The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Contemporary Review, Volume 36,
December 1879, by Various

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, December 1879

Author: Various

Release Date: July 25, 2012 [EBook #40315]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Lesley Halamek
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's Note

The first part of this volume (September 1879) was produced as Project Gutenberg Ebook #30048.
The relevant part of the table of contents has been extracted from that document.

The rest of the Transcriber's Note is at the end of the book.

The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, Issue 4

Published December 1879.



The Lord's Prayer and the Church: Letters Addressed to the Clergy.
By John Ruskin, D.C.L.
India under Lord Lytton. By Lieut.-Colonel R. D. Osborn 553
On the Utility to Flowers of their Beauty. By the Hon. Justice 574
Where are we in Art? By Lady Verney 588
Life in Constantinople Fifty Years Ago. By an Eastern Statesman 601
Miracles, Prayer, and Law. By J. Boyd Kinnear 617
What is Rent? By Professor Bonamy Price 630
Buddhism and Jainism. By Professor Monier Williams 644
Lord Beaconsfield:— 665
I. Why we Follow Him. By a Tory. 665
II. Why we Disbelieve in Him. By a Whig. 681
Contemporary Life and Thought in France. By Gabriel Monod 697

[pg 539]





T HE following letters, which are still receiving the careful consideration of many of my brother clergy, are, at the suggestion of the Editor, now printed in the Contemporary Review, with the object of eliciting a further and wider expression of opinion. In addition to the subjoined brief Introductory Address, I desire here to say that every reader of these remarkable letters should remember that they have proceeded from the pen of a very eminent layman, who has not had the advantage, or disadvantage, of any special theological training; but yet whose extensive studies in Art have not prevented him from fully recognizing, and boldly avowing, his belief that religion is everybody's business, and his not less than another's. The draught may be a bitter one for some of us; but it is a salutary medicine, and we ought not to shrink from swallowing it.

I shall be glad to receive such expressions of opinion as I may be favoured with from the thoughtful readers of the Contemporary Review. Those comments or replies, along with the original letters, and an essay or commentary from myself as editor, will be published by Messrs. Strahan & Co., and appear early in the spring; the volume being closed by a reply, or Epilogue, from Mr. Ruskin himself.

F. A. Malleson, M.A.

The Vicarage, Broughton-in-Furness.


The first reading of the Letters to the Furness Clerical Society was prefaced with the following remarks:—

A few words by way of introduction will be absolutely necessary before I proceed to read Mr. Ruskin's letters. They originated simply [pg 540] in a proposal of mine, which met with so ready and willing a response, that it almost seemed like a simultaneous thought. They are addressed nominally to myself, as representing the body of clergy whose secretary I have the honour to be; they are, in fact, therefore addressed to this Society primarily. But in the course of the next month or two they will also be read to two other Clerical Societies,—the Ormskirk and the Brighton (junior),—who have acceded to my proposals with much kindness, and in the first case have invited me of their own accord. I have undertaken, to the best of my ability, to arrange and set down the various expressions of opinion, which will be freely uttered. In so limited a time, many who may have much to say that would be really valuable will find no time to-day to deliver it. Of these brethren, I beg that they will do me the favour to express their views at their leisure, in writing. The original letters, the discussions, the letters which may be suggested, and a few comments of the Editor's, will be published in a volume which will appear, I trust, in the beginning of the next year.

I will now, if you please, undertake the somewhat dangerous responsibility of avowing my own impressions of the letters I am about to read to you. I own that I believe I see in these papers the development of a principle of the deepest interest and importance,—namely, the application of the highest and loftiest standard in the interpretation of the Gospel message to ourselves as clergymen, and from ourselves to our congregations. We have plenty elsewhere of doctrine and dogma, and undefinable shades of theological opinion. Let us turn at last to practical questions presented for our consideration by an eminent layman whose field of work lies quite as much in religion and ethics, as it does, reaching to so splendid an eminence, in Art. A man is wanted to show to both clergy and laity something of the full force and meaning of Gospel teaching. Many there are, and I am of this number, whose cry is "Exoriare aliquis."

I ask you, if possible, to do in an hour what I have been for the last two months trying to do, to divest myself of old forms of thought, to cast off self-indulgent views of our duty as ministers of religion, to lift ourselves out of those grooves in which we are apt to run so smoothly and so complacently, persuading ourselves that all is well just as it is, and to endeavour to strike into a sterner, harder path, beset with difficulties, but still the path of duty. These papers will demand a close, a patient, and in some places, a few will think, an indulgent consideration; but as a whole, the standard taken is, as I firmly believe, speaking only for myself, lofty and Christian, to the extent of an almost ideal perfection. If we do go forward straight in the direction which Mr. Ruskin points out, I know we shall come, sooner or later, to a chasm right across our path. Some of us, I hope, will undauntedly cross it. Let each judge for himself, τῷ τελει πίστιν φέρων.

[pg 541]



Brantwood, Coniston,

Lancashire, 20th June, 1879.

Dear Mr. Malleson,—I could not at once answer your important letter: for, though I felt at once the impossibility of my venturing to address such an audience as you proposed, I am unwilling to fail in answering to any call relating to matters respecting which my feelings have been long in earnest, if in any wise it may be possible for me to be of service therein. My health—or want of it—now utterly forbids my engagement in any duty involving excitement or acute intellectual effort; but I think, before the first Tuesday in August, I might be able to write one or two letters to yourself, referring to, and more or less completing, some passages already printed in Fors and elsewhere, which might, on your reading any portions you thought available, become matter of discussion during the meeting at some leisure time, after its own main purposes had been answered.

At all events, I will think over what I should like, and be able, to represent to such a meeting, and only beg you not to think me insensible of the honour done me by your wish, and of the gravity of the trust reposed in me.

Ever most faithfully yours,

J. Ruskin.

The Rev. F. A. Malleson.


Brantwood, Coniston,

23rd June, 1879.

Dear Mr. Malleson,—Walking, and talking, are now alike impossible to me;1 my strength is gone for both; nor do I believe talking on such matters to be of the least use except to promote, between sensible people, kindly feeling and knowledge of each other's personal characters. I have every trust in your kindness and truth; nor do I fear being myself misunderstood by you; what I may be able to put into written form, so as to admit of being laid before your friends in council, must be set down without any question of personal feeling—as simply as a mathematical question or demonstration.

The first exact question which it seems to me such an assembly may he earnestly called upon by laymen to solve, is surely axiomatic: the definition of themselves as a body, and of their business as such.

Namely: as clergymen of the Church of England, do they consider themselves to be so called merely as the attached servants of a particular state? Do they, in their quality of guides, hold a position similar to that of the guides of Chamouni or Grindelwald, who, being a numbered body of examined and trustworthy persons belonging to those several villages, have nevertheless no Chamounist or Grindelwaldist [pg 542] opinions on the subject of Alpine geography or glacier walking: but are prepared to put into practice a common and universal science of Locality and Athletics, founded on sure survey and successful practice? Are the clergymen of the Ecclesia of England thus simply the attached and salaried guides of England and the English, in the way, known of all good men, that leadeth unto life?—or are they, on the contrary, a body of men holding, or in any legal manner required, or compelled to hold, opinions on the subject—say, of the height of the Celestial Mountains, the crevasses which go down quickest to the pit, and other cognate points of science—differing from, or even contrary to, the tenets of the guides of the Church of France, the Church of Italy, and other Christian countries?

Is not this the first of all questions which a Clerical Council has to answer in open terms?

Ever affectionately yours,

J. Ruskin.

1  In answer to the proposal of discussing the subject during a mountain walk.


Brantwood, 6th July.

My first letter contained a Layman's plea for a clear answer to the question, "What is a clergyman of the Church of England?" Supposing the answer to this first to be, that the clergy of the Church of England are teachers, not of the Gospel to England, but of the Gospel to all nations; and not of the Gospel of Luther, nor of the Gospel of Augustine, but of the Gospel of Christ,—then the Layman's second question would be:

Can this Gospel of Christ be put into such plain words and short terms as that a plain man may understand it?—and, if so, would it not be, in a quite primal sense, desirable that it should be so, rather than left to be gathered out of Thirty-nine Articles, written by no means in clear English, and referring, for further explanation of exactly the most important point in the whole tenour of their teaching,1 to a "Homily of Justification,"2 which is not generally in the possession, or even probably within the comprehension, of simple persons?

Ever faithfully yours,

J. Ruskin.

1  Art xi.

2  Homily xi. of the Second Table.


Brantwood, 8th July.

I am so very glad that you approve of the letter plan, as it enables me to build up what I would fain try to say, of little stones, without lifting too much for my strength at once; and the sense of addressing a friend who understands me and sympathizes with me prevents my being brought to a stand by continual need for apology, or fear of giving offence.

But yet I do not quite see why you should feel my asking for a [pg 543] simple and comprehensible statement of the Christian Gospel at starting. Are you not bid to go into all the world and preach it to every creature? (I should myself think the clergyman, most likely to do good who accepted the πάση τῆ κτίσει so literally as at least to sympathize with St. Francis' sermon to the birds, and to feel that feeding either sheep or fowls, or unmuzzling the ox, or keeping the wrens alive in the snow, would be received by their Heavenly Feeder as the perfect fulfilment of His "Feed my sheep" in the higher sense.)

That's all a parenthesis; for although I should think that your good company would all agree that kindness to animals was a kind of preaching to them, and that hunting and vivisection were a kind of blasphemy to them, I want only to put the sterner question before your council, how this Gospel is to be preached either " πανταχου" or to "πὰντα τά ἔθνη," if first its preachers have not determined quite clearly what it is? And might not such definition, acceptable to the entire body of the Church of Christ, be arrived at by merely explaining, in their completeness and life, the terms of the Lord's Prayer—the first words taught to children all over the Christian world?

I will try to explain what I mean of its several articles, in following letters; and in answer to the question with which you close your last, I can only say that you are at perfect liberty to use any, or all, or any parts of them, as you think good. Usually, when I am asked if letters of mine may be printed, I say; "Assuredly, provided only that you print them entire." But in your hands, I withdraw even this condition, and trust gladly to your judgment, remaining always

Faithfully and affectionately yours,

J. Ruskin.

The Rev. F. A. Malleson.


Brantwood, 10th July.

My meaning, in saying that the Lord's Prayer might be made a foundation of Gospel-teaching, was not that it contained all that Christian ministers have to teach; but that it contains what all Christians are agreed upon as first to be taught; and that no good parish-working pastor in any district of the world but would be glad to take his part in making it clear and living to his congregation.

And the first clause of it, of course rightly explained, gives us the ground of what is surely a mighty part of the Gospel—its "first and great commandment," namely, that we have a Father whom we can love, and are required to love, and to desire to be with Him in Heaven, wherever that may be.

And to declare that we have such a loving Father, whose mercy is over all His works, and whose will and law is so lovely and lovable that it is sweeter than honey, and more precious than gold, to those who can "taste" and "see" that the Lord is Good—this, surely, is a most pleasant and glorious good message and spell to bring to men—as distinguished [pg 544] from the evil message and accursed spell that Satan has brought to the nations of the world instead of it, that they have no Father, but only "a consuming fire" ready to devour them, unless they are delivered from its raging flame by some scheme of pardon for all, for which they are to be thankful, not to the Father, but to the Son.

Supposing this first article of the true Gospel agreed to, how would the blessing that closes the epistles of that Gospel become intelligible and living, instead of dark and dead: "The grace of Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost,"—the most tender word being that used of the Father?


Brantwood, 12th July, 1879.

I wonder how many, even of those who honestly and attentively join in our Church services, attach any distinct idea to the second clause of the Lord's Prayer, the first petition of it, the first thing that they are ordered by Christ to seek of their Father?

Am I unjust in thinking that most of them have little more notion on the matter than that God has forbidden "bad language," and wishes them to pray that everybody may be respectful to Him?

Is it any otherwise with the Third Commandment? Do not most look on it merely in the light of the Statute of Swearing? and read the words "will not hold him guiltless" merely as a passionless intimation that however carelessly a man may let out a round oath, there really is something wrong in it?

On the other hand, can anything be more tremendous than the words themselves—double-negatived:

" οὐ γὰρ μὴ καθαρίσῃ . . . κύριος"?

For other sins there is washing;—for this, none! the seventh verse, Ex. xx., in the Septuagint, marking the real power rather than the English, which (I suppose) is literal to the Hebrew.

To my layman's mind, of practical needs in the present state of the Church, nothing is so immediate as that of explaining to the congregation the meaning of being gathered in His name, and having Him in the midst of them; as, on the other hand, of being gathered in blasphemy of His name, and having the devil in the midst of them—presiding over the prayers which have become an abomination.

For the entire body of the texts in the Gospel against hypocrisy are one and all nothing but the expansion of the threatening that closes the Third Commandment. For as "the name whereby He shall be called is the Lord our Righteousness,"—so the taking that name in vain is the sum of "the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish."

Without dwelling on the possibility—which I do not myself, however, for a moment doubt—of an honest clergyman's being able actually to prevent the entrance among his congregation of persons leading openly [pg 545] wicked lives, could any subject be more vital to the purposes of your meetings than the difference between the present and the probable state of the Christian Church which would result, were it more the effort of zealous parish priests, instead of getting wicked poor people to come to church, to get wicked rich ones to stay out of it?

Lest, in any discussion of such question, it might be, as it too often is, alleged that "the Lord looketh upon the heart," &c., let me be permitted to say—with as much positiveness as may express my deepest conviction—that, while indeed it is the Lord's business to look upon the heart, it is the pastor's to look upon the hands and the lips; and that the foulest oaths of the thief and the street-walker are, in the ears of God, sinless as the hawk's cry, or the gnat's murmur, compared to the responses, in the Church service, on the lips of the usurer and the adulterer, who have destroyed, not their own souls only, but those of the outcast ones whom they have made their victims.

It is for the meeting of clergymen themselves—not for a layman addressing them—to ask further, how much the name of God may be taken in vain, and profaned instead of hallowed—in the pulpit, as well as under it.

Ever affectionately yours,

J. Ruskin.


Brantwood, 14th July, 1879.

Dear Mr. Malleson,—Sincere thanks for both your letters and the proofs sent. Your comment and conducting link, when needed, will be of the greatest help and value, I am well assured, suggesting what you know will be the probable feeling of your hearers, and the point that will come into question.

Yes, certainly, that "His" in the fourth line1 was meant to imply that eternal presence of Christ; as in another passage,2 referring to the Creation, "when His right hand strewed the snow on Lebanon, and [pg 546] smoothed the slopes of Calvary," but in so far as we dwell on that truth, "Hast thou seen Me, Philip, and not the Father?" we are not teaching the people what is specially the Gospel of Christ as having a distinct function—namely, to serve the Father, and do the Father's will. And in all His human relations to us, and commands to us, it is as the Son of Man, not as the "power of God and wisdom of God," that He acts and speaks. Not as the Power; for He must pray, like one of us. Not as the Wisdom; for He must not know "if it be possible" His prayer should be heard.

And in what I want to say of the third clause of His prayer (His, not merely as His ordering, but His using), it is especially this comparison between His kingdom, and His Father's, that I want to see the disciples guarded against. I believe very few, even of the most earnest, using that petition, realize that it is the Father's—not the Son's—kingdom, that they pray may come,—although the whole prayer is foundational on that fact: "For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory." And I fancy that the mind of the most faithful Christians is quite led away from its proper hope, by dwelling on the reign—or the coming again—of Christ; which, indeed, they are to look for, and watch for, but not to pray for. Their prayer is to be for the greater kingdom to which He, risen and having all His enemies under His feet, is to surrender His, "that God may be All in All."

And, though the greatest, it is that everlasting kingdom which the poorest of us can advance. We cannot hasten Christ's coming. "Of the day and the hour, knoweth none." But the kingdom of God is as a grain of mustard-seed:—we can sow of it; it is as a foam-globe of leaven:—we can mingle it; and its glory and its joy are that even the birds of the air can lodge in the branches thereof.

Forgive me for getting back to my sparrows; but truly, in the present state of England, the fowls of the air are the only creatures, tormented and murdered as they are, that yet have here and there nests, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. And it would be well if many of us, in reading that text, "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink," had even got so far as to the understanding that it was at least as much, and that until we had fed the hungry, there was no power in us to inspire the unhappy.

Ever affectionately yours,

J. Ruskin.

I will write my feeling about the pieces of the Life of Christ you have sent me, in a private letter. I may say at once that I am sure it will do much good, and will be upright and intelligible, which how few religious writings are!

1  "Modern Painters."

2  Referring to the closing sentence of the third paragraph of the fifth letter, which seemed to express what I felt could not be Mr. Ruskin's full meaning, I pointed out to him the following sentence in "Modern Painters:"—

"When, in the desert, Jesus was girding Himself for the work of life, angels of life came and ministered unto Him; now, in the fair world, when He is girding Himself for the work of death, the ministrants come to Him from the grave; but from the grave conquered. One from the tomb under Abarim, which His own hand had sealed long ago; the other from the rest which He had entered without seeing corruption."

On this I made a remark somewhat to the following effect: that I felt sure Mr. Ruskin regarded the loving work of the Father and of the Son to be equal in the forgiveness of sins and redemption of mankind; that what is done by the Father is in reality done also by the Son; and that it is by a mere accommodation to human infirmity of understanding that the doctrine of the Trinity is revealed to us in language, inadequate indeed to convey divine truths, but still the only language possible; and I asked whether some such feeling was not present in his mind when he used the pronoun "His," in the above passage from "Modern Painters" of the Son, where it would be usually understood of the Father; and as a corollary, whether, in the letter, he does not himself fully recognize the fact of the redemption of the world by the loving self-sacrifice of the Son in entire concurrence with the equally loving will of the Father. This, as well as I can recollect, is the origin of the passage in the second paragraph in the seventh letter.—Editor of Letters.


Brantwood, 9th August, 1879.

I was reading the second chapter of Malachi this morning by chance, [pg 547] and wondering how many clergymen ever read it, and took to heart the "commandment for them."

For they are always ready enough to call themselves priests (though they know themselves to be nothing of the sort) whenever there is any dignity to be got out of the title; but, whenever there is any good, hot scolding or unpleasant advice given them by the prophets, in that self-assumed character of theirs, they are as ready to quit it as ever Dionysus his lion-skin, when he finds the character of Herakles inconvenient.

"Ye have wearied the Lord with your words," (yes, and some of His people, too, in your time): "yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied Him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?"

How many, again and again I wonder, of the lively young ecclesiastics supplied to the increasing demand of our west-ends of flourishing Cities of the Plain, ever consider what sort of sin it is for which God (unless they lay it to heart) will "curse their blessings, and spread dung upon their faces," or have understood, even in the dimmest manner, what part they had taken, and were taking, in "corrupting the covenant of the Lord with Levi, and causing many to stumble at the Law."

Perhaps the most subtle and unconscious way in which the religious teachers upon whom the ends of the world are come, have done this, is in never telling their people the meaning of the clause in the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, their most earnest hearers have oftenest on their lips: "Thy will be done." They allow their people to use it as if their Father's will were always to kill their babies, or do something unpleasant to them, instead of explaining to them that the first and intensest article of their Father's will was their own sanctification, and following comfort and wealth; and that the one only path to national prosperity and to domestic peace was to understand what the will of the Lord was, and to do all they could to get it done. Whereas one would think, by the tone of the eagerest preachers nowadays, that they held their blessed office to be that, not of showing men how to do their Father's will on earth, but how to get to heaven without doing any of it either here or there!

I say, especially, the most eager preachers; for nearly the whole Missionary body (with the hottest Evangelistic sect of the English Church) is at this moment composed of men who think the Gospel they are to carry to mend the world with, forsooth, is that, "If any man sin, he hath an Advocate with the Father;" while I have never yet, in my own experience, met either with a Missionary or a Town Bishop who so much as professed himself "to understand what the will of the Lord" was, far less to teach anybody else to do it; and for fifty preachers, yes, and fifty hundreds whom I have heard proclaiming the Mediator of the New Testament, that "they which were called might receive the [pg 548] promise of eternal inheritance," I have never yet heard so much as one heartily proclaiming against all those "deceivers with vain words" (Eph. v. 6), that "no covetous person which is an idolator hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, or of God;" and on myself personally and publicly challenging the Bishops of England generally, and by name the Bishop of Manchester, to say whether usury was, or was not, according to the will of God, I have received no answer from any one of them.1

13th August.

I have allowed myself, in the beginning of this letter, to dwell on the equivocal use of the word "Priest" in the English Church (see Christopher Harvey, Grosart's edition, p. 38), because the assumption of the mediatorial, in defect of the pastoral, office by the clergy fulfils itself, naturally and always, in their pretending to absolve the sinner from his punishment, instead of purging him from his sin; and practically, in their general patronage and encouragement of all the iniquity of the world, by steadily preaching away the penalties of it. So that the great cities of the earth, which ought to be the places set on its hills, with the Temple of the Lord in the midst of them, to which the tribes should go up,—centres to the Kingdoms and Provinces of Honour, Virtue, and the Knowledge of the law of God,—have become, instead, loathsome centres of fornication and covetousness—the smoke of their sin going up into the face of Heaven like the furnace of Sodom, and the pollution of it rotting and raging through the bones and the souls of the peasant people round them, as if they were each a volcano whose ashes broke out in blains upon man and upon beast.

And in the midst of them, their freshly-set-up steeples ring the crowd to a weekly prayer that the rest of their lives may be pure and holy, while they have not the slightest intention of purifying, sanctifying, or changing their lives in any the smallest particular; and their clergy gather, each into himself, the curious dual power, and Janus-faced majesty in mischief, of the prophet that prophesies falsely, and the priest that bears rule by his means.

And the people love to have it so.

Brantwood, 12th August.

I am very glad of your little note from Brighton. I thought it needless to send the two letters there, which you will find at home; and they pretty nearly end all I want to say; for the remaining clauses of the prayer touch on things too high for me. But I will send you one concluding letter about them.

1  Fors Clavigera, Letter lxxxii., p. 323.


Brantwood, 19th August.

I retained the foregoing letter by me till now, lest you should think [pg 549] it written in any haste or petulance; but it is every word of it deliberate, though expressing the bitterness of twenty years of vain sorrow and pleading concerning these things. Nor am I able to write, otherwise, anything of the next following clause of the prayer;—for no words could be burning enough to tell the evils which have come on the world from men's using it thoughtlessly and blasphemously, praying God to give them what they are deliberately resolved to steal. For all true Christianity is known—as its Master was—in breaking of bread, and all false Christianity in stealing it.

Let the clergyman only apply—with impartial and level sweep—to his congregation, the great pastoral order: "The man that will not work, neither should he eat;" and be resolute in requiring each member of his flock to tell him what—day by day—they do to earn their dinners;—and he will find an entirely new view of life and its sacraments open upon him and them.

For the man who is not—day by day—doing work which will earn his dinner, must be stealing his dinner; and the actual fact is that the great mass of men, calling themselves Christians, do actually live by robbing the poor of their bread, and by no other trade whatsoever: and the simple examination of the mode of the produce and consumption of European food—who digs for it, and who eats it—will prove that to any honest human soul.

Nor is it possible for any Christian Church to exist but in pollutions and hypocrisies beyond all words, until the virtues of a life moderate in its self-indulgence, and wide in its offices of temporal ministry to the poor, are insisted on as the normal conditions in which, only, the prayer to God for the harvest of the earth is other than blasphemy.

In the second place. Since in the parable in Luke, the bread asked for is shown to be also, and chiefly, the Holy Spirit (Luke xi. 13), and the prayer, "Give us each day our daily bread," is, in its fulness, the disciples', "Lord, evermore give us this bread,"—the clergyman's question to his whole flock, primarily literal: "Children, have ye here any meat?" must ultimately be always the greater spiritual one: "Children, have ye here any Holy Spirit?" or, "Have ye not heard yet whether there be any? and, instead of a Holy Ghost the Lord and Giver of Life, do you only believe in an unholy mammon, Lord and Giver of Death?"

The opposition between the two Lords has been, and will be as long as the world lasts, absolute, irreconcileable, mortal; and the clergyman's first message to his people of this day is—if he be faithful—"Choose ye this day whom ye will serve."

Ever faithfully yours,

J. Ruskin.


Brantwood, 3rd September.

Dear Mr. Malleson,—I have been very long before trying to say so [pg 550] much as a word about the sixth clause of the Pater; for whenever I began thinking of it, I was stopped by the sorrowful sense of the hopeless task you poor clergymen had, nowadays, in recommending and teaching people to love their enemies, when their whole energies were already devoted to swindling their friends.

But, in any days, past or now, the clause is one of such difficulty, that, to understand it, means almost to know the love of God which passeth knowledge.

But, at all events, it is surely the pastor's duty to prevent his flock from misunderstanding it; and above all things to keep them from supposing that God's forgiveness is to be had simply for the asking, by those who "wilfully sin after they have received the knowledge of the truth."

There is one very simple lesson also, needed especially by people in circumstances of happy life, which I have never heard fully enforced from the pulpit, and which is usually the more lost sight of, because the fine and inaccurate word "trespasses" is so often used instead of the simple and accurate one "debts." Among people well educated and happily circumstanced it may easily chance that long periods of their lives pass without any such conscious sin as could, on any discovery or memory of it, make them cry out, in truth and in pain,—"I have sinned against the Lord." But scarcely an hour of their happy days can pass over them without leaving—were their hearts open—some evidence written there that they have "left undone the things that they ought to have done," and giving them bitterer and heavier cause to cry, and cry again—for ever, in the pure words of their Master's prayer, "Dimitte nobis debita nostra."

In connection with the more accurate translation of "debts" rather than "trespasses," it would surely be well to keep constantly in the mind of complacent and inoffensive congregations that in Christ's own prophecy of the manner of the last judgment, the condemnation is pronounced only on the sins of omission: "I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat."

But, whatever the manner of sin, by offence or defect, which the preacher fears in his people, surely he has of late been wholly remiss in compelling their definite recognition of it, in its several and personal particulars. Nothing in the various inconsistency of human nature is more grotesque than its willingness to be taxed with any quantity of sins in the gross, and its resentment at the insinuation of having committed the smallest parcel of them in detail. And the English Liturgy, evidently drawn up with the amiable intention of making religion as pleasant as possible, to a people desirous of saving their souls with no great degree of personal inconvenience, is perhaps in no point more unwholesomely lenient than in its concession to the popular conviction that we may obtain the present advantage, and escape the future punishment, of any sort of iniquity, by dexterously concealing the manner of it from man, and triumphantly confessing the quantity of it to God.

[pg 551]

Finally, whatever the advantages and decencies of a form of prayer, and how wide soever the scope given to its collected passages, it cannot be at one and the same time fitted for the use of a body of well-taught and experienced Christians, such as should join the services of a Church nineteen centuries old,—and adapted to the needs of the timid sinner who has that day first entered its porch, or of the remorseful publican who has only recently become sensible of his call to a pew.

And surely our clergy need not be surprised at the daily increasing distrust in the public mind of the efficacy of Prayer, after having so long insisted on their offering supplication, at least every Sunday morning at eleven o'clock, that the rest of their lives hereafter might be pure and holy, leaving them conscious all the while that they would be similarly required to inform the Lord next week, at the same hour, that "there was no health in them!"

Among the much rebuked follies and abuses of so-called "Ritualism," none that I have heard of are indeed so dangerously and darkly "Ritual" as this piece of authorized mockery of the most solemn act of human life, and only entrance of eternal life—Repentance.

Believe me, dear Mr. Malleson,

Ever faithfully and respectfully yours,

J. Ruskin.


Brantwood, 14th September, 1879.

Dear Mr. Malleson,—The gentle words in your last letter referring to the difference between yourself and me in the degree of hope with which you could regard what could not but appear to the general mind Utopian in designs for the action of the Christian Church, surely might best be answered by appeal to the consistent tone of the prayer we have been examining.

Is not every one of its petitions for a perfect state? and is not this last clause of it, of which we are to think to-day—if fully understood—a petition not only for the restoration of Paradise, but of Paradise in which there shall be no deadly fruit, or, at least, no tempter to praise it? And may we not admit that it is probably only for want of the earnest use of this last petition that not only the preceding ones have become formal with us, but that the private and simply restricted prayer for the little things we each severally desire, has become by some Christians dreaded and unused, and by others used faithlessly, and therefore with disappointment?

And is it not for want of this special directness and simplicity of petition, and of the sense of its acceptance, that the whole nature of prayer has been doubted in our hearts, and disgraced by our lips; that we are afraid to ask God's blessing on the earth, when the scientific people tell us He has made previous arrangements to curse it; and that, instead of obeying, without fear or debate, the plain order, "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full," we sorrowfully sink [pg 552] back into the apology for prayer, that "it is a wholesome exercise, even when fruitless," and that we ought piously always to suppose that the text really means no more than "Ask, and ye shall not receive, that your joy may be empty?"

Supposing we were first all of us quite sure that we had prayed, honestly, the prayer against temptation, and that we would thankfully be refused anything we had set our hearts upon, if indeed God saw that it would lead us into evil, might we not have confidence afterwards that He in whose hand the King's heart is, as the rivers of water, would turn our tiny little hearts also in the way that they should go, and that then the special prayer for the joys He taught them to seek would be answered to the last syllable, and to overflowing?

It is surely scarcely necessary to say, farther, what the holy teachers of all nations have invariably concurred in showing,—that faithful prayer implies always correlative exertion; and that no man can ask honestly or hopefully to be delivered from temptation, unless he has himself honestly and firmly determined to do the best he can to keep out of it. But, in modern days, the first aim of all Christian parents is to place their children in circumstances where the temptations (which they are apt to call "opportunities") may be as great and as many as possible; where the sight and promise of "all these things" in Satan's gift may be brilliantly near; and where the act of "falling down to worship me" may be partly concealed by the shelter, and partly excused, as involuntary, by the pressure, of the concurrent crowd.

In what respect the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, differ from the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, which are God's for ever, is seldom, as far as I have heard, intelligibly explained from the pulpit; and still less the irreconcileable hostility between the two royalties and realms asserted in its sternness of decision.

Whether it be, indeed, Utopian to believe that the kingdom we are taught to pray for may come—verily come—for the asking, it is surely not for man to judge; but it is at least at his choice to resolve that he will no longer render obedience, nor ascribe glory and power, to the Devil. If he cannot find strength in himself to advance towards Heaven, he may at least say to the power of Hell, "Get thee behind me;" and staying himself on the testimony of Him who saith, "Surely I come quickly," ratify his happy prayer with the faithful "Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Ever, my dear friend,

Believe me affectionately and gratefully yours,

J. Ruskin.

[pg 553]



L ORD LYTTON is fond of public speaking, and his more solemn speeches are remarkable for the stream of abundant piety which runs through them. Not unfrequently they have taken the form of addresses to some unknown power, rather than discourses delivered to a mundane audience. He signalized his accession to office by one of these semi-theological orations to the members of Council assembled to meet him at Government House, Calcutta. He said:—

"Gentlemen, it is my fervent prayer, that a Power higher than that of any earthly Government may inspire and bless the progress of our counsels; granting me, with your valued assistance, to direct them to such issues as may prove conducive to the honour of our country, to the authority and prestige of its august Sovereign, to the progressive well-being of the millions committed to our fostering care, and to the security of the chiefs and princes of India, as well as of our allies beyond the frontier, in the undisturbed enjoyment of their just rights and hereditary possessions."

The sequel renders it probable that by a "power higher than any earthly Government," Lord Lytton understood nothing more remote from human ken than the will of Lord Beaconsfield. At any rate, the prayer was rejected; and under the influence of a perverse destiny, the Viceroy has been singled out to accomplish precisely those acts from which he entreated to be delivered. The "valued assistance" of his colleagues in council he has systematically set at nought and rejected; the "millions committed to his fostering care" he has (as I shall show) permitted to perish of hunger under circumstances of peculiar cruelty; and I need not say that he has entirely failed in his endeavours to preserve "our allies beyond the frontier in the undisturbed enjoyment of their just rights and hereditary possessions."

It is the story of these inconsistencies which I propose to tell in the following pages. In the reading they can hardly fail to awaken a [pg 554] smile; but in the acting they have brought suffering, poverty, and death upon thousands of innocent people. Throughout India they have shaken the confidence of the people in the humanity, justice, and truthfulness of the British character; and have, as I believe, brought our Indian Empire to the verge of a catastrophe, from which nothing but a complete and immediate reversal of policy will avail to save it.

The rule that we have set up in India is so hard and mechanical in its character—it has so entirely failed to strike root in the affections of the natives—that a very brief period of misgovernment suffices to provoke an insurrection. This is occasioned mainly by two causes—the exclusive system on which India is administered, and the absence of all intercommunion (in any true sense of the word) between the ruling and the subject races. It is not too much to say that under the present system every native of ambition, ability, or education, is of necessity a centre of disaffection towards British rule. For within the area of British rule the ascendency of strangers makes him an alien in his native land without scope for his power or hopes for his ambition; and beyond that area the possession of ability awakens the distrust and unconcealed dislike of English officialism. On the other hand, to the great mass of the people, the English official is simply an enigma. Their relations with him are almost exclusively official. The magistrate of a district is little more to them than a piece of machinery possessing powers to kill and tax and imprison. Such pieces of machinery they behold, as Carlyle would say, in endless succession "emerging from the inane," killing and taxing for a time, and then "vanishing again into the inane." But the people know not whence they come, or whither they go; their voices go for nothing in the selection of this human machinery which hold their fortunes in its power. The great administrative mill goes grinding on, impelled by forces of which they have no knowledge; and the people are merely the passive, unresisting grist which is ground up year after year. A truly frightful and unnatural state of things!

It is impossible that a dominion thus constituted should be otherwise than transitory. But even for a brief space its peaceful continuance is possible only under certain conditions. The absence of either loyalty or thorough understanding in those who are ruled, must be made good by the plainest rectitude of purpose on the part of the Government, and thoroughly genuine and successful administration. If such a Government as we have set up in India does not adhere strictly to the letter and the spirit of its engagements—if it cannot insure the physical well-being of its subjects—it is simply good for nothing; because, from its very nature, it cannot achieve anything more than this. It was the first of these conditions that Lord Dalhousie thought he might safely set at nought; and in five years he brought down upon us the terrible retribution of 1857. But Lord Dalhousie was, at least, sincerely anxious to secure the "physical well-being" of the people. He struck at the chiefs and princes of India because he believed that they stood in [pg 555] the way of that well-being. He was entirely mistaken; but nevertheless he threw down only one of the pillars on which our rule is sustained, and when the Mutiny came upon us, the bulk of the people remained loyal. Lord Lytton has undermined the foundations of both pillars, and a very brief continuance of his policy will bring them down with a crash. How this has been accomplished I have now to relate. I begin with his policy on the Frontier, because all the other transactions of which I shall have to speak are connected with that policy, as effects with their cause.

The Negotiations with Shere Ali.

Despite of all that has been written and said on the subject, to most people the origin of the war in Afghanistan appears involved in as great obscurity as ever. Leading Liberal politicians are in this benighted condition not less than the rank and file of the Tories. More people than formerly are willing to admit that the Government was rash and mistaken in its calculations—that the Treaty of Gundamuck has not fulfilled the expectations it awakened; but a war of some kind, they believe, was forced upon the Government by the attitude of Russia and the disposition of the Ameer. This belief is entirely erroneous. The war was a war of deliberately planned aggression, entirely unjustified either by the attitude of Russia or the disposition of the Ameer. Unless we perceive this we are not in a position to form a sound estimate of the effect wrought in the minds of the princes and people of India. The wanton character of the war is, therefore, the first thing I must demonstrate.

When Lord Lytton reached India, the situation in Afghanistan was as follows:—The late Ameer Shere Ali had succeeded in establishing a degree of order throughout Afghanistan, to which the country had been a stranger for many years. His officers were loyal and devoted; intrigue and rebellion had everywhere failed to make headway; and he was on terms of sincere friendship with the Governor-General at Calcutta. There was, at this time, no fear that the Russians in Central Asia desired to exercise any unwarrantable influence in Afghanistan; on the contrary, in the despatch to Lord Northbrook's Government, in which Lord Salisbury propounded his new policy of establishing a permanent Embassy at Kabul, he said:—

"I do not desire, by the observations which I have made, to convey to your Excellency the impression that, in the opinion of her Majesty's Government, the Russian Government have any intention of violating the frontier of Afghanistan.... It is undoubtedly true that the recent advances in Central Asia have been rather forced upon the Government of St. Petersburg than originated by them, and that their efforts, at present, are sincerely directed to the prevention of any movement which may give just umbrage to the British Government."

The political horizon was, therefore, cloudless at the moment selected by Lord Salisbury for a radical change of policy in Afghanistan. This very fact would have sufficed to arouse the suspicions of the Ameer. Lord Salisbury has since expressed his conviction that if Lord Northbrook [pg 556] had made the proposal, the Ameer would have accepted the permanent Embassy, and both he and we should have been spared the calamities which resulted from delay. But at the time Lord Salisbury sent his instructions to the Government of India he thought otherwise. He had then no doubt that if the Ameer was asked in so many words to receive a permanent Mission in Afghanistan, the Ameer would refuse. But he thought it was possible to fasten a Mission on him by means of a deception.

"The first step" Lord Salisbury wrote to the Government of India, "in establishing our relations with the Ameer on a more satisfactory footing will be to induce him to receive a temporary Embassy in his capital. It need not be publicly connected with the establishment of a permanent Mission within his dominions. There would be many advantages in ostensibly directing it to some object of smaller political interest, which it will not be difficult for your Excellency to find, or if need be, to create. I have, therefore, to instruct you ... without any delay that you can reasonably avoid, to find some occasion for sending a Mission to Kabul."

Lord Northbrook, as is well known, declined to carry out this ingenious plan for overreaching the Ameer, and breaking the pledge that we had given not to force English officers upon him. He resigned almost immediately after the receipt of the despatch setting forth the new policy, and was succeeded by Lord Lytton. It is generally assumed that Lord Lytton came to India charged with the execution of no other policy than that to which Lord Northbrook had declined to assent. But this assumption is incompatible with the line of action pursued by Lord Lytton. This much, however, is clear already. The new policy, whatever it was, was not forced upon the British Government, either by the alienation of the Ameer or the intrigues of Russia. They entered upon it at a time when, by their own confession, the sky was clear. Afghanistan was in the enjoyment of an unprecedented quiet and prosperity; the Ameer was conducting his foreign policy in accordance with our wishes; and the efforts of the Government of St. Petersburg were "sincerely directed to the prevention of any movement which might give just umbrage to the British Government." So far as India was concerned, the condition of the country called aloud for a policy devoted to internal reform and retrenchment. The limit of endurable taxation had been reached; the army imperatively needed thorough reorganization; and the people and the land were still being scourged by famine upon famine of the most appalling character.

Now, if the English Cabinet had no designs in their frontier policy except to establish British agents in Afghanistan, without breach of pre-existing arrangements, and with the free concurrence of the Ameer, it is plain that for such a policy concealment was unnecessary. Yet, until the actual outbreak of hostilities, the negotiations with the Ameer were kept hidden from the English Parliament and the nation. The fact is, that in the instructions given to Lord Lytton before his departure from England, Lord Salisbury anticipates the [pg 557] refusal of the Ameer to agree to the new policy, and points out what, in that case, is to be done:—

"11. If the language and demeanour of the Ameer be such as to promise no satisfactory result of the negotiations thus opened, his Highness should be distinctly reminded that he is isolating himself at his own peril from the friendship and protection it is his interest to seek and deserve...."

"28. The conduct of Shere Ali has more than once been characterized by so significant a disregard of the wishes and interests of the Government of India, that the irretrievable alienation of his confidence in the sincerity and power of that Government is a contingency which cannot be dismissed as impossible. Should such a fear be confirmed by the result of the proposed negotiation, no time must be lost in reconsidering, from a new point of view, the policy to be pursued in reference to Afghanistan."

These instructions clearly establish the following points:—They show that the new policy, whatever it was, was expected "irretrievably" to destroy the confidence of the Ameer "in the sincerity of the Government;" and that, in that case, the Ameer was to be informed that he had forfeited our friendship and protection, and a new policy was immediately to be adopted towards Afghanistan. Here, then, we have the first note of war. All this time there was no pressure upon the British Government occasioned by the attitude of Russia. Our relations with Russia were excellent. On the 5th May, 1876, Mr. Disraeli said in the House of Commons, "I believe, indeed, that at no time has there been a better understanding between the Courts of St. James and St. Petersburg than at this present moment, and there is this good understanding because our policy is a clear and frank policy." So here we have the proof, that in a season of perfect calm, the Ministry commenced a policy for the "irretrievable alienation" of the Ameer, and sent Lord Lytton to India in order to execute it.

Lord Lytton entered with zest into the spirit of these singular instructions, and set to work to "alienate" the Ameer with the utmost vigour. He politely caused him to be informed that he (the Ameer) was an earthen pipkin between two iron pots; that if he did not come to a "speedy understanding" with us, the two iron pots would combine to crush him out of existence altogether. "As matters now stand, the British Government is able to pour an overwhelming force into Afghanistan, which could be spread round him as a ring of iron, but if he became our enemy, it could break him as a reed." "Our only interest in maintaining the independence of Afghanistan is to provide for the security of our own frontier." "If we ceased to regard it as a friendly State, there was nothing to prevent us coming to an understanding with Russia which would wipe Afghanistan out of the map for ever." Would any man, I ask, address these insults and menaces to one whose friendship and confidence he was desirous to gain? It must be plain to every reasonable person that British officers could only then be established in Afghanistan with safety to themselves, and utility to the British Government, when they were admitted with the free concurrence [pg 558] of the Ameer and his people. A concession of this nature, if extorted by means of menaces and insults, would be, by that very circumstance, deprived of all value. And the fact is (as the reader will perceive immediately) Lord Lytton was not sincere in the propositions he made to the Ameer. He had no wish that the Ameer should come to a "speedy understanding" with him; and as soon as he saw that such a result was impending, he broke off all intercourse with him. Lord Lytton charged the British Vakeel, Atta Mohammed Khan, to convey to the Ameer Shere Ali the amenities I have just quoted about the pipkin, the iron pots, and the rest of it. At the same time, the Vakeel was instructed to propose a meeting at Peshawur between Sir Lewis Pelly, as the representative of the Indian Government, and Noor Mohammed Shah, the Minister of the Ameer. The basis of negotiations between them was to be the admission of British officers to certain places in the territories of the Ameer. Unless the Ameer was prepared to concede this, as a preliminary condition, there was no good in his sending a representative to confer with Sir Lewis Pelly. Great was the consternation at the Court of the Ameer when our Vakeel unfolded the message with which he was charged. They bowed before the storm; and on December 21, 1876, Atta Mohammed Khan wrote to the Government of India, that the Ameer, though still disliking to receive English officers, would on account of the insistence of the British Government, yield the point; but only after his Minister had, at the conference, made representations of his views and stated all his difficulties.

Behold, then, the Government of India arrived at the goal of its desires. The Ameer consents to receive English officers if, after hearing all his reasons, Lord Lytton remains convinced of the expediency of that policy. But what follows? The conference is begun; but while the discussions were still unfinished, Noor Mohammed Shah fell sick, and died; and then what was the action of Lord Lytton? I quote his own words:—

"At the moment when Sir Lewis Pelly was closing the conference, his Highness was sending to the Mir Akhir instructions to prolong it by every means in his power; a fresh Envoy was already on his way from Kabul to Peshawur; and it was reported that this Envoy had authority to accept eventually all the conditions of the British Government. The Viceroy was aware of these facts when he instructed our Envoy to close the conference."

The closing of the conference was followed by the withdrawal from Kabul of the British agency which had been established there for more than twenty years, and the suspension of all intercourse between us and the Ameer.

There is but one conclusion possible from these strange proceedings. The demands made upon the Ameer were made in the hope that he would refuse to concede them, and so furnish the Indian Government with a pretext for attacking him. The last thing which Lord Lytton desired was that the Ameer should accept his demands. And, therefore, [pg 559] as soon as it became apparent that Shere Ali was prepared to do this rather than forfeit the protection and friendship of the British Government, Lord Lytton broke up the conference, which (be it remembered) he had himself proposed. Lord Lytton, not Shere Ali, without provocation or ostensible cause, assumes towards Afghanistan "an attitude of isolation and scarcely veiled hostility;" and Lord Salisbury thus comments upon the situation (October 4, 1877):—

"In the event of the Ameer ... spontaneously manifesting a desire to come to a friendly understanding with your Excellency, on the basis of the terms lately offered to, but declined by him, his advances should not be rejected. If, on the other hand, he continues to maintain an attitude of isolation and scarcely veiled hostility, the British Government ... will be at liberty to adopt such measures for the protection and permanent tranquillity of the North-West frontier of her Majesty's Indian dominions as the circumstances may render expedient, without regard to the wishes of the Ameer Shere Ali or the interests of his dynasty."

Here, at last, we get at the veritable purpose of this tortuous policy. As we suspected, the "terms offered to the Ameer, and unhappily not declined by him," were a mere pretence. The real object was the "protection of the North-West frontier"—in other words, the acquisition of a "scientific frontier"—without regard to the wishes of the Ameer, or the interests of his dynasty. The Ameer was to be "irretrievably alienated" by menacing his independence; and then the "irretrievable alienation" was to be made the pretext for carrying the menace into execution. What the "scientific frontier" was the reader will find, if he refers to my article on "India and Afghanistan," in the October number of this Review.

The threat, however, for reasons I shall state presently, could not be carried into execution at once. The negotiations at Peshawur were carefully concealed from the knowledge of the public. Neither in India nor in England was it known that the British agency was withdrawn from Kabul. The Pioneer—the official journal in India—was instructed to inform its readers that the Ameer was animated with feelings of the utmost cordiality towards us; and Lord Lytton made a speech in the Council Chamber expounding his frontier policy. He glanced first at the policy of his predecessors. His sensitive spirit was much grieved by its apathetic character. It seemed to him "atheistic," and "inhuman," and "inconsistent with our high duties to God and man as the greatest civilizing Power." Then, warming with his subject, he set forth his own idea of a frontier policy in the following grandiloquent fashion:—

"I consider that the safest and strongest frontier India can possibly possess would be a belt of independent frontier States, throughout which the British name is honoured and trusted; within which British subjects are welcomed and respected, because they are subjects of a Government known to be unselfish as it is powerful, and resolute as it is humane; by which our advice is followed without suspicion, and our word relied on without misgiving, because the first has been justified by good results, and the second never quibbled away by timorous sub-intents [pg 560] or tricky saving clauses—a belt of States, in short, whose chiefs and populations should have every interest, and every desire, to co-operate with our own officers in preserving the peace of the frontier, developing the resources of their own territories, augmenting the wealth of their own treasuries, and vindicating in the eyes of the Eastern and Western world their title to an independence, of which we are ourselves the chief well-wishers and supporters."

It is hardly credible that the same man who gave expression to these magnificent sentiments had just caused the Ameer to be informed that he did not regard the promises made to Shere Ali, by Lords Northbrook and Mayo, as binding upon the Government of India, because they were "verbal." "His Excellency the Viceroy," said Sir Lewis Pelly to the Ameer's Envoy, "instructs me to inform your Excellency plainly, that the British Government neither recognizes, nor has recognized, the obligation of these promises." And the official journal called upon India to rejoice, because one result of the conference had been the cancelling of these "verbal promises and engagements," which the Government had found "very embarrassing."

It is plain from the foregoing that Shere Ali was a doomed man long before the appearance of a Russian Mission in his capital. We did not declare war at once, simply because we were then in danger of a war with Russia in Bulgaria. And the Government were still possessed of sufficient prudence not to attempt an invasion of Afghanistan simultaneously with a campaign on the Balkans. But the sore was carefully kept open by "our attitude of isolation and scarcely veiled hostility;" and if the Russian Embassy had not appeared in Kabul, some other pretext for war would indubitably have been found. The Government of India—or rather Lord Lytton—affected to be greatly alarmed at the advent of this Russian Mission, but his subsequent proceedings show that he seized upon the incident with greediness as enabling him to carry out his long-meditated project for the destruction of an old and faithful ally. A single fact will suffice to prove this. What I have already related shows that, up to this time, the Ameer Shere Ali had given us no cause of quarrel whatever. He had been desirous, against the dictates of his own judgment, to agree to what was asked of him rather than forfeit the friendship of the English Government. The estrangement between him and ourselves was the result of our policy—not his. Lord Lytton was solely and wholly responsible for it. The Russian Embassy, as Lord Lytton knew perfectly well, was due to no overtures made by Shere Ali to the Russians in Central Asia, but to the silly exhibition of seven thousand Sepoys at Malta, by means of which we had recently earned the ridicule of Europe. Moreover, as the Treaty of Berlin was an accomplished fact before the Russians had appeared in Kabul, their arrival there was a matter of comparatively trifling significance. How, then, did Lord Lytton act? He organized a Mission under the command of Sir Neville Chamberlain to proceed to Kabul; and at the same time directed our Vakeel, Gulam Hussein Khan, to go before it to [pg 561] Kabul, and obtain the permission of the Ameer for its entrance to his territories. So far there is nothing to object to, but mark what follows.

While yet Sir Neville Chamberlain with his Mission was at Peshawur, Gulam Hussein Khan, from Kabul, reported to Sir Neville as follows:—"If Mission will await Ameer's permission, everything will be arranged, God willing, in the best manner, and no room will be left for complaint in the future.... Further, that if Mission starts on 18th, without waiting for the Ameer's permission, there would be no hope left for the renewal of friendship or communication."

These reports were received by Sir Neville Chamberlain on 19th September, and on the same day the Viceroy ordered the Mission to attempt to force its way through the Khyber Pass. All Europe knows the sequel. The Afghan officer in charge of the fort at Ali Musjid declined to let the Mission pass; but, while obeying his orders firmly, behaved, as Major Cavagnari reported, "in a most courteous manner, and very favourably impressed both Colonel Jenkins and myself." And then was telegraphed home the shameless fiction that he had threatened to fire on Major Cavagnari, and that the majesty of the Empire had been insulted.

It is hard to write with calmness when one has to speak of actions like these. It is, I trust, impossible for any Englishman to read of them without the keenest shame and remorse. What, however, we have to consider at present is their effect upon the native mind. There is not, we may be certain, a single native Court throughout India where they have not been discussed again and again; and there is but one conclusion which could be drawn from them. It is, that despite of all we may say, we allow neither pledges, promises, nor treaties to stand in our way, if we imagine that they are in opposition to the material interests of the moment. There is not a native prince in India but will have seen the fate of his descendants in the doom which has fallen upon the unhappy Shere Ali. It is a fate which no loyalty can avert—which no treaties are powerful enough to ward off. Shere Ali was loyal; Shere Ali was fenced about by treaty upon treaty: he and his father had been our friends and faithful allies for more than forty years; but none the less, the English Government no sooner coveted his territory than they determined upon his destruction. For eighteen months was that Government engaged in secretly weaving the toils around its victim, and when at last it struck, it struck with a calumny upon its lips.

Think, again, of the anger and the bitterness awakened by this war in the hearts of our Moslem subjects. A few months previously, the English Government had made appeal to their sympathies on the ground that it was upholding the integrity and independence of the Sultan's dominions. They now saw this very Government engaged in the unprovoked invasion of an independent Muhammadan State. They [pg 562] made no concealment of their feelings; and when Major Cavagnari and his companions were murdered at Kabul, the Moslems of Upper India openly expressed their satisfaction. It is not too much to say, that if Sir Salar Jung had not been ruling in Hyderabad, the outbreak at Kabul would have been instantly followed by a similar outbreak in the Deccan. Sir Richard Temple, writing from Hyderabad in 1867, thus describes the state of feeling existing there:—

"This hostility" (i.e., to the English Government) "is even stronger in the Muhammadan priesthood; with them it literally burns with an undying flame; from what I know of Delhi in 1857-58, from what I am authentically informed of in respect to Hyderabad at that time, I believe that not more fiercely does the tiger hunger for his prey, than does the Mussulman fanatìc throughout India thirst for the blood of the white infidel."

