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Title: On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature
Author: Ruskin, John, 1819-1900
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature" ***

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  Library Edition








  PUBLISHED 1834-1885.

  VOL. II.




      NATIONAL GALLERY SITE COMMISSION. 1857                  3
      THE ROYAL ACADEMY COMMISSION                           50
    A MUSEUM OR PICTURE GALLERY                              71


      THE CAVALLI MONUMENTS, VERONA. 1872                    89
      VERONA AND ITS RIVERS (WITH CATALOGUE). 1870           99
      CHRISTIAN ART AND SYMBOLISM. 1872                     118
      ART SCHOOLS OF MEDIÆVAL CHRISTENDOM. 1876             121
      THE EXTENSION OF RAILWAYS. 1876                       125
      THE STUDY OF BEAUTY. 1883                             132


      THE COLOR OF THE RHINE. 1834                          141
      THE STRATA OF MONT BLANC. 1834                        143
      THE INDURATION OF SANDSTONE. 1836                     145
      METEOROLOGY. 1839                                     153
      TREE TWIGS. 1861                                      158
      STRATIFIED ALPS OF SAVOY. 1863                        162


      FICTION--FAIR AND FOUL. 1880-81                       175
      FAIRY STORIES. 1868                                   290


      HOME, AND ITS ECONOMIES. 1873                         299
      USURY. A REPLY AND A REJOINDER. 1880                  314
      USURY. A PREFACE. 1885                                340


      THE LORD'S PRAYER AND THE CHURCH. 1879-81. (Letters
        and Epilogue.)                                               382
      THE NATURE AND AUTHORITY OF MIRACLE. 1873             418

  AN OXFORD LECTURE. 1878                                            429

       *       *       *       *       *






                 (_Art Journal, June and August, 1880._)

       *       *       *       *       *



_Evidence of John Ruskin, Monday, April 6, 1857._

114. _Chairman._ Has your attention been turned to the desirableness of
uniting sculpture with painting under the same roof?--Yes.

What is your opinion on the subject?--I think it almost essential that
they should be united, if a National Gallery is to be of service in
teaching the course of art.

Sculpture of all kinds, or only ancient sculpture?--Of all kinds.

Do you think that the sculpture in the British Museum should be in the
same building with the pictures in the National Gallery, that is to say,
making an application of your principle to that particular case?--Yes,
certainly; I think so for several reasons--chiefly because I think the
taste of the nation can only be rightly directed by having always
sculpture and painting visible together. Many of the highest and best
points of painting, I think, can only be discerned after some discipline
of the eye by sculpture. That is one very essential reason. I think that
after looking at sculpture one feels the grace of composition infinitely
more, and one also feels how that grace of composition was reached by
the painter.

Do you consider that if works of sculpture and works of painting were
placed in the same gallery, the same light would be useful for both of
them?--I understood your question only to refer to their collection
under the same roof. I should be sorry to see them in the same room.

You would not mix them up in the way in which they are mixed up in the
Florentine Gallery, for instance?--Not at all. I think, on the contrary,
that the one diverts the mind from the other, and that, although the one
is an admirable discipline, you should take some time for the
examination of sculpture, and pass afterwards into the painting room,
and so on. You should not be disturbed while looking at paintings by the
whiteness of the sculpture.

You do not then approve, for example, of the way in which the famous
room, the Tribune, at Florence, is arranged?--No; I think it is merely
arranged for show--for showing how many rich things can be got together.

115. _Mr. Cockerell._ Then you do not regard sculpture as a proper
decorative portion of the National Gallery of Pictures--you do not admit
the term decoration?--No; I should not use that term of the sculpture
which it was the object of the gallery to exhibit. It might be added, of
course, supposing it became a part of the architecture, but not as
independent--not as a thing to be contemplated separately in the room,
and not as a part of the room. As a part of the room, of course, modern
sculpture might be added; but I have never thought that it would be

You do not consider that sculpture would be a repose after contemplating
painting for some time?--I should not feel it so myself.

116. _Dean of St. Paul's._ When you speak of removing the sculpture of
the British Museum, and of uniting it with the pictures of the National
Gallery, do you comprehend the whole range of the sculpture in the
British Museum, commencing with the Egyptian, and going down through its
regular series of gradation to the decline of the art?--Yes, because my
great hope respecting the National Gallery is, that it may become a
perfectly consecutive chronological arrangement, and it seems to me that
it is one of the chief characteristics of a National Gallery that it
should be so.

Then you consider that one great excellence of the collection at the
British Museum is, that it does present that sort of history of the art
of sculpture?--I consider it rather its weakness that it does not.

Then you would go down further?--I would.

You are perhaps acquainted with the ivories which have been recently
purchased there?--I am not.

Supposing there were a fine collection of Byzantine ivories, you would
consider that they were an important link in the general

Would you unite the whole of that Pagan sculpture with what you call the
later Christian art of Painting?--I should be glad to see it done--that
is to say, I should be glad to see the galleries of painting and
sculpture collaterally placed, and the gallery of sculpture beginning
with the Pagan art, and proceeding to the Christian art, but not
necessarily associating the painting with the sculpture of each epoch;
because the painting is so deficient in many of the periods where the
sculpture is rich, that you could not carry them on collaterally--you
must have your painting gallery and your sculpture gallery.

You would be sorry to take any portion of the sculpture from the
collection in the British Museum, and to associate it with any
collection of painting?--Yes, I should think it highly inexpedient. My
whole object would be that it might be associated with a larger
collection, a collection from other periods, and not be subdivided. And
it seems to be one of the chief reasons advanced in order to justify
removing that collection, that it cannot be much more enlarged--that you
cannot at present put other sculpture with it.

Supposing that the collection of ancient Pagan art could not be united
with the National Gallery of pictures, with which would you associate
the mediæval sculpture, supposing we were to retain any considerable
amount of sculpture?--With the painting.

The mediæval art you would associate with the painting, supposing you
could not put the whole together?--Yes.

117. _Chairman._ Do you approve of protecting pictures by glass?--Yes,
in every case. I do not know of what size a pane of glass can be
manufactured, but I have never seen a picture so large but that I should
be glad to see it under glass. Even supposing it were possible, which I
suppose it is not, the great Paul Veronese, in the gallery of the
Louvre, I think would be more beautiful under glass.

Independently of the preservation?--Independently of the preservation, I
think it would be more beautiful. It gives an especial delicacy to light
colors, and does little harm to dark colors--that is, it benefits
delicate pictures most, and its injury is only to very dark pictures.

Have you ever considered the propriety of covering the sculpture with
glass?--I have never considered it. I did not know until a very few days
ago that sculpture was injured by exposure to our climate and our smoke.

_Professor Faraday._ But you would cover the pictures, independently of
the preservation, you would cover them absolutely for the artistic
effect, the improvement of the picture?--Not necessarily so, because to
some persons there might be an objectionable character in having to
avoid the reflection more scrupulously than otherwise. I should not
press for it on that head only. The advantage gained is not a great one;
it is only felt by very delicate eyes. As far as I know, many persons
would not perceive that there was a difference, and that is caused by
the very slight color in the glass, which, perhaps, some persons might
think it expedient to avoid altogether.

Do you put it down to the absolute tint in the glass like a glazing, or
do you put it down to a sort of reflection? Is the effect referable to
the color in the glass, or to some kind of optic action, which the most
transparent glass might produce?--I do not know; but I suppose it to
be referable to the very slight tint in the glass.

118. _Dean of St. Paul's._ Is it not the case when ladies with very
brilliant dresses look at pictures through glass, that the reflection of
the color of their dresses is so strong as greatly to disturb the
enjoyment and the appreciation of the pictures?--Certainly; but I should
ask the ladies to stand a little aside, and look at the pictures one by
one. There is that disadvantage.

I am supposing a crowded room--of course the object of a National
Gallery is that it should be crowded--that as large a number of the
public should have access to it as possible--there would of course be
certain limited hours, and the gallery would be liable to get filled
with the public in great numbers?--It would be disadvantageous
certainly, but not so disadvantageous as to balance the much greater
advantage of preservation. I imagine that, in fact, glass is essential;
it is not merely an expedient thing, but an essential thing to the
safety of the pictures for twenty or thirty years.

Do you consider it essential as regards the atmosphere of London, or of
this country generally?--I speak of London only. I have no experience of
other parts. But I have this experience in my own collection. I kept my
pictures for some time without glass, and I found the deterioration
definite within a very short period--a period of a couple of years.

You mean at Denmark Hill?--Yes; that deterioration on pictures of the
class I refer to is not to be afterwards remedied--the thing suffers
forever--you cannot get into the interstices.

_Professor Faraday._ You consider that the picture is permanently
injured by the dirt?--Yes.

That no cleaning can restore it to what it was?--Nothing can restore it
to what it was, I think, because the operation of cleaning must scrape
away some of the grains of paint.

Therefore, if you have two pictures, one in a dirtier place, and one in
a cleaner place, no attention will put the one in the dirtier place on
a level with that in the cleaner place?--I think nevermore.

119. _Chairman._ I see that in your "Notes on the Turner Collection,"
you recommended that the large upright pictures would have great
advantage in having a room to themselves. Do you mean each of the large
pictures or a whole collection of large pictures?--Supposing very
beautiful pictures of a large size (it would depend entirely on the
value and size of the picture), supposing we ever acquired such large
pictures as Titian's Assumption, or Raphael's Transfiguration, those
pictures ought to have a room to themselves, and to have a gallery round

Do you mean that each of them should have a room?--Yes.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ Have you been recently at Dresden?--No, I have
never been at Dresden.

Then you do not know the position of the Great Holbein and of the
Madonna de S. Sisto there, which have separate rooms?--No.

_Mr. Cockerell._ Are you acquainted with the Munich Gallery--No.

Do you know the plans of it?--No.

Then you have not seen, perhaps, the most recent arrangements adopted by
that learned people, the Germans, with regard to the exhibition of
pictures?--I have not been into Germany for twenty years.

120. That subject has been handled by them in an original manner, and
they have constructed galleries at Munich, at Dresden, and I believe at
St. Petersburg upon a new principle, and a very judicious principle. You
have not had opportunities of considering that?--No, I have never
considered that; because I always supposed that there was no difficulty
in producing a beautiful gallery, or an efficient one. I never thought
that there could be any question about the form which such a gallery
should take, or that it was a matter of consideration. The only
difficulty with me was this--the persuading, or hoping to persuade, a
nation that if it had pictures at all, it should have those pictures on
the line of the eye; that it was not well to have a noble picture many
feet above the eye, merely for the glory of the room. Then I think that
as soon as you decide that a picture is to be seen, it is easy to find
out the way of showing it; to say that it should have such and such a
room, with such and such a light; not a raking light, as I heard Sir
Charles Eastlake express it the other day, but rather an oblique and
soft light, and not so near the picture as to catch the eye painfully.
That may be easily obtained, and I think that all other questions after
that are subordinate.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ Your proposition would require a great extent of
wall?--An immense extent of wall.

121. _Chairman._ I see you state in the pamphlet to which I have before
alluded, that it is of the highest importance that the works of each
master should be kept together. Would not such an arrangement increase
very much the size of the National Gallery?--I think not, because I have
only supposed in my plan that, at the utmost, two lines of pictures
should be admitted on the walls of the room; that being so, you would be
always able to put all the works of any master together without any
inconvenience or difficulty in fitting them to the size of the room.
Supposing that you put the large pictures high on the walls, then it
might be a question, of course, whether such and such a room or
compartment of the Gallery would hold the works of a particular master;
but supposing the pictures were all on a continuous line, you would only
stop with A and begin with B.

Then you would only have them on one level and one line?--In general;
that seems to me the common-sense principle.

_Mr. Richmond._ Then you disapprove of the whole of the European hanging
of pictures in galleries?--I think it very beautiful sometimes, but not
to be imitated. It produces most noble rooms. No one can but be
impressed with the first room at the Louvre, where you have the most
noble Venetian pictures one mass of fire on the four walls; but then
none of the details of those pictures can be seen.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ There you have a very fine general effect, but you
lose the effect of the beauties of each individual picture?--You lose
all the beauties, all the higher merits; you get merely your general
idea. It is a perfectly splendid room, of which a great part of the
impression depends upon the consciousness of the spectator that it is so

122. Would you have those galleries in themselves richly decorated?--Not
richly, but pleasantly.

Brilliantly, but not too brightly?--Not too brightly. I have not gone
into that question, it being out of my way; but I think, generally, that
great care should be taken to give a certain splendor--a certain
gorgeous effect--so that the spectator may feel himself among splendid
things; so that there shall be no discomfort or meagerness, or want of
respect for the things which are being shown.

123. _Mr. Richmond._ Then do you think that Art would be more worthily
treated, and the public taste and artists better served, by having even
a smaller collection of works so arranged, than by a much larger one
merely housed and hung four or five deep, as in an auction room?--Yes.
But you put a difficult choice before me, because I do think it a very
important thing that we should have many pictures. Totally new results
might be obtained from a large gallery in which the chronological
arrangement was perfect, and whose curators prepared for that
chronological arrangement, by leaving gaps to be filled by future
acquisition; taking the greatest pains in the selection of the examples,
that they should be thoroughly characteristic; giving a greater price
for a picture which was thoroughly characteristic and expressive of the
habits of a nation; because it appears to me that one of the main uses
of Art at present is not so much as Art, but as teaching us the feelings
of nations. History only tells us what they did; Art tells us their
feelings, and why they did it: whether they were energetic and fiery, or
whether they were, as in the case of the Dutch, imitating minor things,
quiet and cold. All those expressions of feeling cannot come out of
History. Even the contemporary historian does not feel them; he does not
feel what his nation is; but get the works of the same master together,
the works of the same nation together, and the works of the same
century together, and see how the thing will force itself upon
everyone's observation.

124. Then you would not exclude the genuine work of inferior
masters?--Not by any means.

You would have the whole as far as you could obtain it?--Yes, as far as
it was characteristic; but I think you can hardly call an inferior
master one who does in the best possible way the thing he undertakes to
do; and I would not take any master who did not in some way excel. For
instance, I would not take a mere imitator of Cuyp among the Dutch; but
Cuyp himself has done insuperable things in certain expressions of
sunlight and repose. Vander Heyden and others may also be mentioned as
first-rate in inferior lines.

Taking from the rise of art to the time of Raphael, would you in the
National Gallery include examples of all those masters whose names have
come down to the most learned of us?--No.

Where would you draw the line, and where would you begin to leave
out?--I would only draw the line when I was purchasing a picture. I
think that a person might always spend his money better by making an
effort to get one noble picture than five or six second or third-rate
pictures, provided only, that you had examples of the best kind of work
produced at that time. I would not have second-rate pictures. Multitudes
of masters among the disciples of Giotto might be named; you might have
one or two pictures of Giotto, and one or two pictures of the disciples
of Giotto.

Then you would rather depend upon the beauty of the work itself; if the
work were beautiful, you would admit it?--Certainly.

But if it were only historically interesting, would you then reject
it?--Not in the least. I want it historically interesting, but I want as
good an example as I can have of that particular manner.

Would it not be historically interesting if it were the only picture
known of that particular master, who was a follower of Giotto? For
instance, supposing a work of Cennino Cennini were brought to light,
and had no real merit in it as a work of art, would it not be the duty
of the authorities of a National Gallery to seize upon that picture, and
pay perhaps rather a large price for it?--Certainly; all documentary art
I should include.

Then what would you exclude?--Merely that which is inferior, and not
documentary; merely another example of the same kind of thing.

Then you would not multiply examples of the same masters if inferior
men, but you would have one of each. There is no man, I suppose, whose
memory has come down to us after three or four centuries, but has
something worth preserving in his work--something peculiar to himself,
which perhaps no other person has ever done, and you would retain one
example of such, would you not?--I would, if it was in my power, but I
would rather with given funds make an effort to get perfect examples.

Then you think that the artistic element should govern the archæological
in the selection?--Yes, and the archæological in the arrangement.

125. _Dean of St. Paul's._ When you speak of arranging the works of one
master consecutively, would you pay any regard or not to the subjects?
You must be well aware that many painters, for instance, Correggio, and
others, painted very incongruous subjects; would you rather keep them
together than disperse the works of those painters to a certain degree
according to their subjects?--I would most certainly keep them together.
I think it an important feature of the master that he did paint
incongruously, and very possibly the character of each picture would be
better understood by seeing them together; the relations of each are
sometimes essential to be seen.

_Mr. Richmond._ Do you think that the preservation of these works is one
of the first and most important things to be provided for?--It would be
so with me in purchasing a picture. I would pay double the price for it
if I thought it was likely to be destroyed where it was.

In a note you wrote to me the other day, I find this passage: "The Art
of a nation I think one of the most important points of its history, and
a part which, if once destroyed, no history will ever supply the place
of--and the first idea of a National Gallery is, that it should be a
Library of Art, in which the rudest efforts are, in some cases, hardly
less important than the noblest." Is that your opinion?--Perfectly. That
seems somewhat inconsistent with what I have been saying, but I mean
there, the noblest efforts of the time at which they are produced. I
would take the greatest pains to get an example of eleventh century
work, though the painting is perfectly barbarous at that time.

126. You have much to do with the education of the working classes in
Art. As far as you are able to tell us, what is your experience with
regard to their liking and disliking in Art--do comparatively uneducated
persons prefer the Art up to the time of Raphael, or down from the time
of Raphael?--we will take the Bolognese School, or the early Florentine
School--which do you think a working man would feel the greatest
interest in looking at?--I cannot tell you, because my working men would
not be allowed to look at a Bolognese picture; I teach them so much love
of detail, that the moment they see a detail carefully drawn, they are
caught by it. The main thing which has surprised me in dealing with
these men is the exceeding refinement of their minds--so that in a
moment I can get carpenters, and smiths, and ordinary workmen, and
various classes to give me a refinement which I cannot get a young lady
to give me when I give her a lesson for the first time. Whether it is
the habit of work which makes them go at it more intensely, or whether
it is (as I rather think) that, as the feminine mind looks for strength,
the masculine mind looks for delicacy, and when you take it simply, and
give it its choice, it will go to the most refined thing, I do not know.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ Can you see any perceptible improvement in the
state of the public mind and taste in that respect since these measures
have been adopted?--There has not been time to judge of that.

127. Do these persons who are taking an interest in Art come from
different parts of London?--Yes.

Of course the distance which they would have to come would be of very
great importance?--Yes.

Therefore one of the great recommendations of a Gallery, if you wish it
to have an effect upon the public mind in that respect, would be its
accessibility, both with regard to the time consumed in going there, and
to the cheapness, as I may call it, of access?--Most certainly.

You would therefore consider that the more central the situation,
putting all other points out of consideration, the greater advantage it
would be to the public?--Yes; there is this, however, to be said, that a
central situation involves the crowding of the room with parties wholly
uninterested in the matter--a situation more retired will generally be
serviceable enough for the real student.

Would not that very much depend upon its being in a thoroughfare? There
might be a central situation which would not be so complete a
thoroughfare as to tempt persons to go in who were not likely to derive
advantage from it?--I think that if this gallery were made so large and
so beautiful as we are proposing, it would be rather a resort, rather a
lounge every day, and all day long, provided it were accessible.

128. Would not that a good deal depend upon its being in a public
thoroughfare? If it were in a thoroughfare, a great many persons might
pass in who would be driven in by accident, or driven in by caprice, if
they passed it; but if it were at a little distance from a thoroughfare,
it would be less crowded with those persons who are not likely to derive
much advantage from it?--Quite so; but there would always be an
advantage in attracting a crowd; it would always extend its educational
ability in its being crowded. But it would seem to me that all that is
necessary for a noble Museum of the best art should be more or less
removed, and that a collection, solely for the purpose of education, and
for the purpose of interesting people who do not care much about art,
should be provided in the very heart of the population, if possible,
that pictures not of great value, but of sufficient value to interest
the public, and of merit enough to form the basis of early education,
and to give examples of all art, should be collected in the popular
Gallery, but that all the precious things should be removed and put into
the great Gallery, where they would be safest, irrespectively altogether
of accessibility.

_Chairman._ Then you would, in fact, have not one but two
Galleries?--Two only.

129. _Professor Faraday._ And you would seem to desire purposely the
removal of the true and head Gallery to some distance, so as to prevent
the great access of persons?--Yes.

Thinking that all those who could make a real use of a Gallery would go
to that one?--Yes. My opinion in that respect has been altered within
these few days from the fact having been brought to my knowledge of
sculpture being much deteriorated by the atmosphere and the total
impossibility of protecting sculpture. Pictures I do not care about, for
I can protect them, but not sculpture.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ Whence did you derive that knowledge?--I forget
who told me; it was some authority I thought conclusive, and therefore
took no special note of.

130. _Chairman._ Do you not consider that it is rather prejudicial to
art that there should be a Gallery notoriously containing no first-rate
works of art, but second-rate or third-rate works?--No; I think it
rather valuable as an expression of the means of education, that there
should be early lessons in art--that there should be this sort of art
selected especially for first studies, and also that there should be a
recognition of the exceeding preciousness of some other art. I think
that portions of it should be set aside as interesting, but not
unreplaceable; but that other portions should be set aside as being
things as to which the function of the nation was, chiefly, to take care
of those things, not for itself merely, but for all its descendants, and
setting the example of taking care of them for ever.

You do not think, then, that there would be any danger in the studying
or the copying of works which notoriously were not the best works?--On
the contrary, I think it would be better that works not altogether the
best should be first submitted. I never should think of giving the best
work myself to a student to copy--it is hopeless; he would not feel its
beauties--he would merely blunder over it. I am perfectly certain that
that cannot be serviceable in the particular branch of art which I
profess, namely, landscape-painting; I know that I must give more or
less of bad examples.

_Mr. Richmond._ But you would admit nothing into this second gallery
which was not good or true of its kind?--Nothing which was not good or
true of its kind, but only inferior in value to the others.

And if there were any other works which might be deposited there with
perfect safety, say precious drawings, which might be protected by
glass, you would not object to exhibit those to the unselected
multitude?--Not in the least; I should be very glad to do so, provided I
could spare them from the grand chronological arrangement.

Do you think that a very interesting supplementary exhibition might be
got up, say at Trafalgar Square, and retained there?--Yes, and all the
more useful because you would put few works, and you could make it
complete in series--and because, on a small scale, you would have the
entire series. By selecting a few works, you would have an epitome of
the Grand Gallery, the divisions of the chronology being all within the
compartment of a wall, which in the great Gallery would be in a separate
division of the building.

131. _Mr. Cockerell._ Do you contemplate the possibility of excellent
copies being exhibited of the most excellent works both of sculpture and
of painting?--I have not contemplated that possibility. I have a great
horror of copies of any kind, except only of sculpture. I have great
fear of copies of painting; I think people generally catch the worst
parts of the painting and leave the best.

But you would select the artist who should make the copy. There are
persons whose whole talent is concentrated in the power of imitation of
a given picture, and a great talent it is.--I have never in my life
seen a good copy of a good picture.

_Chairman._ Have you not seen any of the German copies of some of the
great Italian masters, which are generally esteemed very admirable
works?--I have not much studied the works of the copyists; I have not
observed them much, never having yet found an exception to that rule
which I have mentioned. When I came across a copyist in the Gallery of
the Vatican, or in the Gallery at Florence, I had a horror of the
mischief, and the scandal and the libel upon the master, from the
supposition that such a thing as that in any way resembled his work, and
the harm that it would do to the populace among whom it was shown.

_Mr. Richmond._ You look upon it as you would upon coining bad money and
circulating it, doing mischief?--Yes, it is mischievous.

_Mr. Cockerell._ But you admit engravings--you admit photographs of
these works, which are imitations in another language?--Yes; in abstract
terms, they are rather descriptions of the paintings than copies--they
are rather measures and definitions of them--they are hints and tables
of the pictures, rather than copies of them; they do not pretend to the
same excellence in any way.

You speak as a connoisseur; how would the common eye of the public agree
with you in that opinion?--I think it would not agree with me.
Nevertheless, if I were taking some of my workmen into the National
Gallery, I should soon have some hope of making them understand in what
excellence consisted, if I could point to a genuine work; but I should
have no such hope if I had only copies of these pictures.

132. Do you hold much to the archæological, chronological, and
historical series and teaching of pictures?--Yes.

Are you of opinion that that is essential to the creative teaching, with
reference to our future schools?--No. I should think not essential at
all. The teaching of the future artist, I should think, might be
accomplished by very few pictures of the class which that particular
artist wished to study. I think that the chronological arrangement is
in no-wise connected with the general efficiency of the gallery as a
matter of study for the artist, but very much so as a means of study,
not for persons interested in painting merely, but for those who wish to
examine the general history of nations; and I think that painting should
be considered by that class of persons as containing precious evidence.
It would be part of the philosopher's work to examine the art of a
nation as well as its poetry.

You consider that art speaks a language and tells a tale which no
written document can effect?--Yes, and far more precious; the whole soul
of a nation generally goes with its art. It may be urged by an ambitious
king to become a warrior nation. It may be trained by a single leader to
become a _great_ warrior nation, and its character at that time may
materially depend upon that one man, but in its art all the mind of the
nation is more or less expressed: it can be said, that was what the
peasant sought to when he went into the city to the cathedral in the
morning--that was the sort of book the poor person read or learned
in--the sort of picture he prayed to. All which involves infinitely more
important considerations than common history.

133. _Dean of St. Paul's._ When you speak of your objections to copies
of pictures, do you carry that objection to casts of sculpture?--Not at

Supposing there could be no complete union of the great works of
sculpture in a country with the great works of painting in that country,
would you consider that a good selection of casts comprising the great
remains of sculpture of all ages would be an important addition to a
public gallery?--I should be very glad to see it.

If you could not have it of originals, you would wish very much to have
a complete collection of casts, of course selected from all the finest
sculptures in the world?--Certainly.

_Mr. Richmond._ Would you do the same with architecture--would you
collect the remains of architecture, as far as they are to be collected,
and unite them with sculpture and painting?--I should think that
architecture consisted, as far as it was portable, very much in
sculpture. In saying that, I mean, that in the different branches of
sculpture architecture is involved--that is to say, you would have the
statues belonging to such and such a division of a building. Then if you
had casts of those statues, you would necessarily have those casts
placed exactly in the same position as the original statues--it involves
the buildings surrounding them and the elevation--it involves the whole

In addition to that, would you have original drawings of architecture,
and models of great buildings, and photographs, if they could be made
permanent, of the great buildings as well as the moldings and casts of
the moldings, and the members as far as you could obtain them?--Quite

Would you also include, in the National Gallery, what may be called the
handicraft of a nation--works for domestic use or ornament? For
instance, we know that there were some salt-cellars designed for one of
the Popes; would you have those if they came to us?--Everything, pots
and pans, and salt-cellars, and knives.

You would have everything that had an interesting art element in

_Dean of St. Paul's._ In short, a modern Pompeian Gallery?--Yes; I know
how much greater extent that involves, but I think that you should
include all the iron work, and china, and pottery, and so on. I think
that all works in metal, all works in clay, all works in carved wood,
should be included. Of course, that involves much. It involves all the
coins--it involves an immense extent.

134. Supposing it were impossible to concenter in one great museum the
whole of these things, where should you prefer to draw the line? Would
you draw the line between what I may call the ancient Pagan world and
the modern Christian world, and so leave, to what may be called the
ancient world, all the ancient sculpture, and any fragments of ancient
painting which there might be--all the vases, all the ancient bronzes,
and, in short, everything which comes down to a certain period? Do you
think that that would be the best division, or should you prefer any
division which takes special arts, and keeps those arts together?--I
should like the Pagan and Christian division. I think it very essential
that wherever the sculpture of a nation was, there its iron work should
be--that wherever its iron work was, there its pottery should be, and so

And you would keep the mediæval works together, in whatever form those
mediæval works existed?--Yes; I should not at all feel injured by having
to take a cab-drive from one century to another century.

Or from the ancient to the modern world?--No.

_Mr. Richmond._ If it were found convenient to keep separate the Pagan
and the Christian art, with which would you associate the mediæval?--By
"Christian and Pagan Art" I mean, before Christ and after Christ.

Then the mediæval would come with the paintings?--Yes; and also the
Mahomedan, and all the Pagan art which was after Christ, I should
associate as part, and a most essential part, because it seems to me
that the history of Christianity is complicated perpetually with that
which Christianity was effecting. Therefore, it is a matter of date, not
of Christianity. Everything before Christ I should be glad to see
separated, or you may take any other date that you like.

But the inspiration of the two schools--the Pagan and the
Christian--seems so different, that there would be no great violence
done to the true theory of a National Gallery in dividing these two,
would there, if each were made complete in itself?--That is to say,
taking the spirit of the world after Christianity was in it, and the
spirit of the world before Christianity was in it.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ The birth of Christ, you say, is the commencement
of Christian art?--Yes.

Then Christian influence began, and, of course, that would leave a small
debatable ground, particularly among the ivories for instance, which we
must settle according to circumstances?--Wide of any debatable ground,
all the art of a nation which had never heard of Christianity, the
Hindoo art and so on, would, I suppose, if of the Christian era, go into
the Christian gallery.

I was speaking rather of the transition period, which, of course, there
must be?--Yes.

_Mr. Cockerell._ There must be a distinction between the terms "museum"
and "gallery." What are the distinctions which you would draw in the
present case?--I should think "museum" was the right name of the whole
building. A "gallery" is, I think, merely a room in a museum adapted for
the exhibition of works in a series, whose effect depends upon their
collateral showing forth.

135. There are certainly persons who would derive their chief advantage
from the historical and chronological arrangement which you propose, but
there are others who look alone for the beautiful, and who say, "I have
nothing to do with your pedantry. I desire to have the beautiful before
me. Show me those complete and perfect works which are received and
known as the works of Phidias and the great Greek masters as far as we
possess them, and the works of the great Italian painters. I have not
time, nor does my genius permit that I should trouble myself with those
details." There is a large class who are guided by those feelings?--And
I hope who always will be guided by them; but I should consult their
feelings enough in the setting before them of the most beautiful works
of art. All that I should beg of them to yield to me would be that they
should look at Titian only, or at Raphael only, and not wish to have
Titian and Raphael side by side; and I think I should be able to teach
them, as a matter of beauty, that they did enjoy Titian and Raphael
alone better than mingled. Then I would provide them beautiful galleries
full of the most-noble sculpture. Whenever we come as a country and a
nation to provide beautiful sculpture, it seems to me that the greatest
pains should be taken to set it off beautifully. You should have
beautiful sculpture in the middle of the room, with dark walls round it
to throw out its profile, and you should have all the arrangements made
there so as to harmonize with it, and to set forth every line of it. So
the painting gallery, I think, might be made a glorious thing, if the
pictures were level, and the architecture above produced unity of
impression from the beauty and glow of color and the purity of form.

_Mr. Richmond._ And you would not exclude a Crevelli because it was
quaint, or an early master of any school--you would have the infancy,
the youth, and the age, of each school, would you not?--Certainly.

_Dean of St. Paul's._ Of the German as well as the Italian?--Yes.

_Mr. Richmond._ Spanish, and all the schools?--Certainly.

136. _Mr. Cockerell._ You are quite aware of the great liberality of the
Government, as we learn from the papers, in a recent instance, namely,
the purchase of a great Paul Veronese?--I am rejoiced to hear it. If it
is confirmed, nothing will have given me such pleasure for a long time.
I think it is the most precious Paul Veronese in the world, as far as
the completion of the picture goes, and quite a priceless picture.

Can you conceive a Government, or a people, who would countenance so
expensive a purchase, condescending to take up with the occupation of
the upper story of some public building, or with an expedient which
should not be entirely worthy of such a noble Gallery of Pictures?--I do
not think that they ought to do so; but I do not know how far they will
be consistent. I certainly think they ought not to put up with any such
expedient. I am not prepared to say what limits there are to consistency
or inconsistency.

_Mr. Richmond._ I understand you to have given in evidence that you
think a National Collection should be illustrative of the whole art in
all its branches?--Certainly.

Not a cabinet of paintings, not a collection of sculptured works, but
illustrative of the whole art?--Yes.

137. Have you any further remark to offer to the Commissioners?--I wish
to say one word respecting the question of the restoration of statuary.
It seems to me a very simple question. Much harm is being at present
done in Europe by restoration, more harm than was ever done, as far as
I know, by revolutions or by wars. The French are now doing great harm
to their cathedrals, under the idea that they are doing good, destroying
more than all the good they are doing. And all this proceeds from the
one great mistake of supposing that sculpture can be restored when it is
injured. I am very much interested by the question which one of the
Commissioners asked me in that respect; and I would suggest whether it
does not seem easy to avoid all questions of that kind. If the statue is
injured, leave it so, but provide a perfect copy of the statue in its
restored form; offer, if you like, prizes to sculptors for conjectural
restorations, and choose the most beautiful, but do not touch the
original work.

138. _Professor Faraday._ You said some time ago that in your own
attempts to instruct the public there had not been time yet to see
whether the course taken had produced improvement or not. You see no
signs at all which lead you to suppose that it will not produce the
improvement which you desire?--Far from it--I understood the Dean of St.
Paul's to ask me whether any general effect had been produced upon the
minds of the public. I have only been teaching a class of about forty
workmen for a couple of years, after their work--they not always
attending--and that forty being composed of people passing away and
coming again; and I do not know what they are now doing; I only see a
gradual succession of men in my own class. I rather take them in an
elementary class, and pass them to a master in a higher class. But I
have the greatest delight in the progress which these men have made, so
far as I have seen it; and I have not the least doubt that great things
will be done with respect to them.

_Chairman._ Will you state precisely what position you hold?--I am
master of the Elementary and Landscape School of Drawing at the Working
Men's College in Great Ormond Street. My efforts are directed not to
making a carpenter an artist, but to making him happier as a carpenter.

     NOTE.--The following analysis of the above evidence was
     given in the Index to the Report (p. 184).--ED.

     114-5-6. Sculpture and painting should be combined under same
     roof, not in same room.--Sculpture disciplines the eye to
     appreciate painting.--But, if in same room, disturbs the
     mind.--Tribune at Florence arranged too much for show--Sculpture
     not to be regarded as _decorative_ of a room.--National Gallery
     should include works of all kinds of art _of all ages_, arranged
     chronologically (_cf._ 132). Mediæval sculpture should go with
     painting, if it is found impossible to combine art of all ages.

     117-8. Pictures should be protected by glass in every case. It
     makes them more beautiful, independently of the
     preservation,--Glass is not merely expedient, but
     essential.--Pictures are permanently injured by dirt.

     119-20-21. First-rate large pictures should have a room to
     themselves, and a gallery round them.--Pictures must be hung on a
     line with the eye.--In one, or at most two, lines.--In the Salon
     Carre at the Louvre the effect is magnificent, but details of
     pictures cannot be seen.

     122. Galleries should be decorated not splendidly, but pleasantly.

     123. Great importance of chronological arrangement. Art the truest
     history (_cf._ 125 and 132).

     124. Best works of inferior artists to be secured.

     125. All the works of a painter, however incongruous their
     subjects, to be exhibited in juxtaposition.

     126. Love of detail in pictures among workmen.--Great refinement of
     their perceptions.

     127. Accessibility of new National Gallery.

     128. There should be two galleries--one containing gems, placed in
     as _safe_ a position as possible; the other containing works good,
     but inferior to the highest, and located solely with a view to

     129. Impossible to protect _sculpture_ from London atmosphere.

     130. Inferior gallery would be useful as an instructor.--In this
     respect superior to the great gallery.

     131-32. _Copies_ of paintings much to be deprecated.

     133. Good collection of casts a valuable addition to a national
     gallery.--Also architectural fragments and illustrations.--And
     everything which involves art.

     134. If it is impossible to combine works of art of all ages, the
     Pagan and Christian division is the best.--"Christian" art
     including _all_ art subsequent to the birth of Christ.

     135. Great importance of arranging and setting off sculpture.

     136. Recent purchase by Government of the great Paul Veronese.

     137. "Restoring" abroad.

     138. Witness is Master of the Elementary and Landscape School of
     Drawing at the Working Men's College in Great Ormond
     Street.--Progress made by students highly satisfactory.


[Footnote 1: This evidence, given by Mr. Ruskin as stated above, is
reprinted from the Report of the National Gallery Site Commission.
London: Harrison and Sons. 1857. Pp. 92-7. Questions 2392-2504. The
Commission consisted of Lord Broughton (chairman), Dean Milman,
Professor Faraday, Mr. Cockerell, R.A., and Mr. George Richmond, all of
whom were present on the occasion of Mr. Ruskin giving his



_Evidence of John Ruskin, Tuesday, March 20, 1860._

139. _Chairman._ I believe you have a general acquaintance with
the leading museums, picture galleries, and institutions in this
metropolis?--Yes, I know them well.

And especially the pictures?--Yes.

I believe you have also taken much interest in the Working Men's
College?--Yes, much interest. I have been occupied there as a master for
about five years.

I believe you conduct a class on two days in the week?--On one day of
the week only.

You have given a great deal of gratuitous instruction to the working
classes?--Not so much to the working classes as to the class which
especially attends the lectures on drawing, but which of course is
connected with the working classes, and through which I know something
about them.

140. You are probably able to speak with reference to the hours at which
it would be most convenient that these institutions should be opened to
the working classes, so that they might enjoy them?--At all events, I
can form some opinion about it.

What are the hours which you think would be the most suitable to the
working classes, or those to whom you have imparted instruction?--They
would, of course, have in general no hours but in the evening.

Do you think the hours which are now found suitable for mechanics'
institutes would be suitable for them, that is, from eight till ten, or
from seven till ten at night?--The earlier the better, I should think;
that being dependent closely upon the other much more important
question, how you can prepare the workmen for taking advantage of these
institutions. The question before us, as a nation, is not, I think, what
opportunities we shall give to the workmen of instruction, unless we
enable them to receive it; and all this is connected closely, in my
mind, with the early closing question, and with the more difficult
question, issuing out of that, how far you can get the hours of labor
regulated, and how far you can get the labor during those hours made not
competitive, and not oppressive to the workmen.

141. Have you found that the instruction which you have been enabled to
give to the working classes has produced very good results upon them
already? I ought perhaps hardly to speak of my own particular modes of
instruction, because their tendency is rather to lead the workman out of
his class, and I am privately obliged to impress upon my men who come to
the Working Men's College, not to learn in the hope of being anything
but working men, but to learn what may be either advantageous for them
in their work, or make them happy after their work. In my class, they
are especially tempted to think of rising above their own rank, and
becoming artists,--becoming something better than workmen, and that
effect I particularly dread. I want all efforts for bettering the
workmen to be especially directed in this way: supposing that they are
to remain in this position forever, that they have not capacity to rise
above it, and that they are to work as coal miners, or as iron forgers,
staying as they are; how then you may make them happier and wiser?

I should suppose you would admit that the desire to rise out of a class
is almost inseparable from the amount of self-improvement that you
would wish to give them?--I should think not; I think that the moment a
man desires to rise out of his own class, he does his work badly in it;
he ought to desire to rise in his own class, and not out of it.

The instruction which you would impart one would suppose would be
beneficial to the laborer in the class which he is in?--Yes.

142. And that agrees, does it not, with what has been alleged by many
working men, that they have found in their competition with foreigners
that a knowledge of art has been most beneficial to them?--Quite so.

I believe many foreigners are now in competition with working men in the
metropolis, in matters in which art is involved?--I believe there are
many, and that they are likely still more to increase as the relations
between the nations become closer.

Is it your opinion that the individual workman who now executes works of
art in this country is less intellectually fit for his occupation than
in former days?--Very much so indeed.

Have you not some proofs of that which you can adduce for the benefit of
the Committee?--I can only make an assertion; I cannot prove it; but I
assert it with confidence, that no workman, whose mind I have examined,
is, at present, capable of design in the arts, only of imitation, and of
exquisite manual execution, such as is unsurpassable by the work of any
time or any country; manual execution, which, however, being wholly
mechanical, is always profitless to the man himself, and profitless
ultimately to those who possess the work.

143. With regard to those institutions in which pictures are exhibited,
are you satisfied that the utmost facilities are afforded to the public
compatibly with the expense which is now incurred?--I cannot tell how
far it would be compatible with the expense, but I think that a very
little increase of expense might certainly bring about a great increase
of convenience.

Various plans have been suggested, by different persons, as to an
improvement in the National Gallery, with regard to the area, and a
better distribution of the pictures?--Yes.

Are you of opinion that at a very small cost it would be possible to
increase the area considerably in the case of the National Gallery?--I
have not examined the question with respect to the area of the National
Gallery. It depends of course upon questions of rent, and respecting the
mode in which the building is now constructed, which I have not
examined; but in general this is true of large buildings, that expense
wisely directed to giving facilities for seeing the pictures, and not to
the mere show of the building, would always be productive of far more
good to the nation, and especially to the lower orders of the nation,
than expense in any other way directed, with reference to these

144. Some persons have been disposed to doubt whether, if the
institutions were open at night, gas would be found injurious to the
pictures; would that be your impression?--I have no doubt that it would
be injurious to the pictures, if it came in contact with them. It would
be a matter of great regret to me that valuable pictures should be so
exhibited. I have hoped that pictures might be placed in a gallery for
the working classes which would interest them much more than the
_chefs-d'oeuvre_ of the great masters, and which at the same time
would not be a great loss to the nation if destroyed.

145. Have you had any experience of the working of the evening openings
of the South Kensington Museum?--No direct experience, but my impression
is that the workmen at present being compelled to think always of
getting as much work done in a day as they can, are generally led in
these institutions to look to the machinery, or to anything which bears
upon their trade; it therefore is no rest to them; it may be sometimes,
when they are allowed to take their families, as they do on certain
evenings, to the Kensington Museum, that is a great step; but the great
evil is that the pressure of the work on a man's mind is not removed,
and that he has not rest enough, thorough rest given him by proper
explanations of the things he sees; he is not led by a large printed
explanation beneath the very thing to take a happy and unpainful
interest in every subject brought before him; he wanders about
listlessly, and exerts himself to find out things which are not
sufficiently explained, and gradually he tires of it, and he goes back
to his home, or to his alehouse, unless he is a very intelligent man.

Would you recommend that some person should follow him through the
building to explain the details?--No; but I would especially recommend
that our institutions should be calculated for the help of persons whose
minds are languid with labor. I find that with ordinary constitutions,
the labor of a day in England oppresses a man, and breaks him down, and
it is not refreshment to him to use his mind after that, but it would be
refreshment to him to have anything read to him, or any amusing thing
told him, or to have perfect rest; he likes to lie back in his chair at
his own fireside, and smoke his pipe, rather than enter into a political
debate, and what we want is an extension of our art institutions, with
interesting things, teaching a man and amusing him at the same time;
above all, large printed explanations under every print and every
picture; and the subjects of the pictures such as they can enjoy.

146. Have you any other suggestion to offer calculated to enlighten the
Committee on the subject intrusted to them for consideration?--I can
only say what my own feelings have been as to my men. I have found
particularly that natural history was delightful to them; I think that
that has an especial tendency to take their minds off their work, which
is what I always try to do, not ambitiously, but reposingly. I should
like to add to what I said about the danger of injury to
_chefs-d'oeuvre_, that such danger exists, not only as to gas, but
also the breath, the variation of temperature, the extension of the
canvases in a different temperature, the extension of the paint upon
them, and various chemical operations of the human breath, the chance of
an accidental escape of gas, the circulation of variously damp air
through the ventilators; all these ought not to be allowed to affect
the great and unreplaceable works of the best masters; and those works,
I believe, are wholly valueless to the working classes; their merits are
wholly imperceptible except to persons who have given many years of
study to endeavor to qualify themselves to discover them; but what is
wanting for the working man is historical painting of events noble, and
bearing upon his own country; the history of his own country well
represented to him; the natural history of foreign countries well
represented to him; and domestic pathos brought before him. Nothing
assists him so much as having the moral disposition developed rather
than the intellectual after his work; anything that touches his feelings
is good, and puts new life into him; therefore I want modern pictures,
if possible, of that class which would ennoble and refine by their
subjects. I should like prints of all times, engravings of all times;
those would interest him with their variety of means and subject; and
natural history of three kinds, namely, shells, birds, and plants; not
minerals, because a workman cannot study mineralogy at home; but
whatever town he may be in, he may take some interest in the birds and
in the plants, or in the sea shells of his own country and coast. I
should like the commonest of all our plants first, and most fully
illustrated; the commonest of all our birds, and of our shells, and men
would be led to take an interest in those things wholly for their
beauty, and for their separate charm, irrespective of any use that might
be made of them in the arts. There also ought to be, for the more
intelligent workman, who really wants to advance himself in his
business, specimens of the manufactures of all countries, as far as the
compass of such institutions would allow.

147. You have traveled, I believe, a good deal abroad?--Yes.

And you have seen in many foreign countries that far more interest is
taken in the improvement of the people in this matter than is taken in
this country?--Far more.

Do you think that you can trace the good effects which result from that
mode of treatment?--The circumstances are so different that I do not
feel able to give evidence of any definite effect from such efforts;
only, it stands to reason, that it must be so. There are so many
circumstances at present against us, in England, that we must not be
sanguine as to too speedy an effect. I believe that one great reason of
the superiority of foreign countries in manufactures is, that they have
more beautiful things about them continually, and it is not possible for
a man who is educated in the streets of our manufacturing towns ever to
attain that refinement of eye or sense; he cannot do it; and he is
accustomed in his home to endure that which not the less blunts his

The Committee has been informed that with regard to some of our museums,
particularly the British Museum, they are very much overcharged with
objects, and I apprehend that the same remark would be true as to some
of our picture galleries. Are you of opinion that it would be conducive
to the general elevation of the people in this country if our works of
art, and objects of interest, were circulated more expeditiously, and
more conveniently, than at present, throughout the various manufacturing
districts?--I think that all precious works of art ought to be treated
with a quite different view, and that they ought to be kept together
where men whose work is chiefly concerned with art, and where the
artistically higher classes can take full advantage of them. They ought,
therefore, to be all together, as in the Louvre at Paris, and as in the
Uffizii at Florence, everything being illustrative of other things, but
kept separate from the collections intended for the working classes,
which may be as valuable as you choose, but they should be usable, and
above all things so situated that the working classes could get at them
easily, without keepers to watch what they are about, and have their
wives and children with them, and be able to get at them freely, so that
they might look at a thing as their own, not merely as the nation's, but
as a gift from the nation to them as the working class.

You would cultivate a taste at the impressionable age?--Especially in
the education of children, that being just the first question, I
suppose, which lies at the root of all you can do for the workman.

148. With regard to the circulation of pictures and such loans of
pictures as have heretofore been made in Manchester and elsewhere, are
you of opinion that, in certain cases, during a part of the year, some
of our best pictures might be lent for particular periods, to particular
towns, to be restored in the same condition, so as to give those towns
an opportunity of forming an opinion upon them, which otherwise they
would not have?--I would rather keep them all in the metropolis, and
move them as little as possible when valuable.

_Mr. Slaney._ That would not apply to loans by independent gentlemen who
were willing to lend their pictures?--I should be very glad if it were
possible to lend pictures, and send them about. I think it is one of the
greatest movements in the nation, showing the increasing kindness of the
upper classes towards the lower, that that has been done; but I think
nothing can justify the risking of noble pictures by railway, for
instance; that, of course, is an artist's view of the matter; but I do
not see that the advantage to be gained would at all correspond with the
danger of loss which is involved.

149. _Mr. Hanbury._ You mentioned that you thought it was very desirable
that there should be lectures given to the working classes?--Yes.

Do you think that the duplicate specimens at the British Museum could be
made available for lectures on natural history, if a part of that
institution could be arranged for the purpose?--I should think so; but
it is a question that I have no right to have an opinion upon. Only the
officers of the institution can say what number of their duplicate
specimens they could spare.

I put the question to you because I have observed in the British Museum
that the people took a great interest in the natural history department,
and, upon one occasion, a friend of mine stopped, and explained some of
the objects, and at once a very numerous crowd was attracted round him,
and the officials had to interfere, and told him to move on.--So much
more depends upon the explanation than on the thing explained, that I
believe, with very simple collections of very small value, but well
chosen, and exhibited by a thoroughly intelligent lecturer, you might
interest the lower classes, and teach them to any extent.

Would it be difficult to find such lecturers as you speak of?--Not in
time; perhaps at present it would be, because we have got so much in the
habit of thinking that science consists in language, and in fine words,
and not in ascertaining the nature of the thing. The workman cannot be
deceived by fine words; he always wants to know something about the
thing, and its properties. Many of our lecturers would, I have no doubt,
be puzzled if they were asked to explain the habits of a common bird.

150. Is there an increasing desire for information and improvement among
the working classes?--A thirsty desire for it in every direction,
increasing day by day, and likely to increase; it would grow by what it
feeds upon.

To what do you attribute this improvement?--Partly to the healthy and
proper efforts which have been made to elevate the working classes;
partly, I am sorry to say, to an ambitious desire throughout the nation
always to get on to a point which it has not yet reached, and which
makes one man struggle with another in every way. I think that the idea
that knowledge is power is at the root of the movement among the working
classes, much more so than in any other.

Do you consider that the distance of our public institutions is a great
hindrance to the working classes?--Very great indeed.

You would, therefore, probably consider it a boon if another institution
such as the British Museum could be established in the eastern end of
the metropolis?--I should be most thankful to see it, especially there.

151. _Mr. Slaney._ I think you stated that you considered, that for the
working classes it is a great thing to have relaxation of mind after the
close occupation of the day; that they would embrace an opportunity of
attending popular lectures on branches of natural history which they
could comprehend, if they were given to them in plain and simple

For instance, if you were to give a popular lecture upon British birds,
giving them an explanation of the habits of the various birds, assisted
by tolerably good plates, or figures describing the different habits of
migration of those that come to us in spring, remain during the summer,
and depart in the autumn to distant countries; of those which come in
the autumn, remain during the winter, and then leave us; of those which
charm us with their song, and benefit us in various ways; do you think
that such a lecture would be acceptable to the working classes?--It
would be just what they would enjoy the most, and what would do them the
most good.

Do you not think that such lectures might be given without any very
great cost, by finding persons who would endeavor to make the subjects
plain and pleasant, not requiring a very expensive apparatus, either of
figures or of birds, but which might be pointed out to them, and
explained to them from time to time?--No; I think that no such lectures
would be of use, unless a permanent means of quiet study were given to
the men between times. As far as I know, lectures are always entirely
useless, except as a matter of amusement, unless some opportunity be
afforded of accurate intermediate study, and although I should deprecate
the idea, on the one side, of giving the _chefs-d'oeuvre_ of the
highest masters to the workman for his daily experiments, so I should
deprecate, on the other, the idea of any economy if I saw a definite
plan of helping a man in his own times of quiet study.

152. There are some popular works on British birds which the men might
be referred to, containing accounts of the birds and their habits, which
might be referred to subsequently?--Yes.

There are several works relating to British birds which are very
beautifully illustrated, and to those they might be referred; do you not
think that something might also be done with regard to popular lectures
upon British plants, and particularly those which are perhaps the most
common, and only neglected because of their being common; that you might
point out to them the different soils in which they grow, so that they
might be able to make excursions to see them in their wild state?--My
wish is, that in every large manufacturing town there should be a
perfect collection, at all events of the principal genera of British
plants and birds, thoroughly well arranged, and a library associated
with it, containing the best illustrative works on the subject, and that
from time to time lectures should be given by the leading scientific
men, which I am sure they would be willing to give if such collections
were opened to them.

I dare say you know that there is one book upon British birds, which was
compiled by a gentleman who was in trade, and lived at the corner of St.
James's Street for many years, which is prized by all who are devoted to
that study, and which would be easily obtained for the working men. Do
you not think that this would relax their minds and be beneficial to
them in many ways, especially if they were able to follow up the
study?--Yes, in every way.

As to plants, might not they interest their wives as well?--I quite
believe so.

If such things could be done by subscription in the vicinity of large
towns, such as Manchester, would they not be very much responded to by
the grateful feelings of the humbler people, who themselves would
subscribe probably some trifle?--I think they would be grateful, however
it were done. But I should like it to be done as an expression of the
sense of the nation, as doing its duty towards the workmen, rather than
it should be done as a kind of charity by private subscription.

153. _Sir Robert Peel._ You have been five years connected with the
Working Men's College?--Yes; I think about that time.

Is the attendance good there?--There is a fair attendance, I believe.

Of the working classes?--Yes; in the other lecture-rooms; not much in

Do they go there as they please without going beforehand for
tickets?--They pass through an introductory examination, which is not
severe in any way, but merely shows that they are able to take advantage
of the classes there; of course they pay a certain sum, which is not at
all, at present, I believe, supporting to the college, for every class,
just to insure their paying attention to it.

You stated that you did not think lectures would be of any use unless
there was what you called active intermediate study?--I think not.

What did you mean by active intermediate study? if a man is working
every day of the week until Saturday afternoon, how could that take
place?--I think that you could not at all provide lectures once or twice
a week at the institutions throughout the kingdom. By intermediate
study, I mean merely that a man should have about him, when he came into
the room, things that shall tempt him to look at them, and get
interested in, say in one bird, or in one plant.

While the lecture was going on?--No, that might be given once a
fortnight, or once a month, but that this intermediate attention should
be just that which a man is delighted to give to a single plant which he
cultivates in his own garden, or a single bird which he may happen to
have obtained; the best of all modes of study.

154. You are in favor of the Early Closing Association?--I will not say
that I am, because I have not examined their principles. I want to have
our labor regulated, so that it shall be impossible for men to be so
entirely crushed in mind and in body as they are by the system of

You stated that you would wish the hours during which they would be able
to enjoy the institutions to be as early as possible?--Yes, certainly.

But it would be impossible to have them earlier than they are now, on
account of the organization of labor in the country.--I do not know what
is possible. I do not know what the number of hours necessary for labor
will ultimately be found to be.

Still you are of opinion that, if there was a half-holiday on the
Saturday, it would be an advantage to the working classes, and enable
them to visit and enjoy these institutions?--Certainly.

155. You observed, I think, that there was a thirsty desire on the part
of the working classes for improvement?--Certainly.

And you also stated that there was a desire on their part to rise in
that class, but not out of it?--I did not say that they wanted to rise
in that class; they wish to emerge from it; they wish to become
something better than workmen, and I want to keep them in that class; I
want to teach every man to rest contented in his station, and I want all
people, in all stations, to better and help each other as much as they

But you never saw a man, did you, who was contented?--Yes, I have seen
several; nearly all the very good workmen are contented; I find that it
is only the second-rate workmen who are discontented.

156. Surely competition with foreigners is a great advantage to the
working classes of this country?--No.

It has been stated that competition is an immense advantage in the
extension of artistic knowledge among the people of this country, who
are rapidly stepping on the heels of foreigners?--An acquaintance with
what foreign nations have accomplished may be very useful to our
workmen, but a spirit of competition with foreign nations is useful to
no one.

Will you be good enough to state why?--Every nation has the power of
producing a certain number of objects of art, or of manufacturing
productions which are peculiar to it, and which it can produce
thoroughly well; and, when that is rightly understood, every nation will
strive to do its own work as well as it can be done, and will desire to
be supplied, by other nations, with that which they can produce; for
example, if we tried here in England to produce silk, we might possibly
grow unhealthy mulberry trees and bring up unhealthy silkworms, but not
produce good silk. It may be a question how far we should compete with
foreigners in matters of taste. I think it doubtful, even in that view,
that we should ever compete with them thoroughly. I find evidence in
past art, that the French have always had a gift of color, which the
English never had.

157. You stated that you thought that at very little expense the
advantages to be derived from our national institutions might be greatly
increased; will you state why you think very little expense would be
necessary, and how it should be done?--By extending the space primarily,
and by adding very cheap but completely illustrative works; by making
all that such institutions contain thoroughly accessible; and giving, as
I think I have said before, explanations, especially in a visible form,
beside the thing to be illustrated, not in a separate form.

But that only would apply to daytime?--To nighttime as well.

But would you not have to introduce a system of lighting?--Yes; a system
of lighting I should only regret as applied to the great works of art; I
should think that the brightest system of lighting should be applied,
especially of an evening, so that such places should be made delightful
to the workman, and withdraw him from the alehouse and all other evil
temptation; but I want them rather to be occupied by simple, and more or
less cheap collections, than by the valuable ones, for fear of fire.

If, at the British Museum, they had printed information upon natural
history, that, you think, would do great good?--Yes.

158. You stated that you thought there was far more interest taken in
foreign countries in the intellectual development of the working classes
than in England?--I answered that question rather rashly. I hardly ever
see anything of society in foreign countries, and I was thinking, at the
time, of the great efforts now being made in France, and of the general
comfort of the institutions that are open.

Not political?--No.

Still you think that there is more interest taken in the intellectual
development of the working classes in foreign countries than in
England?--I think so, but I do not trust my own opinion.

I have lived abroad, and I have remarked that there is a natural
facility in the French people, for instance, in acquiring a knowledge of
art, and of combination of colors, but I never saw more, but far less
desire or interest taken in the working classes than in England.--As far
as relates to their intellectual development, I say yes; but I think
there is a greater disposition to make them happy, and allow them to
enjoy their happiness, in ordinary associations, at _fêtes_, and
everything of that kind, that is amusing or recreative to them.

But that is only on Sundays?--No; on all _fête_ days, and throughout, I
think you see the working man, with his wife, happier in the gardens or
in the suburbs of a town, and on the whole in a happier state; there is
less desire to get as much out of him for the money as they can; less of
that desire to oppress him and to use him as a machine than there is in
England. But, observe, I do not lean upon that point; and I do not quite
see how that bears upon the question, because, whatever interest there
may be in foreign countries, or in ours, it is not as much as it should
be in either.

But you were throwing a slur upon the character of the upper classes in
this country, by insinuating that abroad a great deal more interest was
taken in the working classes than in England. Now I assert, that quite
the contrary is the fact.--I should be very sorry to express all the
feelings that I have respecting the relations between the upper classes
and the working classes in this country; it is a subject which cannot at
present be discussed, and one upon which I would decline any further

159. You stated that the working men were not so happy in this country
as they were abroad, pursuing the same occupations?--I should think
certainly not.

You have been in Switzerland?--Yes.

And at Zurich?--Not lately.

That is the seat of a great linen manufacture?--I have never examined
the manufactures there, nor have I looked at Switzerland as a
manufacturing country.

But you stated that there was much more interest taken in the
intellectual developments of the working classes in foreign countries
than in England?--Yes; but I was not thinking of Switzerland or of
Zurich. I was thinking of France, and I was thinking of the working
classes generally, not specially the manufacturing working classes. I
used the words "working classes" generally.

Then do you withdraw the expression that you made use of, that in
foreign countries the upper classes take more interest in the condition
of the working classes, than they do in England?--I do not withdraw it;
I only said that it was my impression.

But you cannot establish it?--No.

Therefore it is merely a matter of individual impression?--Entirely so.

You said, I think, that abroad the people enjoy their public
institutions better, because inspectors do not follow them about?--I did
not say so. I was asked the question whether I thought teaching should
be given by persons accompanying the workman about, and I said certainly
not. I would rather leave him to himself, with such information as
could be given to him by printed documents.

160. _Mr. Sclater Booth._ With regard to the National Gallery, are you
aware that there is great pressure and want of space there now, both
with regard to the room for hanging pictures, and also with reference to
the crowds of persons who frequent the National Gallery?--I am quite
sure that if there is not great pressure, there will be soon, owing to
the number of pictures which are being bought continually.

Do you not think that an extension of the space in the National Gallery
is a primary consideration, which ought to take precedence of any
improvement that might be made in the rooms as they are, with a view to
opening them of an evening?--Most certainly.

That is the first thing, you think, that ought to be done?--Most

When you give your lectures at the Working Men's College, is it your
habit to refer to special pictures in the National Gallery, or to
special works of art in the British Museum?--Never; I try to keep
whatever instruction I give bearing upon what is easily accessible to
the workman, or what he can see at the moment. I do not count upon his
having time to go to these institutions; I like to put the thing in his
hand, and have it about.

Has it never been a stumbling-block in your path that you have found a
workman unable to compare your lectures with any illustrations that you
may have referred him to?--I have never prepared my lectures with a view
to illustrate them by the works of the great masters.

161. You spoke, and very justly, of the importance of fixing on works of
art printed explanations; are you not aware that that has been done to
some extent at the Kensington Museum?--Yes.

Do you not think that a great part of the popularity of that institution
is owing to that circumstance?--I think so, certainly.

On the whole, I gather from your evidence that you are not very sanguine
as to the beneficial results that would arise from the opening of the
British Museum and the National Gallery of an evening, as those
institutions are at present constituted, from a want of space and the
crowding of the objects there?--Whatever the results might be, from
opening them, as at present constituted, I think better results might be
attained by preparing institutions for the workman himself alone.

Do you think that museums of birds and plants, established in various
parts of the metropolis, illustrated and furnished with pictures of
domestic interest, and possibly with specimens of manufactures, would be
more desirable, considering the mode in which the large institutions are
now seen?--I think in these great institutions attention ought
specially to be paid to giving perfect security to all the works and
objects of art which they possess; and to giving convenience to the
thorough student, whose business lies with those museums; and that
collections for the amusement and improvement of the working classes
ought to be entirely separate.

If such institutions as I have described were to be established, you
would of course desire that they should be opened of an evening, and be
specially arranged, with a view to evening exhibition?--Certainly.

It has been stated that the taxpayer has a right to have these
exhibitions opened at hours when the workpeople can go to them, they
being taxpayers; do not you think that the real interest of the taxpayer
is, first, to have the pictures as carefully preserved as possible, and
secondly, that they should be accessible to those whose special
occupation in life is concerned in their study?--Most certainly.

Is not the interest of the taxpayer reached in this way, rather than by
any special opportunity being given of visiting at particular
hours?--Most certainly.

162. _Mr. Kinnaird._ Have you ever turned your attention to any peculiar
localities, where museums of paintings and shells, and of birds and
plants, might be opened for the purpose referred to?--Never; I have
never examined the subject.

Has it ever occurred to you that the Vestry Halls, which have recently
been erected, and which are lighted, might be so appropriated?--No; I
have never considered the subject at all.

Supposing that suitable premises could be found, do you not think that
many people would contribute modern paintings, and engravings, and
various other objects of interest?--I think it is most probable; in
fact, I should say certain.

You would view such an attempt with great favor?--Yes; with great
delight indeed.

You rather look upon it as the duty of the Government to provide such
institutions for the people?--I feel that very strongly indeed.

Do you not think that the plan which has been adopted at Versailles, of
having modern history illustrated by paintings, would prove of great
interest to the people?--I should think it would be an admirable plan in
every way.

And a very legitimate step to be taken by the Government, for the
purpose of encouraging art in that way?--Most truly.

Would it have, do you think, an effect in encouraging art in this
country?--I should think so, certainly.

Whose duty would you consider it to be to superintend the formation of
such collections? are there any Government officers who are at present
capable of organizing a staff for employment in local museums that you
are aware of?--I do not know; I have not examined that subject at all.

163. _Chairman._ The Committee would like to understand you more
definitely upon the point that has been referred to, as to foreigners
and Englishmen. I presume that what you wished the Committee to
understand was, that upon the whole, so far as you have observed, more
facilities are in point of fact afforded to the working classes, in some
way or other, abroad than in this country for seeing pictures and
visiting public institutions?--My answer referred especially to the
aspect of the working classes as I have watched them in their times of
recreation; I see them associated with the upper classes, more happily
for themselves; I see them walking through the Louvre, and walking
through the gardens of all the great cities of Europe, and apparently
less ashamed of themselves, and more happily combined with all the upper
classes of society, than they are here. Here our workmen, somehow, are
always miserably dressed, and they always keep out of the way, both at
such institutions and at church. The temper abroad seems to be, while
there is a sterner separation and a more aristocratic feeling between
the upper and the lower classes, yet just on that account the workman
confesses himself for a workman, and is treated with affection. I do not
say workmen merely, but the lower classes generally, are treated with
affection, and familiarity, and sympathy by the master or employer,
which has to me often been very touching in separate eases; and that
impression being on my mind, I answered, not considering that the
question was of any importance, hastily; and I am not at present
prepared to say how far I could, by thinking, justify that impression.

164. _Mr. Kinnaird._ In your experience, in the last few years, have you
not seen a very marked improvement in the working classes in this
country in every respect to which you have alluded; take the last twenty
years, or since you have turned your attention that way?--I have no
evidence before me in England of that improvement, because I think that
the struggle for existence becomes every day more severe, and that,
while greater efforts are made to help the workman, the principles on
which our commerce is conducted are every day oppressing him, and
sinking him deeper.

Have you ever visited the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and
Yorkshire, with a view of ascertaining the state of the people
there?--Not with a definite view. My own work has nothing to do with
those subjects; and it is only incidentally, because I gratuitously give
such instruction as I am able to give at the Working Men's College, that
I am able to give you any facts on this subject. All the rest that I can
give is, as Sir Robert Peel accurately expressed it, nothing but
personal impression.

You admit that the Working Men's College is, after all, a very limited
sphere?--A very limited sphere.

165. _Sir Robert Peel._ You have stated that, in the Louvre, a working
man looks at the pictures with a greater degree of self-respect than the
same classes do in the National Gallery here?--I think so.

You surely never saw a man of the upper class, in England, scorn at a
working man because he appeared in his working dress in the National
Gallery in London?--I have certainly seen working men apprehensive of
such scorn.

_Chairman._ Is it not the fact, that the upper and lower classes
scarcely ever meet on the same occasions?--I think, if possible, they do

Is it not the fact that the laboring classes almost invariably cease
labor at such hours as would prevent them from going to see pictures at
the time when the upper classes do go?--I meant, before, to signify
assent to your question, that they do not meet if it can be avoided.

_Sir Robert Peel._ Take the Crystal Palace as an example; do not working
men and all classes meet there together, and did you ever see a working
man _gêné_ in the examination of works of art?--I am sure that a working
man very often would not go where he would like to go.

But you think he would abroad?--I think they would go abroad; I only say
that I believe such is the fact.

_Mr. Slaney._ Do not you think that the light-hearted temperament of our
southern neighbors, and the fineness of the climate, which permits them
to enjoy themselves more in the open air, has something to do with
it?--I hope that the old name of Merry England may be recovered one of
these days. I do not think that it is in the disposition of the
inhabitants to be in the least duller than other people.

_Sir Robert Peel._ When was that designation lost?--I am afraid ever
since our manufactures have prospered.

_Chairman._ Referring to the Crystal Palace, do you think that that was
an appropriate instance to put, considering the working man pays for his
own, and is not ashamed to enjoy his own for his own money?--I have
never examined the causes of the feeling; it did not appear to me to be
a matter of great importance what was the state of feeling in foreign
countries. I felt that it depended upon so many circumstances, that I
thought it would be a waste of time to trace it.

166. _Sir Robert Peel._ You stated that abroad the working classes were
much better dressed?--Yes.

Do you think so?--Yes.

Surely they cannot be better dressed than they are in England, for you
hardly know a working man here from an aristocrat?--It is precisely
because I do know working men on a Sunday and every other day of the
week from an aristocrat that I like their dress better in France; it is
the ordinary dress belonging to their position, and it expresses
momentarily what they are; it is the blue blouse which hangs freely
over their frames, keeping them sufficiently protected from cold and
dust; but here it is a shirt open at the collar, very dirty, very much
torn, with ragged hair, and a ragged coat, and altogether a dress of

You think that they are better dressed abroad because they wear a
blouse?--Because they wear a costume appropriate to their work.

Are you aware that they make it an invariable custom to leave off the
blouse on Sundays and on holidays, and that after they have finished
their work they take off their blouse?--I am not familiar, nor do I
profess to be familiar, with the customs of the Continent; I am only
stating my impressions; but I like especially their habit of wearing a
national costume. I believe the national costume of work in Switzerland
to be at the root of what prosperity Switzerland yet is retaining. I
think, for instance, although it may sound rather singular to say so,
that the pride which the women take in their clean chemise sleeves, is
one of the healthiest things in Switzerland, and that it is operative in
every way on the health of the mind and the body, their keeping their
costume pure, fresh, and beautiful.

You stated that the working classes were better dressed abroad than in
England?--As far as I know, that is certainly the fact.

Still their better dress consists of a blouse, which they take off when
they have finished their work?--I bow to your better knowledge of the

_Chairman._ Are you aware that a considerable number of the working
classes are in bed on the Sunday?--Perhaps it is the best place for

167. _Mr. Kinnaird._ You trace the deterioration in the condition of the
working classes to the increase of trade and manufactures in this
country?--To the increase of competitive trades and manufactures.

It is your conviction that we may look upon this vast extension of
trade, and commerce, and competition, altogether as an evil?--Not on
the vast extension of trade, but on the vast extension of the struggle
of man with man, instead of the principle of help of man by man.

_Chairman._ I understood you to say, that you did not object to trade,
but that you wished each country to produce that which it was best
fitted to produce, with a view to an interchange of its commodities with
those of other countries?--Yes.

You did not intend to cast a slur upon the idea of competition?--Yes,
very distinctly; I intended not only to cast a slur, but to express my
excessive horror of the principle of competition, in every way; for
instance, we ought not to try to grow claret here, nor to produce silk;
we ought to produce coal and iron, and the French should give us wine
and silk.

You say that, with a view to an interchange of such commodities?--Yes.

Each country producing that which it is best fitted to produce?--Yes, as
well as it can; not striving to imitate or compete with the productions
of other countries. Finally, I believe that the way of ascertaining what
ought to be done for the workman in any position, is for any one of us
to suppose that he was our own son, and that he was left without any
parents, and without any help; that there was no chance of his ever
emerging out of the state in which he was, and then, that what we should
each of us like to be done for our son, so left, we should strive to do
for the workman.

     The following analysis of the above evidence was mainly given in
     the Index to the Report (p. 153).--ED.

     139. Is well acquainted with the museums, picture galleries, etc.,
     in the metropolis.--Conducts a drawing class at the Working Men's

     140. Desirableness of the public institutions being open in the
     evening (cp. 154, 161).

     141. Remarks relative to the system of teaching expedient for the
     working classes; system pursued by witness at the Working Men's
     College.--Workmen to aim at rising in their class, not _out of_ it
     (cp. 155).

     142. Backward state, intellectually, of the working man of the
     present time; superiority of the foreigner.

     143. Improvement of the National Gallery suggested (cp. 157, 160).

     144. Inexpediency of submitting valuable ancient pictures to the
     risk of injury from gas, etc. (cp. 146, 157).

     145. Statement as to the minds of the working classes after their
     day's labor being too much oppressed to enable them to enjoy or
     appreciate the public institutions, if merely opened in the

     146. Suggested collection of pictures and prints of a particular
     character for the inspection of the working classes.--Suggestions
     with a view to special collections of shells, birds, and plants
     being prepared for the use of the working classes; system of
     lectures, of illustration, and of intermediate study necessary in
     connection with such collections (cp. 151-52).

     147. Statement as to greater interest being taken in France and
     other foreign countries than in England in the intellectual
     development of the working classes; examination on this point, and
     on the effect produced thereby upon the character and demeanor of
     the working people (cp. 158, 163-64).

     148. Objection to circulating valuable or rare works of art
     throughout the country, on account of the risk of
     injury--Disapproval of inspectors, etc., going about with the
     visitors (cp. 159).--Advantage in the upper classes lending
     pictures, etc., for public exhibition.

     149. Lectures to working men. Advantage if large printed
     explanations were placed under every picture (cp. 157, 161).

     150. Great desire among the working classes to acquire knowledge;
     grounds of such desire (cp. 155).--Great boon if a museum were
     formed at the east end of London.

     151. Lectures on natural history for working men.

     152. Books available on British birds.

     153. Intermediate study essential to use of Lectures.--Good
     attendance at Working Men's College.--Terms and conditions of
     admission to it.

     154. Approval of Saturday half-holiday movement (cp. 140, 161).

     155. See above, s. 142.

     156. Competition in trade and labor regarded by witness as a great

     157. See above, s. 143, 149.

     158-59. Happier condition of lower classes abroad than at home.
     Their dress also better abroad. 163-64, 166, and see above, s. 142.

     160. See above, s. 143, 149, 157.

     161. See above, s. 149, 154.

     162. Use of existing public buildings for art collections.

     163-64. See above, s. 158-59.

     165. Surely England may one day be Merry England again.--When it
     ceased to be so.

     166. See above, s. 158-59.

     167. Increase of trade and deteriorated condition of
     working-classes.--Our duty to them.


[Footnote 2: Reprinted from "The Report of the Select Committee on
Public Institutions. _Ordered by_ the House of Commons _to be printed_,
27 March 1860," pp. 113-123. The following members of the Committee were
present on the occasion of the above evidence being given: -Sir John
Trelawny (_Chairman_), Mr. Sclater Booth, Mr. Du Pre, Mr. Kinnaird, Mr.
Hanbury, Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Slaney, and Mr. John Tollemache.--ED.]



_Evidence of John Ruskin, Monday, June 8th, 1863._

168. _Chairman._ You have, no doubt, frequently considered the position
of the Royal Academy in this country?--Yes.

Is it in all points satisfactory to you?--No, certainly not.

Do you approve, for example, of the plan by which, on a vacancy
occurring, the Royal Academicians supply that vacancy, or would you wish
to see that election confided to any other hands?--I should wish to see
the election confided to other hands. I think that all elections are
liable to mistake, or mischance, when the electing body elect the
candidate into them. I rather think that elections are only successful
where the candidate is elected into a body other than the body of
electors; but I have not considered the principles of election fully
enough to be able to give any positive statement of opinion upon that
matter. I only feel that at present the thing is liable to many errors
and mischances.

Does it not seem, however, that there are some precedents, such, for
example, as the Institute of France, in which the body electing to the
vacancies that occur within it keeps up a very high character, and
enjoys a great reputation?--There are many such precedents; and, as
every such body for its own honor must sometimes call upon the most
intellectual men of the country to join it, I should think that every
such body must retain a high character where the country itself has a
proper sense of the worth of its best men; but the system of election
may be wrong, though the sense of the country may be right; and I think,
in appealing to a precedent to justify a system, we should estimate
properly what has been brought about by the feeling of the country. We
are all, I fancy, too much in the habit of looking to forms as the cause
of what really is caused by the temper of the nation at the particular
time, working, through the forms, for good or evil.

If, however, the election of Academicians were to be confided to artists
who were not already Academicians themselves, would it be easy to meet
this objection, that they would have in many cases a personal interest
in the question; that each might be striving for his own admission to
that distinction; whereas, when the election takes place among those who
have already attained that distinction, direct personal interest at all
events is absent?--I should think personal interest would act in a
certain sense in either case; it would branch into too many subtleties
of interest to say in what way it would act. I should think that it
would be more important to the inferior body to decide rightly upon
those who were to govern them, than to the superior body to decide upon
those who were to govern other people; and that the superior body would
therefore generally choose those who were likely to be pleasant to
themselves;--pleasant, either as companions, or in carrying out a system
which they chose for their own convenience to adopt; while the inferior
body would choose men likely to carry out the system that would tend
most to the general progress of art.

169. As I understand you, though you have a decided opinion that it
would be better for some other constituent body to elect the members of
the Royal Academy, you have not a decided opinion as to how that
constituent body would best be composed?--By no means.

I presume you would wish that constituent body to consist of artists,
though you are not prepared to say precisely how they should be
selected?--I should like the constituent body to consist both of artists
and of the public. I feel great difficulties in offering any suggestion
as to the manner in which the electors should elect: but I should like
the public as well as artists to have a voice, so that we might have the
public feeling brought to bear upon painting as we have now upon music;
and that the election of those who were to attract the public eye, or
direct the public mind, should indicate also the will of the public in
some respects; not that I think that "will" always wise, but I think you
would then have pointed out in what way those who are teaching the
public should best regulate the teaching; and also it would give the
public itself an interest in art, and a sense of responsibility, which
in the present state of things they never can have.

Will you explain more fully the precedent of music to which you have
just adverted?--The fame of any great singer or any great musician
depends upon the public enthusiasm and feeling respecting him. No Royal
Academy can draw a large audience to the opera by stating that such and
such a piece of music is good, or that such and such a voice is clear;
if the public do not feel the voice to be delicious, and if they do not
like the music, they will not go to hear it. The fame of the musician,
whether singer, instrumentalist, or composer, is founded mainly upon his
having produced a strong effect upon the public intellect and
imagination. I should like that same effect to be produced by painters,
and to be expressed by the public enthusiasm and approbation; not merely
by expressions of approbation in conversation, but by the actual voice
which in the theater is given by the shout and by the clapping of the
hands. You cannot clap a picture, nor clap a painter at his work, but I
should like the public in some way to bring their voice to bear upon the
painter's work.

170. Have you formed any opinion upon the position of the Associates in
the Royal Academy?--I have thought of it a little, but the present
system of the Academy is to me so entirely nugatory, it produces so
little effect in any way (what little effect it does produce being in my
opinion mischievous), that it has never interested me; and I have felt
the difficulty so greatly, that I never, till your lordship's letter
reached me, paid much attention to it. I always thought it would be a
waste of time to give much time to thinking how it might be altered; so
that as to the position of Associates I can say little, except that I
think, in any case, there ought to be some period of probation, and some
advanced scale of dignity, indicative of the highest attainments in art,
which should be only given to the oldest and most practiced painters.

From the great knowledge which you possess of British art, looking to
the most eminent painters, sculptors, and architects at this time,
should you say that the number of the Royal Academy is sufficient fully
to represent them, or would you recommend an increase in the present
number of Academicians?--I have not considered in what proportion the
Academicianships at present exist. That is rather a question bearing
upon the degree of dignity which one would be glad to confer. I should
like the highest dignity to be limited, but I should like the inferior
dignity corresponding to the Associateship to be given, as the degrees
are given in the universities, without any limitation of number, to
those possessing positive attainments and skill. I should think a very
limited number of Academicianships would always meet all the
requirements of the highest intellect of the country.

171. Have you formed any opinion upon the expediency of intrusting
laymen with some share in the management of the affairs of the
Academy?--No, I have formed no opinion upon that matter. I do not know
what there is at present to be managed in the Academy. I should think if
the Academy is to become an available school, laymen cannot be joined in
the management of that particular department. In matters of revenue, and
in matters concerning the general interests and dignity of the Academy,
they might be.

Should you think that non-professional persons would be fitly associated
with artists in such questions as the selection and hanging of the
pictures sent in for exhibition?--No, I think not.

Some persons have suggested that the president of the Academy should not
always nor of necessity be himself an artist; should you approve of any
system by which a gentleman of high social position, not an artist, was
placed at the head of such a body as the Academy?--"Of such a body as
the Academy," if I may be permitted to repeat your words, must of course
have reference to the constitution to be given to it. As at present
constituted, I do not know what advantage might or might not be derived
from such a gentleman being appointed president. As I should like to see
it constituted, I think he ought to be an artist only.

172. Have you had any reason to observe or to make yourself acquainted
with the working of the schools of the Royal Academy?--Yes, I have
observed it. I have not made myself acquainted with the actual methods
of teaching at present in use, but I know the general effect upon the
art of the country.

What should you say was that effect?--Nearly nugatory: exceedingly
painful in this respect, that the teaching of the Academy separates, as
the whole idea of the country separates, the notion of art-education
from other education, and when you have made that one fundamental
mistake, all others follow. You teach a young man to manage his chalk
and his brush--not always that--but having done that, you suppose you
have made a painter of him; whereas to educate a painter is the same
thing as to educate a clergyman or a physician--you must give him a
liberal education primarily, and that must be connected with the kind of
learning peculiarly fit for his profession. That error is partly owing
to our excessively vulgar and excessively shallow English idea that the
artist's profession is not, and cannot be, a liberal one. We respect a
physician, and call him a gentleman, because he can give us a purge and
clean out our stomachs; but we do not call an artist a gentleman, whom
we expect to invent for us the face of Christ. When we have made that
primary mistake, all other mistakes in education are trivial in
comparison. The very notion of an art academy should be, a body of
teachers of the youth who are to be the guides of the nation through its
senses; and that is a very important means of guiding it. We have done a
good deal through dinners, but we may some day do a good deal more
through pictures.

You would have a more comprehensive system of teaching?--Much more

173. Do I rightly understand you that you would wish it to embrace
branches of liberal education in general, and not be merely confined to
specific artistic studies?--Certainly. I would have the Academy
education corresponding wholly to the university education. The schools
of the country ought to teach the boy the first conditions of
manipulation. He should come up, I say not at what age, but probably at
about fourteen or fifteen, to the central university of art, wherever
that was established; and then, while he was taught to paint and to
carve and to work in metal--just as in old times he would have been
taught to manage the sword and lance, they being the principal business
of his life,--during the years from fifteen to twenty, the chief
attention of his governors should be to make a gentleman of him in the
highest sense; and to give him an exceedingly broad and liberal
education, which should enable him not only to work nobly, but to
conceive nobly.

174. As to the point, however, of artistic manipulation, is not it the
fact that many great painters have differed, and do differ, from each
other, and would it therefore be easy for the Academy to adopt any
authoritative system of teaching, excluding one mode and acknowledging
another?--Not easy, but very necessary. There have been many methods;
but there has never been a case of a great school which did not fix upon
its method: and there has been no case of a thoroughly great school
which did not fix upon the right method, as far as circumstances enabled
it to do so. The meaning of a successful school is, that it has adopted
a method which it teaches to its young painters, so that right working
becomes a habit with them; so that with no thought, and no effort, and
no torment, and no talk about it, they have the habit of doing what
their school teaches them.

You do not think a system is equally good which leaves to each eminent
professor, according to the bent of his genius or the result of his
experience, to instruct young men, the instruction varying with the
character of each professor?--Great benefit would arise if each
professor founded his own school, and were interested in his own pupils;
but, as has been sufficiently illustrated in the schools of Domenichino
and Guido, there is apt to arise rivalry between the masters, with no
correlative advantages, unless the masters are all of one mind. And the
only successful idea of an academy has been where the practice was
consistent, and where there was no contradiction. Considering the
knowledge we now have, and the means we now have of comparing all the
works of the greatest painters, though, as you suggest by your question,
it is not easy to adopt an authoritative system, yet it is perfectly
possible. Let us get at the best method and let us teach that. There is
unquestionably a best way if we can find it; and we have now in England
the means of finding it out.

