilled from potatoes by the yeoman, who 'could malt and distil in every way he pleased,' and thereby 'make free use of his agricultural produce,' with the result of 'increasing the general prosperity, improving the condition of the people, and promoting the increase of their numbers.'[7]

There was, at the time of Mr. Laing's residence in Norway, 'small difference in the way of living between high and low, because every man lived from the produce of his farm, and observed the utmost simplicity and economy with regard to everything that took money out of his pocket.' Furniture and clothes, except the yeoman's Sunday hat, were all home-made. 'Here was a whole population, in an old European country, dealing direct with Nature, as it were, for every article, without the intervention of money, or even of barter.' It was only the small yeomen on the verge of the Fjeld, or in the glens, far above the level of the land producing corn, and the inhabitants of districts less favoured by nature, 'whose common bread consisted of the bark of trees, mixed and ground up with ill-ripened oats; but even in their case, trout, dried and salted for winter, was no inconsiderable part of their provision, their houses being, at the same time, comfortable, though small, with wooden floors and glass windows.

Apart from these exceptionally situated proprietors, Mr. Laing found there really was 'no difference between the residence of a public functionary, of a clergyman, or of a gentleman of larger property and that of a Bonde, or peasant. The latter are as well, as commodiously and even showily, lodged as the former can be, and the properties are as good.' Mr. Laing,[Pg 389] however, makes a reservation under this head in respect of the 'cultivated classes,' as being indisputably superior in mental acquirements to the yeoman farmer, and who lived in the same manner as the corresponding classes in England.

Towards the end of his stay in Norway, Mr. Laing often heard 'from the most intelligent men in the country' that the yeoman farmer lived too high; indulged too much in expensive luxuries, as coffee and sugar; in frequent and expensive entertainments at each other's houses; in carrioles, sledges, and harness of a costly kind; and even in a horse or two more than the farm work required; and he certainly thought this had resulted in a general want of money among them to pay even the most trifling taxes and other sums. A man with land worth three or four thousand dollars, and with horses, cows, and all sorts of products in abundance, was often at a loss for five or ten dollars. Nevertheless, he was of opinion that 'the increase of the tastes and habits which belong to property tended to keep population within the bounds of what can be comfortably subsisted, and without which the increase of subsistence would tend to evil rather than good.' It was, indeed, 'a good thing that they all had the ideas, habits, and character of people possessed of independent property upon which they were living without any care about increasing it, and free from the anxiety and fever of money making or money losing.'

Their subsistence, Mr. Laing exultingly and repeatedly points out, was derived mainly from husbandry, carried on under less favourable conditions of soil, climate, crops, and pasturage than in the Scotch highlands;—

'but on the simple Norwegian system, to live on the produce of the land being the main object, and the labourer (the cotter) being paid chiefly in land, a good crop would be an unmingled blessing; whereas in countries where agriculture is carried on as a manufacture, a succession of good crops may glut the markets, ruin the tenant, and even reduce the money wages of the labourer. In Norway neither good nor bad crops can affect the proportion of population to the land that could in ordinary seasons subsist on it. Paying no rent, the Norwegian yeoman farmer is not usually employed in prospective improvements, but simply in raising food, so that he can see at once whether the land is sufficient to produce subsistence for himself and his labourers. If grain and potatoes for the use of the farm, and a little surplus for sale to pay the land-tax and buy luxuries with, can be raised by the farm, all the purposes of farming in Norway are answered.

On the subject of pauperism, Mr. Laing alleges that 'the dread of poverty was less influential in Norway, where extreme[Pg 390] destitution is as rare as great wealth, and where there is so much less difference in the comforts and consideration of the richer and poorer classes.' The indigent were farmed out for a week or so at a time among the yeomen farmers, 'whose poor-rate like the tithes of the Church, was too inconsiderable to mention.' The state of property, and its general diffusion throughout the social body, had also, he had no doubt, a beneficial effect on the moral condition of the people. 'The desire for wealth being considerably blunted, it was not the same actuating, engrossing principle of human action, the spring of much that was evil and immoral being thus removed.' Only one case of downright drunkenness—that of a Laplander—had come under his personal observation, and it was only on special occasions that the yeoman farmer could be seen a little elated. His theory, however (we may remark in passing), respecting the influence of property on the moral condition of the people is not supported by other facts which he quotes, namely, that owing to the restraints upon marriage, 'exercised as in Paris or London, by a high standard of living,' the 'proportion of illegitimate to legitimate children in Norway was 1 in 5,' while in a parish he specifies, it was (between 1826 and 1830) 'as high as 1 in 3-26/136.' He mentions that engagements between couples lasted generally one, two, and often several years, especially in the case of servants in husbandry waiting for a house and land to settle in as cotters. In such cases, he says, 'it too often happened that the privileged kindness between betrothed parties was carried too far,' and 'the betrothed became a mother before she was a wife.'

We quit this painful phase of peasant proprietorship with the observation that, notwithstanding a still wider diffusion of property and of moral qualities which, according to Mr. Laing, that diffusion is calculated to engender, 8.38[8] per cent. of the live children born in Norway between 1866 and 1870 were born out of wedlock, the corresponding proportion in 1836 having been 7.07 per cent. It is natural to find, under these circumstances, that the marriage rate was 6.84 per 1000 of the population in 1866-75 against 7.31 per 1000 between 1834 and 1836, with a fractional decrease of the total number of births in the former period, the average per family remaining slightly over four.

The ancient Allodial Right and the happy social system based upon it, Mr. Laing found jealously guarded by the[Pg 391] yeomanry, 'who have not only the legislative power and the election of the Storthing' (or Parliament) 'almost entirely in their own hands, but also the whole civil business of the community.' He may, therefore, well say, without fear of contradiction, that 'the Norwegian people enjoy a greater share of liberty, have the framing and administering of their own laws more entirely in their own hands, than any European nation of the present time;' and, further, that 'it is not a little extraordinary that almost the only result' of the universal delirium of 1790,[9] 'which approaches in reality to the theories of that period, has been the Norwegian Constitution.'

The paramount influence of the agrarian class over the destinies of the kingdom may be judged by the circumstances that the rural districts are permanently represented in the Storthing by two-thirds of the total number of members, limited by the Constitution to 114; and that practically the suffrage is now universal, the principal conditions of its possession being, under recent legislation, a qualification of age (25 years) and a residence of five years in the country. It is well known that the Parliament thus elected (under a system of double election), with its de facto single Chamber, subdivided for the more rapid and effective discharge of certain business into what Mr. Laing chooses to call an 'Upper House' and a 'House of Commons,' has, within very recent days, in virtue of the largely predominant rural, radical vote, exercised its power of impeaching and punishing, by fine and dismissal from office, an entire Cabinet, for the crime of having advised the King that his veto was not merely suspensive, but absolute, in the matter of any Bill affecting the principles of the Constitution, and that the questions in dispute between the Sovereign and the Storthing were of a constitutional character, involving indirectly not only the stability of a monarchical form of government, but also that of the personal union between the crowns of Norway and Sweden—a stability pre-eminently essential in both respects to the highest interests of Scandinavia, and in no small degree also to the maritime and political interests of this country. It is this form of Parliament that Mr. Laing extols 'as a working model of a constitutional government on a small scale, and one which works so well as highly to deserve the consideration of the people of Great Britain.'

We have at last done with Mr. Laing's remarkable statements, views, and recommendations; and the principal question we[Pg 392] now have to consider is: What is the latest phase (after an interval of half a century) of the development of the peculiar social organization of Norway, and especially of its system of land tenure, differing, as both do, from the organization and system evolved out of feudality in Great Britain and Ireland? We therefore intend to enquire: (1) Has the system of land tenure in Norway prevented, as foretold by Mr. Laing, an excessive subdivision of land? (2) Has a dead level of ease and contentment been maintained? (3) Has the diffusion of land by a natural process, under the widest form of home rule, kept the rural population of Norway within the bounds of possible modern existence? (4) Has no pauperism affected the taxation of landed property? and (5) generally, Is the Norwegian yeoman farmer in a more thriving condition at the present time than the tenants and agricultural labourers elsewhere, from whom is still withheld the freehold possession of land to which, it is alleged by a certain school of politicians, they have a natural right, disputed only by monopolists and land-grabbers?

These are the questions we shall endeavour to answer with the aid, exclusively, of the latest publications of the Norwegian Government. We must, however, preface our replies by sketching roughly the influences that have sprung into operation since Mr. Laing published the Journal of his residence in Norway.

In his time the towns contained only about eleven per cent. of the total population of the kingdom, whereas at the present moment the proportion is double that of 1835.[10] This urban agglomeration, Dr. Broch shows, has been 'due principally to causes which have operated in the rest of Europe. Facilitated means of communication promoted the migration of the agricultural population towards the towns, where the development of industry and commerce offered the lure of gains or salaries higher than those in rural districts.' One of the causes, he justly adds, of the displacement of the population has been the immense and laudable progress of public instruction, 'and the growing taste for intellectual and material enjoyments which gave a great force of attraction to the towns.'

As in other advancing countries, the attraction of towns, and the facilities for obtaining employment in them, operate also in Norway, to the disadvantage of the yeomen farmers of the present day. Among the causes of the economic decline of the Province of North Bergen, the Prefect mentions that[Pg 393]

'the disinclination of young men of the yeoman farmer class to take permanent service is very general in this district, and is easily explained by the ease with which men in the prime of their strength obtain occupation as labourers in the fisheries. The great bulk of the day labourers do not seek with any great eagerness for work in the fields, so long as they hold previously acquired means sufficient to provide them with the necessaries of life, however scantily. As a rule, so long as want does not look in at the window, they will not engage themselves for such work, except at very good wages. The wages for a yearly labourer have doubled during the last twenty years.[11] At the same time the houseman has lost the command he previously had over his workmen, and consequently does not get the same amount of work out of them as formerly. Fishing attracts labour by a larger immediate return, acquired with less bodily exertion than in husbandry. It gives the population less taste for harder work.'

We leave Mr. Laing in doubt whether the steam-engine could 'ever be brought to perfection.' That doubt was speedily removed, and in 1852 Norway followed in the wake of other European nations by building railways, their total length in 1883 having reached very little short of a thousand English miles. Nor did their construction, with capital raised chiefly abroad and punctually repaid, arrest the improvement or the laying down of ordinary roads, to the extent of 4000 miles, between 1845 and 1875. In addition to this extensive opening-out of communication by rail and road, the introduction of steamers on inland waters and their employment as coasters and sea-going vessels, the construction of telegraphs, and development of fisheries, of ship building, of banking and other companies, and generally of trade and industry, produced gradually a wide disturbance in the social economy found by Mr. Laing. The expansion and prosperity of the towns, as well as the more refined habits of life adopted by the clergy and the officials of Government, were viewed by the yeomen farmers with a jealousy that was undoubtedly the original cause of their present radical proclivities, the old conservatism being relegated to towns, contrary to the experience of other European countries, and particularly to that of Great Britain, until the metaphorical three acres and a cow were dangled before the eyes of its rural population.

Under all these influences, and we may include among them the effect of a constantly-increasing number of travellers, equipped with the modern appliances of civilization, and[Pg 394] demanding accommodation and other material comforts of a more and more superior character, the Robinson Crusoe existence of the yeoman farmer, as depicted by Mr. Laing, has suffered so much invasion that it has well-nigh disappeared.

In the matter of clothing, an assimilation to general, central European dress has for years past been noticeable even in districts the most remote, to the prejudice of home-spinning and weaving. Ancient silver ornaments have been largely discarded by the women, and converted, first into money, and eventually into articles of modern use or embellishment, to an extent that now renders travellers more and more suspicious of the Brummagem origin of the objects that remain for sale. And it is the same with old furniture and with the multifarious knicknacks which travellers less recent delighted to find in the country at reasonable prices.

The value of money has become more generally appreciated since Mr. Laing admired the absence of all incentive to 'money-making and money-losing,' and the previously unambitious character of the yeoman and his sons has undergone a tolerably complete change since education has opened out the widest avenues to personal advancement, even from the plough. They no longer live by bread alone, and therefore their artificial wants have been increasing at a greater ratio than their means of satisfying them out of the produce of the land. Without entering here upon the important effect of the corn supplies from America, and of the depreciation of the value of the Norwegian timber, owing to the increased competition of America and other countries, we may sum up this imperfect prefatory sketch by stating that, from a general point of view, the Gamle Norge (Old Norway) of Mr. Laing's days has for many years been passing through a process of transformation, the latest results of which we shall now describe.[12]

Mr. Laing's contention, that when land is held in freehold, not as a rule in tenancy, the relative size or value of the estates into which the land is divided will remain the same at one period as at another, is entirely refuted by the official statistics of Norway. In the first place, the total number of properties,[Pg 395] which was about 111,000 in 1838, had grown, in 1870, to 149,000 (34-1/2 per cent.), and is still higher at the present day, with a continued tendency to multiplication by partition. Secondly, the proportion that existed in 1838 between the various sizes of agricultural holdings has undergone a notable change, marking a very considerable increase in the relative number of small plots.

As it was found practically impossible to estimate the value of landed property on the basis of its acreage (the physical conditions of the country giving such great variety to the value of estates), the 'Cadastre' introduced in 1836, established, for purposes of assessment, a classification based on 'skylddaler,' or taxable, value. This unit of taxation was assumed to represent a mean capital value of about 89l., arrived at by estimating the net income derived at that period from the working of land during an average year.

The following statement exhibits the cadastral classification of properties,[13] and the changes that have occurred in the several groups between 1838 and 1870.

Estatesbelow0.2skylddalerin value8,86626,048
""5" 10"7,0436,012
""10" 20"1,7911,617

It is thus evident that, even fifteen years ago, the increase in the total number of properties, as compared with the number in 1838, had affected only the three groups of smaller holdings, and particularly the group (below 0.2) which, according to Dr. Broch, 'includes the sites of houses and cottages owned by labourers, fishermen, seamen, and artizans, but estimated to yield an average of 5-1/2 bushels of corn, 8 bushels of potatoes, and grass for half a cow. The holdings more purely agricultural, and designated by the same authority as 'small properties,' are those comprised in the two next categories, namely, parcels of land over 0.2 and under 2 skylddaler in value. In 1870, we[Pg 396] find that a little more than one-half of the landed properties in Norway and one-third of the total cadastral area, were included in those two groups. The average yield of those small properties is estimated by Dr. Broch at '55 bushels (20 hectol) of cereals, and 82-1/2 bushels (30 hectol) of potatoes, with fodder for four cows, seven sheep or goats, and half a horse.' He states, nevertheless, that—

'without subsidiary means of existence, the most frugal families cannot subsist on them, even when free from debt and other incumbrances. There can be no question of employing hired labour on such farms, although a domestic servant is sometimes kept. The owners or tenants of such small properties seek their principal means of existence in fishing, forest work, and a variety of other occupations.'

The group of properties more particularly admired by Mr. Laing is that which is officially classed under 'Properties of medium size,' ranging between two and ten skylddaler in cadastral value. They represented in 1870 only 24 per cent. of the total number of properties, but 59 per cent. of the cadastral area of Norway. These are the farms which can, on an average, feed fifteen head of cattle, thirty or forty sheep or goats, and a couple of pigs, and yield 30 imperial quarters of cereals, 40 imperial quarters of potatoes, and fodder for a couple of horses.

'Agriculture on these properties,' continues Dr. Broch, 'is not only the most important means of existence, but also in many cases the only resource. They suffice for a family of simple habits, provided the proprietor is not crippled with debt, that he has not to pay too heavy "föderåa" (annuities, incumbrances) and on condition that he lives as a peasant, assisting personally in the work of the firm,[14]

Estates of an assessed value of more than ten 'skylddaler' are designated as 'Large Properties.' They cover 13.4 per cent. of the total cadastral area, but represent only 1.3 per cent. of the total number of properties; and it is exclusively these that afford, according to Dr. Broch, 'easy circumstances to their possessors, who are not infrequently ship-owners, forest-owners, engaged in the fishery-trade,' [Pg 397]&c.

It is thus manifest that, in 1878, when Dr. Broch drew up his Report for the Universal Exhibition at Paris, the diffusion of property in Norway had left only about 25 per cent. of the yeomen farmers (excluding the group of 'Large Properties') capable of maintaining themselves and their families on their freeholds on conditions which, as we shall presently show, no longer exist, and that the great bulk of the landed proprietors were in occupation of such small patches of land that their subsistence was entirely dependent upon other employments. This view is very fully borne out by the 'Reports of the Norwegian Prefects for the Quinquennial Period 1876-80.' Their observations on the growing subdivision of land as one of the causes by which the agricultural economy has been disturbed, to its great disadvantage, are well worth attention.

An increasing subdivision of land is reported from the provinces of North Bergen, Romsdal, South Trondhjem, and Tromsö. The Prefect of North Bergen points to it as one of the reasons of the unfavorable condition of the province:—

'It may,' he writes, 'with just cause be said to exist when the properties parcelled out are insufficient for the maintenance of a family, and when the farms are situated in a locality which does not afford the opportunity of some kind of subsidiary employment, or if the proprietor of such a small holding cannot attach himself to another man as a labourer for hire. When utilised, however, by the inhabitants of the coast, such subdivision cannot be regarded as excessive, for the owners of the small patches are able to obtain for themselves and their families the necessaries of life by fishing. When, however, a landowner, on account of the insignificant extent or the small productiveness of his farm, finds himself unable to subsist without seeking the wages of a labourer, his position is not better, or but little better, than that of the cotter (Husmand) alongside of him, notwithstanding that the latter is not owner of the land he cultivates. It is a matter of course that such farmers will be destitute of economical power, and unable to give the communal or the provincial exchequer any visible contribution towards the funds that have to be raised in order to meet the public expenditure. The existence of such small proprietors is not, on the whole, desirable.'

In the province of South Trondhjem the great increase of the indebtedness of the landowners is ascribed in part to the subdivision of property by the creation of Myrmœnd, literally 'bogmen' (bog-trotters?), or men supplied gratuitously, in recent times, with small plots of waste land, for the purpose of qualifying them as voters. Subdivision has likewise resulted from the partition of holdings in common, which, according to Dr. Broch, formed, in 1870, 13.4 per cent. of all the properties in Norway; principally in the Western Provinces, from the Naze to the Fiord[Pg 398] of Trondhjem, where they constituted at that period, on the average as much as 30 per cent. of the landed property. Under a law passed in 1857, those lands are now divisible or exchangeable, and it appears from the report of the Prefects that the demands in that direction cannot be satisfied by the Government officials with sufficient promptness. In the province of South Trondhjem, for instance, about 40 per cent. of the properties were still held in common in 1875, but between 1876 and 1880 the partition of such lands was advancing 'at the rate of about twenty farms per annum.'

The Prefect of Romsdal enumerates the causes of an increasing subdivision of landed property as follows: 1. The clearing of land for fields and meadows with the view of affording support to more families than one. 2. The desire of a proprietor to let more of his children than the nearest Odelsberretige[15] come into the possession of his estate. 3. In the case of an indebted proprietor, the necessity of parting with a portion of his land in order to get clear of his creditors; and 4. The desire on the part of persons who have no real property to come into the possession of land, especially tenants and cotters. The yeomen farmers themselves, he reports:

'bring forward as a substantial reason for the increasing subdivision of land the fact that, owing to the growing difficulty of obtaining labourers, it does not pay to remain in possession of a larger estate than can be worked by the family itself.'

Consequently, the number of holdings was increased in that province by nearly 10 per cent. between 1876 and 1880. A corroboration of this view is to be found in other Reports, particularly in the Report from the Province of North Trondhjem, in which the yeomen farmers are declared to be compelled to 'cultivate the land with the resources of their own households.' The effect of the conversion of cotters into small proprietors may be estimated from the following opinion of another Prefect: 'The burden of bad times is often felt more heavily by the proprietor than by the cotter;' and all the Reports show that 'the times' are as bad in Norway as they are in the United Kingdom, with this aggravation, that 70 to 80 per cent. of the population of Norway is settled on the land, and steeped in debt.

Most of the Prefects report unfavourably on the condition and prospects of agriculture, and on the depressing influence of American competition in corn, which began to make itself[Pg 399] distinctly felt about the year 1875,[16] when also the forest industry, so intimately connected with agriculture, first encountered the effects of a greatly increased shipment of timber from America and other countries to Europe. But these are not the only reasons, over and above the subdivision of property already dwelt upon, to which they ascribe a very general decline in the economic condition of the yeomen farmer. In one province, 'habits of thrift and providence had been awakened and replaced by new habits of life, with greater demands for comforts and enjoyments.' High prices previously realized for timber had caused luxury to enter into all the circumstances of life, stimulating in many quarters a reckless waste of money earned.' In another, 'the demand for comforts of life has risen, and it is not all that have found it easy to limit the satisfaction of their wants,' and 'more has been consumed than means allowed.' The female part, more particularly, of the population of North Bergen, is reproached with an inability to withstand the temptation of buying the wares of all kinds, 'neither useful nor necessary,' which the present great number of country storekeepers insidiously placed before their eyes. 'The improved mode of living introduced during a previous, flourishing period, has also contributed to ruin the economic condition of the people, who in the harder times that have succeeded have not known how to cut their coats according to their cloth.' At the same time, the Prefect adds, 'the mode of living, taking the rural population as a whole, is very frugal; yes, far too frugal. It is very desirable that they should have more substantial food than they have at present, but they must first have the means to obtain it.' Even so far north as the Provinces of Nordland and Tromsö, a similar tendency to live beyond means, the absence of good economy, and the dissipation of money 'on no particular system,' are reported to be the present characteristics of the people who are largely engaged in the fisheries.

No one who has travelled in Norway can fail to endorse the assertion, that the fare of the yeomen farmer, however many may be his cows, is of a character which no English agricultural labourer would be satisfied with. Oatmeal cakes, potatoes, porridge, butter and milk, and of late years American pork (when within reach of the yeoman's means) are the principal articles of food; and the hardiest traveller, whether native or alien, would not venture to leave the main arteries of communication without making his own provision of potted meats, or trusting[Pg 400] for his sustenance to the fish and game to be killed by himself. Mr. Laing's 'salted meat and black-puddings' are certainly not to be found, except at farms that are few and far between. On the high roads, where tourists' gold circulates, the traveller suffers no deprivation, and the houses and stations are so comfortable and well-appointed, that only the most exacting foreigner can find fault with the accommodation provided. Mr. Laing's observations in this respect apply at present only to establishments of this kind, and to the very few farms at which the servants are still 'called to and from their work by means of a bell.'

Except, therefore, along the course of the tourists' gold stream, and in the vicinity of towns, the mode of living is rude in the extreme, and the lament of the Prefect of North Bergen is in reality applicable to the great bulk of the yeomen farmers of Norway, as well as to their tenants and cotters. Nor is there any trace of that equality in the mode of living which Mr. Laing found in existence among the several classes of the rural population—'the public functionary, the clergyman, the gentleman of larger property, and the Bonde or peasant.' Refinement and culture, equal to what exists amongst corresponding classes of this country, are wanting only to the yeomen farmers; and their efforts to adopt a 'higher standard of living,' and to acquire the 'comforts of life,' have in no small degree conduced to the encumbrance of their estates. From the Reports of the Prefects it is evident that the gravest symptom of the decline of the rural economy in Norway, and, at the same time, one of its principle causes, is the heavy indebtedness of the yeomen farmers, great and small. Its origin is traceable to the year 1816, when the Bank of Norway was founded, chiefly for the purpose of 'advancing on its own notes, upon first securities over land, any sum not exceeding two-thirds of the value of the property' mortgaged to it. Mr. Laing alludes to it as 'the peculiar, and for the wants of the country, well-imagined, Bank of Norway,' which 'facilitates greatly the family arrangements with regard to land.' Its capital was originally raised by a forced loan or tax upon all landed property, and the landholders became shareholders according to the amount of their respective shares. The borrower repaid half-yearly to the Bank the interest of the sum that might be to his debit at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum, and was also bound to pay off 5 per cent. yearly of the principal, which was thus liquidated in twenty years. Although Mr. Laing was of opinion that 'a circulation of paper money on such a basis is evidently next, in point of security, to that of the precious metals,' he fails to mention that the Bank was forced to[Pg 401] suspend specie payments three years after its establishment, and that the resumption of those payments was not commenced until 1823, when the notes of the Bank began to be convertible at little over half their original value; the operation of raising them to par, on a graduated scale, having been completed only in 1842, a period since which the Bank, with an increased Reserve Fund, has maintained an uninterrupted and unimpeachable stability. But while the Bank still advances money on the security of landed property, two-thirds of its resources are now employed in the discount of mercantile bills. At the end of 1883, its loans to the landed proprietors amounted only to 626,000l.

In 1852, however, the State had come again to the assistance of the landowners for the extinction of private mortgages and the consolidation of old debts by the creation of a special 'State Mortgage Bank,' with an original capital of 291,000l., increased by successive issues of bonds representing advances on the security of real property, bearing interest at the rate of 4 per cent, (at present 4-1/2 per cent.), and repayable by drawings over a period of thirty years. The amount of the bonds issued up to 1884 was about 3,812,000l., and in 1878 about three-quarters of the bonds were held in the country itself, their market value being still almost at par.

It is principally into this Bank that the yeomen farmers have been dipping their estates at a rapidly increasing rate. Thus, while the loans on the security of real property in rural districts averaged 57,500l. per annum between 1853 and 1855, and 220,600l. between 1876 and 1880, the advances made in 1883 amounted to 396,500l. At the end of that year the balance of outstanding loans had reached the sum of 3,752,000l., of which about 77 per cent., or 2,889,000l., represented advances in rural districts, the remaining 23 per cent, having been borrowed in towns. The interest payable on those loans is respectively 4-1/4 and 4-3/4 per cent., according to whether the borrowers have been supplied with bonds bearing interest at the rate of 4 or 4-1/2 per cent. per annum; and 3 per cent. of the capital is repayable per annum until the extinction of the debt over a period of thirty years.

There is a third public source available to the landed proprietors for loans on mortgages and on bonds or bills, namely the Savings Banks. In 1884, the savings-banks, in rural districts alone, held in 'mortgage bonds' and in 'bonds and bills' a sum of about 3,553,000l.; but in what proportion that debt was incurred by local traders and by farmers, it is impossible to say. It is, however, clear that the yeomen farmers have benefited[Pg 402] largely by the deposits made in those banks by the comparatively few who have been able to accumulate, instead of borrowing, money. Thus, the Prefect of Hedemarken reports that, 'while large amounts, realized by the sale of timber, were deposited in the savings-banks, extensive loans were made by those establishments to persons in less favourable circumstances,' and that 'the savings-banks, to be found in so many parishes, have, by the easy access they afford to loans, beguiled many into a needless borrowing of money, subsequently squandered.'

Over and above these facilities for borrowing money from public institutions, the yeomen farmers are undoubtedly heavily in debt to local storekeepers, and to merchants and traders in the towns. In fact the great bulk of the landed proprietors have been borrowing in every direction as much as they could raise by mortgage or by bill. Owing to the excellent system of registration that exists in Norway, there is no difficulty in ascertaining the extent to which the charges on real property in rural districts have increased between the years 1876 and 1880. It appears from the Reports of the Prefects that, between those dates, the balance of mortgages newly effected over those extinguished in rural districts amounted to a sum of about four millions sterling. The State Mortgage Bank is bound not to advance more than six-tenths of the value of land and buildings (forests excepted), and it is supposed that the loans have so far not exceeded four-tenths of the value of mortgaged property; but as the yeomen farmers generally contrive to borrow on second mortgages, it may safely be assumed, that their estates are charged with interest at 4-1/4 to 6 per cent. on a considerable part of the nominal value of what is not purely forest land, in addition to an annual repayment of 3 per cent. of the capital borrowed from the State Mortgage Bank. The forests, on the other hand, have been largely used up in paying the interest and capital on those loans, either by cutting them down, or by leasing or pawning them to traders, or to yeomen who have been able to keep their heads above water and to profit by the economic distress of the great majority of their fellow-landowners. The difficulty experienced by that majority in meeting the payment of interest and capital, especially at a time when the value of agricultural produce has been considerably diminished by American competition, and when also the competition of American and Baltic timber has simultaneously reduced the profits of the forest industry to a point that hardly repays the felling of trees, is clearly shown from the statistics of forced sales, of auctions and of distraints in the rural districts, and from an accompanying increase in the number of lawsuits before Courts[Pg 403] of First Instance. It appears from the Reports of the Prefects that the sales of real property for debt have increased in every Province between the two periods 1871-1875 and 1876-1880 to an extent that ranges from 30 per cent. to 600 per cent., the greatest increase having taken place in the Provinces of Kristiansamt (600 per cent.), Norland, Nedenæs, Buskerud, Hedemarken and Akershus, where it ranged between 600 per cent. and 146 per cent. From another official source we obtain the following statement:—


1. Compulsory sales of real property in rural districts.2513563,000l. averaging 224l. per sale.
2. Do. of personal property.5136134,000l. ditto 26l. per sale.
3. Distraints for arrears of taxes, &c.1,089,000l.

But since real property is of comparatively low value in Norway, and personal property limited mostly to the veriest necessities of life, it is not so much the total of the amounts realized by forced sales, or the sums for which 'executions' and 'distraints' were effected, that give the measure of the depressed condition of the yeomen farmers, as the great and steady increase that took place between 1876 and 1880 in the number of those operations. Thus, while the number of forced sales of real property in towns, as well as in rural districts, was 424 in 1876, it had grown to 1378 in 1880. It is therefore not surprising to find in the Reports of the Prefects from which we have so largely drawn our figures that 'the means of meeting liabilities and of paying taxes at the proper time have grown more feeble, and recourse to legal enforcement of pecuniary claims has consequently become more frequent.' 'The condition of this Province' (Kristiansamt) 'is all the worse from a pretty widespread misuse of credit during the previous period' (1871-75). In another province (N. Bergen) we find that the depression in 1879 and 1880 'compelled those who had claims to enforce them rigorously. Mortgages, distraints, sales, &c., have therefore increased, and there has been an exceptionally, large number of suits before the Courts of Mutual Agreement. 'The value of agricultural produce has fallen, owing to a great extent to a scarcity of money and to great competition from a desire to convert as much produce as possible into money.' In the northern province of Tromsö 'merchants have suffered from the impoverishment of their customers' (mostly fishermen as well as landowners), 'and have caused them to be made bankrupts.[Pg 404] Credit has been misused on a large scale. Its facility induces the population to live beyond its means. It also encourages traders to set up in business and get customers with ease, without having capital or means of their own. The one misuse reacts on the other. All products are sunk considerably in value, and this fall is even greater in the case of real estate.'

The latter statement is not generally applicable to the remaining provinces, for we find that while the average value of the 'skylddaler,' or unit of assessment, was 153l.,[17] according to prices paid for land in 1871-1875, it has risen to about 180l. in 1876-1880, thus confuting Mr. Laing's theory, that the peculiar succession of property would tend to keep land at a low value. It would not, however, be right to conclude from these figures that landed property has, on the whole, increased of late years in value, despite the general indebtedness of its owners. Land in the vicinity of towns and railways must naturally become more and more valuable, and the relatively much higher prices paid for such land have no doubt had the effect of raising the total average deduced from sales of every description of landed property. It may also be assumed that the demand for land is artificially increased by the facility with which it may be purchased, since at least one-half of the purchase money generally remains on mortgage, in addition to other encumbrances. At the same time, the financial institutions, to which so large a proportion of the real property in Norway is mortgaged, are interested in maintaining its value, and attain their object by abstaining from offering at any one period too many defaulting properties for sale; and it may also be suspected that the statistics of forced sales represent only cases in which no compromise could be effected, or in which it was expedient or possible to have recourse to the ultimate means of recovery without sensibly deteriorating locally the value of landed property. Cases are, in fact, not infrequent in which the mortgagees find themselves compelled to retain the property of the defaulter, and either to place it in the hands of caretakers, with the hope of future realization on more favourable terms, or to sell it in small lots as opportunity occurs. In any case, the full and exact effect of the pawning of all the landed property of the country at a time when its agriculture has to compete with American cereals, its timber industry with supplies from America and the Baltic, and its wooden ships with iron steamers[Pg 405] transporting cargoes at an almost nominal freight, is not yet to be found in statistical records.

The indisputable fact remains that, notwithstanding the existence of a system of land tenure which, according to Mr. Laing, was so perfect between 1834 and 1836 as to render its adoption in this country, and especially in Ireland, highly desirable, the yeomen farmers of Norway—framers of their own laws and absolute masters of their own destinies—are not only at present suffering from the commercial and agricultural depression that obtains in other countries of Europe, in which the social state is more or less differently constituted, but also find themselves, in face of that depression, with exceptionally heavy burdens on their backs in the form of pecuniary indebtedness at a rate of interest which mere agriculture, under the most favourable circumstances, cannot possibly afford to pay.

This heavy indebtedness has not, as a rule, been incurred for productive purposes, such as drainage, improved methods of agriculture, the increase of stock, &c.; and although the use of simple agricultural machinery is somewhat on the increase in Norway, yet agriculture remains very much in the same primitive condition in which it was found by Mr. Laing.[18] The Prefects attribute this backwardness to want of skill on the part of the proprietors (Romsdal), to the poverty of the soil, to the dearness of agricultural labour, and generally to the unremunerative results of husbandry since the depreciation of the value of its products. In a letter addressed last year to the 'Morgenblad,' the leading Journal at Christiania, by a native authority on the subject of agriculture, it is urged that the landed proprietors of Norway have 'for some years past been going down hill;' the hopes of improving the condition of agriculture, entertained about thirty years ago, when efforts were first commenced in that direction, being now entirely dissipated.

'It is painful,' he says 'to see how the forests are decreasing and how land once under cultivation is lying unused. When asked the reason, the proprietors reply that the prices of corn and other agricultural products are so low and the wages of labour so high, owing to emigration, that they have not the means to cultivate a large portion of the land, and could derive no advantage from it even if the means were available.'

The yeomen farmers, being therefore in a distressed condition,[Pg 406] and their children and best hands forced to leave their homes in order to cultivate the fruitful soil of America, to the growing detriment of those who remain to till the soil of Norway—those farmers, he points out with great force of argument, must have the same protection which is accorded to the industrial classes, if agriculture is to be saved from final ruin. In fact, this remarkable letter points to an agitation in favour of the imposition of a 'fiscal duty,'[19] on corn, food of all kind, cattle, dairy produce, &c.; and supports this conclusion with the argument used by Prince Bismarck on the second reading of his recent Corn Duties Bill:

'The trade of the Baltic will suffer nothing from protective duties. As regards agriculture, I am opposed to all legislation against the subdivision of land ... but if you want to have small occupiers of land, you must vote for duties on corn.'

Account must at the same time be taken of the heavy and increasing charges that fall on landed property for the administration of rural districts in Norway. While the inhabitants of the rural communities contribute towards the support of the Central Administration only in the form of Customs and Excise duties, stamps, succession duties, and contributions towards the construction of highways, the burthen of local administration, justice, police, prisons, the Church, public instruction, poor relief, sanitary service, parochial roads, posting stations, interest on communal loans, &c., falls on their landed property. This self-assessed and self-imposed burthen has naturally been growing more heavy, from year to year, under the exigencies of modern progress. Thus, while the total communal expenditure in 1853 was 167,000l., it had risen to 497,000l. in 1880, or 197-1/2 per cent. About one half of the requisite resources is derived from a tax on the cadastral value of real property; the remaining half is raised by a tax on capital and income. In 1880 the communal impositions on land represented a taxation of about 6s. 7d. per head of the rural population. That the whole of the communal expenditure is not covered by taxation is apparent from the fact, that in the same year the rural districts had increased the amount of their total debts to about half a million sterling, from 312,000l. in 1874.

In this respect it is certainly significant to discover that Poor Relief, organized by a law passed in 1863, is the largest item of communal expenditure, being indeed very little less than half of the total annual liabilities of the rural districts, in a country[Pg 407] in which, in the halcyon days of Mr. Laing, only the infirm were supported for a few days at a time by the yeomen farmers. He appears to have attributed this to the absence of collieries, the introduction of coal as fuel having, he argues, been coëval in England with the imposition of a rate for the poor, deprived by that industry of the work of chopping up firewood which gave so much employment to idle hands in Norway. However that might be, in 1880 and 1881 the number of persons in receipt of relief or maintained in hospital, at the charge of rural communities alone, was respectively 109,688 and about 114,000, or in both years a little over 7 per cent. of the total rural population. Inclusive of urban districts the same totals amounted in those years to 81 and 83 per 1000, or above 8 per cent. of the population of the kingdom, the cost of support having been about 3s. 10d. per head of the entire population, which contributed 2s. 9d. per head in special taxation for that object, and the balance in an indirect manner, apparently by housing paupers, &c.

These paupers include cotters and labourers, as well as the ruined among the smaller yeomen. Farmers who had previously been able to employ labour, 'no longer find their advantage in it,' and consequently—

'even able-bodied workmen (in Hedemarken) were compelled to seek relief from the Poor Fund when their families were large. The smaller farmers and the labourers are in the worst plight, since the falling off in the timber trade has made them feel the want of the usual steady demand for labour at high wages.' Further: 'it has become very difficult for the least affluent and for labourers to gain a livelihood in the prevailing money and timber crisis.... The depression must for a long time be felt by many.

We need only point out that, in the United Kingdom, the percentage of persons in receipt of relief during the year 1881 was 3 per cent. in England and Wales, 2.6 per cent. in Scotland, and 11 per cent. in Ireland,[20] involving an expenditure at the rate respectively of 6s. 3d., 4s. 6d., and 3s. 9d. per head of population.

Obviously, the relatively greater cost of relieving the poor in Great Britain is due to the more expensive character of the support afforded, and to the very heavy sums paid for salaries and other establishment charges; but it is unquestionably a damaging fact against the system of land tenure in Norway, that the pauperism by which it is in the present day accompanied, with a strong tendency to increase, is equalled only by the state[Pg 408] of things in Ireland, which certain legislators now desire to remedy by the creation of peasant proprietors.

The relative state of matters in Great Britain and in Norway has therefore greatly changed since Mr. Laing wrote:

'The distribution of the wealth and employment of a country has much more to do, than the amount, with the well-being and condition of the people. The wealth and employment of the British nation far exceed those of any other nation; yet in no country is so large a proportion of the inhabitants sunk in pauperism and wretchedness.'

An increasing rate of pauperism is one of the symptoms of agricultural distress in Norway, but the strong tide of emigration from rural and urban districts marks with equal force the depression and congestion from which the country is suffering in the same degree as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Aided by improved and cheapened means of transport, the number of emigrants from Norway ranged between 20,212 in 1880 and 22,167 in 1883, giving an average of 1.3 to 1.5 per cent. of the total population, the contingent of the rural districts being about 70 per cent. of the total number. As in the case of pauperism, the corresponding rate of emigration from Ireland, namely 1.5 per cent., exhibits a remarkable similarity, and affords another convincing proof that peasant proprietorship is no panacea for rustic indigence.

Those who have not studied the present economic condition of the yeoman farmer and agricultural labourer in Norway, or who have not taken into consideration the change that has come over the entire country, and the ambition, as distinguished from previous apathy, which education and communication with an outer world, no longer closed to them, has awakened among the classes with which we are dealing, are inclined to attribute a good part of this emigrating tendency to the influence and the material assistance of those who have gone before. Indisputably, the Norwegian emigrant, by his persevering labour and steady conduct, rarely fails to succeed in Wisconsin and other States, in which he is always a welcome settler; and consequently he soon finds himself able to transmit money for the purpose of enabling his brothers and sisters, and not seldom his father and mother, to join him. No State or other aid is afforded for such purposes to Norwegians, although it is occasionally the case, that the hard cash with which the emigrant leaves his home is derived from the proceeds of a loan raised by the head of his family for the purpose of buying out co-heirs under the Odels ret, adding thereby, as we have already shown, to the indebtedness with which the land is burdened. Others, also, maintain that many young men emigrate from[Pg 409] Norway in order to avoid military conscription, which, although milder there in its demands than in most other European countries where that system exists, undoubtedly diminishes the quantity and deteriorates the quality of agricultural labour. The strongest incentive to emigration, however, is the desire to escape from the misery and penury which accompany in Norway, as in every other part of Europe, the condition of a small landowner, cotter, or labourer who is unable to find regular employment on adjoining estates that can be kept going, if nothing more, with the aid of scientific knowledge, machinery and capital.

There is, however, yet another proof of the prevalent material malaise in Norway, particularly among its rural classes, and strangely enough it bears the same character as that which has brought the 'three acres and a cow' and Irish land bills, past and expected, into such prominent relief in our country of lack-lands, namely political agitation. Whatever may be its merits or demerits on this side of the North Sea, our readers will scarcely be prepared to learn that a corresponding ferment has been engendered of late years on the opposite shores. We are told this by the Prefect of South Trondhjem, one of the most important provinces of a country where, in the days of Mr. Laing, there was a dead-level of contentment, where the widest form of home-rule has been in operation since the early part of the present century, and where the Crown Administration has all that time been more pure, blameless and efficient than in any other country on the Continent of Europe. His significant words are:

'As everywhere else in Norway, particularly in rural districts, politicians (i. e. agitators) are here taking more and more hold over the minds of the people. Political unrest increases, and immature and extreme opinions are being advanced more than is desirable. The quiet, temperate, but progressive development to which Norway had previously been accustomed, and with which the great bulk of the nation had been well content, is in danger of being replaced by a progress in fits and starts, accompanied by leaps in the dark.'

No less painful and suggestive is it to find, in the Report from the Prefect of Hedemarken, that 'the Christian earnestness of the people has suffered under the influence of the many misleading writings and tendencies which have in recent times found their way into every stratum of society.' As at home, so in Norway, the question of Church Disestablishment, with all its consequences, is approaching within measurable distance of practical solution.[21]

[Pg 410]

Supported by official publications, we have now described the present condition of the yeomen farmers of Norway, and from the facts and figures we have marshalled, the following replies may confidently be given to the Socialistic theories and conclusions of Mr. Laing:

1. Notwithstanding, or rather in part owing to, the existence of the Allodial Right [which has proved in its results to be an exaggerated form of primogeniture involving a greater multiplication of encumbrances even than exists under the system of land tenure in the United Kingdom], an excessive subdivision of the land has occurred and is still proceeding in Norway, to the prejudice of estates which in 1836, and even later, afforded moderate ease and contentment to their owners, and relatively well remunerated labour to the workman and the cotter.

2. The dead-level of comfortable subsistence, attributed by Mr. Laing to the parcelling-out of land into small estates, has been converted, by the influence of irresistible economic laws, into one of general distress and discontent among the rural classes.

3. The rates of pauperism and emigration prove that the agrarian population has not, as prophesied by Mr. Laing, kept 'within the bounds of possible modern existence.'

4. The taxation of landed property, for local purposes, has greatly increased, particularly under the head of Poor Relief; and

5. The distressed condition of the yeoman farmer in Norway is strongly attested by his heavy and growing indebtedness. He may now, in fact, be classed with the proverbially derided Fife laird, owning 'A wee bit of land, a great lump of debt, and a dookit.'[22]

Such being the result of our enquiries into the economic condition of the great bulk of the yeoman farmers of Norway, the ideal fabric reared by Mr. Laing at a time when the Norse old world was still asleep, falls utterly to the ground, and there remains but one of his statements that we can with any advantage submit to the earnest attention of our readers, namely, that 'A single fact brought home from such a country is worth a volume of speculations.' We go further and say, that facts in relation to the question of land tenure collected in any other part of Europe are of equally inestimable value; and they have already been supplied in great abundance from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.[23] Nothing can truly[Pg 411] be more fatal to the successful solution of such intricate problems than the relief of the agricultural distress of England and Scotland, or the satisfaction of the alleged earth-hunger of the Celtic population of Ireland, than to initiate legislation on the hypothesis that circumstances alter cases, and that our own country can with impunity be withdrawn from the operation of economic laws that have asserted their supremacy throughout the entire Continent of Europe.

As history repeats itself, so are the laws of civilized development both general and inexorable. Even in the extreme case of Russia, it has been proved, in an article we published a few years ago,[24] that a heavy and ruinous price has been paid for the emancipation of the serfs on a Socialistic and partly Communistic basis, and on the erroneous assumption, that the continued existence of the 'Mir' (the ancient village community even of India) was an institution indigenous to the country itself, and therefore worthy of being perpetuated by legislation. Millions of a rural population, freed from personal servitude, were chained anew to the land by the indebtedness incurred in the expropriation of the lords of the soil. The allotments, averaging ten acres, parcelled out among them in 1861, were estimated to be sufficiently large and productive to provide not only for their support, but also, firstly, for the payment of the 'redemption dues' with which the allotted lands were charged for a limited period of years at an average rate of only 1s. 9d. per acre, and secondly, for the punctual payment of the moderate poll-tax, which the exigencies of the State required them to contribute. Those expectations began to vanish soon after they had been formed, and at the present time we see the previously rich agricultural plains of Russia, abandoned, as they almost wholly are, to the slovenly husbandry of a rude and greatly demoralized peasantry, deteriorating from year to year in the quality of their produce, and thereby opposing less and less impediment to the successful competition of other corn-growing countries.[25] The great fall that has taken place in the value of Russian cereals is apparent from the fact that, notwithstanding the depreciation of the paper currency of the country to the extent of about 25 per cent. since the serfs were emancipated (and nearly 37 per cent.[Pg 412] from the par value of the standard rouble), the corn-grower in Russia actually receives for his produce, in paper money, some 40 per cent, less than he obtained for it when the currency was less debased.

Despair, and the absence of that restraint which education, and the moral elevation inseparable from it, are establishing in other European countries, have driven the rural inhabitants of entire districts, and even provinces, into habits of drunkenness stronger and more general than those which existed before the autocratic creation of 'peasant proprietors' in Russia.

Among the earliest measures adopted in Russia during the present reign was that of a reduction and partial remission of the 'redemption dues,' which, on the 1st of January, 1885, represented the interest and sinking fund on nearly 113 millions sterling,[26] expended by the Government in the partial expropriation of the now ruined landlords of the country.[27]

During the year 1884, alone, those reductions and remissions inflicted a loss of 1,135,000l.[28] on the Imperial Treasury. The most recent measure of alleviation has been the total abolition of the poll-tax[29] (to be completed by the end of the present year); and, consequently, the State-contribution of at least 85 per cent. of the population of Russia is being limited to the excise duty on drink, an item of revenue with which the Imperial Government cannot possibly dispense, since it brings in a sum more than adequate for the maintenance of the imposing military forces of the Empire.

Simultaneously, 'Peasant Land Banks' have been established by the State in order to facilitate the purchase of still more land by the ex-serfs. The Minister of Finance was authorized in 1882 to issue annually for that purpose a sum of 500,000l. in bonds, bearing 5-1/2 per cent. interest. But, by the 1st of January, 1886, these banks had already advanced over three millions sterling to 785 Communes, 1576 'partnerships,' and 359 individual peasants, representing an aggregate number of[Pg 413] 112,765 householders. On loans for 24-1/2 years the interest and sinking fund, payable by the borrowers, amount to 8-1/2 per cent., and on those for 34-1/2 years, to 7-1/2 per cent., the lands purchased by such means remaining inalienable until the extinction of the mortgages, except with the consent of the mortgagees, i. e. the banks. The effects of this new departure in the direction of providing small landed proprietors with State funds, will no doubt soon be apparent.

Whether, therefore, we examine the experience of a civilized, orderly, home-ruled country like Norway, with a steady, laborious, and, we may almost say, abstemious, population in many respects akin to our own, or that of a State still at an immensely distant stage of social development,—and under a very different form of Government,—the salient results of bolstering up, by means of State loans, or of artificially creating, equally at the cost of the State, a numerous body of small landed proprietors, have been strikingly identical in regard to the ultimate economic condition of the agrarian classes.

Insisting, as we do, on the strength of the facts we have adduced, that, in old Europe, the operation of economic laws affecting land tenure, admits of no exceptions or extenuating circumstances in favour of their violation, it appears impossible, without presumptuous sophistry or political dishonesty, to resist the conclusion, that the infringement of those laws in any part of the United Kingdom could only terminate, infallibly and speedily, in damage to the State, after ruin to the individual.


[5] The physical results of intermarriage with the object of concentrating property, are very apparent in many of the older Bonde families in Norway.

[6] It would not be right to allow this observation to pass without mentioning, even at the cost of destroying so fascinating a picture of pastoral felicity, that the hard-working dairy-maids of Norway are never accompanied by their sweethearts to the sœters, where, except from Saturday night until Monday morning, when the young men find time to visit them, they lead the most solitary lives, and are busy all day in milking cows and goats and making butter and cheese.

[7] In 1833 the total production of spirits in the rural districts amounted to about 3-1/2 gallons per head of the population. The demoralization that resulted from its increase necessitated the enactment of restrictive measures, and at last, in 1848, the small stills were purchased by the State, and private distillation was prohibited. As in Great Britain, the vice of drunkeness is now decreasing in Norway, owing partly to the reduced means of the population, but chiefly to the influence of education and of temperance societies.

[8] The average proportion of 1851-52 was 9.32 per cent. There is a difference of only 1 per cent, between the rates of illegitimacy in rural and urban districts, to the disadvantage of the latter.

[9] 'The French Constitution of 1791 is one of the principal sources of the Fundamental Law of Norway. The suspensive veto has been derived from it.'—O. I. Broch.

[10] At the end of 1882, the total population was estimated at 1,922,500, or a decrease 3900 as compared with 1881, when the increase was only 1000 from the year preceding.

[11] In 1880, the average rate of wages for labourers engaged by the year in agricultural districts was 8l. 10s. per annum, and that of daily labour, without food, 1s. 9d. per diem; the corresponding rates in towns having been 11l. 6s. 8d. and 2s.

[12] Our readers must, however, bear in mind that we are dealing only with the rural economy of Norway, and that the facts we shall submit on that subject affect but slightly the general financial condition of a country which continues to derive its earnings mainly from the supply of timber, fish, wood-pulp, ice, &c., to foreign countries, and from its extensive carrying trade in sailing vessels and steamers. The prosperity of the towns is influenced chiefly by the state of trade in the rest of Europe, while being (to the extent of 122 out of 128) situated on the seaboard, their successful development reacts but little on the prosperity of the inland agricultural districts.

[13] In the 'Tables of Landed Property,' published in 1880, the holdings (in 1865) are classified as follows:—

Properties under5 acres34,224or15.5per cent.
"between5 and 12-1/2 acres42,984"32.1"
""12-1/2 and 50 "48,575"36.2"
"above50 acres8,208"6.2"

[14] The italics our own. The author states that it is the custom among the peasants of Norway that when the eldest son or the daughter of the house (when there is no son), marries, the parents surrender the property, but retain a right of subsistence upon it. This, he shows, explains the existence of the large number of detached dwellings on the same estate, for very often cottages have to be built for the accommodation of persons who have a right to subsistence, which is not, however, limited to a dwelling-house, but frequently includes the usufruct of a small plot of land and, almost always fodder for a certain number of cows and goats. See also p. 386.

[15] The eldest of kin having allodial right.

[16] Between 1871 and 1875 Norway imported about 46 per cent. of the cereals required for home consumption, in addition to pork, butter, and other articles of food.

[17] From statistics recently published, it appears that between 1881 and 1883 the price of land, estimated on actual sales, has shown a tendency to rise in the Provinces which have a coast line, populated by fisherman, &c., and to fall in most of the inland, more purely agricultural districts.

[18] Dr. Broch shows that in 1875, which was an average year for crops, the production of cereals and potatoes (reduced to the value of barley) was 3125 hectol. per 1000 inhabitants in Norway; whereas the average crops in France yielded 7400 hectol. per 1000 of the population.

[19] In 1884 a motion to that effect was made in the Swedish Rigsdag by a peasant proprietor. At present the duty on cereals imported into Norway is merely nominal, averaging about 2-1/2 per cent. ad valorem.

[20] From special causes, the number of persons relieved in 1881 and 1882 was exceptionally high in Ireland. In 1879 it was 7-1/2 per cent., and in 1883 about 8 per cent. of the population.

[21] Hereditary nobility is already abolished. Under a law passed in 1821, all titles of nobility become extinct in the persons of those who were born before 1822.

[22] I. e. dovecot.

[23] Lady Verney's 'Cottier-owners, Little Takes and Peasant Proprietors,' published last year, is replete with facts drawn from actual life, showing that small peasant-proprietorship is proving ruinous on the Continent, even where the system has grown up naturally.

[24] In No. 302, April 1881.

[25] It is certainly remarkable to find that Australian tallow, Indian linseed, and German barley are being imported at St. Petersburg, whence those articles were, in the days of large landed properties, extensively exported. The Minister of Finance, following the example of Prince Bismarck, attempts to check this competition with the staple products of the small landed proprietors by imposing protective duties.

[26] Rs. 846,068,368, at the exchange of 32d., current when the great bulk of the expropriations were effected.

[27] In provinces of Russia Proper alone, the landed proprietors (exclusive of the ex-serfs) have mortgaged their estates in various land and other banks to the extent of 30-3/4 per cent. of their aggregate acreage, the total remaining debt on such lands being about 49 millions sterling at the present reduced value of the rouble, or 65 millions sterling at the rate of exchange adopted in estimating the indebtedness of the peasantry.

[28] At the same rate of exchange.

[29] This tax had previously given to the Imperial Treasury a sum of about 5-1/2 millions sterling, at the depreciated rate of exchange. It was assessed at rates that varied in the different Provinces between 2s. 7d. and 4s. 4d. per head of the male registered population, or 'per soul.'

[Pg 414]

Art. V.—A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Esq.; Secretary, First to the Council of State, and afterwards to the Two Protectors, Oliver and Richard Cromwell. In Seven Volumes, containing authentic Memorials of the English affairs from the year 1638 to the Restoration of King Charles II. Vol. III. London, 1742.

The character of Oliver Cromwell might, for our part, have rested undisturbed among the 'old, unhappy, far off things' of history, had it been our intention to fight over again, on the old lines, the contention whether he was a hero or a knave. On the contrary, towards the solution of that question a method, as yet untried, has been adopted. Instead of attempting a review of Cromwell's whole career, to gain an idea of what manner of man he was, a single train of events, in which his hand was visible throughout, has been subjected to some degree of scrutiny. A man's words and deeds, although arising only on one occasion, may supply an effectual test of his real self. There could, for instance, be hardly any doubt regarding the leading bias of his disposition, if a supremely able ruler, that he may procure his safety, consents to—

'play one scene
Of excellent dissembling, and let it look
Like perfect honour.'