Lord Lytton's treatment of Shere Ali has been, as it were, the pouring of oil upon this "undying flame." Henceforth, it will burn more fiercely than ever.

The Famine in the North-West Provinces.

I shall next proceed to show the manner in which Lord Lytton's internal administration of India was affected by his policy beyond the frontier. As every one knows, there have been, of late years, a series of terrible famines in different parts of India. The desolating effects of these famines last for many years after the actual dearth has terminated. Not only has the cattle been swept away, together with millions of the agricultural population, but those who survive are without capital and without physical strength. The consequence is that large tracts of naturally productive land fall out of cultivation, and remain so for considerable periods of time. There are, moreover, no poor-laws in India for the relief of the starving and the destitute. The administration of State relief, therefore, during such seasons of calamity, is a matter of imperative necessity. In keeping its agriculturists alive, the State is simply providing for its own solvency. It sacrifices for this purpose a portion of the wealth it derives from the land, in order to save the remainder. A combat with famine is to the State in India an act as much demanded by obvious expediency, as in the interests of humanity. This relief is afforded partly by remissions of revenue throughout the stricken districts, and partly by the opening of public works where the starving and destitute may find food and employment. In the winter of 1877-78 a terrible famine fell upon the North-West Provinces. The cultivated land in these provinces is mainly under two descriptions of crops—the rain crops, and the cold weather crops. The rain crops are sown towards the end of June, or shortly after the rains have set in, and are reaped in October and November. From these crops the people obtain the food on which they are to subsist during the winter. In 1877 there was an almost total failure of rain in the North-West Provinces, and the Lieutenant-Governor—Sir George Couper—reported that the "greater part of the crops was irretrievably [pg 563] ruined by a scorching west wind that blew for three weeks." The long and severe winter of the North-West had to be faced by a population destitute of food. Sir George Couper reports as follows to the Government of India on the 11th October, 1877:—

"The Lieutenant-Governor is well aware of the straits to which the Government of India is put at the present time for money, and it is with the utmost reluctance that he makes a report which must temporarily add to their burdens. But he sees no other course to adopt. If the village communities which form the great mass of our revenue payers be pressed now, they will simply be ruined.... Cattle are reported to be dying or sold to the butchers in hundreds, in consequence of the want of fodder, and this will add very materially to the agricultural distress and difficulties if they are called on at once to meet their State obligations."

In making this appeal for a remission of revenue, Sir George Couper was asking for no more than what had been granted by every English Government since British rule was planted in India. But then former Governments had not adopted a spirited frontier policy to which reason, justice, and humanity had to be subordinated. This was what Lord Lytton had done. The hunting to death of an old and faithful ally was certain to prove a costly operation; and he would need for it every farthing which could be wrung from the population of India. Sir George Couper's appeal was therefore rejected, and he was instructed that these destitute creatures were to be compelled to meet their State obligations at once, precisely as if there was no dearth in the land. To this order Sir George Couper returned a long reply, from which we quote the following remarkable paragraphs:—

"If the demand on the zemindars (landlords) is not suspended, the cultivators can neither claim nor expect any relaxation of the demand for rent; if pressure is put on the former, they in turn must and will put the screw on their tenants. All through the dark months of August and September, zemindars were urged by district officers to deal leniently with their tenants, and aid them by all means in their power. Many nobly responded to the call, and it would be rather inconsistent to subject them now to a pressure which may compel them to deal harshly with their tenants. These remarks are offered in no captious spirit.... His Honour trusts that the realizations will equal the expectations of the Government of India, but if they are disappointed, his Excellency the Viceroy ... may rest assured that it will not be for want of effort or inclination to put the necessary pressure on those who are liable for the demand."

Is not this passing strange? Sir George knows that these people are in a state of the direst distress; their cattle dying by hundreds, themselves penniless and foodless; if this demand is made upon them, he has reported that they will "simply be ruined;" but at the exhortations of Lord Lytton he sets to work cheerfully. Neither inclination nor effort shall be wanting in him to make the people experience to the full the agony and the bitterness of famine. Thus it is that a prayerful Viceroy, with the "valued assistance" of his colleagues, provides for the "well-being of the millions committed to his fostering care."

"I have tried," writes one despairing district officer, "to stave off collecting, but have received peremptory orders to begin. This will be [pg 564] the last straw on the back of the unfortunate zemindars.... A more suicidal policy I cannot conceive. I have done what I could to open the eyes of the Commissioners and the Lieutenant-Governor as to the state of the place, but without avail. I have nothing to do but to carry out the orders of Government, which means simply ruin." "The exaction of the land revenue in Budaon," writes another, "and, I believe, in other districts as well, involved a direct breach of faith with the zemindars, which has had the very worst effect on the minds of the native community.... The people are loud in their complaints of the faithlessness of Government, and, to my mind, with ample reason."

But the Government of India having decreed the collection of the land revenue, were now compelled to justify their rapacity, by pretending that there was no famine calling for a remission. The dearth and the frightful mortality throughout the North-West Provinces were to be preserved as a State secret like the negotiations with Shere Ali. By this means it was hoped that the famine would work itself out, the dead be decently interred out of human sight, and Lord Lytton obtain the funds for his hunting expedition without an unpatriotic opposition becoming cognizant of the facts either in India or in England. It is a striking illustration of the enormous space which divides us from the people of India, that such a scheme should have been thought practicable, but stranger still—it was very near to success. An accident may be said to have defeated it. During all that dreary winter famine was busy devouring its victims by thousands. At the lowest computation more than a quarter of a million perished of actual starvation. The number would have to be doubled if it included all those who perished of disease, the consequence of insufficient food and exposure to cold; for, in the desperate endeavour to keep their cattle alive, the wretched peasantry fed them on the straw which thatched their huts, and which provided them with bedding. The winter was abnormally severe, and without a roof above them or bedding beneath them, scantily clad and poorly fed, multitudes perished of cold. The dying and the dead were strewn along the cross-country roads. Scores of corpses were tumbled into old wells, because the deaths were too numerous for the miserable relatives to perform the usual funeral rites. Mothers sold their children for a single scanty meal. Husbands flung their wives into ponds, to escape the torment of seeing them perish by the lingering agonies of hunger. Amid these scenes of death the Government of India kept its serenity and cheerfulness unimpaired. The journals of the North-West were persuaded into silence. Strict orders were given to civilians, under no circumstances to countenance the pretence of the natives that they were dying of hunger. One civilian, a Mr. MacMinn, unable to endure the misery around him, opened a relief work at his own expense. He was severely reprimanded, threatened with degradation, and ordered to close the work immediately.

All this time, not a whisper of the tragedy that was being enacted [pg 565] in the North-West Provinces had reached Calcutta. The district officials dared not communicate to the press what they knew, and in India there are hardly any other means of obtaining information. But in the month of February Mr. Knight, the proprietor of the Calcutta Statesman, had occasion to visit Agra. He was astonished to find all around him the indications of an appalling misery. He began to investigate the matter, and gradually the truth revealed itself. A quarter of a million of British subjects had perished of hunger, pursued even to their graves by the pitiless exactions of the Government.

Mr. Knight made known in the columns of the Statesman what he had seen, and what he had learned from others in the course of his inquiries. The guilty consciences of those who were responsible for this vast suffering smote them. Lord Lytton and Sir George Couper felt that it was necessary to extinguish Mr. Knight—and that speedily. Sir George Couper accordingly drew up a long Minute, vindicating himself from the attacks of Mr. Knight; and this Minute was duly acknowledged in laudatory terms by the Government of India. The Viceroy in Council characterized the Minute as "a convincing statement of facts," and then added that the Government of India needed no such statement to convince it that the "Lieutenant-Governor had exercised forethought in his arrangements, and had shown humanity in his orders throughout the recent crisis." The mortality which Lord Lytton "deplored" with "a deep and painful regret," in so far "as it was directly the result of famine, was caused rather by the unwillingness of the people to leave their homes than by any want of forethought on the part of the local government in providing works where they might be relieved." Lord Lytton "unhesitatingly accepted the statement of the local government that no one who was willing to go to a relief work need have died of famine, and it is satisfactorily shown in his Honour's Minute that the relief wage was ample."

This eulogy on Sir George Couper and all his doings was published on May 2, 1878, after Mr. Knight had begun publishing his revelations in the Statesman. It is to be noted that neither Sir George Couper nor the Government of India denies that the famine has been sore in the land and the mortality excessive. But on February 28—two months previously, and before Mr. Knight had commenced his inconvenient disclosures—Sir George Couper reported to the Government of India that "it may be questioned whether it will not be found hereafter that the comparative immunity from cholera and fever which, owing apparently to the drought, the Provinces have enjoyed during the past year, will not compensate for the losses caused by insufficient food and clothing, and make the mortality generally little, if at all, higher than in ordinary years." At the time when this letter was written, the official mortuary returns showed that the mortality in the North-West was seven and eight times in excess of what it was in ordinary years. There can, therefore, be no question [pg 566] that the confession of that "terrible mortality" which Lord Lytton so deeply "deplored," was wrung from Sir George Couper by the publication of Mr. Knight's letters. But for them, the official record would have stated that the "mortality was little, if at all, higher than in ordinary years." This record is sufficient proof that no adequate arrangements were made to meet a calamity which, according to Sir George Couper, did not exist—at least, not until Mr. Knight insisted that it did. At the same time, it will be as well to give the proof of this in detail, in order to show what the Government of India is capable of saying.

In one of his letters to the Statesman, Mr. Knight averred that there were "no relief works worthy of the name till about January 20, and no works sufficient for the people's need till the middle of February." Sir George Couper replies to this charge as follows:—"The reports already submitted to the Government are, I think, amply sufficient to acquit me of this charge.... In October, Colonel Fraser was again deputed to visit the head-quarters of each division, and, in consultation with the district officers, settle what works should be undertaken to give employment to the poor when the inevitable pressure began." Here Sir George Couper affirms that so far back as October he had foreseen the "inevitable pressure," and made all the necessary arrangements. Nevertheless we find him, so late as November 23, reporting as follows to the Government of India:—

"Although the danger of widespread famine ... has happily passed away, it is a matter of extreme importance that well-considered projects for great public works should be ready in case of future necessity.... Very few projects of this character have been completed for these provinces, and the Lieutenant-Governor thinks no time should be lost in preparing them.... There can be no doubt that the want of such projects would have been felt as a most serious difficulty by this Government if relief works on a large scale had been necessary in the present season."

Thus, we find that up to the close of November no large relief works had been sanctioned, because the "danger of widespread famine had happily passed away." Allowing for official delays, this would make the date when "relief works worthy of the name" were opened tally with the time stated by Mr. Knight—namely, January 20. What, again, Sir George Couper could mean by reporting on November 23, that "danger of widespread famine has happily passed away," is perplexing, for on November 26, or just three days subsequently, he writes as follows:—

"It appears to his Honour that the Government of India fail to realize the extent of the damage caused by the unparalleled failure of the rain this year.... The rain did not come until 6th October, by which time the greater part of the crops was irretrievably ruined.... It is a mistake to suppose that the autumn crop has escaped in the greater part of the Benares and Allahabad divisions, and in the south-eastern districts of Oudh.... The rice crops, which are largely grown in most of the districts in these divisions, have almost entirely perished, and of other crops, the area sown is much less than usual."

[pg 567]

On October 11 Sir George Couper reported that if the land revenues was exacted the village communities would be ruined. On November 26 he reported that the crops had been "irretrievably ruined." Nevertheless, on November 23, he reported that no large relief works had been sanctioned because "the danger of widespread famine had passed away." It follows, from this last report, that for whatever other purpose Colonel Fraser may have been deputed to visit the head-quarters of each division, it was not to make satisfactory provision for a widespread famine. No. As Sir George Couper was well aware at the time he penned his reply to Mr. Knight, the object of Colonel Fraser's tour was precisely the opposite of this. These were the instructions he was charged to enjoin upon civil officers and executive engineers:—

"Please discourage relief works in every possible way. It may be, however, that when agricultural operations are over, some of the people may want work. This, however, except on works for which there is budget provision, should only be given if the collector is satisfied that without it the people would actually starve. Mere distress is not a sufficient reason for opening a relief work. And if a relief work be started, task-work should be rigorously exacted, and the people put on the barest subsistence wage; so that we may be satisfied that if any other kind of work were procurable elsewhere, they would resort to it."

In accordance with the letter and spirit of these instructions the famine-stricken multitudes were literally starved off such scanty works as were open. The "barest subsistence wage" was fined down, smaller and smaller, until the people abandoned the works in despair, and returned to their villages to die. Nay, in some places, the public works which had been duly sanctioned in the yearly budget were transformed into relief works; and the labourers upon them, instead of being paid at the ordinary market rates, were reduced to the "barest subsistence wage, task-work being rigorously exacted." A beneficent but economical Government took advantage of the dire extremity to which its subjects were reduced to reap this unexpected profit out of their miseries. None the less, "the Viceroy in Council unhesitatingly accepts the statement of the local government, that no one who was willing to go to a relief work need have died of famine."

The License Tax.

The foregoing is an illustration of the manner in which an Imperial Viceroy secures "the progressive well-being of the multitudes committed to his fostering care." I purpose now to illustrate the manner in which the same Imperial functionary deals with the finances "committed to his fostering care." The position of "isolation and scarcely veiled hostility" which, without any provocation, Lord Lytton had assumed towards the Ameer of Afghanistan rendered a war against that sovereign a mere question of time and opportunity. Meanwhile, funds were necessary for its prosecution in addition to those which had been obtained from the starving population of the North-West. Accordingly, in his Budget statement for 1878-79, Sir John Strachey [pg 568] announced that the Indian Government had arrived at the conclusion that they ought to regard famines as normal occurrences for which provision should be made in the budgets of each year. Famine expenditure could not be estimated at a smaller sum than a million and a half annually. This sum he now proposed to raise by means of a License Tax on trades and dealings, to be levied throughout India, and which, it was estimated, would yield £700,000. The remainder of the sum required was to be obtained by a tax on the agricultural classes in Northern India and Bengal alone. The peculiar incidence of these taxes was justified on the ground that the classes taxed were the same classes which, in periods of famine, had to be supported by the State. It was therefore only just that they should provide the fund which was to insure them against famine. This money was in fact a sum raised for a special purpose, at the expense of certain classes, for whose benefit it was to be exclusively applied. This was acknowledged by Lord Lytton with his usual superabundance of emphasis:—

"The sole justification for the increased taxation which has just been imposed upon the people of India, for the purpose of insuring this Empire against the worst calamities of future famine ... is the pledge we have given that a sum not less than a million and a half sterling, which exceeds the amount of the additional contributions obtained from the people for this purpose, shall be annually applied to it. We have explained to the people of this country that the additional revenue raised by the new taxes is required, not for luxuries, but the necessities of the State; not for general purposes, but for the construction of a particular class of public works; and we have pledged ourselves not to spend one rupee of the special resources, thus created, upon works of a different character.... The pledges which my financial colleague was authorized to give, on behalf of the Government, were explicit and full as regards these points.... For these reasons, it is all the more binding on the honour of the Government to redeem to the uttermost, without evasion or delay, those pledges, for the adequate redemption of which the people of India have, and can have, no other guarantee than the good faith of their rulers."

The ink which recorded this solemn pledge was hardly dry before it had been broken. The predetermined war with Shere Ali began in the wanton manner I have told, and the question of cost was mentioned in the Houses of Parliament. The British Imperialist glories in war when the chances are all in his favour, but he has an invincible objection to paying the costs of such transactions. And they are costly. It was therefore very necessary so to arrange matters, that while the glory of hunting an ally to death should be appropriated by British Imperialism, the expenses of the chase should be defrayed by India. Accordingly, towards the end of November, Lord Cranbrook informed the House of Lords that India was in possession of a surplus more than sufficient to defray the costs of the war:—

"I am bound to say, that after looking very carefully into the financial condition of India, I believe it will not be necessary, at least in the initial steps, to call on the revenues of England. I am in possession of facts which, I think, would convince your Lordships that, without unduly pressing on the resources of India, there will be no necessity to call on the English revenues—at least during the present financial year. It was announced by my noble friend in another place the [pg 569] other night that, including the £1,500,000 of new taxes, the surplus of Indian revenue will amount to £2,136,000."

A fortnight later the "facts" of which Lord Cranbrook professed to be in possession were discovered not to be facts, and the surplus was reduced by Mr. Stanhope to a million and a half—in other words, to exactly the sum which Lord Lytton had solemnly pledged his honour to apply to no purpose except that of insuring India against the ravages of famine. On the most elastic system of interpretation, the acquisition of a fictitious "scientific frontier" cannot be made to appear as a fulfilment of this pledge. However, on the faith of the surplus thus created by Lord Cranbrook and Mr. Stanhope, Parliament voted that the expenses of the Afghan war should be charged upon India. Mr. Stanhope said,—" The surplus being of the amount he had mentioned, it must be perfectly obvious that the Indian Government could pay the whole cost of the war during the present year, without adding a shilling to the taxation or the debt of the country."

The intention here is sufficiently obvious. Lord Cranbrook and Mr. Stanhope were quite prepared to disregard the pledges given to the people of India, and apply the Famine Insurance Fund to an illegitimate purpose. They had all the will to do this, but their desires were frustrated by the fact that there was no such fund in existence. It had already been spent and disappeared. Lord Lytton thus calmly announces its extinction in the Budget resolution of March, 1879:—

"The insurance provided against future famines has virtually ceased to exist, and the difficulties in the way of fiscal and commercial and administrative reform have been greatly aggravated. Nor can it be in any way assumed that the evil will not continue and go on increasing. Under such circumstances, it is extremely difficult to follow any settled financial policy; for the Government cannot even approximately tell what income will be required to meet the necessary expenditure of the State.... For the present the Governor-General in Council thinks it wise to abstain from imposing any fresh burdens on the country, and to accept the temporary loss of the surplus by which it was hoped that an insurance against famine had been provided."

That is, that the Government of India having "pledged itself not to spend one rupee of these special resources," except "for the construction of a particular class of public works"—having declared that "the sole justification for the increased taxation" is that it should be devoted to a particular end—no sooner gets the money into its possession than it expends the entire sum on something else, and then "thinks it wise" not to discuss the matter any further. The Government is very sorry; it really wanted to make an Insurance Fund against famine; but it finds that it "cannot even approximately tell what income will be required to meet the necessary expenditure of the State." Under such circumstances the Government finds it extremely difficult to follow "any settled financial policy," except that of spending every shilling which it can get possession of. Thus it is that an Imperial Government "redeems to the uttermost" the honour of the British nation, and strengthens the confidence of India in "the good faith of her rulers."

[pg 570]

The Cotton Duties.

I come, lastly, to the action of the Indian Government in respect to the Cotton Duties. It is, I fancy, generally supposed in England that the duty on imported cotton was designedly protective—i.e., that it had from the beginning been imposed with the intention of favouring the Indian manufacturer at the expense of Manchester. This is a mistake. The duty was imposed at a time when there were no Indian manufactures to compete with those from England, simply as a source of revenue. In India there is a great difficulty in so arranging the incidence of taxation that the well-to-do classes shall contribute their proper share to the necessities of the State. A light duty on imported cotton—as being the universally used material for dress—enabled the Government to reach these classes in a manner that was effective without being burdensome. Even now that mills are at work in India, by far the larger part of these duties had nothing protective in their character, because there is in India no manufacture of the finer sorts of cotton. Whether, however, the duty was or was not protective in its character, both the Indian Government and the House of Commons had repeatedly given pledges that the duty should not be repealed until the Indian finances were in a position to justify the loss of revenue thereby occasioned. Lord Lytton, who throughout his viceroyalty has made a point in all important matters of making a confession of political faith exactly the opposite of his subsequent political action, expressed himself on the subject of the Cotton Duties with his usual copiousness. In reply to an address from the Calcutta Trades' Association, shortly after his arrival in India, he said:—

"I think that no one responsible for the financial administration of this Empire would at present venture to make the smallest reduction in any of its limited sources of income. Let me, however, take this opportunity of assuring you that, so far as I am aware, the abolition or reduction of the Cotton Duties, at the cost of adding one sixpence to the taxation of this country, has never been advocated, or even contemplated by her Majesty's Secretary of State for India.... It is due to myself, and the confidence you express in my character, that I should also assure you, on my own behalf, that nothing will ever induce me to tax the people of India for any exclusive benefit to their English fellow-subjects."

A short time previously he had told the Bombay Chamber of Commerce that "he was of opinion that, with the exception of about forty thousand pounds sterling, the duties were not protective, because Manchester had no Indian competitors in finer manufactures. He thought the £800,000 collected yearly as duty, on finer fabrics, a fair item of revenue. With regard to the duty on coarse goods, he thought it protective, because Bombay mills competed with Manchester; but he did not see how it could be abolished, because it would lead to irregularities in order to evade duty."

These assurances were given in 1876. In 1879, when the finances of India were in a state of almost hopeless embarrassment—when the Famine Insurance Fund had been misappropriated in the way I have related—when the Indian Government frankly acknowledged that it was [pg 571] beyond their power to estimate their future expenditure, even approximately, the Indian Government deliberately sacrificed revenue to the amount of £200,000 derived from this source. The motives which persuaded them to this sacrifice may have been as pure as driven snow; but with Lord Lytton's assurances fresh in their memories, I need not say that their motives were not so interpreted by those in India. There the explanation given was this:—The war in Afghanistan, from which so much had been expected, had resulted, not in success, but ignominious failure. The Government had been compelled to patch up a peace without a single element of permanence in it. Despite of the choral odes which Ministers sang together on the occasion of this peace, it was impossible that they could have been wholly blind to the real character of the Treaty of Gundamuck. They felt that discovery could not be long delayed, and, like the steward who had wasted his master's goods, they hastened to make themselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness. While, therefore, the war was still nominally unfinished, they sought to propitiate Manchester by throwing its merchants this sop of £200,000. Like Canning's famous policy of calling on the New World to redress the balance of the Old, the prestige of Imperialism, damaged by the failure in Afghanistan, was to be re-established in Manchester at the expense of the Indian taxpayer.

If the Indian Government had any better reason than this for their partial repeal of the Cotton Duties, it is a pity that they did not communicate it to the world. The reason which they did condescend to give was simply this—that the finances of the Empire were so heavily embarrassed, and in such confusion, that it was a matter of no consequence if they become still further involved to the extent of £200,000. I give the actual words, that I may not be suspected of caricaturing the Government:—

"The difficulties caused by the increased loss by exchange are great, but they will not practically be aggravated to an appreciable extent by the loss of £200,000. If the fresh fall in the exchange should prove to be temporary, such a loss will possess slight importance. If, on the other hand, the loss by exchange does not diminish ... it will become necessary to take measures of a most serious nature for the improvement of the financial position; but the retention of the import duties on cotton goods will not thereby be rendered possible. On the contrary, such retention will become more difficult than ever."

According to the Government of India, it was the peculiarity of these £200,000 to be simply an incumbrance, happen what might. If the exchange did not fall, they were reduced to insignificance; if it did fall, their retention became more difficult than ever. The reader will not be surprised to learn that these enigmatic propositions were not accepted in India as a sufficient justification of the act they were supposed to explain.

Despotic as an Indian Viceroy is, there are even in India certain Constitutional checks on his authority, as, for instance, the Members of Council, the Vernacular and the English press. How was it, the [pg 572] reader may ask, that these constitutional checks were evaded; for it cannot be that they all concurred in such a policy as I have described in the foregoing pages? The principal means of evasion was secrecy. The negotiations with Shere Ali were kept sedulously hidden from the public knowledge, and their nature was only to be dimly inferred from the devout and philanthropic orations of the Viceroy himself. The same course was adopted with respect to the North-West famine; and but for the accident of Mr. Knight's visit to Agra, the truth would have remained hidden to this day. But Lord Lytton did not trust to secrecy alone. The vernacular press was gagged by a Press Act, which was hurried through Council, and made a law in the course of a few hours. The English press could not be gagged precisely in this fashion, but it was very ingeniously drugged through the agency of a curious functionary, styled the Press Commissioner. When Mr. Stanhope was questioned in the House regarding the special duties of this nondescript official, he replied that he had been appointed to superintend the working of the Vernacular Press Act. Actually, he was in operation for several months before that Act had come into existence, and never has had any duties in connection with it. The Press Commissioner is attached to the personal staff of the Viceroy, and may be regarded as a kind of official bard, whose duty it is to chant the praises of his master, and advertise his political wares. The description of Lord Lytton as a "specially-gifted Viceroy" is believed in India to have proceeded from the affectionate imagination of the Press Commissioner. But, besides this, he is a channel of communication between the Government of India and the Indian press. When he was first called into existence, India was informed that a new era was about to begin, in the relations between the press and the Government. The Government, anxious that its policy should be fully discussed by an intelligent press, had appointed a Press Commissioner, whose duty it would be to keep editors supplied with accurate information, from the very fountain-head, of all that Government was doing, or intended to do. It is unnecessary to say that the Press Commissioner has done nothing of the kind. The greater part of the matter he communicates to the press is simply worthless, and wholly devoid of interest to any sane person. If anything of importance occurs which the Government desires to keep secret, but which it fears will leak out, the Press Commissioner communicates the matter to the editors "confidentially," and then it is understood that they are in honour bound not to allude to the subject in their papers. At distant intervals, however, the Press Commissioner, of necessity, allows some interesting scraps of information to escape from him; and it is by means of these that the English press is drugged. Any newspaper which offends the Government by criticism of too harsh a character is liable to have the supply of such morsels suspended until it gives evidence of amendment. And as there [pg 573] is in India, among the readers of newspapers, quite an insatiable craving for these morsels of official gossip, it would be extremely prejudicial to the circulation of a newspaper if they no longer appeared in its columns. The vengeance of Lord Lytton and the Press Commissioner has already fallen upon one journal. The Calcutta Statesman, having poured ridicule on this Press Commissioner, has been deprived of his ministrations. In brief, the Press Commissionership is simply an agency for bribing the English Press, which costs the Indian taxpayer the sum annually of £5000. But the most effective check on the arbitrary authority of the Governor-General is furnished by his Council. These are selected as men of long Indian experience, in order to aid the Governor-General with their advice and special knowledge. The last Governor-General who set at nought the advice and remonstrances of his Council was Lord Auckland, when he plunged into the disastrous war in Afghanistan. Lord Lytton, who in other respects has so carefully trod in the footsteps of his predecessor, did not fail to imitate him in this. His frontier policy was carried out in spite of the opposition of the three most experienced members of his Council; his repeal of the Cotton Duties in the face of their unanimous opposition, with the single exception of Sir John Strachey. Thus it is that, under Lord Lytton, British rule in India has become a tawdry and fantastic system of personal rule. It might perhaps do well enough if an Empire could be governed by means of ceremonies, speeches, and elegantly written despatches—"fables in prose," they might very fitly be called. But an Empire cannot be so governed, and the result of the experiment has been an amount of human suffering appalling to contemplate. The Indian air is "full of farewells for the dying and mournings for the dead," and the path of the Government can be traced in broken pledges and dead men's bones. These bones are as dragon's teeth, which Lord Lytton is sowing broadcast all over India and Afghanistan, and they will assuredly be changed into armed men if the hand of the sower be not promptly stayed.

"Nothing," writes Sir Alexander Arbuthnot, one of the Indian Members of Council, "would have induced me to have been a party to the imposition of restrictions on the press, if I could have foreseen that within a year of the passing of the Vernacular Press Act the Government of India would be embarked on a course which, in my opinion, is as unwise and ill-timed as it is destructive of the reputation for justice upon which the prestige and political supremacy of the British Government in India so greatly depend. And here I must remark that the slight value which in some influential quarters is now attached to the popularity of our rule with our native subjects, has for some time past struck me as a source of grave political danger. The British Empire in India was not established by a policy of ignoring popular sentiment, and of stigmatizing all views and opinions which are opposed to certain favourite theories, as the views and opinions of foolish people. Nor will our rule be long maintained if such a policy is persisted in."

Robert D. Osborn.

[pg 574]



T HE question which I propose to consider in this paper is how far the beauty of blossoms can be accounted for by the utility of this beauty to the plant producing them. It is manifestly only one particular case of a larger inquiry whether the beauty which Nature exhibits can be accounted for by its utility.

These questions connect themselves with some of the highest points of the philosophy of the universe. Is the system of the universe intellectual, or is it purely material? Is there an ordering mind, or is there merely blind and struggling matter? Are there final causes as well as material causes, or are there material causes only?

These questions have been asked and answered in opposite senses, from the first dawn of philosophy to the present hour; and during all that period of time the battle has been raging—and has spread, too, over the whole realm of Nature. Scarcely any branch of natural science exists which has not furnished materials for at least a skirmish; so that it requires an experienced and impartial eye to be able rightly to understand the true fortunes of the contest over the whole field of battle. True it is, that for every man the question between the two theories has to be decided by somewhat simpler considerations than any such survey. Something in every man seems inevitably to determine him towards either the intellectual or the material theory of things.

The existence of beauty in the world is a very remarkable fact. On the theory of a Divine and beneficent Creator, this fact has seemed no difficulty; but the theory of a mere blind fermentation of matter gives no account of it, except as a mere accident, which, on the doctrine of chances, should be perhaps a very rare and unusual accident. Hence the existence of beauty has from of old been a favourite theme of the theistic believers. "Let them know how much better the Lord of them [pg 575] is," says the author of the Wisdom of Solomon, speaking of the works of Nature, "for the first Author of beauty hath created them ... for by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the Maker of them is seen."1 The same familiar view has lately been presented by the Duke of Argyll in his "Reign of Law":2

"It would be to doubt the evidence of our senses and of our reason, or else to assume hypotheses of which there is no proof whatever, if we were to doubt that mere ornament, mere variety, are as much an end and aim in the workshop of Nature as they are known to be in the workshop of the goldsmith and the jeweller. Why should they not? The love and desire of these is universal in the mind of man. It is seen not more distinctly in the highest forms of civilized art than in the habits of the rudest savage, who covers with elaborate carving the handle of his war-club or the prow of his canoe. Is it likely that this universal aim and purpose of the mind of man should be wholly without relation to the aims and purposes of his Creator? He that formed the eye to see beauty, shall He not see it? He that gave the human hand its cunning to work for beauty, shall His hand never work for it? How, then, shall we account for all the beauty of the world—for the careful provision made for it where it is only the secondary object, not the first?"

But even if beauty be always associated with utility and have in fact been brought about by its utility, it may nevertheless have been an object in the mind of a Divine artificer, who may have been minded to use the one as a means and end to the other. We may therefore, I think, approach the subject with a perfect freedom from any theological bias.

The whole subject will, I believe, be felt by some persons to be a piece of moonshine,—the whole discussion fit for cloudland, not for this practical solid world of ours.

Beauty, such persons would say, is not a real thing, an objective fact: it is a part of man, not of the world—it is in him who sees, not in the thing seen: it is seen by one man in one thing—by another man in another.

To this it seems a sufficient answer to say that the relation of any one external thing to any one mind which produces the peculiar condition which we call the perception of beauty, is a fact, and, like every other single fact, must have an adequate cause. But when we find that there are forms of beauty, such as the beauty of sunlight, which operate alike on all men, and, it would seem, on all sensitive beings—when we find that the brilliant flowers which attract the child in the field or the lady in the drawing-room, attract the insect tribes—we feel ourselves in the presence of a great body of persistent relations, which it is impossible to pass over as unreal or as unimportant.

But, again, there is ugliness in the world; and one ugly thing, it is suggested, destroys all your deductions from beauty. This, no doubt, is a very important fact for any one to grapple with who proposes to give any theoretical explanation of the presence of beauty in the universe; but for me, who am only inquiring whether and how far beauty is useful, it is not really material, because there can be no doubt [pg 576] that beauty, as well as ugliness, exists in the world. This much I will say in passing, that, to my mind, the balance of things is in favour of beauty and against ugliness—the tendency is in favour of beauty, not ugliness, and that tendency may be a very important thing to think of.

Furthermore, the fact that we recognize ugliness seems to make our recognition of beauty more important; for it shows that the perception of beauty is not mere habit, and that we have an inward and independent judgment on the matter—we are able to approve the one thing on the score of beauty, and to reject the other as ugly.

Even allowing fully for the existence of ugliness, it must be conceded that the world around us presents a vast mass of beauty—complex, diverse, commingled, and not easily admitting of analysis. It is common alike to the organic and the inorganic realms of Nature. The pageants of the sky at morning, noon, and night, the forms of the trees, the beauty of the flowers, the glory of the hills, the awful sublimity of the stars—these, and a thousand things in Nature, fill the soul with a sense of beauty, which the art neither of the poet, nor of the philosopher, nor of the painter can come near to depict. We are moved and overcome, sometimes by this object of beauty, sometimes by that, but yet more by the complex mass of glory of the universe.

"For Nature beats in perfect tune,

And rounds with rhyme her every rune;

Whether she work on land or sea,

Or hide underground her alchemy.

Thou canst not wave thy staff in air,

Or dip thy paddle in the lake,

But it carves the bow of beauty there,

And ripples in rhyme the oar forsake."

As yet no attempt has been made to show the utility of this promiscuous and multitudinous crowd of beauties—and it seems not likely that such an attempt can yet be made with success: and the phenomena of Nature are therefore likely for a long time to come to impress most men with the sense of beauty for beauty's sake. But in respect of certain particular and separable instances, the attempt has recently been made to show that the beauty exhibited is useful to the structure exhibiting it, and consequently that it may be accounted for by the strictly utilitarian principle of the survival of the fittest,—one instance in which this has been most notably attempted being in respect of the beauty of flowers. Let us consider how far beauty can thus be accounted for in this particular case.

There will be a great advantage in this course; for beauty is a thing about which it is not very easy to argue: it is too subtle, too evanescent, too disputable, to afford an easy material for the logical or scientific crucible; and these difficulties we shall best surmount by in the first place isolating certain beautiful things for our consideration, and limiting to them our inquiry into how far each of the rival theories is sufficient to explain their existence. We shall thus try to narrow the great controversy to very definite and distinct issues.

[pg 577]

"Flowers," says Mr. Darwin,3 "rank amongst the most beautiful productions of Nature, and they have become, through natural selection, beautiful, or rather conspicuous in contrast with the greenness of the leaves, that they might be easily observed and visited by insects, so that their fertilization might be favoured. I have come to this conclusion, from finding it an invariable rule that when a flower is fertilized by the wind it never has a gaily-coloured corolla. Again, several plants habitually produce two kinds of flowers: one kind open and coloured, so as to attract insects; the other closed and not coloured, destitute of nectar, and never visited by insects. We may safely conclude that, if insects had never existed on the face of the earth, the vegetation would not have been decked with beautiful flowers, but would have produced only such poor flowers as are now borne by our firs, oaks, nut and ash trees, by the grasses, by spinach, docks, and nettles."

No one can doubt who watches a meadow on a summer's day that insects are attracted by the scent and the colours of the flowers. The whole field is busy with their jubilant hum. These little creatures have the same sense of beauty that we have. What room there is for thought in that fact! There is a subtle bond of mental union between ourselves and the creatures whom we so often despise. There is a joy widespread and multiplied beyond our highest calculation. What a deadly blow to that egotism of man which thinks of all beauty as made for him alone!

But I return to the argument. We have presented to our notice three kinds of attraction which operate upon insects—the conspicuousness of colour and form, the beauty of the smell, and the pleasant taste of the honey. No one, as I have said, who watches a meadow or a garden on a summer's day can for a moment doubt the operation of these causes, or question the direct action of insects in producing the fertilization of flowers. In that sense the beauty of a flower is clearly of direct use to the flower which exhibits it. It is better for it that it should be fertilized by insects than not fertilized at all; but is it better for it to be fertilized by insects than by the wind, or by some other agency, if such exist?

This shall be the subject of inquiry. But before we can answer it, we must go a little afield and collect some other of the facts of the case.

The conclusion that beauty is useful for the fertilization of the flower does not rest merely on the general phenomena of a summer meadow. It is confirmed by many other observations. Flowers are not merely attractive in themselves; they are frequently rendered attractive by their grouping. Sometimes flowers individually small are gathered into heads, or spikes, or bunches, or umbels, and so produce a more conspicuous effect than would result from a more equal distribution of the flowers; sometimes yet more minute flowers or florets are gathered together into what appears a single flower, and often have the outer florets so modified both in shape and colour as to produce the general effect of one very brilliant blossom, as in the daisy or the marigold.

[pg 578]

Sometimes the same result is produced by "the massing of small flowers into dense cushions of bright colour."4 This, as is well known, is of common occurrence with Alpine flowers; and this mode of growth, as well as the great size of many Alpine blossoms as compared with that of the whole plant, and the great brilliance of Alpine plants as compared with their congeners of the lowlands, have all been explained by reference to the comparative rarity of insects in the Alpine heights, and the consequent necessity, if the plants are to survive, that they should offer strong attractions to their needful friends.5 A similar explanation has been offered for the brilliant colours of Arctic flowers.6

Furthermore, this curious fact exists, that of flowering plants a large number do not ripen or put forward their pistils and stamens at the same periods of their growth: in some cases the pistil is ready to receive the pollen whilst the anthers are immature and not ready to supply it: such are called proterogynous. In other cases the anthers are ripe before the pistil is ready to receive the pollen: these are proterandrous. In either case the same event happens—that the ovules can never be fertilized by the pollen of the same blossom, nor without some foreign agency, generally that of insects.

Lastly, there is a large number of plants, including a great proportion of those with unsymmetrical blossoms, of which the flowers have been shown to be specially adapted by various mechanical contrivances for insect agency. Nothing, as is well known, is more marvellous than the variety and subtlety of the arrangements for the purpose which exist in orchidaceous plants, as explained by the patience and genius of Mr. Darwin.

In view of these facts it would be impossible to deny that conspicuousness is one of the agencies in force for the fertilization of flowers; that, to use the recent language of Mr. Darwin, "flowers are not only delightful for their beauty and fragrance, but display most wonderful adaptations for various purposes."7

So far we have considered the evidence which is affirmative, and in favour of the explanation of the existence of beauty in flowers; we have found clearly that beauty, or rather conspicuousness, is in many cases useful to the plant. But beauty is by no means the only agency in this necessary process. On the contrary, the agencies actually in operation are very numerous.

As Mr. Darwin points out in the passage I have cited, and still more at large in his work "On the Different Forms of Flowers," a large proportion of existing plants are fertilized by the action of the wind; and again, many plants bear two kinds of flowers, the one conspicuous and attractive to insects, the other inconspicuous and which never open to admit the activity either of insects or of the wind. Moreover, there are various other agencies called into play. Some plants, such as the Hypericum [pg 579] perforatum, one of the commonest of the St. John's Worts, and probably the bindweed, are, it seems, fertilized by the withering of the corolla, which naturally brings the stamens into contact with the style, and so transfers the pollen grains from the one to the other.8 Other plants, again, such as the common centaury (Erythræa centaurium) and the Chlora perfoliata, are fertilized by the closing of the corolla over the anthers and stigma, not in the death but in the sleep of the plant.9 In the brilliant autumnal Colchicum, and in the Sternbergia, again, according to Dr. Kerner, Nature has recourse to a more complex machinery: the corolla first closes over the anthers, which are at a lower level than the stigma, and takes off some of the pollen; a growth of the corolla carries the pollen dust to the level of the stigma, and a second closing of the corolla transfers the pollen to the stigmatic surface. The pollen has been made to ascend to its proper place by an arrangement which reminds one of the man-engine of a Cornish mine.10 A similar arrangement is described as occurring in the bright-flowered Pedicularis.11

Let us take another group of beautiful flowers which adorn our greenhouses and our tables: I mean the Asclepiadæ, to which the Stephanotis and the Hoya belong. The former is distinguished by the beauty of its scent as well as of its flowers. Both present flowers not merely conspicuous in themselves from their size, form, and colour, but conspicuous also by reason of their grouping. Here, if anywhere, we should expect that beauty should justify itself by its utility. But the facts appear to be just the other way. The pollen is collected together into waxy masses, which are arranged in a very peculiar manner on the pistil; and the pollen tubes pass from the pollen grains whilst still enclosed within the anthers, and so bring about fertilization without the intervention of insect agency. It is difficult to suppose the Asclepiadæ can have become beautiful for the sake of an agency of which they never avail themselves.

Our common Fumitory has not very conspicuous flowers, but still they have considerable attractiveness of form and still more of colour, due both to the individual blossom and to their grouping together; and yet Fumaria is said to be self-fertile.12

A much more brilliantly coloured member of the same family is the Dicentra (Diclytra) spectabilis, so familiar in our gardens. Any one who examines the flowers of this species will continually find the pollen grains transferred to the stigma without the slightest trace of the flower ever having opened so as to allow of insect agency. Dr. Lindley13 [pg 580] has given an account of the mechanism for self-fertilization; and this flower has recently been the subject of an elaborate study by the German botanist, Hildebrand,14 and he concurs in the view that the anthers inevitably communicate their pollen to the pistil, and that as the result of a very complicated and subtle arrangement of the parts, which it would be useless to attempt to describe without diagrams. But he believes that in addition to the arrangements for self-fertilization, another arrangement exists for producing cross-fertilization by insects; but as the plant has never produced seed under his observation, he is unable to tell whether one mode of fertilization is more useful than the other. I think the evidence of the self-fertilization is far clearer than that of the cross-fertilization.

Now, if the Dicentra has become beautiful in order to attract insects, it must have done so through a long series of developments, for its adaptation to their agency is of the most complex kind. It is difficult to suppose either that, side by side with this development for cross-fertilization, there has been also developed another complex arrangement for self-fertilization, or that an earlier complex arrangement for self-fertilization should have survived through the changes necessary to render the flower fit for insect fertilization. The co-existence in one organism of two complex schemes for different objects, and the interlacing of those two schemes in one beautiful flower (which, if Hildebrand be right, occurs in the Dicentra), seem to be things very improbable if the beautiful flower has become what it is in the pursuit of one only of those objects. These speculations may be premature as regards the particular flower; but the co-existence of two modes of fertilization is not peculiar to Dicentra and seems to furnish material for important reflection.

Yet one more plant must be considered. The Loasa aurantiaca is a creeper which grows freely in our gardens, and has large and brilliantly coloured scarlet flowers turned up with yellow. Its seeds set freely in cultivation. The means by which fertilization is effected are—unless my observations have misled me—very peculiar. When the flower first unfolds, the numerous stamens are found collected together in bundles in depressions or folds of the petals; after a while the anthers begin to move, and one after the other the stamens pass upwards from their nests in the petals, and gather in a thick group round the style; subsequently a downward and backward movement begins, which brings the anthers against the pistils, and restores the stamens nearly to their old position, but with exhausted and faded anthers. I have never seen any insects at work on the flowers, and yet I find the plant to be a free seeder.

So long ago as 1840 M. Fromond enumerated several conspicuous flowers in which, according to his observations, fertilization was effected [pg 581] without the agency of either the wind or insects.15 And much more recently an American writer, Mr. Meehan, has given a list of eleven genera, amongst others, in which he has observed the pistils covered with the pollen of the plant before the flower has opened, and in the one case which he submitted to the microscope, it was found that the pollen tubes were descending through the pistil towards the ovarium.16 Amongst the genera he names were Westaria, Lathyras, Ballota, Circes Genista, Pisum, and Linaria.

The instances which I have given are mostly from plants familiar in our fields, our gardens, or our greenhouses. They are, I think, sufficient to make us pause before we conclude that all conspicuous flowers are fertilized by insect agency. It may be that Bacon's warning to attend as carefully to negative as to affirmative instances has been a little forgotten. Moreover, these instances seem to show that it would be a great error to suppose that all flowers are fertilized either by insects or by the wind; and it is probable that the more the subject is considered the more complex will the arrangements for fertilization be found to be.

The agencies to which I have last referred exist, it will be observed, in beautiful and conspicuous flowers; and yet act independently of that beauty and that conspicuousness: so that in each instance these facts are, on the utilitarian theory, unexplained and residual phenomena. They, therefore, demand earnest inquiry. For the existence of a single residual phenomenon is notice to the inquirer that he has not got to the bottom of his subject; that his theory is either not the truth or not the whole truth.

Do the facts justify us in concluding that insect fertilization is more beneficial to the plant than fertilization by the wind or any other agency? Do they afford any sufficient cause for that change from the one mode of fertilization to the other which has been suggested? The facts bearing on these questions are very remarkable; for, as we have already seen, many plants produce two kinds of blossom, the one conspicuous and the other inconspicuous; the one visited by insects, the other self-fertilizing. Recent observation shows that these cleistogamous flowers, as they are called, are present in a great variety of plants.17 In the violet they are found to exist, being seen in the summer and autumn, when all the more brilliant flowers have gone. The one flower has everything in its favour—honey and a beauty of colour and of smell that has passed into a proverb—and it opens its blue wings to the visits of the insect tribe in the season of their utmost jollity and life. The other has everything against it: it is inconspicuous, scentless, ugly, and closed. And yet, [pg 582] which succeeds the better? which produces the more seed? The cleistogamous, and not the brilliant flowers: the victory is with ugliness, and not with beauty.

The same is true of the Impatiens fulva. This is an American plant, closely akin to the balsam of our gardens, which has now thoroughly established itself on the banks of some of our rivers, as the Wey, and the tributary stream that runs through Abinger and Shere. It has attractive flowers hung on the daintiest flower-stalks. It has also little green flowers that never open and almost escape attention; and yet they, and not the large flowers, are the great source of seed vessels to the plant—the great security that the life of the race will be continued.18 Again, ugliness has borne away the palm of utility from beauty.

So, too, in America the same happens with the Specularia perfoliata: in shady situations all its flowers are said to be cleistogamous, and to be wonderfully productive and strong.19

The conditions of the problem in these cases are such as to make them of the last importance in our inquiry into the utility of beauty; for in each case we are comparing a conspicuous and an inconspicuous flower in the very same plant. The conditions seem to exclude the possibility of error in the result.

Two explanations have been suggested of the origin of these cleistogamous flowers: according to the one, they are the earliest form of the flowers; according to the other view, they are degraded forms of the more beautiful flowers.20 For our purpose, it is immaterial whether of the two explanations is correct; for either the development of beauty has diminished the utility of the flower, or the loss of beauty has increased the utility: in either event, utility and beauty are dissociated the one from the other.

Another experiment Nature presents us with, in which the conditions are nearly, if not quite, as rigorously exclusive of error. The vast majority of orchidaceous plants are, as already mentioned, dependent on insect agency, for fertilization, and present a marvellous variety of contrivances for effecting cross-fertilization through their activity. But one of our orchids (the Bee orchis) is self-fertilized. I hardly know anything in vegetable life more striking or beautiful than to see its delicate pollinaria at a certain stage of its inflorescence descending on to the stigmatic surface and so yielding their pollen grains to the fertilization of their own blossom; and yet the Bee orchis has been found by observers to be as free a seeder as any of its tribe. Here the beauty and conspicuousness of the blossom, which are very great, are, as far as can be seen, useless; the plant gains nothing by the attractiveness which it offers, and the colouring and ornamentation of the blossom are, on the theory of utility, residual phenomena.

[pg 583]

It is difficult to imagine that the change from wind or self-fertilization can, so to speak, commend itself to the flower on the score either of economy or success. If the anemophilous blossom must produce somewhat more pollen than the entomophilous, it saves the great expenditure of material and vital force requisite for the production of the large and conspicuous corolla. The one is fertilized by every wind that blows; the other, especially in the case of highly-specialized flowers like the orchids, may be incapable of fertilization except by a very few insects. The celebrated Madagascar orchid Angræcum can be fertilized, it is said, only by a moth with a proboscis from ten to fourteen inches long—a moth so rare or local that it is as yet known to naturalists only by prophecy. It is difficult to suppose that it would be beneficial for the plant's chance of survival to exchange as the fertilizing agent the universal wind for this most localized insect.

And here another line of evidence comes in and demands consideration. The face of Nature, as we now see it, has not been always exhibited by the world. The flora, like the fauna, of the world has changed: how has it changed as regards the beauty of the flowers? Does it give any testimony to that becoming beautiful of the flowers of plants to which Mr. Darwin refers? The answer is not a very certain one, by reason of the imperfection of the geological record, of the probability that beautiful plants, if they had existed, and had been of a delicate structure, would have perished and left no trace behind. But so far as an answer can be given, it is in favour of the increase of floral beauty in the vegetable world. The earliest flower known (the Pothocites Grantonii) occurs in the coal measures; its flowers cannot have been other than inconspicuous in themselves, though it is possible that by grouping they were made more attractive to the eye; in the period of the growth of the coal, when this plant lived, the vast forests seem principally to have been composed of trees without conspicuous blossoms, huge club mosses and marestails, and many conifers; in the earlier periods of this earth we have no trace of conspicuous blossom, and it is not till the upper chalk that the oaks and myrtles and Proteaceæ appear as denizens of the forests. In like manner, if we refer to the appearance of insects on the earth, we have no clear trace in very early strata of those classes of insects which now do the principal work of fertilization for our conspicuous flowers. In the coal measures there have been found insects of the scorpion, beetle, cockroach, grasshopper, ant, and neuropterous families; but of a butterfly or moth there is only evidence of great doubt. It seems probable, then, and one cannot say more, that with the progress of the ages, flowers, as a whole, have become more conspicuous and attractive. But if we inquire whether the dull flowers of one era have grown into the conspicuous flowers of another, the answer is negative. The conifers of the coal age were anemophilous then, and are anemophilous still; they show no symptom of becoming more conspicuous; the same is true of the oaks of the chalk period, and [pg 584] of all other inconspicuous plants. The difference between conspicuous and inconspicuous flowers appears a permanent one; and the page of geology gives no evidence in favour of the supposed change.

Another observation must yet be made. Comparing flowers fertilized by insects and by the wind, it has never, so far as I can learn, been observed that the former are more certain of being set or more prolific than the latter; and, as already shown, the inconspicuous flowers are often more fertile than the conspicuous ones. What motive would there be, then, for the inconspicuous flowers of the early geologic periods to convert themselves into the brilliant corollas of our day?

Carefully considered, the passage which I have cited from Mr. Darwin does not account for the beauty of the flowers of plants at all; it accounts only for their conspicuousness, as the writer himself points out; and the two things are so different, that to account for the one is not even to tend to account for the other. If any one will consider the beauty of every inflorescence, whether conspicuous or not—a beauty which the microscope always makes apparent where the unaided eye fails to perceive it; or, again, the easily perceived beauty of many inconspicuous plants; or, lastly, the beauty of many conspicuous plants which does not tend to their conspicuousness—he will see how true this is.

For in many conspicuous flowers there are delicate pencillings and markings which certainly do not tend to make them such, but which nevertheless add greatly to their beauty, as we perceive it. In the regularly shaped flowers these markings often start from the centre of the blossom like radii, and they may be conceived as guiding the insects to the central store of honey. Such guidance can hardly be needful, as the shape of the flower itself generally does all, and more than all, that the markings can do in the way of guidance. But it is by no means true that all the markings lead to the centre of the flower: many are transverse; many are marginal; some are by way of spot.