The teaching in the Academy is now, under all circumstances, gratuitous;
would you wish that system to continue, or should you prefer to see a
system of payment?--I am not prepared to answer that question. It would
depend upon the sort of system that was adopted and on the kind of
persons you received into your schools.

175. I presume you would say that in artistic teaching there are some
points on which there would be common ground, and others upon which
there must be specific teaching; for instance, in sculpture and painting
there is a point up to which the proportions of the human figure have to
be studied, but afterwards there is a divergence between the two arts of
chiseling marble and laying colors on the canvas?--Certainly. I should
think all that might be arranged in an Academy system very simply. You
would have first your teaching of drawing with the soft point; and
associated with that, chiaroscuro: you would then have the teaching of
drawing with the hard or black point, involving the teaching of the best
system of engraving, and all that was necessary to form your school of
engravers: you would then proceed to metal work; and on working in metal
you would found your school of sculpture, and on that your school of
architecture: and finally, and above all, you would have your school of
painting, including oil painting and fresco painting, and all painting
in permanent material; (not comprising painting in any material that was
not permanent:) and with that you would associate your school of
chemistry, which should teach what was permanent and what was not; which
school of chemistry should declare authoritatively, with the Academy's
seal, what colors would stand and what process would secure their
standing: and should have a sort of Apothecaries' Hall where anybody who
required them could procure colors in the purest state; all these things
being organized in one great system, and only possibly right by their
connection and in their connection.

176. Do you approve of the encouragement which of late years has been
given to fresco painting, and do you look forward to much extension of
that branch of art in England?--I found when I was examining the term
"fresco painting," that it was a wide one, that none of us seemed to
know quite the limitation or extent of it; and after giving a good deal
more time to the question I am still less able to answer distinctly on
an understanding of the term "fresco painting:" but using the term
"decorative painting, applicable to walls in permanent materials," I
think it essential that every great school should include as one of its
main objects the teaching of wall painting in permanent materials, and
on a large scale.

You think it should form a branch of the system of teaching in the
Academy?--I think it should form a branch of the teaching in the
Academy, possibly the principal branch.

Does it so far as you know form a separate branch of teaching in any of
the foreign academies?--I do not know.

177. Looking generally, and of course without mentioning any names, have
you in the course of the last few years been generally satisfied with
the selection of artists into the Royal Academy?--No, certainly not.

Do you think that some artists of merit have been excluded, or that
artists whom you think not deserving of that honor have been
elected?--More; that artists not deserving of the honor have been
elected. I think it does no harm to any promising artist to be left out
of the Academy, but it does harm to the public sometimes that an
unpromising artist should be let into it.

You think there have been cases within the last few years in which
persons, in your judgment, not entitled to that distinction have
nevertheless been elected?--Certainly.

178. With respect to the selection of pictures for the exhibition, are
you satisfied in general with that selection, or have you in particular
instances seen ground to think that it has been injudiciously
exercised?--In some cases it has been injudiciously exercised, but it is
a matter of small importance; it causes heartburning probably, but
little more. If a rejected picture is good, the public will see it some
day or other, and find out that it is a good picture. I care little
about what pictures are let in or not, but I do care about seeing the
pictures that are let in. The main point, which everyone would desire to
see determined, is how the pictures that are admitted are to be best
seen. No picture deserving of being seen at all should be so hung as to
give you any pain or fatigue in seeing it. If you let a picture into the
room at all, it should not be hung so high as that either the feelings
of the artist or the neck of the public should be hurt.

179. _Viscount Hardinge._ I gather from your evidence that you would
wish to see the Royal Academy a sort of central university to which
young men from other institutions should be sent. Assuming that there
were difficulties in the way of carrying that out, do you think, under
the present system, you could exact from young men who are candidates
for admission into the Royal Academy, some educational test?--Certainly;
I think much depends upon that. If the system of education which I have
been endeavoring to point out were adopted, you would have in every one
of those professions very practiced workmen. You could not have any of
this education carried out, unless you had thoroughly practiced workmen;
and you should fix your pass as you fix your university pass, and you
should pass a man in architecture, sculpture, and painting, because he
knows his business, and knows as much of any other science as is
necessary for his profession. You require a piece of work from him, and
you examine him, and then you pass him,--call him whatever you
like;--but you say to the public, Here is a workman in this branch who
will do your work well.

You do not think there would in such a system be any risk of excluding
men who might hereafter be great men who under such a system might not
be able to pass?--There are risks in every system, but I think every man
worth anything would pass. A great many who would be good for nothing
would pass, but your really great man would assuredly pass.

180. Has it ever struck you that it would be advantageous to art if
there were at the universities professors of art who might give lectures
and give instruction to young men who might desire to avail themselves
of it, as you have lectures on botany and geology?--Yes, assuredly. The
want of interest on the part of the upper classes in art has been very
much at the bottom of the abuses which have crept into all systems of
education connected with it. If the upper classes could only be
interested in it by being led into it when young, a great improvement
might be looked for; therefore I feel the expediency of such an addition
to the education of our universities.

181. Is not that want of refinement which may be observed in many of the
pictures from time to time exhibited in the Royal Academy to be
attributed in a great measure to the want of education amongst
artists?--It is to be attributed to that, and to the necessity which
artists are under of addressing a low class of spectators: an artist to
live must catch the public eye. Our upper classes supply a very small
amount of patronage to artists at present, their main patronage being
from the manufacturing districts and from the public interested in
engravings;--an exceedingly wide sphere, but a low sphere,--and you
catch the eye of that class much more by pictures having reference to
their amusements than by any noble subject better treated, and the
better treated it was the less it would interest that class.

Is it not often the case that pictures exhibiting such a want of
refinement, at the same time fetch large prices amongst what I may call
the mercantile patrons of art?--Certainly; and, the larger the price,
the more harm done of course to the school, for that is a form of
education you cannot resist. Plato said long ago, when you have your
demagogue against you no human form of education can resist that.

182. _Sir E. Head._ What is your opinion of the present mode of teaching
in the life school and the painting school, namely, by visitors
constantly changing?--I should think it mischievous. The unfortunate
youths, I should imagine, would just get what they could pick up; it
would be throwing them crumbs very much as you throw bones to the
animals in the Zoological Gardens.

Do you conceive that anything which can be properly called a school, is
likely to be formed where the teaching is conducted in that
way?--Assuredly not.

183. You stated that in the event of the introduction of lay members
into the Academy, you would not think it desirable that they should take
part in the selection or hanging of pictures for exhibition. Is not
there a great distinction between the selection of the pictures and the
hanging of the pictures, and might not they take part in the one without
taking part in the other?--I should think hardly. My notion of hanging a
picture is to put it low enough to be seen. If small it should be placed
near the eye. Anybody can hang a picture, but the question should be, is
there good painting enough in this picture to make it acceptable to the
public, or to make it just to the artist to show it? And none but
artists can quite judge of the workmanship which should entitle it to
enter the Academy.

Do you think it depends solely upon the workmanship?--Not by any means
solely, but I think that is the first point that should be looked to. An
ill-worked picture ought not to be admitted; let it be exhibited
elsewhere if you will, but your Academy has no business to let bad work
pass. If a man cannot carve or paint, though his work may be well
conceived, do not let his work pass. Unless you require good work in
your Academy exhibition, you can form no school.

_Mr. Reeve._ Applying the rule you have just laid down, would the effect
be to exclude a considerable proportion of the works now exhibited in
the Academy?--Yes; more of the Academicians' than of others.

_Sir E. Head._ Selection now being made by technical artists?--No.


_Lord Elcho._ Do you think that none but professional artists
are capable of judging of the actual merit or demerit of a
painting?--Non-professional persons may offer a very strong opinion upon
the subject, which may happen to be right,--or which may be wrong.

Your opinion is that the main thing with respect to the exhibition is,
that the pictures should be seen; that they should not be hung too high
or too low. That question has been already raised before the Commission,
and it has been suggested that two feet from the ground should be the
minimum height for the base of the picture, and some witnesses have said
that six feet and others eight feet should be the maximum height for the
base of the picture; what limit would you fix?--I should say that the
horizontal line in the perspective of the picture ought always to be
opposite the spectator's eye, no matter what the height may be from the
floor. If the horizontal line is so placed that it must be above the
spectator's eye, in consequence of the size of the picture, it cannot
be helped, but I would always get the horizontal line opposite the eye
if possible.

184. _Chairman._ Should you concur in the suggestion which a witness has
made before this Commission, that it would be an improvement, if the
space admitted of it, that works of sculpture should be intermixed in
the same apartment with works of painting, instead of being kept as at
present in separate apartments?--I should think it would be very
delightful to have some works of sculpture mixed with works of painting;
that it would make the exhibition more pleasing, and that the eye would
be rested sometimes by turning from the colors to the marble, and would
see the colors of the paintings better in return. Sir Joshua Reynolds
mentions the power which some of the Flemish pictures seemed to derive,
in his opinion, by looking at them after having consulted his note-book.
Statuary placed among the pictures would have the same effect. I would
not have the sculpture that was sent in for the exhibition of the year
exhibited with the paintings, but I would have works of sculpture placed
permanently in the painting rooms.

_Lord Elcho._ Supposing there were no works of sculpture available for
being placed in the rooms permanently, and supposing among the works
sent in for annual exhibition there were works of a character fit to be
placed among the paintings, should you see any objection to their being
so placed?--That would cause an immense amount of useless trouble, and
perpetual quarrels among the sculptors, as to whose works were entitled
to be placed in the painting rooms or not.

Are you aware that in the exhibition in Paris in 1855, that was the
system adopted?--No. If the French adopted it, it was likely to be
useful, and doubtless they would carry it out very cleverly; but we have
not the knack of putting the right things in the right places by any

Did you see our own International Exhibition last year?--No.

Are you aware that a similar system was resorted to in the exhibition of
pictures there?--I should think in our exhibitions we must put anything
where it would go, in the sort of way that we manage them.

185. At the present moment there are on the books of the Academy five
honorary members, who hold certain titular offices, Earl Stanhope being
antiquary to the Academy, Mr. Grote being professor of ancient history,
Dean Milman being professor of ancient literature, the Bishop of Oxford
being chaplain, and Sir Henry Holland being secretary for foreign
correspondence; these professors never deliver any lectures and have no
voice whatever in the management, but have mere honorary titular
distinctions; should you think it desirable that gentlemen of their
position and character should have a voice in the management of the
affairs of the Academy?--It would be much more desirable that they
should give lectures upon the subjects with which they are acquainted. I
should think Earl Stanhope and all the gentlemen you have mentioned,
would be much happier in feeling that they were of use in their
positions; and that if you gave them something to do they would very
nobly do it. If you give them nothing to do I think they ought not to
remain in the institution.

186. It has been suggested that the Academy now consisting of forty-two
might be increased advantageously to fifty professional members,
architecture, sculpture, and painting being fairly represented, and that
in addition to those fifty there might be elected or nominated somehow
or other ten non-professional persons, that is, men taking an interest
in art, who had a certain position and standing in the country, and who
might take an active part in the management of the affairs of the
institution, so tending to bring the Royal Academy and the public
together?--I do not know enough of society to be able to form an opinion
upon the subject.

Irrespective of society, as a question of art, you know enough of
non-professional persons interested in art to judge as to whether the
infusion of such an element into the Academy might be of advantage to
the Academy and to art generally?--I think if you educate our upper
classes to take more interest in art, which implies, of course, to know
something about it, they might be most efficient members of the
Academy; but if you leave them, as you leave them now, to the education
which they get at Oxford and Cambridge, and give them the sort of scorn
which all the teaching there tends to give, for art and artists, the
less they have to do with an academy of art the better.

Assuming that, at present, you have not a very great number of those
persons in the country, do you not think that the mere fact of the
adoption of such a principle in any reform in the constitution of the
Academy might have the effect of turning attention more to this matter
at the Universities, and leading to the very thing which you think so
desirable?--No, I should think not. It would only at present give the
impression that the whole system was somewhat artificial, and that it
was to remain ineffective.

Notwithstanding the neglect of this matter at the Universities, do you
think, at the present moment, you could not find ten non-professional
persons, of the character you would think desirable, to add to the
Academy?--If I may be so impertinent, I may say that you as one of the
upper classes, and I as a layman in the lower classes, are tolerably
fair examples of the kind of persons who take an interest in art, and I
think both of us would do a great deal of mischief if we had much to do
with the Academy.

187. Assuming those two persons to be appointed lay members, will you
state in what way you think they would do mischief in the councils of
the Academy?--We should be disturbing elements, whereas what I should
try to secure, if I had anything to do with its arrangements, would be
entire tranquillity, a regular system of tuition in which there should
be little excitement, and little operation of popular, aristocratic, or
any other disturbing influence; none of criticism, and therefore none of
tiresome people like myself;--none of money patronage, or even of
aristocratic patronage. The whole aim of the teachers should be to
produce work which could be demonstrably shown to be good and useful,
and worthy of being bought, or used in any way; and after that the
whole question of patronage and interest should be settled. The school
should teach its art-grammar thoroughly in everything, and in every
material, and should teach it carefully; and that could be done if a
perfect system were adopted, and above all, if a few thoroughly good
examples were put before the students. That is a point which I think of
very great importance. I think it very desirable that grants should be
made by the Government to obtain for the pupils of the Academy beautiful
examples of every kind, the very loveliest and best; not too many; and
that their minds should not be confused by having placed before them
examples of all schools and times; they are confused enough by what they
see in the shops, and in the annual exhibitions. Let engraving be taught
by Marc Antonio and Albert Dürer,--painting by Giorgione, Paul Veronese,
Titian and Velasquez,--and sculpture by good Greek and selected Roman
examples, and let there be no question of other schools or their merits.
Let those things be shown as good and right, and let the student be
trained in those principles:--if afterwards he strikes out an original
path, let him; but do not let him torment himself and other people with
his originalities, till he knows what is right, so far as is known at

You are opposed, on the whole, to the introduction of the lay
element?--Yes; but I am not opposed strongly or distinctly to it,
because I have not knowledge enough of society to know how it would

Your not being in favor of it results from your belief that the lay
element that would be useful to the Academy does not at present exist in
this country; but you think, if it did exist, and if it could be made to
grow out of our schools and universities by art teaching, it might, with
advantage to the Academy and to artists, be introduced into the

188. Supposing the class of Royal Academicians to be retained, and that
you had fifty Royal Academicians, should you think it desirable that
their works should be exhibited by themselves, so that the public might
see together the works of those considered to be the first artists of
this country?--Certainly, I should like all pictures to be well seen,
but I should like one department of the exhibition to be given to the
Associates or Graduates. I use that term because I suppose those
Associates to have a degree given them for a certain amount of
excellence, and any person who had attained that degree should be
allowed to send in so many pictures. Then the pictures sent in by
persons who had attained the higher honor of Royal Academician should be
separately exhibited.

That would act as a stimulus to them to keep up their position and show
themselves worthy of the honor?--Yes. I do not think they ought to be
mixed at all as they are now.

189. What is your opinion with reference to the present system of
traveling studentships?--I think it might be made very useful indeed.

On the one hand it has been suggested that there should be, as is the
system adopted by the French Academy, a permanent professor at Rome to
look after the students; on the other hand it has been said that it is
not desirable, if you have those traveling studentships, that the
students should go to Rome, that it is better for them to travel, and to
go to Venice or Lombardy, and to have no fixed school in connection with
the Academy at Rome. To which of those two systems do you give the
preference?--I should prefer the latter; if a man goes to travel, he
ought to travel, and not be plagued with schools.

It has been suggested that fellowships might be given to rising artists,
pecuniary assistance being attached to those fellowships, the artist
being required annually to send in some specimen of his work to show
what he was doing, but it being left optional with him to go abroad or
to work at home; should you think that would be desirable, or as has
been suggested in a letter by Mr. Armitage, supposing those fellowships
to be established for four years, that two of those years should be
spent abroad and two at home?--Without entering into any detail as to
whether two years should be spent abroad and two years at home, I feel
very strongly that one of the most dangerous and retarding influences
you have operating upon art is the enormous power of money, and the
chances of entirely winning or entirely losing, that is, of making your
fortune in a year by a large taking picture, or else starving for ten
years by very good small ones. The whole life of an artist is a lottery,
and a very wild lottery, and the best artist is liable to be warped away
from what he knows is right by the chance of at once making a vast
fortune by catching the public eye, the public eye being only to be
caught by bright colors and certain conditions of art not always
desirable. If, therefore, connected with the Academy schools there could
be the means of giving a fixed amount of income to certain men, who
would as a consideration for that income furnish a certain number of
works that might be agreed upon, or undertake any national work that
might be agreed upon, that I believe would be the healthiest way in
which a good painter could be paid. To give him his bread and cheese,
and so much a day, and say, Here are such and such things we want you to
do, is, I believe, the healthiest, simplest, and happiest way in which
great work can be produced. But whether it is compatible with our
present system I cannot say, nor whether every man would not run away as
soon as he found he could get two or three thousand pounds by painting a
catching picture. I think your best men would not.

You would be in favor of those fellowships?--Yes.

190. I gather that you are in favor of the encouragement of mural
decoration, fresco painting, and so forth. The system that prevails
abroad, in France, for instance, is for painters to employ pupils to
work under them. It was in that way that Delaroche painted his hemicycle
at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, employing four pupils, who worked for
him, and who from his small sketch drew the full-sized picture on the
walls, which was subsequently corrected by him. They then colored it up
to his sketch, after which he shut himself up again, and completed it.
On the other hand, if you go to the Victoria Gallery in the House of
Lords, you find Mr. Maclise at work on a space of wall forty-eight feet
long, painting the Death of Nelson on the deck of the "Victory," every
figure being life size, the deck of the ship and the ropes and
everything being the actual size, and you see him painting with his own
hand each little bit of rope and the minutest detail. Which of the two
systems do you think is the soundest and most calculated to produce
great and noble work?--The first is the best for the pupils, the other
is the best for the public. But unquestionably not only can a great work
be executed as Mr. Maclise is executing his, but no really great work
was executed otherwise, for in all mighty work, whether in fresco or
oil, every touch and hue of color to the last corner has been put on
lovingly by the painter's own hand, not leaving to a pupil to paint so
much as a pebble under a horse's foot.

191. Do you believe that most of the works of the great masters in Italy
were so executed?--No; because the pupils were nearly as mighty as the
masters. Great men took such an interest in their work, and they were so
modest and simple that they were repeatedly sacrificing themselves to
the interests of their religion or of the society they were working for;
and when a thing was to be done in a certain time it could only be done
by bringing in aid; but whenever precious work was to be done, then the
great man said, "Lock me up here by myself, give me a little wine and
cheese, and come in a month, and I will show you what I have done."

Do you think it desirable that the pupils should be so trained as to be
capable of assisting great masters in such works?--Assuredly.

     NOTE.--The following analysis of the above evidence was
     given in the Index to the Report (pp. 139, 140).--ED.

     168-69. The Academy not in all points satisfactory. Would wish to
     see the Academicians not self-elected.--But by a constituency
     consisting both of artists and the public.--Public influence to be
     the same in painting as in music.

     170. As to the Associates: is in favor of some period of
     probation.--Their class to be unlimited, with a very limited number
     of Academicians.

     171. Has formed no opinion on the question of introducing laymen
     into the Academy; in matters of revenue they might be joined with
     artists, but not in the selection and hanging of pictures: opposed
     on the whole to their introduction, considering the present state
     of art education.--As he would like to see the Academy constituted,
     thinks the president ought to be an artist.

     172. General effect of the Academy's teaching upon the art of the
     country merely nugatory.--Would have a much more comprehensive
     system of teaching.

     173. The Academy education to correspond wholly to the University

     174. Not easy but very necessary for the Academy to adopt an
     authoritative system of teaching.

     175. His idea of what the Academy teaching should be; would have a
     school of chemistry.

     176. The teaching of wall-painting in permanent materials should be
     a branch, possibly the principal branch.

     177. Not satisfied with the selection of artists to be members of
     the Academy.

     178. In some cases the selection of pictures has been injudicious,
     but this a matter of small importance; the main point is how the
     pictures that are admitted are to be best seen.

     179. In favor of an educational test for candidates for admission
     into the Academy.

     180. And of professors of art at the Universities.

     181. Causes of the want of refinement observable in many modern
     pictures; the large prices they fetch harmful.

     182. Teaching by visitors constantly changing mischievous.

     183. How a picture should be hung.--An ill-worked picture ought not
     to be admitted by the Academy.--Bearing of this last opinion upon
     the present Exhibition.

     184. Would have works of sculpture placed permanently in the
     painting-room, but not any of those sent in for the Exhibition of
     the year.

     185. In favor of the present honorary members being made of use in
     their positions.

     186. Introduction of laymen into the Academy deprecated under
     present circumstances, and why.--Present feeling towards art and
     artists at the Universities.

     187. Desirable that Government grants should be made to obtain for
     the pupils of the Academy beautiful examples of every kind of art.

     188. In favor of separate exhibitions of the works of Associates
     (or Graduates) and Academicians.

     189. In favor of art-fellowships, but not of a fixed school in
     connection with the Academy at Rome.

     190. Comparison of the French, and English systems (as regards
     assistance from pupils) in the production of great public

     191. How the works of the Italian masters were executed.--Desirable
     that pupils should be trained to assist great masters in public


[Footnote 3: Reprinted from "The Report of the Commissioners appointed
to inquire into the Present Position of the Royal Academy in Relation to
the Fine Arts." London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1863 (pp. 546-55.
Questions 5079-5142). The Commission consisted of Earl Stanhope
(_Chairman_), Viscount Hardinge, Lord Elcho, Sir E. W. Head, Mr. William
Stirling, Mr. H. D. Seymour, and Mr. Henry Reeve, all of whom, except
Mr. Seymour, were present at the above sitting.--ED.]



  _March 20th, 1880._

  MY DEAR ----,

192. If I put off writing the paper you asked me for, till I can do it
conveniently, it may hang fire till this time next year. If you will
accept a note on the subject now and then, keeping them till there are
enough to be worth printing, all practical ends may be enough answered,
and much more quickly.

The first function of a Museum--(for a little while I shall speak of Art
and Natural History as alike cared for in an ideal one)--is to give
example of perfect order and perfect elegance, in the true sense of that
test word, to the disorderly and rude populace. Everything in its _own_
place, everything looking its best because it is there, nothing crowded,
nothing unnecessary, nothing puzzling. Therefore, after a room has been
once arranged, there must be no change in it. For new possessions there
must be new rooms, and after twenty years' absence--coming back to the
room in which one learned one's bird or beast alphabet, we should be
able to show our children the old bird on the old perch in the
accustomed corner. But--first of all, let the room be beautifully
complete, _i.e._ complete enough for its proper business.

193. In the British Museum, at the top of the stairs, we encounter in a
terrific alliance a giraffe, a hippopotamus, and a basking shark. The
public--young and old--pass with a start and a stare, and remain as wise
as they were before about all the three creatures. The day before
yesterday I was standing by the big fish--a father came up to it with
his little boy. "That's a shark," says he; "it turns on its side when it
wants to eat you," and so went on--literally as wise as he was before;
for he had read in a book that sharks turn on their side to bite, and he
never looked at the ticket, which told him this particular shark only
ate small fish. Now he never looked at the ticket, because he didn't
expect to find anything on it except that this was the Sharkogobalus
Smith-Jonesianius. But if, round the walls of the room, there had been
all the _well-known_ kinds of shark, going down, in graduated sizes,
from that basking one to our waggling dog-fish, and if every one of
these had had a plain English ticket, with ten words of common sense on
it, saying where and how the beast lived, and a number (unchangeable)
referring to a properly arranged manual of the shark tribe (sold by the
Museum publisher, who ought to have his little shop close by the
porter's lodge), both father and son must have been much below the level
of average English man and boy in mother wit if they did not go out of
the room by the door in front of them very distinctly, and--to
themselves--amazingly, wiser than they had come in by the door behind

194. If I venture to give instances of fault from the British Museum, it
is because, on the whole, it is the best-ordered and pleasantest
institution in all England, and the grandest concentration of the means
of human knowledge in the world. And I am heartily sorry for the
break-up of it, and augur no good from any changes of arrangement likely
to take place in concurrence with Kensington, where, the same day that I
had been meditating by the old shark, I lost myself in a Cretan
labyrinth of military ironmongery, advertisements of spring blinds,
model fish-farming, and plaster bathing nymphs with a year's smut on all
the noses of them; and had to put myself in charge of a policeman to get
out again. Ever affectionately yours,


  _March 29th, 1880._

  MY DEAR ----,

195. The only chance of my getting these letters themselves into fairly
consistent and Museum-like order is by writing a word or two always the
first thing in the morning till I get them done; so, I shall at least
remember what I was talking of the day before; but for the rest--I must
speak of one thing or another as it may come into my head, for there are
too many to classify without pedantry and loss of time.

My requirement of "elegance" in that last letter contemplates chiefly
architecture and fittings. These should not only be perfect in
stateliness, durability, and comfort, but beautiful to the utmost point
consistent with due subordination to the objects displayed. To enter a
room in the Louvre is an education in itself; but two steps on the
filthy floor and under the iron forks, half scaffold, half gallows, of
the big Norwood glass bazaar, debase mind and eye at once below
possibility of looking at anything with profit all the day afterwards. I
have just heard that a French picture dealer is to have charge of the
picture gallery there, and that the whole interior is to become
virtually a large café, when--it is hoped--the glass monster may at last
"pay." Concerning which beautiful consummation of Mr. Dickens's
"Fairyland" (see my pamphlet[5] on the opening of the so-called
"palace"), be it here at once noted, that all idea of any "payment," in
that sense, must be utterly and scornfully abjured on the foundation
stone of every National or Civic Museum. There must be neither companies
to fill their own pockets out of it, nor trustees who can cramp the
management, or interfere with the officering, or shorten the supplies of
it. Put one man of reputation and sense at its head; give him what staff
he asks for, and a fixed annual sum for expenditure--specific accounts
to be printed annually for all the world's seeing--and let him alone.
The original expenditure for building and fitting must be magnificent,
and the current expenditure for cleaning and refitting magnanimous; but
a certain proportion of this current cost should be covered by small
entrance fees, exacted, not for any miserly helping out of the
floor-sweepers' salaries, but for the sake of the visitors themselves,
that the rooms may not be incumbered by the idle, or disgraced by the
disreputable. You must not make your Museum a refuge against either rain
or ennui, nor let into perfectly well-furnished, and even, in the true
sense, palatial, rooms, the utterly squalid and ill-bred portion of the
people. There should, indeed, be refuges for the poor from rain and
cold, and decent rooms accessible to indecent persons, if they like to
go there; but neither of these charities should be part of the function
of a Civic Museum.

196. Make the entrance fee a silver penny (a silver groat, typically
representing the father, mother, eldest son, and eldest daughter,
passing always the total number of any one family), and every person
admitted, however young, being requested to sign their name, or make
their mark.

That the entrance money should be always of silver is one of the
beginnings of education in the place--one of the conditions of its
"elegance" on the very threshold.

And the institution of silver for bronze in the lower coinage is a part
of the system of National education which I have been teaching these
last ten years--a very much deeper and wider one than any that can be
given in museums--and without which all museums will ultimately be
vain.--Ever affectionately yours,

  J. R.

P.S.--There should be a well-served coffee-room attached to the
building; but this part of the establishment without any luxury in
furniture or decoration, and without any cooking apparatus for

  _Easter Monday, 1880._

  DEAR ----,

197. The day is auspicious for the beginning of reflection on the right
manner of manifestation of all divine things to those who desire to see
them. For every house of the Muses, where, indeed, they live, is an
Interpreter's by the wayside, or rather, a place of oracle and
interpretation in one. And the right function of every museum, to simple
persons, is the manifestation to them of what is lovely in the life of
Nature, and heroic in the life of Men.

There are already, you see, some quaint restrictions in that last
sentence, whereat sundry of our friends will start, and others stop. I
must stop also, myself, therefore, for a minute or two, to insist on

198. A Museum, primarily, is to be for _simple_ persons. Children, that
is to say, and peasants. For your student, your antiquary, or your
scientific gentleman, there must be separate accommodation, or they must
be sent elsewhere. The Town Museum is to be for the Town's People, the
Village Museum for the Villagers. Keep that first principle clear to
start with. If you want to found an academy of painting in
Littleborough, or of literature in Squattlesea Mere, you must get your
advice from somebody else, not me.

199. Secondly. The museum is to manifest to these simple persons the
beauty and life of all things and creatures in their perfectness. Not
their modes of corruption, disease, or death. Not even, always, their
genesis, in the more or less blundering beginnings of it; not even their
modes of nourishment, if destructive; you must not stuff a blackbird
pulling up a worm, nor exhibit in a glass case a crocodile crunching a

Neither must you ever show bones or guts, or any other charnel-house
stuff. Teach your children to know the lark's note from the
nightingale's; the length of their larynxes is their own business, and

I cannot enough insist upon this point, nor too solemnly. If you wish
your children to be surgeons, send them to Surgeons' College; if
jugglers or necromancers, to Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke; and if
butchers, to the shambles: but if you want them to lead the calm life of
country gentlemen and gentlewomen, manservants and maidservants, let
them seek none of Death's secrets till they die. Ever faithfully and
affectionately yours,

  J. R.

  _Easter Tuesday, 1880._

  DEAR ----,

200. I must enter to-day somewhat further on the practical, no less than
emotional, reason for the refusal of anatomical illustrations to the
general public.

It is difficult enough to get one clear idea into anybody, of any single
thing. But next to impossible to get _two_ clear ideas into them, of the
same thing. We have had lions' heads for door-knockers these hundred and
fifty years, without ever learning so much as what a lion's head is
like. But with good modern stuffing and fetching, I can manage now to
make a child really understand something about the beast's look, and his
mane, and his sullen eyes and brindled lips. But if I'm bothered at the
same time with a big bony box, that has neither mane, lips, nor eyes,
and have to explain to the poor wretch of a parish schoolboy how somehow
this fits on to that, I will be bound that, at a year's end, draw one as
big as the other, and he won't know a lion's head from a tiger's--nor a
lion's skull from a rabbit's. Nor is it the parish boy only who suffers.
The scientific people themselves miss half their points from the habit
of hacking at things, instead of looking at them. When I gave my lecture
on the Swallow[6] at Oxford, I challenged every anatomist there to tell
me the use of his tail (I believe half of them didn't know he had one).
Not a soul of them could tell me, which I knew beforehand; but I did not
know, till I had looked well through their books, how they were
quarreling about his wings! Actually at this moment (Easter Tuesday,
1880), I don't believe you can find in any scientific book in Europe a
true account of the way a bird flies--or how a snake serpentines. My
Swallow lecture was the first bit of clear statement on the one point,
and when I get my Snake lecture published, you will have the first
extant bit of clear statement on the other; and that is simply because
the anatomists can't, for their life, look at a thing till they have
skinned it.

201. And matters get worse and worse every hour. Yesterday, after
writing the first leaf of this note, I went into the British Museum, and
found a nasty skeleton of a lizard, with its under jaw dropped off, on
the top of a table of butterflies--temporarily of course--but then
everything has been temporary or temporizing at the British Museum for
the last half-century; making it always a mere waste and weariness to
the general public, because, forsooth, it had always to be kept up to
the last meeting of the Zoological Society, and last edition of the
_Times_. As if there had not been beasts enough before the Ark to tell
our children the manners of, on a Sunday afternoon!

202. I had gone into the Museum that day to see the exact form of a
duck's wing, the examination of a lively young drake's here at Coniston
having closed in his giving me such a cut on the wrist with it, that I
could scarcely write all the morning afterwards. Now in the whole bird
gallery there are only two ducks' wings expanded, and those in different
positions. Fancy the difference to the mob, and me, if the shells and
monkey skeletons were taken away from the mid-gallery, and instead,
three gradated series of birds put down the length of it (or half the
length--or a quarter would do it--with judgment), showing the
transition, in length of beak, from bunting to woodcock--in length of
leg, from swift to stilted plover--and in length of wing, from auk to
frigate-bird; the wings, all opened, in one specimen of each bird to
their full sweep, and in another, shown at the limit of the down back
stroke. For what on earth--or in air--is the use to me of seeing their
boiled sternums and scalped sinciputs, when I'm never shown either how
they bear their breasts--or where they carry their heads?

Enough of natural history, you will say! I will come to art in my next
letter--finishing the ugly subject of this one with a single sentence
from section ix. of the "Tale of a Tub," commending the context of it to
my friends of the Royal Academy.

"Last week, I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much
it altered her person for the worse."--Ever, my dear ----, affectionately

  J. R.

  _7th April, 1880._

  MY DEAR ----,

203. I suppose that proper respect for the great first principles of the
British Constitution, that every man should do as he pleases, think what
he likes, and see everything that can be seen for money, will make most
of your readers recoil from my first principle of Museum
arrangement,--that nothing should be let inside the doors that isn't
good of its sort,--as from an attempt to restore the Papacy, revive the
Inquisition, and away with everybody to the lowest dungeon of the
castle moat. They must at their pleasure charge me with these sinister
views; they will find that there is no dexter view to be had of the
business, which does not consist primarily in knowing Bad from Good, and
Right from Wrong. Nor, if they will condescend to begin simply enough,
and at the bottom of the said business, and let the cobbler judge of the
crepida, and the potter of the pot, will they find it so supremely
difficult to establish authorities that shall be trustworthy, and
judgments that shall be sure.

204. Suppose, for instance, at Leicester, whence came first to us the
inquiry on such points, one began by setting apart a Hunter's Room, in
which a series of portraits of their Master's favorites, for the last
fifty years or so, should be arranged, with certificate from each Squire
of his satisfaction, to such and such a point, with the portrait of
Lightfoot, or Lucifer, or Will o' the Wisp; and due notification, for
perhaps a recreant and degenerate future, of the virtues and perfections
at this time sought and secured in the English horse. Would not such a
chamber of chivalry have, in its kind, a quite indisputable authority
and historical value, not to be shaken by any future impudence or

Or again in Staffordshire, would it not be easily answered to an honest
question of what is good and not, in clay or ware, "This will work, and
that will stand"? and might not a series of the mugs which have been
matured with discrimination, and of the pots which have been popular in
use, be so ordered as to display their qualities in a convincing and
harmonious manner against all gainsayers?

205. Nor is there any mystery of taste, or marvel of skill, concerning
which you may not get quite easy initiation and safe pilotage for the
common people, provided you once make them clearly understand that there
is indeed something to be learned, and something to be admired, in the
arts, which will need their attention for a time; and cannot be
explained with a word, nor seen with a wink. And provided also, and with
still greater decision, you set over them masters, in each branch of
the arts, who know their own minds in that matter, and are not afraid to
speak them, nor to say, "We know," when they know, and "We don't know,"
when they don't.

To which end, the said several branches must be held well apart, and
dealt with one at a time. Every considerable town ought to have its
exemplary collections of woodwork, iron-work, and jewelry, attached to
the schools of their several trades, leaving to be illustrated in its
public museum, as in an hexagonal bee's cell, the six queenly and
muse-taught arts of needlework, writing, pottery, sculpture,
architecture, and painting.

206. For each of these, there should be a separate Tribune or Chamber of
absolute tribunal, which need not be large--that, so called, of
Florence, not the size of a railway waiting-room, has actually for the
last century determined the taste of the European public in two
arts!--in which the absolute best in each art, so far as attainable by
the communal pocket, should be authoritatively exhibited, with simple
statement that it is good, and reason why it is good, and notification
in what particulars it is unsurpassable, together with some not too
complex illustrations of the steps by which it has attained to that
perfection, where these can be traced far back in history.

207. These six Tribunes, or Temples, of Fame, being first set with their
fixed criteria, there should follow a series of historical galleries,
showing the rise and fall (if fallen) of the arts in their beautiful
associations, as practiced in the great cities and by the great nations
of the world. The history of Egypt, of Persia, of Greece, of Italy, of
France, and of England, should be given in their arts,--dynasty by
dynasty and age by age; and for a seventh, a Sunday Room, for the
history of Christianity in its art, including the farthest range and
feeblest efforts of it; reserving for this room, also, what power could
be reached in delineation of the great monasteries and cathedrals which
were once the glory of all Christian lands.

208. In such a scheme, every form of noble art would take harmonious
and instructive place, and often very little and disregarded things be
found to possess unthought-of interest and hidden relative beauty; but
its efficiency--and in this chiefly let it be commended to the patience
of your practical readers--would depend, not on its extent, but on its
strict and precise limitation. The methods of which, if you care to have
my notions of them, I might perhaps enter into, next month, with some
illustrative detail.--Ever most truly yours,

  J. R.

  _10th June, 1880._[7]

  MY DEAR ----,

209. I can't give you any talk on detail, yet; but, not to drop a stitch
in my story, I want to say why I've attached so much importance to
needlework, and put it in the opening court of the six. You see they are
progressive, so that I don't quite put needlework on a _level_ with
painting. But a nation that would learn to "touch" _must_ primarily know
how to "stitch." I am always busy, for a good part of the day, in my
wood, and wear out my leathern gloves fast, after once I can wear them
at all: but that's the precise difficulty of the matter. I get them from
the shop looking as stout and trim as you please, and half an hour after
I've got to work they split up the fingers and thumbs like ripe
horse-chestnut shells, and I find myself with five dangling rags round
my wrist, and a rotten white thread draggling after me through the wood,
or tickling my nose, as if Ariadne and Arachne had lost their wits
together. I go home, invoking the universe against sewing-machines; and
beg the charity of a sound stitch or two from any of the maids who know
their woman's art; and thenceforward the life of the glove proper
begins. Wow, it is not possible for any people that put up with this
sort of thing, to learn to paint, or do anything else with their fingers
decently:--only, for the most part they don't think their museums are
meant to show them how to do anything decently, but rather how to be
idle, indecently. Which extremely popular and extremely erroneous
persuasion, if you please, we must get out of our way before going

210. I owe some apology, by the way, to Mr. Frith, for the way I spoke
of his picture[8] in my letter to the Leicester committee, not intended
for publication, though I never write what I would not allow to be
published, and was glad that they asked leave to print it. It was not I
who instanced the picture, it had been named in the meeting of the
committee as the kind of thing that people best like, and I was obliged
to say _why_ people best liked it:--namely, not for the painting, which
is good, and worthy their liking, but for the sight of the racecourse
and its humors. And the reason that such a picture ought not to be in a
museum, is precisely because in a museum people ought not to fancy
themselves on a racecourse. If they want to see races, let them go to
races; and if rogues, to Bridewells. They come to museums to see
something different from rogues and races.

211. But, to put the matter at once more broadly, and more accurately,
be it remembered, for sum of all, that a museum is not a theater. Both
are means of noble education--but you must not mix up the two. Dramatic
interest is one thing; aesthetic charm another; a pantomime must not
depend on its fine color, nor a picture on its fine pantomime.

Take a special instance. It is long since I have been so pleased in the
Royal Academy as I was by Mr. Britton Rivière's "Sympathy." The dog in
uncaricatured doggedness, divine as Anubis, or the Dog-star; the child
entirely childish and lovely, the carpet might have been laid by
Veronese. A most precious picture in itself, yet not one for a museum.
Everybody would think only of the story in it; everybody be wondering
what the little girl had done, and how she would be forgiven, and if she
wasn't, how soon she would stop crying, and give the doggie a kiss, and
comfort his heart. All which they might study at home among their own
children and dogs just as well; and should not come to the museum to
plague the real students there, since there is not anything of especial
notableness or unrivaled quality in the actual painting.

212. On the other hand, one of the four pictures I chose for permanent
teaching in Fors was one of a child and a dog. The child is doing
nothing; neither is the dog. But the dog is absolutely and beyond
comparison the best painted dog in the world--ancient or modern--on this
side of it, or at the Antipodes, (so far as I've seen the contents of
said world). And the child is painted so that child _cannot_ be better
done. _That_ is a picture for a museum.

Not that dramatic, still less didactic, intention should disqualify a
work of art for museum purposes. But--broadly--dramatic and didactic art
should be universally national, the luster of our streets, the treasure
of our palaces, the pleasure of our homes. Much art that is weak,
transitory, and rude may thus become helpful to us. But the museum is
only for what is eternally right, and well done, according to divine law
and human skill. The least things are to be there--and the greatest--but
all _good_ with the goodness that makes a child cheerful and an old man
calm; the simple should go there to learn, and the wise to remember.

213. And now to return to what I meant to be the subject of this
letter--the arrangement of our first ideal room in such a museum. As I
think of it, I would fain expand the single room, first asked for, into
one like Prince Houssain's,--no, Prince Houssain had the flying
tapestry, and I forget which prince had the elastic palace. But, indeed,
it must be a lordly chamber which shall be large enough to exhibit the
true nature of thread and needle--omened in "Thread-needle Street!"

The structure, first of wool and cotton, of fur, and hair, and down, of
hemp, flax, and silk:--microscope permissible if any cause can be shown
_why_ wool is soft, and fur fine, and cotton downy, and down downier;
and how a flax fiber differs from a dandelion stalk, and how the
substance of a mulberry leaf can become velvet for Queen Victoria's
crown, and clothing of purple for the housewife of Solomon.

Then the phase of its dyeing. What azures, and emeralds, and Tyrians
scarlets can be got into fibers of thread.

214. Then the phase of its spinning. The mystery of that divine
spiral, from finest to firmest, which renders lace possible at
Valenciennes--anchorage possible, after Trafalgar--if Hardy had but done
as he was bid.

Then the mystery of weaving. The eternal harmony of warp and woof, of
all manner of knotting, knitting, and reticulation, the art which makes
garment possible, woven from the top throughout, draughts of fishes
possible, miraculous enough in any pilchard or herring shoal, gathered
into companionable catchableness;--which makes, in fine, so many Nations
possible, and Saxon and Norman beyond the rest.

215. And finally, the accomplished phase of needlework, the _Acu
Tetigisti_ of all time, which does, indeed, practically exhibit what
mediæval theologists vainly tried to conclude inductively--How many
angels can stand on a needle-point. To show the essential nature of a
stitch--drawing the separate into the inseparable, from the lowly work
of duly restricted sutor, and modestly installed cobbler, to the
needle-Scripture of Matilda, the Queen.

All the acicular Art of Nations, savage and civilized, from Lapland
boot, letting in no snow-water--to Turkey cushion bossed with pearl--to
valance of Venice gold in needlework -to the counterpanes and samplers
of our own lovely ancestresses, imitable, perhaps, once more, with good
help from Whiteland's College--and Girton.

216. It was but yesterday, my own womankind were in much wholesome and
sweet excitement delightful to behold, in the practice of some new
device of remedy for rents (to think how much of evil there is in the
two senses of that four-lettered word! as in the two methods of
intonation of its synonym tear!) whereby they might be daintily effaced,
and with a newness which would never make them worse. The process began
beautifully, even to my uninformed eyes, in the likeness of herring-bone
masonry, crimson on white, but it seemed to me marvelous that anything
should yet be discoverable in needle process, and that of so utilitarian

All that is reasonable, I say of such work is to be in our first museum
room. All that Athena and Penelope would approve. Nothing that vanity
has invented for change, or folly loved for costliness; but all that can
bring honest pride into homely life, and give security to health--and
honor to beauty.



[Footnote 4: These letters are reprinted from the _Art Journal_ of June
and August 1880, where they were prefaced with the following note by the
editor in explanation of their origin:--"We are enabled, through Mr.
Ruskin's kindness, to publish this month a series of letters to a friend
upon the functions and formation of a model Museum or Picture Gallery.
As stated in our last issue the question arose thus:--At the
distribution of the prizes to the School of Art at Leicester by Mr. J.
D. Linton and Mr. James Orrock, members of the Institute of Painters in
Water Colors, the latter, after stating the vital importance of study
from nothing but the finest models, and expressing his regret that the
present price of works of Art of the first class rendered their
attainment by schools almost prohibitory, offered drawings by William
Hunt and David Cox as a nucleus for a collection. He urged others to
follow this example, and with so much success that a few days saw a
large sum and many works of Art promised in aid of a students' gallery.
The attention of the Leicester Corporation was thereupon drawn to the
movement, and they at once endeavored to annex the scheme to their
Museum. Failing in this, they in friendly rivalry subscribed a large sum
of money, and the question at once arose how best to dispose of it, each
naturally thinking his own ideas the best. At this juncture Mr. Ruskin's
aid was invoked by one section of the subscribers, and he replied in a
letter which, owing to its having been circulated without its context,
has been open to some misconstruction. As he was only asked, so he only
advised, what should _not_ be done. However, the letter bore its fruits,
for both parties have had the attention of the country drawn to their
proposals, and so are now more diffident how to set about carrying them
into effect than they were before. Under these circumstances Mr. Ruskin
has been induced to set out the mode in which he considers an Art Museum
should be formed."

The letter which was "open to some misconstruction" may be found in
_Arrows of the Chace_.]

[Footnote 5: Reprinted in vol. i., §§ 253-273.--ED.]

[Footnote 6: In 1873. See the second lecture of _Love's

[Footnote 7: _Art Journal_, August, 1880.]

[Footnote 8: The "Derby Day." See _Arrows of the Chase_.]

       *       *       *       *       *








       *       *       *       *       *


217. The tomb of Federigo and Nicola Cavalli is in the southernmost
chapel of the five which form the east end of the church of St.
Anastasia at Verona.

The traveler in Italy is so often called upon to admire what he cannot
enjoy, that it must relieve the mind of any reader intending to visit
Verona to be assured that this church deserves nothing but extraordinary
praise; it has, however, some characters which a quarter of an hour's
attention will make both interesting and instructive, and which I will
note briefly before giving an account of the Cavalli chapel. This church
"would, if the font were finished, probably be the most perfect specimen
in existence of the style to which it belongs," says a critic quoted in
"Murray's Guide." The conjecture is a bold one, for the font is not only
unfinished, and for the most part a black mass of ragged brickwork, but
the portion pretending to completion is in three styles; approaches
excellence only in one of them; and in that the success is limited to
the sides of the single entrance door. The flanks and vaults of this
porch, indeed, deserve our almost unqualified admiration for their
beautiful polychrome masonry. They are built of large masses of green
serpentine alternating with red and white marble, and the joints are so
delicate and firm that a casual spectator might pass the gate with
contempt, thinking the stone was painted.

218. The capitals on these two sides, the carved central shaft, and the
horizontal lintel of this door are also excellent examples of Veronese
thirteenth century sculpture, and have merits of a high order, but of
which the general observer cannot be cognizant. I do not mean, in
saying this, to extol them greatly; the best art is pleasing to all, and
its virtue, or a portion of its virtue, instantly manifest. But there
are some good qualities in every earnest work which can only be
ascertained by attention; and in saying that a casual observer cannot
see the good qualities in early Veronese sculpture, I mean that it
possesses none but these, nor of these many.

219. Yet it is worth a minute's delay to observe how much the sculpture
has counted on attention. In later work, figures of the size of life, or
multitudinous small ones, please, if they do not interest, the spectator
who can spare them a momentary glance. But all the figures on this door
are diminutive, and project so slightly from the stone as scarcely to
catch the eye; there are none in the sides and none in the vault of the
gate, and it is only by deliberate examination that we find the faith
which is to be preached in the church, and the honor of its preacher,
conclusively engraved on the lintel and door-post. The spiral flutings
of the central shaft are uninterrupted, so as to form a slight recess
for the figure of St. Dominic, with, I believe, St. Peter Martyr and St.
Thomas Aquinas, one on each side with the symbols of the sun and moon.
At the end of the lintel, on the left, is St. Anastasia; on the right,
St. Catherine (of Siena); in the center, on the projecting capital, the
Madonna; and on the lintel, the story of Christ, in the four passages of
the Annunciation, Nativity, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.

220. This is the only part of the front of the church which is certainly
part of the first structure in 1260. The two statues of St. Anastasia
and St. Catherine are so roughly joined to the lateral capitals as to
induce a suspicion that even these latter and the beautiful polychrome
vault are of later work, not, however, later than 1300. The two pointed
arches which divide the tympanum are assuredly subsequent, and the
fresco which occupies it is a bad work of the end of the fourteenth
century; and the marble frieze and foundations of the front are at least
not earlier than 1426.

Of this portion of the building the foundation is noble, and its color
beautifully disposed, but the sculpture of the paneling is poor, and of
no interest or value.

221. On entering the church, and turning immediately to the left, there
will be seen on the inner side of the external wall a tomb under a
boldly trefoiled canopy. It is a sarcophagus with a recumbent figure on
it, which is the only work of art in the church deserving serious
attention. It is the tomb of Gerard Bolderius "sui temporis physicorum
principi," says his epitaph,[10] not, as far as I can discover, untruly.
On the front of the sarcophagus is the semi-figure of Christ rising from
the tomb, used generally at the period for the type of resurrection,
between the Virgin and St. John; and two shields, bearing, one the
fleur-de-lys, the other an eagle. The recumbent figure is entirely
simple and right in treatment, sculptured without ostentation of skill
or exaggeration of sentiment, by a true artist, who endeavors only to
give the dead due honor, and his own art subordinate and modest scope.

This monument, being the best in St. Anastasia, is, by the usual spite
of fortune, placed where it is quite invisible except on bright days. On
the opposite side of the church, the first monument on the right, well
lighted by the tall western window, should be looked at next to the
physician's; for as that is the best, this is essentially the worst,
piece of sculptured art in the building; a series of academy studies in
marble, well executed, but without either taste or invention, and
necessarily without meaning, the monument having been erected to a
person whose only claim to one was his having stolen money enough to pay
for it before he died. It is one of the first pieces extant of entirely
mechanical art workmanship, done for money; and the perfection of its
details may justify me in directing special attention to it.

222. There are no other monuments, still less pictures, in the body of
the church deserving notice. The general effect of the interior is
impressive, owing partly to the boldness and simplicity of the pillars
which sustain the roof; partly to the darkness which involves them:
these Dominican churches being, in fact, little more than vast halls for
preaching in, and depending little on decoration, and not at all on
light. But the sublimity of shadow soon fails when it has nothing
interesting to shade; and the chapel or monuments which, opposite each
interval between the pillars, fill the sides of the aisles, possess no
interest except in their arabesques of cinque-cento sculpture, of which
far better examples may be seen elsewhere; while the differences in
their ages, styles, and purposes hinder them from attaining any unity of
decorative effect, and break the unity of the church almost as fatally,
though not as ignobly, as the incoherent fillings of the aisles at
Westminster. The Cavalli chapel itself, though well deserving the
illustration which the Arundel Society has bestowed upon it, is filled
with a medley of tombs and frescoes of different dates, partly
superseding, none illustrating, each other, and instructive mainly as
showing the unfortunate results of freedom and "private enterprise" in
matters of art, as compared with the submission to the design of one
ruling mind which is the glory of all the chapels in Italy where the art
is entirely noble.

223. Instructive, thus, at least, even if seen hastily; much better
teaching may be had even from the unharmonious work, if we give time and
thought to it. The upper fresco on the north wall, representing the
Baptism of Christ, has no beauty, and little merit as art; yet the
manner of its demerit is interesting. St. John kneels to baptize. This
variation from the received treatment, in which he stands above the
Christ, is enough in itself to show that the poor Veronese painter had
some intelligence of his subject; and the quaint and haggard figure,
grim-featured, with its black hair rising in separate locks like a crown
of thorns, is a curious intermediate type between the grotesque
conception which we find in earlier art (or, for instance, on the coins
of Florence) and the beautiful, yet always melancholy and severe figures
of St. John painted by Cima da Conegliano at Venice. With this stern
figure, in raiment of camel's hair, compare the Magdalen in the frescoes
at the side of the altar, who is veiled from head to foot with her own,
and sustained by six angels, being the type of repentance from the
passions, as St. John of resistance to them. Both symbols are, to us, to
say the very least, without charm, and to very few without offense; yet
consider how much nobler the temper of the people must have been who
could take pleasure in art so gloomy and unadorned, than that of the
populace of to-day, which must be caught with bright colors and excited
by popular sentiment.

224. Both these frescoes, with the others on the north wall of the
chapel, and Madonna between four saints on the south side, by the
Cavalli tomb, are evidently of fourteenth century work, none of it good,
but characteristic; and the last-named work (seen in the plate) is so
graceful as to be quite worth some separate illustration. But the one
above it is earlier, and of considerable historical interest. It was
discovered with the other paintings surrounding the tomb, about the year
1838, when Persico published his work, "Verona, e la sua Provincia," in
which he says (p. 13), "levatane l'antica incrostatura, tornarono a vita

It would have been more serviceable to us if we could have known the
date of the rough cast, than of its removal; the period of entire
contempt for ancient art being a subject of much interest in the
ecclesiastical history of Italy. But the tomb itself was an
incrustation, having been raised with much rudeness and carelessness
amidst the earlier art which recorded the first rise of the Cavalli

225. It will be seen by reference to the plate that the frescoes round
the tomb have no symmetrical relation to it. They are all of earlier
date, and by better artists. The tomb itself is roughly carved, and
coarsely painted, by men who were not trying to do their best, and could
not have done anything very well, even if they had tried: it is an
entirely commonplace and dull work, though of a good school, and has
been raised against the highest fresco with a strange disregard of the
merit of the work itself, and of its historical value to the family.
This fresco is attributable by Persico to Giotto, but is, I believe,
nothing more than an interesting example of the earnest work of his
time, and has no quality on which I care to enlarge; nor is it
ascertainable who the three knights are whom it commemorates, unless
some evidence be found of the date of the painting, and there is, yet,
none but that of its manner. But they are all three Cavallis, and I
believe them to represent the three first founders of the family,
Giovanni, "che fioriva intorno al 1274," his son Nicola (1297), and
grandson Federigo, who was Podesta of Vicenza under the Scaligers in
1331, and by whom I suppose the fresco to have been commanded. The
Cavallis came first from Germany into the service of the Visconti of
Milan, as condottieri, thence passing into the service of the Scaligers.
Whether I am right in this conjecture or not, we have, at all events,
record in this chapel of seven knights of the family, of whom two are
named on the sarcophagus, of which the inscription (on the projecting
ledge under the recumbent figure) is:--

     S. (Sepulchrum) nobilis et egregii viri Federici et egregii et
     strenui viri domini Nicolai de Cavalis suorunique heredum, qui
     spiritum redidit astris Ano Dni MCCCLXXXX.

Of which, I think, the force may be best given thus in modern terms:--

"The tomb of the noble and distinguished Herr Frederic, and of the
distinguished and energetic Herr the Lord Nicholas of the house of the
Horse, and of their heirs, who gave back his soul to the stars in the
year of our Lord 1390."

226. This Frederic and Nicolas Cavalli were the brothers of the Jacopo
Cavalli who is buried at Venice, and who, by a singular fatality, was
enrolled among the Venetian nobles of the senate in the year in which
his brother died at Verona (for I assume the "spiritum redidit" to be
said of the first-named brother). Jacopo married Constance della Scala,
of Verona, and had five sons, of whom one, Giorgio, Conte di Schio,
plotted, after the fall of the Scaligers, for their restoration to power
in Verona, and was exiled, by decree of the Council of Ten, to Candia,
where he died. From another son, Conrad, are descended the Cavallis of
Venice, whose palace has been the principal material from which recent
searchers for the picturesque in Venice compose pictures of the Grand
Canal. It forms the square mass of architecture on the left, in the
continually repeated view of the Church of the Salute seen from the
steps of the Academy.

The genealogy of the family, from the thirteenth century, when they
first appeared in Italy, to the founder of this Venetian lordship, had
better be set before the reader in one view.[11]

     Condottiere in service of the Visconti, 1274.
                Condottiere, 1297.
     Podesta of Vicenza under the Scaligers, 1331.
                Condottiere, 1350.
       FEDERIGO,         JACOPO,        NICOLA,
               Founds Venetian family.

227. Now, as above stated, I believe that the fresco of the three
knights was commanded by the Podesta of Vicenza, on his receiving that
authority from the Scaligers in 1331, and that it represents Giovanni,
Nicola, and himself; while the tomb of Federigo and Nicola would be
ordered by the Venetian Cavallis, and completed without much care for
the record of the rise of the family at Verona.

Whether my identification of the figures seen kneeling in the fresco be
correct or not, the representation of these three Cavalli knights to the
Madonna, each interceded for by his patron saint, will be found to
receive a peculiar significance if the reader care to review the
circumstances influencing the relation of the German chivalry to the
power of the Church in the very year when Giovanni Cavalli entered the
ranks of the Visconti.

228. For the three preceding centuries, Milan, the oldest archbishopric
of Lombardy, had been the central point at which the collision between
the secular and ecclesiastical power took place in Europe. The Guelph
and Ghibelline naturally met and warred throughout the plain of
Lombardy; but the intense civic stubbornness and courage of the Milanese
population formed a kind of rock in their tide-way, where the quarrel of
burgher with noble confused itself with, embittered, and brought again
and again to trial by battle, that of pope with emperor. In 1035 their
warrior archbishop, heading their revolt against Conrad of Franconia,
organized the first disciplined resistance of foot-soldiers to cavalry
by his invention and decoration of the Carroccio; and the contest was
only closed, after the rebuilding of the walls of ruined Milan, by the
wandering of Barbarossa, his army scattered, through the maize fields,
which the traveler now listlessly crosses at speed in the train between
Milan and Arona, little noting the name of the small station, "Legnano,"
where the fortune of the Lombard republic finally prevailed. But it was
only by the death of Frederick II. that the supremacy of the Church was
secured; and when Innocent IV., who had written, on hearing of that
death, to his Sicilian clergy, in words of blasphemous exultation,
entered Milan, on his journey from Lyons to Perugia, the road, for ten
miles before he reached the gates, was lined by the entire population of
the city, drawn forth in enthusiastic welcome; as they had invented a
sacred car for the advance of their standard in battle, they invented
some similar honor for the head of their Church as the harbinger of
peace: under a canopy of silk, borne by the first gentlemen of Milan,
the Pope received the hosannas of a people who had driven into shameful
flight their Caesar-king; and it is not uninteresting for the English
traveler to remember, as he walks through the vast arcades of shops, in
the form of a cross, by which the Milanese of to-day express their
triumph in liberation from Teutonic rule, that the "Baldacchino" of all
mediæval religious ceremony owed its origin to the taste of the
milliners of Milan, as the safety of the best knights in European battle
rested on the faithful craftsmanship of her armorers.

229. But at the date when the Cavalli entered the service of the great
Milanese family, the state of parties within the walls had singularly
changed. Three years previously (1271) Charles of Anjou had drawn
together the remnants of the army of his dead brother, had confiscated
to his own use the goods of the crusading knights whose vessels had been
wrecked on the coast of Sicily, and called the pontifical court to
Viterbo, to elect a pope who might confirm his dominion over the
kingdoms of Sicily and Jerusalem.

On the deliberations of the Cardinals at Viterbo depended the fates of
Italy and the Northern Empire. They chose Tebaldo Visconti, then a monk
in pilgrimage at Jerusalem. But, before that election was accomplished,
one of the candidates for the Northern Empire had involuntarily
withdrawn his claim; Guy de Montfort had murdered, at the altar foot,
the English Count of Cornwall, to avenge his father, Simon de Montfort,
killed at Evesham. The death of the English king of the Romans left the
throne of Germany vacant. Tebaldo had returned from Jerusalem with no
personal ambition, but having at heart only the restoration of Greece to
Europe, and the preaching of a new crusade in Syria. A general council
was convoked by him at Lyons, with this object; but before anything
could be accomplished in the conclave, it was necessary to balance the
overwhelming power of Charles of Anjou, and the Visconti (Gregory X.)
ratified, in 1273, the election of Rudolph of Hapsburg.

230. But Charles of Anjou owed his throne, in reality, to the assistance
of the Milanese. Their popular leader, Napoleone della Torre, had
facilitated his passage through Lombardy, which otherwise must have been
arrested by the Ghibelline states; and in the year in which the Visconti
pope had appointed the council at Lyons, the Visconti archbishop of
Milan was heading the exiled nobles in vain attempts to recover their
supremacy over the popular party. The new Emperor Rudolph not only sent
a representative to the council, but a German contingent to aid the
exiled archbishop. The popular leader was defeated, and confined in an
iron cage, in the year 1274, and the first entrance of the Cavalli into
the Italian armies is thus contemporary with the conclusive triumph of
the northern monarchic over the republican power, or, more literally, of
the wandering rider, Eques, or Ritter, living by pillage, over the
sedentary burgher, living by art, and hale peasant, living by labor. The
essential nature of the struggle is curiously indicated in relation to
this monument by the two facts that the revolt of the Milanese burghers,
headed by their archbishop, began by a gentleman's killing an
importunate creditor, and that, at Venice, the principal circumstance
recorded of Jacopo Cavalli (see my notice of his tomb in the "Stones of
Venice," Vol. III. ch. ii. § 69) is his refusal to assault Feltre,
because the senate would not grant him the pillage of the town. The
reader may follow out, according to his disposition, what thoughts the
fresco of the three kneeling knights, each with his helmet-crest, in the
shape of a horse's head, thrown back from his shoulders, may suggest to
him on review of these passages of history: one thought only I must
guard him against, strictly; namely, that a condottiere's religion must
necessarily have been false or hypocritical. The folly of nations is in
nothing more manifest than in their placid reconciliation of noble
creeds with base practices. But the reconciliation, in the fourteenth as
in the nineteenth century, was usually foolish only, not insincere.


[Footnote 9: Published by the Arundel Society (1872), together with a
chromo-lithograph after a drawing by Herr Gnauth.--ED.]

[Footnote 10:

  Gerardo Bolderio
  sui temporis
  Physicorum Principi
  Franciscus et
  Matthaeus Nepotes

[Footnote 11: I am indebted for this genealogy to the research and to
the courtesy of Mr. J. Stefani. The help given me by other Venetian
friends, especially Mr. Rawdon Brown, dates from many years back in
matters of this kind.]


231. The discourse began with a description of the scenery of the
eastern approach to Verona, with special remarks upon its magnificent
fortifications, consisting of a steep ditch, some thirty feet deep by
sixty or eighty wide, cut out of the solid rock, and the precipice-like
wall above, with towers crested with forked battlements set along it at
due intervals. The rock is a soft and crumbling limestone, containing
"fossil creatures still so like the creatures they were once, that there
it first occurred to the human brain to imagine that the buried shapes
were not mockeries of life, but had indeed once lived; and, under those
white banks by the roadside, was born, like a poor Italian gypsy, the
modern science of geology." ... "The wall was chiefly built, the moat
entirely excavated, by Can Grande della Scala; and it represents
typically the form, of defense which rendered it possible for the life
and the arts of citizens to be preserved and practiced in an age of
habitual war. Not only so, but it is the wall of the actual city which
headed the great Lombard league, which was the beginner of personal and
independent power in the Italian nation, and the first banner-bearer,
therefore, of all that has been vitally independent in religion and in
art throughout the entire Christian world to this day." At the upper
angle of the wall, looking down the northern descent, is seen a great
round tower at the foot of it, not forked in battlements, but with
embrasures for guns. "The battlemented wall was the cradle of civic
life. That low circular tower is the cradle of modern war and of all its
desolation. It is the first European tower for artillery; the beginning
of fortification against gunpowder--the beginning, that is to say, of
the end of _all_ fortification."

232. After noticing the beautiful vegetation of the district, Mr. Ruskin
described the view from the promontory or spur, about ten miles long, of
which the last rock dies into the plain at the eastern gate of Verona.
"This promontory," he said, "is one of the sides of the great gate out
of Germany into Italy, through which the Goths always entered, cloven up
to Innspruck by the Inn, and down to Verona by the Adige. And by this
gate not only the Gothic armies came, but after the Italian nation is
formed, the current of northern life enters still into its heart through
the mountain artery, as constantly and strongly as the cold waves of the
Adige itself." ... "The rock of this promontory hardens as we trace it
back to the Alps, first into a limestone having knots of splendid brown
jasper in it as our chalk has flints, and in a few miles more into true
marble, colored by iron into a glowing orange or pale warm red--the
peach-blossom marble, of which Verona is chiefly built--and then as you
advance farther into the hills into variegated marbles very rich and
grotesque in their veinings."

233. After dilating on the magnificent landscape viewed from the top of
this promontory, embracing the blue plain of Lombardy and its cities"
Mr. Ruskin said:--

"I do not think that there is any other rock in all the world from which
the places and monuments of so complex and deep a fragment of the
history of its ages can be visible as from this piece of crag with its
blue and prickly weeds. For you have thus beneath you at once the
birthplaces of Virgil and of Livy--the homes of Dante and Petrarch, and
the source of the most sweet and pathetic inspiration to your own
Shakespeare--the spot where the civilization of the Gothic kingdoms was
founded on the throne of Theodoric; and there whatever was strongest in
the Italian race redeemed itself into life by its league against
Barbarossa; the beginning of the revival of natural science and medicine
in the schools of Padua; the center of Italian chivalry, in the power
of the Scaligers; of Italian cruelty, in that of Ezzelin; and, lastly,
the birthplace of the highest art; for among those hills, or by this
very Adige bank, were born Mantegna, Titian, Correggio, and Veronese."

234. Mr. Ruskin then referred to a series of drawings and photographs
taken at Verona by himself and his assistants, Mr. Burgess and Mr.
Bunney, which he had divided into three series, and of which he had
furnished a number of printed catalogues illustrated with notes.[13]

I. "Lombard, extending to the end of the twelfth century, being the
expression of the introduction of Christianity into barbaric minds;

II. "The Gothic period. Dante's time, from 1200 to 1400 (Dante beginning
his poem exactly in the midst of it, in 1300); the period of vital
Christianity, and of the development of the laws of chivalry and forms
of imagination which are founded on Christianity.

III. "The first period of the revival, in which the arts of Greece and
some of its religion return and join themselves to Christianity; not
taking away its sincerity or earnestness, but making it poetical instead
of practical. In the following period even this poetical Christianity
expired; the arts became devoted to the pursuit of pleasure, and in that
they persist except where they are saved by a healthy naturalism or

235. I. "The Lombardic period is one of savage but noble life gradually
subjected to law. It is the forming of men, not out of clay but wild
beasts. And art of this period in all countries, including our own
Norman especially, is, in the inner heart of it, the subjection of
savage or terrible, or foolish and erring life, to a dominant law. It is
government and conquest of fearful dreams. There is in it as yet no
germ of true hope--only the conquest of evil, and the waking from
darkness and terror. The literature of it is, as in Greece, far in
advance of art, and is already full of the most tender and impassioned
beauty, while the art is still grotesque and dreadful; but, however
wild, it is supreme above all others by its expression of governing law,
and here at Verona is the very center and utmost reach of that

"I know nothing in architecture at once so exquisite and so wild and so
strange in the expression of self-conquest achieved almost in a dream.
For observe, these barbaric races, educated in violence--chiefly in war
and in hunting--cannot feel or see clearly as they are gradually
civilized whether this element in which they have been brought up is
evil or not. They _must_ be good soldiers and hunters--that is their
life; yet they know that killing is evil, and they do not expect to find
wild beasts in heaven. They have been trained by pain, by violence, by
hunger and cold. They know there is a good in these things as well as
evil: they are perpetually hesitating between the one and the other
thought of them. But one thing they see clearly, that killing and
hunting, and every form of misery, pleasure, and of passion, must
somehow at last be subdued by law, which shall bring good out of it all,
and which they feel more and more constraining them every hour. Now, if
with this sympathy you look at their dragon and wild beast decoration,
you will find that it now tells you about these Lombards far more than
they could know of themselves.... All the actions, and much more the
arts, of men tell to others, not only what the worker does not know, but
what he can never know of himself, which you can only recognize by being
in an element more advanced and wider than his.... In deliberate
symbolism, the question is always, not what a symbol meant first or
meant elsewhere, but what it means now and means here. Now, this dragon
symbol of the Lombard is used of course all over the world; it means
good here, and evil there; sometimes means nothing; sometimes
everything. You have always to ask what the man who here uses it means
by it. Whatever is in his mind, that he is sure partly to express by
it; nothing else than that can he express by it."

236. II. In the second period Mr. Ruskin said was to be found "the
highest development of Italian character and chivalry, with an entirely
believed Christian religion; you get, therefore, joy and courtesy, and
hope, and a lovely peace in death. And with these you have two fearful
elements of evil. You have first such confidence in the virtue of the
creed that men hate and persecute all who do not accept it. And worse
still, you find such confidence in the power of the creed that men not
only can do anything that is wrong, and be themselves for a word of
faith pardoned, but are even sure that after the wrong is done God is
sure to put it all right again for them, or even make things better than
they were before. Now, I need not point out to you how the spirit of
persecution, as well as of vain hope founded on creed only, is mingled
in every line with the lovely moral teaching of the 'Divina Conmedia,'
nor need I point out to you how, between the persecution of other
people's creeds and the absolution of one's own crimes, all Christian
error is concluded."

In relation to this Mr. Ruskin referred to the history of the founder of
the power of the Scalas, Mastino, a simple citizen, chosen first to be
podesta and then captain of Verona, for his justice and sagacity, who,
although wise and peaceful in his policy, employed the civil power in
the persecution of heresy, burning above two hundred persons; and he
also related how Can Signorio della Scala on his death-bed, after giving
a pious charge to his children, ordered the murder of his
brother--examples of the boundless possibility of self-deception. One of
these children killed the other, and was himself driven from the throne,
so ending the dynasty of the Scalas. Referring to his illustrations, Mr.
Ruskin pointed out the expressions of hope, in the conquest of death,
and the rewards of faith, apparent in the art of the time. The Lombard
architecture expresses the triumph of law over passion, the Christian,
that of hope over sorrow.

Mr. Ruskin concluded his remarks on this period by commenting on the
history and the tomb of Can Grande della Scala, a good knight and true,
as busy and bright a life as is found in the annals of chivalry.

237. III. "The period when classical literature and art were again known
in Italy, and the painters and sculptors, who had been gaining steadily
in power for two hundred years--power not of practice merely, but of
race also--with every circumstance in their favor around them, received
their finally perfect instruction, both in geometrical science, in that
of materials, and in the anatomy and action of the human body. Also the
people about them--the models of their work--had been perfected in
personal beauty by a chivalric war; in imagination by a transcendental
philosophy; in practical intellect by stern struggle for civic law; and
in commerce, not in falsely made or vile or unclean things, but in
lovely things, beautifully and honestly made. And now, therefore, you
get out of all the world's long history since it was peopled by men till
now--you get just fifty years of perfect work. Perfect. It is a strong
word; it is also a _true_ one. The doing of these fifty years is
unaccusably Right, as art; what its sentiment may be--whether too great
or too little, whether superficial or sincere--is another question, but
as artists' work it admits no conception of anything better.

"It is true that in the following age, founded on the absolutely stern
rectitude of this, there came a phase of gigantic power and of exquisite
ease and felicity which possess an awe and a charm of their own. They
are more inimitable than the work of the perfect school. But they are
not _perfect_." ...

238. This period Mr. Ruskin named "the 'Time of the Masters,' Fifty
Years, including Luini, Leonardo, John Bellini, Vitto Carpaccio, Andrea
Mantegna, Andrea Verrocchio, Cima da Conegliano, Perugino, and in date,
though only in his earlier life, belonging to the school, Raphael....
The great fifty years was the prime of life of three men: John Bellini,
born 1430, died at 90, in 1516; Mantegna, born 1430, died at 76, in
1506; and Vittor Carpaccio, who died in 1522."

"The object of these masters is wholly different from that of the former
school. The central Gothic men always want chiefly to impress you with
the facts of their subject; but the masters of this finished time desire
only to make everything dainty and delightful. We have not many pictures
of the class in England, but several have been of late added to the
National Gallery, and the Perugino there, especially the compartment
with Raphael and Tobit, and the little St. Jerome by John Bellini, will
perfectly show you this main character--pictorial perfectness and
deliciousness--sought before everything else. You will find, if you look
into that St. Jerome, that everything in it is exquisite, complete, and
pure; there is not a particle of dust in the cupboards, nor a cloud in
the air; the wooden shutters are dainty, the candlesticks are dainty,
the saint's scarlet hat is dainty, and its violet tassel, and its
ribbon, and his blue cloak and his spare pair of shoes, and his little
brown partridge--it is all a perfect quintessence of innocent
luxury--absolute delight, without one drawback in it, nor taint of the
Devil anywhere." ...

239. After dilating on several other pictures of this class, giving
evidence of the entire devotion of the artists of the period to their
art and work, Mr. Ruskin adverted to the second part of his discourse,
the rivers of Verona. "There is but one river at Verona, nevertheless
Dante connects its name with that of the Po when he says of the whole of

  'In sul paese, ch' Adice e Po riga,
  Solea valore e cortesia trovarsi
  Prima che Federigo avesse briga.'

I want to speak for a minute or two about those great rivers, because in
the efforts that are now being made to restore some of its commerce to
Venice precisely the same questions are in course of debate which again
and again, ever since Venice was a city, have put her senate at
pause--namely, how to hold in check the continually advancing morass
formed by the silt brought down by the Alpine rivers. Is it not strange
that for at least six hundred years the Venetians have been contending
with those rivers at their _mouths_--that is to say, where their
strength has become wholly irresistible--and never once thought of
contending with them at their sources, where their infinitely separated
streamlets might be, and are meant by Heaven to be, ruled as easily as
children? And observe how sternly, how constantly the place where they
are to be governed is marked by the mischief done by their liberty.
Consider what the advance of the delta of the Po in the Adriatic
signifies among the Alps. The evil of the delta itself, however great,
is as nothing in comparison of that which is in its origin.

240. "The gradual destruction of the harborage of Venice, the endless
cost of delaying it, the malaria of the whole coast down to Ravenna,
nay, the raising of the bed of the Po, to the imperiling of all
Lombardy, are but secondary evils. Every acre of that increasing delta
means _the devastation of part of an Alpine valley, and the loss of so
much fruitful soil and ministering rain_. Some of you now present must
have passed this year through the valleys of the Toccia and Ticino. You
know therefore the devastation that was caused there, as well as in the
valley of the Rhone, by the great floods of 1868, and that ten years of
labor, even if the peasantry had still the heart for labor, cannot
redeem those districts into fertility. What you have there seen on a
vast scale takes place to a certain extent during every summer
thunderstorm, and from the ruin of some portion of fruitful land the
dust descends to increase the marshes of the Po. But observe
further--whether fed by sudden melting of snow or by storm--every
destructive rise of the Italian rivers signifies the loss of so much
power of irrigation on the south side of the Alps. You must all well
know the look of their chain--seen from Milan or Turin late in
summer--how little snow is left, except on Monte Rosa, how vast a
territory of brown mountain-side heated and barren, without rocks, yet
without forest. There is in that brown-purple zone, and along the
flanks of every valley that divides it, another Lombardy of cultivable
land; and every drift of rain that swells the mountain torrents if it
were caught where it falls is literally rain of gold. We seek gold
beneath the rocks; and we will not so much as make a trench along the
hillside to catch it where it falls from heaven, and where, if not so
caught, it changes into a frantic monster, first ravaging hamlet, hill,
and plain, then sinking along the shores of Venice into poisoned sleep.
Think what that belt of the Alps might be--up to four thousand feet
above the plain--if the system of terraced irrigation which even
half-savage nations discovered and practiced long ago in China and in
Borneo, and by which our own engineers have subdued vast districts of
farthest India, were but in part also practiced here--here, in the
oldest and proudest center of European arts, where Leonardo da
Vinci--master among masters--first discerned the laws of the coiling
clouds and wandering streams, so that to this day his engineering
remains unbettered by modern science; and yet in this center of all
human achievements of genius no thought has been taken to receive with
sacred art these great gifts of quiet snow and flying rain. Think, I
repeat, what that south slope of the Alps might be: one paradise of
lovely pasture and avenued forest of chestnut and blossomed trees, with
cascades docile and innocent as infants, laughing all summer long from
crag to crag and pool to pool, and the Adige and the Po, the Dora and
the Ticino, no more defiled, no more alternating between fierce flood
and venomous languor, but in calm clear currents bearing ships to every
city and health to every field of all that azure plain of Lombard

241. "It has now become a most grave object with me to get some of the
great pictures of the Italian schools into England; and that, I think,
at this time--with good help--might be contrived. Further, without in
the least urging my plans impatiently on anyone else, I know thoroughly
that this, which I have said _should_ be done, _can_ be done, for the
Italian rivers, and that no method of employment of our idle
able-bodied laborers would be in the end more remunerative, or in the
beginnings of it more healthful and every way beneficial than, with the
concurrence of the Italian and Swiss governments, setting them to redeem
the valleys of the Ticino and the Rhone. And I pray you to think of
this; for I tell you truly--you who care for Italy--that both her
passions and her mountain streams are noble; but that her happiness
depends not on the liberty, but the right government of both."[14]


[Footnote 12: Report (with extracts) of a paper entitled "A Talk
respecting Verona and its Rivers," read by Mr. Ruskin at the Weekly
Evening Meeting of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Feb. 4th,
1870. See _Proceedings_ of the Royal Institution, vol. vi., p.

[Footnote 13: This catalogue (London: Queen Street Printing-Office,
1870) is printed below, p. 109, § 242 _seqq._--ED.]

[Footnote 14: See _Arrows of the Chace_.]


(_See ante,_ p. 101.--ED.)

_Drawings and Photographs, illustrative of the Architecture of Verona,
shown at the Royal Institution, Feb. 4th, 1870._


242. (1.) _Porch of the Church of St. Zeno._ (Photograph.)

     Of the 12th century.

(2.) _Porch of the South Entrance of the Duomo._

     Probably of the 10th or 11th century, and highly remarkable for the
     wildness of its grotesque or monstrous sculpture, which has been
     most carefully rendered by the draughts-man, Mr. Bunney.

     It will save space to note that the sketches by my two most
     skillful and patient helpers, Mr. A. Burgess and Mr. Bunney, will
     be respectively marked (A) and (B), and my own (R).

(3.) _Porch of the Western Entrance of the Duomo._ (Photograph.)

     Later in date--but still of 12th or very early 13th century.
     Details of it are given in the next drawings.

243. (4.) _Griffin_ (I keep the intelligible old English spelling),
     _sustaining the Pillar on the North Side of the Porch seen in No. 3._

     Painted last summer.

     I engraved his head and breast, seen from the other side, in the
     plate of "True and False Griffins," in "Modern Painters." Only the
     back of the head and neck of the small dragon he holds in his
     fore-claws can be seen from this side.

(5.) _Capital of the Pillar sustained by the Griffin, of which the base
     is seen in No. 4._ (A.)

     First-rate sculpture of the time, and admirably drawn.

(6.) _Portion of decorative Lombardic molding from the South Side of the
     Duomo._ (A.)

     Showing the peculiar writhing of the branched tracery with a
     serpentine flexure--altogether different from the springing lines
     of Gothic ornament. It would be almost impossible to draw this
     better; it is much more like the real thing than a cast would be.

(7.) _Lion, with Dragon in its claws, of Lombardic sculpture_ (now built
     into a wall at Venice); _above it, head of one of the Dogs which
     support the Tomb of Can Grande, at Verona._ (R.)

     The lion--in its emaciated strength, and the serpent with its vital
     writhe and deadly reverted bite, are both characteristic of the
     finest Lombard work. The dog's head is 14th century Gothic--a
     masterpiece of broad, subtle, easy sculpture, getting expression
     with every touch, and never losing the least undulation of surface,
     while it utterly disdains the mere imitation of hair, or attainment
     of effect by deep cutting.


244. (8.) _North Porch of the Church of St. Fermo._ 13th century. (B.)

     Mr. Bunney's drawing is so faithful and careful as almost to enable
     the spectator to imagine himself on the spot. The details of this
     porch are among the most interesting in the Gothic of Italy, but I
     was obliged, last year, to be content with this general view, taken
     in terror of the whole being "restored"; and with the two following

(9.) _Base of the Central Pillar. North Porch, St. Fermo._ (B.)

     In facsimile, as nearly as possible, and of the real size, to show
     the perpetual variety in the touch; and in the disposition and size
     of the masses.

(10.) _Shaft-Capitals of the Interior Arch of the North Porch, St.
      Fermo._ (B.)

     Contrived so that, while appearing symmetrical, and even
     monotonous, not one lobe of any of the leaves shall be like

     Quite superb in the original, but grievously difficult to draw, and
     losing, in this sketch, much of their grace.

245. (11.) _Western Door of the Church of St. Anastasia, with the Tomb
     of the Count of Castelbarco on the left, over the arch._ (Photograph.)

     In the door, its central pillar, carved lintels and encompassing
     large pointed arch, with its deep moldings and flanking shafts, are
     of the finest Veronese 13th century work. The two minor pointed
     arches are of the 14th century. The flanking pilasters, with double
     panels and garlands above, are the beginning of a façade intended
     to have been erected in the 15th century.

     The Count of Castelbarco, the Chancellor of Can Grande della Scala,
     died about the year 1330, and his tomb cannot be much later in

     The details of this group of buildings are illustrated under the
     numbers next in series.

(12.) _Pillars and Lintels of the Western Door of St. Anastasia._

     The sculpture of the lintel is first notable for its concise and
     intense story of the Life of Christ.

  1. The Annunciation. (Both Virgin and Angel kneeling.)

  2. The Nativity.

  3. The Epiphany. (Chosen as a sign of life giver to the

  4. Christ bearing His Cross. (Chosen as a sign of His
     personal life in its entirety.)

  5. The Crucifixion.

  6. The Resurrection.

     Secondly. As sculpture, this lintel shows all the principal
     features of the characteristic 13th century design of Verona.

     Diminutive and stunted figures; the heads ugly in features, stern
     in expression; but the drapery exquisitely disposed in minute but
     not deep-cut folds.

(13.) _The Angels on the left hand of the subject of the Resurrection in
      No. 12._ (A.)

     Drawn of its actual size, excellently.

     The appearance of fusion and softness in the contours is not caused
     by time, but is intentional, and reached by great skill in the
     sculptor, faithfully rendered in the drawing.