These lines disclose our case. With prescient genius Shakspeare has described the part that Cromwell took in an event which occurred under his Protectorate, the so-called Insurrection of March 1655; and in our examination into the secret history of that occurrence lies the test that we have applied to Cromwell's character.

The revelation that we are attempting is not, however, free from inherent difficulty. In these days of literature made easy, the products of close research are not readily acceptable. To open up a new vista in history, much has to be cut down, much put into new order; and the reader must unavoidably share in the labours of the writer. And though some curiosity may be aroused by the discovery of that which has remained hidden, for over two centuries; still, to gratify that curiosity, many an ingrained idea must be laid aside. Difficult as it may seem to many, Cromwell at the outset must be regarded not as 'our heroic One,' but as a man who sold himself to falsehood, that he might 'ride in gilt coaches, escorted by the flunkeyisms, and most sweet voices.' Nor to appreciate the secret of our character-test, can the assertion of any historian, from Clarendon[Pg 415] down to Carlyle's last imitator, be credited, that 'a universal rising of Royalists combined with Anabaptists' broke out in March 1655. On the contrary, it must be accepted as a preliminary condition in this investigation that England was, at that time, in a state of immovable tranquillity, and that any insurrectionary movement during the year 1655 sprang from a far-reaching design, which Cromwell practised alike on friends, neutrals, and enemies.

That this was the case has hitherto escaped notice. Every historian, who has taken part in the Cromwelliad, regards that revolt as 'a very tragic reality;' they all agree, that it was 'prevented from breaking into a dangerous flame by vigilance, prompt action, and by necessary severity.' That this event might be regarded in a very different light was an idea far from every one of them. Proof, however, goes before disproof. The historians should have their say first; and our readers must endure, for a few moments, what may be termed the received version of the Insurrection of March 1655.

According to Godwin, 'A general rising was meditated about the beginning of March 1655, by the Royalist party in various parts of England,—Yorkshire, Shropshire, Nottinghamshire, Devon and Wilts,' and also in North Wales. 'Wilmot, about this time created Earl of Rochester, came over to England' to head the enterprise, 'accompanied by Sir J. Wagstaff. Charles II., who had spent the winter at Cologne, now came privately to Middleburg in Holland, that he might be ready to pass over to England, if the condition of affairs authorized such a measure. The activity of Cromwell and his assistants speedily defeated these multiplied intrigues. It does not appear that hostilities anywhere were actually commenced, except in Yorkshire and the West of England.'

As historians persist that on Marston Moor, the scene of the 'hostilities' in Yorkshire, an actual affray occurred,—Carlyle throws in 'a few shots fired';—we must turn to the 'Perfect Proceedings' News Letter, of March 1655, for a truer description of that event:—

'York. The 8th of March instant, there was a meeting appointed by the Malignants in Yorkshire to surprise York City. To that end a party was to come on the west side of the City, where Sir Richard Malliverer, with divers others, was on their March. About 100 horse came with a cart load of arms and ammunition to Hessey (i. e. Marston) Moor. And at the wynd-mill upon the Moor there came some intelligence, that a party, that shd have come on the other side of the City, was not ready that night. And more company failing, which they expected to meet them that night upon the Moor[Pg 416] they suddenly and disorderly retreated; some Pistols was scattered and found next morning, and a led horse, with a velvet saddle, left in Skipbrig Lane, which was found next day.'

In Wiltshire, however, the Royalists effected a brief revolt, an incident which the following quotation from Carlyle will readily recall to mind:—

'Sunday, March 11th, 1655, in the City of Salisbury, about midnight, there occurs a thing worth noting. Salisbury was awakened from its slumbers by a real advent of Cavaliers. Sir John Wagstaff, "a jolly knight" of those parts, once a Royalist Colonel: he, with Squire, or Major Penruddock, "a gentleman of fair fortune," Squire, or Major Grove, and about two hundred others, did actually rendezvous in arms about the Big Steeple, that Sunday night, and ring a loud alarm in those parts. It was Assize time; the Judges had arrived the day before. Wagstaff seizes the Judges in their beds, seizes the High Sheriff, and otherwise makes night hideous;—proposes on the morrow to hang the Judges, as a useful warning; but is overruled by Penruddock and the rest. He orders the High Sheriff to proclaim King Charles; High Sheriff will not, not though you hang him; Town-crier will not, not even though you hang him. The Insurrection does not spread in Salisbury, it would seem. The Insurrection quits Salisbury on Monday night, marches with all speed towards Cornwall, hoping for better luck there. Marches;—but Captain Unton Crook marches also in the rear of it; marches swiftly, fiercely; overtakes it at South Molton in Devonshire, "on Wednesday about ten at night," and there, in a few minutes, put an end to it. We took Penruddock, Grove, and long lists of others; Wagstaff unluckily escaped ... and this Royalist conflagration, which should have blazed all over England, is entirely damped out. Indeed so prompt and complete is the extinction, thankless people begin to say there had never been anything considerable to extinguish. Had they stood in the middle of it,—had they seen the nocturnal rendezvous at Marston Moor, seen what Shrewsbury, what Rufford Abbey, what North Wales in general, would have grown to on the morrow,—in that case, thinks the Lord Protector, not without some indignation, they had known!—Carlyle's 'Cromwell,' vol. iv. pp. 129, 130.

If Carlyle had been more heedful he might have taken the hint furnished by those 'thankless people.' Men are not usually thankless if preserved from a real and obvious danger. Carlyle, however, thought that he knew more about those transactions than the men who might have witnessed them; and so we will accept his somewhat incautious invitation, and our readers, if they choose to do so, shall perceive, perhaps, 'not without some indignation,' what the Lord Protector 'had known' about the insurrection of March 1655; they shall, to a certain extent at least, regard that event from his point of view. And[Pg 417] to enable them to do so as promptly as possible, they may be at once informed, that the Protector himself admitted the Earl of Rochester, Sir John Wagstaff, and their associates into England, in order that they might, in his behalf, play the part of the conspirator. The circumstance being appreciated, the Protector's position becomes quite clear. It is obvious that he wished his subjects to believe, in common with his historians, that England was, during the opening months of 1655, 'from end to end of it, ripe for an explosion.'

Taking then for granted, upon Cromwell's own showing, that he wanted an insurrection, the assistance toward that end on which he could rely, and the obstacles that stood in his way, must be considered. The assistance which Cromwell had at hand, lay in the little band of courtiers who hung in penury, and vexation of heart, round Charles II. Wanderers on the Continent, in total ignorance of English opinion, acutely sensible of their own discomfort, raging against their great Tormentor, the King's 'over sea' counsellors were, by irritation and by 'zeal, made so blind,' that they were 'soon persuaded of good success' in any possible attempt to overthrow the Protector.[30] The chief hindrance to Cromwell's projected insurrection was his palpable prosperity. It was notorious during the winter and spring of the year 1655, that he had appeased discontent among his soldiery; had quieted, in prison, Harrison, Wildman, and the leaders of the Anabaptists; that the Levellers were reduced to inaction; and that therefore the Royalists were powerless. And for this reason. Every Englishman, even the most 'Wildrake' among the Cavaliers, knew full well, that they, unassisted, could not for a moment stand before Cromwell's armies; and they knew equally well, that if the King landed on our shores, at the head of a foreign army, all England would meet him with passionate resistance. Even at the best, the most confident Royalists knew that a young man, nurtured by a popish mother, and amidst papists, would not be readily accepted as our King.

But one chance, therefore, remained to the Royalists, both at home and abroad: and that was the possibility that Anabaptist fanaticism and army discontent might unite together against the Protector. If that could be reckoned on, and if a rising of the Royalists, all over England, could be timed so as to explode, when the Levellers broke into action, that would offer a chance indeed, especially if some of the mutineers could be won over to the King. That chance was, at[Pg 418] this season, wholly denied to the Royalists. The King's most trusted English advisers, the Council styled 'The Sealed Knot,' repeatedly warned him during January 1655, that 'since no rising of the Army is to be hoped for, any rising of the King's party would only be to their destruction.'[31]

To a person who desired to stimulate an insurrection against the Protector the course was therefore clear. He must act on the impatient credulity of those who shared in their King's exile. Far from the scene of action, they might be persuaded that the Anabaptists and the discontented soldiers had leagued together, and that the warnings of the 'Sealed Knot' might be set at naught. Charles was thus acted upon. As the wicked King of Israel was lured on to his destruction by the cry of false prophets bidding him to go up and prosper, the King was persuaded to disregard his best counsellors, to believe that 30,000 Royalists were armed and ready to join in an organized revolt, so skilfully planned that it would break out, at one moment, all over England, with the co-operation of the Levellers, and of a portion of Cromwell's army. Charles was also assured, that if he would but fix the day, the insurrection would immediately take place.

The King was hard to persuade; young as he was, his sagacity was not wanting. He long remained incredulous: he did not believe the 'expresses' which reached him 'every day' from England: he felt sure that those zealous emissaries were deceived. More messengers accordingly crossed the water: they were confident that 'the rising would be general, and many places seized upon, and some declare for the King which were in the hands of the army, for they still pretended, and did believe, "that a part of the army would declare against Cromwell, at least, though not for the King."'

Those messengers, however, would promise nothing, if Charles did not, when the Earl of Rochester and his associates started for England, approve the reality of the plot, by stationing himself on the sea coast, that he might 'quickly put himself into the head of the Army, which would be ready to receive him.' And he was warned that this was his last chance, and that 'if he neglected that opportunity,' his followers would desert him, as one hopelessly apathetic. Besides these threats, the persons, who dispatched those messengers from England, resorted to other means to force Charles into the enterprise. They appointed the day for the outbreak: he was not able 'to send orders to contradict it:' so he felt constrained, 'with little noise,'[Pg 419] to quit Cologne for Middleburg, to await there the summons to England.

Whilst Charles was being thus cajoled, the bright anticipations of his companions were suddenly saddened. In the midst of their preparations, Cromwell arrested several noted Royalists in London: it was obvious that he had discovered 'the design.' But that dark cloud had its silver lining; it was even converted into an augury of success. The conspirators at Cologne were 'cheered by letters' from their colleagues in England, assuring them 'that none of their particular friends at the intended sea-ports were known.'

Clarendon, and his associates, little knew how much was known by Cromwell. He afterwards repeated in public, almost word for word, 'all those particulars' which these 'expresses' 'communicated in confidence' to the Royal Court 'to let them know in how happy condition the King's affairs were in England;' he was forewarned of the very day when Charles would 'with little noise' quit Cologne for Middleburg 'ten days before he did stir;' and if so, even Clarendon would have perceived, that the Protector felt quite assured about the safety of his sea-ports.[32]

That the project proved in the end, as Charles expected at the beginning, a weak and improbable attempt, Clarendon admits, and that they had been befooled; but he maintained, to the end, that those messengers were 'very honest men, and sent by those who were such.' Clarendon's opinion is not so indisputable, but that it may be questioned. The utter failure of the promises that those messengers held out, might have aroused his doubt as to their good faith. Who was it then that instructed those false prophets? So improbable were the expectations which they urged upon Charles, that it is impossible to credit any true Royalist with the creation of those false hopes: to dispel them, the King's wisest English advisers did their utmost. Those encouragements then must have been the counsels of false friends. And who could be, as we shall prove, a warmer, or a falser friend to the enterprise of March 1655, than Cromwell?

Even without direct proof of Cromwell's guilty complicity in that attempt, it is brought home to him by a variety of antecedent circumstances. He knew precisely how to spread the only lure that could ensnare the King; for the counsels of the 'Sealed Knot' were no secret to Cromwell. He was aware that the King had, in consequence, written, 4th Jan. 1655, to[Pg 420] Mr. Roles, 'his loving friend,' and probably also the Protector's friend, in a tone of utter despair.[33] And who could set against the King a stream of systematic false encouragement, sufficient to dispel his just despair, except Cromwell, who had all the secret agents at home and abroad at his command? or who would undertake so difficult a task as the creation of such an elaborate scheme of deception, but one who was anxious that the outbreak should take place? And we know that such was his wish.

In every way this is apparent. Even though no actual assistance be given, still complete foreknowledge of a coming mischief, unfollowed by corresponding precautions, implies a sanction. And this form of sanction Cromwell gave to the Insurrection. In a tone of triumphant cunning he assured his Parliament, during the ensuing year, that he had possessed 'full intelligence of' the conspiracy; though, with characteristic craft, he concealed the most effectual informant 'of these things,' the clerk who wrote out the despatches in the King's closet; and poor Manning, 'as he was dead,' was credited with the discovery; although his term of espial was not commenced soon enough to supply that 'full intelligence,' of which his employer boasted.[34]

Cromwell could even have informed his corps of informers, of the course that the coming movement would pursue. Two months before they began to reflect back to him an account of his own design, Cromwell's detection office in Whitehall contained a report from a supposed Leveller, who had passed from Essex to Cornwall, and then from Cornwall to Scotland, that a rumour was afloat, that the republicans in the army who were 'resolved to stand by their first principles, in opposition to the Government,' had banded together, under noted leaders, and had chosen the very places afterwards selected by the Royalists, namely, Salisbury Plain and Marston Moor for the rendezvous where they might show their strength. Other informers reported to Cromwell that the Royalists in London, and in Northumberland, hoped, that if they appeared in arms, they would be able to 'make use of a good part of the army;' and[Pg 421] similar evidence warned the Government that a man claiming to be a Royalist had been at work, during February, journeying to and fro between Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, tempting Royalists to join with him in an insurrection, because 'the design was first put on foot by the Levellers, who were to be aiding and assisting the Cavaliers.'[35]

This information reached Cromwell in ample time for action. A word from him to his agents abroad, a hint to the editors of the News Letters, or a proclamation, would have dispersed those mischievious rumours, and would have reduced Charles to inaction. Although he knew that Charles based his sole hope of success upon an Anabaptist revolt, and a mutiny in the army, Cromwell did nothing of the kind. Not that he failed to secure himself by some ostensible precautions. 'It having pleased God to make some further notable discovery to Us of the Conspiracy, and the particular Persons engaged therein,' Cromwell arrested some Royalists, shortly before the outbreak, but, as we know on the best authority, he touched none of those 'engaged therein.' He secured London: he moved troops from Ireland to Liverpool, and may thereby have disconcerted the Lancashire Cavaliers; but he did not forewarn the Customs House officers at Dover, or guard that port; just as he, subsequently, somehow failed to station soldiers near those obvious points of danger, Marston Moor and Salisbury Plain.[36] 'Oliver, Protector,' evidently 'understood his Protectorship moderately well, and what Plots and Hydra-Coils were inseparable from it.'

Cromwell thus assisting us, we had before us the relative positions of all engaged in the Insurrection, during the last weeks of February 1655. Charles was on the Dutch coast awaiting a possible summons to England; to that end he had despatched the expedition, composed of the Earl of Rochester, Sir John Wagstaff, Major Armourer, Mr. O'Neale, and their companions, about fourteen in number; and Cromwell was watching them, and was preparing for their reception at Dover, not soldiers, but the friendly assistance of his servant, Mr. Day, the Clerk of the Passage. In true Cavalier fashion the Earl of Rochester and his comrades approached our shores, with ostentatious contempt of danger. They came not in a small party, dropping over one by one, selecting different and out-of-the-way spots for landing, but almost in a body, in quick succession, they alighted at Dover. That was the most[Pg 422] public port they could have chosen; and being courtier Cavaliers, long resident abroad, they were, in dress and look, marked men, and most unfitted to play the part they chose, of traders resident in France or Holland. Their selection of Dover was not, however, so ill-advised as it seemed, for they also reckoned on the help of Mr. Day, the Clerk of the Passage.

Thus in appearance, at least, the conspirators did everything they could to get themselves into trouble. And, as might be anticipated, Major Armourer, alias 'Mr. Wright,' and his man 'Morris,' that is to say, Mr. O'Neale, the first of that company to set foot in Dover, were immediately arrested. Armourer was imprisoned in the Castle, and O'Neale in the Sergeant's house. Their detention, however, was of but brief duration. Armourer at once sought for help through Mr. Day's agency; but one greater than the Clerk interposed; and after about three days captivity, Mr. Wright, together with some other captured suspects, was released by the Dover Port Commissioners 'on receipt of a Commission from H.H.' the Protector.[37]

That Commission from His Highness was no ordinary proceeding. By it Cromwell disturbed order and discipline in the chief entrance-gate to England, and drove the Port Commissioners into direct collision with the officers of Dover Castle. Captain Wilson, the Deputy-Lieutenant, who had charge over the Castle prisoners, was, as shown by his letters, a straightforward servant of the Protector. Such a serious interference with his duties, as the release of one of his own prisoners, disturbed him; and the more so, as it was authorized by the Protector himself. Accordingly he wrote to Thurloe, greatly troubled, to free himself from any connection with so untoward an event as the escape of Mr. Wright, who,—of all the men that Wilson 'had secured'—was the very one with whom he was most unsatisfied.' Thurloe also felt that it was an awkward affair; and to avert suspicion from his Master and himself, he reverted to a mean trick, the causeless accusation of an innocent man. He reproved Wilson for neglecting to warn Whitehall of the detention of such a noted suspect as Mr. Wright; although Thurloe was in no ignorance of that event, and knew all about the prisoner. For besides the knowledge which he shared with Cromwell, of the near advent of the Earl of Rochester and his associates, Thurloe held a letter signed 'N. Wright,' dated 'Dover Castell, 14th February,' to Sir R. Stone, a supposed friend, who, forwarding it to Thurloe, informed him that Morris therein mentioned was a 'gentleman[Pg 423] to the Princess Royal;' whilst it was evidently presupposed by Stone, that the Secretary would know who it was 'that writ' the enclosed letter; as, indeed, is proved by Thurloe's indorsement, 'Nicholas Armourer to Sir Robert Stone.' And again, within seven days after Armourer's release, a similar 'cross-providence' occurred. A Mr. Broughton, evidently another Royalist, was taken out of Captain Wilson's custody, much to his surprise and vexation, and set free by the Mayor of Dover.

The release of one or two prisoners under a Commission from H.H. the Protector does not, however, prove that he purposely admitted into England that gang of conspirators. But even that can be proved. Thurloe and Cromwell knew on the best authority that the Royalists regarded Mr. Day as their ally; for Armourer, in that letter, mentions 'Mr. Robert Day, Clarke of the Passage' as a man ready to do him service. Yet Cromwell, knowing that Armourer and O'Neale were the precursors of even more dangerous associates, who would also resort to Mr. Day, retained him in his post; and in spite of prompt and repeated warnings from the Continent, that Day was a traitor, he acted as Clerk of the Passage until, during the following July, he had seen safe back across the Channel the conspirators whom he had admitted in March. And as if the more fully to trick the Royalists, Day was permitted by the Protector to intervene actively in their behalf. The Clerk of the Passage obtained, by his personal undertaking for Armourer's good conduct, the requisite pass inward, and certified that he was, in truth, a merchant from Rotterdam.[38]

It follows from the assistance which the Protector gave to Armourer, that his man 'Morris' was restored to his master, and that the Earl of Rochester, after repeated detention and examination, was set free. And again Cromwell reappears as the patron of the conspiracy. According to information imparted to the King by Cromwell's nephew, Colonel William Cromwell, 'my Lord of Rochester was known to Cromwell to be in England as soon as he landed,' and was met by pretended agents from the army, Rochester's friends 'in show,' but the Protector's 'really,' who, to make the Earl 'have the greater confidence' in the enterprise, gave him false offers of co-operation, and assurances that Cromwell's soldiers were ripe for mutiny.[39] And facts confirm Colonel Cromwell's words.

[Pg 424]

Immediately after his final escape from the custody of Captain Wilson, the Earl of Rochester 'found Mr. Morton, who carries on their trade there, ready to come, with some account of his business.'[40] If Morton had been a true Royalist, in momentary fear for himself, and for the success of an insurrection that was to overthrow the Protector, would he have risked a meeting with the Earl of Dover, in a place where he had been twice arrested, instead of awaiting his arrival in the security of London? Such a strange course arouses strong suspicion that Morton was the Protector's emissary referred to by Col. Cromwell; and assuredly a Mr. Morton is mentioned to Thurloe, by one of his continental agents, as a friend, and fellow sham-Royalist, who might assist him in enticing some of the King's retinue into projects, such as the 'murther of H. H. the Protector.'[41]

Nor was Mr. Morton the only agent busy in doing all he could 'to ripen the design of a general rising.' During January and February, 1655, messengers passed to and fro through the Northern and Western districts of England to prepare the way for the Earl of Rochester and his associates, who spread abroad rumours that the 'Levellers were to be aiding and abetting the Cavaliers,' and that on the 8th of March, a general rising would take place. Two men can be traced who thus prepared Wiltshire for insurrection, one of whom was the chief instigator of Wagstaff's rising at Salisbury.

Both of them were obscure men, not known in that part of England. An unnamed emissary came from Yorkshire, passing through London, to Dorsetshire, taking, on the way, the house, near Lewes, of Col. Bishop, a Leveller, one of the Wildman faction.[42] The other, Mr. Douthwaite, reached Wiltshire from Somersetshire. This circumstance, of itself, aroused suspicion; and he was asked why, if the revolt, as he asserted, was to be throughout all England, he did not choose Somersetshire, instead of Wiltshire, for the scene of action. The reason he gave for that choice had in it a strong dash of unreality. His motive was, he declared, because 'if he did any mischief, or killed anybody,' he preferred to do mischief 'among strangers, where he was not known.' So unsatisfactory was his demeanour, that a recruit, whom he endeavoured to cajole, refused to join the conspiracy, declaring that 'he was confident this was a plot of my Lord Protector's own devising, and that he had some of his own agents in it.' And as, during that winter,[Pg 425] the Dorsetshire Cavaliers had 'whispered that the plot' then 'so loudly talked on at Court, is nothing but a trick of the great Oliver's,' this idea seems to have been prevalent in the West of England. Some such whisper, undoubtedly, had a marked influence on the Wiltshire revolt. Not a single landowner of importance went out with Wagstaff. Though he had been told off by the King expressly for that service, no Royalist of eminent position answered the King's call. They, also, doubtless suspected Douthwaite, an unknown, low-class stranger, who took upon himself to summon them to arms against the Protector. And Douthwaite was undoubtedly the chief instigator of that attempt, 'the very principal verb' in the affair: a very capable witness, Major Butler, so described him. In itself this was a suspicious circumstance. And another reason may be urged for deeming that Cromwell, and not the King, was served by Douthwaite. Like a shady witness, he proved too much. Antedating the event by at least three weeks, he asserted in February, that Charles had left Cologne for the Dutch coast, 'for an opportunity to sail for England.' This was a startling piece of news, and most arousing to a hearty Royalist: and the King did take that step on the 4th of March. But it is noteworthy that a foreknowledge of the King's movements, which was undoubtedly possessed by Cromwell and Thurloe in London, should have been so speedily communicated to Douthwaite, in the depths of Somersetshire.[43]

Whilst England was thus being prepared for the coming insurrection, the Earl of Rochester went to London, where, although soldiers were stationed at the ends of the streets, and extra precautions taken against the Royalists, 'he consulted,' as Clarendon observes, 'with great freedom with the King's friends.' Nor were he and his comrades hindered from traversing England, and passing on into Wiltshire and Yorkshire, that they might head the intended rendezvous of the Royalists on Salisbury Plain and Marston Moor; the very places, it should be remembered, that rumour had designated for a gathering of the Levellers. Cromwell was powerless: he dared not touch the men he had passed into England: the object for which he had admitted them must be fulfilled, even to the end.

That the end, which Cromwell desired, followed the lines indicated by his master hand, might be anticipated. But he could not allow the project to become too real; a necessity that rather stood in his way. His power of creating the semblance of an actual insurrection was limited. Of the 'hidden[Pg 426] works,' all over England, which he attributed to the Royalists, but one mine actually exploded, one nearly went off, and the rest remained dormant. The tameness of that shadowy meeting on Marston Moor evidently caused Cromwell much vexation. As his dupes refused to exhibit themselves, and as not a soldier was near at hand, paragraphs in the News Letters, 'some pistols scattered' on the heath, and 'a led horse, with a velvet saddle,' were all the proofs that Cromwell could show that aught had happened on Marston Moor, during the night of the 8th of March. Nor could he solemnize the event, as he desired, by the appearance on the scaffold of a single Yorkshireman.

He sent, for that purpose, to York as Judges, Baron Thorpe, Mr. Justice Newdigate, and Mr. Serjeant Hutton; but they refused to obey his bidding. They declined to try upon a capital charge the men that had been arrested by the Protector's informers, not in arms nor on horseback, nor even on the highway, but in their own houses. The judges were doubtful 'whether in point of law,' a possible midnight ride could be declared by them 'to be treason.' It was in vain that Colonel Lilbourne used 'diligence' to 'pick up such as are right,' to serve on the jury. The judges even left York altogether, objecting that due notice, under which they could try that 'great affair,' had not been given.

Pressure was renewed upon Newdigate and Hutton; they were despatched back to York, to undertake the trial of the Marston Moor prisoners. Cromwell's law officer, however, found them at Doncaster, on their return to London, and in a very contrary state of mind. They again refused to act; and they based their refusal on an objection, which affected not those prisoners alone, but all Cromwell's prisoners. They asserted, evidently reckoning on Baron Thorpe's concurrence, that they could not, as judges, put in force the Ordinance, by which Cromwell had adapted the Statute Law of England to meet the crime of high treason against himself, because it was of no validity! They thus anticipated, in the most unpleasant way, Mr. Coney's refusal to pay taxes imposed, not by an Act of Parliament, but by an 'Ordinance.' Cromwell was forced to yield; the Yorkshiremen preserved their lives, but not their liberty or their estates; and almost immediately, 'Judges Thorpe and Newdigate were put out of their places, for not observing the Protector's pleasure in all his commands.'[44]

Cromwell's 'pleasure' was, however, served by Mr. Serjeant Glyn and Mr. Recorder Steele, and by the jurymen, 'such as[Pg 427] were right,' over whom they presided, in the trial of the Salisbury insurgents. Those poor dupes pleaded what may be termed, Baron Thorpe's plea. They argued that their indictment was not founded on an Act of Parliament, and that 'there can be no treason by an Ordinance.' They urged that a sentence pronounced by the Serjeant and the Recorder, who were mere 'pleaders, servants to the Lord Protector,' would be illegal; and they asserted their right to be tried by Baron Thorpe, 'a sworn judge.' The prisoners, who could not be convicted of high treason, were condemned to death as horse stealers. They vainly pleaded, that to requisition a horse for a warlike enterprise was not felony, and that 'the country knew we did not intend to steal,' but acted 'as the soldiers did now at London, and elsewhere, who came against us.'[45] About fourteen of those poor fellows were put to death, with Grove and Penruddock; and seventy were sold into West Indian slavery. Accordingly Cromwell was able, as Thurloe exulted, to prove 'that the Plot was real,' as 'the persons were real,' who, in consequence, lost their lives, or were condemned to lifelong misery.

Thus Cromwell, by a deliberate course of fraud, compassed the death of men, who might otherwise have lived void of offence against his government. He next proceeded to delude all his subjects by means of the sham conspiracy by which he had ensnared his victims on to the scaffold. This development in Cromwell's course of deception brings us back to the ordinary path of history. Every historical text-book mentions that Cromwell, within a few months after the Insurrection of March 1655, subjected England to the authority, almost unlimited, of twelve Major-Generals. To each one a separate province was allotted, with power to imprison, fine, or sell as slaves, all that he might select. The Major-Generals also were directed by Cromwell to pay themselves, and the soldiers under them, by the levy of a tax of ten per cent. on the incomes of all but the poorest Royalists, which he imposed for that purpose. As historians have believed in the reality of the Insurrection of March 1655, they hold that Cromwell, therefore, 'found himself compelled to divide England into districts, over which he set Major-Generals,' and to inflict upon the Royalists the tax, 'known by the name of the Decimation.' Yet, curiously enough, these hearty believers in Cromwell have ignored that solemn confirmation of their opinion, which he addressed to his subjects, namely, the 'Declaration of his Highness, by the advice of his Council, showing the Reasons of their Proceedings[Pg 428] for Securing the Peace of the Commonwealth, upon occasion of the late Insurrection and Rebellion,—October 31, 1655.'

Than this document, no more admirable illustration could be given of the manner in which Cromwell carried on his Protectorate. By that 'Declaration' he engrafts into his policy the deception he had practised on the Royalists, and adapts it to the benefit of the whole nation, by a description of the pious uses to which it could be applied. And for our purposes this document is especially convenient, for, whilst it proves what Cromwell wished his people to believe about the Insurrection, it enables us to disprove throughout the statements that he makes. But before we can reach that portion of our disclosure, the operative clauses of the 'Declaration' must be dealt with. It commences with a justificatory recital of the misdeeds of the Royalists. As God, Cromwell argues, 'by His gracious dispensation,' had 'subjected' the Royalists 'to the power of those whom they had designed to enslave and ruin,' 'the Parliament's party' might, Cromwell asserts, have 'extirpated those men, with designs of possessing their Estates and Fortunes.' Their conquerors, however, refrained themselves, 'it having pleased God in his providence, so to order things;' and the Royalists were allowed to live and 'enjoy their freedom, and have equal protection in their persons and estates, with the rest of the Nation.' But what return, the Protector declares, has been made by the Malignants for the lenity thus extended to them? 'The actings of that party' proves that 'neither the dispensations of God, nor kindness of men, would work upon them;' that 'they were implacable in their malice and revenge'; and he cites 'the late Insurrection and Rebellion,' 'as the greatest and most dangerous' of all 'their hidden works of darkness.'

The Protector therefore announces, that as 'he knows by experience, that nothing but the Sword will restrain the late King's party from blood and violence,'—'We do now not only find Ourselves satisfied, but obliged in duty, both towards God and this Nation, to proceed upon other grounds than formerly,'—and that, to secure 'the Peace of this Commonwealth, We have been necessitated to erect a new and standing Militia of Horse, in all the Counties of England, under such Pay as might be a fitting encouragement to the officers and soldiers. And We, therefore, have thought fit, to lay the burthen of Maintaining those forces, upon those who have been engaged in the late Wars against the State.' And Cromwell declares, in conclusion, that 'We can with comfort appeal to God, whether this way of proceeding with 'the Royalists' hath been the matter of Our Choice, or that which We have sought occasion for; or whether[Pg 429] contrary to Our own inclinations, We have not been constrained and necessitated hereunto, and without the doing whereof, We should have been wanting to Our Duty to God and these Nations.'

Such words uttered by a man who, with utmost fervour, has claimed for himself, that 'I have learned too much of God, to dally with Him, and to make bold with Him in these things,' ought surely to be believed; and if there be any one who is still unconvinced that Cromwell, of his own 'choice,' enticed the Earl of Rochester and his associates across the Channel, and admitted them into England, that they might constrain and necessitate him to appoint those Major-Generals, 'we can with comfort appeal' to that 'Declaration' and ask such a believer in Cromwell to follow us in a comparison between what he really did, with what he declared he did, 'for securing the Peace of the Commonwealth upon the occasion of the late Insurrection.'

In order that his subjects might appreciate the skill and vigilance, by which the 'contrivements' of the 'cruel and bloody enemy had been thwarted, Cromwell commenced the account of his execution of his duty as England's Protecter by a general description of the projects of the Royalists in March 1655. He asserted that they intended to surprise and seize London, and all the principal ports and cities throughout England, and that they reckoned on the support of more than 30,000 armed men. This description of the projects and resources of the Royalists may be at once, and contemptuously set aside: it was founded upon lies supplied by such men as Manning, the spy, or Bamfield, the informer. Cromwell's words were contradicted by the abortive and petty nature of the insurrection, by the obvious refusal of all England to join in the enterprise, and by the conduct of the Protector himself. For he would not have placed England at the mercy of the Earl of Rochester and his companions, had he thought that they could call 30,000 men to arms, or that every important town from London to York, was in danger. Having thus dealt out fiction by wholesale, and ascribed the overthrow of that 'great and general design' to 'The Lord,' Cromwell proceeds, according to this method, to show how that was accomplished.

Beginning with the rising at Salisbury, he declared that

'the Insurrection in the West was bold and dangerous in itself, and had in all likelihood increased to great Numbers of Horse and Foot by the conjunction of others of their own party, besides such Foreign forces, as in case of their success, and seizing upon some place of Strength, were to have landed in those parts, had they not been prevented by the motion of some troops, and diligence of the officers,[Pg 430] in apprehending divers of that Party a few days before; and also been closely pursued by some of our Forces, and in the conclusion supprest by a handful of men, through the great goodness of God.'

As Charles had not at his disposal a single ship, or one soldier in the pay of any foreign Power, the possibility of a foreign invasion needs no disproof. And how did Cromwell deal with his enemies at home? Shortly before the rising of the 11th of March, troops were undoubtedly moved about in Wiltshire: their course can be traced from day to day. As the Protector, according to his habit, bases his statements as far as he can, on facts, so far we can agree with him. But as certainly as they were marched about, Cromwell's soldiers were marched not towards, but away from Salisbury.

During the latter part of February, Major Butler, the officer in charge over Wiltshire, wrote to Thurloe, telling him that as Bristol was in 'a peaceable state,' the Major intended to leave that city. He did so: just eleven days before the outbreak he was on the march to his central station, at Marlborough, when a messenger from the Protector, summoned him back to Bristol. Butler was, in consequence, detained there, whilst the event took place; nor did he reach Salisbury until the third day after the insurgents had left the town. Cromwell knew what he was about: on the very Sunday when Wagstaff took possession of Salisbury, Cromwell occupied Chichester by horsemen, sent there at daybreak; and he dispatched a warning to Portsmouth, that 'some desperate design was on foot.' But he kept his soldiers away from Salisbury. He took this course, although he knew that Salisbury Plain had been named as a Levellers' rendezvous; and although he had received a report, about three weeks before the 11th of March, from an officer sent to Salisbury on police duty, 'that it would be convenient for some horse to be quartered hereabouts,'[46] because the Royalists in the neighbourhood were restless.

And Cromwell himself proves why Major Butler was detained at Bristol: for when he did reach the scene of the revolt, though the insurgents had been two days at large in the neighbourhood, and were disbanding, drifting aimlessly towards Devonshire, Butler was withheld from active operations by orders from Whitehall. He was directed to keep at a distance from the insurgents for fear of a mishap. This is shown by the opening words of Butler's letter of remonstrance to the Protector. 'Now, my Lord,' Butler wrote, 'though I know it would be of sad consequence if we assaulting them should be worsted,' still, he[Pg 431] pleaded with much earnestness that he, under 'the good providence of The Lord' would assuredly be successful. So palpably absurd it was to suppose that his four troops of horsemen could not make short work of that undisciplined, badly armed, and disheartened band of men, that Butler declared, that he could not 'with any confidence stay' here at Salisbury, 'nor look the country in the face, and let them alone.''[47]

The Protector, however, was resolute. Butler was forced to let the enemy alone; and, after four days' delay, they yielded at South Molton to one troop of horse sent after them from Weymouth. Thus it was Cromwell, and not Butler, as was surmised by a contemporary observer, who kept his troopers 'at a distance in the rear' of the Royalists, 'to give them an opportunity of increasing.'[48]

With this suspicion afloat, and Major Butler unable 'to look the country in the face,' Cromwell felt that to ascribe the suppression of Wagstaff's attempt mainly to the 'close' pursuit of the enemy 'by some of Our Forces,' would hardly suffice. He accordingly also attributed that happy result 'to the goodness of God,' and to 'the diligence of the officers in apprehending some of the party.' In this statement Cromwell made some approach to the truth. Butler had been diligent; and though he failed to seize Douthwait, that mysterious 'principal verb', still, during the last two weeks of February, he did arrest suspects in the West of England, but none within the district round Salisbury.[49] Wagstaff and his comrades were undisturbed, whilst preparing for their attempt. Nor is it an unfounded assumption, if their security is attributed to the same influence which sanctioned Wagstaff's repair to the rendezvous, and which protected him from Major Butler's horsemen.

Having thus dealt with that 'bold and dangerous insurrection in the West,' Cromwell turned northward, and took in hand that rather vague affair at Marston Moor, on which, as he asserted, 'the enemy most relied.' His account of that event was, that the Royalists who met there dispersed and ran away in confusion, partly because of a failure among the plotters; but also, 'in respect that Our Forces, by their marching up and down in the country, and some of them providentially, at that time, removing their Quarters, near to the place of Rendezvous, gave them no opportunity to reassemble.' Again, Cromwell is, to a certain extent, correct. Divided counsels did keep one of the principal Yorkshire Royalists from the meeting, and he[Pg 432] may have had followers; and others were stayed, when on the march, by a timely warning that they were on a fool's errand. But the assertion, that the Royalists were dispersed by a providential movement of troops, and by 'Our Forces marching up and down' Yorkshire, is utterly false. And, as before, the witness against Cromwell is one of Cromwell's servants. An officer, responsible for the peace of Yorkshire, reported to his chief in London regarding himself and his comrades, that 'notwithstanding all our frequent alarums from London of the certainty of this plot, carried on with such secrecy on the traitor's part, though we were upon duty, and in close quarters, we had no positive notice of it till the day was past.' And no other soldiers were in that neighbourhood during the night of the 8th of March. The only martial display that the occasion called forth, was the march of two troops of horsemen into York about three or four days subsequently; and the officer in command reported that if more men were wanted, they must be drawn from Durham, Newark, or Hull.[50]

Thus it was that Cromwell dealt with 'the Insurrection of Yorkshire.' If the Royalists had, in truth, 'reckoned on 8000 in the North,' or if York had been in danger, soldiers, and not 'alarums' would have been sent into Yorkshire. Nor was he mistaken in deeming that the Royalists relied most on that attempt. Hoping to find a large gathering of Levellers in arms against the Protector, many of the principal Yorkshire landowners, of higher rank and more influential than poor Penruddock or any of his comrades, met that night on Marston Moor. And probably it was owing to their social position, that the trick was not fully played out, and that, sorely to Cromwell's disappointment, they saved their lives.

Besides the insurrectionary displays at Salisbury and Marston Moor, it was arranged that on the 8th of March similar symptoms should appear in various other places, to create the idea that 'the Design was great and general.' Cromwell was accordingly able to declare that 'the coming of 300 foot from Berwick' dispersed 'those who had rendezvoused near Morpeth to surprise Newcastle:'—that in North Wales and Shropshire, where they intended to surprise Shrewsbury, 'some of the chief persons being apprehended, the rest fled:'—and that, 'at Rufford Abbey, Notts, was another rendezvous, where about 500 horse met, and had with them a cart load of horse-arms, to arm such as should come to them; but upon a sudden, a great Fear fell upon them,' and they, also, dispersed themselves, and 'cast[Pg 433] their arms into the pond.' Nor did the Protector omit to describe the action of 'other smaller Parties,' also in motion during the night of the 8th of March, who, 'as in the Town of Chester designed the surprise of the Castle there, but they, failing in their expectations, were discouraged for that time.' 'And thus by the goodness of God, these hidden works of darkness' were discovered. 'Fear' was 'put into the hearts' of the cruel and bloody enemy, and their great and most dangerous design was 'defeated, and brought to nothing.'

The depositions on which Cromwell based his description of the minor passages of the Insurrection are all mere informers' tales, none rising above the inanity of the story of a tobacco-pipe-maker's attack on Chester Castle, of which more anon; and, from Carlyle's point of view, this sample of Thurloe's papers might assuredly be classed among 'human stupidities.' But Carlyle has overlooked the fact, that to Cromwell these depositions were an important element in his government, and were worked up into his speeches and the 'Declaration of October 1655. Hence the greater the absurdity of those documents, the greater their historical importance, as showing, not only how the Royalists were duped, and how Cromwell duped his subjects, but also that the tricks of his trepanners were so clumsy that, almost without exception' no Cavaliers of any standing were drawn into the Protector's game.

An apt example of the kind of evidence on which Cromwell based his statements, and also a comical illustration of his propensity to cling to fact in the midst of fraud, is afforded by that alleged 'rendezvous' of Royalists 'to surprise Newcastle.' If his spies are to be believed, presumably with that object, on the 8th of March, 'about 3 score and 10 horsemen armed with swords and pistols' met by night 'at a place called Duddo;' and then vanished, not, however, for fear 'of 300 foot coming from Berwick,' but because the conspirators were warned 'that there was 300 sail of ships come into Newcastle, for fear of whom they durst not fall upon Newcastle at that time.' Much in the same way, and during the same night, a party of Royalist gentlemen and their servants, repaired to the inn on Rufford Abbey Green; and a real cart was driven to the door containing 'horse-arms,' fifty-six pair of pistols, two buff coats, two suits of arms, &c., and was then driven away, and the party broke up. So far the Protector's words are verified by the very full information that Thurloe collected regarding the Rufford Abbey incident; but if to the conspirators therein specifically mentioned, a large addition be made for 'divers[Pg 434] unnamed gentlemen,' seen 'coming in and going out of the inn-door,' the plotters cannot be rated at much above 20, instead of at Cromwell's 500.

The Protector's concluding statements may be briefly disposed of. Shrewsbury Castle was to have been taken by 'two men in the apparel of gentlewomen,' acting in combination with their comrades, 'in certain alehouses near unto the said castle;' and the determined purpose of these plotters may be tested by the temper of their ringleader, who urged his recruits to appear at the rendezvous, but refused for his part, to join with them, 'because his wife was not well.'[51] The Shropshire insurrection was, indeed, of so visionary a nature, that zealous Commissary Reynolds could not manipulate it into any definite shape. Though sent to Shrewsbury that he might develop the existence of 'a general plot of the malignants' in the West of England, he entirely failed. And so annoyed was he at his failure, that he suggests to Thurloe, that it would 'not to be unfit to make' the malignants 'speak forcibly, by tying matches, or some kind of pain, whereby they may be made to discover the plot;' and as he re-urges his craving to inflict torture on his prisoners, the proposal had drawn no disapproval from the Secretary.[52]

An account of the 'great and signal disappointment, as great as any this age can produce,' which the 'goodness of God' inflicted upon that 'smaller party,' 'who' according to Cromwell, 'designed the surprise of the castle' of Chester, forms an appropriate close to this portion of our narrative. An 'exceeding poor' dupe, Francis Pickering, tells the story, and the duper was a Colonel Worthing. After enticing Pickering into the plot by assurances of a general rising against the Protector, on the night of the 8th of March, Worthing announced that his part in the design 'was principally to surprise the Castle of Chester;' and as related by Pickering, while he and the Colonel remained quietly at home.

'Accordingly that night three or four went, sent by Col. Worthing' to seize the Castle: they were all inhabitants of Chester, and one of them is commonly known by the name of Alexander, the tobacco-pipe-maker. These persons brought back word to Col. Worthing that at the place where they intended to raise a ladder to surprise the Castle, they heard a sentinel walk and cough. At which[Pg 435] report Col. Worthing was very much startled! and sent them back again to seize any other convenient place; and they brought back word that they had centinels walking.'[53]

No third attempt was made by Mr. Alexander and his friends; and next day Pickering was told by Worthing 'that he was much troubled, for that he could not contrive how to take said Castle;' and, in due time, Pickering found himself in custody.

In singular contrast to the vague and absurd stories told by 'exceeding poor' and foolish men, such as Mr. Pickering and his fellow plotters, are the numerous and positive assurances that Cromwell received from his own officers, that all was well with England both before, during, and after the Insurrection of March 1655. Headed by Thurloe, they are all unanimous in reporting 'that the nation was much more ready to rise against, than for Charles Stuart;' that, in the town of Leeds, 'not thirty men were disaffected to the present Government;' and that 'there was no design on foot' even in 'the most corrupt and rotten places of the Nation,' such as Hampshire, Dorsetshire, Kent, and the Eastern Counties. From Bristol to York all was quiet, or wished to be so, during February, March, and April, 1655.[54]

Further illustration of this statement is needless. For, if Cromwell had thought otherwise, even though he might in his wisdom have admitted the Earl of Rochester and his associates into England, he certainly would not have allowed them to remain here, apparently as long as they chose, after their enterprise was over. That the Protector gave them this freedom of action is made singularly clear by the Thurloe Papers': they contain repeated indications of the 'whereabouts' of the Earl of Rochester, the leader of the revolt. He and Major Armourer did not, after the Marston Moor failure, fly to the coast, or seek separate hiding-places. They journeyed together, with two servants, leisurely through England towards London: and to guard his safety, Rochester would not disturb his bedtime, or his dinner-hour. After the outbreak, people were naturally anxious to pick up what they could, by arresting 'the great ones.' Of these, Rochester was the greatest; and he and Armourer were arrested at Aylesbury. The resident magistrate gave a warrant to the constable, desiring him to keep safely the bodies of the Earl and his three companions, 'in the name of my[Pg 436] Lord Protector.' The warrant was acted upon; the prisoners evidently were 'persons of great quality.' Yet somehow, both magistrate and constable left the Earl and the Major in charge of the innkeeper 'where they lay;' and naturally enough, 'when the constable came in the morning, he found that the innkeeper had let the two chiefs escape,' taking with them 'all their rich apparel.'[55] Had this been merely a sample of Aylesbury carelessness, the incident need not have been noticed. But the example of the magistrate and constable was followed by Cromwell. Although the escape of Rochester and Armourer was promptly known, and their course was closely tracked, and though Cromwell was informed where they might be found, they 'wrote very comfortably from London;' and they endeavoured 'to lay the foundation of some new design.' And at last, as if he were an ordinary traveller, sending his servants before him, Rochester left England for the Continent, having been a resident here for about five months; and the latter part of his stay in England was a season of extraordinary severity against the Royalists. In like manner, every one of his thirteen comrades returned 'weekly without difficulty' to their King's presence, apparently at their pleasure; whilst Cromwell's continental informers repeated their warnings that 'Day, the Clerk of the Passage,' is 'a rogue,' and that if the Protector had 'been ruled' by them 'all these had not escaped.'[56]

In this matter, and indeed throughout his connection with the Insurrection of March 1655, Cromwell was not his own master. The conditions under which he obtained the espial of one of the King's most trusted friends, and a member of the 'Sealed Knot,' formed a complete protection to the Earl of Rochester and his associates. Nor for his own sake could he touch those conspirators. Their seizure would have disclosed the fact, that 'persons in the very bosom of our enemies' gave him 'intelligence;' and hence, if 'he once discovered the grounds, he would destroy the intelligence.'[57] Anyhow, it is evident that Cromwell could with entire safety allow his most determined enemies to remain in England, and lay foundations for new projects against him.

Having seen Cromwell's conspirators safe home again, tribute must be paid to his amazing dexterity. The Prince of Wire-Pullers, he made his puppets perform what part he chose. Some jerked the royal doll Charles, against his liking, from[Pg 437] Cologne to Middleburg, and some warned him to keep quiet, and others seemed to fight against the manager of the show, though in reality they fought in his behalf: all played Cromwell's game, whilst they thought they were playing their own; and even the most innocent outsiders were pressed into his service. With comic audacity he assured his audience that the more trivial was the scene at Salisbury, the more they ought to recognize its dramatic force. 'Observe,' he said, 'when this Attempt was made—it was made when nothing but a well-formed Power could hope to put us into disorder. Do you think that' such a company of mean fellows 'would have attacked Us, if they had not been supported by vast unseen forces behind the scenes.'[58] With what cruel craft, but seeming indifference, the artful old showman treated his manikins! He cut off the heads of some amongst those who responded most vigorously to his touch; whilst others, not less free upon the wire, were carefully packed up, and sent home safe. By seizing and boxing up in the Tower mere bystanders, wholly unconcerned in the sport, he made his 'little tin soldiers' fancy that he did not see their antics. The only hitch in his 'knavish piece of work' arose when, too assured, he placed upon the boards a real live judge, who refused to take the bench in the manager's sham Court of Justice. In every other respect the mystery play was a complete success; everybody was puzzled, players, spectators, and the gentlemen of the press; not one even guessed at the true meaning of the performance; though a few 'men of wicked spirits' would try to peep behind the curtain. But they never found him out; they all danced to Cromwell's tune, but none discovered that the pipe they heard was in their Protector's mouth. Even Ludlow, with all the proverbial opportunities of a bystander, though most anxious to know his great opponent's game, never guessed that he had patched up the Insurrection of March 1655, from the beginning to the end.

And such was Cromwell's power of deception, that though dead, he still deceived; his works did follow him, as he desired, out of sight. He seems to have anticipated that the records of his detective department might remain as a witness against him, and to have cast over the 'Thurloe Papers' a spell, that has hitherto rendered them invisible. For nearly 150 years these evidences of his 'hidden works of darkness' have been before the world; but Cromwell has preserved his secret; he has humbugged every historian as effectually as he hoodwinked his contemporaries. The 'Thurloe Papers' were published[Pg 438] in 1742, well edited and indexed; they contain the documents which Cromwell himself read and handled, the notes of his speeches, the information of his spies, the letters of his enemies and of his clerks. Though called after Thurloe, those papers are, in fact, Cromwell's own. Yet such is the glamour that he has cast over all that has approached him, that they have accepted his words without question, or, if they have read his writings, they have read them according to his inspiration.

Yet there was much even in that Insurrection itself to arouse suspicion. Cromwell, in January 1655, assured his Parliament that he had crushed the various conspiracies which were then on foot against him, all most 'real dangers,' and that he had disarmed and rendered powerless those conspirators; yet within six weeks they had organized a universal revolt, and had secreted stores of arms and ammunition all over England. This universal revolt broke out at Salisbury, 'bold and dangerous'; and it was put down by a single troop of horsemen, after the rebels had paraded, disheartened and deserted, across England. Except on that occasion, the vast design was suppressed without the aid of a single soldier or even a beadle. And, strangely enough, the Protector himself supplied a hint which might have provoked some curiosity about the nature of that 'Rebellion.'

For surely it is odd that 'such a terrible Protector this; no getting of him overset!' should have been compelled to contend with the notorious and obstinate incredulity of the members of his Parliament regarding the late attempt to overset him? Yet Cromwell's speech of September 1656 is pervaded with expressions such as these, regarding the 'bold and dangerous Insurrection' of March 1655,—'I think the world must know and acknowledge, that it was a general design,'—'I doubt if it be believed, that there was any rising,' either in North Wales or at Shrewsbury, or on Marston Moor, 'at the very time when there was an Insurrection at Salisbury'—' therefore, how men of wicked spirits may traduce Us in that matter—I leave it!'[59] Surely 'sluggish mortals, saved from destruction,' not caused by secret agencies, but from an actual 'Rebellion,' which threatened to bring every one of them into 'blood and confusion,' need not be required to believe in the very existence of so great and conspicuous a danger!

And Cromwell felt that he could not afford to leave that 'matter' untouched. A suspicion was prevalent, during the whole of Cromwell's reign, that plots were manufactured to suit[Pg 439] his purposes. He knew that full well; he knew also the danger of such a suspicion. The surmises of the 'men of wicked spirits,' were those 'half tales,' that 'be truths.' It had been hoped that such a 'real plot' as 'the late Insurrection,' would give that suspicion a quietus. When it was safely transacted, Thurloe and his associates congratulated each other over that hope.[60] But it was not fulfilled. Hence arises the tone of angered honesty, which Cromwell so repeatedly assumed when he addressed his Parliament, and Carlyle's indignant protest—'What a position for a hero, to be reduced continually to say he does not lie!'

But what was Cromwell's motive in the fabrication of this Insurrection of March, 1655? It was not, as might be suggested, a device to thwart by a premature explosion, a dangerous conspiracy during a critical moment in the Protectorate. Cromwell himself asserts in his 'Declaration,' that 'this Attempt was made, when nothing but a well-formed Power could hope to put Us into disorder; Scotland and Ireland being perfectly reduced; Differences with most Neighbour Nations composed; our Forces, both by Sea and Land, in order and consistency.' Nay, he artfully converted the very security of his Government into a proof that 'the pretended King' would not have sent over his servants, and that the Royalists would not 'have actually risen' at Salisbury, had the insurrection been other than 'a general design,' based on a vast secret organization. No one in all England possessed more certain knowledge, than did Cromwell, that such was not the case, and that he could not plead in his behalf the poor excuse, that the Nation as a Nation needed a severe lesson, or that it was to save England from civil war that he had sacrificed the lives of those fourteen victims of his deception, and consigned that band of seventy or eighty Englishmen to the horrors of West Indian slavery.

But if Cromwell could not claim that excuse, what then was his motive? Dark as was the light within him, he was not in such utter darkness as to encompass himself about with written, spoken, and acted lies merely to gratify caprice, or that he might indulge in causeless cruelty. His motive was a very simple one. He was forced to obey his servant, the Army. The men whom he had made, and who had made him, demanded a visible share in the power and profit that he enjoyed. Reverting to the autumn of 1654, much had then occurred to disquiet the Army. Cromwell had taken a distinct step towards Kingship, by attempting to persuade Parliament to make the[Pg 440] Protectorate hereditary. Parliament had made a distinct movement towards a large reduction in the Army and Navy. If rumour be evidence, there was, during November, 'a great division in the army.' And it is certain that, at the close of that month, Cromwell and his military men came to terms. At a meeting held in St. James's Palace, the staff of the army agreed 'to live and die with Cromwell.'[61] And a train of events, occurring in direct sequence after that meeting, proves that it was at this conjuncture that Cromwell agreed to parcel out his Protectorship among the leading officers of the Army. Parliament was dissolved 22nd January, 1655, on the pretext that under its shadow, conspiracy and discontent had thriven; and Cromwell gave an alarming account of the 'real dangers,' of imminent insurrection and anarchy, that threatened England. That speech was the prologue; then came the tragedy itself, the Insurrection of March, 1655; then came its consequence, the appointment of the Major-Generals. And in the end, the reason why they were appointed, was brought to light by a state of affairs, very identical with that which had raised them to power.