Again, take the irregularly shaped flowers, which are supposed to be the exclusive subjects of insect fertilization; how infinite are the beauties of the flower over and above those which make it conspicuous, or can assist to guide the insect. Take the orchids, for example: the labellum is generally the landing-place of the insect visitors; but the other flower-leaves are almost always the subjects of a vast display of delicate beauty which cannot be accounted for by the necessity of conspicuousness or guidance. All this beauty is, on the theory in question, an unexplained fact.

But, again, take the grasses, which depend for fertilization exclusively on the wind, and have no need to woo the visits of the insects. The beauty of the markings of the inflorescence of many of the grasses is very great, though far from conspicuous: take the delicately banded flowers of our quaking grasses; take the rich crimson of the foxtails; take the brilliant yellow of the Canary Phaleris; and it is impossible to [pg 585] refuse the attribute of beauty in colour to the wind-loving grasses. And all this beauty is unexplained on the theory in question.

It is impossible to speak of the grasses and not to have the mind recalled to the beauty that resides in form as contrasted with colour. Elegance, grace of form, characterizes most (but not all) plants, whether fertilized by the wind or by insects; and yet this grace, in many cases, perhaps in most, adds nothing to their conspicuousness. It is, on the theory in question, a piece of idle beauty; and yet it is all-pervading—a persistent, though not universal, characteristic of the vegetable world.

But to revert to conspicuousness. It is not true to say that all self-fertilized plants have inconspicuous flowers. I have adduced the Stephanotis and Hoya on this point. Nor is it true to say that all anemophilous flowers are inconspicuous as compared with the green of their leaves. The large but delicate yellow groups of the male flowers of the Scotch pine (not to travel beyond very familiar plants) are very conspicuous in the early summer—much more so, to my eye at least, than many flowers which are supposed to stake their lives on attraction by being conspicuous. Hermann Müller has observed on this same fact, and considers it to be clear that the display of colour can be of no use to the plant, and must therefore be regarded as "a merely accidental phenomenon,"21i.e., a phenomenon not accounted for by utility.

The crimson flowers of the larch, again, are certainly very conspicuous as well as beautiful on the yet leafless boughs; and yet they owe nothing to insects.

One other remark must be made on this passage from Mr. Darwin which has formed my text. It does not pretend to account for the production of beauty or even of conspicuousness. It only seeks to account for the accumulation of that quality in certain plants, and its comparative absence in others. The tendency in Nature to produce beauty is a postulate in Mr. Darwin's theory.

The beauty of mountain blossoms has been referred to as supporting the utility of beauty: it is not perfectly clear that even this can be accounted for merely by the need of attracting insects. It is said by the American writer to whom I have already referred, Mr. Meehan, that the flowers of the Rocky Mountains are beautifully coloured, produce as much seed as similar ones elsewhere, and yet that there is a remarkable scarcity of insect life—so great, I understand him to mean, as to render it highly improbable that the races of the flowers can be perpetuated by insect agency.

We have hitherto, according to promise, been considering the beauty of flowers as detached from all surrounding facts, and isolated from all other parts of the plant. But, in fact, this beauty of the inflorescence of plants is only one phenomenon of a much larger class. The petals and sepals are only leaves; and it is difficult to argue about the character of the flower-leaves and omit from thought the stalk and root-leaves; [pg 586] and these leaves continually possess a wealth of beauty both of form and colour for which no intelligible utility has ever been suggested. The use made of conspicuous leaves in the modern style of bedding-out and the cultivation in hot-houses of what are called foliage plants, will recall this to every one. In many cases the stems of plants, often the veins of the leaves, and often the backs of the leaves, are the homes of distinct and beautiful colouring, for which, so far as I know, no account can be given on the score of use. To enlarge our view yet a little more, the brilliant colours of the fungi and of the lichens, mosses, and sea-weeds, and, lastly, the outburst of varied colours in the autumn—the crimson of the bramble, the browns of the oaks, the red of the maple, the gold of the elm, "the sunshine of the withering fern"—all these present themselves to us as so closely akin to the painted beauty of flowers that we cannot think of the one without the other; and we may well hesitate to accept as satisfactory a theory which can offer no explanation of phenomena so closely akin to those of flowers, except, forsooth, that they are merely accidental. Once again, to widen the range of our mental vision, the beauty of the vegetable world is but a part of that great and complex mass of beauty from which we agreed to segregate it; and viewed as part of that, it must have the same explanation applied to it as the other beautiful phenomena of the world.

It is worth while to remember that Beauty is no outcome of a long period of evolution; it is no late event in the geologic history of the world. The lowest forms of organic life no less than the highest are clad in beauty. Many beings that are "simple structureless protoplasm"—to use the language of Professor Allman as President of the British Association this year—"fashion for themselves an outer membraneous or calcareous case, often of symmetrical form and elaborate ornamentation, or construct a silicious skeleton of radiating spicula or crystal-clear concentric spheres of exquisite symmetry and beauty."22

So, too, in the Silurian period, the corals and other marine structures were, no doubt, endowed with every grace which could please the eye of man, if he had been there. Beauty is the invariable companion of Nature. It is difficult, therefore, to account for it as a result of evolution; and, as for the theory that it was made for man's delectation only, a single diatom or a single fossil from a Silurian bed is enough to put the whole vain egotism to flight.

What are the results fairly deducible from these observations? They seem to be the following:—

Let us apply these facts to the two rival theories. If, on the one hand, nothing has become beautiful but through the utility of beauty, beauty will be found where it is useful and nowhere else. But we have found beauty without finding utility; so that theory, on our present knowledge, is inadmissible.

If, on the other hand, there be an artificer in Nature who loves at once utility and beauty, he may use the one sometimes as a mean to the other, or he may use beauty without utility; and the presence of beauty without utility is intelligible.

And here I conclude. I see in Nature both utility and beauty; but I am not convinced that the one is solely dependent on the other. I find a grace and a glory (even in the flowers of plants) which, on the utilitarian theory, is not accounted for, is a residual phenomenon; and that in such enormous proportions that the phenomenon explained bears no perceptible proportion to the phenomenon left unexplained. Whether this be so or not, it appears to me, for the reasons I have already given, that we may still entertain the same notions about the beauty of the world as before. Our souls may still rejoice in beauty as of old. To some of us this glorious frame has not appeared a dead mechanic mass, but a living whole, instinct with spiritual life; and in the beauty which we see around us in Nature's face, we have felt the smile of a spiritual Being, as we feel the smile of our friend adding light and lustre to his countenance. I still indulge this fancy, or, if you will, this superstition. Still, as of old, I feel (to use the familiar language of our great poet of Nature)—

"A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts: a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean, and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods

And mountains; and of all that we behold

From this green earth: of all the mighty world,

Of eye, and ear."

Edw. Fry.

1  Wisdom, xiii. 3-5.

2  P. 200.

3  "Origin of Species" (4th Ed.), p. 239.

4  Wallace, "Tropical Nature," p. 232.

5  Ibid. p. 232.

6  Ibid. p. 237.

7  "Flowers and their Unbidden Guests," by Kerner, translated by Ogle. Prefatory Letter.

8  Henslow, "On Self-Fertilization." Trans. Linn. Society, 2nd series, "Botany," i. p. 325.
Query: Is not this the case with the Tacsonia of our greenhouses?

9  Henslow, ubi sup. 329.

10  Kerner, p. 11. These statements appear to me, though made by a very accomplished observer, to require verification. My own observations on the Colchicum (which have been only very imperfect) would have led me to incline to a different conclusion.

11  Kerner, p. 12.

12  Lubbock's "Wild Flowers in Relation to Insects," p. 56.

13  Lindley, "Veg. King." 436.

14  "Ueber die Bestaubungsvorrichtungen bei den Fumariaceen," in Pringsheim's "Jahrbuch," vol. vii. part iv. p. 423. 1870.

15  Link, "Report on Progress of Botany during 1841," translated by Lankester (Ray Society, 1845), p. 65.

16  Meehan, "On Fertilization by Insect Agency." Gardeners' Chronicle, 11 Sept. 1875.

17  For the whole subject of these most curious flowers, see Mr. Darwin's book "On the Different Forms of Flowers;" Rev. G. Henslow, Tr. Linn. Society, "Botany," 2nd series, vol. i. p. 317; Mr. Bennett, Journal of Linn. Society, "Botany," xiii. p. 147, xvii. p. 269.

18  Bennett, Journal of Linn. Society, "Botany," xiii. p. 147.

19  Meehan, "On Fertilization," ubi supra.

20  Mr. Bennett, "On Cleistogamous Flowers," Linn. Society's Journal, "Botany," xvii. p. 278, has shown that the latter is probably the correct view.

21  Nature, ix. 461.

22  Nature, xx. p. 386.

[pg 588]



"N O doubt education is a fine thing!" said I, meditatively, laying down my thirteenth newspaper. It was a rainy November day, and the reading-room was nearly empty. I had been told the great fact over and over again in some form or other in all the "Dailies" and "Weeklies." It had been repeated in every variety of tone in the little pile of "Monthlies" at my elbow, of which I had skimmed the cream (no one in these days can be expected to go through the labour of a whole article)! The "Quarterlies," in more ponderous fashion, had reiterated the sentiment. We had got hold of the right thing; all that was wanted was more and more of the same. Let everybody be served alike; what is meat for the gander is meat also for the goose, repeated the advocates of women's education, magniloquently (though not exactly in those words). Let everybody learn the same thing that I am learning! How much better and wiser we are than our forefathers! How beautiful for us to be able to say, as in the old story of the French Minister of Instruction when he pulls out his watch, "It is ten o'clock; all the children in the schools in England are doing their sums. It is half-past eleven, they are all writing their copies!"

"What everybody says must be true," thought I; "the schoolmaster has got the better of the world, and rules the roast despotically; but then how great is the result!" I repeated, with pride.

Such perfection was rather oppressive, and I could not help yawning a little as I went upstairs, looking round as I went. The decorations of the club were wonderfully fine, no doubt, but perhaps an Italian of the "Cinque-cento" would not have thought them quite successful. Probably, however, he would have been wrong. He was certainly much less "instructed" in art than we are. I strolled to the window, and looked out at a stucco palace on either hand and over the way, with pillars and pilasters added ad libitum, and a glimpse of a long wall with oblong [pg 589] openings cut in it, stretching the whole length of the street. One of the abominable regiments of black statues which disfigure London stood near the corner, the nicely-finished buttons of whose paletôt, and the creases of whose boots (the originals of which must have been made by Hoby), had often been my wonder, if not admiration.

"Yes, there certainly is a lost art or two, which have somehow made their escape from this best of all worlds, in spite of our drilling and double-distilled training," I sighed.

There was a portfolio of photographs lying on the table, which I turned over abstractedly. The Venus de Milo, and the Theseus of the Parthenon; the Raphael frescoes of the great council of the gods in the Farnesina Palace at Rome; a street in Venice; Durham Cathedral; the decorations of the Certosa at Pavia; some specimens of old Japanese porcelain; some coloured patterns of Persian shawls and prayer-rugs and of Indian inlaid work. Each of them was good and appropriate of its kind, expressing a national or individual taste and feeling, or, best of all, a belief. And none of them were the results of education, but of a kind of instinct of art which no instruction hitherto has been able to give, of which it seems even sometimes to deprive a race, as a savage generally loses his accurate perception of details and his power of memory and artistic perceptions, with his delicacy of hearing and smell, as a consequence of so-called civilization.

The Hindoo arranges colours for a fabric with the same certainty of intuition that a bird weaves his nest, or a spider its web. His blues and greens are as harmonious in their combinations as those of Nature herself; while the "educated" Englishman is now introducing every species of atrocity in form and colour wherever he goes, ruining the beautiful native manufactures by instructions from his superior "standpoint;" forcing the workers to commit every blunder which he does himself at home, in order to adapt their fabrics to the abominable taste of the middle classes in England. Even the missionaries, male and female, cannot hold their hands, and teach the children in schools and hareems crochet and cross-stitch of the worst designs and colours, instead of the exquisite native embroidery of the past. Arsenic greens, magenta and gas-tar dyes, are introduced by order of the merchants into carpets and cashmere shawls; vile colours and forms in pottery and bad lacquer-work are growing up, by command, in China and Japan. There seems to be no check or stay to the irruption of bad taste which is swamping the whole world by our influence. The Japanese have even been recommended to make a Museum of their own beautiful old productions quickly, or the very memory of their existence, and of the manner in which they were made, would be lost.

It is commonly supposed that the taste of the French is better than our own, and the pretty, the bizarre, the becoming, may indeed be said to belong to their domain; but high art is not their vocation. A certain harmony is obtained by quenching colour, as in the "Soupir étouffé," the [pg 590] "Bismarck malade," the "rose dégradée," the "Celadon" of the Sèvres china, all eighth and tenth degrees of dilution; but pure colour, like that of Persia and of the East generally, they never now dare to dip their hands into. The gorgeous effects of their own old painted glass, the "rose windows" of the churches at Rouen and in many other towns of Normandy, are far beyond their present reach.

The stained glass of all countries in Europe, indeed, belonging to the good times, is a feast of colour which none of the modern work can approach. There is a "Last Judgment," said to be from designs by Albert Dürer, which was taken in a sea-fight on its road to Spain, and put up in a little church at Fairford, in Gloucestershire, which dazzles us with its splendour; and the scraps which are still to be found all over England in village churches (many of which are now believed to be of home manufacture) are as beautiful as the great Flemish windows thirty feet high. At the present day the pigments used, we are told, are finer; the glass is infinitely better rolled, all the manufacturing processes have made wonderful progress, as we proudly declare; only the results of it are utterly and simply detestable—the colours of the great modern windows in Cologne Cathedral and Westminster Abbey set one's very teeth on edge—the temptation to use a stone (if it had come under one's hand) would be frightfully great in front of that at the east end of Ripon.

There lies before me an old Persian rug, all out of shape and twisted in the weaving, but full of subtle quantities in colour, perfect in the proportions of its vivid brilliancy, and a grand new Axminster carpet alongside, of faultless construction, with a design as hideous as its colours are harsh.

It is not only now with productions destined for the English market, but the degradation of art is beginning to spread all over the world—the standards of "instructed" European taste are vitiating the very well-springs of beautiful old work. The "mantilla" of Seville, and the "tovaglia" of the Roman peasant, are supplanted by frightful bonnets; the striking old costumes are disappearing alike in Brittany and in Algiers; in Athens and in Turkey they are giving way to the abominations of Parisian toilettes for the women, while the chimney-pot hat is taking the place of the turban and the kalpac for the men.

The picturesque quaintness of the narrow Egyptian streets dies away, as under a frost, under the hand of Western architects; the delicate pierced woodwork of their projecting balconies is changed for flat windows with red and green "jalousies;" and the Khedive builds minarets, it is true, but like enlarged Mordan pencil-cases. The harmony of the lines in an ancient Arabian fountain or mosque at Cairo, the interlacing patterns of fretwork in the Saracenic buildings at Grenada, are marvellous in their exquisite variety; yet the secret of their construction in their own land is nearly gone, the very tradition of the old work seems to have perished in the race—they cannot even imitate their own old [pg 591] creations. "Oh for a touch of a vanished hand!" we say over the ruined tombs of the Memlook Sultans in their desolate beauty, standing lonely in the desert near Cairo, or the wonderful mosques of the deserted city of Beejapore in the Bombay Presidency, whose photographs have lately been printed.

Each nation in the old time had an expression of its thoughts in the buildings in which it housed its gods, its government, and its individuals, which was as distinctive as its language: a tongue, indeed, in stone, in colour and in form, as plain as, indeed plainer than, ever words could frame.

The Egyptian, with the flat square lines of the gigantic slabs placed across the forests of enormous rounded pillars closely packed, the avenues of sphinxes and obelisks leading up (never at right angles, curiously to our sense of conformity) to the temples—solemn, heavy, magnificent, mysterious—with a sentiment of dignified repose, though little of beauty or proportion, but full of symbolism and suggestion and grandeur.

The exquisite Greek buildings, where proportion was almost like music in its scientific harmony of parts, so exact, so modulated, so severe, so lovely—with sculpture forming an almost necessary portion of the architectural design when at its highest point of excellence.

The Saracenic, with its simple grace of construction and delicate detail of ornament, with holy words and combinations of lines in place of natural forms, and soaring beauty of domes, and pierced marble work.

The Middle Age Italian, with its inlaid and decorated façades and wealth of columns, and traceries of gay-coloured stones, and contrasts of brilliant light and dark shadows in the deep-set windows and doors,—bright and lovely like Giotto's Campanile at Florence, rising like a flower over the city, or great churches like those of Orvieto and St. Mark's,1 with their rich profusion of mosaic and carved stone and quaint modifications of brickwork.

Or the buildings of the Gothic nations (our own included), which often, like those at Mont St. Michel, seem to have so grown out of the situation—where the Art is so interwoven with Nature, that it is hardly possible to discover where one begins and the other ends. There is something also of the manner in which Nature works, in the feeling with which the curves interlace, seeming almost to grow into each other, in a Gothic cathedral. In the perspectives of heavy round arches of Winchester and Durham, in the upward soaring of the Salisbury spire, there is the same impression—they seem to have "come" so. It is like a living organism, the parts of which are as natural and necessary to the whole as is the growth of a tree: like the recipe of old for a poet, they seem to have been "born, not made."

All these different races invented for themselves what is called a [pg 592] "style;" that is to say, an original manner, peculiar and adapted to their special idiosyncrasies, of fulfilling those wants which every nation, as soon as it emerges from the savage state, must feel and provide for in some fashion.

Even to descend to very inferior work—there is character and expression in the old King William houses on the river-bank at Chelsea, in the pretty little Queen Anne Square in Westminster; it is too neat and pretty to be high art, with its unobtrusive moulded brick, its shallow projections, and the carved shells over the doorways; but it is not unlike the poetry of Pope in the delicate finish and adaptation of its parts, while no one can deny that it has an individuality which the smart new houses in Grosvenor Place are totally without, where costly granite and excellent stone seem to have been employed to show the moral lesson that the best materials are of little service unless mixed "with brains, sir," as Opie advised. Every capital of the columns is carved by hand, but of the poorest design and all alike—it is hardly possible to conceive the poverty of invention involved in making every house and every ornament an exact copy of its neighbour, in a situation which invited picturesque treatment—after too, it had been shown at the Oxford Museum that carving was done both quicker and better when the workers exerted their minds in such inventions as they possessed (and some of their renderings of natural forms were beautiful) than when they merely followed a stereotyped pattern.

At present we can as soon invent a new style for ourselves as a new animal; we copy, we combine—that is, under the Georgian era we added a Mahometan cupola to Roman columns in the Regent's Park; or, still later, we made one pediment serve for the whole side of a Belgravian square—i.e., a form intended for a nicely-calculated angle over the front of a temple with a particular number of columns, is stretched as on a rack over the roofs of an acre of houses; or we build a portico designed as a shelter against the cloudless sunshine of the Greek climate to darken a sunless English dwelling-house. Our last achievement has been to make a "pasticcio" of the high "mansarde" Parisian roofs, with hideous little debased Italian porticoes, a quarter of a mile of which may be seen in the Grosvenor Gardens district.

Also we can patch and imitate—that is, rebuild a sham antique—from which, however ingeniously done, the ineffable charm of the original has escaped like a gas. Why the portico of the capital at Washington, or the monument on the Calton Hill at Edinburgh, whose columns are said to be "an exact copy of those at Athens," are so utterly uninteresting, it would take too long to explain; but no one will deny that they are mere lumps of dead stone, while the Parthenon itself, ruined and defaced, wrecked and ill-used, still stands like a glorious poem in marble, which no evil treatment can deprive of its charm. There is mind and soul worked into the material, and somehow inextricably entangled into it, which no copy, however exact, can in the least reproduce.

[pg 593]

No doubt we have improved in our street architecture; there are isolated specimens of red brick, a shop-front in South Audley Street, and one in New Bond Street, several excellent buildings in the city, &c, &c, legitimate adaptations of gables, dormers, and windows, exceedingly good of their kind; but these are not original creations, only developments of what already exists.

There is one point in which our present shallow, unintelligent education has wrought irreparable mischief. We have learnt so much of respect for art as to desire to preserve the works of our forefathers, but not so far as to find out how this is to be done. We set to work to "restore" them. Every inch of the surface of an old church is historical as to the manner of the handiwork of the men of the twelfth, thirteenth, or whatever may be the century, and we proceed to put a new face on it, which, at the best, must certainly be that of the nineteenth century; we find a defaced portrait statue on an altar-tomb (as in a church in Devonshire), and we insert a smooth mask out of our own heads; we find an Early English tower with walls fourteen feet thick, and think a vestry would be "nicer" in its place, and the tower is therefore pulled down and rebuilt at the other end of the nave (as in a church in Bucks); or a curious monument to the fifth son of Edward III., or a couple of kneeling figures, clad in ruffs and farthingales, of an old rector and his wife, are within the communion rails (as in two other churches in Bucks); the incumbents do not approve of tombs in such "sacred places," and, regardless of the curious historical fact shown by the very position itself in pre-Reformation days, they are ruthlessly rooted up, and in the latter case a flaming brass to the rector's own family substituted.

Even a little art education would show us that this is not "restoration;" it may be a much finer and smarter kind of work, as many people seem to consider it; but the cutting down an inch of the splendid carved stone porches at Chartres to a new surface is not "restoring" that which was there before—the face of the fifteenth-century lady cannot be "restored" without a portrait which no longer exists—the new tower may be very "pretty," but it is certainly no longer a specimen of rare old Early English work. Like the monks of old carefully scratching their invaluable parchment manuscripts, to put in their own words and notes, we have at one fell swoop scratched the history of English ecclesiastical art off the land, and archæologists are inquiring sadly for instances of unrestored churches, which, alas! now are scarcely to be found.

What may be the reason why architecture, sculpture, painting, and even poetry—i.e., the combination of stone, brick, marble, metal, colours, and, lastly, of metrical forms of words—should all suffer by the advance of our (so-called) civilization and education, is still a mystery; but few will be found to doubt the fact in detail, though they may deny the general formula.

Perhaps our self-consciousness as to our great virtues, our "progress," our knowledge, the learning of the reason of our work, the introversion of our present moods of thought, check the development of an idea, [pg 594] even if we may be fortunate enough to get hold of one. Self-consciousness is fatal to art; there is a certain spontaneity of utterance—singing, as the birds sing, because they cannot help it—"composing," almost as the mountains and clouds "compose," by reason of their existence itself, not because they want to make a picture,—which produces natural work, grown out of the man and the requirements of his nature, to which it seems, with very rare exceptions, that we cannot now attain.

In sculpture, a modern R.A. has acquired ten times as much anatomy as Phidias: dissection was unknown, and not permitted, by the Greeks. Chemistry has produced for the painter colours which Raphael (luckily for us) never dreamed of. Yet one cannot help wondering at the strange daring which permits the honourable society at Burlington House to hang yearly the works of the ancient masters of the craft on the same walls where their own productions are to figure a few weeks later, as if to inform the world most impressively and depressingly from how far we have fallen in pictorial art; to string up our taste, as it were, to concert pitch—to give the key-note of true excellence, in order to mark the depth to which we have sunk.

We now teach drawing diligently in all European countries, and are surprised that we get no Michelangelos. Did Masaccio go to a school of design, or Giotto learn "free-hand" manipulation? Education, as it is generally defined—meaning thereby a knowledge of the accumulation of facts discovered by other people—is good for the general public, for ordinary humanity, but not for original minds, except so far as it saves them time and trouble by preventing them from reinventing what has been already done by others. True, there can be but few "inventors" (in the old Italian sense of creators) in the world at any one moment, and training must, it will be said, be carried on for the use of the many; but one might still plead for a certain elasticity in our teaching, a margin left for free-will among the few who will ever be able to use it. And, meantime, it is allowable to lament over the number of arts we have lost, or are in danger of losing, which can only be practised by the few—whose number seems ever to be diminishing, under our generalizing processes of turning out as many minds of the same pattern as if we wanted nail-heads or patent screws by the million.

This is not education in its true and highest sense—i.e., the bringing forth the best that is in a man; not simply putting knowledge into him, but using the variety of gifts, which even the poorest in endowment possess, to the best possible end. And this seems more and more difficult as the stereotyped pattern is more and more enforced in board-schools, endowed schools, public schools, universities; and each bit of plastic material, while young, is forced as much as possible into the same shape, the only contention being who shall have the construction of the die which all alike are eager to apply to every individual of the nation.

Of all races which have yet existed there can be no doubt that the [pg 595] Greek was the one most highly endowed with artistic powers of all kinds; yet the Greek was certainly not, in our sense of the term, an educated man at all; his powers of every kind, however, were cultivated indirectly by the very atmosphere he lived in. His sensitive artistic nature found food in the forms and colours of the mountains and the islands, the sea and the sky, by which he was surrounded; by the human nature about him in its most perfect development; by every building—his temples, his tombs, his theatres—every pot and pan he used, every seat he sat upon; whereas no man's eye can be other than degraded by the unspeakable ugliness of an English manufacturing town, or, what is almost worse, by the sham art where decoration of any kind is invented or attempted by the richer middle class.

The theory that soil and climate and food produce instincts of beauty, as well as varieties of beasts and plants, is, however, evidently at fault in these questions; for if this were the case at one time in the world's history, why not at another? and the present inhabitants of Greece are as inapt as their neighbours in sculpture, painting, and architecture. Nothing, even out of the workshops of Birmingham, can exceed the ugliness of their present productions—e.g., a Minerva's head without a forehead, done in bead-work on canvas, fastened on to a piece of white marble, which was given as a precious parting gift from the goddess's own city to a valued friend. There seems now a headlong competition in every country after bad art. If we ask for lace and embroidery in the Greek islands, or silver fillagree in Norway,—if we inquire for wood-carving from Burmah, or the old shawls and pottery from Persia and the East,—the answer is always the same: we are told that there is "none such made at present." It is only what remains of the old handmade work that is to be obtained; the present inhabitants "care for none of these things." Sham jewellery from the "Palais Royal," Manchester goods, stamped leather, and the like, are what the natives are seeking for themselves, while they get rid of "all those ugly old things" to the first possible buyer for any price which they can fetch.

Manufacturing an article, (whatever be the real derivation of the word, but) meaning the use of machinery for the multiplication of the greatest number of articles at the least cost, however admirable for the comfort of the million, is evidently fatal to art. When each bit of ironwork, every hinge, every lock scutcheon, was hammered out with care and consideration by the individual blacksmith, even if he were but an indifferent performer, it bore the stamp of the thought of a man's mind directing his hand; now there is only the stamp of a machine running the metal into a mould. When every bit of decorative wood-work was "all made out of the carver's brain,"—when the embroidery of the holiday shirt of a boatman of "Chios' rocky isle" took half a lifetime to devise and stitch, and was intended to last for generations of wearers, art found a way, however humble, through nimble fingers interpreting the fancies of the individual brain. "Fancy work," as an old Hampshire [pg 596] woman called her stitching of the fronts and backs of the old-fashioned smock-frocks, each one differing from the one she made before, as her "fancy" led. It was always interesting, and almost always beautiful.

Now the hinges are cast by the ton, all of one pattern; fortunate, indeed, if the original be a good one (a very hopeful supposition!). The sewing-machine repeats its monotonous curves of embroidery; the wood-carving is the result of skilfully-arranged knives and wheels worked by steam, which only execute forms adapted for them. The initial thought of their designer must be, not what is in itself desirable, but that which the machine can best produce. What is right in a particular place, is the natural object of the workman artist; how to use what has been already cast or stamped, is the object of the present ordinary builder; and what he calls "symmetry"—i.e., monotony, every line repeated ad nauseam—is the result his education aims at. Symmetry, in the sense of the repetition of the infinite variety of exquisitely modulated curves in the two outlines of the human body, is beautiful and harmonious; but there is neither beauty nor harmony in the repetition of the self-same horizontal and perpendicular lines of windows and doors in a London street. A feeling of what in music are called "contrary motion," "oblique motion," is all required in the impression produced by really fine architecture. Yet, if the ordinary builder is asked to vary his hideous row of houses by an additional window or a higher chimney, he exclaims with horror at such a violation of "symmetry," his sole rule of beauty being that all should look alike.

The effect, indeed, of machine-made work is to impress upon the tradesman mind the belief that perfection consists wholly in exact and correct repetition of a pattern, which may be said to be true in his craft; whereas constant variation and development is the law of healthy art, the need being expressed by the design. To save the expense and trouble of fresh drawings, also, as soon as a pattern becomes popular in one material, it is immediately repeated ad nauseam in every other, however incongruous. A bunch of fuchsias has been supposed to look well in a lace curtain; it is then cast in brass for the end of a curtain-rod; is used for wall-papers and stone-carving alike. Whereas if a Japanese artist has designed a flight of cranes on his screen or his paper, it is impossible to get another exactly the same; to reproduce a sketch exactly being, generally, as every artist can tell, more laborious than to make a new one, where the brain assists the fingers in their work.

There is another result of our present shallow "general" education which has a most depressing effect upon art. Every one now can read and write, and it would be considered an infringement of the right of private judgment to doubt the ability of every writer or reader to criticize any work of art whatsoever. In the case of buying a kitchen range or a carriage we should not trust to our own knowledge, but should apply to the experienced expert; but "every one can tell whether he likes a picture or not!"

[pg 597]

Now, good criticism in art demands at least as long and severe an apprenticeship as that in ironmongery—the training of the eye by long experience, reading, historical, scientific, mechanical—real study of all the various subjects connected with it; and this can be acquired only by few. It has been said, with perfect truth, that it will not do to depend on the fiat of artists themselves for the value of a picture, statue, or building. With some, the admiration of the technical part of art is too great; the passionate likes and dislikes for particular styles or particular men warp the judgments of others; and this is, perhaps, inherent in the artist nature. But this is only saying that we must not go to the ironfounder for the character of his kitchen range; there are other skilled opinions to be had besides those of the authors of a work.

At the present time, the art of criticism has got so far beyond our powers of creation that it becomes more and more difficult to bring forth a great work of art. The hatching of eggs requires a certain genial warmth to bring them to perfection; creation is a vital act, but the reception which any new-fledged production is likely to meet with is either the scorching fire of fault-finding or the freezing cold of indifference.

It was not thus that great works of old were produced; Cimabue's picture of the Virgin was carried in a triumphal procession through Florence, from the artist's studio to the church which was to be honoured by its possession. It was a worthy religious offering to the goddess Mary, a subject of rejoicing to the whole city, and the quarter of the town where it was first seen, amid cries of delight, was called the "Borgo Allegri," a name which it has kept six hundred years. And the sympathy of the people reacted on the artist, and helped him to carry out his great conceptions. They were proud of him, and he worked at his picture as a labour of love to do his nation honour.

Now, when a man has spent perhaps years over a religious picture, working with all his heart and soul and strength, instead of its being taken into a church, and seen only with the associations for which it is adapted, it is hung up between a smirking lady, clad in the last abominations of the fashion, on one side, and a "horse and dog, the property of Blank, Esq.," on the other; while the artist is fortunate if the best of the critics, who has just glanced at it as he passes by, does not entirely ignore his meaning and mistake the expression of his idea, only discovering that "the drawing of the toe of the left foot is decidedly awkward." So it may be, and there are probably faults in it still more considerable; yet the picture, with all these faults, may be one of great merit.

Is it possible to conceive the Madonna di San Sisto painted under such conditions? The cold chill of the indifferent public would have reacted on the artist, and quenched the fire of his inspiration. The picture was intended to be the incarnation of the religious feeling of the whole Christian world, in the divine expression of the infant Christ gazing into futurity, with those rapt, far-seeing eyes,—in the holy [pg 598] mother, who carries him so reverently, yet with such power and purity in her look and bearing. It was honoured sympathetically by all who had the joy of seeing it borne as a banner through a great city as an act of the highest worship; not cut up into little morsels and set on a fork by every man who can write smart articles for a penny paper, bestowing a little supercilious praise and much wholesome advice on Holman Hunt and Tennyson, on Stevens2 and Street alike.

But the result is that the world is poorer by the want of the work which only a sense of sympathy between the artist and his public inspires. "Action and reaction are equal," we are told, in science, and the artist cannot produce the best that is in him alone, any more than the most finished musician can play on a dumb piano. The receivers must do their share in the partnership. Mrs. Siddons once said that she lost all her power when annihilated by the coldness of the cream of the cream society of a salon, and preferred any marks of emotion of an unsophisticated if intelligent audience, to the chill of fashionable indifference; and when we complain of the poorness of our art, we must remember for how large a share of this we, the present public, are responsible. It may be all very well for the skylark to "pour his strains of unpremeditated art" for his own pleasure and that of the little skylarks; but Shelley must have had the hope that "the world will listen then, as I am listening now."

The poet and the painter require intelligent cordial belief and sympathy, which is just what we have not to give, and therefore the reign of the highest art is probably at an end: no Phidias or Michelangelo, no Homer or Shakspeare, are likely again to arise. This is pre-eminently a scientific age—a time for the collection and co-ordination of facts; and what imagination we possess we use in the discovery of the laws by which Nature works, and in the application of our knowledge to the ordinary wants and comforts and pleasures of the human race. Electric telegraphs, phonographs, photographs abound; every possible adaptation of steam in majestic engines (almost, it seems, as intelligent as man), to promote our means of communication and locomotion over the surface of the earth, and of production in every conceivable form; great ships and engines of destruction in war, and (curious antithesis) ingenious contrivances for the saving of pain in disease—everything, in short, connected with the comprehension and subjugation of the material world, is more and more carried to perfection. Yet in spite of these marvellous achievements, unless we can manage to secure a supply of good art, there can be no doubt that there will "have passed away a glory from the earth" which we can ill afford to lose.

There is no use in preaching what is called the common sense of the matter, and telling Keats (though he may have died of consumption, and not of the Edinburgh Review) that the critique on his poems was [pg 599] flippant and unintelligent; or one artist that the account of his picture was written by a man who did not understand painting, and the next by a writer who had no notion of the requisites of true poetry. The artist is by necessity of his nature a thin-skinned, impressionable being, with sensitive nerves and perceptions, without which the power of creation does not exist. He writes and paints and acts and sculpts—in short, composes, invents, creates—to make the world feel as he is feeling. Fame is a vulgar word for the sentiment which inspires him; the longing after sympathy is a much truer expression of what the true artist desires. That of his own family and friends is not sufficient; he wants the world at large to hear and understand and join in what he has to say, whether it be in marble or on canvas, in music or in words. To grow such a creature to perfection is very rare in the history of mankind, and when our aloe does flower, we should make the most of it, and feed it with food convenient. Our blame depresses him, even stupid,3 unintelligent blame, more than our praise elevates him; "he is absurdly sensitive," says the hard-headed man of the world; but that is the very condition of the problem with which we have to deal; if he were not so, we should not have great works of art from him. He is an idealist by nature. If we declare that it is very absurd of our vines to require so much care and kindness, and that a little roughing and neglect will do them a great deal of good, we shall not get many grapes; and, after all, what we want is grapes—results, great artistic works.

It is almost pathetic to see the nation doing the best it knows, offering its patronage and its public buildings, its monuments of great men and its money, and then to mark the results. It is fortunate that most of the frescoes are scaling off the walls of the Houses of Parliament. It is fortunate that Nelson and the Duke of York are hoisted up so high that they cannot be scrutinized at all; it is fortunate that most of the public statues are generally so begrimed with dirt and soot that few can make out their intention. But it is we who are responsible for half at least of their failures.4 We have, as a nation, neither the artistic feeling which delights in the beautiful with a sort of worship, nor the sensuous religious instincts which require an outward and visible sign of our inward faith. Therefore our best chance of great work seems to be when the common-sense necessity is so large in its demands, that carrying it out even on merely utilitarian principles may give a grand result by the force of circumstances, almost without our will,—the very fulfilment of the working conditions on an enormous scale forcing a certain grandeur on the work. As, for instance, when a [pg 600] viaduct is carried over a deep valley and river, upon a lofty series of arches, as in many Welsh railways and at Newcastle, there are elements of strength, durability, might, and therefore majesty, which the barest execution of the requirements cannot take away. The Suspension Bridge hung high in the air above the ships in the Menai Straits, and that over the narrow hollow of the Avon, have a beauty of lightness and grace all their own—Waterloo Bridge, which Canova declared to be worth coming to England to see—are all specimens of a kind of work which we may hope to see multiplied, and even improved upon, as the adaptation of art to the common necessities of our civilization becomes more common, and is taken in hand by a higher and more educated class of men.

Nothing, however, can well be more depressing than the experience of the United States in respect to this question of art and education. Here is a country (in their own magniloquent hyperbole) "bounded on the north by the Aurora Borealis, and on the west by the setting sun," &c., &c., whose proud boast it is that every man, woman, and child (born on its soil) can read, write, and something more,—which has just celebrated its centenary of independent existence, and is in the very spring-time of its national life when the "sap is rising,"—a season which among other nations is that of their greatest artistic vigour, yet which has never produced a poet, painter, sculptor,5 or architect above mediocrity. Strangely as it would seem at first sight, it is originality which is chiefly wanting in their art; it is all an echo of European models; they have no independent action of thought or interpretation of Nature. Here, again, it is probably the want of culture of the public which is to blame. Evidence is difficult to obtain on such a vast subject as the use made of the reading and writing so freely imparted at the schools in the United States, but there is very good testimony showing that, with the exception of great centres of civilization, like Boston, the nation, as a nation, reads little but newspapers and story-books; and these clearly would produce a soil utterly unfit for the growth of real art.

Lastly, let us not forget Mr. Mill's warning how much the nation, as well as the individual, must suffer by the stifling of original thought in the rigid conformity to system which our present mechanism of Government regulations, of centralized hard-and-fast rules, is bringing about in education.

The State has a right to exact a certain amount of training in the individuals who compose it, but has no right whatever to interfere as to how that result is obtained. Every encouragement should be held out to original action of all kinds, tending to develop the faculties—artistic, scientific, as well as practical—which remain to be utilized among the millions who are now coming under an influence hitherto painfully narrow, rigid, and shallow in its operations, in spite of its magnificent promises and high-sounding notes of self-satisfaction.

F. P. Verney.

1  Now, alas! under sentence of "restoration;" the age of creation in Italy appears to be over, and that of destruction to have begun.

2  The monument to the Duke of Wellington has never received its due meed of praise. With all his faults, poor Stevens was a man of true genius.

3  "Quoique les applaudissemens que j'ai reçus m'aient beaucoup flatté, la moindre critique, quelque mauvaise qu'elle eût été, m'a toujours causé plus de chagrin que toutes les louanges ne m'aient fait de plaisir," writes Racine to his son. He was silent for twelve years after the "insuccès de Phêdre." "Quoique le 'Mercure Gallant' était au dessous de rien, les blessures qu'il fait n'en sont pas moins cruelles à la sensibilité d'un poëte," adds the Revue des Deux Mondes.

4  The group of "Asia," by Foley, in Prince Albert's Memorial, is one of the few exceptions to the indifferent character of out-door statues in London.

5  Mr. Story may perhaps be considered an exception; but even the "Cleopatra," and "Sibyl" were produced under the influence of Rome.

[pg 601]



I T has often been said that the Turk never changes, that he is now just what he was when he first appeared in Asia Minor. There is very little truth in this observation, for in fact he is like other men, and his character has been modified by the circumstances in which he has been placed, as well as by constant intermarriage with other races. He has changed in some respects for the better, and in others for the worse. There is probably no important city in the world, unless it be Cairo, which has been so radically changed during the last fifty years as the capital of the Turkish Empire. The dress, the customs, the people, the Government, have all been transformed under the influence of European civilization; and these changes have exerted more or less influence in all parts of the Empire.

In this impatient age, when men will hardly give a moment to the consideration of anything but the future, and are always anxiously waiting for to-morrow's telegrams, it is easy to forget that we cannot understand either the present or the future without constant reference to the past. No one can fairly judge the Turks or the Christians of this Empire, or form any idea of their probable destiny, who is not acquainted with their condition fifty years ago, in the time of the last of the Ottoman Sultans; and a brief sketch of Constantinople as it was at that time cannot fail to suggest some interesting considerations to those who are watching the course of events in the East. As contemporary records are even more valuable than personal reminiscences, I shall quote freely from the private journal of a late English resident, who was a member of the Levant Company, and, after its dissolution, for many years the leading English banker in Constantinople, with a world-wide reputation for integrity, and in every way a perfect specimen of an English gentleman of the old school. He came to Constantinople [pg 602] in 1823, and his journal was continued till 1827. It has never been published.

The reigning Sultan was Mahmoud II., the Reformer, who came to the throne in 1808, after the murder of Sultan Selim and the execution of his brother Moustapha, and after narrowly escaping death himself. The insurrection in Moldavia and Wallachia had been put down in 1821, and Ali Pacha, the famous Albanian chief of Janina, had been treacherously put to death in 1822; but the war of the Greek Revolution was still in progress, and the battle of Navarino was not fought until 1827. War was declared against Russia the same year. Halet Pacha had been strangled in 1822, and Mohammed Selim Pacha was Grand Vizier. Lord Strangford and Mr. Stratford Canning (Lord Stratford) represented England at the Sublime Porte during this period. The relation of the European Powers to the Sultan at this time cannot be better illustrated than by the following account of the reception of Mr. Stratford Canning in April, 1826. The ceremony was not so humiliating as it was in 1621, when Sir Thomas Rowe made such vigorous but unavailing attempts to have it modified; when the Ambassador was forced down upon his knees, and compelled to kiss the earth at the feet of the Sultan; when he was often beaten by the Janissaries on leaving the palace; or, as in the case of the Ambassador of Louis XIV., struck in the face by a soldier in the presence of the Grand Vizier; but although there had been some ameliorations in the ceremony, its significance was exactly the same in 1826 as in 1621, and the same religious scruples were advanced as a reason why they could not be modified in favour of Giaours by the Caliph of Islam. They were all the more humiliating for those who submitted to them, from the fact that there was one Power in Europe which had never recognized them. Even as early as 1499 the Russian Ambassador refused to submit to any such degradation. In 1514 a new Ambassador was specially instructed "on no account to compromise his dignity, or prostrate himself before the Sultan; to deliver his letters and presents with his own hands, and not to inquire after his health unless he first inquired after that of the Czar." The Turks seem to have had an instinctive fear of Russia even at that early day, when they were strong and Russia was weak. But could Sultan Mahmoud have looked forward twenty-five years, he would no doubt have treated Lord Stratford with more respect and consideration. In 1826, however, the haughty pride of the Caliph was unbroken, and he little thought that his descendants would reign only by the favour of Europe.

"After having an audience of the Grand Vizier, the 10th was fixed for the Ambassador's audience of the Sultan, when he, accompanied by all the English residents at Constantinople, left the Embassy in the morning at a quarter before six, in procession, on horseback. At Topkhana, about five minutes' ride from the Embassy, we embarked in boats and crossed the harbour to Stamboul. We found horses waiting [pg 603] for us, but stopped to take coffee, pipes, sherbet, and sweetmeats, with the Tchaoush-bachi (a Marshal of the Palace), who preceded us to the entrance of the Porte, where it is usual for Ambassadors to wait under some large spreading trees until the Grand Vizier passes and precedes them to the seraglio. Having entered the first gate, we passed through a large open space, enclosed by low buildings, in which the Janissaries were drawn up to the number of three thousand. We stopped on the farther side of the second gate, in a large square chamber between the second and third gates, within which is the cell where Grand Viziers and other State prisoners under sentence of death are confined and beheaded. After waiting here a quarter of an hour, permission was sent for our entrance. We passed through the third gate into a large garden, in which stood the divan chamber, and the front of the seraglio, both very richly painted and gilt, with roofs projecting four or five feet beyond the walls. As soon as we entered the garden, the Janissaries all uttered a loud shout and began running as quick as they could. This was for their pilaf, the distribution of which was a complete scramble. This is a farce always played off on these occasions to impress foreigners with a respect for this contemptible soldiery. We then walked forward, for we had left our horses outside the second gate, to the divan chamber, where the Grand Vizier was sitting in state, immediately opposite the entrance, on the centre of a sofa, which extended along the side of the chamber, covered with the richest silks, at the further ends of which, on each side of him, sat the judges of Anatolia and Roumelia. The chamber was small but richly decorated, the ceiling being splendidly painted and gilt. We walked to one side of the room without making any salutation, as no notice was taken of us. After a time, a number of Turks entered and ranged themselves in two rows before the judges, who went through the form of examining them and deciding their suits. This was intended to impress us with a high sense of their administration of justice. The payment of the Janissaries is also generally appointed to take place at the audience of an Ambassador, in whose presence are piled great bags of money, which are delivered to the troops, in order to impress foreigners with an exalted idea of Turkish opulence. This tedious ceremony lasted more than three hours, but it was the last payment before the destruction of that body. The Grand Vizier had in the meantime sent a letter to the Sultan, stating in the usual form that a Giaour Ambassador had come to prostrate himself at the feet of his sacred Majesty. The royal answer came at length, enclosed in an envelope. When this was taken off there appeared a quantity of muslin, in which the letter was wrapped. The Grand Vizier, taking the letter, kissed it and applied it to his forehead before he read it. The tenor of this letter was a command to feed, wash, and clothe the Giaours, and bring them to him. After the Grand Vizier had read this, two tables were laid (i.e., two large tin plates were laid upon reversed stools), one for the Vizier and [pg 604] the Ambassador, the other for the rest of us. Washing materials were provided, and a collation served. All this time the Sultan was looking at us through a latticed window. After this we went into the garden, and pelisses were distributed. I was lucky enough to receive one. The Ambassador, with those who had pelisses, amounting to twenty in all, then followed the Grand Vizier and entered the palace. At the door each of us was seized by two Capoudji-bachis, who held us by the arms and half-carried us through an outer hall, in which was drawn up a line, three deep, of white eunuchs. When we entered the throne-room, we advanced bowing. The Sultan was sitting on a throne superbly decorated. His turban was surmounted by a splendid diamond aigrette and feather. His pelisse was of the finest silk, lined with the most costly sable fur, and his girdle was one mass of diamonds. The Ambassador recited his speech in English, which the interpreter translated, and the Grand Vizier replied to it. This ceremony lasted ten minutes, and we retired."

This same Mr. Stratford Canning, who waited under a tree for the Grand Vizier to pass, who had to sit three hours unnoticed while the Janissaries were paid, who was a Giaour unfit to enter the sacred presence of the Sultan until he had been fed by his bounty, washed, and clothed, is still alive, and he remained in Constantinople long enough to become the Great Elchi who practically governed the Empire and kept the Sultan under his tutelage. It was an unhappy day for Turkey when he was removed to please the Emperor of the French.

Only two months after this audience the Sultan accomplished his long-cherished plan of destroying the Janissaries, as his Viceroy in Egypt had fifteen years before destroyed the Mamelukes. It is not easy at this day to realize how large a place this body filled in the life of the people of Constantinople. We are accustomed to think of them as soldiers, as they were in the early history of the Ottoman Turks, the sad tribute of Christian children exacted by the Mohammedan conqueror to extend the influence of Islam. But this terrible blood-tax ceased in 1675, and the Janissaries became a caste or a guild, entrance into which was eagerly sought by the wealthiest Mohammedan families, and the majority of them seldom did any military service. In the time of Mahmoud II. they were at once a source of terror to the Sultan and to the people of the country. They were above all law, and the lives and property of the Christians especially were at their mercy. Those who still remember those days can hardly speak of the Janissaries without a shudder. They lived in constant fear of them; night and day, at any hour, they might enter the house, strip it of its furniture, and torture the family until every place of concealment was revealed and every valuable given up. They were universally feared and hated, and it was this fact which made it possible for the Sultan to destroy them. He proceeded with caution, for he could not hope to destroy them by the cruel and treacherous means adopted by the Pacha of Egypt. He [pg 605] obtained a Fetva from the Sheik-ul-Islam approving of the drafting of a certain number of Janissaries into a new military force which was organized on the principle of European armies. These men rebelled against the strict discipline, and some of them were quietly strangled. Finally, on the 14th of June, 1826, the whole body revolted, murdered their officers, plundered the palace of the Grand Vizier, and prepared to attack the Sultan next day if he did not yield to their demands.

"They displayed a spirit of determination which they never manifested but in extreme cases. All their soup-kettles were solemnly brought to the Atmeidan (Hippodrome) and inverted in the centre of the area. Soon 20,000 men were assembled around them. The crisis had now arrived which the Sultan both feared and wished for, and he immediately availed himself of all those resources which he had previously prepared for such an event. He first ordered the small military force which he had organized to hold itself in readiness to act at a moment's notice. He then summoned a council, explained to them the mutinous spirit and insubordination of the Janissaries, and declared his intention of either ruling without their control, or passing over into Asia, and leaving Constantinople and European Turkey to their mercy. He proposed to them to raise the sacred standard of Mahomet, and summon all good Mussulmans to rally around it. This proposal met with unanimous applause. The sacred relic had not been seen in Constantinople for fifty years before. It was now taken from the Imperial Treasury to the Mosque of Sultan Achmet. The Ulema and the Softas walked before, and the Sultan with all his Court followed it. Public criers spread the solemn news all over the city. No sooner was it announced than thousands rushed from their homes and joined the procession with fiercest enthusiasm. When they entered the mosque, the Mufti planted the standard on the pulpit, and the Sultan, as Caliph, pronounced an anathema against all who should refuse to range themselves under it. Just at this time the artillery arrived under the walls of the seraglio. The marines and gardeners joined it. Four officers of rank were then sent to offer a pardon to the Janissaries if they would desist from their demands and disperse. The experience of centuries had taught them that they had only to persist in their demands to have them conceded. In this conviction, they at once murdered the four officers who had proposed submission to them. This was done in sight of the mosque. They then peremptorily demanded that the Sultan should for ever renounce his plan of innovation, and that the heads of the principal officers of Government should be sent to them. The Sultan then demanded and received from the Sheik-ul-Islam a Fetva authorizing him to put down the rebellion. It was now twelve o'clock, and a large force of the new troops had been collected who could be relied upon. Orders were given to attack the Janissaries. The Agha Pacha surrounded the Atmeidan, where they were tumultuously assembled with no apprehension of such a measure, [pg 606] and the first intimation that many of them had of their situation was a murderous discharge of grape-shot from the cannon of the Topdjis. This continued some time, and vast numbers were killed on the spot. The survivors retired to their barracks on one side of the square. Here they barricaded themselves, and to dislodge them the building was set on fire. The flames were soon seen from Pera, bursting out in different places. The discharge of artillery continued without intermission; as it was determined to exterminate them utterly, no quarter was given, and the conflagration and fire of the cannon continued until night. The Janissaries, notwithstanding the surprise and their comparatively unprepared state, defended themselves with desperate fierceness and intrepidity. The troops suffered severely, and the Agha Pacha was wounded. Opposition ceased only when no one was left alive to make it. The firing ceased, the flames died out, and the next morning presented a frightful scene of burning ruins slaked in blood, a huge mass of mangled flesh and smoking ashes.