(14.) _Sketch of the Capital of the Central Pillar in No. 12._ (R.)

     (With slight notes of a 16th century bracket of a street balcony on
     each side.)

     Drawn to show the fine curvatures and softness of treatment in
     Veronese sculpture of widely separated periods.

246. (15.) _Unfinished Sketch of the Castelbarco Tomb, seen from one of
     the windows of the Hotel of the "Two Towers."_ (R.)

     That inn was itself one of the palaces of the Scaligers; and the
     traveler should endeavor always to imagine the effect of the little
     Square of Sta. Anastasia when the range of its buildings was
     complete; the Castelbarco Tomb on one side, this Gothic palace on
     the other, and the great door of the church between. The masonry of
     the canopy of this tomb was so locked and dove-tailed that it stood
     balanced almost without cement; but of late, owing to the
     permission given to heavily loaded carts to pass continually under
     the archway, the stones were so loosened by the vibration that the
     old roof became unsafe, and was removed, and a fine smooth one of
     trimly cut white stone substituted, while I was painting the rest
     of the tomb, against time. Hence the unfinished condition of my
     sketch the last that can ever be taken of the tomb as it was built.

(16.) _The Castelbarco Tomb, seen laterally._ (B.)

     A most careful drawing, leaving little to be desired in realization
     of the subject. It is taken so near the tomb as to make the
     perspective awkward, but I liked this quaint view better than more
     distant ones.

     The drawing of the archway, and of the dark gray and red masonry of
     the tomb is very beautiful.

247. (17.) _Lion with Hind in its Claws._ (A.)

     The support of the sarcophagus, under the feet of the recumbent
     figure in the Castelbarco Tomb.

(18.) _Lion with Dragon in its claws._ (A.)

     The support of the sarcophagus at the head of the figure.

(19.) _St. Luke._ (A.)

     Sculpture of one of the four small panels at the angles of the
     sarcophagus in the Castelbarco Tomb. I engraved the St. Mark for
     the illustration of noble grotesque in the "Stones of Venice." But
     this drawing more perfectly renders the stern touch of the old

(20.) _Two of the Spurs of the bases of the Nave Pillars in the Church
      of St. Anastasia._ (A.)

     Of the real size. Not generally seen in the darkness of the Church,
     and very fine in their rough way.

248. (21.) _Tomb of Can Grande, general view._ (R.)

     Put together some time since, from Photograph and Sketches taken in
     the year 1852; and inaccurate, but useful in giving a general idea.

(22.) _Tomb of Can Grande._ (R.)

     Sketch made carefully on the spot last year. The sarcophagus
     unfinished; the details of it would not go into so small a space.

(23.) _The Sarcophagus and recumbent Statue of Can Grande, drawn
      separately._ (R.)

     Sketched on the spot last year. Almost a faultless type of powerful
     and solemn Gothic sculpture. (Can Grande died in 1329.)

(24.) _The Two Dogs._ (R.)

     The kneeling Madonna and sculpture of right hand upper panel of the
     Sarcophagus of Can Grande.

     The drawing of the panel is of real size, representing the Knight
     at the Battle of Vicenza.

(25.) _The Cornice of the Sarcophagus of Can Grande._ (A.)

     Of its real size, admirably drawn, and quite showing the softness
     and Correggio-like touch of its leafage, and its symmetrical
     formality of design, while the flow of every leaf is changeful.

249. (26.) _Study of the Sarcophagus of the Tomb of Mastino II.,
     Verona._ (R.)

     Sketched in 1852.

(27.) _Head of the recumbent Statue of Mastino II._ (A.)

     Beautifully drawn by Mr. Burgess.

     Can Mastino II. had three daughters:--Madonna Beatrice (called
     afterwards "the Queen," for having "tutte le grazie che i cieli
     ponno concedere a femina," and always simply called by historians
     Lady "Reina" della Scala), Madonna Alta-luna, and Madonna Verde.
     Lady Reina married Bernabó Visconti, Duke of Milan; Lady Alta-luna,
     Louis of Brandebourg; and Lady Verde, Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua.
     Their father died of "Sovereign melancholy" in 1350, being
     forty-three years old.

(28.) _Part of Cornice of the Sarcophagus of Mastino II._ (A.)

     One of the most beautiful Gothic cornices in Italy; its effect
     being obtained with extreme simplicity of execution out of two
     ridges of marble, each cut first into one united sharp edge all
     along, and then drilled through, and modeled into leaf and flower.

(29.) _Sketch, real size, of the pattern incised and painted on the
      drapery of the Tomb of Can Mastino II._ (R.)

     It is worth notice for the variety of its pattern; observe, the
     floral fillings of spaces resemble each other, but are never the
     same. There is no end, when one begins drawing detail of this kind
     carefully. Slight as it is, the sketch gives some idea of the easy
     flow of the stone drapery, and of the care taken by the sculptor to
     paint his pattern _as if_ it were bent at the apparent fold.

250. (30.) _Tomb of Can Signorio della Scala._

     Samuel Prout's sketch on the spot; (afterwards lithographed by him
     in his "Sketches in France and Italy";) quite admirable in feeling,
     composition, and concise abstraction of essential character.

     The family palace of the Scaligers, in which Dante was received, is
     seen behind it.

(31.) _A single niche and part of the iron-work of the Tomb of Can
      Signorio._ (R.)

     As seen from the palace of the Scaligers; the remains of another
     house of the same family are seen in the little street beyond.

(32.) _Study of details of the top of the Tomb of Can Signorio._ (R.)

     Needing more work than I had time for, and quite spoiled by hurry;
     but interesting in pieces here and there; look, for instance, at
     the varied size and design of the crockets; and beauty of the

(33.) _Bracket under Sarcophagus of Giovanni della Scala._ (A.)

     Characteristic of the finest later treatment of flowing foliage.

251. (34.) _Part of the front of the Ducal Palace, Venice._ (R.)

     Sketched, in 1852, by measurement, with extreme care; and showing
     the sharp window traceries, which are rarely seen in Photographs.

(35.) _Angle of the Ducal Palace, looking Seaward from the Piazzetta._

     Sketched last year, (restorations being threatened) merely to show
     the way in which the light is let through the edges of the angle by
     penetration of the upper capital, and of the foliage in the
     sculpture below; so that the mass may not come unbroken against the

(36.) _Photograph of the Angle Capital of Upper Arcade seen in No. 34._

     Showing the pierced portions, and their treatment.

(37-38.) _Capitals of the Upper Arcade._

     Showing the grandest treatment of architectural foliage attained by
     the 14th century masters; massive for all purposes of support;
     exquisitely soft and refined in contour, and faultlessly composed.


252. (39.) _Study of the top of the Pilaster next the Castelbarco Tomb._

     The wild fig leaves are unfinished; for my assistant having
     unfortunately shown his solicitude for their preservation too
     energetically to some street boys who were throwing stones at them,
     they got a ladder, and rooted them up the same night. The purple
     and fine-grained white marbles of the pilaster are entirely
     uninjured in surface by three hundred years' exposure. The coarse
     white marble above has moldered, and is gray with lichens.

(40.) _Study of the base of the same Pilaster, and connected Facade._

     Showing the effect of differently colored marbles arranged in
     carefully inequal masses.

253. (41.) _Interior Court of the Ducal Palace of Venice, with Giant's
     Stair._ (R.)

     Sketched in 1841, and perhaps giving some characters which more
     finished drawing would lose.

(42.) _The Piazza d' Erbe, Verona._ (R.)

     Sketched in 1841, showing general effect and pretty grouping of the
     later Veronese buildings.

(43.) _Piazza de' Signori, Verona._

     Sketched last year. Note the bill advertising Victor Hugo's "Homme
     qui rit," pasted on the wall of the palace.

     The great tower is of the Gothic time. Note its noble sweep of
     delicately ascending curves sloped inwards.

(44.) _Gate of Ruined School of St. John, Venice._ (Photograph.)

     Exquisite in floral sculpture, and finish of style.

(45.) _Hawthorn Leaves, from the base of Pilaster, in the Church of St.
      Maria dé Miracoli, Venice._ (R.)

     In the finest style of floral sculpture. It cannot be surpassed for
     perfectness of treatment; especially for the obtaining of life and
     softness, by broad surfaces and fine grouping.

(46.) _Basrelief from one of the Inner Doors of the Ducal Palace._

     Very noble, and typical of the pure style.

(47.) _St. John Baptist and other Saints._ (Cima da Conegliano.)

     Consummate work; but the photograph, though well taken, darkens it

(48.) _Meeting of Joachim and Anna._ (Vettor Carpaccio.) (Photograph.)

(49.) _Madonna and Saints._ (John Bellini.) Portrait. (Mantegna.)

(50.) _Madonna._ (John Bellini.)

     With Raphael's "Della Seggiola." Showing the first transition from
     the style of the "Masters" to that of modern times.

     _The Photographs in the above series are all from the Pictures



254. The writer of this book has long been my friend, and in the early
days of friendship was my disciple.

But, of late, I have been his; for he has devoted himself earnestly to
the study of forms of Christian Art which I had little opportunity of
examining, and has been animated in that study by a brightness of
enthusiasm which has been long impossible to me. Knowing this, and that
he was able perfectly to fill what must otherwise have been a rudely
bridged chasm in my teaching at Oxford, I begged him to give these
lectures, and to arrange them for press. And this he has done to please
me; and now that he has done it, I am, in one sense, anything but
pleased: for I like his writing better than my own, and am more jealous
of it than I thought it was in me to be of any good work--how much less
of my friend's! I console myself by reflecting, or at least repeating to
myself and endeavoring to think, that he could not have found out all
this if I had not shown him the way. But most deeply and seriously I am
thankful for such help, in a work far too great for my present strength;
help all the more precious because my friend can bring to the
investigation of early Christian Art, and its influence, the integrity
and calmness of the faith in which it was wrought, happier than I in
having been a personal comforter and helper of men, fulfilling his life
in daily and unquestionable duty; while I have been, perhaps wrongly,
always hesitatingly, persuading myself that it was my duty to do the
things which pleased me.

255. Also, it has been necessary to much of my analytical work that I
should regard the art of every nation as much as possible from their own
natural point of view; and I have striven so earnestly to realize belief
which I supposed to be false, and sentiment which was foreign to my
temper, that at last I scarcely know how far I think with other people's
minds, and see with anyone's eyes but my own. Even the effort to recover
my temporarily waived conviction occasionally fails; and what was once
secured to me becomes theoretical like the rest.

But my old scholar has been protected by his definitely directed life
from the temptations of this speculative equity; and I believe his
writings to contain the truest expression yet given in England of the
feelings with which a Christian gentleman of sense and learning should
regard the art produced in ancient days, by the dawn of the faiths which
still guide his conduct and secure his peace.

256. On all the general principles of Art, Mr. Tyrwhitt and I are
absolutely at one; but he has often the better of me in his acute
personal knowledge of men and their ways. When we differ in our thoughts
of things, it is because we know them on contrary sides; and often his
side is that most naturally seen, and which it is most desirable to see.
There is one important matter, for instance, on which we are thus
apparently at issue, and yet are not so in reality. These lectures show,
throughout, the most beautiful and just reverence for Michael Angelo,
and are of especial value in their account of him; while the last
lecture on Sculpture,[16] which I gave at Oxford, is entirely devoted to
examining the modes in which his genius failed, and perverted that of
other men. But Michael Angelo is great enough to make praise and blame
alike necessary, and alike inadequate, in any true record of him. My
friend sees him as a traveler sees from a distance some noble mountain
range, obscure in golden clouds and purple shade; and I see him as a
sullen miner would the same mountains, wandering among their precipices
through chill of storm and snow, and discerning that their strength was
perilous and their substance sterile. Both of us see truly, both
partially; the complete truth is the witness of both.

257. The notices of Holbein, and the English whom he painted (see
especially the sketch of Sir Thomas Wyatt in the sixth lecture), are to
my mind of singular value, and the tenor of the book throughout, as far
as I can judge--for, as I said, much of it treats of subjects with which
I am unfamiliar--so sound, and the feeling in it so warm and true, and
true in the warmth of it, that it refreshes me like the sight of the
things themselves it speaks of. New and vivid sight of them it will give
to many readers; and to all who will regard my commendation I commend
it; asking those who have hitherto credited my teaching to read these
lectures as they would my own; and trusting that others, who have
doubted me, will see reason to put faith in my friend.

  PISA, _30th April, 1872._


[Footnote 15: Preface to the above-named book, by the Rev. St. John
Tyrwhitt. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1872.--ED.]

[Footnote 16: See Mr. Ruskin's pamphlet on "The Relation of Michael
Angelo to Tintoret," being (although separately printed) the seventh
lecture of the course (1872) published as _Aratra Pentelici_--ED.]



258. The number of British and American travelers who take unaffected
interest in the early art of Europe is already large, and is daily
increasing; daily also, as I thankfully perceive, feeling themselves
more and more in need of a guidebook containing as much trustworthy
indication as they can use of what they may most rationally spend their
time in examining. The books of reference published by Mr. Murray,
though of extreme value to travelers, who make it their object to see
(in his, and their, sense of the word) whatever is to be seen, are of
none whatever, or may perhaps be considered, justly, as even of quite
the reverse of value, to travelers who wish to see only what they may in
simplicity understand, and with pleasure remember; while the histories
of art, and biographies of artists, to which the more earnest student in
his novitiate must have recourse, are at once so voluminous, so vague,
and so contradictory, that I cannot myself conceive his deriving any
other benefit from their study than a deep conviction of the difficulty
of the subject, and of the incertitude of human opinions.

259. It seemed to me, on reading the essays collected in this volume, as
they appeared in the periodical[18] for which they were written, that
the author not only possessed herself a very true discernment of the
qualities in mediæval art which were justly deserving of praise, but had
unusually clear understanding of the degree in which she might expect to
cultivate such discernment in the general mind of polite travelers; nor
have I less admired her aptitude in collation of essentially
illustrative facts, so as to bring the history of a very widely
contemplative range of art into tenable compass and very graceful and
serviceable form. Her reading, indeed, has been, with respect to many
very interesting periods of religious workmanship, much more extensive
than my own; and when I consented to edit the volume of collected
papers, it was not without the assurance of considerable advantage to
myself during the labor of revising them.

260. The revision, however, I am sorry to say, has been interrupted and
imperfect, very necessarily the last from the ignorance I have just
confessed of more than one segment of the great illuminated field of
early religious art, to which the writer most wisely has directed equal
and symmetrical attention, and interrupted partly under extreme pressure
of other occupation, and partly in very fear of being tempted to oppress
the serenity of the general prospect, which I think these essays are
eminently calculated to open before an ingenious reader, with the stormy
chiaroscuro of my own preference and reprobation. I leave the work,
therefore, absolutely Miss Owen's, with occasional note of remonstrance,
but without retouch, though it must be distinctly understood that when I
allow my name to stand as the editor of a book, it is in no mere
compliment (if my editorship could indeed be held as such) to the genius
or merit of the author; but it means that I hold myself entirely
responsible, in main points, for the accuracy of the views advanced, and
that I wish the work to be received, by those who have confidence in my
former teaching, as an extension and application of the parts of it
which I have felt to be incomplete.

     OXFORD, _November 27, 1875._

     NOTE.--The "notes of remonstrance" or approbation
     scattered through the volume are not numerous. They are given
     below, preceded in each case by the (italicized) statement or
     expression: giving rise to them:--

     (1) P. 73. "_The peculiar characteristic of the Byzantine churches
     is the dome._" "Form derived first from the Catacombs. See Lord

     (2) P. 89. "_The octagon baptistry at Florence, ascribed to Lombard
     kings...._" "No; it is Etruscan work of pure descent."

     (3) _Id._ "_S. Michele, of Pavia, pure Lombard of seventh century,
     rebuilt in tenth._" "Churches were often rebuilt with their
     original sculptures. I believe many in this church to be Lombard.
     See next page."

     (4) P. 95. "_The revolution begun by Rafaelle has ended in the
     vulgar painting, the sentimental prints, and the colored
     statuettes, which have made the religious art of the nineteenth
     century a by-word for its feebleness on the one side, its
     superstition on the other._" "Excellent; but my good scholar has
     not distinguished vulgar from non-vulgar naturalism. Perhaps she
     will as I read on."

     [Compare the last note in the book, pp. 487-8, where Miss Owen's
     statement that "_the cause of Rafaelle's popularity ... has been
     that predominance of exaggerated dramatic representation, which in
     his pictures is visible above all moral and spiritual qualities,_"
     is noted to be "Intensely and accurately true."]

     (5) P. 108. "_It may be ... it is scarcely credible._" "What does
     it matter what may be or what is scarcely credible? I hope the
     reader will consider what a waste of time the thinking of things is
     when we can never rightly know them."

     (6) P. 109. On the statement that "_no vital school of art has ever
     existed save as the expression of the vital and unquestioned faith
     of a people,_" followed by some remarks on external helps to
     devotion, there is a note at the word "people." "Down to this line
     this page is unquestionably and entirely true. I do not answer for
     the rest of the clause, but do not dispute it."

     (7) P. 113. _S. Michele at Lucca._ "The church is now only a modern
     architect's copy."

     (8) P. 129. "_There is a good model of this pulpit_" (Niccola's in
     the Pisan Baptistry) "_in the Kensington Museum, through which we
     may learn much of the rise of Gothic sculpture._" "You cannot do
     anything of the kind. Pisan sculpture can only be studied in the
     original marble; half its virtue is in the chiseling."

     (9) P. 136. "_S. Donato's shrine_" (by Giovanni Picano) "_in Arezzo
     Cathedral is one of the finest monuments of the Pisan school._"
     "No. He tried to be too fine, and overdid it. The work is merely
     accumulated commonplace."

     (10) P. 170. On Giotto drawing without compasses a circle with a
     crayon, "_not a brush, with which, as Professor Ruskin explained,
     the feat would have been impossible. See 'Giotto and his Works in
     Padua.'_" "Don't; but practice with a camel's-hair brush till you
     can do it. I knew nothing of brush-work proper when I wrote that
     essay on Padua."

     (11) P. 179. In the first of the bas-reliefs of Giotto's tower at
     Florence, "_Noah lies asleep, or, as Professor Ruskin maintains,
     drunk._" "I don't 'maintain' anything of the sort; I _know_ it. He
     is as drunk as a man can be, and the expression of drunkenness
     given with deliberate and intense skill, as on the angle of the
     Ducal Palace at Venice."

     (12) P. 179. On Giotto's "_astronomy, figured by an old man_" on
     the same tower. "Above which are seen, by the astronomy of his
     heart, the heavenly host represented above the stars."

     (13) P. 190. "_The Loggia dei Langi_" (at Florence) ... "_the round
     arches, new to those times ... See Vasari._" "Vasari is an ass with
     precious things in his panniers; but you must not ask his opinion
     on any matter. The round arches new to those times had been the
     universal structure form in all Italy, Roman or Lombard, feebly and
     reluctantly pointed in the thirteenth century, and occasionally, as
     in the Campo Santo of Pisa, and Orcagna's own Or San Michele,
     standing within three hundred yards of the Loggia arches 'new to
     those times,' filled with tracery, itself composed of intersecting
     round arches. Now, it does not matter two soldi to the history of
     art who _built_, but who designed and carved the Loggia. It is out
     and out the grandest in Italy, and its archaic virtues themselves
     are impracticable and inconceivable. I don't vouch for its being
     Orcagna's, nor do I vouch for the Campo Santo frescoes being his. I
     have never specially studied him; nor do I know what men of might
     there were to work with or after him. But I know the Loggia to be
     mighty architecture of Orcagna's style and time, and the Last
     Judgment and Triumph of Death in the Campo Santo to be the sternest
     lessons written on the walls of Tuscany, and worth more study alone
     than English travelers usually give to Pisa, Lucca, Pistoja, and
     Florence altogether."

     (14) P. 468. "_The Gothic style for churches never took root in
     Venice._" "Not quite correct. The Ducal Palace traceries are shown
     in the 'Stones of Venice' (vol. ii.) to have been founded on those
     of the Frari."

     (15) P. 471. Mantegna. "_No feeling had he for vital beauty of
     human face, or the lower creatures of the earth._" To this Miss
     Owen adds in a note, "Professor Ruskin reminds me to notice here,
     in qualification, Mantegna's power of painting inanimate forms, as,
     _e. g._, in the trees and leaves of his Madonna of the National
     Gallery. 'He is,' says Professor Ruskin, 'the most wonderful
     leaf-painter of Lombardy.'"


[Footnote 17: Preface to the above-named book by Miss A. C. Owen, edited
by Mr. Ruskin. London: Mozley & Smith, 1876.--ED.]

[Footnote 18: _The Monthly Packet._--ED.]



261. The evidence collected in the following pages, in support of their
pleading, is so complete, and the summary of his cause given with so
temperate mastery by Mr. Somervell, that I find nothing to add in
circumstance, and little to re-enforce in argument. And I have less
heart to the writing even of what brief preface so good work might by
its author's courtesy be permitted to receive from me, occupied as I so
long have been in efforts tending in the same direction, because, on
that very account, I am far less interested than my friend in this local
and limited resistance to the elsewhere fatally victorious current of
modern folly, cruelty, and ruin. When the frenzy of avarice is daily
drowning our sailors, suffocating our miners, poisoning our children,
and blasting the cultivable surface of England into a treeless waste of
ashes,[20] what does it really matter whether a flock of sheep, more or
less, be driven from the slopes of Helvellyn, or the little pool of
Thirlmere filled with shale, or a few wild blossoms of St. John's vale
lost to the coronal of English spring? Little to anyone; and--let me say
this, at least, in the outset of all saying--_nothing_ to _me_. No one
need charge me with selfishness in any word or action for defense of
these mossy hills. I do not move, with such small activity as I have yet
shown in the business, because I live at Coniston (where no sound of the
iron wheels by Dunmail Raise can reach me), nor because I can find no
other place to remember Wordsworth by, than the daffodil margin of his
little Rydal marsh. What thoughts and work are yet before me, such as he
taught, must be independent of any narrow associations. All my own dear
mountain grounds and treasure-cities, Chamouni, Interlachen, Lucerne,
Geneva, Venice, are long ago destroyed by the European populace; and
now, for my own part, I don't care what more they do; they may drain
Loch Katrine, drink Loch Lomond, and blow all Wales and Cumberland into
a heap of slate shingle; the world is wide enough yet to find me some
refuge during the days appointed for me to stay in it. But it is no less
my duty, in the cause of those to whom the sweet landscapes of England
are yet precious, and to whom they may yet teach what they taught me, in
early boyhood, and would still if I had it now to learn,--it is my duty
to plead with what earnestness I may, that these sacred sibylline books
may be redeemed from perishing.

262. But again, I am checked, because I don't know how to speak to the
persons who _need_ to be spoken to in this matter.

Suppose I were sitting, where still, in much-changed Oxford, I am happy
to find myself, in one of the little latticed cells of the Bodleian
Library, and my kind and much-loved friend, Mr. Coxe, were to come to me
with news that it was proposed to send nine hundred excursionists
through the library every day, in three parties of three hundred each;
that it was intended they should elevate their minds by reading all the
books they could lay hold of while they stayed;--and that practically
scientific persons accompanying them were to look out for and burn all
the manuscripts that had any gold in their illuminations, that the said
gold might be made of practical service; but that he, Mr. Coxe, could
not, for his part, sympathize with the movement, and hoped I would write
something in deprecation of it! As I should then feel, I feel now, at
Mr. Somervell's request that I would write him a preface in defense of
Helvellyn. What could I say for Mr. Coxe? Of course, that nine hundred
people should see the library daily, instead of one, is only fair to the
nine hundred, and if there is gold in the books, is it not public
property? If there is copper or slate in Helvellyn, shall not the public
burn or hammer it out--and they say they will, of course--in spite of
us? What does it signify to _them_ how we poor old quiet readers in this
mountain library feel? True, we know well enough,--what the nine hundred
excursionist scholars don't--that the library can't be read quite
through in a quarter of an hour; also, that there is a pleasure in real
reading, quite different from that of turning pages; and that gold in a
missal, or slate in a crag, may be more precious than in a bank or a
chimney-pot. But how are these practical people to credit us,--these,
who cannot read, nor ever will; and who have been taught that nothing is
virtuous but care for their bellies, and nothing useful but what goes
into them?

263. Whether to be credited or not, the real facts of the matter, made
clear as they are in the following pages, can be briefly stated for the
consideration of any candid person.

The arguments in favor of the new railway are in the main four, and may
be thus answered.

1. "There are mineral treasures in the district capable of development."

_Answer._ It is a wicked fiction, got up by whosoever has got it up,
simply to cheat shareholders. Every lead and copper vein in Cumberland
has been known for centuries; the copper of Coniston does not pay; and
there is none so rich in Helvellyn. And the main central volcanic rocks,
through which the track lies, produce neither slate nor hematite, while
there is enough of them at Llanberis and Dalton to roof and iron-grate
all England into one vast Bedlam, if it honestly perceives itself in
need of that accommodation.

2. "The scenery must be made accessible to the public."

_Answer._ It is more than accessible already; the public are pitched
into it head-foremost, and necessarily miss two-thirds of it. The Lake
scenery really begins, on the south, at Lancaster, where the Cumberland
hills are seen over Morecambe Bay; on the north, at Carlisle, where the
moors of Skiddaw are seen over the rich plains between them and the
Solway. No one who loves mountains would lose a step of the approach,
from these distances, on either side. But the stupid herds of modern
tourists let themselves be emptied, like coals from a sack, at
Windermere and Keswick. Having got there, what the new railway has to do
is to shovel those who have come to Keswick to Windermere, and to shovel
those who have come to Windermere to Keswick. And what then?

3. "But cheap and swift transit is necessary for the working population,
who otherwise could not see the scenery at all."

_Answer._ After all your shrieking about what the operatives spend in
drink, can't you teach them to save enough out of their year's wages to
pay for a chaise and pony for a day, to drive Missis and the Baby that
pleasant twenty miles, stopping when they like, to unpack the basket on
a mossy bank? If they can't enjoy the scenery that way, they can't any
way; and all that your railroad company can do for them is only to open
taverns and skittle grounds round Grasmere, which will soon, then, be
nothing but a pool of drainage, with a beach of broken gingerbeer
bottles; and their minds will be no more improved by contemplating the
scenery of such a lake than of Blackpool.

4. What else is to be said? I protest I can find nothing, unless that
engineers and contractors must live. Let them live, but in a more useful
and honorable way than by keeping Old Bartholomew Fair under Helvellyn,
and making a steam merry-go-round of the lake country.

There are roads to be mended, where the parish will not mend them,
harbors of refuge needed, where our deck-loaded ships are in helpless
danger; get your commissions and dividends where you know that work is
needed, not where the best you can do is to persuade pleasure-seekers
into giddier idleness.

264. The arguments brought forward by the promoters of the railway may
thus be summarily answered. Of those urged in the following pamphlet in
defense of the country as it is, I care only myself to direct the
reader's attention to one (see pp. 27, 28), the certainty, namely, of
the deterioration of moral character in the inhabitants of every
district penetrated by a railway. Where there is little moral character
to be lost, this argument has small weight. But the Border peasantry of
Scotland and England, painted with absolute fidelity by Scott and
Wordsworth (for leading types out of this exhaustless portraiture, I may
name Dandie Dinmont and Michael), are hitherto a scarcely injured race,
whose strength and virtue yet survive to represent the body and soul of
England before her days of mechanical decrepitude and commercial
dishonor. There are men working in my own fields who might have fought
with Henry the Fifth at Agincourt without being discerned from among his
knights; I can take my tradesmen's word for a thousand pounds; my garden
gate opens on the latch to the public road, by day and night, without
fear of any foot entering but my own, and my girl-guests may wander by
road, or moorland, or through every bosky dell of this wild wood, free
as the heather bees or squirrels.

What effect, on the character of such a population, will be produced by
the influx of that of the suburbs of our manufacturing towns, there is
evidence enough, if the reader cares to ascertain the facts, in every
newspaper on his morning table.

265. And now one final word concerning the proposed beneficial effect on
the minds of those whom you send to corrupt us.

I have said I take no selfish interest in this resistance to the
railroad. But I do take an unselfish one. It is precisely because I
passionately wish to improve the minds of the populace, and because I am
spending my own mind, strength, and fortune, wholly on that object, that
I don't want to let them see Helvellyn while they are drunk. I suppose
few men now living have so earnestly felt--none certainly have so
earnestly declared--that the beauty of nature is the blessedest and most
necessary of lessons for men; and that all other efforts in education
are futile till you have taught your people to love fields, birds, and
flowers. Come then, my benevolent friends, join with me in that
teaching. I have been at it all my life, and without pride, do solemnly
assure you that I know how it is to be managed. I cannot indeed tell
you, in this short preface, how, completely, to fulfill so glorious a
task. But I can tell you clearly, instantly, and emphatically, in what
temper you must set about it. _Here_ are you, a Christian, a gentleman,
and a trained scholar; _there_ is your subject of education--a Godless
clown, in helpless ignorance. You can present no more blessed offering
to God than that human creature, raised into faith, gentleness, and the
knowledge of the works of his Lord. But observe this--you must not hope
to make so noble an offering to God of that which doth cost you nothing!
You must be resolved to labor, and to lose, yourself, before you can
rescue this overlabored lost sheep, and offer it alive to its Master. If
then, my benevolent friend, you are prepared to take out your two pence,
and to give them to the hosts here in Cumberland, saying--"Take care of
him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, I will repay thee when I come to
Cumberland myself," on _these_ terms--oh my benevolent friends, I am
with you, hand and glove, in every effort you wish to make for the
enlightenment of poor men's eyes. But if your motive is, on the
contrary, to put two pence into your own purse, stolen between the
Jerusalem and Jericho of Keswick and Ambleside, out of the poor drunken
traveler's pocket;--if your real object, in your charitable offering,
is, not even to lend unto the Lord by _giving_ to the poor, but to lend
unto the Lord by making a dividend out of the poor;--then, my pious
friends, enthusiastic Ananias, pitiful Judas, and sanctified Korah, I
will do my best in God's name, to stay your hands, and stop your

BRANTWOOD, _22nd June, 1876._


[Footnote 19: Preface to a pamphlet (1876) entitled "A Protest against
the Extension of Railways in the Lake District," compiled by Robert
Somervell (Windermere, J. Garnett; London, Simpkin, Marshall & Co.). The
pamphlet also contained a printed announcement as follows:--"The author
of 'Modern Painters' earnestly requests all persons who may have taken
interest in his writings, or who have any personal regard for him, to
assist him now in the circulation of the inclosed paper, drawn up by his
friend Mr. Somervell, for the defense of the Lake District of England,
and to press the appeal, so justly and temperately made in it, on the
attention of their personal friends."--ED.]

[Footnote 20: See--the illustration being coincidently given as I
correct this page for press--the description of the horrible service,
and history of the fatal explosion of dynamite, on the once lovely
estates of the Duke of Hamilton, in the _Hamilton Advertiser_ of 10th
and 17th June.]


266. I have been asked by Mr. Horsfall to write a few words of
introduction to the following papers. The trust is a frank one, for our
friendship has been long and intimate enough to assure their author that
my feelings and even practical convictions in many respects differ from
his, and in some, relating especially to the subjects here treated of,
are even opposed to his; so that my private letters (which, to speak
truth, he never attends to a word of) are little more than a series of
exhortations to him to sing--once for all--the beautiful Cavalier ditty
of "Farewell, Manchester," and pour the dew of his artistic benevolence
on less recusant ground. Nevertheless, as assuredly he knows much more
of his own town than I do, and as his mind is evidently made up to do
the best he can for it, the only thing left for me to do is to help him
all I can in the hard task he has set himself, or, if I can't help, at
least to bear witness to the goodness of the seed he has set himself to
sow among thorns. For, indeed, the principles on which he is working are
altogether true and sound; and the definitions and defense of them, in
this pamphlet, are among the most important pieces of Art teaching which
I have ever met with in recent English literature; in past
Art-literature there cannot of course be anything parallel to them,
since the difficulties to be met and mischiefs to be dealt with are
wholly of to-day. And in all the practical suggestions and
recommendations given in the following pages I not only concur, but am
myself much aided as I read them in the giving form to my own plans for
the museum at Sheffield; nor do I doubt that they will at once commend
themselves to every intelligent and candid reader. But, to my own mind,
the statements of principle on which these recommendations are based are
far the more valuable part of the writings, for these are true and
serviceable for all time, and in all places; while in simplicity and
lucidity they are far beyond any usually to be found in essays on Art,
and the political significance of the laws thus defined is really, I
believe, here for the first time rightly grasped and illustrated.

267. Of these, however, the one whose root is deepest and range widest
will be denied by many readers, and doubted by others, so that it may be
well to say a word or two farther in its interpretation and defense--the
saying, namely, that "faith cannot dwell in hideous towns," and that
"familiarity with beauty is a most powerful aid to belief." This is a
curious saying, in front of the fact that the primary force of
infidelity in the Renaissance times was its pursuit of carnal beauty,
and that nowadays (at least, so far as my own experience reaches) more
faith may be found in the back streets of most cities than in the fine
ones. Nevertheless the saying is wholly true, first, because carnal
beauty is not true beauty; secondly, because, rightly judged, the fine
streets of most modern towns are more hideous than the back ones;
lastly--and this is the point on which I must enlarge--because
universally the first condition to the believing there is Order in
Heaven is the Sight of Order upon Earth; Order, that is to say, not the
result of physical law, but of some spiritual power prevailing over it,
as, to take instances from my own old and favorite subject, the ordering
of the clouds in a beautiful sunset, which corresponds to a painter's
invention of them, or the ordering of the colors on a bird's wing, or of
the radiations of a crystal of hoarfrost or of sapphire, concerning any
of which matters men, so called of science, are necessarily and forever
silent, because the distribution of colors in spectra and the relation
of planes in crystals are final and causeless facts, _orders_, that is
to say, not _laws_. And more than this, the infidel temper which is
incapable of perceiving this spiritual beauty has an instant and
constant tendency to delight in the reverse of it, so that practically
its investigation is always, by preference, of forms of death or disease
and every state of disorder and dissolution, the affectionate analysis
of vice in modern novels being a part of the same science. And, to keep
to my own special field of study--the order of clouds,--there is a
grotesquely notable example of the connection between infidelity and the
sense of ugliness in a paper in the last _Contemporary Review_, in which
an able writer, who signs Vernon Lee, but whose personal view or purpose
remains to the close of the essay inscrutable, has rendered with
considerable acuteness and animation the course of a dialogue between
one of the common modern men about town who are the parasites of their
own cigars and two more or less weak and foolish friends of hesitatingly
adverse instincts: the three of them, however, practically assuming
their own wisdom to be the highest yet attained by the human race; and
their own diversion on the mountainous heights of it being by the aspect
of a so-called "preposterous" sunset, described in the following

       *       *       *       *       *

A brilliant light, which seemed to sink out of the landscape all its
reds and yellows, and with them all life; bleaching the yellowing
cornfields and brown heath; but burnishing into demoniac[22] energy of
color the pastures and oak woods, brilliant against the dark sky, as if
filled with green fire.

Along the roadside the poppies, which an ordinary sunset makes flame,
were quite extinguished, like burnt-out embers; the yellow hearts of the
daisies were quite lost, merged into their shining white petals. And,
striking against the windows of the old black and white checkered farm
(a ghastly skeleton in this light), it made them not flare, nay, not
redden in the faintest degree, but reflect a brilliant speck of white
light. Everything was unsubstantial, yet not as in a mist, nay, rather
substantial, but flat, as if cut out of paper and pasted on the black
branches and green leaves, the livid, glaring houses, with roofs of
dead, scarce perceptible rod (as when an iron turning white-hot from
red-hot in the stithy grows also dull and dim).

"It looks like the eve of the coming of Antichrist, as described in
mediæval hymns," remarked Vere: "the sun, before setting nevermore to
rise, sucking all life out of the earth, leaving it but a mound of livid
cinders, barren and crumbling, through which the buried nations will
easily break their way when they rise."

       *       *       *       *       *

As I have above said, I do not discern the purpose of the writer of this
paper; but it would be impossible to illustrate more clearly this
chronic insanity of infidel thought which makes all nature spectral;
while, with exactly correspondent and reflective power, whatever _is_
dreadful or disordered in external things reproduces itself in disease
of the human mind affected by them.

       *       *       *       *       *

268. The correspondent relations of beauty to morality are illustrated
in the following pages in a way which leaves little to be desired, and
scarcely any room for dissent; but I have marked for my own future
reference the following passages, of which I think it will further the
usefulness of the book that the reader should initially observe the
contents and connection.[23]

1 (p. 15, line 6--10). Our idea of beauty in all things depends on what
we believe they ought to be and do.

2 (p. 17, line 8--17). Pleasure is most to be found in safe and pure
ways, and the greatest happiness of life is to have a great many
_little_ happinesses.

3 (p. 24, line 10--30). The wonder and sorrow that in a country
possessing an Established Church, no book exists which can be put into
the hands of youth to show them the best things that can be done in
life, and prevent their wasting it.

4 (p. 28, line 21--36). There is every reason to believe that
susceptibility to beauty can be gained through proper training in
childhood by almost everyone.

5 (p. 29, line 33--35). But if we are to attain to either a higher
morality or a strong love of beauty, such attainment must be the result
of a strenuous effort and a strong will.

6 (p. 41, line 16--22). Rightness of form and aspect must first be shown
to the people in things which interest them, and about the rightness of
appearance in which it is possible for them to care a great deal.

7 (p. 42, line 1--10). And, therefore, rightness of appearance of the
bodies, and the houses, and the actions of the people of these large
towns, is of more importance than rightness of appearance in what is
usually called art, and pictures of noble action and passion and of
beautiful scenery are of far greater value than art in things which
cannot deeply affect human thought and feeling.

The practical suggestions which, deduced from these principles, occupy
the greater part of Mr. Horsfall's second paper, exhibit an untried
group of resources in education; and it will be to myself the best
encouragement in whatever it has been my hope to institute of Art School
at Oxford if the central influence of the University may be found
capable of extension by such means, in methods promoting the general
happiness of the people of England.

BRANTWOOD, _28th June, 1883._


[Footnote 21: Introduction by Mr. Ruskin to a pamphlet entitled "The
Study of Beauty and Art in Large Towns, two papers by T. C. Horsfall"
(London, Macmillan & Co., 1883). The first of the two papers was
originally read at the Congress at Nottingham of the Social Science
Association, and the second at the Manchester Field Naturalists'

[Footnote 22: See "Art of England."]

[Footnote 23: The passages referred to are as follows:--

1. "Our idea of what beauty is in human being's, in pictures, in houses,
in chairs, in animals, in cities, in everything, in short, which we know
to have a use, in the main depends on what we believe that human beings,
pictures, and the rest ought to be and do.

2. "Every bank in every country lane, every bush, every tree, the sky by
day and by night, every aspect of nature, is full of beautiful form or
color, or of both, for those whose eyes and hearts and brains have been
opened to perceive beauty. Richter has somewhere said that man's
_greatest_ defect is that he has such a lot of _small_ ones. With equal
truth it may be said that the greatest happiness man can have is to have
a great many little happinesses, and therefore a strong love of beauty,
which enables almost every square inch of unspoiled country to give us
pleasant sensations, is one of the best possessions we can have.

3. "It must be evident to everyone who watches life carefully that
hardly anyone reaches the objects which all should live for who does not
strive to reach them, and that at present not one person in a hundred so
much as knows what are the objects which should be sought in life. It is
astounding, therefore, that in a country which possesses an Established
Church, richly endowed universities, and even several professors of
education, no book exists which can be put into the hands of every
intelligent youth, and of every intelligent father and mother, showing
what our wisest and best men believe are the best things which can be
done in life, and what is the kind of training which makes the doing of
these things most easy. It is often said that each of us can profit only
by his own experience, but no one believes that. No one can see how many
well-meaning persons mistake means for ends and drift into error and
sin, simply because neither they nor their parents have known what
course should be steered, and what equipment is needed, in the voyage of
life,--no one can see this and doubt that a 'guidebook to life,'
containing the results of the comparison of the experiences of even
half-a-dozen able and sincere men, would save countless people from
wasting their lives as most lives are now wasted.

4. "That which is true with regard to music is true with regard to
beauty of form and color. Because a great many grown-up people, in spite
of great efforts, find it impossible to sing correctly or even to
perceive any pleasantness in music, it used to be commonly supposed that
a great many people are born without the power of gaining love of, and
skill in, music. Now it is known that it is a question of early
training, that in every thousand children there are very few,--not, I
believe, on an average, more than two or three,--who cannot gain the
power of singing correctly and of enjoying music, if they are taught
well in childhood while their nervous system can still easily form
habits and has not yet formed the habit of being insensible to
differences of sound.

"There is every reason to believe that susceptibility to beauty of form
and color can also be gained through proper training in childhood by
almost everyone.

5. "In such circumstances as ours there is no such thing as 'a _wise_
passiveness.' If we are to attain to a high morality or to strong love
of beauty, attainment must be the result of strenuous effort, of strong

6. "The principle I refer to is, that, as art is the giving of right or
beautiful form, or of beautiful or right appearance, if we desire to
make people take keen interest in art, if we desire to make them love
good art, we must show it them when applied to things which themselves
are very interesting to them, and about the rightness of appearance of
which it is therefore possible for them to care a great deal.

7. "Success in bringing the influence of art to bear on the masses of
the population in large towns, or on any set of people who have to earn
their bread and have not time to acquire an unhealthy appetite for
nonsense verses or nonsense pictures, will certainly only be attained by
persons who know that art is important just in proportion to the
importance of that which it clothes, and who themselves feel that
rightness of appearance of the bodies, and the houses, and the actions,
in short of the whole life, of the population of those large towns which
are now, or threaten soon to be, 'England,' is of far greater importance
than rightness of appearance in all that which is usually called 'art,'
and who feel, to speak of only the fine arts, that rightness of
appearance in pictures of noble action and passion, and of beautiful
scenery, love of which is almost a necessary of mental health, is of far
greater importance than art can be in things which cannot deeply affect
human thought and feeling."--ED.]

       *       *       *       *       *







 *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


269. I do not think the causes of the color of transparent water have
been sufficiently ascertained. I do not mean that effect of color which
is simply optical, as the color of the sea, which is regulated by the
sky above or the state of the atmosphere, but I mean the settled color
of transparent water, which has, when analyzed, been found pure. Now,
copper will tinge water green, and that very strongly; but water thus
impregnated will not be transparent, and will deposit the copper it
holds in solution upon any piece of iron which may be thrown into it.
There is a lake in a defile on the northwest flank of Snowdon, which is
supplied by a stream which previously passes over several veins of
copper; this lake is, of course, of a bright verdigris green, but it is
not transparent. Now the coloring effect, of which I speak, is well seen
in the water of the Rhone and Rhine. The former of these rivers, when it
enters the Lake of Geneva, after having received the torrents descending
from the mountains of the Valais, is fouled with mud, or white with the
calcareous matter which it holds in solution. Having deposited this in
the Lake Leman[25] (thereby gradually forming an immense delta), it
issues from the lake perfectly pure, and flows through the streets of
Geneva so transparent, that the bottom can be seen twenty feet below the
surface, jet so blue, that you might imagine it to be a solution of
indigo. In like manner, the Rhine, after purifying itself in the Lake of
Constance, flows forth, colored of a clear green, and this under all
circumstances and in all weathers. It is sometimes said that this arises
from the torrents which supply these rivers generally flowing from the
glaciers, the green and blue color of which may have given rise to this
opinion; but the color of the ice is purely optical, as the fragments
detached from the mass appear white. Perhaps some correspondent can
afford me information on the subject.

  J. R.[26]

_March, 1834._


[Footnote 24: From London's _Magazine of Natural History_ (London,
Longmans & Co., 1834), vol. vii., No. 41, pp. 438-9, being its author's
earliest contribution to literature.--ED.]

[Footnote 25: This lake, however, if the poet have spoken truly, is not
very feculent:--

  "Lake Leman woos me with its crystal face,
  The mirror where the stars and mountains view
  The stillness of their aspect in each trace
  Its clear depth yields of their far height and hue."


[Footnote 26: In the number of the magazine in which this note appeared
was an article by "E. L." on the perforation of a leaden pipe by rats,
upon which, in a subsequent number (Vol. vii., p. 592), J. R. notes as
follows: "E. S. has been, surely, too inattentive to proportions: there
is an inconsistency in the dimensions of a leaden pipe about 1-1/4 in. in
external diameter, with a bore of about 3/4 in. in diameter; thus leaving
a solid circumference of metal varying from 1/2 in. to 3/4 in. in
thickness.--_J. R._, _Sept. 1834._"--ED.]


270. The granite ranges of Mont Blanc are as interesting to the
geologist as they are to the painter. The granite is dark red, often
inclosing veins of quartz, crystallized and compact, and likewise
well-formed crystals of schorl. The average elevation of its range of
peaks, which extends from Mont Blanc to the Tète Noire, is about 12,000
English feet above the level of the sea. [The highest culminating point
is 15,744 feet.] The Aiguille de Servoz, and that of Dru, are excellent
examples of the pyramidal and spiratory formation which these granite
ranges in general assume. They rise out of immense fields of snow, but,
being themselves too steep for snow to rest upon, form red, bare, and
inaccessible peaks, which even the chamois scarcely dares to climb.
Their bases appear sometimes abutted (if I may so speak) by mica slate,
which forms the southeast side of the Valley of Chamonix, whose flanks,
if intersected, might appear as (in _fig._ 72), _a_, granite, forming on
the one side (B) the Mont Blanc, on the other (C) the Mont Breven; _b_,
mica slate resting on the base of Mont Blanc, and which contains
amianthus and quartz, in which capillary crystals of titanium occur;
_c_, calcareous rock; _d_, alluvium, forming the Valley of Chamonix. I
should have mentioned that the granite appears to contain a small
quantity of gold, as that metal is found among the granite débris and
siliceous sand of the river Arve [_Bakewell_, i. 375]; and I have two
or three specimens in which chlorite (both compact and in minute
crystals) occupies the place of mica.

  J. R.

_March_, 1834.

       *       *       *       *       *

With this paper were printed some observations on it by the Rev. W. B.
Clarke, after which (p. 648) appears the following note by J. R.

       *       *       *       *       *

271. "TWISTED STRATA.--The contortions of the limestone at the
fall of the Nant d'Arpenaz, on the road from Geneva to Chamonix, are
somewhat remarkable. The rock is a hard dark brown limestone, forming
part of a range of secondary cliffs, which rise from 500 feet to 1000
feet above the defile which they border. The base itself is about 800
feet high. The strata bend very regularly except at _e_ and _f_,[28]
where they appear to have been fractured.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To what Properties in Nature is it owing that the Stones in Buildings,
formed originally of the frailest Materials, gradually become indurated
by Exposure to the Atmosphere and by Age, and stand the Wear and Tear of
Time and Weather every bit as well, in some instances much better, than
the hardest and most compact Limestones and Granite?_[29]

272. In addition to the fact mentioned by Mr. Hunter[30] relative to the
induration of soft sandstone, I would adduce an excellent example of the
same effect in the cathedral of Basle, in Switzerland. The cathedral is
wholly built of a soft coarse-grained sandstone, of so deep a red as to
resemble long-burned brick. The numerous and delicate ornaments and fine
tracery on the exterior are in a state of excellent preservation, and
present none of the moldering appearance so common in old cathedrals
that are built of stone which, when quarried, was much harder than this
sandstone. The pavement in the interior is composed of the same
material; and, as almost every slab is a tomb, it is charged with the
arms, names, and often statues in low relief, of those who lie below,
delicately sculptured in the soft material. Yet, though these sculptures
have been worn for ages by the feet of multitudes, they are very little
injured; they still stand out in bold and distinct relief: not an
illegible letter, not an untraceable ornament is to be found; and it is
said, and I believe with truth, that they have now grown so hard as not
to be in the least degree farther worn by the continual tread of
thousands; and that the longer the stone is exposed to the air, the
harder it becomes. The cathedral was built in 1019.

273. The causes of the different effects of air on stone must be
numerous, and the investigation of them excessively difficult. With
regard, first, to rocks _en masse_, if their structure be crystalline,
or their composition argillaceous, the effect of the air will, I think,
ordinarily, be found injurious. Thus, in granite, which has a kind of
parallelogrammatic cleavage, water introduces itself into the fissures,
and the result, in a sharp frost, will be a disintegration of the rocks
_en masse_; and, if the felspar be predominant in the composition of the
granite, it will be subject to a rapid decomposition. The morvine of
some of the Chamouni and Allée Blanche glaciers is composed of a white
granite, being chiefly composed of quartz and felspar, with a little
chlorite. The sand and gravel at the edge of these glaciers appears far
more the result of decomposition than attrition. All finely foliated
rocks, slates, etc., are liable to injury from frost or wet weather. The
road of the Simplon, on the Italian side, is in some parts dangerous in,
or after, wet weather, on account of the rocks of slate continually
falling from the overhanging mountains above; this, however, is mere
disintegration, not decomposition. Not so with the breccias of Central
Switzerland. The rock of Righi is composed of pebbles of different
kinds, joined by a red argillaceous gluten. When this rock has not been
exposed to the air, it is very hard: you may almost as easily break the
pebbles as detach them from their matrix; but, when exposed for a few
years to wind and weather, the matrix becomes soft, and the pebbles may
be easily detached. I was struck with the difference between this rock
and a breccia at Epinal, in France, where the matrix was a red
sandstone, like that of the cathedral at Basle. Here, though the rock
had every appearance of having been long exposed to the air, it was as
hard as iron; and it was utterly impossible to detach any of the pebbles
from the bed: it was difficult even to break the rock at all. I cannot
positively state that the gluten in these sandstones is calcareous, but
I suppose it to have been so. Compact calcareous rock, as far as I
remember, appears to be subject to no injury from the weather. Many
churches in Italy, and almost the whole cities of Venice and Genoa, are
built of very fine marble; and the perfection of the delicate carvings,
however aged, is most remarkable. I remember a church, near Pavia,
coated with the finest and most expensive marbles; a range of
beautifully sculptured medallions running round its base, though old,
were as distinct and fine in their execution as if they had just come
out of the sculptor's studio. If, therefore, the gluten of the sandstone
be either calcareous or siliceous, it will naturally produce the effect
above alluded to, though it is certainly singular that the stone should
be soft when first quarried. Sandstone is a rock in which you seldom see
many cracks or fissures in the strata: they are generally continuous and
solid. Now, there may be a certain degree of density in the mass, which
could not be increased without producing, as in granite, fissures
running through it: the particles may be supposed to be held in a
certain degree of tension, and there may be a tendency to what the
French call _assaissement_ (I do not know the English term), which is,
nevertheless, resisted by the stone _en masse_; and a quantity of water
may likewise be held, not in a state of chemical combination, but in one
of close mixture with the rock. On being broken or quarried, the
_assaissement_ may take place, the particles of stone may draw closer
together, the attraction become stronger; and, on the exposure to the
air, the water, however intimately combined, will, in a process of
years, be driven off, occasioning the consolidation of the calcareous,
and the near approach of the siliceous, particles, and a consequent
gradual induration of the whole body of the stone. I offer this
supposition with all diffidence; there may be many other causes, which
cannot be developed until proper experiments have been made. It would be
interesting to ascertain the relative hardness of different specimens of
sandstone, taken from different depths in a bed, the surface of which
was exposed to the air, as of specimens exposed to the air for different
lengths of time.

  J. R.

HERNE HILL, _July 25, 1836._


[Footnote 27: London's _Magazine of Natural History_, Vol. vii., pp.
644-5. The note was illustrated by engravings from two sketches by the
author of the Aiguille de Servoz and of the Aiguille Dru, and by a
diagram explanatory of its last sentence but one.--ED.]

[Footnote 28: "A small neat copy of a sketch carefully taken on the
spot," which, according to the editor of the magazine, accompanied this
communication, was not, however, published. See the magazine.--ED.]

[Footnote 29: Loudon's _Magazine of Natural History_, Vol. ix., No. 65,
pp. 488-90.--ED.]

[Footnote 30: The question here discussed was originally asked in the
magazine (Vol. ix., pp. 379-80) by Mr. W. Perceval Hunter with reference
to the condition of Bodiam Castle, in Sussex.--ED.]


274. The difference in temperature between river and spring water, which
gives rise to the query of your correspondent Indigena (p. 491),[32] may
be the result of many causes, the principal of which is, however,
without doubt, the interior heat of the earth. It is a well known fact,
that this heat increases in a considerable ratio as we descend, making a
difference of several degrees between the temperature of the earth at
its surface and at depths of 500 or 600 feet; raising, of course, the
temperature of all springs which have their source at even moderate
depths, and entirely securing them from the effects of frost, which, it
is well known, cannot penetrate the earth to a greater depth than 3 or 4

275. Many instances might be given of the strong effect of this interior
heat. The glaciers of the Alps, for instance, frequently cover an extent
of three or four square leagues, with a mass of ice 400, 500, or even
600 feet deep, thus entirely preventing the access of exterior heat to
the soil; yet the radiation of heat from the ground itself is so
powerful as to dissolve the ice very rapidly, and to occasion streams of
no inconsiderable size beneath the ice, whose temperature, in summer,
is, I believe, as far as can be ascertained, not many degrees below that
of streams exposed to the air; and the radiation of heat from the water
of these streams forms vaults under the ice, which are frequently 40 ft.
or 50 ft. above the water; and which are formed, as a glance will show,
not by the force of the stream, which would only tear itself a broken
cave sufficient for its passage, but by the heat which radiates from it,
and gives the arch its immense height, and beautifully regular form.

These streams continue to flow in winter as well as in summer, although
in less quantity; and it is this process which chiefly prevents the
glacier from increasing in size; for the melting at the surface is, in
comparison, very inconsiderable, even in summer, the wind being cold,
the sun having little power, and slight frosts being frequent during the
night. It is also this melting beneath the ice (subglacial, suppose we
call it) which loosens the ice from the ground, and occasions, or rather
permits, the perpetual downward movement, with which

  "The glacier's cold and restless mass
  Moves onward day by day."

276. But more forcible and striking evidence is afforded by experiments
made in mines of great depth. Between 60 ft. and 80 ft. down, the
temperature of the earth is, I believe, the same at all times and in all
places; and below this depth it gradually increases. Near Bex, in the
Valais, there is a perpendicular shaft 677 ft. deep, or about 732 ft.
English, with water at the bottom, the temperature of which was
ascertained by Saussure. He does not tell us whether he used Réaumur's
or the centesimal thermometer; but the result of his experiment was
this:--In a lateral gallery, connected with the main shaft, but
deserted, and, therefore, unaffected by breath or the heat of lamps, at
321 ft. 10 in. below the surface, the temperature of the water and the
air was exactly the same, 11-1/2°; or, if the centesimal thermometer was
used, 52-4/5 Fahr.; if Réaumur's, 57-7/8 Fahr.

277. In another gallery, 564 feet below the surface, the water and air
had likewise the same temperature, 12-1/2°, either 54-4/5 or 6O-1/4
Fahr. The water at the bottom, 677 feet, was 14°, 57-1/2 or 63-1/4 Fahr.
The ratio in which the heat increases, therefore, increased as we
descend, since a difference of 113 feet between the depth of the bottom
of the shaft and the lowest gallery makes a greater difference in
temperature than the difference of 243 feet between the lowest and upper
gallery. This heat is the more striking when it is considered that the
water is impregnated with salt; indeed, Saussure appears inclined to
consider it accidental, perhaps occasioned by the combustion of pyrites,
or other causes in the interior of the mountain ("Voyages dans les
Alpes," tom. iv., c. 50). All experiments of this kind, indeed, are
liable to error, from the frequent occurrence of warm springs, and other
accidental causes of increase in temperature. The water at the bottom of
deep lakes is always found several degrees colder than the atmosphere,
even when the water at the surface is warmer: but that may be accounted
for by the difference in the specific gravity of water at different
temperatures; and, as the heat of the sun and atmosphere in summer is
greater than the mean heat of the earth at moderate depths, the water at
the bottom, even if it becomes of the same heat with the earth, must be
colder than that at the surface, which, from its exposure to the sun,
becomes frequently warmer than the air. The same causes affect the
temperature of the sea; and the greater saturation of the water below
with salt renders it yet more susceptible of cold. Under-currents from
the poles, and the sinking of the water of low temperature, which
results from the melting of the icebergs which float into warmer
latitudes, contribute still farther to lower the temperature of the deep
sea. If, then, the temperature of the sea at great depths is found not
many degrees lower than that at the surface, it would be a striking
proof of the effect produced by the heat of the earth; but I am not
aware of the results of the experiments which have been made on this

278. We must, then, rest satisfied with the well-ascertained fact, that
the temperature of the earth, even at depths of a few feet, never
descends, in temperate latitudes, to the freezing point; and that at the
depth of 60 feet it is always the same, in winter much higher, in summer
considerably lower, than that of the atmosphere. Spring water, then,
which has its source at a considerable depth, will, when it first rises,
be of this mean temperature; while, after it has flowed for some
distance, it becomes of the temperature of the atmosphere, or, in
summer, even warmer, owing to the action of the sun, both directly and
reflected or radiated from its bottom. Besides this equable temperature
in the water itself, spring or well water is usually covered; and, even
if exposed, if the well is very deep, the water will not freeze, or at
least very slightly; for frost does not act with its full power, except
where there is a free circulation of air. In open ponds, wherever bushes
hang over the water, the ice is weak. Indigena's supposition, that there
are earthy particles in river water, which render it more susceptible of
cold than spring water, cannot be true; for then the relative
temperatures would be the same in winter and in summer, which is not the
case; and, besides, there are frequently more earthy particles in
mineral springs, or even common land springs, than in clear river water,
provided it has not been fouled by extraneous matter; for it has a
tendency to deposit the earthy particles which it holds in suspension.

279. It is evident, also, that the supposition of Mr. Carr (Vol. v., p.
395) relative to anchor frosts, that the stones at the bottom acquire a
greater degree of cold, or, to speak more correctly, lose more heat,
than the water, is erroneous. J. G. has given the reasons at p. 770; and
the glaciers of Switzerland afford us an example. When a stone is
deposited on a glacier of any considerable size, but not larger than 1
foot or 18 inches in diameter, it becomes penetrated with the heat of
the sun, melts the ice below it, and sinks into the glacier. But this
effect does not cease, as might be supposed, when the stone sinks
beneath the water which it has formed; on the contrary, it continues to
absorb heat from the rays of the sun, to keep the water above it liquid
by its radiation, and to sink deeper into the body of the glacier, until
it gets down beyond the reach of the sun's rays, when the water of the
well which it has formed is no longer kept liquid, and the stone is
buried in the ice. In summer, however, the water is kept liquid; and
circular wells, formed in this manner, are of frequent occurrence on the
glaciers, sometimes, in the morning, covered by a thin crust of ice.

Thus, the stones at the bottom of streams must tend to raise, rather
than lower, this temperature. Is it possible that, in the agitation of a
stream at its bottom, if violent, momentary and minute vacua may be
formed, tending to increase the intensity of the cold?

HERNE HILL, _Sept. 2, 1836._


[Footnote 31: London's _Magazine of Natural History_, vol. ix., pp.

[Footnote 32: The query was as follows:--

_An Inquiry for the Cause of the Difference in Temperature of River
Water and Spring Water, both in Summer and Winter._--In the summer time
the river water is much warmer than that from a spring; during the
severe frosts of winter it is colder; and when the stream is covered
over with ice, the spring, that is, well or pump water is unaffected by
frost. Does this difference proceed from the exposure of the surface of
the river water, in summer, to the sun's direct influence, and, in
winter, to that of frost; while the well water, being covered, is
protected from their power? Or is there in river water, from the earthy
particles it contains, a greater susceptibility of heat and
cold?--_Indigena_. _April 19, 1836._--ED.]


280. The comparison and estimation of the relative advantages of
separate departments of science is a task which is always partially
executed, because it is never entered upon with an unbiased mind; for,
since it is only the accurate knowledge of a science which can enable us
to present its beauty, or estimate its utility, the branches of
knowledge with which we are most familiar will always appear the most
important. The endeavor, therefore, to judge of the relative _beauty_ or
_interest_ of the sciences is utterly hopeless. Let the astronomer boast
of the magnificence of his speculations, the mathematician of the
immutability of his facts, the chemist of the infinity of his
combinations, and we will admit that they all have equal ground for
their enthusiasm. But the highest standard of estimation is that of
utility. The far greater proportion of mankind, the uninformed, who are
unable to perceive the beauty of the sciences whose benefits they
experience, are the true, the just, the only judges of their relative
importance. It is they who feel what impartial men of learning know,
that the mass of general knowledge is a perfect and beautiful body,
among whose members there should be no schism, and whose prosperity must
always be greatest when none are partially pursued, and none unduly
rejected. We do not, therefore, advance any proud and unjustifiable
claims to the superiority of that branch of science for the furtherance
of which this society has been formed over all others; but we zealously
come forward to deprecate the apathy with which it has long been
regarded, to dissipate the prejudices which that apathy alone could have
engendered, and to vindicate its claims to an honorable and equal
position among the proud thrones of its sister sciences. We do not bring
meteorology forward as a pursuit adapted for the occupation of tedious
leisure, or the amusement of a careless hour. Such qualifications are no
inducements to its pursuit by men of science and learning, and to these
alone do we now address ourselves. Neither do we advance it on the
ground of its interest or beauty, though it is a science possessing both
in no ordinary degree. As to its beauty, it may be remarked that it is
not calculated to harden the mind it strengthens, and bind it down to
the measurement of magnitudes and estimation of quantities, destroying
all higher feelings, all finer sensibilities: it is not to be learned
among the gaseous exhalations of the deathful laboratory; it has no
dwelling in the cold caves of the dark earth; it is not to be followed
up among the charnel houses of creation. But it is a science of the pure
air, and of the bright heaven; its thoughts are amidst the loveliness of
creation; it leads the mind, as well as the eye, to the morning mist,
and the noonday glory, and the twilight-cloud, to the purple peace of
the mountain heaven, to the cloudy repose of the green valley; now
expatiating in the silence of stormless ether, now on the rushing of the
wings of the wind. It is indeed a knowledge which must be felt to be, in
its very essence, full of the soul of the beautiful. For its interest,
it is universal, unabated in every place, and in all time. He, whose
kingdom is the heaven, can never meet with an uninteresting space, can
never exhaust the phenomena of an hour; he is in a realm of perpetual
change, of eternal motion, of infinite mystery. Light and darkness, and
cold and heat, are to him as friends of familiar countenance, but of
infinite variety of conversation; and while the geologist yearns for the
mountain, the botanist for the field, and the mathematician for the
study, the meteorologist, like a spirit of a higher order than any,
rejoices in the kingdoms of the air.

281. But, as we before said, it is neither for its interest, nor for its
beauty, that we recommend the study of meteorology. It involves
questions of the highest practical importance, and the solution of which
will be productive of most substantial benefit to those classes who can
least comprehend the speculations from which these advantages are
derived. Times and seasons and climates, calms and tempests, clouds and
winds, whose alternations appear to the inexperienced mind the confused
consequences of irregular, indefinite, and accidental causes, arrange
themselves before the meteorologist in beautiful succession of
undisturbed order, in direct derivation from definite causes; it is for
him to trace the path of the tempest round the globe, to point out the
place whence it arose, to foretell the time of its decline, to follow
the hours around the earth, as she "spins beneath her pyramid of night,"
to feel the pulses of ocean, to pursue the course of its currents and
its changes, to measure the power, direction, and duration of mysterious
and invisible influences, and to assign constant and regular periods to
the seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and
night, which we know shall not cease, till the universe be no more. It
may be thought we are exaggerating the effects of a science which is yet
in its infancy. But it must be remembered that we are not speaking of
its attained, but of its attainable power: it is the young Hercules for
the fostering of whose strength the Meteorological Society has been

282. There is one point, it must now be observed, in which the science
of meteorology differs from all others. A Galileo, or a Newton, by the
unassisted workings of his solitary mind, may discover the secrets of
the heavens, and form a new system of astronomy. A Davy in his lonely
meditations on the crags of Cornwall, or in his solitary laboratory,
might discover the most sublime mysteries of nature, and trace out the
most intricate combinations of her elements. But the meteorologist is
impotent if alone; his observations are useless; for they are made upon
a point, while the speculations to be derived from them must be on
space. It is of no avail that he changes his position, ignorant of what
is passing behind him and before; he desires to estimate the movements
of space, and can only observe the dancing of atoms; he would calculate
the currents of the atmosphere of the world, while he only knows the
direction of a breeze. It is perhaps for this reason that the cause of
meteorology has hitherto been so slightly supported; no progress can be
made by the most gigantic efforts of a solitary intellect, and the
co-operation demanded was difficult to obtain, because it was necessary
that the individuals should think, observe, and act simultaneously,
though separated from each other by distances on the greatness of which
depended the utility of the observations.

283. The Meteorological Society, therefore, has been formed, not for a
city, nor for a kingdom, but for the world. It wishes to be the central
point, the moving power of a vast machine, and it feels that unless it
can be this, it must be powerless; if it cannot do all, it can do
nothing. It desires to have at its command, at stated periods, perfect
systems of methodical and simultaneous observations,--it wishes its
influence and its power to be omnipotent over the globe, so that it may
be able to know, at any given instant, the state of the atmosphere at
every point on its surface. Let it not be supposed that this is a
chimerical imagination, the vain dream of a few philosophical
enthusiasts. It is co-operation which we now come forward to request, in
full confidence, that if our efforts are met with a zeal worthy of the
cause, our associates will be astonished, _individually_, by the result
of their labors in a body. Let none be discouraged because they are
alone, or far distant from their associates. What was formerly weakness
will now have become strength. Let the pastor of the Alps observe the
variations of his mountain winds; let the voyagers send us notes of the
changes on the surface of the sea; let the solitary dweller in the
American prairie observe the passages of the storms, and the variations
of the climate; and each, who alone would have been powerless, will find
himself a part of one mighty mind, a ray of light entering into one vast
eye, a member of a multitudinous power, contributing to the knowledge,
and aiding the efforts, which will be capable of solving the most deeply
hidden problems of nature, penetrating into the most occult causes, and
reducing to principle and order the vast multitude of beautiful and
wonderful phenomena by which the wisdom and benevolence of the Supreme
Deity regulates the course of the times and the seasons, robes the globe
with verdure and fruitfulness, and adapts it to minister to the wants,
and contribute to the felicity, of the innumerable tribes of animated



[Footnote 33: From the "Transactions of the Meteorological Society,"
Vol. i., pp. 56-9 (London, 1839). The full title of the paper was
"Remarks on the Present State of Meteorological Science." The Society
was instituted in 1823, but appears to have published no previous


284. The speaker's purpose was to exhibit the development of the common
forms of branch, in dicotyledonous trees, from the fixed type of the
annual shoot. Three principal modes of increase and growth might be
distinguished in all accumulative change, namely:--

1. Simple aggregation, having no periodical or otherwise defined limit,
and subject only to laws of cohesion and crystallization, as in
inorganic matter.

2. Addition of similar parts to each other, under some law fixing their
limits and securing their unity.

3. Enlargement, or systematic change in arrangement, of a typical form,
as in the growth of the members of an animal.

285. The growth of trees came under the second of these heads. A tree
did not increase in stem or boughs as the wrist and hand of a child
increased to the wrist and hand of a man; but it was built up by
additions of similar parts, as a city is increased by the building of
new rows of houses.

Any annual shoot was most conveniently to be considered as a single rod,
which would always grow vertically if possible.

Every such rod or pillar was, in common timber trees, typically either
polygonal in section, or rectangular.

If polygonal, the leaves were arranged on it in a spiral order, as in
the elm or oak.

If rectangular, the leaves were arranged on it in pairs, set alternately
at right angles to each other.

Intermediate forms connected each of these types with those of
monocotyledonous trees. The structure of the _arbor vitæ_ might be
considered as typically representing the link between the rectangular
structure and that of monocotyledons; and that of the pine between the
polygonal structure and that of monocotyledons.

Every leaf during its vitality secreting carbon from the atmosphere,
with the elements of water, formed a certain quantity of woody tissue,
which extended down the outside of the tree to the ground, and farther
to the extremities of the roots. The mode in which this descending
masonry was added appeared to depend on the peculiar functions of
cambium, and (the speaker believed) was as yet unexplained by botanists.

286. Every leaf, besides forming this masonry all down the tree,
protected a bud at the base of its own stalk. From this bud, unless
rendered abortive, a new shoot would spring next year. Now, supposing
that out of the leaf-buds on each shoot of a pentagonal tree, only five
at its extremity or on its side were permitted to develop themselves,
even under this limitation the number of shoots developed from a single
one in the seventh year would be 78,125. The external form of a
healthily grown tree at any period of its development was therefore
composed of a mass of sprays, whose vitality was approximately
distributed over the _surface_ of the tree to an equal depth. The
branches beneath at once supported, and were fed by, this orbicular
field, or animated external garment of vegetation, from every several
leaf of which, as from an innumerable multitude of small green
fountains, the streams of woody fiber descended, met, and united as
rivers do, and gathered their full flood into the strength of the stem.

287. The principal errors which had been committed by artists in drawing
trees had arisen from their regarding the bough as ramifying
irregularly, and somewhat losing in energy towards the extremity;
whereas the real boughs threw their whole energy, and multiplied their
substance, towards the extremities, ranking themselves in more or less
cup-shaped tiers round the trunk, and forming a compact united surface
at the exterior of the tree.

288. In the course of arrival at this form, the bough, throughout its
whole length, showed itself to be influenced by a force like that of an
animal's instinct. Its minor curves and angles were all subjected to one
strong ruling tendency and law of advance, dependent partly on the aim
of every shoot to raise itself upright, partly on the necessity which
each was under to yield due place to the neighboring leaves, and obtain
for itself as much light and air as possible. It had indeed been
ascertained that vegetable tissue was liable to contractions and
expansion (under fixed mechanical conditions) by light, heat, moisture,
etc. But vegetable tissue in the living branch did not contract nor
expand under external influence alone. The principle of life manifested
itself either by contention with, or felicitous recognition of, external
force. It accepted with a visible, active, and apparently joyful
concurrence, the influences which led the bough towards its due place in
the economy of the tree; and it obeyed reluctantly, partially, and with
distorted curvatures, those which forced it to violate the typical
organic form. The attention of painters of foliage had seldom been drawn
with sufficient accuracy to the lines either of branch curvature, or
leaf contour, as expressing these subtle laws of incipient volition; but
the relative merit of the great schools of figure design might, in
absence of all other evidence, be determined, almost without error, by
observing the precision of their treatment of leaf curvature. The
leaf-painting round the head of Ariosto by Titian, in the National
Gallery, might be instanced.

289. The leaf thus differed from the flower in forming and protecting
behind it, not only the bud in which was the form of a new shoot like
itself, but a piece of permanent work, and produced substance, by which
every following shoot could be placed under different circumstances from
its predecessor. Every leaf labored to solidify this substance during
its own life; but the seed left by the flower matured only as the flower

This difference in the action and endurance of the flower and leaf had
been applied by nearly all great nations as a type of the variously
active and productive states of life among individuals or commonwealths.
Chaucer's poem of the "Flower and Leaf" is the most definite expression
of the mediæval feeling in this respect, while the fables of the rape of
Proserpine and of Apollo and Daphne embody that of the Greeks. There is
no Greek goddess corresponding to the Flora of the Romans. Their Flora
is Persephone, "the bringer of death." She plays for a little while in
the Sicilian fields, gathering flowers, then snatched away by Pluto,
receives her chief power as she vanishes from our sight, and is crowned
in the grave. Daphne, on the other hand, is the daughter of one of the
great Arcadian river gods, and of the earth; she is the type of the
river mist filling the rocky vales of Arcadia; the sun, pursuing this
mist from dell to dell, is Apollo pursuing Daphne; where the mist is
protected from his rays by the rock shadows, the laurel and other
richest vegetation spring by the river-sides, so that the laurel-leaf
becomes the type, in the Greek mind, of the beneficent ministry and
vitality of the rivers and the earth, under the beams of sunshine; and
therefore it is chosen to form the signet-crown of highest honor for
gods or men, honor for work born of the strength and dew of the earth
and informed by the central light of heaven; work living, perennial, and

  J. R.


[Footnote 34: Read by Mr. Ruskin at the weekly evening meeting of the
Royal Institution (see _Proceedings_, vol. iii., pp. 358-60), April 19,


290. The purpose of the discourse was to trace some of the influences
which have produced the present external forms of the stratified
mountains of Savoy, and the probable extent and results of the future
operation of such influences.

The subject was arranged under three heads:--

  I. The Materials of the Savoy Alps.
  II. The Mode of their Formation.
  III. The Mode of their subsequent Sculpture.

291. I. _Their Materials._--The investigation was limited to those Alps
which consist, in whole or in part, either of Jura limestone, of
Neocomian beds, or of the Hippurite limestone, and include no important
masses of other formations. All these rocks are marine deposits; and the
first question to be considered with respect to the development of
mountains out of them is the kind of change they must undergo in being
dried. Whether prolonged through vast periods of time, or hastened by
heat and pressure, the drying and solidification of such rocks involved
their contraction, and usually, in consequence, their being traversed
throughout by minute fissures. Under certain conditions of pressure,
these fissures take the aspect of slaty cleavage; under others, they
become irregular cracks, dividing all the substance of the stone. If
these are not filled, the rock would become a mere heap of débris, and
be incapable of establishing itself in any bold form. This is provided
against by a metamorphic action, which either arranges the particles of
the rock, throughout, in new and more crystalline conditions, or else
causes some of them to separate from the rest, to traverse the body of
the rock, and arrange themselves in its fissures; thus forming a cement,
usually of finer and purer substance than the rest of the stone. In
either case the action tends continually to the purification and
segregation of the elements of the stone. The energy of such action
depends on accidental circumstances: first, on the attractions of the
component elements among themselves; secondly, on every change of
external temperature and relation. So that mountains are at different
periods in different stages of health (so to call it) or disease. We
have mountains of a languid temperament, mountains with checked
circulations, mountains in nervous fevers, mountains in atrophy and

292. This change in the structure of existing rocks is traceable through
continuous gradations, so that a black mud or calcareous slime is
imperceptibly modified into a magnificently hard and crystalline
substance, inclosing nests of beryl, topaz, and sapphire, and veined
with gold. But it cannot be determined how far, or in what localities,
these changes are yet arrested; in the plurality of instances they are
evidently yet in progress. It appears rational to suppose that as each
rock approaches to its perfect type the change becomes slower; its
perfection being continually neared, but never reached; its change being
liable also to interruption or reversal by new geological phenomena. In
the process of this change, rocks expand or contract; and, in portions,
their multitudinous fissures give them a ductility or viscosity like
that of glacier-ice on a larger scale. So that many formations are best
to be conceived as glaciers, or frozen fields of crag, whose depth is to
be measured in miles instead of fathoms, whose crevasses are filled with
solvent flame, with vapor, with gelatinous flint, or with crystallizing
elements of mingled natures; the whole mass changing its dimensions and
flowing into new channels, though by gradations which cannot be
measured, and in periods of time of which human life forms no
appreciable unit.

293. II. _Formation._--Mountains are to be arranged, with respect to
their structure, under two great classes--those which are cut out of the
beds of which they are composed, and those which are formed by the
convolution or contortion of the beds themselves. The Savoy mountains
are chiefly of this latter class. When stratified formations are
contorted, it is usually either by pressure from below, which raises one
part of the formation above the rest, or by lateral pressure, which
reduces the whole formation into a series of waves. The ascending
pressure may be limited in its sphere of operation; the lateral one
necessarily affects extensive tracts of country, and the eminences it
produces vanish only by degrees, like the waves left in the wake of a
ship. The Savoy mountains have undergone both these kinds of violence in
very complex modes and at different periods, so that it becomes almost
impossible to trace separately and completely the operation of any given
force at a given point.

294. The speaker's intention was to have analyzed, as far as possible,
the action of the forming forces in one wave of simple elevation, the
Mont Salève, and in another of lateral compression, the Mont Brezon: but
the investigation of the Mont Salève had presented unexpected
difficulty. Its façade had been always considered to be formed by
vertical beds, raised into that position during the tertiary periods;
the speaker's investigations had, on the contrary, led him to conclude
that the appearance of vertical beds was owing to a peculiarly sharp and
distinct cleavage, at right angles with the beds, but nearly parallel to
their strike, elsewhere similarly manifested in the Jurassic series of
Savoy, and showing itself on the fronts of most of the precipices formed
of that rock. The attention of geologists was invited to the
determination of this question.

The compressed wave of the Brezon, more complex in arrangement, was more
clearly defined. A section of it was given, showing the reversed
position of the Hippurite limestone in the summit and lower precipices.
This limestone wave was shown to be one of a great series, running
parallel with the Alps, and constituting an undulatory district,
chiefly composed of chalk beds, separated from the higher limestone
district of the Jura and Lias by a long trench or moat, filled with
members of the tertiary series--chiefly nummulite limestones and flysch.
This trench might be followed from Faverges, at the head of the lake of
Annecy, across Savoy. It separated Mont Vergi from the Mont Dorons, and
the Dent d'Oche from the Dent du Midi; then entered Switzerland,
separating the Moleson from the Diablerets; passed on through the
districts of Thun and Brientz, and, dividing itself into two, caused the
zigzagged form of the lake of Lucerne. The principal branch then passed
between the high Sentis and the Glarnisch, and broke into confusion in
the Tyrol. On the north side of this trench the chalk beds were often
vertical, or cast into repeated folds, of which the escarpments were
mostly turned away from the Alps; but on the south side of the trench,
the Jurassic, Triassic, and Carboniferous beds, though much distorted,
showed a prevailing tendency to lean towards the Alps, and turn their
escarpments to the central chain.

295. Both these systems of mountains are intersected by transverse
valleys, owing their origin, in the first instance, to a series of
transverse curvilinear fractures, which affect the forms even of every
minor ridge, and produce its principal ravines and boldest rocks, even
where no distinctly excavated valleys exist. Thus, the Mont Vergi and
the Aiguilles of Salouvre are only fragmentary remains of a range of
horizontal beds, once continuous, but broken by this transverse system
of curvilinear cleavage, and worn or weathered into separate summits.

The means of this ultimate sculpture or weathering were lastly to be

       *       *       *       *       *

296. III. _Sculpture._--The final reductions of mountainform are owing
either to disintegration, or to the action of water, in the condition of
rain, rivers, or ice, aided by frost and other circumstances of
temperature and atmosphere.

All important existing forms are owing to disintegration, or the action
of water. That of ice had been curiously over-rated. As an instrument of
sculpture, ice is much less powerful than water; the apparently
energetic effects of it being merely the exponents of disintegration. A
glacier did not produce its moraine, but sustained and exposed the
fragments which fell on its surface, pulverizing these by keeping them
in motion, but producing very unimportant effects on the rock below; the
roundings and striation produced by ice were superficial; while a
torrent penetrated into every angle and cranny, undermining and wearing
continually, and carrying stones, at the lowest estimate, six hundred
thousand times as fast as the glacier. Had the quantity of rain which
has fallen on Mont Blanc in the form of snow (and descended in the
ravines as ice) fallen as rain, and descended in torrents, the ravines
would have been much deeper than they are now, and the glacier may so
far be considered as exercising a protective influence. But its power of
carriage is unlimited, and when masses of earth or rock are once
loosened, the glacier carries them away, and exposes fresh surfaces.
Generally, the work of water and ice is in mountain surgery like that of
lancet and sponge--one for incision, the other for ablution. No
excavation by ice was possible on a large scale, any more than by a
stream of honey; and its various actions, with their limitations, were
only to be understood by keeping always clearly in view the great law of
its motion as a viscous substance, determined by Professor James Forbes.

297. The existing forms of the Alps are, therefore, traceable chiefly to
denudation as they rose from the sea, followed by more or less violent
aqueous action, partly arrested during the glacial periods, while the
produced diluvium was carried away into the valley of the Rhine or into
the North Sea. One very important result of denudation had not yet been
sufficiently regarded; namely, that when portions of a thick bed (as the
Rudisten-kalk) had been entirely removed, the weight of the remaining
masses, pressing unequally on the inferior beds, would, when these were
soft (as the Neocomian marls), press them up into arched conditions,
like those of the floors of coal-mines in what the miners called
"creeps." Many anomalous positions of the beds of Spatangenkalk in the
district of the Lake of Annecy were in all probability owing to this
cause: they might be studied advantageously in the sloping base of the
great Rochers de Lanfon, which, disintegrating in curved, nearly
vertical flakes, each a thousand feet in height, were nevertheless a
mere outlying remnant of the great horizontal formation of the Parmelan,
and formed, like it, of very thin horizontal beds of Rudisten-kalk,
imposed on shaly masses of Neocomian, modified by their pressure. More
complex forms of harder rock were wrought by the streams and rains into
fantastic outlines; and the transverse gorges were cut deep where they
had been first traced by fault or distortion. The analysis of this
aqueous action would alone require a series of discourses; but the sum
of the facts was that the best and most interesting portions of the
mountains were just those which were finally left, the centers and
joints, as it were, of the Alpine anatomy. Immeasurable periods of time
would be required to wear these away; and to all appearances, during the
process of their destruction, others were rising to take their place,
and forms of perhaps far more nobly organized mountain would witness the
collateral progress of humanity.

  J. R.


[Footnote 35: Read by Mr. Ruskin at the weekly evening meeting of the
Royal Institution (see _Proceedings_, vol. iv., pp. 142-46), June 5,



298. I suppose this theorem to be a truism; but I venture to state it,
because it is surely desirable that it should be recognized as an axiom
by metaphysicians, and practically does not seem to me yet to have been
so. I say "animated life" because the word "life" by itself might have
been taken to include that of vegetables; and I say "animated" instead
of "spiritual" life because the Latin "anima," and pretty Italian
corruption of it, "alma," involving the new idea of nourishment of the
body as by the Aliment or Alms of God, seems to me to convey a better
idea of the existence of conscious creatures than any derivative of
"spiritus," "pneuma," or "psyche."