Cromwell had renewed the attempt that he had made in the autumn of 1654, and in his quest after Kingship he had come, during February 1657, almost within sight of the throne. Again the army officers interfered; and again Cromwell was forced to meet them face to face; to receive, on this occasion, their protest against his acceptance of the Crown. He made a compromise as he had done before; but in speech, he was not conciliatory. If the Protectorate had been a failure, he told his former comrades, it was their fault. It was they, and not he who had governed; as for himself, 'they had made him their drudge upon all occasions: to dissolve the Long Parliament,' and 'to call a Parliament or Convention of their naming,' which proved so unsuccessful; and then another Parliament, alike in unsuccess; and he concluded that catalogue of their untoward interferences with his government, by reminding his hearers that they thought it was necessary to have Major-Generals; adding that so they 'might have gone on,' if they had not insisted on his calling the Parliament of 1656, against his will, which had given them 'a foil.'[62]

That speech is the most exceptional, in some respects the most important, of all Cromwell's speeches. Spoken if not 'in haste,' certainly 'out of the fulness of the heart,' that is caused by anger, it is, though unusually brief, delightfully[Pg 441] incautious. Being addressed to men who could not well be deceived, the speech must be true, at least so far as they are concerned, in every particular; it does not contain a single appeal to God; and of no other among Cromwell's speeches, are the original MS. notes in existence. This speech, of the utmost historic importance, is essentially unheroic in tone and circumstance,—the querulous complaint of a master against servants who have overmastered him,—an assertion of supremacy made by a man, who felt that he was not really supreme. But the singularity that attends the address to the recalcitrant officers is not yet exhausted. Surprise may well be felt that Carlyle, with this speech before him, ventured on the construction of his false image of Cromwell, the Hero. Judged even as an ordinary ruler, he must have been a very sorry Protector who, according to his own showing, was only a sham supreme magistrate,—the minister, the 'drudge,' of his servants but real masters—who had compelled him to call, and to dissolve Parliaments, and to impose on England those military despots.

Carlyle has endowed his ideal Protector 'with the virtue to create belief,' by the force of self-assertion, which still finds its imitators, by pouring out contempt on all who differ from him, and by implying that, as all other Cromwellian authorities are 'stupidities and falsities,' he alone was wise and true. This was but a risky basis on which to exhibit 'this Oliver' to the world, as the noblest Hero 'among the noblest of Human Heroisms, this English Puritanism of ours,' and as 'not a Man of falsehoods, but a Man of truths.' But reading over these words, and calling to mind the confidence with which Carlyle compels all to join with him in his Cromwell-worship, it is impossible to resist the conviction, that it was with good faith that he could see in Cromwell 'the glimpses,' even the revelation 'of the god-like,' and that he would not attend to aught that disclosed Cromwell 'not' as 'august and divine, but hypocritical, pitiable, detestable.' Even though he claimed a familiar acquaintance with the 'Thurloe Papers,' he must have been ignorant, it is impossible to think otherwise, of the black stories which Cromwell's 'expertest of secretaries' could publish against his master.

And passing from the worshipper to the Idol; surely it is but in accordance with common sense and common charity to hope that, as with Carlyle, so also with his Oliver, the real Cromwell was wholly shrouded from Cromwell's sight. That hope might, indeed, be forbidden by some. It might be argued that, although many a wrong-doing, such as bloodshed, oppression,[Pg 442] or even treachery, has been committed by men in the sincere belief that they were doing God service, Cromwell cannot be placed among that group of self-deceivers: that he stands by himself, and on a lower level. It was to save himself, to propitiate a gang of mutinous servants, that Cromwell contrived and wrought out the deception of March, 1655, and obtained in the bloodshed that it produced, the essential result that he desired. And then, to give validity to his imposture, to grace it with the Divine sanction, he ascribed his course of acted and uttered lies, and the cruelty and misery they had engendered, to God himself.

Undoubtedly that statement is true. But yet on the other hand it may be pleaded, that nothing but an intense living conviction, that God was with him in all his ways, could have enabled Cromwell to make 'with comfort' his 'appeal to God, whether' the Insurrection of March 1655 'hath been the matter of Our Choice' or 'according to Our own inclinations?'

This is but a sorry plea to urge in Cromwell's behalf. The blackness and the fury of the storm, which roared across England during his dying hours, cannot have exceeded the blinding energy of that strong delusion, that ever drove him onward, through his cruel and crooked devices, fully persuaded that 'God was even such a one as' himself. Though all may agree in believing that it was not from the lips, but truly from the heart—not to cheat his hearers, but in a veritable ecstasy—that Cromwell claimed to stand before God, as one who 'had learned too much of God, to dally with him,' still it must be felt, that such an assertion, coming from such a Protector, reveals a mental condition that baffles the understanding. But as man, when he shrinks from passing judgment on another, ever takes the better part; and as even with the best amongst us, the relation of the soul to God is a question which, of all others, should not be intermeddled with, assuredly we must leave Cromwell, whose being is one of 'the deep things of God,' to His judgment.—'Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?'


[30] 'Report of French Ambassador in Holland.' Thurloe, iii. 322.

[31] 'Clarendon' (Bodleian Papers), iii. II.

[32] 'Clarendon,' ed. 1839, 871. 'Clarendon' (Bodleian Papers), Cal. iii. 13 Egerton MSS., Brit. Mus. 2535. fo. 637.

[33] We thus found this conjecture: Cromwell held an intercepted letter from the King to Mr. Roles, addressed to him under his alias, Mr. Upton, expressed in terms of entire confidence (Thurl. iii. 75); but Roles was not arrested. And the suspicion inspired by the immunity which Cromwell granted to such a conspicuous Royalist, was confirmed by finding that Thurloe in a letter (dated 6th April, 1655) to Manning the spy, refers to 'Mr. Upton' as their common friend. (Egerton MSS., Brit. Mus. 2542. fo. 166.)

[34] Masonet. See Note, 'Clarendon Papers' (Bodleian) Cal. iii. 14 Carlyle, iv. 108.

[35] Information of J. Dallington, R. Glover, J. Stradling, E. Turner.' Thurloe iii. 35, 74, 146, 181, 222.

[36] Several Proceedings, &c. Thurs., 8th Feb.—15th Feb. 1655. 'Clarendon Papers' (Bodleian Cal.) iii. 16.

[37] Thurloe, iii. 164.

[38] Thurloe, iii. 137, 180, 190, 198, 224.

[39] Egerton MSS., Brit. Mus. 2535, fo. 637. This communication appears in an anonymous letter addressed to Nicholas. Mr. Warner, with that ready help that he and his department afford, by a comparison of the handwriting, attributes that letter to Col. Price, who shared in Rochester's expedition.

[40] 'Clarendon Papers' (Bodleian), Cal. iii. 23.

[41] Thurloe, iii. 573.

[42] Ibid., iv. 344.

[43] Thurloe, iii. 122, 182. Egerton MSS., Brit. Mus., 2535, fo. 627

[44] Whitlock, 625. Thurloe, iii. 359, 382.

[45] Thurloe, iii. 391.

[46] Thurloe, iii. 162 172, 177, 182, 219, 243, Rolls Cal. (1655), 73.

[47] Thurloe, iii. 238, 243.

[48] Heath's Chronicle, 367.

[49] Thurloe, iii. 176, 181, 191.

[50] 'Rolls Cal.' (1655), p. 216; Baynes Coll., Add. MSS. Brit. Mus. 21,424 fo. 50; Thurloe, iii. 226.

[51] Thurloe, iii. 210, 222, 228, 241, 253.

[52] Ibid., iii. 298, 356. In addition to constant terror of 'the Barbadoes,' to which all Cromwell's prisoners were subject, a Royalist in the Tower mentions, in a pencilled letter, that he had been threatened with torture; and that the Protector himself used the menace of the rack rests on the evidence of another prisoner's brother.—'Clarendon Papers,' Bodleian Cal., iii. 82, 87.

[53] Thurloe, iii. 676.

[54] Pell Coll. Landsdowne MSS., 752. fo. 275, 282. Baynes Coll. Add. MSS. 21, 423, fo. 74. Thurloe, iii. 170, 224, 246, 248, 253, 281, 284. 'Rolls Cal., 1655, 81, 84, 88, 99, 200.

[55] Thurloe, iii. 281, 335.

[56] 'Clarendon Papers,' Bodleian Cal., iii. 27, 34, 36. 'Rolls Cal' (1655), 193, 245. Thurloe, iii. 358, 530, 561, 659.

[57] Whalley's Statement; Burton, iv, 155.

[58] Adapted from the 'Declaration' of Oct. 1655, and Speech. Carlyle, iv. 107, Vol. 162.—No. 324

[59] Carlyle, iv. 108, 111.

[60] Pell Corresp., Landsdowne MSS. Brit. Mus. 752, fo 275, 289. Hist Rec. Comn. 6th Report, 438.

[61] 1 Dec. 1654. Pell Corr., Lans. MSS. Brit. Mus., 752 fo. 215, 220.

[62] 27 Feb. 1657. Burton, i. 383. Carlyle, iv. 177.

[Pg 443]

Art. VI.—1. Oceana, or England and her Colonies. By James Anthony Froude. London, 1886.

2. Through the British Empire. By Baron von Hübner. 2 vols. London, 1886.

3. The Western Pacific and New Guinea. By Hugh Hastings Romilly, Deputy Commissioner of the Western Pacific. London, 1886.

In days when proposals for the dismemberment of the Empire can be put forward by great leaders of public opinion without exciting either indignation or surprise, it may be worth the while of Englishmen to spend a few hours in making themselves acquainted with the volumes which we have cited at the head of this article. Most men are so absorbed in what is going on immediately under their eyes, that they seldom bestow a thought upon the remoter portions of the vast territory which acknowledge allegiance to the Queen. They have but the most vague ideas, or none at all, concerning the thoughts, wishes, and purposes, of the large and growing communities which sprung from these islands, and which have hitherto been proud of their English origin. It is true that this pride has not been increasing of late years. The neglect or contempt with which the Colonies have been treated by successive Liberal Administrations did much to estrange the people, especially of Canada and Australasia, and the whole foreign policy of England under Mr. Gladstone's rule served to strengthen the general impression that our decadence had not only set in, but was advancing with a rapidity which was palpable to all the world except to those who were chiefly concerned in arresting it. Mr. Froude tells us that one of the shrewdest and most eminent of all the colonists whom he met expressed his amazement at the popularity in this country of Mr. Gladstone,—an amazement which, Mr. Froude adds, is felt 'wherever the English language is spoken' outside England itself. We can fully confirm this statement. The hold which Mr. Gladstone retains upon the country, after the long series of unparallelled mistakes which a faithful view of his career must forever associate with his name—the mistakes abroad, the mistakes at home, the crowning and almost incredible mistakes in Ireland; that he should still keep his hold of power and popularity after all this, absolutely passes the understanding of our fellow-subjects abroad, no matter what politics they profess. To them, we appear to be a people controlled by some Circean spell, having cast common-sense and prudence to the winds, and decided to be ruled henceforth by the man who can tickle our ears with the longest[Pg 444] speeches and the smoothest words. Byron was accustomed to say that he looked upon the opinion of America as the verdict of posterity. It is certain that our own kinsfolk beyond the seas are sometimes in a far better position to realize the consequences of what we are doing here than those who are actually playing the game. We are too much wrapped up in self-complacency to allow their opinions to have any weight with us, but they have the satisfaction, such as it is, of seeing all their prognostications verified one after the other, and of knowing that a rude and stern awakening from our dreams is hanging over us.

Of the three books to which we invite attention, Mr. Froude's is least like the average book of travel, and undoubtedly is the most suggestive of thought. Whether we agree with Mr. Froude or whether we do not, it is always a pleasure to read him. The 'shoddy' work which extends to everything in the present day, and which is eating into the very heart of our new literature, has not corrupted the older handicraftsmen among us. Not one record of travel in a hundred deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with 'Oceana;' there are not very many books of the kind in the language which excel it in variety, in vigour of style, in picturesqueness of description, or in vivid glimpses of insight into personal character. Baron Hübner is a more genial, discursive, and garrulous traveller. He tells us everything that comes into his mind, and has a note about everything he saw. We must add that these notes are, generally speaking, of great interest, and often very amusing. He undertook a journey over the greater part of the British Dominions, at a somewhat advanced period of life, for his readers ought to be reminded that he is the last survivor of the Congress of Paris, and that few men have had more valuable experience in the diplomatic service. Before he started, the Baron heard that his project was freely discussed at the Traveller's Club. Some said, 'what a plucky old fellow he is!' His comment upon this shows that he knows something of men as well as of places: 'If any harm befals me, they will say, "what an old fool he was!"' Happily, there was no occasion for pronouncing this judgment upon him. He followed out his prescribed route with wonderful success, and he has presented a graceful and highly interesting narrative of his adventures. His observations may, in many respects, be usefully compared with those of Mr. Froude, though it will not do to carry this comparison much further. We must, however, do the Baron the justice to acknowledge, that he always manifests an earnest desire to be fair and just. As for the third book on our list, it has the advantage of being short and to the point, and the additional advantage of[Pg 445] being founded upon a personal residence in one of the islands of the Western Pacific. Travels based upon something more substantial than a mere flying visit are not too common, and we are grateful to Mr. Romilly for making a very entertaining addition to the number. We should be equally glad to receive the account of North New Guinea which a Russian gentleman, Mr. Miklaho Maclay, is so well able to furnish. It so chanced that he was landed one night on the north coast of New Guinea, and in the morning the natives found him sitting upon his portmanteau, like a man waiting for a train. They took him for a being of supernatural origin, but by way of making sure, they fired arrows at the stranger, tied him to a tree, and forced spears down his throat. As he survived these injuries, though by a narrow chance, the first impression of the natives was confirmed, and Mr. Maclay was afterwards treated in a manner which seems to have left him little ground for complaint. Thus far Mr. Maclay, as Mr. Romilly informs us, has declined to commit any account of his experience to paper; but a resolution of this kind is seldom unalterable when a man has anything new to tell the world.

Mr. Froude, as we have already intimated, intersperses the records of travel with weighty reflections, or with valuable information, no part of which can be prudently ignored by the reader. We do not know, for instance, where in a short compass the arguments for and against Colonial Federation have been so clearly set forth. As a rule, the colonists everywhere view with great aversion the idea of placing themselves under the direct authority of Downing Street, and no one will be surprised at this who recollects the treatment they have almost invariably received from that quarter. On the other hand, they are by no means impatient or eager to proclaim their independence. 'British they are,' says Mr. Froude, 'and British they wish to remain.' It will not be their fault, but ours, if total separation ever becomes a popular cry in Australasia or in Canada. There have been projects of a purely local colonial confederation, but they are not regarded with much favour by the leading public men. Mr. Dalley of Sydney, expressed strongly his disapproval of the scheme, and he also objected to the plan of having the colonies represented in the Imperial Parliament by Colonial Agents-general. The one thing which seems at present to be universally desired is a better organization of the Navy. 'Let there be one Navy,' Mr. Dalley said, 'under the rule of a single Admiralty—a Navy in which the colonies should be as much interested as the mother country, which should be theirs as well as ours, and on which they might[Pg 446] all rely in time of danger.' In these respects, the ideas of modern colonists differ widely from those held in the last century. The great grievance of the American colonists was that they were not represented in the British Parliament. Had that demand been conceded, Mr. Froude is of opinion that 'Franklin and Washington would have been satisfied.' We do not quite agree with him, for the party of Independence, though small at first, was never likely to remain long contented with any compromise. Originally, indeed, as we all remember, the leaders of the Revolution disclaimed any intention of bringing about a separation. Franklin to the last protested his desire to keep the colonies united to the mother country; but Franklin was not the most sincere or straightforward of men. Undoubtedly, however, the American colonists did not begin the Revolution with the least desire to create a separate nationality, any more than in the great civil war of 1861-65 there was at first, or for a long time, any intention of effecting the abolition of slavery. Both ideas were acquired by the people by slow degrees. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, and other States gave emphatic instructions to their delegates in 1774 to 'restore union and harmony between Great Britain and her Colonies,' and the party of independence was thoroughly unpopular down even to the close of the struggle. One of its leading spirits gave emphatic testimony on this point. 'For my own part,' wrote John Adams, 'there was not a moment in the Revolution when I would not have given everything I possessed for a restoration to the state of things before the contest began, provided we could have a sufficient security for its continuance.' This feeling had no small share in misleading George III. on the American question, and in deepening his determination not to let the colonies go—a fact which was brought out for the first time, we believe, by one of the ablest and most judicious of modern historians—Mr. Lecky. He also was the first to show, in a very striking manner, that the American Revolution was practically the work of a small minority, who, as he remarks—and the remark has no slight application to the other revolution now going on in our midst—'succeeded in committing an undecided and fluctuating majority to courses for which they had little love, and leading them step by step to a position from which it was impossible to recede.'[63] Nearly one-half of the Revolutionary army consisted of Irish, who have ever since played so important a part in the politics of the United States.

[Pg 447]

In the present day, our colonists do not seek for separation, neither—if Mr. Froude is right—do they ask for representation at Westminster. They 'are passionately attached to their Sovereign,' and they desire that their Governors 'should be worthy always of the great person whom they represent.' They wish to have their trade encouraged, as it might so easily have been a few years ago, if we had possessed foresight enough to adopt a system of differential duties; they wish to have good immigrants, and they see the growing necessity for a strong navy. The information on these subjects which Baron Hübner acquired should be considered in connection with Mr. Froude's statements. It will be found that the two writers substantially agree. Baron Hübner found that the Australian colonists fully comprehend the disadvantage which complete independence would be to them. They are practically independent now, but they are spared the political and social turmoil in which the periodical election of a President would necessarily involve them. 'The Queen,' said one of the Baron's friends, 'sends every five years a Governor, who is not an autocrat like the President of the United States, but the representative of constitutional royalty. In America every four years, business is arrested, public order is disturbed, and passions are let loose to the point sometimes of threatening even public life itself. And why? In order that the nation may elect an absolute master, irremovable by law during his period of office. Here every one understands this, and every one knows how to leave well alone.' We do not quite see how the President of the United States can be described as an 'autocrat' or as an 'absolute master,' but the Australians are right in their conclusion, that the American system would be a sorry substitute for the arrangement which gives them a Governor without inconvenience to themselves, and without any risk of infringement upon their liberties.

In the Cape Colony, the problem presents itself in a different form. In its origin—as everybody ought to know, but does not—it is not an English, but a Dutch Colony, and the Boers have never been disposed to render to English sovereignty more than a passive obedience. The chief facts in their recent history are but too easily recalled. When the Transvaal was annexed by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the people at first submitted quietly; but the new Commissioner aroused first their fears, and then their anger, by various encroachments which were regarded as invasions of their rights. The Boers took up arms, English troops were despatched from the Cape to suppress the rising, and these troops were beaten at Lang's Neck. General Colley, who then commanded the forces at Natal, hastened forward with[Pg 448] more troops in the hope of retrieving this disaster, but was himself beaten at Ingogo. He then, without waiting for the reinforcements which were on their way to him, took up a new position, was attacked by the Boers, and defeated in the memorable disaster at Majuba Hill. Mr. Gladstone forthwith surrendered everything, and since that time the Boers have been, as a matter of course, more and more antagonistic to the English power. 'They came to Africa,' says Baron Hübner, 'in 1652, with the intention of remaining there, and they do remain there. The future and Africa belong to them, unless they are expelled by a stronger power, the blacks or the English. They accept the struggle with the blacks, and they avoid all contact with the English.' Mr. Froude takes now, as he has always taken, a very strong view of our own responsibility for all the difficulties which have arisen with the Boers. We have, he says with some bitterness, 'treated them unfairly as well as unwisely, and we never forgive those whom we have injured.' The story is long, and it has been treated more than once, and we believe with strict fairness and impartiality, in these pages. Mr. Froude himself does not deny, that the effect of the surrender after Majuba Hill 'was to diminish infallibly the influence of England in South Africa, and to elate and encourage the growing party whose hope was and is to see it vanish altogether.' The work was not half done. We insisted upon a new Treaty, which was immediately broken by the Boers. Mr. Froude once more recommends us to 'leave the Cape alone'—not to get out of it, but to allow the Boers to manage their affairs in their own way. 'Our interferences,' he tells us, 'have been dictated by the highest motives; but experience has told us, and ought to have taught us, that in what we have done or tried to do, we have aggravated every evil which we most desired to prevent. We have conciliated neither person nor party.'

Baron Hübner arrived at his conclusions by a totally different road from that pursued by Mr. Froude, but the burden of his story is much the same. It is the indecision of the Central Government, the uncertainty in which the Colony is always kept as to what will happen to them next, which causes nearly all the mischief. We have treated the Cape Colony as we have treated Ireland, and with every prospect of bringing about the same results. First 'coercion,' then abject surrender, then coercion again—'a process,' as Mr. Froude justly remarks, 'which drives nations mad, as it drives children, yet is inevitable in every dependency belonging to us which is not entirely servile, so long as it lies at the will and mercy of so uncertain a body as the British Parliament.' Baron Hübner, who stands beyond the[Pg 449] influence of our party politics, tells us the same thing in other words. We want a policy, he says, in effect, which shall be permanent in its application, and therefore not affected by changes in Ministries. The fact is that we want such a policy for many parts of our Empire besides South Africa, and we are likely to want it. With Parliaments elected at short and frequent intervals, and depending largely on shifting caprices, there is not likely to be any fixed principle in dealing with political problems arising either at our own doors or thousands of miles away.

There is one question in which all the colonists take a deep interest, and that is the condition and prospects of our trade. The Colonies are now our best customers, and we sincerely hope they will continue to be so, for with them we may possibly get, even yet, something like Free Trade, whereas no chance of securing even an approach to it can be looked for in the rest of the world. The Colonies will always raise at the Custom House the greater part of the money they want for the expenses of internal government, but they may be induced to offer England more favourable terms than other nations receive. In Australia, as elsewhere, it begins to be doubted whether 'England can trust entirely to Free Trade and competition to keep the place she has hitherto held.' If all our Colonies were bound with us in one commercial federation, we could make sure of Free Trade over a large part of the world's surface. 'We should have purchasers for our goods,' remarks Mr. Froude, 'from whom we should fear no rivalry; we should turn in upon them the tide of our emigrants which now flows away.' But at present, and with the fiscal system of 1846 still regarded as sacred and inviolable, nothing can be done. When we are prepared to acknowledge that the world has moved since 1846, and that we must move with it, there may be a possibility of widening the field of our commerce—unless, indeed, we delay too long. Public opinion in England is beginning to stir upon the subject. The demand for a great and radical change will come, when it does come, from the working men, and they are already showing signs of deep interest in a matter which concerns the very means of their livelihood. They are in advance of Parliament and Ministries on this subject. Mr. Froude is well within bounds in asserting that 'those among us who have disbelieved all along that a great nation can venture its whole fortunes safely on the power of underselling its neighbours in calicoes and iron-work, no longer address a public opinion entirely cold.' What, perhaps, has tended as much as anything else to open our eyes is the discovery, that other nations begin[Pg 450] to be able to undersell us, not only in foreign markets, but even in our own—here in England, at Sheffield, Birmingham, and Manchester. Carlyle usually defined the Free Trade theory as the system of 'cheap and nasty.' As we have never had Free Trade, and therefore as it has never been properly tested, it is impossible to say what effects it was capable of producing, properly worked out. The great fact which confronts us to-day is that no other nation in the world, and not even our own colonists, will have anything whatever to do with it on any terms. This fact, at least, the English workingmen are beginning to see and to understand, and results will flow from it at present not anticipated by 'statesmen,' who know little or nothing about the hard matter-of-fact conditions under which trade is carried on, and who are assiduously primed by underlings with statistics which they repeat by rote, and as to the real value or signification of which they are completely and hopelessly in the dark.

According to Baron Hübner, the Australian colonists have not abandoned the hope of forming a customs' union with the mother country, and they are far from regarding the proposals for giving them representation in Parliament with the indifference which Mr. Froude imagines that he detected. No one yet seems to have made even an effort to settle the details of a scheme by which a navy could be kept up for the defence of the Colonies, and an Imperial Zollverein formed between England and her foreign possessions. But the 'advanced men,' according to Baron Hübner, feel convinced that the idea can be carried out, and they are desirous of finding, as a preliminary, direct representation in some form at Westminster. The growth of this idea, says Baron Hübner, 'of a grand confederation, which would completely revolutionize Old England, or rather, which would create a new England by the handiwork and after the pattern of her children in Australia—the growth of this idea among the masses is, to my mind, an indubitable fact.' More improbable things have happened than that England, weakened at home by the selfish ambition of her statesmen, and by the frenzy of party warfare, may be saved by the patriotism of her descendants in other lands. The first opportunity which the colonists have had of evincing their determination to stand by the old country was promptly taken advantage of, and with a heartiness of spirit that we hope is not yet forgotten, quickly as all events, great or small, are nowadays crammed into 'the wallet of oblivion.' The offers of colonial aid during the Egyptian war roused a feeling throughout the Colonies which astonished all Europe, and probably took many[Pg 451] of the colonists themselves by surprise. 'When English interests were in peril,' Mr. Froude tells us, 'I found the Australians, not cool and indifferent, but ipsis Anglicis Angliciores, as if at the circumference the patriotic spirit was more alive than at the centre. There was a general sense that our affairs were being strangely mismanaged.' The men who think and talk like this are not struggling for place and power amid the demoralizing surroundings of modern Parliamentary life. They are able to take a cool and dispassionate view of us and our affairs, and they begin to think that public life has degenerated into a mere scramble for the spoils of office. Their indignation, when Gordon was deserted by the Government which he had tried to serve, was far greater than we seem to have had any experience of amongst ourselves. They looked upon him as 'the last of the race of heroes who had won for England her proud position among the nations; he had been left to neglect and death, and the national glory was sullied.' They volunteered to come over and help us fight our battles. The Colonial Office, then under Lord Derby, was for a few days disposed to turn the cold shoulder to these efforts of assistance. But the feeling, which had been aroused in the country by the first announcements in the newspapers, was too deep to be mistaken. It broke through the ice in which the Colonial Office is usually imbedded, and compelled Lord Derby to make a warm and grateful response to the Colonies. In reality, the people there are, as many travellers besides Mr. Froude have remarked, more English than the English themselves in their sensitiveness as regards the national honour. We talk very coolly here of 'standing aside,' of 'having seen our best days,' and of giving up one part of our inheritance after another; but the Englishmen abroad are animated by very different sentiments. The love of the 'old home' is strong in them, even though they may have been born in the Colonies. It shows itself in a thousand different ways. At Ballarat, Mr. Froude seems to have been struck with a garden which might have been attached to an old cottage in Surrey or Devonshire. There were cabbage-roses, pinks, columbines, sweet-williams, laburnums, and honey-suckle—all prized because they were the flowers of Old England. The people everywhere speak the language with remarkable purity. The aspirate is rarely misplaced, unless by a recent immigrant. The misuse of the aspirate is, indeed, a peculiar part of the birthright of an Englishman. No one ever yet heard it from the poorest or most illiterate class in the United States. In Australia, says Mr. Froude, 'no provincialism has yet developed itself. The tone is soft, the language good.'[Pg 452] The young people looked fresh and healthy, 'not lean and sun-dried, but fair, fleshy, lymphatic.' Mr. Froude could not see any difference between his countrymen at home and those who had settled down in this new and wider field of industry. 'The leaves that grow on one branch of an oak are not more like the leaves that grow upon another, than the Australian swarm is like the hive it sprung from.' Mr. Service, the Prime Minister of Victoria, fully shares the English predilections of his fellow colonists, but he appears to feel some irritation at the tone so frequently adopted by the Liberal press and party in this country, and emphatically urged in their day by Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright. This tone is founded upon the argument, 'The Colonies are of no use to us; therefore the sooner they take themselves off the better.' If some leaders and members of the Liberal party had their way, we should be without a colony in the world, without India, and with Ireland close to our own doors a hostile and an independent Foreign Power.

With regard to India it is to Baron Hübner's records of a very remarkable journey, that we must turn for the notes of the most recent traveller. The work is not so exhaustive, especially as regards the Native States, as M. Rousselet's 'L'Inde des Rajahs,' but it is eminently readable and lively, and the author gives abundant evidence, that he took with him everywhere an earnest desire to arrive at the truth, and a determination to form his conclusions with strict impartiality. It is evident that in India he soon began to feel the influence of that peculiar spell which the country exercises over most persons of a susceptible or imaginative temperament. 'India,' he says, 'has always fascinated me, 'and few who have travelled there will not be ready to make the same confession. It is much to be hoped that the Radicals will be induced to listen to Baron Hübner's testimony concerning the way in which we carry on government in our great Eastern dependency. Nowhere, strange as it may appear, but in our own country is English rule misunderstood or misrepresented. Injustice is systematically done to the purest, most conscientious, and most industrious Civil Service in the whole world; and our countrymen who are spending the best part of their lives in the effort to promote the welfare and prosperity of India, are too often held up to opprobrium as examples of merciless tyrants, whose only object is to grind down the natives into the dust. We seem to be losing many of the characteristics which formerly distinguished us in the world, but there is one which marks us out very plainly from all other nations—the habit of disparaging our own achievements and vilifying our own reputation. We do not[Pg 453] find the Germans pertinaciously seeking to bring into disrepute the efforts now being made to extend their colonial possessions; the Americans have a motto, upon which they invariably act: 'our country—right or wrong.' This may be carrying a good principle a little too far; but it is better than the course we pursue, of striving with might and main to dishonour our past, and to place our country in the most contemptible light before the rest of mankind. Instead of our having any reason to be ashamed of what we have done in and for India, we have every cause to be proud of it; and, if English people had an adequate knowledge of that work, and were in a position to exercise their common-sense on the question, untrammelled by agitators and demagogues, they would acknowledge gladly that they were heartily proud of it. We believe that the great body of Englishmen in India are honestly endeavouring to do their duty, according to the measure of their abilities, and that, if any event occurred to cause our removal from the country, it would inflict the direst forms of suffering and calamity upon the people. It is important to hear what a foreigner, not unduly prejudiced in our favour, has to say upon these points. First, then, in reference to the men who are engaged in the practical work of government—the Civil Service—Baron Hübner says:—

'I have met everywhere men devoted to their service, working from morning till evening, and finding time, notwithstanding the mutiplicity of their daily labours, to occupy themselves with literature and serious studies. India is governed bureaucratically, but this bureaucracy differs in more than one respect from ours in Europe. To the public servant in Europe one day is like another; some great revolution, some European war, is needed to disturb the placid monotony of his existence. In India it is not so. The variety of his duties enlarges and fashions the mind of the Anglo-Indian official; and the dangers to which he is occasionally exposed serve to strengthen and give energy to his character. He learns to take large views and to work at his desk while the ground is trembling beneath his feet. I do not think I am guilty of exaggeration in declaring that there is not a bureaucracy in the world better educated, better trained to business, more thoroughly stamped with the qualities which make a statesman; and, what none will dispute, more pure and upright than that which administers the government of India.'

Of late years, as everybody is aware, a demand has sprung up for 'local self-government' in India—a demand not originating with natives themselves, but with the sentimentalists and philosophers who are doing their best and their worst to take all the manliness out of the English character. Lord Ripon was the mechanical mouthpiece of this sect, and there can be[Pg 454] no doubt whatever that no Governor-General or Viceroy of India ever did so much harm in so short space of time. He and his school tried their utmost to persuade the natives that what they want is 'Home Rule'—that panacea for all the evils of modern life which is likely to entail so many new burdens and trials upon us. The natives of India never suspected, until Lord Ripon strove to impress it upon them, that Home Rule is indispensable to their happiness. They are perfectly well aware that if our hold upon the country is ever relaxed, there will be nothing but chaos all through the land,—internecine wars, rebellions, and massacres, such as marked the history of India until our rule became well established there. Lord Ripon closed his eyes to all this—doctrinaire at heart, he could see nothing but his own crotchets. The native, he declared, must have local self-government. But Baron Hübner found that the people did not understand or desire this much vaunted contrivance. The native, he says, 'refuses to be elected by his equals. He wishes to be chosen by his superiors, and his superiors are the English officials, represented in this case by the district officer or magistrate. In the North-Western Provinces, this opposition was so strong that the Supreme Government have been obliged, much against their own views, to give to the Governor of those Provinces the power of constituting the municipalities.' The sentimentalists may try to develop the 'native mind' as they please, but they will never persuade Hindoos or Mussulmans to trust their own countrymen as they trust us. We have a reputation among them for fairness and for justice which no native would ever aim to deserve, although he is not incapable of understanding and admiring it. An East Indian of any race or religion will never speak the truth if he can possibly help himself, but he has a certain respect for the man who can and does. No doubt, the very earnestness, with which we seek to dispense equal justice among all classes, is a stumbling-block in our path, and always has been so. The native likes to deal with a judge who will wink at perjury, and who is not above taking a bribe. Yet the Englishman is everywhere trusted. 'If proof were needed,' says Baron Hübner, 'to show how deeply rooted among the populations is English prestige, I would quote the fact that throughout the peninsula the native prefers, in civil and still more in criminal cases, to be tried by an English judge. It would be impossible, I think, to render a more flattering testimony to British rule.' But these are facts which had no signification for Lord Ripon. He pursued a policy which, designedly or undesignedly, was calculated to bring our rule to an end. 'Lord Ripon's resolution,'[Pg 455] some one told Baron Hübner, 'means nothing or means this: The Government foresees that the time will come when we must leave India to herself.' Then there was the Ilbert Bill, placing Europeans in the country districts under the jurisdiction of native judges. How could the natives of all classes fail to look upon this as another evidence that the reins of power were dropping from our nerveless hands? The point of the whole matter was thus put by one of the civilians to Baron Hübner:—'The principle, that the jurisdiction over European subjects of the Crown must be reserved for judges and magistrates who are also European subjects, has always been maintained. And it has always been recognized that in this principle lies the only possible effectual guarantee to Europeans living in country districts against the perjury and false witness so common among the rural populations.' The Ilbert Bill proposed to take away these safeguards from the European, and would have left him at the mercy of native judges and native witnesses, whose only idea of justice is to make a few rupees out of its administration.

The school of Radicals represented only too numerously in the present Parliament—unreasoning, ignorant of India, impulsive, narrow and insular—is also represented among the more recent importations of 'competition wallahs.' Baron Hübner met with many of them. 'In their opinion,' he says, 'the ideal of a sound English policy is the dismemberment of the British Empire, and above all the abandonment of India. To save England, it is necessary first to destroy her.' To the shrewd and experienced Austrian diplomatist, these ideas seem to be absolutely ruinous, but the oddity of it is that thousands of persons in England cling to them with a sort of idolatry, as if within them was compressed the sum and substance of human wisdom. The Radical party to-day lives upon these theories of dismemberment, although it is careful to keep its ultimate aim as much as possible in the background. In India, its adherents are doing an immense amount of harm. Baron Hübner seems to have been struck with amazement at the phenomenon. 'This is, indeed,' he exclaims, 'a curious and perhaps a unique spectacle—an immense administration, managed according to doctrines which are repudiated by the large majority of those who compose it.' The natives who are educated in our schools and colleges emerge from them filled with ideas of Socialism and Atheism. We break down their faith in their own creeds, without succeeding in inducing them to adopt Christianity. They find themselves free to construct a religion of their own, or to do without any religion[Pg 456]. As regards the Government, they are led to believe that it ought not to be where it is, and that India should be ruled by its own people. The native press is full of sedition. Let us hear what Baron Hübner has to say upon this subject, for it is worth attention:—

'Is there any public opinion in India? It is declared that there is none. And yet people agree in saying that the natives who have been educated in the State colleges have become singularly importunate of late years, that they are beginning to adopt a high tone, and that they take especial delight in criticising the acts of the Government, who, unwisely, as it seems to me, encourage if not provoke such criticism. These baboos and their newspapers, I am told, would only become dangerous at a crisis; and by a crisis is understood a disastrous European war. But the life of nations, like that of individuals, is nothing but a series of successes and reverses. Looked at from this point of view, the baboo is not such an insignificant being as he appears to be considered.'

No doubt our Radicals would contend that the Austrian's notion, that it is unwise on the part of the Government to encourage criticism directed against itself, is worthy of a man who has seen the Napoleonic régime, and who perhaps admires the 'one man' form of government. But what is the English Radical party itself living under now? Was ever the 'one man form of government' carried out in so relentless a fashion as we see it now in Parliament? Is there not one man in the Government, surrounded by a crowd of nonentities—the one man filling the exact position for which the Americans have invented the significant word 'Boss'? All liberty of thought or freedom of action is gone. The principle insisted upon is 'do whatever our leader tells us; go where he leads; give what he asks—all without murmuring or discontent. The man who murmurs must be drummed out of the ranks.' If we saw the French submitting to this system, no words that we could use would be strong enough to express our contempt for them. As we happen to be doing it ourselves, it must, of course, be good and wise. Granted that it is so, we may fairly ask even the Radicals whether they are quite sure that it is wise to think of giving up India? With what do they propose to replace our government? The testimony of every fair-minded man is that we have accomplished an incalculable amount of excellent work there. Our magnificent highways and railroads, our appliances for irrigation, would alone make our name immortal in the country. The people thrive under our rule; every man is secure in the possession of his property; war no longer devastates the country. We recommend everybody who[Pg 457] is unaware of these and similar facts to consider well the evidence adduced by Baron Hübner:—

'Materially speaking, India has never been as prosperous as she is now. The appearance of the natives, for the most part well clothed, and of their villages and well-furnished cottages, and of their well-cultivated fields, seems to prove this. In their bearing there is nothing servile; in their behaviour towards their English masters there is a certain freedom of manner, and a general air of self-respect; nothing of that abject deference which strikes and shocks new comers in other Eastern countries. I have no means of comparing the natives of to-day with the natives of former generations, but I have been able to compare the populations who owe direct allegiance to the Empress with the subjects of the feudatory princes. For example, when you cross the frontier of Hyderabad, the climate, the soil, the race, are the same as those you have just quitted, but the difference between the two States is remarkable, and altogether to the advantage of the Presidency of Madras or of Bombay.'

He goes on to say, that no one can deny that the British India of to-day presents a spectacle that has no parallel in the history of the world:

'What do we see? Instead of periodical, if not permanent, wars, profound peace firmly established throughout the whole Empire; instead of the exactions of chiefs always greedy for gold, and not shrinking from any act of cruelty to extort it, moderate taxes, much lower than those imposed by the feudatory princes; arbitrary rule replaced by even-handed justice; the tribunals, once proverbially corrupt, by upright judges whose example is already beginning to make its influence felt on native morality and notions of right; no more Pindarris, no more armed bands of thieves; perfect security in the cities as well as in the country districts, and on all the roads; the former bloodthirsty manners and customs now softened, and, save for certain restrictions imposed in the interests of public morality, a scrupulous regard for religious worship, and traditional usages and customs; materially, an unexampled bound of prosperity, and even the disastrous effects of the periodical famines, which afflict certain parts of the peninsula, more and more diminished by the extension of railways which facilitate the work of relief. And what has wrought all these miracles? The wisdom and the courage of a few directing statesmen, the bravery and the discipline of an army composed of a small number of Englishmen and a large number of natives, led by heroes; and lastly, and I will venture to say principally, the devotion, the intelligence, the courage, the perseverance, and the skill, combined with an integrity proof against all temptation, of a handful of officials and magistrates who govern and administer the Indian Empire.'

Such is the testimony of an Austrian. It ought to bring a flush of shame to the faces of not a few Englishmen.[Pg 458]

We have scarcely alluded to the lighter parts of Baron Hübner's volumes—to the excellent touches of description or sketches of character which enliven his pages, or to the numerous pleasantly-told anecdotes of personal adventure. One of these anecdotes is worth repeating, though the author must pardon us if we tell it in our own way. It is too characteristic of life in New York—too full of valuable hints for future travellers—to be lost sight of.

It appears that on his last morning in New York, the Baron found that his note-book had been taken from his room in the hotel. His servant and his baggage had already gone on to the steamer, and the Baron prepared to follow. First, however, as he still had two hours to spare, he thought he would take a final glimpse of Fifth Avenue. These are the little accidents which generally decide our fate in life—the visit to some friend, the call on a stranger, the unpremeditated walk. As the Baron was passing along, a carriage suddenly stopped, a 'fashionably-dressed gentleman' jumped out, and ran up to the traveller with a cordial salutation. He introduced himself as a guest who had dined, with the Baron, at a dinner given by Lord Augustus Loftus in Sydney. 'I am one of the admirers,' he said, 'of your "Promenade autour du Monde," and I venture to ask you to do me the favour of writing your name in my copy of that book. In return, pray accept a volume of Longfellow's poems, with the author's autograph.' The fashionable stranger had skilfully touched the weak place in an author's heart. Baron Hübner consented to be driven back to his hotel, where his new friend was also residing. On the way, the stranger suddenly bethought himself that the two books were at the house of an acquaintance, 'two steps from the hotel.' He put his head out of the window, gave some fresh directions to the coachman, and the Baron soon found himself being whirled along at a furious rate along streets which he did not recognize. Still, the old traveller had no suspicion of anything wrong. His voyages and adventures certainly seem to have left him in a more than ordinarily unsophisticated condition. At last the carriage stopped, our author was conducted into the dark passage of a small house, and then into a little dirty room, where he found a tall man seated before a table, with his back to a mirror. In that mirror, the Baron saw his dear friend from Sydney gently lock the door, and put the key in his pocket. Then he understood all about it.

Of course the tall man was polite, and after promising to go and fetch the volume of Longfellow, he proposed to the gentleman from Sydney a game at cards. While the two men played[Pg 459] their sham game, the Baron had time to reflect; he saw that he had been pounced upon very skilfully—in less than two hours the 'Bothnia' would sail, all the people at the hotel would think he had gone by her, no one would miss him, no one would search for him. He might be murdered with impunity—with what impunity the Baron would have fully realized if he had known a little more of New York. No city in the world presents greater facilities for getting rid of the evidences of foul play. We have not seen the recent statistics of murders in New York, and doubt whether they have been published; but in the five years between 1870 and 1875, we happen to know that 281 'homicides' were committed there, and that only seven of the murderers were hanged. Twenty-four were sent to prison—nominally for life, although that is a mere form—and more than one-fourth of the criminals were never brought to trial at all. If Baron Hübner had known all this, he would have regarded his two new acquaintances with even greater interest than he did.

How and why they let him go scot-free is to us a mystery. They invited him to take a hand in the game, and he declined. They pretended to play for him; won, and offered him the stakes. He told them he had no money with him, that they would get nothing for their trouble, that the French Consul was to meet him on board the 'Bothnia' to bid him adieu; if he were not there a hue and cry at once would be raised. 'Then,' adds the Baron, 'turning to my friend from Sydney, I said to him, "Open the door." The ruffians gave in without further trouble. There was an exchange of looks between them, and the tall man said to the other, 'show him out.' We have heard of many strange things happening in New York, but never of one so strange as that.' When I stepped upon the deck of the "Bothnia," says the Baron, 'a few minutes before departure, I felt that I had had a narrow escape.' Very narrow; we should advise Baron Hübner, if ever again he finds himself in New York, not to tempt his good fortune by taking a drive with strangers who admire his writings.

For the novel and stirring incidents of travel, we must turn to Mr. Romilly's narrative of his experiences in the Western Pacific. He transports us to a comparatively little known region, and it was his good or ill fortune to come into contact with phases of life which must, it is to be hoped, for ever remain unknown to most of us. Few living men, for instance, have been present at a great feast on human flesh, cannibalism being one of the habits of savage life which is found to yield at the first touch of civilization. In New Ireland, however, Mr.[Pg 460] Romilly happened to be present at a sort of state banquet, given in honour of a victory over the enemy. The enemy himself supplied the materials of the repast. The details of the preparation of the horrible food may be read in Mr. Romilly's pages by all who have a curiosity on the subject. Some few particulars concerning a compound called 'Sak-sak' may here be given:—

'They, [the heads of the victims] were then disposed of in various ways, and when I asked what would be done with them, I was told, "They will go to improve the sak-sak." The natives on the East coast of New Ireland prepare a very excellent composition of sago and cocoa-nut, called sak-sak. I used to buy a supply of this every morning, as it would not keep, for my men. Now it appeared that for the next week or so, a third ingredient would be added to the sak-sak, namely, brains. I need hardly say that for the next two days of my stay I did not taste sak-sak, though my men made no secret of doing so. The flesh in the ovens had to be cooked for three days, or until the tough leaves in which it was wrapped were nearly consumed. When taken out of the ovens the method of eating it is as follows. The head of the eater is thrown back, somewhat after the fashion of an Italian eating macaroni. The leaf is opened at one end, and the contents are pressed into the mouth until they are finished. As Bill, my interpreter put it, "they cookum that fellow three day; by-and-by cookum finish, that fellow all same grease." For days afterwards, when everything is finished, they abstain from washing, lest the memory of the feast should be too fleeting.'

Mr. Romilly was informed by the natives that human flesh tastes even better than pork. One is satisfied to take their word for it. In the New Hebrides it appears that the people prefer to eat it dried, or 'jerked.' At present, we are told,

'the cannibals in the world may be numbered by millions. Probably a third of the natives of the country where I am now writing (New Guinea) are cannibals; so are about two-thirds of the occupants of the New Hebrides, and the same proportion of the Solomon Islanders. All the natives of the Santa Cruz group, Admiralties, Hermits, Louisiade, Engineer, D'Entrecasteaux groups are cannibals, and even some well-authenticated cases have occurred among the "black fellows" of Northern Australia. I do not know that the fact of a native being a cannibal makes him a greater savage. Some of the most treacherous savages on this coast are undoubtedly not cannibals, while most of the Louisiade cannibals are a mild-tempered, pleasant set of men.'

This testimony can do no harm in England, but it is to be hoped that Mr. Romilly will not repeat it too often among his black friends, or the moral of it might be misunderstood.

The Solomon Islands still form a part of the world of which[Pg 461] very little is known. They are rarely visited, and travellers who have gone for the purpose of 'taking notes,' have either altered their minds in good season, or never returned. Some years ago, Mr. Benjamin Boyd, a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron went out in his yacht, the 'Wanderer,' and was captured by the natives. Search was made for him from time to time, and his initials were found carved on trees. A notice was placed on all the goods sent to the natives to this effect: 'B. B., we are looking for you'—but no tidings were ever heard of the missing man. Mr. Romilly was told by the captain of a labour schooner that somewhere on the south coast he had noticed a European skull in a sort of temple; he recognized it as European from its size, and he also observed that one of the teeth was stopped with gold. We take it for granted that the dentists among the Solomon Islanders do not use gold for filling teeth. This, then, was probably the skull of the hapless owner of the 'Wanderer.' The Solomon Islanders now make a practice of killing white men, if it can be done safely, in revenge for the way in which they have been 'kidnapped' for the labour traffic. The diseases introduced by their treacherous white friends have made terrible ravages among them, and their own habits tend still further to reduce their numbers. There are several places,' says Mr. Romilly, 'where it is the custom to kill all, or nearly all, of the children soon after they are born.' This is the only region we ever heard of where so frightful and unnatural a custom exists. Female children are, or used to be, destroyed in many countries; but the indiscriminate slaughter of all children is decidedly uncommon. These islanders have another device which is supported by an argument not entirely devoid of strength. 'In a battle the victorious party, if they can surprise their enemies sufficiently to admit of a wholesale massacre, kill not only the men, but also the women and children. "We should be fools," say they, "if we did not. This must be revenged some day, if there are any men to do it; but how can they get men if we kill the women and children?"' The same thought has doubtless occurred to modern conquerors elsewhere, though, happily, circumstances have not enabled them to carry it into practical effect. Some other curious details respecting this group of islands, are given by Mr. Romilly. The old women it appears, become adepts in the occult sciences, and the men occasionally find the trade of wizard lucrative. They are chiefly called upon to bring about a change in the weather, and their plan of operations is to gain time. It resembles, in some striking features, the method adopted by the 'inspired statesman' of our own latitudes when he is trying to feel his[Pg 462] way towards the development of some scheme which he is half afraid of himself, and which the public view with profound suspicion. Surely the most of us could find a counterpart to the individual described in the following passage:—

'One old sorcerer of my acquaintance was a most interesting study. If he was asked for fine weather (which, by the way, in the Solomons is the usual request, the rainfall being enormous), he used to temporize in a truly masterly manner. First he would hold out for more payment. This policy he could continue for an indefinite length of time, as he would of course require payment in a form which he knew was difficult or impossible for the natives to comply with. Then, if he thought there was any likelihood of fine weather for a day or two, he would become possessed of a devil which would leave him at once if the sun made its appearance, but if the bad weather lasted the devil would last too; and finally, if the bad weather was very obstinate and would not come, he would hold out again for more payment. In this manner my old sorcerer was very seldom mistaken in his forecasts, and the influence he exerted over the clerk of the weather must have been very irksome to that functionary.

This leader of his tribe, we are further informed, had a 'great hold over the imagination of his dupes.' We are more civilized—or we think so—than the islanders of the Western Pacific; but human nature is pretty much the same there as here. As for the philosophy of such matters, it is thus summed up by Mr. Romilly: 'I have often wondered what the sorcerer thinks of himself; whether he really believes himself to be a magician, or whether he realizes the fact that he is an arrant old humbug. I think there is a mixture of both feelings.' It would be useless to pursue this enquiry any further.

Another of the unexplored islands of these seas forms a part of the Admiralty group, and is called Jesus Maria. It was visited by the 'Challenger' in 1875, and again by Mr. Romilly on two occasions, the last in 1881, in H.M.S. 'Beagle.' The natives, a fierce and warlike race, crowded round the vessel, eager to sell everything they had including their babies. Bottles and hoop-iron were eagerly sought for. While engaged in carrying on this simple traffic, the party on board noticed, to their amazement a white man on shore who fired off a gun to attract their attention. The next day a boat rowed to the beach, and there stood the white man. He proved to be a Scotchman named David Dow, who was collecting béche de mer, and found his trade prospects so good that he desired to remain where he was. The Admiralty Islanders have some 'very singular customs,' not to be met with anywhere else; but after thus piquing our curiosity, Mr. Romilly ruthlessly balks it by[Pg 463] remarking 'that they are, unfortunately, of a nature which cannot be described here.' We share his regret upon his being obliged to keep the secret; for when a traveller has found out anything absolutely fresh and startling, common humanity should, in these dull and overcast times, induce him to disclose it. But no doubt Mr. Romilly has his reasons for silence, and we must submit to them. The Germans have recently hoisted their flag upon several of these islands, and we may trust them to tell all that they can find out, and more.

In the Laughlan islands—a small group—the Germans are also to be found. Indeed, they are spreading rapidly, over the Pacific Isles. As the spirit of adventure is dying out among Englishmen, it appears to be increasing in other nations. The genius for colonization appears to have fled from us to Germany. Certain it is that Germans are everywhere displaying that daring and enterprise in which we once shone above all other people in the world. They will probably end by becoming masters of the larger part of the Western Pacific. As for the Laughlan Islands, it cannot be said that any one whose lot takes him there need be regarded as an object of pity. The climate is good; food is abundant; life is tolerably easy. True, there are no newspapers and no Parliament; but existence has often been found supportable in the absence of these things. The natives are friendly; and there are no animals anywhere, not even rats. The men are decently clad, and the women wear a very voluminous kilt, sometimes two or three of them, over each other. These garments are made of grass, leaves, or fibre, stained various colours. 'In wearing two or three, care is taken to produce an æsthetic mixture of colours—a little vanity which is met with sometimes at home amongst ladies who like to display petticoats of many colours. It is considered just as essential here to walk well as it is at home, but the two styles are not quite the same. The Laughlan lady, in walking, at each step gives a little twist to the hips, which has the effect of making the kilts fly out right and left, in what is considered a highly fashionable and beautiful manner. Though a somewhat similar effect to this may, I am informed, occasionally be seen in petticoats at home, still I fear that the firm stride of the Laughlan lady could hardly be reproduced in English boots. To see ten or twelve of these ladies walking in the unsociable formation of single file, which they adopt, with their many-coloured kilts flying out on either side, is a very pretty sight.' Evidently, a judicious traveller and observer might do worse than take a tour to the Laughlans.

Two other interesting spots to visit are Thursday Island and[Pg 464] Norfolk Island, both British possessions, and the first a place of some importance, as the centre of the Torres Straits pearl-shell fishery. This trade has demoralized the natives, who now seem to spend a great part of their time in getting drunk, the Europeans too often setting the example, 'It is a common thing,' says Mr. Romilly, 'for a diver to go down three-parts drunk. The dress is supposed to have a very sobering effect.' Here is a little story which will produce a pang of regret in the minds of the jewellers of Bond Street:—

'The best pearl I ever saw was in the possession of a celebrated diver who was a shipmate of mine from Thursday Island to Brisbane. He was offered on board the ship two hundred pounds for it, which could not have been a third of its value. But he refused every offer, as he had just been paid off, and had plenty of money. I felt sure it would go the way of all pearls when his money was finished, and accordingly I informed a Sydney jeweller of it, and where he could see it. When I was in Sydney a few weeks later I made inquiries about it, and the jeweller told me that it was the finest pear-shaped pearl he had ever seen, but that it was unsaleable at its proper value in Australia, and he had therefore made no attempt to buy it.'

But the pearl fishery on these coasts is becoming less lucrative every year, and it is now falling almost entirely into the hands of natives, who can stay under water longer than men of our own race, and seem to be endowed with greater powers of endurance. As for the 'labour trade' of which we all have heard so much, Mr. Romilly gives us to understand that it is dying out. It arose under the stimulus which the American war gave to cotton growing, and to the sudden necessity for procuring assistance for the planters. At first, the natives were found ready enough to volunteer for the service, but the treatment they received was not calculated to encourage the spirit of volunteering. Then all sorts of artifices were tried to deceive them. Sometimes the labour-hunters pretended to be missionaries. 'On the usual question being asked, "Where shippy come?" they would reply, "Missionary." Perhaps they would all pretend to sing a hymn very slowly, while the hatches would be left open, and several tins of biscuits would be put into the hold.' Curiosity would gradually draw the natives aboard, and then the hatches would be clapped on, and the man-stealers made off for Queensland or Fiji. It is to be hoped that Mr. Romilly is right in stating that these practices have ceased, but unless we are mistaken, accounts have appeared in colonial journals, within a very recent period, of organized raids upon these coasts for the purpose of carrying off the natives. It is needless to say, that a sentiment of hostility to[Pg 465] all white men is likely to remain as the permanent result of this abominable system.