"During the next two days the gates continued closed, with the exception of one to admit faithful Mussulmans from the country to pay their devotion to the sacred standard. The Janissaries who had escaped the slaughter of the Atmeidan were thus shut in, and unremittingly hunted down and destroyed, so that the streets and barracks were full of dead bodies. During these two days no Christian was allowed, under any pretence, to pass over to Stamboul; but, though the two places are separated only by a narrow channel, the most perfect tranquillity reigned in Pera. The people would have known nothing of the tremendous convulsion on the other side if it had not been for the blaze of the fire and the report of cannon. On the fourth day I went, from curiosity, under the charge of a high Turk, to see how matters were going on, and was pleased at the appearance of the splendid encampment of the Grand Vizier, which was found at the Porte, and was at the same time the chief tribunal for the condemnation of the Janissaries, who were constantly being brought in, and, after undergoing a nominal trial of a few seconds, were taken to the front of the gate and beheaded; but the numbers so taken off, though amounting in this one place from 300 to 500 daily, were but few in comparison with those who were strangled privately at night on the Bosphorus. The Agha Pacha had his camp at the old palace, and was employed there in the same work. Carts and other machines were constantly employed in conveying the bodies to the sea. These executions continued for several months. The whole number destroyed at this time was 25,000: 40,000 more were banished to the interior of Asia, many of whom never reached their destination."

This account differs materially from that given by Creasy, on the authority of Ranke; but the author was a resident in Constantinople at the time, and in a position to know the facts as well as any Christian in the city. There are also inherent improbabilities in Creasy's account. The Sultan no doubt avoided, in appearance, the treachery of the Pacha [pg 607] of Egypt, but in substance the destruction of the Janissaries was accomplished in much the same way as the massacre of the Mamelukes. But whatever may be thought of the wisdom or the morality of this wholesale slaughter, it was as great a relief to the Christian population as it was to the Sultan himself, and it changed the whole spirit of life in Constantinople. The destruction of the Janissaries was followed by a violent persecution of the sect of Bektachi dervishes, whose founder, Hadji Bektach, had consecrated the first recruits. This was a powerful order, and possessed of immense wealth and influence; but its members were killed or exiled, and its tékés demolished. It is not easy, however, to destroy a religious sect, with a secret organization; and the Bektachis are almost as numerous and powerful to-day as they were fifty years ago, especially in Albania. They are not true Mussulmans, but are generally liberal, enlightened, and inclined to cultivate friendly relations with the Christians. They are frequently attacked by the Turkish newspapers as heretics, but they occupy many important positions in the Government. The famous Mahmoud Neddim Pacha belongs to this sect. Sultan Mahmoud probably attacked these dervishes, not so much because he feared them, as to prove himself a devoted Mohammedan, and to conciliate the fanatics who were indignant at the slaughter of so many true believers. He soon afterwards issued a Hatt proclaiming his devotion to Islam, and ordering the authorities to inflict the severest punishment upon any Mussulman who should neglect his religious duties.

The discussion on the Greek question which has been going on since the war adds new interest to those scenes of the Greek Revolution which fifty years ago aroused the sympathy of the world for a long-forgotten nation, and resulted in the creation of the little kingdom of Greece which now seeks an extension of her territory. The condition of the Greeks in Constantinople during the war was melancholy enough. It was all in vain that the Patriarch proclaimed their entire and absolute devotion to the Sultan, just as the Fanariote Greeks are doing to-day. It was in vain that he solemnly excommunicated and anathematized all who took part in the revolution. He was hung at the door of his church, and his body given to the Jews to be dragged about the streets of the city. All the prominent Greeks here were put to death, and all Mohammedans, even children, were ordered to arm themselves and destroy the Greeks whenever they could be found. All who could escape from the capital did so, and many were conveyed in foreign ships to Russia.

"Many of those who remained were protected and concealed in European houses. The property and the lives of the others were entirely at the mercy of the Government and the populace, and the distressing scenes which in consequence daily occurred in the streets are not easily described. Notwithstanding this disagreeable state of things, the Europeans enjoyed perfect security. The escapes from death which some of the rich Greeks had during this period were very extraordinary, [pg 608] and none more so than that of Signor Stephano Ralli, a rich merchant of Scio, who, with nine others, was sent at the commencement of the revolution to Constantinople, as a hostage for the peaceable conduct of the inhabitants of that island, when the Samiotes, soon after landing and butchering the few Turks on the island, so exasperated the Turkish Government that they immediately beheaded all the hostages except Signor Ralli, who found sufficient interest with one of the Ministers to escape. He was, however, immediately made a hostage for the tranquillity of Smyrna, and was again, by his acquaintance with and large bribes to the executioner, the only one who escaped death. When the disturbances commenced at the capital, in order to strike terror into the minds of the Greeks, twenty-four of the richest merchants were destined to be seized and executed, and the presence of Signor Ralli was demanded with the rest at the Porte. But, suspecting the consequence of such attendance, he cunningly informed the guard who found him that his master was at the next house, and that he would immediately send him in. Signor Ralli, then leaving the room, sent in his own servant, who was at once seized, conveyed to the Porte, and without further question executed in place of his master. Signor Ralli was then concealed in the house of an Englishman. He was found and arrested again in 1827, and again escaped with the loss of half his property; but this had such an effect upon his constitution that he died soon after."

The Bulgarian massacres which excited the indignation of the world a few years ago were insignificant in comparison with the terrible slaughter of the Greeks which went on for years in all parts of the Empire. Their effect upon public opinion in Europe was greater and more immediate, chiefly because Turkey was no longer a really independent Power, but was committing these atrocities under the protection of Europe, and especially of England. Fifty years ago the Sultan was responsible for his acts only to his own people; but even then Christian Europe was finally roused to put an end to these barbarities, and the battle of Navarino, October 20th, 1827, was the result. In justice to Sultan Mahmoud, however, it should be said that some of his most ferocious acts were not committed without great provocation on the part of the Greeks, who manifested equal ferocity when the opportunity offered. The news of the battle of Navarino roused the Sultan to proclaim a holy war.

"The design of the Giaours," he said in his proclamation, "is to destroy Islamism, and tread under foot the Mussulman nation. Let all the faithful, rich and poor, great and small, know that war is a duty for all. Let no one dream of receiving any pay. Far from this, we ought to sacrifice our persons and our property, and fulfil with zeal the duty which is imposed upon us by the honour of Islam. We must unite our efforts, give ourselves, body and soul, to defend our faith, even to the day of judgment. Mussulmans have no other means of obtaining safety in this world or the next."

[pg 609]

This holy war resulted in nothing better than the independence of Greece and the treaty of Adrianople. It was just at this period that Lord Beaconsfield spent a winter at Constantinople; but, as far as is known, his visit had no political object or influence.

The Greeks were not the only Christians who suffered at this time. The Catholic Armenians were persecuted with almost equal ferocity, although their only offence was that a number of them had left Turkey and settled in Russia under Russian protection. Irritated by this demonstration of attachment to the Czar, the Sultan expelled the whole sect from Constantinople, to the number of 27,000. They were allowed only ten days for preparation, and were then driven off en masse into Asia Minor. They were mostly wealthy families, living in luxury, and their sufferings were so great that but few lived to reach the place of exile. They perished at sea, died of hunger on the roads, and froze to death in the snow on the mountains. It was not a pleasant thing in those days to be a Christian subject of the Sultan, even when that Sultan was Mahmoud, the great Reformer.

Next to the Janissaries, the thing best remembered by the people of Constantinople is the plague. It seems to have been regularly domiciled here, and people made provision for it in all their domestic arrangements. It was only at certain times, when it raged with terrible severity, that it excited general alarm. It of course occupies a large place in the private journal from which I have already quoted; and all Europe has so recently been frightened out of its good sense by a rumour of its existence in Russia, that it is well to see how coolly a man can write about it who lived in the midst of it, and who is devoutly thankful that it is the plague, and not the cholera or the yellow fever, to which he is exposed.

"The plague is a disease communicating itself chiefly, if not solely, by contact. Hence, though it encircle the house, it will not affect the persons within if all are uniformly discreet and provident. Iron, it is observed, and like substances of a close, hard nature, do not retain and are not susceptible of the contagion. In bodies soft or porous, and especially in paper, it lurks often undiscovered but by its seizing some victim. The preservatives are fumigations, and washing with water and vinegar. Meat and vegetables are washed in water, and all paper is fumigated. The disease is usually observed to break out after times of famine, and it is a well-known fact that those are most subject to it who live badly and whose blood is in a low and impoverished state, for which reason it may be considered rather a disease of the poor than the rich. The Turks are the greatest victims, on account of their religious tenets and their abstinence from wine, although it is very rare to hear of a rich Turk who dies of it, for many of these drink wine and spirit secretly, and live upon substantial and nutritious food. The Greeks are more cautious than the Turks, but die in great numbers, which may be attributed to their numerous fasts, which they observe for [pg 610] at least half of the year, and during these they live on bad and unwholesome food. The first symptoms are debility, sickness at the stomach, shivering, followed by great heat, violent pains in the head, giddiness, and delirium. In a more advanced stage, the disease shows itself in dark-coloured spots, and sometimes in tumours on the glandular parts, which often suppurate and break, and then the patient escapes. A few days brings this dreadful malady to a crisis after the spots have appeared.

"There is a contradiction in this disorder, difficult to account for; so easy to catch that a bit of wood or cotton can retain it for years, and convey it with all its horrible symptoms. On the contrary, some are proof against the most violent contagion. The wife of Mr. W. was a lady born in the country, and notwithstanding she took more than usual precaution, she caught the infection, without being able to assign any cause. Most of her family and servants immediately left the house, but her husband and her father attended her until she died, having had her infant at the breast to the last moment. No one of them caught the disease. My predecessor, Mr. B., having been forty-one years at Constantinople, had not the least fear of the plague. A few years since, as he was returning from Cyprus, his fellow-passenger fell ill and was put ashore at the Dardanelles. Mr. B. occupied his friend's bed, as it was better than his own, and wore his friend's nightcap. The next morning he went ashore to see him, and found that he had died during the night of the plague. Another time, two of his servants died of the disease in his house; but in neither case did he experience any inconvenience. The Europeans, and more particularly the English, take the usual precautions at the first appearance of the disease, but have little apprehension from it, living in the country in the summer, and in a very different manner from the natives, both as to food and cleanliness. It is a great satisfaction to know that not one English gentleman has died of the plague during the last thirty years. How inferior it is in its ravages to the cholera and the yellow fever, which are not known in this country!"

Unhappily, the cholera has become very well known here since, and has proved quite as fatal as the plague. In 1865 the city was decimated by it, some 75,000 dying in two months, a loss of life almost as great as in the great plague seasons of 1812 and 1837. These great epidemics of plague were, however, in some respects more terrible than the cholera, for they continued many months. Life became a burden. The wealthiest often suffered for want of food and clothing, as they remained shut up in their houses for fear of contagion. Those who were forced to go out, dressed in long oil-cloth cloaks, and carefully avoided touching anything. Every one entering a house was fumigated with sulphur, in a sort of sentry-box kept for the purpose at the door. All ties of family and society were broken. But even in these great epidemics very few Europeans died, while in the cholera epidemics there has been [pg 611] no exemption. It is now forty years since the last appearance of plague at Constantinople, and, whatever theorists may say, no one here who remembers the old times has any doubt that its disappearance was due to the strict enforcement of quarantine regulations, which before that time the Turks would not accept.

There was another source of constant anxiety for the people of Constantinople fifty years ago, in regard to which there has unfortunately been but little change. The city was often visited by terrible conflagrations. In those days they were generally attributed to the Janissaries, who always improved such opportunities to enrich themselves by wholesale plunder. To this day it is often suspected that the Government itself is responsible for these fires, especially as they frequently occur in quarters where it is proposed to widen the streets. Sometimes, on the other hand, they are supposed to have a political significance, as a manifestation of popular discontent; but probably, then as now, they generally resulted from carelessness, and when once they had commenced there were no adequate means for extinguishing them. Only two months after the destruction of the Janissaries, at the moment when the sacred standard of the Prophet was being taken back from the mosque, a fire broke out in Stamboul which raged for thirty-six hours, destroying the bazaars and about an eighth part of the city, including the richest Turkish quarters. The people universally attributed this to the friends of the Janissaries, and the discontent with the Sultan was general; but he acted with the greatest vigour. He opened his palaces for the reception of those who had no shelter, distributed food and clothing, and undertook to rebuild the bazaars. At the same time, he sent his spies into every public place, and every one who was heard complaining of the Government was at once arrested and decapitated. Even the women were not spared, but many were strangled and thrown into the Bosphorus, without any form of trial. These vigorous measures soon put an end to all complaints, but unhappily did not prevent the burning of Pera in 1831, when 10,000 houses were destroyed, a calamity which the Mussulmans attributed to the wrath of God against the Europeans for the destruction of the Turkish fleet at Navarino, but which the Christians naturally attributed to the wrath of the Mohammedans themselves. It is probable that both these fires were accidental, as were those which burned over almost the same ground in 1865 and 1870; but the alarm and suffering of the people were as real and as great as they would have been if these fires had resulted from the cause to which they were attributed. It is a very curious fact that, in both cases, just five years intervened between the destruction of Stamboul and of Pera.

Another characteristic of the time of which we write was the insecurity of property. There were no regular taxes at that time in Constantinople, for all the residents of the Imperial city were considered to be the guests of the Sultan. It is only within ten years that this [pg 612] pleasant fiction has been altogether abandoned. But in Constantinople, as well as in other parts of the Empire, the people were liable to be called upon to contribute "voluntarily" to meet the wants of the Government. This system of voluntary contributions has not yet been altogether abandoned, but was enforced during the late war all through the Empire, in addition to the regular taxes. Even foreigners were made very uncomfortable if they refused to contribute. The financial system of Mahmoud II. was like that of his ancestors. There was no national debt, there were no budgets, and yet there was no lack of money even for such long and expensive wars as were carried on all through the reign of this Sultan. With what envy Abd-ul-Hamid must look back upon those happy days! The system was a simple one. Whatever money the Sultan needed he took from the people. Orders were sent to the governor of such a town to send so much to Constantinople, or to such a Pacha. He summoned the principal men, informed them that the Sultan needed so much money as a free gift from each of them. The unhappy contributors entered into private negotiations with him, and bribed him to reduce their quota and increase that of some one else. He took the bribes and rapidly accumulated wealth, but he did not fail to secure and forward the money demanded by the Sultan. What is more, the Sultan looked upon the governor himself as nothing better than a sponge. As soon as it was known that he had absorbed a large amount of wealth, he was squeezed for the benefit of the Imperial Treasury. He was disgraced, and his property confiscated. It was very seldom that a Pacha bequeathed much of his ill-gotten wealth to his children. Unfortunately, this custom has been abandoned of late years, and the Treasury no longer derives any benefit from the plunder of the people. But this system of confiscation was not confined to the Pachas who had robbed the people. The wealthy men of Constantinople, especially the Christians, were never safe. Their property might be seized any day, and they might consider themselves happy if by giving it up without reserve they escaped the bow-string. They feared the Sultan as much as they feared the Janissaries. The Armenians suffered less than any other nationality from these extortions, because they acted as the bankers of the Government and of individual Pachas who found it for their interest to protect them. They understood the Turkish character, and had acquired infinite skill in managing them; but even they lived in constant fear. When a man heard a knock at his door in the night, he at once took it for granted that his last hour had come, bade farewell to his family, and, if possible, escaped from his house with what jewels he could carry. I have heard many very amusing stories of this kind resulting from evening visits of belated friends as well as many very sad ones, where the end was the bow-string for the father and a life of poverty for the family. The change in the financial system of the Empire, which led to regular taxation and foreign loans, destroyed the influence of the [pg 613] Armenians, and threw the Turks into the hands of the Greeks and Europeans. It is hardly probable that they can ever recover their former importance under Turkish rule. Another means adopted by the Government to raise money was the old expedient of debasing the coinage, which was perhaps quite as honest as the modern plan of issuing paper-money and then repudiating it. The Turkish piastre is said to have been originally the same as the Spanish, worth four shillings and sixpence. In the time of Mahmoud II. it was worth fourpence, and the silver piastre is now worth twopence, while the copper piastre is worth only a farthing and a half.

The comparative cost of living in Constantinople in 1827 and 1879 may be seen from the following Table, the prices being reduced to English money:—

  1827. 1879.
Mutton, the oke (2310 lbs.) 4d. 1s. 6d.
Bread      " 4d. 4d.
Fish       " 4d. 1s. 4d.
Grapes     " ½d. 4d.
Figs       " ½d. 4d.
Geese,    each 6d. 5s. 0d.
Turkeys    " 6d. 5s. 0d.
Wine, the oke 2d. 6d.

Game was also very abundant and very cheap in 1827.

This Table tends to prove that, so far as Constantinople is concerned, the old system of "voluntary contributions" and confiscations was much more favourable to production than the present ill-conceived system of taxation. My impression is that the same was true in other parts of the Empire. Prices were unusually high in 1827, on account of the war and the general confusion in the Empire, and the increase in fifty years can only be explained by the destructive system of taxation adopted by the Government, which falls almost exclusively upon the agriculturist. The price of bread is the same, but Constantinople now depends upon Russia for its wheat, and the price depends upon the harvests in other countries. Everything produced here has increased in price enormously, and the result is that bread is now almost the sole food of the poor. Fifty years ago for one oke of bread a man might have one oke of meat, or eight okes of fruit or two okes of wine. Now he can obtain only about one-fifth of an oke of meat, or one oke of fruit, or two-thirds of an oke of wine, and this in spite of the improved communications by steamer and railway with other parts of the Empire. Then the Bosphorus was lined with vineyards, and it was profitable to cultivate them, to exchange eight okes of grapes or two okes of wine for one of bread. Now it is unprofitable to raise grapes at eight times the former price, and the vineyards have almost all disappeared. They have been destroyed by unwise and vexatious taxation. The condition of the rich, especially of the rich Turkish Pachas, has greatly improved; but it may well be doubted whether the poor, those who had nothing to fear from the jealousy of the Turks or the confiscations of the Sultan, can live as well now as they [pg 614] could fifty years ago. The poor Mussulmans have certainly gained nothing, and the Turkish population of Constantinople was probably never in so wretched a condition as it is now. With the Christian poor it is different. In many respects their condition has greatly improved. Then they had no rights which a Turk was bound to respect. They were sometimes shot down in their vineyards, like dogs, by passing Mussulmans who wished to try their guns. Their children were kidnapped with impunity. They were forced to wear a peculiar dress, which marked them everywhere as an inferior race. They were insulted and abused in the streets, and trembled at the sight of a Turk. They find it harder now to get food, but they can eat it in peace. The poor Turks have gained no such advantages. They are no freer than they were then, and have not the satisfaction which they then had of domineering over a subject race. The Christians are still treated as inferiors and suffer under many disabilities, but in Constantinople their lives, their families, and their property are comparatively secure, and they are seldom maltreated because they are Christians. They no longer fear to look a Turk in the face. The change for them is certainly a happy one, and it is not strange that the Turks who remember the old times feel that the power of Islam is waning, and that reform has gone quite far enough. It is this old Turkish spirit which inspires the present Government to choose the most inopportune moment to proclaim to the world its determination to repress all free thought among Mohammedans. A Turkish Khodja has just been condemned to death for assisting an English missionary to translate the English Prayer Book and some Tracts into Turkish. This is not done secretly. The Turkish papers have discussed the case, and one of the most liberal of them speaks of his offence as follows:—"The abject author of this act of profanation has been drawn into his sin by Satan and by his own evil heart, and has thus dared to commit a sacrilege, by which he is condemned to the curse of God and to eternal torture. We demand that the miserable creature may receive an overwhelming punishment, so that he may, by his example, deter others from selling their religion for a few pence." This is an act of intolerance and barbarity worthy of the bloody days of Mahmoud II., and is far less excusable than it would have been then. It remains to be seen whether it will be approved by those Powers who maintain the Turkish Empire.

In one respect Constantinople has undoubtedly suffered by the changes of the last fifty years. It is no longer the picturesque Oriental city that it was then. Its natural beauties remain, but in everything else it has become less interesting as it has become more European. The steamers, whose smoke clouds the clear air of the Bosphorus and blackens the white palaces, are no doubt very convenient; but they are a sad contrast to the tens of thousands of gay caiques which used to give life to the transparent waters of the strait. Ugly north-country colliers are no doubt profitable to their owners, but there is very little interest in watching their passage in comparison with the wonderful displays [pg 615] which were formerly seen when, after a long north wind, a southerly gale would take hundreds of vessels, under full sail, through the Bosphorus in a single day. I have counted over three hundred in sight at once. The square walls and narrow eaves of modern Turkish houses may be more European, but they do not compare favourably with the light Moorish architecture and gilded arabesques of the olden time. German ready-made clothing may be very cheap, and the European style of dress may be adapted to active pursuits; but it is not likely to rouse the enthusiasm of a lover of the picturesque who remembers the gorgeous costumes of fifty years ago, when the streets of Constantinople were crowded with gay and fantastic dresses, as in a perpetual carnival, and each rank, profession, and creed had its own peculiar costume. Even the Sultan is now no longer worth looking at, with his little red fez in place of the magnificent turban with plume and diamonds, and his tight black coat in place of his flowing sable robe, his attendants covered with tawdry brass in place of the gorgeous robes of the olden time. The pachas are pachas no longer in appearance: you may see them running for steamers, or sitting on crowded benches on the deck reading their daily papers. What a contrast to the stately pacha of seven tails, who lived fifty years ago, whose very title was picturesque, who could not read at all, and if he had ever heard of a newspaper looked upon it as a device of Satan; but who never ran for anything, and who never wore a red cap or a black coat. A graceful caique, with many oarsmen, awaited his convenience; richly caparisoned Arab horses stood at his door; when he appeared—with slow and dignified step—with turban, robes of silk, and Cashmere or diamond girdle—his slaves kissing the ground at his feet, his pipe-bearers and guards behind him—he was an ornament to the city, and perhaps quite as great an ornament to the State as his successor, without any tails to his title, who reads newspapers and wears black clothes, but who has no fear of being bow-strung and thrown into the Bosphorus if he betrays the interests of the State for a consideration, or plunders the people for his own profit. Even the bazaars are no longer Oriental, although the buildings remain. They are little more than storehouses for the Manchester goods which have destroyed native manufactures. The only relics of the olden time are the Turkish women; but even they have become less picturesque. They are not so attractive, when crowded like sheep into the stern of a Bosphorus steamer, as they were when they rode in lofty arabas drawn by white oxen; and their dress is gradually changing in spite of the frequent decrees of the Sheik-ul-Islam, who declared two years ago in one of these that the disasters of the war were due, among other things specified, to the fact that the women wore French boots in place of heelless yellow slippers. Constantinople has lost all the peculiar charm of an Oriental city without having as yet attained the regularity, cleanliness, and elegance of a European capital; just as the Government has ceased to be an Oriental despotism, careless of human life and individual [pg 616] rights, without having as yet learned the principles of European civilization; just as the individual Turk has ceased to be a fanatical Mussulman, with the peculiar virtues which once belonged to his religion, without having as yet acquired anything but the vices of European society.

If we seek the cause of these changes which fifty years have wrought in life in Constantinople, they may be summed up as the result of the constantly increasing influence of the European Powers at Constantinople and the corresponding decay of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mahmoud II. was one of the greatest as well as one of the most unfortunate of the sovereigns of Turkey; but he was a Sultan of the old school, whose many attempts at reform had no other object than to revive the power of Islam and restore his Empire to its former rank. He did not wish to Europeanize his people, as Peter the Great did, but simply to adopt such improvements, especially in the organization of his army, as would enable him the better to maintain himself against his European enemies. But, unhappily, he had to contend against Moslem as well as Christian foes, and to save himself from the former he had to call in the aid of the latter. His dynasty was saved by the intervention of Europe; but when Sultan Abd-ul-Medjid ascended the throne at the death of his father it was by the favour and under the protection of Europe, and from that day Turkey ceased to be the old Empire of the Ottoman Turks. Mahmoud was the last of the Sultans. Nothing remained to his successors but the shadow of a great name. Europe is undoubtedly responsible for the evils which have befallen the Empire since that day. She has neither allowed the Turks to rule in their own way, with fire and sword, as their ancestors did, nor forced them to emancipate the Christians and establish a civil government in place of their religious despotism. She has sought to maintain the Empire, but to maintain it as a weak and decaying Empire. Austria and Russia, and at times other Powers, have sought to hasten the process of disintegration, and the limits of the Empire have been gradually narrowed until they now approach the capital itself. The Turks are abused for their stupidity, as if it were all their fault; and no doubt they have done and are doing many unwise things; but after all they are not to be too harshly condemned. They have probably done what seemed to them wise and politic, and they have often outwitted the keenest statesmen; but they have been doomed by Europe to struggle against the inevitable. Turkey can never again be what she was fifty years ago, and as a Mohammedan despotism, ruled by Turks alone, she can never become a great or even a civilized Power and command the respect of Europe. She must soon disappear. But with the full emancipation of the Christians, the abolition of the present system of religious government, and the support of Western Europe, she might settle the Eastern Question for herself, win the loyal support of her own subjects and the respect of the world.

An Eastern Statesman.

[pg 617]



I N the following remarks I assume the existence of God, All-knowing and All-powerful; and of a spirit in men which is not matter. I do not say that either is demonstrated or can be demonstrated, still less do I presume to define either, but I address only those who already assent to both.

Many, however, of those who give such assent are troubled about the ways of God and the nature of man's relation to Him. On the one hand is the Bible, which declares that all things on earth as well as in heaven are regulated by Divine will at every moment, which records frequent miracles, and which bids men ask from Him whatsoever they would, in absolute confidence that they shall have their desires. On the other hand stands the Book of Nature, as Divine as that of Revelation, being in fact another revelation of God, which tells of an unchanging sequence of events, of laws incapable of modification by isolated acts of will, laws which, indeed, if subject to such modification, would fall into disorder. Which of these revelations shall they believe? Or can they be reconciled so that both are credible?

The tendency of recent belief in those who have studied the Book of Nature, and perhaps most decidedly in those who have only turned some of its pages, is that the two revelations are irreconcilable. The immutability of Nature's laws is to them a gospel taught by every stone, by every plant, by every animated being. All that they have learnt to know of matter rests on the assurance that its properties are absolutely fixed. The progress of science, of art, of civilization, of the human race, depends on the fact that what has been found to be true will be always true, that there is an ordered sequence of events which may be trusted to be invariable, to which we must conform our lives if we would be happy, and which, if we cross it in ignorance or defiance, [pg 618] will revenge the outrage by inevitable penalties. Those laws, which some call of matter, may by others be called laws of God, and the most devout minds find in their fixity only a confirmation of their faith in His unchanging promises. But if thus fixed, it seems to many who are devout as well as to many who are sceptical, that it becomes impossible to believe that their Author should ever set them aside by what are called miracles; still less that He should bid men pray for events which are, in fact, not regulated by wish or will, but by what has gone before up to the beginning of time. To meet this dilemma there seem to such minds only two courses, either to believe that Scripture is not the word of a God at all, or to give to its language an interpretation which is not the natural sense of the words, and which was certainly not meant or understood by those who first wrote or first heard it.

Yet it is not possible to abandon the conviction that the words and the acts of God cannot really be at variance. Before surrendering His words contained in the Scripture, as either spurious or misunderstood, no effort can be too often reiterated to show them to be compatible with what we have learned of His works. I propose to make one more such effort, based on the closest examination of what both really tell, or imply.

Let us first understand accurately what it is we are to deal with, both as facts and as expressed in language. The inquiry is to be limited (with exceptions which will be noted as they occur) to the laws of matter. It will be assumed that matter exists as our ordinary perceptions inform us, but if it shall hereafter be proved to be only a form of motion, or of force, the arguments will still be applicable. By laws, we shall understand what in a different expression we call the properties of matter. The advantage of thus explaining law is that it excludes some other senses of a vague and misleading character, while it includes the sense in which alone law can properly be applied to physical nature. Thus, the law of gravity is the same thing as the property of matter which we call weight, and if there be any matter or ether which is imponderable, then the law of gravity does not apply to it. So the law of attraction, in its different forms, expresses the property of cohesion, and of capillary ascent, and so on; the law of chemical affinities expresses the property of the combination of one species of matter with another in definite proportions; the laws of sound, light, or electricity express the properties of vibrations, either of air or of subtler forms of matter, as they affect our senses. In thus limiting the meaning of law, it is therefore obvious that we embrace all which the materialist can desire to include when he insists that law is permanent and unchangeable.

This, in fact, is the first proposition which we must all accept. No human being can add to or subtract a single property of any species of matter. To do so were, indeed, to create. For matter is an aggregate of properties; each species of matter is differentiated only by its [pg 619] properties, and could we alter one of these we should really turn it into different matter. It is true there are what are called allotropic forms, such as oxygen and ozone, the yellow and red phosphorus, the forms of sulphur as modified by heat, and a considerable number of organic compounds, and we can by certain arrangements turn the one into the other. But when we ask what allotropism is, we find that it is itself one of the properties (however obscure to us) of the matter we deal with. Oxygen would not be oxygen, but something else, if it had not the inherent property of becoming ozone under certain conditions. Given these conditions, and there is nothing we can do which will prevent the change occurring. If, as chemists believe, allotropism depends on the different arrangement of the ultimate atoms of matter, then the capacity of assuming two arrangements in its atoms is clearly one of the ultimate properties of that species of matter.

It follows, then, that if a miracle were really a suspension of a physical law, or a change, temporary or permanent, of any property of matter, it would really be an act of creation—the creation of something having different properties from any matter that before existed. If iron were to float on water by suspension of the law of gravity, it would be in fact the creation of something having (at least for the time required) the physical and chemical properties of iron, but with a specific gravity less than water—and therefore something not iron.

But, without creation, man has enormous power over Nature. He can, and daily does, overpower her laws, or seemingly make them work as he pleases. Despite the law of gravity, he ascends to the sky in a balloon; he makes water spring up in fountains; he makes vessels, weighing thousands of tons, float on the seas. Despite cohesion, he grinds rocks to powder; despite chemical affinity, he transmutes into myriads of different forms the few elements of which all matter consists; despite the resistless power of the thunderbolt, he tames electricity to be his servant or his harmless toy. With water and fire he moulds into shape mighty masses of metal; he shoots, at a sustained speed beyond that of birds, across valleys and through mountain ranges; he unites seas which continents had separated; there is nothing in the whole earth which he has not subdued, or does not hope to subdue, to his use. There is hardly a physical miracle which he does not feel he can, or may yet, perform.

But all this wonderful, this boundless, power over material laws is gained by these laws. He alters no property of matter, but he uses one property or another as he needs, and he uses one property to overpower another. It is by knowing that gravity is more powerful in the case of air than in the case of hydrogen gas, that he makes air sustain him as he floats, beneath a bag of hydrogen, above the earth; it is by knowing that it is more powerful in water than in air that he sails in iron ships; it is by knowing chemical affinity or repulsion that he makes the [pg 620] compounds or extracts the simple elements he desires; it is by knowing that affinity is force, and that force is transmutable into electricity, that he makes a messenger of the obedient lightning shock; it is by knowing that heat, itself unknown, causes gases to expand, that he makes machines of senseless iron do the work of intelligent giants. He subdues Nature by understanding Nature. He creates no property; he therefore performs no miracle, though he does marvels.

By what means, then, does man bring one property, or law, into play instead of, or against, another? By one means only, that of changing the position of matter.

This is Bacon's aphorism (Nov. Org. Book i. 4): "Man contributes nothing to operations except the applying or withdrawing of natural bodies: Nature, internally, performs the rest."

In order to trace and recognize the truth of this fact, let us follow in rough and rapid outline the operations by which man effects his purposes. We will begin at the beginning, and suppose him to have only reached the stage when a knowledge of the effects of fire enables him to work with metals. He produces fire by friction—that is, by bringing one piece of wood to another, and rapidly moving the one on the other; or else by striking two flints on each other, which also is merely rapid motion and shock. He carries the wood to a hearth, he brings to it the lump of crude metal or the ore; he urges the fire by a blast of air—still his acts are only those of imparting motion. Then the fire acts on the metal, it excites some affinities and enfeebles other affinities, which result in removing impurities; it softens the purified metal. Then the workman lifts it on a stone, and by beating it with another stone—still motion—he moves its particles so that it assumes the form of a hammer, an axe, a chisel, or a file. Then by rubbing with a rough stone—still motion—he moves away some particles from the edge, and makes it sharp and fit for cutting. By plunging it in water when hot—still only motion—he tempers it to hardness. With the edge thus obtained he cuts wood into the forms he requires for various purposes, and by degrees he learns how to fashion other pieces of metal into other and more elaborate tools. Yet all this is done by no other means than giving motion to the material on which, or by which, he works. From tools he advances to machines, by which his power of giving motion is increased, and as he learns more of the properties of matter he constructs engines, by which these properties work for him in the directions in which he guides them. Meantime he has learned that clay, when heated, becomes hard as stone, and the arts of pottery take their rise; while glass-making follows on the discovery that ashes and sand fuse into a transparent mass. Yet, whether in their rude beginning or finished elegance, man in these arts does no more than bring together the rough materials and apply to them heat, then their own inherent properties effect the result. Science—that is, knowledge of natural laws of matter—guides his hand, but his hand only [pg 621] moves matter; it gives no property and takes away none; it does not even enable one property to work; it does absolutely nothing except to place matter where its own laws work, to bring or to remove matter which is needed, or to remove matter which is superfluous. Let us analyze every complicated triumph of human knowledge and skill, and we shall find it all reduced to the knowledge of what the properties of matter are, and the skill which imparts to it motion just sufficient to permit these properties to operate. Man's power over Nature is therefore limited to the power of giving motion to matter, or of stopping or resisting motion in matter.

Now, to give motion or to resist motion is itself either a breach or a use of a law of Nature, according as we express that law. The law is (as usually expressed), that matter at rest remains at rest till moved by a force, and that matter in motion continues in motion till stayed by a force. This is the law of inertia. If we consider that rest or motion when once established is the normal state of matter, then the force which causes a change causes a breach of the law of inertia. But if we consider that the liability to be moved, or to have motion stopped by force, is itself a property of matter, then the application of force with such result is merely calling into operation the law of inertia. It really does not signify which view we take, so long as we recognize that such are the facts. But since it is more familiar to associate rest with inertia, it will perhaps be most convenient and simple to consider rest and motion as the laws of matter, till the law is interfered with. Therefore in what follows we shall say, that when matter at rest is moved, or when matter in motion is stayed, or its movement by a natural force is prevented, a breach of the law of inertia is committed.

We come, then, to these propositions:—1st, That human power is utterly unable to break any law of matter except the law of inertia. 2nd, That when, by breaking only the law of inertia—i.e., by moving or by resisting the motion of matter—any operation is accomplished, no other law of matter is broken. 3rd, That to break the law of inertia by Force, directed by Will, is no interference with the properties of matter. 4th, That by breaking the law of inertia only, man has power to call into play properties which make matter subservient to his objects.

Nor is this man's power only. Inferior animals can also move matter, and by moving it can cause prodigious results. A minute insect, by secreting lime from sea waters, makes a coral reef, or aids in forming a cliff of chalk. A beaver cuts down a tree, and forms a swamp that changes the climate of a district; a bird carries a seed, and makes a forest on an island. Inanimate life has the same power. The plant opens its leaves to the sun, and abstracts the carbon that forms fruitful soils and beds of coal. Matter itself can by motion work on matter. The great physical powers, heat and electricity, are modes of motion. Radiation of heat causes freezing, and freezing crumbles rocks into soil, or it forms the clouds in the air, whose deluges hollow valleys; [pg 622] while electricity cleaves and splinters the summits of the mountain peaks. Everywhere motion, sharp or slow, works with matter; everywhere the law of inertia is broken; and everywhere the miracles of Nature are wrought out by Nature's unbroken laws, set in action or withheld by only the movement which matter has received, be it from Will in man or beast, or be it from forces which themselves are part of matter's properties.

Now, since we have started from the assumption that God does exist, it is impossible to make Him an exception to the rule which holds of the spirits of inferior creatures, and even of inanimate matter. If, therefore, He can cause or stop movement, He can, without further breach of any law of Nature, bring into play the laws of Nature. Or, to state the same proposition conversely, we must admit that whatever wonders God may cause by bringing into operation a law of Nature through the means of affecting motion in matter, cannot be called a breach of the laws of Nature. It is, of course, understood that this proposition is limited to the results of motion; it does not affirm that the cause of the motion may not be a breach of a law of Nature. This question will remain for future examination; at present it is neither affirmed nor denied.

Let us in the meantime, however, consider what we have reached by the proposition above stated. What are called miracles may be divided into three classes. The first are purely spiritual, affecting mind without the intervention of matter, such as visions (though these may originate in the brain, and therefore belong to the next class), gifts of tongues, inspirations, mental resolutions. The second affect mind in connection with matter, such as, perhaps, the healing of paralytic or epileptic affections, and certainly the restoration of life to the dead. The third affect matter solely; they include the healing of wounds, or of corporeal disease, such as blindness, or fever; the dividing of waters; the walking on water, or raising an iron axe-head from the bottom of water; the falling of walls or trees; the opening of prison-doors, and such like.

The first two classes we may, in any discussion limited to the laws of Nature, leave out of view, because it cannot be said that we know any laws of Nature affecting mind by itself, or even mind in relation to matter. Metaphysicians have interested themselves in trying to trace the origin or sequence of intellectual processes, but I hardly think any would assert they had discovered or defined what can properly be called a law; and certainly, if any do assert it, the accuracy of the assertion is controverted by as many philosophers on the other side. Any direct influence of God on mind cannot, therefore, be charged with being in violation of natural law. Nor can it even be declared to be contrary to universal experience, since in this case the negative evidence of those who have not experienced it would only be set against the positive evidence of innumerable persons who affirm that they have experienced it.

[pg 623]

The influence of mind on matter, and matter on mind, are also so obscure, that it cannot be affirmed that anything which mental operation can effect on one's own body is contrary to natural law. No physiologist will assert that mental resolution, or conviction, tending towards recovery from sickness, is without some power to bring that result to pass. They will admit also that this is peculiarly the case in regard to those disorders which, in pure ignorance of their actual source, they are fain to call hysterical, neuralgic, or generally nervous. They are all acquainted with many cases in their own experience of recovery from such disorders in which no physical cause for recovery can be imagined. If, then, God should convey to the mind of a patient an impression which brings about recovery, there would clearly be no violation of natural law. With regard to the restoration of life, it is quite true that this is beyond the ordinary power of man's volition. Nevertheless, at each moment of our lives there is a communication of life to the dead matter which has formed our food, but which, after digestion, becomes a part of our living organs; and this is true even in the nutrition of plants. How or at what moment the mind enters or becomes capable of affecting our frames, we do not know. But this happens at some moment before or during birth; its doing so at a subsequent period is, therefore, not a breach of natural law, but is only an instance of natural law coming into operation, by the same cause, at a period differing from that which is customary. The act, whatever it is, is not exceptional, but ordinary. The time is alone exceptional.

We have now to consider the strictly physical phenomena to which the name of miracles is in this discussion confined, and to which the objection that they are contrary to natural laws is commonly stated.

A very large number of these are at first glance seen to be only instances of inertia being affected. To walk on water, to make water stand in a heap, to raise a body from the ground, to cast down walls, or move bolts and doors, are obviously exertions of simple mechanical force such as we ourselves daily employ. Their effective cause is neither more nor less than an interference with the law of inertia, and by the previous demonstration they are therefore not to be reckoned as breaches of any law of Nature.

Let us try if this can be made clearer by an example. It has been stated before that if iron were made to swim on water by modification of the law of gravity it would be creation of a new substance differing from iron in being of less specific gravity. At the same time, the original iron of normal specific gravity would have disappeared. These processes of creation and destruction would be so unprecedented that we should justly call them violations of the ordinary laws of nature. But at least we should then expect that the light iron thus created would be permanently light, and we should call it another breach of the laws of nature if on lifting it from the water we found it heavy. But if we were to hold a magnet of suitable power over the original [pg 624] heavy iron, when at the bottom of the water, we might see it rise and float, although not touched or upheld by any visible substance, and although its specific gravity remained constant. In this case it would be moved by a power which overcomes gravity, but there would be no creation nor destruction of any property, and no natural law would be broken. But if now we substitute for "magnetic" "Divine" power, there is still no breach of a natural law, for no property is created or destroyed. In both cases the acting agent is a power outside the iron, invisible and unknown, except by the effects. The effect of both is the same: it is to give motion to matter, and nothing more. Hence, neither violate any law of nature except that of inertia.

Proceeding to another class of miracles, which seem at first to be creative, we shall find that they also come within the range of familiar human potentiality. The making of bread, or meal, or oil, or wine, are instances of chemical synthesis. These substances are composed of three or four elements, all gaseous except carbon (to be absolutely accurate, we must add minute quantities of eight other elements), which no chemist has yet succeeded in uniting in such forms. But chemists have succeeded in forming certain substances by bringing together their elements, of which water is the simplest type, and others of greater complexity are every year being attained. These are formed by moving into proximity, or admixture, the elementary ingredients, under circumstances favourable to their union in the desired combination, and the combination then proceeds by the operation of natural laws. No one would be surprised to hear that some chemist had thus attained to form starch or gluten, the main ingredients of bread; or oil, or spirit, or essences; for if it were announced we should all know that he had only discovered some new method of manipulation by which circumstances were arranged so as to favour the natural laws which effect the union of the necessary elements. Therefore, if these substances are formed by Divine power, it is not creation—it is only the chemist's work, adopting natural laws for its methods, and bringing them into play by transposition of material substances.

Meteorological processes—such as lightning, rain, drought, winds—are sometimes made the immediate cause of "miracles," as when the wind caused the waters of the Red Sea to flow back, or brought the flights of quails, or locusts. These are effects which we know wind is quite capable of producing, and does produce naturally. Was there then any breach of natural laws (beyond that of inertia) in causing such winds to blow? or in bringing up thunder-clouds? or in causing an arid season? We cannot, indeed, say that there was not; but as little can we say that there was. For since we ourselves have acquired such power over lightning, the most inscrutable and irresistible of all meteorological agencies, as to be able to lead it where we will, how shall we say that God's infinite knowledge has not the same power over the winds and the clouds, by employing only natural agencies for His [pg 625] work, and employing these only by the operation of motion given to matter.

With regard to the healing of diseased matter, conjectures also can only be offered, because of the source of diseases we know so little. Sight is restored in cataract by simple removal of an abnormal membrane. Many fevers, if the germ theory or the poison theory be correct, are cured when the germs die, or the poison is eliminated. A power that could kill the germs, or remove them or the poison from the system, would then effect immediate cure in accordance with natural laws. It does not seem necessarily beyond man's reach to effect this when he shall understand natural laws more fully; it cannot, therefore, be a breach of natural laws if God should effect it by laws as yet unknown to man, provided they are brought into play with no other agency than the motion of matter.

It would be folly as well as impiety to assert that it is in such ways only that miracles are performed. No such assertion is made. But when, on the other side, it is asserted that the miracles narrated in Scripture cannot be true because they must involve a breach of the immutable laws of Nature, the answer is justifiable and is sufficient, that they do not necessarily involve any breach of any law, save of that one law of inertia which at every instant is broken by created things, without any disturbances being introduced into the serene march of Nature's laws. The scientific revelation is reconciled with the written revelation when it is shown that neither necessarily implies the falsity of the other.

But supposing the argument thus far to be conceded, it will be urged that the real "miracle" remains yet behind. When man moves matter, his hand is visible: when an animal gnaws a tree, its teeth are seen working; when a river flows down a valley, its force is heard and felt. How different, it will be said, is God's working, where there is no arm of flesh, no sound of power, no sign of presence.

Unquestionably it is a deep marvel and a mystery, that impalpable spirit should act upon gross matter; but it is a mystery of humanity as well as of Godhead. What moves the hand? Contraction of the muscles. But what causes contraction of the muscles? The influence transmitted from the brain by the nerves. But what sends that influence? It is mind, which somewhere, somehow, moves animal tissues—tissues consisting of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur. At some point of our frames, we know not yet where, mind does act directly on matter. It is a law of Nature that it should so act there. But if God exists, His mind must, by the same law, act on matter somewhere. Can we call it an offence against law if it acts on matter elsewhere than in that mass of organized pulp which we call brains? If no possibility of communication between mind and matter could anywhere be found in Nature, we might call such communication contrary to natural law. In other words, if it were one of the properties of matter that it could not [pg 626] receive motion from that which is not matter, its motion without a material cause would be supernatural. But since it is of the very essence of existence that matter in certain combinations should be capable of being endowed with life, and by such endowment become capable of being affected in motion by mind, it is indisputable that such capability is one of matter's properties, and that its being so affected falls within and not without Nature's laws.

It may be objected that, since it is only living substance which can be acted on by the human mind, it is contrary to law that dead matter should be acted on by Divine mind. But this is a simple begging of the question at issue. It is constructing a law for the purpose of charging God with breaking it. Where do we find evidence in Nature that matter cannot be moved by the Divine mind? Science reveals no such law. Science is simply silent on the subject; it admits its utter ignorance, and declares the question beyond its scope. Undoubtedly it does not pronounce that God does move matter, but it equally abstains from asserting that God does not. For when it traces back material effects from cause to cause, it comes at last to something for which it has no explanation. When we say that an acid and an alkali combine by the law of affinity, that a stone falls by the law of gravity, we merely generalize facts under a name, we do not account for them. What causes affinity, what causes gravity? Suppose we say the one is polar electricity, the other is the impact of particles in vibration (both of which statements are unproved guesses), what do we gain? The next question is only, what causes electricity and what causes vibration? Suppose, again, we answer that both are modes of motion, we only come to the further question, what causes motion? And since motion is a breach of the law of inertia, what is it that first excited motion in this dead matter? Carry back our analysis as far as we will or can, at last we reach a point where matter must be acted upon by something that is not matter. This something is Mind; and God also is Mind.

Again, when any one affirms that only living matter can be acted on by mind, whether human or Divine, we may fairly ask him, not indeed what is life, which is a problem as yet beyond science; but how life changes matter, which is a question strictly within the range of science dealing with matter. But to this inquiry we shall get no answer. The cells in an organism, the protoplasm in the cells, are living when the organism is living, dead when the organism is dead, and, as matter, no difference is discoverable between them in the state of living and dead. The cells consist of cellulose, the protoplasm of some "protein" compounds; no element is added or subtracted, no compound is altered, when it lives or when it dies. Nor can science even tell us when an organic compound becomes alive, or dead. Every instant crude sap is becoming living plants, every instant crude chyle is becoming living blood, every instant living organisms die and are expelled from plants by the leaves, from animals by the lungs, the skin, [pg 627] and the kidneys. Yet no physician can say at what moment any of these carbon compounds become living, or when they cease to have life. Since of this perpetual birth and death in all nature we know absolutely nothing, it is manifestly unreasonable to lay down laws respecting them. If life and death make (as far as we can discover) absolutely no immediate physical change in the matter which they affect, how can we propound as a dogma of physical science that God cannot move "dead" matter, when our own experience tells us that our spirits can move "living" matter?

It is clear that if we are not warranted in making a law, we are not warranted in saying that it is broken. Our concern with laws is to see that such as we do know are uniform, for this is the basis of science. But true science repudiates dogmas on subjects of which it avows its ignorance.

Let us sum up the argument as it has now been stated. The propositions are the following:—

The bearing of these conclusions upon prayer, in so far as it affects physical conditions, may now be briefly shown. It has been argued that, in the light of modern discovery, prayer ought to be restricted to spiritual objects, and that at all events it can have none but spiritual effects. It has for example been asserted that to pray for fine weather, for bodily health, for removal of any plague, for averting of any corporeal danger is asking God to change the laws of Nature for our benefit, that this is what He never does, what would produce endless confusion if He should, and consequently what He certainly will not do.

But if in point of fact God can confer on us all these gifts which we ask from Him without breaking a single law by which Nature is bound, [pg 628] we are restored to the older confidence that He will, provided that such gifts are at the same time consonant with our spiritual good.

Now as it has been shown that God can affect matter to the full extent for which we ever petition by means of Nature's own laws, set in operation by no other agency than the mere communication of motion to matter, it has been shown that He will break no law in giving what we ask.

For example, what is fine weather? It is the result of the due motion of the winds, which bear the clouds on their bosom, and carry the warmth of equatorial sunshine to the colder north. It is still as true as eighteen hundred years ago, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and ye hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth." But if it be no breach of law to give motion to the air, it is in God's power to bring us favourable winds. But the winds we wish are not necessarily moved immediately by God's breath. They depend probably on certain electric repulsions, which make the colder or the warmer current come closer to the surface of the earth. And electricity is motion. It may be directly, it may be indirectly, through electricity; it may be by some cause still further back, that God sends forth the winds; but, if He can give motion, He can direct their currents, and by such agency give to His creatures the weather best suited for their wants.

Or what is disease? Probably, in many cases, germs; let us then suppose germs, because it is what the latest science tells us. But germs need a suitable nidus, and we know that merely what we call "change of air" is one of the most potent means of defending or restoring our bodies from the assault of germs to which it is exposed. We change our air, by moving to another place; what violation of law would there be if God, to our prayer, were to change our air by moving a different air to us? That is but a rude illustration; the marvellous economy of the body suggests a thousand others, none of which may be true, but which yet all agree in this, that they would work our cure by strictly natural laws, set in action merely by motion given to matter.

That even an impending rock should not fall upon us would be a petition involving no further disturbance of natural law. Had we appliances to enhance our force we could uphold it, without breaking natural law. God has superhuman force, and if He upholds it by an arm we cannot see, He will break no law.

It were needless to pursue examples; but the subject must not be dismissed without reference to the spiritual laws, which we are bound to regard in praying for aught we may desire.

These are expressed and summed in the command, "Ask in my name." There is a prevalent misunderstanding of these words, arising out of the theological dogma which interprets them as if they were written, "for my sake." It is unnecessary here to enter into the inquiry how far any prayer is granted because of the merits or for the sake of Christ. It is sufficient that the words here used mean something [pg 629] else. When we desire another person to ask anything from a superior in our name, we mean to ask as if we asked. It must be something then which we should ask for personally. Therefore, Christ desiring us to ask in His name, limits us to ask those things which we can presume He would ask for us.

It is obvious how this interpretation defines the range of petition. It must be confined to what He, all-knowing, knows to be for our good. It must be, in our ignorance, subject to the condition that He should see it best for us. It utterly excludes all seeking for worldly advantage, for which He would never bid us pray. It equally excludes all spiritual benefits which are not those of a godly, humble spirit. Above all, it excludes all things which would be suggested by Satan as a tempting of the Lord our God. To ask, as some scientific men would have us do, for something in order to see if God would grant it, would be an experiment which, applied to an earthly superior, would be an insult—to God is impiety. To such prayers as these there is no promise made, for they cannot be in Christ's name.

Neither can those prayers be in His name which come from men regardless of His precepts. These are contained in the Book of Nature as well as in the Bible, and to both alike we owe reverence. We are bound to learn His will as far as our powers extend, we are bound to inform ourselves as fully as we can of the physical as well as of the moral laws set for our guidance, and having learned we are bound to obey. It were vain to pray for help in an act of wrong-doing, and equally vain to pray for relief from consequences of our own neglect or defiance of such rules of the government of nature as we have learned, or as with due diligence we might have learned. No man so acting can presume to think that he may ask in Christ's name for succour. Christ could not ask it for such as he.

But to what we can truly ask in His name there is no limit set. We may ask for all worldly and all spiritual good, which we can conceive Him to ask for us, in assurance that it will be given, if He sees it really to be for our good. How it may be reconciled with good to other men is not for us to inquire. The Omnipotent rules all, and He who can do all is able to do what is best for us as well as for every other creature He has made, without breach of one of these laws which He has set as guides for all.