I attach, however, a somewhat lower sense to the word "conception" than
is, I believe, usual with metaphysicians, for, as a painter, I belong to
a lower rank of animated being than theirs, and can only mean by
conception what I know of it. A painter never conceives anything
absolutely, and is indeed incapable of conceiving anything at all,
except as a phenomenon or sensation, or as the mode or locus of a
phenomenon or sensation. That which is not an appearance, or a feeling,
or a mode of one or the other, is to him nothing.

299. For instance, he would deny the definition of the phenomenon which
he is himself first concerned in producing--a line--as "length without
breadth." He would say, "That which has no breadth is nothing, and
nothing cannot be long." He would define a line as a narrow and long
phenomenon, and a mathematician's idea of it as an idea of the
direction of such a phenomenon.

The act of conception or imagination with him, therefore, is merely the
memory, simple or combined, of things that he has seen or felt. He has
no ray, no incipience of faculty beyond this. No quantity of the
sternest training in the school of Hegel, would ever enable him to think
the Absolute. He would persist in an obstinate refusal to use the word
"think" at all in a transitive sense. He would never, for instance, say,
"I think the table," but "I think the table is turning," or is not, as
the case might be. And if he were to be taught in any school whatever to
conceive a table, his first demand would be that he should be shown one,
or referred to other things that had the qualities of one in
illustrative degree.

300. And even respecting the constant methods or laws of phenomena, he
cannot raise the statement of them into an act of conception. The
statement that two right lines can never inclose a space merely appears
to him another form of verbal definition, or, at the grandest, a
definition in prophetic extent, saying in other words that a line which
incloses, or ever may inclose, a space, is not, and never will be, a
right one. He would admit that what he now conceives as two things,
doubled, would always be what he now conceives as four things. But
assuming the existence of a world in which, whenever two things were
actually set in juxtaposition with other two things, they became
actually three times, or actually five, he supposes that the practice of
arithmetic, and laws of it, would change in relation to this new
condition in matter; and he accepts, therefore, the statement that twice
two are four only as an accident of the existing phenomena of matter.

301. A painter therefore may, I think, be looked upon as only
representing a high order of sensational creatures, incapable of any but
physical ideas and impressions; and I continue my paper, therefore, only
in the name of the docile, and therefore improvable, part of the Brute

And in their name I would suggest that we should be much more docile
than we are if we were never occupied in efforts to conceive things
above our natures. To take an instance, in a creature somewhat lower
than myself. I came by surprise the other day on a cuttle-fish in a pool
at low tide. On being touched with the point of my umbrella, he first
filled the pool with ink, and then finding himself still touched in the
darkness, lost his temper, and attacked the umbrella with much psyche or
anima, hugging it tightly with all his eight arms, and making efforts,
like an impetuous baby with a coral, to get it into his mouth. On my
offering him a finger instead, he sucked that with two or three of his
arms with an apparently malignant satisfaction, and on being shaken off,
retired with an air of frantic misanthropy into the cloud of his ink.

302. Now, it seems to me not a little instructive to reflect how
entirely useless such a manifestation of a superior being was to his
cuttle-fish mind, and how fortunate it was for his fellow-octopods that
he had no command of pens as well as ink, nor any disposition to write
on the nature of umbrellas or of men.

It may be observed, further, that whatever ideas he was able to form
respecting either were positively false--so contrary to truth as to be
worse than none, and simply dangerous to himself, so far as he might be
induced to act upon them--that, namely, an umbrella was an eatable
thing, or a man a conquerable one, that the individual man who looked at
him was hostile to him or that his purposes could be interfered with by
ejection of ink. Every effort made by the fish under these convictions
was harmful to himself; his only wisdom would have been to lie quietly
and unreflectively in his pool.

And with us painters also, the only result of any efforts we make to
acquaint ourselves with the subjects of metaphysical inquiry has been an
increased sense of the prudence of lying placidly and unreflectively in
our pools, or at least limiting ourselves to such gentle efforts of
imagination as may be consistent with the as yet imperfectly developed
powers, I do not say even of cephalopodic, but of Ascidian nervous

303. But it may be easily imagined how pleasantly, to persons thus
subdued in self-estimation, the hope presents itself which is involved
in the Darwinian theory, that their pools themselves may be capable of
indefinite extension, and their natures of indefinite development--the
hope that our descendants may one day be ashamed of us, and debate the
question of their parentage with astonishment and disgust.

And it seems to me that the aim of elementary metaphysical study might
henceforth become more practical than that of any other science. For in
hitherto taking little cognizance of the limitation of thought by the
structure of the body, we have surely also lost sight of the power of
certain modes of thought over the processes of that structure. Taking,
for instance, the emotion of anger, of which the cephalopoda are indeed
as capable as we are, but inferior to us in being unable to decide
whether they do well to be angry or not, I do not think the chemical
effect of that emotion on the particles of the blood, in decomposing and
otherwise paralyzing or debilitating them, has been sufficiently
examined, nor the actual quantity of nervous energy which a fit of anger
of given violence withdraws from the body and restores to space, neither
the correlative power of volition in restraining the passion, or in
directing the choice of salutary thought, as of salutary herbs on
streams. And even we painters, who dare not call ourselves capable of
thought, are capable of choice in more or less salutary vision. In the
degree in which we lose such power of choice in vision, so that the
spectral phenomena which are the materials of our industry present
themselves under forms beyond our control, we become insane; and
although for all our best work a certain degree of this insanity is
necessary, and the first occurring conceptions are uncommanded, as in
dreams, we have, when in health, always instantaneous power of accepting
some, refusing others, perfecting the outlines and colors of those we
wish to keep, and arranging them in such relations as we choose.

304. And unquestionably the forms of the body which painters
instinctively recognize as best, and call "beautiful," are so far under
the command of the plastic force of voluntary thought, that the
original and future authority of such a plastic force over the whole of
creation cannot but seem to painters a direct, though not a certain
influence; and they would at once give their adherence to the statement
made many years since in his opening lectures in Oxford by the present
Regius Professor of Medicine (as far as I can recollect approximately,
in these terms)--that "it is quite as logical, and far more easy, to
conceive of original anima as adapting itself to forms of substance,
than of original substance as adapting to itself modes of mind."

305. It is surely, therefore, not too much to expect of future schools
of metaphysicians that they will direct mankind into methods of thought
which will be at once happy, unerring, and medicinal, and therefore
entirely wise; that they will mark the limits beyond which uniformity
must be dangerous, and speculation vain; and that they will at no
distant period terminate the acrimony of theologians, and the
insolences, as well as the sorrows, of groundless faith, by showing that
it is appointed for us, in common with the rest of the animal creation,
to live in the midst of an universe the nature of which is as much
better than we can believe, as it is greater than we can understand.


[Footnote 36: Contemporary Review, June, 1871.--ED.]

       *       *       *       *       *



(_Nineteenth Century, June, August, Sept., Nov. 1880, and Oct. 1881._)


(_Preface to "German Popular Stories," 1868._)

       *       *       *       *       *



1. On the first mild--or, at least, the first bright--day of March, in
this year, I walked through what was once a country lane, between the
hostelry of the Half-moon at the bottom of Herne Hill, and the secluded
College of Dulwich.

In my young days, Croxsted Lane was a green byroad traversable for some
distance by carts; but rarely so traversed, and, for the most part,
little else than a narrow strip of untilled field, separated by
blackberry hedges from the better-cared-for meadows on each side of it:
growing more weeds, therefore, than they, and perhaps in spring a
primrose or two--white archangel--daisies plenty, and purple thistles in
autumn. A slender rivulet, boasting little of its brightness, for there
are no springs at Dulwich, yet fed purely enough by the rain and morning
dew, here trickled--there loitered--through the long grass beneath the
hedges, and expanded itself, where it might, into moderately clear and
deep pools, in which, under their veils of duckweed, a fresh-water shell
or two, sundry curious little skipping shrimps, any quantity of tadpoles
in their time, and even sometimes a tittlebat, offered themselves to my
boyhood's pleased, and not inaccurate, observation. There, my mother and
I used to gather the first buds of the hawthorn; and there, in after
years, I used to walk in the summer shadows, as in a place wilder and
sweeter than our garden, to think over any passage I wanted to make
better than usual in _Modern Painters_.

So, as aforesaid, on the first kindly day of this year, being thoughtful
more than usual of those old times, I went to look again at the place.

2. Often, both in those days, and since, I have put myself hard to it,
vainly, to find words wherewith to tell of beautiful things; but beauty
has been in the world since the world was made, and human language can
make a shift, somehow, to give account of it, whereas the peculiar
forces of devastation induced by modern city life have only entered the
world lately; and no existing terms of language known to me are enough
to describe the forms of filth, and modes of ruin, that varied
themselves along the course of Croxsted Lane. The fields on each side of
it are now mostly dug up for building, or cut through into gaunt corners
and nooks of blind ground by the wild crossings and concurrencies of
three railroads. Half a dozen handfuls of new cottages, with Doric
doors, are dropped about here and there among the gashed ground: the
lane itself, now entirely grassless, is a deep-rutted, heavy-hillocked
cart-road, diverging gatelessly into various brickfields or pieces of
waste; and bordered on each side by heaps of--Hades only knows
what!--mixed dust of every unclean thing that can crumble in drought,
and mildew of every unclean thing that can rot or rust in damp: ashes
and rags, beer-bottles and old shoes, battered pans, smashed crockery,
shreds of nameless clothes, door-sweepings, floor-sweepings, kitchen
garbage, back-garden sewage, old iron, rotten timber jagged with
out-torn nails, cigar-ends, pipe-bowls, cinders, bones, and ordure,
indescribable; and, variously kneaded into, sticking to, or fluttering
foully here and there over all these,--remnants broadcast, of every
manner of newspaper, advertisement or big-lettered bill, festering and
flaunting out their last publicity in the pits of stinking dust and
mortal slime.

3. The lane ends now where its prettiest windings once began; being cut
off by a cross-road leading out of Dulwich to a minor railway station:
and on the other side of this road, what was of old the daintiest
intricacy of its solitude is changed into a straight, and evenly
macadamized carriage drive between new houses of extreme respectability,
with good attached gardens and offices--most of these tenements being
larger--all more pretentious, and many, I imagine, held at greatly
higher rent than my father's, tenanted for twenty years at Herne Hill.
And it became matter of curious meditation to me what must here become
of children resembling my poor little dreamy quondam self in temper, and
thus brought up at the same distance from London, and in the same or
better circumstances of worldly fortune; but with only Croxsted Lane in
its present condition for their country walk. The trimly kept road
before their doors, such as one used to see in the fashionable suburbs
of Cheltenham or Leamington, presents nothing to their study but gravel,
and gas-lamp posts; the modern addition of a vermilion letter-pillar
contributing indeed to the splendor, but scarcely to the interest of the
scene; and a child of any sense or fancy would hastily contrive escape
from such a barren desert of politeness, and betake itself to
investigation, such as might be feasible, of the natural history of
Croxsted Lane.

4. But, for its sense or fancy, what food, or stimulus, can it find, in
that foul causeway of its youthful pilgrimage? What would have happened
to myself, so directed, I cannot clearly imagine. Possibly, I might have
got interested in the old iron and wood-shavings; and become an engineer
or a carpenter: but for the children of to-day, accustomed, from the
instant they are out of their cradles, to the sight of this infinite
nastiness, prevailing as a fixed condition of the universe, over the
face of nature, and accompanying all the operations of industrious man,
what is to be the scholastic issue? unless, indeed, the thrill of
scientific vanity in the primary analysis of some unheard-of process of
corruption--or the reward of microscopic research in the sight of worms
with more legs, and acari of more curious generation than ever vivified
the more simply smelling plasma of antiquity.

One result of such elementary education is, however, already certain;
namely, that the pleasure which we may conceive taken by the children of
the coming time, in the analysis of physical corruption, guides, into
fields more dangerous and desolate, the expatiation of an imaginative
literature: and that the reactions of moral disease upon itself, and
the conditions of languidly monstrous character developed in an
atmosphere of low vitality, have become the most valued material of
modern fiction, and the most eagerly discussed texts of modern

5. The many concurrent reasons for this mischief may, I believe, be
massed under a few general heads.[38]

I. There is first the hot fermentation and unwholesome secrecy of the
population crowded into large cities, each mote in the misery lighter,
as an individual soul, than a dead leaf, but becoming oppressive and
infectious each to his neighbor, in the smoking mass of decay. The
resulting modes of mental ruin and distress are continually new; and in
a certain sense, worth study in their monstrosity: they have accordingly
developed a corresponding science of fiction, concerned mainly with the
description of such forms of disease, like the botany of leaf-lichens.

In De Balzac's story of _Father Goriot_, a grocer makes a large fortune,
of which he spends on himself as much as may keep him alive; and on his
two daughters, all that can promote their pleasures or their pride. He
marries them to men of rank, supplies their secret expenses, and
provides for his favorite a separate and clandestine establishment with
her lover. On his death-bed, he sends for this favorite daughter, who
wishes to come, and hesitates for a quarter of an hour between doing so,
and going to a ball at which it has been for the last month her chief
ambition to be seen. She finally goes to the ball.

The story is, of course, one of which the violent contrasts and spectral
catastrophe could only take place, or be conceived, in a large city. A
village grocer cannot make a large fortune, cannot marry his daughters
to titled squires, and cannot die without having his children brought to
him, if in the neighborhood, by fear of village gossip, if for no better

6. II. But a much more profound feeling than this mere curiosity of
science in morbid phenomena is concerned in the production of the
carefulest forms of modern fiction. The disgrace and grief resulting
from the mere trampling pressure and electric friction of town life,
become to the sufferers peculiarly mysterious in their undeservedness,
and frightful in their inevitableness. The power of all surroundings
over them for evil; the incapacity of their own minds to refuse the
pollution, and of their own wills to oppose the weight, of the
staggering mass that chokes and crushes them into perdition, brings
every law of healthy existence into question with them, and every
alleged method of help and hope into doubt. Indignation, without any
calming faith in justice, and self-contempt, without any curative
self-reproach, dull the intelligence, and degrade the conscience, into
sullen incredulity of all sunshine outside the dunghill, or breeze
beyond the wafting of its impurity; and at last a philosophy develops
itself, partly satiric, partly consolatory, concerned only with the
regenerative vigor of manure, and the necessary obscurities of fimetic
Providence; showing how everybody's fault is somebody else's, how
infection has no law, digestion no will, and profitable dirt no

And thus an elaborate and ingenious scholasticism, in what may be called
the Divinity of Decomposition, has established itself in connection with
the more recent forms of romance, giving them at once a complacent tone
of clerical dignity, and an agreeable dash of heretical impudence; while
the inculcated doctrine has the double advantage of needing no laborious
scholarship for its foundation, and no painful self-denial for its

7. III. The monotony of life in the central streets of any great modern
city, but especially in those of London, where every emotion intended to
be derived by men from the sight of nature, or the sense of art, is
forbidden forever, leaves the craving of the heart for a sincere, yet
changeful, interest, to be fed from one source only. Under natural
conditions the degree of mental excitement necessary to bodily health is
provided by the course of the seasons, and the various skill and
fortune of agriculture. In the country every morning of the year brings
with it a new aspect of springing or fading nature; a new duty to be
fulfilled upon earth, and a new promise or warning in heaven. No day is
without its innocent hope, its special prudence, its kindly gift, and
its sublime danger; and in every process of wise husbandry, and every
effort of contending or remedial courage, the wholesome passions, pride,
and bodily power of the laborer are excited and exerted in happiest
unison. The companionship of domestic, the care of serviceable, animals,
soften and enlarge his life with lowly charities, and discipline him in
familiar wisdoms and unboastful fortitudes; while the divine laws of
seedtime which cannot be recalled, harvest which cannot be hastened, and
winter in which no man can work, compel the impatiences and coveting of
his heart into labor too submissive to be anxious, and rest too sweet to
be wanton. What thought can enough comprehend the contrast between such
life, and that in streets where summer and winter are only alternations
of heat and cold; where snow never fell white, nor sunshine clear; where
the ground is only a pavement, and the sky no more than the glass roof
of an arcade; where the utmost power of a storm is to choke the gutters,
and the finest magic of spring, to change mud into dust: where--chief
and most fatal difference in state--there is no interest of occupation
for any of the inhabitants but the routine of counter or desk within
doors, and the effort to pass each other without collision outside; so
that from morning to evening the only possible variation of the monotony
of the hours, and lightening of the penalty of existence, must be some
kind of mischief, limited, unless by more than ordinary godsend of
fatality, to the fall of a horse, or the slitting of a pocket?

8. I said that under these laws of inanition, the craving of the human
heart for some kind of excitement could be supplied from _one_ source
only. It might have been thought by any other than a sternly tentative
philosopher, that the denial of their natural food to human feelings
would have provoked a reactionary desire for it; and that the
dreariness of the street would have been gilded by dreams of pastoral
felicity. Experience has shown the fact to be otherwise; the thoroughly
trained Londoner can enjoy no other excitement than that to which he has
been accustomed, but asks for _that_ in continually more ardent or more
virulent concentration; and the ultimate power of fiction to entertain
him is by varying to his fancy the modes, and defining for his dullness
the horrors, of Death. In the single novel of "Bleak House" there are
nine deaths (or left for death's, in the drop scene) carefully wrought
out or led up to, either by way of pleasing surprise, as the baby's at
the brick-maker's, or finished in their threatenings and sufferings,
with as much enjoyment as can be contrived in the anticipation, and as
much pathology as can be concentrated in the description. Under the
following varieties of method:--

  One by assassination               Mr. Tulkinghorn.
  One by starvation, with phthisis   Joe.
  One by chagrin                     Richard.
  One by spontaneous combustion      Mr. Krook.
  One by sorrow                      Lady Dedlock's lover.
  One by remorse                     Lady Dedlock.
  One by insanity                    Miss Flite.
  One by paralysis                   Sir Leicester.

Besides the baby, by fever, and a lively young Frenchwoman left to be

And all this, observe, not in a tragic, adventurous, or military story,
but merely as the further enlivenment of a narrative intended to be
amusing; and as a properly representative average of the statistics of
civilian mortality in the center of London.

9. Observe further, and chiefly. It is not the mere number of deaths
(which, if we count the odd troopers in the last scene, is exceeded in
"Old Mortality," and reached, within one or two, both in "Waverley" and
"Guy Mannering") that marks the peculiar tone of the modern novel. It is
the fact that all these deaths, but one, are of inoffensive, or at least
in the world's estimate, respectable persons; and that they are all
grotesquely either violent or miserable, purporting thus to illustrate
the modern theology that the appointed destiny of a large average of our
population is to die like rats in a drain, either by trap or poison.
Not, indeed, that a lawyer in full practice can be usually supposed as
faultless in the eye of Heaven as a dove or a woodcock; but it is not,
in former divinities, thought the will of Providence that he should be
dropped by a shot from a client behind his fire-screen, and retrieved in
the morning by his housemaid under the chandelier. Neither is Lady
Dedlock less reprehensible in her conduct than many women of fashion
have been and will be: but it would not therefore have been thought
poetically just, in old-fashioned morality, that she should be found by
her daughter lying dead, with her face in the mud of a St. Giles's

10. In the work of the great masters death is always either heroic,
deserved, or quiet and natural (unless their purpose be totally and
deeply tragic, when collateral meaner death is permitted, like that of
Polonius or Roderigo). In "Old Mortality," four of the deaths,
Bothwell's, Ensign Grahame's, Macbriar's, and Evandale's, are
magnificently heroic; Burley's and Oliphant's long deserved, and swift;
the troopers', met in the discharge of their military duty, and the old
miser's as gentle as the passing of a cloud, and almost beautiful in its
last words of--now unselfish--care.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ailie" (he aye ca'd me Ailie, we were auld acquaintance), "Ailie, take
ye care and hand the gear weel thegither; for the name of Morton of
Milnwood's gane out like the last sough of an auld sang." And sae he
fell out o' ae dwam into another, and ne'er spak a word mair, unless it
something we you'dna mak out, about a dipped candle being gude eneugh
to see to dee wi'. He cou'd ne'er bide to see a molded ane, and there
was ane, by ill luck, on the table.

       *       *       *       *       *

In "Guy Mannering," the murder, though unpremeditated, of a single
person, (himself not entirely innocent, but at least by heartlessness in
a cruel function earning his fate,) is avenged to the uttermost on all
the men conscious of the crime; Mr. Bertram's death, like that of his
wife, brief in pain, and each told in the space of half a dozen lines;
and that of the heroine of the tale, self-devoted, heroic in the
highest, and happy.

Nor is it ever to be forgotten, in the comparison of Scott's with
inferior work, that his own splendid powers were, even in early life,
tainted, and in his latter years destroyed, by modern conditions of
commercial excitement, then first, but rapidly, developing themselves.
There are parts even in his best novels colored to meet tastes which he
despised; and many pages written in his later ones to lengthen his
article for the indiscriminate market.

11. But there was one weakness of which his healthy mind remained
incapable to the last. In modern stories prepared for more refined or
fastidious audiences than those of Dickens, the funereal excitement is
obtained, for the most part, not by the infliction of violent or
disgusting death; but in the suspense, the pathos, and the more or less
by all felt, and recognized, mortal phenomena of the sick-room. The
temptation, to weak writers, of this order of subject is especially
great, because the study of it from the living--or dying--model is so
easy, and to many has been the most impressive part of their own
personal experience; while, if the description be given even with
mediocre accuracy, a very large section of readers will admire its
truth, and cherish its melancholy. Few authors of second or third rate
genius can either record or invent a probable conversation in ordinary
life; but few, on the other hand, are so destitute of observant faculty
as to be unable to chronicle the broken syllables and languid movements
of an invalid. The easily rendered, and too surely recognized, image of
familiar suffering is felt at once to be real where all else had been
false; and the historian of the gestures of fever and words of delirium
can count on the applause of a gratified audience as surely as the
dramatist who introduces on the stage of his flagging action a carriage
that can be driven or a fountain that will flow. But the masters of
strong imagination disdain such work, and those of deep sensibility
shrink from it.[39] Only under conditions of personal weakness,
presently to be noted, would Scott comply with the cravings of his lower
audience in scenes of terror like the death of Front-de-Boeuf. But he
never once withdrew the sacred curtain of the sick-chamber, nor
permitted the disgrace of wanton tears round the humiliation of
strength, or the wreck of beauty.

12. IV. No exception to this law of reverence will be found in the
scenes in Coeur de Lion's illness introductory to the principal
incident in the "Talisman." An inferior writer would have made the king
charge in imagination at the head of his chivalry, or wander in dreams
by the brooks of Aquitaine; but Scott allows us to learn no more
startling symptoms of the king's malady than that he was restless and
impatient, and could not wear his armor. Nor is any bodily weakness, or
crisis of danger, permitted to disturb for an instant the royalty of
intelligence and heart in which he examines, trusts and obeys the
physician whom his attendants fear.

Yet the choice of the main subject in this story and its companion--the
trial, to a point of utter torture, of knightly faith, and several
passages in the conduct of both, more especially the exaggerated scenes
in the House of Baldringham, and hermitage of Engedi, are signs of the
gradual decline in force of intellect and soul which those who love
Scott best have done him the worst injustice in their endeavors to
disguise or deny. The mean anxieties, moral humiliations, and
mercilessly demanded brain-toil, which killed him, show their sepulchral
grasp for many and many a year before their final victory; and the
states of more or less dulled, distorted, and polluted imagination which
culminate in "Castle Dangerous" cast a Stygian hue over "St. Ronan's
Well," "The Fair Maid of Perth," and "Anne of Geierstein," which lowers
them, the first altogether, the other two at frequent intervals, into
fellowship with the normal disease which festers throughout the whole
body of our lower fictitious literature.

13. Fictitious! I use the ambiguous word deliberately; for it is
impossible to distinguish in these tales of the prison-house how far
their vice and gloom are thrown into their manufacture only to meet a
vile demand, and how far they are an integral condition of thought in
the minds of men trained from their youth up in the knowledge of
Londinian and Parisian misery. The speciality of the plague is a delight
in the exposition of the relations between guilt and decrepitude; and I
call the results of it literature "of the prison-house," because the
thwarted habits of body and mind, which are the punishment of reckless
crowding in cities, become, in the issue of that punishment, frightful
subjects of exclusive interest to themselves; and the art of fiction in
which they finally delight is only the more studied arrangement and
illustration, by colored fire-lights, of the daily bulletins of their
own wretchedness, in the prison calendar, the police news, and the
hospital report.

14. The reader will perhaps be surprised at my separating the greatest
work of Dickens, "Oliver Twist," with honor, from the loathsome mass to
which it typically belongs. That book is an earnest and uncaricatured
record of states of criminal life, written with didactic purpose, full
of the gravest instruction, nor destitute of pathetic studies of noble
passion. Even the "Mysteries of Paris" and Gaboriau's "Crime d'Orcival"
are raised, by their definiteness of historical intention and
forewarning anxiety, far above the level of their order, and may be
accepted as photographic evidence of an otherwise incredible
civilization, corrupted in the infernal fact of it, down to the genesis
of such figures as the Vicomte d'Orcival, the Stabber,[40] the Skeleton,
and the She-wolf. But the effectual head of the whole cretinous school
is the renowned novel in which the hunchbacked lover watches the
execution of his mistress from the tower of Notre-Dame; and its strength
passes gradually away into the anatomical preparations, for the general
market, of novels like "Poor Miss Finch," in which the heroine is blind,
the hero epileptic, and the obnoxious brother is found dead with his
hands dropped off, in the Arctic regions.[41]

15. This literature of the Prison-house, understanding by the word not
only the cell of Newgate, but also and even more definitely the cell of
the Hôtel-Dieu, the Hôpital des Fous, and the grated corridor with the
dripping slabs of the Morgue, having its central root thus in the Ile de
Paris--or historically and pre-eminently the "Cité de Paris"--is, when
understood deeply, the precise counter-corruption of the religion of the
Sainte Chapelle, just as the worst forms of bodily and mental ruin are
the corruption of love. I have therefore called it "Fiction mécroyante,"
with literal accuracy and precision: according to the explanation of the
word, which the reader may find in any good French dictionary,[42] and
round its Arctic pole in the Morgue, he may gather into one Caina of
gelid putrescence the entire product of modern infidel imagination,
amusing itself with destruction of the body, and busying itself with
aberration of the mind.

16. Aberration, palsy, or plague, observe, as distinguished from normal
evil, just as the venom of rabies or cholera differs from that of a wasp
or a viper. The life of the insect and serpent deserves, or at least
permits, our thoughts; not so the stages of agony in the fury-driven
hound. There is some excuse, indeed, for the pathologic labor of the
modern novelist in the fact that he cannot easily, in a city population,
find a healthy mind to vivisect: but the greater part of such amateur
surgery is the struggle, in an epoch of wild literary competition, to
obtain novelty of material. The varieties of aspect and color in healthy
fruit, be it sweet or sour, may be within certain limits described
exhaustively. Not so the blotches of its conceivable blight: and while
the symmetries of integral human character can only be traced by
harmonious and tender skill, like the branches of a living tree, the
faults and gaps of one gnawed away by corroding accident can be shuffled
into senseless change like the wards of a Chubb lock.

17. V. It is needless to insist on the vast field for this dice-cast or
card-dealt calamity which opens itself in the ignorance, money-interest,
and mean passion, of city marriage. Peasants know each other as
children--meet, as they grow up in testing labor; and if a stout
farmer's son marries a handless girl, it is his own fault. Also in the
patrician families of the field, the young people know what they are
doing, and marry a neighboring estate, or a covetable title, with some
conception of the responsibilities they undertake. But even among these,
their season in the confused metropolis creates licentious and
fortuitous temptation before unknown; and in the lower middle orders, an
entirely new kingdom of discomfort and disgrace has been preached to
them in the doctrines of unbridled pleasure which are merely an apology
for their peculiar forms of ill-breeding. It is quite curious how often
the catastrophe, or the leading interest, of a modern novel, turns upon
the want, both in maid and bachelor, of the common self-command which
was taught to their grandmothers and grandfathers as the first element
of ordinarily decent behavior. Rashly inquiring the other day the plot
of a modern story[43] from a female friend, I elicited, after some
hesitation, that it hinged mainly on the young people's "forgetting
themselves in a boat;" and I perceive it to be accepted as nearly an
axiom in the code of modern civic chivalry that the strength of amiable
sentiment is proved by our incapacity on proper occasions to express,
and on improper ones to control it. The pride of a gentleman of the old
school used to be in his power of saying what he meant, and being silent
when he ought (not to speak of the higher nobleness which bestowed love
where it was honorable, and reverence where it was due); but the
automatic amours and involuntary proposals of recent romance acknowledge
little further law of morality than the instinct of an insect, or the
effervescence of a chemical mixture.

18. There is a pretty little story of Alfred de Musset's--"La Mouche,"
which, if the reader cares to glance at it, will save me further trouble
in explaining the disciplinarian authority of mere old-fashioned
politeness, as in some sort protective of higher things. It describes,
with much grace and precision, a state of society by no means
pre-eminently virtuous, or enthusiastically heroic; in which many people
do extremely wrong, and none sublimely right. But as there are heights
of which the achievement is unattempted, there are abysses to which fall
is barred; neither accident nor temptation will make any of the
principal personages swerve from an adopted resolution, or violate an
accepted principle of honor; people are expected as a matter of course
to speak with propriety on occasion, and to wait with patience when they
are bid: those who do wrong, admit it; those who do right don't boast of
it; everybody knows his own mind, and everybody has good manners.

19. Nor must it be forgotten that in the worst days of the
self-indulgence which destroyed the aristocracies of Europe, their
vices, however licentious, were never, in the fatal modern sense,
"unprincipled." The vainest believed in virtue; the vilest respected it.
"Chaque chose avait son nom,"[44] and the severest of English moralists
recognizes the accurate wit, the lofty intellect, and the unfretted
benevolence, which redeemed from vitiated surroundings the circle of
d'Alembert and Marmontel.[45]

I have said, with too slight praise, that the vainest, in those days,
"believed" in virtue. Beautiful and heroic examples of it were always
before them; nor was it without the secret significance attaching to
what may seem the least accidents in the work of a master, that Scott
gave to both his heroines of the age of revolution in England the name
of the queen of the highest order of English chivalry.[46]

20. It is to say little for the types of youth and maid which alone
Scott felt it a joy to imagine, or thought it honorable to portray, that
they act and feel in a sphere where they are never for an instant
liable to any of the weaknesses which disturb the calm, or shake the
resolution, of chastity and courage in a modern novel. Scott lived in a
country and time, when, from highest to lowest, but chiefly in that
dignified and nobly severe[47] middle class to which he himself
belonged, a habit of serene and stainless thought was as natural to the
people as their mountain air. Women like Rose Bradwardine and Ailie
Dinmont were the grace and guard of almost every household (God be
praised that the race of them is not yet extinct, for all that Mall or
Boulevard can do), and it has perhaps escaped the notice of even
attentive readers that the comparatively uninteresting character of Sir
Walter's heroes had always been studied among a class of youths who were
simply incapable of doing anything seriously wrong; and could only be
embarrassed by the consequences of their levity or imprudence.

21. But there is another difference in the woof of a Waverley novel from
the cobweb of a modern one, which depends on Scott's larger view of
human life. Marriage is by no means, in his conception of man and woman,
the most important business of their existence;[48] nor love the only
reward to be proposed to their virtue or exertion. It is not in his
reading of the laws of Providence a necessity that virtue should, either
by love or any other external blessing, be rewarded at all;[49] and
marriage is in all cases thought of as a constituent of the happiness of
life, but not as its only interest, still less its only aim. And upon
analyzing with some care the motives of his principal stories, we shall
often find that the love in them is merely a light by which the sterner
features of character are to be irradiated, and that the marriage of the
hero is as subordinate to the main bent of the story as Henry the
Fifth's courtship of Katherine is to the battle of Agincourt. Nay, the
fortunes of the person who is nominally the subject of the tale are
often little more than a background on which grander figures are to be
drawn, and deeper fates forthshadowed. The judgments between the faith
and chivalry of Scotland at Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge owe little of
their interest in the mind of a sensible reader to the fact that the
captain of the Popinjay is carried a prisoner to one battle, and returns
a prisoner from the other: and Scott himself, while he watches the white
sail that bears Queen Mary for the last time from her native land, very
nearly forgets to finish his novel, or to tell us--and with small sense
of any consolation to be had out of that minor circumstance,--that
"Roland and Catherine were united, spite of their differing faiths."

22. Neither let it be thought for an instant that the slight, and
sometimes scornful, glance with which Scott passes over scenes which a
novelist of our own day would have analyzed with the airs of a
philosopher, and painted with the curiosity of a gossip, indicates any
absence in his heart of sympathy with the great and sacred elements of
personal happiness. An era like ours, which has with diligence and
ostentation swept its heart clear of all the passions once known as
loyalty, patriotism, and piety, necessarily magnifies the apparent force
of the one remaining sentiment which sighs through the barren chambers,
or clings inextricably round the chasms of ruin; nor can it but regard
with awe the unconquerable spirit which still tempts or betrays the
sagacities of selfishness into error or frenzy which is believed to be

That Scott was never himself, in the sense of the phrase as employed by
lovers of the Parisian school, "ivre d'amour," may be admitted without
prejudice to his sensibility,[50] and that he never knew "l'amor che
move 'l sol e l'altre stelle," was the chief, though unrecognized,
calamity of his deeply checkered life. But the reader of honor and
feeling will not therefore suppose that the love which Miss Vernon
sacrifices, stooping for an instant from her horse, is of less noble
stamp, or less enduring faith, than that which troubles and degrades the
whole existence of Consuelo; or that the affection of Jeanie Deans for
the companion of her childhood, drawn like a field of soft blue heaven
beyond the cloudy wrack of her sorrow, is less fully in possession of
her soul than the hesitating and self-reproachful impulses under which a
modern heroine forgets herself in a boat, or compromises herself in the
cool of the evening.

23. I do not wish to return over the waste ground we have traversed,
comparing, point by point, Scott's manner with those of Bermondsey and
the Faubourgs; but it may be, perhaps, interesting at this moment to
examine, with illustration from those Waverley novels which have so
lately _re_tracted the attention of a fair and gentle public,[51] the
universal conditions of "style," rightly so called, which are in all
ages, and above all local currents or wavering tides of temporary
manners, pillars of what is forever strong, and models of what is
forever fair.

But I must first define, and that within strict horizon, the works of
Scott, in which his perfect mind may be known, and his chosen ways

His great works of prose fiction, excepting only the first half-volume
of "Waverley," were all written in twelve years, 1814-26 (of his own age
forty-three to fifty-five), the actual time employed in their
composition being not more than a couple of months out of each year; and
during that time only the morning hours and spare minutes during the
professional day. "Though the first volume of 'Waverley' was begun long
ago, and actually lost for a time, yet the other two were begun and
finished between the 4th of June and the 1st of July, during all which I
attended my duty in court, and proceeded without loss of time or
hindrance of business."[52]

Few of the maxims for the enforcement of which, in "Modern Painters,"
long ago, I got the general character of a lover of paradox, are more
singular, or more sure, than the statement, apparently so encouraging to
the idle, that if a great thing can be done at all, it can be done
easily. But it is that kind of ease with which a tree blossoms after
long years of gathered strength, and all Scott's great writings were the
recreations of a mind confirmed in dutiful labor, and rich with organic
gathering of boundless resource.

Omitting from our count the two minor and ill-finished sketches of the
"Black Dwarf" and "Legend of Montrose," and, for a reason presently to
be noticed, the unhappy "St. Ronan's," the memorable romances of Scott
are eighteen, falling into three distinct groups, containing six each.

24. The first group is distinguished from the other two by characters of
strength and felicity which never more appeared after Scott was struck
down by his terrific illness in 1819. It includes "Waverley," "Guy
Mannering," "The Antiquary," "Rob Roy," "Old Mortality," and "The Heart
of Midlothian."

The composition of these occupied the mornings of his happiest days,
between the ages of forty-three and forty-eight. On the 8th of April,
1819 (he was forty-eight on the preceding 15th of August), he began for
the first time to dictate--being unable for the exertion of
writing--"The Bride of Lammermuir," "the affectionate Laidlaw beseeching
him to stop dictating when his audible suffering filled every pause.
'Nay, Willie,' he answered, 'only see that the doors are fast. I would
fain keep all the cry as well as all the wool to ourselves; but as for
giving over work, that can only be when I am in woolen.'"[53] From this
time forward the brightness of joy and sincerity of inevitable humor,
which perfected the imagery of the earlier novels, are wholly absent,
except in the two short intervals of health unaccountably restored, in
which he wrote "Redgauntlet" and "Nigel."

It is strange, but only a part of the general simplicity of Scott's
genius, that these revivals of earlier power were unconscious, and that
the time of extreme weakness in which he wrote "St. Ronan's Well," was
that in which he first asserted his own restoration.

25. It is also a deeply interesting characteristic of his noble nature
that he never gains anything by sickness; the whole man breathes or
faints as one creature: the ache that stiffens a limb chills his heart,
and every pang of his stomach paralyzes the brain. It is not so with
inferior minds, in the workings of which it is often impossible to
distinguish native from narcotic fancy, and the throbs of conscience
from those of indigestion. Whether in exaltation or languor, the colors
of mind are always morbid which gleam on the sea for the "Ancient
Mariner," and through the casements on "St. Agnes' Eve"; but Scott is at
once blinded and stultified by sickness; never has a fit of the cramp
without spoiling a chapter, and is perhaps the only author of vivid
imagination who never wrote a foolish word but when he was ill.

It remains only to be noticed on this point that any strong natural
excitement, affecting the deeper springs of his heart, would at once
restore his intellectual powers to their fullness, and that, far towards
their sunset: but that the strong will on which he prided himself,
though it could trample upon pain, silence grief, and compel industry,
never could warm his imagination, or clear the judgment in his darker

I believe that this power of the heart over the intellect is common to
all great men: but what the special character of emotion was, that alone
could lift Scott above the power of death, I am about to ask the
reader, in a little while, to observe with joyful care.

26. The first series of romances then, above-named, are all that exhibit
the emphasis of his unharmed faculties. The second group, composed in
the three years subsequent to illness all but mortal, bear every one of
them more or less the seal of it.

They consist of the "Bride of Lammermuir," "Ivanhoe," the "Monastery,"
the "Abbot," "Kenilworth," and the "Pirate."[54] The marks of broken
health on all these are essentially twofold--prevailing melancholy, and
fantastic improbability. Three of the tales are agonizingly tragic, the
"Abbot" scarcely less so in its main event, and "Ivanhoe" deeply wounded
through all its bright panoply; while even in that most powerful of the
series the impossible archeries and ax-strokes, the incredibly opportune
appearances of Locksley, the death of Ulrica, and the resuscitation of
Athelstane, are partly boyish, partly feverish. Caleb in the "Bride,"
Triptolemus and Halcro in the "Pirate," are all laborious, and the first
incongruous; half a volume of the "Abbot" is spent in extremely dull
detail of Roland's relations with his fellow-servants and his mistress,
which have nothing whatever to do with the future story; and the lady of
Avenel herself disappears after the first volume, "like a snaw-wreath
when it's thaw, Jeanie." The public has for itself pronounced on the
"Monastery," though as much too harshly as it has foolishly praised the
horrors of "Ravenswood" and the nonsense of "Ivanhoe"; because the
modern public finds in the torture and adventure of these, the kind of
excitement which it seeks at an opera, while it has no sympathy whatever
with the pastoral happiness of Glendearg, or with the lingering
simplicities of superstition which give historical likelihood to the
legend of the White Lady.

But both this despised tale and its sequel have Scott's heart in them.
The first was begun to refresh himself in the intervals of artificial
labor on "Ivanhoe." "It was a relief," he said, "to interlay the scenery
most familiar to me[55] with the strange world for which I had to draw
so much on imagination." Through all the closing scenes of the second he
is raised to his own true level by his love for the queen. And within
the code of Scott's work to which I am about to appeal for illustration
of his essential powers, I accept the "Monastery" and "Abbot," and
reject from it the remaining four of this group.

27. The last series contains two quite noble ones, "Redgauntlet" and
"Nigel"; two of very high value, "Durward" and "Woodstock"; the slovenly
and diffuse "Peveril," written for the trade;[56] the sickly "Tales of
the Crusaders," and the entirely broken and diseased "St. Ronan's Well."
This last I throw out of count altogether, and of the rest, accept only
the four first named as sound work; so that the list of the novels in
which I propose to examine his methods and ideal standards, reduces
itself to these following twelve (named in order of production):
"Waverley," "Guy Mannering," the "Antiquary," "Rob Roy," "Old
Mortality," the "Heart of Midlothian," the "Monastery," the "Abbot,"
"Redgauntlet," the "Fortunes of Nigel," "Quentin Durward," and

28. It is, however, too late to enter on my subject in this article,
which I may fitly close by pointing out some of the merely verbal
characteristics of his style, illustrative in little ways of the
questions we have been examining, and chiefly of the one which may be
most embarrassing to many readers, the difference, namely, between
character and disease.

One quite distinctive charm in the Waverleys is their modified use of
the Scottish dialect; but it has not generally been observed, either by
their imitators, or the authors of different taste who have written for
a later public, that there is a difference between the dialect of a
language, and its corruption.

A dialect is formed in any district where there are persons of
intelligence enough to use the language itself in all its fineness and
force, but under the particular conditions of life, climate, and temper,
which introduce words peculiar to the scenery, forms of word and idioms
of sentence peculiar to the race, and pronunciations indicative of their
character and disposition.

Thus "burn" (of a streamlet) is a word possible only in a country where
there are brightly running waters, "lassie," a word possible only where
girls are as free as the rivulets, and "auld," a form of the southern
"old," adopted by a race of finer musical ear than the English.

On the contrary, mere deteriorations, or coarse, stridulent, and, in the
ordinary sense of the phrase, "broad" forms of utterance, are not
dialects at all, having nothing dialectic in them; and all phrases
developed in states of rude employment, and restricted intercourse, are
injurious to the tone and narrowing to the power of the language they
affect. Mere breadth of accent does not spoil a dialect as long as the
speakers are men of varied idea and good intelligence; but the moment
the life is contracted by mining, millwork, or any oppressive and
monotonous labor, the accents and phrases become debased. It is part of
the popular folly of the day to find pleasure in trying to write and
spell these abortive, crippled, and more or less brutal forms of human

29. Abortive, crippled, or brutal, are however not necessarily
"corrupted" dialects. Corrupt language is that gathered by ignorance,
invented by vice, misused by insensibility, or minced and mouthed by
affectation, especially in the attempt to deal with words of which only
half the meaning is understood or half the sound heard. Mrs. Gamp's
"aperiently so"--and the "underminded" with primal sense of undermine,
of--I forget which gossip, in the "Mill on the Floss," are master-and
mistress-pieces in this latter kind. Mrs. Malaprop's "allegories on the
banks of the Nile" are in somewhat higher order of mistake: Mrs. Tabitha
Bramble's ignorance is vulgarized by her selfishness, and Winifred
Jenkins' by her conceit. The "wot" of Noah Claypole, and the other
degradations of cockneyism (Sam Weller and his father are in nothing
more admirable than in the power of heart and sense that can purify even
these); the "trewth" of Mr. Chadband, and "natur" of Mr. Squeers, are
examples of the corruption of words by insensibility: the use of the
word "bloody" in modern low English is a deeper corruption, not altering
the form of the word, but defiling the thought in it.

Thus much being understood, I shall proceed to examine thoroughly a
fragment of Scott's Lowland Scottish dialect; not choosing it of the
most beautiful kind; on the contrary, it shall be a piece reaching as
low down as he ever allows Scotch to go--it is perhaps the only unfair
patriotism in him, that if ever he wants a word or two of really
villainous slang, he gives it in English or Dutch--not Scotch.

I had intended in the close of this paper to analyze and compare the
characters of Andrew Fairservice and Richie Moniplies, for examples, the
former of innate evil, unaffected by external influences, and
undiseased, but distinct from natural goodness as a nettle is distinct
from balm or lavender; and the latter of innate goodness, contracted and
pinched by circumstance, but still undiseased, as an oak-leaf crisped by
frost, not by the worm. This, with much else in my mind, I must put off;
but the careful study of one sentence of Andrew's will give us a good
deal to think of.

30. I take his account of the rescue of Glasgow Cathedral at the time of
the Reformation.

     Ah! it's a brave kirk--nane o' yere whigmaleeries an curliewurlies
     and opensteek hems about it--a' solid, weel-jointed mason-wark,
     that will stand as lang as the warld, keep hands and gunpowther aff
     it. It had amaist a douncome lang syne at the Reformation, when
     they pu'd doun the kirks of St. Andrews and Perth, and thereawa',
     to cleanse them o' Papery, and idolatry, and image-worship, and
     surplices, and sic-like rags o' the muckle hure that sitteth on
     seven hills, as if ane wasna braid eneugh for her auld hinder end.
     Sae the commons o' Renfrew, and o' the Barony, and the Gorbals, and
     a' about, they behoved to come into Glasgow ae fair morning, to try
     their hand on purging the High Kirk o' Popish nicknackets. But the
     townsmen o' Glasgow, they were feared their auld edifice might slip
     the girths in gaun through siccan rough physic, sae they rang the
     common bell, and assembled the train-bands wi' took o' drum. By
     good luck, the worthy James Rabat was Dean o' Guild that year--(and
     a gude mason he was himsell, made him the keener to keep up the
     auld bigging), and the trades assembled, and offered downright
     battle to the commons, rather than their kirk should coup the
     crans, as others had done elsewhere. It wasna for luve o'
     Paperie--na, na!--nane could ever say that o' the trades o'
     Glasgow--Sae they sune came to an agreement to take a' the
     idolatrous statues of sants (sorrow be on them!) out o' their
     neuks--And sae the bits o' stane idols were broken in pieces by
     Scripture warrant, and flung into the Molendinar burn, and the auld
     kirk stood as crouse as a cat when the flaes are kaimed aff her,
     and a'body was alike pleased. And I hae heard wise folk say, that
     if the same had been done in ilka kirk in Scotland, the Reform wad
     just hae been as pure as it is e'en now, and we wad hae mair
     Christianlike kirks; for I hae been sae lang in England, that
     naething will drived out o' my head, that the dog-kennel at
     Osbaldistone-Hall is better than mony a house o' God in Scotland.

31. Now this sentence is in the first place a piece of Scottish
history of quite inestimable and concentrated value. Andrew's temperament
is the type of a vast class of Scottish--shall we call it
"_sow_-thistlian"--mind, which necessarily takes the view of either Pope
or saint that the thistle in Lebanon took of the cedar or lilies in
Lebanon; and the entire force of the passions which, in the Scottish
revolution, foretold and forearmed the French one, is told in this one
paragraph; the coarseness of it, observe, being admitted, not for the
sake of the laugh, any more than an onion in broth merely for its
flavor, but for the meat of it; the inherent constancy of that
coarseness being a fact in this order of mind, and an essential part of
the history to be told.

Secondly, observe that this speech, in the religious passion of it, such
as there may be, is entirely sincere. Andrew is a thief, a liar, a
coward, and, in the Fair service from which he takes his name, a
hypocrite; but in the form of prejudice, which is all that his mind is
capable of in the place of religion, he is entirely sincere. He does not
in the least pretend detestation of image worship to please his master,
or anyone else; he honestly scorns the "carnal morality[58] as dowd and
fusionless as rue-leaves at Yule" of the sermon in the upper cathedral;
and when wrapt in critical attention to the "real savor o' doctrine" in
the crypt, so completely forgets the hypocrisy of his fair service as
to return his master's attempt to disturb him with hard punches of the

Thirdly. He is a man of no mean sagacity, quite up to the average
standard of Scottish common sense, not a low one; and, though incapable
of understanding any manner of lofty thought or passion, is a shrewd
measurer of weaknesses, and not without a spark or two of kindly
feeling. See first his sketch of his master's character to Mr.
Hammorgaw, beginning: "He's no a'thegither sae void o' sense, neither";
and then the close of the dialogue: "But the lad's no a bad lad after
a', and he needs some careful body to look after him."

Fourthly. He is a good workman; knows his own business well, and can
judge of other craft, if sound, or otherwise.

All these four qualities of him must be known before we can understand
this single speech. Keeping them in mind, I take it up, word by word.

32. You observe, in the outset, Scott makes no attempt whatever to
indicate accents or modes of pronunciation by changed spelling, unless
the word becomes a quite definitely new, and securely writable one. The
Scottish way of pronouncing "James," for instance, is entirely peculiar,
and extremely pleasant to the ear. But it is so, just because it does
_not_ change the word into Jeems, nor into Jims, nor into Jawms. A
modern writer of dialects would think it amusing to use one or other of
these ugly spellings. But Scott writes the name in pure English, knowing
that a Scots reader will speak it rightly, and an English one be wise in
letting it alone. On the other hand he writes "weel" for "well," because
that word is complete in its change, and may be very closely expressed
by the double _e_. The ambiguous _u_'s in "gude" and "sune" are
admitted, because far liker the sound than the double _o_ would be, and
that in "hure," for grace' sake, to soften the word; so also "flaes" for
"fleas." "Mony" for "many" is again positively right in sound, and
"neuk" differs from our "nook" in sense, and is not the same word at
all, as we shall presently see.

Secondly, observe, not a word is corrupted in any indecent haste,
slowness, slovenliness, or incapacity of pronunciation. There is no
lisping, drawling, slobbering, or snuffling: the speech is as clear as a
bell and as keen as an arrow: and its elisions and contractions are
either melodious, ("na," for "not,"--"pu'd," for "pulled,") or as normal
as in a Latin verse. The long words are delivered without the slightest
bungling; and "bigging" finished to its last _g_.

33. I take the important words now in their places.

_Brave._ The old English sense of the word in "to go brave," retained,
expressing Andrew's sincere and respectful admiration. Had he meant to
insinuate a hint of the church's being too fine, he would have said

_Kirk._ This is of course just as pure and unprovincial a word as
"Kirche," or "église."

_Whigmaleerie._ I cannot get at the root of this word, but it is one
showing that the speaker is not bound by classic rules, but will use any
syllables that will enrich his meaning. "Nipperty-tipperty" (of his
master's "poetry-nonsense") is another word of the same class.
"Curliewurlie" is of course just as pure as Shakespeare's "Hurlyburly."
But see first suggestion of the idea to Scott at Blair-Adam (L. vi.

_Opensteek hems._ More description, or better, of the later Gothic
cannot be put into four syllables. "Steek," melodious for stitch, has a
combined sense of closing or fastening. And note that the later Gothic
being precisely what Scott knew best (in Melrose) and liked best, it is,
here as elsewhere, quite as much himself[59] as Frank, that he is
laughing at, when he laughs _with_ Andrew, whose "opensteek hems" are
only a ruder metaphor for his own "willow-wreaths changed to stone."

_Gunpowther._ "-Ther" is a lingering vestige of the French "-dre."

_Syne._ One of the melodious and mysterious Scottish words which have
partly the sound of wind and stream in them, and partly the range of
softened idea which is like a distance of blue hills over border land
("far in the distant Cheviot's blue"). Perhaps even the least
sympathetic "Englisher" might recognize this, if he heard "Old Long
Since" vocally substituted for the Scottish words to the air. I do not
know the root; but the word's proper meaning is not "since," but before
or after an interval of some duration, "as weel sune as syne." "But
first on Sawnie gies a ca', Syne, bauldly in she enters."

_Behoved_ (_to come_). A rich word, with peculiar idiom, always used
more or less ironically of anything done under a partly mistaken and
partly pretended notion of duty.

_Siccan._ Far prettier, and fuller in meaning than "such." It contains
an added sense of wonder; and means properly "so great" or "so unusual."

_Took_ (_o' drum_). Classical "tuck" from Italian "toccata," the
preluding "touch" or flourish, on any instrument (but see Johnson under
word "tucket," quoting "Othello"). The deeper Scottish vowels are used
here to mark the deeper sound of the bass drum, as in more solemn

_Bigging._ The only word in all the sentence of which the Scottish form
is less melodious than the English, "and what for no," seeing that
Scottish architecture is mostly little beyond Bessie Bell's and Mary
Gray's? "They biggit a bow're by yon burnside, and theekit it ow're wi'
rashes." But it is pure Anglo-Saxon in roots; see glossary to
Fairbairn's edition of the Douglas "Virgil," 1710.

_Coup._ Another of the much-embracing words; short for "upset," but with
a sense of awkwardness as the inherent cause of fall; compare Richie
Moniplies (also for sense of "behoved"): "Ae auld hirplin deevil of a
potter behoved just to step in my way, and offer me a pig (earthen
pot--etym. dub.), as he said 'just to put my Scotch ointment in'; and I
gave him a push, as but natural, and the tottering deevil coupit owre
amang his own pigs, and damaged a score of them." So also Dandie Dinmont
in the postchaise: "'Od! I hope they'll no coup us."

_The Crans._ Idiomatic; root unknown to me, but it means in this use,
fall total, and without recovery.[60]

_Molendinar._ From "molendinum," the grinding-place. I do not know if
actually the local name,[61] or Scott's invention. Compare Sir Piercie's
"Molinaras." But at all events used here with by-sense of degradation of
the formerly idle saints to grind at the mill.

_Crouse._ Courageous, softened with a sense of comfort.

_Ilka._ Again a word with azure distance, including the whole sense of
"each" and "every." The reader must carefully and reverently distinguish
these comprehensive words, which gather two or more perfectly understood
meanings into one _chord_ of meaning, and are harmonies more than words,
from the above-noted blunders between two half-hit meanings, struck as a
bad piano-player strikes the edge of another note. In English we have
fewer of these combined thoughts; so that Shakespeare rather plays with
the distinct lights of his words, than melts them into one. So again
Bishop Douglas spells, and doubtless spoke, the word "rose,"
differently, according to his purpose; if as the chief or governing
ruler of flowers, "rois," but if only in her own beauty, rose.

_Christianlike._ The sense of the decency and order proper to
Christianity is stronger in Scotland than in any other country, and the
word "Christian" more distinctly opposed to "beast." Hence the
back-handed cut at the English for their over-pious care of dogs.

34. I am a little surprised myself at the length to which this
examination of one small piece of Sir Walter's first-rate work has
carried us, but here I must end for this time, trusting, if the Editor
of the _Nineteenth Century_ permit me, yet to trespass, perhaps more
than once, on his readers' patience; but, at all events, to examine in a
following paper the technical characteristics of Scott's own style, both
in prose and verse, together with Byron's, as opposed to our fashionably
recent dialects and rhythms; the essential virtues of language, in both
the masters of the old school, hinging ultimately, little as it might be
thought, on certain unalterable views of theirs concerning the code
called "of the Ten Commandments," wholly at variance with the dogmas of
automatic morality which, summed again by the witches' line, "Fair is
foul, and foul is fair," hover through the fog and filthy air of our
prosperous England.


[Footnote 37: _Nineteenth Century_, June, 1880.]

[Footnote 38: See _Time and Tide_, § 72.--ED.]

[Footnote 39: Nell, in the "Old Curiosity Shop," was simply killed for
the market, as a butcher kills a lamb (see Forster's "Life,") and Paul
was written under the same conditions of illness which affected Scott--a
part of the ominous palsies, grasping alike author and subject both in
"Dombey" and "Little Dorrit."]

[Footnote 40: "Chourineur" not striking with dagger-point, but ripping
with knife-edge. Yet I do him, and La Louve, injustice in classing them
with the two others; they are put together only as parts in the same
phantasm. Compare with La Louve, the strength of wild virtue in the
"Louvécienne" (Lucienne) of Gaboriau--she, province-born and bred; and
opposed to Parisian civilization in the character of her seamstress
friend. "De ce Paris, où elle était née, elle savait tout--elle
connaissait tout. Rien ne l'étonnait, nul ne l'intimidait. Sa science
des détails matériels de l'existence était inconcevable. Impossible de
la duper!--Eh bien! cette fille si laborieuse et si économe n'avait même
pas la plus vague notion des sentiments qui sont l'honneur de la femme.
Je n'avais pas idée d'une si complète absence de sens moral; d'une si
inconscience dépravation, d'une impudence si effrontément
naïve."--"L'Argent des autres," vol. i. p. 358.]

[Footnote 41: The reader who cares to seek it may easily find medical
evidence of the physical effects of certain states of brain disease in
producing especially images of truncated and Hermes-like deformity,
complicated with grossness. Horace, in the "Epodes," scoffs at it, but
not without horror. Luca Signorelli and Raphael in their arabesques are
deeply struck by it: Dürer, defying and playing with it alternately, is
almost beaten down again and again in the distorted faces, hewing
halberts, and suspended satyrs of his arabesques round the polyglot
Lord's Prayer; it takes entire possession of Balzac in the "Contes
Drolatiques"; it struck Scott in the earliest days of his childish
"visions" intensified by the ax-stroke murder of his grand aunt (L. i.
142, and see close of this note). It chose for him the subject of the
"Heart of Midlothian," and produced afterwards all the recurrent ideas
of executions, tainting "Nigel," almost spoiling "Quentin
Durward"--utterly the "Fair Maid of Perth": and culminating in "Bizarro"
(L. x. 149). It suggested all the deaths by falling, or sinking, as in
delirious sleep--Kennedy, Eveline Neville (nearly repeated in Clara
Mowbray), Amy Robsart, the Master of Ravenswood in the quicksand,
Morris, and Corporal Grace-be-here--compare the dream of Gride, in
"Nicholas Nickleby," and Dickens's own last words, _on the ground_ (so
also, in my own inflammation of the brain, two years ago, I dreamed that
I fell through the earth and came out on the other side). In its
grotesque and distorting power, it produced all the figures of the Lay
Goblin, Pacolet, Flibbertigibbet, Cockledemoy, Geoffrey Hudson, Fenella,
and Nectabanus; in Dickens it in like manner gives Quilp, Krook, Smike,
Smallweed, Miss Mowcher, and the dwarfs and wax-work of Nell's caravan;
and runs entirely wild in "Barnaby Budge," where, with a corps de drame
composed of one idiot, two madmen, a gentleman-fool who is also a
villain, a shop-boy fool who is also a blackguard, a hangman, a
shriveled virago, and a doll in ribbons--carrying this company through
riot and fire, till he hangs the hangman, one of the madmen, his mother,
and the idiot, runs the gentleman-fool through in a bloody duel, and
burns and crushes the shop-boy fool into shapelessness, he cannot yet be
content without shooting the spare lover's leg off, and marrying him to
the doll in a wooden one; the shapeless shop-boy being finally also
married in _two_ wooden ones. It is this mutilation, observe, which is
the very sign manual of the plague; joined, in the artistic forms of it,
with a love of thorniness--(in their mystic root, the truncation of the
limbless serpent and the spines of the dragon's wing. Compare "Modern
Painters," vol. iv., "Chapter on the Mountain Gloom," s. 19); and in
_all_ forms of it, with petrifaction or loss of power by cold in the
blood, whence the last Darwinian process of the witches' charm--"cool it
with a baboon's _blood, then_ the charm is firm and good." The two
frescoes in the colossal handbills which have lately decorated the
streets of London (the baboon with the mirror, and the Maskelyne and
Cooke decapitation) are the final English forms of Raphael's arabesque
under this influence; and it is well worth while to get the number for
the week ending April 3, 1880, of "Young Folks--a magazine of
instructive and entertaining literature for boys and girls of all ages,"
containing "A Sequel to Desdichado" (the modern development of Ivanhoe),
in which a quite monumental example of the kind of art in question will
be found as a leading illustration of this characteristic sentence,
"See, good Cerberus," said Sir Rupert, "_my hand has been struck off.
You must make me a hand of iron, one with springs in it, so that I can
make it grasp a dagger_." The text is also, as it professes to be,
instructive; being the ultimate degeneration of what I have above called
the "folly" of "Ivanhoe"; for the folly begets folly down, and down; and
whatever Scott and Turner did wrong has thousands of imitators--their
wisdom none will so much as hear, how much less follow!

In both of the Masters, it is always to be remembered that the evil and
good are alike conditions of literal _vision_: and therefore also,
inseparably connected with the state of the health. I believe the first
elements of all Scott's errors were in the milk of his consumptive
nurse, which all but killed him as an infant (L. i. 19)--and was without
doubt the cause of the teething fever that ended in his lameness (L. i.
20). Then came (if the reader cares to know what I mean by "Fors," let
him read the page carefully) the fearful accidents to his only sister,
and her death (L. i. 17); then the madness of his nurse, who planned his
own murder (21), then the stories continually told him of the executions
at Carlisle (24), his aunt's husband having seen them; issuing, he
himself scarcely knows how, in the unaccountable terror that came upon
him at the sight of statuary (31)--especially Jacob's ladder; then the
murder of Mrs. Swinton, and finally the nearly fatal bursting of the
blood vessel at Kelso, with the succeeding nervous illness
(65-67)--solaced, while he was being "bled and blistered till he had
scarcely a pulse left," by that history of the Knights of Malta--fondly
dwelt on and realized by actual modeling of their fortress, which
returned to his mind for the theme of its last effort in passing away.]

[Footnote 42: "Se dit par dénigrement, d'un chrétien qui ne croit pas
les dogmes de sa religion."--Fleming, vol. ii. p. 659.]

[Footnote 43: The novel alluded to is "The Mill on the Floss." See
below, p. 272, § 108.--ED.]

[Footnote 44: "A son nom," properly. The sentence is one of Victor
Cherbuliez's, in "Prosper Randoce," which is full of other valuable
ones. See the old nurse's "ici bas les choses vont de travers, comme un
chien qui va à vêpres," p. 93; and compare Prosper's treasures, "la
petite Vénus, et le petit Christ d'ivoire," p. 121; also Madame
Brehanne's request for the divertissement of "quelque belle batterie à
coups de couteau" with Didier's answer. "Hélas! madame, vous jouez de
malheur, ici dans la Drôme, l'on se massacre aussi peu que possible," p.

[Footnote 45: Edgeworth's "Tales," (Hunter, 1827), "Harrington and
Ormond," vol. iii. p. 260.]

[Footnote 46: Alice of Salisbury, Alice Lee, Alice Bridgnorth.]

[Footnote 47: Scott's father was habitually ascetic. "I have heard his
son tell that it was common with him, if any one observed that the soup
was good, to taste it again, and say, 'Yes--it is too good, bairns,' and
dash a tumbler of cold water into his plate."--Lockhart's "Life" (Black,
Edinburgh, 1869), vol. i. p. 312. In other places I refer to this book
in the simple form of "L."]

[Footnote 48: A young lady sang to me, just before I copied out this
page for press, a Miss Somebody's "great song," "Live, and Love, and
Die." Had it been written for nothing better than silkworms, it should
at least have added--Spin.]

[Footnote 49: See passage of introduction to "Ivanhoe," wisely quoted in
L. vi. 106.]

[Footnote 50: See below, note, p. 199, on the conclusion of

[Footnote 51: The reference is to a series of "Waverley Tableaux" given
in London shortly before the publication of this paper.--ED.]

[Footnote 52: L. iv. 177.]

[Footnote 53: L. vi. 67.]

[Footnote 54: "One other such novel, and there's an end; but who can
last forever? who ever lasted so long?"--Sydney Smith (of the _Pirate_)
to Jeffrey, December 30, 1821. (_Letters_, vol. ii. p. 223.)]

[Footnote 55: L. vi. p. 188. Compare the description of Fairy Dean, vii.

[Footnote 56: All, alas! were now in a great measure so written.
"Ivanhoe," "The Monastery," "The Abbot," and "Kenilworth" were all
published between December 1819 and January 1821, Constable & Co. giving
five thousand guineas for the remaining copyright of them, Scott
clearing ten thousand before the bargain was completed; and before the
"Fortunes of Nigel" issued from the press Scott had exchanged
instruments and received his bookseller's bills for no less than four
"works of fiction," not one of them otherwise described in the deeds of
agreement, to be produced in unbroken succession, _each of them to fill
up at least three volumes, but with proper saving clauses as to increase
of copy money in case any of them should run to four_; and within two
years all this anticipation had been wiped off by "Peveril of the Peak,"
"Quentin Durward," "St. Ronan's Well," and "Redgauntlet."]

[Footnote 57: "Woodstock" was finished 26th March, 1826. He knew then of
his ruin; and wrote in bitterness, but not in weakness. The closing
pages are the most beautiful of the book. But a month afterwards Lady
Scott died; and he never wrote glad word more.]

[Footnote 58: Compare Mr. Spurgeon's not unfrequent orations on the same

[Footnote 59: There are three definite and intentional portraits of
himself, in the novels, each giving a separate part of himself: Mr.
Oldbuck, Frank Osbaldistone, and Alan Fairford.]

[Footnote 60: See note, p. 224.--ED.]

[Footnote 61: Andrew knows Latin, and might have coined the word in his
conceit; but, writing to a kind friend in Glasgow, I find the brook was
called "Molyndona" even before the building of the Subdean Mill in 1446.
See also account of the locality in Mr. George's admirable volume, "Old
Glasgow," pp. 129, 149, etc. The Protestantism of Glasgow, since
throwing that powder of saints into her brook Kidron, has presented it
with other pious offerings; and my friend goes on to say that the brook,
once famed for the purity of its waters (much used for bleaching), "has
for nearly a hundred years been a crawling stream of loathsomeness. It
is now bricked over, and a carriage-way made on the top of it;
underneath the foul mess still passes through the heart of the city,
till it falls into the Clyde close to the harbor."]



35. _"He hated greetings in the market-place_, and there were generally
loiterers in the streets to persecute him _either about the events of
the day_, or about some petty pieces of business."

These lines, which the reader will find near the beginning of the
sixteenth chapter of the first volume of the "Antiquary," contain two
indications of the old man's character, which, receiving the ideal of
him as a portrait of Scott himself, are of extreme interest to me. They
mean essentially that neither Monkbarns nor Scott had any mind to be
called of men, Rabbi, in mere hearing of the mob; and especially that
they hated to be drawn back out of their far-away thoughts, or forward
out of their long-ago thoughts, by any manner of "daily" news, whether
printed or gabbled. Of which two vital characteristics, deeper in both
men, (for I must always speak of Scott's creations as if they were as
real as himself,) than any of their superficial vanities, or passing
enthusiasms, I have to speak more at another time. I quote the passage
just now, because there was one piece of the daily news of the year 1815
which did extremely interest Scott, and materially direct the labor of
the latter part of his life; nor is there any piece of history in this
whole nineteenth century quite so pregnant with various instruction as
the study of the reasons which influenced Scott and Byron in their
opposite views of the glories of the battle of Waterloo.

36. But I quote it for another reason also. The principal greeting which
Mr. Oldbuck on this occasion receives in the market-place, being
compared with the speech of Andrew Fairservice, examined in my first
paper, will furnish me with the text of what I have mainly to say in the
present one.

     "'Mr. Oldbuck,' said the town-clerk (a more important person, who
     came in front and ventured to stop the old gentleman), 'the
     provost, understanding you were in town, begs on no account that
     you'll quit it without seeing him; he wants to speak to ye about
     bringing the water frae the Fairwell spring through a part o' your

     "'What the deuce!--have they nobody's land but mine to cut and
     carve on?--I won't consent, tell them.'

     "'And the provost,' said the clerk, going on, without noticing the
     rebuff, 'and the council, wad be agreeable that you should hae the
     auld stanes at Donagild's Chapel, that ye was wussing to hae.'

     "'Eh?--what?--Oho! that's another story--Well, well, I'll call upon
     the provost, and we'll talk about it.'

     "'But ye maun speak your mind on't forthwith, Monkbarns, if ye want
     the stanes; for Deacon Harlewalls thinks the carved through-stanes
     might be put with advantage on the front of the new council
     house--that is, the twa cross-legged figures that the callants used
     to ca' Robbin and Bobbin, ane on ilka door-cheek; and the other
     stane, that they ca'd Ailie Dailie, abune the door. It will be very
     tastefu', the Deacon says, and just in the style of modern Gothic.'

     "'Good Lord deliver me from this Gothic generation!' exclaimed the
     Antiquary,--'a monument of a knight-templar on each side of a
     Grecian porch, and a Madonna on the top of it!--_O crimini!_--Well,
     tell the provost I wish to have the stones, and we'll not differ
     about the water-course.--It's lucky I happened to come this way

     "They parted mutually satisfied; but the wily clerk had most reason
     to exult in the dexterity he had displayed, since the whole
     proposal of an exchange between the monuments (which the council
     had determined to remove as a nuisance, because they encroached
     three feet upon the public road) and the privilege of conveying the
     water to the burgh, through the estate of Monkbarns, was an idea
     which had originated with himself upon the pressure of the moment."

37. In this single page of Scott, will the reader please note the kind
of prophetic instinct with which the great men of every age mark and
forecast its destinies? The water from the Fairwell is the future
Thirlmere carried to Manchester; the "auld stanes"[63] at Donagild's
Chapel, removed as a _nuisance_, foretell the necessary view taken by
modern cockneyism, Liberalism, and progress, of all things that remind
them of the noble dead, of their fathers' fame, or of their own duty;
and the public road becomes their idol, instead of the saint's shrine.
Finally, the roguery of the entire transaction--the mean man seeing the
weakness of the honorable, and "besting" him--in modern slang, in the
manner and at the pace of modern trade--"on the pressure of the moment."

But neither are these things what I have at present quoted the passage

I quote it, that we may consider how much wonderful and various history
is gathered in the fact recorded for us in this piece of entirely fair
fiction, that in the Scottish borough of Fairport (Montrose, really), in
the year 17--of Christ, the knowledge given by the pastors and teachers
provided for its children by enlightened Scottish Protestantism, of
their fathers' history, and the origin of their religion, had resulted
in this substance and sum;--that the statues of two crusading knights
had become, to their children, Bobbin and Bobbin; and the statue of the
Madonna, Ailie Dailie.

A marvelous piece of history, truly: and far too comprehensive for
general comment here. Only one small piece of it I must carry forward
the readers' thoughts upon.

38. The pastors and teachers aforesaid, (represented typically in
another part of this errorless book by Mr. Blattergowl,) are not,
whatever else they may have to answer for, answerable for these names.
The names are of the children's own choosing and bestowing, but not of
the children's own inventing. "Robin" is a classically endearing
cognomen, recording the _errant_ heroism of old days--the name of the
Bruce and of Rob Roy. "Bobbin" is a poetical and symmetrical fulfillment
and adornment of the original phrase. "Ailie" is the last echo of "Ave,"
changed into the softest Scottish Christian name familiar to the
children, itself the beautiful feminine form of royal "Louis"; the
"Dailie" again symmetrically added for kinder and more musical
endearment. The last vestiges, you see, of honor for the heroism and
religion of their ancestors, lingering on the lips of babes and

But what is the meaning of this necessity the children find themselves
under of completing the nomenclature rhythmically and rhymingly? Note
first the difference carefully, and the attainment of both qualities by
the couplets in question. Rhythm is the syllabic and quantitative
measure of the words, in which Robin both in weight and time, balances
Bobbin; and Dailie holds level scale with Ailie. But rhyme is the added
correspondence of sound; unknown and undesired, so far as we can learn,
by the Greek Orpheus, but absolutely essential to, and, as special
virtue, becoming titular of, the Scottish Thomas.

39. The "Ryme,"[64] you may at first fancy, is the especially childish
part of the work. Not so. It is the especially chivalric and Christian
part of it. It characterizes the Christian chant or canticle, as a
higher thing than a Greek ode, melos, or hymnos, or than a Latin carmen.

Think of it; for this again is wonderful! That these children of
Montrose should have an element of music in their souls which Homer had
not,--which a melos of David the Prophet and King had not,--which
Orpheus and Amphion had not,--which Apollo's unrymed oracles became mute
at the sound of.

A strange new equity this,--melodious justice and judgment, as it
were,--in all words spoken solemnly and ritualistically by Christian
human creatures;--Robin and Bobbin--by the Crusader's tomb, up to "Dies
iræ, dies illa," at judgment of the crusading soul.

You have to understand this most deeply of all Christian minstrels, from
first to last; that they are more musical, because more joyful, than any
others on earth: ethereal minstrels, pilgrims of the sky, true to the
kindred points of heaven and home; their joy essentially the sky-lark's,
in light, in purity; but, with their human eyes, looking for the
glorious appearing of something in the sky, which the bird cannot.

This it is that changes Etruscan murmur into Terza rima--Horatian Latin
into Provençal troubadour's melody; not, because less artful, less wise.

40. Here is a little bit, for instance, of French ryming just before
Chaucer's time--near enough to our own French to be intelligible to us

  "O quant très-glorieuse vie,
  Quant cil qui tout peut et maistrie,
  Veult esprouver pour nécessaire,
  Ne pour quant il ne blasma mie
  La vie de Marthe sa mie:
  Mais il lui donna exemplaire
  D'autrement vivre, et de bien plaire
  A Dieu; et plut de bien à faire:
  Pour se conclut-il que Marie
  Qui estoit à ses piedz sans braire,
  Et pensoit d'entendre et de taire,
  Estleut la plus saine partie.

  La meilleur partie esleut-elle
  Et la plus saine et la plus belle,
  Qui jà ne luy sera ostée
  Car par vérité se fut celle
  Qui fut tousjours fresche et nouvelle,
  D'aymer Dieu et d'en estre aymée;
  Car jusqu'au cueur fut entamée,
  Et si ardamment enflamée,
  Que tousjours ardoit I'estincelle;
  Par quoi elle fut visitée
  Et de Dieu premier confortée;
  Car charité est trop ysnelle."

41. The only law of _meter_, observed in this song, is that each line
shall be octosyllabic:

  Qui fut | tousjours | fresche et | nouvelle,
  D'autre | ment vi | vret de | bien (ben) plaire
  Et pen | soit den | tendret | de taire.

But the reader must note that words which were two-syllabled in Latin
mostly remain yet so in the French.

  La _vi_ | _e_ de | Marthe | sa mie,

although _mie_, which is pet language, loving abbreviation of _amica_
through _amie_, remains monosyllabic. But _vie_ elides its _e_ before a

  Car Mar- | the me | nait vie | active
  Et Ma- | ri-e | contemp | lative;

and custom endures many exceptions. Thus _Marie_ may be three-syllabled,
as above, or answer to _mie_ as a dissyllable; but _vierge_ is always, I
think, dissyllabic, _vier-ge_, with even stronger accent on the _-ge_,
for the Latin _-go_.

Then, secondly, of quantity, there is scarcely any fixed law. The meters
may be timed as the minstrel chooses--fast or slow--and the iambic
current checked in reverted eddy, as the words chance to come.

But, thirdly, there is to be rich ryming and chiming, no matter how
simply got, so only that the words jingle and tingle together with due
art of interlacing and answering in different parts of the stanza,
correspondent to the involutions of tracery and illumination. The whole
twelve-line stanza is thus constructed with two rymes only, six of each,
thus arranged:

  A A B | A A B | B B A | B B A |

dividing the verse thus into four measures, reversed in ascent and
descent, or _descant_ more properly; and doubtless with correspondent
phases in the voice-given, and duly accompanying, or following, music;
Thomas the Rymer's own precept, that "tong is chefe in mynstrelsye,"
being always kept faithfully in mind.[65]

42. Here then you have a sufficient example of the pure chant of the
Christian ages; which is always at heart joyful, and divides itself into
the four great forms; Song of Praise, Song of Prayer, Song of Love, and
Song of Battle; praise, however, being the keynote of passion through
all the four forms; according to the first law which I have already
given in the "Laws of Fésole"; "all great Art is Praise," of which the
contrary is also true, all foul or miscreant Art is accusation, [Greek:
diabolê]: "She gave me of the tree and I did eat" being an entirely
museless expression on Adam's part, the briefly essential contrary of

With these four perfect forms of Christian chant, of which we may take
for pure examples the "Te Deum," the "Te Lucis Ante," the "Amor che
nella mente,"[66] and the "Chant de Roland," are mingled songs of
mourning, of Pagan origin (whether Greek or Danish), holding grasp still
of the races that have once learned them, in times of suffering and
sorrow; and songs of Christian humiliation or grief, regarding chiefly
the sufferings of Christ, or the conditions of our own sin: while
through the entire system of these musical complaints are interwoven
moralities, instructions, and related histories, in illustration of
both, passing into Epic and Romantic verse, which gradually, as the
forms and learnings of society increase, becomes less joyful, and more
didactic, or satiric, until the last echoes of Christian joy and melody
vanish in the "Vanity of human wishes."

43. And here I must pause for a minute or two to separate the different
branches of our inquiry clearly from one another. For one thing, the
reader must please put for the present out of his head all thought of
the progress of "civilization"--that is to say, broadly, of the
substitution of wigs for hair, gas for candles, and steam for legs. This
is an entirely distinct matter from the phases of policy and religion.
It has nothing to do with the British Constitution, or the French
Revolution, or the unification of Italy. There are, indeed, certain
subtle relations between the state of mind, for instance, in Venice,
which makes her prefer a steamer to a gondola, and that which makes her
prefer a gazetteer to a duke; but these relations are not at all to be
dealt with until we solemnly understand that whether men shall be
Christians and poets, or infidels and dunces, does not depend on the way
they cut their hair, tie their breeches, or light their fires. Dr.
Johnson might have worn his wig in fullness conforming to his dignity,
without therefore coming to the conclusion that human wishes were vain;
nor is Queen Antoinette's civilized hair-powder, as opposed to Queen
Bertha's savagely loose hair, the cause of Antoinette's laying her head
at last in scaffold dust, but Bertha in a pilgrim-haunted tomb.

44. Again, I have just now used the words "poet" and "dunce," meaning
the degree of each quality possible to average human nature. Men are
eternally divided into the two classes of poet (believer, maker, and
praiser) and dunce (or unbeliever, unmaker, and dispraiser). And in
process of ages they have the power of making faithful and formative
creatures of themselves, or unfaithful and _de_-formative. And this
distinction between the creatures who, blessing, are blessed, and
evermore _benedicti_, and the creatures who, cursing, are cursed, and
evermore maledicti, is one going through all humanity; antediluvian in
Cain and Abel, diluvian in Ham and Shem. And the question for the public
of any given period is not whether they are a constitutional or
unconstitutional vulgus, but whether they are a benignant or malignant
vulgus. So also, whether it is indeed the gods who have given any
gentleman the grace to despise the rabble, depends wholly on whether it
is indeed the rabble, or he, who are the malignant persons.

45. But yet again. This difference between the persons to whom Heaven,
according to Orpheus, has granted "the hour of delight,"[67] and those
whom it has condemned to the hour of detestableness, being, as I have
just said, of all times and nations,--it is an interior and more
delicate difference which we are examining in the gift of _Christian_ as
distinguished from unchristian, song. Orpheus, Pindar, and Horace are
indeed distinct from the prosaic rabble, as the bird from the snake; but
between Orpheus and Palestrina, Horace and Sidney, there is another
division, and a new power of music and song given to the humanity which
has hope of the Resurrection.

_This_ is the root of all life and all rightness in Christian harmony,
whether of word or instrument; and so literally, that in precise manner
as this hope disappears, the power of song is taken away, and taken away
utterly. "When the Christian falls back out of the bright hope of the
Resurrection, even the Orpheus song is forbidden him. Not to have known
the hope is blameless: one may sing, unknowing, as the swan, or
Philomela. But to have known and fall away from it, and to declare that
the human wishes, which are summed in that one--"Thy kingdom come"--are
vain! The Fates ordain there shall be no singing after that denial.

46. For observe this, and earnestly. The old Orphic song, with its dim
hope of yet once more Eurydice,--the Philomela song--granted after the
cruel silence,--the Halcyon song--with its fifteen days of peace, were
all sad, or joyful only in some vague vision of conquest over death. But
the Johnsonian vanity of wishes is on the whole satisfactory to
Johnson--accepted with gentlemanly resignation by Pope--triumphantly and
with bray of penny trumpets and blowing of steam-whistles, proclaimed
for the glorious discovery of the civilized ages, by Mrs. Barbauld, Miss
Edgeworth, Adam Smith, and Co. There is no God, but have we not invented
gunpowder?--who wants a God, with that in his pocket?[68] There is no
Resurrection, neither angel nor spirit; but have we not paper and pens,
and cannot every blockhead print his opinions, and the Day of Judgment
become Republican, with everybody for a judge, and the flat of the
universe for the throne? There is no law, but only gravitation and
congelation, and we are stuck together in an everlasting hail, and
melted together in everlasting mud, and great was the day in which our
worships were born. And there is no gospel, but only, whatever we've
got, to get more, and, wherever we are, to go somewhere else. And are
not these discoveries, to be sung of, and drummed of, and fiddled of,
and generally made melodiously indubitable in the eighteenth century
song of praise?

47. The Fates will not have it so. No word of song is possible, in that
century, to mortal lips. Only polished versification, sententious
pentameter and hexameter, until, having turned out its toes long enough
without dancing, and pattered with its lips long enough without piping,
suddenly Astræa returns to the earth, and a Day of Judgment of a sort,
and there bursts out a song at last again, a most curtly melodious
triplet of Amphisbænic ryme, "_Ça ira_."