The fact is, that the white men who had the run of these islands down to a few years ago were chiefly the off-scourings of other countries. They found among the savages far fewer vices than they brought with them from the civilized world. Some of them had run away to escape from the vengeance of the laws which they had outraged; others were attracted by the freedom which an entirely new life opened up to them. From them have sprung a brood of half-castes who are the curse of the islands—like many other half-castes, they manage to combine the evil qualities of both races. The chief traders along the Pacific are now becoming much more respectable. Some of them, indeed, appear to emulate the style and condition of the prosperous English merchant. Mr. Romilly knows such a man, living 'within a day's march' of the wildest cannibals in the Pacific, who keeps up an establishment of forty or fifty men, with a French chef. 'In a hitherto almost unknown island, he will give you a dinner, every night, which could not be equalled at any private house or club in Australia.' He keeps a yacht for private exploring expeditions, and is to-day the principal 'trader and pioneer in the Pacific.' A narrative of his observations and experiences would be of very unusual interest, but like the Russian settler before referred to, he reserves for his own benefit the knowledge he has acquired. The Germans are pushing us hard, and in many respects they are better fitted for their work than English traders. There seems a fair prospect of a gradual elevation of social as well as of commercial life throughout the Pacific. Already, lawlessness is discouraged. Not so very many years ago, piracy was carried on openly in these seas. Mr. Romilly gives a very interesting and curious account of one of the last pirates, a desperado known as 'Bully Hayes,' once a boatman on the Mississippi. This man began life by robbing his father, and soon afterwards made his appearance on the Pacific coast the proud proprietor of a fifty-ton schooner. 'How he had obtained possession of this schooner,' says Mr. Romilly, 'was a matter of surmise, but he had been seen at Singapore not long before this time, and a fifty-ton schooner had mysteriously disappeared from that port without the knowledge of her captain and owner.' He carried on a bold career of plunder for many years, and only came to grief at last by an accident which he could not have foreseen. He had stolen another vessel, and was making for some of his favourite haunts along the coast, when the cook, who was steering, happened to give him some offence. At that time,[Pg 466] Hayes was accustomed to settle all disputes off-handed with his revolver, and in accordance with this plan he ran below to get his 'shooting irons.' Mr. Romilly thus relates the sequel:—

'The cook objected, and, catching up the first piece of wood he saw, got on to the top of the little deck-house over the ladder, and, the moment Hayes showed his head above deck, gave him a blow which killed him on the spot. This cook seems to have been some what doubtful as to whether Hayes was even now dead, so he fetched the largest anchor the cutter possessed, and bound the body to it, after which he hove anchor and body overboard, remarking, "For sure Massa Hayes dead this time."'

Mr. Romilly, in the course of his wanderings, made a journey to New Guinea, a portion of which has now been placed under British protection. Little is known of the resources of this country, trading operations having hitherto been almost entirely confined to the south coast. Mr. Romilly's visit was brief, and he was not enabled to add much to our previous stock of information. He does not seem to be aware of the progress which the Germans are making in this island, or of the results of the energetic support which Prince Bismarck invariably extends to his adventurous countrymen.

Here, then, are three works which ought to have the effect of reviving the interest of the English people in their possessions abroad, if they have not sunk into a hopeless state of indifference and apathy on the subject. We do not for a moment believe that the working men are indifferent to the present and future welfare of our Colonies, but they need to be instructed as to the true value of their great inheritance, and therefore it is that we earnestly wish such books as these could be made readily accessible to them. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of convincing them that it is our duty as a nation to hold fast to all that we have added, from time to time, to the dominions of the Crown. The foreign policy of the country, no less than the domestic policy, must henceforth be directed mainly in accordance with their opinions; and if those opinions are left to be influenced and guided by the hereditary dislike of the Colonies which infects all Radicalism, our position in the world will soon be reduced to one of comparative insignificance. Baron Hübner concludes his volumes with these words: 'Had I to sum up the impressions derived from my travels, I should say, "British rule is firmly seated in India; England has only one enemy to fear—herself."' That is the whole truth of the matter. We have to fear our own party divisions, the want of true public spirit among too many of our 'politicians,' the tendency of Radical leaders to teach the doctrine that England ought to shut[Pg 467] herself within her own island boundaries, and cast off all outside responsibilities. Sentiments of this kind may be, and are, loudly cheered in the House of Commons, but very few Liberals are daring enough to advocate them in the country. Lancashire knows how valuable India is to her, and the manufacturing districts generally see the growing importance to them, merely from a commercial point of view, of the Australian Colonies. The anti-Colonial policy is growing less and less popular among the people. To discredit it altogether, it is only necessary to distribute, far and wide among the working men, facts and considerations of the kind furnished in the works to which we have endeavoured to call attention.


[63] See Mr. Lecky's 'History of England in the Eighteenth Century,' vol. ii, p. 443, &c.

ART. VII.—The Apostolic Fathers: S. Ignatius, S. Polycarp. Revised Texts, with Introductions, Notes, Dissertations, and Translations. By J. B. Lightfoot, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D., Bishop of Durham. London, 1885. 2 vols.

This a great book, dealing principally with a great subject—the 'Ignatian Epistles.' The two volumes contain altogether 1849 Pages, 1311 being devoted to St. Ignatius, the remainder to St. Polycarp. It is no exaggeration to say that they are full of the most valuable information, dealing with matters of vital ecclesiastical importance, the whole presented in the most lucid style, and marked by broad, strong, scholarship. They are the result of 'a keen interest in the Ignatian controversy conceived long ago' by the Bishop of Durham. 'The subject has been before me,' he writes in his Preface, 'for nearly thirty years, and during this period it has engaged my attention off and on in the intervals of other literary pursuits and official duties.' The conception, execution, and production of the work had therefore been protracted. The volumes as they are issued to-day are not in the form they were originally written. Thus, the 'Appendix Ignatiana' was in type several years before the commentary on the genuine Epistles of Ignatius, and the Introduction and texts of the 'Ignatian Acts of Martyrdom' passed through the press in 1878. In 1879 Cambridge and London surrendered their great teacher to Durham; and there in the intervals, few enough, snatched from official duties, the first volume has been written, and from thence sent forth. It is necessary to bear this in mind; because it will, on the one hand, explain absence of reference[Pg 468] to some works published since 1878; and on the other hand it increases the value of the Bishop's results, when reached in entire independence of, and yet in entire accordance with, those of other scholars in the same field.

This work testifies to the truth, that it is a mark of true greatness to be modest. The most superficial examination of these volumes exhibits a Corpus Ignatianum superior to anything yet published. It is, says Dr. Harnack,[64] 'without exaggeration the most learned and careful Patristic monograph which has appeared in the nineteenth century.' It exhibits 'a diligence and knowledge of the subject which show that Dr. Lightfoot has made himself master of this department, and placed himself beyond the reach of any rival.... There is nothing in it that is not up to date, and the whole treatise forms a well-knit unity.' This is the willing testimony of one of the ablest of the scholars of Germany who have handled the great questions connected with Ignatius; the testimony, moreover, of one who, as we shall see presently, finds himself at variance with the Bishop upon two points, especially which, more than any other, materially affect the genuineness of the Epistles and their date. Such, however, is not the Bishop of Durham's thought. As he looks back upon the work to which he has consecrated the prime of his life, he speaks of it in language touching in its modesty—

'I have striven to make the materials for the text as complete as I could.... Of the use which I have made of the critical materials I must leave others to judge. Of the introductions, exegetical notes, and dissertations, I need say nothing, except that I have spared no pains to make them adequate, so far as my knowledge and ability permitted. The translations are intended not only to convey to English readers the sense of the original, but also (where there was any difficulty of construction) to serve as commentaries on the Greek. My anxiety not to evade these difficulties forbad me in many cases to indulge in a freedom which I should have claimed, if a literary standard alone had been kept in view.'

He follows up such words by others, conveying his thanks to those who have helped him in his work, and the generosity of his recognition of their services does but enhance the reserveful simplicity with which he comments upon his own. The 'English reader' and the 'others' whose judgment he desires, will, at least in England, unite in rendering to him a respectful and grateful homage. The subject treated by the Bishop is in a very real sense an Englishman's subject. For three centuries[Pg 469] English critics have not only entered the literary arena, in which the great historic and ecclesiastical questions connected with his subject have been discussed, but they have contributed largely to the materials, offensive and defensive, which the combatants have employed. Ussher, Pearson, Churton, and Cureton, have been English champions whose merits all have acknowledged. The Bishop of Durham has now entered the lists to support what has been proved sound in their conclusions, to remove what was weak, and do battle for the truth. An impartial English public will appreciate the gravity of this challenge, and may be trusted to grant or withhold the victory he puts forth his best powers to win.

The volumes lend themselves by their construction to an easy statement of their contents, if those contents by their fulness must be of necessity the despair of critic and reviewer. First there is the life of the Saint, then the discussion of the manuscripts and versions which delineate the Saint and his literary remains. These are followed by exhaustive discussions upon all that tells for or against their genuineness, the whole being treated both historically and critically. Such will be found, briefly stated, the mode of discussing the life and works both of St. Ignatius of Antioch and of St. Polycarp of Smyrna; and two results will reward a patient persual of these volumes. The Bishop has indeed limited these results to the study of the Ignatian Epistles, but—under his guidance—the reader will find what is affirmed of one to be true of both:—

'The Ignatian Epistles are an exceptionally good training-ground for the student of early Christian literature and history. They present in typical and instructive forms the most varied problems, textual, exegetical, doctrinal, and historical. One who has thoroughly grasped these problems will be placed in possession of a master key which will open to him vast storehouses of knowledge.

'But' (continues the Bishop) 'I need not say that their educational value was not the motive which led me to spend so much time over them. The destructive criticism of the last half century is, I think, fast spending its force. In its excessive ambition it has "o'erleapt itself." It has not indeed been without its use. It has led to a thorough examination and sifting of ancient documents. It has exploded not a few errors, and discovered or established not a few truths. For the rest, it has by its directness and persistency stimulated investigation and thought on these subjects to an extent which a less aggressive criticism would have failed to secure. The immediate effect of the attack has been to strew the vicinity of the fortress with heaps of ruins. Some of these were best cleared away without hesitation or regret; but in other cases the rebuilding is a measure demanded by truth and prudence alike. I have been reproached by[Pg 470] my friends for allowing myself to be diverted from the more congenial task of commenting on St. Paul's Epistles; but the importance of the position seemed to me to justify the expenditure of much time and labour in "repairing a breach" not indeed in the "House of the Lord" itself, but in the immediately outlying buildings.'

St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp (together with St. Clement of Rome) are the links which connect the Apostolic age proper with the Fathers of the second and third centuries; and this fact has made them and their scanty literature the hope and despair, the pride and the scorn, of opposing factions. In the whirl and confusion of discordant criticisms it is everything to study and to build up by the help of one who has caught the spirit of the master-lives he expounds. There breathes throughout the volumes of the Bishop of Durham the spirit of St. Ignatius's counsel—

'Speak to each man severally after the manner of God. Bear the maladies of all, as a perfect athlete. Where there is much toil, there is much gain. If thou lovest good scholars, this is not thankworthy in thee. Rather bring the more pestilent to submission by gentleness.... The season requireth thee, as pilots require winds, or as a storm-tossed mariner a haven, that it may attain unto God. Be sober, as God's athlete. The prize is incorruption and life eternal, concerning which thou also art persuaded.'—(Ep. of St. Ignatius to St. Polycarp, I, 2.)

Ignatius of Antioch: Men of old loved to find in his name (or its Syriace quivalent, Nurono, υουρα = πυρ, fire) a prescience of the torch of divine love which blazed in him. The fancy may pass, if etymologically unsound; for Ignatius, 'the Inflamed,' was a true child of the fiery East. Contrast him and his letters with St. Clement of Rome and his Epistle to the Corinthians. Nothing is more notable in the Roman 'than the calm equable temper,' the 'sweet reasonableness.' He is essentially a moderator. On the other hand, impetuosity, fire, strong-headedness, are impressed on every sentence in the Epistles of Ignatius. He is by his very nature an impeller of men. Both are intense, though in different ways. In Clement, the intensity of moderation dominates and guides his conduct. In Ignatius it is the intensity of passion—passion for doing and suffering—which drives him onward. In Clement we listen to the voice of a judge delivering calmly his sentence from his throne; in Ignatius we

'are startled by the ringing cry of the trumpet-call—sharp, stirring, penetrating—sounding for the battle. The fire of the hot East bursts in, like a sun, strong and impassioned; a vivid personality, in flame[Pg 471] with love, flashes in upon the world, quivering as a sword of the cherubim; a rhetoric in which the rapid, electric thought breaks out of the strained and formless chaos of the imagination, as lightning out of the rolling and dark thunder-cloud; a theology, which, by the intense passion of metaphor, forces an almost violent entrance into the secrets of the Most High; a morality which can carry forward into the heights of holiness the madness of faith, the extravagance of zeal, the recklessness of enthusiasm, the audacity of love, dragging them into the service of Christ at the chariot-wheels of God's triumph—such are the characteristics of Ignatius of Antioch.'[65]

The Roman name of Ignatius (or Egnatius) tells nothing as to his birth or origin. It was not unknown in Syria and Palestine, and was sometimes borne by Jews. But another and a second name—Theophorus—of regular recurrence in the seven genuine Epistles records at least his spiritual birth. Ignatius probably assumed the name of 'the God-bearer' at the time of his conversion or his baptism; the precedent lay before him of a Saul commemorating a critical incident in his career (Acts xiii. 9) by a similar adoption of a name; and that assumed by Ignatius became in its turn an epithet freely applied to the Fathers at the Œcumenical councils. The name gave birth to more than one beautiful legend. Was not Ignatius, according to the Eastern belief, the 'God-borne' ΘΕὁφορος, the very child whom the Lord took into His arms (St. Mark ix. 36, 37)? Was he not the 'God-bearer' Θεοφὁρος on the fragments of whose heart according to Western tradition, was found stamped in golden letters the name of Jesus Christ? Whether he were a slave or not must remain uncertain. It is a more probable deduction from his own language that he—the 'untimely birth,'[66]—the 'one born out of due time' and 'the last' of the faithful, had been rescued from a pagan life, such as Antioch on the Orontes, the home of panders and dancing girls, and 'Daphnici mores' would have applauded.

'His,' says Bishop Lightfoot, 'was one of those "broken" natures out of which God's heroes are made. If not a persecutor of Christ, if not a foe to Christ, as seems probable, he had at least been for a considerable portion of his life an alien from Christ. Like St. Paul, like Augustine, like Francis Xavier, like Luther, like John Bunyan, he could not forget that his had been a dislocated life; and the memory of the catastrophe, which had shattered his former self, filled him with awe and thanksgiving, and fanned the fervour of his devotion to a white heat.

[Pg 472]

There is no chronological inconsistency in supposing that Ignatius was a disciple of some Apostle, if nothing can be affirmed as to the date of his accession to the ministry or episcopate. On the supposition that he was martyred, as an old man, about a. d. 110, his birth may be placed about a. d. 40. When 25 years of age, or in a. d. 65, companionship would still have been opened to him with St. Peter and St. Paul; or, if his teacher were St. John, his conversion may be brought to a. d. 90, when he would be about 50 years of age. Confessedly all this is conjectural or traditional, as are also any details of episcopal administration.' A 'pitchy darkness' envelopes the life and work of Ignatius, till it is 'at length illumined by a vivid but transient flash of light.' The story of Ignatius begins and ends with the story of his death. 'If his martyrdom had not rescued him from obscurity, he would have remained like his predecessor Euodius, a mere name.' His martyrdom has made him a distinct and living personality, a true father of the Church, a teacher and example to all time.'

Thrilling though the narrative of this martyrdom must ever be, the barest outline only can be given here. The Martyrologies, if they are to be set aside as not containing authentic history, will fascinate afresh the student who turns to them to find in the notes and discussions light cast upon many a critical and ecclesiastical problem. The genuine Epistles have furnished the Bishop with the materials of a sketch of terror which every one will read with the deepest interest.

For some unknown reason the Church of Antioch was by God's will deprived of its venerable head; and with other 'convicts,' collected from the provinces to be

'Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday.'

Ignatius was led Romeward. His journey lay along a route which in part had been traversed by Xerxes. The procession of the Persian, foremost among his myriads of men for beauty and stature, halting near Sardis to decorate a beautiful plane-tree with golden ornaments, and commit it to the custody of an 'immortal'[67] is in vivid contrast to the procession of 'criminals,' the Christian leader 'bound amidst ten leopards (or soldiers) who wax worse when kindly treated,' halting also at Sardis, his own decoration the 'bonds' which are to him 'spiritual pearls,' and at Smyrna, writing letters which shall make him immortal.[68] At Troas, like another St. Paul, he looked upon the shores of the Europe which was in later ages[Pg 473] to rise up and call them blessed; and from thence he wrote how prepared, how eager he was to meet the 'fire, the sword, the wild beasts,' how to be 'near to the sword was to be near to God; to be encircled by wild beasts was to be encircled by God.' And then Rome at last!—among those who thirsted for his blood, among those whose very love he dreaded lest it should do him the injury of keeping him from martyrdom. Touching is the appeal he had sent before him to the Church 'filled with the grace of God without wavering and filtered clear from every foreign stain':—

'Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ. Entice the wild beasts that they may become my sepulchre and may leave no part of my body behind, so that I may not, when I am fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one.'

Into the colossal pile, erected for the display of the bloodiest of inhuman crimes, he was led; and his own impassioned appeal was answered:

'Come fire and cross, and grapplings with wild beasts! Come cuttings and manglings, wrenching of bones, hacking of limbs, crushings of my whole body! Come cruel tortures of the devil to assail me! Only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ!'

Men, with tear-stained faces, looked away from his death to 'form themselves'—as he had bidden them—

'into a chorus in love and sing to the Father in Jesus Christ. God had vouchsafed that the Bishop from Syria should be found in the West, having summoned him from the East. Good was it to set from this world unto God, that he might rise unto Him.'

Love is perhaps wrong in asserting that his remains were brought back to Antioch: it is unerringly right in having raised the Epistle to the Romans—'his pæan prophetic of his coming victory'—to be the martyr's manual of a grateful posterity.

'The glory of Ignatius as a martyr,' writes the Bishop of Durham, 'has commended his lessons as a doctor. His teaching on matters of theological truth and ecclesiastical order was barbed and fledged by the fame of his constancy in that supreme trial of his faith.'

If interest in the heresies he combated may be said to be confined to-day to scholars who study them as a chapter in heresiology, or seek in them a bone of contention, the interest in the points of ecclesiastical order delineated by him was never[Pg 474] more intense than now. Only last year the testimony of the Ignatian Epistles to the burning question of Apostolical succession was one point in the discussion between Canon Liddon of St. Paul's and Dr. Hatch; this year, the view presented by the Bishop of Durham meets with its ablest antagonist in Dr. Harnack. In very truth the letters of the martyr have been the battlefield of the controversy, which affirms or disallows the threefold ministry of the Church of Christ.

It will be perceived at once how much turns, not first upon the interpretation of the Epistles, but upon the genuineness of the text presenting itself for interpretation. What is the text? Never before have the lovers of textual criticism had the opportunity of examining and answering this question as they have now in the Bishop of Durham's volumes. He first describes at length the Manuscripts and Versions, on which a true text may be reasonably founded, and then gives the text, together with the Versions, accompanied by Introductions and Notes which leave nothing to desire. The labour necessary for massing and bringing together all this information is only equalled by the exactness and orderliness with which it is presented. But the Bishop writes not only for the scholar, but for the man of general culture and intelligence, who can enter with interest into a problem historical and antiquarian, as well as textual and critical. To many the battle of the giants, over the 'long,' the 'middle,' and the 'short,' form or recension of the Ignatian Epistles, will be an intellectual treat, as he watches the fence and scholarship of the various disputants. He will see that in literary as in political controversy the spirit of compromise is to-day in the ascendant, and that 'middle'-men have for once their value.

To explain these terms. By the 'short' form is meant that which consists of three Epistles only—to St. Polycarp, to the Ephesians, and to the Romans. This exists only in a Syraic version. By the second, 'the middle form,' are understood these three Epistles, and four more, namely, Epistles to the Smyrnæans, Magnesians, Philadelphians, and Trallians. This form is originally Greek, and is found also in Latin, Armenian, and—in a fragmentary state—in Syriac and Coptic. The third or 'long' form, contains the seven already enumerated in a more expanded state, together with six others, the recension being in a Greek and in a Latin translation.[69]

Practically the contest as to the truest form has been reduced[Pg 475] to a duel between the 'short' and the 'middle.' The 'long' form can be shown to be the work of an unknown author, probably of the latter half of the fourth century, and constructed from the genuine Ignatian Epistles by interpolation, alteration and omission. But the 'long' form died hard, and mainly through the thrusts of our own Ussher.

'The history of the Ignatian Epistles,' says the Bishop, 'in Western Europe before and after the revival of letters, is full of interest. In the Middle Ages the spurious and interpolated letters alone have any wide circulation. Gradually, as the light advances, the forgeries recede into the background. Each successive stage diminishes the bulk of the Ignatian literature, which the educated mind accepts as genuine; till at length the true Ignatius alone remains, divested of the accretions which perverted ingenuity has gathered about him.'

In the 'long' recension there is a letter to one Mary of Cassobola. This was made the parent of a 'correspondence between St. John and the Virgin,' bearing the name of Ignatius: and it is not improbably connected with the outburst of Mariolatry in the eleventh and following centuries. But with 'the first streak of intellectual dawn this Ignatian spectre vanished into its kindred darkness.' The forgery was 'consigned to the limbo of foolish and forgotten things.' This pretender set aside, St. Ignatius was represented in Western Europe by the epistles of the 'Long' recension. The Latin text was printed in 1498, and the Greek in 1557. At first no doubt was felt about their genuineness. Gradually, however, unwelcome critics pointed out gross anachronisms and blunders. Men, with unpleasant habits of comparison, noted that Eusebius, the Church historian (C. a. d. 310-25), quoted from only seven epistles, and that the divergence of the 'long' text from that given by early Christian writers[70] fully warranted the comment of Ussher, that it was difficult to imagine 'eundem legere se Ignatium qui veterum ætate legebatur.' Theological and ecclesiastical prejudice lent bitterness to the rising strife. On the Continent, Reformer and Romanist ranged themselves in opposite camps: the one quoting with delight passages which favoured Roman supremacy, or advocated Episcopacy; the other throwing them over as 'nursery stories' (or 'silly tales,' nænia), and denouncing[Pg 476] 'the insufferable impudence of those who equipped themselves with ghosts like these for the purpose of deceiving' (Calvin). After the publication of the edition of Vedelius, a Genevan Professor, in 1623, Anglican writers, such as Whitgift, Hooker, and Andrewes, seem to have accepted without hesitation the twelve (the seven named by Eusebius and five others) contained in that edition; but in England as on the Continent, the absence of so much, which could alone lead men to a right conclusion, prevented the consideration of the question on its true merits:—

'Episcopacy was the burning question of the day; and the sides of the combatants in the Ignatian controversy were already predetermined for them by their attitude towards this question. Every allowance should be made for their following their prepossessions, where the evidence seemed so evenly balanced. On the one hand, external testimony was so strongly in favour of the genuineness of certain Ignatian letters; on the other hand, the only Ignatian letters known were burdened with difficulties. At the very eve of Ussher's revelation, a fierce literary war broke out on this very subject of Episcopacy—evoked by the religious and political troubles of the times.'

On the one side were Hall's (Bishop of Exeter) 'Episcopacy by Divine Right asserted' (1639), and 'An Humble Remonstrance' on behalf of Liturgy and Episcopacy (1641); Ussher's 'The original of Bishops and Metropolitans,' and Jeremy Taylor's 'Of the Sacred Order and Offices of Episcopacy' (1642); on the other, the five Presbyterian ministers whose initials composed the monstrous name Smectymnuus,[71] issued their 'Answer to the Book entituled an Humble Remonstrance' (1641), and Milton, in his short treatise 'Of Prelatical Episcopacy' (1641), fulminated with 'fiery eloquence and reckless invective' against Ussher.

'Had God,' wrote Milton, 'intended that we should have sought any part of useful instruction from Ignatius, doubtless He would not have so ill-provided for our knowledge as to send him to our hands in this broken and disjointed plight; and if He intended no such thing, we do injuriously in thinking to taste better the pure evangelic manna by seasoning our mouths with the tainted scraps and fragments from an unknown table, and searching among the verminous and polluted rags dropped overworn from the toiling shoulders of Time, with these deformedly to quilt and interlace the entire, the spotless, and undecaying robe of Truth. What impiety,' he added,[Pg 477] 'the confronting and paralleling the sacred verity of St. Paul with the offals and sweepings of antiquity, that met as accidently and absurdly as Epicurus his atoms to patch up a Leucippean Ignatius.'

'Out of his own mouth,' says Bishop Lightfoot, 'he was soon convicted.' The "better provision for knowledge" came full soon. To the critical genius of Ussher belongs the honour of restoring the true Ignatius. Ussher observed that the quotations from this Father in three English writers, Robert (Grosseteste) of Lincoln (c. 1250), John Tyssington (c. 1381), and William Wodeford (c. 1396), agreed—not with texts hitherto known (the Greek and Latin of the 'long' Recension), but—with the quotations in Eusebius and Theodoret. He concluded that somewhere in the libraries of England he ought to find MSS. of a version corresponding to this earlier text of Ignatius: and he discovered two—(1.) Caiensis 395 [L1], a MS. given to Gonville and Cains College, Cambridge, in 1444 by Walter Crome; and (2.) Montacutianus [L2], a parchment from the library of Bishop Montague or Montacute, of Norwich. Of the first a transcript was made for Archbishop Ussher, and is still in the library of Dublin University (D.3.II), and is dated 20 June, 1631. It is full of inaccuracies, arising sometimes from indifference to spelling on the part of the transcriber, or to carelessness and inattention, but most frequently from ignorance of the numerous and perplexing contractions. The second has disappeared, probably on the day when Parliament ordered the Archbishop's books to be seized and confiscated (1643). Bishop Lightfoot has in part restored it by drawing attention to the collation of this Montacute MS., which occurs between the lines or in the margin of the Dublin transcript of the Caius MS. Archbishop Ussher's examination of the Latin version, thus discovered, induced in his mind a suspicion that Bishop Grosseteste was himself the translator. A marginal note, for example, betrayed the nationality of its author; 'Incus est instrumentum fabri; dicitur Anglice anfeld [anvil].' Who so likely to have had the ability to translate from a Greek version as Robert Grosseteste, one of the very few Greek scholars of his age? Evidence is not wanting that the Ignatian Epistles were imported from Greece, and translated under the Bishop's direction by one or other of the Greek scholars who were with him: and it is significant, in connection with this point, that Tyssington and Wodeford belonged to the Franciscan Convent at Oxford to which Grosseteste left his books.

The result of Ussher's discovery was to determine, that this Latin translation—valuable for critical purposes on account of[Pg 478] its extreme literalness[72]—represented the Ignatius known to the Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries. The Greek text still remained unknown, and Ussher attempted to restore it from the 'long' recension by the aid of his newly discovered Latin version. This he did by bringing the former as nearly as possible into conformity with the latter. Ussher's book appeared in 1644. It was marred by one blot. Eusebius had mentioned seven Epistles, but Ussher—deceived by a mistake on the part of St. Jerome—exscinded the Epistle to Polycarp, and condemned it as spurious. Two years later, Isaac Voss published the Greek of six Epistles from a Florentine MS., the Epistle to the Romans having disappeared from the copy; and this omission was finally rectified in 1689 by Ruinart. From the middle of the seventeenth century disputants ceased to trouble themselves about the 'long' form. Controversy, presently to be noted, raged about the Vossian letters, Daillé (1666) attacking them, Pearson defending them.

It is a great leap to the year 1845, but not till then did a new era dawn upon the questions at issue. It was in that year that Cureton published the 'Antient Syriac Version of the Epistles of St. Ignatius to St. Polycarp, the Ephesians, and the Romans.' This version was discovered in two MSS. at the British Museum, and contained the Epistles named in a shorter form than either of the Greek or Latin texts.[73] Cureton's contention was that he had discovered the genuine Ignatius, and that the remaining four Epistles of the Vossian collection, as well as the additional portions of these three, were forgeries. Cureton was opposed by Dr. Wordsworth, the late Bishop of Lincoln, then Canon of Westminster, and defended by Bunsen. There followed quickly the Vindiciæ Ignatianæ (1846) and Corpus Ignatianum (1849), in which Cureton was considered to have not only refuted his adversary, but also to have presented arguments which rallied to his standard Ritschl, Lipsius, Pressensé, Ewald, Milman, and Böhringer. Opposition to Cureton's view was not, however, wanting. The Orientalists, Petermann and Merx, united with the Conservative critical school, represented by Denzinger and Uhlhorn, in preferring the Vossian collection; while the Tübingen school (Baur and[Pg 479] Hilgenfeld) opposed itself to Ignatian letters, short, middle, or long, as utterly subversive of their theories of the growth of the Canon, and of the history of the Early Church. The Bishop of Durham was himself, at that time on Cureton's side, 'led captive' (as he says) 'for a time by the tyranny of this dominant force.' We can but record the change in his opinions, and leave to the reader to follow, in the Bishop's own pages, the reasons which induced him to abandon a method and decline results that would not stand the test of a searching criticism. Independent investigation of the phenomena of the Armenian version and of the Syriac fragments led him to regard the 'short' or Curetonian recension as an abridgment or mutilation, rather than the nucleus, of the 'middle' or Vossian form; and Zahn's monograph, Ignatius von Antiochien(1873), never yet answered, dealt a fatal blow at the claims of the Curetonian letters. Since then Lipsius has been convinced by Merx; Renan and Harnack are agreed; and most scholars will come to the conclusion, that through the Bishop of Durham's own serious investigation of the diction and style of the 'short' form, 'the last sparks of its waning life have been extinguished.' The collection was directed by no doctrinal, Eutychian or Monophysite, motive, nor composed (as Hefele suggested) in support of moral aim or monastic piety. It is simply a 'loose and perfunctory curtailment of the middle form, neither epitome nor extract, but something between the two,' and to be dated about the year a. d. 400 or somewhat earlier.

The ground having been thus cleared from the accretions of the 'long' form and the mutilations of the 'short,' the Bishop of Durham considers in the next place the genuineness of the seven Epistles known to Eusebius, and preserved to us not only in the original Greek, but also in Latin and other translations. It is a bitter reflection, that discussion on this subject was (and—in a less degree—is still) evoked, not so much by critical and textual variations and difficulties, as by the exigencies of party spirit and theological animosity. A dreary, if necessary, page of ecclesiastical history has to be studied, when French Protestant and English Puritan turned passionately against the discovery of Ussher and Voss. It is small comfort to the charitably minded to be told that, had no Daillé attacked[74][Pg 480] the Ignatian letters, Pearson would not have stepped forward as their champion.

The consideration of the genuineness of the Seven Epistles falls naturally under the head of external and internal evidence.

The Bishop gives his conclusion on the external evidence in the following words:—

'(1.) No Christian writings of the second century, very few writings of antiquity, whether Christian or pagan, are so well authenticated as the Epistles of Ignatius. If the Epistle of Polycarp be accepted as genuine, the authentication is perfect. (2.) The main ground of objection against the genuineness of the Epistle of Polycarp is its authentication of the Ignatian Epistles. Otherwise there is every reason to believe that it would have passed unquestioned. (3.) The Epistle of Polycarp itself is exceptionally well authenticated by the testimony of his disciple Irenæus. (4.) All attempts to explain the phenomena of the Epistle of Polycarp, as forged or interpolated to give colour to the Ignatian Epistles, have signally failed.'

These four propositions sum up an examination minute and masterful. Not only is the testimony of the Epistle of Polycarp adduced, but also that of Irenæus; that of the letter of the Smyrnæans, giving the account of the martyrdom of Polycarp; that of Lucian, and that of Origen (middle of third century). After the age of Eusebius (half a century later than Origen) 'no early Christian writing outside the Canon is attested by witnesses so many and so various in the ages of the Councils and subsequently.' Dr. Harnack, however, is opposed to the Bishop's conclusions, and considers that, 'if we do not retain the Epistle of Polycarp, the external evidence on behalf of the Ignatian Epistles is exceedingly weak, and hence is highly favourable to the suspicion that they are spurious.' This is not the place to enter into the dispute. We can but record our opinion, that in the Bishop's pages Dr. Harnack's objections are met by anticipation.

The internal evidence is treated by the Bishop under six heads.

1. The Historical and Geographical Circumstances dealing specially with the condemnation and the journey to Rome. Under this section are collected also the personal notices yielding their testimony to the genuineness of the letters in a manner not less striking, because incidental and allusive, than the testimony of the geographical section. The reader will linger here over the thought of the consolation and refreshment brought to the good Ignatius on his way to martydom. We learn to love Crocus and Alce, 'names,' says Ignatius, 'beloved[Pg 481] by me,' Burrhus and the widow of Epitropus, for the love they bore the Saint; we learn to see in the Bishop of Durham's pages how such names bear undesigned testimony to the Epistles which record them.

2. The Theological Polemics.

3. The Ecclesiastical Conditions. To these we shall return immediately, after a few words on—

4. The Literary Obligations, 5, The Personality of the Writer, and 6, The Style and Diction of the Letters. As regards the Literary Obligations, the Bishop lays down the following maxim: 'A primary test of age in any early Christian writing is the relation which the notices of the words and deeds of Christ and His Apostles bear to the Canonical writings;' and he adds, 'Tried by this test, the Ignatian Epistles proclaim their early date. There is no sign whatever in them of a Canon or authoritative collection of Books of the New Testament.' There are frequent references to the facts of Christ's life, death, and resurrection, and Gospel sayings are given; but there is 'not a single reference to written evangelical records, such as the "Memoirs of the Apostles," which occupy so large a place in Justin Martyr.' The same holds good of the Apostolic Epistles.

'I would ask,' the Bishop concludes, 'any reader who desires to apprehend the full force of these (facts with reference to Ignatius) to read a book or two of Irenæus continually, and mark the contrast in the manner of dealing with the Evangelical narratives and the Apostolic letters. He will probably allow that an interval of two generations or more is not too long a period to account for the difference of treatment.'

The personality of the writer is no doubt unusual. A power of communication with angels,[75] 'extravagant' humility and self-depreciation;[76] and a not less 'extravagant' desire for martyrdom (confined, however, to the Epistle to the Romans), are not certainly what a later age commended or found in the Martyrs; but due allowance being made for the temperament of the Saint and the circumstances of the case, 'it is a picture much more explicable as the autotype of a real person than as the invention of a forger.'

Once more, the Style and Diction of the Letters may be, as Daillé and his followers have thought, 'forced and unnatural' in the use of images, 'confused' as to language, and 'bombastic' as to diction. But what then? asks the Bishop:[Pg 482]

'What security did his position as an Apostolic Father give that he should write simply and plainly, that he should avoid solecisms, that his language should never he disfigured by bad taste or faulty rhetoric?'

'It may not,' he continues, 'be considered very good taste to draw out the metaphor of a hauling engine (Ephes. 9)—to compare the Holy Spirit to the rope, the faith of the believers to the windlass, &c. But on what grounds, prior to experience, have we any more right to expect either a faultless taste or a pure diction in a genuine writer at the beginning of the second century, than in a spurious writer at the end of the same?'

Elaborate compounds, Latinisms, reiterations, are no proof of spuriousness.

It is not, however, so much on these as on so-called anachronisms that assailants have attacked the letters. In every instance a supposed success has ended in a reverse. Thus the term 'leopard,' applied to the soldiers who conveyed Ignatius,[77] was said to have been unknown before the age of Constantine; and it was argued that the forger of these letters had antedated the word by two centuries. Pearson pointed out an example of the word about a. d. 202; but the Bishop of Durham has found it in a rescript of the Emperors Marcus and Commodus (a. d. 177-80), and in an early treatise written by Galen, which carries it back within about half a century of Ignatius. Evidently it was then a familiar term. Another alleged anachronism is the use of the term 'Catholic Church.'[78] Cureton and others have urged, that a period of full fifty years must have intervened between the time when Ignatius wrote and the first trace we find of the term 'Catholic Church.' This, says Bishop Lightfoot, 'is founded on the confusion of two wholly different things'—Catholic as a technical, and Catholic as a general term. Centuries before the Christian era, the word Catholic καθολικος is found in the sense of 'universal'; both before and after the age of Ignatius it is common in writers, classical and ecclesiastical. 'In this sense the word might have been used at any time, and by any writer, from the first moment that the Church began to spread, while yet the conception of its unity was present to the mind.' It was only later that the term 'Catholic' acquired a technical meaning—orthodoxy as opposed to heresy, conformity as opposed to dissent. In Smyrn. 8, 'where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church,' the word is used in its sense of 'universal,' as contrasted with the Smyrnæan or local Church over which Polycarp presided. Not only is its use here not indicative of a later[Pg 483] date, but this archaic sense emphasizes an early one. After the word 'Catholic' had acquired its later and technical use, it could not have been employed in its earliest meaning without the risk of considerable confusion.

We must refer our readers to a similarly thorough refutation of the charge of anachronism brought against these letters on account of their use of the term 'Christian,' and suggest to them an examination of the interesting proofs of the position next secured,[79] that certain characteristics of style and diction tell largely in favour of their genuineness.

We turn, after noting the summary of the internal evidences attesting the genuineness of these letters, to the headings omitted (2, 3) on the Theological Polemics and the Ecclesiastical Conditions. That summary is as follows (i. 407):—

'The external testimony to the Ignatian Epistles being so strong, only the most decisive marks of spuriousness in the Epistles themselves, as, for instance, proved anachronism, would justify us in suspecting them as interpolated, or rejecting them as spurious.—But so far is this from being the case, that one after another the anachronisms urged against these letters have vanished in the light of further knowledge.—As regards the argument which Daillé calls "palmary"—the prevalence of episcopacy as a recognized institution—we may say boldly that all the facts point the other way. If the writer of these letters had represented the churches of Asia Minor as under presbyterial government, he would have contradicted all the evidence which, without one dissentient voice, points to episcopacy as the established form of Church government in these districts from the close of the first century.—The circumstances of the condemnation, captivity, and journey of Ignatius, which have been a stumbling-block to some modern critics, did not present any difficulty to those who lived near the time, and therefore knew best what might be expected under the circumstances; and they are sufficiently borne out by example, more or less analogous, to establish their credibility.—The objections to the style and language are beside the purpose.—A like answer holds with regard to any extravagances in sentiment, or opinion, or character.—While the investigation of the contents of these Epistles has yielded this negative result in dissipating the objections, it has at the same time had a high positive value, as revealing indications of a very early date, and therefore presumably of genuineness, in the surrounding circumstances, more especially in the types of false doctrine which it combats, in the ecclesiastical status which it presents, and in the manner in which it deals with the evangelical and apostolic documents.—Moreover, we discover in the personal environments of the assumed writer, and more especially in the notices of his route, many subtle coincidences which we are constrained to regard as undesigned, and which seem altogether[Pg 484] beyond the reach of a forger.—So likewise the peculiarities in style and diction of the Epistles, as also in the representation of the writer's character, are much more capable of explanation in a genuine writing than in a forgery.—While external and internal evidence thus combine to assert the genuineness of these writings, no satisfactory account has been or apparently can be given of them as a forgery of a later date than Ignatius. They would be quite purposeless as such; for they entirely omit all topics which would especially interest any subsequent age.'

The Section upon 'Ecclesiastical Conditions' deals with the ministry of men, the ministry of women, and the liturgy of the Church. Interesting though the two last points are of necessity to any student of Church organization and ritual, we pass them by to consider the 'Ecclesiastical Polemics.' The Bishop of Durham's view of the ministry of men—especially of episcopacy—as furnished by the Seven Epistles is briefly as follows. The name of Ignatius is inseparably connected with the championship of episcopacy. Such extracts as the following sufficiently attest the prominence and authority he assigns to the office: 'We ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself; 'Vindicate' (O Polycarp) 'thine office in things, temporal as well as spiritual. Let nothing be done without thy consent, and do thou nothing without the consent of God;' 'Give heed (ye Smyrnæans) to your bishop, that God also may give heed to you;' 'Let no man do anything pertaining to the Church without the bishop.' Further, the extension of the episcopate in the time of Ignatius is quite clear. He is himself the bishop 'belonging to Syria.' He salutes and names the Bishops of Ephesus, of Magnesia, and Tralles. In those parts of Asia Minor and Syria, with which he is brought into contact, the episcopate properly so called is an established and recognized institution. This is in accordance with what the Bishop of Durham traces elsewhere in the history of the origin and development of episcopacy;[80] but it is not in accordance with Dr. Harnack's view. 'The evidence,' says the Bishop, 'points to episcopacy as the established form of Church government in these districts from the close of the first century.' Not so, says Dr. Harnack:—

'Ignatius' conception of the position and significance of the bishop has its earliest parallel in the original conception of the author of the Apostolic Constitutions (i. e. the end of the 3d cent.); and the Epistles show that the Monarchical Episcopate in Asia[Pg 485] Minor was so firmly rooted, so highly elevated above all other offices, so completely beyond dispute, that on the ground of what we know from other sources of early Church history, no single investigator would assign the statements under consideration to the second, but at the earliest to the third century.'

Let the reader, however, look up the references under the head of "Apostolical Constitutions" in the Index to vol. i. of the Bishop's work, and we shall be very much surprised if he agree with Dr. Harnack's first conclusion. Will there not be even a lurking apprehension that Dr. Harnack, in arguing from the 'original conception of the author of the Apostolic Constitutions,' is confounding the 'long' and the 'middle' Recensions of the letters? Possibly the anxiety of determination to fix upon the third century rather than the close of the first as the date of the establishment of Episcopacy may have been tolerable in the time of Daillé, but is it tolerable or should it be repeated now when the means of a far more critical study of the question is open to all? In fact, Dr. Harnack is evidently disturbed by the parti pris of his position; and he may be said to abandon it immediately for a more negative one: but even so, how can a critic with the authorities placed before him come even to his second and modified conclusion:—'The statements of Ignatius regarding the rank to which the Episcopate has attained, occupy, so far as our knowledge goes, an altogether isolated position in the second century.' Isolated! This can be examined upon evidence. The point is this: Are there, or are there not, witnesses to show that monarchical Episcopacy had been developed in the later years of the Apostolic Age? Irenæus (born c. 130, according to Lipsius) was a scholar of Polycarp, and Polycarp was a scholar of St. John. He delighted to recal the reminiscences of his teacher, as did Polycarp those of St. John. He was a travelled scholar; if born in Asia Minor, he lived at Rome during middle life, and was Bishop of Lyons in Gaul in his later years. He was probably the most learned Christian of his time. 'The appreciation of the position of the man,' urges Bishop Lightfoot, 'is a first requisite to an estimate of his evidence.' And what is his evidence? Just that which is marked by such development as the man, his time, and circumstances, would lead us to expect, when compared with the Ignatius, from whom he is separated by about two generations. To Ignatius, the bishop is the centre of ecclesiastical unity; so Irenæus, the depositary of Apostolic tradition. Irenæus overlooks the identity of 'bishop' and 'presbyter' in the New Testament, and speaks of 'bishops and[Pg 486] presbyters from Ephesus and the other cities adjoining' coming to St. Paul at Miletus. It is to him an undisputed fact, that the bishops of his own age traced their succession back in an unbroken line to men appointed to the episcopate by the Apostles themselves. Thus he points out the sequence of the bishops of the Church of Rome 'founded by the blessed Apostles,' St. Peter and St. Paul, up to his own day; and in the case of the Church in Smyrna, he finds in Polycarp not only one 'instructed by Apostles and who had conversed with many who had seen Christ,' but also 'one who was appointed bishop in the Church of Smyrna by Apostles in Asia.'[81] Similar opinions are reflected in many passages, and they lead up to this conclusion:—

'After every reasonable allowance made for the possibility of mistakes in details, the language (of Irenæus) from a man standing in his position with respect to the previous and contemporary history of the Church leaves no room for doubt as to the early and general diffusion of episcopacy in the regions with which he was acquainted.'

Yet it is by fastening upon alleged 'mistakes in details,' and through counter-conclusions with respect to some of the passages quoted, that Dr. Harnack affirms that 'from the words of Irenæus there is absolutely nothing gained in regard to the origin of the episcopate and its spread during the period between a. d. 90 and 140.' His method is somewhat vexatious. He takes, for example, the list of the Bishops of Rome, and he says, 'Irenæus communicates this list, and declares that the Apostles had ordained Linus as Bishop of Rome;' and he adds, 'that this is false can be proved, and is not denied even by Lightfoot.' The marvellous part of this statement is, that Irenæus says nothing of the kind. The word 'ordination' does not occur in the passage in question. The sentence is far from faithfully translated by the Bishop of Durham:[82] Linus 'was entrusted with the office of the bishopric' by the Apostles. Again, what is 'false'? the whole list, or the statement as regards Linus individually? Neither is false when rightly understood, and no denial is therefore forthcoming from the Bishop of Durham, or required for what is not questioned. But Dr. Harnack—not satisfied with having refuted an imaginary foe—next proceeds to ask, 'What reliance then can we have in the statement of Irenæus, that Polycarp was ordained a bishop by the Apostles'? It might be answered, 'Your first premiss was wrong, and until that be mended, further argument is unnecessary.' But examine the question on its own merits—viz.[Pg 487] that due to 'an appreciation of the position' of Irenæus—and its veracity is beyond question.

The Bishop of Durham supports the language of Irenæus by the testimony of Polycrates, of Ephesus, his contemporary, if junior; but without dwelling upon that and other passages of more general reference, we can come nearer to the time of Ignatius by reference to his contemporary, Polycarp. We assume, with Bishop Lightfoot, that the testimony of Irenæus to Polycarp is of the highest value; but that assumption is no rash one. Every one can verify the value of the testimony by perusing the Bishop's interesting pages on the subject. The relation of Polycarp to the Apostles has been given above. It is to his language about episcopacy that we wish to refer. In Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, the Bishop of Smyrna speaks at length about the duties of presbyters, deacons, widows, &c., but he makes no mention either of the bishop, or—in other parts where it might have been expected—of obedience due to him. This is naturally explained on the supposition that the see was then vacant, or that ecclesiastical organization was not fully developed at Philippi. How rash, however, it would be to affirm the non-existence of episcopacy, or to raise objections to it such as would render incredible the statements of Ignatius, may be inferred from the 'Letter of the Smyrnæans,' which, speaking of 'the glorious martyr Polycarp, who was found an Apostolic and prophetic teacher in our own time, a bishop of the Holy Church which is in Smyrna,' attests at once the respect paid to the office by the writer of the Letter and to the title by which Polycarp himself was usually called.

Other contemporaries of Polycarp's were Clement of Rome and Papias. Do they give no testimony to the development of monarchical episcopacy in the later years of the Apostolic Age? Polycarp, if not acquainted with Clement personally, was yet intimately acquainted with his genuine letter, the first Epistle to the Corinthians. In this letter there is no mention of episcopacy properly so-called. With St. Clement, as in the New Testament, bishop and presbyter are convertible terms. He even drops all mention of his own name though bishop of the Church in Rome. There is not even the 'I' of Polycarp, but a 'we,' which defines that the letter is written in the name of the Church and speaks with the authority of the Church. The name and personality of the individual are absorbed in the Church of which he is the spokesman.[83] The same phenomena[Pg 488] are observed in the letter written by Ignatius to the very Church—Rome—in which alone they are noticed as occurring. The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans—save for the mention of his own rank—contains no indication of the existence of the episcopal office, inculcates no obedience to bishops, and says not a word about a bishop of Rome. A like phenomenon is to be noticed in the next (chronologically speaking) document, emanating from the Church of Rome—viz. the Shepherd of Hermas. What does this contrast throughout mean, but that where—as in Asia Minor—false doctrine and schismatical teachers prevailed, there episcopacy was a safeguard; where these were absent—as in Rome—there the episcopate had not yet assumed the same sharp and well-defined monarchical character as in the Eastern churches: and what does this contrast tend to disprove but the opinion of Dr. Harnack?—'Apart from the Epistles of Ignatius we do not possess a single witness to the existence of the monarchical episcopate in the churches of Asia Minor so early as the times of Trajan or Hadrian' (i. e. a. d. 98-138).

Turning to the other point—the Theological Polemics—disputed by Harnack, Bishop Lightfoot has dealt with the subject on its positive and negative sides respectively. The positive side yields results of real importance in attestation of the date of the letters. The heresy combated by Ignatius is a type of Gnostic Judaism, the Gnostic element manifesting itself in a sharp form of Docetism. This marked type of Docetism, far from being a difficulty, is an indication of early date, since the tendency of Docetism was to mitigation, as time went on. The negative side is educed by cross-questioning the writer's silence. There were certain controversies which rent the Church in the middle and latter half of the second century. These were such as, first, the Paschal controversy (the proper day and mode of celebrating the Paschal festival); secondly, the controversy about Montanism, the theatre of which was the very region with which these Epistles are concerned. Yet, not a word, not a hint is there, that the writer felt any interest in, or was disturbed by, anxieties about either. A similar silence points to the same conclusion, when we consider the absence of allusion to the three great heresiarchs, Basilides, Marcion, and Valentinus. Give to the first a period of notoriety conterminous with the reign of Hadrian (a. d. 117-38), yet there is not the slightest allusion in Ignatius to the tenets of the leader or his followers. Place Marcion some years before the middle of the second century. Remember that he was a native of Asia Minor and taught at Rome that there he was denounced by[Pg 489] Polycarp as the 'first born of Satan;'[84] and that he enjoyed a world-wide reputation for evil (according to some), for good (according to others). Yet in the Ignatian letters there is not the faintest aquaintance with the man or his teaching. Valentinus also taught at Rome (c. a. d. 140-60), and his strange theories about Æons and Ogdoads, about spiritual, psychical, and material men, or any other fantasy of his speculative mythology, were not thought beneath the criticism of an Irenæus, a Clement of Alexandria and a Tertullian. Yet no hint is there in the Seven Epistles that these thoughts were familiar to the writer. At one time an exultant Daillé found in his reading of 'Magn.' 8 an attack on Valentinianism, and consequently a welcome anachronism which proved the writer of the letters a forger. The discovery of the true reading has been followed not only by the collapse of the objection, but also by the adhesion to the belief, that the writer's use of certain expressions is a testimony to his existence in a pre-Valentinian epoch, when language had not been abused to heretical ends.

Dr. Harnack has little to say against the Bishop of Durham's conclusions from the negative side of the investigation of these theological polemics; but he has much to say against the Bishop's deductions from the positive aspect of them. Though, says Bishop Lightfoot,

'in the Trallian and Smyrnæan letters the writer deals chiefly with Docetism, while in the Magnesian and Philadelphian letters he seems to be attacking Judaism, yet a nearer examination shows the two to be so closely interwoven that they can only be regarded as different sides of one and the same heresy.'

Not so Dr. Harnack. To him

'the identification of the Judaists and Gnostics in the Ingnatian Epistles is quite inadmissible. Ignatius combats the Doketists in the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Trallians, and the Smyrnæans, while in the Epistles to the Magnesians and Philadelphians he warns against the Ebionistic danger. In the last-named Epistle he warns against other tendencies which threatened the unity of the Church.'

In fact, it is this Epistle to the Philadelphians which, in his opinion, has led scholars astray. No one he thinks would have misunderstood 'the fact—that the Judaists in the Epistle to the Magnesians were certainly not Doketists, and the Doketists described in the Epistles to the Ephesians, Trallians, and Smyrnæans were not Judaists—had the Epistles of Ignatius come to us without the Epistle to the Philadelphians.' It would be beyond the province of this Review to enter into an[Pg 490] examination of the arguments adduced on each side; it would also be an injustice to the disputants to infer that each selects or presses what tells most of his view, but certainly a calm and dispassionate inspection of these arguments will lead most men to think Uhlhorn, Lipsius, and Lightfoot more correct in their unanimous verdict, that but one heresy is attacked in the Ignatian letters, than Hilgenfeld and Harnack in their preference of two distinct heresies—Ebionism and Docetism. This latter conclusion can only be reached by treating the Letters of Ignatius as Hilgenfeld has treated St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians; the former is attained by critical methods defining the Judaism and Gnosticism observable to be but web and woof of one and the same fabric.

The very early date, and the consequent genuineness of these Epistles are thus the legitimate conclusion from the study of the internal as well as external evidences. That date is placed by the Bishop of Durham between a. d. 100-118 in the time of Trajan. Wieseler had placed the date of the martyrdom (upon which depends the date of the letters) as early as a. d. 107, Harnack as late as a. d. 138; and the latter still prefers to place them and the Epistle of Polycarp after the year a. d. 130. The earlier date reached by the Bishop of Durham is to him 'a mere possibility which is highly improbable, because it is not supported by any word in the Epistle, and because it rests only upon a late and very problematic witness (Eusebius).' Dr. Harnack's present view is, in all essentials, the same as that which he previously held. He has had the advantage—which he courteously acknowledges—of examining Bishop Lightfoot's 'painstaking consideration' of his views held in 1878; but nevertheless he considers that the Bishop's method of considering the whole question is 'not the proper' one—that his 'admittedly profound learning has contributed little or nothing to the main question,' and that 'he has not rightly comprehended the problem.'[85] Yet the ordinary reader, who examines Dr. Harnack's re-statement of some of his views, will feel that to ask the Bishop of Durham to re-examine them will be but to ask him to slay afresh the slain. Dr. Harnack still clings, for example, to his view, that Polycarp is attacking the Docetism of Marcion; a view which, if sound, would convince the writer of an anachronism; because in pretending to write between a. d. 100 and 118 he has introduced a heresiarch not then notorious. But his view has been shown by Bishop Lightfoot to be fallacious; and all that Dr. Harnack can now[Pg 491] answer is to repeat his preference for his own interpretation of two passages adduced in the argument.

From the amenities of this battlefield of friendly criticism we turn for a few concluding remarks to the second and shorter life—that of Polycarp—which these monumental volumes discuss.

In point of method and treatment, the consideration of the history and writings of this saint of the early Church follows the same lines, as those followed in the case of St. Ignatius. First, the biography proper. Next, one of those collections of passages and documents which render these volumes so remarkable. In seventy pages the student will find a corpus of original extracts embellished with notes explanatory and critical—Such as Imperial acts and ordinances relating to or affecting Christianity; Acts and notices of martyrdoms. Passages from heathen writers, containing notices of the Christians; Passages from Christian writers illustrating the points at issue—most helpful to him in apprehending not only the history of the persecutions, but also the relations between the Church and the Empire, in the reigns of Hadrian (a. d. 117-38), Antoninus Pius (a. d. 138-61), and Marcus Aurelius (a. d. 161-80). Then come in successive order the examination of the MSS and Versions, a collection of quotations and references, the consideration of the genuineness of the 'Epistle of Polycarp' and of the 'Letter to the Smyrnæans,' closed by a discussion upon the date of the Martyrdom.