J. Boyd Kinnear.

[pg 630]



T HE public mind of the country is at the present hour largely occupied with thinking about rent. The severe agricultural depression has generated painful effects on the feelings and the fortunes of the people of England. The various classes who are connected with the cultivation of land are visited with much suffering, and we cannot be surprised if they are found discussing whether their relations towards each other, as well as the system of agriculture prevailing in these islands, are precisely what they ought to be. The various methods of dealing with the land and the population that devote themselves to its tillage, have been the subjects of keen debate for ages: failing harvests, low prices, and heavy losses, are well suited to impart energy and even violence to such discussions. In some portions of the kingdom, even agricultural revolution has made its appearance on the scene. The law itself is openly and avowedly defied. The debtor, it is decreed, shall determine at his own pleasure how much he shall pay of the debt to which he is pledged. If the owner of the property let on hire repels such an adjudication of his rights, he is plainly warned that they shall be swept away altogether, and the insolvent debtor be made the owner of what he borrowed. The very structure of society itself is imperilled. "To refuse to pay debt violently," it has been well said, "is to steal, and to permit stealing, is not only to dissolve, but to demoralize society: accumulation of property, and civilization itself would become impossible."

Amidst such agitated passions it was inevitable that rent should speedily come to the front. Those who had contracted to pay rent, in the expectation that the produce of their labour would enable them to redeem their pledge, had been plunged into losses, more or less severe, by the badness of the seasons; their means were reduced; to pay [pg 631] was inconvenient; and it was a simpler method to take the matter into their own hands, and rather than appeal to the feelings of their landlords for a considerate diminution of their rents, to call rent itself into judgment, and to suppress it altogether. When, then, matters have reached the pass that an anti-rent agitation, based on the confiscation of property and the repudiation of contracts, has sprung up, and is swiftly spreading among an excitable people, it becomes important, in the highest degree, that the true nature of rent should be clearly understood by the whole country. Whatever may be ultimately decided about rent, let every man first know accurately what it is. To advocate a system of agriculture which shall abolish the possession of land by a class who are owners and not cultivators of the soil, and thus extinguish the charge for the loan of it to farmers, is perfectly legitimate. Let the merits and demerits of such a tenure be freely investigated; let peasant-proprietorship be counter-examined over against it; but let the conviction be brought home to every mind that no just or intelligent conclusion can be reached, unless every element of the problem has been fully and honestly weighed. A reduction of rents may very possibly be called for by necessity and by reason; but to place the position itself of landlord in an invidious light, as that of a man who exacts from the labour of others that for which he has neither toiled nor spun, is a most unwarrantable process of argumentation, and can lead to no trustworthy result in a matter of such transcendant importance to the nation.

What then is rent? The true answer to this very natural question, obvious and easy though it may seem to be, has been grasped by few only. Let the question be put to a mixed company, and the incapacity to explain the real nature of rent will be found most surprising. One's first impulse is to appeal to Political Economy for an answer, for indisputably rent belongs to its domain; but unhappily Political Economists, for the most part, instead of enlightening have obscured this inquiry for the public mind. Some few amongst them have perceived the true character of rent; but most other economical writers have been led astray into a wrong path by Ricardo. Ricardo's theory of rent was accepted as the orthodox doctrine; but it was a theory from which the common world, landlords and farmers alike, turned away as unworkable. Ricardo was dominated by the passion of giving to Political Economy a strictly scientific treatment, and the explanation of rent he hailed as an excellent instrument for accomplishing his purpose. He built the amount of rent payable by different lands, on the varying fertilities of the soil. Land A paid no rent; its productive powers were unequal to such an effort; it must content itself with rewarding the cultivator alone. Land B presented itself as something better; a feeble rent it could supply. C, D, and E continued the ascending scale; the rents they yielded assumed grander dimensions, till the maximum of fertility and remunerating power was reached. The [pg 632] array wore a splendidly scientific air; it almost rivalled the great law of the inverse square of the distances. But, alas, as Ricardo himself dimly saw, rent bowed to other forces besides mere fertility. Varying distances from manures and markets, dissimilar demands for horsepower for the attainment of the same crops, unequal pressure of rates and taxes, and other like causes compelled rent to sway upwards and downwards in contradiction of the law of fertility; and that was not scientific. But it was true in fact, and Ricardo, under the pressure of necessity, summed up these disturbing causes under the general word situation. Like Mill, he had to recognise that Political Economy, as he and Mill posed it, was "an hypothetical science," and that the stern world of material realities was under the dominion of influences which were not hypothetical nor scientific.1

If Ricardo and Mill had contented themselves with laying down what the amount of rent was, governed by the quality of the soil's fertility and by the forces which they feebly recognised by the word situation, no harm would have been done. They would have given a tolerably fair description of the causes on which the magnitude of rent depends. It would not indeed have explained what rent is, but it would have expressed truths with which the common agricultural mind was familiar, and they might have retained the command of agricultural ears. But scientific ambition would not be satisfied with so simple and unpretending a statement. It was resolved that the explanation of rent should take the shape of a scientific doctrine; and with this object it invented an addition to it of whose scientific character there could be no doubt. "It converted the land," in the words of Mr. Mill, "which yields least return to the labour and capital employed on it, and gives only the ordinary profit of capital, without leaving anything for rent, into a standard for estimating the amount of rent which will be yielded by all other land. Any land yields as much more than the ordinary profits of stock, as it yields more than what is returned by the worst land in cultivation." This worst land, which had no rent to give, was erected into a standard which should measure rents as accurately as a yard measures distances, and a pound avoirdupois weights. Most useful indeed is the yard which tells us how far it is to Dover, and the lb. weight which informs us how heavy the load of coals is which has reached our door; and delightful truly, would be an instrument which should tell a disputing landlord and tenants, with unerring precision, how much rent exactly each farm was bound to pay. But [pg 633] this "margin of calculation," this land which pays no rent—what landlord or what farmer has ever inquired for it in the calculation of their rents? Has it ever occurred to the thoughts, or passed the lips, of a single practical agriculturist, in these days of excitement, and anger, and unceasing declamations in the press and tribune on rent? And if it had been found, what possible help could it have brought to a single agriculturist? Such land could be no measure to measure by. A measure must either be a given portion of the thing measured, as a yard of length, or else be an effect of a given force, as the height of the barometer of the pressure of the atmosphere. A piece of land which yields no rent cannot measure one that does, because the non-payment of rent is not the effect of a single force but of many diverse ones. A particular farm may pay no rent because it is isolated by want of roads, or is in a lonely spot, or is far off from manures, or is burdened with excess of taxation, as a whole parish in Buckinghamshire which was said to have gone out of cultivation because no man would face the burden of its poor-rates. What facility for calculation could such a parish furnish to a farmer in Middlesex or Lancashire? The selection of such a standard was a purely illogical process; it confounded effect with cause. The forces which determine rent decree that such a farm cannot pay rent, that is an effect; but its paying no rent could be no cause, by the mere fact alone that it did not yield sufficient net profit, why other lands should pay no rent. The margin of calculation was framed at a particular locality, under its own circumstances, but it could say nothing about the circumstances of another farm and their effects.

The moral to be derived from the examination of Ricardo and Mill's theories of rent is clear. The sooner that their margin of cultivation, their standard of the amount of rent, disappears, the better will it be for the interests of society and of Political Economy. It has driven away all agricultural audience from the talk of Political Economy about rent; it is felt to lie altogether outside of the practical world. Let the land which is cultivated without being able to pay rent be inquired into by all means, whenever there is a call for so doing. Let the impeding causes and all their circumstances be explored, but let the inquiry and its results be kept apart from all rent-paying land. The forces which determine that one farm can pay rent and another none are the same for both, either by their presence or their absence; but the two farms have no connection with each other, except as suffering effects from common causes. When this great truth is seen and acknowledged, and when Political Economy has ceased to talk of the non rent-paying land regulating the amount of all rent, the world which it addresses, and for whom it exists, will be won over to listen to its teaching on rent and to think it real.

And now let us face the question, simply, What is rent? It is necessary to distinguish here between two different meanings of the word rent. It is a legal word, connected with the hire of land or forms [pg 634] of real property connected with land, as houses, rooms, and the like. Agricultural rent is different in nature from the rent of rooms. The rents paid for a house or rooms in a large building such as Gresham House have no relation to any particular business carried on in them, much less do they depend on the success of that business. Agricultural rent, on the contrary, is given for the very purpose of engaging in a distinct business, agriculture; and the profits of that business enter largely, in the settlement of rent, into the calculations of the lender and the hirer of the land. It is of agricultural rent exclusively that we are speaking on the present occasion.

In order to make a correct analysis of the subject, let us place ourselves in the position of a farmer who is offered the tenancy of a particular farm. It is necessary, further, to form a clear conception of the fact, and to bear it constantly in mind, that in all acts of selling or hiring, it is the purchaser or hirer, not the seller or the lender, who ultimately decides whether an exchange shall take place. Whatever be the price asked, be it high or be it low, the buyer by giving or refusing it decrees whether a commercial transaction shall be carried out. It is not the landlord but the tenant who will in the last resort determine what the rent shall be. The landlord may select amongst competing farmers the man who will pay the highest rent; still it will be the judgment of that tenant that will decide at last, not only what the amount of the rent shall be, but even whether the farm shall be let at all. The inquiry thus becomes, What are the thoughts, and what the feelings consequent on those thoughts, which traverse the mind of the farmer? He is seeking to borrow the use of land in order to engage in the agricultural business; his motive is profit, such an amount of profit as will, after repaying all his outlay of every kind, yield him the fitting reward for his efforts and his skill. His object is to gain a living out of his farm; and his calculations turn on the inquiry, on what terms of borrowing the use of the land he shall be able to obtain the ordinary profits of trade. Let us accompany him in these calculations.

The landlord opens the debate by naming the rent which he requires for the farm. The question for the tenant becomes, Can the farm afford such a rent? Here, obviously, the productive power of the soil will present itself as the first and most momentous subject of inquiry. It is a productive machine that the farmer is seeking to hire. The strength of that machine, its capacity to turn out much and good work, is the great point to ascertain. The quality of the soil itself is clearly a most important element of the problem; but it is far from being the only force which constitutes the productive power of a farm. What the climate is at the particular locality is a consideration of great weight. Good land in a rainy district will yield an inferior rent to land of the same quality under a more genial sun and a drier atmosphere. Then the water connected with the farm will come under examination. Will it be capable of creating water-meadows, which have such a lifting power [pg 635] for rent in many parts of England? The fertility, too, of the several fields of the farm will differ. The intelligent tenant will feel himself called upon to estimate what amount of crop, what quantity of food for cattle, with his skill and capital, he may reasonably expect to produce. This is the basis of the whole computation—the quantity and quality of the produce that he can fairly reckon on obtaining. And he will not be governed solely by the then existing state of the land. If he is an able agriculturist, he will form a shrewd guess of what he will be able to make it yield by proper treatment. And it is very probable that he will prefer to pay a high rent for good land rather than a lower rent for inferior soil, because he may feel a well-founded confidence in his own resources to work up the greater power of a strong, if even obstinate, farm to larger results.

Having completed the first stage, and formed his estimate of the crops and cattle which the land will yield, the tenant will now address himself to the very grave question of the cost which his manufacturing industry will entail. Here he will encounter forces which pay small respect to the beautiful symmetry of hypothetical economic science, and often influence the amount of rent far more powerfully than the fertility of the land. Will his farm be amongst the light and sunny hills of Surrey; or will it be embedded in the stubborn clay of the Sussex weald? Will he need four horses or two only for each of his ploughs? The crop may be the same for both, but the cost will be widely different, and may create much resistance to the landlord's rent. If he appeals to steam-power for help, he must ask himself how far off he will be from the coal-field, how near to him will be the station at which he will buy his coals. So, again, with his manure. Will the lime and the marl be close to his borders, or must he send his carts long distances to the pit or the railway? Then comes the serious question of the place where his buyers dwell; how far he is from his market; what expense of carriage he will be put to. It may be his good fortune to be offered a farm in the neighbourhood of London, or some great manufacturing town. A weighty rent, it is true, may be demanded of him, even some ten or fifteen pounds an acre; but this will not extinguish the attractiveness of such a farm. Better markets, abundant supplies of manure, cultivation by the spade, and high prices, may possess higher claims in his eyes than a small rent in a rural region.

But the computing farmer's arithmetic is not yet over; he has very formidable figures still to face. His land may be burdened with heavy charges of an exceptional kind. His tithe may be unusually large; his poor-rate peculiarly severe; and the school-rate may acutely try his temper and his purse. Worse still, agricultural wages in his locality may be inordinately high, for wide are the discrepancies between wages in different parts of England, and the worth of the wage may not be repaid by labourers demoralized by trade unions. The long arithmetical array of heavy burdens will be duly noted by the incoming tenant, and [pg 636] carefully placed to the debit of the debated rent; but one thing he will not do—he will not search out the position of the farm offered in the brilliant series of ascending fertility, and comfort himself with the reflection that economical science furnishes him with the assurance that a farm standing so high above the margin of cultivation must necessarily be able to pay the rent attached to that position, all these exceptional charges of cost of production notwithstanding.

One item of cost still remains, which the intelligent tenant will investigate before he contracts to take the farm. He will inquire into the condition of the farm—into the outfit, so to speak, which it will require for the full performance of the work which it is fitted to perform. He will endeavour to ascertain the amount of draining which has been effected, the number and state of the farm-buildings, as well as the amount of unexhausted improvements of various kinds which either the landlord or the previous tenant has laid out upon the land. These constitute no real part of the land's fertility, though they increase its power to produce: they are fixed capital in the carrying out of the agricultural business. And here it is important to note that the tenant will not inquire into the amount of money, as such, which the landlord has spent upon his land. He will not pay an additional pound of rent because the landlord can appeal to large figures denoting the capital he has laid out on his fields. This, by itself alone, does not concern the tenant; but it does concern him greatly to learn the actual condition of the farm; and beyond doubt the landlord will be able to demand increased rent, and the tenant will be perfectly willing to pay it, to the extent that the outlay on draining and other improvements has augmented the actual produce of the farm. The tenant looks solely to the working power of the agricultural machine and the results which he may obtain from it; outside of this consideration he takes no account of what outlay the landlord has incurred, any more than of the price which he has given for the property. The tenant will be well aware that if that machinery does not exist, it must be provided by means of an understanding with the landlord, necessarily involving some cost for himself: if he finds it on the ground and at work, he will set down in his calculation an increased estimate of produce without any debit against rent for cost of construction—he will feel that he is hiring a more powerful machine.

The calculating tenant has now formed an estimate of what he may assume as the amount of produce which he can procure from the farm, as also of the cost which the obtaining of that produce in the given locality will entail. He thus reaches the third stage of his investigation—the price which he may reckon on realizing for the products he has raised. Here the peculiar nature of the agricultural business reveals itself. A man who enters upon a new industry, or erects a new mill, or opens a fresh mine, will not inquire for a particular price which he may adopt as the basis of his computations. He will think [pg 637] only of the extent of the demand which exists for the articles that he intends to manufacture. If it is strong and increasing, he will feel sure that the consumers will repay the whole cost of production, interest and capital included, and in addition the legitimate profit attached to the business. If he hires or buys machinery, he will pay the price belonging to it in its own market as a manufactured article, precisely as if he were making purchases in shops; the seller of a steam-engine will not ask how much profit the engine will create for the factory. No doubt, if a site must be bought or hired for the erection of the mill, a higher price for the land will be encountered, in consequence of the prosperity of trade in the particular town or district; but the rate of profit will not rise in the discussion between the landowner and the trader. The price of the land will be regulated by the force of the existing demand for land, a demand which, of course, will gather strength from the swelling profits realized in the trade.

The position of the farmer who is seeking to discover what is the proper consideration for the hire of a farm is radically different from that of an ordinary manufacturer. As all land in England can be said to pay rent, it is clear that its products are sold at such a profit as enables the tenant to reward his landlord for his loan. The sale of what he makes is therefore certain, but the price which it will fetch is anything but certain. His business is subject to influences which very materially affect the quantity of his products, and still more the prices which they will command. He is dominated by the seasons; but it may be argued that their fluctuations may be guarded against by basing the calculation on their average character. The statement is well founded, and every sensible farmer will take the average season as his rule in computing; yet even the average season, as recent experience has too sadly shown, may sweep over a large cycle of years with very disturbing results. But there are other and very formidable difficulties which the farmer is called upon to face. The price which his produce will command depends on forces of great and varying power which are entirely beyond his own control, and often are incapable of being estimated beforehand. He is necessarily met by foreign competition; and that competition itself is stronger or weaker according to the commercial position of the countries which bring it to bear. Further, the state of the home market itself cannot be prejudged. The produce of English land will certainly be demanded and sold; but its price is vastly influenced by the prosperity or adversity of English trade. The rate, for instance, at which meat will be sold will vary prodigiously according as the multitudes of British workmen are earning high or low wages. The fortunes of foreign nations will weigh on the cultivating farmer; they are buyers of English wares, and their financial condition will act on British manufactures and recoil, for good or evil, on British agriculture.

The combined action of these manifold and diverse forces generates a special and very important effect. It imprints on the hire of land a [pg 638] distinct and unique feature of its own; it imparts its peculiar characteristic to rent. The position of the farmer is not that of a man engaged in a business, and buying or hiring a machine which is required for carrying it on; it is rather the situation of one who is examining whether he can reasonably enter upon the business at all. One feeling governs that situation; the tenant must be able to live by it by means of a natural profit after all expenses have been repaid. Thus, the payment for the use of the land takes the form of handing over to the landowner all excess of profit above the fitting reward for the farmer. This seems manifestly the best method for giving the required security to the tenant, whilst it provides the lender of the use of the land a reward just in itself and compatible with the continuous cultivation of the soil. Such a system is not unacceptable to the landlord; he cannot hope to maintain a fixed rent which the returns yielded by the agricultural business do not furnish. To insist upon such a condition would be simply to compel the farmer to renounce the farm. And he will not obtain such a rent from any other tenant; for the one he dismisses has no other motive for leaving except the fact that the farm will not provide such a rent. On the other hand, if he is dissatisfied with the rent offered by the tenant, he has in the competition of tenants desirous of hiring the farm a sure test for ascertaining whether the offer is just or deficient.

It follows, from the preceding analysis, that rent depends on the prices realized by agricultural produce compared with the cost of their production, the farming profits included. A high price does not in every case imply a correspondingly high rent, for the cost of raising agricultural produce varies immensely in different localities; still, as a rule, elevated prices will raise up rents with them. The same truth holds good of every business: it must yield repayment of all cost of manufacturing, and reward the manufacturer with the necessary profit, or it will cease to exist. But agricultural price encounters two serious embarrassments not to be found to an equal degree in other trades. It is, in the first place, powerfully acted upon by the vicissitudes of the weather: a bountiful harvest, coming in contact with great commercial profits, brings a full and often an augmented price, to the great advantage of the farmer; a poor harvest, falling on a depressed trade, often fails to reap a price corresponding with the diminution of the supply. There is but one remedy wherewith to meet the fluctuations of such a market—a remedy, unfortunately, too little heeded by most farmers. The great law of the average harvest must be ever borne in mind, ought ever to govern the conduct of the intelligent farmer: he is bound, by the very nature of his business, to reserve the excess of profits of the good year to balance the deficient return of the failing crop. His rent ought to be, probably is, founded on this principle; his practice often exhibits profuse self-indulgence under the temptations of the prosperous time, in utter thoughtlessness about the future.

[pg 639]

We have now reached the full explanation of rent. It is surplus profit—that is, excess of profit after the repayment of the whole cost of production, beyond the legitimate profit which belongs to the tenant as a manufacturer of agricultural produce. The interest which he would have reaped from placing capital which he has devoted to the farm in some safe investment, such as consols or railway debentures, forms necessarily a portion of the cost of production. He would have realized some 4 per cent. on the investment without risk or effort of any kind. This interest constitutes no reward for engaging in agriculture.

It remains now to consider certain important consequences which flow from this explanation of rent. In the first place, it is evident that three separate incomes are derived from agriculture, whilst two only make their appearance in all other industries. In common with them agriculture furnishes reward or income for two classes of persons—wages for labourers and profit for the employer. There the similarity ends. A third income makes its appearance for a third person—rent for the landlord. This rent is not an ordinary consideration for hiring some useful machine; if it were a compensation of this nature, it would necessarily take its place amongst the items composing the cost of production. It is a part of the profit won, dependent in no way on the value of the property nor on the price at which it was bought, but purely and simply on the degree of the profit realized. It is a part of that profit, estimated and paid as what remains over—a surplus.

But how comes it to pass that an ordinary manufacture does not yield or pay any such third income? For a simple and decisive reason. A Manchester manufacturer cannot permanently earn a higher profit than belongs to his trade. If we suppose 10 per cent. to be the natural profit of that trade, and he persistently realizes 18, other mills will be opened by new men entering into the business, and this process will be continued till his profits are reduced to their legitimate level. It is otherwise with farming. If a tenant reaps 10 per cent. continuously from his farm, when competitors are willing to be content with 8, the landlord will quickly make the discovery, and will add the surplus 2 to the rent he requires. He will obtain the income, because 8 per cent. is judged by the farming world to be an adequate reward for engaging in agriculture, and because no additional land is to be found for the agricultural business.

2. It is clear that tithes, poor-rates, and other permanent charges, fall upon the landlord's rent, and not on the farmer's profit. They diminish rent. This is a point on which much misunderstanding prevails. A loud outcry is raised amongst tenants at this time of agricultural suffering against the heavy payments demanded of them for special taxes imposed upon land; a strong agitation is rising to obtain their repeal, as being unjustifiable wrongs inflicted on the most meritorious of industries. It is not perceived that these charges figured as items in the cost of production when the farmer was calculating what rent the farm would warrant him to pay: they diminished the [pg 640] rent at the cost of the landlord. Tithes and rates took their places in the estimate of the debit side quite as really as the number of horses, or the quantity of manure, which the farm would require. We have seen that rent makes its appearance only after every expense has been provided for, and a legitimate profit secured; then, and not till then, the calculation of the rent begins. If the farming world succeeds in removing these burdens, wholly or in part, from the shoulders of the tenants, there can be no doubt that rents will proportionately rise. The landlords would argue, with entire justice, that all other circumstances remaining the same, the collective farming profit had become larger by the disappearance of these taxes, and as the tenant was entitled only to his natural rate of profit, the increase of surplus would legitimately belong to him. If the tenant repelled such a claim, the landlord would be easily able to obtain the rent he claimed from competing farmers who would be satisfied with the natural profit of the business.

One exception, however, must be allowed to this conclusion—the case, namely, of a tenant who, upon a long lease, had contracted to pay a definite rent for many years. Such a tenant has taken upon himself the chances of the cost of production during a lengthened period, it may be nineteen or twenty-one years, being larger or smaller. If it diminishes during the interval, he gains: if it increases, he loses. Practically he has insured the landlord's rent, during the continuance of the lease, against diminution. For all increase or diminution of rates he fares as if he were the landlord.

3. A third very important deduction follows from the nature of the process which determines rent. Rent does not increase the price of agricultural produce; it does not make bread dearer. Rent is the consequence, not the creator, of price. Here the difference between agriculture and manufacturing trades is vital. The hire or purchase of machinery forms necessarily a part of the cost of manufacturing the goods: it must be paid for by the price realized, or the goods will not be made. On the other hand, the consideration to be given for the use of the land does not enter into the tenant's estimate of his cost of production. He does not direct his inquiry to the right rent till after he has ascertained what the farm will produce, the cost of obtaining it, and the price it will fetch. He then discovers what the profit will be: from it he takes his own necessary share; what is over he hands to the landlord as rent. He does not, like the manufacturer, insist upon a price which must be obtained, for otherwise he would not be able to pay for the use of the machine he borrows; he simply takes the price which he finds in the market, makes himself reasonably sure of the profit which rewards him, and the landlord must take the chance of what rent will remain over, whether large or small. Rent exists because a selling price is found which yields a surplus, an excess of profit beyond what the tenant requires. If price gives no surplus profit, the landlord will get no rent, and he must farm the land himself, or sell it to a farmer.

But there is a peculiarity in the agricultural market which exercises [pg 641] a very powerful influence in raising rents. Most manufactured articles can be dispensed with, or their consumption greatly lessened, if their cost of production is largely increased, or the means of buying diminished. It is otherwise with food: it must be had, must be bought, if any means of purchasing it exist. The effect of this force on a country situated like England is very marked. England cannot supply food for more than half of her population; the other half must be procured from abroad. Now, the principle which governs the price of indispensable food is the law, that the price paid for the dearest article—say, a loaf of bread—which must and will be bought, will impose itself on all like articles which are actually purchased. When the loaf made in England was cheaper than any imported from abroad, then the price of the English loaf rose to the price of the dearest foreign loaves which were sold and purchased in the English markets. This extra-addition of price was a pure surplus of profit received by the English grower of wheat; the cost of production was not changed, nor his requirement of profit for himself augmented. The gain he thus realized, being absolutely surplus profit, passed to the landowner. The need of foreign corn raised his rent. But the picture has a reverse side. It may well happen that the foreign corn landed in England will be saleable at a lower price than the English. If the supply can be furnished in sufficient quantity to provide bread enough for all England, the English corn in that case must inevitably sink to the level of the foreign—its price will fall, the profit realized on its sale may indefinitely sink, and a great reduction of rents throughout England may well be the inevitable consequence. The only weapon wherewith to fight off the disaster would be such a modification of British agriculture as would lead to the cultivation of other crops than wheat.

Here it seems desirable to notice briefly some remarks addressed by Professor Thorold Rogers to the Daily News, of October 30th, 1879; for though they are in the main true, they might easily give rise to mischievous misconception. He writes—"There is no doubt that rent is wealth to the recipient, and a means of profit to those who trade with the recipient; but except in so far as it represents the advantageous outlay of capital, it is no more national wealth than the public funds are." Surely this is to ignore the fact that the sources from which rent and the dividends on the public funds are derived differ radically in nature. The dividends on consols are the fruit of taxes levied on the whole people of England, and distributed as such to national creditors, which they may consume as they please. Rent is part of a profit earned by an industry useful to the country. A tax and a profit are not necessarily the same thing. No doubt a profit swollen by a monopoly price is equivalent to a tax: and a rent derived from "the price of the produce of land, raised by excessive demand and stinted supply," would be a forced contribution from consumers. But is all rent the child of monopoly? May it not well happen, does it not constantly happen, that rents are high by the side of cheap corn, because [pg 642] the agricultural business is largely productive through efforts made by landlords in improving the powers of the soil? Are they to be limited down in their reward to the pure interest which they could have obtained for their capital from investments in bonds and debentures? Is not part of the profit realized legitimately due to them, as profit accomplished by a commercial enterprise? If the returns on improvements made by landowners on their estates were limited to the interest which they could have obtained from consols, would not the motive for making such improvements be sadly wanting? It would sound strange in great manufacturing towns to be told that flowing profits are no increase of the public wealth, that they are taxes resembling the public funds, and must be swept away down to the lowest sum compatible with the existence of the industry.

And what must be said of the ugly word, monopoly, which is so freely flung against the owners of rent? There is a sound of unfairness in it; of unearned gains won without effort from the fortunes of others. How is such a reproach to be repelled? To parry the blow does not seem to be so difficult. There is, indeed, a kind of monopoly which is susceptible of no defence, a monopoly of manufacture conferred on a favoured few, by the arbitrary decree of the law, founded on no superior claim of merit or capacity, and resulting in inflated prices and inferiority of service rendered. Such were the monopolies whose abolition an indignant public opinion extorted from Queen Elizabeth. But a superior advantage of production or sale attached by nature to particular individuals or societies belongs to a wholly different class. Life is full of such monopolies. They are inherent and indestructible. The vineyards of France possess a monopoly of incomparable wine which will for all time earn amazing profits paid by voluntary buyers. England enjoys a like monopoly in the juxtaposition of her coal and iron, which have created a trade that no other nation can rival. The eloquent barrister, the acute physician, the brilliant artist, the quick-eyed inventor of machines, the soul-stirring singer, all are endowed with a personal monopoly resulting in great wealth. Are the men and nations who reap the splendid fruit of such a superiority to be stigmatized as despoilers of their fellow-citizens? Is rent, the offspring of a like advantage, to be painted as a tribute exacted from fellow-countrymen compelled to buy food?

But it will be said, change the tenure of the land, and the wrong will disappear. But what system will clear away superior produce and increased price? Certainly not a universal peasant-proprietor class. Such peasants would still possess the command of higher prices conferred by fertility and situation, and by means of such prices they would gather up swollen profits which would in reality be rent. Then let the land be owned by the whole community in common possession, exclaim French Socialists, and let its fruits be distributed in equal shares to every inhabitant. But even in such an extreme case it would be impossible to [pg 643] efface monopoly. The able-bodied man who received the same share of produce as the weak dwarf, the clever artisan who was unable to earn a special reward for his fructifying intelligence, would inevitably reap a diminution of labour and time. His higher faculties would earn a monopoly benefit in leisure.

The conclusion to be drawn is evident. Nature has scattered monopolies broadcast, higher profits, over the world. She has ordained that they shall ever exist. It is futile to stigmatize rent as an exceptional offender against equality.

4. Finally, one more truth comes forth from this explanation, which has a most important bearing on the efficient cultivation of land. The landowner and the tenant are joint partners in a common business. They share a common profit—the first portion belongs to the farmer, the remainder to the landlord. They are both interested in promoting the success of the agriculturist. If the cultivation of the soil thrives even under the shortest leases, the rent is not quickly raised in consequence of the rising profit—whilst under a long lease very considerable gains may be won before a new settlement of the rent can come up for discussion. This partnership brings a powerful motive to act on the landlord to give help in developing the efficiency of the farming. He knows that if he invests capital in draining and other improvements, he increases the productive power of his land, he is laying the foundation of enlarged results, and he cannot fail to perceive that land thus improved must yield a bigger profit, of which the surplus part, the rents, must necessarily be greater. Thus, an important benefit is acquired, not only for the joint partners, but also for the whole population of the country. Such processes generate more abundant and cheaper food. The landlord who never visits his farms, never thinks of them except on rent day, is blind to his own interest, is forgetting that ownership of land is a partnership in a business. He neglects his own enrichment, and leaves needed resources for the nation unused. The active and intelligent landlord, on the contrary, watches the march of agriculture. He observes where the machine, the soil, requires improvement, he notices the farming qualities of the tenant, he lives on friendly relations with him, and deliberates with him on expanding the productive power of the farm. His rent becomes larger—not only by obtaining interest on the capital laid out, but also by sharing in the additional profit which that capital is sure to engender; and that addition will not be grudged by the tenant. He, too, will have prospered by the help of more powerful machinery in his trade, for he is certain of getting an augmented profit from the capital laid out by the landlord. Whatever may be said of the system of land-revenue which prevails in England, one merit it certainly possesses: it tends to bring the capital of a wealthy landowner to take part in enlarging the power of the land and the amount of its produce.

Bonamy Price.

1  It is much to be regretted that Professor Jevons in his "Primer of Political Economy" should have omitted in his explanation of rent the action of the forces which Ricardo and Mill sum up in the word situation. He affirms "that rent arises from the fact that different pieces of land are not equally fertile," and that "the rent of better land consists of the surplus of its produce over that of the poorest cultivated land." How is it then that inferior land near great towns pays a much higher rent than very good land in the heart of a rural district, far away from railways or canals, burdened with high poor-rates, and sorely in want of lime or other distant manures? Ricardo himself admits, and so does Mill, that if all lands were equally fertile, and, it may be added, equally well situated as to other forces, they would still pay rent to their owners.

[pg 644]



I N previous papers I have traced the progress of Indian religious thought through the various stages of Vedism, Brāhmanism, Vaishnavism, S′aivism, and S′āktism, and have pointed out that all these systems more or less run into, and in a manner overlap, one another. We have seen that among the primitive Āryans the air, the fire, and the sun, were believed to contain within themselves mysterious and irresistible forces, capable of effecting tremendous results either for good or evil. They were therefore personified, deified, and worshipped. Some regarded them as manifestations of one Supreme Controller of the Universe; others as separate cosmical divinities with separate powers and attributes.

If the religion of the ancient Indo-Āryans was a form of Theism, it was a Theism of a very uncertain and unsettled character. It was a religious creed based on a vague belief in the sovereignty of unseen natural forces. Such a creed might fairly be called monotheism, henotheism, polytheism, or pantheism, according to the particular standpoint from which it is regarded. But it was not, in its earliest origin, idolatry. Its simple ritual was the natural outcome of each man's earnest effort to express devotional feelings in his own way. Unhappily it did not long retain its simplicity. The Brāhmans soon took advantage of the growth of religious ideas among a people naturally pious and superstitious. They gradually cumbered the simplicity of worship with elaborate ceremonial. They persuaded the people that propitiatory offerings of all kinds were needed to secure the favour of the beings they worshipped, and that such sacrifices could not be performed without the repetition of prayers by a regularly ordained and trained priesthood. But this was not all. They developed and formulated a pantheistic philosophy, based on the physiolatry of the Veda, and overlaid [pg 645] it with subtle metaphysical and ontological speculations. They identified the Supreme Being with all the phenomena of Nature, and maintained that the Brāhmans themselves were his principal human manifestation, the sole repositories and exponents of all religious and philosophical truth, the sole mediators between earth and heaven, the sole link between men and gods. This combination of ritualism and philosophy, which together constituted what is commonly called Brāhmanism, gradually superseded the simple forms of Vedic religion. In process of time, however, the extravagance of Brāhmanical ceremonial, and the tyranny of priestcraft, led to repeated reactions. Efforts after simplicity of worship and freedom of thought were made by various energetic religious leaders at various periods. More than one reformer arose, who attempted to deliver the people from the bondage of a complex ceremonial, and the intolerable incubus of an arrogant sacerdotalism.

It was natural that the most successful opposition to priestcraft should have originated in the caste next in rank to the Brāhmans. Gautama (afterwards called "the Buddha") was a man of the military class (Kshatriya). He was the son of a petty chief who ruled over a small principality called Kapila-vastu, north of the Ganges; but he was not the sole originator of the reactionary movement. He had, in all probability, been preceded by other less conspicuous social reformers, and other leaders of sceptical inquiry. Or other such leaders may have been contemporaneous with himself. We have already pointed out that the philosophy he enunciated was not in its general scope and bearing very different from that of Brāhmanism. The Brāhmans called their system of doctrines "Dharma,"1 and the Buddha called his by the same name. He recognised no distinguishing term like Buddhism. His simple aim was to remove every merely sacerdotal doctrine from the national religion—to cut away every useless excrescence, and to sweep away every corrupting incrustation. His own doctrines of liberty, equality, and general benevolence towards all creatures, ensured the popularity of his teaching; while the example he himself set of asceticism and self-mortification, secured him a large number of devoted personal adherents. For it is remarkable that just as the Founder of Christianity was Himself a Jew, and required none of His followers to give up their true Jewish creed, or Jewish usages, so the founder of Buddhism was himself a Hindū, and did not require his adherents to give up every essential principle of ordinary Hindūism, or renounce all the religious observances of their ancestors.2

Yet it cannot be denied that Buddhism was very different from Brāhmanism, [pg 646] and it is a remarkable fact that, with all his personal popularity, the atheistic philosophy of Gautama was unsuited to the masses of the people. His negations, abstractions, and theories of the non-eternity and ultimate extinction of soul, never commended themselves to the popular mind.

It seemed, indeed, probable that Buddhism was destined to become extinct with its founder. The Buddha died, like other men, and, according to his own doctrine, became absolutely extinct. Nothing remained but the relics of his burnt body, which were distributed in all directions. No successor was ready to step into his place. No living representative was competent to fill up the void caused by his death. Nothing seemed more unlikely than that the mere recollection of his teaching and example, though perpetuated by the rapid multiplication of shrines, symbols, and images of his person,3 should have power to secure the continuance of his system in his own native country for more than ten centuries, and to disseminate his doctrines over the greater part of Asia. What, then, was the secret of its permanence and diffusion? It really had no true permanence. Buddhism never lived on in its first form, and never spread anywhere without taking from other systems quite as much as it imparted. The tolerant spirit which was its chief distinguishing characteristic permitted its adherents to please themselves in adopting extraneous doctrines. Hence it happened that the Buddhists were always ready to acquiesce in, and even conform to, the religious practices of the countries to which they migrated, and to clothe their own simple creed in, so to speak, a many-coloured vesture of popular legends and superstitious ideas.

Even in India, where the Buddha's memory continued to be perpetuated by strong personal recollections and local associations, as well as by relics, symbols, and images, his doctrines rapidly lost their distinctive character, and ultimately, as we have already shown, merged in the Brāhmanism whence they originally sprang.

Nor is there any historical evidence to prove that the Buddhists were finally driven out of India by violent means. Doubtless, occasional persecutions occurred in particular places at various times, and it is well ascertained that fanatical, enthusiastic Brāhmans, such as Kumārila and S′ankara, occasionally instigated deeds of blood and violence. But the [pg 647] final disappearance of Buddhism is probably due to the fact that the two systems, instead of engaging in constant conflict, were gradually drawn towards each other by mutual sympathy and attraction; and that, originally related like father and child, they ended by consorting together in unnatural union and intercourse. The result of this union was the production of the hybrid systems of Vaishnavism and S′aivism, both of which in their lineaments bear a strong family resemblance to Buddhism. The distinctive names of Buddhism were dropped, but the distinctive features of the system survived. The Vaishnavas were Buddhists in their doctrines of liberty and equality, in their abstinence from injury (a-hinsā), in their desire for the preservation of life, in their hero-worship, deification of humanity, and fondness for images; while the S′aivas were Buddhists in their love for self-mortification and austerity, as well as in their superstitious dread of the power of demoniacal agencies. What, then, became of the atheistical philosophy and agnostic materialism of the Buddhistic creed? Those doctrines were no more expelled from India than were other Buddhistic ideas. They found a home, under changed names, among various sects, but especially in a kindred system which has survived to the present day, and may be conveniently called Jainism.4 Here, then, we are brought face to face with the special subject of our present paper: What are the peculiar characteristics of the Jaina creed?

To give an exhaustive reply to such a question will scarcely be possible until the sacred books of Buddhists and Jainas (or, as they are commonly called, Jains) have been more thoroughly investigated. All that I can do at present is to give a general outline of Jaina doctrines, and to indicate the principal points in which they either agree with or differ from those of Buddhists and Brāhmans.5 Perhaps the first point to which attention may be directed is that recent investigations have tended to show that Buddhism and Jainism were not related to each other as parent and child, but rather as children of a common parent, born at different intervals, though at about the same period of time, and marked by distinct characteristics, though possessing a strong family resemblance. Both these systems, in fact, were the product of Brāhmanical rationalistic thought, which was itself a child of Brāhmanism. Both were forms of materialistic philosophy engendered from separate kindred germs.

For there can be no doubt that different lines of philosophical speculation were developed by the Brāhmans at a very early period. All such speculations were regarded by them as legitimate phases of their own religious system. In some localities where Brāhmanism was strong [pg 648] and dominant, rationalism was restrained within orthodox limits. In other places it diverged into unorthodox sceptical inquiries. In others into rank heresy and schism. Buddhism and Jainism represented different schools of heretical philosophical speculation which were in all likelihood nearly synchronous in their origin. That is to say, Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, and Pārs′vanātha, the probable founder of Jainism, may have lived about the same time in different parts of India. Nor is it unreasonable to conjecture that both these freethinkers may have followed closely on Kapila, the reputed founder of the Sānkhya system and typical representative of rationalistic Brāhmanism.6 By far the most popular of the three was Gautama, commonly called the Buddha. The influence of his personal character, combined with the extraordinary persuasiveness of his teaching, was irresistible. His system spread with his followers and admirers in every direction, and threw all kindred systems into the shade. Very soon Buddhistic doctrines leavened the religions of the whole Indian peninsula, from Afghānistān to Ceylon. They found their way into every home. They became domesticated in the cottages of peasants and palaces of kings. As to Jainism, centuries elapsed before it emerged from the obscurity to which the greater popularity of Buddhism had consigned it. Nor, even when its rival was extinguished, did it ever rise above the rank of an insignificant sect. At present the total number of Jainas in all India does not exceed 400,000, at least half of whom are found in the Bombay Presidency.

Yet it is not impossible that the first opposition to sacerdotalism may have been due to Jaina influences, and that Indian rationalistic speculation may have been inaugurated by early Jaina leaders. We know that the Buddhist king As′oka, in his inscriptions—which are referred to the third century B.C.—mentions the Jainas under the name of Nirgrantha, as if well established and well known in his time. We know, too, what has happened in our own country. Not long ago there was a reaction from extreme Evangelical religious thought in England. But because that reactionary movement is called by the name of a particular leader, it by no means follows that he was chronologically the first to set it in action. In the same way it may possibly turn out to be a fact that the Jaina Pārs′vanātha, rather than the Buddha Gautama, was the first excogitator of the heretical ideas and theories common to both. It seems to me, indeed, not improbable that Jainism, which is now at length assimilating itself to Hindūism, maintained its ground more persistently in India, not only because, unlike Buddhism, it sullenly refused to fraternize with Brāhmanism, and to court converts from other creeds, but because the lines of demarcation which separated it from the orthodox system were in some essential points more sharp and decided than [pg 649] those which separated Buddhism. It is, at any rate, a fact that the Jainas claim for their system a prior origin to that of Buddhism, and even affirm that Gautama Buddha was a pupil of their chief Jina, Mahāvīra. Nor will it surprise us that the legendary history of Mahāvīra, who succeeded Pārs′vanātha, and was the first real propagator of the Jaina creed, favours the theory of such a priority. True, Mahāvīra is described as the son of Siddhārtha, which is an epithet given to the Buddha. But he is also said to have had a pupil named Gautama, and his death is fixed by the concurrent testimony of both parties of Jainas, who follow different reckonings, at a date corresponding to about B.C. 526 or 527, the usual date assigned by modern research to the Nirvāna or death of Buddha being 477 or 478.

But it must not be supposed that Pārs′vanātha and his successor Mahāvīra, are regarded by the Jainas as their first supreme Jinas. They were preceded by twenty-two other mythical leaders and patriarchs, beginning with Rishabha,7 whose fabulous lives protracted to millions of years, and whose fabulous statures, proportionally extended, were probably invented in recent times, that the Jaina system might not be outdone by that of either Brāhmans or Buddhists.

It is well known that the code of Manu—which is the best exponent of Brāhmanism—supposes a constant succession of religious guides through an infinite succession of cycles. These cycles are called Kalpas. Every Kalpa or Æon of time begins with a new creation, and ends with a universal dissolution of all existing things—including Brahmā, Vishnu, S′iva, gods, demons, men, and animals—into Brahmă, or the One sole impersonal self-existent Soul of the Universe. In the interval between each creation and dissolution there are fourteen periods, presided over by fourteen successive patriarchs or progenitors of the human race called Manus, who, as their name implies, are the authors of all human wisdom, and who create a succession of Sages and Saints (Rishis and Munis), for mankind's guidance and instruction.

The Buddhists, also, have their cycles of time, presided over by twenty-four Buddhas, or 'perfectly enlightened men,' Gautama being (according to the Northern reckoning) the seventh of the series. Similarly the Jainas have their vast periods superintended by twenty-four Jinas, or 'self-conquering sages.' The notion is that alternate periods of degeneracy and amelioration succeed each other with symmetrical regularity. Each cycle embraces vast terms of years; for in the determination of the world's epochs Indian arithmeticians anticipated [pg 650] centuries ago the wildest hypotheses of modern European science. A single Kalpa, or Æon, of the Brāhmans consists of 4,320,000,000 years. It is divided into a thousand periods of four ages (called Satya, Treta, Dvāpara, and Kali), under which there is gradual degeneration until the depths of degeneracy are reached in the Kali age. The Buddhist Kalpas are similar, but the Jaina cycles have a distinctive character of their own. They proceed in pairs, one of which is called 'descending,' (Avasarpinī), and the other 'ascending,' (Utsarpinī). Of these the descending cycle has six stages, or periods, each comprising one hundred million years, and called 'good-good,' 'good,' 'good-bad,' 'bad-good,' 'bad,' 'bad-bad,' during which mankind gradually deteriorates; while the ascending cycle has also six similar periods called 'bad-bad,' 'bad,' 'bad-good,' 'good-bad,' 'good,' 'good-good,' during which the human race gradually improves till it reaches the culminating pinnacle of absolute perfection. In illustration we are told to imagine a vast serpent, whose body, coiled round in infinite space in an endless circle, supports and guides the movement of the earth in its eternal progress. The head and tail of the serpent meet, and the notion is that the earth's movement alternates after the manner of the oscillating motion of a balance-wheel acted on by the coiling and uncoiling of a steel spring. First the earth moves from the head towards the tail in a downward course, and then reversing the direction moves upwards from the tail to the head. At present we are supposed to be in the descending cycle. Twenty-four Jinas have already appeared in this cycle, while twenty-four were manifested in the past ascending cycle, and twenty-four will be manifested in the future.

In Brāhmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism, the idea seems to be that the tendency to deterioration would very soon land mankind in a condition of hopeless degeneracy unless counteracted by the remedial influences of great teachers, prophets, and deliverers. In the legendary history of the Buddha Gautama, he is described in terms which almost assimilate his character to the Christian conception of a Redeemer: he is even reported to have said—"Let all the evils (or sins) flowing from the corruption of the fourth or degenerate age (called Kali) fall upon me, but let the world be redeemed."

And what are the precise character and functions of a Jina? This inquiry must, of course, form an important part of our present subject, and the reply is really involved in the answer to another question: What is the great end and object of Jainism? Briefly, it may be stated that Jainism, like Brāhmanism and Buddhism, aims at getting rid of the burden of repeated existences. Three root-ideas may be said to lie at the foundation of all three systems:—first, that personal existence is protracted through an innumerable succession of bodies by the almighty power of man's own acts; secondly, that mundane life is an evil, and that man finds his perfection in the cessation of all acts, and the consequent extinction of all personal existence; thirdly, that such perfection is alone attained [pg 651] through self-mortification, abstract meditation, and true knowledge. In these crucial doctrines, the theory of Brāhmanism is superior to that of Buddhism and Jainism. According to the Brāhmans, the living soul of man has an eternal existence both retrospectively and prospectively, and only exists separately from the One Supreme Eternal Soul because that Supreme Soul wills the temporary separate personality of countless individual spirits, dissevering them from his own essence and causing them to pass through a succession of bodies, till, after a long course of discipline, they are permitted to blend once more with their great Eternal Source. With the Brāhmans existence in the abstract is not an evil. It is only an evil when it involves the continued separation of the personal soul from the impersonal Eternal Soul of the Universe.

Very different is the doctrine of Buddhists and Jains. With them there is no Supreme Being, no Supreme Divine Eternal Soul, no separate human eternal soul. Nor can there be any true soul-transmigration. A Buddhist and a Jaina believe that the only eternal thing is matter. The universe consists of eternal atoms which by their own inherent creative force are perpetually developing countless forms of being in ever-recurring cycles of creation and dissolution, re-creation and re-dissolution. This is symbolized by a wheel revolving for ever in perpetual progression and retrogression.8

What then becomes of the doctrine of transmigration of souls, which is said to be held even more strongly by Buddhists and Jains than by Hindūs? It is thus explained. Every human being is composed of certain constituents (called by Buddhists the five Skandhas). These comprehend body, soul, and mind, with all the organs of feeling and sensation. They are all dissolved at death, and absolute extinction would follow, were it not for the inextinguishable, imperishable, omnipotent force of Karman or Act. No sooner are the constituents of one stage of existence dissolved than a new set is created by the force of acts done and character formed in the previous stage. Soul-transmigration with Buddhists is simply a concatenation of separate existences connected by the iron chain of act. A man's own acts generate a force which may be compared to those of chemistry, magnetism, or electricity—a force which periodically re-creates the whole man, and perpetuates his personal identity (notwithstanding the loss of memory) through the whole series of his separate existences, whether it obliges him to ascend or descend in the scale of being. It may safely be affirmed that Brāhmans, Buddhists, and Jains all agree in repudiating the idea of vicarious suffering. All concur in rejecting the notion of a representative man—whether he be a Manu, a Rishi, a Buddha, or a Jina—suffering as a substituted victim for the rest of mankind. Every being brought into the world must suffer in his own person the consequences of his own deeds committed either in present or former states of being. [pg 652] It is not sufficient that he be rewarded in a temporary heaven, or punished in a temporary hell. Neither heaven nor hell has power to extinguish the accumulated efficacy of good or bad acts committed by the same person during a long succession of existences. Such accumulated acts must inevitably and irresistibly drag him down into other mundane forms, until at length their potency is destroyed by his attainment of perfect self-discipline and self-knowledge in some final culminating condition of being, terminated by complete self-annihilation.

And thus we are brought to a clear understanding of the true character of a Jina or self-conquering Saint (from the Sanskrit root ji, to conquer). A Jina is with the Jains very nearly what a Buddha is with the Buddhists.

He represents the perfection of humanity, the typical man, who has conquered self and attained a condition so perfect that he not only ceases to act, but is able to extinguish the power of former acts; a human being who is released from the obligation of further transmigration, and looks forward to death as the absolute extinction of personal existence. But he is also more than this. He is a being who by virtue of the perfection of his self-mortification (tapas) has acquired the perfection of knowledge, and therefore the right to be a supreme leader and teacher of mankind. He claims far more complete authority and infallibility than the most arrogant Roman Pontiff. He is in his own solitary person an absolutely independent and infallible guide to salvation. Hence he is commonly called a Tīrthan-kara, or one who constitutes a Tīrtha9—that is to say, a kind of passage or medium through which bliss may be attained—a kind of ford or bridge leading over the river of life to the elysium of final emancipation. Other names for him are Arhat, "venerable;" Sarva-jna, "omniscient;" Bhagavat, "lord."

A Buddha with the Buddhists is a very similar personage. He is a self-conqueror and self-mortifier (tapasvī), like the Jina, and is besides a supreme guide to salvation; but he has achieved his position of Buddhahood more by the perfection of his meditation (yoga, samādhi) than by the completeness of his self-restraint and austerities.

Both Jainas and Buddhists—but especially Jainas—believe in the existence of gods and demons, and spiritual beings of all kinds, whom they often designate by names similar to those used by the Hindūs. These may possess vast supernatural and extra-mundane powers in different degrees and kinds, which they are capable of exerting for the benefit or injury of mankind; but they are inferior in position to the Jina or Buddha. They are merely powerful beings—temporary rulers in temporary heavens and hells.

They may be very formidable and worthy of propitiation, but they are imperfect. They are liable to pass through other stages of existence, or even to be born again in mundane forms, until they are [pg 653] finally extinguished by the same law of dissolution as the rest of the universe.

Very different is the condition of the perfect saint. He is in a far higher position, for he has but one step to take before plunging into the ocean of non-existence. He is on the verge of the bliss of extinction, and can guide others to it. He can never be dragged down again to earthly imperfection and sin. He alone is a worthy object of adoration. All other beings—divine and demoniacal—are to be dreaded, not worshipped. "There is no god superior to the Arhat," says the Kalpa-sūtra (Stevenson, p. 10). True worship, indeed, is not possible with Jainas any more than with Buddhists. They have no supreme Eternal Being, omniscient and omnipresent, ever at hand to answer prayer, ever living to be an object of meditation, devotion, and love to his creatures.

Yet a Jaina who acts up to the principles of his faith is a slave to a ceaseless round of religious duties.