Amphisbænic, fanged in each ryme with fire, and obeying Ercildoune's
precept, "Tong is chefe of mynstrelsye," to the syllable.--Don
Giovanni's hitherto fondly chanted "Andiam, andiam," become
suddenly impersonal and prophetic: IT shall go, and you also. A
cry--before it is a song, then song and accompaniment
together--perfectly done; and the march "towards the field of Mars. The
two hundred and fifty thousand--they to the sound of stringed
music--preceded by young girls with tricolor streamers, they have
shouldered soldierwise their shovels and picks, and with one throat are
singing _Ça ira_."[69]

Through all the springtime of 1790, from Brittany to Burgundy, on most
plains of France, under most city walls, there march and
constitutionally wheel to the Ça-iraing mood of fife and drum--our clear
glancing phalanxes;--the song of the two hundred and fifty thousand,
virgin-led, is in the long light of July. Nevertheless, another song is
yet needed, for phalanx, and for maid. For, two springs and summers
having gone--amphisbænic,--on the 28th of August, 1792, "Dumouriez rode
from the camp of Maulde, eastwards to _Sedan_."[70]

48. "And Longwi has fallen basely, and Brunswick and the Prussian king
will beleaguer Verdun, and Clairfait and the Austrians press deeper in
over the northern marches, Cimmerian Europe behind. And on that same
night Dumouriez assembles council of war at his lodgings in Sedan.
Prussians here, Austrians there, triumphant both. With broad highway to
Paris and little hindrance--_we_ scattered, helpless here and
there--what to advise?" The generals advise retreating, and retreating
till Paris be sacked at the latest day possible. Dumouriez, silent,
dismisses _them_,--keeps only, with a sign, Thouvenot. Silent thus, when
needful, yet having voice, it appears, of what musicians call tenor
quality, of a rare kind. Rubini-esque, even, but scarcely producible to
the fastidious ears at opera. The seizure of the forest of Argonne
follows--the cannonade of Valmy. The Prussians do not march on Paris
_this_ time, the autumnal hours of fate pass on--_ça ira_--and on the
6th of November, Dumouriez meets the Austrians also. "Dumouriez
wide-winged, they wide-winged--at and around Jemappes, its green heights
fringed and maned with red fire. And Dumouriez is swept back on this
wing and swept back on that, and is like to be swept back utterly, when
he rushes up in person, speaks a prompt word or two, and then, with
clear tenor-pipe, uplifts the hymn of the Marseillaise, ten thousand
tenor or bass pipes joining, or say some forty thousand in all, for
every heart leaps up at the sound; and so, with rhythmic march melody,
they rally, they advance, they rush death-defying, and like the fire
whirlwind sweep all manner of Austrians from the scene of action." Thus,
through the lips of Dumouriez, sings Tyrtæus, Rouget de Lisle.[71] "Aux
armes--marchons." Iambic measure with a witness! in what wide strophe
here beginning--in what unthought-of antistrophe returning to that
council chamber in Sedan!

49. While these two great songs were thus being composed, and sung, and
danced to in cometary cycle, by the French nation, here in our less
giddy island there rose, amidst hours of business in Scotland and of
idleness in England, three troubadours of quite different temper.
Different also themselves, but not opponent; forming a perfect chord,
and adverse all the three of them alike to the French musicians, in this
main point--that while the _Ca ira_ and Marseillaise were essentially
songs of blame and wrath, the British bards wrote, virtually, always
songs of praise, though by no means psalmody in the ancient keys. On the
contrary, all the three are alike moved by a singular antipathy to the
priests, and are pointed at with fear and indignation by the pietists,
of their day;--not without latent cause. For they are all of them, with
the most loving service, servants of that world which the Puritan and
monk alike despised; and, in the triple chord of their song, could not
but appear to the religious persons around them as respectively and
specifically the praisers--Scott of the world, Burns of the flesh, and
Byron of the devil.

To contend with this carnal orchestra, the religious world, having long
ago rejected its Catholic Psalms as antiquated and unscientific, and
finding its Puritan melodies sunk into faint jar and twangle from their
native trumpet-tone, had nothing to oppose but the innocent, rather than
religious, verses of the school recognized as that of the English Lakes;
very creditable to them; domestic at once and refined; observing the
errors of the world outside of the Lakes with a pitying and tender
indignation, and arriving in lacustrine seclusion at many valuable
principles of philosophy, as pure as the tarns of their mountains, and
of corresponding depth.[72]

50. I have lately seen, and with extreme pleasure, Mr. Matthew Arnold's
arrangement of Wordsworth's poems; and read with sincere interest his
high estimate of them. But a great poet's work never needs arrangement
by other hands; and though it is very proper that Silver How should
clearly understand and brightly praise its fraternal Rydal Mount, we
must not forget that, over yonder, are the Andes, all the while.

Wordsworth's rank and scale among poets were determined by himself, in a
single exclamation:

  "What was the great Parnassus' self to thee,
  Mount Skiddaw?"

Answer his question faithfully, and you have the relation between the
great masters of the Muse's teaching and the pleasant fingerer of his
pastoral flute among the reeds of Rydal.

Wordsworth is simply a Westmoreland peasant, with considerably less
shrewdness than most border Englishmen or Scotsmen inherit; and no sense
of humor: but gifted (in this singularly) with vivid sense of natural
beauty, and a pretty turn for reflections, not always acute, but, as far
as they reach, medicinal to the fever of the restless and corrupted life
around him. Water to parched lips may be better than Samian wine, but do
not let us therefore confuse the qualities of wine and water. I much
doubt there being many inglorious Miltons in our country churchyards;
but I am very sure there are many Wordsworths resting there, who were
inferior to the renowned one only in caring less to hear themselves

With an honest and kindly heart, a stimulating egoism, a wholesome
contentment in modest circumstances, and such sufficient ease, in that
accepted state, as permitted the passing of a good deal of time in
wishing that daisies could see the beauty of their own shadows, and
other such profitable mental exercises, Wordsworth has left us a series
of studies of the graceful and happy shepherd life of our lake country,
which to me personally, for one, are entirely sweet and precious; but
they are only so as the mirror of an existent reality in many ways more
beautiful than its picture.

51. But the other day I went for an afternoon's rest into the cottage of
one of our country people of old statesman class; cottage lying nearly
midway between two village churches, but more conveniently for downhill
walk towards one than the other. I found, as the good housewife made tea
for me, that nevertheless she went up the hill to church. "Why do not
you go to the nearer church?" I asked. "Don't you like the clergyman?"
"Oh no, sir," she answered, "it isn't that; but you know I couldn't
leave my mother." "Your mother! she is buried at H---- then?" "Yes, sir;
and you know I couldn't go to church anywhere else."

That feelings such as these existed among the peasants, not of
Cumberland only, but of all the tender earth that gives forth her fruit
for the living, and receives her dead to peace, might perhaps have been,
to our great and endless comfort, discovered before now, if Wordsworth
had been content to tell us what he knew of his own villages and people,
not as the leader of a new and only correct school of poetry, but simply
as a country gentleman of sense and feeling, fond of primroses, kind to
the parish children, and reverent of the spade with which Wilkinson had
tilled his lands: and I am by no means sure that his influence on the
stronger minds of his time was anywise hastened or extended by the
spirit of tunefulness under whose guidance he discovered that heaven
rymed to seven, and Foy to boy.

52. Tuneful nevertheless at heart, and of the heavenly choir, I gladly
and frankly acknowledge him; and our English literature enriched with a
new and a singular virtue in the aërial purity and healthful rightness
of his quiet song;--but _aërial_ only,--not ethereal; and lowly in its
privacy of light.

A measured mind, and calm; innocent, unrepentant; helpful to sinless
creatures and scathless, such of the flock as do not stray. Hopeful at
least, if not faithful; content with intimations of immortality such as
may be in skipping of lambs, and laughter of children--incurious to see
in the hands the print of the Nails.

A gracious and constant mind; as the herbage of its native hills,
fragrant and pure;--yet, to the sweep and the shadow, the stress and
distress, of the greater souls of men, as the tufted thyme to the
laurel wilderness of Tempe,--as the gleaming euphrasy to the dark
branches of Dodona.

     [I am obliged to defer the main body of this paper to next
     month,--revises penetrating all too late into my lacustrine
     seclusion; as chanced also unluckily with the preceding paper, in
     which the reader will perhaps kindly correct the consequent
     misprints [now corrected, ED.], p. 203, l. 23, of
     "scarcely" to "securely," and p. 206, l. 6, "full," with comma to
     "fall," without one; noticing besides that "Redgauntlet" has been
     omitted in the list, pp. 198, 199; and that the reference to note
     should not be at the word "imagination," p. 198, l. 6, but at the
     word "trade," l. 15. My dear old friend, Dr. John Brown, sends me,
     from Jamieson's _Dictionary_, the following satisfactory end to one
     of my difficulties:--"Coup the crans." The language is borrowed
     from the "cran," or trivet on which small pots are placed in
     cookery, which is sometimes turned with its feet uppermost by an
     awkward assistant. Thus it signifies to be _completely_ upset.]


[Footnote 62: August, 1880.]

[Footnote 63: The following fragments out of the letters in my own
possession, written by Scott to the builder of Abbotsford, as the outer
decorations of the house were in process of completion, will show how
accurately Scott had pictured himself in Monkbarns.

  "ABBOTSFORD: _April_ 21, 1817.

     "DEAR SIR,--Nothing can be more obliging than your
     attention to the old stones. You have been as true as the sundial
     itself." [The sundial had just been erected.] "Of the two I would
     prefer the larger one, as it is to be in front of a parapet quite
     in the old taste. But in case of accidents it will be safest in
     your custody till I come to town again on the 12th of May. Your
     former favors (which were weighty as acceptable) have come safely
     out here, and will be disposed of with great effect."

  "ABBOTSFORD: _July_ 30th.

     "I fancy the Tolbooth still keeps its feet, but, as it must soon
     descend, I hope you will remember me. I have an important use for
     the niche above the door; and though many a man has got a niche
     _in_ the Tolbooth by building, I believe I am the first that ever
     got a niche out of it on such an occasion. For which I have to
     thank your kindness, and to remain very much your obliged humble


  "_August 16._

     "MY DEAR SIR,--I trouble you with this [_sic_] few lines
     to thank you for the very accurate drawings and measurements of the
     Tolbooth door, and for your kind promise to attend to my interest
     and that of Abbotsford in the matter of the Thistle and Fleur de
     Lis. Most of our scutcheons are now mounted, and look very well, as
     the house is something after the model of an old hall (not a
     castle), where such things are well in character." [Alas--Sir
     Walter, Sir Walter!] "I intend the old lion to predominate over a
     well which the children have christened the Fountain of the Lions.
     His present den, however, continues to be the hall at Castle

  "_September 5._

     "DEAR SIR,--I am greatly obliged to you for securing the
     stone. I am not sure that I will put up the gate quite in the old
     form, but I would like to secure the means of doing so. The
     ornamental stones are now put up, and have a very happy effect. If
     you will have the kindness to let me know when the Tolbooth door
     comes down, I will send in my carts for the stones; I have an
     admirable situation for it. I suppose the door itself" [he means
     the wooden one] "will be kept for the new jail; if not, and not
     otherwise wanted, I would esteem it curious to possess it.
     Certainly I hope so many sore hearts will not pass through the
     celebrated door when in my possession as heretofore."

  "_September 8._

     "I should esteem it very fortunate if I could have the door also,
     though I suppose it is modern, having been burned down at the time
     of Porteous-mob.

     "I am very much obliged to the gentlemen who thought these remains
     of the Heart of Midlothian are not ill bestowed on their intended

[Footnote 64: Henceforward, not in affectation, but for the reader's
better convenience, I shall continue to spell "Ryme" without our wrongly
added _h_.]

[Footnote 65: L. ii. 278.]

[Footnote 66: "Che nella mente mia _ragiona_." Love--you observe, the
highest _Reasonableness_, instead of French _ivresse_, or even
Shakespearian "mere folly"; and Beatrice as the Goddess of Wisdom in
this third song of the _Convito_, to be compared with the Revolutionary
Goddess of Reason; remembering of the whole poem chiefly the line:--

  "Costei penso chi che mosso l'universo."

(See Lyell's "Canzoniere," p. 104.)]

[Footnote 67: [Greek: hôran tês térpsios]--Plato, "Laws," ii., Steph.
669. "Hour" having here nearly the power of "Fate" with added sense of
being a daughter of Themis.]

[Footnote 68: "Gunpowder is one of the greatest inventions of modern
times, _and what has given such a superiority to civilized nations over
barbarous_"! ("Evenings at Home"--fifth evening.) No man can owe more
than I both to Mrs. Barbauld and Miss Edgeworth; and I only wish that in
the substance of what they wisely said, they had been more listened to.
Nevertheless, the germs of all modern conceit and error respecting
manufacture and industry, as rivals to Art and to Genius, are
concentrated in "Evenings at Home" and "Harry and Lucy"--being all the
while themselves works of real genius, and prophetic of things that have
yet to be learned and fulfilled. See for instance the paper, "Things by
their Right Names," following the one from which I have just quoted
("The Ship"), and closing the first volume of the old edition of the

[Footnote 69: Carlyle, "French Revolution" (Chapman, 1869), vol. ii. p.
70; conf. p. 25, and the _Ça ira_ at Arras, vol. iii. p. 276.]

[Footnote 70: _Ibid._ iii. 26.]

[Footnote 71: Carlyle, "French Revolution," iii. 106, the last sentence
altered in a word or two.]

[Footnote 72: I have been greatly disappointed, in taking soundings of
our most majestic mountain pools, to find them, in no case, verge on the




  "Parching summer hath no warrant
    To consume this crystal well;
  Rains, that make each brook a torrent,
    Neither sully it, nor swell."

53. So was it year by year, among the unthought-of hills. Little Duddon
and child Rotha ran clear and glad; and laughed from ledge to pool, and
opened from pool to mere, translucent, through endless days of peace.

But eastward, between her orchard plains, Loire locked her embracing
dead in silent sands; dark with blood rolled Iser; glacial-pale,
Beresina-Lethe, by whose shore the weary hearts forgot their people, and
their father's house.

Nor unsullied, Tiber; nor unswoln, Arno and Aufidus; and Euroclydon high
on Helle's wave; meantime, let our happy piety glorify the garden rocks
with snowdrop circlet, and breathe the spirit of Paradise, where life is
wise and innocent.

Maps many have we, nowadays clear in display of earth constituent, air
current, and ocean tide. Shall we ever engrave the map of meaner
research, whose shadings shall content themselves in the task of showing
the depth, or drought,--the calm, or trouble, of Human Compassion?

54. For this is indeed all that is noble in the life of Man, and the
source of all that is noble in the speech of Man. Had it narrowed itself
then, in those days, out of all the world, into this peninsula between
Cockermouth and Shap?

Not altogether so; but indeed the _Vocal_ piety seemed conclusively to
have retired (or excursed?) into that mossy hermitage, above Little
Langdale. The _Un_vocal piety, with the uncomplaining sorrow, of Man,
may have a somewhat wider range, for aught we know: but history
disregards those items; and of firmly proclaimed and sweetly canorous
religion, there really seemed at that juncture none to be reckoned upon,
east of Ingleborough, or north of Criffel. Only under Furness Fells, or
by Bolton Priory, it seems we can still write Ecclesiastical Sonnets,
stanzas on the force of Prayer, Odes to Duty, and complimentary
addresses to the Deity upon His endurance for adoration. Far otherwise,
over yonder, by Spezzia Bay, and Ravenna Pineta, and in ravines of
Hartz. There, the softest voices speak the wildest words; and Keats
discourses of Endymion, Shelley of Demogorgon, Goethe of Lucifer, and
Burger of the Resurrection of Death unto Death--while even Puritan
Scotland and Episcopal Anglia produce for us only these three minstrels
of doubtful tone, who show but small respect for the "unco guid," put
but limited faith in gifted Gilfillan, and translate with unflinching
frankness the _Morgante Maggiore_.[74]

55. Dismal the aspect of the spiritual world, or at least the sound of
it, might well seem to the eyes and ears of Saints (such as we had) of
the period--dismal in angels' eyes also assuredly! Yet is it possible
that the dismalness in angelic sight may be otherwise quartered, as it
were, from the way of mortal heraldry; and that seen, and heard, of
angels,--again I say--hesitatingly--_is_ it possible that the goodness
of the Unco Guid, and the gift of Gilfillan, and the word of Mr.
Blattergowl, may severally not have been the goodness of God, the gift
of God, nor the word of God: but that in the much blotted and broken
efforts at goodness, and in the careless gift which they themselves
despised,[75] and in the sweet ryme and murmur of their unpurposed
words, the Spirit of the Lord had, indeed, wandering, as in chaos days
on lightless waters, gone forth in the hearts and from the lips of those
other three strange prophets, even though they ate forbidden bread by
the altar of the poured-out ashes, and even though the wild beast of the
desert found them, and slew.

This, at least, I know, that it had been well for England, though all
her other prophets, of the Press, the Parliament, the Doctor's chair,
and the Bishop's throne, had fallen silent; so only that she had been
able to understand with her heart here and there the simplest line of
these, her despised.

56. I take one at mere chance:

  "Who thinks of self, when gazing on the sky?"[76]

Well, I don't know; Mr. Wordsworth certainly did, and observed, with
truth, that its clouds took a sober coloring in consequence of his
experiences. It is much if, indeed, this sadness be unselfish, and our
eyes _have_ kept loving watch o'er Man's Mortality. I have found it
difficult to make anyone nowadays believe that such sobriety can be; and
that Turner saw deeper crimson than others in the clouds of Goldau. But
that any should yet think the clouds brightened by Man's _Im_mortality
instead of dulled by his death,--and, gazing on the sky, look for the
day when every eye must gaze also--for behold, He cometh with
clouds--this it is no more possible for Christian England to apprehend,
however exhorted by her gifted and guid.

57. "But Byron was not thinking of such things!"--He, the reprobate! how
should such as he think of Christ?

Perhaps not wholly as you or I think of Him. Take, at chance, another
line or two, to try:

  "Carnage (so Wordsworth tells you) is God's daughter;[77]
  If he speak truth, she is Christ's sister, and
  Just now, behaved as in the Holy Land."

Blasphemy, cry you, good reader? Are you sure you understand it? The
first line I gave you was easy Byron--almost shallow Byron--these are of
the man in his depth, and you will not fathom them, like a tarn--nor in
a hurry.

"Just now behaved as in the Holy Land." How _did_ Carnage behave in the
Holy Land then? You have all been greatly questioning, of late, whether
the sun, which you find to be now going out, ever stood still. Did you
in any lagging minute, on those scientific occasions, chance to reflect
what he was bid stand still _for_? or if not--will you please look--and
what also, going forth again as a strong man to run his course, he saw,

"Then Joshua passed from Makkedah unto Libnah--and fought against
Libnah. And the Lord delivered it and the king thereof into the hand of
Israel, and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls
that were therein." And from Lachish to Eglon, and from Eglon to
Kirjath-Arba, and Sarah's grave in the Amorites' land, "and Joshua smote
all the country of the hills and of the south--and of the vale and of
the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly
destroyed all that breathed--as the Lord God of Israel commanded."

58. Thus, "it is written": though you perhaps do not so often hear
_these_ texts preached from, as certain others about taking away the
sins of the world. I wonder how the world would like to part with them!
hitherto it has always preferred parting first with its life--and God
has taken it at its word. But Death is not _His_ Begotten Son, for all
that; nor is the death of the innocent in battle carnage His "instrument
for working out a pure intent" as Mr. Wordsworth puts it; but Man's
instrument for working out an impure one, as Byron would have you to
know. Theology perhaps less orthodox, but certainly more
reverent;--neither is the Woolwich Infant a Child of God; neither does
the iron-clad "Thunderer" utter thunders of God--which facts if you had
had the grace or sense to learn from Byron, instead of accusing him of
blasphemy, it had been better at this day for _you_, and for many a
savage soul also, by Euxine shore, and in Zulu and Afghan lands.

59. It was neither, however, for the theology, nor the use, of these
lines that I quoted them; but to note this main point of Byron's own
character. He was the first great Englishman who felt the cruelty of
war, and, in its cruelty, the shame. Its guilt had been known to George
Fox--its folly shown practically by Penn. But the _compassion_ of the
pious world had still for the most part been shown only in keeping its
stock of Barabbases unhanged if possible: and, till Byron came, neither
Kunersdorf, Eylau, nor Waterloo, had taught the pity and the pride of
men that

  "The drying up a single tear has more
  Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore."[78]

Such pacific verse would not indeed have been acceptable to the
Edinburgh volunteers on Portobello sands. But Byron can write a battle
song too, when it is _his_ cue to fight. If you look at the introduction
to the "Isles of Greece," namely the 85th and 86th stanzas of the 3rd
canto of "Don Juan,"--you will find--what will you _not_ find, if only
you understand them! "He" in the first line, remember, means the typical
modern poet.

  "Thus usually, when he was asked to sing,
    He gave the different nations something national.
  'Twas all the same to him--'God save the King'
    Or 'Ca ira' according to the fashion all;
  His muse made increment of anything
    From the high lyric down to the low rational:
  If Pindar sang horse-races, what should hinder
    Himself from being as pliable as Pindar?

  In France, for instance, he would write a chanson;
    In England a six-canto quarto tale;
  In Spain, he'd make a ballad or romance on
    The last war--much the same in Portugal;
  In Germany, the Pegasus he'd prance on
    Would be old Goethe's--(see what says de Staël)
  In Italy, he'd ape the 'Trecentisti';
  In Greece, he'd sing some sort of hymn like this t'ye."

60. Note first here, as we did in Scott, the concentrating and
foretelling power. The "God Save the Queen" in England, fallen hollow
now, as the "Ca ira" in France--not a man in France knowing where either
France or "that" (whatever "that" may be) is going to; nor the Queen of
England daring, for her life, to ask the tiniest Englishman to do a
single thing he doesn't like;--nor any salvation, either of Queen or
Realm, being any more possible to God, unless under the direction of the
Royal Society: then, note the estimate of height and depth in poetry,
swept in an instant, "high lyric to low rational." Pindar to Pope
(knowing Pope's height, too, all the while, no man better); then, the
poetic power of France--resumed in a word--Béranger; then the cut at
Marmion, entirely deserved, as we shall see, yet kindly given, for
everything he names in these two stanzas is the best of its kind; then
'Romance in Spain on--the _last_ war, (_present_ war not being to
Spanish poetical taste,) then, Goethe the real heart of all Germany, and
last, the aping of the Trecentisti which has since consummated itself in
Pre-Raphaelitism! that also being the best thing Italy has done through
England, whether in Rossetti's "blessed damozels" or Burne Jones's "days
of creation." Lastly comes the mock at himself--the modern English
Greek--(followed up by the "degenerate into hands like mine" in the song
itself); and then--to amazement, forth he thunders in his
Achilles-voice. We have had one line of him in his clearness--five of
him in his depth--sixteen of him in his play. Hear now but these, out of
his whole heart:--

  "What,--silent yet? and silent _all_?
    Ah no, the voices of the dead
  Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
    And answer, 'Let _one_ living head,
  But one, arise--we come--we come:'
  --'Tis but the living who are dumb."

Resurrection, this, you see like Bürger's; but not of death unto death.

61. "Sound like a distant torrent's fall." I said the _whole_ heart of
Byron was in this passage. First its compassion, then its indignation,
and the third element, not yet examined, that love of the beauty of this
world in which the three--unholy--children, of its Fiery Furnace were
like to each other; but Byron the widest-hearted. Scott and Burns love
Scotland more than Nature itself: for Burns the moon must rise over
Cumnock Hills,--for Scott, the Rymer's glen divide the Eildons; but,
for Byron, Loch-na-Gar _with Ida_, looks o'er Troy, and the soft murmurs
of the Dee and the Bruar change into voices of the dead on distant

Yet take the parallel from Scott, by a field of homelier rest:--

  "And silence aids--though the steep hills
  Send to the lake a thousand rills;
  In summer tide, so soft they weep,
  The sound but lulls the ear asleep;
  Your horse's hoof-tread sounds too rude,
  So stilly is the solitude.

  Nought living meets the eye or ear,
  But well I ween the dead are near;
  For though, in feudal strife, a foe
  Hath laid our Lady's Chapel low,
  Yet still beneath the hallowed soil,
  The peasant rests him from his toil,
  And, dying, bids his bones be laid
  Where erst his simple fathers prayed."

And last take the same note of sorrow--with Burns's finger on the fall
of it:

  "Mourn, ilka grove the cushat kens,
  Ye hazly shaws and briery dens,
  Ye burnies, wimplin' down your glens
                Wi' toddlin' din,
  Or foamin' strang wi' hasty stens
                Frae lin to lin."

62. As you read, one after another, these fragments of chant by the
great masters, does not a sense come upon you of some element in their
passion, no less than in their sound, different, specifically, from that
of "Parching summer hath no warrant"? Is it more profane, think you--or
more tender--nay, perhaps, in the core of it, more true?

For instance, when we are told that

      "Wharfe, as he moved along,
  To matins joined a mournful voice,"

is this disposition of the river's mind to pensive psalmody quite
logically accounted for by the previous statement, (itself by no means
rythmically dulcet,) that

  "The boy is in the arms of Wharfe,
  And strangled by a merciless force"?

Or, when we are led into the improving reflection,

  "How sweet were leisure, could it yield no more
  Than 'mid this wave-washed churchyard to recline,
  From pastoral graves extracting thoughts divine!"

--is the divinity of the extract assured to us by its being made at
leisure, and in a reclining attitude--as compared with the meditations
of otherwise active men, in an erect one? Or are we perchance, many of
us, still erring somewhat in our notions alike of Divinity and
Humanity,--poetical extraction, and moral position?

63. On the chance of its being so, might I ask hearing for just a few
words more of the school of Belial?

Their occasion, it must be confessed, is a quite unjustifiable one. Some
very wicked people--mutineers, in fact--have retired, misanthropically,
into an unfrequented part of the country, and there find themselves safe
indeed, but extremely thirsty. Whereupon Byron thus gives them to drink:

  "A little stream came tumbling from the height
  And straggling into ocean as it might.
  Its bounding crystal frolicked in the ray
  And gushed from cliff to crag with saltless spray,
  Close on the wild wide ocean,--yet as pure
  And fresh as Innocence; and more secure.
  Its silver torrent glittered o'er the deep
  As the shy chamois' eye o'erlooks the steep,
  While, far below, the vast and sullen swell
  Of ocean's Alpine azure rose and fell."[79]

Now, I beg, with such authority as an old workman may take concerning
his trade, having also looked at a waterfall or two in my time, and not
unfrequently at a wave, to assure the reader that here is entirely
first-rate literary work. Though Lucifer himself had written it, the
thing is itself good, and not only so, but unsurpassedly good, the
closing line being probably the best concerning the sea yet written by
the race of the sea-kings.

64. But Lucifer himself _could_ not have written it; neither any servant
of Lucifer. I do not doubt but that most readers were surprised at my
saying, in the close of my first paper, that Byron's "style" depended in
any wise on his views respecting the Ten Commandments. That so
all-important a thing as "style" should depend in the least upon so
ridiculous a thing as moral sense: or that Allegra's father, watching
her drive by in Count G.'s coach and six, had any remnant of so
ridiculous a thing to guide,--or check,--his poetical passion, may alike
seem more than questionable to the liberal and chaste philosophy of the
existing British public. But, first of all, putting the question of who
writes or speaks aside, do you, good reader, _know_ good "style" when
you get it? Can you say, of half a dozen given lines taken anywhere out
of a novel, or poem, or play, That is good, essentially, in style, or
bad, essentially? and can you say why such half-dozen lines are good, or

65. I imagine that in most cases, the reply would be given with
hesitation, yet if you will give me a little patience, and take some
accurate pains, I can show you the main tests of style in the space of a
couple of pages.

I take two examples of absolutely perfect, and in manner highest, _i.
e._, kingly, and heroic, style: the first example in expression of
anger, the second of love.


  "We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us,
  His present, and your pains, we thank you for.
  When we have match'd our rackets to these balls,
  We will in France, by God's grace, play a set
  Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard."


  "My gracious Silence, hail!
  Would'st thou have laughed, had I come coffin'd home
  That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
  Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear
  And mothers that lack sons."

66. Let us note, point by point, the conditions of greatness common to
both these passages, so opposite in temper.

A. Absolute command over all passion, however intense; this the
first-of-first conditions, (see the King's own sentence just before, "We
are no tyrant, but a Christian King, Unto _whose grace_ our passion is
as subject As are our wretches fettered in our prisons"); and with this
self-command, the supremely surveying grasp of every thought that is to
be uttered, before its utterance; so that each may come in its exact
place, time, and connection. The slightest hurry, the misplacing of a
word, or the unnecessary accent on a syllable, would destroy the "style"
in an instant.

B. Choice of the fewest and simplest words that can be found in the
compass of the language, to express the thing meant: these few words
being also arranged in the most straightforward and intelligible way;
allowing inversion only when the subject can be made primary without
obscurity: (thus, "his present, and your pains, we thank you for" is
better than "we thank you for his present and your pains," because the
Dauphin's gift is by courtesy put before the Ambassador's pains; but
"when to these balls our rackets we have matched" would have spoiled the
style in a moment, because--I was going to have said, ball and racket
are of equal rank, and therefore only the natural order proper; but also
here the natural order is the desired one, the English racket to have
precedence of the French ball). In the fourth line the "in France" comes
first, as announcing the most important resolution of action; the "by
God's grace" next, as the only condition rendering resolution possible;
the detail of issue follows with the strictest limit in the final word.
The King does not say "danger," far less "dishonor," but "hazard" only;
of _that_ he is, humanly speaking, sure.

67. C. Perfectly emphatic and clear utterance of the chosen words;
slowly in the degree of their importance, with omission however of every
word not absolutely required; and natural use of the familiar
contractions of final dissyllable. Thus "play a set shall strike" is
better than "play a set _that_ shall strike," and "match'd" is kingly
short--no necessity of meter could have excused "matched" instead. On
the contrary, the three first words, "We are glad," would have been
spoken by the king more slowly and fully than any other syllables in the
whole passage, first pronouncing the kingly "we" at its proudest, and
then the "are" as a continuous state, and then the "glad," as the exact
contrary of what the ambassadors expected him to be.[80]

D. Absolute spontaneity in doing all this, easily and necessarily as the
heart beats. The king _cannot_ speak otherwise than he does--nor the
hero. The words not merely come to them, but are compelled to them. Even
lisping numbers "come," but mighty numbers are ordained, and inspired.

E. Melody in the words, changeable with their passion, fitted to it
exactly, and the utmost of which the language is capable--the melody in
prose being Eolian and variable--in verse, nobler by submitting itself
to stricter law. I will enlarge upon this point presently.

F. Utmost spiritual contents in the words; so that each carries not only
its instant meaning, but a cloudy companionship of higher or darker
meaning according to the passion--nearly always indicated by metaphor:
"play a set"--sometimes by abstraction--(thus in the second passage
"silence" for silent one) sometimes by description instead of direct
epithet ("coffined" for dead) but always indicative of there being more
in the speaker's mind than he has said, or than he can say, full though
his saying be. On the quantity of this attendant fullness depends the
majesty of style; that is to say, virtually, on the quantity of
contained thought in briefest words, such thought being primarily loving
and true: and this the sum of all--that nothing can be well said, but
with truth, nor beautifully, but by love.

68. These are the essential conditions of noble speech in prose and
verse alike, but the adoption of the form of verse, and especially rymed
verse, means the addition to all these qualities of one more; of music,
that is to say, not Eolian merely, but Apolline; a construction or
architecture of words fitted and befitting, under external laws of time
and harmony.

When Byron says "rhyme is of the rude,"[81] he means that Burns needs
it,--while Henry the Fifth does not, nor Plato, nor Isaiah--yet in this
need of it by the simple, it becomes all the more religious: and thus
the loveliest pieces of Christian language are all in ryme--the best of
Dante, Chaucer, Douglas, Shakespeare, Spenser, and Sidney.

69. I am not now able to keep abreast with the tide of modern
scholarship; (nor, to say the truth, do I make the effort, the first
edge of its waves being mostly muddy, and apt to make a shallow sweep of
the shore refuse:) so that I have no better book of reference by me than
the confused essay on the antiquity of ryme at the end of Turner's
"Anglo-Saxons." I cannot however conceive a more interesting piece of
work, if not yet done, than the collection of sifted earliest fragments
known of rymed song in European languages. Of Eastern I know nothing;
but, this side Hellespont, the substance of the matter is all given in
King Canute's impromptu

  "Gaily" (or is it sweetly?--I forget which, and it's no matter)
      "sang the monks of Ely,
  As Knut the king came sailing by;"

much to be noted by any who make their religion lugubrious, and their
Sunday the eclipse of the week. And observe further, that if Milton does
not ryme, it is because his faculty of Song was concerning Loss,
chiefly; and he has little more than faculty of Croak, concerning Gain;
while Dante, though modern readers never go further with him than into
the Pit, is stayed only by Casella in the ascent to the Rose of Heaven.
So, Gibbon can write in _his_ manner the Fall of Rome; but Virgil, in
_his_ manner, the rise of it; and finally Douglas, in _his_ manner,
bursts into such rymed passion of praise both of Rome and Virgil, as
befits a Christian Bishop, and a good subject of the Holy See.

  "Master of Masters--sweet source, and springing well,
  Wide where over all rings thy heavenly bell;

         *       *       *       *       *

  Why should I then with dull forehead and vain,
  With rude ingene, and barane, emptive brain,
  With bad harsh speech, and lewit barbare tongue
  Presume to write, where thy sweet bell is rung,
  Or counterfeit thy precious wordis dear?
  Na, na--not so; but kneel when I them hear.
  But farther more--and lower to descend
  Forgive me, Virgil, if I thee offend
  Pardon thy scolar, suffer him to ryme
  Since _thou_ wast but ane mortal man sometime."

"Before honor is humility." Does not clearer light come for you on that
law after reading these nobly pious words? And note you _whose_
humility? How is it that the sound of the bell comes so instinctively
into his chiming verse? This gentle singer is the son of--Archibald

70. And now perhaps you can read with right sympathy the scene in
"Marmion" between his father and King James.

  "His hand the monarch sudden took--
  'Now, by the Bruce's soul,
  Angus, my hasty speech forgive,
  For sure as doth his spirit live
  As he said of the Douglas old
  I well may say of you,--
  That never king did subject hold,
  In speech more free, in war more bold,
  More tender and more true:'
  And while the king his hand did strain
  The old man's tears fell down like rain."

I believe the most infidel of scholastic readers can scarcely but
perceive the relation between the sweetness, simplicity, and melody of
expression in these passages, and the gentleness of the passions they
express, while men who are not scholastic, and yet are true scholars,
will recognize further in them that the simplicity of the educated is
lovelier than the simplicity of the rude. Hear next a piece of Spenser's
teaching how rudeness itself may become more beautiful even by its
mistakes, if the mistakes are made lovingly.

  "Ye shepherds' daughters that dwell on the green,
    Hye you there apace;
  Let none come there but that virgins been
    To adorn her grace:
  And when you come, whereas she in place,
  See that your rudeness do not you disgrace;
    Bind your fillets fast,
    And gird in your waste,
  For more fineness, with a taudry lace.

  Bring hither the pink and purple cullumbine
    With gylliflowers;
  Bring coronatiöns, and sops in wine,
    Worn of paramours;
  Strow me the ground with daffadowndillies
  And cowslips, and kingcups, and loved lilies;
    The pretty paunce
    And the chevisaunce
  Shall match with the fair flowre-delice."[82]

71. Two short pieces more only of master song, and we have enough to
test all by.


   "No more, no more, since thou art dead,
   Shall we e'er bring coy brides to bed,
   No more, at yearly festivals,
             We cowslip balls
   Or chains of columbines shall make,
   For this or that occasion's sake.
   No, no! our maiden pleasures be
   Wrapt in thy winding-sheet with thee."[83]


   "Death is now the phoenix nest,
   And the turtle's loyal breast
   To eternity doth rest.
   Truth may seem, but cannot be;
   Beauty brag, but 'tis not she:
   Truth and beauty buried be."[84]

72. If now, with the echo of these perfect verses in your mind, you turn
to Byron, and glance over, or recall to memory, enough of him to give
means of exact comparison, you will, or should, recognize these
following kinds of mischief in him. First, if anyone offends him--as for
instance Mr. Southey, or Lord Elgin--"his manners have not that repose
that marks the caste," etc. _This_ defect in his Lordship's style, being
myself scrupulously and even painfully reserved in the use of
vituperative language, I need not say how deeply I deplore.[85]

Secondly. In the best and most violet-bedded bits of his work there is
yet, as compared with Elizabethan and earlier verse, a strange taint; an
indefinable--evening flavor of Covent Garden, as it were;--not to say,
escape of gas in the Strand. That is simply what it proclaims
itself--London air. If he had lived all his life in Green-head Ghyll,
things would of course have been different. But it was his fate to come
to town--modern town--like Michael's son; and modern London (and Venice)
are answerable for the state of their drains, not Byron.

Thirdly. His melancholy is without any relief whatsoever; his jest
sadder than his earnest; while, in Elizabethan work, all lament is full
of hope, and all pain of balsam.

Of this evil he has himself told you the cause in a single line
prophetic of all things since and now. "Where _he_ gazed, a gloom
pervaded space."[86]

So that, for instance, while Mr. Wordsworth, on a visit to town, being
an exemplary early riser, could walk, felicitous, on Westminster Bridge,
remarking how the city now did like a garment wear the beauty of the
morning; Byron, rising somewhat later, contemplated only the garment
which the beauty of the morning had by that time received for wear from
the city: and again, while Mr. Wordsworth, in irrepressible religious
rapture, calls God to witness that the houses seem asleep, Byron, lame
demon as he was, flying smoke-drifted, unroofs the houses at a glance,
and sees what the mighty cockney heart of them contains in the still
lying of it, and will stir up to purpose in the waking business of it,

  "The sordor of civilization, mixed
  With all the passions which Man's fall hath fixed."[87]

73. Fourthly, with this steadiness of bitter melancholy, there is joined
a sense of the material beauty, both of inanimate nature, the lower
animals, and human beings, which in the iridescence, color-depth, and
morbid (I use the word deliberately) mystery and softness of it,--with
other qualities indescribable by any single words, and only to be
analyzed by extreme care,--is found, to the full, only in five men that
I know of in modern times; namely, Rousseau, Shelley, Byron, Turner, and
myself,--differing totally and throughout the entire group of us, from
the delight in clear-struck beauty of Angelico and the Trecentisti; and
separated, much more singularly, from the cheerful joys of Chaucer,
Shakespeare, and Scott, by its unaccountable affection for "Rokkes blak"
and other forms of terror and power, such as those of the ice-oceans,
which to Shakespeare were only Alpine rheum; and the Via Malas and
Diabolic Bridges which Dante would have condemned none but lost souls to
climb, or cross;--all this love of impending mountains, coiled
thunder-clouds, and dangerous sea, being joined in us with a sulky,
almost ferine, love of retreat in valleys of Charmettes, gulfs of
Spezzia, ravines of Olympus, low lodgings in Chelsea, and close
brushwood at Coniston.

74. And, lastly, also in the whole group of us, glows volcanic instinct
of Astræan justice returning not to, but up out of, the earth, which
will not at all suffer us to rest any more in Pope's serene "whatever
is, is right"; but holds, on the contrary, profound conviction that
about ninety-nine hundredths of whatever at present is, is wrong:
conviction making four of us, according to our several manners, leaders
of revolution for the poor, and declarers of political doctrine
monstrous to the ears of mercenary mankind; and driving the fifth, less
sanguine, into mere painted-melody of lament over the fallacy of Hope
and the implacableness of Fate.

In Byron the indignation, the sorrow, and the effort are joined to the
death: and they are the parts of his nature (as of mine also in its
feebler terms), which the selfishly comfortable public have, literally,
no conception of whatever; and from which the piously sentimental
public, offering up daily the pure oblation of divine tranquillity,
shrink with anathema not unembittered by alarm.

75. Concerning which matters I hope to speak further and with more
precise illustration in my next paper; but, seeing that this present one
has been hitherto somewhat somber, and perhaps, to gentle readers, not a
little discomposing, I will conclude it with a piece of light biographic
study, necessary to my plan, and as conveniently admissible in this
place as afterwards;--namely, the account of the manner in which
Scott--whom we shall always find, as aforesaid, to be in salient and
palpable elements of character, of the World, worldly, as Burns is of
the Flesh, fleshly, and Byron of the Deuce, damnable,--spent his Sunday.

76. As usual, from Lockhart's farrago we cannot find out the first thing
we want to know,--whether Scott worked after his week-day custom, on the
Sunday morning. But, I gather, not; at all events his household and his
cattle rested (L. iii. 108). I imagine he walked out into his woods, or
read quietly in his study. Immediately after breakfast, whoever was in
the house, "Ladies and gentlemen, I shall read prayers at eleven, when
I expect you all to attend" (vii. 306). Question of college and other
externally unanimous prayer settled for us very briefly: "if you have no
faith, have at least manners." He read the Church of England service,
lessons and all, the latter, if interesting, eloquently (_ibid._). After
the service, one of Jeremy Taylor's sermons (vi. 188). After sermon, if
the weather was fine, walk with his family, dogs included and guests, to
_cold_ picnic (iii. 109), followed by short extempore biblical
novelettes; for he had his Bible, the Old Testament especially, by
heart, it having been his mother's last gift to him (vi. 174). These
lessons to his children in Bible history were always given, whether
there was picnic or not. For the rest of the afternoon he took his
pleasure in the woods with Tom Purdie, who also always appeared at his
master's elbow on Sunday after dinner was over, and drank long life to
the laird and his lady and all the good company, in a quaigh of whisky
or a tumbler of wine, according to his fancy (vi. 195). Whatever might
happen on the other evenings of the week, Scott always dined at home on
Sunday; and with old friends: never, unless inevitably, receiving any
person with whom he stood on ceremony (v. 335). He came into the room
rubbing his hands like a boy arriving at home for the holidays, his
Peppers and Mustards gamboling about him, "and even the stately Maida
grinning and wagging his tail with sympathy." For the usquebaugh of the
less honored week-days, at the Sunday board he circulated the champagne
briskly during dinner, and considered a pint of claret each man's fair
share afterwards (v. 339). In the evening, music being to the Scottish
worldly mind indecorous, he read aloud some favorite author, for the
amusement or edification of his little circle. Shakespeare it might be,
or Dryden,--Johnson, or Joanna Baillie,--Crabbe, or Wordsworth. But in
those days "Byron was pouring out his spirit fresh and full, and if a
new piece from _his_ hand had appeared, it was _sure to be read by Scott
the Sunday evening afterwards_; and that with such delighted emphasis
as showed how completely the elder bard had kept up his enthusiasm for
poetry at pitch of youth, and all his admiration of genius, free, pure,
and unstained by the least drop of literary jealousy" (v. 341).

77. With such necessary and easily imaginable varieties as chanced in
having Dandie Dinmont or Captain Brown for guests at Abbotsford, or
Colonel Mannering, Counselor Pleydell, and Dr. Robertson in Castle
Street, such was Scott's habitual Sabbath: a day, we perceive, of eating
the fat, (_dinner_, presumably not cold, being a work of necessity and
mercy--thou also, even thou, Saint Thomas of Turnbull, hast thine!) and
drinking the sweet, abundant in the manner of Mr. Southey's cataract of
Lodore,--"Here it comes, sparkling." A day bestrewn with coronatiöns and
sops in wine; deep in libations to good hope and fond memory; a day of
rest to beast, and mirth to man, (as also to sympathetic beasts that can
be merry,) and concluding itself in an Orphic hour of delight,
signifying peace on Tweedside, and goodwill to men, there or far
away;--always excepting the French, and Boney.

"Yes, and see what it all came to in the end."

Not so, dark-virulent Minos-Mucklewrath; the end came of quite other
things; of _these_, came such length of days and peace as Scott had in
his Fatherland, and such immortality as he has in all lands.

78. Nathless, firm, though deeply courteous, rebuke, for his sometimes
overmuch lightmindedness, was administered to him by the more grave and
thoughtful Byron. For the Lord Abbot of Newstead knew his Bible by heart
as well as Scott, though it had never been given him by his mother as
her dearest possession. Knew it, and what was more, had thought of it,
and sought in it what Scott had never cared to think, nor been fain to

And loving Scott well, and always doing him every possible pleasure in
the way he sees to be most agreeable to him--as, for instance,
remembering with precision, and writing down the very next morning,
every blessed word that the Prince Regent had been pleased to say of
him before courtly audience,--he yet conceived that such cheap ryming as
his own "Bride of Abydos," for instance, which he had written from
beginning to end in four days, or even the traveling reflections of
Harold and Juan on men and women, were scarcely steady enough Sunday
afternoon's reading for a patriarch-Merlin like Scott. So he dedicates
to him a work of a truly religious tendency, on which for his own part
he has done his best,--the drama of "Cain." Of which dedication the
virtual significance to Sir Walter might be translated thus. Dearest and
last of Border soothsayers, thou hast indeed told us of Black Dwarfs,
and of White Maidens, also of Gray Friars, and Green Fairies; also of
sacred hollies by the well, and haunted crooks in the glen. But of the
bushes that the black dogs rend in the woods of Phlegethon; and of the
crooks in the glen, and the bickerings of the burnie where ghosts meet
the mightiest of us; and of the black misanthrope, who is by no means
yet a dwarfed one, and concerning whom wiser creatures than Hobbie
Elliot may tremblingly ask "Gude guide us, what's yon?" hast thou yet
known, seeing that thou hast yet told, _nothing_.

Scott may perhaps have his answer. We shall in good time hear.


[Footnote 73: September, 1880.]

[Footnote 74: "It must be put by the original, stanza for stanza, and
verse for verse; and you will see what was permitted in a Catholic
country and a bigoted age to Churchmen, on the score of Religion--and so
tell those buffoons who accuse me of attacking the Liturgy.

"I write in the greatest haste, it being the hour of the Corso, and I
must go and buffoon with the rest. My daughter Allegra is just gone with
the Countess G. in Count G.'s coach and six. Our old Cardinal is dead,
and the new one not appointed yet--but the masquing goes on the same."
(Letter to Murray, 355th in Moore, dated Ravenna, Feb. 7, 1820.) "A
dreadfully moral place, for you must not look at anybody's wife, except
your neighbor's."]

[Footnote 75: See quoted _infra_ the mock, by Byron, of himself and all
other modern poets, "Juan," canto iii. stanza 80, and compare canto xiv.
stanza 8. In reference of future quotations the first numeral will stand
always for canto; the second for stanza; the third, if necessary, for

[Footnote 76: "Island," ii. 16, where see context.]

[Footnote 77: "Juan," viii. 5; but, by your Lordship's quotation,
Wordsworth says "instrument,"--not "daughter." Your Lordship had better
have said "Infant" and taken the Woolwich authorities to witness: only
Infant would not have rymed.]

[Footnote 78: "Juan," viii. 3; compare 14, and 63, with all its lovely
context 61-68: then 82, and afterwards slowly and with thorough
attention, the Devil's speech, beginning, "Yes, Sir, you forget" in
scene 2 of "The Deformed Transformed": then Sardanapalus's, act i. scene
2, beginning, "he is gone, and on his finger bears my signet," and
finally the "Vision of Judgment," stanzas 3 to 5.]

[Footnote 79: "Island," iii. 3, and compare, of shore surf, the "slings
its high flakes, shivered into sleet" of stanza 7.]

[Footnote 80: A modern editor--of whom I will not use the expressions
which occur to me--finding the "we" a redundant syllable in the iambic
line, prints, "we're." It is a little thing--but I do not recollect, in
the forty years of my literary experience, any piece of editor's retouch
quite so base. But I don't read the new editions much: that must be
allowed for.]

[Footnote 81: "Island," ii. 5. I was going to say, "Look to the
context," but am fain to give it here; for the stanza, learned by heart,
ought to be our school-introduction to the literature of the world.

  "Such was this ditty of Tradition's days,
  Which to the dead a lingering fame conveys
  In song, where fame as yet hath left no sign
  Beyond the sound whose charm is half divine;
  Which leaves no record to the skeptic eye,
  But yields young history all to harmony;
  A boy Achilles, with the centaur's lyre
  In hand, to teach him to surpass his sire.
  For one long-cherish'd ballad's simple stave,
  Rung from the rock, or mingled with the wave,
  Or from the bubbling streamlet's grassy side,
  Or gathering mountain echoes as they glide,
  Hath greater power o'er each true heart and ear,
  Than all the columns Conquest's minions rear;
  Invites, when hieroglyphics are a theme
  For sages' labors or the student's dream;
  Attracts, when History's volumes are a toil--
  The first, the freshest bud of Feeling's soil,
  Such was this rude rhyme--rhyme is of the rude,
  But such inspired the Norseman's solitude,
  Who came and conquer'd; such, wherever rise
  Lands which no foes destroy or civilize,
  Exist; and what can our accomplish'd art
  Of verse do more than reach the awaken'd heart?"]

[Footnote 82: "Shepherd's Calendar." "Coronatiön," loyal-pastoral for
Carnation; "sops in wine," jolly-pastoral for double pink; "paunce,"
thoughtless pastoral for pansy; "chevisaunce," I don't know (not in
Gerarde); "flowre-delice"--pronounce dellice--half made up of "delicate"
and "delicious."]

[Footnote 83: Herrick, "Dirge for Jephthah's Daughter."]

[Footnote 84: "Passionate Pilgrim."]

[Footnote 85: In this point compare the "Curse of Minerva" with the
"Tears of the Muses."]

[Footnote 86: "He,"--Lucifer; ("Vision of Judgment," 24). It is
precisely because Byron was _not_ his servant, that he could see the
gloom. To the Devil's true servants, their Master's presence brings both
cheerfulness and prosperity; with a delightful sense of their own wisdom
and virtue; and of the "progress" of things in general:--in smooth sea
and fair weather,--and with no need either of helm touch, or oar toil:
as when once one is well within the edge of Maelstrom.]

[Footnote 87: "Island," ii. 4; perfectly orthodox theology, you observe;
no denial of the fall,--nor substitution of Bacterian birth for it. Nay,
nearly Evangelical theology, in contempt for the human heart; but with
deeper than Evangelical humility, acknowledging also what is sordid in
its civilization.]



79. I fear the editor of the _Nineteenth Century_ will get little thanks
from his readers for allowing so much space in closely successive
numbers to my talk of old-fashioned men and things. I have nevertheless
asked his indulgence, this time, for a note or two concerning yet older
fashions, in order to bring into sharper clearness the leading outlines
of literary fact, which I ventured only in my last paper to secure in
_silhouette_, obscurely asserting itself against the limelight of recent
moral creed, and fiction manufacture.

The Bishop of Manchester, on the occasion of the great Wordsworthian
movement in that city for the enlargement, adornment, and sale of
Thirlmere, observed, in his advocacy of these operations, that very few
people, he supposed, had ever seen Tairlmere. His Lordship might have
supposed, with greater felicity, that very few people had ever read
Wordsworth. My own experience in that matter is that the amiable persons
who call themselves "Wordsworthian" have read--usually a long time
ago--"Lucy Gray," "The April Mornings," a picked sonnet or two, and the
"Ode on the Intimations," which last they seem generally to be under the
impression that nobody else has ever met with: and my further experience
of these sentimental students is, that they are seldom inclined to put
in practice a single syllable of the advice tendered them by their model

Now, as I happen myself to have used Wordsworth as a daily text-book
from youth to age, and have lived, moreover, in all essential points
according to the tenor of his teaching, it was matter of some
mortification to me, when, at Oxford, I tried to get the memory of Mr.
Wilkinson's spade honored by some practical spadework at Ferry Hincksey,
to find that no other tutor in Oxford could see the slightest good or
meaning in what I was about; and that although my friend Professor
Rolleston occasionally sought the shades of our Rydalian laurels with
expressions of admiration, his professorial manner of "from pastoral
graves extracting thoughts divine" was to fill the Oxford Museum with
the scabbed skulls of plague-struck cretins.

80. I therefore respectfully venture to intimate to my bucolic friends,
that I know, more vitally by far than they, what _is_ in Wordsworth, and
what is not. Any man who chooses to live by his precepts will thankfully
find in them a beauty and rightness, (_exquisite_ rightness I called it,
in "Sesame and Lilies,") which will preserve him alike from mean
pleasure, vain hope, and guilty deed: so that he will neither mourn at
the gate of the fields which with covetous spirit he sold, nor drink of
the waters which with yet more covetous spirit he stole, nor devour the
bread of the poor in secret, nor set on his guest-table the poor man's
lamb:--in all these homely virtues and assured justices let him be
Wordsworth's true disciple; and he will then be able with equanimity to
hear it said, when there is need to say so, that his excellent master
often wrote verses that were not musical, and sometimes expressed
opinions that were not profound.

And the need to say so becomes imperative when the unfinished verse, and
uncorrected fancy, are advanced by the affection of his disciples into
places of authority where they give countenance to the popular national
prejudices from the infection of which, in most cases, they themselves

81. Take, for example, the following three and a half lines of the 38th
Ecclesiastical Sonnet:--

  "Amazement strikes the crowd; while many turn
  Their eyes away in sorrow, others burn
  With scorn, invoking a vindictive ban
  From outraged Nature."

The first quite evident character of these lines is that they are
extremely bad iambics,--as ill-constructed as they are unmelodious; the
turning and burning being at the wrong ends of them, and the ends
themselves put just when the sentence is in its middle.

But a graver fault of these three and a half lines is that the
amazement, the turning, the burning, and the banning, are all alike
fictitious; and foul-fictitious, calumniously conceived no less than
falsely. Not one of the spectators of the scene referred to was in
reality amazed--not one contemptuous, not one maledictory. It is only
our gentle minstrel of the meres who sits in the seat of the
scornful--only the hermit of Rydal Mount who invokes the malison of

What the scene verily was, and how witnessed, it will not take long to
tell; nor will the tale be useless: but I must first refer the reader to
a period preceding, by nearly a century, the great symbolic action under
the porch of St. Mark's.

82. The Protestant ecclesiastic, and infidel historian, who delight to
prop their pride, or edge their malice, in unveiling the corruption
through which Christianity has passed, should study in every fragment of
authentic record which the fury of their age has left, the lives of the
three queens of the Priesthood, Theodora, Marozia, and Matilda, and the
foundation of the merciless power of the Popes, by the monk Hildebrand.
And if there be any of us who would satisfy with nobler food than the
catastrophes of the stage, the awe at what is marvelous in human sorrow
which makes sacred the fountain of tears in authentic tragedy, let them
follow, pace by pace, and pang by pang, the humiliation of the fourth
Henry at Canossa, and his death in the church he had built to the Virgin
at Spire.

His antagonist, Hildebrand, died twenty years before him; captive to the
Normans in Salerno, having seen the Rome in which he had proclaimed his
princedom over all the earth, laid in her last ruin; and forever. Rome
herself, since her desolation by Guiscard, has been only a grave and a
wilderness[89]--what _we_ call Rome, is a mere colony of the stranger
in her "Field of Mars." This destruction of Rome by the Normans is
accurately and utterly the end of her Capitoline and wolf-suckled power;
and from that day her Leonine or Christian power takes its throne in the
Leonine city, sanctified in tradition by its prayer of safety for the
Saxon Borgo, in which the childhood of our own Alfred had been trained.

And from this date forward, (recollected broadly as 1090, the year of
the birth of St. Bernard,) no longer oppressed by the remnants of Roman
death,--Christian faith, chivalry, and art possess the world, and
recreate it, through the space of four hundred years--the twelfth,
thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries.

And, necessarily, in the first of these centuries comes the main debate
between the powers of Monk and Knight which was reconciled in this scene
under the porch of St. Mark's.

83. That debate was brought to its crisis and issue by the birth of the
new third elemental force of the State--the Citizen. Sismondi's
republican enthusiasm does not permit him to recognize the essential
character of this power. He speaks always of the Republics and the
liberties of Italy, as if a craftsman differed from a knight only in
political privileges, and as if his special virtue consisted in
rendering obedience to no master. But the strength of the great cities
of Italy was no more republican than that of her monasteries, or
fortresses. The Craftsman of Milan, Sailor of Pisa, and Merchant of
Venice are all of them essentially different persons from the soldier
and the anchorite:--but the city, under the banner of its _caroccio_,
and the command of its _podesta_, was disciplined far more strictly than
any wandering military squadron by its leader, or any lower order of
monks under their abbot. In the founding of civic constitutions, the
Lord of the city is usually its Bishop:--and it is curious to hear the
republican historian--who, however in judgment blind, is never in heart
uncandid, prepare to close his record of the ten years' war of Como with
Milan, with this summary of distress to the heroic mountaineers--that
"they had lost their Bishop Guido, who was their soul."

84. I perceive for quite one of the most hopeless of the many
difficulties which Modernism finds, and will find, insuperable either by
steam or dynamite, that of either wedging or welding into its own
cast-iron head, any conception of a king, monk, or townsman of the
twelfth and two succeeding centuries. And yet no syllable of the
utterance, no fragment of the arts of the middle ages, far less any
motive of their deeds, can be read even in the letter--how much less
judged in spirit--unless, first of all, we can somewhat imagine all
these three Living souls.

First, a king who was the best knight in his kingdom, and on whose own
swordstrokes hung the fate of Christendom. A king such as Henry the
Fowler, the first and third Edwards of England, the Bruce of Scotland,
and this Frederic the First of Germany.

Secondly, a monk who had been trained from youth in greater hardship
than any soldier, and had learned at last to desire no other life than
one of hardship;--a man believing in his own and his fellows'
immortality, in the aiding powers of angels, and the eternal presence of
God; versed in all the science, graceful in all the literature,
cognizant of all the policy of his age; and fearless of any created
thing, on the earth or under it.

And, lastly, a craftsman absolutely master of his craft, and taking such
pride in the exercise of it as all healthy souls take in putting forth
their personal powers: proud also of his city and his people; enriching,
year by year, their streets with loftier buildings, their treasuries
with rarer possession; and bequeathing his hereditary art to a line of
successive masters, by whose tact of race, and honor of effort, the
essential skills of metal-work in gold and steel, of pottery,
glass-painting, woodwork, and weaving, were carried to a perfectness
never to be surpassed; and of which our utmost modern hope is to produce
a not instantly detected imitation.

These three kinds of persons, I repeat, we have to conceive before we
can understand any single event of the Middle Ages. For all that is
enduring in them was done by men such as these. History, indeed, records
twenty undoings for one deed, twenty desolations for one redemption; and
thinks the fool and villain potent as the wise and true. But Nature and
her laws recognize only the noble: generations of the cruel pass like
the darkness of locust plagues; while one loving and brave heart
establishes a nation.

85. I give the character of Barbarossa in the words of Sismondi, a man
sparing in the praise of emperors:--

"The death of Frederic was mourned even by the cities which so long had
been the objects of his hostility, and the victims of his vengeance. All
the Lombards--even the Milanese--acknowledged his rare courage, his
constancy in misfortune--his generosity in conquest.

"An intimate conviction of the justice of his cause had often rendered
him cruel, even to ferocity, against those who still resisted; but after
victory he took vengeance only on senseless walls; and irritated as he
had been by the people of Milan, Crema, and Tortona, and whatever blood
he had shed during battle, he never sullied his triumph by odious
punishments. In spite of the treason which he on one occasion used
against Alessandria, his promises were in general respected; and when,
after the peace of Constance, the towns which had been most inveterately
hostile to him received him within their walls, they had no need to
guard against any attempt on his part to suppress the privileges he had
once recognized."

My own estimate of Frederic's character would be scarcely so favorable;
it is the only point of history on which I have doubted the authority
even of my own master, Carlyle. But I am concerned here only with the
actualities of his wars in Italy, with the people of her cities, and the
head of her religion.

86. Frederic of Suabia, direct heir of the Ghibelline rights, while
nearly related by blood to the Guelph houses of Bavaria and Saxony, was
elected emperor almost in the exact middle of the twelfth century
(1152). He was called into Italy by the voices of Italians. The then
Pope, Eugenius III., invoked his aid against the Roman people under
Arnold of Brescia. The people of Lodi prayed his protection against the
tyrannies of Milan.

Frederic entered the plain of Verona in 1154, by the valley of the
Adige,--ravaged the territory of Milan,--pillaged and burned Tortona,
Asti, and Chieri,--kept his Christmas at Novara; marched on
Rome,--delivered up Arnold to the Pope[90] (who, instantly killing him,
ended for that time Protestant reforms in Italy)--destroyed Spoleto; and
returned by Verona, having scorched his path through Italy like a level
thunderbolt along the ground.

Three years afterwards, Adrian died; and, chiefly, by the love and will
of the Roman people, Roland of Siena was raised to the Papal throne,
under the name of Alexander III. The conclave of cardinals chose another
Pope, Victor III.; Frederic on his second invasion of Italy (1158)
summoned both elected heads of the Church to receive judgment of their
claims before _him_.

The Cardinals' Pope, Victor, obeyed. The people's Alexander, refused;
answering that the successor of St. Peter submitted himself to the
judgment neither of emperors nor councils.

The spirit of modern prelacy may perhaps have rendered it impossible for
an English churchman to conceive this answer as other than that of
insolence and hypocrisy. But a faithful Pope, and worthy of his throne,
could answer no otherwise. Frederic of course at once confirmed the
claims of his rival; the German bishops and Italian cardinals in council
at Pavia joined their powers to the Emperor's and Alexander, driven from
Rome, wandered--unsubdued in soul--from city to city, taking refuge at
last in France.

87. Meantime, in 1159, Frederic took and destroyed Crema, having first
bound its hostages to his machines of war. In 1161, Milan submitted to
his mercy, and he decreed that her name should perish. Only a few
pillars of a Roman temple, and the church of St. Ambrose, remain to us
of the ancient city. Warned by her destruction, Verona, Vicenza, Padua,
Treviso, and Venice, joined in the vow--called of the Lombard League--to
reduce the Emperor's power within its just limits. And, in 1164,
Alexander, under the protection of Louis VII. of France and Henry II. of
England, returned to Rome, and was received at Ostia by its senate,
clergy, and people.

Three years afterwards, Frederic again swept down on the Campagna;
attacked the Leonine city, where the basilica of the Vatican, changed
into a fortress, and held by the Pope's guard, resisted his assault
until, by the Emperor's order, fire was set to the Church of St. Mary of

The Leonine city was taken; the Pope retired to the Coliseum, whence,
uttering once again his fixed defiance of the Emperor, but fearing
treachery, he fled in disguise down the Tiber to the sea, and sought
asylum at Benevento.

The German army encamped round Rome in August of 1166, with the sign
before their eyes of the ruins of the church of Our Lady of Pity. The
marsh-fever struck them--killed the Emperor's cousin, Frederic of
Rothenburg, the Duke of Bavaria, the Archbishop of Cologne, the Bishops
of Liége, Spire, Ratisbonne, and Verden, and two thousand knights; the
common dead were uncounted. The Emperor gathered the wreck of his army
together, retreated on Lombardy, quartered his soldiery at Pavia, and
escaped in secret over the Mont Cenis with thirty knights.

88. No places of strength remained to him south of the Alps but Pavia
and Montferrat; and to hold these in check, and command the plains of
Piedmont, the Lombard League built the fortress city, which, from the
Pope who had maintained through all adversity the authority of his
throne and the cause of the Italian people, they named "Alessandria."

Against this bulwark the Emperor, still indomitable, dashed with his
utmost regathered strength after eight years of pause, and in the temper
in which men set their souls on a single stake. All had been lost in
his last war, except his honor--in this, he lost his honor also.
Whatever may be the just estimate of the other elements of his
character, he is unquestionably, among the knights of his time, notable
in impiety. In the battle of Cassano, he broke through the Milanese
vanguard to their _caroccio_, and struck down with his own hand its
golden crucifix;--two years afterwards its cross and standard were bowed
before him--and in vain.[91] He fearlessly claims for himself right of
decision between contending popes, and camps against the rightful one on
the ashes of the Church of the Virgin.

Foiled in his first assault on Alessandria, detained before it through
the inundations of the winter, and threatened by the army of the League
in the spring, he announced a truce to the besieged, that they might
keep Good Friday. Then violating alike the day's sanctity and his own
oath, he attacked the trusting city through a secretly completed mine.
And, for a second time, the verdict of God went forth against him. Every
man who had obtained entrance within the city was slain or cast from its
ramparts;--the Alessandrines threw all their gates open--fell, with the
broken fugitives, on the investing troops, scattered them in disorder,
and burned their towers of attack. The Emperor gathered their remains
into Pavia on Easter Sunday,--spared in his defeat by the army of the

89. And yet, once more, he brought his cause to combat-trial.
Temporizing at Lodi with the Pope's legates, he assembled, under the
Archbishops of Magdebourg and Cologne, and the chief prelates and
princes of Germany, a seventh army; brought it down to Como across the
Splügen, put himself there at its head, and in the early spring of 1176,
the fifteenth year since he had decreed the effacing of the name of
Milan, was met at Legnano by the specter of Milan.

Risen from her grave, she led the Lombard League in this final battle.
Three hundred of her nobles guarded her _caroccio_; nine hundred of her
knights bound themselves--under the name of the Cohort of Death--to win
for her, or to die.

The field of battle is in the midst of the plain, now covered with maize
and mulberry trees, from which the traveler, entering Italy by the Lago
Maggiore, sees first the unbroken snows of the Rosa behind him and the
white pinnacles of Milan Cathedral in the south. The Emperor, as was his
wont, himself led his charging chivalry. The Milanese knelt as it
came;--prayed aloud to God, St. Peter, and St. Ambrose--then advanced
round their _caroccio_ on foot. The Emperor's charge broke through their
ranks nearly up to their standard--then the Cohort of Death rode against

90. And all his battle changed before them into flight. For the first
time in stricken field, the imperial standard fell, and was taken. The
Milanese followed the broken host until their swords were weary; and the
Emperor, struck fighting from his horse, was left, lost among the dead.
The Empress, whose mercy to Milan he had forbidden, already wore
mourning for him in Pavia, when her husband came, solitary and
suppliant, to its gate.

The lesson at last sufficed; and Barbarossa sent his heretic bishops to
ask forgiveness of the Pope, and peace from the Lombards.

Pardon and peace were granted--without conditions. "Cæsar's successor"
had been the blight of Italy for a quarter of a century; he had ravaged
her harvests, burnt her cities, decimated her children with famine, her
young men with the sword; and, seven times over, in renewed invasion,
sought to establish dominion over her, from the Alps to the rock of

She asked of him no restitution;--coveted no province--demanded no
fortress, of his land. Neither coward nor robber, she disdained alike
guard and gain upon her frontiers: she counted no compensation for her
sorrow; and set no price upon the souls of her dead. She stood in the
porch of her brightest temple--between the blue plains of her earth and
sea, and, in the person of her spiritual father, gave her enemy pardon.

"Black demons hovering o'er his mitered head," think you, gentle
sonneteer of the daffodil-marsh? And have Barbarossa's race been taught
of better angels how to bear themselves to a conquered emperor,--or
England, by braver and more generous impulses, how to protect his exiled

The fall of Venice, since that day, was measured by Byron in a single

  "An Emperor tramples where an emperor knelt."

But what words shall measure the darker humiliation of the German
pillaging his helpless enemy and England leaving her ally under the
savage's spear?

91. With the clews now given, and an hour or two's additional reading of
any standard historian he pleases, the reader may judge on secure
grounds whether the truce of Venice and peace of Constance were of the
Devil's making: whereof whatever he may ultimately feel or affirm, this
at least he will please note for positive, that Mr. Wordsworth, having
no shadow of doubt of the complete wisdom of every idea that comes into
his own head, writes down in dogmatic sonnet his first impression of
black instrumentality in the business; so that his innocent readers,
taking him for their sole master, far from caring to inquire into the
thing more deeply, may remain even unconscious that it is disputable,
and forever incapable of conceiving either a Catholic's feeling, or a
careful historian's hesitation, touching the centrally momentous crisis
of power in all the Middle Ages! Whereas Byron, knowing the history
thoroughly, and judging of Catholicism with an honest and open heart,
ventures to assert nothing that admits of debate, either concerning
human motives or angelic presences; but binds into one line of massive
melody the unerringly counted sum of Venetian majesty and shame.

92. In a future paper, I propose examining his method of dealing with
the debate, itself on a higher issue: and will therefore close the
present one by trampling a few of the briers and thorns of popular
offense out of our way.

The common counts against Byron are in the main, three.

I. That he confessed--in some sort, even proclaimed defiantly (which is
a proud man's natural manner of confession)[92]--the naughtiness of his

The hypocrisy[93] even of Pall Mall and Petit Trianon does not, I
assume, and dares not, go so far as to condemn the naughtiness itself?
And that he _did_ confess it, is precisely the reason for reading him by
his own motto "Trust Byron." You always may; and the common
smooth-countenanced man of the world is guiltier in the precise measure
of your higher esteem for him.

II. That he wrote about pretty things which ought never to be heard of.

In the presence of the exact proprieties of modern Fiction, Art, and
Drama, I am shy of touching on the question of what should be mentioned,
and seen--and should not. All that I care to say, here, is that Byron
tells you of realities, and that their being pretty ones is, to my
mind,--at the first (literally) blush, of the matter, rather in his
favor. If however you have imagined that he means you to think Dudu as
pretty as Myrrha,[94] or even Haidee, whether in full dress or none, as
pretty as Marina, it is your fault, not his.

93. III. That he blasphemed God and the King.

Before replying to this count, I must ask the reader's patience in a
piece of very serious work, the ascertainment of the real and full
meaning of the word Blasphemy. It signifies simply "Harmful
speaking"--Male-diction--or shortly "Blame"; and may be committed as
much against a child or a dog, if you _desire_ to hurt them, as against
the Deity. And it is, in its original use, accurately opposed to another
Greek word, "Euphemy," which means a reverent and loving manner of
benediction--fallen entirely into disuse in modern sentiment and

Now the compass and character of essential Male-diction, so-called in
Latin, or Blasphemy, so-called in Greek, may, I think, be best explained
to the general reader by an instance in a very little thing, first
translating the short pieces of Plato which best show the meaning of the
word in codes of Greek morality.

     "These are the things then" (the true order of the Sun, Moon, and
     Planets), "oh my friends, of which I desire that all our citizens
     and youths should learn at least so much concerning the Gods of
     Heaven, as not to blaspheme concerning them, but to eupheme
     reverently, both in sacrificing, and in every prayer they
     pray."--Laws, VII. Steph. 821.

     "And through the whole of life, beyond all other need for it, there
     is need of Euphemy from a man to his parents, for there is no
     heavier punishment than that of light and winged words," (to
     _them_)? "for Nemesis, the angel of Divine Recompense, has been
     throned Bishop over all men who sin in such manner."--IV. Steph.

The word which I have translated "recompense" is more strictly that
"heavenly Justice"--the proper Light of the World, from which nothing
can be hidden, and by which all who will may walk securely; whence the
mystic answer of Ulysses to his son, as Athena, herself invisible, walks
with them, filling the chamber of the house with light, "This is the
justice of the Gods who possess Olympus." See the context in reference
to which Plato quotes the line.--Laws, X. Steph. 904. The little story
that I have to tell is significant chiefly in connection with the second
passage of Plato above quoted.

94. I have elsewhere mentioned that I was a homebred boy, and that as my
mother diligently and scrupulously taught me my Bible and Latin Grammar,
so my father fondly and devotedly taught me my Scott, my Pope, and my
Byron.[95] The Latin grammar out of which my mother taught me was the
11th edition of Alexander Adam's--(Edinb.: Bell and Bradfute,
1823)--namely, that Alexander Adam, Rector of Edinburgh High School,
into whose upper class Scott passed in October 1782, and who--previous
masters having found nothing noticeable in the heavy-looking lad--_did_
find sterling qualities in him, and "would constantly refer to him for
dates, and particulars of battles, and other remarkable events alluded
to in Horace, or _whatever other authors the boys were reading_; and
called him the historian of his class" (L. i. 126). _That_ Alex. Adam,
also, who, himself a loving historian, remembered the fate of every boy
at his school during the fifty years he had headed it, and whose last
words--"It grows dark, the boys may dismiss," gave to Scott's heart the
vision and the audit of the death of Elspeth of the Craigburn-foot.

Strangely, in opening the old volume at this moment (I would not give it
for an illuminated missal) I find, in its article on Prosody, some
things extremely useful to me, which I have been hunting for in vain
through Zumpt and Matthiæ. In all rational respects I believe it to be
the best Latin Grammar that has yet been written.

When my mother had carried me through it as far as the syntax, it was
thought desirable that I should be put under a master: and the master
chosen was a deeply and deservedly honored clergyman, the Rev. Thomas
Dale, mentioned in Mr. Holbeach's article, "The New Fiction,"
(_Contemporary Review_ for February of this year), together with Mr.
Melville, who was our pastor after Mr. Dale went to St. Pancras.

95. On the first day when I went to take my seat in Mr. Dale's
schoolroom, I carried my old grammar to him, in a modest pride,
expecting some encouragement and honor for the accuracy with which I
could repeat, on demand, some hundred and sixty close-printed pages of

But Mr. Dale threw it back to me with a fierce bang upon his desk,
saying (with accent and look of seven-times-heated scorn), "That's a
_Scotch_ thing."

Now, my father being Scotch, and an Edinburgh High School boy, and my
mother having labored in that book with me since I could read, and all
my happiest holiday time having been spent on the North Inch of Perth,
these four words, with the action accompanying them, contained as much
insult, pain, and loosening of my respect for my parents, love of my
father's country, and honor for its worthies, as it was possible to
compress into four syllables and an ill-mannered gesture. Which were
therefore pure, double-edged and point-envenomed blasphemy. For to make
a boy despise his mother's care, is the straightest way to make him also
despise his Redeemer's voice; and to make him scorn his father and his
father's house, the straightest way to make him deny his God, and his
God's Heaven.

96. I speak, observe, in this instance, only of the actual words and
their effect; not of the feeling in the speaker's mind, which was almost
playful, though his words, tainted with extremity of pride, were such
light ones as men shall give account of at the Day of Judgment. The real
sin of blasphemy is not in the saying, nor even in the thinking; but in
the wishing which is father to thought and word: and the nature of it is
simply in wishing evil to anything; for as the quality of Mercy is not
strained, so neither that of Blasphemy, the one distilling from the
clouds of Heaven, the other from the steam of the Pit. He that is unjust
in little is unjust in much, he that is malignant to the least is to the
greatest, he who hates the earth which is God's footstool, hates yet
more Heaven which is God's throne, and Him that sitteth thereon.
Finally, therefore, blasphemy is wishing ill to _any_ thing; and its
outcome is in Vanni Fucci's extreme "ill manners"--wishing ill to God.

On the contrary, Euphemy is wishing well to everything, and its outcome
is in Burns' extreme "good manners," wishing well to--

  "Ah! wad ye tak a thought, and men'!"

That is the supreme of Euphemy.

97. Fix then, first in your minds, that the sin of malediction, whether
Shimei's individual, or John Bull's national, is in the vulgar
malignity, not in the vulgar diction, and then note further that the
"phemy" or "fame" of the two words, blasphemy and euphemy, signifies
broadly the bearing of _false_ witness _against_ one's neighbor in the
one case, and of _true_ witness _for_ him in the other: so that while
the peculiar province of the blasphemer is to throw firelight on the
evil in good persons, the province of the euphuist (I must use the word
inaccurately for want of a better) is to throw sunlight on the good in
bad ones; such, for instance, as Bertram, Meg Merrilies, Rob Roy, Robin
Hood, and the general run of Corsairs, Giaours, Turks, Jews, Infidels,
and Heretics; nay, even sisters of Rahab, and daughters of Moab and
Ammon; and at last the whole spiritual race of him to whom it was said,
"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?"

98. And being thus brought back to our actual subject, I purpose, after
a few more summary notes on the luster of the electrotype language of
modern passion, to examine what facts or probabilities lie at the root
both of Goethe's and Byron's imagination of that contest between the
powers of Good and Evil, of which the Scriptural account appears to Mr.
Huxley so inconsistent with the recognized laws of political economy;
and has been, by the cowardice of our old translators, so maimed of its
vitality, that the frank Greek assertion of St. Michael's not daring to
blaspheme the devil,[96] is tenfold more mischievously deadened and
caricatured by their periphrasis of "durst not bring against him a
railing accusation," than by Byron's apparently--and only
apparently--less reverent description of the manner of angelic encounter
for an inferior ruler of the people.

          "Between His Darkness and His Brightness
  There passed a mutual glance of great politeness."

  PARIS, _September 20, 1880._


99. I am myself extremely grateful, nor doubt a like feeling in most of
my readers, both for the information contained in the first of the two
following letters; and the correction of references in the second, of
which, however, I have omitted some closing sentences which the writer
will, I think, see to have been unnecessary.[97]

  _August 2, 1880._

DEAR SIR,--When reading your interesting article in the June
number of the _Nineteenth Century_, and your quotation from Walter
Scott, I was struck with the great similarity between some of the Scotch
words and my native tongue (Norwegian). _Whigmaleerie_, as to the
derivation of which you seem to be in some perplexity, is in Norwegian
_Vægmaleri_. _Væg_, pronounced "Vegg," signifying wall, and Maleri
"picture," pronounced almost the same as in Scotch, and derived from _at
male_, to paint. Siccan is in Danish _sikken_, used more about something
comical than great, and scarcely belonging to the written language, in
which _slig_, such, and _slig en_, such a one, would be the equivalent.
I need not remark that as to the written language Danish and Norwegian
is the same, only the dialects differ.

Having been told by some English friends that this explanation would
perhaps not be without interest to yourself, I take the liberty of
writing this letter. I remain yours respectfully,


  INNER TEMPLE: _September 9, 1880._

SIR,--In your last article on Fiction, Foul and Fair
(_Nineteenth Century_, September 1880) you have the following note:

"Juan viii. 5" (it ought to be 9) "but by your Lordship's quotation,
Wordsworth says 'instrument' not 'daughter.'"

Now in Murray's edition of Byron, 1837, octavo, his Lordship's quotation
is as follows:--

  "But thy most dreaded instrument
  In working out a pure intent
  Is man arranged for mutual slaughter;
  Yea, Carnage is thy daughter."

And his Lordship refers you to "Wordsworth's Thanksgiving Ode."

I have no early edition of Wordsworth. In Moxon's, 1844, no such lines
appear in the Thanksgiving Ode, but in the ode dated 1815, and printed
immediately before it, the following lines occur.

  "But man is thy most awful instrument
  In working out a pure intent."

It is hardly possible to avoid the conclusion that Wordsworth altered
the lines after "Don Juan" was written. I am, with great respect, your
obedient servant,




[Footnote 88: November, 1880.--ED.]

[Footnote 89: "Childe Harold," iv. 79; compare "Adonais," and Sismondi,
vol. i. p. 148.]

[Footnote 90: Adrian the Fourth. Eugenius died in the previous year.]

[Footnote 91: "All the multitudes threw themselves on their knees,
praying mercy in the name of the crosses they bore: the Count of
Blandrata took a cross from the enemies with whom he had served, and
fell at the foot of the throne, praying for mercy to them. All the court
and the witnessing army were in tears--the Emperor alone showed no sign
of emotion. Distrusting his wife's sensibility, he had forbidden her
presence at the ceremony; the Milanese, unable to approach her, threw
towards her windows the crosses they carried, to plead for
them."--Sismondi (French edition), vol. i. p. 378.]

[Footnote 92: The most noble and tender confession is in Allegra's
epitaph, "I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me."]

[Footnote 93: Hypocrisy is too good a word for either Pall Mall or
Trianon, being justly applied (as always in the New Testament), only to
men whose false religion has become earnest, and a part of their being:
so that they compass heaven and earth to make a proselyte. There is no
relation between minds of this order and those of common rogues. Neither
Tartuffe nor Joseph Surface are hypocrites--they are simply impostors:
but many of the most earnest preachers in all existing churches are
hypocrites in the highest; and the Tartuffe-Squiredom and Joseph
Surface-Masterhood of our virtuous England which build churches and pay
priests to keep their peasants and hands peaceable, so that rents and
per cents may be spent, unnoticed, in the debaucheries of the
metropolis, are darker forms of imposture than either heaven or earth
have yet been compassed by; and what they are to end in, heaven and
earth only know. Compare again, "Island," ii. 4, "the prayers of Abel
linked to deeds of Cain," and "Juan," viii. 25, 26.]

[Footnote 94: Perhaps some even of the attentive readers of Byron may
not have observed the choice of the three names--Myrrha (bitter
incense), Marina (sea lady), Angiolina (little angel)--in relation to
the plots of the three plays.]

[Footnote 95: I shall have lost my wits very finally when I forget the
first time that I pleased my father with a couplet of English verse
(after many a year of trials); and the radiant joy on his face as he
declared, reading it aloud to my mother with emphasis half choked by
tears,--that "it was as fine as anything that Pope or Byron ever

[Footnote 96: Of our tingle-tangle-titmouse disputes in Parliament like
Robins in a bush, but not a Robin in all the house knowing his great A,
hear again Plato: "But they, for ever so little a quarrel, uttering much
voice, blaspheming, speak evil one of another,--and it is not becoming
that in a city of well-ordered persons, such things should be--no;
nothing of them nohow nowhere,--and let this be the one law for all--let
nobody speak mischief of anybody ([Greek: Mêdena kakêgoreitô
mêdeis])."--Laws, book ii. s. 935; and compare Book iv. 117.]

[Footnote 97: A paragraph beginning "I find press corrections always
irksome work, and in my last paper trust the reader's kindness to make
some corrections in the preceding paper," is here omitted, and the
corrections made.--ED.]




100. I have assumed throughout these papers, that everybody knew what
Fiction meant; as Mr. Mill assumed in his Political Economy, that
everybody knew what wealth meant. The assumption was convenient to Mr.
Mill, and persisted in: but, for my own part, I am not in the habit of
talking, even so long as I have done in this instance, without making
sure that the reader knows what I am talking about; and it is high time
that we should be agreed upon the primary notion of what Fiction is.

A feigned, fictitious, artificial, supernatural,
put-together-out-of-one's-head, thing. All this it must be, to begin
with. The best type of it being the most practically fictile--a Greek
vase. A thing which has two sides to be seen, two handles to be carried
by, and a bottom to stand on, and a top to be poured out of, this, every
right fiction _is_, whatever else it may be. Planned rigorously, rounded
smoothly, balanced symmetrically, handled handily, lipped softly for
pouring out oil and wine. Painted daintily at last with images of
eternal things--

  Forever shalt thou love, and she be fair.

101. Quite a different thing from a "cast,"--this work of clay in the
hands of the potter, as it seemed good to the potter to make it. Very
interesting, a cast from life may perhaps be; more interesting, to some
people perhaps, a cast from death;--most modern novels are like
specimens from Lyme Regis, impressions of skeletons in mud.

"Planned rigorously"--I press the conditions again one by one--it must
be, as ever Memphian labyrinth or Norman fortress. Intricacy full of
delicate surprise; covered way in secrecy of accurate purposes, not a
stone useless, nor a word nor an incident thrown away.