The Church of Christ owes a great debt to Polycarp:—

'In him one single link connected the earthly life of Christ with the close of the second century, though five or six generations had intervened. St. John, Polycarp, Irenæus—this was the succession which guaranteed the continuity of the evangelical record and of the Apostolic teaching. The long life of St. John, followed by the long life of Polycarp, had secured this result. What the Church towards the close of the second century was—how full was its teaching—how complete its canon—how adequate its organization—how wise its extension—we know well enough from Irenæus' extant work. But the intervening period had been disturbed by feverish speculation and grave anxieties on all sides. Polycarp saw teacher after teacher spring up, each introducing some fresh system, and each professing to teach the true Gospel. Menander, Cerinthus, Carpocrates, Saturninus, Basilides, Cerdon, Valentinus, Marcion—all these flourished during his lifetime, and all taught after he had grown up to manhood. Against all such innovations of doctrine and practice there lay the appeal to Polycarp's personal knowledge. With what feelings he regarded such teachers we may learn not only from his[Pg 492] own epistle (§ 7), but from the sayings recorded by Irenæus, "O good God, for what times hast Thou kept me, I recognize the firstborn of Satan." He was eminently fitted, too, by his personal qualities to fulfil this function as a depositary of tradition.... Polycarp's mind was essentially unoriginative. It had no creative power. His Epistle is largely made up of quotations from the Evangelical and Apostolic writings, from Clement of Rome, from the Epistles of Ignatius.... A stedfast, stubborn adherence to the lessons of his youth and early manhood, an unrelaxing, unwavering hold of "the word that was delivered to him from the beginning"—this, so far as we can read the man from his own utterances or from the notices of others, was the characteristic of Polycarp. His religious convictions were seen to be "founded," as Ignatius had said long before (Polyc. 1) "on an immovable rock." He was not dismayed by the plausibilities of false teachers, but "stood firm as an anvil under the hammer's stroke." (ib. 3).'

The Church has ever claimed for her Saint not so much the reverence paid to the martyr, or the deference due to the ruler, or the teachableness powerful in the writer, as the attention obligatory to an 'elder.' Why? We may give the reason in the Bishop's words:

'While the oral tradition of the Lord's life and of the Apostolic teaching was still fresh, the believers of succeeding generations not unnaturally appealed to it for confirmation against the many counterfeits of the Gospel which offered themselves for acceptance. The authorities for this tradition were "the Elders." To the testimony of these Elders appeal was made by Papias in the first, and by Irenæus in the second generation after the Apostles. With Papias the Elders were those who themselves had seen the Lord, or had been eye-witnesses of the Apostolic history: with Irenæus the term included likewise persons who, like Papias himself, had been acquainted with these eye-witnesses. And among these Polycarp held the foremost place.'

The existing letter to the Philippians is now recognized as a genuine work of the Saint; and this on the testimony of internal evidence, quite as much as on the direct testimony of Irenæus, his own disciple. The arbitrary method of a Daillé, the interpolation-theory of Ritschl, and the wholesale rejection of the Epistle by Schwegler, Zeller, and Hilgenfeld, have ceased to command attention or demand refutation. The Epistle is too closely confined to the letters and martyrdom of Ignatius to warrant our looking for much refutation in it of existing error; but the spirit and counsel of the 'elder' is truly there warning against false and hypocritical brethren, and impelling his readers to turn unto the word delivered unto them from the beginning.[Pg 493]

Never was Christian counsel and sturdy faith more needed than in the period covered by the lifetime of Polycarp. The Bishop of Durham describes it as 'the most tumultuous period in the religious history of the world'; and in connection with the Bishop of Smyrna he notes that 'a chief arena of the struggle between creeds and cults was Asia Minor.' If in the earlier part of the second century (a. d. 112) Pliny, in his celebrated letter to Trajan,[86] deplored what Polycarp may have witnessed—on the one hand, heathen temples deserted and heathen sacrifices starved as to their victims; on the other, young and old, man and woman, patrician and peasant, bond and free, attracted to and mastered by a 'superstition' which affected alike the city and the village, the nobleman's mansion and the herdsman's hut, yet the splendid successes of Christianity did not blind either saint or philosopher. 'A veritable Pagan propaganda,' as Renan calls it, also set in in the second century; and when Polycarp died, it was at its height. Everywhere was it supported by the reigning emperors. 'The political and truly Roman instincts of Trajan were not more friendly to it than the archæological tastes, the cosmopolitan interests, and the theological levity of Hadrian. From their immediate successors, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, it received even more solid and efficient support.'

Smyrna, the see of Bishop Polycarp, was fully exposed to the influences of this reviving Paganism. The rhetorician, Aristides—true type of the Pagan charlatan who summoned to his aid in subjugating a superstitious people the mysterious and occult powers with which astrology and dreams, auguries and witchcrafts, invested their possessors—was himself a frequent dweller in Smyrna. Often must he have heard of and despised the man branded by the titles, 'the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the puller-down of our gods, who teacheth numbers not to sacrifice nor worship'[87] which—like the inscription over his crucified Lord—did unconsciously proclaim the very and only truth. Twice did the city of Smyrna, during Polycarp's prime, receive fresh honours and privileges for her devotion to the worship of Imperial deities. The religious guild of the temples of the Augusti celebrated here their festivals with exceptional splendour; the 'theologians' and 'choristers,' who owed their existence and affluence to the magnificence of a Hadrian, not only saluted[Pg 494] him as their 'god,' their 'saviour and founder,' but by senatorial decree established games—the Olympia Hadrianea—grotesquely pompous in titular magnificence. Naturally this affected the well-being of the infant Church of Christ in Smyrna; but that Church was assailed from another quarter, and by the sharpened weapons, not of a scornful superiority, but of fanatical hatred. The Jews were both numerous and powerful in Smyrna, and two cruel episodes in their late national history accentuated their fury against the Christians wherever they met with them. The first was the destruction of Jerusalem (a. d. 70). The fugitives from Palestine, who found refuge in Smyrna with their fellow-countrymen already settled there, found sympathy also—save from one class, the Christians. Compassion these last could feel for men whose best blood had welled over the courts of the Temple, whose dearest and nearest had perhaps perished in Jerusalem, that 'cage of furious madmen, a city of howling wild beasts and of cannibals—a hell' (Renan); but they knew to be true what a Titus had acknowledged, that 'the hand of God' was in the victory of Rome. They saw in the downfall of the Holy City the retribution of the Heavenly Father for the crucifixion of the Messiah; and sorrow with the sorrow of the weeping patriots of Israel they could not and would not. Their refusal was the signal for a determination to seize every opportunity of revenge; and the second episode, to which we have alluded, is connected with a specially furious outburst of maddened passion against Christians on the part of the Jews. Hadrian, fifty years after the fall of Jerusalem, had resolved upon rearing on its ruins the city of Ælia Capitolina. Then flashed forth the rebellion of the Jew Bar-cochba (a. d. 132-4). The 'Son of the Star,' supported by his standard-bearer, Akiba, the greatest of the Rabbins, measured his strength with Rome. With mouth breathing forth flames,[88] he inspired his partisans with confidence, and his enemies with terror. Flung back, disappointed, and slain at Bither, the 'Son of a Lie,' as his disappointed countrymen had found him to their cost and re-named him, had yet found opportunities of inflicting terrible tortures and agonizing deaths upon those Christians in Palestine, who had dared to reject his Messianic claims, and refused to blaspheme Christ. And the spirit of vengeance spread from the Holy Land to the provinces. Twenty years after the death of the rebel leader, the Jews of Smyrna—probably to Polycarp 'a synagogue of Satan,' as in earlier times St. John his master had described[Pg 495]

them (Rev. ii. 9)—found their opportunity. Their vengeance then was only slaked by the blood of the Christian Bishop.

The Saint's martyrdom was the crowning consummation of the Saint's life. With the Bishop of Durham's help we can now collect all that we shall probably ever know of both; and to this we turn in conclusion.[89]

The date of his martyrdom may be accepted as about 155 a. d.[90] If Polycarp was then 86 years of age, his birth may be placed in a. d. 60 or 70, at a time nearly coincident with the date of the destruction of Jerusalem. That event was the cause which drove St. John to fix his abode ultimately at Ephesus, the traditional home of St. Andrew, and near to the Phrygian Hierapolis, where St. Philip the Apostle died and was buried. The proximity of Smyrna to Ephesus, and the reputation accorded to both in the flattering designation of 'the two eyes' of proconsular Asia, would make intercourse between the cities familiar and frequent. In the Christian advantages consequent upon such intercourse Polycarp had his full share, if it be impossible to assert positively that he was a Smyrnæan by birth, and of Christian parentage. But the legends at the close of the fourth century, as embodied in the story of Pionius, sought and found for his origin a more romantic, if sad, beginning. One night, God's Angel appeared to a widow of Smyrna named Callisto, rich in worldly wealth, but still more rich in good work. 'Go,' he bade her, 'to the Ephesian gate. There you will find two men. They have with them a young lad for sale. Give them their price, and take and keep the child. He is by birth an Eastern.' The child was Polycarp. She did as she was bid. She bought and reared him, and eventually left to him all her substance. The fact implied in the last words, that Polycarp was a comparatively well-to-do man, is the one fact out of the above story supported by more authentic documents. Perhaps also the picture of the man, so pleasing and natural, drawn by Pionius, may present traits faithful to the original:—

'The love of knowledge and the fondness of the Scriptures, which distinguishes the people of the East, bore rich fruit in him. He offered himself a whole offering to God, by prayer and study of the Scriptures, by spareness of diet and simplicity of clothing, by liberal almsgiving. He was bashful and retiring, shunning the busy throngs of men, and consorting only with those who needed his assistance. When he met an aged wood-carrier outside the walls, he would purchase his burden, would carry it himself to the city, and would give it to the widows living near the gate. The Bishop[Pg 496] Bucolus cherished him as a son, and he in turn requited his love with filial care and devotion.'

But we may catch from real and genuine sources three glimpses of the man: in youth as the disciple of St. John, in middle age as the champion of Ignatius, in closing life as the teacher of Irenæus. Of the circle of disciples who gathered round St. John, Polycarp is indubitably the most famous. He delighted, in his declining years, to tell his younger friends what he had himself heard from eye-witnesses of the Lord's life on earth; and he would dwell especially on his intercourse with the Apostle of Love. There is nothing improbable in the belief, that he was ordained to the episcopate by the venerable Apostle. Among his contemporaries were Clement, Papias, and Ignatius. Polycarp knew, as has been stated, the letter of the great Bishop of Rome, and Papias—his 'companion,' as Irenæus[91] calls him—became his neighbour at Hierapolis. But it is with Ignatius that the younger man is inseparably linked. They met, probably for the first (and only) time, at Smyrna when the great Bishop of Antioch was on his way to martyrdom at Rome. Touching in their affectionateness are the remarks which each passes upon each. Polycarp inspires Ignatius with 'love.' The younger man is to the older 'most blessed,' 'clothed with grace,' marked by 'fervid sincerity,' a man 'whose godly mind is grounded on an immovable rock' (Letter to Polycarp). To Polycarp, Ignatius 'the blessed' is the pattern of men, 'obedient unto the word of righteousness and practising all endurance,' 'encircled in saintly bonds which are the diadems of them that be truly chosen of God and our Lord.' The two men parted, never again to meet on earth, yet to be linked together by 'martyrdom comformable to the Gospel' But ere that 'birthday' arrived, Polycarp had to live for nearly half a century; and potent was his influence upon the men of a younger generation. Melito, Claudius Apollinaris, and Polycrates, famous among the Fathers of Asia, must have known him well; Justin Martyr visited him from Ephesus; but mightiest and dearest of all was his pupil Irenæus, the champion of orthodoxy against Gnosticism.

'When I was still a boy,' wrote Irenæus, '(I was) in company with Polycarp in Asia Minor.... I can tell the very place in which the blessed Polycarp used to sit when he discoursed, his goings out and comings in, his manner of life and his personal appearance, his discourses which he gave to the people, and his[Pg 497] description of his intercourse with John, and the rest of those who had seen the Lord.'[92]

Those were reminiscences and lessons never forgotten by the future Bishop of Lyons. To him, as to 'all the churches of Asia and to the successors of Polycarp' himself, the pupil of St. John was 'a much more trustworthy and safe witness of the truth than Valentinus and Marcion, and all such wrong-minded men.'[93]

The end came at last. A persecution was raging; how or why we know not. All that can be known is told in the 'Letter of the Smyrnæans.'[94] The simplicity and pathos of the story, as told by this ancient document, so moved the great Scaliger, that he felt hardly master of himself. We cannot tell the tale of triumph in better words than in those of that exquisite piece of ecclesiastical antiquity. The great annual festival was being held at Smyrna, presided over by the Asiarch and 'high priest'[95] Philip, a wealthy citizen of the wealthy Tralles, and graced by the presence of the Proconsul Statius Quadratus. The persecutor had asked for blood, and blood had been granted him. Already several victims, Philadelphians, 'so torn by lashes that the mechanism of their flesh was visible even as far as the inward veins and arteries,' had 'endured patiently;' showing to the weeping bystanders such bravery that the explanation became current—'(these) martyrs of Christ being tortured, were absent from the flesh, or rather the Lord was standing by and conversing with them.' Others 'condemned to the wild beasts, endured fearful punishments, being made to lie on sharp shells and buffeted with other forms of manifold tortures, that the devil might, if possible, by the persistence of the punishment bring them to a denial; for he tried many wiles against them.' Men remembered afterwards how 'the right noble Germanicus,' scorning the pity the Proconsul would have extended to his youth, 'used violence, and dragged the wild beast towards him.' Such bravery, 'the bravery of the God-fearing and God-beloved people of the Christians,' only whetted the pagan thirst for blood. There rang out the shout, 'Away[Pg 498] with the atheists![96] Let search be made for Polycarp!' He had gone against his will into the country, probably to one of his own farms; and he was found without much difficulty. He placed before his captors food and drink, and asked but a single boon of them—'one hour that he might pray unmolested.' Those mounted soldiers, 'wondering why there should be such eagerness for the apprehension of an old man like him,' gave their consent. 'He stood up and prayed; and being full of the grace of God, for two hours he could not hold his peace, so that they who heard him were amazed, and many repented that they had come against such a venerable old man.' They brought him to the city, seated on an ass. Steadily did he refuse the real and sincere endeavours of compassionate heathen to 'save himself.' 'What harm,' they asked, 'is there in saying, Cæsar is Lord, and offering incense?' He would only answer, 'I am not going to do what you counsel me.' As he entered the stadium, the human roar, fiercer and more cruel than that of wild beasts, rose above every other sound. Polycarp did not heed it; a voice came to him from heaven, 'Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man;' and, nerved by what other Christians had also heard, he stood at last before Statius. Words, at first pitiful, greeted him: 'Have respect to thine age!—Swear by the genius of Cæsar! Say, "Away with the atheists."' The Saint caught up the last word. He 'looked with solemn countenance upon that vast multitude of lawless heathen; and groaning and looking up to heaven, he said, 'Away with the atheists.' Was he then yielding? The Proconsul had misunderstood him, but he pressed him hard and said 'Swear the oath, and I will release thee. Revile the Christ!' Polycarp looked him in the face, and gave him the answer which can never die. 'Fourscore and six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King Who saved me?' The words of pity changed into threats. 'I have wild beasts here,' said Statius, 'and I will throw thee to them except thou change thy mind.' 'Call them,' was the unflinching answer. 'If thou despisest the wild beasts, I will cause thee to be consumed by fire.' Polycarp remembered a dream of three days before in which he had seen his pillow burning with fire, and which he had interpreted to those with him as signifying that he would be burnt alive. He answered now, 'Thou threatenest that fire which burneth for a season and after a little while is quenched. For thou art ignorant of the[Pg 499] fire of the future judgment and eternal punishment, which is reserved for the ungodly:' and then he added—in his impatience to be 'made a partaker with Christ'—'But why delayest thou? Come, do what thou wilt.' Saying this, 'he was inspired with courage and joy, and his countenance was filled with grace.'

The herald's proclamation was soon heard announcing three times, 'Polycarp hath confessed himself to be a Christian;' and again the human yell broke forth from Gentile and Jew, this time fashioning itself into distinct speech: 'This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the puller down of our gods, who teacheth numbers not to sacrifice nor worship.... Let the lion loose upon him!' 'That is impossible' was the answer of the Asiarch, 'for the sports have closed.' They shouted out 'with one accord, "Burn him alive!" Quicker than words could tell, the crowds collected timber and faggots from workshops and baths, and the Jews especially assisted in this with zeal, as was their wont.' They placed around him the 'instruments prepared for the pile,' and were going to nail him to the stake. He interposed with his last request of men, 'Leave me as I am. He that hath granted me to endure the fire, will grant me also to remain at the pile unmoved, without the security you seek from nails.' They 'tied him to the stake.' He stood up 'like a noble ram out of a great flock for an offering, a burnt-sacrifice made ready and acceptable to God;' and looking up to heaven, made his last request of God in one of the noblest prayers preserved in ancient or modern literature. His Amen said, 'the firemen lighted the fire. The mighty flame flashed forth,' and men saw then, what in later days they saw repeated at the martyrdom of a Savonarola and of a Hooper,[97] the fire, 'like the sail of a vessel filled with wind, surrounding as with a wall the body of the martyr. It was there in the midst, not like flesh burning, but like gold and silver refined in a furnace.' Could he not die?

'Lawless men, seeing that his body could not be consumed by the fire, ordered an executioner to go up to him and stab him with a dagger. And when he had done this, there came forth a quantity of blood,[98] so that it extinguished the fire; and all the multitude marvelled that there should be so great a difference between the unbelievers and the elect.'

[Pg 500]

The Christians hoped to have taken away the 'poor body,' but 'the jealous and envious Evil One, the adversary of the family of the righteous,' instigated the Jews to urge upon the magistrate not to give up his body, lest they (the Christians) should abandon the crucified One and begin to worship this man,... 'not knowing' (add the narrators) 'how impossible it would be for them to forsake at any time the Christ Who suffered for the salvation of the whole world of those who are saved—suffered, though sinless, for sinners—not to worship any other.' The body was placed again on the pile and consumed. Then 'the bones, more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold,' were taken up and laid in a suitable place.

So died a Polycarp as had died an Ignatius, both martyred, and both memorable for 'nobleness, patient endurance, and loyalty to their Master.' The motto of their deaths was the motto of their lives, condensed into the saying of the martyr of Antioch to the martyr of Smyrna:—

'ὁπου πλειων κοπος, πολυ κερδος.
'The greater the pain, the greater the gain.'

We know nothing certain of the tombs which tradition or affection have pointed out as the last resting-place of the calcined remains of either Saint, but we need no longer such perishable monuments. The English-speaking and English-reading race have in the volumes of the Bishop of Durham a fitting shrine for those literary remains which survive destruction. Scholarship and piety, study and prayer, have here combined to shed light upon the writings, and to raise a monument to the lives, of those champions of early Christianity, who in their day wrought a good work, and still speak, though dead.


[64] Bishop Lightfoot's 'Ignatius and Polycarp,' by Prof. A. Harnack, Ph.D, in 'Expositor' for December, 1885, p. 401.

[65] 'The Apostolic Fathers,' p. 116. By Canon Scott Holland.

[66] ἑχτρομα, 'Ep. to the Romans,' 9, with Bp. Lightfoot's note. Compare 1 Corinth. xv. 8.

[67] Herod, vii. 31, 187.

[68] 'Ep. to the Rom.' 5, 'to the Ephes.' II, with note

[69] See the useful Table in i. 222, and the excursus on 'Spurious and Interpolated Epistles' in i. 223-266. Cf. also the 'Appendix Ignatiana,' ii. 587, &c.

[70] Such as Eusebius and Theodoret. Cf. i., pp. 137-40, 161-4. The catena of quotations and references from the second to the ninth century, given in i. 127-221 (cf. the hint on p. 220) is most important for the construction of the text, and as a preliminary to the determination of the priority and authenticity of the Epistles. Harnack's objections to the quotation from Lucian (i. 129) are not shared by Baur or Renan, and are indirectly met by Bishop Lightfoot, i. 331-5.

[71] Stephen Marshall, Edward Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, William Spurstow.

[72] i, 79 For example, as regards the order of the words in the Greek text this latin translation may be treated as an authority. The Greek is rigidly followed without any regard for Latin usage. So also Greek articles are scrupulously reproduced, in violation of Latin idiom. New or unusual Latin words are introduced to correspond as exactly as possible to the original; e.g. ingloriatio = ακανχησια; multibona ordinatio = το πολυευτακταν, &c.

[73] See i. 72. For the text edited by Dr. W. Wright, see ii. 657., &c.; and for a translation, ii. 670, &c.

[74] 'De scriptis quæ sub Dionysii Areopagitæ et Ignati Antiocheni nominibus circumferuntur,' &c. (1666). The Bishop of Durham characterizes Daille's treatment of the Ignatian writings as marked 'by deliberate confusion.' He knows the facts, but makes the Vossian letters bear all the odium attached to the 'long' recension. Pearson's work, 'Vindiciæ Epistolarum S. Ignatii,' appeared six years later in 1672. This reply as compared with the attack was 'as light to darkness.' In England it closed the controversy.

[75] Trall. 5.

[76] See, for example, Rom. 4, 9: Trall. 3, 13; Ephes. 1, 3, 21.

[77] Rom. 5.

[78] Smyrn. 8.

[79] See i. 400, 405.

[80] Consult Bishop Lightfoot's Essay on this subject in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians (p. 181, &c.). The 'Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,' published in 1884, is rightly referred to now by the Bishop of Durham as confirming his positions.

[81] Comp. Irenæus, 'Hær.' iii. 3, § § 3,4; iii. 14, § 2.

[82] Essay in 'Philippians,' p. 218.

[83] Cf. Bishop Lightfoot's edition of 'St. Clement of Rome,' App. p. 252, &c.

[84] Iren. 'Hær.' iii. 3, 4.

[85] Cf. i. 568, &c.

[86] See i. 50, &c.; ii. 532. The Bishop of Durham's collection of facts and references dealing with this subject is an admirable specimen—everywhere repeated—of the exhaustive treatment he applies to single points.

[87] Letter of the Smyrnæans, § 12.

[88] He had learnt the trick of keeping lighted tow or straw in his mouth. See other instances in Milman's 'History of the Jeos,' ii. 429, n. x.

[89] Cf. Justin Martyr in Eusebius, 'Hist.' iv, 8.

[90] i. 422, 629, &c. Mr. Rendell, in the 'Studia Biblica' (oxf. 1885), has come to the same conclusion by an independent treatment.

[91] Hær. v. 33, 34.

[92] Euseb. 'Hist. Eccl.' v. 20

[93] Iren. 'Hær.' iii. 3.

[94] The genuineness of the main document (at least) is unaffected by recent attacks. The impugning process of Schürer, Lipsius, and Kelm has been successfully resisted by Renan, Hilgenfeld (in part), and the Bishop of Durham (i 588, &c.).

[95] The subjects of the Asiarchate, of the identity of Asiarch and high-priest, have suggested to the Bishop of Durham another of those exhaustive discussions which will win for him the gratitude of the students (see ii. 987, &c.)

[96] The name given by the heathen to the Christians, whom they counted godless because they had neither image nor visible representation of the Deity. See ii. 160, note to line 1.

[97] See i. 599 nn. 1, 6.

[98] On the celebrated reading, 'there came forth a dove and a quantity of blood, see ii. 974, note to i. 3. It is to be explained by the belief, that the soul departed from the body at death in the form of a bird; the dove most readily suggesting itself as the emblem of a Christian soul.

[Pg 501]

Art. VIII.—1. An Address delivered to the Students of Edinburgh University on Nov. 3, 1885. By the Earl of Iddesleigh, Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh.

2. Hearing, Reading and Thinking: an address to the Students attending the Lectures of the London Society for the Extension of University Teaching. By the Rt. Hon. G.J. Goschen, M.P.

3. The Choice of Books and other Literary Pieces. By Frederic Harrison. London, 1886.

The subject of Books and Reading is in the air at the present time; Lord Iddlesleigh raised the question last November, by his admirable discourse on Desultory Reading, delivered at Edinburgh. Sir John Lubbock was not slow to follow the lead, in his lecture at the Working Men's College; and lastly, we have Mr. Goschen's more abstract and despondent remarks on Hearing, Reading, and Thinking. The discussion has been carried forward from Newspaper to Journal, and from Journal to Magazine, and has attracted representatives of the most heterogeneous elements into the ever widening circle. Sir John Lubbock wound up by enumerating a hundred of the books—

'most frequently mentioned with approval by those who have referred directly or indirectly to the pleasure of reading, and I have ventured to include some, which though less frequently mentioned, are especial favourites of my own. I have abstained for obvious reasons from mentioning works by living authors.' ('Self Help,' however, is admitted into Sir John's revised list), 'though from many of them, Tennyson, Ruskin, and others, I have myself derived the keenest enjoyment; and have omitted works of Science, with one or two exceptions, because the subject is so progressive. I feel that the attempt is over bold, and must beg for indulgence; but indeed one object I have had in view is to stimulate others, more competent far than I am, to give us the advantage of their opinions. If we had such lists drawn up by a few good guides, they would be most useful.'

The challenge thus thrown down was quickly taken up by the Editor of the 'Pall Mall Gazette,' who forthwith sent out a Circular to certain eminent men of the day, inviting them 'to jot down such a list—not necessarily containing a hundred volumes—as would help the present generation to choose their reading more wisely.' Whether the majority of the 'guides' thus appealed to have responded to the call, we are not informed; the replies of several have been published; and our thanks are due to those who have been instrumental in opening up a discussion[Pg 502] of great variety and universal interest; though we must confess to some regret that the initiative was not given in a different form. Why the number should be fixed at one hundred; why works of Science should be excluded; why Biography and Travels should enjoy so meagre a representation on Sir John Lubbock's list, are questions to which no satisfactory answer has been given.

Who is it, we would ask in the first place, for whom this list is primarily intended? Not the man whose love of books is firmly established, for he will have chosen for himself his own walk among the innumerable highways and byepaths of literature; nor he whose tastes are just forming, for the field is too wide, and he would hardly prefer the Analects of Confucius, the Shahnameh, and the Sheking, to 'Marco's Polo's Travels,' Lockhart's 'Life of Scott,' and 'Æsop's Fables.' No list, however, that could be drawn up would escape criticism, and our desire is not so much to suggest in what manner the present list might be amended, as to indicate how, in our opinion, it might have been made to serve some practical purpose.

'Books have brought some men to knowledge and some to madness. As fulness sometimes hurteth the stomach more than hunger, so fareth it with arts; and as of meats, so likewise of books, the use ought to be limited according to the quality of him that useth them.' Thus wrote Petrarch, and the comparison between the bodily and mental digestion, if trite, is very far from being a mere superficial analogy.

Those who are blessed with a judicial friend, quite competent to make a diagnosis of their literary capacity and prescribe a diet, are indeed fortunate—'sua si bona norint.' Such prescriptions have been long since made, and handed down to us. That written out by Doctor Johnson, for his friend the Rev. Mr. Astle of Ashbourne, is brief enough, and savours of the drastic remedies fashionable in the last century.[99] If on glancing over the Doctor's list our readers are inclined to assume that the Rev. Mr. Astle was possessed of a very healthy digestion, we would remind them that solid joints and heavy folios were more in vogue at that time than in these days of French cookery and periodical literature.

In later times Comte also, among others, has furnished a catalogue, or syllabus of books for general reading; but even his faithful follower Mr. Harrison admits, half apologetically, that it 'has no special relation to current views of education, to English literature, much less to the literature of the day. It[Pg 503] was drawn up thirty years ago by a French philosopher, who passed his life in Paris, and who had read no new book for twenty years.'

'What shall I read?' There are few questions more frequently asked than this; few, perhaps, to which a thoughtless answer is more frequently given. Coming from one of that large class to which Lord Iddesleigh has given the name of 'indolent readers,' it might be assumed to be lightly asked, and might be as lightly answered by the recommendation of some three-volume novel, or the more fashionable shilling's-worth of gruesome mystery; but if the enquirer be a young book-lover, a worthy answer is far to seek. The diagnosis and opinion of the physician do not present greater difficulties, and in many cases are not attended by more momentous results. To turn a juvenile adrift in Sir John Lubbock's list would be to prescribe an exclusive diet of richly seasoned dishes and rare wines to a convalescent patient—to feed him on strong meats, on cavaire and truffles, and to omit the simple, wholesome, homely fare on which, in his condition, health and efficient progress must in the main depend.

How often has the young enquirer been imbued with a distaste for solid literature by being compelled to read 'masterpieces' long before he was able to appreciate their value, or even to comprehend their history! The system at many of our schools is much to blame in this respect. There are, we believe, comparatively few boys who acquire, until they seek it for themselves, even the roughest general outline of the world's history, to which their various episodic studies may be applied, so that each may fall into its proper place and order. 'Periods' and 'Epochs' are studied minutely and painfully, without any knowledge of the grand structure of which they form but a single fragment; and history is too often divorced from geography. A schoolboy is set to work on a play of Aristophanes before he has made acquaintance with the social and political movements of which Pericles and Cleon were the representatives. He reads his Bible and his Homer, his Virgil and Horace, his Cæsar and Livy, but probably with the vaguest ideas of their relations to one another, or their respective positions in the world's chronology. Or it may be that the whole of one term is devoted to one or two books of 'the Iliad' and 'the Odyssey,' 'the Æneid' or the 'Odes,' which are ground out line by line and word by word, all the interest and flavour of the complete work being inevitably and hopelessly dissipated in the process. Even 'the college prizeman, and the college tutor cannot read a chorus in the Trilogy but what his mind[Pg 504] instinctively wanders on optatives, choriambi, and that happy conjecture of Smelfungus in the antistrophe.'[100] But certain books having to be got up for an examination by the cramming process, the receptacle for all this erudition only looks forward to the time when he may throw his Classics behind the fire for ever. No book with the least pretention to permanent value can be read purely by and for itself; inevitably it must draw on the reader—if he be in any sense worthy of the name—from point to point beyond its own immediate sphere, until he finds his interest expanding and his tastes forming under a natural and rapid process of evolution. Can any intelligent person read his Homer or his 'Æneid,' his Boswell, his 'Old Mortality,' or 'The Voyage of the Beagle' without asking himself who are these strange characters, and where are these strange lands that seem so familiar to us?

He who stands on a hill and surveys a wide landscape, easily recognizes the leading features of the country—the river and the homestead, the church and the corn-field—they need no guide, they tell their own tale. In like manner the great landmarks of the literature of the past are well defined and unmistakable to him who has eyes to see and a mind to comprehend. The traveller may choose his line, and as he goes his way he will not fail to find guides who will give him the directions which passing doubts and difficulties may render necessary. The world's great books stand out as the old stone walls of some great feudal fortress—prominent and indestructible. Their original uses have been superseded by the world's advance; but time and change add greatly to their interest. He, however, who finds himself entangled in the dense jungle of books that are not 'masterpieces,' and are so plentiful in modern literature, is in a sorry plight; his way lies through this jungle, be it long or short, and he cannot escape it altogether. He has heard of the quiet groves of the Academy, and of the heights of Parnassus, but he is rarely able to catch a glimpse of them. He is whirled along and loses his foothold in the eddying torrent of periodical literature; or he is entangled in the briars of controversy, and, torn and vexed, is apt to lose his way. Here then it is that he particularly needs a guide, and here it is that Sir John Lubbock bids good-bye to him, and leaves him to his own resources.

The student, thus perplexed, may be surprised to learn from Mr. Ruskin that 'any bank clerk could write a history as good as Grote's,' and that Gibbon only chronicled 'putrescence and[Pg 505] corruption; 'he may be deeply interested in the information that Professor Bryce prefers Pindar to Hesiod, that the Lord Chief Justice knows nothing of Chinese or Sanskrit, and that Miss Braddon has spent 'great part of a busy life reading the "Quarterly and Edinburgh Reviews."' But all this does not help him in his bewildering journey among the 10,000 books which are annually flooding the world of English speaking readers—a mass of which we fear that the quality advances in inverse ratio to the quantity.

Sir John Lubbock's list, as it stands, suggests a gathering of illustrious Generals and officers, without any men. They are very distinguished and admirable in appearance and qualifications, but would be doubly so if seen at the head of the army which they lead and represent. Had Sir John commenced by marshalling his hundred books in groups, either of subjects to be studied or of readers to be provided for, and then called upon the 'guides' to fill up the gaps, and supply the rank and file of his army, he would have earned the thanks of all book-lovers.

In the selection of books two considerations must alternately be paramount. One of these would have reference to the subjects to be studied, the other would have reference to the readers to be provided for. We are aware of the long controversies and technical difficulties involved in this question of Classification, which has stirred the hearts of Librarians from time immemorial, but for our present purpose the elaboration of an exhaustive scientific system is unnecessary; a statement of the rough headings and divisions, under which the books for general readers should be grouped, presents no insurmountable obstacles. Various minor considerations may subsequently assert themselves; as, for example, whether the books are required with the ultimate object of the formation of a library, and 'the cultivation of literature is an object which cannot be accomplished without the acquisition of a library of a greater or less extent,' or for the mere purpose of amusement. To draw up such a catalogue as we propose would exceed the capacity of any single individual; each section should be the work of one or more persons specially versed in the subject.

We are, of course, dealing rather with those who are aspiring to be book lovers than with those who, having already attained to that distinction, can trust to the guidance of their own inclinations. These aspirants must seek first an able and judicious guide for each department of study. One guide may be fully competent to make a list of works in history or biography, but may lack experience in philosophy or in art;[Pg 506] while, on the other hand, the regimen prescribed for the country curate would hardly be appropriate for the mechanic or the soldier.

But, first, we must endeavour to define, by a rough process of elimination, the book lover, whether mature or in embryo. He is not the mere 'glutton of the lending library,' who bolts the contents of the monthly box without discrimination and without reflection, his main object being to while away an idle day or to gain a superficial reputation at the next dinner party at which he may be present; nor is he the collector of gaudy bindings; nor one who has never possessed nor desired to possess a library of his own, who has never read a book more than once, and has never committed to memory a single passage. He is not the man, in short, who fails to realize that 'the utility of reading depends not on the swallow but on the digestion.'

From the American Westerner who buys an Encyclopædia in parts, and finds in it all that he requires of instruction and amusement, to the princely founders of libraries—the Spencers and Parkers, the De Thous, the Sunderlands, and the Beckfords—is a wide interval, and includes all sorts and conditions of men, diverse from one another in everything but their love of books.

Sir John Lubbock, by his eminence in the world of science and the world of commerce, is admirably qualified to draw up a list of works on science and trade. But these he has unfortunately excluded from his consideration. Such lists would be invaluable to the thousands who from intellectual, or more purely mercenary motives, are now seeking for light. Had Sir John classified his list on some simple and discriminating plan, such as we have suggested, we might, as a result of the discussion, have obtained a summary of works on art by Mr. Ruskin, or a soldier's library by Lord Wolseley. Others, whose replies have been published, would have furnished special lists; and a still wider circle would, no doubt, have seen their way to rendering much help and service. We should, moreover, have been spared some rather irrelevant and wayward criticisms to which the discussion has given rise.

Two or three of the 'guides' have, with more or less success, adopted for themselves a definite system. Mr. William Morris has given us a list, the perusal of which may perchance arouse serious misgivings in the heart of the general reader, who cannot 'even with great difficulty read Old German,' and who has not yet been educated up to the point of regarding Virgil and Juvenal as 'sham classics.' The 'Admiral's' list is good, if somewhat too technical; and we would plead for the admission[Pg 507] of Southey's 'Life of Nelson,' even, if need be, to the exclusion of the 'Annual Register' in 110 volumes. The Head Master of Harrow 'tried to think how he should answer a boy's question if he were to ask, at any point of his school life, what books it were best worth while to read before the end (let me say) of his thirtieth year;' and we venture to regard Mr. Welldon's list as the best of all in point of conciseness and practical value.

The last to enter the lists, though not under the auspices of the 'Pall Mall Gazette,' is Mr. Frederic Harrison, who comes armed with a volume entitled 'The Choice of Books,' though four-fifths of the contents have strayed far away into such remote pastures as 'The Opening of the Courts of Justice,' 'A Plea for the Tower of London,' and 'The Æsthete.' With the small residue of the book, which has remained faithful to the titlepage, we have little fault to find. Mr. Harrison, as might be expected, regards everything through the spectacles of Auguste Comte—'hinc omne principium, huc refer exitum.' Comte's 'Syllabus,' to which we have already referred, was the basis of at least one of his essays, and is the subject of his closing remarks.

For our present purpose, the first article, 'How to Read,' is undoubtedly the most valuable and practicable. It deals in a straightforward and vigorous manner with many of the snares and difficulties by which the reader is beset, and sweeps away much of the sentimental, sickly, criticism which is unfortunately prevalent at the present time. We think, however, that Mr. Harrison is inclined to raise the standard of taste too high for the mass of general readers.

'Putting aside the iced air of the difficult mountain tops of epic, tragedy, or psalm, there are some simple pieces which may serve as an unerring test of a healthy or vicious taste for imaginative work. If the "Cid," the "Vita Nuova," the "Canterbury Tales," Shakspeare's "Sonnets," and "Lycidas" pall on a man; if he care not for Malory's "Morte d'Arthur" and the "Red Cross Knight"; if he thinks "Crusoe" and the "Vicar" books for the young; if he thrill not with the "Ode to the West Wind" and the "Ode to a Grecian Urn"; if he have no stomach for "Christabelle," or the lines written on "The Wye above Tintern," he should fall on his knees and pray for a cleanlier and quieter spirit.'

Now we believe that there is many a humble aspirant to literary taste on whom the above paragraph will produce an effect similar to that of 'iced air and mountain tops' by taking his breath away. Literary palates are mercifully endowed with tastes and appreciations as varied as mere bodily palates, and[Pg 508] we must protest against any such Procrustean method of ascertaining whether a man's 'spirit be cleanly and quiet,' or, which is terrible to contemplate, the reverse. On another page Mr. Harrison himself loudly deprecates and disclaims any narrow or sectarian view; he is nothing if not Catholic in his tastes. 'I protest that I am devoted to no school in particular; I condemn no school; I reject none. I am for the school of all the great men; and I am against the school of the smaller men.'

All taste must be founded on knowledge, and between the hard, dry teaching of the Board School or the Examination Room on the one hand, and the ætherial atmosphere of Desultory Reading and the purest literary discernment on the other, there lies an intermediate region, a 'penumbral zone,' which differs from the first in that it is entered voluntarily, and from the second in that it is attainable by all who care to enter it. The way through this region, though pleasant is laborious; system, accuracy, and discipline are essential to him who would traverse it. To be a desultory reader, in the sense defined by Lord Iddesleigh, a man must first have been a student; and not to every student is given the temperament, capacity, and opportunity, to become a desultory reader—still less can every student aspire to that refined literary taste, which Mr. Harrison possesses in so large a measure, and which, in its characteristics, he describes so well.

So far as modern literature is concerned, it may be said, that the Reviewers are, by their skill and experience, qualified to direct, and ever ready to aid the wayfarer; and in theory this is true. But, putting aside the few leading journals and periodicals, daily and weekly—of which we would only speak with the greatest respect—we fear that the reviewer's art is at a low ebb in these days. Often the side breezes of controversy, of private jealousy, or of personal interest, intervene to divert straightforward criticism; still more often does absolute incompetence render these guides worthless. A score of books may be seen, huddled together in an unbroken column of so-called criticism, with no other bond of union than their publication in course of the same week. The interested author, wading through this disconnected mass, suddenly stumbles on a few words extracted—possibly perverted—from his own preface, to which a line of commonplace commendation is affixed; and he then suddenly encounters a subject as far removed from his own as the 'Republic' of Plato is distant from 'Called Back.'

Among all these discordant voices, who shall help us to[Pg 509] detect the true ring? Thrice happy are those privileged few who enjoy the loving care and supervision of some wise mentor to guide their choice and to watch their progress; but for the multitude, to whom such a privilege is denied, a good classified list, not excluding recent works, carefully sifted and added to by the most prominent men of the day, would be of inestimable value.

In the first place, a connected chain of histories, from the earliest times to the present day, with a selected list of contemporary memoirs and biographies, would throw a guiding gleam of light on thousands who are wandering, dark and aimless, in a labyrinth of 'masterpieces.' In this enquiry system is essential. Of desultory comments, charming and instructive in themselves and valuable in the formation of taste, we have abundant store. Who that has read Emerson's 'Essay on Books,' or Charles Lamb's 'Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading,' or Isaac Disraeli's 'Curiosities of Literature' and 'Literary Character,' or Byron's brilliant and impulsive criticisms on books and authors, can be without some kindling of enthusiasm and of desire to know more fully the great works thus passed in critical review? But the essential characteristics of such commentaries as these are snares to the student. The temptation to pass from one subject to another is inseparable from treatment of this kind, and so becomes a hindrance to more earnest application.

Dibdin's 'Library Companion' in some respects fulfils the requirements we have mentioned; but apart from the fact, that the information it contains is now in a great measure obsolete, too much space is devoted to the description and value of choice and rare editions. It is a book-buyer's rather than a reader's guide. Perkins's 'The Best Reading' is too bald a catalogue, and requires a vast amount of sifting, and the addition of a few words of running comment to render it serviceable. It lacks, in short, the characteristics of a catalogue raisonnée.

The Historical List which we have proposed should be prefaced by a chronological table, indicating the epochs into which the World's History divides itself, and the periods covered by each of the works recommended. This would give the student a bird's-eye view of the field which he is about to explore, and enable him, at any moment in his exploration, to take his reckonings and verify his position.

Careful distinction should be made between Chroniclers and Historians, between those who have provided the materials and those who have designed and reared the complete structure. Sometimes these chroniclers have furnished merely rough and[Pg 510] unhewn stones, useful in themselves, but with no pretence to artistic finish or individuality of character; and these have been absorbed into the building. Other chronicles, again, are perfected in form, and are not merely integral, essential portions of the complicated structure, but become a source of endless pleasure from the merit of their workmanship. Thucydides and Clarendon are universally read, while Hecatæus has all but vanished; and Thomas May's 'History of the Long Parliament,' though pronounced by Lord Chatham to be a 'much honester and more instructive book of the same period than Lord Clarendon's,' is relegated to the shelves of the specialist or the bookworm.

Histories are scarcely less ephemeral than books of science; and the object of the list we are advocating is not to provide an exhaustive catalogue, a task which in these days would overtax the capacity of half-a-dozen Dr. Johnsons, but to select those works which will give the best continuous narrative of the period under discussion, and represent the most recent scholarship; omitting those which have been absorbed or superseded.

Mitford and Gillies have given place to Thirwall and Grote; and even the star of Hallam, outshining De Lolme, is beginning to wane before the searching light which, by the publication of State Papers and other archives, is being brought to bear on the History of England and of Modern Europe. But such materials, though ruthlessly relegating much of what we have hitherto regarded as the 'Pearls of History' to the category of 'Mock Pearls,' cannot immediately be made available for the ordinary student, or become absorbed into the popular histories of the day. We can ill spare from our list the names of those writers, who, from Livy to Lord Macaulay, have added a fascination to the study of history; though in their works most beautiful Mock Pearls abound. But the student should be warned against implicit reliance on their records.

To Clarendon has been ascribed the honor of being the first Englishman who wrote History, as we regard it; his predecessors having been in the main mere chroniclers or annalists. Clarendon elaborated the picture of which these annalists had merely supplied the materials; and the eighteenth century saw the development of this new method in the brilliant triad of contemporaries, Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon. Our own age has witnessed a further advance in the school of philosophical historians, who, without aiming at any connected narrative of events, present to us the profound lessons which history teaches; pointing out the far-reaching causes which have influenced and are influencing[Pg 511] events occurring in widely distant countries; causes and events which to the superficial observer seem totally disconnected. This philosophical category would form one of the most interesting, and in these days, when political empiricism shows a growing tendency to supplant statesmanlike research, not the least important portion of our historical list. If to this main stem of History there be added the due complement of branches and leaves—memoirs and biographies—the Plutarchs and Pepyses, the Walpoles and St. Simons, the Crokers and Grevilles of each generation—we shall have a tree of knowledge which would yield to none in point of interest and utility.

We have dwelt at some length on this part of the subject, first, because of its almost unlimited extent; and secondly, because, owing to this extent, there is such difficulty in making a genuine and trustworthy selection. There is, besides, an apparently constant antagonism in history between the qualities of strict accuracy and literary brilliancy. The two are not incompatible, but the striving after literary merit is as great a snare to the writer as its attainment by the writer is, in too many cases, to the student.

Of voyages and travels, 'I would also have good store, especially the earlier, when the world was fresh and unhackneyed, and men saw things invisible to the modern eye: They are fast-sailing ships to waft away from present troubles to the Fortunate Islands.'[101] Grouped under each quarter of the globe, we should have selections of the works of those travellers, who, from Herodotus to Mr. Stanley, and from Marco Polo or Captain Cook down to Miss Bird, have made us who stay at home familiar with the remotest corners of the earth. Much of the romance of travel has of necessity perished in these matter-of-fact days; but as the writing of history has developed from a mere chronicle of events into a scientific and philosophical method, so the art of travelling is now assuming a political form under pressure of the gigantic problems which are exercising the mind of the civilized world; and a section of political travels, of which Mr. Froude and Baron von Hübner have recently given us examples, should not be omitted.

Without pretending to enumerate all the departments which our catalogue should comprise—and most of them are too obvious to require enumeration—we would suggest a good selection of the best translations and editions of the Greek and Roman Classics. In mentioning translations we, of course, disclaim any recommendation of the common 'crib,' but refer to those scholarly[Pg 512] works which have brought the classical masterpieces to the very doors of the general public; such, for example, as Rawlinson's 'Herodotus,' or Prof. Jowett's 'Plato and Thucydides;' as Lord Derby's 'Iliad,' Gifford's 'Juvenal,' or Conington's 'Virgil:' nor is the crib more widely removed from such works as these, than, in the matter of editions, is Anthon's 'Virgil,' for example, from Munro's 'Lucretius.' In the opinion of Mr. Harrison, this 'is the age of accurate translation. The present generation has produced a complete library of versions of the great Classics, chiefly in prose, partly in verse, more faithful, true, and scholarly than anything ever produced before.' Mr. Harrison's own essay on the 'Poets of the Old World,' goes far to supply one at least of the branches of this section. Last, but by no means least, do we plead for a guide to 'Children's Books.' We run some risk in these days of competitive examinations and 'higher education,' of placing instruction too prominently in the front, to the exclusion of pure amusement; forgetting that it is through the imagination that the interest of a child is most readily aroused, and that, unless the interest be aroused, our educational labours will be worthless. A child can live in an atmosphere of genial fiction, and appreciate it, without the danger which lurks in a misrepresentation of what passes around him in his daily experience. It is exaggeration, not fiction, that is liable to injure the mind of a child.

On the vital question, 'how to read,' the student has received matter for careful and deliberate consideration, alike from Lord Iddesleigh and Mr. Goschen, from Mr. Harrison and Mr. Lowell. The burden of their advice is the same, though the forms differ; they all unite in deprecating and deploring the hurry, the want of application, the want of restraint which prevail in the present day. The hurrying reader, on the one hand, and the indolent reader, on the other, are the types to be avoided with the most scrupulous care. We suffer from an excess of opportunities, and require to be constantly reminded that 'it is impossible to give any method to our reading till we get nerve enough to reject.'

If we look through the long list of English literary celebrities, we cannot but be struck with the large proportion of those who have received little or no regular education in their early days, and whose opportunities of study have been of the scantiest. Ben Jonson working as a bricklayer with his book in his pocket: Wm. Cobbett reading his hard-earned 'Tale of a Tub' under the haystack, or mastering his grammar when he was a private soldier on the pay of 6d. a day; when 'the edge of my berth or that of my guard-bed was my seat to study in; my[Pg 513] knapsack was my bookcase; a bit of board lying on my lap was my writing table, and the task did not demand anything like a year of my life:' Gifford, as a cobbler's apprentice, working out his problems on scraps of waste leather; or Bunyan, confined for twelve years in Bedford jail with only his Bible and 'Foxe's Book of Martyrs,' are but a few among scores of instances which will immediately suggest themselves.

There are many persons who are possessed with a strange and unaccountable conviction, that to read a book and to write a book are processes which require little, if any, previous training or preparation. The one error is sufficiently obvious to all who pay any attention to the great mass of cheap literature which is pouring from our printing-presses; the other is less easy of detection. 'The first lesson in reading is that which teaches us to distinguish between literature and merely printed matter,' is the admirable maxim laid down by Mr. Lowell, and this is one of the essential points in which the personal influence of an experienced friend is of inestimable value. As the latent beauties of some great masterpiece of art unfold themselves to our eye under the guidance of a Kugler or a Ruskin, and we are thus enabled to detect their presence or their absence in the works of other hands and other schools, so in the masterpieces of literature the realization of the points, wherein the chief merits of each lie, places us in a position to form a standard—to possess a talisman, which shall enable us unerringly to detect the true from the false. Mrs. Knowles said of Dr. Johnson, 'He knows how to read better than any one; he gets at the substance of a book directly; he tears the heart out of it.' This faculty, which was exhibited in a marvellous degree also in Southey and Macaulay, is as rare as it is enviable; but there are not a few who erroneously suppose themselves to be possessed of it. The hurried, careless, method of reading is one of the chief dangers a student should guard against. In studying a work of biography, for example—but above all in studying the classics—the first requisite, and one which is, as we have said, sadly overlooked in public school teaching, is the acquisition of a simple, general outline of the period to which the work relates. In the fashionable phrase of the day, the books so read are frequently not in correspondence with their environment. To him whose views of Roman history are but a shapeless mist, if not an absolute void, Virgil and Horace are sealed books; nor can any one who is ignorant of Scotland and her traditions penetrate beyond the husk of 'Waverley' or 'Old Mortality.' To the young beginner a few judicious words of explanation at the commencement of a book may serve to[Pg 514] awaken that interest without which reading is useless, and to make darkness light; and, similarly, a few words of discussion, when the book is completed, will have the effect of consolidating the floating ideas to which the perusal has given rise. The habit of casting aside a book as soon as the last page is read, without pondering over its contents and recalling the argument and refreshing the memory where it has failed, or allowing the 'frenzied current of the eye to be stopped for many moments of calm reflection or thought,' is apt to render worthless all the previous effort. Lord Erskine, we are told, was in the habit of making long extracts from Burke, and Lord Eldon is said to have copied out 'Coke upon Littleton' twice with his own hand. 'Writing an analysis,' says Archibishop Whately,[102] 'or table of contents, or index, or notes, is very important for the study, properly so called, of any subject. And so also is the practice of previously conversing or writing on the subject you are about to study.' Reading can produce a beneficial result only in proportion to the extent and accuracy of information previously stored in the mind of the reader. Such information is like the roots of some flourishing oak; every fresh fact is, as it were, a new fibre confirming and strengthening the growth of the tree, and attracting nourishment from new soil.

'The moment you have a definite aim, attention is quickened, the mother of memory; and all that you acquire groups and arranges itself in an order that is lucid, because everywhere and always it is in intelligent relation to a central object of constant and growing interest.'[103] Bearing this in mind, we would urge the student to investigate every unfamiliar allusion which may occur in the course of his reading or conversation. A fact or subject thus sought out fixes itself more firmly in the memory than most of those which are merely passed in the ordinary course of reading.

The use of odd moments should not be overlooked. 'Blockheads,' wrote Sir Walter Scott, 'can never find out how folks cleverer than themselves came by their information. They never know what is done at dressing-time, meal-time even, or in how few minutes they can get at the sense of many pages.' It is not possible always to have a book at hand, but any one who will take the trouble to copy out, from time to time, passages which have attracted his attention, and carry them about with him to learn by heart at odd moments, may perhaps be astonished to find how much may be acquired in this manner.

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There are some books which by their nature lend themselves to a snatchy method of perusal, and a few minutes may often be well employed in reading an ode of Horace, or the disjointed conversations of Dr. Johnson, but such moments should as a rule be devoted to books which are already more or less familiar. The habit of frivolously taking up, and as frivolously casting aside, a book is, however, one which should be guarded against with the utmost care. It was a strict rule in the family of Goethe the elder, that any book once commenced should be read through to the end. Dr. Johnson, on the other hand, considered a rule of this kind 'strange advice; you may as well resolve that whatever men you happen to get acquainted with, you are to keep them for life.'

A snare, which did not exist in the time of Goethe or of Dr. Johnson, presents itself in these days to the reader, in the ever-increasing mass of periodical literature. But the busy man, who has not time to turn aside from his own work to the thorough investigation of the topic of the hour, may sometimes, in the pages of a magazine, find the case stated tersely by distinguished advocates on both sides; and he may thus at least discern the main positions of assailant and assailed. An exhaustive and genuine review of a book is occasionally afforded by periodical literature, more rarely perhaps than is generally believed; but such essays to have any value, should be read only after the work to which they relate, a condition that is, we fear, seldom fulfilled.

The 'desultory reader' has now been defined and elevated. We can hardly be mistaken in considering that by reason of Lord Iddesleigh's admirable remarks the expression has acquired a new signification; at least a large number of those who may have fondly imagined themselves to be desultory readers have now been effectually eliminated from the category.

We live in days of 'specialism,' and the book-making specialist of our generation probably yields to none of his predecessors in the literary roll in respect of industry, skill, and accuracy; but his subject, as a rule, is his business, his breadwinner. The desultory reader regards literature as his pastime and recreation. Happy is he who has the time, the opportunity, and the education, to become a desultory reader, in Lord Iddlesleigh's sense of the word.