The late Bishop of Calcutta told me that he once asked a pious Jaina, whom he happened to meet in the act of leaving a temple after a long course of devotion, what he had been asking for in prayer, and to whom he had been praying? He replied, "I have been asking for nothing, and praying to nobody." The fact was he had been meditating on the perfections of some extinct Jina, doing homage to his memory, and using prayer as a mere mechanical act, not directed towards any higher Power capable of granting requests, but believed to have an efficacy of its own in determining the character of his subsequent forms of existence.

It may be said that the Brāhmanical idea of a saint is much the same as that of Buddhists and Jainas. But with Brāhmans the perfect saint is not so solitary and independent in his spiritual pre-eminence. He is one of a numerous band of similar sainted personages. He has endless names and epithets (such as Rishi, Muni, Yogī, Tapasvī, Jitendriya, Yatendriya, Sannyāsī), all of which indicate that he, like the Buddha and Jina, has attained the perfection of knowledge and impassiveness, either by abstract meditation (yoga), or self-mortification (tapas), or mastery over his sensual organs (yama). He may also combine the functions of a true teacher and guide to salvation (Tīrtha). He may even, like the Buddha and Jina, have acquired such powers that any of the secondary gods, including Brahmā, Vishnu, and S′iva, may be subject to him. Finally, he may be himself worshipped as a kind of deity. Yet radically there is an important distinction between the Brāhman and the Jaina saint, for the Brāhman saint makes no pretence to absolute finality and supremacy. However lofty his position, he can never be exalted above the One Supreme Being (Brahma), in whose existence his own personal existence is destined to become absorbed, and union with whose essence constitutes the object of all his hopes, and the aim of all his aspirations.

Nothing, perhaps, better illustrates the difference between Brāhmanism, [pg 654] Buddhism, and Jainism than the daily prayer used in all three systems. That of the Brāhmans is in Sanskrit (from Rig-veda iii. 62. 10), and is addressed to the Supreme Being as giver of life and illumination. It is a prayer for greater knowledge and enlightenment: thus, "Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the divine Vivifier. May He stimulate our understandings." That of the Jainas, also called by them Gāyatrī, is in Māgadhī Prākrit, and is in five short clauses to the following effect:—"I venerate the sages who are worthy of honour (arhat). I venerate the saints who have achieved perfection. I venerate those who direct our religious worship. I venerate spiritual instructors. I venerate holy men (sādhus) in all parts of the world." This is obviously no real prayer, but a mere formula, expressive of veneration for human excellence, like that used by the Buddhists, which is perhaps the simplest of all,—"Reverence to the incomparable Buddha;" or (as in Thibet), "Reverence to the jewel in the lotus."10

Brāhmans, Jains, and Buddhists all alike aim at the attainment of perfect knowledge; but the Brāhman, by his Gāyatrī prayer, acknowledges his dependence on a Supreme Being as the source of all enlightenment; while the formulas of Jains and Buddhists are simply expressive of their belief in the divinity of humanity—the efficacy of human example, and the power of unassisted human effort.

It will be evident from the foregoing outline of the first principles of Jainism, that the whole system hinges on the efficacy of self-mortification (tapas), self-restraint (yama), and asceticism. Only twenty-four supreme saints and Tīrthan-karas can appear in any one cycle of time, but every mortal man may be a self-restrainer (yati). Every one born into the world may be a striver after sanctity (sādhu), and a practiser of austerities (tapasvī). Doubtless, at first there was no distinction between monks, ascetics, and ordinary men, just as in the earliest days of Christianity there was no division into bishops, priests, and laity. All Jainas in ancient times practised austerities, but among such ascetics an important difference arose. One party advocated an entire abandonment of clothing, in token of complete indifference to all worldly ideas and associations. The other party were in favour of wearing white garments. The former were called Dig-ambara, sky-clothed, the latter S′vetāmbara (or, in ancient works, S′veta-pata), white-clothed.110 Of these the Dig-ambaras were chronologically the earliest. They were probably the first to form themselves into a regular society. The first Jina, Rishaba, as well as the last Jina, Mahāvīra, are said to have been Dig-ambaras, and to have gone about absolutely naked. Their images represent two entirely nude ascetics, whereas the images of other Jinas, like the Buddhist images, are representations of a sage, [pg 655] generally seated in a contemplative posture, with a robe thrown gracefully over one shoulder.

It is not improbable that the ­S′vetāmbara division of the Jainas were merely a sect which separated itself from the parent stock in later times, and became in the end numerically the most important, at least in Western India. The Dig-ambaras, however, are still the most numerous faction in Southern India, and at Jaipur in the North.12

And, indeed, it need scarcely be pointed out that ascetics, both wholly naked and partially clothed, are as common under the Brāhmanical system as among Jainas and Buddhists. The god S′iva himself is represented as a Dig-ambara, or naked ascetic, whenever he assumes the character of a Mahā-yogī—that is to say, whenever he enters on a long course of austerity, with an absolutely nude body, covered only with a thick coating of dust and ashes, sitting motionless and wrapped in meditation for thousands of years, that he may teach men by his own example the power attainable through self-mortification and abstract contemplation.

It is true that absolute nudity in public is now prohibited by law, but the Dig-ambara Jainas who take their meals, like orthodox Hindūs, in strict seclusion, are said to remove their clothes in the act of eating. Even in the most crowded thoroughfares the requirements of legal decency are easily satisfied. Any one who travels in India must accustom himself to the sight of plenty of unblushing, self-asserting human flesh. Thousands content themselves with the minimum of clothing represented by a narrow strip of cloth, three or four inches wide, twisted round their loins. Nor ought it to excite any feeling of prudish disgust to find poor, hard-working labourers tilling the ground with a greater area of sun-tanned skin courting the cooling action of air and wind on the burning plains of Asia than would be considered decorous in Europe. As to mendicant devotees, they may still occasionally be seen at great religious gatherings absolutely innocent of even a rag. Nevertheless, they are careful to avoid magisterial penalties. In a secluded part of the city of Patna, I came suddenly on an old female ascetic, who usually sits quite naked in a large barrel, which constitutes her only abode. When I passed her, in company with the collector and magistrate of the district, she rapidly drew a dirty sheet round her body.

In the present day both Dig-ambara and S′vetāmbara Jainas are divided into two classes, corresponding to clergy and laity. When the two sects increased in numbers, all, of course, could not be ascetics. Some were compelled to engage in secular pursuits, and many developed industrious and business-like habits. Hence it happened that a large number became prosperous merchants and traders.

All laymen13 among the Jainas are called S′rāvakas, "hearers or [pg 656] disciples," while the Yatis,14 or "self-restraining ascetics," who constitute the only other division of both Jaina sects, are the supposed teachers (Gurus). Many of them, of course, never teach at all. They were formerly called Nirgrantha, "free from worldly ties," and are often known by the general name of Sādhu, "holy men." All are celibates, and most of them are cenobites, not anchorites. Sometimes four or five hundred live together in one monastery, which they call an Upās′raya,15 "place of retirement," under a presiding abbot. They dress, like other Hindū ascetics, in yellowish-pink or salmon-coloured garments.16 There are also female ascetics (Sādhvinī, or, anciently, Nirgranthī), who may be seen occasionally in public places clothed in dresses of a similar colour. When these good women draw the ends of their robes over their heads to conceal their features, and cover the lower part of their faces with pieces of muslin to prevent animalculæ from entering their mouths, they look very like hooded Roman Catholic nuns. I saw several threading their way through the crowded streets of Ahmedabad, apparently bent, like sisters of mercy, on charitable errands.

Of course, in Jainism anything like a Brāhmanical priesthood would be an impossibility. Jainas reject the whole body of the Veda, Vedic sacrifices and ritual, and hold it to be a heinous sin to kill an animal of any kind, even for religious purposes. They have, however, a Veda of their own, consisting of a series of forty-five sacred writings, collectively called Āgamas. They are all in the Jaina form of the Māgadhī dialect (differing from, yet related to, the Pālī of the Buddhists, the Māgadhī Prākrit of Vararuchi, and the Prākrit of the plays), and are classed under the different heads of Anga, Upānga, Pāinna (Sanskrit, Prakīrnaka), Mūla, Chheda, Anuyoga, and Nandi. Of these the eleven Angas are the most esteemed, but the whole series is equally regarded as S′ruti, or divine revelation. The Māgadhī text is sometimes explained by Sanskrit commentaries, and sometimes by commentaries in the Mārwārī dialect, very common among merchants in the West of India. Some of the best known Angas and Upāngas were procured by me when I was last at Bombay, through the kind assistance of Dr. Bühler; but it appears doubtful whether they would repay the trouble which a complete perusal and thorough examination of such voluminous writings would entail. It may safely be affirmed that their teaching, like that of the Purānas, is anything but consistent or uniform, and that they deal with subjects—such as the formation of the universe, history, geography, and chronology—of which their authors are profoundly ignorant.

[pg 657]

The Indian commentator, Mādhavāchārya, in his well-known summary of Hindū sects (called Sarva-dars′ana-sangraha) has given an interesting sketch of the Jainas from his own investigation of their sacred writings. Their philosophers are sometimes called Syād-vādins, "asserters of possibility," because their system propounds seven modes of reconciling opposite views (sapta-bhanga-naya) as to the possibility of anything existing or not existing. All visible objects—all the phenomena of the universe—are distributed under the two principles (tattva) or categories of animate (jīva), and inanimate (a-jīva). Again, all living beings comprised under the former are divided into three classes: (1) eternally perfect, as the Jina; (2) emancipated from the power of acts; (3) bound by acts and worldly associations. Or, again, nine principles are enumerated—namely, life, absence of life, merit (punya), demerit, passion, helps to restraint, helps to freedom from worldly attachments, bondage, emancipation. Inanimate matter is sometimes referred to a principle (tattva) called Pudgala, which it is easier for Jaina philosophers to talk about than to explain.

When we come to the Jaina moral code, we find ourselves transported from the mists of fanciful ideas and arbitrary speculation to a clearer atmosphere and firmer ground. The three gems which every Jaina is required to seek after with earnestness and diligence, are right intuition, right knowledge, and right conduct. The nature of the first two may be inferred from the explanations already given. Right conduct consists in the observance of five duties (vratas), and the avoidance of five sins implied in five prohibitions. The five duties are:—Be merciful to all living things; practise almsgiving and liberality; venerate the perfect sages while living, and worship their images after their decease; confess your sins annually, and mutually forgive each other; observe fasting. The five prohibitions are:—Kill not; lie not; steal not; commit not adultery or impurity; love not the world or worldly honour.

If equal practical importance were attached to these ten precepts, the Jaina system could not fail to conduce in a high degree to the happiness and well-being of its adherents, however perverted their religious sense may be. Unfortunately, undue stress is laid on the first duty and first prohibition, to the comparative neglect of some of the others. In former days, when Buddhism and Jainism were prevalent everywhere, "Kill not" was required to be proclaimed by sound of trumpet in every city daily.17

And, indeed, with all Hindūs respect for life has always been regarded as a supreme obligation. Ahinsā, or avoidance of injury to others in thought, word, and deed, is declared by Manu to be the highest virtue, and its opposite the greatest crime. Not the smallest insect ought to be killed, lest the soul of some relation should be there embodied. Yet [pg 658] all Hindūs admit that life may be taken for religious or sacrificial purposes. Not so Buddhists and Jainas. With them the sacrifice of any kind of life, even for the most sacred purpose, is a heinous crime. In fact, the belief in transmission of personal identity at death through an infinite series of animal existences is so intense that they live in perpetual dread of destroying some beloved relative or friend. The most deadly serpents or venomous scorpions may enshrine the spirits of their fathers or mothers, and are therefore left unharmed. The Jainas far outdo every other Indian sect in carrying the prohibition, "not to kill," to the most preposterous extremes. They strain water before drinking, sweep the ground with a silken brush before sitting down, never eat or drink in the dark, and often wear muslin before their mouths to prevent the risk of swallowing minute insects. They even object to eating figs, or any fruit containing seed, and would consider themselves eternally defiled by simply touching flesh-meat with their hands.

One of the most curious sights in Bombay is the Panjara-pol, or hospital for diseased, crippled, and worn-out animals, established by rich Jaina merchants and benevolent Vaishnava Hindūs in a street outside the Fort. The institution covers several acres of ground, and is richly endowed. Both Jainas and Vaishnavas think it a work of the highest religious merit to contribute liberally towards its support. The animals are well fed and well tended, though it certainly seemed to me, when I visited the place, that the great majority would be more mercifully provided for by the application of a loaded pistol to their heads. I found, as might have been expected, that a large proportion of space was allotted to stalls for sick and infirm oxen, some with bandaged eyes, some with crippled legs, some wrapped up in blankets and lying on straw beds. One huge, bloated, broken-down old bull in the last stage of decrepitude and disease was a pitiable object to behold. Then I noticed in other parts of the building singular specimens of emaciated buffaloes, limping horses, mangy dogs, apoplectic pigs, paralytic donkeys, featherless vultures, melancholy monkeys, comatose tortoises, besides a strange medley of cats, rats and mice, small birds, reptiles, and even insects, in every stage of suffering and disease. In one corner a crane, with a kind of wooden leg, appeared to have spirit enough left to strut in a stately manner amongst a number of dolorous-looking ducks and depressed fowls. The most spiteful animals seemed to be tamed by their sufferings and the care they received. All were being tended, nursed, physicked, and fed, as if it were a sacred duty to prolong the existence of every living creature to the utmost possible limit. It is even said that men are paid to sleep on dirty wooden beds in different parts of the building, that the loathsome vermin with which they are infested may be supplied with their nightly meal of human blood.

Yet I observed on other occasions that both Jainas and Hindūs are sometimes very cruel to animals used for domestic purposes, believing [pg 659] that the harshest treatment involves no sin provided it stops short of destroying life. The following story, which I have paraphrased freely, from the Jaina Kalpa-sūtra (Stevenson, p. 11) may be taken as an illustration:18

"There was a certain Brāhman in the city of Pushpavatī whose father and mother died. In process of time both parents were born again in their own son's house, the father as a bullock, the mother as a female dog. By-and-by the S′rāddha, or festive-day for the worship of deceased parents and forefathers, came round. In the morning the son set the bullock to labour hard, that a supply of rice and milk might be ready for the priests invited to the festival. When they were about to begin eating, the female dog, in which was the mother's soul, seeing something poisonous fall into the milk, snatched it away with her mouth. Upon that her son, not understanding the dog's action, flew into a passion and almost broke her back with a stick. In the evening the bullock was tied up in a cowhouse, but no food given to him after his day's toil. Both animals had become conscious of their previous state of existence, and the bullock, looking at the female dog, exclaimed, 'Alas! what have we both suffered this day through the cruelty of our wicked son!'"

As to the other precepts of the Jaina moral code, it is noteworthy that the practice of confessing sins to a priestly order of men probably existed in full force among the Jainas long before its introduction into the Christian system. A pious Jaina ought to confess at least once a year, or if his conscience happens to be burdened by the weight of any recent crime—such, for example, as the accidental killing of a noxious insect—he is bound to betake himself to the confessional without delay. The stated observance of this duty is called Pratikramana, because on a particular day the penitent repairs solemnly to a priestly Yati, who hears his confession, pronounces absolution, and imposes a penance.

The penances inflicted generally consist of various kinds of fasting; but it must be observed that fasting is with Jainas a duty incumbent on all. It is a duty only second to that of not killing. Fasting (upavāsa) is also practised by Hindūs and Buddhists, and held to be a most effective means of accumulating religious merit. Orthodox Hindūs fast twice a month, on the eleventh day of each fortnight, as well as on the birthday of Krishna (Janmāshtamī), and the night sacred to S′iva (S′iva-rātri). On some fast days fruits may be eaten, but no cooked food of any kind.

With Buddhists and Jainas the season of fasting, religious meditation, and recitation of sacred texts, far outdoes our Lenten period. The Buddhists in some parts of the world call their fasting season Wasso (corrupted from the Sanskrit Upavāsa). That of the Jainas is called Pajjūsan or Pachchūsan (for Sanskrit Paryushana). The S′vetāmbara Jainas fast for the fifty days preceding the fifth of the month Bhādra, the Dig-ambaras for the seventy following days. In both cases the Pajjūsan corresponds generally to the rainy season or its close. Possibly the practice of fasting during that period may be intended as an expiation [pg 660] for the supposed guilt incurred by the unintentional destruction of damp-engendered insects.

In regard to the duty of worshipping images, this also, like the last duty, is incumbent on all. But it is worthy of remark that images were at first only used as memorials or as simple decorations, in places consecrated to pure forms of worship. Idolatry has always been a later innovation. It has never belonged to the original constitution of any religious system. One or two differences between Hindū, Buddha, and Jaina images should be noted. Hindū images (excepting that of the ascetic form of S′iva) are often profusely decorated, while Buddha and Jaina idols are always left unadorned, though sometimes cut out of the finest marble, and often having a nimbus19 round their heads. Twenty-two of the Jina images, as well as the seven Buddhas, are represented with a coarse garment thrown over the left shoulder, the other shoulder being bare. Those of the first and last Jinas (Rishabha and Mahāvīra) are completely nude; and Jina images, like some of those of the Buddha, are often erect. Moreover, the idols of the Buddha Gautama represent him in four principal attitudes. He is (1) seated in deep contemplation; or (2) is seated while engaged in teaching, with the tip of the forefinger of one hand applied to the fingers of the other hand; or (3) he is a mendicant ascetic in a standing posture; or (4) he is recumbent just before his decease. In the first or contemplative attitude, he is indifferent to everything except intense concentration of thought on the problem of perfect knowledge. According to others, he is supposed to be thinking of nothing, or, if that is impossible, his thoughts are concentrated on the tip of his nose, till he does not even think of that. Or there may be a modification of this meditative attitude, in which his mind is apparently engaged in ecstatic contemplation of the short distance which still separates him from the goal of annihilation. The first contemplative attitude is by far the commonest. The sage is seen seated (generally on a full-blown lotus) with his legs folded under him, the left palm supinate on his lap, and the right hand extended over the right leg. He has pendulous ears, curly hair, and a top-knot on the crown of his head. His garment is thrown gracefully over the left shoulder, leaving the right bare. The modification of this attitude, representing the sage in ecstatic contemplation, has both the palms resting one above the other on the lap, and occasionally holding a circular object, the meaning of which is not well ascertained. In the second or teaching attitude, the great teacher is supposed to be marking off the points of his discourse, or emphasizing them on his fingers. This attitude expresses an important peculiarity, already pointed out, as distinguishing Buddhism from Jainism—namely, that it lays more stress than Jainism on the acquisition and imparting of knowledge. I have never seen a Jina image in a teaching attitude. The recumbent attitude of Buddha is supposed to represent him in the act of dying, [pg 661] and attaining Nirvāna. Pious Buddhists regard this supreme moment in the life of their great leader with as much reverence as Christians regard the death of Christ on the cross. Through the kindness of Sir William Gregory, I was taken to see a colossal recumbent statue of the Buddha, at least thirty feet long,20 in the celebrated temple of Kelani, not far from Columbo, in Ceylon. The image appeared to be highly venerated by numerous worshippers, who presented offerings at the shrine. On each side were colossal images of attendants and doorkeepers (dvāra-pāla), and in other parts of the temple figures of Buddha's demon enemies, besides idols of the Hindū deities, Vishnu, S′iva, and Ganes′a. All around the walls of the temple were fresco representations of incidents in the life of the Buddha. A huge bell-shaped Dagoba (Dhātu-garbha), of massive masonry, covered with chunam, was in the garden, on the right side of the temple. It doubtless enshrined ashes or relics of great sanctity. But in all these Dagobas there is no passage to any interior chamber: whatever relics they contain have been bricked up for centuries, and no record is preserved of their history or nature. On the left of the temple were the residences of the high priests and monks, in a well-kept garden overshadowed by an immense Pīpal tree, supposed to represent the sacred tree of knowledge. Both Buddha and Jina images have always certain objects or symbols (chihna) connected with them. Those of the Buddha are generally associated with the tree of knowledge, or a hooded serpent, or a wheel, or a deer.21 The seventh Tīrthan-kara of the Jainas is specially associated with the Svastika cross—an auspicious symbol common to Hindūism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Worshippers in Buddhist and Jaina temples may be seen arranging their offerings in the form of this symbol, which is shaped like a Greek cross, with the end of each of the four arms bent round in the same direction. The question as to the origin of the emblem has called forth many learned dissertations from various scholars and archæologists. For my own part, I am inclined to regard it as a mere rude representation of the four arms of Lakshmī, goddess of good fortune, the bent extremities of the arms denoting her four hands.

With regard to the adoration of relics, one or two points of difference between the systems may be pointed out. The Hindūs wholly object to the Buddhist practice of preserving and worshipping the ashes, hair, or teeth of their departed saints. I remarked in the course of my travels that articles of clothing, especially wooden shoes and cloth slippers, used by holy men during life, are sometimes preserved by the Hindūs in sacred shrines, and held in veneration. They must, of course, be removed from the person before actual death has supervened; for it is well known that in the minds of Hindūs an idea of impurity is always inseparable from death. Contamination is supposed to result [pg 662] from contact with the corpses of even their dearest relatives. The mortal frame is not held in veneration as it was by the ancient Egyptians, and as it generally is in Christian countries. Every part of a dead body ought to be got rid of as soon as possible. Hence, it is burnt very soon after death, and the ashes scattered on the surface of sacred rivers or on the sea. Nevertheless, the bodies of great ascetics are exempted from this rule. They are generally buried, not burnt; not, however, because the mere corporeal frame is held in greater veneration, but because the most eminent saints are supposed to lie undecomposed in a kind of trance, resulting from the intense ecstatic meditation (samādhi) to which during life they were devoted. In former days great ascetics were not unfrequently buried alive, and that, too, with their own consent. A crowd of admiring disciples was always ready to assist at the entombment, and it might be said in excuse that the holy men really appeared to be dead, though they were merely speechless, motionless, and senseless, in a kind of meditative catalepsy.

The Jainas hold views similar to those of the Hindūs in regard to the treatment of dead bodies. They never preserve the ashes of their saints in Stūpas, Chaityas, or Dagobas, or worship them, as the Buddhists do.

In connection with this subject I may remark, that what may be called "foot-worship" (pādukā-pūjā), or the veneration of footprints, seems to be common to Hindūs, Buddhists, and Jainas. Even during life, when a Hindū wishes to show great respect for a person of higher rank or position than himself, he reverentially touches his feet. The idea seems to rest on a kind of a fortiori argument. If the feet, as the lowest members of the body, are treated with honour, how much more is homage rendered to the whole man. Children honour their parents in this manner. They never kiss the faces of either father or mother. In some families, sons prostrate themselves at their fathers' feet. The arms are crossed just above the wrist, both feet are touched, and the hands raised to the forehead.

The notion of honouring the feet as the highest possible act of homage runs through the whole Hindū system. Small shrines may often be observed in different parts of India, sometimes dedicated to holy men, sometimes to Satīs, or faithful wives who have burnt themselves with their husbands. They appear to be quite empty. On closer inspection two footprints may be detected on a little raised altar made of stone. These are called Pādukā, "shoes," but are really the supposed impression of the soles of the feet. In the same way, the wooden clog of the god Brahmā is worshipped at a particular shrine somewhere in Central India, and we know that the footprint of both Buddha and Vishnu at Gayā, and that of Buddha at Adam's Peak, are objects of adoration to millions.

Analogous ideas and practices prevail in Roman Catholic countries. There is a wooden image of Christ on the cross in a church at Vienna, [pg 663] which is so venerated that, although it is a little elevated, some worshippers stand on tiptoe to kiss its feet, while others touch its feet with their fingers, and then raise their fingers to their mouths. Similarly, at Munich, in Bavaria, numbers of worshippers may be seen kissing the feet of an image of the Virgin Mary, and most travellers can testify that images of St. Peter, not to mention the living representative of St. Peter, are treated in a similar manner.

Nothing, however, comes up to the veneration of footprints among Jainas. I visited the magnificent temple erected by Hāthi-Singh at Ahmedabad, as well as the underground shrine dedicated to Ādinath, and another great Jaina temple at Kaira. The first consists of a large quadrangle, approached by a beautifully carved marble gateway. The principal shrine is in the centre. All around the quadrangle is a kind of cloister, in which are about thirty subordinate shrines, each containing the image of a particular Jina or Tīrthan-kara. All the images appeared to me to be of one type, and to resemble those of the contemplative (Dhyānī) Buddha. All are carved out of fine marble, generally of a light colour, and all represent the ascetic, in his sitting posture, wrapped in profound meditation, indifferent to all external phenomena—calm, serene, and imperturbable. The attendants of the temple were either very ignorant or very unwilling to impart information. No one could tell me whether all the twenty-four Jinas had a place in the shrines. One image of perfectly black marble was described to me as that of Pārs′vanāth.

The other temples were not very remarkable, except as affording good illustrations of "foot-worship." In one shrine I saw 1880 footprints of Nemi-nāth's disciples. In another, 1452 footsteps of the disciples of Rishabha. They were covered with offerings of grain and money. All the names of these holy disciples are given in the Jaina sacred works, and it may be remarked that the disciples of Jinas, however celebrated, are never represented by images. That privilege is reserved for the twenty-four supreme Jinas themselves. I noticed that many Hindū idols were placed outside the shrines.

Certainly Jainism, when regarded from the stand-point of a Christian observer, is the coldest of all religions, if, indeed, it deserves to be called a religion at all. Yet the number of temples in certain centres of Jainism far exceeds the number of churches and chapels in the most religious Christian districts. Every Jaina who lays claim to an excess of piety or zeal builds a temple of his own. It never enters into his head to repair the temples of other religious people. At Pālitāna, in Kāthiāwār, there is a whole city of Jaina temples, some new, others decaying, and others quite dilapidated. It is by no means necessary or usual that every temple should possess either priests or worshippers. I can certify that I saw fewer worshippers even in the most celebrated Jaina temples than in any of the Buddhist temples at Columbo or Kandy. Those who came contented themselves with bowing down [pg 664] before the idols, and placing flowers or grains of rice and corn on the footprints of the saints.

The Yatis have a kind of liturgy, partly in Sanskrit, partly in the Jaina form of Māgadhī Prākrit, partly in a kind of archaic Gujarātī. No real prayers are offered, but stories of the twenty-four Jinas and their disciples are recited, with singing and an accompaniment of noisy instrumental music and beating of cymbals. Religious festivals and processions are also common. I witnessed one in the town of Kaira, on the anniversary of the death of a celebrated Yati. An immense multitude of men and women paraded the streets, preceded by a very demonstrative band of musicians. In the centre was an apparently empty palanquin, borne by six men. It contained the supposed footprints of the deceased Yati in whose honour the festival was held.

A few short extracts from the Kalpa-sūtra (Stevenson, p. 103) will give some idea of the rules of discipline by which the lives of the Yatis are required to be regulated, as follow:—

"Self-restraint is to be exercised by each man individually. Self-control is the chief of all religious exercises. If a quarrel arise, mutual forgiveness is to be asked. Three daily cleansings are enjoined, morning, mid-day, and evening. A period of rest and fasting is to be observed yearly in the four months of the rainy season. During this period, male and female ascetics should by no means partake of rice, milk, curds, fresh butter, melted butter, oil, sugar, honey, spirits, and flesh. They must never use any angry or provoking language, on pain of being expelled from the community. Ascetics must carefully avoid contact with minute insects, small animals, small seeds, small flowers, small vegetables, &c. No ascetic must do anything whatever, or go out for any purpose whatever, without first asking permission of the Superior of the Convent. The head must be shaved, or the hair constantly clipped. No ascetic must wear hair longer than that which covers a cow."

With regard to the last injunction, it may be mentioned that the ceremony of initiation (dīkshā) usually takes place at the age of twelve or thirteen, and that part of the rite once consisted in forcibly pulling out every hair of the head (kes′a-lunchana). In the present day ashes are applied, and a few hairs torn out by the roots before the scissors are used.

It remains to state that the Jainas of the present period are leaning more and more towards Hindū ideas and practices. They have their purificatory rites (sanskāras), and a modified caste system. Not unfrequently Brāhman priests are invited to take part in their marriage ceremonies. Indeed, it is by no means uncommon for intermarriages to take place between lay Jainas (s′rāvakas) and lay Vaishnavas, especially in cases when both belong to the Baniya or merchant caste.

In short, Jainism, like Buddhism, is gradually drifting into the current of Hindūism which everywhere surrounds it, and, like every other offshoot from that system, is destined in the end to be reabsorbed into its source.

I must reserve the subject of the Indo-Zoroastrian creed, and modern Pārsī religious usages, for treatment in my next paper.

Monier Williams.

1  If an orthodox Brāhman is asked to describe his religion, he calls it Ārya-dharma, that is, the system of doctrines and duties held and practised by the Āryas. He never thinks of calling it by the name of any special founder or leader. Be it noted, however, that Dharma implies more than a mere religious creed. It is a far more comprehensive term than our word "religion."

2  In many images of the Buddha he is represented with the sacred thread over the left shoulder and under the right arm, according to orthodox Brāhmanical usage.

3  Since the Buddha became absolutely extinct, and since his system recognised no Supreme Soul of the Universe, there remained nothing for his followers to venerate except his memory. The mass of his converts, however, did not long rest satisfied with enshrining him in their minds. First they made pilgrimages to the Bodhi-tree, or "Tree of Knowledge," at Gayā, under which their great teacher obtained supreme wisdom. There they erected tumuli, or graves (variously called dagobas, chaityas, and stūpas), over his relics, and worshipped, these. Then adoration was paid to his foot-prints, and to the wheel or symbol of the Buddhist law. Finally, images of his person in different attitudes (to be described subsequently) were multiplied everywhere. Temples, at first, were unknown. There were rooms, or places of meeting, for Buddhist congregations to hear preaching; but it was not till a later period that these were used to enshrine images and relics. A vast period of development separates the original Sangha-griha from such a temple as that erected over the eye-tooth of Buddha, at Kandy, in Ceylon, which is a costly edifice, containing images and a library, as well as the far-famed relic shrine behind thick iron bars.

4  The expression, Jainism, corresponds to Vaishnavism and S′aivism just as the term Jaina does to Vaishnava or S′aiva. Of course consistency would require the substitution of Bauddhism and Bauddha for Buddhism and Buddhist, but I fear the latter expressions are too firmly established to admit of alteration.

5  There is one place in India where the growth of Vaishnavism out of Buddhism, and their near relationship, are conspicuously demonstrated. I mean Buddha-gayā, with the neighbouring Vishnu temple of the city of Gayā.

6  In the Caves of Ellora, Brāhmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism, may be seen in juxtaposition, proving that at one period, at least, they existed together, and were mutually tolerant of each other.

7  Their names at full are:—1. Rishabha; 2. Ajita; 3. Sambhava; 4. Abhinandana; 5. Sumati; 6. Padma-prabha; 7. Supārs′va; 8. Chandra-prabha; 9. Pushpa-danta; 10. S′ītala; 11. S′reyas; 12. Vāsupūjya; 13. Vimala; 14. Ananta; 15. Dharma; 16. S′ānti; 17. Kunthu; 18. Ara; 19. Malli; 20. Suivrata; 21. Nimi; 22. Nemi; 23. Pārs′vanātha; 24. Mahāvīra, or Vardhamāna. The first of these lived 8,400,000 years, and attained a stature equal to 500 bows' length. The age and stature of the second was something less. The twenty-third lived a hundred years, and was little taller than an ordinary man. The twenty-fourth lived only forty years, and was formed like a man of the present day. The Buddhists hold that their Buddha Gautama was much above the usual height.

8  When Buddhism merged in Vaishnavism, its symbol of a wheel (chakra) was adopted by the worshippers of Vishnu.

9  The word Tīrtha may mean a sacred ford or crossing-place on the bank of a river, or it may mean a holy man or teacher.

10  This is by some interpreted to mean—Reverence to the creative energy inherent in the universe.

11  The actual colour of an ascetic's dress is a kind of yellowish-pink, or salmon colour. Pure white is not much used by the Hindūs, except as a mark of mourning, when it takes the place of black with us.

12  There is also a very low, insignificant, and intensely atheistical sect of Jainas called Dhundhias. They are much despised by the Hindūs, and even by the more orthodox Jainas.

13  This term, as well as Upāsaka, is also used to designate the Buddhist laity.

14  From the Sanskrit root, yam, to restrain. The Buddhists call their monks S′ramanas; from the root S′ram, "men who work hard at austerities," or Bhikshus, "mendicant friars." Their laymen are S′rāvakas, like the Jaina laymen, but are also called Upāsakas.

15  Also written Apās′raya.

16  When so attired they may be called Pītāmbaras, or Kashāyāmbaras, though they belong to the S′vetāmbara, or white-clothed party.

17  Dr. Stevenson conjectures that As′oka's famous edicts were similar proclamations, embodying all the commands and prohibitions of Buddhism and Jainism, engraved on stone to secure their permanence.

18  It is doubtless intended as a Jaina satire on the worship of deceased parents and ancestors enjoined by the Brāhmanical system, and commonly practised by true Hindūs.

19  The idea of encircling the heads of saints with a disc of light probably existed in India long before Christianity.

20  Buddhists believe that the stature of the Buddha far exceeded that of ordinary men. Muslims have similar legends about the stature of Moses.

21  There is a legend that the Buddha taught first in a deer-park near Benares.

[pg 665]




A WRITER in the last number of this Review, when giving a portraiture of Mr. Gladstone, pointed out that that right honourable gentleman was a bundle of persons rather than one. It will not, I hope, be thought a very gross plagiarism if I say that Lord Beaconsfield's fame may be divided into four or five distinct reputations, any one of which, in the case of a smaller man, would be thought enough for enduring celebrity. If Mr. Disraeli had never succeeded in making his way into Parliament, he would still, without needing to add another volume to the books he has written, have had to be taken account of as one of our foremost men of letters. Supposing that, having entered the House of Commons, he had not attained office, he would yet have always been remembered as the keenest Parliamentary debater of his time. If his public life had ended in 1852—that is, more than a quarter of a century ago—without his having become a Minister, he would have stood recorded as the most skilful leader of an Opposition which our history has known. Had he never passed a measure through Parliament, he must have been referred to by all political thinkers as a strikingly original critic of our Constitution. Such trifles as that, being born in the days of dandyism, he ranked among the leaders of fashion directly after he was out of his teens, and that he has been a leading social wit his whole life through, may be thrown in without counting. But add the above items together, and fill in the necessary details, and what a startling result we have!

It is very obvious that I cannot here trace Lord Beaconsfield's career in detail. The chronicle is much too rich for that. The better plan will be to make the subject group itself around three or four chief topics—say these: His public consistency; his personal [pg 666] relations with Peel and other leaders; his political and social views regarded as a system; and his recent foreign policy.

A single paragraph may, however, be interposed, just to bring the principal dates together in a way of prospective summary. Within four years' time from his entering the House of Commons, which, after vain attempts at High Wycombe, Marylebone, and Taunton, he did in 1837 for the borough of Maidstone, Mr. Disraeli was at the head of a party—"The New England Party." The group, if not very numerous, drew as much public attention as if it had been of any size we like to name. Lord John Manners and Mr. G. S. Smythe had the generosity of heart and the keenness of insight to be the first won over by him, and that against the prejudices of their families. Who has not heard of their courageous pilgrimage to the Manchester Athenæum to explain to Cottonopolis how they proposed to re-make the nation? Then came the "Young England" novels, with which all Europe was shortly ringing—"Coningsby" in 1844, "Sybil" in 1845, "Tancred" in 1847. In the meantime Mr. Disraeli had associated himself heart and soul with Lord George Bentinck, attacked Peel, and done far more than any other in reorganizing the shattered Conservative party within the House as well as outside it. By the last-named year, too, Mr. Disraeli had, after a voluntary exchanging of Maidstone for Shrewsbury, become member for Buckinghamshire, a seat which he was to keep so long as he remained in the House of Commons. Suddenly Lord George Bentinck died (much too early for his country), and very soon after that event, owing to the generous standing aside of Lord Granby and Mr. Herries, Mr. Disraeli, within a dozen years of his first entry into Parliament, stood forth as the recognized leader of the Conservatives. The publication of the famous Biography of Lord George Bentinck was at once his noble tribute to the memory of his friend and a valuable help to the party. Five years later, when Lord Russell fell and the first Derby Administration was formed, Mr. Disraeli—never having held an inferior post—became Chancellor of the Exchequer. Shortly followed Lord Palmerston's triumphant reign, to be succeeded, after a further resignation of Lord Russell, by the second Derby Ministry, in which Mr. Disraeli, once more Chancellor of the Exchequer, found time, in addition to his Budget-making, to dish the Whigs by a final Reform Bill. By-and-by the nation lost the Earl of Derby, and the last promotion of official dignity fell naturally to Mr. Disraeli, who became Prime Minister of England. Mr. Gladstone succeeded in preventing the Cabinet from having a very long life, and Mr. Disraeli kept mental self-composure enough, after losing office, to sit down and write "Lothair." By-and-by his political turn again came: 1874 saw him Premier for the second time, and this present year of grace still beholds him in the post, only in the Upper House, instead of the Lower, as Lord Beaconsfield, and with a Parliamentary majority scarcely diminished by five years of an imperial rule which brings back memories of England's most majestic [pg 667] days. He has visited Berlin, and more than held his own in a Council of the greatest modern diplomatists; has received a welcome back in London city such as no living Minister can boast; and has had the high honour of entertaining his Queen as a guest under his own roof.

Now I may go back to the first of the texts I have chosen.

It is certain that Lord Beaconsfield has always most tenaciously insisted that he has from first to last been politically consistent. His opponents, for very good reasons of their own, have unceasingly affirmed that this assertion is his chiefest, in fact his culminating audacity. But all the facts favour Lord Beaconsfield's view. In the first place, he has never held office but on one side, and he is the only Prime Minister during the last half century who could plead that circumstance. Earl Russell could not say it; certainly Lord Palmerston could not; it is quite out of Mr. Gladstone's power to urge it; even the late Earl of Derby could not make the claim. Next, it is now about thirty-two years since Mr. Disraeli was formally recognized as the leader of the Tory party, and he is still at the head of them, without their confidence having been for a moment shaken or withdrawn. Men, in fact, have been born and have grown up to middle life with Mr. Disraeli all the time remaining at the head of the Conservatives. His inconsistency during at least this somewhat lengthened period must have been of a strange kind, since it has always coincided with the wishes and the interests of his party, for he has never split them, and he has thrice led them into power, But we may go ten years further back than the dates we have named. From first to last, he never sat in Parliament but as an avowedly Tory member for a Tory constituency; during nearly thirty years he sat for one and the same county. If you sift what his enemies, have to say, you will find that it refers to something which took place about forty-five years ago, and is to the effect that he was for five minutes a member of the Westminster Reform Club, and was willing in his first candidatures to accept the assistance of Mr. Hume or of any other of the Radicals. Lord Beaconsfield has the plainest and, as I think, the most sufficient explanation to give of it all.

He says that he came forward at High Wycombe and afterwards offered himself to Marylebone as an opponent of the Whigs, determining to do all he could to bring the Tories into better accord with the masses of the people by re-establishing the natural social bonds between the latter and the aristocracy. Certainly, this is exactly what he has done; it is what he openly said that he aimed at doing from the very beginning. Moreover, the Tories so understood it from the first moment. They gave him their support at High Wycombe before he went to Taunton, and political support cannot be kept very secret. His name was a popular toast at agricultural banquets, and he was sure of a welcome at any muster of the Conservatives. Supposing that the Radicals had not had penetration enough to comprehend the position he took up, who would have [pg 668] been to blame for that? But the fact is that it has suited them to pretend in this case to be more stupid than they were. No Radical constituency ever elected Mr. Disraeli. The newspapers of the party never spoke of him as one of their sort; and Messrs. Hume and O'Connell were in a great hurry to withdraw their letters of recommendation, which had reached the candidate unsought. It is not denied by Lord Beaconsfield's most rabid defamer that he presented himself as an Anti-Whig, and it is admitted that long before he was in the House he was a supporter in public of Lord Chandos, and a eulogist of Sir Robert Peel. In his address to the Marylebone electors he described himself as an Independent. But it is really hardly worth while to discuss Mr. Disraeli's politics on this narrow basis.

The case may be put into a nutshell thus: if he had postponed seeking a seat till he went to Taunton, which was in 1835—that is to say forty-four years ago—no one would have been able to say, even in a way of cavil, that he had been ever any other than a most openly understood Tory. It is true that the Radicals would still have been able to complain that he had been bold enough to pass a Reform Bill giving household suffrage in the towns, and so spoiled once for all their party tactics. But that is an allegation of inconsistency which his Conservative supporters whom it has placed in office need not be very anxious to defend him against. The other side had made the question of Reform cease to be one of fair politics; Parliament after Parliament they were trading upon it in the most huckstering spirit. Mr. Disraeli's own first narrower proposals were scoffed at by them. The Bill that was finally passed was avowedly a piece of party tactic, and admirably it answered its end. Of course, since it succeeded so well, Lord Beaconsfield's rivals will never forgive him for it.

However, a more rational use of my space will be to ask at what stage of his career Mr. Disraeli developed the leading political principles which came to be recognized as characteristically his? That is the only mode in which it is worth while to discuss a man's consistency. Lord Beaconsfield has himself done it all in the preface to "Lothair," but I may recall a few details. In the very first election address he ever issued, he styled the Whigs "a rapacious, tyrannical, and incapable faction." That may be taken, one would suppose, as pretty clearly marking his point of political departure. At his second candidature for Wycombe, he quoted Bolingbroke and Windham as his models; and it was as far back as 1835, in his "Vindication of the English Constitution," that he first applied the term "Venetian" to our Constitution, as the Whigs had transformed it. The very peculiarities of theoretical opinion which are most individually his, can be traced back into what in respect of a living man's career might almost be termed antiquity—it is something like two-thirds of half a century ago since he first spoke of the "Asian Mystery." Nobody's sayings live [pg 669] as Mr. Disraeli's have done. The truth is, that so far from his political system having been hatched piecemeal in a way of after-thought to serve exigencies of personal ambition, he started with it ready made. His critics themselves unknowingly admit this in one part of their clumsy strictures, since they can find events so very recent as his naming of the Queen Empress of India, and his appropriation of Cyprus, sketched in his early novels. But let me take the very latest arraignment to which he has been summoned to plead guilty—that of having invented "Imperialism" just to bolster himself in office. As far back as 1849, which now is exactly thirty years ago, in one of his greatest speeches after having fairly settled down as the leader of his party, he used these words:—"I would sooner my tongue should palsy than counsel the people of England to lower their tone. I would sooner leave this House for ever than I would say to the nation that it has overrated its position.... I believe in the people of England and in their destiny." In his last Premiership he has simply put those thirty-year-old utterances into practice. If he had not done all he has done, he would have been false to the heroic spirit of that far-back hour. On the hustings at Maidstone Mr. Disraeli said, "If there is one thing on which I pique myself, it is my consistency." Lord Beaconsfield in advancing age may repeat the statement without varying it a syllable, though more than forty years have elapsed between the times.

The Peel-Disraeli episode has been for a long time now the chief standard illustration of the political casuistry of our modern Parliamentary history. Mr. Disraeli, those opposed to him will have it, acted most cruelly in that matter. It is rather a curious thing for a young member of Parliament to succeed in being cruel to the most powerful Minister the House of Commons had seen for more than a generation. If a giant is overthrown it must be rather the fault of the colossus somehow, unless, that is, it be a bigger giant who attacks him; and at that time of day, though Mr. Disraeli was growing fast, he really was not yet of the same towering height as Peel. How was it, then, that he succeeded in toppling over the great Minister? Let me first of all say that the truth seems to be that Sir Robert Peel's unlooked-for tragic death has given to his memory a pathetic interest which has caused an unfair heightening of emotion in the case. Neither all England, nor even the bulk of Parliament, was in tears, busy with pocket-handkerchiefs, during the delivery of those famous philippics. If pocket-handkerchiefs were used it was to wipe away drops caused by laughter, for everybody was roaring from moment to moment as each stroke told. Peel had taken up a position in reference to his old supporters which was certain to entail attack; the only thing special that Mr. Disraeli contributed to the assault was the splendour of the wit which barbed it. Everything that he said of Peel, allowing fairly for controversial exigencies, was strictly true. Nobody wishes to revive [pg 670] those necessarily hard sayings now, but it must be insisted upon for a second, in passing, that Peel had treated his party as no Minister before him had ever done. It was the exactest verity, as well as the keenest sarcasm, when Mr. Disraeli charged him with having tried to steer his party right into the harbour of the enemy. Mr. Disraeli was the man to feel this most of any, for it is one of his leading principles that as this nation now exists party in our constitution is an apparatus absolutely necessary to be preserved. He has for a third of a century since then himself unfailingly worked by that rule. But I scarcely need urge this part of the matter further here, as another word bearing upon it will come later. If Peel had lived on, he and his attacker would before the end have come to terms amicably enough, as Mr. Disraeli has since done with everybody else whom he has, from obligations of political duty, had publicly to oppose. That is, unless they were stupid enough not to remember his known determination that Parliamentary life should be raised above the level of vestry proceedings, by being dignified by a play of wit; or else were ill-conditioned enough, as some who have held high place have been, not to meet his offered open palm when the weapon was put back into the sheath. Peel himself would have had more sense; so, too, the present bearer of his name has shown himself to have. The rather idle statement that the Disraelian assault was prompted out of spite at not being made an Under-Secretary may at this time of day be, perhaps, passed over. Mr. Disraeli spoke with and voted for Peel long after that supposed neglect, and though it may be said that a spiteful man could nurse his revenge, it is just as true that the most generous could have done nothing more than go on showing respect and giving support just as Mr. Disraeli did. Further, no one was prompter than he was with words of praise so soon as there was opportunity for them. Indeed, the finest eulogy of Peel stands recorded in the printed pages of the person who is charged with pursuing him with unheard-of bitterness. The man who waited for office till the day when he vaulted at once into the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, was scarcely the one to be mightily offended, because, when a first batch of appointments was distributed, an Under-Secretaryship went by him. It was the leadership of his party for wise ends that Mr. Disraeli was looking out for.

Here again, however, it is unnecessarily restricting the consideration of the point to speak of Mr. Disraeli's invective only in reference to Peel. Acting on his maxim that it is the very ornament of debate, he at one time or other has let the lightning of his tongue play around everybody in Parliament who offered fit mark for it. Lord Russell was scorched by it; so was Lord Palmerston. Mr. Roebuck, who in those days was thought to have a bitter lip, got singed from it; and Mr. Gladstone has felt its blaze wrapping around him often. He is, at this moment, in fact, supposed to be showing some not very ancient scars from it. But, [pg 671] occasionally even Mr. Disraeli's friends felt a more lambent play of this glorious irony. It was he who told the late Earl Derby that he was only "a Prince Rupert of debate," always finding his camp in the hands of the enemy on returning from his irresistible charges. He never objected to receive as good as he gave, if only any one could be found to give it him. Only once in all his career did he lose his temper—in the challenge arising out of the O'Connell affair; and that was before he was in Parliament. While in the House, who was there with steel of any temper that he did not try its edge? Sharp blows were aimed back, and he always admitted when it was a palpable hit; but who came up so often as he did—who was there that did not go down before him at the last? Take Mr. Disraeli and Lord Beaconsfield out of the record of the Parliamentary debating of the last forty years, and what a darkening it would give—what a gap it would make!

Something must now be said as to Lord Beaconsfield's systematic political and social views. It is very certain that he has a system, and it is also sure that he has never hidden what it is. Nobody has been at such pains to make his views clear. He has written books in explanation, as well as made speeches; he has illustrated the system by fiction, besides backing it up by historical disquisition. Anybody who chooses may learn what it is, and—as a great modification of political feeling in this country shows—a vast number have done so, by reading "Coningsby," "Sybil," and the preface to "Lothair." Indeed, from this latter exposition itself, all that is vital may be inferred. But the doctrine has of necessity some elaborateness, and asks a trifle of thought. It cannot be hit off in as easy a way as "Radicalism" can, where, when you have uttered the half-platitude, half-sophism, "equality of man," you are supposed to have said nearly everything. Lord Beaconsfield has always kept before him the conception of a community, which he distinguishes from a mob, and if he could get his own way in the matter he would have the society highly organized; the keeping it real in every part, and strictly and broadly popular in its entirety, being the only working limit that he would prescribe to its institutional intricacy.

This system, though on its being gradually promulgated it was held to be Mr. Disraeli's very own, expressly denies for itself that it is in any sense Disraelian at all. Lord Beaconsfield avows that he has found it in history—in our own history. He is content to be regarded as its discoverer, not its inventor. In a word, Lord Beaconsfield's great claim upon his countrymen, as he himself puts it, is that he has again brought to light and forced under the eyes of Englishmen their own national chronicle.

To begin with, it is his Lordship's firmly avowed belief that there has been what may be called a break or rift in our great social traditions. It is not difficult to see that he traces the causes of it back to the violent subversal of the Church, which, he will have it, was never [pg 672] in this country at any time in real danger of becoming Papal. But I may take up the narrative somewhat later. With his own inimitable terseness, he has thus described the three great evils which afterwards made a social wreck of modern England: they were, he says, Venetian politics, Dutch finance, and French wars. All these he attributes to the Whig nobles. What is called the great Revolution, which they so hugely turned to their glory and their profit, he, in "Sybil," ascribes to the fear of those whom he calls "the great lay impropriators" that King James intended to insist on the Church lands being restored to their original purposes,—to wit, the education of the people and the maintenance of the poor. They brought over William of Orange, along with whom, he ironically says, England had the happiness of receiving a Corn Law and the National Debt. But the Crown itself was enslaved in the hands of the Whig families, who converted themselves into a Venetian oligarchy; and, throwing off the natural obligations of property, they borrowed money to defray the foreign wars in which William was entangled before he left his own country.

These are the historical premises from which Lord Beaconsfield's views are all fundamentally derived. It is open to anybody to try to disprove them; what they have got to do is simply to show that the above alleged facts were not the true ones. But no one has done this as yet. Coming down still later in his history, Mr. Disraeli, in "Sybil," gave the following condensed description of the social condition which had resulted,—"a mortgaged aristocracy, a gambling foreign commerce, a home trade founded on a morbid competition, and a degraded people." Here, again, the whole case is open to debate, but I venture to think that he will be a bold man who denies that this was a vivid picture of England at the moment Mr. Disraeli penned it. The bold man, at any rate, did not present himself at the time. It was the last item in that shocking list which fastened most on Mr. Disraeli's imagination—"a degraded people." When writing "Sybil" he converted himself into a Commissioner of Inquiry, and visiting the homes of his humbler countrymen, painted them from sight on the spot. The descriptions in those pages can never be forgotten of dwellings where lived fever and consumption and ague as well as human beings; the three first-named inhabitants being in fact the only tenants who remained under the roofs long. With agitation unusual for him, but most consistent in an upholder of the doctrine of race, he affirmed that "the physical quality" of our people was endangered. But he further found that in the manufacturing districts there was, to use his own words, "no society, but only aggregation:" or, again to quote him, "the moral condition of the people was entirely lost sight of." Much of this, he believed, was due to the Church having failed in its obligations. "The Church," he makes one of the characters in his story say to another in it, "has deserted the people, and from that moment the Church has been in danger, and the people degraded."