"Rounded smoothly"--the wheel of Fortune revolving with it in unfelt
swiftness; like the world, its story rising like the dawn, closing like
the sunset, with its own sweet light for every hour.

"Balanced symmetrically"--having its two sides clearly separate, its war
of good and evil rightly divided. Its figures moving in majestic law of
light and shade.

"Handled handily"--so that, being careful and gentle, you can take easy
grasp of it and all that it contains; a thing given into your hand
henceforth to have and to hold. Comprehensible, not a mass that both
your arms cannot get round; tenable, not a confused pebble heap of which
you can only lift one pebble at a time.

"Lipped softly"--full of kindness and comfort: the Keats line indeed the
perpetual message of it--"For ever shalt thou love, and she be fair."
All beautiful fiction is of the Madonna, whether the Virgin of Athens or
of Judah--Pan-Athenaic always.

And all foul fiction is _leze majesté_ to the Madonna and to womanhood.
For indeed the great fiction of every human life is the shaping of its
Love, with due prudence, due imagination, due persistence and perfection
from the beginning of its story to the end; for every human soul, its
Palladium. And it follows that all right imaginative work is beautiful,
which is a practical and brief law concerning it. All frightful things
are either foolish, or sick, visits of frenzy, or pollutions of plague.

102. Taking thus the Greek vase at its best time, for the symbol of fair
fiction: of foul, you may find in the great entrance-room of the Louvre,
filled with the luxurious _orfèvrerie_ of the sixteenth century, types
perfect and innumerable: Satyrs carved in serpentine, Gorgons platted in
gold, Furies with eyes of ruby, Scyllas with scales of pearl; infinitely
worthless toil, infinitely witless wickedness; pleasure satiated into
idiocy, passion provoked into madness, no object of thought, or sight,
or fancy, but horror, mutilation, distortion, corruption, agony of war,
insolence of disgrace, and misery of Death.

It is true that the ease with which a serpent, or something that will be
understood for one, can be chased or wrought in metal, and the small
workmanly skill required to image a satyr's hoof and horns, as compared
to that needed for a human foot or forehead, have greatly influenced the
choice of subject by incompetent smiths; and in like manner, the
prevalence of such vicious or ugly story in the mass of modern
literature is not so much a sign of the lasciviousness of the age, as of
its stupidity, though each react on the other, and the vapor of the
sulphurous pool becomes at last so diffused in the atmosphere of our
cities, that whom it cannot corrupt, it will at least stultify.

103. Yesterday, the last of August, came to me from the Fine Art
Society, a series of twenty black and white scrabbles[99] of which I am
informed in an eloquent preface that the author was a Michael Angelo of
the glebe, and that his shepherds and his herdswomen are akin in dignity
and grandeur to the prophets and Sibyls of the Sistine.

Glancing through the series of these stupendous productions, I find one
peculiarly characteristic and expressive of modern picture-making and
novel-writing,--called "Hauling" or more definitely "Paysan rentrant du
Fumier," which represents a man's back, or at least the back of his
waistcoat and trousers, and hat, in full light, and a small blot where
his face should be, with a small scratch where its nose should be,
elongated into one representing a chink of timber in the background.

Examining the volume farther, in the hope of discovering some trace of
reasonable motive for the publication of these works by the Society, I
perceive that this Michael Angelo of the glebe had indeed natural
faculty of no mean order in him, and that the woeful history of his life
contains very curious lessons respecting the modern conditions of
Imagination and Art.

104. I find in the first place, that he was a Breton peasant; his
grandmother's godson, baptized in good hope, and christened Jean, after
his father, and François after the Saint of Assisi, his godmother's
patron. It was under her care and guidance and those of his uncle, the
Abbé Charles, that he was reared; and the dignified and laborious
earnestness of these governors of his was a chief influence in his life,
and a distinguishing feature in his character. The Millet family led an
existence almost patriarchal in its unalterable simplicity and
diligence; and the boy grew up in an environment of toil, sincerity and
devoutness. He was fostered upon the Bible, and the great book of
nature.... When he woke, it was to the lowing of cattle and the song of
birds; he was at play all day, among "the sights and sounds of the open
landscape; and he slept with the murmur of the spinning-wheel in his
ears, and the memory of the evening prayer in his heart.... He learned
Latin from the parish priest, and from his uncle Charles; and he soon
came to be a student of Virgil, and while yet young in his teens began
to follow his father out into the fields, and thenceforward, as became
the eldest boy in a large family, worked hard at grafting and plowing,
sowing and reaping, scything and shearing and planting, and all the many
duties of husbandmen. Meanwhile, he had taken to drawing ... copied
everything he saw, and produced not only studies but compositions also;
until at last his father was moved to take him away from farming, and
have him taught painting."

105. Now all this is related concerning the lad's early life by the
prefatory and commenting author, as if expecting the general reader to
admit that there had been some advantage for him in this manner of
education:--that simplicity and devoutness are wholesome states of mind;
that parish curés and uncle Abbés are not betrayers or devourers of
youthful innocence--that there is profitable reading in the Bible, and
something agreeably soothing--if not otherwise useful--in the sound of
evening prayer. I may observe also in passing, that his education, thus
far, is precisely what, for the last ten years, I have been describing
as the most desirable for all persons intending to lead an honest and
Christian life: (my recommendation that peasants should learn Latin
having been, some four or five years ago, the subject of much merriment
in the pages of _Judy_ and other such nurses of divine wisdom in the
public mind.) It however having been determined by the boy's father that
he should be a painter, and that art being unknown to the Abbé Charles
and the village Curé (in which manner of ignorance, if the infallible
Pope did but know it, he and his _now_ artless shepherds stand at a
fatal disadvantage in the world as compared with monks who could
illuminate with color as well as word)--the simple young soul is sent
for the exalting and finishing of its artistic faculties to Paris.

106. "Wherein," observers my prefatory author, "the romantic movement
was in the full tide of prosperity."

Hugo had written "Notre Dame," and Musset had published "Rolla" and the
"Nuits"; Balzac the "Lys dans la Vallée"; Gautier the "Comédie de la
Mort"; Georges Sand "Léone Léonie"; and a score of wild and eloquent
novels more; and under the instruction of these romantic authors, his
landlady, to whom he had intrusted the few francs he possessed, to dole
out to him as he needed, fell in love with him, and finding he could
not, or would not, respond to her advances, confiscated the whole
deposit, and left him penniless. The preface goes on to tell us how, not
feeling himself in harmony with these forms of Romanticism, he takes to
the study of the Infinite, and Michael Angelo; how he learned to paint
the Heroic Nude; how he mixed up for imitation the manners of Rubens,
Ribera, Mantegna, and Correggio; how he struggled all his life with
neglect, and endured with his family every agony of poverty; owed his
butcher and his grocer, was exposed to endless worry and annoyance from
writs and executions; and when first his grandmother died, and then his
mother, neither death-bed was able to raise the money that would have
carried him from Barbizon to Gruchy.

The work now laid before the public by the Fine Art Society is to be
considered, therefore--whatever its merits or defects may be--as an
expression of the influence of the Infinite and Michael Angelo on a mind
innocently prepared for their reception. And in another place I may take
occasion to point out the peculiar adaptability of modern etching to the
expression of the Infinite, by the multitude of scratches it can put on
a surface without representing anything in particular; and to
illustration of the majesty of Michael Angelo by preference of the backs
and legs of people to their faces.

107. But I refer to the book in this paper, partly indeed because my
mind is full of its sorrow, and I may not be able to find another
opportunity of saying so; but chiefly, because the author of the preface
has summed the principal authors of depraved Fiction in a single
sentence; and I want the reader to ask himself why, among all the forms
of the picturesque which were suggested by this body of literary
leaders, none were acceptable by, none helpful to, the mind of a youth
trained in purity and faith.

He will find, if he reflect, that it is not in romantic, or any other
healthy aim, that the school detaches itself from those called sometimes
by recent writers "classical"; but first by Infidelity, and an absence
of the religious element so total that at last it passes into the hatred
of priesthood which has become characteristic of Republicanism; and
secondly, by the taint and leprosy of animal passion idealized as a
governing power of humanity, or at least used as the chief element of
interest in the conduct of its histories. It is with the _Sin_ of Master
Anthony that Georges Sand (who is the best of them) overshadows the
entire course of a novel meant to recommend simplicity of life--and by
the weakness of Consuelo that the same authoress thinks it natural to
set off the splendor of the most exalted musical genius.

I am not able to judge of the degree of moral purpose, or conviction,
with which any of the novelists wrote. But I am able to say with
certainty that, whatever their purpose, their method is mistaken, and
that no good is ever done to society by the pictorial representation of
its diseases.

108. All healthy and helpful literature sets simple bars between right
and wrong; assumes the possibility, in men and women, of having healthy
minds in healthy bodies, and loses no time in the diagnosis of fever or
dyspepsia in either; least of all in the particular kind of fever which
signifies the ungoverned excess of any appetite or passion. The
"dullness" which many modern readers inevitably feel, and some modern
blockheads think it creditable to allege, in Scott, consists not a
little in his absolute purity from every loathsome element or excitement
of the lower passions; so that people who live habitually in Satyric or
hircine conditions of thought find him as insipid as they would a
picture of Angelico's. The accurate and trenchant separation between him
and the common railroad-station novelist is that, in his total method of
conception, only lofty character is worth describing at all; and it
becomes interesting, not by its faults, but by the difficulties and
accidents of the fortune through which it passes, while, in the railway
novel, interest is obtained with the vulgar reader for the vilest
character, because the author describes carefully to his recognition the
blotches, burrs and pimples in which the paltry nature resembles his
own. The "Mill on the Floss" is perhaps the most striking instance
extant of this study of cutaneous disease. There is not a single person
in the book of the smallest importance to anybody in the world but
themselves, or whose qualities deserved so much as a line of printer's
type in their description. There is no girl alive, fairly clever, half
educated, and unluckily related, whose life has not at least as much in
it as Maggie's, to be described and to be pitied. Tom is a clumsy and
cruel lout, with the making of better things in him (and the same may be
said of nearly every Englishman at present smoking and elbowing his way
through the ugly world his blunders have contributed to the making of);
while the rest of the characters are simply the sweepings out of a
Pentonville omnibus.[100]

109. And it is very necessary that we should distinguish this
essentially Cockney literature, developed only in the London suburbs,
and feeding the demand of the rows of similar brick houses, which branch
in devouring cancer round every manufacturing town,--from the really
romantic literature of France. Georges Sand is often immoral; but she is
always beautiful, and in the characteristic novel I have named, "Le
Péché de Mons. Antoine," the five principal characters, the old Cavalier
Marquis,--the Carpenter,--M. de Chateaubrun,--Gilberte,--and the really
passionate and generous lover, are all as heroic and radiantly ideal as
Scott's Colonel Mannering, Catherine Seyton, and Roland Graeme; while
the landscape is rich and true with the emotion of years of life passed
in glens of Norman granite and beside bays of Italian sea. But in the
English Cockney school, which consummates itself in George Eliot, the
personages are picked up from behind the counter and out of the gutter;
and the landscape, by excursion train to Gravesend, with return ticket
for the City-road.

110. But the second reason for the dullness of Scott to the uneducated
or miseducated reader lies far deeper; and its analysis is related to
the most subtle questions in the Arts of Design.

The mixed gayety and gloom in the plan of any modern novel fairly clever
in the make of it, may be likened, almost with precision, to the
patchwork of a Harlequin's dress, well spangled; a pretty thing enough,
if the human form beneath it be graceful and active. Few personages on
the stage are more delightful to me than a good Harlequin; also, if I
chance to have nothing better to do, I can still read my Georges Sand or
Alfred de Musset with much contentment, if only the story end well.

But we must not dress Cordelia or Rosalind in robes of triangular
patches, covered with spangles, by way of making the _coup d'oeil_ of
them less dull; and so the story-telling of Scott is like the robe of
the Sistine Zipporah--embroidered only on the edges with gold and blue,
and the embroidery involving a legend written in mystic letters.

And the interest and joy which he intends his reader to find in his
tale, are in taking up the golden thread here and there in its intended
recurrence--and following, as it rises again and again, his melody
through the disciplined and unaccented march of the fugue.

111. Thus the entire charm and meaning of the story of the Monastery
depend on the degree of sympathy with which we compare the first and
last incidents of the appearance of a character, whom perhaps not one in
twenty readers would remember as belonging to the dramatis
personæ--Stawarth Bolton.

Childless, he assures safety in the first scene of the opening tale to
the widow of Glendinning and her two children--the elder boy challenging
him at the moment, "I will war on thee to the death, when I can draw my
father's sword." In virtually the last scene, the grown youth, now in
command of a small company of spearmen in the Regent Murray's service,
is on foot, in the first pause after the battle at Kennaquhair, beside
the dead bodies of Julian Avenel and Christie, and the dying

Glendinning forgot for a moment his own situation and duties, and was
first recalled to them by a trampling of horse, and the cry of St.
George for England, which the English soldiers still continued to use.
His handful of men, for most of the stragglers had waited for Murray's
coming up, remained on horseback, holding their lances upright, having
no command either to submit or resist.

"There stands our captain," said one of them, as a strong party of
English came up, the vanguard of Foster's troop.

"Your captain! with his sword sheathed, and on foot in the presence of
his enemy? a raw soldier, I warrant him," said the English leader. "So!
ho! young man, is your dream out, and will you now answer me if you will
fight or fly?"

"Neither," answered Halbert Glendinning, with great tranquillity.

"Then throw down thy sword and yield thee," answered the Englishman.

"Not till I can help myself no otherwise," said Halbert, with the same
moderation of tone and manner.

"Art thou for thine own hand, friend, or to whom dost thou owe service?"
demanded the English captain.

"To the noble Earl of Murray."

"Then thou servest," said the Southron, "the most disloyal nobleman who
breathes--false both to England and Scotland."

"Thou liest," said Glendinning, regardless of all consequences.

"Ha! art thou so hot now, and wert so cold but a minute since? I lie, do
I? Wilt thou do battle with me on that quarrel?"

"With one to one, one to two, or two to five, as you list," said Halbert
Glendinning; "grant me but a fair field."

"That thou shalt have. Stand back, my mates," said the brave
Englishman. "If I fall, give him fair play, and let him go off free with
his people."

"Long life to the noble captain!" cried the soldiers, as impatient to
see the duel as if it had been a bull.

"He will have a short life of it, though," said the sergeant, "if he, an
old man of sixty, is to fight for any reason, or for no reason, with
every man he meets, and especially the young fellows he might be father
to. And here comes the warden, besides, to see the sword-play."

In fact, Sir John Foster came up with a considerable body of his
horsemen, just as his captain, whose age rendered him unequal to the
combat with so strong and active a youth as Glendinning, lost his

"Take it up for shame, old Stawarth Bolton," said the English warden;
"and thou, young man, get you gone to your own friends, and loiter not

Notwithstanding this peremptory order, Halbert Glendinning could not
help stopping to cast a look upon the unfortunate Catherine, who lay
insensible of the danger and of the trampling of so many horses around
her--insensible, as the second glance assured him, of all and forever.
Glendinning almost rejoiced when he saw that the last misery of life was
over, and that the hoofs of the war-horses, amongst which he was
compelled to leave her, could only injure and deface a senseless corpse.
He caught the infant from her arms, half ashamed of the shout of
laughter which rose on all sides, at seeing an armed man in such a
situation assume such an unwonted and inconvenient burden.

"Shoulder your infant!" cried a harquebusier.

"Port your infant!" said a pikeman.

"Peace, ye brutes!" said Stawarth Bolton, "and respect humanity in
others, if you have none yourselves. I pardon the lad having done some
discredit to my gray hairs, when I see him take care of that helpless
creature, which ye would have trampled upon as if ye had been littered
of bitch-wolves, not born of women."

The infant thus saved is the heir of Avenel, and the intricacy and
fateful bearing of every incident and word in the scene, knitting into
one central moment all the clews to the plot of two romances, as the
rich boss of a Gothic vault gathers the shaft moldings of it, can only
be felt by an entirely attentive reader; just as (to follow out the
likeness on Scott's own ground) the willow-wreaths changed to stone of
Melrose tracery can only be caught in their plighting by the keenest
eyes. The meshes are again gathered by the master's own hand when the
child now in Halbert's arms, twenty years hence, stoops over him to
unlace his helmet, as the fallen knight lies senseless on the field of
Carberry Hill.[103]

112. But there is another, and a still more hidden method in Scott's
designing of story, in which, taking extreme pains, he counts on much
sympathy from the reader, and can assuredly find none in a modern
student. The moral purpose of the whole, which he asserted in the
preface to the first edition of Waverley, was involved always with the
minutest study of the effects of true and false religion on the
conduct;--which subject being always touched with his utmost lightness
of hand and stealthiness of art, and founded on a knowledge of the
Scotch character and the human heart, such as no other living man
possessed, his purpose often escapes first observation as completely as
the inner feelings of living people do; and I am myself amazed, as I
take any single piece of his work up for examination, to find how many
of its points I had before missed or disregarded.

113. The groups of personages whose conduct in the Scott romance is
definitely affected by religious conviction, may be arranged broadly, as
those of the actual world, under these following heads:

1. The lowest group consists of persons who, believing in the general
truths of Evangelical religion, accommodate them to their passions, and
are capable, by gradual increase in depravity, of any crime or violence.
I am not going to include these in our present study. Trumbull ("Red
Gauntlet"), Trusty Tomkyns ("Woodstock"), Burley ("Old Mortality"), are
three of the principal types.

2. The next rank above these consists of men who believe firmly and
truly enough to be restrained from any conduct which they clearly
recognize as criminal, but whose natural selfishness renders them
incapable of understanding the morality of the Bible above a certain
point; and whose imperfect powers of thought leave them liable in many
directions to the warping of self-interest or of small temptations.

Fairservice. Blattergowl. Kettledrummle. Gifted Gilfillan.

3. The third order consists of men naturally just and honest, but with
little sympathy and much pride, in whom their religion, while in the
depth of it supporting their best virtues, brings out on the surface all
their worst faults, and makes them censorious, tiresome, and often
fearfully mischievous.

Richie Moniplies. Davie Deans. Mause Hedrigg.

4. The enthusiastic type, leading to missionary effort, often to

Warden, in "Monastery." Colonel Gardiner. Ephraim Macbriar. Joshua

5. Highest type, fulfilling daily duty; always gentle, entirely firm,
the comfort and strength of all around them; merciful to every human
fault, and submissive without anger to every human oppression.

Rachel Geddes. Jeanie Deans. Bessie Maclure, in "Old Mortality"--the
Queen of all.

114. In the present paper, I ask the reader's patience only with my
fulfillment of a promise long since made, to mark the opposition of the
effects of an entirely similar religious faith in two men of inferior
position, representing in perfectness the commonest types in Scotland
of the second and third order of religionists here distinguished, Andrew
Fairservice ("Rob Roy"), and Richie Moniplies ("Nigel").

The names of both the men imply deceitfulness of one kind or
another--Fairservice, as serving fairly only in pretense; Moniplies, as
having many windings, turns, and ways of escape. Scott's names are
themselves so Moniplied that they need as much following out as
Shakespeare's; and as their roots are pure Scotch, and few people have a
good Scottish glossary beside them, or would use it if they had, the
novels are usually read without any turning of the first keys to them. I
did not myself know till very lately the root of Dandie Dinmont's
name--"Dinmont," a two-year-old sheep; still less that of Moniplies,
which I had been always content to take Master George Heriot's rendering
of: "This fellow is not ill-named--he has more plies than one in his
cloak." ("Nigel," i. 72.) In its first sense, it is the Scotch word for
tripe, Moniplies being a butcher's son.

115. Cunning, then, they both are, in a high degree--but Fairservice
only for himself, Moniplies for himself and his friend; or, in grave
business, even for his friend first. But it is one of Scott's first
principles of moral law that cunning never shall succeed, unless
definitely employed _against an enemy_ by a person whose essential
character is wholly frank and true; as by Roland against Lady Lochleven,
or Mysie Happer against Dan of the Howlet-hirst; but consistent cunning
in the character always fails: Scott allows no Ulyssean hero.

Therefore the cunning of Fairservice fails always, and totally; but that
of Moniplies precisely according to the degree of its selfishness:
wholly, in the affair of the petition--("I am sure I had a' the right
and a' the risk," i. 73)--partially, in that of the carcanet. This he
himself at last recognizes with complacency:--

"I think you might have left me," says Nigel in their parting scene (i.
286), "to act according to my own judgment."

"Mickle better not," answered Richie; "mickle better not. We are a'
frail creatures, and can judge better for ilk ither than in our own
cases. And for me--even myself--I have always observed myself to be much
more prudential in what I have done in your lordship's behalf, than even
in what I have been able to transact for my own interest--whilk last, I
have, indeed, always postponed, as in duty I ought."

"I do believe thou hast," answered Lord Nigel, "having ever found thee
true and faithful."

And his final success is entirely owing to his courage and fidelity, not
to his cunning.

To this subtlety both the men join considerable power of penetration
into the weaknesses of character; but Fairservice only sees the
surface-failings, and has no respect for any kind of nobleness; while
Richie watches the gradual lowering of his master's character and
reputation with earnest sorrow.

     "My lord," said Richie, "to be round with you, the grace of God is
     better than gold pieces, and, if they were my last words," he said,
     raising his voice, "I would say you are misled, and are forsaking
     the paths your honorable father trode in; and what is more, you are
     going--still under correction--to the devil with a dishclout, for
     ye are laughed at by them that lead you into these disordered
     bypaths" (i. 282).

116. In the third place, note that the penetration of
Moniplies,--though, as aforesaid, more into faults than virtues,--being
yet founded on the truth of his own nature, is undeceivable. No rogue
can escape him for an instant; and he sees through all the machinations
of Lord Glenvarloch's enemies from the first; while Fairservice, shrewd
enough in detecting the follies of good people, is quite helpless before
knaves, and is deceived three times over by his own chosen
friends--first by the lawyer's clerk, Touthope (ii. 21), then by the
hypocrite MacVittie, and finally by his true blue Presbyterian friend

In these first elements of character the men are thus broadly
distinguished; but in the next, requiring analysis, the differences are
much more subtle. Both of them have, in nearly equal degree, the
peculiar love of doing or saying what is provoking, by an exact
contrariety to the wishes of the person they are dealing with, which is
a fault inherent in the rough side of uneducated Scottish character; but
in Andrew, the habit is checked by his self-interest, so that it is only
behind his master's back that we hear his opinion of him; and only when
he has lost his temper that the inherent provocativeness comes out--(see
the dark ride into Scotland).

On the contrary, Moniplies never speaks but in praise of his _absent_
master; but exults in mortifying him in direct colloquy: yet never
indulges this amiable disposition except with a really kind purpose, and
entirely knowing what he is about. Fairservice, on the other hand,
gradually falls into an unconscious fatality of varied blunder and
provocation; and at last causes the entire catastrophe of the story by
bringing in the candles when he has been ordered to stay downstairs.

117. We have next to remember that with Scott, Truth and Courage are
one. He somewhat overvalued _animal_ courage--holding it the basis of
all other virtue--in his own words, "Without courage there can be no
truth, and without truth no virtue." He would, however, sometimes allow
his villains to possess the basis, without the super-structure, and thus
Rashleigh, Dalgarno, Balfour, Varney, and other men of that stamp are to
be carefully distinguished from his erring _heroes_, Marmion, Bertram,
Christie of the Clinthill, or Nanty Ewart, in whom loyalty is always the
real strength of the character, and the faults of life are owing to
temporary passion or evil fate. Scott differs in this standard of
heroism materially from Byron,[104] in whose eyes mere courage, with
strong affections, are enough for admiration: while Bertram, and even
Marmion, though loyal to his country, are meant only to be pitied--not
honored. But neither Scott nor Byron will ever allow any grain of mercy
to a coward; and the final difference, therefore, between Fairservice
and Moniplies, which decides their fate in Scott's hands, is that
between their courage and cowardice. Fairservice is driven out at the
kitchen door, never to be heard of more, while Richie rises into Sir
Richie of Castle-Collop--the reader may perhaps at the moment think by
too careless grace on the King's part; which, indeed, Scott in some
measure meant;--but the grotesqueness and often evasiveness of Richie's
common manner make us forget how surely his bitter word is backed by his
ready blow, when need is. His first introduction to us (i. 33), is
because his quick temper overcomes his caution,--

     "I thought to mysel', 'Ye are owre mony for me to mell with; but
     let me catch ye in Barford's Park, or at the fit of the vennel, I
     could gar some of ye sing another sang.' Sae, ae auld hirpling
     deevil of a potter behoved just to step in my way and offer me a
     pig, as he said, just to pit my Scotch ointment in, and _I gave him
     a push, as but natural_, and the tottering deevil couped owre amang
     his ain pigs, and damaged a score of them. And then the
     reird[105] raise"--

while in the close of the events (ii. 365), he wins his wife by a piece
of hand-to-hand fighting, of the value of which his cool and stern
estimate, in answer to the gay Templar, is one of the great sentences
marking Scott's undercurrent of two feelings about war, in spite of his
love of its heroism.

"Bravo, Richie," cried Lowestoffe, "why, man, there lies Sin struck down
like an ox, and Iniquity's throat cut like a calf."

"I know not why you should upbraid me with my upbringing, Master
Lowestoffe," answered Richie, with great composure; "but I can tell you,
the shambles is not a bad place for training one to this work."

118. These then being the radical conditions of native character in the
two men, wholly irrespective of their religious persuasion, we have to
note what form their Presbyterian faith takes in each, and what effect
it has on their consciences.

In Richie, it has little to do; his conscience being, in the deep of it,
frank and clear. His religion commands him nothing which he is not at
once ready to do, or has not habitually done; and it forbids him nothing
which he is unwilling to forego. He pleads no pardon from it for known
faults; he seeks no evasions in the letter of it for violations of its
spirit. We are scarcely therefore aware of its vital power in him,
unless at moments of very grave feeling and its necessary expression.

     "Wherefore, as the letter will not avail you with him to whom it is
     directed, you may believe that Heaven hath sent it to _me_, who
     have a special regard for the writer--have besides, as much mercy
     and honesty within me as man can weel mak' his bread with, and am
     willing to aid any distressed creature, that is my friend's

So, again, in the deep feeling which rebukes his master's careless ruin
of the poor apprentice--

     "I say, then, as I am a true man, when I saw that puir creature
     come through the ha' at that ordinary, whilk is accurst (Heaven
     forgive me for swearing) of God and man, with his teeth set, and
     his hands clenched, and his bonnet drawn over his brows...." He
     stopped a moment, and looked fixedly in his master's face.

--and again in saving the poor lad himself when he takes the street to
his last destruction "with burning heart and bloodshot eye":

     "Why do you stop my way?" he said fiercely.

     "Because it is a bad one, Master Jenkin," said Richie.

     "Nay, never start about it, man; you see you are known.
     Alack-a-day! that an honest man's son should live to start at
     hearing himself called by his own name."

     "I pray you in good fashion to let me go," said Jenkin. "I am in
     the humor to be dangerous to myself, or to anyone."

     "I will abide the risk," said the Scot, "if you will but come with
     me. You are the very lad in the world whom I most wish to

     "And you," answered Vincent, "or any of your beggarly countrymen,
     are the last sight I should ever wish to see. You Scots are ever
     fair and false."

     "As to our poverty, friend," replied Richie, "that is as Heaven
     pleases; but touching our falsity, I'll prove to you that a
     Scotsman bears as leal and true a heart to his friend as ever beat
     in an English doublet."

119. In these, and other such passages, it will be felt that I have done
Richie some injustice in classing him among the religionists who have
little sympathy! For all real distress, his compassion is instant; but
his doctrinal religion becomes immediately to him a cause of failure in

     "Yon divine has another air from powerful Master Rollock, and Mess
     David Black of North Leith, and sic like. Alack-a-day, wha can ken,
     if it please your lordship, whether sic prayers as the Southrons
     read out of their auld blethering black mess-book there, may not be
     as powerful to invite fiends, as a right red-het prayer warm from
     the heart may be powerful to drive them away; even as the evil
     spirit was driven by the smell of the fish's liver from the bridal
     chamber of Sara, the daughter of Raguel!"

The scene in which this speech occurs is one of Scott's most finished
pieces, showing with supreme art how far the weakness of Richie's
superstitious formality is increased by his being at the time partially

It is on the other hand to be noted to his credit, for an earnest and
searching Bible-reader, that he quotes the Apocrypha. Not so gifted

     "But if your honor wad consider the case of Tobit--!"

     "Tobit!" exclaimed Gilfillan with great heat; "Tobit and his dog
     baith are altogether heathenish and apocryphal, and none but a
     prelatist or a papist would draw them into question. I doubt I hae
     been mista'en in you, friend."

Gilfillan and Fairservice are exactly alike, and both are distinguished
from Moniplies in their scornfully exclusive dogmatism, which is indeed
the distinctive plague-spot of the lower evangelical sect everywhere,
and the worst blight of the narrow natures, capable of its zealous
profession. In Blattergowl, on the contrary, as his name implies, the
_doctrinal_ teaching has become mere Blather, Blatter, or patter--a
string of commonplaces spoken habitually in performance of his clerical
function, but with no personal or sectarian interest in them on his

"He said fine things on the duty o' resignation to the will of God--that
did he"; but his own mind is fixed under ordinary circumstances only on
the income and privilege of his position. Scott however indicates this
without severity as one of the weaknesses of an established church, to
the general principle of which, as to all other established and
monarchic law, he is wholly submissive, and usually affectionate (see
the description of Colonel Mannering's Edinburgh Sunday), so that
Blattergowl, _out of the pulpit_, does not fail in his serious pastoral
duty, but gives real comfort by his presence and exhortation in the
cottage of the Mucklebackits.

On the other hand, to all kinds of Independents and Nonconformists
(unless of Roderick Dhu type) Scott is adverse with all his powers; and
accordingly, Andrew and Gilfillan are much more sternly and scornfully
drawn than Blattergowl.

120. In all the three, however, the reader must not for an instant
suspect what is commonly called "hypocrisy." Their religion is no
assumed mask or advanced pretense. It is in all a confirmed and intimate
faith, mischievous by its error, in proportion to its sincerity (compare
"Ariadne Florentina," paragraph 87), and although by his cowardice,
petty larceny,[107] and low cunning, Fairservice is absolutely separated
into a different class of men from Moniplies--in his fixed religious
principle and primary conception of moral conduct, he is exactly like
him. Thus when, in an agony of terror, he speaks for once to his master
with entire sincerity, one might for a moment think it was a lecture by
Moniplies to Nigel.

     "O, Maister Frank, a' your uncle's follies and your cousin's
     fliskies, were nothing to this! Drink clean cap-out, like Sir
     Hildebrand; begin the blessed morning with brandy-taps like Squire
     Percy; rin wud among the lasses like Squire John; gamble like
     Richard; win souls to the Pope and the deevil, like Rashleigh;
     rive, rant, _break the Sabbath_, and do the Pope's bidding, like
     them a' put thegither--but merciful Providence! tak' care o' your
     young bluid, and gang na near Rob Roy."

I said, one might for a moment think it was a Moniplies' lecture to
Nigel. But not for two moments, if we indeed can think at all. We could
not find a passage more concentrated in expression of Andrew's total
character; nor more characteristic of Scott in the calculated precision
and deliberate appliance of every word.

121. Observe first, Richie's rebuke, quoted above, fastens Nigel's mind
instantly on the _nobleness_ of his father. But Andrew's to Frank
fastens as instantly on the _follies_ of his uncle and cousins.

Secondly, the sum of Andrew's lesson is--"do anything that is rascally,
if only you save your skin." But Richie's is summed in "the grace of God
is better than gold pieces."

Thirdly, Richie takes little note of creeds, except when he is drunk,
but looks to conduct always; while Andrew clinches his catalogue of
wrong with "doing the Pope's bidding" and Sabbath-breaking; these
definitions of the unpardonable being the worst absurdity of all Scotch
wickedness to this hour--everything being forgiven to people who go to
church on Sunday, and curse the Pope. Scott never loses sight of this
marvelous plague-spot of Presbyterian religion, and the last words of
Andrew Fairservice are:--

     "The villain Laurie! to betray an auld friend that sang aff the
     same psalm-book wi' him _every Sabbath_ for twenty years,"

and the tragedy of these last words of his, and of his expulsion from
his former happy home--"a jargonelle pear-tree at one end of the
cottage, a rivulet and flower plot of a rood in extent in front, a
kitchen garden behind, and a paddock for a cow" (viii. 6, of the 1830
edition) can only be understood by the reading of the chapter he quotes
on that last Sabbath evening he passes in it--the 5th of Nehemiah.

122. For--and I must again and again point out this to the modern
reader, who, living in a world of affectation, suspects "hypocrisy" in
every creature he sees--the very plague of this lower evangelical piety
is that it is _not_ hypocrisy; that Andrew and Laurie _do_ both expect
to get the grace of God by singing psalms on Sunday, whatever rascality
they practice during the week. In the modern popular drama of
"School,"[108] the only religious figure is a dirty and malicious usher
who appears first reading Hervey's "Meditations," and throws away the
book as soon as he is out of sight of the company. But when Andrew is
found by Frank "perched up like a statue by a range of beehives in an
attitude of devout contemplation, with one eye watching the motions of
the little irritable citizens, and the other fixed on a book of
devotion," you will please observe, suspicious reader, that the devout
gardener has no expectation whatever of Frank's approach, nor has he any
design upon him, nor is he reading or attitudinizing for effect of any
kind on any person. He is following his own ordinary customs, and his
book of devotion has been already so well used that "much attrition had
deprived it of its corners, and worn it into an oval shape"; its
attractiveness to Andrew being twofold--the first, that it contains
doctrine to his mind; the second, that such sound doctrine is set forth
under figures properly belonging to his craft. "I was e'en taking a
spell o' worthy Mess John Quackleben's 'Flower of a Sweet Savour sown on
the Middenstead of this World'" (note in passing Scott's easy, instant,
exquisite invention of the name of author and title of book); and it is
a question of very curious interest how far these sweet "spells" in
Quackleben, and the like religious exercises of a nature compatible with
worldly business (compare Luckie Macleary, "with eyes employed on
Boston's 'Crook in the Lot,' while her ideas were engaged in summing up
the reckoning"--Waverley, i. 112)--do indeed modify in Scotland the
national character for the better or the worse; or, not materially
altering, do at least solemnize and confirm it in what good it may be
capable of. My own Scottish nurse described in "Fors Clavigera" for
April, 1873, would, I doubt not, have been as faithful and affectionate
without her little library of Puritan theology; nor were her minor
faults, so far as I could see, abated by its exhortations; but I cannot
but believe that her uncomplaining endurance of most painful disease,
and steadiness of temper under not unfrequent misapprehension by those
whom she best loved and served, were in great degree aided by so much of
Christian faith and hope as she had succeeded in obtaining, with little
talk about it.

123. I knew however in my earlier days a right old Covenanter in my
Scottish aunt's house, of whom, with Mause Hedrigg and David Deans, I
may be able perhaps to speak further in my next paper.[109] But I can
only now write carefully of what bears on my immediate work: and must
ask the reader's indulgence for the hasty throwing together of materials
intended, before my illness last spring, to have been far more
thoroughly handled. The friends who are fearful for my reputation as an
"écrivain" will perhaps kindly recollect that a sentence of "Modern
Painters" was often written four or five times over in my own hand, and
tried in every word for perhaps an hour--perhaps a forenoon--before it
was passed for the printer. I rarely now fix my mind on a sentence, or a
thought, for five minutes in the quiet of morning, but a telegram comes
announcing that somebody or other will do themselves the pleasure of
calling at eleven o'clock, and that there's two shillings to pay.


[Footnote 98: October 1881.]

[Footnote 99: "Jean François Millet." Twenty Etching's and Woodcuts
reproduced in Facsimile, and Biographical Notice by William Ernest
Henley. London, 1881.]

[Footnote 100: I am sorry to find that my former allusion to the boating
expedition in this novel has been misconstrued by a young authoress of
promise into disparagement of her own work; not supposing it possible
that I could only have been forced to look at George Eliot's by a
friend's imperfect account of it.]

[Footnote 101: I am ashamed to exemplify the miserable work of "review"
by mangling and mumbling this noble closing chapter of the "Monastery,"
but I cannot show the web of work without unweaving it.]

[Footnote 102: With ludicrously fatal retouch in the later edition "was
deprived of" his sword.]

[Footnote 103: Again I am obliged, by review necessity, to omit half the
points of the scene.]

[Footnote 104: I must deeply and earnestly express my thanks to my
friend Mr. Hale White for his vindication of Goethe's real opinion of
Byron from the mangled representation of it by Mr. Matthew Arnold
(_Contemporary Review_, August, 1881).]

[Footnote 105: "Reirde, rerde, Anglo-Saxon reord, lingua, sermo, clamor,
shouting" (Douglas glossary). No Scottish sentence in the Scott novels
should be passed without examining every word in it, his dialect, as
already noticed, being always pure and classic in the highest degree,
and his meaning always the fuller, the further it is traced.]

[Footnote 106: The reader must observe that in quoting Scott for
illustration of particular points I am obliged sometimes to alter the
succession and omit much of the context of the pieces I want, for Scott
never lets you see his hand, nor get at his points without remembering
and comparing far-away pieces carefully. To collect the evidence of any
one phase of character, is like pulling up the detached roots of a

[Footnote 107: Note the "wee business of my ain," i. 213.]

[Footnote 108: Its "hero" is a tall youth with handsome calves to his
legs, who shoots a bull with a fowling-piece, eats a large lunch, thinks
it witty to call Othello a "nigger," and, having nothing to live on, and
being capable of doing nothing for his living, establishes himself in
lunches and cigars forever, by marrying a girl with a fortune. The
heroine is an amiable governess, who, for the general encouragement of
virtue in governesses, is rewarded by marrying a lord.]

[Footnote 109: The present paper was, however, the last.--ED.]


124. Long since, longer ago than the opening of some fairy tales, I was
asked by the publisher who has been rash enough, at my request, to
reprint these my favorite old stories in their earliest English form, to
set down for him my reasons for preferring them to the more polished
legends, moral and satiric, which are now, with rich adornment of every
page by very admirable art, presented to the acceptance of the Nursery.

But it seemed to me to matter so little to the majestic independence of
the child-public, who, beside themselves, liked, or who disliked, what
they pronounced entertaining, that it is only on strict claims of a
promise unwarily given that I venture on the impertinence of eulogy; and
my reluctance is the greater, because there is in fact nothing very
notable in these tales, unless it be their freedom from faults which for
some time have been held to be quite the reverse of faults by the
majority of readers.

125. In the best stories recently written for the young, there is a
taint which it is not easy to define, but which inevitably follows on
the author's addressing himself to children bred in schoolrooms and
drawing-rooms, instead of fields and woods--children whose favorite
amusements are premature imitations of the vanities of elder people, and
whose conceptions of beauty are dependent partly on costliness of dress.
The fairies who interfere in the fortunes of these little ones are apt
to be resplendent chiefly in millinery and satin slippers, and appalling
more by their airs than their enchantments.

The fine satire which, gleaming through every playful word, renders some
of these recent stories as attractive to the old as to the young, seems
to me no less to unfit them for their proper function. Children should
laugh, but not mock; and when they laugh, it should not be at the
weaknesses and the faults of others. They should be taught, as far as
they are permitted to concern themselves with the characters of those
around them, to seek faithfully for good, not to lie in wait maliciously
to make themselves merry with evil: they should be too painfully
sensitive to wrong to smile at it; and too modest to constitute
themselves its judges.

126. With these minor errors a far graver one is involved. As the
simplicity of the sense of beauty has been lost in recent tales for
children, so also the simplicity of their conception of love. That word
which, in the heart of a child, should represent the most constant and
vital part of its being; which ought to be the sign of the most solemn
thoughts that inform its awakening soul and, in one wide mystery of pure
sunrise, should flood the zenith of its heaven, and gleam on the dew at
its feet; this word, which should be consecrated on its lips, together
with the Name which it may not take in vain, and whose meaning should
soften and animate every emotion through which the inferior things and
the feeble creatures, set beneath it in its narrow world, are revealed
to its curiosity or companionship; this word, in modern child-story, is
too often restrained and darkened into the hieroglyph of an evil
mystery, troubling the sweet peace of youth with premature gleams of
uncomprehended passion, and flitting shadows of unrecognized sin.

These great faults in the spirit of recent child-fiction are connected
with a parallel folly of purpose. Parents who are too indolent and
self-indulgent to form their children's characters by wholesome
discipline, or in their own habits and principles of life are conscious
of setting before them no faultless example, vainly endeavor to
substitute the persuasive influence of moral precept, intruded in the
guise of amusement, for the strength of moral habit compelled by
righteous authority:--vainly think to inform the heart of infancy with
deliberative wisdom, while they abdicate the guardianship of its
unquestioning innocence; and warp into the agonies of an immature
philosophy of conscience the once fearless strength of its unsullied and
unhesitating virtue.

127. A child should not need to choose between right and wrong. It
should not be capable of wrong; it should not conceive of wrong.
Obedient, as bark to helm, not by sudden strain or effort, but in the
freedom of its bright course of constant life; true, with an
undistinguished, praiseless, unboastful truth, in a crystalline
household world of truth; gentle, through daily entreatings of
gentleness, and honorable trusts, and pretty prides of child-fellowship
in offices of good; strong, not in bitter and doubtful contest with
temptation, but in peace of heart, and armor of habitual right, from
which temptation falls like thawing hail; self-commanding, not in sick
restraint of mean appetites and covetous thoughts, but in vital joy of
unluxurious life, and contentment in narrow possession, wisely esteemed.

Children so trained have no need of moral fairy tales; but they will
find in the apparently vain and fitful courses of any tradition of old
time, honestly delivered to them, a teaching for which no other can be
substituted, and of which the power cannot be measured; animating for
them the material world with inextinguishable life, fortifying them
against the glacial cold of selfish science, and preparing them
submissively, and with no bitterness of astonishment, to behold, in
later years, the mystery--divinely appointed to remain such to all human
thought--of the fates that happen alike to the evil and the good.

128. And the effect of the endeavor to make stories moral upon the
literary merit of the work itself, is as harmful as the motive of the
effort is false. For every fairy tale worth recording at all is the
remnant of a tradition possessing true historical value;--historical, at
least in so far as it has naturally arisen out of the mind of a people
under special circumstances, and risen not without meaning, nor removed
altogether from their sphere of religious faith. It sustains afterwards
natural changes from the sincere action of the fear or fancy of
successive generations; it takes new color from their manner of life,
and new form from their changing moral tempers. As long as these changes
are natural and effortless, accidental and inevitable, the story remains
essentially true, altering its form, indeed, like a flying cloud, but
remaining a sign of the sky; a shadowy image, as truly a part of the
great firmament of the human mind as the light of reason which it seems
to interrupt. But the fair deceit and innocent error of it cannot be
interpreted nor restrained by a willful purpose, and all additions to it
by act do but defile, as the shepherd disturbs the flakes of morning
mist with smoke from his fire of dead leaves.

129. There is also a deeper collateral mischief in this indulgence of
licentious change and retouching of stories to suit particular tastes,
or inculcate favorite doctrines. It directly destroys the child's power
of rendering any such belief as it would otherwise have been in his
nature to give to an imaginative vision. How far it is expedient to
occupy his mind with ideal forms at all may be questionable to many,
though not to me; but it is quite beyond question that if we do allow of
the fictitious representation, that representation should be calm and
complete, possessed to the full, and read down its utmost depth. The
little reader's attention should never be confused or disturbed, whether
he is possessing himself of fairy tale or history. Let him know his
fairy tale accurately, and have perfect joy or awe in the conception of
it as if it were real; thus he will always be exercising his power of
grasping realities: but a confused, careless, or discrediting tenure of
the fiction will lead to as confused and careless reading of fact. Let
the circumstances of both be strictly perceived and long dwelt upon, and
let the child's own mind develop fruit of thought from both. It is of
the greatest importance early to secure this habit of contemplation, and
therefore it is a grave error, either to multiply unnecessarily, or to
illustrate with extravagant richness, the incidents presented to the
imagination. It should multiply and illustrate them for itself; and, if
the intellect is of any real value, there will be a mystery and
wonderfulness in its own dreams which would only be thwarted by external
illustration. Yet I do not bring forward the text or the etchings in
this volume as examples of what either ought to be in works of the kind:
they are in many respects common, imperfect, vulgar; but their vulgarity
is of a wholesome and harmless kind. It is not, for instance, graceful
English, to say that a thought "popped into Catherine's head"; but it
nevertheless is far better, as an initiation into literary style, that a
child should be told this than that "a subject attracted Catherine's
attention." And in genuine forms of minor tradition, a rude and more or
less illiterate tone will always be discernible; for all the best fairy
tales have owed their birth, and the greater part of their power, to
narrowness of social circumstances; they belonged properly to districts
in which walled cities are surrounded by bright and unblemished country,
and in which a healthy and bustling town life, not highly refined, is
relieved by, and contrasted with, the calm enchantment of pastoral and
woodland scenery, either under humble cultivation by peasant masters, or
left in its natural solitude. Under conditions of this kind the
imagination is enough excited to invent instinctively (and rejoice in
the invention of) spiritual forms of wildness and beauty, while yet it
is restrained and made cheerful by the familiar accidents and relations
of town life, mingling always in its fancy humorous and vulgar
circumstances with pathetic ones, and never so much impressed with its
supernatural fantasies as to be in danger of retaining them as any part
of its religious faith. The good spirit descends gradually from an
angel into a fairy, and the demon shrinks into a playful grotesque of
diminutive malevolence, while yet both keep an accredited and vital
influence upon the character and mind. But the language in which such
ideas will be usually clothed, must necessarily partake of their
narrowness; and art is systematically incognizant of them, having only
strength under the conditions which awake them to express itself in an
irregular and gross grotesque, fit only for external architectural

130. The illustrations of this volume are almost the only exceptions I
know to the general rule. They are of quite sterling and admirable art,
in a class precisely parallel in elevation to the character of the tales
which they illustrate; and the original etchings, as I have before said
in the Appendix to my "Elements of Drawing," were quite unrivaled in
masterfulness of touch since Rembrandt (in some qualities of delineation
unrivaled even by him). These copies have been so carefully executed,
that at first I was deceived by them, and supposed them to be late
impressions from the plates (and what is more, I believe the master
himself was deceived by them, and supposed them to be his own); and
although on careful comparison with the first proofs they will be found
no exception to the terrible law that literal repetition of entirely
fine work shall be, even to the hand that produced it,--much more to any
other,--forever impossible, they still represent, with sufficient
fidelity to be in the highest degree instructive, the harmonious light
and shade, the manly simplicity of execution, and the easy, unincumbered
fancy, of designs which belonged to the best period of Cruikshank's
genius. To make somewhat enlarged copies of them, looking at them
through a magnifying glass, and never putting two lines where Cruikshank
has put only one, would be an exercise in decision and severe drawing
which would leave afterwards little to be learnt in schools, I would
gladly also say much in their praise as imaginative designs; but the
power of genuine imaginative work, and its difference from that which is
compounded and patched together from borrowed sources, is of all
qualities of art the most difficult to explain; and I must be content
with the simple assertions of it.

And so I trust the good old book, and the honest work that adorns it, to
such favor as they may find with children of open hearts and lowly

  DENMARK HILL, _Easter_, 1868.


[Footnote 110: This paper forms the introduction to a volume entitled
"German Popular Stories, with Illustrations after the original designs
of George Cruikshank, edited by Edgar Taylor, with Introduction by John
Ruskin, M.A." London: Chatto and Windus, 1868. The book is a reprint of
Mr. Edgar Taylor's original (1823) selections of the "Hausmärchen," or
"German Popular Stories" of the Brothers Grimm. The original selections
were in two octavo volumes; the reprint in one of smaller size, it being
(the publisher states in his preface) "Mr. Ruskin's wish that the new
edition should appeal to young readers rather than to adults."--ED.]

       *       *       *       *       *



(_Contemporary Review, May_ 1873.)


(_Contemporary Review, February_ 1880.)


(_Pamphlet_, 1885.)

       *       *       *       *       *


131. In the March number of the _Contemporary Review_ appeared two
papers,[112] by writers of reputation, which I cannot but hope their
authors will perceive upon reflection to have involved errors only the
more grave in that they have become, of late, in the minds of nearly all
public men, facile and familiar. I have, therefore, requested the
editor's permission to offer some reply to both of these essays, their
subjects being intimately connected.

The first of which I speak was Mr. Herbert Spencer's, which appeared
under the title of "The Bias of Patriotism." But the real subject of the
paper (discussed in its special extent, with singular care and equity)
was only the bias of National vanity; and the debate was opened by this
very curious sentence,--"Patriotism is nationally, that which Egoism is

Mr. Spencer would not, I think, himself accept this statement, if put
into the clear form, "What is Egoism in one man, is Patriotism in two or
more, and the vice of an individual, the virtue of a multitude."[113]
But it is strange,--however strictly Mr. Spencer may of late have
confined his attention to metaphysical or scientific subjects,
disregarding the language of historical or imaginative literature--it
is strange, I repeat, that so careful a student should be unaware that
the term "patriotism" cannot, in classical usage, be extended to the
action of a multitude. No writer of authority ever speaks of a nation as
having felt, or acted, patriotically. Patriotism is, by definition, a
virtue of individuals; and so far from being in those individuals a mode
of egoism, it is precisely in the sacrifice of their egoism that it
consists. It is the temper of mind which determines them to defer their
own interests to those of their country.

132. Supposing it possible for any parallel sentiment to animate a
nation as one body, it could have reference only to the position it held
among other families of the world. The name of the emotion would then be
properly "Cosmism," and would signify the resolution of such a people to
sacrifice its own special interests to those of Mankind. Cosmism
hitherto has indeed generally asserted itself only in the desire of the
Cosmic nation that all others should adopt its theological opinions, and
permit it to adopt their personal property; but Patriotism has truly
existed, and even as a dominant feeling, in the minds of many persons
who have been greatly influential on the fates of their races, and that
one of our leading philosophers should be unconscious of the nature of
this sentiment, and ignorant of its political power, is to be noted as
painfully characteristic of the present state of England itself.

It does not indeed follow that a feeling of which we are unaware is
necessarily extinguished in us; and the faculties of perception and
analysis are always so paralyzed by the lingual ingenuities of logic
that it is impossible to say, of any professed logician, whether he may
not yet be acting under the real force of ideas of which he has lost
both the consciousness and conception. No man who has once entangled
himself in what Mr. Spencer defines, farther on, as the "science of the
relations implied by the conclusions, exclusions, and overlappings of
classes," can be expected during the rest of his life to perceive more
of any one thing than that it is included, excluded, or overlapped by
something else; which is in itself a sufficiently confused state of
mind, and especially harmful in that it permits us to avoid considering
whether our intellectual linen is itself clean, while we concern
ourselves only to ascertain whether it is included, excluded, or
overlapped by our coat collar. But it is a grave phenomenon of the time
that patriotism--of all others--should be the sentiment which an English
logician is not only unable to define, but attempts to define as its
precise contrary. In every epoch of decline, men even of high
intellectual energy have been swept down in the diluvium of public life,
and the crystalline edges of their minds worn away by friction with
blunted ones; but I had not believed that the whole weight of the
depraved mob of modern England, though they have become incapable alike
of fidelity to their own country, and alliance with any other, could so
far have perplexed one of our exactest students as to make him confuse
heroism with conceit, and the loves of country and of home with the
iniquities of selfishness. Can it be only a quarter of a century since
the Last Minstrel died--and have we already answered his "Lives there a
man?" with the calm assertion that there live no other than such; and
that the "wretch concentered all in self "is the "Patriot" of our

133. Be it so. Let it even be admitted that egoism is the only power
conceivable by a modern metaphysician to be the spring of mental energy;
just as chemical excitement may be the only power traceable by the
modern physician as the source of muscular energy. And still Mr.
Spencer's subsequent analysis is inaccurate, and unscholarly. For egoism
does not necessarily imply either misapprehension or mismeasurement.
There are modes of the love of our country which are definitely selfish,
as a cat's of the hearthrug, yet entirely balanced and calm in judicial
faculty; passions which determine conduct, but have no influence on
opinion. For instance, I have bought for my own exclusive gratification,
the cottage in which I am writing, near the lake-beach on which I used
to play when I was seven years old. Were I a public-spirited scientific
person, or a benevolently pious one, I should doubtless, instead, be
surveying the geographical relations of the Mountains of the Moon, or
translating the Athanasian Creed into Tartar-Chinese. But I hate the
very name of the public, and labor under no oppressive anxiety either
for the advancement of science, or the salvation of mankind. I therefore
prefer amusing myself with the lake-pebbles, of which I know nothing but
that they are pretty; and conversing with people whom I can understand
without pains, and who, so far from needing to be converted, seem to me
on the whole better than myself. This is moral egoism, but it is not
intellectual error. I never form, much less express, any opinion as to
the relative beauties of Yewdale crag and the Mountains of the Moon; nor
do I please myself by contemplating, in any exaggerated light, the
spiritual advantages which I possess in my familiarity with the
Thirty-nine Articles. I know the height of my neighboring mountains to a
foot; and the extent of my real possessions, theological and material,
to an article. Patriotic egoism attaches me to the one; personal egoism
satisfies me in the other; and the calm selfishness with which Nature
has blessed all her unphilosophical creatures, blinds me to the
attractions--as to the faults--of things with which I have no concern,
and saves me at once from the folly of contempt, and the discomfort of
envy. I might have written, as accurately, "The discomfort of contempt";
for indeed the forms of petulant rivalry and self-assertion which Mr.
Spencer assumes to be developments of egoism, are merely its diseases;
(taking the word "disease" in its most literal meaning). A man of sense
is more an egoist in modesty than a blockhead is in boasting; and it is
neither pride nor self-respect, but only ignorance and ill-breeding,
that either disguise the facts of life, or violate its courtesies.

134. It will not, I trust, be thought violation of courtesy to a writer
of Mr. Spencer's extending influence, if I urge on his attention the
danger under which metaphysicians are always placed of supposing that
the investigation of the processes of thought will enable them to
distinguish its forms. 'As well might the chemist, who had exhaustively
examined the conditions of vitreous fusion, imagine himself therefore
qualified to number or class the vases bent by the breath of Venice. Mr.
Spencer has determined, I believe, to the satisfaction of his readers,
in what manner thoughts and feelings are constructed; it is time for him
now to observe the results of the construction, whether native to his
own mind, or discoverable in other intellectual territories. Patriotism
is, however, perhaps the last emotion he can now conveniently study in
England, for the temper which crowns the joy of life with the sweetness
and decorum of death can scarcely be manifested clearly in a country
which is fast rendering herself one whose peace is pollution, and whose
battle, crime; within whose confines it is loathsome to live, and in
whose cause it is disgraceful to die.

135. The chief causes of her degradation were defended, with delicate
apology, in the second paper to which I have above referred; the
modification by Mr. W. R. Greg of a letter which he had addressed, on
the subject of luxurious expenditure and its economical results, to the
_Pall Mall Gazette_; and which Mr. Greg states to have given rise in
that journal to a controversy in which four or five combatants took
part, the looseness of whose notions induced him to express his own more
coherent ones in the _Contemporary Review_.[114]

I am sorry to find that Mr. Greg looked upon my own poor part in that
correspondence as controversial. I merely asked him a question which he
declared to be insidious and irrelevant (not considering that if it were
the one, it could not be the other), and I stated a few facts respecting
which no controversy was possible, and which Mr. Greg, in his own terms,
"sedulously abstained" from noticing.

But Mr. Greg felt my question to be insidious because it made him partly
conscious that he had only examined one half of the subject he was
discussing, and even that half without precision.

Mr. Goldwin Smith had spoken of a rich man as consuming the means of
living of the poor. Mr. Greg, in reply, pointed out how beneficially the
rich man spent what he had got. Upon which I ventured to inquire "how he
got it"; which is indeed precisely the first of all questions to be
asked when the economical relations of any man with his neighbor are to
be examined.

Dick Turpin is blamed--suppose--by some plain-minded person for
consuming the means of other people's living. "Nay," says Dick to the
plain-minded person, "observe how beneficently and pleasantly I spend
whatever I get!"

"Yes, Dick," persists the plain-minded person; "but how do you get it?"

"The question," says Dick, "is insidious and irrelevant."

Do not let it be supposed that I mean to assert any irregularity or
impropriety in Dick's profession--I merely assert the necessity for Mr.
Greg's examination, if he would be master of his subject, of the manner
of Gain in every case, as well as the manner of Expenditure. Such
accounts must always be accurately rendered in a well-regulated society.

     136. "Le lieutenant adressa la parole au capitaine, et lui dit
     qu'il venait d'enlever ces mannequins, remplis de sucre, de
     cannelle, d'amandes, et de raisins sees, à un épicier de Bénavente.
     Après qu'il eut rendu compte de son expédition au bureau, les
     dépouilles de l'épicier furent portées dans l'office. Alors il ne
     fut plus question que de se réjouir; je débutai par le buffet, que
     je parai de plusieurs bouteilles de ce bon vin que le Seigneur
     Rolando m'avoit vanté."

Mr. Greg strictly confines himself to an examination of the benefits
conferred on the public by this so agreeable festivity; but he must not
be surprised or indignant that some inquiry should be made as to the
resulting condition of the épicier de Bénavente.

And it is all the more necessary that such inquiry be instituted when
the captain of the expedition is a minion, not of the moon, but of the
sun; and dazzling, therefore, to all beholders. "It is heaven which
dictates what I ought to do upon this occasion,"[115] says Henry of
Navarre; "my retreat out of this city,[116] before I have made myself
master of it, will be the retreat of my soul out of my body."
"Accordingly all the quarter which still held out, we forced," says M.
de Rosny, "after which the inhabitants, finding themselves no longer
able to resist, laid down their arms, and the city was given up to
plunder. My good fortune threw a small iron chest in my way, in which I
found about four thousand gold crowns."

I cannot doubt that the Baron's expenditure of this sum would be in the
highest degree advantageous to France and to the Protestant religion.
But complete economical science must study the effect of its abstraction
on the immediate prosperity of the town of Cahors; and even beyond
this--the mode of its former acquisition by the town itself, which
perhaps, in the economies of the nether world, may have delegated some
of its citizens to the seventh circle.[117]

137. And the most curious points in the partiality of modern economical
science are that while it always waives this question of ways and means
with respect to rich persons, it studiously pushes it in the case of
poor ones; and while it asserts the consumption of such an article of
luxury as wine (to take that which Mr. Greg himself instances) to be
economically expedient, when the wine is drunk by persons who are not
thirsty, it asserts the same consumption to be altogether inexpedient,
when the privilege is extended to those who are. Thus Mr. Greg
dismisses, in one place, with compassionate disdain, the extremely
vulgar notion "that a man who drinks a bottle of champagne worth five
shillings, while his neighbor is in want of actual food, is in some way
wronging his neighbor"; and yet Mr. Greg himself, elsewhere,[118]
evidently remains under the equally vulgar impression that the
twenty-four millions of such thirstier persons who spend fifteen per
cent of their incomes in drink and tobacco, are wronging their neighbors
by that expenditure.

138. It cannot, surely, be the difference in degree of refinement
between malt liquor and champagne which causes Mr. Greg's undefined
sensation of moral delinquency and economical error in the one case, and
of none in the other; if that be all, I can relieve him from his
embarrassment by putting the cases in more parallel form. A clergyman
writes to me, in distress of mind, because the able-bodied laborers who
come begging to him in winter, drink port wine out of buckets in summer.
Of course Mr. Greg's logical mind will at once admit (as a consequence
of his own very just _argumentum ad hominem_ in a previous page[119])
that the consumption of port wine out of buckets must be as much a
benefit to society in general as the consumption of champagne out of
bottles; and yet, curiously enough, I am certain he will feel my
question, "Where does the drinker get the means for his drinking?" more
relevant in the case of the imbibers of port than in that of the
imbibers of champagne. And although Mr. Greg proceeds, with that lofty
contempt for the dictates of nature and Christianity which radical
economists cannot but feel, to observe that "while the natural man and
the Christian would have the champagne drinker forego his bottle, and
give the value of it to the famishing wretch beside him, the radical
economist would condemn such behavior as distinctly criminal and
pernicious," he would scarcely, I think, carry out with the same
triumphant confidence the conclusions of the unnatural man and the
anti-christian, with respect to the laborer as well as the idler; and
declare that while the extremely simple persons who still believe in the
laws of nature, and the mercy of God, would have the port-drinker forego
his bucket, and give the value of it to the famishing wife and child
beside him, "the radical economist would condemn such behavior as
distinctly criminal and pernicious."

Mr. Greg has it indeed in his power to reply that it is proper to
economize for the sake of one's own wife and children, but not for the
sake of anybody else's. But since, according to another exponent of the
principles of Radical Economy, in the _Cornhill Magazine_,[120] a
well-conducted agricultural laborer must not marry till he is
forty-five, his economies, if any, in early life, must be as offensive
to Mr. Greg on the score of their abstract humanity, as those of the
richest bachelor about town.

139. There is another short sentence in this same page, of which it is
difficult to overrate the accidental significance.

"The superficial observer," says Mr. Greg, "recollects a text which he
heard in his youth, but of which he never considered the precise
applicability--'He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath

The assumptions that no educated Englishman can ever have heard that
text except in his youth, and that those who are old enough to remember
having heard it, "never considered its precise applicability," are
surely rash, in the treatment of a scientific subject. I can assure Mr.
Greg that a few gray-headed votaries of the creed of Christendom still
read--though perhaps under their breath--the words which early
associations have made precious to them; and that in the bygone days,
when that Sermon on the Mount was still listened to with respect by many
not illiterate persons, its meaning was not only considered, but very
deliberately acted upon. Even the readers of the _Contemporary Review_
may perhaps have some pleasure in retreating from the sunshine of
contemporary science, for a few quiet moments, into the shadows of that
of the past, and hearing in the following extracts from two letters of
Scott's (the first describing the manner of life of his mother, whose
death it announces to a friend, the second, anticipating the verdict of
the future on the management of his estate by a Scottish nobleman) what
relations between rich and poor were possible, when philosophers had not
yet even lisped in the sweet numbers of Radical Sociology.

       *       *       *       *       *

140. "She was a strict economist, which she said, enabled her to be
liberal; out of her little income of about £300 a year she bestowed at
least a third in well-chosen charities, and with the rest, lived like a
gentlewoman, and even with hospitality more general than seemed to suit
her age; yet I could never prevail on her to accept of any assistance.
You cannot conceive how affecting it was to me to see the little
preparations of presents which she had assorted for the New Year, for
she was a great observer of the old fashions of her period--and to think
that the kind heart was cold which delighted in all these arts of kindly

141. "The Duke is one of those retired and high-spirited men who will
never be known until the world asks what became of the huge oak that
grew on the brow of the hill, and sheltered such an extent of ground.
During the late distress, though his own immense rents remained in
arrears, and though I know he was pinched for money, as all men were,
but more especially the possessors of entailed estates, he absented
himself from London in order to pay, with ease to himself, the laborers
employed on his various estates. These amounted (for I have often seen
the roll and helped to check it) to nine hundred and fifty men, working
at day wages, each of whom on a moderate average might maintain three
persons, since the single men have mothers, sisters, and aged or very
young relations to protect and assist. Indeed it is wonderful how much
even a small sum, comparatively, will do in supporting the Scottish
laborer, who in his natural state is perhaps one of the best, most
intelligent, and kind-hearted of human beings; and in truth I have
limited my other habits of expense very much since I fell into the habit
of employing mine honest people. I wish you could have seen about a
hundred children, being almost entirely supported by their fathers' or
brothers' labor, come down yesterday to dance to the pipes, and get a
piece of cake and bannock, and pence apiece (no very deadly largess) in
honor of hogmanay. I declare to you, my dear friend, that when I thought
the poor fellows, who kept these children so neat, and well taught, and
well behaved, were slaving the whole day for eighteen pence or twenty
pence at most, I was ashamed of their gratitude, and of their becks and
bows. But after all, one does what one can, and it is better twenty
families should be comfortable according to their wishes and habits,
than that half that number should be raised above their situation."

       *       *       *       *       *

142. I must pray Mr. Greg farther to observe, if he has condescended to
glance at these remains of almost prehistoric thought, that although the
modern philosopher will never have reason to blush for any man's
gratitude, and has totally abandoned the romantic idea of making even so
much as one family comfortable according to their wishes and habits, the
alternative suggested by Scott, that half "the number should be raised
above their situation" may become a very inconvenient one if the
doctrines of Modern Equality and competition should render the other
half desirous of parallel promotion.

143. It is now just sixteen years since Mr. Greg's present philosophy of
Expenditure was expressed with great precision by the Common Councilmen
of New York, in their report on the commercial crisis of 1857, in the
following terms:--[121]

     "Another erroneous idea is that luxurious living, extravagant
     dressing, splendid turn-outs and fine houses, are the cause of
     distress to a nation, No more erroneous impression could exist.
     Every extravagance that the man of 100.000 or 1,000,000 dollars
     indulges in, adds to the means, the support, the wealth of ten or a
     hundred who had little or nothing else but their labor, their
     intellect, or their taste. If a man of 1,000,000 dollars spends
     principal and interest in ten years, and finds himself beggared at
     the end of that time, he has actually made a hundred who have
     catered to his extravagance, employers or employed, so much richer
     by the division of his wealth. He may be ruined, but the nation is
     better off and richer, for one hundred minds and hands, with 10,000
     dollars apiece, are far more productive than one with the whole."

Now that is precisely the view also taken of the matter by a large
number of Radical Economists in England as well as America; only they
feel that the time, however short, which the rich gentleman takes to
divide his property among them in his own way, is practically wasted;
and even worse, because the methods which the gentleman himself is
likely to adopt for the depression of his fortune will not, in all
probability, be conducive to the elevation of his character. It appears,
therefore, on moral as well as economical grounds, desirable that the
division and distribution should at once be summarily effected; and the
only point still open to discussion in the views of the Common
Councilmen is to what degree of minuteness they would think it advisable
to carry the subsequent subdivision.

144. I do not suppose, however, that this is the conclusion which Mr.
Greg is desirous that the general Anti-Christian public should adopt;
and in that case, as I see by his paper in the last number of the
_Contemporary_,[122] that he considers the Christian life itself
virtually impossible, may I recommend his examination of the manners of
the Pre-Christian? For I can certify him that this important subject,
of which he has only himself imperfectly investigated one side, had been
thoroughly investigated on all sides, at least seven hundred years
before Christ; and from that day to this, all men of wit, sense, and
feeling have held precisely the same views on the subjects of economy
and charity, in all nations under the sun. It is of no consequence
whether Mr. Greg chooses the experience of Boeotia, Lombardy, or
Yorkshire, nor whether he studies the relation of work to-day or under
Hesiod, Virgil, or Sydney Smith. But it is desirable that at least he
should acquaint himself with the opinions of some such persons, as well
as with those of the Common Councilmen of New York; for though a man of
superior sagacity may be pardoned for thinking, with the friends of Job,
that Wisdom will die with him, it can only be through neglect of the
existing opportunities of general culture that he remains distinctly
under the impression that she was born with him.

145. It may perhaps be well that in conclusion, I should state briefly
the causes and terms of the economical crisis of our own day, which has
been the subject of the debate between Mr. Goldwin Smith and Mr. Greg.

No man ever became, or can become, largely rich merely by labor and
economy.[123] All large fortunes (putting treasure-trove and gambling
out of consideration) are founded either on occupation of land, usury,
or taxation of labor. Whether openly or occultly, the landlord,
money-lender, and capitalist employer, gather into their possession a
certain quantity of the means of existence which other people produce by
the labor of their hands. The effect of this impost upon the condition
of life of the tenant, borrower, and workman, is the first point to be
studied;--the results, that is to say, of the mode in which Captain
Roland fills his purse.

Secondly, we have to study the effects of the mode in which Captain
Roland empties his purse. The landlord, usurer, or labor-master, does
not, and cannot, himself consume all the means of life he collects. He
gives them to other persons, whom he employs for his own behoof--growers
of champagne, jockeys, footmen, jewelers, builders, painters, musicians,
and the like. The division of the labor of these persons from the
production of food to the production of articles of luxury is very
frequently, and at the present day, very grievously the cause of famine.
But when the luxuries are produced, it becomes a quite separate question
who is to have them, and whether the landlord and capitalist are
entirely to monopolize the music, the painting, the architecture, the
hand-service, the horse-service, and the sparkling champagne of the

146. And it is gradually, in these days, becoming manifest to the
tenants, borrowers, and laborers, that instead of paying these large
sums into the hands of the landlords, lenders, and employers, for them
to purchase music, painting, etc., with, the tenants, borrowers, and
workers had better buy a little music and painting for themselves. That,
for instance, instead of the capitalist-employer paying three hundred
pounds for a full-length portrait of himself, in the attitude of
investing his capital, the united workmen had better themselves pay the
three hundred pounds into the hands of the ingenious artist, for a
painting in the antiquated manner of Leonardo or Raphael, of some
subject more religiously or historically interesting to them; and placed
where they can always see it. And again instead of paying three hundred
pounds to the obliging landlord, for him to buy a box at the opera with,
whence to study the refinements of music and dancing, the tenants are
beginning to think that they may as well keep their rents to themselves,
and therewith pay some Wandering Willie to fiddle at their own doors, or
bid some gray-haired minstrel

  "Tune, to please a peasant's ear,
  The harp a king had loved to hear."

And similarly the dwellers in the hut of the field and garret of the
city are beginning to think that instead of paying half a crown for the
loan of half a fire-place, they had better keep their half-crown in
their pockets till they can buy for themselves a whole one.

147. These are the views which are gaining ground among the poor; and it
is entirely vain to endeavor to repress them by equivocations. They are
founded on eternal laws; and although their recognition will long be
refused, and their promulgation, resisted as it will be, partly by
force, partly by falsehood, can only be through incalculable confusion
and misery, recognized they must be eventually; and with these three
ultimate results:--that the usurer's trade will be abolished
utterly,--that the employer will be paid justly for his superintendence
of labor, but not for his capital, and the landlord paid for his
superintendence of the cultivation of land, when he is able to direct it
wisely: that both he, and the employer of mechanical labor, will be
recognized as beloved masters, if they deserve love, and as noble guides
when they are capable of giving discreet guidance; but neither will be
permitted to establish themselves any more as senseless conduits through
which the strength and riches of their native land are to be poured into
the cup of the fornication of its capital.


[Footnote 111: _Contemporary Review_, May 1873.]

[Footnote 112: These were, first, Mr. Herbert Spencer's "Bias of
Patriotism," being the ninth chapter of his "Study of Sociology," first
published in the _Contemporary Review_; and, secondly, Mr. W. R. Greg's
"What is culpable luxury?" See below, p. 303, § 135.--ED.]

[Footnote 113: I take due note that Mr. Spencer partly means by his
adverbial sentence that Patriotism is individual Egoism, expecting its
own central benefit through the Nation's circumferent benefit, as
through a funnel: but, throughout, Mr. Spencer confuses this sentiment,
which he calls "reflex egoism," with the action of "corporate

[Footnote 114: See the letters on "How the Rich Spend their Money"
(reprinted from the _Pall Mall_) in "Arrows of the Chace," vol. ii.,
where the origin of the discussion is explained.--ED.]

[Footnote 115: I use the current English of Mrs. Lennox's translation,
but Henry's real saying was (see the first--green leaf--edition of
Sully), "It is written above what is to happen to me on every occasion."
"Toute occasion" becomes "cette occasion" in the subsequent editions,
and finally "what is to happen to me" (ce que doit être fait de moi)
becomes "what I ought to do" in the English.]

[Footnote 116: Cahors. See the "Memoirs of the Duke of Sully," Book 1.
(Bohn's 1856 Edition, vol. i., pp. 118-9.)--ED.]

[Footnote 117: Where violence and brutality are punished. See Dante's
"Inferno," Canto xii.--ED.]

[Footnote 118: See the _Contemporary Review_ at pp. 618 and

[Footnote 119: Viz.:--That if the expenditure of an income of £30,000 a
year upon luxuries is to rob the poor, so _pro tanto_ is the expenditure
of so much of an income of £300 as is spent on anything beyond "the
simplest necessaries of life."--ED.]

[Footnote 120: Referring to two anonymous articles on "The Agricultural
Laborer," in the _Cornhill Magazine_, vol. 27, Jan. and June 1873, pp.
215 and 307.--ED.]

[Footnote 121: See the Times of November 23rd of that year.]

[Footnote 122: "Is a Christian life feasible in these

[Footnote 123: See _Munera Pulveris_, § 139: "No man can become largely
rich by his personal will.... It is only by the discovery of some method
of taxing the labor of others that he can become opulent." And see also
_Time and Tide_, § 81.--ED.]



148. I have been honored by the receipt of a letter from the Bishop of
Manchester, which, with his Lordship's permission, I have requested the
editor of the _Contemporary Review_ to place before the large circle of
his readers, with a brief accompanying statement of the circumstances by
which the letter has been called forth, and such imperfect reply as it
is in my power without delay to render.


  MANCHESTER, _December_ 8, 1879.

DEAR SIR,--In a letter from yourself to the Rev. F. A.
Malleson,[125] published in the _Contemporary Review_ of the current
month, I observe the following passage:--"I have never yet heard so much
as _one_ (preacher) heartily proclaiming against all those 'deceivers
with vain words,' that no 'covetous person, which is an idolater, hath
_any_ inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and 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." I confess, for myself, that until I saw this passage in
print a few days ago, I was unaware of the existence of such challenge,
and therefore I could not answer it. It appears to have been delivered
(A) in No. 82 of a series of letters which, under the title of _Fors
Clavigera_, you have for some time been addressing to the working
classes of England, but which, from the peculiar mode of their
publication, are not easily accessible to the general reader and which I
have only caught a glimpse of, on the library-table of the Athenæum
Club, on the rare occasions when I am able to use my privileges as a
member of that Society. I have no idea why I had the honor of being
specially mentioned by name (B); but I beg to assure you that my silence
did not arise from any discourtesy towards my challenger, nor from that
discretion which, some people may think, is usually the better part of
episcopal valor, and which consists in ignoring inconvenient questions
from a sense of inability to answer them; but simply from the fact that
I was not conscious that your lance had touched my shield.

149. The question you have asked is just one of those to which
Aristotle's wise caution applies: "We must distinguish and define such
words, if we would know how far, and in what sense, the opposite views
are true" (_Eth. Nic._, ix, c. viii. § 3). What do you mean by "usury"?
(C) Do you comprehend under it _any_ payment of money as interest for
the use of borrowed capital? or only exorbitant, inequitable, grinding
interest, such as the money-lender, Fufidius, extorted?

  Quinas hic capiti mercedes exsecat, atque
  Quanto perditior quisque est, tanto acrius urget:
  Nomina sectatur modo sumta veste virili
  Sub patribus duris tironum. Maxime, quis non,
  Jupiter, exclamat, simul atque audivit?

  --_Hor. Sat._ i. 2, 14-18.

Usury, in itself, is a purely neutral word, carrying with it, in its
primary meaning, neither praise nor blame; and a "usurer" is defined in
our dictionaries as "a person accustomed to lend money and take interest
for it"--which is the ordinary function of a banker, without whose
help great commercial undertakings could not be carried out; though it
is obvious how easily the word may pass into a term of reproach, so that
to have been "called a usurer" was one of the bitter memories that
rankled most in Shylock's catalogue of his wrongs.

150. I do not believe that anything has done more harm to the practical
efficacy of religions sanctions than the extravagant attempts that are
frequently made to impose them in cases which they never originally
contemplated, or to read into "ordinances," evidently "imposed for a
time"--[Greek: dikaiômata mechri kairou] (Heb. ix. 10)--a law of
eternal and immutable obligation. Just as we are told (D) not to expect
to find in the Bible a scheme of physical science, so I do not expect to
find there a scheme of political economy. What I do expect to find, in
relation to my duty to my neighbor, are those unalterable principles of
equity, fairness, truthfulness, honesty (E), which are the indispensable
bases of civil society. I am sure I have no need to remind you that,
while a Jew was forbidden by his law to take usury--_i.e._, interest for
the loan of money--from his brother, if he were waxen poor and fallen
into decay with him, and this generous provision was extended even to
strangers and sojourners in the land (Lev. xxv. 35-38), and the
interesting story in Nehemiah (v. 1-13), tells us how this principle was
recognized in the latest days of the commonwealth--still in that old law
there is no denunciation of usury in general, and it was expressly
permitted in the case of ordinary strangers[126] (Deut. xxiii. 20).

It seems to me plain also that our Blessed Lord's precept about
"lending, hoping for nothing again" (Luke vi. 35), has the same, or a
similar, class of circumstances in view, and was intended simply to
govern a Christian man's conduct to the poor and needy, and "such as
have no helper," and cannot, without a violent twist (F), be construed
into a general law determining forever and in all cases the legitimate
use of capital. Indeed, on another occasion, and in a very memorable
parable, the great Founder of Christianity recognizes, and impliedly
sanctions, the practice of lending money at interest. "Thou oughtest,"
says the master, addressing his unprofitable servant, "thou
oughtest"--[Greek: edei se]--"to have put my money to the exchangers;
and then, at my coming, I should have received mine own _with usury_."

151. "St. Paul, no doubt, denounces the covetous." (G) But who is the
[Greek: pleonektês]? Not the man who may happen to have money out on
loan at a fair rate of interest; but, as Liddell and Scott give the
meaning of the word, "one who has or claims _more than his share_;
hence, greedy, grasping, selfish." Of such men, whose affections are
wholly set on things of the earth, and who are not very scrupulous how
they gratify them, it may, perhaps, not improperly be said (H) that they
"have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." But here,
again, it would be a manifest "wresting" of the words to make them apply
to a case which we have no proof that the Apostle had in contemplation
when he uttered them. Rapacity, greed of gain, harsh and oppressive
dealing, taking unfair advantage of our own superior knowledge and
another's ignorance, shutting up the bowels of compassion towards a
brother who we see has need--all these and the like things are forbidden
by the very spirit of Christianity, and are manifestly "_not_ according
to the will of God," for they are all of them forms of injustice or
wrong. But money may be lent at interest without one of these bad
passions being brought in to play, and in these cases I confess my
inability to see where, either in terms or in spirit, such use of money
is condemned either by the Christian code of charity, or by that natural
law of conscience which we are told (I) is written on the hearts of men.

152. Let me take two or three simple instances by way of illustration.
The following has happened to myself. All my life through--from the time
when my income was not a tenth part of what it is now--I have felt it a
duty, while endeavoring to discharge all proper claims, to live within
that income, so to adjust my expenditure to it that there should be a
margin on the right side. This margin, of course, accumulated, and
reached in time, say, £1000. Just then, say, the London and
North-Western Railway Company proposed to issue Debenture Stock,
bearing four per cent. interest, for the purpose of extending the
communications, and so increasing the wealth, of the country. Whom in
the world am I injuring--what conceivable wrong am I doing--where or how
am I thwarting "the Will of God"--if I let the Company have my £1000,
and have been receiving from them £40 a year for the use of it ever
since? Unless the money had been forthcoming from some quarter or other,
a work which was absolutely necessary for the prosperity of the nation,
and which finds remunerative employment (K) for an immense number of
Englishmen, enabling them to bring up their families in respectability
and comfort, would never have been accomplished. Will you tell me that
this method of carrying out great commercial enterprises, sanctioned by
experience (L) as the most, if not the only, practicable one, is "not
according to the Will of God"?

153. Take another instance. In Lancashire a large number of cotton mills
have been erected on the joint-stock principle with limited liability.
The thing has been pushed too far probably, and at one time there was a
good deal of unwholesome speculation in floating companies. But that is
not the question before us; and the enterprises gave working men an
opportunity of investing their savings, which was a great stimulus to
thrift, and, so far, an advantage to the country. In a mill, which it
would perhaps cost £50,000 to build and fit with machinery, the
subscribed capital, which would be entitled to a division of profits
after all other demands had been satisfied, would not amount probably to
more than £20,000. The rest would be borrowed at rates of interest
varying according to the conditions of the market. You surely would not
maintain that those who lent their money for such a purpose, and were
content with 5 or 6 per cent, for the use of it, thus enabling, in good
times, the shareholders to realize 20 or 25 per cent, on their
subscribed capital, were doing wrong either to the shareholders or
anyone else, or could in any sense be charged with acting "not according
to the will of God"?

154. Take yet one case more. A farmer asks his landlord to drain his
land. "Gladly," says his squire, "if you will pay me five per cent on
the outlay." In other words, "if you will let me share the increased
profits to this extent." The bargain is agreeable to both sides; the
productiveness of the land is largely increased; who is wronged? Surely
such a transaction could not fairly be described as "not according to
the will of God"; surely, unless the commerce and productive industries
of the country are to be destroyed, and, with the destruction, its
population is to be reduced to what it was in the days of Elizabeth,
these and similar transactions--which can be kept entirely clear of the
sin of covetousness, and rest upon the well-understood basis of mutual
advantage, each and all being gainers by them--are not only legitimate,
but inevitable (M). And now that I have taken up your challenge, and, so
far as my ability goes, answered it, may I, without staying to inquire
how far your charge against the clergy can be substantiated, that they
"generally patronize and encourage all the iniquity of the world by
steadily preaching away the penalties of it" (N), be at least allowed to
demur to your wholesale denunciation of the great cities of the earth,
which you say "have become loathsome centers 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 souls of the peasant people round them, as if they
were each a volcano, whose ashes brake out in blains upon man and
beast."[127] Surely, Sir, your righteous indignation at evil has caused
you to overcharge your language. No one can have lived in a great city,
as I have for the last ten years, without being aware of its sins and
its pollutions. But unless you can prevent the aggregation of human
beings into great cities, these are evils which must necessarily exist;
at any rate, which always have existed. The great cities of to-day are
not worse than great cities always have been (O). In one capital
respect, I believe they are better. There is an increasing number of
their citizens who are aware of these evils, and who are trying their
best, with the help of God, to remedy them. In Sodom there was but one
righteous man who "vexed his soul" at the unlawful deeds that he
witnessed day by day, on every side; and he, apparently, did no more
than vex his soul. In Manchester, the men and women, of all ranks and
persuasions, who are actively engaging in some Christian or
philanthropic work, to battle against these gigantic evils, are to be
reckoned by hundreds. Nowhere have I seen more conspicuous instances of
Christian effort, and of single-hearted devotion to the highest
interests of mankind. And though, no doubt, if these efforts were better
organized, more might be achieved, and elements, which one could wish
absent, sometimes mingle with and mar the work, still a great city, even
"with the smoke of its sin going up into the face of Heaven," is the
noblest field of the noblest virtues, because it gives the amplest scope
for the most varied exercise of them.