But admitting that Desultory Dilettanteism may under certain favourable conditions be both profitable and a fascinating attainment, and claiming as we do a very high value for good guidance in the choice of books, we must not lose sight of the fact, that the basis on which the main practical question of[Pg 516] the selection and proper use of books rests, is not what is good in general, or in special literature, but what is fitted for each individual man. And to discover this the man himself, or his immediate ancestor, the youth or boy, must be examined. The foundation of success in any sphere of life is physical and mental, nervous and moral aptitude; and those who have to direct, or to decide for, or to advise the young respecting their career in life, should make the personal condition of their protégés their careful study. From the ascertained condition the capacity of each may be discerned, and his future capabilities may be, to some extent, foreseen. These capabilities are the indicators of the course of reading first required; by them the youth's career should chiefly be selected and decided on. Unfortunately in most cases careful forethought is neglected. Qualities that actually make the man are, in a decision that affects his hopes and happiness for life, too often overlooked; and some mere transient incident, esteemed perhaps a stroke of fortune, is accepted, without any hesitating thought about the suitability of its results, as a sufficient introduction to the business of the world. The consequence of this neglect is obvious enough. In every social and commercial sphere we find men drudging on in hopeless slavery, or ruined by the natural revolt of sensibilities that could not be controlled, against the influence of circumstances wholly inappropriate, and for which these sensibilities, most useful in their proper sphere, were not of course designed.

A young man's very desultory reading will perhaps be one of the most useful means for finding what his life's career should be. Knowing himself, or being known, as has been said, by those directing him, and by his own discursive reading having learnt what work for his peculiar abilities is open for him in the world, he probably will judge quite readily what line of study he should at first pursue, and following out this clue, at first by the aid of judicious external guidance, he will, with ever-increasing self-reliance and discrimination, proceed to fulfil the requirements of education and the inclination of his own mental disposition. This method of development is the natural order by which intellectual growth, by means of books, or any other means, proceeds. To make a choice of certain hundred books for any man's perusal, in his youth or afterwards, is but a feat of cleverness, arousing curiosity or wonder, but evolving nothing—ending in the choice. A man may be possessed of any number of good books; and possibly a thousand books might be selected, all of which would be by general consent called excellent, and worth possessing; and perhaps he would be none[Pg 517] the better for them all. Young men do not require a hundred books at once. Indeed the fewer well-selected books a youth has to begin with, the more safe he is against excessive loss of time. His most important question is not, what shall I read? but, what need I read? The student's care should be to read as little, and to think as much as possible. Thus, he will find what thing it is that he at any time immediately requires to know, and he will make this pressing need the object of his next acquirement in books. This method tends to education; it develops mental power, and makes a cultivated man. A hundred books procured and read without appropriate sympathy, and interest, and thought, will merely make an animated bookcase of the man.

Not only should the student's books be few, but as he reads he should be constantly upon his guard. Most readers read to be informed or to be entertained; and books of information are absorbed as if all printed statements must of course be true, or even if not true must, as a record, be worth knowing. This omnivorous, careless style of reading is a grievous waste of life and energy. Were books read with critical, enquiring thought, the time misspent in reading would be wholesomely reduced, and readers would increase in mental power in due proportion to their increased information.

In books of entertainment, and especially of fiction, corresponding carefulness is necessary. There are books among the best which are, in various degrees and ways, of evil influence, and should be read with caution and reserve. To yield one's self to the enjoyment of an entertaining book may be as foolish as to give one's self into the hands of an untried agreeable companion. Ability to please is to these incautious subjects of it a most dangerous influence; and books as well as men when most attractive should be treated warily. In Rabelais and Swift, in Fielding and Smollett, coarse manners must be reprobated. In George Eliot's novels, with exceptions, and in 'Jane Eyre,' there is a subtle taint that is unwholesome to the unguarded reader. Thackeray too frequently compels us to associate with evil company; and, while admiring the writer's skill, the reader should keep well outside of almost every group in Thackeray's novels.

Distinct alike from the progressive student and the discriminating reader, is an abundant class who, without individuality, and mere omnivorous devotees of books, chiefly reading the lighter literature of the day. These people, through excess and self-indulgence, become feeble-minded, intellectually dissipated, and incapable of serious study. In every rank of life the book-devouring[Pg 518] vice abounds; but chiefly among women, girls, and boys; men finding in the newspapers their daily pabulum. This thoughtless, fragmentary, reading has debilitated the contemporary mental fibre of the nation; and has so absorbed the time, we cannot say the attention, of the immense majority of the reading public, that many of them are ignorant even of the existence of the standard works of literature. The late discussion, therefore, about books has been of use; it has made known to the great community of people, who now can read, the fact, that there are certain books, a hundred more or less, far more worth reading than the popular and periodical literature of the day. If this discovery could be impressed upon the public mind with practical effect, the result would be a beneficial change in their condition. The abundant tattle and affected interest about names and things of mean and transient notoriety, and the discursive dinner-table gossip of the world would then perhaps subside; and English conversation would become a constant and a beneficial intellectual enjoyment.


[99] Croker's 'Boswell,' pp. 767, 8vo. ed.

[100] 'The Choice of Books,' p. 37.

[101] Mr Lowell's Address at the dedication of the Free Public Library, Chelsea, Massachusetts.

[102] Notes to Bacon's 'Essays.'

[103] Mr. Lowel.

Art. IX.—1. Popular Government. Four Essays. By Sir Henry Sumner Maine. Second Edition. London, 1886.

2. Democracy in America. By Alexis de Tocqueville. Translated by Henry Reeve. New Edition. London, 1862.

3. On the State of Society in France before the Revolution of 1789. Translated by Henry Reeve. Second Edition. London, 1873.

4. Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau W. Senior, 1834-59. London, 1872.

5. On the Government of Dependencies. By Sir George Cornewall Lewis. London, 1841.

6. On the Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion. By the Same. London, 1849.

7. A Dialogue on the best Form of Government. By the Same. London, 1863.

8. The English Constitution. By Walter Bagehot. Revised Edition. London, 1883.

Of the latest Work on the Characteristics of Democracy we are precluded from speaking, as Sir Henry Maine's valuable Essays first appeared in the pages of this Review. But we desire on the present occasion to call attention to some writers on the subject, who are almost unknown to a younger generation, or known only by occasional references made to[Pg 519] them by those who were well acquainted with the writers and their works. And among these half-forgotten names few perhaps will recur more frequently in the recollections of the best-informed men of from forty-five to sixty, or more surprise those who have entered on life since their owners left it, than those of Alexis de Tocqueville, Nassau William Senior, and Walter Bagehot. Among the statesmen of the last generation, few who will fill so small a space in history are so often or so reverently quoted by those who remember Lord Palmerston's Government, the Crimean War, and the Indian Mutiny, as Sir George Cornewall Lewis. Most men under forty will hear with surprise that in the City, at least, he was deemed a sounder and safer financier than Mr. Gladstone; honoured as the Chancellor of the Exchequer who first redeemed the financial reputation of the Whigs from the discredit that had clung to the party of retrenchment and reform for a whole generation. Of the small minority who know him as the founder of the English school of historical sceptics, how many have heard of his multifarious literary and political works, or his shrewd, genial, two-edged, criticisms on public and social life? It seems too probable that our grandchildren will retain nothing of his save the characteristic saying, that 'life would be very tolerable but for its pleasures;' and that, probably, will be assigned to some more famous and far less wise causeur or phrasemaker, losing half its force in the transfer. Even Mill is known to the passing and the rising generation by different works and diverse characteristics. To the one he is little more than the greatest, most original, and most heretical of English economists; a standard author on logic and metaphysics. The other prefers to remember him by his later and lesser writings; those sexagenarian and posthumous Essays, in which the riper wisdom of a mind, very slow to learn the lessons of practical life, was gathered, and the wilder errors of his earlier theories modified or corrected. Much of that which is really best in his thought and teaching, set forth in these last writings, bears a close analogy to the views of Tocqueville Senior, and Bagehot, and shows that a tardy, hardly-acquired, unwillingly accepted, knowledge of men and women, of the real and ineradicable tendencies of human nature, brought the giant of the closet into nearer accord with the practical philosophy of a man like Sir George Cornewall Lewis, wise, calm, and judicial, by natural temper, wiser yet by the closet-study which had analysed the experiences of the literary, business, and political, world, of administration, Parliament, and the Cabinet.

One common and very striking feature characterizes the[Pg 520] political thought of all these men—all of them Liberals in more than mere nominal profession or party connection. All regarded the triumph of Democracy as near and inevitable, and all, from different points of view, regarded it with a mixture of resignation and distrust, strangely significant in men of such different views, of such diverse character, mental training, and personal experience. None of them were fatalists, much less pessimists; none inclined à priori to that political superstition which recognizes, in the tendencies of a thing so uncertain and changeful as the spirit of the age, the hand of Providence, or the indication of 'manifest destiny.' All were men of more than average independence of temper, an independence which, in one or two, approached nearly to that which practical politicians call impracticability. None of them were disposed to be silent when the many-headed Cæsar had spoken. Mill's most striking, and—to the credit of Democracy be it spoken—most popular characteristic, was a stern and almost pardoxical defiance alike of personal consequences and of public opinion. On the verge of his entrance into public life he affronted the working-classes by telling them, with more than Carlylese directness and exaggeration, that they were 'mostly liars.' If ever there were a man sure to protest to the last against false doctrines and mischievous tendencies, to protest the more fiercely the more certain their victory seemed, it was John Stuart Mill.

Tocqueville, conscious of no common political and administrative capacity—a statesman whose strong popular sympathies, practical wisdom, contempt of popular catchwords, knowledge of and respect for concrete facts; above all, whose signal freedom from the characteristic weaknesses and vices of French statesmanship, rendered him the fittest of all men to direct the destiny of France, whose counsels and guidance would have saved her from all the worst mistakes and most signal disasters—was content to spend a lifetime first in opposition, afterwards in absolute exile from public life, rather than go 'the way that was not his way for an inch.' An Orleanist, an enthusiastic lover of Parliamentary institutions, he would not stoop with Guizot and Thiers to serve a King whose power was founded on corruption. A minister of the President, he held aloof as sternly from the despotism of the Empire as from the factions of the Republican Assembly. He never designed to conceal or soften the expressions of the most unpopular sentiments or convictions.

Sir George Cornewall Lewis was an eminently English statesman, fully aware of the necessity of mutual concession—more willing than most to be guided as a Minister by the tradition of his office, to leave the administration for which he[Pg 521] must answer in Parliament to the practical experience of his permanent subordinates—but one whom, assuredly, no one ever accused of undue pliancy, or excessive deference to party or popular feeling.

Mr. Bagehot alone of the three was a man likely, cœteris paribus, to prefer the winning side; to believe that the belief of the many was likely to be right; looking, however, to the opinion of the many educated and thoughtful rather than of the many ignorant and over-occupied. Yet all agree at once in treating the coming rule of numbers almost as a law of nature, which it were folly to criticize and madness to resist; and in anticipating its advent with doubt and distrust, with deep and sometimes gloomy apprehension. Their constant, thoughtful concurrence in both convictions, their equal assurance that pure Democracy was dangerous and that it was inevitable, deserves a profound significance from their utterly distinct points of view; from the utter unlikeness of their tempers, their experience, and their natural bias.

Sir George Cornewall Lewis, as a Liberal politician, was decidedly distrustful of electoral reform, and accepted it only as a party necessity. His personal delight in the exposure of popular errors, his insistence on the value of authority, and the immense extent of the sphere in which the thought and conduct of the many are necessarily controlled by the authority of the few, the spirit of such books as his 'Essay on the Government of Dependencies' are those of a mind wholly adverse to democratic theories, and intensely mistrustful of popular judgments. He was not fascinated by what he describes as 'the splendid vision of a community bound together by the ties of fraternity, liberty, and equality, exempt from hereditary privilege, giving all things to merit, and presided over by a government in which all the national interests are faithfully represented.' He put these words into the mouth of the advocate of Democracy in his 'Dialogue on the best form of Government,' which he published shortly before his death. In this work his own views are expressed in the person of Crito.

'Even if I were to decide in favour of one of these forms, and against the two others, I should not find myself nearer the solution of the practical problem. A nation does not change the form of its government with the same facility that a man changes his coat. A nation in general only changes the form of its government by means of a violent revolution.... The history of forcible attempts to improve governments is not cheering. Looking back upon the course of revolutionary movements, and upon the character of their consequences, the practical conclusion which I draw is, that it is the[Pg 522] part of wisdom and prudence to acquiesce in any form of government, which is tolerably well administered, and affords tolerable security to person and property. I would not, indeed, yield to apathetic despair or acquiesce in the persuasion that a merely tolerable government is incapable of improvement. I would form an individual model, suitable to the character, disposition, wants, and circumstances of the country, and I would make all exertions, whether by action or by writing, within the limits of the existing law, for ameliorating its existing condition, and bringing it nearer to the model selected for imitation; but I should consider the problem of the best form of government as purely ideal, and as unconnected with practice; and should abstain from taking a ticket in the lottery of revolution, unless there was a well-founded expectation that it would come out a prize.'

The conservatism of Lewis was that of a profoundly sceptical instinct, of practical cautious incredulity. Bagehot's was the conservatism of middle-class English thought and experience. Tocqueville's was that of wide observation and bitter disappointment. Mill was a Conservative only so far as conservatism was forced upon a mind essentially radical and even revolutionary, imbued with a profound faith in abstract principles leading far beyond universal suffrage to, if not across the verge of communism, by the danger which he foresaw to individual liberty and unfettered intellectual freedom from the ascendency of mere numbers. Upon this point he agreed closely with Tocqueville, though upon nearly every other their views were as opposite as their character and experience; and their teaching has been fully confirmed by the actual working of the most successful, the most tolerant, and the most fortunately situated democracy that the world has ever seen.

The tendency of Democracy to naked despotism is obvious enough in the recent history of France; but sanguine democrats ascribe the special experience of France to the intense centralization inherited, as Tocqueville shows, by the Republic, the Constitutional Monarchy and the Empire from the Ancien Régime; the absence of any local school of practical discussion, mutual tolerance, and co-operation; the bitterness of factions fighting not for administrative or legislative control, but for fundamentally incompatible forms of Government,—to anything rather than the unfitness of the French nation for Teutonic liberties. Conservative pessimists and democratic optimists can only find a common ground, a test which both will accept, in the experience of the United States. Whatever vices are found in American democracy must be inherent in democracy itself; and it must be granted that, looking on the surface of[Pg 523] public life, the larger facts of national history, and the material condition of the people, there is no evidence, obvious to the hasty observer, of interference with personal freedom, of any demoralizing or weakening influence on individual character exercised by political or social equality. It is outside of the proper field of politics, in facts invisible to distant observers, and not visible at a glance to thoughtful travellers, that we must seek for proof of the bearing of democratic institutions and ideas upon personal and social liberty, upon the maintenance of individual and collective rights.

Upon such a point the remarks of a leisurely, thoughtful, cultivated writer, like Richard Grant White, a man who had enjoyed exceptional opportunities of comparing the effect upon daily life of English aristocracy and American democracy, are more instructive than the elaborate treatises of political theorists or the generalizations of historians. The testimony of such writers bears out the inference which careful students might draw from English history, that the influence of a local and landed aristocracy is far more favourable, than that even of a landed democracy, to the jealous and resolute assertion of legal rights, to a strenuous and successful resistance to the encroachments of power, social or political, upon the property, the comfort, the liberty, and the privileges, of individuals or communities. The moral of Mr. Grant White's sketches of English and American life is, that the English peasant or tradesman is far safer from practical oppression or injustice than the American farmer or citizen; that an Englishman, whatever his rank, is far more free to speak his mind, and far more likely to have a mind worth speaking, than one of the same position in France, or even in Massachusetts. The lively interest in, the diffused knowledge of, politics and public matters, found among educated, and even half-educated men and women throughout the upper and middle classes of England, evidently impressed Mr. White by the contrast it presented to the indifference of American 'Society' to State and Federal politics. He notes particularly the higher tone, the wider knowledge, the freedom from petty class and personal concerns, the broader range of thought, the familiarity with subjects of general human interest, which characterize the conversation of an English dinner-table or drawing-room, as compared with that of American clubs and parlours. He speaks, with the bitterness of a man often and deeply bored, of the limited range of American table-talk, the prominence of the 'shop,' the professional interests of each chance assemblage; the price of stocks and railway shares, and the chances and changes of Wall Street; the inferior tone of[Pg 524] thought among men and women alike, in the best or at least the wealthiest society of New York and Philadelphia. In this he is incidentally confirmed by so observant and candid a social critic as Laurence Oliphant. There is an American society of higher cultivation and loftier interests; but that society, except in Boston, is necessarily scattered and somewhat exclusive; and, standing wholly aloof from politics, lacks the knowledge of history, of legislation, of social and economic interests, of current opinion, of foreign affairs—which is in itself a sort of liberal, if necessarily superficial, education. American ladies, and even gentlemen, hardly know who are the Senators for their State, much less who is the representative of their district; care nothing for, and know little of, the debates in Congress, still less in the State Legislature, deeply as these may affect the well-being of the community, the laws under which they and their children are to live.

But this lack of interest in public affairs has a deeper and far more reaching consequence. Everybody's business is nobody's business. In a community really democratic there are no natural leaders; none bound by rank, station, and recognized primacy, to originate resistance; none too strong to be crushed by the animosity of a Fiske or a Gould, or grievously wronged by a corrupt corporation like that of New York, a dishonest political organization like Tammany Hall, or a powerful Tramway or Railway Company. The consequence is, that not only the individual citizen, but a whole community submits to high-handed oppression, to administrative and judicial corruption, to impudent usurpation and flagrant illegalities, such as the greatest of English corporations would never dream of attempting. Perhaps the most oppressive and insolent exactions, to which living Englishmen have as yet submitted, are those of the Water Companies of London; but the offenders have repeatedly been resisted and brought to justice; and it is in London alone, the one English city which lacks natural leaders and protectors, which is too large for any citizen or body of citizens—save that great City Corporation which English Radicalism has marked for destruction—to speak and act in its name, that the Water Companies would have been endured for five years. Even in London, no such high-handed interference with the rights of property and the comfort of families, as the Elevated Railways of New York, with their uncompensated destruction of individual privacy and comfort throughout many of the wealthiest streets of the first city in the Union, would have been obviously and utterly impossible.

The tolerance of Democracy for what seem to English ideas[Pg 525] the grossest form of oppression—oppression systematic and legal, arbitrary power and class privilege, formally embodied in the law and made a fundamental principle of government—is illustrated by that clause of the Code Napoleon, which exempts the whole bureaucracy of France from civil or criminal liability. No official can be prosecuted, no redress sought at law for the abuse of powers the most extensive, affecting every man's daily life—powers which enable their holder to harass and almost ruin individuals and communities at his pleasure—save by permission of the Council of State, a body of officials inclined of course to believe and to shield its subordinates. This law has been sustained by each successive Government that has seized the reins of centralized power; nor are we aware that any serious effort has been made to repeal it.

The tyranny of democracy is, as Mill insists, the most formidable, searching, and irresistible of all. Under an autocracy or oligarchy, public opinion is the protector of the injured, and imposes limits on arbitrary power. Assassination is the resort of the victim driven to frenzy by individual oppression, and tempers the sternest despotism; but Demos wields opinion and defies the dagger. By general confession life is far less free, individual taste, caprice or eccentricity is kept under far sharper restraint by fashion and feeling, in America than in aristocratic England. At every epoch of American history, the freedom of opinion has been curtailed at certain points within strict if ill-defined limits. The patriots of Virginia proclaimed in 1775 that any who dared 'by speech or writing to maintain' Royalist or Constitutional views should be treated as an enemy of his country. A similar ban was put some fifty years ago upon the Abolitionists of Illinois and Connecticut. A time came when it was almost equally dangerous to maintain the constitutional doctrines which the Abolitionists had assailed. Nowadays, of actual persecution there is little, because there is little need; because the repression acts, save with the most independent, original and contradictious tempers, upon thought rather than expression. No human intellect or character can resist the universal, insensible, unconscious, pressure of the atmosphere which surrounds it from the cradle. Upon certain political, social, and ethical dogmas, wherever national pride and democratic prejudice are touched, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say, that the 'unanimous opinion' of the North and West has demoralized or extinguished thought itself.

Demos is not only tyrant but Pope. He feels, and his courtiers venture openly to claim for him, not only the royalty which can do no wrong, but the infallibility which can define[Pg 526] right and wrong themselves. He resents, we are told upon democratic authority, all pretension to special knowledge.

'No observer of American polities' (Mr. Godkin admits in his reply to Sir Henry Maine) 'can deny that, with regard to matters which can become the subject of legislation, the American voter listens with extreme impatience to anything which has the air of instruction; but the reason is to be found not in his dislike of instruction so much as his dislike in the political field of anything which savours of superiority. The passion for equality is one of the very strongest influences in American politics. This is so fully recognized now by politicians, that self-depreciation, even in the matter of knowledge, has become one of the ways of commending one's self to the multitude, which even the foremost men of both parties do not disdain. In talking on such subjects as the currency, with a view of enlightening the people, skilful orators are very careful to repudiate all pretence of knowing anything more about the matter than their hearers. The speech is made to wear as far as possible the appearance of being simply a reproduction of things with which the audience is just as familiar as the speaker. Nothing is more fatal to a stump orator than an air of superior wisdom on any subject. He has, if he means to persuade, to keep carefully, in outward seeming at all events, on the same intellectual level as those whom he is addressing. Orators of a demagogic turn, of course, push this caution to its extreme, and often affect ignorance, and boast of the smallness of the educationale opportunities enjoyed by them in their youth, and of the extreme difficulty they had in acquiring even the little they know. There is nothing, in fact, people are less willing to tolerate in a man, who seek office at their hands, than any sign that he does not consider himself as belonging to the same class as the bulk of the voters—that either birth, or fortune, or education has taken him out of sympathy with them, or caused him, in any sense, to look down on them.'

Historians treat the vote of the present generation as decisive, morally as well as practically, on the issues of the past. The people has, by chance or caprice, passed judgment upon questions, in discussing which consummate statesmen with intimate practical knowledge of their bearings profoundly differed; and that judgment concludes the controversy, determines the right or wrong, the wisdom or folly, of men like J.Q. Adams, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun. We have seen too much of this abject superstition in recent English historical essays, as well as in political polemics. It is needless to point out the debasing effect upon all discussion of such anticipatory appeal to the arbitrary decision of Pope or posterity. No man can reason vigorously, frankly, forcibly, and fully, who feels that he, or the heirs of his thought, may be forced not merely to accept defeat, but to cry 'peccavi.' The maxim 'securus[Pg 527] judicat orbis terrarum' has no place in historical criticism; and if it had, one nation is not the world, nor the next generation a posterity on whose experience and impartiality reliance might be placed.

M. de Tocqueville is known to the world chiefly by two great works. His 'Democracy in America' was the production of his early manhood. In New England he saw democracy at its best and brightest; saw nothing of that deterioration which the decay of the old Puritan severity, the infusion of a strong foreign element, the corruption and the passions of the Civil War, have confessedly caused. The colonial traditions and principles were still in modified force; simple habits of life, a general prevalence of competence, the absence of ostentatious wealth and luxury, left women content to be mothers and housekeepers; a position of which, as trustworthy witnesses allege, modern luxury, culture, and love of leisure, have rendered them impatient; while the impossibility of devolving their domestic duties upon servants makes the family a burden, and maternity no longer the deepest instinct and strongest hope of womanhood. He saw no beginning of that manifold change of morals and manners which the survivors of an elder generation now regard with deep dismay. His portrait of Democracy, as seen in New England, is decidedly rose-coloured. He saw enough in the Middle and Southern States of the working of democracy under different social conditions, to tinge that picture with the hues of doubt, if not yet with the sombre colours of deep apprehension.

How apt to be partial is the widest and closest political observation is shown by the very partial lessons derived from the experience of the New World. Few observe how signally the history of Central and South America contradicts the inferences so confidently drawn from the United States—or rather from the New England of yesterday, and the present condition of California and the States bounded by the Lakes and the Ohio, the Mississippi and the Alleghanies. Among the States of Spanish and Portuguese speech and civilization—it would be too much to say blood—the failure of democracy has been complete, glaring, and ruinous. Social and political anarchy, utter insecurity of life and property, incessant revolution and murderous war, have been its only fruits. The happy accident of hereditary princes, exceptionally wise, able, and forbearing, has barely saved Brazil. The one prosperous, solvent, orderly State between the Rio Grande and Cape Horn is the aristocratic republic of Chili. So large, striking, and impressive a fact can hardly have escaped a thinker like Tocqueville, whose French birth and experience protected him[Pg 528] in great measure from the insular ignorance, rather than arrogance, which leads the ablest English writers to base their political philosophy exclusively upon Anglo-Saxon experience and examples: yet it is strange to find so striking a lesson so lightly touched by the wisest, widest, most reflective, and best-informed, among the political teachers of his age.

In the Ancien Régime we see the seeds of all that is worst and most dangerous in the modern French polity: the hothouse which fostered into a growth, unknown elsewhere, that passion of envy, which Tocqueville regards as the radical vice, the paramount impulse, the fundamental principle, of Democracy. The peculiar reasons for this dominant sentiment of hatred and jealousy in the democracy of France will be found in his own writings. Much as there was to admire in the old nobility of France, the people saw it only in an aspect calculated to excite unmingled hatred and contempt. It had ceased to govern, to render any service in return for privileges, exemptions, and exactions so odious, vexatious, and oppressive that no service could atone for them. Even these were forgiven to the resident aristocracy of La Vendée. But absentees supported by such exactions, an Order known to the people not even by neglected duties and ill-directed interference, but solely by demands and extortions unconnected with any remaining or remembered functions, a class whose wealth and luxury were supported not by rents or other returns paid by the tillers of the soil to its original owners, holders, or 'lords,' but by rates, tithes, fines, heriots, monopolies (to use the nearest English equivalents) levied for their benefit, and levied in the worst possible way—what feelings could these excite among a people consciously fainting beneath the load of taxes, corvées, restrictions and imposts, fees and stamps, of which only a part ever reached the empty Treasury of the State? Is it strange that so monstrous a fabric, when those on whose living bodies it was built rose in revolt, should have fallen with a great ruin, and have crushed all whom it had sheltered? 'The guilt of an Order cannot palliate the massacre of its Innocents.' True; but human nature being what it is, the unreasoning burst of fury which strove to stamp out every trace of old institutions, to exterminate the race of the unconscious oppressors, was less strange than the fidelity of the Vendéans.

And yet that massacre is in itself suggestive. The wholesale butcheries of the Terror are accountable; even the attempt of Robespierre, St. Just, and Barère to suppress revolt and discontent by noyades and mitraitlades, if fiendish, is intelligible. It had a political aim. It satisfied a definite if diabolical[Pg 529] desire. But the executions of veteran philosophers, of grey-haired parish-priests, of harmless nuns—the deliberate cold-blooded cruelty which punished with death the resentment, the imprudence, often the mere birth, of orphaned lads; the prayers or the tears of schoolgirls who might well hav urged the piteous plea of Sejanus' infant daughter—these recal the indiscriminate ferocity of wild beasts, the atrocities occasionally committed by destructive maniacs in an excess of fury, or the infectious frenzies of lycanthropy and similar forms of epidemic madness, rather than such human cruelty as prompted the massacre of Drogheda, the butchery of Melos, or the destruction of Carthage. What could schoolboys have done worthy of the guillotine, even in the eyes of the Jacobin Club? Girls, like children, can try the temper and patience of manhood, and among rough men or in rough times get roughly punished; but when, save in 1793, did men ever think of killing them? There was but one fault besides their birth—a fault almost inseparable from their birth—which the boy-ensigns and pages, the convent-bred demoiselles, shared with their parents; that inalienable, instinctive, inborn grace, that sense, air, and bearing of superiority, which we find acknowledged alike by the noble and the bourgeois, the von Adel and the bürger, acknowledged by those who regret or resent as distinctly as by those who would uphold it. The unpardonable sin of the noblesse, the inheritance of which they could not be deprived but with their lives, the secret sting that maddened the Jacobin to slay not merely the beardless heirs but the innocent and helpless daughters of the captured chateau, may perhaps be hinted in a question and answer like the following, between Senior and De Tocqueville, after the third Revolution had proved its impotence to efface the footmarks of nature:—

'I said that I was told that the distinction between noble and roturier existed in its full force in real life.

'"Yes," said Tocqueville, "it does, meaning by noble, gentilhomme; and it is a great misfortune, since it keeps up distinctions and animosities of caste; but it is incurable—at least, it has not been cured, or perhaps much palliated, by our sixty years of revolution. It is a sort of Freemasonry. When I talk to a gentilhomme, though we have not two ideas in common, though all his opinions, wishes, and thoughts are opposed to mine, yet I feel at once that we belong to the same family, that we speak the same language, that we understand one another. I may like a bourgeois better, but he is a stranger." I mentioned the remark to me of a very sensible Prussian, bürger himself, that it was unwise to send out as ambassador any not noble. I said it did not matter in England, where the distinction is unknown. "Yes," he replied, "unknown with you; but you may be sure that when any of our bürger ministers meets one who is[Pg 530] von Adel, he does not negociate with him on equal terms; he is always wishing to sneak under the table."'

In these conversations, preserved in a separate series of Senior's Journals, we have the best, latest, and wisest, of De Tocqueville's thoughts; none the less valuable, and to English readers all the more intelligible and impressive, that we have them in undress; put into the terse, pithy, concentrated style of summarized oral conversation by the recorder, instead of being elaborately tricked out in all the formal grace of French literary diction by one of the most fastidious of French writers. Senior, who habitually wrote down in his Journals the conversation of the great, wise, and thoughtful—the leaders of political action or literary criticism, the statesmen and thinkers—with whom in the course of a leisurely life of social observation he was brought into intimate intercourse, had a gift of getting from each man the best he had to give. His friends knew that their table-talk was recorded, often themselves read and corrected the record, and therefore gave him what they were willing to give not to the contemporary world, but to posterity; those opinions upon the current facts of the day by which they were willing to be judged hereafter. No opinions upon the tendencies and consequences, the prospects and passions, the strength and weakness of democracy, could well be more valuable than those which the painter of Democracy in America—after the experience of many years in the public life of France, in the Representative Chamber of the Orleans Monarchy, and in the Legislature of the Republic,—delivered for the benefit of readers far removed by time and distance, during the latter months of the rickety infancy of that ill-starred Government and the first period of the Second Empire. Tocqueville spoke from a point of vantage, such as few other men have attained, upon a theme which he had studied profoundly in youth, and upon which Fate had ever since been writing elaborate commentaries. He spoke with a mind naturally calm, candid, and judicial, enriched by a deeper knowledge than any other Continental writer enjoyed of the working of popular institutions in England and America, matured by the experience of a lifetime; spoke while the most critical experiments in democratic Constitutionalism and democratic Cæsarism were being worked out before his eyes.

Founding a so-called Constitutional Monarchy upon a corruption as gross as that of Walpole, Louis Phillippe had rendered his power absolute at the price of sapping its foundation; and Tocqueville had predicted the Revolution long before accident precipitated it—predicted it as an inevitable result of the corruption he denounced, and indicated the forces of silent discontent[Pg 531] which were sure to overthrow it. In 1848, and still more in 1871, the people of France at large turned instinctively to those natural leaders whom at all other times they had so persistently ostracized. Alarmed in the first case by an unexpected and undesired triumph of the Parisian populace—in the second, chastened by a great national disaster, without definite views or objects of their own—they deliberately trusted their interests to the larger landowners, whose interests must coincide with theirs; to the men of hereditary culture, of thoughtful habits, and wider experience, in whom they recognized a natural capacity to deal with problems that bewildered themselves, with events that had taken them utterly unawares. But, save at such times, and under the sobering influence of such lessons, equality, and not liberty, is the root of French Democracy. To equality, liberty is readily and unhesitatingly sacrificed.

'"Égalité," said Tocqueville, "is an expression of envy. It means in the real heart of every Republican, 'No one shall be better off than I am;' and while this is preferred to good government, good government is impossible. In fact, no party desires good government. The first object of the reactionary party is to keep down the Republicans; the second, if it be the second, object of each branch of that party, is to keep down the two others. The object of the Republicans is, as they admit, égalité—but as for liberty, or security, or education, or the other ends of government, no one cares for them."'

It was the passion for Equality that made the Second Empire possible. The city prolètariat would endure anything but a privilege of class, a constitutional monarchy associated in their experience with an artificial peerage and a narrow uniform franchise; the bourgeoisie, terrified by socialism—that is, confiscation—would accept any Government strong enough to put and keep down the Reds, the Anarchists, who under the Republic had kept Paris always within a week—had brought her more than once within twenty-four hours—of sack and pillage. The peasantry hated privilege and Socialism with an equal and impartial hatred. The First Empire had given them much of what they most prized in their actual condition, and was credited with all. Its one hateful association was incessant and at last disastrous war, anticipated conscriptions, and foreign invasion. The Second Empire, with its promise of peace, was the embodiment of their ideal. It promised work to the operative, opportunities of fortune to the restless, and safe investment to the prudent among the middle-class. Its protectorate of the Pope secured the clergy and the women; and it mattered nothing that, crushing under foot the freedom at once of the press and the tribune, it incurred the bitter hatred of the intellectual[Pg 532] classes in a country where pure intellect is more ambitious and more immediately powerful than in any other. It stood firm and unshaken while it kept its promise of peace and prosperity—the firmer that it embodied so distinctly the errors and illusions of the many, and not the less popular that it showed so profound and cynical a contempt for the intelligence of the few. Its Budgets alone would have been fatal to a Government resting on and responsible to Opinion, for the rapid growth of the Debt in a time of peace and plenty would have terrified men accustomed to sift the 'capital' and 'revenue' accounts of great Companies, and to calculate the resources of Empires as a peasant the yield of his farm. But the millions were content; the worse the credit of the State, the higher the interest on their savings; the embellishment of Paris and other great public works were a practical acknowledgement of the droit au travail; and the calculations of those, who criticised the fearful waste (coulage) of such a system, proved to demonstration that a spendthrift State must come to the end of a spendthrift rentier—with what consequences the Commune of 1871 bare witness—found no attention; spoke in a tongue not understood by the people. The masses were not even alarmed by the warnings of veteran statesmen, consummate financiers, and doctrinaires of every school. Only in those great crises when all that is left to wisdom is a choice of calamities, as in 1848 and 1871, does Demos abdicate; recognize for a moment that all men are not born, much less trained to remain, free and equal, and entreat the pilots by hereditary profession to see the ship of State through the breakers.

In the criticism, and especially in the best, most thoughtful, and least obvious criticism, provoked by the long foreseen electoral settlement of last year, the direct and indirect influence of Mr. Bagehot's writings was constantly to be traced. On this subject he had looked back and looked forward farther than most political reasoners. Household suffrage seemed to him the inevitable consequence, the logical development, of the reform of 1832. It was at that point, as he considered, that the right and wrong path had diverged; that chance and destiny, rather than choice, determined at the moment the adoption of that which led necessarily and logically to sheer Democracy. The practice of the old system had become throughly vicious, but the underlying principle was sound and safe. All classes, all interests, were represented; but accident had given, not to wealth or birth, but to a particular kind of wealth, a certain set of families, an enormously disproportionate representation. The landed interest was wronged in the utterly inadequate representation[Pg 533] of the counties. Ireland was misrepresented; and the Scotch people could not be said to be represented at all. But every class, every great interest, had its spokesmen; exercised a direct and independent influence in the national councils. Rotten or pocket boroughs were not only nurseries of professional statesmanship, but a back door through which interests, whose direct representation was impossible, found access to Parliament. The West Indian interest, the East India Company, and the statesmen trained in its service, with their special knowledge and zealous care for the welfare of our Oriental empire, could secure a hearing for views to which no English constituency would listen. Under such a system our Australian Colonies, the great Dominion of Canada, the English minority which sustains the Imperial cause in South Africa, would never have complained, as now, that their voice was unheard, their feelings unreflected, in an assembly which is no longer merely the Parliament of Great Britain, but the Senate of an Empire greater than that of Rome.

The working classes were represented through those numerous constituencies in which the scot and lot franchise prevailed. It was imperative that the abuses of the system should be redressed; that the new communities which had grown up since the Restoration should be directly represented; that the borough proprietors and the great families should be deprived of their excessive weight in Parliament; that the middle class should acquire a power more adequate to its new social and political importance; that Scotland, again, should be really and directly represented. But in Mr. Bagehot's view universal and varied representation was of more consequence than arithmetical proportion. No class, no interest, represented in the House of Commons, was likely to be grossly wronged, none could be neglected or unheard. No class intelligent enough to understand its own grievances, to have distinct ideas and desires of its own, would have failed, under a reform retaining the principle of the old system, to command attention and secure redress. Had Pitt been able to carry out his well-known and thoroughly sincere scheme of practical reform, or had Canning and his followers sided with the Whigs upon this as upon almost every other question, reform might have anticipated revolution. It was the weakness, rather than the will, of the Whigs that compelled them to go not only farther and faster, but in another direction, than their actual opinions and traditional inclinations would have carried them. They were compelled to present a scheme broad, simple, and extreme enough, to attract irresistible support.[Pg 534]

When once uniformity of franchise and proportionate representation were made the basis of the electoral system, the extension of the former, the more and more accurate adjustment of the latter, became a mere question of time. The poorest class of householders in towns in 1886 are probably as intelligent and competent as were the ten-pounders of 1832. The masses might have been satisfied with the gradual enlargement of their old representation; having been once disfranchised by wholesale, it was certain that they would ere long demand and ultimately secure that wholesale enfranchisement, by which every other class must necessarily be swamped. Minority representation, electoral districts, and single seats, are at best lame and unsatisfactory methods of engrafting on pure democracy securities and checks, which were essential and natural parts of the old representation of classes and interests. When once every borough below a certain numerical standard had been extinguished, and all below another deprived of their second member, the upward extension of the principle became a logical and historical necessity. So again much, perhaps most, of what has been written upon the contrast between the American and English constitutions—the two great types of popular government, Parliamentary and Presidential, the direct and indirect election of the actual Executive, terms fixed by law or dependent upon Parliamentary favour—was anticipated in the best chapters of Mr. Bagehot's 'English Constitution.'

Few writers so terse, compact, and clear, have been so completely free from the temptation of deliberate phrase making as Mr. Bagehot; yet few professional phrase-makers have left in the minds of their readers so many telling, forcible, and suggestive phrases; sentences in which a novel or striking thought, an impressive view of new or old truth, a principle apt to be forgotten or imperfectly appreciated, is vivified and incarnated in a few emphatic words. It would be difficult to quote any passage of ten times the length half so suggestive of the exceptional conditions that have secured to England peace and stability during the last two centuries of storm and shipwreck, revolution, and reaction abroad, any phrase so expressive of the distinctive character of the nation and its Government, as the two aptly chosen epithets employed by Mr. Bagehot—the 'dignified parts' of the English Constitution and the 'deferential tendency' of the English people. In both instances he has, as we think, overstated his point. The dignified parts of the Constitution are more real and living, are more intimately associated with the practical work of Government, than he was disposed to allow. Popular deference is paid more[Pg 535] to truth and less to fiction than he supposed. It is eminently characteristic of the cautious English temper, the distrust of sharp contrasts and clever paradoxes engrained in his nature, that (so far as we remember) he never adopts the familiar saying of Thiers, that a constitutional Prince règne et ne gouverne pas. But his actual conception of the English monarchy approaches far too near that misleading and mischievous fallacy.

It is a little strange that so devoted a disciple of Darwin, a writer who applied the principle of Evolution with so much skill, insight, and success, to the life of nations and the course of politics, should have allowed so little weight to the natural selection which operates so powerfully upon the character of hereditary Princes and aristocracies. It is far from obvious why so close and careful an observer should have drawn his illustrations of the working of constitutional monarchy so exclusively from the past, and especially from the examples of George III. and William IV., ignoring so completely the experience of the present reign; the deep, lasting, and for the most part wholesome, influence exercised in European politics by men like Leopold I., Prince Albert, and the present Emperor of Germany. Prince Bismarck owes to Royal favour and trust the foundation of his power, the strength which enabled him in the teeth of a short-sighted Liberal opposition to create that Prussian army, to carry out that ruthless but eminently successful policy of blood and steel, which excluded Austria from her place in the Confederation, put an end to the old dualism, and achieved the union of Germany. Italy owes everything to Cavour; but she owed Cavour to Victor Emmanuel. The selection of Russian, Austrian, and German ministers, the consistency of their policy, the power or rather authority, most judiciously used by the Crown at more than one critical period of recent English history, completely refute Mr. Bagehot's theoretical and historical doctrine that a Parliament must be wiser than an average sovereign. He forgets that a Prince is exempt from the influence of party, whose disastrous action in the great crisis of the national fortunes has been brought home of late with painful force to all thoughtful Englishmen.

Nor has he escaped that influence in his criticism of George III. It would be easy to show that the modern theory of Parliamentary Government, the theory accepted by his immediate predecessors and now firmly established, was one on which no scrupulous and conscientious Prince in the position of George III. could possibly have acted. The King found throughout the earlier years of his reign, until the younger Pitt[Pg 536] obtained an actual potent and controlling influence in the Houses and in the closet, that the influence which secured a Parliamentary majority was not his ministers' but his own. The dismissal of the elder Pitt and Newcastle broke at once the strongest coalition of aristocratic and popular influence, the mightiest league between intellect sustained by national confidence, borough-mongering wealth, and family interest, that ever dominated the unreformed Parliament. It was in the King's power to give the control of the House to whom he would—to Chatham, Grafton, Rockingham, or North. The one thoroughly unconstitutional use of the Royal influence, with which the King can fairly be charged, was employed to defeat the most unconstitutional and indefensible measure ever brought forward by a corrupt and unprincipled coalition—the India Bill, which endeavoured to secure for Fox and North personally the power and patronage of our Oriental Empire. The King could not shift the responsibility of administration upon ministers who owed office and Parliamentary support to himself. The American war was not his work. The Stamp Act was brought in during his first illness by the minister he most hated. The Tea Duty was the madness of Townshend; and the step, which gave the signal for revolt, was really a remission of two-thirds of that duty. True that the King was the last man to agree to the disruption of the empire, the abandonment of thousands of American loyal subjects, to lower the flag of England before her coalesced European enemies; but in that perseverance, surely not unkingly, he had one enthusiastic supporter; and those who censure the King pass the same censure on the dying speech of Lord Chatham. The one fatal error of a long and conscientious reign should be laid to the account less of George III. than of those who betrayed Pitt's counsels and played upon the conscientious vagaries of a half-crazed brain.

Mr. Bagehot dwells exclusively upon the unfavourable incidents of a royal education. He overlooks the direct and indirect influences which are brought to bear from the very cradle upon an hereditary Prince—the sense of responsibility, the consciousness of a great position, the familiarity with the gravest interests, a youth passed under the tuition of the ablest masters, and above all that constant intercourse with the finest intellects of the age, which secure for a future King a moral and intellectual training unequalled in its excellence. The effect of that training we see in our own Royal family, unfortunate as they have been in the withdrawal at the most critical period of a father's control and guidance. Of the Queen's daughters it is needless to speak. Her sons are, by general admission, soldiers[Pg 537] and sailors of more than average professional ability. The Crown Prince of Germany, the late King of Spain, the present heir of the House of France, Leopold II. of Belgium, and King Humbert of Italy, are generally credited with high ability; and more than one of them would take rank among the first statesmen of his Kingdom. A Prince of fair abilities, with such a training and such knowledge of the men with whom he is necessarily brought into contact, has every means of knowing, at least as well as Parliament, who are the most competent and most trustworthy statesmen to whom he can commit the fortunes of his Kingdom. His continuous, experience of politics, legislation, and government, his access, especially with regard to foreign affairs, to wider and more impartial sources of information, lend to his counsels an authority which no prudent or thoughtful statesman will disregard. He looks at affairs from a higher point of view, with a wider survey as a rule, and also with a calmer and more unbiassed judgment.

Mr. Bagehot dwells at length on what may be called the fictitious value of Constitutional Monarchy; and this he was evidently inclined to exaggerate. The English people, he thought, are, as a rule, too ignorant to understand what the Queen's Government really is—how completely it is carried on in the Royal name by Parliamentary Ministers. For them the law is really incarnate in the Sovereign; in yielding obedience to magistrates and policemen, to common law and Parliamentary statutes, in forbearing or resisting riot, they obey or uphold the Royal authority. Were they aware that at each general election they choose their real and effective rulers for an indefinite period, they would be confused, alarmed, and bewildered, to a degree which would render them incapable of a real and intelligent choice. The people—the lower orders—may have been, when Mr. Bagehot wrote, and probably are now, somewhat wiser and better informed as to the real character of the Government—the actual responsibility for particular measures—than their critic supposed. But it is beyond doubt that the Queen's name is a great power. The law is too mere an abstraction, the names of Ministers represent too much party feeling, excite too much antagonism, to command the prompt obedience, the loyal reverence, the enthusiastic support which is rendered to the name of the Sovereign. In France and America a very different feeling prevails.

Mr. Senior, than whom no Englishman of his day was more intimate with a number of French statesmen of different parties, views and character—than whom there was, perhaps, no cooler, closer, or more constant observer of French politics—remarks[Pg 538] that Frenchmen are always weak and timid in upholding, daring, resolute, and even fierce in resisting the powers that be. Confidence, enthusiasm, conviction, seem in every case of insurrection and dangerous riot to be on the side of the mob. The revolution of 1848 afforded very striking examples of this contrast. The overthrow of Louis Philippe, deeply as the King himself was disliked and despised, narrow as was the electorate, unpopular as was the Ministry, was the act of a small minority. The Republic was imposed upon France by a knot of reckless journalists and semi-communistic dreamers, backed by the dreaded populace of Paris, against the will of the peasantry who formed four-fifths of the voters, and of the educated or semi-educated classes, amounting to one half of the remaining fifth. Again and again was the Provisional Government—though backed by all who had anything to lose, by all who dreaded anarchy—on the point of overthrow, and saved only by Lamartine's eloquence from the conspiracy of a few thousand desperadoes, and the stormy passions of a mob that hardly knew what it wanted. The Assembly itself was invaded and terrorized for several hours: the lives of the leaders, to whom all France looked up with reverence, were in imminent peril at the hands of a faction numerically insignificant. Only in the terrible days of June did the National Guard, after four months of distress and incessant panic, of daily and hourly fear of sack and pillage, act with energy and decision; and even then the struggle between the army, supported by the National Guard and the Anarchist faction of the barricades, was long balanced and doubtful: yet the party of order in Paris itself constituted an overwhelming majority.

In America, New England perhaps excepted, the mob and the people, the party of lawless force and law-abiding principle, meet on more equal terms. No one dreams of disputing, in the last resort, the authority of the Sovereign, but that Sovereign is invisible and inaccessible. It must be remembered, moreover, that more than one of the hundred popular risings, that the Union has seen during its hundred years' existence, were risings, not against the law, but for the law against the laxity of its administrators. This very fact makes it the more clear how uncertain and ineffective is the authority of abstract law and an impersonal Sovereign. The legal authorities, State or Federal, are not necessarily representative of the power by which they are elected. In California, after a period of anarchy, the respectable classes rose with the tacit support of the people against the State Government which the people had elected; deposed it almost without an effort, and established in its place[Pg 539] the arbitrary rule of a self-appointed Vigilance Committee, whose members no one knew. That lawless Government hanged as many rowdies, pilferers, highway robbers and card sharpers as it thought fit; banished hundreds under penalty of death—a penalty sure to be enforced—re-established order, and laid down its power without having encountered the shadow of legal or popular resistance. We have seen an actual insurrection of the better elements of society provoked by the escape of murderers and other criminals through the hands of lax or corrupt juries, and of an administration whose use of the prerogative of mercy was imputed to partisanship or to bribery. But in a great majority of instances, riots that have reached the proportions of insurrection have been simply anarchical or rebellious. It is not so long since the railway employes of Pennsylvania, striking work upon an every-day quarrel between employer and employed, took possession of the iron highways of the State, intercepted communication, seized the great railway arsenal of Pittsburg, and fought a pitched battle against the militia, as obstinate and almost as sanguinary as the minor combats of the Civil War. While we write, another strike of the same class has suspended the traffic of the great Western railway line. In three States the militia have been called out to protect property and liberty, the rights of capital, the freedom of labour, the interest of the public, against a class insurrection; the public authorities have been forcibly resisted, and lives have been lost in a skirmish with fire-arms between the posse of the Sheriff and the insurgent Knights of Labour. Every American mob feels itself invested with something of the majesty of the sovereign people. Every body of English rioters—political, social, or simply lawless—knows and feels itself guilty of resistance to the Sovereign. The truncheon of the police, the uniform of the soldier, unquestionably represents the legal will of the Sovereign; and before that will the largest and most excited multitude gives way at once.

Mr. Bagehot overlooks the certainty which personal sovereignty gives: the absence of a moment's possible doubt on which side is that supreme arbiter, sure to be backed by nine-tenths of the physical forces of society. He underrates, if he does not altogether ignore, the much wider and deeper influence of the Royal name; its power over passion as well as over ignorance. The omnipotence of Parliament, even when, in the belief of half the nation, a Parliamentary majority represents a minority of the people, is due less to traditional respect for the House of Commons, or superstitious reverence for a majority vote, such as prevails in America, than to the fact,[Pg 540] that resistance means rebellion, visible, unmistakable disobedience to the Queen. It is therefore deeply to be regretted, not for any sentimental reason, but for the sake of order and the protection of life and property, that the democratic changes in our Constitution are gradually undermining the habit of submission to the Queen's Majesty which still characterizes, to a great extent, the English people. The Services still feel proud to consider that they serve, in their own phrase—not the State but—'the Queen.' That sentiment of loyalty, which Mr. Bagehot ascribes to the ignorant alone, is as strong in the upper or middle as in the lower orders; has a far wider, deeper influence than he allows, than it was consistent with the whole scope of his work on the English constitution to recognize.

One of the most remarkable and interesting points in Tocqueville's conversations, as recorded by Mr. Senior, is the value which he and other interlocutors ascribe to the English Poor Law. Mr Senior had seen its essential principle, the right of subsistence, worked out farther—to extremer and more dangerous consequences—than perhaps any other political or social experiment, before the practical common sense of England interfered. Under the old Poor Law, at least in the rural districts, the income of a household was regulated by its number. Every head of a family was entitled to an allowance, increasing with its increase, and wholly independent of his earnings. Nominal wages had been actually forced down below the starvation point. The law had demoralized industry by placing the idlest ditcher on a level of comfort with the best ploughman, and threatened to swallow up property in the support of poverty. Tocqueville and his friends had seen the danger from another point of view. The most popular and most formidable of the dogmas of that Socialism, which had infected so deeply the prolétariat of Paris and other French cities, was in another and yet more insidious and destructive form the doctrine of the Poor Law. The right of subsistence was admitted by the establishment of the ateliers nationaux, and asserted by the insurgents of June, 1848, under the nobler and more dignified guise of the droit au travail. The State was bound, according to that doctrine, not to keep the idle alive, but to furnish the industrious with work suited to their skill at market rate of wages; a rate which had no right to fall below the average standard of an artizan's needs, or rather of his habits.

A principle which contradicts the laws of nature is obviously false; and the right to subsistence—if claimed not for all who do, but for all who may, exist in a given country—yet more clearly the droit au travail of which this is the practical meaning—involves[Pg 541] the demand, that agricultural production shall keep pace with population. But, save for checks all ultimately reducible to the fear of want, checks which it is the essential object of a Poor Law to relax, population would rapidly, in any old country, overtake subsistence. That, were the population of England or France to multiply at an American rate, it would soon lack standing room, is mathematically demonstrable. A poor law then must be attended by checks on population as effective as those of Nature herself; and from their artificial character necessarily more offensive, revolting, and difficult to enforce. None the less, Englishmen familiar as Senior with the ruinous operation of the old Poor Law, Frenchmen confronted like Tocqueville by the terrible theory of the droit au travail, the alarming experience of the ateliers nationaux, were inclined to regard that admission of the right to subsistence—limited to those actually born—which is the fundamental principle of the present Poor Law, as a most valuable, if not an indispensable, guarantee of social security; a signal instance of that practical English wisdom, which refuses to push admitted principles, sound or false, to consequences undeniably logical, but practically dangerous.

It might be thought that in a Christian, and especially a Roman Catholic country, the danger of starvation could never be very practical—that men, and still more women and children, bearing in their forms and faces the stamp of actual want, of pinching hunger, would never be denied. But Senior's experiences of the Irish famine pointed to a different conclusion. Death by famine is at last rapid, sudden, and unexpected. On the road to Kenmare, from which many Irish emigrants were despatched to America, corpses were daily found with collapsed stomachs and money in their pockets. Hoping to reach the port, keeping their money to pay their passage, death had overtaken them unawares; and this in the face of organized measures of relief, the largest and most liberal that public or private charity has ever provided. In cases of prolonged and extreme distress, but for the Poor Law, hundreds would die of want almost unawares, before want had overcome their reluctance to beg. And if actual starvation were rare, yet in the absence of a recognized right to food and shelter, the fear of starvation must be ever present. This spectral horror, Tocqueville evidently thought, haunted the imagination of the French operative; and had much to do with the popularity of Socialism in a country of diffused property and general thrift, and with the ferocity of Socialistic or Red Republican insurrections. Charity, however liberal, is an uncertain and—to their credit be it spoken—to the majority of French operatives, a repulsive and degrading resource. It[Pg 542] cannot exorcise the hideous spectre of actual famine, which, though remote, seems ever to threaten them, their wives and their children; and which in times of distress and depression looms terribly near, distinct, and horrible. No wonder that men haunted by such a spectre should be driven to gloomy envy, sullen hate, and outbreaks of ferocity worse than those provoked by actual suffering. No wonder that any schemes, however frantic and however unrighteous, should have charms for a class whose reason is disturbed by the perpetual vision of that ultimate but undeniably possible horror. We have seen in France within the last few weeks moral portents which can hardly be ascribed to any other final cause an atrocious murder committed by workmen, and, what is infinitely worse, extenuated and almost approved by responsible legislators. It is probable that the Belgian riots approach as near as any witnessed in Europe during the last two centuries to a revolt of actual want. Belgium has secured an artificial manufacturing prominence—a disproportionate trade to hard toil and low wages. The latter had lately been forced down to the minimum, as profits had been well-nigh extinguished, by the general depression of business. In fear of actual want, the populace rose, wasted farms, destroyed factories, plundered and levied blackmail—in a word, tried to inflict on others the misery that had maddened themselves. The word has been given to the most quiet and law-abiding people in Europe to defend themselves: a step far more significant of stern intentions than the sharpest military repression. Yet the Government is forced to accompany its preventive measures with an expenditure of 20s per head of the population on public works—equivalent to an English rate in aid of twenty millions! Could there be a more conclusive proof that the dread of hunger is a real and a terrible power for evil among Continental nations; that their choice lies, in a word, between a recognition of the right to subsistence—a Poor Law with severe labour tests and restrictions—and periodical, spasmodic measures of relief enforced by insurrection? Or can there be a doubt, that the latter is infinitely the more dangerous and demoralizing alternative: that only the adoption of a Poor law can prevent the lessons of 1886 from shaking the very foundations of order, property and civil government in countries situate as are France and Belgium?