[pg 673]

At this point I may very rightly interpolate a remark which has not a little explanatory value. Just in proportion to the importance given in Lord Beaconsfield's system to the Church was his natural disappointment at the failure, regarded from one side, of the awakening going on within its borders at the time of the "Young England" movement. A great part of his hopes rested on that stir. He was expecting from those most prominent in it a grand resuscitation of the Anglican Church, but in place of that he says Dr. (now Cardinal) Newman and the other seceders "sought refuge in mediæval superstitions, which are generally only the embodiment of pagan ceremonies and creeds." Bearing this in mind, there ought not to be much difficulty in understanding either Lord Beaconsfield's position towards the Ritualists, or the course he took as to the Public Worship Regulation Act.

What was the remedy for this state of society into which England had fallen? The cure which seemed natural to Mr. Disraeli was to revert to the principles of our history. Practically, the first thing to be done was to break up the political monopoly of the Whigs, and it was this very task that he set himself to do. I have already extracted a passage denouncing that party in the first election address he issued. But here, too, he had no new course to strike out. He affirmed that both Lord Shelburne and Mr. Pitt had attempted the same work long before. Shelburne, he said, saw in the growing middle-class a bulwark for the throne against the Revolution families; and Pitt, still more determined to curb the power of the patrician party, created a plebeian aristocracy, when they baffled his first endeavours, blending it with the old oligarchy. It has not unlikely begun to dawn upon the reader that Mr. Disraeli, holding these views, was himself a Reformer, of a much more comprehensive kind even than the Radicals. True, Reform as it actually had come about in 1832, most craftily manipulated as it then was by the Whigs to their own advantage, skilfully snatching profit out of what ought to have been a danger to them, was not his notion. For part of what happened then he, indeed, with his usual courage, blamed the Duke of Wellington and his colleagues. His own party have had from no quarter criticism so severe as that he has given them. If Lord Beaconsfield is in favour of an aristocracy, it is because he is for making it actually "lead." He affirms that the Tories, by their conduct in office, precipitated a revolution which might have been delayed for half a century, and which need never have occurred at all in so aggravated a form. All that he could do, all that he has ever claimed to do, by his own partial Reform measure, was to do away with part of the ill effects of that partisan move of the other side, and to prevent fresh ill ones from being worked in just the same way. But there ought to be given a still broader statement of Lord Beaconsfield's political and social doctrines, and, perhaps, I cannot do better than make with that view the following quotation from the preface to "Lothair." He there explains that his general aims were these:—

[pg 674]

"To change back the oligarchy into a generous aristocracy round a real throne; to infuse life and vigour into the Church as the trainer of the nation, by the revival of Convocation, then dumb, on a wide basis, and not, as has since been done, in the shape of a priestly faction; to establish a commercial code on the principles successfully negotiated by Lord Bolingbroke at Utrecht, and which, though baffled at the time by a Whig Parliament, were subsequently and triumphantly vindicated by his political pupil and heir, Mr. Pitt; to govern Ireland according to the policy of Charles I., and not of Oliver Cromwell; to emancipate the political constituencies of 1832 from sectarian bondage and contracted sympathies; to elevate the physical as well the moral condition of the people by establishing that labour required regulation as much as property; and all this rather by the use of ancient forms and the restoration of the past than by political revolution founded on abstract ideas."

This, he goes on to say, appeared to him at the beginning of his career to be the course which the country required, and, he adds, that it was one "which, practically speaking, could only with all their faults and backslidings be undertaken and accomplished by a reconstructed Tory party."

If I were able to find room for bringing together from Lord Beaconsfield's books and speeches detailed passages to illustrate this summary, it would be seen what a coherent social scheme he has always had present to his mind. The above hints, however, must serve. Any one who, after reading them, thinks that there is any ground for the electioneering cry the Liberals are trying to raise, that this is a Minister who has no domestic policy, will show more stolidity than we hope the bulk of the electors possess. Further on I will return for a moment to this point.

Let me go at once to the fourth topic I have allotted to myself—Lord Beaconsfield's foreign policy. This policy, I need not say, is that, of the Cabinet as well, but I am not in this paper writing of the other members of the Government. It is not my purpose to trace the history of the Eastern Question, that of the Afghan War, and the Zulu embroglio. But there is one general aspect of these matters as to which I must offer two or three comments in addition to what has been before said about "Imperialism." A set attempt has been made, and is pretty certain to go on being made all the time between now and the elections—whether they come earlier or later—and to be then finally repeated on the hustings, to give to Lord Beaconsfield the air of a most belligerent, not to say a bloodthirsty, Minister, who, the moment he got into office, began to peep about the world to see where he could pick a quarrel, and who has especially acted defiantly towards Russia. By way of preliminary, I may ask whether his past antecedents show him to be a statesman of this hobgoblin type? Lord Palmerston found no more unyielding opponent of his turbulent foreign policy than Mr. Disraeli, who always contended that the effect of it was to draw the national attention away from home reforms. When the question of coast fortifications was before Parliament, Mr. Disraeli was among the first to protest against panic; he it was who spoke of "bloated armaments;" and on countless occasions he has raised his voice for peace and retrenchment. In 1865 he publicly [pg 675] declared that since he had had to do with politics he had known only one war which was justifiable—that waged in the Crimea. But it may be said that it is a common artifice for men in Opposition to preach peace. Let us, then, turn specially to the Eastern Question, and see what grounds there are for insinuating that Lord Beaconsfield has in that case concocted a war policy for the purpose of exciting and dazzling the country, and keeping himself in power. In 1843—which is now some time ago—in a debate as to the production of papers on Servia, in which Sir Robert Peel and Lord Palmerston were the chief orators, he made a speech which contained this passage:—"What, then, ought to be the Ministerial policy? To maintain Turkey by diplomatic action in such a state that she might be able to hold independently the Dardanelles." Why, this is the literal description of what he has done now. And we have already seen that in 1865, twenty-two years after, the one only war he approved was that which had been fought against Russia for this very purpose. In the early stage of the negotiations which led to that war, his complaint was that the Government was not vigorous enough in defending Turkey. But, in 1857, there arose another occasion for testing whether Mr. Disraeli's feelings naturally were for peace or war. He opposed the war with China, and in the Persian affair he denounced the Russophobia of Lord Palmerston—the very complaint from which, we infer, the Liberals wish him to be understood to be himself suffering now. Or take India as a test. According to the Duke of Argyll and others, Lord Beaconsfield has an insatiable thirst for more territory in that part of the world. Very strangely, it was he who most condemned the annexation of Oude, going so far as to make a motion for a Royal Commission to be sent out to India to inquire into the condition of the people. When the contest between the Northern and Southern States of America broke out, no public man regretted it more than he did, and he was unfalteringly on the side of the North.

In fact, only in one single case has Lord Beaconsfield ever shown the slightest disposition for sacrificing peace, if need be—namely, for the checking of Russia's portentous advance; and this has necessarily implied the maintenance of Turkey in some degree of power. Twice in his lifetime has the need arisen, and he has acted the second time in just the same way that he did the first, the only difference being that he happens now, fortunately, to be in office instead of in Opposition.

In his first speech in the Upper House, Lord Beaconsfield said—"The Eastern Question involves some of the elements of the distribution of power in the world, and involves the existence of empires. I plead for a calm statesmanlike consideration of the question." In his second great speech in that House, he made this remark,—"The independence and integrity of Turkey is the traditional policy not only of England but of Europe." This is the absolute truth. It is not he who has invented any brand-new tactics in this matter; he has simply [pg 676] stood upon the old paths, and carried on the settled habits of our statesmanship. The innovators are Mr. Gladstone and the self-styled humanitarians, who were for substituting hysterics for national diplomacy, and thought to solve the Eastern Question by presenting the Turk with a carpet-bag and begging him to retire with it into Asia. But it is stated that Lord Beaconsfield has defied Russia. Well, turn to the famous Guildhall speech, which is the great article in the indictment. It suits his critics to pick words out of it to please them; but it also contains sentences like the following, which they somehow overlook,—"We have nothing to gain by war. We are essentially a non-aggressive Power." In that same speech, too, he alluded to the Emperor of Russia's "lofty character," addressing to him words of the highest compliment. If he added a solemn warning to that monarch as to the extent of England's resources if she was forced into war for the cause of public right, he still was speaking in the interests of peace, not war. It was his bounden duty to prevent the present Czar from falling into the mistake his father was so fatally guided into by the Manchester school—that of thinking England would in no case draw the sword. Construe his words how you will, they amount to no more than this. Mr. Gladstone and his friends, by their factitious public demonstrations, partly did away with the natural effects of that grave intimation, and made it necessary for the Government to prove its seriousness by bringing troops from India, and actually risking the very war which Lord Beaconsfield had wished to avoid. But the Premier had the courage not only of his opinions but of a true policy, and he has had his reward. He successfully checked the sinister progress of Russia, restored the reign of public law in Europe, and while exalting the renown of his own country, he has pointed another empire—that of Austria—to a new career which will benefit the world as well as strengthen and ennoble herself. After the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary was proclaimed, only one thing was left for his Lordship's opponents to go on repeating,—namely, that he had, in upholding Turkey, spared no thought or feeling to the victims of her rule. In the very face of this there was the fact that he had made England the formal protector of the inhabitants of Asia Minor, and had demanded Cyprus as a nearer point of observation of the Turk; but the plain obvious meaning of those arrangements has been tried to be muddled away by misrepresenting the protectorate of Asia Minor as a new insult to Russia. These brave humanitarians got sorely entangled in their logic on all sides. They pleaded in one breath that England had rashly undertaken too much responsibility for these oppressed peoples, and in the next breath said that nothing would ever come of it. Lord Beaconsfield has made it all clear, and in the simplest way. It is not fully explained at the moment of our writing what is the actual extent of the pressure put upon the Porte, nor what precise orders were sent to our admiral, but when the recent news was first published here the opponents [pg 677] of the Ministry must have felt that Lord Beaconsfield had ordered the British Fleet to sail against them when they heard it was instructed to steam back for the Turkish waters. Kindly meant as it might be for those in Asia Minor, it was a very cruel step on the part of Lord Beaconsfield towards some of his own countrymen, for it will necessitate the altering of a good many already prepared electioneering speeches. In the end, as we venture to predict, it will be seen that his Lordship and his colleagues are the true humanitarians.

But let me not lose sight of the fact that this, though a very real plea on the part of the Government, is not the one on which they mainly rely. They have never pretended to be knights-errant for the righting of wrongs throughout the world. What contents them is the humbler rôle of old-fashioned English statesmanship, which seeks first to make sure of the safety of our own empire and the promotion of our proper interests, doing what further good it can to other peoples incidentally in discharging the fair reasonable obligations which may in that way arise, nor disdaining any glory that so falls to it. But an enormous obligation of this sort was already on our shoulders—the preservation of India. We have a strict duty to two hundred millions of human beings in the East, and Lord Beaconsfield and his colleagues, who appeared to be the only public men in England who remembered this, were determined to discharge it. Anything and everything in their policy which may at first sight seem risky or belligerent is explained fully to every one who will keep that pressing need before his mind. It was this which made them purchase the Suez Canal shares, and strengthen their interference in Egypt; it was this that made them wish for a clearer understanding with the Ameer of Afghanistan. But so little did they go about matters with a high hand, that they most carefully humoured France with respect to Egypt, and at the very earliest moment that they could, they made a treaty with a new Afghan ruler. To try to make them appear responsible for what afterwards occurred at Cabul is the most shameless abuse of license on the part of an Opposition which parliamentary records can show. A Russian embassy had been installed in Cabul with no other guarantee for its safety than the word of a friendly Ameer, and our Envoy and his suite were sent thither under the very same guarantee. If we were not to be most dangerously overshadowed by the Russian example, an English embassy had to show its face in Cabul; and to say that our rulers either in Calcutta or in London should have foreseen the pusillanimous break-down of the Ameer and the consequent massacre of our brave countrymen is—well, it may be better not further to try to say what it is.

Our own interests, I repeat, were jeopardized in every quarter where the present Government has stirred hand or foot. That is its broad justification. But I must certainly go a step farther than this. The present Ministry assuredly would not be satisfied with an acquittal on the Liberal arraignment; nor is that the verdict which the public has [pg 678] given. The British people find this Government guilty of having won for it and for themselves much honour. When Lord Beaconsfield saw that in any event he was committed to a contest with Russia for the defence of English interests, he had the courage and the wit to determine that the issue of it should be the better for the world. It is for this noble superfluity of skilful statesmanship, this Imperial scope given to England's ruling, that Europe has thanked him, and the bulk of this nation applauded him. By-and-by, he will reap still further credit, for besides checking Russia he will eventually coerce the Turk. That further obligation naturally arose out of the course he took, and he added it to his proper task of safeguarding our own interests, just as impartially as he did the other aim of arresting the Muscovite. I shall not push this reasoning further: it seems to me sufficiently triumphant as it stands. If Lord Beaconsfield has upheld the Turk, it was because it was necessary, not because he admired him. But there is another remark, coming much nearer home, that I wish to make before concluding this section.

The foreign policy of Lord Beaconsfield has brought to him and to his party much renown; but it has brought them nothing else. That there has been the need for it is for the Conservatives a positive misfortune. It has nearly entirely put aside the domestic legislation on which they reckoned for at once redressing some grievances of their own, and for satisfying the town populations who their true friends were. Let it not be forgotten that it was on this very claim of having a domestic policy that the Conservatives appealed to the people at the last election. Their opponents, who now make a pretence of measures of this kind being lacking, then denounced it loudly enough as a "policy of sewage." But Lord Beaconsfield's rivals have tried hard to make it seem that he sought out, or even invented, these hazardous events abroad which put aside his home policy. The very attempt impugns the common sense of the general public. A sort of pretext might have been found for insinuating such a notion if Lord Beaconsfield had been nearing the end of expending his Parliamentary majority by carrying party measures. But to suppose that a Minister attaining power in the triumphant way he did would wish to be plunged straightway into foreign entanglements, is to imagine him stricken with idiocy. Lord Beaconsfield had had far too much experience to make such a preposterous mistake. He knew at the beginning, as he knows now, that neither Minister nor party has much to gain in any way of permanent power or confirmed home advantage from foreign policies, however successful they may turn out to be. Foreign dangers are half-forgotten as soon as they are past. Directly, these occurrences abroad will be but memories; splendid ones they must ever remain: but they will have against them, in the eyes of the unthinking, the drawback of having necessarily, to some extent, disordered the finances. Lord Beaconsfield's rivals are sure to make the most of that fact on the [pg 679] hustings, as he well knew beforehand they would do; and, to balance its effect, he will have nothing on which to rely but the patriotic recollection of his country. Should everything go for the best, no prestige which these foreign successes can give him and his party will place him more solidly in power than he found himself at the beginning of this Parliament; yet it will only be at the opening of the next that he will be able to push forward the home policy intended for the present Parliament. Apart from a heightening of fortunate reputation, won through much risk, his own party will scarcely have gained a shred of fair legislative or administrative advantage from six years' splendid possession of overwhelming power.

It does not seem needful to waste space in speaking of the Zulu war. Even the Liberals are beginning to be silent on the subject. The affair was forced upon the Government, not sought for by them, and it has ended successfully.

If I now ask what have been the causes of Lord Beaconsfield's unexampled individual success, the remarks must at first seem to narrow to mere personal ones. There has, in truth, been more than one reason for the present Premier's triumphs. First of all, I might state the matter so generally as to say that for half a century he has managed to keep himself the most thoroughly interesting personage in England. Neither Mr. Disraeli nor Lord Beaconsfield has ever been dull, which is the one only sufficient explanation of failure wherever it happens. But such a statement of the matter as this is too comprehensive and wants particularizing. I may add, then, that no one has shown so much pluck as he has, and that is a quality which in the end tells with the British public beyond all others. For one starting with his disadvantage of race to dream in those days of a political career was most courageous, but so soon as it began to be seen that he would triumph over all obstacles, his very difficulties turned to his advantage. He soon commanded everybody's sympathies except those of injured partisans on the other side. Not that it was sympathy he begged for; it was admiration he extorted. Especially has he by means of his writings had the generous feeling of youth in his favour, generation after generation. They can never remain untouched by the spectacle of a successful fight against circumstances. But Lord Beaconsfield has not owed all to dash and daring. His industry has been equal to his pluck. If he had only been a politician that would have had to be said; and so it again would if he had only been known as the writer of his works. Put both the careers together and nobody else has shown such fertility of brain. His marvellous intellect has never tired. The versatility, too, has been marvellous: a novelist and a diplomatist, a poet and a Chancellor of the Exchequer, a satirist and a successful leader of Opposition. For fifty years, in one or other of these characters, and often in several of them at once, his wit has never ceased blazing, save when he himself, the only one who ever tired of its play—except, indeed, those hit by it—has [pg 680] chosen to smother it in silence; but it was always ready to flash forth upon occasion, and is as bright to-day as ever.

But, to come yet closer to the heart of the secret of Lord Beaconsfield's success, his faithful devotion to the great historic party he allied himself with has been equal to his courage, to his industry, and to his abilities. No politician can make an individual career; he has to find his success in the prosperity of his followers. The loyalty which Lord Beaconsfield has shown to his party and the ungrudging recognition they have paid to him has half-redeemed the hardness of our coarse partisan politics. Some Liberals have had the want of wit, without our going so far as to say the lack of capability of feeling, to express surprise at the faithful respect shown to Lord Beaconsfield by his present colleagues. That Lord Beaconsfield has a personal charm must be admitted, for he has turned every one who was ever brought into any degree of nearness with him into a friend, as well as a colleague. Those who like may believe that he has done it by the use of magic philtres; less credulous people will, perhaps, content themselves with thinking that his spell has been simply that of strength of character, superior experience, and a non-despotic manner. One thing is very patent. This chief of a Cabinet who is said to have imprinted everywhere his own individuality on the Ministerial policy, has never practised the slightest interference with his subordinates. It is not he who has been charged with an uncontrollable wish to be the representative of all the Ministry in his own person. Just as he could show patience when a leader of Opposition, he has been able to be silent when a Minister. However, it has been rather insinuated that he became preternaturally active in the Cabinet Councils—there standing forth a wizard, and cast all his colleagues into a clairvoyant slumber. Strange to say, they remained in the same comatose condition afterwards in both Houses, never waking up though speaking and passing measures. Two members of his Government, however, have broken away—Lords Derby and Carnarvon have escaped from the magician's cell; but they have divulged nothing as to any necromantic violence worked on them. No, Lord Beaconsfield's fair and reasonable ascendency has been more honestly won. But his marvellous friendships have not been the only softening touches in his career. All England felt a strange thrilling about the heart on the morning when it heard that Mr. Disraeli's wife was henceforth to be the Viscountess Beaconsfield. It was a domestic idyll suddenly disclosed in the centre of British politics. A man who can make his own hearth the scene of romance, convert all who know him well into true friends, and win all the young people of a nation, must be something more than a self-seeker.

Still, though these things might explain Lord Beaconsfield being so interesting, something else has yet to be added to account for the overwhelming importance which he has attained in the last period of his career. Not even the success of his party could have given him that [pg 681] unless the policy which secured this prosperity had obtained, also, the exalting of the nation.

It is this which is his final boast; he has uplifted higher the fame of England, and by doing that has made his own renown the greater. Once more, it was achieved in the simplest way. He invented nothing, strained at nothing, but only boldly carried on the traditionary English policy, at a moment when his opponents were willing to forget it; and in merely proving equal to the opportunity, and daring to make Britain act worthily of her history, he has changed by her means the destiny of the Western World. Not only his own countrymen, but Europe and nations more distant still, to-day hail him as the greatest of modern English statesmen. That is a title and dignity somewhat higher than an Earldom, and it is under that larger style that those who wish to do Lord Beaconsfield full honour will have to allude to him hereafter in the national annals.

These are some of the reasons why we honour and follow him.

A Tory.


If a Whig had been asked ten or a dozen years ago, or indeed six years back, to write his impressions of Mr. Disraeli, he would have set about it in a strikingly different spirit from that which the task awakens now. Lord Beaconsfield has recently become much too serious a joke in the national history, but for a very long time the jocosity was light enough. In the eyes of all Liberals who had not fully acquired the gravity of their own fundamental principles, there was, down to a very late period, always something diverting about Mr. Disraeli. He might and did vex them, but shortly they were again smiling at him. The explanation was this, that for a long time his presence in Parliament hardly at all hindered the progress of Liberal measures. Whenever a legislative reform was proposed, he invariably spoke against it, and at some stage afterwards the Conservatives voted in a body the same way. From the voting being subsequent to the speaking, there was an illusive appearance of Mr. Disraeli's speechifying being the cause of the Tory division list. But, in reality, there was no such connection, and the Liberals were aware of it. They all knew that the Conservatives would have voted just the same without a word being spoken. If, during all the years Lord Palmerston was in power, almost the whole of Lord Russell's earlier and later official terms, and down to nearly the end of Mr. Gladstone's Ministry, Mr. Disraeli, instead of making speeches, had amused his audience by pirouetting on one leg night after night, the practical result would have been exactly the same. It could not have been so entertaining to the Liberals, because, looking at some [pg 682] members of the Conservative party, it would have exceeded the bounds of belief to suppose that Mr. Disraeli was really twirling for the whole, whereas it did somehow come to be accepted that he was speaking for all of them. The unlooked-for thoughts he pretended to put into their minds, and the preposterous words he did put upon their lips, kept all Englishmen who were not Conservatives shaking their sides with laughter. It was as if a foreign Will-o'-the-Wisp had strayed into the British Parliament, always, however, keeping himself and his antics on the Conservative side, as being, we suppose, the worst-drained part of the House, where the morasses lay. Even when, to the amazement of the country generally, Mr. Disraeli found his way into office, the merriment did not stop. Nobody who has reached mature years can forget what an astounding drollery it was thought to be when Mr. Disraeli was made Chancellor of the Exchequer by Lord Derby. For the time it seemed to convert English politics into pantomime. Will-o'-the-Wisp had been asked by the country party to undertake the post of chief financier. Everybody on the other side was prepared beforehand to laugh at his Budgets; and, when they were propounded, the Liberals did laugh a little more even than they had expected to do. When he brought in his India Bill, the merriment grew perfectly uproarious,—Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, and the other large commercial towns exploding one after the other. It was the same when he proposed to give sixteen millions for Irish railways; it was the same with the first sketches of his Reform Bill. Surely nobody can have forgotten the "fancy franchises?" In a word, every domestic measure that Mr. Disraeli ever proposed was, in the first shape in which it was presented, received with mirth from nearly every quarter excepting his immediate rear. There sat his supporters, usually in those years wearing rather long faces during the earlier period of the statements, and apparently wondering if their ears could possibly be telling them rightly.

But all this, as there is not a single Liberal in the country but will admit, is a good deal altered. Lord Beaconsfield has recently signed foreign treaties on England's behalf, insisting most successfully, he tells us, on what kind of treaties they should be; he has undoubtedly put our armies and fleets into motion; and, while risking war in Europe, has actually waged it in Asia and Africa. The bustle of these events, and a certain dazzle and glitter attending them, cause people in general, at this moment, to forget all that prior long period of non-success on his part in everything else but making successive steps of personal advancement. What has happened lately in Lord Beaconsfield's career has certainly worn a look of importance, and it has undoubtedly embodied political power. If, as the Liberals will have it, he is still really Will-o'-the-Wisp as much as ever, he has managed to get hold of the sword of England, and has for some time been playing with it to the great wonder of foreign nations. But how has this change in his position been worked? This is the question I want now to consider.

[pg 683]

A Hebrew by descent, a Christian by profession, and in politics a Tory—such is Lord Beaconsfield. This description, on the very face of it, is a rather mixed one, and implies a singular career. It is, however, the last item which specially fixes my attention. Mr. Disraeli, sparse though the instances are, was not the first of his race who changed his faith. Also, there have been, and indeed still are, other Hebrews who have entered public life in England, and attained conspicuousness in it. But those, while remaining nearly invariably Jews in religion, became Liberals in politics. In fact, Lord Beaconsfield is the only Hebrew of importance known who turned Tory. It was—and at first sight it gives a highly religious air to the Conservative party—indispensable to his doing this that he should first be a Christian. Not being that he would indeed have had to wait till the Liberals carried their Bill for the Removal of Jewish Disabilities before he could have joined the Conservatives inside Parliament. That circumstance, again, seems to give to his career a curious aspect. In fact, the reflection is forced upon one so early as this,—what an utter failure Mr. Disraeli must have been if he had not so amazingly succeeded! To be a Hebrew-Tory left just two issues, either to become the leader of the party or the very humblest member of it. All the circumstances would seem to point to the latter alternative as being the natural one, but it is the other which has somehow come about. Mr. Disraeli has flowered into the Earl of Beaconsfield, and has now twice been, and will remain for a little time longer, the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Mr. Disraeli did not wait for his celebrity until he entered the House of Commons; he gathered the renown of authorship, and I might add, remembering the number of constituencies he tried before he was elected, the notoriety of out-door political life, before he plucked the fame of statesmanship. At the early age of twenty-two he was a literary lion in London society; his only claim to this premature publicity, though it was held to be quite sufficient, being that he was the writer of "Vivian Grey." It is quite impossible to begin to speak of Lord Beaconsfield in any other way than in connection with "Vivian Grey," although he is understood not altogether to approve of one's doing so.

All the world knows, or is supposed to know, this work. Mr. Disraeli's own description of its object was that it was meant to paint the career of a youth of talent in modern society, ambitious of political celebrity. Nearly everybody has persisted in regarding it as a kind of prospective autobiography, which the writer has ever since been occupied in realizing. Certainly Mr. Disraeli was at that time a youth, and a youth of talent; he must have been in society or he could not have known a great many people who are sketched in the pages; and it is impossible for him to deny that he was ambitious of political celebrity. The means Vivian Grey adopted for attaining that aim were, also, wonderfully like some of those which Mr. Disraeli himself afterwards, by some mistake, appeared to use. On the title-page of the book was the well-known [pg 684] quotation from "Ancient Pistol," to whom, in the eyes of some people, Lord Beaconsfield at certain moments of his career has ever had an indistinct resemblance. "The world is mine oyster," the motto stated, either on behalf of the writer or the hero; going on to add the rest, to the effect that either the one or the other meant to open it. Lord Beaconsfield has assuredly done so. The profound reflection which prompts the youthful hero of the book to his course of action was this:—"How many a powerful noble wants only wit to be a Minister; and what wants Vivian Grey to attain the same end? That noble's influence." Not many years after this Mr. Disraeli was seen in public very close to Lord Chandos. But it was not that Lord but Lord Carabas that Vivian Grey chose for his patron, which is, no doubt, a difference. The story most frankly relates how Vivian wins the marquis by teaching him how to make tomahawk punch, how he wins the marchioness by complimenting her poodle, and how during the task he consoles himself by such thoughts as this:—"Oh, politics, thou splendid juggle!" His settled purpose he thus sums up: "Mankind, then, is my great game." He expressly states that he is to win this game by the use of his "tongue," on which he states he is "able to perform right skilfully;" but it will, he recognises, be requisite "to mix with the herd" and to "humour their weaknesses." The chief guiding rule which he lays down for himself in the midst of it all is, "that he must be reckless of all consequences save his own prosperity."

There are people who still believe that in all this they see sketched the very determinations, maxims, and rules which are to be found deliberately carried out in Mr. Disraeli's actual career. It is perplexing. The parallel, they assert, runs into the closest correspondence of detail. Vivian Grey's model author is Bolingbroke; and everybody knows that he, also, was Mr. Disraeli's. The young man in the book shows his reverential admiration for Bolingbroke by inventing a few passages and putting them into that personage's mouth for the better bamboozling of Lord Carabas; and it is known that Mr. Disraeli, at different periods of his life, has taken passages from other people and put them into his own mouth. But I cannot pursue this comparison or contrast, or whatever it is, farther: it will be better seen as I go on, what grounds people have had for beholding Mr. Disraeli in Vivian Grey. For the present it is enough to say, that it was Mr. Disraeli, and not Vivian Grey, who wrote this book. So much as that is quite certain. A fiction of the kind above briefly hinted at was the first fruit of Mr. Disraeli's intellect; it was in penning those pages of caricature of everybody who was notable in London society that he expended the first fresh enthusiasm of his mind, and displayed the earlier untainted innocence of his disposition. Lord Beaconsfield has spoken of it as a book written by a boy. It was that which made it so marvellous. This boy began with satire, and it might have been predicted that the juvenile would develop into an exceptional man.

[pg 685]

It was not until 1837, when Mr. Disraeli was about thirty-three years old, that he entered Parliament. Maidstone had the honour of finding him his first seat, though he had been willing to represent three other boroughs previously, if there had not been reluctance on the part of the constituencies. High Wycombe saw his earliest appearance on the hustings, and, indeed, it beheld him as a candidate more than once, but never as a member. He also offered himself to Marylebone. By some mistake it was supposed that in these instances he came forward as a Radical. Certainly his addresses spoke of short Parliaments, the ballot, and other measures commonly held to be Liberal. Mr. Joseph Hume, Mr. O'Connell, and Sir F. Burdett fell under the delusion, and wrote letters recommending him, though they afterwards withdrew them. But when, a little later, Mr. Disraeli contested Taunton as a Tory he explained it all. It seems that it arose out of a mystification. From the first he really stood as an "Anti-Whig," which the Liberals thought meant a Radical; and Mr. Disraeli, not wishing unnecessarily to disturb their minds, had let them go on thinking so. However, there was no doubt whatever as to his politics long before he was finally successful at Maidstone. He had become intimate with Lord Chandos, and had had his name toasted at banquets by the Aylesbury farmers as a friend of the agricultural interest. The whole question is one scarcely worth debating. I myself believe that the proper description of Mr. Disraeli at this time was not strictly either that of Radical or Tory; his accurate designation would have run,—"An intending politician determined somehow to get into Parliament, and looking eagerly for the first opening." Let me also add that, from a review of all his tastes, I further believe that he would have preferred the opening to offer on the Tory side, if only it had come soon enough.

The early part of Lord Beaconsfield's Parliamentary life will have to be compressed into a very brief space. Where would be the good of re-opening in any detail the closed story of those stale politics, all as dead as Queen Anne herself; or where the use of treating Mr. Disraeli's doings as very seriously forming part of those politics? He simply availed himself of his opportunities. For all practical purposes I might nearly skip—strange as that at first sight seems—to his second term of office in the post of Premier. It is only during a comparatively very few of these later years that Lord Beaconsfield has been of real importance in our politics. Of course, he had always much significance for his party, but it is of the nation I am speaking here. These individual tactics have only any general interest now through their making him successively Conservative leader, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Prime Minister. Nothing in this world, I should say, would be more tedious than tracing, for example, how Mr. Disraeli trimmed and tacked between Protection, Reciprocity, Revision of Taxation in the interests of the farmers, and a recognition of Free Trade. It all resulted in [pg 686] nothing; at least, the one single result it has brought forth has been—Lord Beaconsfield. But if a detailed retrospect of his lordship's earlier career would now have this dreary aspect, it was at the time lively enough, from moment to moment, not only on account of his debating smartness, but owing to a certain drollery which it for a long time wore.

A Minister, plainly, must get both his glory and his power from either domestic measures or from foreign policy. Very curiously, considering all the facts of Lord Beaconsfield's history down to the beginning of this last term of office, it was only to home matters that he should have looked for any distinction. An impression seems oddly to have popularized itself that he has a special genius for foreign affairs, and an enormous acquaintance with diplomacy. I can only say, that five years ago nobody knew it. The real truth is, that he had never any opportunities before of meddling with events abroad, and that we have been represented in these recent foreign complications by a Minister who, to that very moment, had had less to do with diplomacy than any English Premier for fully three-quarters of a century.

Lord Beaconsfield's mind has always been occupied with home affairs, and his characteristic views on these come from the quarter whence it is supposed all truth has been derived—the East. He somehow picked them up during two years of travel in those parts, from 1829 to 1831. About the former date, Mr. Disraeli's first brilliant but very brief literary success was over. He had published a second part of "Vivian Grey," which the public somehow was too busy to read; and had issued a further work of satire, "Popanilla," which it also neglected to buy. Mr. Disraeli immediately vanished into the Orient. When, after visiting Jerusalem, and lingering, as he tells us, on the plains of Troy, he returned to these shores, he brought back with him the Asian Mystery and a whole apparatus of political and social principles. He had also some manuscripts, which did not turn out to be of so much importance—"Contarini Fleming" and "The Young Duke." It was the most surprisingly fruitful voyage of discovery that any traveller ever made. Years elapsed before all the principles were given to the world, but Mr. Disraeli had them by him. Some of them are, indeed, hinted at as early as 1835, when he issued his "Vindication of the English Constitution," before he was in Parliament. Still, the system was not divulged in its entirety until he was in the House, and had founded what became known as the "Young England School." It is to the series of political novels which he then wrote that we must turn for the complete exposition of his fundamental ideas. Somehow, it has always seemed to everybody the most natural and fitting thing in the world that Mr. Disraeli should have corrected the inaccuracies of our national history, and shown our social fallacies, by writing works of fiction. The instruction with which he began the new training of the public was this—that our history is, in all the latter part of it, entirely wrong. In "Sybil," he thus gives his general opinion of the [pg 687] way in which it has been written:—"All the great events have been distorted, most of the important causes concealed, some of the principal characters never appear, and all who figure are so misunderstood and misrepresented that the result is a complete mystification."

Assuredly if this, or anything like it, was the state of things, Mr. Disraeli had not discovered it one moment too soon, and he was more than justified in making it known. On all the points named in the above summary he supplies most important rectifications. It seems that the people of this country, in so far, that is, as they were not the merest tools of their rulers, were under an entire mistake as to Rome wanting any domination in England in Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth's time; and that, strange to say, they also again fell into exactly the same delusion at the expulsion of James I. Mr. Disraeli puts the people who lived at those times right on these matters. But it was a section of nobles who at the latter juncture were to blame; those, namely, who had been enriched by the spoliation of the Church. Mr. Disraeli, indeed, gives the very simplest explanation of the Revolution of 1688. He states that the great Whig families were afraid that King James meant to reapply the Church lands to the education of the people and the support of the poor, and, in their alarm, they brought over Prince William, who gladly came, since it was only in England that he could reckon on being able to borrow money enough to carry on his failing war against France. In and from that hour happened the catastrophe which overwhelmed the English people—the Crown became enslaved by a Whig oligarchy. What Mr. Disraeli styles Venetian politics rushed in upon us, and these, by the aid of what he further calls Dutch finance—that is, the incurring of a National Debt—made foreign commerce necessary, and increased the obligation of home industry; nearly, as might be expected, ruining everything.

All the more modern period of our history had been, he in the most wonderful way explains, a fight to the death between these fearful Whig nobles on the one hand, and, on the other, a struggling heroic Crown and some enlightened patriotic Tory peers. The true incidents of this dark and stupendous conflict had never been clearly observed by the people in general at the time, nor had the real events been recorded in any of the common chronicles. But, as any one will be ready to allow, Mr. Disraeli could not be blamed for this. What was especially to his credit was that he had himself found out that the real ruler of England, in the era immediately preceding his own, was a certain Major Wildman, whom nobody before Mr. Disraeli had ever in the least suspected of wielding supreme power. I cannot stay to give the details of this portentous disclosure, but anybody may find them in Lord Beaconsfield's surprising pages. But in spite of superhuman exertions in the cause of the people by Lord Shelburne, and after him Mr. Pitt, the wicked Whigs always triumphed; the crowning act of duplicity on their part being, in fact, the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832.

[pg 688]

The above is a highly condensed, but strictly accurate summary of Lord Beaconsfield's version of our national history. Any reader by the slightest rummaging in his own mind will know how far his own impressions agree with it. But this is only his Lordship's instruction of us as to facts: I must proceed to state the principles of action he founds upon them. Here, however, I find myself brought up a little. If the whole truth is to be spoken, this further task is more easily announced than performed. Mr. Disraeli, in those early days, assuredly made a great appearance of stating his political opinions; but it almost seems as if a novel, after all, is not the best means of expounding political doctrine. The more you attempt to lay hold of these principles the more they somehow show a lack of exactness. But let me try.

He again and again affirms that he is for our having a "real throne," which he asserts should be surrounded by "a generous aristocracy;" and he wishes, moreover, for a people who shall be "loyal and reverentially religious." All this certainly sounds as if it meant something very satisfactory. It is only when you try to penetrate into it that your over-curiosity leads to perplexity. Neither Mr. Disraeli nor Lord Beaconsfield has ever definitely explained, for example, how far a throne being "real" means that he or she sitting upon it shall have a personal veto. All that you can quite clearly make out as to securing "generousness" in the aristocracy is that they shall not be Whigs; you may suppose that they ought to be, and, in fact, no doubt would be, Tories. Pushed strictly home, it would seem to be implied that every peer who holds property which once belonged to the Church should be stripped of it, and it might be construed to mean that they should become commoners. Then, as to the people at large, how are they to be made loyal and religious, since it seems that they are neither of these now? From not the least important parts of Lord Beaconsfield's teaching, the first step logically to be taken with this view would be to ask the vote back from all of them who now have it. His own Household Franchise Bill will have given more work to do in this way. But the passing of that mysterious measure has been explained,—it was, at the moment, a necessary piece of party tactics. Strictly regarded, the explanation points to the conclusion that, if it could be done safely, the Act ought to be revoked to-morrow. But, certainly, it was no such measure as that he relied upon for elevating the condition of the people. What he did depend upon for doing it he has specified, and it is this,—the revival of Church Convocation on a particular basis, of which he knows the exact measurement. Possibly the reader, if he is not a political partisan, is growing puzzled. "Was nothing else," he may ask, "proposed in the Disraelian system for the cure of popular evils?" This, certainly, was not the whole of what it included some mention of. For example, the preface to "Lothair" states that one of Lord Beaconsfield's aims always was the establishment of what he terms "a commercial code on [pg 689] the principles successfully negotiated by——" No, it was not by Cobden and Bright, for it will be remembered Lord Beaconsfield did not adhere to that: but the full sentence runs,—"successfully negotiated by Lord Bolingbroke at Utrecht." He farther states that it is a principle with him that labour requires regulating no less than property. I myself cannot assert that I ever met with any one who professed to understand what this means; but "labour," and "regulating," and "property" are very good words, and if there has not been a great waste of language, the remark must signify a good deal. His system, also, does really make allusion to the electorate, for it specifies as another of his cherished purposes, "the emancipation of the constituencies of 1832." Other people used, in an old-fashioned way, to talk of enfranchising non-electors; but it is the voters that Lord Beaconsfield is for emancipating. The two most definite statements of his political theory are to be found in "Sybil," where he makes Gerard say that "the natural leaders of the people, and their only ones, are the aristocracy;" and adds, through the mouth of somebody else, that "the Church has deserted the people," to which he attributes their having become "degraded."

One of Lord Beaconsfield's very strongest points has always been this physical and moral degradation of the people. He has talked about it so much that it has nearly seemed that he had got some plan for doing something for it. In the sketches he gives in "Sybil" of the homes in Marner, the dens in which the working classes dwell, and the squalor of their condition, he nearly touches the heart. It somehow has an effect almost identical with the sentiment of the most advanced Liberal politics until you come to the remedies proposed. The use which Lord Beaconsfield makes of the towns in his teaching is worth noting. Any one who scrutinizes it closely will see that his ideal social system is the rustic one of the country parish, taking always for granted that it is perfect; and he kindly goes for examples of social failure to the towns,—the origin and condition of which, according to all strict reasoning, he must be supposed to attribute to the Whig nobility. How accurately this fits in with what is known of the development of modern manufactures every reader will know.

If anybody should say that he cannot see any accuracy in the above version of the national history, and that there is no real applicability to our affairs in such a system, or, as such an one would perhaps style it, pretended system of politics, I can only reply that if he is under the impression that he is an admirer of Lord Beaconsfield, then this is very sad. For these are certainly Lord Beaconsfield's views of our history and the scheme of his politics. Neither of them, I will venture to add, surprises me. It seems to me that if a political Will-o'-the-Wisp, such as the Liberals for so long a time would make out Lord Beaconsfield to be, got into the top-boots and heavy coat of an English squire, these are just the historical conclusions and political generalizations [pg 690] which he would make, when he began trying to think like a country gentleman; and, for anything I can say, he would make them with a certain sincerity, that kind of ratiocinative working being natural to the Will-o'-the-Wisp intellect, when smitten with a passion for Parliamentary life and an aspiration for counterfeiting philosophy. Moreover, both the home politics and the foreign policy seem to me exactly to fit; they really each display like qualities of mind, and I can see no reason for any one who can accept the latter stickling at the former. If what is really at the bottom of the objection is, as I suspect it is, a feeling that there is something flimsy, artificial, flashy about either, or both, the politics and the policy, is not that asking too much from the light glittering source I have described? The Liberals have always done Lord Beaconsfield the justice of never expecting more than this from him, and he, on his side, has never disappointed their expectations. If they had not previously thought much of him in connection with foreign policy, never in fact believing that he would actually preside at a critical juncture long enough for that question much to signify, there is not a person in our party who would not have known beforehand that any foreign policy of Lord Beaconsfield, if the occasion for one ever came, would be one of dazzle—Jack-o'-Lantern diplomacy and Will-o'-the-Wisp home politics rightly belonging to one another. The bright and bewildering flashes have now for a long time been ceaselessly playing here and there all over Europe from the direction of London; now hitting St. Petersburg; now gilding Berlin; then flickering over Constantinople; flaming terribly at Cabul; quivering at the Cape; striking Egypt at short intervals; and shimmering their mildest at Paris. The activity, as was likely in such a case, has been unprecedented. My own conviction is that Lord Beaconsfield has amazed, perplexed, it may be astounded, foreign diplomatists throughout Europe quite as much as he has done any of his opponents at home.

What fitness, I should like to ask, has Lord Beaconsfield ever shown for appreciating the great events which, during his time, have gone forward in the world. During this generation, two stupendous rearrangements of States, completely recasting all the international relationships of Western Europe, have taken place—the unification of Italy and the transformation of Prussia into a German Empire. Political earthquakes like those do not come about all in a moment; these two were, in fact, long in preparation; there were throes, there were signs, there were symptoms. Some English statesmen—we could name several on the Liberal side—read the intimations rightly. But what subtle diplomatic sensitiveness did they challenge in Lord Beaconsfield—what preternaturally quick prognostications had he of the foreign marvels that were about to happen? Look first to the Prussian transformation. He severely blamed Chevalier Bunsen for indulging what he styled "the dreamy and dangerous nonsense called German nationality." Turn to Italy. Lord Beaconsfield characterized the earliest attempts of those patriots [pg 691] determined to win back national life or die as "mere brigandage." He spoke of the "phantom of a United Italy." All the world knows that so late even as the publication of his novel, "Lothair," he was under the impression that everything that had happened in the Italian peninsula and in Sicily was the work of a few secret societies, of whom Garibaldi was the figure-head. Take another example. He glossed over the former policy of the Austrian rulers towards Hungary, as innocent as the youngest baby in any cradle in any of our embassies, of discerning that in a few years it would be Hungary that would dominate the empire. In fact, Lord Beaconsfield has never shown the slightest true prevision of anything that was to happen abroad. But I must not be so unfair as to forget that Lord Beaconsfield took the side of the North in the American Civil War. Accidents will happen at times in the play of any kind of intellect; and this, at the very moment, had something of the appearance of being an abnormality of the Disraelian mind. When you look into the instance more closely, it proves not fully to contradict the other cases. Mr. Disraeli uttered a prophecy as to the future of America, and it was this: "It will be a mart of arms, a scene of diplomacies, of rival States, and probably of frequent wars." The result has vindicated his Lordship—nothing of the sort has happened.1 Come, however, still nearer home. The French Commercial Treaty, which was the first practical attempt to bring the peoples on each side of the Channel into real intercourse, sure to make them permanent friends in the end, was urgently opposed by Lord Beaconsfield. It was towards him that Mr. Cobden had to turn at every stage of his nearly superhuman labours to see what was the next obstacle he would have to set himself to try and overcome.

I venture to say that the foreign policy of such a Minister is certain to end in being one of isolation. Jack-o'-Lantern is always so busy in converting all he does into some private business of his own, that, by-and-by, he is sure to be alone in the transaction. Let us test the diplomatic situation as it now stands, by this rule, and, if it turns out that the English diplomacy has really established concert on our part with anybody, it will have of necessity to be admitted by me that I have been quite wrong in all that is said above. The position I take up is that a Will-o'-the-Wisp could not in his movements bring himself to coincide long enough with anybody else's activity to give any such result.

France is nearer to us than any other Continental Power, not only geographically but politically. How has the recent foreign policy turned out with respect to her? Our very first diplomatic move, that of hastily snatching at the Suez Canal shares, risked our understanding with France entirely. We do not hear much about Egypt now from the [pg 692] supporters of the Government. There are good reasons for it. Nothing could possibly have resulted worse than everything we did in that quarter. France did not allow a march to be stolen upon her; and the next moment we had Italy on our hands as well as France. But come to the Berlin Conference. France there, in pursuance of a traditional policy, backed up Greece. Lord Beaconsfield stood quite aloof from France. Come down to the very latest moment. The alliance between Germany and Austria is the one recent occurrence which is of all others most distasteful to Frenchmen, and Lord Salisbury, on behalf of his chief, not merely goes into slightly profane raptures over it, but works hard to create the impression that they two, indirectly though not directly, brought it about. This is how matters have been made to stand between us and France. With respect to Germany and Austria-Hungary, our Government is, of course, not within their arrangements, but, practically there seems to be an outside relation implied. Those two Powers are understood to reckon upon England as in some way restraining France if Russia made any move. At any rate, if France joined Russia, it is whispered, we should have to do something which would somehow aid Austria and Germany. Why, Chancellor Bismarck's chuckling at this position of things can distinctly be heard all the way from Varzin. Prince Gortschakoff is by no means the one at whom he is laughing hardest. Nothing need be said, I suppose, as to our relations with Russia: it is the special boast of our Government that in the case of the greatest Asiatic Power next to ourselves they have prevented any understanding at all. Just so, too, we have alienated Greece and the newly-formed Principalities. But there is Turkey. All that we have done has told in her favour,—surely we are at one with her? Lord Beaconsfield has just countermanded the orders to our fleet to get up steam and direct the muzzles of its guns towards Turkey. But a wonderful success, we are told, has already resulted from this. What does the recent flourish of telegrams really amount to? That the Porte has added one more sheet to the plentiful waste-paper heap of its proclamations. What our people were known to desire was a change of Minister: and Turkey, in place of that, offers to name Baker Pasha to look after the moral and social improvement of Asia Minor. The test of whether it is Will-o'-the-Wisp, or an ordinary statesman, who is at the head of our affairs gives the result I anticipated. England stands absolutely alone, and the last touch of preposterousness is added to the situation by the statement that it was at the advice of Russia that the Porte pretended to yield to our demands, and that though the Northern Powers are getting into motion again for some ends of their own, they do not in the least intend to meddle with us in Asia Minor. Indeed, I should think not. A splendid morass lies in that part of the world, with Turkey on one side and Russia on the other, and Jack-o'-Lantern has led us right into the middle of it. That is the present issue of the Beaconsfield foreign policy which was to have produced European concert,—we have Asia Minor on our hands, [pg 693] solitarily; and are going to set about immediately reforming it, before the next elections, against the willingness of Turkey, but with the sanction of Russia, and by the means of Baker Pasha. In the meantime, or at any time, Russia may use the situation against us just as best suits her.

I think it will now be admitted that Lord Beaconsfield's foreign policy is every whit as wonderful as the measures of home politics he ought to be urging, if he was only at liberty for that; and further, that they both bespeak exactly the same order of mind.

I must now try to bring together the personal impressions his Lordship makes on the mind of a Liberal. The noble Earl is very brilliant. That, of course, is accepted on all sides: there never was a member of the Wisp family who was not. Not to be brilliant would be against their nature; in fact, shine is their peculiarity. Moreover, standing now behind the event, we seem to see Lord Beaconsfield in Mr. Disraeli from the very beginning. Those who had the privilege of beholding him on his very first appearances in London high society, in, say, the Countess of Blessington's salon, where he would be grouped with Count D'Orsay, Prince Napoleon, and Count Morny, give a gorgeous description of him. It seems that he did not depend for celebrity solely upon his witticisms, either printed or spoken, but relied, also, in some measure, on the splendour of his walking canes. The jewels on his hands are said to have rivalled, and at times excelled, the pearls upon his lips; the display in both respects bearing witness that his native tastes were Oriental. His ringlets, in particular, are said to have been the admiration, if not the envy, of the ladies. It seemed almost necessary to give up a line or two to these personal particulars, for the younger people of this generation never saw Mr. Disraeli in his full splendour. As he developed his later powers, he moderated his earlier waistcoats. But he never was an ordinary commoner; he always moved in our public life like a superior being in disguise. He was with us but not of us. Since he is an Earl, the impression he makes has become more natural. The promotion to our peerage gives to some personages an artificial aspect; in Mr. Disraeli's case, the effect was simplifying; and though, after all, it is not quite gorgeous enough, it is befitting. There is a little something not quite in the English style,—a slight foreign incongruity; still, that was always there, and it is, in fact, less noticeable now under the coronet and beneath the ermine.

But—and this is the point sought to be brought out in the above remarks—it was evident from the earliest moment that this splendid person meant to achieve social success. And he has certainly done it. There would be injustice in pretending that he has not had other motives; but celebrity was his leading passion. He has himself made a frank confession on this point. In the days when it was not yet certain that there was a political career before him, the likelihood rather being that he might have wholly to depend upon literature as his means of distinction, he rushed into poetry, having just failed in prose. But he [pg 694] warned the public in the preface of his "Revolutionary Epick," that if they did not purchase and admire it, he had done with song. "I am not," so ran the naïvely self-disclosing sentence, "one of those who find consolation for the neglect of my contemporaries in the imaginary plaudits of posterity." No, nothing in this world, we are quite certain, would ever have consoled Mr. Disraeli for the neglect of his contemporaries. But he took sure measures not to undergo it. He positively raged to get into Parliament; trying one constituency after another, and only succeeding with the fourth. To judge from the fierceness of Mr. Disraeli's struggles, there was in his eyes nothing worth living for, if he were not inside the House of Commons. But he had got into the newspapers before he got into Parliament. The town was kept ringing with Mr. Disraeli's name. In London he was just as much talked of forty-seven years ago as he is to-day.

If the rudeness of a little terseness is passed over, I may fairly say that publicity was Mr. Disraeli's passion; in the circumstances of his position, audacity was his only means; and, with his style of character and intellect, inaccuracy was his necessity. A very few words will establish each point. Was he not studiously audacious? The first book he wrote was a skit on the whole of the higher circle of London society; the candidate he sought to set aside at his first Parliamentary contest was the son of the then Premier; before he was in Parliament he threatened O'Connell; he had not been in the House long before he attacked Sir Robert Peel. It was a glorious audacity on his part, considering the disadvantage of his race, to throw into the face of the British public the supremacy of "Semitic" blood, and to confound us all with the Asian Mystery. But, in turning next to his inaccuracies, we are positively awed by the number and the enormity of the blunders Mr. Disraeli and Lord Beaconsfield between them have committed, in, as it would seem, the most natural way. It was a mere trifle that, when propounding his second Budget, Mr. Disraeli should have thought that he had a surplus to the bagatelle amount of £400,000, until Mr. Gladstone kindly explained to him and to the country that it was a deficiency of that small sum. Some people would be touched deeper to find that in his "Life of Lord George Bentinck" he is of opinion that the crucifixion of the Saviour took place in the reign of Augustus Cæsar. In the course of the debates on one of the early Reform measures, he thought, when Lord Dunkellin made a proposal relating to the "rental valuation" in connection with voting qualification, that it was payment of rates that was in question. In his oration on the death of the Duke of Wellington, he, as all Europe soon knew, mistook long passages from an article written by M. Thiers as being his own composition. He fell into just the same error as to some splendid sentences of Lord Macaulay and also, as to a fine burst of eloquence belonging really to the late Mr. David Urquhart. Very early in his career, when acknowledging his health proposed by mistake in the guise of [pg 695] an old scholar of the famous public school of Winchester, he became momentarily under the impression that he was really educated on that noble foundation, though he had never stood under its roof. Very late in his career, so late as the affair known as the Pigott appointment, he believed that the Rev. Mr. Pigott, the rector of his own parish, had voted against him at the poll in his own county some time after that reverend gentleman's death. But there is really no end to these instances of Lord Beaconsfield having innocently said the thing that is not. With respect to a number of examples of another kind, it would be puzzling to know whether to put them in the category of audacities or inaccuracies; the only way of quite getting over the difficulty would, perhaps, be to consider them as belonging to both. For instance, in 1847, he quoted Mr. J. S. Mill as a friend of Protection, and said Mr. Pitt was the author of Free Trade. On a not very far back occasion, he remarked: "I never attacked any one in my life." Perhaps, with that quotation, it is right to stop.