If you will teach us clergy how better to discharge our office as
ministers of a Kingdom of Truth and Righteousness, we shall all owe you
a deep debt of gratitude; which no one will be more forward to
acknowledge than, my dear Sir, yours faithfully and with much respect,



155. The foregoing letter, to which I would fain have given my undivided
and unwearied attention, reached my hands, as will be seen by its date,
only in the close of the year, when my general correspondence always far
overpasses my powers of dealing with it, and my strength--such as now is
left me--had been spent, nearly to lowest ebb, in totally unexpected
business arising out of the threatened mischief at Venice. But I am
content that such fragmentary reply as, under this pressure, has been
possible to me, should close the debate as far as I am myself concerned.
The question at issue is not one of private interpretation; and the
interests concerned are too vast to allow its decision to be long

The Bishop will, I trust, not attribute to disrespect the mode of reply
in the form of notes attached to special passages, indicated by
inserted letters, which was adopted in _Fors Clavigera_ in all cases of
important correspondence, as more clearly defining the several points
under debate.

156. (A) "The challenge appears to have been delivered." May I
respectfully express my regret that your lordship should not have read
the letter you have honored me by answering. The number of _Fors_
referred to does not deliver--it only reiterates--the challenge given in
the _Fors_ for January 1st, 1875, with reference to the prayer "Have
mercy upon all Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics, and so fetch them
home, blessed Lord, to Thy flock, that they may be saved among the
remnant of the true Israelites," in these following terms: "Who _are_
the true Israelites, my Lord of Manchester, on your Exchange? Do they
stretch their cloth, like other people?--have they any underhand
dealings with the liable-to-be-damned false Israelites--Rothschilds and
the like? or are they duly solicitous about those wanderers' souls? and
how often, on the average, do your Manchester clergy preach from the
delicious parable, savoriest of all Scripture to rogues (at least since
the eleventh century, when I find it to have been specially headed with
golden title in my best Greek MS.) of the Pharisee and Publican,--and
how often, on the average, from those objectionable First and Fifteenth

(B) "I have no idea why I had the honor of being specially mentioned by
name." By diocese, my Lord; not name, please observe; and for this very
simple reason: that I have already fairly accurate knowledge of the
divinity of the old schools of Canterbury, York, and Oxford; but I
looked to your Lordship as the authoritative exponent of the more
advanced divinity of the school of Manchester, with which I am not yet

157. (C) "What do you mean by usury?" What _I_ mean by that word, my
Lord, is surely of no consequence to anyone but my few readers, and
fewer disciples. What David and his Son meant by it I have prayed your
Lordship to tell your flock, in the name of the Church which dictates
daily to them the songs of the one, and professes to interpret to them
the commands of the other.

And although I can easily conceive that a Bishop at the court of the
Third Richard might have paused in reply to a too curious layman's
question of what was meant by "Murder"; and can also conceive a Bishop
at the court of the Second Charles hesitating as to the significance of
the word "Adultery"; and farther, in the present climacteric of the
British Constitution, an elder of the Church of Glasgow debating within
himself whether the Commandment which was severely prohibitory of Theft
might not be mildly permissive of Misappropriation;--at no time, nor
under any conditions, can I conceive any question existing as to the
meaning of the words [Greek: tokos], _foenus_; _usura_, or usury: and
I trust that your Lordship will at once acquit me of wishing to attach
any other significance to the word than that which it was to the full
intended to convey on every occasion of its use by Moses, by David, by
Christ, and by the Doctors of the Christian Church, down to the
seventeenth century.

Nor, even since that date, although the commercial phrase "interest" has
been adopted in order to distinguish an open and unoppressive rate of
usury from a surreptitious and tyrannical one, has the debate of
lawfulness or unlawfulness ever turned seriously on that distinction. It
is neither justified by its defenders only in its mildness, nor
condemned by its accusers only in its severity. Usury in any degree is
asserted by the Doctors of the early Church to be sinful, just as theft
and adultery are asserted to be sinful, though neither may have been
accompanied with violence; and although the theft may have been on the
most splendid scale, and the fornication of the most courtly refinement.

So also, in modern days, though the voice of the Bank of England in
Parliament declares a loan without interest to be a monster,[128] and a
loan made below the current rate of interest, a monster in its degree,
the increase of dividends above that current rate is not, as far as I
am aware, shunned by shareholders with an equally religious horror.

158. But--this strange question being asked--I give its simple and broad
answer in the words of Christ: "The taking up that thou layedst not
down;"--or, in explained and literal terms, usury is any money paid, or
other advantage given, for the loan of anything which is restored to its
possessor uninjured and undiminished. For simplest instance, taking a
cabman the other day on a long drive, I lent him a shilling to get his
dinner. If I had kept thirteen pence out of his fare, the odd penny
would have been usury.

Or again. I lent one of my servants, a few years ago, eleven hundred
pounds, to build a house with, and stock its ground. After some years he
paid me the eleven hundred pounds back. If I had taken eleven hundred
pounds and a penny, the extra penny would have been usury.

I do not know whether by the phrase, presently after used by your
Lordship, "religious sanctions," I am to understand the Law of God which
David loved, and Christ fulfilled, or whether the splendor, the
commercial prosperity, and the familiar acquaintance with all the
secrets of science and treasures of art, which we admire in the City of
Manchester, must in your Lordship's view be considered as "cases" which
the intelligence of the Divine Lawgiver could not have originally
contemplated. Without attempting to disguise the narrowness of the
horizon grasped by the glance of the Lord from Sinai, nor the
inconvenience of the commandments which Christ has directed those who
love Him to keep, am I too troublesome or too exigent in asking from one
of those whom the Holy Ghost has made our overseers, at least a distinct
chart of the Old World as contemplated by the Almighty; and a clear
definition of even the inappropriate tenor of the orders of Christ: if
only that the modern scientific Churchman may triumph more securely in
the circumference of his heavenly vision, and accept more gratefully the
glorious liberty of the free-thinking children of God?

159. To take a definite, and not impertinent, instance, I observe in
the continuing portion of your letter that your Lordship recognizes in
Christ Himself, as doubtless all other human perfections, so also the
perfection of an usurer; and that, confidently expecting one day to hear
from His lips the convicting sentence, "Thou knewest that I was an
austere man," your Lordship prepares for yourself, by the disposition of
your capital no less than of your talents, a better answer than the
barren, "Behold, there thou hast that is thine!" I would only observe in
reply, that although the conception of the Good Shepherd, which in your
Lordship's language is "implied" in this parable, may indeed be less
that of one who lays down his life for his sheep, than of one who takes
up his money for them, the passages of our Master's instruction, of
which the meaning is not implicit, but explicit, are perhaps those which
His simpler disciples will be safer in following. Of which I find, early
in His teaching, this, almost, as it were, in words of one syllable:
"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee
turn not thou away."

There is nothing more "implied" in this sentence than the probable
disposition to turn away, which might be the first impulse in the mind
of a Christian asked to lend for nothing, as distinguished from the
disciple of the Manchester school, whose principal care is rather to
find, than to avoid, the enthusiastic and enterprising "him that would
borrow of thee." We of the older tradition, my Lord, think that
prudence, no less than charity, forbids the provocation or temptation of
others into the state of debt, which some time or other we might be
called upon, not only to allow the payment of without usury, but even
altogether to forgive.

160. (D) "Just as we are told." Where, my Lord, and by whom? It is
possible that some of the schemers in physical science, of whom, only a
few days since, I heard one of the leading doctors explain to a pleased
audience that serpents once had legs, and had dropped them off in the
process of development, may have advised the modern disciple of progress
of a new meaning in the simple phrase, "upon thy belly shalt thou go";
and that the wisdom of the serpent may henceforth consist, for true
believers of the scientific Gospel, in the providing of meats for that
spiritual organ of motion. It is doubtless also true that we shall look
vainly among the sayings of Solomon for any expression of the opinions
of Mr. John Stuart Mill; but at least this much of Natural science,
enough for our highest need, we may find in the Scriptures--that by the
Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the
breath of His mouth;--and this much of Political, that the Blessing of
the Lord, _it_ maketh rich--and He addeth no sorrow with it.

(E) "What I do expect to find." Has your Lordship _no_ expectations
loftier than these, from severer scrutiny of the Gospel? As for
instance, of some ordinance of Love, built on the foundation of Honesty?

161. (F) "Cannot without a violent twist." I have never myself found any
person sincerely desirous of obeying the Word of the Lord, who had the
least wish, or occasion, to twist it; nay, even those who study it only
that they may discover methods of pardonable disobedience, recognize the
unturnable edge of its sword--and in the worst extremity of their need,
strive not to avert, but to evade. The utmost deceivableness of
unrighteousness cannot deceive itself into satisfactory
misinterpretation; it is reduced always to a tremulous omission of the
texts it is resolved to disobey. But a little while since, I heard an
entirely well-meaning clergyman, taken by surprise in the course of
family worship in the house of a wealthy friend, and finding himself
under the painful necessity of reading the fifteenth Psalm, omit the
first sentence of the closing verse. I chanced afterwards to have an
opportunity of asking him why he had done so, and received for answer,
that the lowliness of Christian attainment was not yet "up" to that
verse. The harmonies of iniquity are thus curiously perfect:--the
economies of spiritual nourishment approve the same methods of
adulteration which are found profitable in the carnal; until the prudent
pastor follows the example of the well-instructed dairyman; and
provides for his new-born babes the _in_sincere Milk of the Word, that
they may _not_ grow thereby.

162. (G) "St. Paul, no doubt, denounces the covetous." Am I to
understand your Lordship as considering this undeniable denunciation an
original and peculiar view taken by the least of the Apostles--perhaps,
in this particular opinion, not worthy to be called an Apostle? The
traditions of my earlier days were wont to refer me to an earlier source
of the idea; which does not, however, appear to have occurred to your
Lordship's mind--else the reference to the authority of Liddell and
Scott, for the significance of the noun [Greek: pleonektês], ought to
have been made also for that of the verb [Greek: epithumeô] And your
Lordship's frankness in referring me to the instances of your own
practice in the disposal of your income, must plead my excuse for what
might have otherwise seemed impertinent--in noting that the
blamelessness of episcopal character, even by that least of the
Apostles, required in his first Epistle to Timothy, consists not merely
in contentment with an episcopal share of Church property, but in being
in no respect either [Greek: aischrokordês]--a taker of gain in a base
or vulgar manner, or [Greek: philarguros]--a "lover of silver," this
latter word being the common and proper word for covetous, in the
Gospels and Epistles; as of the Pharisees in Luke xvi. 14; and
associated with the other characters of men in perilous times, 2 Timothy
iii. 2, and its relative noun [Greek: philarguria, given in sum for the
root of _all_ evil in 2 Timothy vi. 10, while even the authority of
Liddell and Scott in the interpretation of [Greek: pleonexia] itself as
only the desire of getting more than our share, may perhaps be bettered
by the authority of the teacher, who, declining the appeal made to him
as an equitable [Greek: meristês] (Luke xii. 14-46), tells his disciples
to beware of coveteousness, simply as the desire of getting more than we
have got. "For a man's life consisteth not in the _abundance_ of the
things which he possesseth."

163. Believe me, my Lord, it is not without some difficulty that I check
my natural impulse to follow you, as a scholar, into the interesting
analysis of the distinctions which may be drawn between Rapacity and
Acquisitiveness; between the Avarice, or the prudent care, of
possession; between the greed, and the modest expectation, of gain;
between the love of money, which is the root of all evil; and the
commercial spirit, which is in England held to be the fountain of all
good. These delicate adjustments of the balance, by which we strive to
weigh to a grain the relative quantities of devotion which we may render
in the service of Mammon and of God, are wholly of recent invention and
application; nor have they the slightest bearing, either on the
spiritual purport of the final commandment of the Decalogue, or on the
distinctness of the subsequent prohibition of practical usury.

It must be remembered, also, how difficult it has become to define the
term "filthy" with precision, in the present state, moral and physical,
of the English atmosphere; and still more so, to judge how far, in that
healthy element, a moderate and delicately sanctified appetite for gold
may be developed into livelier qualms of hunger for righteousness. It
may be matter of private opinion how far the lucre derived by your
Lordship from commission on the fares and refreshments of the passengers
by the North-Western may be odoriferous or precious, in the same sense
as the ointment on the head of Aaron; or how far that received by the
Primate of England in royalties on the circulation of improving
literature[129] may enrich--as with perfumes out of broken
alabaster--the empyreal air of Addington. But the higher class of
laborers in the Lord's vineyard might surely, with true grace, receive,
from the last unto the first, the reflected instruction so often given
by the first unto the last, "Be content with your wages."

(H) "It may, perhaps, not improperly be said," The Bible Society will
doubtless in future gratefully prefix this guarantee to their

(I) "Which we are told." Can we then no more find for ourselves this
writing on our hearts--or has it ceased to be legible?

164. (K) "Remunerative employment." I cannot easily express the
astonishment with which I find a man of your Lordship's intelligence
taking up the common phrase of "giving employment," as if, indeed, labor
were the best gift which the rich could bestow on the poor. Of course,
every idle vagabond, be he rich or poor, "gives employment" to some
otherwise enough burdened wretch, to provide his dinner and clothes for
him; and every vicious vagabond, in the destructive power of his vice,
gives sorrowful occupation to the energies of resisting and renovating
virtue. The idle child who litters its nursery and tears its frock,
gives employment to the housemaid and seamstress; the idle woman, who
litters her drawing-room with trinkets, and is ashamed to be seen twice
in the same dress, is, in your Lordship's view, the enlightened
supporter of the arts and manufactures of her country. At the close of
your letter, my Lord, you, though in measured terms, indignantly dissent
from my statement of the power of great cities for evil, and indeed I
have perhaps been led, by my prolonged study of the causes of the Fall
of Venice, into clearer recognition of some of these urban influences
than may have been possible to your Lordship in the center of the
virtues and proprieties which have been blessed by Providence in the
rise of Manchester. But the Scriptural symbol of the power of temptation
in the hand of the spiritual Babylon--"all kings have been drunk with
the wine of her Fornication"--is perfectly literal in its exposition of
the special influence of cities over a vicious, that is to say, a
declining, people. They are the foci of its fornication, and the
practical meaning is that the lords of the soil take the food and labor
of the peasants, who are their slaves, and spend them especially in
forms of luxury perfected by the definitely so-called "women of the
_town_" who, whether East-cheap Doll, or West--much the reverse of
cheap--Nell, are, both in the color which they give to the Arts, and in
the tone which they give to the Manners, of the State, a literal plague,
pestilence and burden to it, quite otherwise malignant and maleficent
than the poor country lassie who loses her snood among the heather. And
when, at last, _real_ political economy shall exhibit the exact sources
and consequences of the expenditure of the great capitals of
civilization on their own indulgences, your Lordship will be furnished,
in the statistics of their most splendid and most impious pleasure, with
record of precisely the largest existing source of "remunerative
employment"--(if _that_ were all the poor had to ask for), next after
the preparation and practice of war. I believe it is, indeed, probable
that "facility of intercourse" gives the next largest quantity of
occupation; and, as your Lordship rightly observes, to most respectable
persons. And if the entire population of Manchester lost the use of its
legs, your Lordship would similarly have the satisfaction of observing,
and might share in the profits of providing, the needful machinery of
porterage and stretchers. But observe, my Lord--and observe as a final
and inevitable truth--that whether you lend your money to provide an
invalided population with crutches, stretchers, hearses, or the railroad
accommodation which is so often synonymous with the three, the _tax on
the use_ of these, which constitutes the shareholder's dividend, is a
permanent burden upon them, exacted by avarice, and by no means an aid
granted by benevolence.

165. (L) "Sanctioned by experience." The experience of twenty-three
years, my Lord, and with the following result:--

"We have now had an opportunity of practically testing the theory. Not
more than seventeen" (now twenty-three--I quote from a letter dated
1875) "years have passed since" (by the final abolition of the Usury
laws) "all restraint was removed from the growth of what Lord Coke calls
'this pestilent weed,'" and we see Bacon's words verified--"the rich
becoming richer, and the poor poorer, throughout the civilized world."
Letter from Mr. R. Sillar, quoted in _Fors Clavigera_, No. 43.

(M) "Inevitable." Neither "impossible" nor "inevitable" were words of
old Christian Faith. But see the closing paragraph of my letter.

(N) Before you call on me to substantiate this charge, my Lord, I
should like to insert after the words, "steadily preaching," the phrase,
"and politely explaining"--with the Pauline qualification, "whether by
word, or our epistle."

166. (O) "The great cities of to-day are not worse than great cities
always have been," I do not remember having said that they were, my
Lord; I have never anticipated for Manchester a worse fate than that of
Sardis or Sodom; nor have I yet observed any so mighty works shown forth
in her by her ministers, as to make her impenitence less pardonable than
that of Sidon or Tyre. But I used the particular expression which your
Lordship supposes me to have overcharged in righteous indignation, "a
boil breaking forth with blains on man and beast," because that
particular plague was the one which Moses was ordered, in the Eternal
Wisdom, to connect with the ashes of the Furnace--literally, no less
than spiritually, when he brought the Israelites forth out of Egypt,
_from the midst of the Furnace of Iron_. How literally, no less than in
faith and hope, the smoke of "the great city, which spiritually is
called Sodom and Egypt," has poisoned the earth, the waters, and the
living creatures, flocks and herds, and the babes that know not their
right hand from their left--neither Memphis, Gomorrah, nor Cahors are
themselves likely to recognize: but, as I pause in front of the
infinitude of the evil that I cannot find so much as thought to
follow--how much less words to speak!--a letter is brought to me which
gives what perhaps may be more impressive in its single and historical
example, than all the general evidence gathered already in the pages of
_Fors Clavigera_.

       *       *       *       *       *

167. "I could never understand formerly what you meant about usury, and
about its being wrong to take interest. I said, truly, then that I
'trusted you,' meaning I knew that in such matters you did not
'opine'--and that innumerable things were within your horizon which had
no place within mine.

"But as I did not understand I could only watch and ponder. Gradually I
came to see a little--as when I read current facts about India--about
almost every country, and about our own trade, etc. Then (one of several
circumstances that could be seen more closely) among my mother's kindred
in the north, I watched the ruin of two lives. They began married life
together, with good prospects and sufficient means, in a lovely little
nest among the hills, beyond the Rochdale smoke. Soon this became too
narrow. 'A splendid trade,' more mills, frequent changes into even finer
dwellings, luxurious living, ostentation, extravagance, increasing year
by year, all, as now appears, made possible by usury--borrowed capital.
The wife was laid in her grave lately, and her friends are _thankful_.
The husband, with ruin threatening his affairs, is in a worse, and
living, grave of evil habits."

     "These are some of the loopholes through which light has fallen
     upon your words, giving them a new meaning, and making me wonder
     how I could have missed seeing it from the first. Once alive to it,
     I recognize the evil on all sides, and how we are entangled by it;
     and though I am still puzzled at one or two points, I am very clear
     about the principle--that usury is a deadly thing,"

Yes; and deadly always with the vilest forms of destruction both to soul
and body.

168. It happens strangely, my Lord, that although throughout the seven
volumes of _Fors Clavigera_, I never have set down a sentence without
chastising it first into terms which could be _literally_ as well as in
their widest bearing justified against all controversy, you could
perhaps not have found in the whole book, had your Lordship read it for
the purpose, any saying quite so literally and terrifically demonstrable
as this which you have chanced to select for attack. For, in the first
place, of all the calamities which in their apparently merciless
infliction paralyzed the wavering faith of mediæval Christendom, the
"boil breaking forth into blains," in the black plagues of Florence and
London, was the fatalest messenger of the fiends: and, in the second
place, the broad result of the Missionary labors of the cities of
Madrid, Paris, and London, for the salvation of the wild tribes of the
New World, since the vaunted discovery of it, may be summed in the stem
sentence--Death, by drunkenness and smallpox.

The beneficent influence of recent commercial enterprise in the
communication of such divine grace, and divine blessing (not to speak of
other more dreadful and shameful conditions of disease), may be studied
to best advantage in the history of the two great French and English
Companies, who have enjoyed the monopoly of clothing the nakedness of
the Old World with coats of skins from the New.

The charter of the English one, obtained from the Crown in 1670, was in
the language of modern Liberalism--" wonderfully liberal,"[130]
comprising not only the grant of the exclusive trade, but also of full
territorial possession, to all perpetuity, of the vast lands within the
watershed of Hudson's Bay. The Company at once established some forts
along the shores of the great inland sea from which it derived its name,
and opened a very lucrative trade with the Indians, _so that it never
ceased paying rich dividends_ to the fortunate shareholders, until
towards the close of the last century.

Up to this time, with the exception of the voyage of discovery which
Herne (1770-71) made under its auspices to the mouth of the Coppermine
River, it had done but little for the promotion of geographical
discovery in its vast territory.

169. Meanwhile, the Canadian (French) fur traders had become so hateful
to the Indians, that these savages formed a conspiracy for their total
extirpation. _Fortunately for the white men_, the smallpox broke out
about this time among the redskins, and swept them away as the fire
consumes the parched grass of the prairies. Their unburied corpses were
torn by the wolves and wild dogs, and the survivors were too weak and
dispirited to be able to undertake anything against the foreign
intruders. The Canadian fur traders now also saw the necessity of
combining their efforts for their mutual benefit, instead of ruining
each other by an insane competition; and consequently formed in 1783 a
society which, under the name of the North-West Company of Canada,
ruled over the whole continent from the Canadian lakes to the Rocky
Mountains, and in 1806 it even crossed the barrier and established its
forts on the northern tributaries of the Columbia river. To the north it
likewise extended its operations, encroaching more and more upon the
privileges of the Hudson's Bay Company, which, roused to energy, now
also pushed on its posts further and further into the interior, and
established, in 1812, a colony on the Red River to the south of Winnipeg
Lake, thus driving, as it were, a sharp thorn into the side of its
rival. But a power like the North-West Company, which had no less than
50 agents, 70 interpreters, and 1120 "voyageurs" in its pay, and whose
chief managers used to appear at their annual meetings at Fort William,
on the banks of Lake Superior, with all the pomp and pride of feudal
barons, was not inclined to tolerate this encroachment; and thus, after
many quarrels, a regular war broke out between the two parties, which,
after two years' duration, led to the expulsion of the Red River
colonists, and the murder of their governor Semple. This event took
place in the year 1816, and is but one episode of the bloody feuds which
continued to reign between the two rival Companies until 1821.

170. The dissension's of the fur traders had most deplorable
consequences for the redskins; for both Companies, to swell the number
of their adherents, lavishly distributed spirituous liquors--a
temptation which no Indian can resist. The whole of the meeting-grounds
of the Saskatchewan and Athabasca were but one scene of revelry and
bloodshed. Already decimated by the smallpox, the Indians now became the
victims of drunkenness and discord, and it was to be feared that if the
war and its consequent demoralization continued, the most important
tribes would soon be utterly swept away.

At length wisdom prevailed over passion, and the enemies came to a
resolution which, if taken from the very beginning, would have saved
them both a great deal of treasure and many crimes. Instead of
continuing to swing the tomahawk, they now smoked the calumet, and
amalgamated in 1821, under the name of "Hudson's Bay Company," and
under the wing of the Charter.

The British Government, as a dowry to the impoverished couple, presented
them with a license of exclusive trade throughout the whole of that
territory which, under the name of the "Hudson's Bay and North-West
territories," extends from Labrador to the Pacific, and from the Red
River to the Polar Ocean.

171. Such, my Lord, have been the triumphs of the modern Evangel of
Usury, Competition, and Private Enterprise, in a perfectly clear
instance of their action, chosen I hope with sufficient candor, since
"History," says Professor Hind, "does not furnish another example of an
association of private individuals exerting a powerful influence over so
large an extent of the earth's surface and administering their affairs
with such consummate skill, and unwavering devotion to the original
objects of their incorporation."

That original object being, of course, that poor naked America, having
yet in a manner two coats, might be induced by these Christian merchants
to give to him that had none?

In like manner, may any Christian householder, who has two houses or
perchance two parks, ever be induced to give to him that hath none? My
temper and my courtesy scarcely serve me, my Lord, to reply to your
assertion of the "inevitableness" that, while half of Great Britain is
laid out in hunting-grounds for sport more savage than the Indians, the
poor of our cities must be swept into incestuous heaps; or into dens and
caves which are only tombs disquieted, so changing the whiteness of
Jewish sepulchers into the blackness of Christian ones, in which the
hearts of the rich and the homes of the poor are alike as graves that
appear not;--only their murmur, that sayeth "it is not enough," sounds
deeper beneath us every hour; nay, the whole earth, and not only the
cities of it, sends forth that ghastly cry; and her fruitful plains have
become slime-pits, and her fair estuaries, gulfs of death; for _us_, the
Mountain of the Lord has become only Golgotha, and the sound of the new
song before the Throne is drowned in the rolling death-rattle of the
nations, "Oh Christ; where is thy victory?"

These are thy glorious works, Mammon parent of Good,--and this the true
debate, my Lord of Manchester, between the two Angels of your
Church,--whether the "Dreamland" of its souls be now, or
hereafter,--now, the firelight in the cave, or hereafter, the sunlight
of Heaven.

172. How, my Lord, am I to receive, or reply to, the narrow concessions
of your closing sentence? The Spirit of Truth was breathed even from the
Athenian Acropolis, and the Law of Justice thundered even from the
Cretan Sinai; but for _us_, He who said, "I am the Truth," said also, "I
am the Way, and the Life;" and for _us_, He who reasoned of
Righteousness, reasoned also of Temperance and Judgment to come. Is this
the sincere milk of the Word, which takes the hope from the Person of
Christ, and the fear from the charge of His apostle, and forbids to
English heroism the perilous vision of Immortality? God be with you, my
Lord, and exalt your teaching to that quality of Mercy which, distilling
as the rain from Heaven--not strained as through channels from a sullen
reservoir-may soften the hearts of your people to receive the New
Commandment, that they Love one another. So, round the cathedral of your
city, shall the merchant's law be just, and his weights true; the table
of the money-changer not overthrown, and the bench of the money-lender

And to as many as walk according to this rule, Peace shall be on them,
and Mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

       *       *       *       *       *

173. With the preceding letter must assuredly end--for the present, if
not forever--my own notes on a subject of which my strength no longer
serves me to endure the stress and sorrow; but I may possibly be able to
collect, eventually, into more close form, the already manifold and
sufficient references scattered through _Fors Clavigera_: and perhaps to
reprint for the St. George's Guild the admirable compendium of British
ecclesiastical and lay authority on the subject, collected by John
Blaxton, preacher of God's Word at Osmington in Dorsetshire, printed by
John Norton under the title of "The English Usurer," and sold by Francis
Bowman, in Oxford, 1631. A still more precious record of the fierce
struggle of usury into life among Christians, and of the resistance to
it by Venice and her "Anthony,"[131] will be found in the dialogue
"della Usura," of Messer Speron Sperone (Aldus, in Vinegia, MDXIII.),
followed by the dialogue "del Cathaio," between "Portia, sola, e
fanciulla, fame, e cibo, vita, e morte, di ciascuno che la conosce," and
her lover Moresini, which is the source of all that is loveliest in the
_Merchant of Venice_. Readers who seek more modern and more scientific
instruction may consult the able abstract of the triumph of usury, drawn
up by Dr. Andrew Dickson White, President of Cornell University ("The
Warfare of Science," H. S. King & Co., 1877), in which the victory of
the great modern scientific principle, that two and two make five, is
traced exultingly to the final overthrow of St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome,
St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, Luther, and Bossuet, by "the
establishment of the Torlonia family in Rome." A better collection of
the most crushing evidence cannot be found than this, furnished by an
adversary; a less petulant and pompous, but more earnest voice from
America, "Usury the Giant Sin of the Age," by Edward Palmer (Perth
Amboys, 1865), should be read together with it. In the meantime, the
substance of the teaching of the _former_ Church of England, in the
great sermon against usury of Bishop Jewell, may perhaps not uselessly
occupy one additional page of the _Contemporary Review_:--

174. "Usury is a kind of lending of money, or corne, or oyle, or wine,
or of any other thing, wherein, upon covenant and bargaine, we receive
againe the whole principall which we delivered, and somewhat more, for
the use and occupying of the same; as if I lend 100 pound, and for it
covenant to receive 105 pound, or any other summe, greater then was the
summe which I did lend: this is that which we call usury: such a kind of
bargaining as no good man, or godly man ever used. Such a kind of
bargaining as all men that ever feared God's judgments have alwaies
abhorred and condemned. It is filthy gaines, and a worke of darkenesse,
it is a monster in nature: the overthrow of mighty kingdoms, the
destruction of flourishing States, the decay of wealthy cities, the
plagues of the world, and the misery of the people: it is theft, it is
the murthering of our brethren, its the curse of God, and the curse of
the people. This is Usury. By these signes and tokens you may know it.
For wheresoever it raigneth all those mischiefes ensue.

"Whence springeth usury? Soone shewed. Even thence whence theft, murder,
adultery, the plagues, and destruction of the people doe spring. All
these are the workes of the divell, and the workes of the flesh. Christ
telleth the Pharisees, You are of your father the divell, and the lusts
of your father you will doe. Even so may it truely be sayd to the
usurer, Thou art of thy father the divell, and the lusts of thy father
thou wilt doe, and therefore thou hast pleasure in his workes. The
divell entered into the heart of Judas, and put in him this greedinesse,
and covetousnesse of game, for which he was content to sell his master.
Judas's heart was the shop, the divell was the foreman to worke in it.
They that will be rich fall into tentation and snares, and into many
foolish and noysome lusts, which drowne men in perdition and
destruction. For the desire of money is the roote of all evil. And St.
John saith, Whosoever committeth sinne is of the Divell, 1 Joh. 3-8.
Thus we see that the divell is the planter, and the father of usury.

"What are the fruits of usury? A. 1. It dissolveth the knot and
fellowship of mankind. 2. It hardeneth man's heart. 3. It maketh men
unnaturall, and bereaveth them of charity, and love to their dearest
friends. 4. It breedeth misery and provoketh the wrath of God from
heaven. 5. It consumeth rich men, it eateth up the poore, it maketh
bankrupts, and undoeth many householders. 6. The poore occupiers are
driven to flee, their wives are left alone, their children are
hopelesse, and driven to beg their bread, through the unmercifull
dealing of the covetous usurer.

175. "He that is an usurer, wisheth that all others may lacke and come
to him and borrow of him; that all others may lose, so that he may have
gaine. Therefore our old forefathers so much abhorred this trade, that
they thought an usurer unworthy to live in the company of Christian men.
They suffered not an usurer to be witnesse in matters of Law. They
suffer him not to make a Testament, and to bestow his goods by will.
When an usurer dyed, they would not suffer him to be buried in places
appointed for the buriall of Christians. So highly did they mislike this
unmercifull spoyling and deceiving our brethren.

"But what speak I of the ancient Fathers of the Church? There was never
any religion, nor sect, nor state, nor degree, nor profession of men,
but they have disliked it. Philosophers, Greekes, Latins, lawyers,
divines, Catholikes, heretics; all tongues and nations have ever thought
an usurer as dangerous as a theefe. The very sense of nature proves it
to be so. If the stones could speak they would say as much. But some
will say all kindes of usury are not forbidden. There may be cases where
usury may stand with reason and equity, and herein they say so much as
by wit may be devised to paint out a foule and ugly idoll, and to shadow
themselves in manifest and open wickednesse. Whatsoever God sayeth, yet
this or this kind of usury, say they, which is done in this or this
sort, is not forbidden. It proffiteth the Commonwealth, it relieveth
great numbers, the poore should otherwise perish, none would lend them.
By like good reason, there are some that defend theft and murder; they
say, there may be some case where it is lawful to kill or to steale;
for God willed the Hebrews to rob the Ægyptians, and Abraham to kill his
owne sonne Isaac. In these cases the robbery and the killing of his
sonne were lawfull. So say they. Even so by the like reason doe some of
our countrymen maintayne concubines, curtizans, and brothel-houses, and
stand in defence of open stewes. They are (say they) for the benefit of
the country, they keepe men from more dangerous inconveniences; take
them away, it will be worse. Although God say, there shall be no whore
of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a whorekeeper of the
sonnes of Israel: yet these men say all manner of whoredom is not
forbidden. In these and these cases it is not amisse to alow it."

     "As Samuel sayd to Saul, so may we say to the usurer, Thou hast
     devised cases and colours to hide thy shame, but what regard hath
     God to thy cases? What careth He for thy reasons? the Lord would
     have more pleasure, if when thou heareth His voyce thou wouldest
     obey Him. For what is thy device against the counsell, and
     ordinance of God? What bold presumption is it for a mortall man to
     controule the commandments of immortall God? And to weigh his
     heavenly wisdome in the ballance of humane foolishnesse? When God
     sayth, Thou shalt not take usury, what creature of God art thou
     which canst take usury? When God maketh it unlawfull, what art
     thou, oh man, that sayst, it is lawfull? This is a token of a
     desperate mind. It is found true in thee, that Paul sayd, the love
     of money is the root of all ill. Thou art so given over unto the
     wicked Mammon, that thou carest not to doe the will of God."

Thus far, the theology of Old England. Let it close with the calm law,
spoken four hundred years before Christ, [Greek: a mê katethou, mê anelê].


[Footnote 124: _Contemporary Review_, February 1880.]

[Footnote 125: See below (p. 393, § 236), in the eighth letter on the
Lord's Prayer.--ED.]

[Footnote 126: In Proverbs xxviii. 8, "usury" is coupled with "unjust
gain," and a pitiless spirit towards the poor, which shows in what sense
the word is to be understood there, and in such other passages as Ps.
xv. 5 and Ezek. xviii. 8, 9.]

[Footnote 127: See post, p. 394, § 237.--ED.]

[Footnote 128: Speech of Mr. J. C. Hubbard, M.P. for London, reported in
_Standard_ of 26th July, 1879.]

[Footnote 129: See the Articles of Association of the East Surrey Hall,
Museum, and Library Company. (_Fors Clavigera_, Letter lxx.)]

[Footnote 130: "The Polar World," p. 342, Longmans, 1874.]

[Footnote 131:

  "The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
  The best conditioned and unwearied spirit,
  In doing courtesies; and one in whom
  _The ancient Roman honor more appears,
  Than any that draws breath in Italy._"

This is the Shakespearian description of that Anthony, whom the modern
British public, with its new critical lights, calls a "sentimentalist
and speculator!"--holding Shylock to be the real hero, and innocent
victim of the drama.]



176. In the wise, practical, and affectionate sermon, given from St.
Mary's pulpit last autumn to the youth of Oxford, by the good Bishop of
Carlisle, his Lordship took occasion to warn his eagerly attentive
audience, with deep earnestness, against the crime of debt; dwelling
with powerful invective on the cruelty and selfishness with which, too
often, the son wasted in his follies the fruits of his father's labor,
or the means of his family's subsistence; and involved himself in
embarrassments which, said the Bishop, "I have again and again known to
cause the misery of all subsequent life."

The sin was charged, the appeal pressed, only on the preacher's
undergraduate hearers. Beneath the gallery, the Heads of Houses sate,
remorseless; nor from the pulpit was a single hint permitted that any
measures could be rationally taken for the protection, no less than the
warning, of the youth under their care. No such suggestion would have
been received, if even understood, by any English congregation of this
time;--a strange and perilous time, in which the greatest commercial
people of the world have been brought to think Usury the most honorable
and fruitful branch, or rather perennial stem, of commercial industry.

177. But whose the fault that English congregations are in this temper,
and this ignorance? The saying of mine,[133] which the author of this
book quotes in the close of his introduction, was written by me with a
meaning altogether opposite, and far more forcible, than that which it
might seem to bear to a careless interpreter.[134] In the present state
of popular revolt against all conception and manner of authority, but
more especially spiritual authority, the sentence reads as if it were
written by an adversary of the Church,--a hater of its Prelacy,--an
advocate of universal liberty of thought and license of crime: whereas
the sentence is really written in the conviction (I might say knowledge,
if I spoke without deference to the reader's incredulity) that the
Pastoral Office must forever be the highest, for good or evil, in every
Christian land; and that when _it_ fails in vigilance, faith, or
courage, the sheep _must_ be scattered, and neither King nor law avail
any more to protect them against the fury of their own passions, nor any
human sagacity against the deception of their own hearts.

178. Since, however, these things are instantly so, and the Bishops of
England have now with one accord consented to become merely the highly
salaried vergers of her Cathedrals, taking care that the choristers do
not play at leapfrog in the Churchyard, that the Precincts are elegantly
iron-railed from the profane parts of the town, and that the doors of
the building be duly locked, so that nobody may pray in it at
improper times,--these things being so, may we not turn to the
"every-man-his-own-Bishop" party, with its Bible Society, Missionary
zeal, and right of infallible private interpretation, to ask at least
for some small exposition to the inhabitants of their own country, of
those Scriptures which they are so fain to put in the possession of
others; and this the rather, because the popular familiar version of the
New Testament among us, unwritten, seems to be now the exact contrary of
that which we were once taught to be of Divine authority.

179. I place, side by side, the ancient and modern versions of the seven
verses of the New Testament which were the beginning, and are indeed the
heads, of all the teaching of Christ:--


  Blessed are the Poor in
  Spirit, for their's is the
  kingdom of Heaven.

  Blessed are they that mourn,
  for they shall be comforted.

  Blessed are the meek, for
  they shall inherit the

  Blessed are they which do
  hunger for righteousness,
  for they shall be filled.

  Blessed are the merciful, for
  they shall obtain mercy.

  Blessed are the pure in heart,
  for they shall see God.

  Blessed are the Peacemakers,
  for they shall be called the
  children of God.


  Blessed are the Rich in
  Flesh, for their's is the
  kingdom of Earth.

  Blessed are they that are
  merry, and laugh the last.

  Blessed are the proud, in that
  they _have_ inherited the

  Blessed are they which hunger
  for unrighteousness, in
  that they shall divide its

  Blessed are the merciless, for
  they shall obtain money.

  Blessed are the foul in heart,
  for they shall see no God.

  Blessed are the War-makers,
  for they shall be adored by
  the children of men.

180. Who are the true "Makers of War," the promoters and supports of it,
I showed long since in the note to the brief sentence of "Unto this
last." "It is entirely capitalists' (_i.e._, Usurers') wealth[135] which
supports unjust Wars." But to what extent the adoration of the Usurer,
and the slavery consequent upon it, has perverted the soul or bound the
hands of every man in Europe, I will let the reader hear, from authority
he will less doubt than mine:--

"Financiers are the mischievous feudalism of the 19th century. A handful
of men have invented distant, seductive loans, have introduced national
debts in countries happily ignorant of them, have advanced money to
unsophisticated Powers on ruinous terms, and then, by appealing to small
investors all over the world, got rid of the bonds. Furthermore, with
the difference between the advances and the sale of bonds, they caused a
fall in the securities which they had issued, and, having sold at 80,
they bought back at 10, taking advantage of the public panic. Again,
with the money thus obtained, they bought up consciences, where
consciences are marketable, and under the pretense of providing the
country thus traded upon with new means of communication, they passed
money into their own coffers. They have had pupils, imitators, and
plagiarists; and at the present moment, under different names, the
financiers rule the world, are a sore of society, and form one of the
chief causes of modern crises.

"Unlike the Nile, wherever they pass they render the soil dry and
barren. The treasures of the world flow into their cellars, and there
remain. They spend one-tenth of their revenues; the remaining
nine-tenths they hoard and divert from circulation. They distribute
favors, and are great political leaders. They have not assumed the place
of the old nobility, but have taken the latter into their service.
Princes are their chamberlains, dukes open their doors, and marquises
act as their equerries when they deign to ride.

"These new grandees canter on their splendid Arabs along Rotten Ron, the
Bois de Boulogne, the Prospect, the Prater, or Unter den Linden. The
shopkeepers, and all who save money, bow low to these men, who represent
their savings, which they will never again see under any other form.
Proof against sarcasms, sure of the respect of the Continental Press,
protecting each other with a sort of freemasonry, the financiers dictate
laws, determine the fate of nations, and render the cleverest political
combinations abortive. They are everywhere received and listened to, and
all the Cabinets feel their influence. Governments watch them with
uneasiness, and even the Iron Chancellor has his gilded Egeria, who
reports to him the wishes of this the sole modern Autocrat"--_Letter
from Paris Correspondent_, "_Times_," _30th January_, 1885.

       *       *       *       *       *

181. But to this statement, I must add the one made to § 149 (see note)
of "Munera Pulveris," that if we could trace the innermost of all causes
of modern war, they would be found, not in the avarice or ambition, but
the idleness of the upper classes. "They have nothing to do but to teach
the peasantry to kill each other"--while that the peasantry are thus
teachable, is further again dependent on their not having been educated
primarily in the common law of justice. See again "Munera Pulveris,"
Appendix I.: "Precisely according to the number of just men in a nation
is their power of avoiding either intestine or foreign war."

I rejoice to see my old friend Mr. Sillar gathering finally together the
evidence he has so industriously collected on the guilt of usury, and
supporting it by the always impressive language of symbolical art;[136]
for indeed I had myself no idea, till I read the connected statement
which these pictures illustrate, how steadily the system of
money-lending had gained on the nation, and how fatally every hand and
foot was now entangled by it. Yet in commending the study of this book
to every virtuous and patriotic Englishman, I must firmly remind the
reader, that all these sins and errors are only the branches from one
root of bitterness--mortal Pride. For this we gather, for this we war,
for this we die--here and hereafter; while all the while the Wisdom
which is from above stands vainly teaching us the way to Earthly Riches
and to Heavenly Peace, "What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but
to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk _humbly_ with thy God?"

  BRANTWOOD, _7th March_, 1885.


[Footnote 132: Introduction to a pamphlet entitled "Usury and the
English Bishops," or more fully, "Usury, its pernicious effects on
English agriculture and commerce: An allegory dedicated without
permission to the Bishops of Manchester, Peterborough and Rochester"
(London: A. Southey, 146, Fenchurch Street, 1885). By R. J. Sillar. (See
_Fors Clavigera_, vol. v. Letter 56.)--ED.]

[Footnote 133: "Everything evil in Europe is primarily the fault of her

[Footnote 134: "I knew, in using it, perfectly well what you meant."
(Note by Mr. Sillar.)]

[Footnote 135: "Cash," I should have said, in accuracy--not "wealth."]

[Footnote 136: Mr. Sillar's pamphlet consists of a collection of
paragraphs, all condemnatory of usury, from the writings of the English
bishops, from the sixteenth century down to the present time; and is
illustrated by five emblematic woodcuts representing an oak tree
(English commerce) gradually overgrown and destroyed by an ivy-plant

       *       *       *       *       *



(Pamphlet, 1851.)


(_Letters and Epilogue_, 1879-1881.)


(_Contemporary Review, March_ 1873.)

       *       *       *       *       *



_Many persons will probably find fault with me for publishing opinions
which are not new: but I shall bear this blame contentedly, believing
that opinions on this subject could hardly be just if they were not 1800
years old. Others will blame me for making proposals which are
altogether new: to whom I would answer, that things in these days seem
not so far right but that they may be mended. And others will simply
call the opinions false and the proposals foolish--to whose goodwill, if
they take it in hand to contradict me, I must leave what I have
written--having no purpose of being drawn, at present, into religious
controversy. If, however, any should admit the truth, but regret the
tone of what I have said, lean only pray them to consider how much less
harm is done in the world by ungraceful boldness, than by untimely


  _February, 1851._


_Since the publication of these Notes, I have received many letters upon
the affairs of the Church, from persons of nearly every denomination of
Christians; for all these letters I am grateful, and in many of them I
have found valuable information, or suggestion: but I have not leisure
at present to follow out the subject farther; and no reason has been
shown me for modifying or altering any part of the text as it stands. It
is republished, therefore, without change or addition_.

_I must, however, especially thank one of my correspondents for sending
me a pamphlet, called "Sectarianism, the Bane of Religion and the
Church,"[138] which I would recommend, in the strongest terms, to the
reading of all who regard the cause of Christ; and, for help in reading
the Scriptures, I would name also the short and admirable arrangement of
parallel passages relating to the offices of the clergy, called "The
Testimony of Scripture concerning the Christian Ministry."_[139]


_I have only to add to this first preface, that the boldness of the
pamphlet,--ungraceful enough, it must be admitted,--has done no one any
harm, that I know of; but on the contrary, some definite good, as far as
I can judge; and that I republish the whole now, letter for letter, as
originally printed, believing it likely to be still serviceable, and, on
the ground it takes for argument, (Scriptural authority,)
incontrovertible as far as it reaches; though it amazes me to find on
re-reading it, that, so late as 1851, I had only got the length of
perceiving the schism between sects of Protestants to be criminal, and
ridiculous, while I still supposed the schism between Protestants and
Catholics to be virtuous and sublime._

_The most valuable part of the whole is the analysis of governments, §§
213-15; the passages on Church discipline, §§ 204-5, being also
anticipatory of much that I have to say in Fors, where I hope to
re-assert the substance of this pamphlet on wider grounds, and with more


  _3rd August, 1875._


[Footnote 137: This pamphlet was originally published in 1851, under the
title of "Notes on the Construction of Sheepfolds," by John Ruskin,
M.A., author of the "Seven Lamps of Architecture," etc. (Smith, Elder, &
Co.). A second edition, with an additional preface, followed in the same
year, after which the pamphlet remained out of print till 1875, when it
was reprinted in a third, erroneously called a second, edition (George
Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent).--ED.]

[Footnote 138: London: 1846. Nisbet & Co., Berners Street.]

[Footnote 139: London: 1847. T. K. Campbell, 1, Warwick Square.]



182. The following remarks were intended to form part of the appendix to
an essay on Architecture: but it seemed to me, when I had put them into
order, that they might be useful to persons who would not care to
possess the work to which I proposed to attach them: I publish them,
therefore, in a separate form; but I have not time to give them more
consistency than they would have had in the subordinate position
originally intended for them. I do not profess to teach Divinity, and I
pray the reader to understand this, and to pardon the slightness and
insufficiency of notes set down with no more intention of connected
treatment of their subject than might regulate an accidental
conversation. Some of them are simply copied from my private diary;
others are detached statements of facts, which seem to me significative
or valuable, without comment; all are written in haste, and in the
intervals of occupation with an entirely different subject. It may be
asked of me, whether I hold it right to speak thus hastily and
insufficiently respecting the matter in question? Yes. I hold it right
to _speak_ hastily; not to _think_ hastily. I have not thought hastily
of these things; and, besides, the haste of speech is confessed, that
the reader may think of me only as talking to him, and saying, as
shortly and simply as I can, things which, if he esteem them foolish or
idle, he is welcome to cast aside; but which, in very truth, I cannot
help saying at this time.

183. The passages in the essay which required notes, described the
repression of the political power of the Venetian Clergy by the Venetian
Senate; and it became necessary for me--in supporting an assertion made
in the course of the inquiry, that the idea of separation of Church and
State was both vain and impious--to limit the sense in which it seemed
to me that the word "Church" should be understood, and to note one or
two consequences which would result from the acceptance of such
limitation. This I may as well do in a separate paper, readable by any
person interested in the subject; for it is high time that _some_
definition of the word should be agreed upon. I do not mean a definition
involving the doctrine of this or that division of Christians, but
limiting, in a manner understood by all of them, the sense in which the
_word_ should thenceforward be used. There is grievous inconvenience in
the present state of things. For instance, in a sermon lately published
at Oxford, by an anti-Tractarian divine, I find this sentence,--"It is
clearly within the province of the State to establish a national
_church_, or _external institution of certain forms of worship_." Now
suppose one were to take this interpretation of the word "Church," given
by an Oxford divine, and substitute it for the simple word in some Bible
texts, as, for instance, "Unto the angel of the external institution of
certain forms of worship of Ephesus, write," etc. Or, "Salute the
brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the external
institution of certain forms of worship which is in his house,"--what
awkward results we should have, here and there! Now I do not say it is
possible for men to agree with each other in their religious _opinions_,
but it is certainly possible for them to agree with each other upon
their religious _expressions_; and when a word occurs in the Bible a
hundred and fourteen times, it is surely not asking too much of
contending divines to let it stand in the sense in which it there
occurs; and when they want an expression of something for which it does
_not_ stand in the Bible, to use some other word. There is no compromise
of religious opinion in this; it is simply proper respect for the
Queen's English.

184. The word occurs in the New Testament, as I said, a hundred and
fourteen times.[140] In every one of those occurrences, it bears one
and the same grand sense: that of a congregation or assembly of men. But
it bears this sense under four different modifications, giving four
separate meanings to the word. These are--

I. The entire Multitude of the Elect; otherwise called the Body of
Christ; and sometimes the Bride, the Lamb's Wife; including the Faithful
in all ages;--Adam, and the children of Adam yet unborn.

In this sense it is used in Ephesians v. 25, 27, 32; Colossians i. 18;
and several other passages.

II. The entire multitude of professing believers in Christ, existing on
earth at a given moment; including false brethren, wolves in sheep's
clothing, goats and tares, as well as sheep and wheat, and other forms
of bad fish with good in the net.

In this sense it is used in 1 Cor. x. 32, xv. 9; Galatians i. 13; 1 Tim.
iii. 5, etc.

III. The multitude of professed believers, living in a certain city,
place, or house. This is the most frequent sense in which the word
occurs, as in Acts vii. 38, xiii. 1; 1 Cor. i. 2, xvi. 19, etc.

IV. Any assembly of men: as in Acts xix. 32, 41.

185. That in a hundred and twelve out of the hundred and fourteen texts,
the word bears some one of these four meanings, is indisputable.[141]
But there are two texts in which, if the word had alone occurred, its
meaning might have been doubtful. These are Matt. xvi. 18, and xviii.

The absurdity of founding any doctrine upon the inexpressibly minute
possibility that, in these two texts, the word might have been used with
a different meaning from that which it bore in all the others, coupled
with the assumption that the meaning was this or that, is self-evident:
it is not so much a religious error as a philological solecism;
unparalleled, so far as I know, in any other science but that of

Nor is it ever, I think, committed with open front by Protestants. No
English divine, asked in a straightforward manner for a Scriptural
definition of "the Church," would, I suppose, be bold enough to answer
"the Clergy." Nor is there any harm in the common use of the word, so
only that it be distinctly understood to be not the Scriptural one; and
therefore to be unfit for substitution in a Scriptural text. There is no
harm in a man's talking of his son's "going into the Church; "meaning
that he is going to take orders: but there is much harm in his supposing
this a Scriptural use of the word, and therefore, that when Christ said,
"Tell it to the Church," He might possibly have meant, "Tell it to the

186. It is time to put an end to the chance of such misunderstanding.
Let it but be declared plainly by all men, when they begin to state
their opinions on matters ecclesiastical, that they will use the word
"Church" in one sense or the other;--that they will accept the sense in
which it is used by the Apostles, or that they deny this sense, and
propose a new definition of their own. We shall then know what we are
about with them--we may perhaps grant them their new use of the term,
and argue with them on that understanding; so only that they will not
pretend to make use of Scriptural authority, while they refuse to employ
Scriptural language. This, however, it is not my purpose to do at
present. I desire only to address those who are willing to accept the
Apostolic sense of the word Church; and with them, I would endeavor
shortly to ascertain what consequences must follow from an acceptance of
that Apostolic sense, and what must be our first and most necessary
conclusions from the common language of Scripture[142] respecting these
following points:--

  (1) The distinctive characters of the Church,
  (2) The Authority of the Church.
  (3) The Authority of the Clergy over the Church.
  (4) The Connection of the Church with the State.

187. These are four separate subjects of question; but we shall not have
to put these questions in succession with each of the four Scriptural
meanings of the word Church, for evidently its second and third meaning
may be considered together, as merely expressing the general or
particular conditions of the Visible Church, and the fourth
signification is entirely independent of all questions of a religious
kind. So that we shall only put the above inquiries successively
respecting the Invisible and Visible Church; and as the two last--of
authority of Clergy, and connection with State--can evidently only have
reference to the Visible Church, we shall have, in all, these six
questions to consider:--

  (1) The distinctive characters of the Invisible Church.
  (2) The distinctive characters of the Visible Church.
  (3) The Authority of the Invisible Church.
  (4) The Authority of the Visible Church,
  (5) The Authority of Clergy over the Visible Church.
  (6) The Connection of the Visible Church with the State.

188. (1) What are the distinctive characters of the Invisible Church?
That is to say, What is it which makes a person a member of this Church,
and how is he to be known for such? Wide question--if we had to take
cognizance of all that has been written respecting it, remarkable as it
has been always for quantity rather than carefulness, and full of
confusion between Visible and Invisible: even the Article of the Church
of England being ambiguous in its first clause: "The _Visible_ Church is
a congregation of Faithful men." As if ever it had been possible, except
for God, to see Faith, or to know a Faithful man by sight! And there is
little else written on this question, without some such quick confusion
of the Visible and Invisible Church;--needless and unaccountable
confusion. For evidently, the Church which is composed of Faithful men
is the one true, indivisible, and indiscernible Church, built on the
foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the
chief corner-stone. It includes all who have ever fallen asleep in
Christ, and all yet unborn, who are to be saved in Him: its Body is as
yet imperfect; it will not be perfected till the last saved human spirit
is gathered to its God.

A man becomes a member of this Church only by believing in Christ with
all his heart; nor is he positively recognizable for a member of it,
when he has become so, by any one but God, not even by himself.
Nevertheless, there are certain signs by which Christ's sheep may be
guessed at. Not by their being in any definite Fold--for many are lost
sheep at times; but by their sheeplike behavior; and a great many are
indeed sheep, which, on the far mountain side, in their peacefulness, we
take for stones. To themselves, the best proof of their being Christ's
sheep is to find themselves on Christ's shoulders; and, between them,
there are certain sympathies (expressed in the Apostles' Creed by the
term "communion of Saints"), by which they may in a sort recognize each
other, and so become verily visible to each other for mutual comfort.

189. (2) The Limits of the Visible Church, or of the Church in the
Second Scriptural Sense, are not so easy to define: they are awkward
questions, these, of stake-nets. It has been ingeniously and plausibly
endeavored to make Baptism a sign of admission into the Visible Church:
but absurdly enough; for we know that half the baptized people in the
world are very visible rogues, believing neither in God nor devil; and
it is flat blasphemy to call these Visible Christians; we also know that
the Holy Ghost was sometimes given before Baptism,[143] and it would be
absurdity to call a man, on whom the Holy Ghost had fallen, an Invisible
Christian. The only rational distinction is that which practically,
though not professedly, we always assume. If we hear a man profess
himself a believer in God and in Christ, and detect him in no glaring
and willful violation of God's law, we speak of him as a Christian; and,
on the other hand, if we hear him or see him denying Christ, either in
his words or conduct, we tacitly assume him not to be a Christian. A
mawkish charity prevents us from outspeaking in this matter, and from
earnestly endeavoring to discern who are Christians and who are not; and
this I hold[144] to be one of the chief sins of the Church in the
present day; for thus wicked men are put to no shame; and better men are
encouraged in their failings, or caused to hesitate in their virtues, by
the example of those whom, in false charity, they choose to call
Christians. Now, it being granted that it is impossible to know,
determinedly, who are Christians indeed, that is no reason for utter
negligence in separating the nominal, apparent, or possible Christian,
from the professed Pagan or enemy of God. We spend much time in arguing
about efficacy of sacraments and such other mysteries; but we do not act
upon the very certain tests which are clear and visible. We know that
Christ's people are not thieves--not liars--not busybodies--not
dishonest--not avaricious--not wasteful--not cruel. Let us then get
ourselves well clear of thieves--liars--wasteful people--avaricious
people--cheating people--people who do not pay their debts. Let us
assure them that they, at least, do not belong to the Visible Church;
and having thus got that Church into decent shape and cohesion, it will
be time to think of drawing the stake-nets closer.

I hold it for a law, palpable to common sense, and which nothing but the
cowardice and faithlessness of the Church prevents it from putting in
practice, that the conviction of any dishonorable conduct or willful
crime, of any fraud, falsehood, cruelty, or violence, should be ground
for the excommunication of any man:--for his publicly declared
separation from the acknowledged body of the Visible Church: and that he
should not be received again therein without public confession of his
crime and declaration of his repentance. If this were vigorously
enforced, we should soon have greater purity of life in the world, and
fewer discussions about high and low churches. But before we can obtain
any idea of the manner in which such law could be enforced, we have to
consider the second respecting the Authority of the Church. Now
authority is twofold: to declare doctrine, and to enforce discipline;
and we have to inquire, therefore, in each kind,--

190. (3) What is the authority of the Invisible Church? Evidently, in
matters of doctrine, all members of the Invisible Church must have been,
and must ever be, at the time of their deaths, right in the points
essential to Salvation. But, (A), we cannot tell who _are_ members of
the Invisible Church.

(B) We cannot collect evidence from death-beds in a clearly stated form.

(C) We can collect evidence, in any form, only from some one or two out
of every sealed thousand of the Invisible Church. Elijah thought he was
alone in Israel; and yet there were seven thousand invisible ones around
him. Grant that we had Elijah's intelligence; and we could only
calculate on collecting one seven-thousandth part of the evidence or
opinions of the part of the Invisible Church living on earth at a given
moment: that is to say, the seven-millionth or trillionth of its
collective evidence. It is very clear, therefore, we cannot hope to get
rid of the contradictory opinions, and keep the consistent ones, by a
general equation. But, it has been said, these are no contradictory
opinions; the Church is infallible. There was some talk about the
infallibility of the Church, if I recollect right, in that letter of Mr.
Bennett's to the Bishop of London. If any Church is infallible, it is
assuredly the Invisible Church, or Body of Christ: and infallible in the
main sense it must of course be by its definition. An Elect person must
be saved, and therefore cannot eventually be deceived on essential
points: so that Christ says of the deception of such, "If it were
_possible_" implying it to be impossible. Therefore, as we said, if one
could get rid of the variable opinions of the members of the Invisible
Church, the constant opinions would assuredly be authoritative: but, for
the three reasons above stated, we cannot get at their constant
opinions: and as for the feelings and thoughts which they daily
experience or express, the question of Infallibility -which is practical
only in this bearing--is soon settled. Observe, St. Paul, and the rest
of the Apostles, write nearly all their epistles to the Invisible
Church:--those epistles are headed,--Romans, "To the beloved of God,
called to be saints; "1 Corinthians, "To them that are sanctified in
Christ Jesus; "2 Corinthians, "To the saints in all Achaia;" Ephesians,
"To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ
Jesus; "Philippians, "To all the saints which are at Philippi;
"Colossians, "To the saints and faithful brethren which are at Colosse;"
1 and 2 Thessalonians, "To the Church of the Thessalonians, which is
in God the Father, and the Lord Jesus; "1 and 2 Timothy, "To his own son
in the faith; "Titus, to the same; 1 Peter, "To the Strangers, Elect
according to the foreknowledge of God;" 2 Peter, "To them that have
obtained like precious faith with us; " 2 John, "To the Elect lady; "
Jude, " To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in
Jesus Christ, and called."

191. There are thus fifteen epistles, expressly directed to the members
of the Invisible Church. Philemon and Hebrews, and 1 and 3 John, are
evidently also so written, though not so expressly inscribed. That of
James, and that to the Galatians, are as evidently to the Visible
Church: the one being general, and the other to persons "removed from
Him that called them." Missing out, therefore, these two epistles, but
including Christ's words to His disciples, we find in the Scriptural
addresses to members of the Invisible Church, fourteen, if not more,
direct injunctions "not to be deceived."[145] So much for the
"Infallibility of the Church."

Now, one could put up with Puseyism more patiently, if its fallacies
arose merely from peculiar temperaments yielding to peculiar
temptations. But its bold refusals to read plain English; its elaborate
adjustments of tight bandages over its own eyes, as wholesome
preparation for a walk among traps and pitfalls; its daring trustfulness
in its own clairvoyance all the time, and declarations that every pit it
falls into is a seventh heaven; and that it is pleasant and profitable
to break its legs;--with all this it is difficult to have patience. One
thinks of the highwayman with his eyes shut in the "Arabian Nights"; and
wonders whether any kind of scourging would prevail upon the Anglican
highwayman to open "first one and then the other."

192. (4) So much, then, I repeat, for the infallibility of the
_In_visible Church, and for its consequent authority. Now, if we want to
ascertain what infallibility and authority there is in the Visible
Church, we have to alloy the small wisdom and the light weight of
Invisible Christians, with the large percentage of the false wisdom and
contrary weight of Undetected Anti-Christians. Which alloy makes up the
current coin of opinions in the Visible Church, having such value as we
may choose--its nature being properly assayed--to attach to it.

There is, therefore, in matters of doctrine, _no such thing_ as the
Authority of the Church. We might as well talk of the authority of a
morning cloud. There may be light _in_ it, but the light is not of it;
and it diminishes the light that it gets; and lets less of it through
than it receives, Christ being its sun. Or, we might as well talk of the
authority of a flock of sheep--for the Church is a body to be taught and
fed, not to teach and feed: and of all sheep that are fed on the earth,
Christ's Sheep are the most simple, (the children of this generation are
wiser): always losing themselves; doing little else in this world _but_
lose themselves;--never finding themselves; always found by Some One
else; getting perpetually into sloughs, and snows, and bramble thickets,
like to die there, but for their Shepherd, who is forever finding them
and bearing them back, with torn fleeces and eyes full of fear.

193. This, then, being the No-Authority of the Church in matter of
Doctrine, what Authority has it in matters of Discipline?

Much, every way. The sheep have natural and wholesome power (however far
scattered they may be from their proper fold) of getting together in
orderly knots; following each other on trodden sheepwalks, and holding
their heads all one way when they see strange dogs coming; as well as of
casting out of their company any whom they see reason to suspect of not
being right sheep, and being among them for no good. All which things
must be done as the time and place require, and by common consent. A
path may be good at one time of day which is bad at another, or after a
change of wind; and a position may be very good for sudden defense,
which would be very stiff and awkward for feeding in. And common consent
must often be of such and such a company on this or that hillside, in
this or that particular danger,--not of all the sheep in the world: and
the consent may either be literally common, and expressed in assembly,
or it may be to appoint officers over the rest, with such and such
trusts of the common authority, to be used for the common advantage.
Conviction of crimes, and excommunication, for instance, could neither
be effected except before, or by means of, officers of some appointed

194. (5) This then brings us to our fifth question. What is the
Authority of the Clergy over the Church?

The first clause of the question must evidently be,--Who _are_ the
Clergy? And it is not easy to answer this without begging the rest of
the question.

For instance, I think I can hear certain people answering, that the
Clergy are folk of three kinds;--Bishops, who overlook the Church;
Priests, who sacrifice for the Church; Deacons, who minister to the
Church: thus assuming in their answer, that the Church is to be
sacrificed _for_, and that the people cannot overlook and minister to
her at the same time;--which is going much too fast. I think, however,
if we define the Clergy to be the "Spiritual Officers of the
Church,"--meaning, by Officers, merely People in office,--we shall have
a title safe enough and general enough to begin with, and corresponding
too, pretty well, with St. Paul's general expression [Greek:
proistamenoi], in Rom. xii. 8, and 1 Thess. v. 13.

Now, respecting these Spiritual Officers, or office-bearers, we have to
inquire, first, What their Office or Authority is, or should be?
secondly, Who gave, or should give, them that Authority? That is to say,
first, What is, or should be, the _nature_ of their office? and
secondly, What the _extent_, or force, of their authority in it? for
this last depends mainly on its derivation.

195. First, then, What should be the offices, and of what kind should be
the authority, of the Clergy?

I have hitherto referred to the Bible for an answer to every question. I
do so again; and, behold, the Bible gives me no answer. I defy you to
answer me from the Bible. You can only guess, and dimly conjecture, what
the offices of the Clergy _were_ in the first century. You cannot show
me a single command as to what they shall be. Strange, this; the Bible
gives no answer to so apparently important a question! God surely would
not have left His word without an answer to anything His children ought
to ask. Surely it must be a ridiculous question--a question we ought
never to have put, or thought of putting. Let us think of it again a
little. To be sure,--It _is_ a ridiculous question, and we should be
ashamed of ourselves for having put it:--What should be the offices of
the Clergy? That is to say, What are the possible spiritual necessities
which at any time may arise in the Church, and by what means and men are
they to be supplied?--evidently an infinite question. Different kinds of
necessities must be met by different authorities, constituted as the
necessities arise. Robinson Crusoe, in his island, wants no Bishop, and
makes a thunderstorm do for an Evangelist. The University of Oxford
would be ill off without its Bishop; but wants an Evangelist besides;
and that forthwith. The authority which the Vaudois shepherds need is of
Barnabas, the Son of Consolation; the authority which the city of London
needs is of James, the Son of Thunder. Let us then alter the form of our
question, and put it to the Bible thus: What are the necessities most
likely to arise in the Church? and may they be best met by different
men, or in great part by the same men acting in different capacities?
and are the names attached to their offices of any consequence? Ah, the
Bible answers now, and that loudly. The Church is built on the
Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the
corner-stone. Well; we cannot have two foundations, so we can have no
more Apostles nor Prophets:--then, as for the other needs of the Church
in its edifying upon this foundation, there are all manner of things to
be done daily;--rebukes to be given; comfort to be brought; Scripture to
be explained; warning to be enforced; threatenings to be executed;
charities to be administered; and the men who do these things are
called, and call themselves, with absolute indifference, Deacons,
Bishops, Elders, Evangelists, according to what they are doing at the
time of speaking. St. Paul almost always calls himself a deacon, St.
Peter calls himself an elder, 1 Peter v. 1; and Timothy, generally
understood to be addressed as a bishop, is called a deacon in 1 Tim. iv.
6--forbidden to rebuke an elder, in v. 1, and exhorted to do the work of
an evangelist, in 2 Tim. iv. 5. But there is one thing which, as
officers, or as separate from the rest of the flock, they _never_ call
themselves,--which it would have been impossible, as so separate, they
ever _should_ have called themselves; that is--_Priests_.

196. It would have been just as possible for the Clergy of the early
Church to call themselves Levites, as to call themselves (ex-officio)
Priests. The whole function of Priesthood was, on Christmas morning, at
once and forever gathered into His Person who was born at Bethlehem; and
thenceforward, all who are united with Him, and who with Him make
sacrifice of themselves; that is to say, all members of the Invisible
Church become, at the instant of their conversion, Priests; and are so
called in 1 Peter ii. 5, and Rev. i. 6, and xx. 6, where, observe, there
is no possibility of limiting the expression to the Clergy; the
conditions of Priesthood being simply having been loved by Christ, and
washed in His blood. The blasphemous claim on the part of the Clergy of
being _more_ Priests than the godly laity--that is to say, of having a
higher Holiness than the Holiness of being one with Christ,--is
altogether a Romanist heresy, dragging after it, or having its origin
in, the other heresies respecting the sacrificial power of the Church
officer, and his repeating the oblation of Christ, and so having power
to absolve from sin:--with all the other endless and miserable
falsehoods of the Papal hierarchy; falsehoods for which, that there
might be no shadow of excuse, it has been ordained by the Holy Spirit
that no Christian minister shall once call himself a Priest from one end
of the New Testament to the other, except together with his flock; and
so far from the idea of any peculiar sanctification, belonging to the
Clergy, ever entering the Apostles' minds, we actually find St. Paul
defending himself against the possible imputation of inferiority: "If
any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think
this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's" (2 Cor. x.
7). As for the unhappy retention of the term Priest in our English
Prayer-book, so long as it was understood to mean nothing but an upper
order of Church officer, licensed to tell the congregation from the
reading-desk, what (for the rest) they might, one would think, have
known without being told,--that "God pardoneth all them that truly
repent,"--there was little harm in it; but, now that this order of
Clergy begins to presume upon a title which, if it mean anything at all,
is simply short for Presbyter, and has no more to do with the word
Hiereus than with the word Levite, it is time that some order should be
taken both with the book and the Clergy. For instance, in that dangerous
compound of halting poetry with hollow Divinity, called the "Lyra
Apostolica," we find much versification on the sin of Korah and his
company: with suggested parallel between the Christian and Levitical
Churches, and threatening that there are "Judgment Fires, for
high-voiced Korahs in their day." There are indeed such fires. But when
Moses said, "a Prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you, like unto me,"
did he mean the writer who signs [Greek: g] in the "Lyra Apostolica"?
The office of the Lawgiver and Priest is now forever gathered into One
Mediator between God and man; and THEY are guilty of the sin of Korah
who blasphemously would associate themselves in His Mediatorship.

197. As for the passages in the "Ordering of Priests" and "Visitation of
the Sick" respecting Absolution, they are evidently pure Romanism, and
might as well not be there, for any practical effect which they have on
the consciences of the Laity; and had much better not be there, as
regards their effect on the minds of the Clergy. It is indeed true that
Christ promised absolving powers to His Apostles: He also promised to
those who believed, that they should take up serpents; and if they drank
any deadly thing, it should not hurt them. His words were fulfilled
literally; but those who would extend their force to beyond the
Apostolic times, must extend both promises or neither.

Although, however, the Protestant laity do not often admit the absolving
power of their clergy, they are but too apt to yield, in some sort, to
the impression of their greater sanctification; and from this instantly
results the unhappy consequence that the sacred character of the Layman
himself is forgotten, and his own Ministerial duty is neglected. Men
not in office in the Church suppose themselves, on that ground, in a
sort unholy; and that, therefore, they may sin with more excuse, and be
idle or impious with less danger, than the Clergy: especially they
consider themselves relieved from all ministerial function, and as
permitted to devote their whole time and energy to the business of this
world. No mistake can possibly be greater. Every member of the Church is
equally bound to the service of the Head of the Church; and that service
is pre-eminently the saving of souls. There is not a moment of a man's
active life in which he may not be indirectly preaching; and throughout
a great part of his life he ought to be _directly_ preaching, and
teaching both strangers and friends; his children, his servants, and all
who in any way are put under him, being given to him as special objects
of his ministration. So that the only difference between a Church
officer and a lay member is either a wider degree of authority given to
the former, as apparently a wiser and better man, or a special
appointment to some office more easily discharged by one person than by
many: as, for instance, the serving of tables by the deacons; the
authority or appointment being, in either case, commonly signified by a
marked separation from the rest of the Church, and the privilege or
power[146] of being maintained by the rest of the Church, without being
forced to labor with his hands, or incumber himself with any temporal

198. Now, putting out of the question the serving of tables, and other
such duties, respecting which there is no debate, we shall find the
offices of the Clergy, whatever names we may choose to give to those who
discharge them, falling mainly into two great heads:--Teaching;
including doctrine, warning, and comfort: Discipline; including reproof
and direct administration of punishment. Either of which functions would
naturally become vested in single persons, to the exclusion of others,
as a mere matter of convenience: whether those persons were wiser and
better than others or not; and respecting each of which, and the
authority required for its fitting discharge, a short inquiry must be
separately made.

199. I. Teaching.--It appears natural and wise that certain men should
be set apart from the rest of the Church that they may make Theology the
study of their lives: and that they should be thereto instructed
specially in the Hebrew and Greek tongues; and have entire leisure
granted them for the study of the Scriptures, and for obtaining general
knowledge of the grounds of Faith, and best modes of its defense against
all heretics: and it seems evidently right, also, that with this
Scholastic duty should be joined the Pastoral duty of constant
visitation and exhortation to the people; for, clearly, the Bible, and
the truths of Divinity in general, can only be understood rightly in
their practical application; and clearly, also, a man spending his time
constantly in spiritual ministrations, must be better able, on any given
occasion, to deal powerfully with the human heart than one unpracticed
in such matters. The unity of Knowledge and Love, both devoted
altogether to the service of Christ and His Church, marks the true
Christian Minister; who, I believe, whenever he has existed, has never
failed to receive due and fitting reverence from all men,--of whatever
character or opinion; and I believe that if all those who profess to be
such were such indeed, there would never be question of their authority

200. But, whatever influence they may have over the Church, their
authority never supersedes that of either the intellect or the
conscience of the simplest of its lay members. They can assist those
members in the search for truth, or comfort their over-worn and doubtful
minds; they can even assure them that they are in the way of truth, or
that pardon is within their reach: but they can neither manifest the
truth, nor grant the pardon. Truth is to be discovered, and Pardon to be
won, for every man by himself. This is evident from innumerable texts of
Scripture, but chiefly from those which exhort every man to seek after
Truth, and which connect knowing with doing. We are to seek after
knowledge as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; therefore,
from every man she must be naturally hid, and the discovery of her is
to be the reward only of personal search. The kingdom of God is as
treasure hid in a field; and of those who profess to help us to seek for
it, we are not to put confidence in those who say,--Here is the
treasure, we have found it, and have it, and will give you some of it;
but in those who say,--We think that is a good place to dig, and you
will dig most easily in such and such a way.

201. Farther, it has been promised that if such earnest search be made,
Truth shall be discovered: as much truth, that is, as is necessary for
the person seeking. These, therefore, I hold, for two fundamental
principles of religion,--that, without seeking, truth cannot be known at
all; and that, by seeking, it may be discovered by the simplest. I say,
without seeking it cannot be known at all. It can neither be declared
from pulpits, nor set down in Articles, nor in anywise "prepared and
sold" in packages, ready for use. Truth must be ground for every man by
himself out of its husk, with such help as he can get, indeed, but not
without stern labor of his own. In what science is knowledge to be had
cheap? or truth to be told over a velvet cushion, in half an hour's talk
every seventh day? Can you learn chemistry so?--zoology?--anatomy? and
do you expect to penetrate the secret of all secrets, and to know that
whose price is above rubies; and of which the depth saith,--It is not in
me,--in so easy fashion? There are doubts in this matter which evil
spirits darken with their wings, and that is true of all such doubts
which we were told long ago--they can "be ended by action alone."[147]

202. As surely as we live, this truth of truths can only so be
discerned: to those who act on what they know, more shall be revealed;
and thus, if any man will do His will, he shall know the doctrine
whether it be of God. Any man,--not the man who has most means of
knowing, who has the subtlest brains, or sits under the most orthodox
preacher, or has his library fullest of most orthodox books,--but the
man who strives to know, who takes God at His word, and sets himself to
dig up the heavenly mystery, roots and all, before sunset, and the night
come, when no man can work. Beside such a man, God stands in more and
more visible presence as he toils, and teaches him that which no
preacher can teach--no earthly authority gainsay. By such a man, the
preacher must himself be judged.

203. Doubt you this? There is nothing more certain nor clear throughout
the Bible: the Apostles themselves appeal constantly to their flocks,
and actually _claim_ judgment from them, as deserving it, and having a
right to it, rather than discouraging it. But, first notice the way in
which the discovery of truth is spoken of in the Old Testament: "Evil
men understand not judgment; but they that seek the Lord understand all
things," Proverbs xxviii. 5. God overthroweth, not merely the
transgressor or the wicked, but even "the words of the transgressor,"
Proverbs xxii. 12, and "the counsel of the wicked," Job v. 13, xxi. 16;
observe again, in Proverbs xxiv. 14, "My son, eat thou honey, because it
is good--so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul, when thou
hast _found it_, there shall be a reward;" and again, "What man is he
that feareth the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that He shall
choose;" so Job xxxii. 8, and multitudes of places more; and then, with
all these places, which express the definite and personal operation of
the Spirit of God on every one of His people, compare the place in
Isaiah, which speaks of the contrary of this human teaching: a passage
which seems as if it had been written for this very day and hour.
"Because their fear towards me is taught by the _precept of men_;
therefore, behold, the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the
understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (xxix. 13,14). Then
take the New Testament, and observe how St. Paul himself speaks of the
Romans, even as hardly needing his epistle, but able to admonish one
another: "_Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto
you in some sort, as putting you in mind_" (xv. 15). Anyone, we should
have thought, might have done as much as this, and yet St. Paul
increases the modesty of it as he goes on; for he claims the right of
doing as much as this, only "because of the grace given to me of God,
that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles." Then
compare 2 Cor. v. 11, where he appeals to the consciences of the people
for the manifestation of his having done his duty; and observe in verse
21 of that, and I of the next chapter, the "pray" and "beseech," not
"command"; and again in chapter vi. verse 4, "approving ourselves as the
ministers of God." But the most remarkable passage of all is 2 Cor. iii.
1, whence it appears that the churches were actually in the habit of
giving letters of recommendation to their ministers; and St. Paul
dispenses with such letters, not by virtue of his Apostolic authority,
but because the power of his preaching was enough manifested in the
Corinthians themselves. And these passages are all the more forcible,
because if in any of them St. Paul had claimed absolute authority over
the Church as a teacher, it was no more than we should have expected him
to claim, nor could his doing so have in anywise justified a successor
in the same claim. But now that he has not claimed it,--who,
following him, shall dare to claim it? And the consideration of the
necessity of joining expressions of the most exemplary humility, which
were to be the example of succeeding ministers, with such assertion of
Divine authority as should secure acceptance for the epistle itself in
the sacred canon, sufficiently accounts for the apparent inconsistencies
which occur in 2 Thess. iii. 14, and other such texts.

204. So much, then, for the authority of the Clergy in matters of
Doctrine. Next, what is their authority in matters of Discipline? It
must evidently be very great, even if it were derived from the people
alone, and merely vested in the clerical officers as the executors of
their ecclesiastical judgments, and general overseers of all the Church.
But granting, as we must presently, the minister to hold office directly
from God, his authority of discipline becomes very great indeed; how
great, it seems to me most difficult to determine, because I do not
understand what St. Paul means by "delivering a man to Satan for the
destruction of the flesh." Leaving this question, however, as much too
hard for casual examination, it seems indisputable that the authority of
the Ministers or court of Ministers should extend to the pronouncing a
man Excommunicate for certain crimes against the Church, as well as for
all crimes punishable by ordinary law. There ought, I think, to be an
ecclesiastical code of laws; and a man ought to have jury trial,
according to this code, before an ecclesiastical judge; in which, if he
were found guilty, as of lying, or dishonesty, or cruelty, much more of
any actually committed violent crime, he should be pronounced
excommunicate; refused the Sacrament; and have his name written in some
public place as an excommunicate person until he had publicly confessed
his sin and besought pardon of God for it. The jury should always be of
the laity, and no penalty should be enforced in an ecclesiastical court
except this of excommunication.

205. This proposal may seem strange to many persons; but assuredly this,
if not much more than this, is commanded in Scripture, first in the
(much-abused) text, "Tell it unto the Church;" and most clearly in 1
Cor. v. 11-13; 2 Thess. iii. 6 and 14; 1 Tim. v. 8 and 20; and Titus
iii. 10; from which passages we also know the two proper degrees of the
penalty. For Christ says, Let him who refuses to hear the Church, "be
unto thee as an heathen man and a publican," But Christ ministered to
the heathen, and sat at meat with the publican; only always with
declared or implied expression of their inferiority; here, therefore, is
one degree of excommunication for persons who "offend" their brethren,
committing some minor fault against them; and who, having been
pronounced in error by the body of the Church, refuse to confess their
fault or repair it; who are then to be no longer considered members of
the Church; and their recovery to the body of it is to be sought exactly
as it would be in the case of an heathen. But covetous persons, railers,
extortioners, idolaters, and those guilty of other gross crimes, are to
be entirely cut off from the company of the believers; and we are not so
much as to eat with them. This last penalty, however, would require to
be strictly guarded, that it might not be abused in the infliction of
it, as it has been by the Romanists. We are not, indeed, to eat with
them, but we may exercise all Christian charity towards them, and give
them to eat, if we see them in hunger, as we ought to all our enemies;
only we are to consider them distinctly as our _enemies_: that is to
say, enemies of our Master, Christ; and servants of Satan.

206. As for the rank or name of the officers in whom the authorities,
either of teaching or discipline, are to be vested, they are left
undetermined by Scripture. I have heard it said by men who know their
Bible far better than I, that careful examination may detect evidence of
the existence of three orders of Clergy in the Church. This may be; but
one thing is very clear, without any laborious examination, that
"bishop" and "elder" sometimes mean the same thing; as, indisputably, in
Titus i. 5 and 7, and I Peter v. I and 2, and that the office of the
bishop or overseer was one of considerably less importance than it is
with us. This is palpably evident from I Timothy iii., for what divine
among us, writing of episcopal proprieties, would think of saying that
bishops "must not be given to wine," must be "no strikers," and must not
be "novices"? We are not in the habit of making bishops of novices in
these days; and it would be much better that, like the early Church, we
sometimes ran the risk of doing so; for the fact is we have not bishops
enough--by some hundreds. The idea of overseership has been practically
lost sight of, its fulfillment having gradually become physically
impossible, for want of more bishops. The duty of a bishop is, without
doubt, to be accessible to the humblest clergymen of his diocese, and to
desire very earnestly that all of them should be in the habit of
referring to him in all cases of difficulty; if they do not do this of
their own accord, it is evidently his duty to visit them, live with them
sometimes, and join in their ministrations to their flocks, so as to
know exactly the capacities and habits of life of each; and if any of
them complained of this or that difficulty with their congregations, the
bishop should be ready to go down to help them, preach for them, write
general epistles to their people, and so on: besides this, he should of
course be watchful of their errors--ready to hear complaints from their
congregations of inefficiency or aught else; besides having general
superintendence of all the charitable institutions and schools in his
diocese, and good knowledge of whatever was going on in theological
matters, both all over the kingdom and on the Continent. This is the
work of a right overseer; and I leave the reader to calculate how many
additional bishops--and those hard-working men, too--we should need
to have it done, even decently. Then our present bishops might all
become archbishops with advantage, and have general authority over the

207. As to the mode in which the officers of the Church should be
elected or appointed, I do not feel it my business to say anything at
present, nor much respecting the extent of their authority, either over
each other or over the congregation, this being a most difficult
question, the right solution of which evidently lies between two most
dangerous extremes--insubordination and radicalism on one hand, and
ecclesiastical tyranny and heresy on the other: of the two,
insubordination is far the least to be dreaded--for this reason, that
nearly all real Christians are more on the watch against their pride
than their indolence, and would sooner obey their clergyman, if
possible, than contend with him; while the very pride they suppose
conquered often returns masked, and causes them to make a merit of their
humility and their abstract obedience, however unreasonable: but they
cannot so easily persuade themselves there is a merit in abstract

208. Ecclesiastical tyranny has, for the most part, founded itself on
the idea of Vicarianism, one of the most pestilent of the Romanist
theories, and most plainly denounced in Scripture. Of this I have a word
or two to say to the modern "Vicarian." All powers that be are
unquestionably ordained of God; so that they that resist the Power,
resist the ordinance of God. Therefore, say some in these offices, We,
being ordained of God, and having our credentials, and being in the
English Bible called ambassadors for God, do, in a sort, represent God.
We are Vicars of Christ, and stand on earth in place of Christ. I have
heard this said by Protestant clergymen.