It seems strange that French Democracy should not have long since insisted on laying for ever the spectre of starvation by a Poor Law more liberal than that of England. It must be remembered, however, that the democracy of France is a propertied and landed democracy, heavily burdened with taxes and interest on[Pg 543] mortgages, pinched by necessity, and pinching itself by thrift. No class is so hard to want, so ruthless to idleness, as a peasantry which wins for itself a bare subsistence by constant toil, and provides for the future by constant self-denial.

The temper of a progressive and prosperous democracy is very different. Many, perhaps most of the American States, are without a Poor Law. Slavery dispensed with it, and the race antagonism consequent on the manner and circumstances of emancipation has rendered a thorough revision of social relations—a systematic attempt to meet the new and very exceptional conditions of Southern society in its present form—hitherto impossible. Yet, by the confession of one of their bitterest enemies, no people are so tender, so generous, so lavish of active sympathy towards the sick, the bereaved, and the unfortunate. In States which, probably from an instinct under their circumstances just and wise, refuse to recognize the right to subsistence by a legal provision for the poor, whereby the idle and vicious would chiefly benefit, nevertheless paupers by the visitation of God—the aged and infirm, the blind, the deaf, and dumb, lunatics and idiots—are amply provided by public and private charity with all that can alleviate their lot: or teach them, as far as possible, the means of self-dependence. American charity towards the victims of great natural catastrophes, far more common there than here—communities burned out by a forest fire, or ruined by a flood—and yet more the personal sacrifices made, the readiness with which men and women devote their leisure thought, and energy to the supervision of public institutions, the efficient distribution of public subscriptions, the succour and nursing of a community stricken by pestilence, are above praise. A careful study of Transatlantic examples might put our own boasted lavishness of charity to shame.

Even in England, organized private charity, wisely directed, might surely contrive to effect a discrimination between those who are paupers by vice, unthrift, and idleness, and those whom God has striken for no fault that humanity is entitled to pass judgment upon; between the fitting inmates of the workhouse, and those—helpless from age, infirmity, accident, and disease—to whom the associations of the workhouse are humiliating, painful and demoralizing. Nothing is more essential, under democratic rule, than the maintenance of due severity towards those who will not work; nothing more likely to relax that needful severity than its indiscriminate application to those who cannot.

[Pg 544]

ART. X.—1. Fourth Midlothian Campaign. Political speeches delivered, November, 1885, by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. Edinburgh, 1886.

2. John Morley: The Irish Record of the New Chief Secretary, 1886.

3. Ireland; A Book of Light on the Irish Problem. Edited by Andrew Reid. London, 1886.

4. Home Rule. Reprint from the 'Times' correspondence, &c. 1886.

5. Social Order in Ireland. Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union. Dublin, 1886.

6. Speech of Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons, April 8, 1886, on moving for leave to bring in a Bill to make provision for the future Government of Ireland.

The fate of the scheme for the Government of Ireland, which Mr. Gladstone disclosed in the House of Commons last week, has been practically determined. Whether the Bill be rejected on the second reading, whether amidst the currents of adverse opinion which have already set in, it slowly goes to wreck upon the shoals of Parliamentary procedure, its ultimate doom is already settled, but the mischief which has been done will not be removed so promptly. A great blow has been struck at the United Kingdom. The proposal to recognize Irish nationality as a political force apart from Great Britain—a proposal made by a Prime Minister, a leader of a great Parliamentary party—will for many a day to come stimulate in Ireland all the elements of disorder, which a noble series of statesmen, from Burke to Peel, have resolutely laboured to eradicate.

It was no surprise to the House that had listened to the marvellous dream of Mr. Gladstone, when Mr. Parnell rose to express his gratitude in terms almost of emotion:—

'It will prove a happy and fortunate thing, both for Ireland and England, that there was one man living, one English statesman living, with the great power and the extraordinary ability of the right hon. gentleman to lend his voice on behalf of poor helpless Ireland. He had devoted his great mind, his extraordinary energy to the unravelling of this question and to the construction of this Bill.... To none of the sons of Ireland—at any time has there ever been given the genius and talent of the right hon. gentleman—certainly nothing approaching to it in these days.'

The people, whom a few months ago Mr. Parnell denounced as representing to him and his friends 'imprisonment, chains and death,' now came to offer him a scheme of Irish nationality, and Shylock, recognizing the wisdom of the sham[Pg 545] Balthazar, was not more appreciative: 'A Daniel come to judgment, yea a Daniel,' but, like Shylock, Mr. Parnell relied upon his bond. Whilst he accepted the offering with the effusion of a successful speculator, he took care to remind his hearers that he was not bound to take it in discharge of his claim. He reserved any 'definite or positive expression of opinion;' 'there were undoubtedly great faults and blots in the measure,' but he could safely say, 'whavever might be the fate of the Bill, the cause of Ireland, the cause of Irish autonomy, will enormously gain by the genius of the right hon. gentleman.' This is the solid result of the strange events which have been passing for the last three months. A distinguished public man has been called to office by the Parnellite vote. He has demanded and obtained ample time to consider the difficulties of his position and offer his solution.

A glance at the new scheme shows that the proposal is at once disingenuous and fantastic. The Prime Minister shrinks from admitting the nature of the work he is engaged in. He breaks up the unity of the Kingdom, but he will not allow that his Bill involves the repeal of the Union. But whatever quibbles may be indulged in, the main principle of the Act of Union, that Ireland should be represented at Westminster is swept away. As Irish nationality is not to be ignored, it finds expression in a Parliament in Dublin; but Ireland is to pay a contribution towards the debt and towards public defence, and in the application of this money is to have no voice. Thus we have Irish nationality started with machinery which sets aside the first principle of free governments, that there should be no taxation without representation; and the internal arrangements of the Dublin Parliament are equally suggestive of confusion in the future.

The Prime Minister does not ask Parliament to disregard the risks to which property and loyalty will be exposed in the Dublin Assembly, and he proposes to satisfy our conscience by giving them the security of representation in Dublin by a special Order. The Dublin Parliament is divided into two Orders, each of which shall have a veto on the legislation of the majority. The First Order consists of persons who must be possessors of 4000l. or an equivalent income. That is their personal qualification, and they are to be elected by occupiers rated at 25l. Property qualification for Members of Parliament was abolished in England some thirty years ago. Rating, as a qualification for electors, has been abandoned in a series of deliberate public measures from 1866 to 1885; but it is these old clothes of English Parliaments which Mr. Gladstone offers to his new[Pg 546] nationality. Why should these expedients be adopted in Ireland? Checks upon legislative action, a second Chamber, a Second or a First Order, are questions upon which theorists are divided. They are certainly not questions which have occupied the National League. These 'Orders' in Parliamentary life are not native Irish ideas. These reproductions of quaint customs, such as we might find in some ecclesiastical synod, or in the village organization of some old Scandinavian community, are England's guarantees for the security of property in the Sister Island. That Island, we know, has been abandoned for some years to the National League, whose power was founded on their opportunities of excommunicating any one who did not subscribe to their funds and obey their decrees. The principle of the National League was that property in land was an outrage on Irish opinion; and we are asked to believe that this American-Irish organization, clothed with Parliamentary power in Dublin, will be kept in check by a device, which has no sanction in ancient tradition, in local sympathy, in recognized opinion. The First Order in the new Chamber will be so many people marked out for plunder. If any one possessing 4000l. worth of property, which he can convert into cash, is venturesome enough to accept a seat in the Chamber, what will become of him and his electors, people who are scheduled in each locality as the owners of property rated at 25l. a year? The majority of them in the South and West will be tenants who have not dared to pay their rents, because the National League prohibited the payment. Let us suppose people are found to constitute the First Order, and they veto some scheme of the majority, and a general election occurs, will the expedients which have made the League what it is be suddenly forgotten? Can we doubt that the First Order and its electors would be straightway boycotted out of existence? The Ministerial proposal is an attempt to meet the views of Mr. Parnell; and, without admitting that it is all he requires, the Irish leader cordially accepts it, but he wants, he has told us, 'the full and complete right to arrange our own affairs and make ours a nation—to secure for her, free from outside control, the right to direct her own course among the peoples of the world.' We are asked to suppose that he and his friends, started in their new career, will be stopped by such a ridiculous invention as this First Order. And it is a project like this, inconsistent with itself, implying constitutional degradation of the very people whom it is supposed to conciliate, patched up with strange curiosities as unknown in England as in Ireland, which Parliament is asked to accept as a 'final settlement' of our Irish difficulties.[Pg 547]

The Bill proposed settles nothing. Its only result is a renewed manifestation of the power and influence of the Irish agitator. In this extraordinary state of affairs men are apt to forget the series of events which have brought about our present condition. Ministries come and go at the bidding of Mr. Parnell. English policy in the future, important schemes affecting the gravest concerns of England, of Scotland, of Ireland, depend not on any principle accepted by the British public, but on the humour of the Irish leader. The existence of the House of Lords, the legal position of the Church of Scotland, the maintenance of our most important military reserve, the right of the Sovereign in relation to peace and war, are exposed to critical divisions, not because British opinion is eager for revolution, or has become indifferent to the vast interests involved, but because the Nationalist party wish to remind us of their voting power.

Our alarm at all this should not make us lose sight of the antecedent facts which have built up this force of mischief. Mr. Gladstone is Prime Minister by the favour of the Irish party, and this party is the outcome of Mr. Gladstone's own policy. Whether the fluent rhetorician foresaw his present position, whether perched on his slender ledge of power he now enjoys it, we need not stop to consider. What we would remind our readers is that for nearly twenty years past he has, in the main line of his public life, notwithstanding some convulsive oscillations, pursued with the pertinacity of one possessed the policy of which the present Irish organization is the natural and the logical development. The National League represents the spirit to which Mr. Gladstone appealed at Southport in 1867. In the December of that year he charged the new voters, in words of solemn adjuration, to look at Ireland from the Irish point of view. This appeal had an electric effect upon the population of that island. In the years which have passed since, his own injunction has been sometimes rudely disregarded by Mr. Gladstone himself, but he never long delayed to turn again to his favourite theory, to make another effort to justify the principle with which he had started, and at each renewal of his enterprise he plunged himself and his party deeper into the morass of Hibernian disorder. Mr. Gladstone's admirers are very proud of his numerous successes in carrying important Bills through Parliament, but it is forgotten that his Irish Bills, though carried, have never attained the ends for which they were passed. Twice have all the resources of his genius, all the machinery of his party, been called into requisition to bring about a final settlement of the Irish Land question, and yet the[Pg 548] work is still to be done. The explanation is not far to seek. Mr. Gladstone's passionate recklessness committed him in 1867 to an enterprise, the magnitude of which excited his vanity, the actual nature of which he only dimly perceived.

In the year we have named he was trying to recover his footing after a heavy fall in his first start as leader of the Liberal Party. A scheme of Parliamentary reform, carried by his political opponent, had marked the commencement of another epoch. In the new arena of public life two centres of political energy were certain to be strongly represented in the organization which Mr. Gladstone hoped to lead back to office. The Spirit of Dissent was all powerful among the English householders. The Irish tenant, whose electoral strength, directed by the Roman priesthood, had been exhibited with much effect in 1852, was sure to receive a great increase of power under the new Reform Bill. To combine these influences was one of the conditions of any prolonged tenure of office by the Liberal party. The Irish Establishment had been forsaken by English opinion in previous years. Its overthrow would be hailed with enthusiasm by the Dissenting communities, whilst the Irish priesthood would regard disestablishment with undoubted satisfaction. The condition of Irish Land Tenure was admitted by all parties to require amendment, and its settlement would be a substantial benefit to the Irish farmer.

These were subjects which naturally tempted the daring energies of a man occupying Mr. Gladstone's position in the winter of 1867. Turned out of office after the death of Lord Palmerston, his subsequent management of the reform question, as leader of the Opposition, had only increased the distrust of his party. He was without a constituency at the coming election, and he went down to Lancashire to seek in that great centre of hard-headed Englishmen the confiding constituency which he subsequently found in Midlothian. New legislation on the Irish Church, a reform in Irish Land Tenure, were subjects for which his party, for which the majority of Englishmen were pretty well prepared. The Liberal Churchmen, like Sir Roundell Palmer, who held back on the subject of Disestablishment, were more than counterbalanced by the Dissenters, who were attracted by the scheme. Popular Legislation on these subjects might have been granted to Ireland as the matured outcome of British opinion. Such a mode of approaching the work in hand did not suit the exuberant temperament of Mr. Gladstone. Whilst the report of the Clerkenwell explosion was still echoing through the land, he announced his policy as one to be recommended, not because the great British community had examined and adopted the[Pg 549] proposed measures, but because Irish opinion was to be henceforth accepted as our guide in Irish Legislation. With characteristic recklessness he hurried to turn to the account of his own ambition the throb of excitement which he saw traversing the nation. He appealed to his audience to regard the Fenian outrages as a sort of revelation from heaven, to commune with their own hearts, not on the state of Ireland, and the remedies sensible men could offer, but on the sentiments of Irishmen. His final test of legislation was to be, not its consonance with the judgment of the British people, but with the demand of the Irish crowd.

'Ireland is at your doors. Providence has placed her there. Law and legislation have been a compact between you. You must face these obligations. You must deal with them and discharge them. As to the modes of giving effect to this principle I do not now enter upon them. I am of opinion they should be dictated, as a general rule, by that which may appear to be the mature, well-considered, and general sense of the Irish people.'—20th Dec. 1867.

At this date 'the general sense of the Irish people' was, to Mr. Gladstone's mind, the policy formulated by the Irish Episcopacy, the scheme which at a later stage of the campaign in the following year he described as the lopping off the three branches of the Upas tree of Protestant ascendancy. He failed in Lancashire, but his success in other parts of the kingdom was complete; and then ensued the abolition of the Irish Establishment and an adjustment of the land question which carried the recognition of local customs farther than Englishmen had anticipated.

The Liberal party had been charged to consult Irish opinion. As long as Cardinal Cullen and Mr. Gladstone were agreed all went merrily, even if some rude coercion like the Westmeath Act was required to deal with Irish ideas which did not find expression in the Cardinal. But whilst the English Minister and the Irish Primate declared, that Ribbonism was an impudent pretender to any representative character and must be rooted out, a third organ of opinion claimed the benefit of the Southport principle in the form of the Home Rule Association, and Mr. Gladstone at Aberdeen replied with angry scorn:

'Can any sensible man, can any rational man, suppose that, at this time of day, in this condition of the world, we are going to disintegrate the capital institutions of this country for the purpose of making ourselves ridiculous in the sight of all mankind, and crippling any power we possess for bestowing benefits, through legislation, on the country to which we belong?'—26th Sept. 1871.

The ideas expressed by the Roman hierarchy, attracted by[Pg 550] the Disestablishment, substantially interested in the better position of the farmer, and confidently anticipating for themselves the acquisition of a power over public education such as their order enjoyed nowhere else in the world, these were ideas which Mr. Gladstone recognized as national. On the subject of education, however, he was not able to go as far as the Ultramontane party required. They directed the Irish members to vote against him. The coalition between Dissent and the Roman Hierarchy was dissolved. The Minister, who had brought it about, suddenly awoke to a sense of the evil teaching of his late allies in the government of Ireland, and 'Vaticanism' held them up to the reprobation of Protestant England.

The new Liberal discovery, the principle of Irish ideas, had broken down as a party engine. It had made the Ministry of 1868, but it had failed to preserve it. Mr. Gladstone retired from the leadership of the party to the greater freedom of an independent member of Parliament, and in this capacity led the stormy agitation against Lord Beaconsfield, making the foreign policy of England a party question.

Meanwhile the theory of the Southport speech, and the results which had attended it, were not forgotten in Ireland. The Home Rule movement, which was denounced so angrily at Aberdeen, enlisted all the resources of local sentiment, feelings similar to those which make a Lancashireman proud of Lancashire, a Scotchman delight in Scotch associations. Among its promoters were professors, poets, Irish Catholics, who were glad to show themselves on a public platform without being the puppets or the opponents of their bishops, Irish Protestants, who were irritated at the desertion of the Irish Church, a number of well-meaning people who were attracted by the opportunity of talking eloquently and vaguely about nothing in particular. This Academic scheme of Home Rule found an admirable exponent in Mr. Butt, an able lawyer of ambitious politics.

What answer were Liberals to give to this new embodiment of their great statesman's theory? They denounced Mr. Butt, pondering feebly meanwhile what it all meant; but the Home Rule organization, once set a-going, was soon permeated by the Fenian spirit. Platitudes about 'patriotism' and 'green Erin' meant to an Irish crowd, 'Down with England and with landlords.' That great hotbed of disatisfaction, Irish popular feeling, supplied stimulating nutriment to the new party. In proportion as hostility to England was more openly declared, funds came in rapidly from the Irish in America. Year by year the Home Rule members gained in parliamentary power, one section[Pg 551] of the Liberal party after another giving them encouragement—in the first place because they were troublesome to a Tory Ministry, in the second because the flaccid thought of modern Liberalism made them welcome any organization, which would save them the trouble of facing the difficulties of Irish administration.

In 1880 the public took no heed to Lord Beaconsfield's historic warning, that danger was brewing in Ireland. The Liberal legislation of ten years before had, they tried to believe, disposed of Irish difficulties in their most serious aspect. Both before and after the General Election they were assured by Mr. Bright and Mr. Gladstone, that Irish affairs were proceeding satisfactorily. The new Ministry had, however, to face a formidable parliamentary party, who refused to recognize the legislation of 1869 and 1870 as any settlement of the Irish question. Their first device was to abandon the Act of their predecessors, passed in 1875, which applied some of the milder provisions of the Westmeath Act to the whole of Ireland. A reconstruction of the Local Government of the United Kingdom, and a new Reform Bill, were the tasks assigned by public opinion to the second Gladstone Ministry; but finding the abandonment of coercion did not conciliate the Irish party, the Premier returned with a rush to the policy of 1867. He determined to justify his claim to be the statesman who had found out the secret of Irish administration. Within two months after the Ministry was formed the public were warned that they were within measurable distance of civil war. This danger was not urged as a reason for recurring to accepted principles of government; on the contrary, it was a plea for new expeditions in pursuit of the ignis fatuus of Irish opinion. We know the events which followed.

The Compensation for Disturbance Bill seemed a small matter in itself, but involved principles fatal to all security for property. During the next autumn and winter, Ireland was abandoned to the savage dominion of the Land League. The quiescence of the Government excited remonstrance even from advanced Radicals like Mr. Leonard Courtney. That stalwart Liberal had not been then in office, had not had the experience he has since acquired. He had not yet learned the dutiful lesson that, whatever his own convictions, the probabilities were in favour of the view that his great leader was in the right, or at least, might be successful. As a concession to public opinion, a Coercion Act was passed, new fangled and hesitating. But it was not so much on effective legislation and a resolute determination to curb disorder that the Ministry relied, as on the[Pg 552] recognition of Irish opinion which the Land Act of 1881 embodied. It was truly said of that measure by an exulting Radical, that it struck a blow at property which was felt in every country in Europe. In his main calculation, his purpose to win popularity in Ireland, Mr. Gladstone failed, as he has so often failed; and as usual the failure was due to the wickedness or perversity of some one else. In 1874 it was Pius IX. and the Jesuits who had misled his Irish friends. In 1881 the evil influence was Mr. Parnell.

In the autumn the Prime Minister startled his hearers at Leeds by a passionate complaint, that—

'a small band of men had arisen who were not ashamed to preach in Ireland the doctrine of public plunder ... now that Mr. Parnell is afraid, lest the people of England by their long continued efforts should win the hearts of the whole Irish nation, he has a new and enlarged gospel of plunder to proclaim.'

He went back with a swing to the high-handed policy he had so often denounced. Irishmen must be made to recognize Gladstone, and not Parnell, as their true friend. The Land League was dissolved by proclamation, its principal leaders, including Mr. Parnell, were clapped into jail, and it was proclaimed at Knowsley that the Cabinet were going 'to relieve the people of Ireland from the weight of a tyrannical yoke.'

These speeches, full as they were of denunciation of Mr. Parnell, were still on the lines of the Southport speech. They were not declarations of the opinion of the British community, warnings to Ireland to take account of the settled judgment of the nation, of which the sister island must always form part. They contrasted with the manly utterance of Mr. Chamberlain on this subject, the same month, at Birmingham. They were angry appeals to Ireland to quarrel with her chosen leaders. Mr. James Lowther was denounced for stating, that 'the party headed by Mr. Parnell commanded the support of the large majority of the people of Ireland.' Mr. Gladstone added, 'The proposition here made is one on which we are entirely at issue. I profoundly disbelieve it; I utterly protest against it. I believe a greater calumny on the Irish nation,... a more gross and injurious statement could not possibly be made against the Irish nation.'

In the following year it was found that the recognition of Mr. Gladstone, as the father of the Irish people was still remote; whilst Mr. Forster declared, that a stronger Coercion Bill was necessary, if life was to be protected in Ireland. Then came another plunge after the coveted ideal. Mr. Forster, who had[Pg 553] so generously devoted himself to his party and his leader in the pursuit of a new Irish policy, was abandoned to the Irish members, and to Mr. John Morley's crusade against him in the columns of the 'Pall Mall Gazette.' Mr. Parnell was called out of jail to secure votes to the Government, and order in Ireland, by the help of Mr. Sheridan and other ex-convicts. The Phœnix Park murder, following on the Kilmainham Treaty, postponed the full carrying out of this arrangement. The sort of measure, which Mr. Forster had been refused a month before, was now passed with provisions of excessive stringency; and Lord Spencer, who had been sent to Ireland to win that popularity, which the late Chief Secretary had been unable to obtain, was chiefly occupied in curbing the violence which that Minister had denounced, in bringing to justice the criminals whom he had not been allowed to reach. We recollect that the new Viceroy was exposed to a storm of unpopularity so violent and outrageous, that the public readily forgot the discreditable folly of his original enterprise, and honoured the resolution and dignity with which he discharged the laborious duties of a thankless office.

The construction of the Irish Government at this time was such as to make the Lord Lieutenant personally responsible for the administration of justice, and the carrying out of the main provisions of the Crimes Act. He was in the Cabinet, whilst his chief Secretaries, Mr. Trevelyan and Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, were only subordinate members of the Ministry. They conducted Irish business in the House of Commons, representing in their relations with the Irish members, as far as circumstances allowed, their leader's yearning after Irish popularity, whilst Lord Spencer, the Whig Earl, who belonged to things that had been rather than to the rising power of the Radical party, bore all the odium of unpopular imprisonments or executions.

The significance of such an arrangement was not lost on the Irish crowd. By the end of 1882 the Land League was reconstructed under the name of the National League. The new organization, of which 'United Ireland' was the especial organ, gradually established branches from one end of Ireland to the other. Strong as the provisions of the Crimes Prevention Act were, no attempt was made to bring the new society under its operation. The columns of 'United Ireland,' on the other hand, bore plenty of evidence of a disposition to move on. The Irish farmers were reproachfully asked if they were content with a paltry reduction of rent. 'Had they no other account to settle with England?' The leaders reminded their followers that the Crimes Act would expire before long. They renewed[Pg 554] with savage energy that campaign against the personnel of the Irish administration, which Mr. John Morley had so warmly espoused up to the murder of Mr. Burke. A continual storm of abuse and calumny was directed against Lord Spencer and every one else concerned with Irish government. Mr. Clifford Lloyd and Mr. Trevelyan were removed by way of warning, that there was no room in Ireland for public servants who did their duty. The National League, in fact, became in each district a conspicuous and formidable power. Their representatives in Parliament received much attention from the Prime Minister and his colleagues. They exercised great influence and had many chances before them in the new organization of the electorate. With all these advantages on the side of the Irish Revolution, the Queen's Government had nobody to champion it but the not imposing personality of Lord Spencer.

It is not surprising that in such a state of things Ireland was already, at the commencement of 1885, like a country occupied by two hostile armies. There was the National League camp with its scouts and emissaries all over the country, with a vigorous Press proclaiming its policy and success. The Government forces remained within their lines, attempting nothing, doing nothing, unless some outrage by a moonlight gang compelled them to make some show of interference to check violation of the truce between treason and loyalty. The greatest care was taken not to identify the Government with the scattered Loyalists. They might be very worthy persons, but they were the special aversion of the Nationalist party, and the business of the Government was not to protect or encourage loyalty, but to prevent Nationalism from going too fast. The Nationalist aspirations of Mr. Gladstone's friends were not to be irritated by attentions shown to their adversaries.

When Parliament reassembled in the spring of 1885, men asked what provision was made for renewing the Crimes Act, which would expire in the autumn. Week after week passed, month after month; and it was impossible to extract from the Ministry what their policy was as regards the government of Ireland. At length, in the summer, it was announced that on a day, which was never fixed, a Bill would be introduced renewing certain provisions of the expiring Act. This announcement from the Treasury Bench was followed at once by a notice from Mr. John Morley to oppose the Bill. So much time had already been lost, that it was practically impossible for any Ministry to carry a Coercion Bill against the determined opposition of the Irish members, without the most resolute effort on the part of Mr. Gladstone and his colleagues. Were they prepared to make[Pg 555] these exertions? One of the conditions, on which the Reform question had been settled, was the definite postponement of a dissolution until after the 1st November. Each day men became more and more engrossed with the great question of the winter—the new election—more indifferent to the business of the Session; the Parnellite party more exultant and defiant. Rumours of dissensions in the Cabinet, had been already rife, and grew more frequent every day. The country awoke one morning to find that the second Gladstone Ministry, with its clear majority of over eighty, was at an end. Rather than confess their disunion, the ministry had allowed themselves to be defeated on another question, and Mr. Parnell came before his countrymen as the avenger who had chastised the suggestion of renewed coercion by destroying the Government which made it.

In this collapse of administration the only course open to the Tory party was to prepare as rapidly as possible for an appeal to the country, doing what they could meanwhile in foreign and in home affairs to mitigate the mischief which they were powerless to remedy. When the dissolution came, Mr. Gladstone opened his canvass in Midlothian by many sneers at the election policy of the Irish Nationalists. He reminded his hearers, that the subject of extending local government in Ireland must come forward in the new Parliament, and urged that, 'in dealing with this question the unity of the empire was not to be compromised or be put in jeopardy.' 'Nothing was to be done which should tend to impair,—visibly or sensibly to impair,—the unity of the Empire.' Auditors who had made no special study of Mr. Gladstone's phraseology interpreted these words as a declaration against a separate Parliament in Dublin. He apparently was prepared for large schemes of decentralization, either specially for Ireland or in connection with the projected reform of local government in England; but there was to be nothing which should 'visibly impair' the Imperial unity. He went on to dwell on the danger of 'condescending either to clamour or to fear,' and added:—

'But quite apart from the names of Whig and Tory, one thing I will say, and will endeavour to impress, and it is this, that it will be 'a vital danger to the country if at the time that the demand of Ireland for large powers of self-government is to be dealt with—it will be a vital danger to the Empire if there is not in Parliament ready to deal with that subject, ready to influence the proceedings upon that subject, a party totally independent of the Irish vote.'

Even the most enthusiastic followers of the Liberal chief have learnt to be very cautious in saying what meaning is to be attributed to his utterances, but there can be no doubt that this[Pg 556] language was read by the public as saying, 'whatever lengths I may go in working out the principle of local government, whatever may be the understanding between the Home Rulers and the Tories, I at least will not accept the principle of an Irish Parliament.' Not only was this the natural reading of Mr. Gladstone's declarations at the election, but nearly every member of his party, who referred to this question at all, spoke in the same sense. Mr. Campbell Bannerman denounced the Parnellite demands as 'separation under one name or another,' and many other Liberals were equally emphatic, whilst a still larger number never alluded to the subject.

Well may Lord Hartington protest against the competence of the present Parliament to deal with the legislation now proposed.

'There was no thought, no warning held out to the country, that a radical reform in the relations between Great Britain and Ireland would be the main work of the present Parliament.... The country had no sufficient warning—I think I may say the country had no warning at all—that any proposals of the magnitude and vastness of those which were unfolded to us last night were to be considered in the present Parliament, much less were to form the first subject of consideration upon the meeting of this Parliament. I am perfectly aware that there exists in our Constitution no principle of the mandate. I know that the mandate of the constituencies is as unknown to our Constitution, as the distinction between fundamental laws and laws which are of an inferior sanction. But, although no principle of a mandate may exist, I maintain that there are certain limits which Parliament is bound to observe, and beyond which Parliament has morally not the right to go in its relations with the constituencies. The constituencies of Great Britain are the source of the power, at all events, of this branch of Parliament, and I maintain that in the presence of an emergency which could not have been foreseen, the House of Commons has no moral right to initiate legislation, especially upon its first meeting, of which the constituencies were not informed, and of which the constituencies might have been informed, and as to which, if they had been so informed, there is, at all events, the very greatest doubt what their decision might be.'

Over and over again in the Parliament of 1874 and of 1880 have we heard Mr. Gladstone appealing to this principle, that schemes of crucial importance ought to be discussed before the constituencies; yet the most important proposal made in Parliament for some generations is presented after a general election, in which the constituencies were invited by the Prime Minister and his colleagues to believe, that this particular question was outside the region of practical politics.[Pg 557]

No sooner had it become apparent that the country had refused that renewal of power which Mr. Gladstone had asked for, than his resolution not to accept defeat was promptly manifested. Public men remembered his use of the Royal prerogative in 1872, to carry into execution a scheme for which he had sought and failed to obtain the consent of Parliament. He had not been a week at Hawarden after his journey from Scotland, when people became conscious that the return to office, which he had told the country would be their security against Mr. Parnell, he was now ready to seek with the aid of that leader.

It was on the 8th of December, just after the main results of the elections were settled, that Mr. Herbert Gladstone wrote from Hawarden to a casual correspondent, 'If five-sixths of the Irish people wish to have a Parliament in Dublin, for the management of their own local affairs, I say in the name of justice and wisdom, let them have it.' A few days afterwards the Press announced that the Liberal chief had, in consultation with some former colleagues, matured a scheme which embodied the points desired by Mr. Parnell. The announcement was immediately followed by a telegram from Hawarden, denying the accuracy of the scheme as sketched in the Press. On the main point, whether he was prepared to co-operate with the Home Rule Party, whether he had recovered from the fear he expressed at Edinburgh, that it would be a 'vital danger' to the Empire, if Home Rule came on for discussion 'without the presence in Parliament of a party totally independent of the Irish vote,' on these questions, with which all England was busy, Mr. Gladstone said never a word. He relied on the virtue he assumed to protect him from inconvenient questionings, and meanwhile the Nationalists were invited to reflect during the Christmas holidays, that perhaps after all their best friend was at Hawarden.

Mr. Chamberlain followed up the rumour of a settled scheme by a prompt denial that he was a party to it, and added an emphatic statement of the way in which he and his friends read the Midlothian speeches—'all sections of the party were determined that the integrity of the Empire should be a reality, and not an empty phrase.' Mr. Chamberlain had listened to his great leader too long not to be aware of the importance of marking the distinction between a 'reality' and a 'phrase.' In a few days Lord Hartington too wrote to say, that he was no party to the suggested policy.

The ultimate result of the elections left the government at Christmas only 251 votes, and the Liberals 333. Had it been[Pg 558] clear that the Liberal party were united in a scheme, which was consistent with the current of British opinion, the solution would have been simple enough. Had the appeals for straightforward dealing, made more than once during the election by Lord Salisbury and Lord Randolph Churchill, been responded to, the Government might have made way for a Liberal Ministry, the best men on both sides recognizing, what the soundest public opinion required, that the Irish vote of 86 should be disregarded on questions affecting the existence of a Cabinet; but before the elections were all over, the divisions in the Liberal party were obvious. Mr. Gladstone had returned with more eagerness than ever to the policy of Irish ideas, whilst experience had at length opened the eyes of his ablest lieutenants.

In such a condition of affairs, the only course for Lord Salisbury's Government was to await the onset of their opponents, meanwhile applying themselves to settle that scheme of Irish policy which they as a party were prepared to champion in office or out of office. They met Parliament with an emphatic declaration to maintain the Union, and a few days afterwards announced that further legislation in defence of public order was necessary. This announcement was made on the 26th of January, when several of the Amendments in the Address were still on the paper. Before the House rose, the Government had ceased to exist. By a majority of 79, in a House of 583; a Resolution in support of a policy advocated by the Radical section of the Liberal party was carried against the Government. The motion of Mr. Jesse Collings was, it must be remembered, not a necessary assertion of a particular principle. The importance of the questions of allotments was acknowledged by the Ministry collectively and individually. It was not supposed, even by Mr. Collings himself, that the carrying of this particular Motion on the Address would advance legislation on the subject by a single day. The motion was one of those demonstrations of opinions, ordinary enough in Parliament, and generally resulting in a debate without a division or if pushed to a division, in the withdrawal from the House of all but declared partizans. On this particular occasion the motion was taken up and pressed to a division, in order that the National League was to be put down, was followed in a few hours by a vote which, in the existing constitution of parties, necessarily involved the restoration of Mr. Gladstone to power. So transparent was the object of the division that 13 Liberals voted with the Ministers, among others such staunch adherents of Liberalism as Lord Hartington and Sir Henry James.[Pg 559]

When the new Ministry was formed, two extraordinary circumstances came to light. Lord Hartington, the heir-apparent to the Liberal Leadership, Lord Derby, Mr. Gladstone's most distinguished proselyte, Lord Selborne, and other eminent colleagues in the conduct of the Liberal party, would have nothing to do with the new scheme for the final settlement of Ireland for the third time. Another still more singular fact was soon disclosed. All the members of the new Cabinet, who had any future before them, had come in with reservations of a right of further consideration, when the subject of Irish policy should be brought up for discussion.

One remarkable ally, however, Mr. Gladstone had found in his momentous enterprise. The appointment of Mr. John Morley to the principal post in the Government of the part of the kingdom, which had fallen under the sway of such an organization as the National League, was in itself a revolution. The new Chief Secretary had no official experience, and no parliamentary position. A favoured person, who had audience of great Trades' Union gatherings, he was observed with some interest by the late Parliament, busy with speculations on the character of the new Electorate. But, if his parliamentary work had been slight, he had considerable literary reputation, and had taken an active part, in the press, in discussions on the Irish question. The apologist of Danton, the champion of the Jacobin Club, he was the one English political writer who believed himself able to find in the throes of the French Revolution valuable examples of public policy. The figures of that terrible convulsion did not attract him so much by their range of human passion, by the largeness of the space they filled in a great drama of humanity. It was their fanaticism which inspired him. Their capacity to combine, with the perpetration of atrocious crimes, an ardent apostolate of abstract ideals, had for him a vivid fascination. A gentle critic of Robespierre, he could see in the execution of Marie Antoinette traces of discriminating statesmanship. Entering on political work with such dispositions, he was early attracted to the seething cauldron of Mr. Gladstone's Irish policy. Having satisfied himself that Ireland was in a state of revolution, he regarded murder and robbery as necessary incidents. When an unfortunate lady driving in the evening along a country road was shot dead beside her husband, whose only offence was that of being a landlord, the public were lectured for the inconsequence of their indignation. On the Dublin conspirators, who were watching to murder Mr. Forster, were not lost the lessons which Mr. Morley had been preaching on the vileness of the permanent officials at the Castle. They determined to murder[Pg 560] Mr. Burke, and in killing him slew his companion also; and Mr. Morley deprecatingly reminded his readers, that the death of Lord Frederick Cavendish was 'almost an accident.' With these professed opinions, it was easy for him to acknowledge what Mr. Gladstone might have hesitated to confess, that Mr. Parnell and the National League were the true expression of 'the general sense of the Irish people.'

The Nationalist party had long recognised the value of his aid in Parliament. They felt the truth of the saying, that he was 'Mr. Parnell in an Englishman's skin,' and consequently enjoying more freedom of action, able, on occasion, to do more service for the National League in a Parnellite Cabinet than Mr. Parnell himself. Although the principles he had laid down, strictly applied, would oblige him to say, let Ireland take care of herself and work out her own destiny, he has qualified his faith—he has never very clearly explained why—by a declaration in favour of the integrity of the Kingdom. A believer in revolution, Mr. Morley is astute enough to be ready to take what he can get. 'We do wrong,' he said, writing after the breakdown of the Kilmainham Treaty, 'in being content with nothing short of perfection and finality. If we see our way to the next step, that is enough.' 'Perfection' in Irish affairs would perhaps be that Irish opinion should be organized in a convention at Dublin, and then, tempered by a full course of revolution, should come to the conclusion, that the Union after all was the best thing for both islands. As the public are not yet prepared for trying this experiment, we are to have a succession of 'next steps.'

As a set off to Mr. Morley's want of official experience and of weight in the House of Commons, Mr. Gladstone placed the consideration he enjoyed with the Parnellite party and a disposition, composed of fanaticism and adroitness, fitting him well to co-operate in the schemes which were to follow from the wild passion of the National League in combination with the skill of the 'old Parliamentary hand.'

No sooner was the new Ministry formed than the Nationalist party recognized the greatness of their opportunity. An attitude of reserve was taken up by the Nationalist members and their Press. The Ministry had not been a week in office, when the most advanced and outspoken of the Irish leaders, Mr. John Dillon, presiding at a meeting of the National League, frankly declared 'he never felt more inclined to say nothing than to-day, the present Ministry had been formed on one question and on one question alone, and that was the rights of the Irish nation.' With Mr. Gladstone in office, the policy of the League was to[Pg 561] apply the policy of silence so often inculcated by Mr. Parnell. Speaking out might only embarrass their new allies.

The country, up to a week ago, knew nothing of the momentous scheme on which the Ministry were engaged. One Cabinet council considered it with the result, that the collective action of the Cabinet ceased for the next fortnight; and then the only two public men of weight, whom Mr. Gladstone had induced to give his scheme the compliment of a hearing, retired from the Ministry. Our readers are now in possession of so much of the new scheme as they may be able to discern through the glamour of Mr. Gladstone's rhetoric; but the condition of affairs during the last three months is a picture to remember for all time.

When the Hawarden scheme was disclosed before Christmas, Mr. Gladstone's principal organ in the London Press declared within a week that the game was up. The public would have none of it. The return of Mr. Gladstone to office, with Mr. John Morley as Irish Secretary, suddenly revived the hopes of the 'Pall Mall Gazette.' His new start in pursuit of the Irish ideal banished the despair which had settled upon even the most reckless of his adherents. The age, the physical power of the Premier, his long public career, called up reflections which could not be disposed of in a moment by foes, still less by former allies. He claimed time, and he has taken the most important part of the Session, to mature his plans, amidst the silence of the Opposition and of his Home Rule allies.

But, if his opponents were silent, his nomination of Mr. Morley to the most important place in his Cabinet was not lost upon the motly crowd outside. All the dancing dervishes of politics rushed upon the scene to amaze a bewildered public with fantastical gyrations. 'The Empire of Liberty,' cried one, 'can never employ coercion.' Another enthusiast exclaimed, after reviewing the course of events since the Hawarden revelations, 'To call these things to mind does one's heart good. It seems as if nothing need be despaired of, as if words of hope need never be empty words.' A well-known economist tried to ease the public conscience, and to neutralize the resistance of the unfortunate Irish landlord, by a nebulous scheme for buying up the landlords' rights, but what the supply of money is to be, and who is to supply it, are questions to which the answers vary every hour. A separate Parliament is to be accompanied by a system of guarantees, and Professor Rogers declares that the surest guarantee was the hostages we have in the two millions of Irish inhabiting Great Britain; as if these unfortunate persons could be made liable to imprisonment or[Pg 562] torture in order to secure the good conduct of Mr. Parnell's Dublin Cabinet, as if such an arrangement, if made, would have the slightest effect upon the Irish revolutionists.

But whilst Mr. Gladstone lingered, waiting to see how far the outer public could be brought into sympathy with his schemes, he did not hesitate a moment to consolidate the power of the National League. The subject of evictions for non-payment of rent was brought before the new Government in the form of a question, alleging that a particular eviction was not in strict conformity with the landlord's right. Mr. Morley offered to consider the question of right, and added that what was much wanted in Ireland was 'a strict and scrupulous and literal spirit of legality.' Later on the same evening, Mr. Dillon made a vigorous appeal to the Chief Secretary not to give the aid of armed force to carry out evictions. Mr. Morley responded with alacrity. 'I for one am not prepared to admit that we are justified in every case, in which a shadow of legal title is made out, to bring out the military force to execute decrees which, on the ground of public policy as well as that of equity, may seem inadvisable and unnecessary.' Legal right, if it is relied on in favour of the subjects of the Land League, must be interpreted in a 'scrupulous and literal spirit.' If it is acted on by the landlord, there come in considerations of public policy and of equity.

The result of a long debate was that organized resistance to the execution of the law would not be interfered with, unless the Government were satisfied that in particular circumstances equity required such interference. We have thus arrived at once at a system of official despotism. The law is not to be a guarantee of the rights of the subject, unless so far as the Minister may think fit to permit it. And this dispensing power is to be exercised in favour of the subjects of the National League.

The self-sufficiency of the Liberal party had been vigorously appealed to during the years 1883-5. Liberals tried to persuade themselves, that the comparative repose of Ireland was due to, or was likely to generate, a Conservative feeling amongst the farmer class. Their harvests were good, and they had got so much from the Land Bill, they had so much, in fact, to lose now, in comparison with their condition in former years, men argued, that they would not care to risk their well-being in pursuit of Nationalist projects, with the certainty of being subject to the village ruffians Mr. Forster had described whilst the struggle was going on, with the probability of having to share what they had with these same ruffians as soon as an Irish Parliament obtained power.[Pg 563]

This reasoning took little account of historical experience in cases where property is suddenly given to one class by an arbitrary act. Care for what one possesses, forethought to avoid its loss, come only with habits of acquisition. The Irish farmer was confessedly careless in the past, because, it was said, providence could be of so little use to him in the then state of the law, but his prosperity under the legislation of 1881 was not the result of his own industry. It was due to a long course of agrarian outrage in Ireland and of Parliamentary outrage at Westminster. A favourite commonplace of Land Reformers is the conservatism of the French peasant, turned into a proprietor by the decrees of the Legislative Assembly of 1791. We are reminded of his industry, his self-denial, his distrust of the revolutionary spirit which rages in the towns, but we forget the date at which this sober, assiduous, conservatism made its appearance in history. The immediate result of the change made in 1791 was a savage orgie of bloodshed and outrage, nor was the wild fury, once let loose, sated by the blood of Frenchmen. It was nearly a generation before the fire of Revolution burnt itself out. The French peasantry of 1815 only came to value the land they acquired, to devote their lives to its cultivation, after twenty-three years of savage warfare had strewed the bones of their fathers and their brothers over every battlefield from Salamanca to Borodino, after Teuton and Cossack and Saxon had traversed French territory from end to end.

Nor does the work of revolution produce other effects among the backward turbulent British population, whom Irish rhetoric describes as the Irish nation. Whatever we might hope from the children or grandchildren of those farmers who profited by the change which Mr. Parnell had already brought about, to suppose that prudence and a judicious spirit of self-interest would come to them as rapidly as the reduction of their rents, was to ignore all the facts of human nature. The desire for further winnings possessed them, as the passion of a gambler. Mr. Parnell's triumphant personality was the first thought in their minds. He had already taken 20 per cent. off their rents. Next time they were confident he would take off 50 per cent. or abolish rent altogether.

The Liberals who had been dreaming complacently about the happy results of Mr. Gladstone's Irish policy awoke to find Ireland in possession of the powerful, well-organized, hostile, combination known as the National League.

To make our readers understand what this power means, we should like to be able to bring them within the closed doors of[Pg 564] the room where the League Committee sits in the remote country village. We should then hear the report of the member, respecting the funds obtained, their review of the wealth and independence around them, within their reach, but not yet brought under tribute, the gleeful narrative of resistance subdued, the dark hints of resources for future conquest. The details of the action of the League, as avowed by their press, have been published by the Loyal and Patriotic Union, and would fill many pages of this Review.

The rapid growth of the new organization is easily understood. They had the past success of Mr. Parnell to work on, and this success was both appreciable in their balance of unpaid rent at the Bank, and stimulating to the imagination. The whole island was busy observing the execution of Mr. Parnell's behests in the re-adjustment of contracts for land. The Ministry, which had rebelled against his criticism and sprung at his throat, had been compelled to bring him out of jail supplicating for his alliance. The object of creating the new body was not so much to move forward as to keep Mr. Parnell's friends well together, to take advantage of the effect on the popular mind, which Mr. Parnell's achievements were producing in every hamlet. The practical advantages already won were an earnest of the future, secured new support, and would give greater momentum and unity to the Parnellite movement; when the time came for another attack upon property. The suspects who had been imprisoned by Mr. Forster, constituted local centres for the establishment of branches of the League. Every country public-house was a place of meeting for the branches or their agents. Once the League was organized in a particular district, the next point was to secure subscriptions. Land-grabbing, that is, becoming tenant of land from which some one else had been evicted, was the offence against which the League in the first place directed its energies, and this disregard of popular opinion was punished by social excommunication; but the system of boycotting once called into requisition involved new duties and responsibilities. If a man had not taken land himself, he might have worked for some one who had, or bought cattle from a land-grabber. The League in Kerry enjoined the following procedure on their subscribers:—

'That any person found communicating with a few obnoxious individuals in this locality will be expelled from the league. That every person presenting cattle for sale at a fair shall produce his card, and that no buyers shall purchase from any person without producing the same.

'That no individual shall sell to any dealer without presenting his[Pg 565] card, as it is the only way to detect those employed by the Defence Unionists, and that we call on the other branches to follow this example.'—'United Ireland,' Dec. 12th, 1885.

As the power of the League became better established, the subscribers were guaranteed against the caprice of their customers by such resolutions as the following, adopted at New Ross:—

'That we hereby give final notice to Mr. Murtagh Stafford, that if he does not give back his work to the Nationalist blacksmiths, Messrs. Bowe and Busher, we cannot retain him on our league. That we inform all members of our branch that we expect them to patronize National blacksmiths, artisans, etc., if they wish to remain members.'—'New Ross Standard,' Jan. 9th, 1886.

The complicated equities, which arose under the operation of these local tribunals, are illustrated by another case reported from Wexford.

'Farrell and a man named Shee had been partners in a thrashing machine. Shee was boycotted in 1883 for having taken an evicted farm, and accordingly the machine was allowed to remain idle. Under these circumstances both agreed to dissolve partnership, and Farrell purchased Shee's share in the machine for 370l., a sum of 60l. being paid in ready cash and the remainder being secured by a bill of sale. Farrell then went to the Tullogher branch to get "absolution for the machine," but his application was refused, it being decided that Shee still had a certain interest in it. In the "New Ross Standard," on Sept. 30th, 1885, Farrell, it is reported, being desirous of appealing to the Central League in Dublin, had forwarded his statement to the Tullogher branch and declared he was now ready to verify it on oath. His request to have it sent on to the Central League was, however, refused by the local branch.'—'New Ross Standard.'

The election to local public offices soon engaged the attention of the League. The branches were not content with nominating candidates and interfering with the elections; they next assumed the direction of the proceedings of Boards of Guardians and Town Councils. At Ennis this intervention was publicly announced by resolution.

'That in every future election to any office under the board, no candidate shall be supported by the National Guardians unless he be a member of the National League for at least six months previous to the date of the election, and produces his certificate, signed by the chairman and secretary of the branch, and further, that when selecting a candidate to be put forward for election, the minority of the National guardians should be bound to act on vote with the majority present and voting.'—'Clare Journal,' Nov. 11th, 1885.

[Pg 566]

Contracts were only to be given to Members of the League. No one could be elected to a country dispensary or engaged as solicitor by any electoral body without the sanction of the League. A large portion of the struggling professional classes in the South and West were forced by a sense of self preservation to join the local associations. To remain outside the ranks of the League was to forfeit a man's best chances of getting on in life, and might any day become a personal danger. Mr. Harrington M.P., who has been for some years in charge of the Central Office of the League, tells us that 'at Meetings of the branches of the Organization discussions frequently occur upon incidents in the locality.' We can quite believe it, and are not surprised to find from the columns of 'United Ireland' what is the result of these discussions.

In a system of pillage and tyranny so elaborated, there was no necessity to perpetrate acts of violence, frequently or continually. The daily operation of the League was a standing outrage, bringing a proof of its power to every man's door. A limited number of conspicuous crimes was sufficient for the purposes of the League. Curtin was murdered in November; Finlay, in the West of Ireland, in February; and the local persecution of the families of the victims was even a more awful tribute to the sway of the popular organization.

It is not surprising that Mr. Lecky, in former years the most distinguished advocate of Irish Nationalism, in what may be called its social aspects, should say of the organ of the National League, 'United Ireland,' 'any English statesman who reads that paper, and then proposes to hand over the property and the virtual government of Ireland to the men whose ideas it represents, must be either a traitor or a fool.'

There is no occasion to dwell on the existence of this body or the character of its operations. They are part of the case of the Government. Mr. Morley has frankly told us, that we ought to pass the new Bill, because the League is so strong. If we did not, we should have to quarrel with the League, and to meet not only this great association as we knew it in its times of prosperity, but the League as supported by all the reserve forces of Mr. Egan and Mr. Ford. At present these leaders of public opinion send money; but if the National League, its staff, its secretaries, its branches, its newspapers and Members of Parliament, are not enough, they are ready to send dynamite.

One remarkable fact, however, in connection with the National League deserves special consideration, for it illustrates the singularly disastrous character of Mr. Gladstone's interposition in Irish affairs. The society, which we have endeavoured to[Pg 567] describe, and which Mr. Morley recommends to our attention as the locum tenens of dynamite and the dagger, is now officered in nearly every village by the priests of the Roman Church. At the beginning of his career, Mr. Parnell personally was regarded by the Roman Catholic hierarchy with suspicion, if not with hostility. Mr. Butt had never succeeded in securing their hearty co-operation in his Home Rule scheme. Mr. Parnell was not only a Protestant, but expressed his contempt very freely for the adherents of the Roman Church, whilst he avowed his sympathy with Revolutionists, whom the Irish Catholic had been taught to regard as enemies of the Holy Father. We can always trace in the history of this Church two forces at work; the principle of order and authority, worldly and calculating, in sympathy with the powers that be, trusting by skill and caution to manipulate them for its own ends; and on the other hand, the wilder spirit of sacerdotal ambition ready to ride the storm and dare catastrophe. Before Mr. Gladstone's second Administration, the former influence was gaining much strength in Ireland. Even if we make allowance for the social origin of the Irish priests, filled from their infancy with the rebel sentiment of the peasantry, there are many sins that the disposition of their Church was until very recently to rely upon intrigue and organization for gaining its ends, rather than to ally itself openly with the Irish Revolution. Even after Mr. Parnell had secured the allegiance of the farmer class by his great largess in the shape of 20 per cent. reduction of rent, not only did Cardinal McCabe continue to oppose him, but Archbishop Croke evinced a desire to act on the side of Government.

Such a line of action, however, was only possible on the supposition, that government was to be maintained in Ireland; and the tenure of Ireland by Lord Spencer gave no such assurance. We know the passionate efforts which Mr. Gladstone made to exclude Archbishop Walsh from the See of Dublin. Sir George Errington was sent to Rome to get the Pope to do what Mr. Gladstone dare not do himself—bid defiance to the Irish leader. That resolute politician had a policy; the English Minister had none. A quarrel with the Nationalist party meant to the Roman Church loss of income, loss of influence—influence which, in these iconoclastic days, it might take them generations to recover; and, after all their sacrifices, they might find that Mr. Gladstone had capitulated, and had handed them and the rest of Ireland over to the National League. Their only practical course, as discreet politicians, was to throw in their lot with the great Nationalist leader, relying on the old[Pg 568] traditions of the Irish peasant to protect clerical interests against the host of Revolutionists, who would, on Mr. Parnell's triumph, flock into Ireland from all the ends of the earth. The priests do not forget that the member for Cork denounced their co-religionists. They have no enthusiasm for a revolutionary dictator, who, whatever his opinions on religious matters, cannot be claimed as a son of the Church. Mr. Gladstone, however, left the sacerdotal power no choice but to make the best terms they could with the Irish leader, who was only too glad to secure their co-operation. Archbishop Walsh has been accepted as a sort of ecclesiastical assessor to Mr. Parnell's government, and at the last election the priests went as one man for the National League.

It is an Ireland, thus abandoned for years to the evil spirits evoked by the rhetorician of Southport—an Ireland, in which the natural springs of Conservatism have been dried up by the fever of slumbering revolution—that England is now called upon to deal with, and the remedy of the Ministry is to call into power a public opinion schooled in conspiracy and violence; for now at length Mr. Gladstone has given up the notion of intervening between Mr. Parnell and the Irish crowd. The preachers of the gospel of plunder are invited to share in the government of a part of the Kingdom.

We shall not attempt to examine further the scheme which Mr. Gladstone has foreshadowed, but which, as we write, is not yet published in detail. One characteristic, we may note, in the Prime Minister's speech was very unusual with him. It is full of admissions which seem to be due not so much to his habitual daring as to unconsciousness of their import. He is ready to buy out the landlords at a great cost to the English taxpayer, because the idea of landed property came to the Irishman in English garb, and is therefore not likely to be respected in the new system; but why should he be obliged to make special provision for the Irish judges? They are men of ability, of stainless character. They do not belong to any particular party, or race, or creed; they are members of a great profession which all civilized societies require. They have that experience of their profession which would make their services particularly useful to a community entering on a new social stage; but the mere fact, that they have been engaged in applying the law, makes their position dangerous, and Mr. Gladstone is obliged to ask England to provide that they shall not suffer in purse from the opening of the new era which he proposes in that part of the United Kingdom where he has undertaken to reconstruct society.[Pg 569]

For the moment Mr. Morley prefers the rôle of Siéyes rather than of Danton, but the outcome of the legislation, proposed by the Ministry with the assent of Mr. Parnell, must be to advance, if not to consummate, the theory of Irish Independence. We thus arrive at that result which Mr. Morley, on his own principles, would find it difficult to refuse assent to. He has told us that his policy is to be 'thorough.' A separate Irish nationality or reconquest must be the ultimate consequence of any substitution of local institutions in Ireland for the Parliament at Westminster, unless so far as the proposed substitution were part of a scheme common to all four components of the kingdom. Most people will agree with the old Duke of Wellington, that 'the repeal of the Union must be the dissolution of the connection between the two countries.'