One of the peculiarities of Lord Beaconsfield's mind has seemed to some people an affectation, that, namely, by which, in reference to any case of much importance, he is sure to miss what seems to everybody else the significant feature of the business, and to fasten on some detail which arrests nobody else. Hardly any one will have yet forgotten the instance of the "Straits of Malacca," and only just the other day a new example was furnished. The revival of trade being the topic, while everybody else's thoughts went to cotton and iron and pottery, Lord Beaconsfield's lighted upon—chemicals. It is all explained on the footing I earlier hinted, that in Lord Beaconsfield's mind the imagination is in just the place the reason occupies in the minds of ordinary people. This makes it obligatory that he shall avoid the common facts, and make some opportunity for exaggerating the value of some detail overlooked by everybody else. It is only in this way that Lord Beaconsfield conclusively certifies to himself that his intellect has really acted.

I am myself quite sincere in saying that I believe there is in all this a certain kind of sincerity in Lord Beaconsfield. Where most people remember, his Lordship fancies; and in his case what is most convenient, naturally offers itself. This has very much increased his brilliancy, for the process leaves its practiser utterly unhampered. But nobody should ask for both strict accuracy and Lord Beaconsfield's quick, free wit. It is demanding an unreasonable combination. If other people had only not remembered, his career would have been even still finer than it is. That is what has partially spoiled things for him. It is even possible that this amazing foreign policy of his may be in a measure explainable on certain suggestions of what we may call pictorial working rules, if we were only inside his mind. Certainly his home politics give some hints that they were framed on a principle of picturesqueness,—a very sophisticated canon of rustic taste can be detected dimly lying at the bottom of them. By only leaving out the towns, and repressing the growth [pg 696] of modern manufactures, and subduing foreign commerce, something might possibly—I cannot say—be made of them. In this foreign diplomacy, there is a certain imaginativeness in bringing dark-skinned soldiers from Asia into Europe, in turning our homely English Queen into an Oriental Empress, in becoming possessor of a fresh island in the Mediterranean, in shifting a frontier line in India, in adding a new province in Africa. All this has meant massacre, and fire, and bloodshed, with the imminent risk of very much more of all of them; and Sir Stafford Northcote, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been kept working as hard as a sprite in a pantomime pouring out millions of our taxation. But if it be Will-o'-the-Wisp we have at the head of affairs, nothing of this is likely very greatly to affect him. Assuredly, nothing of it has affected Lord Beaconsfield, and we may be sure he is ready to go over it all again to-morrow.

If it was worth while, very large deductions would have to be made from Lord Beaconsfield's seeming success if we look rationally at his whole career. No man who is supposed to have been anything like so successful as he is popularly held to be, ever had so many and such striking failures to look back upon. Looking at him as connected with letters, he is the author of works which have failed more completely than any written by any one who himself became known. Judged by their ambitious aims, these literary non-successes of Lord Beaconsfield are gigantic. The epic poem ("The Revolutionary Epick") which Mr. Disraeli supposed was to place him—he himself tells us so—by the side of, or else between, Homer and Milton, nobody would read; the play ("Alarcos") which he states he wrote to "revive the British stage," is never acted. Not one of his novels, when his political position has ceased to advertize them, will remain in the hands of the public. If you look back on his Parliamentary career, the dazzle came late, and after a dreary distance had been travelled. The political party he founded, "The Young England School," has for twenty-five years been as dead as the door-nail which typified the death of Marley. Nothing whatever came of it. The one only notable legislative measure that stands in his name,—the Reform Bill,—really belongs to the other side. Scrutinize his career how you will, and some abatements of this kind have to be made. He is supposed to have had a charm over men,—it has failed with the strong ones. Peel he tried very hard to win, but had to take up with Lord George Bentinck instead. At this moment he is supposed to be in favour with the Court: the impression he made upon the Prince Consort was far from satisfactory. He has quite recently lost Lord Derby and Lord Carnarvon; and there was a time when the Marquis of Salisbury and he stood in a very different relationship.

Lord Beaconsfield's social system is that of a novelist; his finance was ever that of a Will-o'-the-Wisp; and he has now added a Jack-o'-Lantern diplomacy. Surely nothing more is needed to justify disbelief in him.

A Whig.

1  Since writing the above I have met with an article in the October No. of The North American Review, on "Louis Napoleon and the Southern Confederacy," which puts this alleged friendship for the North in a very doubtful light. Among some State Papers found in Richmond, a despatch from Mr. Slidell says,—"Lindsay saw Disraeli, who expressed great interest in our affairs, and fully concurred in the views of the Emperor." Louis Napoleon was then intriguing hard to get the South recognised.

[pg 697]


Summary.Politics: Agitations during the Parliamentary Recess—Unjust Accusations levelled at the Ministry—Reforms carried out or projected in the Public Instruction—Justice—Public Works—Activity and Liberalism of the Ministry—Its want of Cohesion and Unity—Renewal of the Socialist Agitation—Return of the Amnestied—Election of M. Humbert in Paris—M. Blanqui's and M. Louis Blanc's Addresses in the Provinces—Socialist Congress at Marseilles—Reaction against these exaggerations—Dangers caused by the attitude of the Conservative Party inspired by the Clerical spirit—Efforts to create a Republican Conservative Party—"Le Parlement"—Unfortunate effect of the Ministry's Anti-clerical Campaign—Legitimist Banquets—The Bonapartist Party and its hopes—M. Naquet's Campaign in favour of Divorce. Literature: Novels—Mme. Greville, Mme. Bentzon, M. Lemonnier, M. Gualdi, M. Daudet, M. Zola, Flaubert, M. Theuriet—"L'Eglise Chrétienne," by M. Renan—"Rodrigue de Villandrando," by M. Quicherat—"Mémoires de Mme. de Rémusat"—"Nouvelle Revues". Science: Geographical Studies—"Géographie Universelle"—"La Terre et les Hommes," by Elisée Reclus—Map of France on scale of 1100000—Lectures on Historical Geography, by M. A. Longnon. Fine Arts: Subjects opened to Competition—Death of MM. Viollet Le Duc, Cham, Taylor. Theatres: Le Grand Opera, l'Opéra Populaire, Pasdeloup and Colonne Concerts—Professor Hermann—The Hanlon-Lees—"Jonathan," by M. Gondinet—"Les Mirabeau," by M. Claretie—Le Théâtre des Nations.


T HE Parliamentary recess is generally a time of political tranquillity for the country, and leisure or peaceful occupation for the Ministers; not so, however, in France this year. M. Blanqui's candidature at Bordeaux; M. Humbert's election in Paris; the return of the amnestied from New Caledonia; the Workmen's Congress in Marseilles; the Legitimist banquets of September 29; MM. J. Ferry's, Louis Blanc's, and Blanqui's tours in the provinces; the inauguration of Denfert-Rochereau's, Arago's, and Lamoricière's monuments, have kept France in a state of perpetual agitation, if not disturbance. And even the business world, which generally slumbers quietly through the summer months, has been stung with a craze for speculation. A number of financial companies have sprung up, based chiefly on most unsound and absurd combinations, some of which threaten to collapse before they have even begun to work. The great jobber, M. Philippart, who so upset the Bourse some years ago, reappeared in greater force than ever, only to get another ducking at the end of a couple of months. Even the Republican party, which hitherto seemed to have kept out of the way of dangerous speculations, has been drawn into the current, and names of Republican deputies, senators, and municipal councillors have appeared on the lists of the administrative councils by way of an advertisement to subscribers. Nor, with so many causes of disturbance at home, was the country free from anxieties abroad: the settlement of the financial supervision to be exercised conjointly with England in Egypt; the difficulties raised with regard to the same by Italy, who would [pg 698] have wished to form a third in this new order of syndicate; and Turkey's opposition to the decisions of the Berlin Congress concerning Greece, must have caused M. Waddington more than one sleepless night.

Has the Ministry been weakened or strengthened by the toils of the Parliamentary recess? The attitude of the Chambers when they meet (Nov. 27) for the first time in their new, or rather old, quarters will show. According to the enemies it has, both in the Republican and Monarchical camp, it is in a state of complete dislocation; and M. Waddington, in particular, is unable to exercise any authority over his colleagues. This is the favourite theme, nightly recurred to, of M. E. de Girardin, who, under colour of Radicalism, seems to be entering on a campaign against the Republic of 1879, in favour of Prince Jerome Napoleon, similar to his former one against the Republic of 1848, in favour of Prince Louis Napoleon. The injustice of most of his attacks, it must be acknowledged, borders on dishonesty. Complaints are made of the Ministry's weakness and inaction. But on what grounds? By the one side, because it leaves the Socialists free to put forward their views; by the other, because it lets the Royalists banquet in peace, and expels neither the Orleans princes nor the Bonapartes. People in France always regard Government as a gendarme whose business it is to imprison or escort to the frontier those whose opinions are displeasing to them; if not, they declare there is no Government. Or else it is still looked upon as a Providence, whose duty it is to make the people happy from morning till night. If trade be dull and the crops bad, as they are this year, the Government is pronounced incapable, and the change to have been not worth the cost. People cannot understand that a Government's sole mission is to give a general direction to politics, to attend to the wise administration of the country, to protect the liberty and the rights of all, even of those who do not like it, and see to the carrying out of existing laws and the making of new ones. The present Ministry has not seriously failed in any one of these duties, and to charge it with inaction would be most unjust. The new appointments have almost all been excellent; particularly in the administration of public instruction, where considerable changes have been made, the most competent men have in every instance been chosen without regard to political party. The remodelling of the Council of State was an absolute necessity, as the Ministry could not work with men radically hostile to its views. This remodelling was carried out with extreme moderation; if the voluntary retirement of MM. Aucoc, Groualle, Goussard, &c., gave it a more radical character, the retiring members, not the Ministry, are to blame. Of the activity of the Minister of Public Instruction there can be no doubt; he has even been laughed at for his zeal in propagating his views, as shown in his southern tour, during which he found time to make a series of speeches in favour of the famous Clause 7, that deprives unauthorized religious bodies of the right of teaching, and to plan important material improvements in the constitution of the Faculties [pg 699] of Letters, Science, Medicine, and Law. The inspection of the infant-schools, of the drawing-instruction, have at length been properly organized, and a project for the reform of secondary instruction has been elaborated. With regard to the administration of justice, M. Le Royer has drawn up a very important scheme, whereby the courts of justice will be reduced to one-half the present number, important economies effected, the administration of justice accelerated, and the number of unemployed magistrates, barristers, and lawyers, which constitutes one of the evils of the country and of the Parliamentary assemblies, diminished.

Can M. de Freycinet be accused of inaction, seeing that every day he is told he will sink under the load of vast undertakings he has on hand for the improvement of the harbours and the completion of the railway and canal system? What accusations can be brought against General Gresley, seeing that our military organization is making daily progress, and that the autumn manœuvres have been more satisfactory this year than ever? The very criticisms addressed to the Ministry with regard to its weakness towards its enemies prove how it has respected the common liberty. It is, however, the habit in France, when a Government allows the attacks of party free play to laugh at its timidity, and when it puts them down to accuse it of persecution. The thing to do, therefore, is to apply the principle said to have been formulated by the President of the Republic himself—"To let everything be said, and nothing done."

The only point whereon the criticisms of the Cabinet's adversaries seem in some sense well-founded, is the charging it with having no definite political line, and being consequently incapable of any homogeneous influence either upon the Chambers or public opinion. It is quite certain that the Cabinet is wanting in unity; that MM. Waddington, Léon Say, and Gresley represent a less strongly accentuated political shade than MM. Le Royer, Jauréguiberry, Tirard, and Cochery, and these again a less strongly marked shade than MM. J. Ferry, De Freycinet, and Lepère. Each Minister has his particular plans, and occasionally the question suggests itself how far his colleagues approve and support him. In any case, the Cabinet's most important projects, M. Le Royer's judicial reform, M. de Freycinet's plans, the Ferry laws, were accepted rather than desired by M. Waddington, who cannot in consequence be considered to exercise any paramount sway over his colleagues. This subdivision of the Ministerial responsibility is unquestionably to be deplored, and impairs the strength of the Government; but is it not the fault of the Ministers, or rather the result and the faithful image of the Republican majority, whose unity proceeds solely from the necessity of fighting against Monarchical parties, and which represents very different tendencies? A homogeneous Ministry representing one of these tendencies only would command no majority. The Republic is still in the period of struggle and formation. It cannot observe [pg 700] the rules of the Parliamentary system quite regularly yet. Every Ministry is fatally a coalition Ministry, and consequently without unity. When it is, like the present one, agreed as to its general lines of policy, at once liberal and moderate, and sufficiently sympathetic to both Chambers, it would be hard, we must acknowledge, to find a better, and to wish for a change would be madness.

Not the constitution of the Ministry, but rather the political condition of the country, may, indeed, be productive of difficulties and dangers to the Republic. Were we to believe the reactionary papers and the anxious spirits, the greatest danger France is exposed to arises from the revival of Socialistic ideas occasioned by the return of the insurgents of the Commune. That disquieting signs and tendencies show themselves in that direction is true. The amnestied, who should have been received as penitent and pardoned culprits, have, by many—by M. Talandier, M. L. Blanc, and others of the Extreme Left—been welcomed as reinstated martyrs. People even went so far on their arrival as to dare to raise a cry of "Vive la Commune." One of the most criminal, M. Alphonse Humbert, who edited in 1871 a filthy and bloodthirsty paper, Le Père Duchesne, and in it directly provoked the murder of Gustave Chaudey, has been elected municipal councillor of Paris by the Javel Ward. Though the Comité Socialiste d'aide aux Amnistiés had rudely repudiated all community of action with the Republican committee presided over by V. Hugo, and contemptuously alluded to it as le comité bourgeois, the Rappel did not hesitate to support this candidature, stained as it was with blood. Hardly is old Blanqui released from his imprisonment at Clairvaux when he starts for a tour in the south to propagate his revolutionary doctrines, and finds people credulous enough to applaud the senile declamations in which he accuses M. Grévy and M. Gambetta of having sold themselves to the Jesuits and the Orleanists. M. Louis Blanc, whilst issuing in book form, under the title of "Dix ans de l'Histoire d'Angleterre" (Lévy), the wise and impartial letters he addressed to Le Temps from London between 1860 and 1870, has reverted to his dreams of 1848, and, more intent on winning a vain popularity than on consolidating the Republican régime, has aroused the passions and desires of an ignorant multitude by unfolding to them the chimerical and deceptive picture of a complete remodelling of the French Constitution, and the prosperity which, according to him, might be secured to all if they would lay down their liberties and their rights for the benefit of a Socialist State. Finally, the Workmen's Congress in Marseilles revealed with the utmost naïveté the false notions, the gross ignorance, and the bad instincts that M. Blanqui draws out from a fanatic monomania, and M. Louis Blanc encourages from desire for noisy popularity. The majority of the Congress plainly declared that they preferred the revolutionary course of an insurrection to the peaceful course of voting and legal action, that gradual progress was a chimera, that individual property must be converted into collective property, [pg 701] and that such conversion could only be effected by force. What was, perhaps, even more disquieting at the Marseilles Congress than these brutal declarations, was the almost fabulous ignorance, stupidity, and credulity displayed by most of the delegates, who must, nevertheless, be among the most intelligent and educated members of the Syndical Chambers. Neither in England nor in Germany would an assembly of workmen put up with such silly and empty discussions in which not a single practical question was treated seriously, and the general reform of society was accomplished in three or four high-sounding and pretentious phrases. The ignorance of the multitude is an immense danger, leaving it a prey to every illusion and dream and to the brutal impulse of its instincts.

Without being blind to the gravity of these symptoms, or denying that much of the leaven that produced the Commune is still to be found amongst the inhabitants of the great towns, I do not think the fact presents any immediate danger, or that there is any chance of a rising in Paris, or a revival of the Commune. The late manifestations have done exactly the reverse of furthering the end in view. At Bordeaux, Blanqui, who was elected in the first instance, failed in the second. His journey, triumphant at the outset, ended amidst murmurs on the one hand and indifference on the other. Humbert's election excited the disgust of the most advanced Republicans, and has insured the rejection of every new proposal of pardon for the members of the Commune. The folly talked at the Marseilles Congress provoked the protests of a strong minority in the very heart of the Congress, which energetically defended the principles of good sense and public order. If the revival of Socialism threaten the existence of the Republic, it is not so much on account of the possibility of its bringing back the Commune as that it may serve to provoke an anti-Republican reaction.

This is much more to be dreaded at present than any demagogical excesses. The attitude of the Conservative party presents much greater dangers to the Republic than that of the Socialist party. The Republic's only chance is its free acceptance by the bourgeoisie and the formation of a large Conservative but not reactionary party to counteract the impatience of the progressive element. Until now no such party exists. Many Conservatives have undoubtedly stuck to the Republic, but they are absorbed by the progressive Republican mass; the others have preserved a hostile attitude, and cherish visions of a Monarchical or Imperialist restoration. Clerical ideas confirm them in this attitude, and render them the irreconcilable enemies of the present order of things; they follow the inspirations of the clergy, who are convinced that no Republic can give them the liberty of action they desire, and who, moreover, consider themselves persecuted wherever they are not masters. The thing is to convince this Conservative mass, now enrolled under the banner of clericalism, that it is possible to give the clergy the honours and the liberty they deserve, whilst confining them strictly within the [pg 702] religious domain, and that the public régime can be a secular one without recourse to persecution. This is what the few members of the old Left Centre who refused to join the ranks of the Ministerial Left, and are headed by MM. Dufaure, De Montalivet, Ribot, Lamy, &c., are trying to convince the Conservatives of. They have started a new paper, Le Parlement, to vent their ideas, conducted with talent and earnestness, which if it succeed in its object will have done the Republic good service by calling a Republican Right into existence, whereas at present only a Republican Left exists, without any counterweight, and bounded by two abysses, the Commune on the one hand and Bonapartism on the other.

Certain members of the Republican party and even of the present Ministry thought that the deplorable influence Catholicism exercises on public affairs might be counteracted by open contest, and this was the origin of Clause 7, and the war at present waged everywhere against the Catholic bodies and the action of the clergy. Unfortunately there is a fatal solidarity between the Catholic religion itself and its most compromising representatives; the regular and secular clergy are united by the closest ties; it is impossible to deal a blow at the clergy on one point without in appearance attacking religion itself. Moreover it loves strife, and above all persecution; it feeds upon it; it wins the sympathy of the simple-minded by resisting, in the name of conscience, all even the most legitimate attacks against the authority it has usurped. The duty of a wise Government, therefore, is as far as possible to let all religious questions lie dormant, to cultivate towards them a salutary indifference, to avoid the possibility of being accused either of favouring or persecuting the clergy, so as to secure the countenance of all those who, without being hostile to the Church, have no wish to be its blind servants. One must be content to resist the Church's encroachments without attacking it in its own precincts. The present Ministry has stirred up, we think with unfortunate precipitancy, questions which might still have remained awhile untouched, and thus needlessly lessened the number of its partisans. But to be fair, it is certainly very difficult to be impartial and indifferent in face of a body in open revolt against the Government, whose bishops, like Monseigneur Freppel at the inauguration of the monument to Lamoricière, preach contempt for the Constitution and the law. The behaviour of the Belgian episcopate, on the occasion of the new school law, has proved that neither justice nor moderation is to be expected from the Catholic Church. Whence violent minds are too disposed to conclude that reconciliation being impossible, intolerance must be met by violence, and fanaticism by persecution.

Were it not for this unfortunate clerical question, the opposition to the Republican form of Government would be reduced to a minimum. The Legitimist banquets organized throughout the country in commemoration of the Comte de Chambord's birthday, September 29th, [pg 703] testified to the ridiculous weakness of a number of aged children who indulge in the phrases and fables of a bygone time. This flourish of forks was met by all parties with ironical compassion. The Bonapartist party has but imperfectly recovered from the blow dealt it in the death of the Prince Imperial. Prince Jerome Napoleon may alter his outward line, become as reserved as formerly he was unguarded in his language, organize his house on a princely footing, have his organs amongst the press, rally round him a great number of those who but now overwhelmed him with the most ribald insults; he will never either wipe out a too well-known past, or with all his intelligence make up for the total absence of military prestige or personal regard. Nevertheless, Bonapartism is so decidedly the fatal incline towards which France will always be impelled if she become disgusted with the Republic, that he appears to some the only issue in case of a new revolution, and more than one of those who had of late reattached themselves to the Republic were seen to turn their eyes to Prince Napoleon when Humbert's election or the Socialist speeches at Marseilles renewed their old terrors. Universal suffrage is always threatening France with sudden surprises. If, as some politicians wish, the scrutin de liste be substituted for the scrutin d'arrondissement, it might yet be that the name of Napoleon would find a formidable echo in the popular mass, and eclipse all the new names which want its legendary and historical prestige. This might happen, especially if the depression of trade and the clerical contest were by degrees to weary and disgust the mass of the electors with political questions, as would appear to have been the case at the legislative elections of Bordeaux and the Paris municipal elections, when more than two-fifths of the electors abstained from voting. It might, above all, happen if the Chambers continue to postpone all the reform laws, those relating to the army, to education, and to the magistracy, which await discussion and passing from session to session.

Many look forward to a time when these everlasting political questions will cease to burn so fiercely, when the suppression of State or Church will no longer be a daily question, and more modest and practical measures of reform can be taken in hand. A committee of lawyers has elaborated an important scheme for the reform of our criminal procedure, long known to be seriously defective. Will there be an opportunity of bringing it before the Chambers? Even more interesting is the divorce question, which has found an able, persevering, and eloquent advocate in M. Naquet. Of all others, this reform is the most urgent. Those acquainted with family life in France know the fatal moral consequences arising from judicial separation, the only resource of ill-assorted couples. Not to speak of the flagrant injustice which allows the man to separate from his wife on account of offences she is obliged to tolerate in him, the two, though separated, remain jointly and severally liable. The woman is obliged, in a number of instances, such as the marriage of a child confided to her care, to obtain the husband's authorization, [pg 704] whilst she, on her part, can drag in the mire the name of her husband which she continues to bear, or pass off children upon him which are not his. Separation has all the drawbacks of divorce, besides others peculiar to it, which divorce remedies. M. Naquet has treated the question from the tribune, as also in a series of articles published in the Voltaire, wherein he cites a number of heartrending cases in which divorce would be the only possible remedy, and, finally, in the lectures he has been holding in all the large towns. His campaign has been crowned with success, and the law will, it is believed, be passed by the Chambers. No small credit is due to M. Naquet, for he had to contend with prejudices of several kinds—the religious prejudices of Catholicism, which does not admit the power of the civil law to cancel a sacrament of the Church; the political prejudices of Republican theorists, who affect to attach a more sacred and indelible character to the civil consecration of the magistrate than to the religious one of the priest; the prejudices of immoral and unprincipled men, who form a numerous class everywhere, who never having felt the restraints of moral law are not troubled by the misfortunes springing from unhappy marriages, but, on the contrary, are glad to take advantage of them; finally, with the prejudices of some serious-minded persons, who are afraid that in sanctioning divorce the Republic may appear to violate the respect due to marriage. The last aspect of the question has been ably supported by a deputy, M. Louis Legrand, in his interesting study, "Le Mariage;" but M. Naquet finds no difficulty in proving that marriage is more respected where divorce is possible than where judicial separation only can be obtained, nor in showing religious men that the Church has always recognised fourteen cases in which marriage becomes void, whilst the French law only recognises one, mistaken identity, which practically never occurs.

We have but to open a French novel, or visit the theatre, to convince ourselves of the necessity of divorce. Mme. Gréville, in "Lucie Rodey" (Plon), depicts a young woman reduced by her husband to the most wretched condition, with no resource but resignation and a pardon all but dishonourable to her; Mme. Bentzon, in "Georgette" (Lévy), describes with exquisite delicacy the painful position of a woman who, separated from her husband, and living on terms the world condemns with a man of elevated character, is driven in the presence of her innocent daughter to blush for a position the disgrace of which her own elevation of sentiment had hitherto veiled from her. Half the novels in France turn on the domestic misery arising from the indissolubility of the marriage tie. Hackneyed as the subject is, it presents so many aspects that new effects can always be derived from it. Such dramas will ever remain the most touching source the imagination of the novelist has to draw upon. From the princess to the peasant, humanity is the same in its affections and sufferings. If you want to know how the peasant suffers read "Un Coin de Village," by M. Camille Lemonnier (Lemerre), a picturesque and piquant young writer, who combines [pg 705] the touching grace of Erckmann-Chatrian with a power of realistic observation quite his own. If you wish for something more recherché, dealing with the richer and higher classes of society, M. Gualdi, a young naturalized Italian, French in talent, provides you with a drama of the most brilliant originality in his "Mariage Extraordinaire" (Lemerre). A charming but poor girl, Elise, is on the point of marrying a man she does not love to save her parents from ruin. She is attached to a young man, Giulio, worthy of her, but poor also; he has been obliged to expatriate himself, and Elise's mother makes her believe that her fiancé has forgotten and betrayed her. The Comte d'Astorre, an elegant and magnificent viveur, with a generous soul under his frivolous exterior, is touched by Elise's fate; to enable her to escape a hateful marriage he offers her the shelter of his name and house, promising that he will consider himself as a friend, not a husband. For a time the compact is kept, but the Comte d'Astorre ends by falling in love with his wife; the quondam viveur becomes the timid, trembling, and naïf suitor. Elise ends by allowing herself to be moved, and when poor Giulio comes back from India, true to the faith he had sworn, she repulses him, first in the name of duty, and soon, one is made to feel, in the name of a new nascent love. This singular and delicate theme is treated by M. Gualdi with a refinement of touch that indicates the acute psychologist, and the passionate scene between Giulio and Elise on their meeting again is really beautiful.

To ascend a step higher in the social hierarchy and learn what a queen, wounded in her feelings as a woman and a mother, can suffer, read M. A. Daudet's last novel, "Les Rois en Exil" (Dentu), in which he continues to work the vein he opened so successfully in "Le Nabab," the portraiture of Parisian life, viewed from its most brilliant side as from that most flecked with impurity, disorder, and adventure. In the "Nabab," M. Daudet had the advantage of describing the world he had been most familiar with, since his two chief personages were M. de Morny, whose secretary he had been for several years, and M. Bravay, his former friend. But this advantage was also a defect, for no true novel is possible with very well-known contemporary personages for the characters; and the "Nabab," marvellous as regards truth and vivid detail, was poor as regards composition. In "Les Rois en Exil" we again meet with a number of well-known personages: the King of Hanover, the Queen of Spain, the Prince of Orange, the Queen of Naples, Don Carlos. Elysée Méraut, the little prince's tutor, is said to be the portrait of an excellent youth, by name Thérion, also entrusted with a prince's education, and who was horrified to find that he believed more firmly in the principles of legitimacy and divine right than his pupil's parents. The father of Elysée Méraut, the old Legitimist peasant who sees his son's future insured because the Comte de Chambord promises to bear him in mind, is no other than A. Daudet's own father. But all the real portraits are secondary characters that form the background of the [pg 706] picture. The leading personages of the drama, Christian II., the dethroned king of Illyria, who takes his exile very lightly, and forgets it by wallowing in the mire of Parisian dissipations; his wife, the noble Fréderique, who lives but for one thing, the recovery of the throne of her husband and son, and in that hope endures every affront; their trusty attendants, the two Rosens; and finally John Lévis, the unscrupulous man of business, who knows the tariff of all the vices, and with his wife Séphora, takes advantage of the dissolute weakness of Christian II.,—all these leading figures, though compounded of traits, if not real at least profoundly true, are the author's own creation. They are artistically superior, moreover, to those of the "Nabab," more complete, more lifelike even, for they are stripped of such traits as are too personal, secondary, fleeting, contrary to actual reality, and wear rather the character of types. Types they truly are, this king and queen, representative of all the grandeur and vileness, the heroism and cowardice, the noble pride and foolish prejudice, dwelling in the exiled sovereigns who came to Paris, some to weep for monarchy, others to hold its carnival, some as to the centre of pleasure, others to that of political intrigue; and is there not a philosophy, historical and political, in M. Daudet's novel, in his picture of Christian II. forced to abdicate his royal pretensions after sacrificing them to the love of an unworthy woman who has fooled him, and Fréderique bidding farewell to all the hopes that centred in her little Zara, forgetting everything besides being a mother, and devoting all her powers towards rescuing her child from the sickness that is killing him? It is unfair to M. Daudet to say that he only possesses the art of painting the chatoyant lights, the picturesque outside of Parisian life, the dresses, the furniture, and the scenery; to represent him as merely a skilful manufacturer of bimbeloterie. We may tax him with abuse of description, and that habit of reportage peculiar to the daily press; and it would be vain to look in him for the sobriety that enhances the beauty of some immortal works of art; but such sobriety is incompatible with an art which aims at painting human life in all its aspects, all its details, all its colours. Neither Shakspeare, Dickens, nor Balzac is sober. To be sure M. Daudet is neither a Dickens nor a Balzac, but his delicate sensibility makes him penetrate far below the outer crust, to the human ground of the characters, and the life they live is a real one. On account of this, the first quality of a novelist, one forgives the brutality and the pretentious passages, an imitation, the one of M. Zola, the other of M. de Goncourt, and the inequalities of a style which is, nevertheless, in wonderful harmony with the world he paints.

That which constitutes M. Daudet's great superiority over other novelists of the realistic school, is that he has no contempt for humanity, that he always loves it, often pities, and sometimes admires it. Nothing can be more false, more unpleasant, or, we may venture to say, more tiresome, than the view taken by a certain would-be [pg 707] scientific pessimism of humanity, as being nothing but a compound of vileness, vapidness, and folly. M. Zola is learning it to his cost. After the immense success of "L'Assommoir," due to the great power of the painter, as also to the horror inspired by scenes of unparalleled crudeness, he wished to outdo himself and depict in "Nana" the lowest depths of Parisian corruption. To make the impression the more complete, he has not let in a single breath of pure air; or introduced a single character which was not insipidly stupid and sensual, enslaved by the lowest appetites, incapable of a single noble thought or generous sentiment. The effect on the public was weariness rather than disgust. Le Voltaire, which had expected to make its fortune by bringing out the book in feuilletons, was greatly surprised to see its circulation rapidly fail, actually on account of M. Zola's novel. We are afraid the same thing will happen with regard to the work announced by M. Flaubert. This great writer and conscientious artist is unfortunately persuaded, in spite of his admiration for I. Tourguéneff (that true painter of humanity, of its virtues as of its vices), that the novel should confine itself to the portrayal of the mediocre and uniform mass which makes up the majority of men. Already in "L'Education Sentimentale" he sought to show the vulgarity and coarseness that generally conceal themselves under what is called love; in the novel he is now engaged on he shows us two men brutalized by the mechanical routine of a bureaucratic career, studying every human science, and finding in the study merely an occasion for the better display of their incurable folly. Such mistakes committed by men of genius cause us the better to appreciate less powerful certainly, but more human, works, by writers who seek to render life attractive to us, such as A. Theuriet, for instance, who has just produced a new novel, "Le Fils Mangars" (Charpentier). M. Theuriet is one of the few French writers of fiction who, instead of dealing with the tragedies of guilty passion succeed in shedding a dramatic interest over the affections and sufferings of pure young hearts. In this he resembles the English novelists. Innocent love forms the groundwork of his books, and constitutes their poetry and their charm. "Le Fils Mangars" is the first of a series of studies entitled "Nos Enfants," dealing with the various complications arising out of the disagreement of parents and children. In "Le Fils Mangars" we are introduced to a father, who has devoted all his efforts towards amassing a fortune for his son, has to that end made use of dishonest means, and finds his punishment in the loyalty of the one for whom he committed the wrong. His son refuses to benefit by the wealth dishonestly acquired, and falls in love with the daughter of one of the men his father has ruined. This poignant theme is handled with the airy and attractive delicacy that characterizes Theuriet's touch.

Were the surly critics to be trusted, we should not be leaving the domain of fiction in turning to the new volume M. Renan has devoted to [pg 708] the history of the sources of Christianity, entitled "L'Eglise Chrétienne" (Lévy). It deals with the definitive constitution of the Church, at the moment when dogma forms itself by contact with, and in opposition to, the various heresies, and the organization of the hierarchy takes place. It is true that M. Renan could, if he so wished, be a wonderful writer of fiction. With what art he brings on his personages, how admirably he infuses life into the thousand dry and scattered fragments collected by erudition, and forms them into a co-ordinate and complete whole! With what psychological penetration he enters into the minds of his personages, and makes us familiarly acquainted with the Roman Cæsars or the Church Fathers! What wealth of imagination! what witchery of style! At times he is, no doubt, led away by his imagination; too often the desire to invest old facts with life and reality leads him to compare, or even assimilate, the present with the past, and, in his exposition of ancient ideas, to mix them up with his own, ideas so peculiar to our time and to M. Renan himself, that the intermixture produces a false impression. It is daring to ascribe the Fourth Gospel to Cerinthus, and still more so to regard the letter of the Lyons Church on the martyrdom of Pothin and his companions as a proof of the Lyonnese being false-minded, and to connect the fact with the Socialist tendencies of modern Lyons. From his comparing Hadrian in some respects to Nero, we gather that M. Renan has yielded to the indulgence he had already testified towards Nero in his volume on "L'Antechrist," an indulgence grounded on the artistic tastes, or rather pretensions, of the royal stage-player. But these blemishes, and occasional breaches of historical truth or good taste, ought not to blind us to the historical value of a work which, if it be the work of a great artist, is likewise that of a scholar of the first order. Numbers of men can pore over texts and critics, but to revive the past, and introduce into the domain of history, and make the general public familiar with subjects reserved hitherto to theologians and critics by profession, is the work of a genius only. Scholars find much to censure in Michelet's "Histoire de Franceau moyen Age;" but whatever its inexactitudes, he is the only man who has succeeded in restoring to life the France of bygone days. And is not life one of the most important elements of reality? Even an imperfect acquaintance with a living man enables one to form a truer notion of the man than the most minute autopsy of a dead body. Moreover, as regards the past we have not the whole body, but only scattered fragments; the breath of genius must pass over these dry bones—restore to them flesh, blood, colour, movement, and voice.

But genius can only do her magic work when the materials that are to serve for this wonderful transformation have been collected by erudition. M. Renan would not have been able to construct his historical monument had not German criticism prepared the way for him. Erudition occasionally arrives at astonishing results by digging, either in the earth which has swallowed up the ancient buildings or in the dust of the [pg 709] archives. Here is an individual who played a very important part in the fifteenth century in the struggle between France and England, who, though a stranger and fighting more especially as an adventurer greedy of spoil, helped to restore France to independence, who was almost unknown, whose name was not mentioned in any of our histories. M. I. Quicherat has brought him to life, and "Rodrigue de Villandrando" (Hachette) will see his name cited in all the histories of the reign of Charles VII. The book is a model of historical reconstruction. It is wonderful to see how, with a series of scattered indications, most of them the very driest of documents, not only the incidents of a life, but the features of a character, can be pieced together again.

Such a character as Rodrigue's is not very complicated, it is true. There are historical personages to penetrate the depths of whose nature an accumulation of documents and testimony would be necessary. Such is Napoleon, whom each day throws some new light upon, and on whom, after his having been magnified beyond all measure, posterity will, no doubt, be called to pass severe judgment. Never was such overwhelming testimony pronounced against him as in the "Mémoires de Madame de Rémusat," the first volume of which is just out. Mme. de Rémusat was so placed as to be more thoroughly acquainted than any one with the character of Napoleon. Lady-in-waiting to Josephine, and wife of one of Napoleon's "Maîtres du palais," she bowed for a long while to the ascendancy of Napoleon's genius, and the liking he testified for her was sufficiently strong to awaken, though unjustly, the momentary jealousy of Josephine. The speaker is not an enemy, therefore, but an old friend who tries to explain at once her adherence to the imperial régime and the motives that caused her to alter her political creed. She is thus in the best state of mind, according to M. Renan, for judging a great man or a doctrine, that of having believed and believing no longer. Add to this the sweetness of mind natural to a woman, and the kind of indulgence peculiar to times when sudden political changes lead to frequent changes of opinion. All these considerations only render Mme. de Rémusat's testimony the more overwhelming for Napoleon, and its value is singularly increased on its being seen to agree with that which all the sincere witnesses of the time, Ph. de Ségur, Miot de Mélito, as well as Sismondi, lead us to infer. The genius of Napoleon is not diminished, and nothing is more remarkable than the conversations related by Mme. de Rémusat, wherein he judges everything, literature, politics, and history, with a haughty originality from the point of view of his own interests and passions. Some of his sayings relative to the government of men are worthy of Machiavelli. The reasonings whereby he explains and justifies the assassination of the Duc d'Enghien would form a splendid chapter to the "Prince." But from the moral point of view Napoleon strikes us as the most perfect type of a tyrant. No moral law exists for him; he does not admit the obligation of any duty; he does not even recognise [pg 710] those duties of a sovereign, that subordination of the individual to the interests of the State, which constitute the greatness of a Cromwell or a Frederick II.; he recognises but one law, that of his nature, which insists on dominating and being superior to everything that surrounds him. Quia nominor Leo, is his only rule. Morals always have their revenge on those whose encroaching personality refuses to recognise laws. Writers or sovereigns, whatever their genius, relapse into falsehood and extravagance. This was Napoleon's fate. You are always conscious in him of the parvenu acting a part—the commediante tragediante, as Pius VII. put it. He had fits of goodness, of weakness even, but his human and generous sides had been crushed by his frightful egoism. He liked to make those he loved best suffer. He treated his wife and his mistresses with brutal contempt; he could no longer lament the death of those who seemed dearest to him. "Je n'ai pas le temps de m'occuper des morts," he said to Talleyrand. By the side of this great figure Mme. de Rémusat has, in her Memoirs, sketched many others—the frivolous, good, touching, and unfortunate Josephine; the amiable Hortense Beauharnais, the dry, cold Louis, Napoleon's sisters, jealous, proud, and immoral; and others—but all pale before the imperial colossus.

Besides M. Daudet's novel, M. Renan's new volume, and the Memoirs of Mme. de Rémusat, the last three months have witnessed another literary event of some consequence—the birth of an important Review, which aims at the position occupied for thirty years past by the Revue des Deux Mondes. The Nouvelle Revue was started and is edited by a woman, Mme. Edmond Adam, known as a writer under the name of Juliette Lamber. A new phenomenon this in the literary world, the strangest feature of it being that Mme. Adam has taken exclusively upon herself the bulletin of foreign politics. If the task of editing a Review be arduous for a man, who in the interest of his undertaking must brave every enmity and quench his individual sympathies, how much more so for a woman whose staff of contributors is recruited from the habitués of her salon, and who must be constantly tempted to carry into her official transactions the habits of gracious hospitality which have made her house one of the most courted political and literary centres of Paris?

The aim of the Nouvelle Revue also is to be up with the times; it is inclined to judge an article rather by the fame of the name at the end of it than by its own intrinsic merit; it will insert the superficial lucubrations of General Turr or M. Castelar, which but for the signature are worthless. It gives political questions an importance hardly appreciated by those who find all their political needs supplied by the daily press, and look to a Review for literary or scientific interests. Finally, the chief obstacle in the way of the Nouvelle Revue is that our best essayists are bound not only by chains of gratitude and habit, but also by chains of gold, to the Revue des Deux Mondes. Nevertheless there is plenty of room in our literary world for a new review, so far at least as writers are concerned. If she makes talent her aim, and not merely opinions agreeing with her own, Mme. Adam will not want for contributors. [pg 711] To get readers will be more difficult in a country of routine, where the Revue des Deux Mondes has become an indispensable item of every respectable family's household furniture. Until now the Nouvelle Revue has been successful; the sale has reached from 6000 to 8000 copies per number, and, without having yet published anything very first-rate, it has been fairly well supplied with pleasant articles. The recollections of the singer Duprez have hitherto been its greatest attraction. A novel by Mme. Gréville, and articles by MM. de Bornier, Bigot, and de Gubernatis also deserve mention.

Perhaps, after all, our judgment is partial, and the success of the Nouvelle Revue is due to its attention to the immediate interests of the present, and the space allotted to politics. The number of those who take an interest in literature daily grows smaller in France. Of those not absorbed by politics some forsake pure literature for erudition, and the greater number give themselves up to science. It is owing to the scholars that the Revue Philosophique is succeeding so brilliantly; all the scientific societies are flourishing, and L'Association pour l'Encouragement des Sciences again verified its growing advancement at its late meeting at Montpellier. The geographical section, recently founded, promises to become one of the most active, for geographical studies, so long neglected in France, have suddenly made an extraordinary start. The Geographical Society now has 1700 members, and has built itself a magnificent hôtel; the Alpine Club, a geographical rather than a climbing society, is increasing so rapidly in numbers that it is impossible to give the exact figure. It amounts to several thousand. If unscrupulous speculators have taken advantage of this reawakening zeal for geographical study to publish a swarm of superficial and hastily compiled handbooks, and carelessly engraved maps, some works of real merit have appeared that do credit to our French editors. And here the firm of Hachette holds the first rank. "La Tour du Monde" is an illustrated journal of travels, admirably arranged and printed; the great Historical Atlas and Universal Dictionary of Geography of M. Vivien de Saint Martin have but one fault, the excessive tardiness of their publication. M. Elisée Reclus's handsome work, "La Terre et les Hommes," on the contrary, is issued with unexceptionable regularity. The fifth volume, now approaching completion, comprises the countries of Northern Europe, principally Russia, which is now attracting the attention of historians and politicians generally. M. Reclus's point of view is especially calculated to answer to the nature of the present interest, for he enters more particularly into the relations of the people to the soil; to the administrative geography, details concerning which are to be found everywhere, he pays only secondary attention, devoting himself more especially to the physical geography, customs, and institutions. His book is more particularly a work on geology, ethnography, and sociology; and therein lies its originality and usefulness. Hachette is also engaged in publishing a map of France that exceeds in beauty and precision everything that has ever been produced of the kind until now. [pg 712] It is drawn by the Service des Chemins Vicinaux at the expense of the Ministry of Interior, and will consist of 467 sheets. The scale is 1100000. The admirable engraver, M. Erhard, has been entrusted with the execution, which is beyond criticism alike as regards fulness of detail, clearness, and colouring. Each sheet costs only 75c., a moderate sum, considering the exceptional merit of the work, the most considerable of its kind since the Staff map. A proof of the importance attached in these days to the study of geography is the foundation of Chairs of Geography in several of our Faculties of Letters—Bordeaux, Lyons, Nancy—and a course of lectures on historical geography at the École des Hautes Études. This course will be given by M. A. Longnon, whose works on "Les Pagi de la Gaule" and "La Géographie de la Gaule au sixième siècle," have made him a European authority. By the combined use of the philological laws of the transmutation of sounds, historical documents, and archæological data, he has reached a precision it seemed impossible to attain in these matters. He may be said to have founded a new science, and the happiest results are to be expected from his teaching.

There is always a lull in the artistic as in the literary and scientific world during the summer and autumn, so that there is little of importance to be noted. The designs sent in for the monument to Rabelais, for the statue of the Republic, for a decorative curtain to be executed by the Gobelins, all public works opened to competition, have been exhibited. The question of such competitions was much discussed on the occasion. It seems at first sight the best way of securing the highest work, but practically it is not so. Artists of acknowledged merit do not generally care to enter into competition with brother artists; they shrink from the expense, often considerable, which, in case of failure, is thrown away. That incurred, for instance, by the competitors for the statue of the Republic, amounted to about 4000 francs, and the premium awarded to the three best designs to just that sum. It would evidently always be better, when a really fine work is required, to choose the artist most capable of executing it well, and leave him free to follow his own inspiration. This method seems too little democratic for the days in which we live, so under colour of democracy a number of poor devils are made to involve themselves in enormous expenses for nothing.

The most notable events of the last three months in the artistic world have been the deaths of men variously famous. M. Viollet Le Duc leaves behind him the twofold reputation of a learned archæologist of the first order and an archæological architect still more remarkable. He had fame, indeed, of a third kind—as a stirring and noisy politician, who, from having been one of Napoleon III.'s familiar associates, and a constant guest at Compiègne, became one of the most advanced members of the Municipal Council of Paris, a courtisan of the multitude. But one is glad to forget him under these unfavourable aspects and to think of him only as the author of the two great historical dictionaries of "L'Architecture" and "Le Mobilier," and the clever and learned restorer [pg 713] of our mediæval monuments. Thanks to him, Notre Dame has been completed and finished, and reconstituted in the very spirit of the thirteenth century; thanks to him, we have at Pierrefonds the perfect model of a feudal castle. An indefatigable worker, this Radical has allied his name in a manner as glorious as it is indissoluble to the visible memorials of Catholic and Monarchical France.

Of a slighter, but perhaps more universal kind still was the reputation of the caricaturist Cham, or, to speak more correctly, the Viscomte de Noé. Son of a French peer known for his retrograde opinions, Cham worked all his life for the Republican papers, though people say he adhered to his Legitimist opinions. But he enjoyed an independence in the Republican papers which would not have been allowed him by the reactionary press; and a caricaturist's first condition is to have plenty of elbow-room to be able to give free play to his humour. The spring of Cham's humour was inexhaustible. An indifferent and monotonous draughtsman, his mind was wholly and entirely in the story of his drawings. The war of ridicule he waged in 1848 against the Socialistic theories of Proudhon, Pierre Leroux, Cabet, and Considérant exercised an undoubted influence on the public mind. His comic reviews of the annual Salon contained, amongst many amusing follies, some just and stinging criticisms. Cham leaves no successor, Bertall, who is a cleverer draughtsman, has none of his wit; Grévin can only sketch with exquisite grace the ladies of the demi-monde and the young fops of the boulevard; Gill's political caricatures are either bitter or violent. The lively and good-natured raillery of Cham has no doubt vanished for ever.

In conjunction with these two artists the name of a man should be mentioned, who, himself an indifferent artist, was the unfailing patron, the providence of artists, Baron Taylor, who died almost at the same time as Cham. He it was who taught artists to form themselves into associations against want. He was in particular the soul of the Société des Artistes Dramatiques, and amongst the immense crowd that attended his funeral were, no doubt, hundreds indebted to him for an easy career and a sure means of existence.

We are a long way removed from the time when the life of an artist was one long struggle with misery, when men of the first class continued obscure or barely maintained themselves by their works. Many difficulties still remain no doubt, but how much smoother the road has become! Musicians, more especially, found themselves in those days condemned to obscurity and oblivion. Now, thanks to concerts and theatres, they can almost always have the public for their judges. The Opera is at present in the hands of an enterprising and intelligent director, M. Vaucorbeil, who is anxious to rescue it from the groove it has been dragging on in for so long, with its current repertory of two or three antiquated works, barely bringing out a new one in four or five years. True, we have not got beyond good intentions until now, M. Gounod still intending to retouch the "Tribu de Zamora," M. A. Thomas to finish his "Françoise de Rimini," and M. Saint-Saens still [pg 714] unsuccessful in getting his "Etienne Marcel" accepted. Besides the Grand Opéra there is L'Opéra Populaire located in the Gaîté's old quarters, which intends, it is said, to revive the lost traditions of the lyric theatre, and to be the theatre of the young generation and of reform. But at present it is to the Pasdeloup and Colonne Concerts that the rising musical school owes the opportunity of making itself heard, and the Parisian public its familiar acquaintance with foreign works. The great reputation M. Saint-Saens now enjoys was made at Colonne's Concerts at the Châtelet. Lately Schumann's "Manfred" was given there. At the Cirque the "Symphonie Fantastique," by Berlioz, was played with immense success, also for the first time a pianoforte concerto by the Russian composer, Tschaikovsky, and M. Pasdeloup shortly intends to give a performance of the whole of the music of "Lohengrin."

Considered apart from music, the theatre is far from improving, and has, moreover, become the scene of performances that bear no relation to dramatic art. At the Nouveautés, Professor Hermann, of Vienna, is performing sleight-of-hand feats bordering on the miraculous; at the Variétés the Hanlon-Lees have transformed the stage into a gymnasium, where they defy every law of equilibrium and gravity. Holden's Marionettes, also one of the great attractions of the day, are not more dislocated or agile than these wonderful mountebanks. In the way of new plays the great rage at present is "Jonathan," M. Gondinet's latest work, which is being played at the Gymnase. Neither its wit nor its cleverness, any more than the talent of the actors, are to be denied; but what are we to think of a dramatic art whose sole end would seem to be to get accepted on the stage a story so scandalous that a brief account of it would be intolerable? By dint of shifts, doubtful insinuations, fun, and spirit, the sight of it is just rendered endurable. No heed is paid to truth, nor to either character or manners. It is the last utterance of the literary decadence. We thought that with "Bébé" we had reached the utmost limits of this kind of piece. To "Jonathan" is due the honour of having extended those limits.

One feels grateful to those who, like M. Claretie, dare to shed a purer atmosphere over the stage. "Les Mirabeau" is far from being a masterpiece. It exhibits, like all M. Claretie's works, rather a careless facility, but at the same time a true understanding of the Revolutionary period; the tone is strong and healthy, and some scenes, in which Mdlle. Rousseil shows herself a great actress, are exceedingly dramatic. It is given at an enterprising theatre, the Théâtre des Nations, which is devoting itself to historical drama, and, in a double series of dramatic matinées held on Sunday afternoons, is giving, on the one hand, a set of plays relating to every epoch of French history, on the other, a set of foreign plays translated into French, and intended to promote the knowledge of the dramatic works of other countries, ancient as well as modern; an ingenious and happy undertaking, to which we cannot but wish every success.

G. Monod.

Transcriber's Note

Some of the words from the Article, "Hinduisn and Jainism" contain stand-alone acute accents, which have been retained.

e.g., As´oka; Pars´vanātha; Pajjūsan; Sādhvinī; S´iva-rātri; Upās´raya.


Page 555: 'Governmeut' corrected to 'Government'

"... was forced upon the Government by the attitude of Russia...."

Page 580: 'botantist' corrected to 'botanist'.

"... by the German botantist, Hildebrand,..."

Page 642: 'is' corrected to 'Is'

"... in bonds and debentures? Is not part of the profit realized...."

Page 714: Extraneous 'the' removed.

"Besides the Grand Opéra there is L'Opéra Populaire [the] located...."

Return to Top

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Contemporary Review, Volume 36,
December 1879, by Various


***** This file should be named 40315-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Lesley Halamek
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.