To withdraw the English flag from Ireland as we did from the Ionian Isles, to have a Convention called at Dublin to determine the future government of the Island, such a plan would have the advantage that it recognizes the one political opinion, which we can trace in Irish popular expression—the desire to be done with England. It is true, that the policy of Irish ideas declared at Southport was a means to an end—the better union of the two countries—but pledged to two antagonistic principles, Mr. Gladstone must some time choose which he will abandon.

On the other hand, in accepting Irish independence we shrink from responsibility for the acts of England. We know that the disorder now ruling in Ireland is, to some extent, the result of English misgovernment in past generations, and instead of attempting by firmness and patience to remedy the mischief our fathers have done, we leave the future to Providence. In this aspect of the question, we would remind our readers of the words used in our article on 'Disintegration' not three years ago:—

'The highest interests of the Empire, as well as the most sacred obligations of honour, forbid us to solve this question by conceding any species of independence to Ireland; or, in other words, any licence to the majority in that country to govern the rest of Irishmen as they please. To the minority, to those who have trusted us, and on the faith of our protection have done our work, it would be a sentence of exile or of ruin. All that is Protestant—nay, all that is loyal—all who have land or money to lose, all by whose enterprize and capital industry and commerce are still sustained, would be at the mercy of the adventurers who have led the Land League, if not of the darker counsellors by whom the Invincibles have been inspired. If we have failed after centuries of effort to make Ireland peaceable and civilized, we have no moral right to abandon[Pg 570] our post and leave all the penalty of our failure to those whom we have persuaded to trust in our power. It would be an act of political bankruptcy, an avowal that we were unable to satisfy even the most sacred obligations, and that all claims to protect or govern any one beyond our own narrow island were at an end.'—'Quarterly Review,' October, 1883, pp. 593, 594.

Mr. Gladstone assured his hearers last week, that he was bent on consolidating the unity of the kingdom; he would not tolerate that his new constitution should be called a repeal of the Union; but his final argument was this, 'Do not let us disguise this from ourselves. We stand face to face with what is termed "Irish nationality."' Now, what is this 'Irish nationality'? Let us examine it from the point of view of the welfare of the Irish population. It may be conceded at once that there is a strong current of local sentiment running through the Irish population of the south and west. This is a tender, home feeling—a very different thing from the stronger, more complex, and more highly developed, conception round which a political nationality gathers. It is such a sentiment as exists in one form or another in every group of counties, in every county, in every country-side, in almost every village. It is a kindly recollection of old memories, associated with a disposition to stand up for our own. It is the result of intimate knowledge of certain habits and ideas, and a tender reminiscence of the best types of character associated with those habits. This sentiment of local feeling is the germ of nationality, but it exists in many regions where the wider ideas of nationality have never supervened. There are many other places again, where this same feeling remains fresh and vigorous after the political nationality connected with it has passed away, merged in larger conceptions, in a sense of more extended interests.

Such was the feeling of Cicero when he said that he had two countries. His Volscian home was the country of his affection, but Rome that of duty and right. Arpinum will always be my country, said he, but Rome still more my country, for Arpinum has its share in the honours and dominion of Rome.

Such is the feeling of the proud and vigorous nationality occupying North Britain, various in race, in creed, and in social condition, but united in mutual knowledge, in local sympathies, and in self-respect. The Scotch, as an aggregate, are intellectually, physically, and in their local institutions and habits one of the most distinct national types existing. They are drawn together by a strong sentiment of patriotism, but they are as little likely to demand a separate political system, a parliament sitting at Edinburgh, as the members from Hampshire[Pg 571] and Wiltshire are likely to combine for the establishment of parliamentary government on the banks of the Itchin.

Now what is Ireland, and what indications has that portion of the population known as Nationalist given of a capacity to form itself into a nation? Ireland has a geographical boundary in a sea channel crossed from Great Britain in three hours or in an hour and a-half, according to the line of passage selected. It is inhabited by some five millions, whose native language is English, with the exception of a decimal percentage of mountaineers, who nearly all speak English as well as Irish. The race is more mixed than in any other district of the kingdom containing the same amount of population. The northern coasts are thickly peopled by Scotch settlers. In the south and west are many varieties of race not of English introduction, but strongly different from each other. In many of the most Catholic districts of Munster and Leinster we find, in the names, physique, and temper, of the people, evident results of the Cromwellian settlements, although the faith and political principles of their forefathers have passed away. With this mixed population we have a social cleavage probably the most remarkable in Europe. The mass of the people, except in about one-fifth of the island on the north-east coast, are Roman Catholic, Celtic in their traditions and habits, and extremely poor. The Northern fifth is industrious, order-loving, prosperous, Protestant, and British in sentiment. Next to the masses of the population in importance are the great landowners, of whom six-sevenths are Protestants, and nearly the whole of Norman, Scotch, or English origin. There is no important mercantile class, except in the towns of Belfast, Dublin, and Cork; and the professional classes, with the exception of the Catholic priesthood, are chiefly Protestant and British.

This population, so strangely wanting in homogeneity, have no history which might attract them into unconsciousness of their differences. It has been well said, that 'anybody who knew nothing of the Irish past, except what he got from the speeches of Irish Nationalists, would suppose that at some comparatively recent period the green flag had floated over fleets and armies, and that Irish kings had played a part of some kind in the field of modern European politics.' But as a matter of fact Ireland has no part in European history before its conquest by England. Not only was the kingdom of Ireland, as the style of the island went before 1800, an English creation; but the name of Ireland has never had any political significance except in connection with the English crown.

External signs of difference between English and Irish there[Pg 572] are many; nimble apprehension, fluent utterance, genial demeanour, the attraction of the flashing Celtic face, distinguish an Irish from an English group, but characteristics like this do not prove any original or consistent power of thought. They rather perhaps indicate the absence of it. It is not on qualities like these, cemented even by strong feelings of home sentiment, that we can expect to see the foundation of a new Nationality happily laid. With one exception there is not a single idea, which an orator could present to an Irish crowd, that could not be urged with equal chance of sympathy upon an English crowd. Personal liberty, the principles of no taxation without representation, of trial by jury, freedom of conscience, sympathy with the prosperity of the greatest number, all these are English ideas and must be illustrated, where they need illustration, by the events of history peculiar to England or common to the British dominion. The one topic, which is specially attractive to an Irish meeting, is abuse of England as the source of Irish misery. Community of hatred the mixed Nationalist population has, but whether such a passion is sufficiently creative to build up a new national type the reader can judge for himself. With this exception, laws, political teachings, commercial habits, are all of English origin.

Mr. Gladstone, in recommending to the House of Commons his scheme for the establishment of an independent Parliament in Ireland, cited as precedents the independent Legislatures of Sweden and Norway, and of Austria and Hungary. He dwelt particularly upon the precedent of Norway:—

'The Legislature of Norway has had serious controversies, not with Sweden, but with the King of Sweden, and it has fought out those controversies successfully upon the strictest constitutional and Parliamentary grounds. And yet with two countries so united, what has been the effect? Not discord, not convulsion, not danger to peace, not hatred, not aversion, but a constantly-growing sympathy; and every man who knows their condition knows that I speak the truth when I say, that in every year that passes the Norwegians and the Swedes are more and more feeling themselves to be the children of a common country, united by a tie which never is to be broken.'

If Mr. Gladstone had been better acquainted with the recent historic and economic condition of Norway, of which we have given some account in our present number,[104] he might have quoted that country as a warning rather than an example. The 'Storthing,' or Parliament of Norway, is omnipotent, and two-thirds of its representatives are permanently in the hands of the[Pg 573] peasant proprietor. The King has only a suspensive veto on Bills enacted by the Storthing, which therefore become law, if passed in their original form by three successive triennial Parliaments. The recent dispute between the King and the Parliament, to which Mr. Gladstone alluded, related to the right of the King to exercise an absolute veto in the case of Bills affecting the principles of the Constitution. The existence of such a right was denied by the Radical majority in the Storthing, which established in 1884 a Supreme Court of Justice composed exclusively of Radical members, and the Judges of the ordinary High Court of Justice. It was a packed Court, bound to secrecy; and the tribunal thus constituted condemned, in violation of the first principles of justice, all the King's Ministers in Norway to deprivation of office and to pecuniary fines, for having advised their master, that the Constitution could not be altered without his sanction. The King was compelled to yield, though he was supported in his opposition to the Storthing by his Swedish Cabinet; and his ultimate submission to the Radical majority in Norway was followed by a Ministerial crisis in Sweden. The Swedes rightly argue that, if the King has no absolute veto on matters affecting the principles of the Constitution in Norway, there is no obstacle to an abolition of the Monarchical form of government in that kingdom, or to a repeal of the union between the two countries. There is in consequence much discontent in Sweden at the conduct of Norway; and the Norwegians, on their side, have an intense and ever-growing 'hatred and aversion' to the Swedes. Hence has arisen a considerable tension in the official relations between the two countries instead of the 'constantly growing sympathy' of which Mr. Gladstone spoke. It is characteristic of the Prime Minister's mode of stating a case, that he tells us the Norwegian controversies are 'not with Sweden but with the King of Sweden.' Sweden has nothing to say in Norwegian affairs, except in the person of the King. The King is the only connecting link between the two countries. If the Dublin Parliament should impeach the Irish Viceroy, we suppose Mr. Gladstone would tell us that the difficulty was not with England but with Queen Victoria.

Nor was Mr. Gladstone much happier in his allusion to Hungarian Nationality in recent times. For more than 150 years Austria endeavoured to extinguish the national life of Hungary. In 1867 this policy was definitely abandoned, and Hungary was called to a share in the Empire of the Hapsburgs. As recently as last October Mr. Parnell, when insisting that Ireland must have an independent Parliament, said: 'We[Pg 574] can point to the example of other countries—to Austria and to Hungary—to the fact that Hungary, having been conceded self-government, became one of the strongest factors in the Austrian Empire.' The favour, with which these references have been received by the Liberal party, is a singular example how far afield they are ready to go in search of an argument. Austria, in 1867, was a great military despotism, tottering to its fall amidst a group of eager rivals. A general appeal to the nation, such as France made at the commencement of the Revolutionary war, was out of the question. Differences of race, differences of language, differences of social condition, made national unity impossible within the wide dominions of the House of Austria. The government at Vienna consented to the division of its territories into groups of nearly equal strength. In each of these groups various alien nationalities were clustered round a central power more advanced in politics, in civilization, and in wealth, than the adjacent territories. Instead of trying to weld their multiple varieties of race into one great popular community, Austria, smitten at Sadowa, shared her dominion with Hungary, and asked her to take charge of the Government of the East Leithan Slavs, whilst the German population of Austria dealt with the Czechs and Moravians and Carinthians on the western side of the river.

Sir Henry Elliott has well pointed out, that what success the experiment has had is in no small degree due to the large powers still enjoyed by the Crown, and to the personal character and influence of the Emperor Francis, the connecting link between the two dominions; but apart from this actual result, the feasibility of the dual scheme depended on the following considerations. In the first place, there was no alternative in the condition in which the House of Austria found itself in 1867, defeated in battle and bankrupt in finance. Without some such arrangement civil war was inevitable, with the ultimate prospect of the absorption of the various races by the hostile neighbouring Powers. In the second place, the allies were pretty nearly equal in strength as regards each other, whilst they were each similarly weighted by the difficulty of holding their own within the respective territories assigned them. They were each so busy with their subordinate territories and the less advanced populations inhabiting them, that it was not their interest or their inclination to bring about conflicts with each other. Hungary boasts a larger area than Austria, and a population equal to three-fourths that of the Western Monarchy. On the western side of the Leitha the dominant race, dominant by force of nature, by brain power, and the traditions and[Pg 575] acquirements this power has given them, are 36 per cent. of the whole population. In the Transleithan provinces the race similarly situated, the Magyar, constitutes about 40 per cent. of the whole population.

There is not a single circumstance in the relations between England and Ireland to make reference to the creation of the Empire-Kingdom anything but an absurdity. Ireland never can compare with Great Britain in material resources. Her population is hardly one-sixth that of the larger island, whilst her area is little more than a third. She is deficient in climate, in soil, in mineral resources, and in population. Not only is she without a well-organized aristocracy skilled in political science, such as Hungary boasted; Ireland, as the term is understood by the National League, is without an educated class. Her intellect is represented by the moonlight maurauder and the fanatic priest. As regards England, the parallel is still more preposterous: She is not a military despotism, but a well-organized community, boasting parliamentary traditions of a thousand years. Her shores are guarded by sea from foreign interference. Notwithstanding many scandalous shortcomings in her rulers, her influence and her power are still unrivalled in the world. However long Mr. Gladstone may rule, her Sadowa is yet to come; and, if it did come, the example of the Dual State would offer no solution of our Irish difficulties, for none of the conditions which made the Dual State possible exist in the case of the two chief British Islands.

The delusive character of Mr. Gladstone's reference to the Dual State is best illustrated by the facts, that the council for common affairs consist of an equal number of representatives from each side of the dominion, that this council is concerned with military and foreign affairs, two subjects on which, according to the new scheme, Ireland is to have no vote.

It will be found, on a little examination, that appeals to the example of the foreigner are as misleading as the theory of nationality. All such arguments are only endeavours to divert the public from the exercise of their own judgment and common-sense in dealing with the mischiefs which the perverse genius of Mr. Gladstone has created. Recognized principles of government, the ordinary traditions of England applied with the happy immunity from friction, which the commercial policy of modern times makes possible, would have long since settled the difficulty, but it would have been settled in disregard of that popular Irish feeling which, in 1867, Mr. Gladstone pledged himself to follow. He would have had to admit[Pg 576] that his new Irish policy was a mistake; and he never admits that he has made any mistake—unless it be in Egypt—or in acting on the opinion of other people. When he has discovered a new line of policy, he believes himself infallible. Let us assume for a moment, that the combination of the personal adherents of Mr. Gladstone and of Mr. Parnell enables the Prime Minister to pass some measure on the lines he has selected, or on those laid down by Mr. Davitt, and that the rowdy treason of a Dublin Cabinet proceeds to bring within the sphere of its operations what wealth and civilization has hitherto escaped the National League.

In the struggle which must ensue, we shall have within three hours of our shores a raging volcano of revolution, threatening the peace of Europe and our own. Fenians, Nihilists, and Irish Yankees, will flock to the new vantage ground. The conflict between Socialism and property, between infidelity and superstition, will be fought out amidst the strangest complications of local hatred and of fiscal disorder. If foreign governments abstain from interfering, and we escape consequent difficulties with them, are we sure that we ourselves will be able to remain passive spectators? Many of us are old enough to recollect the agitation which shook this kingdom during the struggle between North and South on the other side of the Atlantic. No question of Home politics for generations past had so deeply moved our people. It required all the exertions of the most sober part of the nation to prevent our becoming involved in the conflict, and we recollect the help this party of wisdom got from the impulsive statesman who has undertaken for the third time the final settlement of the Irish question. If the great American Civil War, desolating a country three thousand miles away, thus stirred popular feeling, what will be the result of a Civil War between, on the one side, the Irish Celt animated by religious hatred and love of plunder, and supported by the Irish American, and on the other the loyalty, endurance and Protestantism of Ulster—a Civil War almost within sight of our shores?

But, if we turn from the suggestions of empiricism and vanity and come to those practical considerations which affect men's minds in matters so important as political organization, the main argument pressed on English people is that we cannot go on as we are. 'Irish Government is a failure.' 'We must close this terrible crisis as rapidly as possible.' 'Separation itself, could not be worse than the present state of things.' 'The Act of Union has completely failed. After eighty-four years it has given an Ireland more hostile to England than at any period of[Pg 577] its history.' Mr. Gladstone recites the number of Coercion Acts, which have been passed since 1832, and declares 'we are like the man who, knowing that medicine may be the means of his restoration to health, endeavours to live upon medicine.'

Before considering whether this confession of failure is true, we would remind our readers what it implies, what it leads up to. It is now proposed as an argument for establishing a separate Parliament in Dublin. The establishment of this separate Parliament is necessary, because we must give Ireland the opportunity of doing what we ourselves are unable to do, to find the best machinery they can to carry on the business of government. But, when this machinery is once found and invested with the resources and influence of a Government, we cannot suppose that our troubles will be at an end. If disputes arise in the working out of the new Irish Constitution, the popular majority will not be slow to call in the aid of the American Irish who have founded the National League. Mr. Jennings, whose opinion on this matter is entitled to great weight, from his long residence in the United States, reminded the House that

'one consideration which they must bear in mind was that of the formidable difficulties which would inevitably arise from the action of the great body of Irish Americans. If this Bill granted to Ireland a free and independent Parliamentary Assembly with full powers over the Executive, as proposed by the Prime Minister, there would inevitably come a time when either the payment of the interest due, or some other cause, would bring the Irish Parliament into antagonism with the English. If they were to endeavour to demand what was necessary, whether payment of interest or what not, and to threaten to use force, could any one suppose that the great body of Irish Americans would stand by silently and see that done? He believed that the United States would say to them: "You have acknowledged your incompetence to govern Ireland; you have given her practical independence, now you must take your hands off her; we will not stand by and see her crushed." He believed that there was no government in the United States which could withstand such pressure as that which would be brought to bear on it by the Irish Americans, especially if a Presidential election were near.'

But is this allegation of failure actually true? For our part we are inclined to agree with Lord Hartington, that the argument founded on the paralysis of government in Ireland in recent years is allowed more weight in this question than it should have. In the first place, it is difficult to see how any government conducted as ours has been during the last few years, could be other than disastrous, Mr. Gladstone, at the commencement of his career[Pg 578] as leader of the Liberal party, pledged himself to the policy of Irish ideas, ignorant, if not reckless, of what the term meant. Year by year he has been getting a closer view of the creed he had unconsciously adopted, and, after a struggle, he accepts one dogma, then another. The great dogma of all in the Home Ruler's creed, that Englishmen should be sent bag and baggage out of Ireland, has not yet been adopted; and naturally the Home Ruler keeps his resources ready for that ringing of the chapel bell to which Mr. Gladstone alluded in speaking of the Clerkenwell explosion and its effect on the question of the Irish Establishment. The 'dynamite and the dagger,' to which Mr. Morley recently appealed as conclusive reasons for passing the Cabinet scheme, retain their fascination for the Irish mind.

As long as Mr. Gladstone is a power in English public life, and his pledges given in Lancashire are unredeemed or unrepudiated, the Home Rule party will press him without mercy; but it is not reasonable to argue from their success, a success which Mr. Gladstone has given them, that they exercise a permanent influence on Irish affairs. When the Southport pledges were given, the Irish land laws were yet without that reform which a series of Governments, Tory as well as Whig, had admitted to be necessary. It could not be said until after 1870 that the book of English neglect of Irish interests was finally closed, and that is only sixteen years ago. During this period we have seen the great English Parliamentary Ruler continually plunging after coercion, and returning to make some other big concession to agitation. Thus Ireland has had no chance of trying what a good system of laws consistently administered could supply. The principle of the Land Act of 1870 was a provision for the protection of property—the tenants' property recognized by custom during a long course of years, although ignored by the law and exposed to confiscation by the reckless Whig legislation of 1850-2. The Land Act of 1881 was an arbitrary attempt to remedy the misfortunes of an improvident agricultural interest by legislative interference with contract. Contracts were readjusted and finally settled for fifteen years to come. Political economy was bidden to take itself off, but prices varied quite regardless of Mr. Gladstone's arrangements, and the weather did not pay them the least consideration. The passion for revolution was stimulated, and a large number of Mr. Gladstone's clients are as badly off as before. Might it not be worth while to try for a time how far good government, after the removal of all substantial grievances, might supply that 'real settlement,' 'that finality,' which the country is now asked to find in[Pg 579] Dublin Parliaments, First Orders, and bribes at the cost of the English taxpayer?

This counter-policy of maintaining order and good government in Ireland should be emphasized by measures to make that island, even more completely than she now is, a part of the United Kingdom. The Queen's laws in Ireland are the same, except in some slight details, as in England. The Irish judicature might be made part of the High Court at Westminster. The Queen's writs from Westminster should run throughout Ireland as they have done for hundreds of years throughout Wales. Limerick or Sligo are not so remote from London now as Harlech or Durham were in the reign of George I. The Irish judges would form no undistinguished addition to the English Bench, while the presence of English judges on circuit in Ireland would have the best effect in disarming the animosity of the people against the law. It is too often forgotten in these days that, however rapidly we move from place to place, however swift the transmission of intelligence, the human mind has not yet acquired the nimbleness of the telegraph needle. Habits of thought are not changed as rapidly as the fashions of our dress. It is only sixteen years since our Irish legislation has assumed its present form, and we are ready to throw to the winds all maxims of statecraft, all principles hitherto recognized in the delicate work of government. We are in despair, and call in the company of à priori statesmen—men whose sole qualification to deal with complex questions is the fact that they have studied the science of revolution. Why should we not try, now that we have provided for manifest Irish grievances, what time, and resolution, and common-sense, might do for us and our Irish fellow-subjects?

The first part of the Government policy is disclosed. We have still to learn what its complement, the Land Purchase Bill, is to be, what proposal is to be made about loyal Ulster, the subject on which Mr. Gladstone was so strangely vague, on which Mr. Parnell was discreetly silent. These further manifestations of Cabinet wisdom can hardly save the scheme now lingering on to death. We wish we could be certain, that this collapse would rid Parliament and Ireland of all such projects for the future. But, whatever be the fate of the present Ministry, we may be sure that the end is not yet, unless Mr. Parnell's faction is completely broken, unless the policy urged by Lord Hartington is firmly adopted, and party life reorganized in England, on the principle of excluding the Irish vote from consideration in our party conflicts. If no such resolution is enforced by English patriotism, Irish Nationalists will return to[Pg 580] their demands, enhanced in power and renown by the tribute they have extorted from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

On these events of the future we shall not now speculate; but if past history throws any light on the character of our population, one thing may be confidently predicted. If Home Rule should be ultimately conceded to Ireland, the political party which may be responsible for the carrying of the scheme, will have to look forward to a long period of exclusion from public confidence. However the British people may be worried or deluded into forgetfulness of their duty to themselves and to Ireland, the working of a Dublin Parliament will soon rouse them, the reaction will set in; and the authors of the scheme will have before them as lengthened a banishment from power, as the country gentlemen suffered when their chivalrous devotion to the House of Stuart blinded them for a time to the practical interests of England; as was the fate of the Whigs at the beginning of this century, when they identified their party with implacable opposition to Pitt's struggle to deliver Europe from the tyranny of Bonaparte.


[104] See Art. IV. 'Yeomen Farmers in Norway.'

[Pg 581]



St. Alban's Abbey, 305
its revenue, 307
culture of the vine, 308
its Grammar School, 310
the Scriptorium, 312, 313
Historiographers, 314
Abbot's, 316, 317.

Alford, Dean, on the severance of the Church from the State, 7.

Apostolic Fathers, the, by the Bishop of Durham, 467
Ignatius contrasted with St. Clement, 470
his uncertain birth and origin, 471
martyrdom, 472, 473
testimony to the Apostolical succession, 474
the 'short,' 'middle' and 'long' form, ib.
forgery in the 'long' recension, 475
literary war on episcopacy, 476
Milton's invective, ib.
Archbp. Ussher's discovery, 477
condemns the Epistle to Polycarp, 478
Cureton's version, ib.
genuineness of the seven Epistles known to Eusebius 479, 480
style and diction, 481
external testimony, 483
'Apostolical Constitutions,' 485
Irenæus on Apostolic succession, 485, 486
Linus at Rome, 486
Polycarp on episcopacy, 487
Clement of Rome and Papias, ib.
Theological Polemics, 488
Judaists and Gnostics, 489
S. Polycarp, his history and writings, 491
reverence paid to him, 492
reviving Paganism, 493
legend of his youth, 495
meets Ignatius, 496
reminiscences by Irenæus, ib.
his martyrdom, 498, 499.

Aracan. See Burma.

Archives of the Venetian Republic, 356. See Venetian.

d'Aumale, Duc his 'Histoire des Princes de Condé,' 80
his tribute to Gen. France d'Houdetot, 107.


Bagehot, Mr. Walter, his 'English Constitution,' 518
his character, 521
influence of his writings, 532
universal and varied representation, 533
clear style, 534
the principle of evolution, 535
on royal education, 536
Constitutional monarchy, 537.

Banker, the Country, by Mr. George Rae, 133
Joint Stock Banking, 134
loanable capital, 135
trade interests, 136
individual responsibility, ib.
limited liability, 137
uncovered advances, ib.
prosperity of Scotland, 138
difference between a mortgage and a bill of exchange, 139
fixed capital, 140
floating capital, 141
telegraphic transfer, ib.
personal security, 142
'runs' on a bank, 143-145
banking reserve, 145
panics, 146, 147
the Act of 1844, 147
the Golden Age, 149
Bank Law of Germany, 149, 150
National Banks of the U.S., 150
Swedish Banks, 151
banking system of Australasia, 152
'Popular Banks in Italy, 153
contrasted with the Post Office Savings-banks in England, 154.

Batchelor, Rev. H., sermon upon 'The Bishops on Disestablishment,' 38.

Beaconsfield, Lord, his historic warning in 1880 of danger in Ireland, 551.

Bismarck, Prince, his opinion of Mr. Gladstone, 281, 282.

Books and Reading, 501
Sir John Lubbock's list, ib.
Comte's catalogue or syllabus, 502
indolent readers, 503
perplexity of the student, 504
difficulties in classification, 505
Mr. Weldon's practical list, 507
Mr. F. Harrison's 'Choice of Books, ib.
the desultory reader, 508
Dibdin's 'Library Companion,' 509
Chroniclers and Historians, ib.
philosophical histories, 510
Voyages and Travels, 511
Children's Books, 512
Mr. Lowell's maxim for reading, 513
use of odd moments, 514
periodical literature, 515
[Pg 582]selection of books, 516
students' books, 517
fragmentary reading, 518.

Brewer, Prof., his 'Introductions,' 293
Essay on 'New Sources of English History,' 294
draws attention to the value of the 'Calendars,' ib.

British Empire. See Travels.

Broch, Dr., 'Le Royaume de Norvège et le Peuple Norvégien,' 384
his Report for the Exhibition at Paris, 397
production of cereals and potatoes in Norway, in 1875, 405 note.
See Yeomen.

Brown, Rev., on the control exercised in the Dissenting Churches, 37.

----, Mr. Rawdon, the late, his facsimiles of the Autographs in the Lettere Principi, 377.
See Venetian.

Burma, Past and Present, 210
number of rivers, 211
influence of India and China, ib.
chief nationalities, 213
the Karens, ib.
influence of Buddhism, 214
affinity with Ceylon, ib.
Hindoo nomenclature, 215
architectural remains, ib.
the city of Pagân, 216
Niccolo de' Conti's geographical accuracy, 217
Pegu captured, ib.
the Yuva Raja's gorgeous court, 218
extravaganzas of F. M. Pinto, ib.
splendour of the monarchy, 219
internal and external wars, ib.
reign of Nicote, 220
his execution, 221
decay of the power of Ava, ib.
resistance of Alompra, ib.
his successes and death, 222, 223
Ran-gûn founded, 222
conquest of Aracan, ib.
peace concluded between China and Ava, ib.
Capt. Symes, Envoy to the Burmese Court, 224
Lord Wellesley's endeavours for a treaty of alliance, ib.
geographical extent of the Empire, 225
Sir A. Campbell's conquests, 226
Col. H. Burney's residence, 227
Lord Dalhousie annexes Pegu, ib.
Capt. A. Phayre's successful administration of Pegu, 228
death of Mengdûn-Meng, and succession of Theebau, ib.
massacre of the prisoners, 229
revolt at Hlain, 230
English Residency withdrawn, 231
relations with France cultivated, 232
Gen. D'Orgoni's mission, 233
the French Envoy's secret articles disavowed, 234
French occupation of the Anamite provinces, ib.
Franco-Burmese Treaty, 235
and Bank at Mandalay, 236
the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation, 237
Ultimatum of the Indian Government, 238
resources of, 287.


'Calendars,' the, of Letters and Papers, Prof. Brewer's 'Introductions' to, 293, 294.

Cape Colony, the, treatment of, 448.

Carlyle's account of the Royalist attack on Salisbury, 416
his false image of Cromwell, 441.
See Cromwell.

Cervantes, Life of, 58.
See 'Don Quixote.'

Chamberlain, Mr., his bribe to the rural voters, 258
on Mr. Gladstone's manifesto, 290.
See Parliament.

Christian Brothers, the, Religious Schools in France and England, 325
the Frères Chrétiens founded by De la Salle, 330
work at Paris, 331
vow of dedication, ib.
Articles of rules for the Society, 332
laymen appointed in preference to priests, 333
the five vows and rule of daily life, ib.
Manuals for their guidance, 334
conditions of punishment, 335
success of the work, ib.
abolished during the Reign of Terror, 337
revived under Napoleon, ib.
discouragements, 338
Our Duties towards Ourselves, 339
Morals, 340
Freedom of Labour, ib.
Gregory on Competition, 341
Political Duties, 342
Cross of honour awarded after the Prussian invasion, 354
scholarships gained, 355.

Church and State, 2
Lord Hartington's loyalty, 3
imputation on the Tories, ib.
Liberationist tactics, 4, 7
Mr. Gladstone's manifesto, 5, 6
finances of the Liberation Society, 8, 9
Scottish subscriptions, 10
Welsh Nonconformists, 11
characteristics of Democracy, ib.
Liberation leaflets, 13-16
cost of 'voluntary schools,' 16
Pope Gelasius on tithes, 17
the Church in Wales and London, 18-21
number of adult baptisms, 21
Mr. G. Rogers on Disendowment, 22
the 'Radical programme,' 23, 24
Bp. Magee on Disestablishment, 25
M. Scherer on Democracy, 27
the question of inequality, 28
history and effects of Establishment, 29
misstatements, 30
spiritual influence, 31
example of the United States, ib.
results of the voluntary system, 32, 33
denominational rivalry, 34
Mr. Bancroft on the Church in Virginia, 35
danger of rashness in any change, 36
control in the Dissenting Church, 37
case of Jones v. Stannard, ib.
[Pg 583]Rev. H. Batchelor's sermon, 38
decrease of Baptist and Congregational pastors, 39
the Bp. of Rochester's estimate of the parishes that would suffer, 40
Bp. of Derry's experience, ib.

Cid, the, Poem of, 46.
See 'Don  Quixote.'

Clement, St., compared to Ignatius, 470.

Colonies, the British. See Travels in British Empire.

Condé, the House of, 80
character of Henri, the third Prince, 81
married to Charlotte de Montmorency, 82
avidity for wealth, 83
applies for a bishopric for his infant son, 84
Richelieu's reply, 85
imprisonment, 85-89
joined by his wife, 89
birth of his son Duc d'Anguien, 90
his education, 91-93
at the Military Coll., Paris, 94
government of Burgundy, ib.
his child-bride, 95
imprisonment at Vincennes, 96
first campaign, 97
Richelieu's domination, 98
efforts for his safety, 99
treatment of the Cardinal-Archb., ib.
changes on Richelieu's death, 100
his appearance described, 101
military talents, 102
generals, 103
personal courage, 104.

Constitution, English, 518 sqq.

Cowper, Lord, his letter on supporting the Land-Act of 1881, 277.

Cromwell, Oliver:
his character illustrated by himself, 414
received version of the Insurrection of March, 1655, 415
meeting at Marston Moor, ib.
attack on Salisbury, 416
endeavours to stimulate an insurrection, 417
counsels of false friends, 419
secret agents, 420
intercepted letter to Mr. Roles, 420 note
Earl of Rochester and his comrades land at Dover, 421
arrested and released, 422, 423
Morton, the sham-Royalist, 424
Mr. Douthwaite's movements, suspected, 424, 425
the Judges refuse to try the Marston Moor prisoners, 428
trial of Salisbury insurgents, 427
twelve Major-Generals, ib.
'Declaration' to secure the Peace of the Commonwealth, 428
projects of the Royalists in March, 1655, 429
officers and soldiers kept from Salisbury, 430
Major Butler forbidden to take active operations, ib.
his account of the dispersal of the Royalists at Marston Moor, 432
alleged 'rendezvous' of Royalists to surprise Newcastle, 433
the Rufford Abbey incident, ib.
Shropshire insurrection, 434
Pickering's story about Chester Castle, ib.
Earl of Rochester and Armourer arrested at Aylesbury, 435
their escape, 436
power of deception, 437
the 'Thurloe Papers,' ib.
incredulity of the members of his Parliament, 438
motive for the fabrication of the Insurrection, 439
speech on the dissolution of Parliament in Jan. 1655, 440
Carlyle's false image of the Hero, 441
claims the Divine sanction, 442.


Dalley, Mr., of Sidney, on a better organization of the Navy for the Colonies.
See Travels.

Darwin's view of primitive human society, 182.
See Patriarchal Theory.

Davitt, Mr., on Irish landlords, 292.

Democracy, M. Scherer on, 2
characteristics of, 518
its tendency to despotism, 522
Mr. G. White on English aristocracy and American democracy, 523
its tolerance of oppression, 525
Mr. Godkin on American politics, 526
failure of, in the Spanish and Portuguese States, 527
political aim of the Reign of Terror, 528, 529
real meaning of equality, 531
Mr. Bagehot's views, 532
universal and varied representation, 533
influence exercised by hereditary Princes and aristocracies, 535
errors of George III.'s reign, 536
royal education, ib.
of Constitutional Monarchy, 537
'Vigilance Committee' in California, 538
strikes in Pennsylvania, 539
value of the English Poor Law, 540
Irish famine, 541
Belgian riots, 532
American charity, 543.

Democracy, 11, 25.
See Church.

Dibdin, Mr., on the present features of Establishment, 29.
See Church.

'Don Quixote,' Mr. Ormsby's, 43
ignorance of Spanish literature in England, ib.
a key to the history of Europe, 45
popularity of the work, 46
translations, 47-49
Doré's illustrations, 50
proverbs, 51, 52
opening of the 2nd Part, 53
emendations, 54
'Life of Cervantes,' 58
his personal history little known, 59
early years, 61
at Rome, and at the battle of Lepanto, ib.
prisoner in Algiers, 62
liberated, 63
marriage, 64
collector of revenue at Granada, ib.
life in Madrid, 65
death, 66
[Pg 584]no known portrait of him, 67
describes his own features, ib.
theories for the popularity of his work, 68-71
broad humour, 71
chivalry, 72
C. Kingsley's opinion, 73
madness of the knight, 74
Sancho's character, 76
ordinances for good government, 78.

Dörpfeld, on the method of lighting at Tiryns, 122.
See Tiryns.

Doyle, Sir F., translation of the Olympian Ode, 178.
See Pindar.


Education, royal, 536
religious, in France. See Christian Brothers.

Eusebius. See Apostolic Fathers.


Fergusson, Mr. J., on lighting the Parthenon, 123.
See Tiryns.

France, primary schools of, 338.
See Christian Brothers.

Froude, J. A., his 'Oceana, or England and her Colonies,' 443
our responsibility with the Boers, 448
Free Trade, 449
love of 'old home' in the Colonies, 451.
See Travels.

Fustel de Coulanges, M., his 'Recherches sur quelques problèmes d'Histoire',


Gaius, the Commentaries of, found by Niebuhr, 183.

Gasparin, Comte Agenor, on the titles of landowners, &c., 17.
See Church.

Gildersleeve, Prof., his contribution to Pindaric literature, 161, note.

Gladstone, Mr., his manifesto on Church Establishment, 5
ambiguity, 6
preparations for Home Rule in 1882, 261
enigmatical replies, 263
'healing measures' for Ireland, 265
his 'Divine light' and Irish policy, 266
coercions and concessions, 268
speech at Leeds, 273 belief in him, 275
on the Irish question, 275, 276
foreign policy, 281
the advances of Russia, 282, 283.

Gladstone-Morley Administration, the, 544
the two 'Orders' for the Irish Parliament, 545
voting power of the Nationalists, 547
Mr. Gladstone's appeal to Southport in 1867, 547-549
abolition of Irish Establishment, 549
the Home Rule Association denounced at Aberdeen, ib.
Mr. Butt on Home Rule, 550
Lord Beaconsfield's warning in 1880, 551
the Compensation for Disturbance Bill, and a Coercion Act, ib.
the Land League dissolved, Mr. Parnell and its leaders in jail, 552
Mr. Forster's exertions, 553
Lord Spencer's responsibilities, ib.
the National League, ib.
removal of Mr. Clifford Lloyd and Mr. Trevelyan, 554
delay in renewing the Crimes Act, ib.
declarations of Imperial unity, 555
Mr. C. Bannerman on the Parnellite demands, 556
Lord Hartington's protestation, ib.
Mr. Gladstone's telegram denying the scheme as sketched in the Press, 557
Mr. Chamberlain's denial of being a party to it, ib.
declaration of Lord Salisbury's Government to maintain the Union, 558
Mr. J. Collings's motion, ib.
new Ministry, 559
Mr. J. Morley's appointment; his inexperience, 560
system of guarantees, 561
evictions, 562
example of the French peasantry, 563
power of the National League, 563, 564
instance of Farrell and Shee, ib.
election to local public offices, ib.
Mr. Lecky on the National League, 566
sympathy of the Irish priests, 567
Archbp. Walsh, 567, 568
provision for Irish judges, 568
our responsibilities to Ireland, 569
Irish nationality, 570
population, 571
compared to Norway and Hungary, 572-574
deficient resources of Ireland, 575
Mr. Jennings on an Irish Parliament, 577
the Land Purchase Bill, 579.

Goschen, Mr., his 'Hearing, Reading, Thinking,' 501.
See Books.

Grant White, Mr. R., his sketches of English and American Life, 523.

Grosseteste's Letters, 300.


Hahn, F. von, on Roman Law, 187.

Hallam's 'Hist. of the Middle Ages,' ignorance of English Monasticism, 298.

Harcourt, Sir William, his prophecy about the Tory party, 261.

Hardy, Sir T. Duffus, on the Madden Hypothesis, 301
on the St. Albans Scriptorium, 312.

Harnack, Dr. on episcopacy, 484-486.
See Apostolic Fathers.

Harrison, Mr., 'Choice of Books', 507.

Hartington, Lord, on Disestablishment, 3
on the Law of the Land League, 267
[Pg 585]no warning being given of the proposed legislation for Ireland, 556.

Haxthausen, Baron von, on Slavonic and Russian society, 193-195.

Historians of Greece and Rome, their superficial area, 323.

Historical Commission, the, publication of the House of Lords MSS., 242.
See Lords.

Home Rulers, increased strength of, 260.
See Parliament, Gladstone, &c.

Homicides, number in New York, 459.

Horses, breed of, upheld in Hellas, 159.

d'Houditot, Gen. C., tribute to his memory by the Duc d'Aumale, 107.

Hübner, Baron, his 'Through the British Empire,' 444
on the disadvantage of complete independence to the Australian Colonist, 447
the Boers in Africa, 448
idea of a grand confederation, 450
the Civil Service of India, 452
devotion and daily labours of the officials, 453
no desire for self-government, 454
Socialism and Atheism, 455
the native Press, 456
prosperity, 457
his adventure in New York, 458.

Hughes, Mr., on the voluntary system in the United States, 32.


Iddesleigh, Earl of, address to the Students at Edinburgh, 501.

Ignatian Epistles, the Bp. of Durham on the, 467.
See Apostolic Fathers.

Ignatius, meaning of his name, 470.

Indemnity, the Act of, 249.

India, our administrations of, 453.

Italy, the Popular Banks of, 152.

Ireland. See Gladstone-Morley, Land Bill, National League.


Jennings, Mr., on an Irish Parliament, 577.
See Gladstone-Morley.


Killigrew, Tom, Charles II.'s representative at Venice, 382, 383.


Labour trade in the Pacific, 464.

Laing, Mr., his 'Journal of a Residence in Norway during 1834, 35 and 36,'
See Yeomen Farmers.

Land Bill, the, for Ireland, effect of it, 278
progress in Scotland and Wales, 279.
See Parliament.

Lewis, Sir G. C., his practical philosophy, 519
an eminent statesman, 520
distrustful of electoral reform, 521
his Conservatism, 522.

Liberal Press, the, activity of, 257.

Liberation Society, the, financial report of, 8, 9
its ability and skill, 11
its publications, 13-16.

'Liberator,' the, on Mr. Gladstone's ambiguity, 7.

Lords, the, and Popular Rights, 239
vague accusations, 241
discovery of the House of Lords MSS., 242
attitude towards constitutional freedom, ib.
moderate counsels and religious toleration, 242, 252
important position in the early years of Charles I., 244
appeals and petitions, 244-246
extensive jurisdiction, 246
protection of private rights, 247
intervention for peace, 248
the Restoration, 249
the Acts of Indemnity, &c., ib.
restitution of property, 250, 251
execution of Vane, 251
the Act of Uniformity, 252
the Five Mile Act, 253
opposed to the re-establishment of Popery, 254
the Declaration of Indulgence and the Test Act, ib.
advantage of the bicameral system, 255
excesses of the House of Commons, 255, 256.

Luard, Dr., his edition of Cotton's Chronicle, 299
'Letters of Robert Grosseteste,' 300
'Chronica Majora,' 302
on the St. Alban's School of History, 314.

Lubbock, Sir John, his list of books for reading, 501, 505.


Maclay, Mr. Miklaho, his reception in New Guinea, 445.
See Travels.

Madden, Sir F., Hypothesis about the 'Historia Minor,' 301

Magee, Bp., on Disestablishment, 25.

Mahaffy Mr., on the destruction of Tiryns and Mycenæ, 114.

Maillé-Bréze, Clemence de, her marriage with Condé, 95
heads an insurrection in his favour, 96
imprisoned for life at Châteauroux, ib.

Maine, Sir H. S., on the lowering effect of democracy, 12
describes the Patriarchal Theory, 182
on monogamy, 206.
See Patriarchal.

Maitland, Dr., his 'Essays on the Dark Ages,' 298.

Mayne, Mr. J. D., his article on the Patriarchal Theory, 190.

[Pg 586]Mezger, Prof. F., his 'Pindar's Siegeslieder,' 163.

Milton on the Ignatian Epistles, 476.

Monachism, British, in the 13th century, 303.
See Paris, Matthew.

Monasteries at end of 13th century, 304
popularity, 307
farming and pisciculture, 308
a place of refuge, 309.

Monod, G., on the policy of the late Chamber in France, 338, note.

Morgan, Mr. L. E., on 'group marriage,' 205.
See Patriarchal Theory.

Morice, Rev. F. D., his 'Pindar for English Readers, 156.
See Pindar.

Morley, Mr. J. See Gladstone-Morley.

Mortgages & Bills of Exchange, 139.


National League, the, 563-565.

---- Records, the, Commission for methodizing and digesting, 295.

Navy, the, and the Colonies, 445.

Norway, the Bank of, 400
State Mortgage Bank, and Savings Bank, 401.
See Yeomen.


Oldham, business record of the co-operative spinners for 1885, 285.

Ormsby, Mr., his 'Don Quixote,' 43
'Poem of the Cid,' 46.


Pacific Islands. See Romilly, Travels.

Paris, Mathew, 293
early years, 315
a monk at St. Alban's, 316
various accomplishments, ib.
sent to Norway, 317
succeeds Roger of Wendover as historiographer, ib.
utilizes facts and documents, 318
lashes the enemies of the abbey, 319
his denunciations of the Pope, 319, 320
anecdotes, 321
omens and portents, ib.
weather reports, ib.

Parliament, the New, 257
activity of the Liberal press, ib.
Radicalism based on pure ignorance, 258
Mr. Chamberlain's bribe to the rural voters, 258, 259
state of parties in 1880 and 1885, 260
the Home Rulers, 261
Mr. Gladstone and Home Rule in 1882, ib.
Lord Salisbury's remarks on it, 262
the 'Quarterly Review' of Jan. 1882, ib.
the scheme of separation and two Parliaments, 264
Mr. Gladstone's 'healing measures' for Ireland, 265-268
Sir J. Stephen on the Irish Parliament, 269
English capital in Ireland, 271
Davitt on landlordism, 272
Parnell on Home Rule, ib.
dissentients in the press, 276
'strenuous policy' of the American war, ib.
Lord Cowper on the Land Act of 1881, 277
opinions on the Land Bill, 278
its progress in Scotland and Wales, 279
Mr. G. Smith on concession, ib.
good effect of Lord Salisbury's accession to power, ib.
tone of European opinion, 280
Mr. Gladstone's foreign policy, 281
Prince Bismark's opinion of great orators, 282
Russian advances, 282, 283
state of trade, 284
the co-operative spinners of Oldham, 285
indifference of the Liberals, 286
new channel for trade in Burma, 286, 287
formation of a German Syndicate, 288
discordant element of the Liberal party, 290, 291.

Parnell, Mr., on national independence, 267
Protective tariffs, 270
private property, 271
Home Rule, 272
encomium on Mr. Gladstone, 544.

Patriarchal Theory, the, 181
described by Sir H. Maine, 182
Darwin's view, ib.
the Patria Potestas and Agnation, 185
analogy in England, 186
Teutonic and Roman families, 187
Salic Law, 188
family system of the Hindus, 189
Agnates and Cognates, ib.
Mr. J. D. Maynes's article, 190
religious origin of Civil law, 191
Mahommedan law, 191, 192
system among the Arabian tribes, 192
Slavonic and Russian society, 193-195
legend of Queen Libussa, 196
rejection of Roman law, 198
maternal uncles and nephews, 200
want of history with savages, ib.
theory of the origin and growth of the Family, 201
Hordes and their Totems, ib.
infanticide, ib.
fewness of women, 202
female descents, 203
Exogamy, 204
Polyandry, ib.
two schools of 'agriologists,' 205
Sir H. Maine on monogamy, 206
Darwin on the habits of primitive men, 207
ancestor worship, 208.

Peddie, Mr. Dick on Liberationist Literature, 10.

Pegu, annexation of, 227.
See Burma.

Pentecost, Dr. G. F., on Denominational rivalry in America, 34.

Phayre, Sir A., his works on Burma, 210
wise ministration in Pegu, 228.

Pindar's Odes of Victory, 156
reverence paid to him, ib.
imperfectly comprehended, 157
Voltaire's opinion, ib.
[Pg 587]the English and the ancient Greek mind, 158
public games, 159
Olympic festivals, 160
constructive skill of the Odes, 161
Prof. Mezger's work, 163
names of the members of the Terpandrian nome, ib.
structural phenomena, 165
fifth Isthmian Ode, ib.
innovation in the structure, 169
word-pictures, 170
reference to architecture, 171-173
structure, 173, 174
turgidity and bombast explained, 175
main source of obscurity, 176
the love of Apollo and Cyrene, ib.
the genius of Pindar and Bossuet compared, 178
his human sympathies, 180.

Polycarp, St. See Apostolic Fathers.

Poor Law, the English, its value, 540
in Norway, 408.
See Democracy.


'Radical Programme,' the, 23.

Radicalism based on ignorance, 258.

Rae, Mr. George, 'The Country Banker,' 133.
See Banker.

Rangoon founded, 222.
See Burma.

Religious Schools in England, 344
Tables of Accommodation, 345
Registers, attendance, and voluntary contributions, 346
Training Colleges, 347
Diocesan Inspection, 349
schools visited in 1884, 350
expense of education, ib.
question of gratuitous elementary education, 351.

Revue Contemporaine, the, on Lord Salisbury's accession to power, 280.
Richelieu, Cardinal.
See Condé.

Riley, Mr., his 'Chronica Monasterii Sancti Albani,' 300.

Rochester, Bishop of, his estimate of the number of parishes which would
suffer from Disendowment, 40.

Rogers, Mr. Guinness, on the good work of the Church, 22.

Romilly, Sir John, of the Rolls, 295
proposal for the publication of the 'Rolls Series,' 297.

----, Mr., his 'Western Pacific and New Guinea,' 445
cannibalism, 459
the Solomon Islands, 461
a sorcerer, 462
the ladies of Laughlan Islands, 463
describes a fine pearl, 464
labour trade, ib.
'Bully Hayes,' 465.
See Travels.

Russia, advances of, in Asia, 282
effect of allotments upon the emancipated serfs, 411
fall in value of cereals, ib.
'redemption' dues, 412
Peasant Land Banks, 412.


Sagredo, Giovanni, his mission from Venice to Cromwell, 376.

Salisbury, Lord, on the Home Rulers, 262.
See Parliament.

Salle, J. B. de la, 325
Canon of the Cathedral of Rheims, 326
takes charge of an orphanage for girls, 327
patron of other schools, 328
spends his fortune on the poor, 329
prayer for guidance, ib.
founder of the Christian Brothers, 330
his self-dedication, 331
success of his work, 335
death, 337.

Scherer, M., on Democracy, 11, 27.

Schliemann, Dr. H. See Tiryns.

Schmidt, C. A., on Roman Law, 187.

Scottish Council, its contribution to the Liberation Society, 10.

Senior, Nassau, W., 'Correspondence and Conversations of A. de Tocqueville,' 518
his intimate acquaintance with French statesmen, 537
the English Poor Law, 540
the Irish famine, 541.
See Democracy.

Smith, Mr. Goldwin, on concession in Ireland, 279.

----, Rev. G. Vance, on the control exercised in Dissenting churches, 37.

Spain. See Don Quixote.

Stephen, Sir James, on an Irish Parliament, 269.
See Parliament.


Theebau, King, atrocities at the beginning of his reign, 228.

Tiryns, Schliemann's 108
the excavations mainly architectural, 110
the plain of Argolis, 111
site of the citadel, ib.
history, 113
Mr. Mahaffy's theory, 114
style of pottery, 116
upper citadel, 117
arrangements of the palace, 118
propylæum, 120
men's forecourt, ib.
portico, 121
megaron and hearth, 122
basilican lighting, 123
bath-room, 124
women's apartments, 125
cyanus frieze, 127
Cyclopean walls, 128
Phœnician origin asserted by Dörpfeld, 129
Greek architecture, 130, 131
date of the fall, 132.

Tocqueville, M. Alexis de, 'Democracy in America,' 518
his practical wisdom, 520
conservatism, 522
rose-coloured portrait of democracy, 527
his Ancien Régime, 528
the distinction between noble and roturier, 529
Égalite, 531.

Travels in the British Empire, 443
Colonial Federation, 445
[Pg 588]better organization of the Navy, 445
the American Revolution, 446
no desire for separation in our Colonists, 447
Cape Colony, ib.
its treatment from England, 448
conditions and prospects of trade, 449
Free Trade, 449, 450
offers of aid in the Egyptian war, 450
love of 'old home,' 451
purity of language, ib.
India and its Civil Service, 452
Lord Ripon's endeavours to promote 'self-government,' 454
the Ilbert Bill, 455
Radical ideas of dismemberment, ib.
native press of India, 456
prosperity of British India, 457
cannibalism in New Ireland, 460
murder of children in the Solomon Islands, 461
sorcerers, 462
David Dow, ib.
the Admiralty, Laughlan, Thursday, and Norfolk Islands, 462-463
the labour trade, 464
'Bully Hayes,' 465
commercial importance of the Australian Colonies, 467.


Uniformity, Act of, 252.
See Lords.

United States, National Banks of the, 150.
See Banker.


Venetian Republic, Archives of the, 356
their preservation and order, 357
Constitution and the Great Council, 358
the Senate or Pregadi, 360
the Zonta, ib.
Collegio or Cabinet of Ministers, 361
the Savii, ib.
Ducal Councillors, 362
the Doge, 363
election of, 363, 364
Council of Ten, 365
political training of the nobles, 367
the Ducal, Secret, and Inferior Chancelleries, 368, 370, 371
duties of the Grand Chancellor, 369
College of Secretaries, ib.
Senatorial papers, 372
the Relazioni, 373
Paullizzi's despatches, 375
Sagredo's mission to Cromwell, 376
diplomatic connection with England, ib.
of the Collegio and the Lettere Principi, 377
curious document of one Charles Dudley, 378
letters from James Stuart, ib.
'Espozione Principi,' ib.
reception of Lord Northampton, 479-482
Tom Killigrew's expedient, 482.

Verney, Lady, 'Cottier-owners and Peasant Proprietors,' 410, note.

Villemain, M., his comparison of the genius of Pindar and Bossuet, 178.


Wales, the Church in, 18-21.

Water Companies of London, oppressive and insolent exactions, 524.

Wendover, Roger of, a monkish historiographer, 314
at St. Albans, 316, 317.

Westphal, R., his examination of the Choric Odes of Æschylus, 163.

Wotton, Sir H., goes to Scotland from Venice to warn James VI. of a design on his life, 374.


Yeomen Farmers in Norway, 384
condition of peasant proprietors in 1834, 385
the Odels ret, or Allodial Right, ib.
division of land, 386
life on the Sœters, 387
private distillation of spirits prohibited, 388,
pauperism, ib.
illegitimacy, 390
the agrarian class permanently represented in the Storthing, 391, ib.
attraction of the rural population to towns, 392
rate of wages, 393
railways, ib.
dress and ornaments, 394
value of money, ib.
classification of properties, 395
increasing subdivisions of land, 397, 398
creation of Myrmænd in South Trondhjem, 397
influence of American competition in corn, ib.
absence of good economy, 399
fare of the rural population, ib.
heavy indebtedness of the farmers, 400
Banks and Savings Banks, 401-402
sales of real property for debt, 403
primitive condition of agriculture, 405
heavy and increasing charges on landed properties, 406
Poor Relief, ib.
increase of paupers, 407, 408
emigration, ib.
political agitators, 409
Church Disestablishment, ib.
hereditary nobility abolished, 409, note
effects of subdivision of land in Norway, &c., 410
Lady Verney on peasant proprietors, 410, note.


End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No.
324, April, 1886, by Various


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