209. Now the word ambassador has a peculiar ambiguity about it, owing to
its use in modern political affairs; and these clergymen assume that the
word, as used by St. Paul, means an Ambassador Plenipotentiary;
representative of his King, and capable of acting for his King. What
right have they to assume that St. Paul meant this? St. Paul never uses
the word ambassador at all. He says, simply, "We are in embassage from
Christ; and Christ beseeches you through us." Most true. And let it
further be granted, that every word that the clergyman speaks is
literally dictated to him by Christ; that he can make no mistake in
delivering his message; and that, therefore, it is indeed Christ
Himself who speaks to us the word of life through the messenger's lips.
Does, therefore, the messenger represent Christ? Does the channel which
conveys the waters of the Fountain represent the Fountain itself?
Suppose, when we went to draw water at a cistern, that all at once the
Leaden Spout should become animated, and open its mouth and say to us,
See, I am Vicarious for the Fountain. Whatever respect you show to the
Fountain, show some part of it to me. Should we not answer the Spout,
and say, Spout, you were set there for our service, and may be taken
away and thrown aside[149] if anything goes wrong with you? But the
Fountain will flow forever.

210. Observe, I do not deny a most solemn authority vested in every
Christian messenger from God to men. I am prepared to grant this to the
uttermost; and all that George Herbert says, in the end of "The
Church-porch," I would enforce, at another time than this, to the
uttermost. But the Authority is simply that of a King's _Messenger_; not
of a King's _Representative_. There is a wide difference; all the
difference between humble service and blasphemous usurpation.

Well, the congregation might ask, grant him a King's messenger in cases
of doctrine,--in cases of discipline, an officer bearing the King's
Commission. How far are we to obey him? How far is it lawful to dispute
his commands?

For, in granting, above, that the Messenger always gave his message
faithfully, I granted too much to my adversaries, in order that their
argument might have all the weight it possibly could. The Messengers
rarely deliver their message faithfully; and sometimes have declared, as
from the King, messages of their own invention. How far are we, knowing
them for King's messengers, to believe or obey them?

211. Suppose, for instance, in our English army, on the eve of some
great battle, one of the colonels were to give his order to his
regiment: "My men, tie your belts over your eyes, throw down your
muskets, and follow me as steadily as you can, through this marsh, into
the middle of the enemy's line," (this being precisely the order issued
by our Puseyite Church officers). It might be questioned, in the real
battle, whether it would be better that a regiment should show an
example of insubordination, or be cut to pieces. But happily in the
Church there is no such difficulty; for the King is always with His
army: not only with His army, but at the right hand of every soldier of
it. Therefore, if any of their colonels give them a strange command, all
they have to do is to ask the King; and never yet any Christian asked
guidance of his King, in any difficulty whatsoever, without mental
reservation or secret resolution, but he had it forthwith. We conclude
then, finally, that the authority of the Clergy is, in matters of
discipline, large (being executive, first, of the written laws of God,
and secondly, of those determined and agreed upon by the body of the
Church), in matters of doctrine, dependent on their recommending
themselves to every man's conscience, both as messengers of God, and as
themselves men of God, perfect, and instructed to good works.[150]

212. (6) The last subject which we had to investigate was, it will be
remembered, what is usually called the connection of "Church and State."
But, by our definition of the term Church, throughout the whole of
Christendom, the Church (or society of professing Christians) _is_ the
State, and our subject is therefore, properly speaking, the connection
of lay and clerical officers of the Church; that is to say, the degrees
in which the civil and ecclesiastical governments ought to interfere
with or influence each other.

It would of course be vain to attempt a formal inquiry into this
intricate subject;--I have only a few detached points to notice
respecting it.

213. There are three degrees or kinds of civil government. The first and
lowest, executive merely; the government in this sense being simply the
National Hand, and composed of individuals who administer the laws of
the nation, and execute its established purposes.

The second kind of government is deliberative; but in its deliberation,
representative only of the thoughts and will of the people or nation,
and liable to be deposed the instant it ceases to express those thoughts
and that will. This, whatever its form, whether centered in a king or in
any number of men, is properly to be called Democratic. The third and
highest kind of government is deliberative, not as representative of the
people, but as chosen to take separate counsel for them, and having
power committed to it, to enforce upon them whatever resolution it may
adopt, whether consistent with their will or not. This government is
properly to be called Monarchical, whatever its form.

214. I see that politicians and writers of history continually run into
hopeless error, because they confuse the Form of a Government with its
Nature. A Government may be nominally vested in an individual; and yet
if that individual be in such fear of those beneath him, that he does
nothing but what he supposes will be agreeable to them, the Government
is Democratic; on the other hand, the Government may be vested in a
deliberative assembly of a thousand men, all having equal authority, and
all chosen from the lowest ranks of the people; and yet if that assembly
act independently of the will of the people, and have no fear of them,
and enforce its determinations upon them, the Government is Monarchical;
that is to say, the Assembly, acting as One, has power over the Many,
while in the case of the weak king, the Many have power over the One.

A Monarchical Government, acting for its own interest, instead of the
people's, is a tyranny. I said the Executive Government was the hand of
the nation:--the Republican Government is in like manner its tongue.
The Monarchical Government is its head.

All true and right government is Monarchical, and of the head. What is
its best form, is a totally different question; but unless it act _for_
the people, and not as representative of the people, it is no government
at all; and one of the grossest blockheadisms of the English in the
present day, is their idea of sending men to Parliament to "represent
_their_ opinions." Whereas their only true business is to find out the
wisest men among them, and send them to Parliament to represent their
_own_ opinions, and act upon them. Of all puppet-shows in the Satanic
Carnival of the earth, the most contemptible puppet-show is a Parliament
with a mob pulling the strings.

215. Now, of these three states of Government, it is clear that the
merely executive can have no proper influence over ecclesiastical
affairs. But of the other two, the first, being the voice of the people,
or voice of the Church, must have such influence over the Clergy as is
properly vested in the body of the Church. The second, which stands in
the same relation to the people as a father does to his family, will
have such farther influence over ecclesiastical matters, as a father has
over the consciences of his adult children. No absolute authority,
therefore, to enforce their attendance at any particular place of
worship, or subscription to any particular Creed. But indisputable
authority to procure for them such religious instruction as he deems
fittest,[151] and to recommend it to them by every means in his power;
he not only has authority, but is under obligation to do this, as well
as to establish such disciplines and forms of worship in his house as he
deems most convenient for his family: with which they are indeed at
liberty to refuse compliance, if such disciplines appear to them clearly
opposed to the law of God; but not without most solemn conviction of
their being so, nor without deep sorrow to be compelled to such a

216. But it may be said, the Government of a people never does stand to
them in the relation of a father to his family. If it do not, it is no
Government. However grossly it may fail in its duty, and however little
it may be fitted for its place, if it be a Government at all, it has
paternal office and relation to the people. I find it written on the one
hand,--"Honor thy Father; "on the other,--"Honor the King:" on the one
hand,--"Whoso smiteth his Father, shall be put to death;"[152] on the
other,--"They that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Well,
but, it may be farther argued, the Clergy are in a still more solemn
sense the Fathers of the People, and the People are their beloved Sons;
why should not, therefore, the Clergy have the power to govern the civil

217. For two very clear reasons.

In all human institutions certain evils are granted, as of necessity;
and, in organizing such institutions, we must allow for the consequences
of such evils, and make arrangements such as may best keep them in
check. Now, in both the civil and ecclesiastical governments there will
of necessity be a certain number of bad men. The wicked civilian has
comparatively little interest in overthrowing ecclesiastical authority;
it is often a useful help to him, and presents in itself little which
seems covetable. But the wicked ecclesiastical officer has much interest
in overthrowing the civilian, and getting the political power into his
own hands. As far as wicked men are concerned, therefore, it is better
that the State should have power over the Clergy, than the Clergy over
the State.

Secondly, supposing both the Civil and Ecclesiastical officers to be
Christians; there is no fear that the civil officer should underrate the
dignity or shorten the serviceableness of the minister; but there is
considerable danger that the religious enthusiasm of the minister might
diminish the serviceableness of the civilian. (The History of Religious
Enthusiasm should be written by someone who had a life to give to its
investigation; it is one of the most melancholy pages in human records,
and one of the most necessary to be studied.) Therefore, as far as good
men are concerned, it is better the State should have power over the
Clergy than the Clergy over the State.

218. This we might, it seems to me, conclude by unassisted reason. But
surely the whole question is, without any need of human reason, decided
by the history of Israel. If ever a body of Clergy should have received
independent authority, the Levitical Priesthood should; for they were
indeed a Priesthood, and more holy than the rest of the nation. But
Aaron is always subject to Moses. All solemn revelation is made to
Moses, the civil magistrate, and he actually commands Aaron as to the
fulfillment of his priestly office, and that in a necessity of life and
death: "Go, and make an atonement for the people." Nor is anything more
remarkable throughout the whole of the Jewish history than the perfect
subjection of the Priestly to the Kingly Authority. Thus Solomon thrusts
out Abiathar from being priest, I Kings ii. 27; and Jehoahaz administers
the funds of the Lord's House, 2 Kings xii. 4, though that money was
actually the Atonement Money, the Hansom for Souls (Exod. xxx. 12).

219. We have, however, also the beautiful instance of Samuel uniting in
himself the offices of Priest, Prophet, and Judge; nor do I insist on
any special manner of subjection of Clergy to civil officers, or _vice
versâ_; but only on the necessity of their perfect unity and influence
upon each other in every Christian kingdom. Those who endeavor to effect
the utter separation of ecclesiastical and civil officers, are striving,
on the one hand, to expose the Clergy to the most grievous and most
subtle of temptations from their own spiritual enthusiasm and spiritual
pride; on the other, to deprive the civil officer of all sense of
religious responsibility, and to introduce the fearful, godless,
conscienceless, and soulless policy of the Radical and the (so-called)
Socialist. Whereas, the ideal of all government is the perfect unity of
the two bodies of officers, each supporting and correcting the other;
the Clergy having due weight in all the national councils; the civil
officers having a solemn reverence for God in all their acts; the Clergy
hallowing all worldly policy by their influence; and the magistracy
repressing all religious enthusiasm by their practical wisdom. To
separate the two is to endeavor to separate the daily life of the nation
from God, and to map out the dominion of the soul into two
provinces--one of Atheism, the other of Enthusiasm. These, then, were
the reasons which caused me to speak of the idea of separation of Church
and State as Fatuity; for what Fatuity can be so great as the not having
God in our thoughts; and, in any act or office of life, saying in our
hearts, "There is no God"?

220. Much more I would fain say of these things, but not now: this only
I must emphatically assert, in conclusion:--That the schism between the
so-called Evangelical and High Church Parties in Britain, is enough to
shake many men's faith in the truth or existence of Religion at all. It
seems to me one of the most disgraceful scenes in Ecclesiastical
history, that Protestantism should be paralyzed at its very heart by
jealousies, based on little else than mere difference between high and
low breeding. For the essential differences in the religious opinions of
the two parties are sufficiently marked in two men whom we may take as
the highest representatives of each--George Herbert and John Milton; and
I do not think there would have been much difficulty in atoning those
two, if one could have got them together. But the real difficulty,
nowadays, lies in the sin and folly of both parties; in the
superciliousness of the one, and the rudeness of the other. Evidently,
however, the sin lies most at the High Church door, for the Evangelicals
are much more ready to act with Churchmen than they with the
Evangelicals; and I believe that this state of things cannot continue
much longer; and that if the Church of England does not forthwith unite
with herself the entire Evangelical body, both of England and Scotland,
and take her stand with them against the Papacy, her hour has struck.
She cannot any longer serve two masters; nor make courtesies alternately
to Christ and Antichrist. That she _has_ done this is visible enough by
the state of Europe at this instant. Three centuries since Luther--three
hundred years of Protestant knowledge--and the Papacy not yet
overthrown! Christ's truth still restrained, in narrow dawn, to the
white cliffs of England and white crests of the Alps;--the morning star
paused in its course in heaven;--the sun and moon stayed, with Satan
for their Joshua.

221. But how to unite the two great sects of paralyzed Protestants? By
keeping simply to Scripture. The members of the Scottish Church have not
a shadow of excuse for refusing Episcopacy; it has indeed been abused
among them, grievously abused; but it is in the Bible; and that is all
they have a right to ask.

They have also no shadow of excuse for refusing to employ a written form
of prayer. It may not be to their taste--it may not be the way in which
they like to pray; but it is no question, at present, of likes or
dislikes, but of duties; and the acceptance of such a form on their part
would go half-way to reconcile them with their brethren. Let them allege
such objections as they can reasonably advance against the English form,
and let these be carefully and humbly weighed by the pastors of both
churches: some of them ought to be at once forestalled. For the English
Church, on the other hand, _must_ cut the term Priest entirely out of
her Prayer-book, and substitute for it that of Minister or Elder; the
passages respecting Absolution must be thrown out also, except the
doubtful one in the Morning Service, in which there is no harm; and then
there would be only the Baptismal question left, which is one of words
rather than of things, and might easily be settled in Synod, turning the
refractory Clergy out of their offices, to go to Rome if they chose.
Then, when the Articles of Faith and form of worship had been agreed
upon between the English and Scottish Churches, the written forms and
articles should be carefully translated into the European languages, and
offered to the acceptance of the Protestant churches on the Continent,
with earnest entreaty that they would receive them, and due
entertainment of all such objections as they could reasonably allege;
and thus the whole body of Protestants, united in one great Fold, would
indeed go in and out, and find pasture; and the work appointed for them
would be done quickly, and Antichrist overthrown.

222. Impossible: a thousand times impossible!--I hear it exclaimed
against me. No--not impossible. Christ does not order impossibilities,
and He _has_ ordered us to be at peace one with another. Nay, it is
answered--He came not to send peace, but a sword. Yes, verily: to send a
sword upon earth, but not within His Church; for to His Church He said,
"My Peace I leave with you."


[Footnote 140: I may, perhaps, have missed count of one or two
occurrences of the word; but not, I think, in any important passages.]

[Footnote 141: The expression "House of God," in 1 Tim. iii. 15, is
shown to be used of the congregation by 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17.

I have not noticed the word [Greek: kyriakê (oikia)] from which the
German "Kirche," the English "Church," and the Scotch "Kirk" are
derived, as it is not used with that signification in the New

[Footnote 142: Any reference _except_ to Scripture, in notes of this
kind would, of course, be useless: the argument from, or with, the
Fathers is not to be compressed into fifty pages. I have something to
say about Hooker; but I reserve that for another time, not wishing to
say it hastily, or to leave it without support.]

[Footnote 143: Acts x. 44.]

[Footnote 144: Let not the reader be displeased with me for these short
and apparently insolent statements of opinion. I am not writing
insolently, but as shortly and clearly as I can; and when I seriously
believe a thing, I say so in a few words, leaving the reader to
determine what my belief is worth. But I do not choose to temper down
every expression of personal opinion into courteous generalities, and so
lose space, and time, and intelligibility at once. We are utterly
oppressed in these days by our courtesies, and considerations, and
compliances, and proprieties. Forgive me them, this once, or rather let
us all forgive them to each other, and learn to speak plainly first,
and, if it may be, gracefully afterwards; and not only to speak, but to
stand by what we have spoken. One of my Oxford friends heard, the other
day, that I was employed on these notes, and forthwith wrote to me, in a
panic, not to put my name to them, for fear I should "compromise
myself." I think we are most of us compromised to some extent already,
when England has sent a Roman Catholic minister to the second city in
Italy, and remains herself for a week without any government, because
her chief men cannot agree upon the position which a Popish cardinal is
to have leave to occupy in London.]

[Footnote 145: Matt. xxiv. 4; Mark xiii. 5; Luke xxi. 8; 1 Cor. iii. 18,
vi. 9, xv. 33; Eph. iv. 14, v. 6; Col. ii. 8; 2 Thess. ii. 3; Heb. iii.
13; 1 John i. 8, iii. 7; 2 John 7, 8.]

[Footnote 146: [Greek: exousia] in 1 Cor. ix. 12. 2 Thess, iii. 9.]

[Footnote 147: (Carlyle, "Past and Present," chapter xi.) Can anything
be more striking than the repeated warnings of St. Paul against strife
of words; and his distinct setting forth of Action as the only true
means of attaining knowledge of the truth, and the only sign of men's
possessing the true faith? Compare 1 Timothy vi. 4, 20, (the latter
verse especially, in connection with the previous three,) and 2 Timothy
ii. 14, 19, 22, 23, tracing the connection here also; add Titus i. 10,
14, 16, noting "_in works_ they deny him," and Titus iii. 8, 9, "affirm
constantly that they be careful to maintain good works; but avoid
foolish questions;" and finally, 1 Timothy i. 4-7: a passage which seems
to have been especially written for these times.]

[Footnote 148: I leave, in the main text, the abstract question of the
fitness of Episcopacy unapproached, not feeling any call to speak of it
at length at present; all that I feel necessary to be said is, that
bishops being granted, it is clear that we have too few to do their
work. But the argument from the practice of the Primitive Church appears
to me to be of enormous weight,--nor have I ever heard any rational
plea alleged against Episcopacy, except that, like other things, it is
capable of abuse, and has sometimes been abused; and as, altogether
clearly and indisputably, there is described in the Bible an episcopal
office, distinct from the merely ministerial one; and, apparently, also
an episcopal officer attached to each church, and distinguished in the
Revelation as an Angel, I hold the resistance of the Scotch Presbyterian
Church to Episcopacy to be unscriptural, futile, and schismatic.]

[Footnote 149: "By just judgment be deposed," Art. 26.]

[Footnote 150: The difference between the authority of doctrine and
discipline is beautifully marked in 2 Timothy ii. 25, and Titus ii.
12-15. In the first passage, the servant of God, teaching divine
doctrine, must not strive, but must "in _meekness_ instruct those that
oppose themselves;" in the second passage, teaching us "that denying
ungodliness and worldly lusts he _is to live soberly, righteously, and
godly_ in this _present world_," the minister is to speak, exhort, and
rebuke with ALL AUTHORITY--both functions being expressed as united in 2
Timothy iv. 3.]

[Footnote 151: Observe, this and the following conclusions depend
entirely on the supposition that the Government is part of the Body of
the Church, and that some pains have been taken to compose it of
religious and wise men. If we choose, knowingly and deliberately, to
compose our Parliament, in great part, of infidels and Papists, gamblers
and debtors, we may well regret its power over the Clerical officer; but
that we should, at any time, so compose our Parliament, is a sign that
the Clergy themselves have failed in their duty, and the Church in its
watchfulness;--thus the evil accumulates in reaction. Whatever I say of
the responsibility or authority of Government, is therefore to be
understood only as sequent on what I have said previously of the
necessity of closely circumscribing the Church, and then composing the
Civil Government out of the circumscribed Body. Thus, all Papists would
at once be rendered incapable of share in it being subjected to the
second or most severe degree of excommunication--first, as idolaters, by
1 Cor. v. 10; then as covetous and extortioners (selling absolution,) by
the same text; and, finally, as heretics and maintainers of falsehoods,
by Titus iii. 10, and 1 Tim. iv. 1.

I do not write this hastily, nor without earnest consideration both, of
the difficulty and the consequences of such Church Discipline. But
either the Bible is a superannuated book, and is only to be read as a
record of past days; or these things follow from it, clearly and
inevitably. That we live in days when the Bible has become
impracticable, is (if it be so) the very thing I desire to be
considered. I am not setting down these plans or schemes as at present
possible. I do not know how far they are possible; but it seems to me
that God has plainly commanded them, and that, therefore, their
impracticability is a thing to be meditated on.]

[Footnote 152: Exod. xxi. 15.]




  _20th June, 1879._

223. 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 honor done me by your wish, and of the gravity of the trust
reposed in me.

  Ever most faithfully yours,



  BRANTWOOD, CONISTON, _23rd June, 1879._

224. DEAR MR. MALLESON,--Walking, and talking, are now alike
impossible to me;[155] 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.

225. The first exact question which it seems to me such an assembly may
be 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
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,


  BRANTWOOD, _6th July._

226. 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 tenor of their teaching,[156] to a
"Homily of Justification,"[157] which is not generally in the
possession, or even probably within the comprehension, of simple

  Ever faithfully yours,


  BRANTWOOD, _8th July._

227. 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 offense.

But yet I do not quite see why you should feel my asking for a 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 [Greek: pasê thê ktisei] 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_ fulfillment
of His "Feed my sheep" in the higher sense.)[158]

228. 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 [Greek: pantachou]"
or to "[Greek: panta ta ethnê] 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

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,



  [Greek: pater hêmon ho en tois ouranois]

  _Pater noster qui es in cælis._

  BRANTWOOD, _10th July._

229. 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 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?


  [Greek: hagiasthêtô to onoma sou]

  _Sanctificetur nomen tuum._

  BRANTWOOD, _12th July, 1879._

230. 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

  [Greek: "ou gar mê katharisê ... kurios"]

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.

231. 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 _un_righteousness in them that

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 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," etc., 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,


  [Greek: elthetô ê basilheia sou]

  _Adveniat regnum tuum._

  BRANTWOOD, _14th July, 1879._

232. DEAR MR. MALLESON,--Sincere thanks for both your letters
and the proofs[159] 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 line was meant to imply that
eternal presence of Christ; as in another passage,[160] referring to
the Creation, "when His right hand strewed the snow on Lebanon, and
smoothed the slopes of Calvary," but in so far as we dwell on that
truth, "Hast thou seen _Me_, Philip, and not the Father?"[161] 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.

233. 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 Christian 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 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,

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!


  [Greek: genêthêtô to thelêma sou hôs en ouranô, kaì epì gês.]

  _Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra._

  BRANTWOOD, _9th August, 1879._

234. I was reading the second chapter of Malachi this morning by chance,
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, Everyone 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"?

235. Perhaps the most subtle and unconscious way 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!

236. 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 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 idolater 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.[162]

  _13th August._

237. 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 fulfill
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,[163]--centers to the Kingdoms and Provinces of
Honor, Virtue, and the Knowledge of the law of God,--have become,
instead, loathsome centers 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.[164]

And in the midst of them, their freshly-set-tip 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.


  [Greek: ton arton êmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron.]

  _Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie._

  BRANTWOOD, _19th August._

238. I retained the foregoing letter by me till now, lest you should
think 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.

239. For the man who is not--day by day--doing work which will earn his
dinner, must be stealing his dinner;[165] 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 fullness, 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

The opposition between the two Lords has been, and will be as long as
the world lasts, absolute, irreconcilable, 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,


  [Greek: kai aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn, ôs kai hêmeis aphiemen
  tois opheiletais hêmôn.]

  _Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus

  BRANTWOOD, _3rd September._

240. DEAR MR. MALLESON,--I have been very long before trying to
say so 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 _mis_understanding 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 "willfully sin after they have received the knowledge of the

241. 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 single 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--forever, 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,"[166] 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."

242. But, whatever the manner of sin, by offense 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.

243. 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,


[Greek: kai mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmon, alla rhysai hêmas apo tou
ponêrou; hoti sou estin hê basileia, kai hê dynamis, kai hê doxa, eis
tous aiônas. Amên.]

_Et ne nos inducas in tentationem; sed libera nos a malo; quia tuum est
regnum, potentia, et gloria in sceeula sceculorum. Amen._

  BRANTWOOD, _14th September, 1879._

244. 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?

245. 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 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?

246. 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
forever, is seldom, as far as I have heard, intelligibly explained from
the pulpit; and still less the irreconcilable 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,

NOTE.--The following further letters from Mr. Ruskin to Mr.
Malleson were printed in "Letters to the Clergy."

  _Sept. 13th._

247. DEAR MR. MALLESON,--I am so very grateful for your
proposal to edit the letters without any further reference to me. I
think that will be exactly the right way; and I believe I can put you at
real ease in the doing of it, by explaining, as I can in very few words,
the kind of _carte blanche_ I should rejoicingly give you.

Interrupted to-day! more to-morrow with, I hope, the last letter.


  _14th Sept._

I've nearly done the last letter, but will keep it till to-morrow,
rather than finish hurriedly, for the first post. Your nice little note
has just come; and I can only say that you cannot please me better than
by acting with perfect freedom in all ways; and that I only want to see,
or reply to, what you wish me for the matter's sake. And surely there is
no occasion for any thought or waste of type about _me_ personally,
except only to express your knowledge of my real desire for the health
and power of the Church, More than this praise you must not give me; for
I have learned almost everything, I may say, that I know, by my errors.

  I am affectionately yours,

  _17th Oct._

248. I am thankful to see that the letters read clearly and easily, and
contain all that was in my mind to get said; and nothing can possibly be
more right in every way than the printing and binding,[167] nor more
courteous and firm than your preface.

Yes, there _will_ be a chasm to cross--a _tauriformis
Aufidus_[168]--greater than Rubicon, and the roar of it for many a year
has been heard in the distance, through the gathering fog on the earth,
more loudly.

The River of spiritual Death to this world, and entrance to Purgatory in
the other, come down to us.

When will the feet of the Priests be dipped in the still brim of the
water? Jordan overflows his banks already.

       *       *       *       *       *

When you have put your large edition, with its correspondence, into
press, I should like to read the sheets as they are issued; and put
merely letters of reference to be taken up in a short "Epilogue." But I
don't want to do or say anything more till you have all in perfect
readiness for publication. I should merely add my reference letters in
the margin, and the shortest possible notes at the end.



[Footnote 153: These letters were written by Mr. Ruskin to the Rev. F.
A. Malleson, Vicar of Broughton-in-Furness, by whom they were read,
after a few introductory remarks, before the Furness Clerical Society.
They originated, as may be gathered from the first of them, in a request
by Mr. Malleson that Mr. Ruskin would address the society on the
subject. They have been printed in three forms:--(1) in a small pamphlet
(October 1879) "for private circulation only," among the members of the
Furness and one or two other clerical societies; (2) in the
_Contemporary Review_ of December 1879; (3) in a volume (Strahan & Co.,
1880) entitled "The Lord's Prayer and the Church," and containing also
various replies to Mr, Ruskin's letters, and an epilogue by way of
rejoinder by Mr. Ruskin himself. This volume was edited by Mr. Malleson,
with whose concurrence Mr. Ruskin's contributions to it are reprinted

[Footnote 154: Called Letter II. in the Furness pamphlet,--where a note
is added to the effect that there was a previous unpublished

[Footnote 155: In answer to the proposal of discussing the subject
during a mountain walk.--F. A. M.]

[Footnote 156: Art, xi.]

[Footnote 157: Homily xi. of the Second Table.]

[Footnote 158: "_Arrows of the Chace._"]

[Footnote 159: See postscript to this letter.--ED.]

[Footnote 160: Referring to the closing sentence of the third paragraph
of the fifth 'ter, 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.--F. A. M.]

[Footnote 161: The "Letters to the Clergy" adds note: "Yet hast thou not
known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John xiv.

[Footnote 162: _Fors Clavigera_, Letter lxxxii. (See _ante_, §

[Footnote 163: "Bibliotheca Pastorum," Vol. i. "The Economist of
Xenophon," Pref., p. xii--ED.]

[Footnote 164: See _ante_, p. 319, § 154; p. 330, § 166.--ED.]

[Footnote 165: "_Arrows of the Chace._"]

[Footnote 166: "_Arrows of the Chace._"]

[Footnote 167: Referring to the first edition, printed for private
circulation.--F. A. M.]

[Footnote 168:

  "Sic tauriformis volvitur Aufidus,
  Qua regna Dauni praefluit Appuli
    Quum saevit, horrendamque cultis
     Diluviem meditatur agris."

    --HOR., _Carm._, iv. 14.]



249. MY DEAR MALLESON,--I have glanced at the proofs you send;
and _can_ do no more than glance, even if it seemed to me desirable that
I should do more,--which, after said glance, it does in no wise. Let me
remind you of what it is absolutely necessary that the readers of the
book should clearly understand--that I wrote these Letters at your
request, to be read and discussed at the meeting of a private society of
clergymen. I declined then to be present at the discussion, and I
decline still. You afterwards asked leave to print the Letters, to which
I replied that they were yours, for whatever use you saw good to make of
them: afterwards your plans expanded, while my own notion remained
precisely what it had been--that the discussion should have been
private, and kept within the limits of the society, and that its
conclusions, if any, should have been announced in a few pages of clear
print, for the parishioners' exclusive reading.

I am, of course, flattered by the wider course you have obtained for the
Letters, but am not in the slightest degree interested by the debate
upon them, nor by any religious debates whatever, undertaken without
serious conviction that there is a jot wrong in matters as they are, or
serious resolution to make them a tittle better. Which, so far as I can
read the minds of your correspondents, appears to me the substantial
state of them.[169]

250. One thing I cannot pass without protest--the quantity of talk about
the writer of the Letters. What I am, or am not, is of no moment
whatever to the matters in hand. I observe with comfort, or at least
with complacency, that on the strength of a couple of hours' talk, at a
time when I was thinking chiefly of the weatherings of slate you were
good enough to show me above Goat's Water, you would have ventured to
baptize me in the little lake--as not a goat, but a sheep. The best I
can be sure of, myself, is that I am no wolf, and have never aspired to
the dignity even of a Dog of the Lord.

You told me, if I remember rightly, that one of the members of the
original meeting denounced me as an arch-heretic[170]--meaning,
doubtless, an arch-pagan; for a heretic, or sect-maker, is of all terms
of reproach the last that can be used of me. And I think he should have
been answered that it was precisely as an arch-pagan that I ventured to
request a more intelligible and more unanimous account of the Christian
Gospel from its preachers.

251. If anything in the Letters offended those of you who hold me a
brother, surely it had been best to tell me between ourselves, or to
tell it to the Church, or to let me be Anathema Maranatha in peace,--in
any case, I must at present so abide, correcting only the mistakes about
myself which have led to graver ones about the things I wanted to speak

The most singular one, perhaps, in all the Letters is that of Mr.
Wanstall's, that I do not attach enough weight to antiquity. I have only
come upon the sentence to-day (29th May), but my reply to it is partly
written already, with reference to the wishes of some other of your
correspondents to know more of my reasons for finding fault with the
English Liturgy.

252. If people are taught to use the Liturgy rightly and reverently, it
will bring them all good; and for some thirty years of my life I used to
read it always through to my servant and myself, if we had no Protestant
church to go to, in Alpine or Italian villages. One can always tacitly
pray of it what one wants, and let the rest pass. But, as I have grown
older, and watched the decline in the Christian faith of all nations, I
have got more and more suspicious of the effect of this particular form
of words on the truthfulness of the English mind (now fast becoming a
salt which has lost his savor, and is fit only to be trodden underfoot
of men). And during the last ten years, in which my position at Oxford
has compelled me to examine what authority there was for the code of
prayer, of which the University is now so ashamed that it no more dares
compel its youths so much as to hear, much less to utter it, I got
necessarily into the habit of always looking to the original forms of
the prayers of the fully developed Christian Church. Nor did I think it
a mere chance which placed in my own possession a manuscript of the
perfect Church service of the thirteenth century, written by the monks
of the Sainte Chapelle for St. Louis; together with one of the same
date, written in England, probably for the Diocese of Lincoln; adding
some of the Collects, in which it corresponds with St. Louis's, and the
Latin hymns so much beloved by Dante, with the appointed music for them.

253. And my wonder has been greater every hour, since I examined closely
the text of these and other early books, that in any state of declining,
or captive, energy, the Church of England should have contented itself
with a service which cast out, from beginning to end, all these
intensely spiritual and passionate utterances of chanted prayer (the
whole body, that is to say, of the authentic _Christian_ Psalms), and in
adopting what it timidly preserved of the Collects, mangled or blunted
them down to the exact degree which would make them either
unintelligible or inoffensive--so vague that everybody might use them,
or so pointless that nobody could be offended by them. For a special
instance: The prayer for "our bishops and curates, and all congregations
committed to their charge," is, in the Lincoln Service-book, "for our
bishop, and all congregations committed to _his_ charge." The change
from singular to plural seems a slight one. But it suffices to take the
eyes of the people off their own bishop into infinite space; to change a
prayer which was intended to be uttered in personal anxiety and
affection, into one for the general good of the Church, of which nobody
could judge, and for which nobody would particularly care; and, finally,
to change a prayer to which the answer, if given, would be visible, into
one of which nobody could tell whether it were answered or not.

254. In the Collects, the change, though verbally slight, is thus
tremendous in issue. But in the Litany--word and thought go all wild
together. The first prayer of the Litany in the Lincoln Service-book is
for the Pope and all ranks beneath him, implying a very noteworthy piece
of theology--that the Pope might err in religious matters, and that the
prayer of the humblest servant of God would be useful to him:--"Ut
Dompnum Apostolicum, et omnes gradus ecclesie in sancta religione
conservare digneris." Meaning that whatever errors particular persons
might, and must, fall into, they prayed God to keep the Pope right, and
the collective testimony and conduct of the ranks below him. Then
follows the prayer for their own bishop and _his_ flock--then for the
king and the princes (chief lords), that they (not all nations) might be
kept in concord--and then for _our_ bishops and abbots,--the Church of
England proper; every one of these petitions being direct, limited, and
personally heartfelt;--and then this lovely one for themselves:--

"Ut obsequium servitutis nostre rationabile facias."--"That Thou wouldst
make the obedience of our service reasonable" ("which is your reasonable

This glorious prayer is, I believe, accurately an "early English" one.
It is not in the St. Louis Litany, nor in a later elaborate French
fourteenth century one; but I find it softened in an Italian MS. of the
fifteenth century into "ut nosmet ipsos in tuo sancto servitio
confortare et conservare digneris,"--"that Thou wouldst deign to keep
and comfort us ourselves in Thy sacred service" (the comfort, observe,
being here asked for whether reasonable or not!); and in the best and
fullest French service-book I have, printed at Rouen in 1520, it
becomes, "ut congregationes omnium sanctorum in tuo sancto servitio
conservare digneris;" while victory as well as concord is asked for the
king and the princes,--thus leading the way to that for our own Queen's
victory over all her enemies, a prayer which might now be advisedly
altered into one that she--and in her, the monarchy of England--might
find more fidelity in their friends.

255. I give one more example of the corruption of our Prayer-Book, with
reference to the objections taken by some of your correspondents to the
distinction implied in my Letters between the Persons of the Father and
the Christ.

The "Memoria de Sancta Trinitate," in the St. Louis service-book, runs

"Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione
vere fidei eterne Trinitatis gloriam agnoscere, et in potentia
majestatis adorare unitatem, quesumus ut ejus fidei firmitate ab omnibus
semper muniemur adversis. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia secula
seculorum. Amen."

"Almighty and everlasting God, who has given to Thy servants, in
confession of true faith to recognize the glory of the Eternal Trinity,
and in the power of Majesty to pray to the Unity; we ask that by the
firmness of that faith we may be always defended from all adverse
things, who livest and reignest God through all ages. Amen."

256. Turning to our Collect, we find we have first slipped in the word
"us" before "Thy servants," and by that little insertion have slipped in
the squire and his jockey, and the public-house landlord--and anyone
else who may chance to have been coaxed, swept, or threatened into
Church on Trinity Sunday, and required the entire company of them to
profess themselves servants of God, and believers in the mystery of the
Trinity. And we think we have done God a service!

"Grace." Not a word about grace in the original. You don't believe by
having grace, but by having wit.

"To acknowledge." "Agnosco" is to recognize, not to acknowledge. To
_see_ that there are three lights in a chandelier is a great deal more
than to acknowledge that they are there.

"To worship." "Adorare" is to pray to, not to worship. You may worship a
mere magistrate; but you _pray_ to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The last sentence in the English is too horribly mutilated to be dealt
with in any patience. The meaning of the great old collect is that by
the shield of that faith we may quench all the fiery darts of the devil.
The English prayer means, if it means anything, "Please keep us in our
faith without our taking any trouble; and, besides, please don't let us
lose our money, nor catch cold."

"Who livest and reignest." Right; but how many of any extant or instant
congregations understand what the two words mean? That God is a living
God, not a dead Law; and that He is a reigning God, putting wrong things
to rights, and that, sooner or later, with a strong hand and a rod of
iron; and not at all with a soft sponge and warm water, washing
everybody as clean as a baby every Sunday morning, whatever dirty work
they may have been about all the week.

257. On which latter supposition your modern Liturgy, in so far as it
has supplemented instead of corrected the old one, has entirely modeled
itself,--producing in its first address to the congregation before the
Almighty precisely the faultfulest and foolishest piece of English
language that I know in the whole compass of English or American
literature. In the seventeen lines of it (as printed in my
old-fashioned, large-print Prayer-Book), there are seven times over two
words for one idea.

  1. Acknowledge and confess.

  2. Sins and wickedness.

  3. Dissemble nor cloke.

  4. Goodness and mercy.

  5. Assemble and meet.

  6. Requisite and necessary.

  7. Pray and beseech.

There is, indeed, a shade of difference in some of these ideas for a
good scholar, none for a general congregation;[172] and what difference
they can guess at merely muddles their heads: to acknowledge sin is
indeed different from confessing it, but it cannot be done at a minute's
notice; and goodness is a different thing from mercy, but it is by no
means God's infinite goodness that forgives our badness, but that judges

258. "The faultfulest," I said, "and the foolishest." After using
fourteen words where seven would have done, what is it that the whole
speech gets said with its much speaking? This Morning Service of all
England begins with the assertion that the Scripture moveth us in sundry
places to confess our sins before God. _Does_ it so? Have your
congregations ever been referred to those sundry places? Or do they take
the assertion on trust, or remain under the impression that, unless with
the advantage of their own candor, God must remain ill-informed on the
subject of their sins?

"That we should not dissemble nor cloke them." _Can_ we then? Are these
grown-up congregations of the enlightened English Church in the
nineteenth century still so young in their nurseries that the "Thou,
God, seest me" is still not believed by them if they get under the bed?

259. Let us look up the sundry moving passages referred to.

(I suppose myself a simple lamb of the flock, and only able to use my
English Bible.)

I find in my concordance (confess and confession together) forty-two
occurrences of the word. Sixteen of these, including John's confession
that he was not the Christ, and the confession of the faithful fathers
that they were pilgrims on the earth, do indeed move us strongly to
confess Christ before men. Have you ever taught your congregations what
that confession means? They are ready enough to confess Him in church,
that is to say, in their own private synagogue. Will they in
Parliament? Will they in a ballroom? Will they in a shop? Sixteen of the
texts are to enforce their doing _that_.

The most important one (1 Tim. vi. 13) refers to Christ's own good
confession, which I suppose was not of His sins, but of His obedience.
How many of your congregations can make any such kind of confession, or
wish to make it?

The eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth (1 Kings viii. 33, 2 Chron.
vi. 26, Heb. xiii. 15) speak of confessing thankfully that God is God
(and not a putrid plasma nor a theory of development), and the
twenty-first (Job xl. 14) speaks of God's own confession, that no doubt
we are the people, and that wisdom shall die with us, and on what
conditions He will make it.

260. There remains twenty-one texts which do speak of the confession of
our sins--very moving ones indeed--and Heaven grant that some day the
British public may be moved by them.

(1.) The first is Lev. v. 5, "He shall confess that he hath sinned _in
that thing_." And if you can get any soul of your congregation to say he
has sinned in _any_thing, he may do it in two words for one if he likes,
and it will yet be good liturgy.

(2.) The second is indeed general--Lev. xvi. 21: the command that the
whole nation should afflict its soul on the great day of atonement once
a year. The Church of England, I believe, enjoins no such unpleasant
ceremony. Her festivals are passed by her people often indeed in the
extinction of their souls, but by no means in their intentional

(3, 4, 5.) The third, fourth, and fifth (Lev. xxvi. 40, Numb. v. 7,
Nehem. i. 6) refer all to national humiliation for definite idolatry,
accompanied with an entire abandonment of that idolatry, and of
idolatrous persons. How soon _that_ form of confession is likely to find
a place in the English congregations the defenses of their main idol,
mammon, in the vilest and cruelest shape of it--usury--with which this
book has been defiled, show very sufficiently.

261. (6.) The sixth is Psalm xxxii. 5--virtually the whole of that
psalm, which does, indeed, entirely refer to the greater confession,
once for all opening the heart to God, which can be by no means done
fifty-two times a year, and which, once done, puts men into a state in
which they will never again say there is no health in them; nor that
their hearts are desperately wicked; but will obey forever the instantly
following order, "Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and shout for joy,
all ye that are true of heart."

(7.) The seventh (Acts xxiv. 14) is the one confession in which I can
myself share:--"After the way which they call heresy, so worship I the
Lord God of my fathers."

(8.) The eighth (James v. 16) tells us to confess our faults--not to
God, but "one to another"--a practice not favored by English
catechumens--(by the way, what _do_ you all mean by "auricular"
confession--confession that can be heard? and is the Protestant
pleasanter form one that can't be?)

(9.) The ninth is that passage of St. John (i. 9), the favorite
evangelical text, which is read and preached by thousands of false
preachers every day, without once going on to read its great companion,
"Beloved, if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and
knoweth all things; but if our heart condemn us _not_, then have we
confidence toward God." Make your people understand the second text, and
they will understand the first. At present you leave them understanding

262. And the entire body of the remaining texts is summed in Joshua vii.
19 and Ezra x. 11, in which, whether it be Achan, with his Babylonish
garment, or the people of Israel, with their Babylonish lusts, the
meaning of confession is simply what it is to every brave boy, girl,
man, and woman, who knows the meaning of the word "honor" before God or
man--namely, to say what they have done wrong, and to take the
punishment of it (not to get it blanched over by any means), and to do
it no more--which is so far from being a tone of mind generally enforced
either by the English, or any other extant Liturgy, that, though all my
maids are exceedingly pious, and insist on the privilege of going to
church as a quite inviolable one, I think it a scarcely to be hoped for
crown and consummation of virtue in them that they should tell me when
they have broken a plate; and I should expect to be met only with looks
of indignation and astonishment if I ventured to ask one of them how she
had spent her Sunday afternoon.

"Without courage," said Sir Walter Scott, "there is no truth; and
without truth there is no virtue." The sentence would have been itself
more true if Sir Walter had written "candor" for "truth," for it is
possible to be true in insolence, or true in cruelty. But in looking
back from the ridges of the Hill Difficulty in my own past life, and in
all the vision that has been given me of the wanderings in the ways of
others--this, of all principles, has become to me surest--that the first
virtue to be required of man is frankness of heart and lip: and I
believe that every youth of sense and honor, putting himself to faithful
question, would feel that he had the devil for confessor, if he had not
his father or his friend.

263. That a clergyman should ever be so truly the friend of his
parishioners as to deserve their confidence from childhood upwards, may
be flouted as a sentimental ideal; but he is assuredly only their enemy
in showing his Lutheran detestation of the sale of indulgences by
broadcasting these gratis from his pulpit.

The inconvenience and unpleasantness of a catechism concerning itself
with the personal practice as well as the general theory of duty, are
indeed perfectly conceivable by me: yet I am not convinced that such
manner of catechism would therefore be less medicinal; and during the
past ten years it has often been matter of amazed thought with me, while
our President at Corpus read prayers to the chapel benches, what might
by this time have been the effect on the learning as well as the creed
of the University, if, forty years ago, our stern old Dean Gaisford, of
the House of Christ, instead of sending us to chapel as to the house of
correction, when we missed a lecture, had inquired, before he allowed us
to come to chapel at all, whether we were gamblers, harlot-mongers, or
in concealed and selfish debt.

264. I observe with extreme surprise in the preceding letters the
unconsciousness of some of your correspondents, that there ever was such
a thing as discipline in the Christian Church. Indeed, the last
wholesome instance of it I can remember was when my own great-great
uncle Maitland lifted Lady ---- from his altar-rails, and led her back to
her seat before the congregation, when she offered to take the
Sacrament, being at enmity with her son.[173] But I believe a few hours
honestly spent by any clergyman on his Church history would show him
that the Church's confidence in her prayer has been always exactly
proportionate to the strictness of her discipline; that her present
fright at being caught praying by a chemist or an electrician, results
mainly from her having allowed her twos and threes gathered in the name
of Christ to become sixes and sevens gathered in the name of Belial; and
that therefore her now needfulest duty is to explain to her stammering
votaries, extremely doubtful as they are of the effect of their
supplications either on politics or the weather, that although Elijah
was a man subject to like passions as we are, he had them better under
command; and that while the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much, the formal and lukewarm one of an iniquitous man
availeth--much the other way.

Such an instruction, coupled with due explanation of the nature of
righteousness and iniquity, directed mainly to those who have the power
of both in their own hands, being makers of law, and holders of
property, would, without any further debate, bring about a very singular
change in the position and respectability of English clergymen.

265. How far they may at present be considered as merely the Squire's
left hand, bound to know nothing of what he is doing with his right, it
is for their own consciences to determine.

For instance, a friend wrote to me the other day, "Will you not come
here? You will see a noble duke destroying a village as old as the
Conquest, and driving out dozens of families whose names are in Domesday
Book, because, owing to the neglect of his ancestors and rackrenting for
a hundred years, the place has fallen out of repair, and the people are
poor, and may become paupers. A local paper ventured to tell the truth.
The duke's agent called on the editor, and threatened him with
destruction if he did not hold his tongue." The noble duke, doubtless,
has proper Protestant horror of auricular confession. But suppose,
instead of the local editor, the local parson had ventured to tell the
truth from his pulpit, and even to intimate to his Grace that he might
no longer receive the Body and Blood of the Lord at the altar of that
parish! The parson would scarcely--in these days--have been therefore
made bonfire of, and had a pretty martyr's memorial by Mr. Scott's
pupils; but he would have lighted a goodly light, nevertheless, in this
England of ours, whose pettifogging piety has now neither the courage to
deny a duke's grace in its church, nor to declare Christ's in its

266. Lastly. Several of your contributors, I observe, have rashly dipped
their feet in the brim of the water of that raging question of Usury;
and I cannot but express my extreme regret that you should yourself have
yielded to the temptation of expressing opinions which you have had no
leisure either to sound or to test. My assertion, however, that the
rich lived mainly by robbing the poor, referred not to Usury, but to
Rent; and the facts respecting both these methods of extortion are
perfectly and indubitably ascertainable by any person who himself wishes
to ascertain them, and is able to take the necessary time and pains. I
see no sign, throughout the whole of these letters, of any wish
whatever, on the part of one of their writers, to ascertain the facts,
but only to defend practices which they hold to be convenient in the
world, and are afraid to blame in their congregations. Of the
presumption with which several of the writers utter their notions on the
subject, I do not think it would be right to speak farther, in an
epilogue to which there is no reply, in the terms which otherwise would
have been deserved. In their bearing on other topics, let me earnestly
thank you (so far as my own feelings may be permitted voice in the
matter) for the attention with which you have examined, and the courage
with which you have ratified, or at least endured, letters which
could not but bear at first the aspect of being written in a
hostile--sometimes even in a mocking spirit. That aspect is untrue, nor
am I answerable for it: the things of which I had to speak could not be
shortly described but in terms which might sound satirical; for all
error, if frankly shown, is precisely most ridiculous when it is most
dangerous, and I have written no word which is not chosen as the
exactest for its occasion, whether it move sigh or smile. In my earlier
days I wrote much with the desire to please, and the hope of influencing
the reader. As I grow older and older, I recognize the truth of the
Preacher's saying, "Desire shall fail, and the mourners go about the
streets;" and I content myself with saying, to whoso it may concern,
that the thing is verily thus, whether they will hear or whether they
will forbear. No man more than I has ever loved the places where God's
honor dwells, or yielded truer allegiance to the teaching of His evident
servants. No man at this time grieves more for the danger of the Church
which supposes him her enemy, while she whispers procrastinating _pax
vobiscum_ in answer to the spurious kiss of those who would fain toll
curfew over the last fires of English faith, and watch the sparrow find
nest where she may lay her young, around the altars of the Lord.

  Ever affectionately yours,


[Footnote 169: The following extracts from letters of Mr. Ruskin to Mr.
Malleson were printed in the "Letters to the Clergy":--

"_14th May_, 1880.--My dear Malleson, ... I had never seen _yours_ at
all when I wrote last. I fell first on ----, whom I read with some
attention, and commented on with little favor; went on to the next, and
remained content with that taste till I had done my Scott (_Nineteenth

"I have this morning been reading your own, on which I very earnestly
congratulate you. God knows it is not because they are friendly or
complimentary, but because you _do_ see what I mean; and people hardly
ever do; and I think it needs very considerable power and feeling to
forgive and understand as you do. You have said everything I want to
say, and much more, except on the one point of excommunication, which
will be the chief, almost the only, subject of my final note."

"_16th May._--Yes, the omission of the 'Mr.' meant much change in all my
feelings towards you and estimates of you; for which change, believe me,
I am more glad and thankful than I can well tell you.


[Footnote 170: Only a heretic!--F. A. M.]

[Footnote 171: I may perhaps be pardoned for vindicating-at least my
arithmetic, which, with Bishop Colenso, I rather pride myself upon. One
of your correspondents greatly doubts my having heard five thousand
asserters of evangelical principles (Catholic-absolvent or
Protestant-detergent are virtually the same). I am now sixty years old,
and for forty-five of them was in church at least once on the
Sunday,--say once a month also in afternoons,--and you have above three
thousand church services. When I am abroad I am often in half-a-dozen
churches in the course of a single day, and never lose a chance of
listening to anything that is going on. Add the conversations pursued,
not unearnestly, with every sort of reverend person I can get to talk to
me--from the Bishop of Strasburg (as good a specimen of a town bishop as
I have known), with whom I was studying ecstatic paintings in the year
1850--down to the simplest traveling tinker inclined Gospelwards, whom I
perceive to be sincere, and your correspondent will perceive that my
rapid numerical expression must be far beneath the truth. He subjoins
his more rational doubt of my acquaintance with many town missionaries;
to which I can only answer, that as I do not live in town, nor set up
for a missionary myself, my spiritual advantages have certainly not been
great in that direction. I simply assert that of the few I have
known,--beginning with Mr. Spurgeon, under whom I sat with much
edification for a year or two,--I have not known any such teaching as I
speak of.]

[Footnote 172: The only explanation ever offered for this exuberant
wordiness is that if worshipers did not understand one term they would
the other, and in some cases, in the Exhortation and elsewhere, one word
is of Latin and the other of Saxon derivation.[1] But this is surely a
very feeble excuse for bad composition. Of a very different kind is that
beautiful climax which is reached in the three admirably chosen pairs of
words in the Prayer for the Parliament, "peace and happiness, truth and
justice, religion and piety."--F. A. M.

(Note 1: The repetition of synonymous terms is of very frequent
occurrence in sixteenth century writing, as "for ever and aye," "Time
and the hour run through the roughest day" (_Macbeth_, i. 3).)]

[Footnote 173: In some of the country districts of Scotland the right of
the Church to interfere with the lives of private individuals is still
exercised. Only two years ago, a wealthy gentleman farmer was rebuked by
the "Kirk Session" of the Dissenting Church to which he belonged, for
infidelity to his wife.

At the Scottish half-yearly Communion the ceremony of "fencing the
tables" used to be observed; that is, turning away all those whose lives
were supposed to have made them unfit to receive the Sacrament.]


267. Every age of the world has its own special sins, and special
simplicities; and among our own most particular humors in both kinds
must be reckoned the tendency to parade our discoveries of the laws of
Nature, as if nobody had ever heard of a law of Nature before.

The most curious result of this extremely absurd condition of mind is
perhaps the alarm of religious persons on subjects of which one would
have fancied most of the palpable difficulties had been settled before
the nineteenth century. The theory of prayer, for instance, and of
Miracles. I noticed a lengthy discussion in the newspapers a month or
two ago, on the propriety of praying for, or against rain. It had
suddenly, it seems, occurred to the public mind, and to that of the
gentlemen who write the theology of the breakfast-table, that rain was
owing to natural causes; and that it must be unreasonable to expect God
to supply on our immediate demand what could not be provided but by
previous evaporation. I noticed farther that this alarming difficulty
was at least softened to some of our Metropolitan congregations by the
assurances of their ministers, that, although, since the last lecture by
Professor Tyndall at the Royal Institution, it had become impossible to
think of asking God for any temporal blessing, they might still hope
their applications for spiritual advantages would occasionally be
successful;--thus implying that though material processes were
necessarily slow, and the laws of Heaven respecting matter, inviolable,
mental processes might be instantaneous, and mental laws at any moment
disregarded by their Institutor: so that the spirit of a man might be
brought to maturity in a moment, though the resources of Omnipotence
would be overtaxed, or its consistency abandoned, in the endeavor to
produce the same result On a greengage.

More logically, though not more wisely, other divines have asserted that
prayer is medicinally beneficial to ourselves, whether we obtain what we
ask for or not; and that our moral state is gradually elevated by the
habit of praying daily that the Kingdom of God may come,--though nothing
would more astonish us than its coming.

268. With these doubts respecting the possibility or propriety of
miracle, a more immediate difficulty occurs as to its actual nature or
definition. What is the quality of any event which may be properly
called "miraculous"? What are the degrees of wonderfulness?--what the
surpassing degree of it, which changes the wonder into the sign, or may
be positively recognized by human intelligence as an interruption,
instead of a new operation, of those laws of Nature with which, of late,
we have become so exhaustively acquainted? For my own part, I can only
say that I am so haunted by doubt of the security of our best knowledge,
and by discontent in the range of it, that it seems to me contrary to
modesty, whether in a religious or scientific point of view, to regard
_any_thing as miraculous. I know so little, and this little I know is so
inexplicable, that I dare not say anything is wonderful because it is
strange to me, or not wonderful because it is familiar. I have not the
slightest idea how I compel my hand to write these words, or my lips to
read them: and the question which was the thesis of Mr. Ward's very
interesting paper, "Can Experience prove the Uniformity of Nature?"[175]
is, in my mind, so assuredly answerable with the negative which the
writer appeared to desire, that, precisely on that ground, the
performance of any so-called miracle whatever would be morally
unimpressive to me. If a second Joshua to-morrow commanded the sun to
stand still, and it obeyed him; and he therefore claimed deference as a
miracle-worker, I am afraid I should answer, "What! a miracle that the
sun stands still?--not at all. I was always expecting it would. The only
wonder, to me, was its going on."

269. But even assuming the demonstrable uniformity of the laws or
customs of Nature which are known to us, it remains a difficult question
what manner of interference with such law or custom we might logically
hold miraculous, and what, on the contrary, we should treat only as
proof of the existence of some other law, hitherto undiscovered.

For instance, there is a case authenticated by the signatures of several
leading physicists in Paris, in which a peasant girl, under certain
conditions of morbid excitement, was able to move objects at some
distance from her without touching them. Taking the evidence for what it
may be worth, the discovery of such a faculty would only, I suppose,
justify us in concluding that some new vital energy was developing
itself under the conditions of modern bodily health; and not that any
interference with the laws of Nature had taken place. Yet the generally
obstinate refusal of men of science to receive any verbal witness of
such facts is a proof that they believe them contrary to a code of law
which is more or less complete in their experience, and altogether
complete in their conception; and I think it is therefore their province
to lay down for us the true principle by which we may distinguish the
miraculous violation of a known law from the sudden manifestation of an
unknown one.

270. In the meantime, supposing ourselves ever so incapable of defining
law, or discerning its interruption, we need not therefore lose our
conception of the one, nor our faith in the other. Some of us may no
more be able to know a genuine miracle, when we see it, than others to
know a genuine picture; but the ordinary impulse to regard, therefore,
all claim to miraculous power as imposture, or self-deception, reminds
me always of the speech of a French lady to me, whose husband's
collection of old pictures had brought unexpectedly low prices in the
auction-room,--"How can you be so senseless," she said, "as to attach
yourself to the study of an art in which you see that all excellence is
a mere matter of opinion?" Some of us have thus come to imagine that
the laws of Nature, as well as those of Art, may be matters of opinion;
and I recollect an ingenious paper by Mr. Frederic Harrison, some two
years ago, on the "Subjective Synthesis,"--which, after proving, what
does not seem to stand in need of so elaborate proof, that we can only
know, of the universe, what we can see and understand, went on to state
that the laws of Nature "were not objective realities, any more than
they were absolute truths."[176] Which decision, it seems to me, is as
if some modest and rational gnat, who had submitted to the humiliating
conviction that it could know no more of the world than might be
traversed by flight, or tasted by puncture, yet, in the course of an
experiment on a philosopher with its proboscis, hearing him speak of the
Institutes of Justinian, should observe, on its return to the society of
gnats, that the Institutes of Justinian were not objective realities,
any more than they were absolute truths. And, indeed, the careless use
of the word "Truth" itself, often misleads even the most accurate
thinkers. A law cannot be spoken of as a truth, either absolute or
concrete. It is a law of nature, that is to say, of my own particular
nature, that I fall asleep after dinner, and my confession of this fact
is a truth; but the bad habit is no more a truth than the statement of
it is a bad habit.

271. Nevertheless, in spite of the treachery of our conceptions and
language, and in just conclusion even from our narrow experience, the
conviction is fastened in our hearts that the habits or laws of Nature
are more constant than our own and sustained by a firmer Intelligence:
so that, without in the least claiming the faculty of recognition of
miracle, we may securely define its essence. The phenomena of the
universe with which we are acquainted are assumed to be, under general
conditions, constant, but to be maintained in that constancy by a
supreme personal Mind; and it is farther supposed that, under
particular conditions, this ruling Person interrupts the constancy of
these phenomena, in order to establish a particular relation with
inferior creatures.

272. It is, indeed, singular how ready the inferior creatures are to
imagine such a relation, without any very decisive evidence of its
establishment. The entire question of miracle is involved with that of
the special providences which are supposed, in some theories of
religion, sometimes to confound the enemies, and always to protect the
darlings of God: and in the minds of amiable persons, the natural and
very justifiable sense of their own importance to the well-being of the
world may often encourage the pleasant supposition that the Deity,
however improvident for others, will be provident for _them_. I
recollect a paper on this subject by Dr. Guthrie, published not long ago
in some religious periodical, in which the writer mentioned, as a
strikingly Providential circumstance, the catching of his foot on a
ledge of rock which averted what might otherwise have been a fatal fall.
Under the sense of the loss to the cause of religion and the society of
Edinburgh, which might have been the consequence of the accident, it is
natural that Dr. Guthrie should refer to it with strongly excited
devotional feelings: yet, perhaps, with better reason, a junior member
of the Alpine Club, less secure of the value of his life, would have
been likely on the same occasion rather to be provoked by his own
awkwardness, than impressed by the providential structure of the rock.
At the root of every error on these subjects we may trace either an
imperfect conception of the universality of Deity, or an exaggerated
sense of individual importance: and yet it is no less certain that every
train of thought likely to lead us in a right direction must be founded
on the acknowledgment that the personality of a Deity who has commanded
the doing of Justice and the showing of Mercy can be no otherwise
manifested than in the signal support of causes which are just, and
favor of persons who are kind. The beautiful tradition of the deaths of
Cleobis and Bito, indeed, expresses the sense proper to the wisest men,
that we are unable either to discern or decide for ourselves in what
the favor of God consists: but the promises of the Christian religion
imply that its true disciples will be enabled to ask with prudence what
is to be infallibly granted.

273. And, indeed, the relations between God and His creatures which it
is the function of miracle to establish, depend far more on the
correspondence of events with human volition than on the marvelous
character of the events themselves. These relations are, in the main,
twofold. Miracles are either to convince, or to assist. We are apt to
think of them as meant only to establish faith, but many are for mere
convenience of life. Elisha's making the ax-head swim, and the poisoned
soup wholesome, were not to convince anybody, but merely to give help in
the quickest way. Conviction is, indeed, in many of the most interesting
miracles, quite a secondary end, and often an unattained one. The hungry
multitude are fed, the ship in danger relieved by sudden calm. The
disciples disregard the multiplying of the loaves, yet are strongly
affected by the change in the weather.

But whether for conviction, aid (or aid in the terrific form of
punishment), the essence of miracle is as the manifestation of a Power
which can direct or modify the otherwise constant phenomena of Nature;
and it is, I think, by attaching too great importance to what may be
termed the missionary work of miracle, instead of what may in
distinction be called its pastoral work, that many pious persons, no
less than infidels, are apt to despise, and therefore to deny,
miraculous power altogether.

274. "We do not need to be convinced," they say, "of the existence of
God by the capricious exertion of His power. We are satisfied in the
normal exertion of it; and it is contrary to the idea of His Excellent
Majesty that there should be any other."

But all arguments and feelings must be distrusted which are founded on
our own ideas of what it is proper for Deity to do. Nor can I, even
according to our human modes of judgment, find any impropriety in the
thought that an energy may be natural without being normal, and Divine
without being constant. The wise missionary may indeed require no
miracle to confirm his authority; but the despised pastor may need
miracle to enforce it, or the compassionate governor to make it
beneficial. And it is quite possible to conceive of Pastoral Miracle as
resulting from a power as natural as any other, though not as perpetual.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and some of the energies granted to
men born of the Spirit may be manifested only on certain conditions and
on rare occasions; and therefore be always wonderful or miraculous,
though neither disorderly nor unnatural.

Thus St. Paul's argument to Agrippa, "Why should it be thought with you
a thing impossible that God should raise the dead?" would be suicidal,
if he meant to appeal to the miracle as a proof of the authority of his
mission. But, claiming no authority, he announces as a probable and
acceptable fact the opening of a dispensation in which it was as natural
for the dead to be raised as for the Gospel to be preached to the poor,
though both the one and the other were miraculous signs that the Master
of Nature had come down to be Emmanuel among men, and that no prophet
was in future to look for another.

We have indeed fallen into a careless habit of using the words
supernatural and superhuman, as if equivalent. A human act may be
super-doggish, and a Divine act superhuman, yet all three acts
absolutely Natural. It is, perhaps, as much the virtue of a Spirit to be
inconstant as of a poison to be sure, and therefore always impossible to
weigh the elements of moral force in the balance of an apothecary.

275. It is true that, in any abstract reflection on these things, one is
instantly brought to pause by questions of the reasonableness, the
necessity, or the expedient degree of miracle. Christ walks on the
water, overcoming gravity to that extent. Why not have flown, and
overcome it altogether? He feeds the multitude by breaking existent
loaves; why not have commanded the stones into bread? Or, instead of
miraculously feeding either an assembly or a nation, why not enable
them, like Himself, miraculously to fast, for the needful time? And in
generally admitting the theories of pastoral miracle the instant
question submits itself,--Supposing a nation wisely obedient to divinely
appointed ministers of a sensible Theocracy, how much would its
government be miraculously assisted, and how many of its affairs brought
to miraculous prosperity of issue? Would its enemies be destroyed by
angels, and its food poured down upon it from the skies, or would the
supernatural aid be limited to diminishing the numbers of its slain in
battle,[177] or to conducting its merchant ships safely, or
instantaneously, to the land whither they would go?

But no progress can be made, and much may be prevented, in the
examination of any really difficult human problem, by thus approaching
it on the hypothetical side. Such approach is easy to the foolish,
pleasant to the proud, and convenient to the malicious, but absolutely
fruitless of practical result. Our modesty and wisdom consist alike in
the simple registry of the facts cognizable by us, and our duty, in
making active use of them for the present, without concerning ourselves
as to the possibilities of the future. And the two main facts we have to
deal with are that the historical record of miracle is always of
inconstant power, and that our own actual energies are inconstant almost
in exact proportion to their worthiness.

276. First, I say, the history of miracle is of inconstant power. St.
Paul raises Eutychus from death, and his garments effect miraculous
cure; yet he leaves Trophimus sick at Miletum, recognizes only the mercy
of God in the recovery of Epaphroditus, and, like any uninspired
physician, recommends Timothy wine for his infirmities. And in the
second place, our own energies are inconstant almost in proportion to
their nobleness. We breathe with regularity, and can calculate upon the
strength necessary for common tasks. But the record of our best work,
and of our happiest moments, is always one of success which we did not
expect, and of enthusiasm which we could not prolong.

277. And therefore we can only look for an imperfect and interrupted,
but may surely insist on an occasional, manifestation of miraculous
credentials by every minister of religion. There is no practical
difficulty in the discernment of marvel properly to be held superhuman.
It is indeed frequently alleged by the admirers of scientific discovery
that many things which were wonderful fifty years ago, have ceased to be
so now; and I am perfectly ready to concede to them that what they now
themselves imagine to be admirable, will not in the future be admired.
But the petty sign, said to have been wrought by the augur Attus before
Tarquin, would be as impressive at this instant as it was then; while
the utmost achievements of recent scientific miracle have scarcely yet
achieved the feeding of Lazarus their beggar, still less the
resurrection of Lazarus their friend. Our Christian faith, at all
events, stands or falls by this test. "These signs shall follow them
that believe," are words which admit neither of qualification nor
misunderstanding; and it is far less arrogant in any man to look for
such Divine attestation of his authority as a teacher, than to claim,
without it, any authority to teach. And assuredly it is no proof of any
unfitness or unwisdom in such expectations, that, for the last thousand
years, miraculous powers seem to have been withdrawn from, or at least
indemonstrably possessed, by a Church which, having been again and again
warned by its Master that Riches were deadly to Religion, and Love
essential to it, has nevertheless made wealth the reward of Theological
learning, and controversy its occupation. There are states of moral
death no less amazing than physical resurrection; and a church which
permits its clergy to preach what they have ceased to believe, and its
people to trust what they refuse to obey, is perhaps more truly
miraculous in impotence, than it would be miraculous in power, if it
could move the fatal rocks of California to the Pole, and plant the
sycamore and the vine between the ridges of the sea.


[Footnote 174: _Contemporary Review_, March, 1873.]

[Footnote 175: Read at the November meeting of the Metaphysical

[Footnote 176: I quote from memory but am sure of the purport of the
sentence, though not of its expression.]

[Footnote 177: "And be it death proclaimëd through our host to boast of
this."--_Henry V._]

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Nineteenth Century, January 1878._)

       *       *       *       *       *


278. I am sure that all in this audience who were present yesterday at
Dr. Acland's earnest and impressive lecture must have felt how deeply I
should be moved by his closing reference to the friendship begun in our
undergraduate days;--of which I will but say that, if it alone were all
I owed to Oxford, the most gracious kindness of the Alma Mater would in
that gift have been fulfilled to me.

But his affectionate words, in their very modesty, as if even standing
on the defense of his profession, the noblest of human occupations! and
of his science--the most wonderful and awful of human intelligences!
showed me that I had yet not wholly made clear to you the exactly
limited measure in which I have ventured to dispute the fitness of
method of study now assigned to you in this University.

279. Of the dignity of physical science, and of the happiness of those
who are devoted to it for the healing and the help of mankind, I never
have meant to utter, and I do not think I _have_ uttered, one irreverent
word. But against the curiosity of science, leading us to call virtually
nothing gained but what is new discovery, and to despise every use of
our knowledge in its acquisition; of the insolence of science, in
claiming for itself a separate function of that human mind which in its
perfection is one and indivisible, in the image of its Creator; and of
the perversion of science, in hoping to discover by the analysis of
death, what can only be discovered by the worship of life,--of these I
have spoken, not only with sorrow, but with a fear which every day I
perceive to be more surely grounded, that such labor, in effacing from
within you the sense of the presence of God in the garden of the earth,
may awaken within you the prevailing echo of the first voice of its
Destroyer, "_Ye_ shall be as gods."

280. To-day I have little enough time to conclude,--none to review--what
I have endeavored thus to say; but one instance, given me directly in
conversation after lecture, by one of yourselves, will enable me to
explain to you precisely what I _mean_.

After last lecture, in which you remember I challenged our physiologists
to tell me how a bird flies, one of you, whose pardon, if he thinks it
needful, I ask for this use of his most timely and illustrative
statement, came to me, saying, "You know the way in which we are shown
how a bird flies, is, that any one, a dove for instance, is given to us,
plucked, and partly skinned, and incised at the insertion of the wing
bone; and then, with a steel point, the ligament of the muscle at the
shoulder is pulled up, and out, and made distinct from other ligaments,
and we are told 'that is the way a bird flies,' and on that matter it is
thought we have been told enough."

I say that this instance given me was timely; I will say more--in the
choice of this particular bird, providential. Let me take, in their
order, the two subjects of inquiry and instruction, which are indeed
offered to us in the aspect and form of that one living creature.

281. Of the splendor of your own true life, you are told, in the words
which, to-day, let me call, as your Fathers did, words of
inspiration--"Yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, that is covered
with silver wings and her feathers with gold." Of the manifold iris of
color in the dove's plumage, watched carefully in sunshine as the bird
moves, I cannot hope to give you any conception by words; but that it is
the most exquisite, in the modesty of its light, and in the myriad
mingling of its hue, of all plumage, I may partly prove to you in this
one fact, that out of all studies of color, the one which I would
desire most to place within your reach in these schools, is Turner's
drawing of a dove, done when he was in happy youth at Farnley. But of
the causes of this color, and of the peculiar subtlety in its
iridescence, nothing is told you in any scientific book I have ever seen
on ornithology.

282. Of the power of flight in these wings, and the tender purpose of
their flight, you hear also in your Fathers' book. To the Church, flying
from her enemies into desolate wilderness, there were indeed given two
wings as of a great eagle. But the weary saint of God, looking forward
to his home in calm of eternal peace, prays rather--"Oh that I had wings
like a dove, for then should I flee away, and be at rest." And of these
wings, and this mind of hers, this is what reverent science should teach
you: first, with what parting of plume, and what soft pressure and
rhythmic beating of divided air, she reaches that miraculous swiftness
of undubious motion, compared with which the tempest is slow, and the
arrow uncertain; and secondly, what clew there is, visible, or
conceivable to thought of man, by which, to her living conscience and
errorless pointing of magnetic soul, her distant home is felt afar
beyond the horizon, and the straight path, through concealing clouds,
and over trackless lands, made plain to her desire, and her duty, by the
finger of God.

283. And lastly, since in the tradition of the Old Covenant she was made
the messenger of forgiveness to those eight souls saved through the
baptism unto death, and in the Gospel of the New Covenant, under her
image, was manifested the well-pleasing of God, in the fulfillment of
all righteousness by His Son in the Baptism unto life,--surely alike all
Christian people, old and young, should be taught to be gladdened by her
sweet presence; and in every city and village in Christendom she should
have such home as in Venice she has had for ages, and be, among the
sculptured marbles of the temple, the sweetest sculpture; and,
fluttering at your children's feet, their never-angered friend. And
surely also, therefore, of the thousand evidences which any carefully
thoughtful person may see, not only of the ministration of good, but of
the deceiving and deadly power of the evil angels, there is no one more
distinct in its gratuitous, and unreconcilable sin, than that this--of
all the living creatures between earth and sky--should be the one chosen
to amuse the apathy of our murderous idleness, with skill-less,
effortless, merciless slaughter.

284. I pass to the direct subject on which I have to speak finally
to-day;--the reality of that ministration of the good angels, and of
that real adversity of the principalities and powers of Satan, in which,
without exception, all earnest Christians have believed, and the
appearance of which, to the imagination of the greatest and holiest of
them, has been the root, without exception, of all the greatest art
produced by the human mind or hand in this world.

That you have at present no art properly so called in England at
all--whether of painting, sculpture, or architecture[179]--I, for one,
do not care. In midst of Scottish Lothians, in the days of Scott, there
was, by how much less art, by so much purer life, than in the midst of
Italy in the days of Raphael. But that you should have lost, not only
the skill of Art, but the simplicity of Faith and life, all in one, and
not only here deface your ancient streets by the Ford of the waters of
sacred learning, but also deface your ancient hills with guilt of
mercenary desolation, driving their ancient shepherd life into exile,
and diverting the waves of their streamlets into the cities which are
the very centers of pollution, of avarice, and impiety: for this I _do_
care,--for this you have blamed me for caring, instead of merely trying
to teach you drawing. I have nevertheless yet done my best to show you
what real drawing is; and must yet again bear your blame for trying to
show you, through that, somewhat more.

285. I was asked, as we came out of chapel this morning, by one of the
Fellows of my college, to say a word to the Undergraduates, about
Thirlmere. His request, being that of a faithful friend, came to enforce
on me the connection between this form of spoliation of our native land
of its running waters, and the gaining disbelief in the power of prayer
over the distribution of the elements of our bread and water, in rain,
and sunshine,--seedtime, and harvest. Respecting which, I must ask you
to think with me to-day what is the meaning of the myth, if you call it
so, of the great prophet of the Old Testament, who is to be again sent
before the coming of the day of the Lord. For truly, you will find that
if any part of your ancient faith be true, it is needful for every soul
which is to take up its cross, with Christ, to be also first
transfigured in the light of Christ,--talking with Moses and with Elias.

The contest of Moses is with the temporal servitude,--of Elijah, with
the spiritual servitude, of the people; and the war of Elijah is with
their servitude essentially to two Gods, Baal, or the Sun God, in whose
hand they thought was their life, and Baalzebub--the Fly God,--of
Corruption, in whose hand they thought was the arbitration of death.

The entire contest is summed in the first assertion by Elijah, of his
authority as the Servant of God, over those elemental powers by which
the heart of Man, whether Jew or heathen, was filled with food and

And Elijah the Tishbite; who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto
Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there
shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."

286. Your modern philosophers have explained to you the absurdity of all
that: you think? Of all the shallow follies of this age, that
proclamation of the vanity of prayer for the sunshine and rain; and the
cowardly equivocations, to meet it, of the clergy who never in their
lives really prayed for anything, I think, excel. Do these modern
scientific gentlemen fancy that nobody, before they were born, knew the
laws of cloud and storm, or that the mighty human souls of former ages,
who every one of them lived and died by prayer, and in it, did not know
that in every petition framed on their lips they were asking for what
was not only fore-ordained, but just as probably fore-_done_? or that
the mother pausing to pray before she opens the letter from Alma or
Balaclava, does not know that already he is saved for whom she prays, or
already lies festering in his shroud? The whole confidence and glory of
prayer is in its appeal to a Father who knows our necessities before we
ask, who knows our thoughts before they rise in our hearts, and whose
decrees, as unalterable in the eternal future as in the eternal past,
yet in the close verity of visible fact, bend, like reeds, before the
fore-ordained and faithful prayers of His children.

287. Of Elijah's contest on Carmel with that Sun-power in which,
literally, you again now are seeking your life, you know the story,
however little you believe it. But of his contest with the Death-power,
on the Hill of Samaria, you read less frequently, and more doubtfully.

"Oh, thou Man of God, the King hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered
and said, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from Heaven, and
consume thee, and thy fifty."

How monstrous, how revolting, cries your modern religionist, that a
prophet of the Lord should invoke death on fifty men. And he sits
himself, enjoying his muffin and _Times_, and contentedly allows the
slaughter of fifty thousand men, so it be in the interests of England,
and of his own stock on Exchange.

But note Elijah's message. "Because thou hast sent to inquire of
Baalzebub the God of Ekron, therefore, thou shalt not go down from the
bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die."

"Because thou hast sent to inquire:" he had not sent to _pray_ to the
God of Ekron, only to _ask_ of him. The priests of Baal _prayed_ to
Baal, but Ahaziah only _questions_ the fly-god.

He does not pray "Let me recover," but he asks "_Shall_ I recover of
this disease?"

The scientific mind again, you perceive,--Sanitary investigation; by
oracle of the God of Death. Whatever can be produced of disease, by
flies, by aphides, by lice, by communication of corruption, shall not we
moderns also wisely inquire, and so recover of our diseases?

All which may, for aught I know, be well; and when I hear of the vine
disease or potato disease being stayed, I will hope also that plague may
be, or diphtheria, or aught else of human plague, by due sanitary

288. In the meantime, I see that the common cleanliness of the earth and
its water is despised, as if _it_ were a plague; and after myself
laboring for three years to purify and protect the source of the
loveliest stream in the English midlands, the Wandel, I am finally
beaten, because the road commissioners insist on carrying the road
washings into it, at its source. But that's nothing. Two years ago, I
went, for the first time since early youth, to see Scott's country by
the shores of Yarrow, Teviot, and Gala waters. I will read you once
again, though you will remember it, his description of one of those
pools which you are about sanitarily to draw off into your
engine-boilers, and then I will tell you what I saw myself in that
sacred country.

  Oft in my mind such thoughts awake,
  By lone Saint Mary's silent lake;
  Thou know'st it well,--nor fen, nor sedge,
  Pollute the pure lake's crystal edge;
  Abrupt and sheer, the mountains sink
  At once upon the level brink;
  And just a trace of silver sand
  Marks where the water meets the land.

  Far in the mirror, bright and blue,
  Each hill's huge outline you may view;
  Shaggy with heath, but lonely, bare,
  Nor tree, nor bush, nor brake, is there,
  Save where, of land, yon slender line
  Bears thwart the lake the scatter'd pine.

         *       *       *       *       *

  And silence aids--though the steep hills
  Send to the lake a thousand rills
  In summer tide, so soft they weep,
  The sound but lulls the ear asleep;
  Your horse's hoof-tread sounds too rude,
  So stilly is the solitude.

  Nought living meets the eye or ear,
  But well I ween the dead are near;
  For though, in feudal strife, a foe
  Hath laid Our Lady's chapel low,
  Yet still beneath the hallow'd soil,
  The peasant rests him from his toil,
  And, dying, bids his bones be laid,
  Where erst his simple fathers pray'd.

289. What I saw myself, in that fair country, of which the sight remains
with me, I will next tell you. I saw the Teviot oozing, not flowing,
between its wooded banks, a mere sluggish injection, among the filthy
stones, of poisonous pools of scum-covered ink; and in front of Jedburgh
Abbey, where the foaming river used to dash round the sweet ruins as if
the rod of Moses had freshly cleft the rock for it, bare and foul
nakedness of its bed, the whole stream carried to work in the mills, the
dry stones and crags of it festering unseemly in the evening sun, and
the carcass of a sheep, brought down in the last flood, lying there in
the midst of the children at their play, literal and ghastly symbol, in
the sweetest pastoral country in the world, of the lost sheep of the
house of Israel.

That is your symbol to-day, of the Lamb as it had been slain; and that
the work of your prayerless science;--the issues, these, of your
enlightened teaching, and of all the toils and the deaths of the
Covenanters on those barren hills, of the prophetic martyrs here in your
crossing streets, and of the highest, sincerest, simplest patriot of
Catholic England, Sir Thomas More, within the walls of England's central
Tower. So is ended, with prayer for the bread of this life, also the
hope of the life that is to come. Yet I will take leave to show you the
light of that hope, as it shone on, and guided, the children of the ages
of faith.

290. Of that legend of St. Ursula which I read to you so lately, you
remember, I doubt not, that the one great meaning is the victory of her
faith over all fears of death. It is the laying down of all the joy, of
all the hope, nay of all the Love, of this life, in the eager
apprehension of the rejoicing and the love of Eternity. What truth there
was in such faith I dare not say that I know; but what manner of human
souls it made, you may for yourselves _see_. Here are enough brought to
you, of the thoughts of a believing people.[180] This maid in her purity
is no fable; this is a Venetian maid, as she was seen in the earthly
dawn, and breathed on by the breeze of her native sea. And here she is
in her womanhood, in her courage and perfect peace, waiting for her

I have sent for this drawing for you, from Sheffield, where it is to
stay, they needing it more than you. It is the best of all that my
friend did with me at Venice, for St. George, and with St. George's help
and St. Ursula's. It shows you only a piece of the great picture of the
martyrdom--nearly all have fallen around the maid, and she kneels with
her two servant princesses, waiting for her own death. Faithful behind
their mistress, they wait with her,--not feebler, but less raised in
thought, as less conceiving their immortal destiny; the one, a gentle
girl, conceiving not in her quiet heart any horror of death, bows her
fair head towards the earth, almost with a smile; the other, fearful
lest her faith should for an instant fail, bursts into passion of prayer
through burning tears. St. Ursula kneels, as daily she knelt, before the
altar, giving herself up to God forever.

And so you see her, here in the days of childhood, and here in her
sacred youth, and here in her perfect womanhood, and here borne to her

Such creatures as these _have_ lived--do live yet, thank God, in the
faith of Christ.

291. You hear it openly said that this, their faith, was a foolish
dream. Do you choose to find out whether it was or not? You may if you
will, but you can find it out in one way only.

Take the dilemma in perfect simplicity. Either Christianity is true or
not. Let us suppose it first one, then the other, and see what follows.

Let it first be supposed untrue. Then rational investigation will in all
probability discover that untruth; while, on the other hand, irrational
submission to what we are told may lead us into any form of absurdity or
insanity; and, as we read history, we shall find that this insanity has
perverted, as in the Crusades, half the strength of Europe to its ruin,
and been the source of manifold dissension and misery to society.

Start with the supposition that Christianity is untrue, much more with
the desire that it should be, and that is the conclusion at which you
will certainly arrive.

But, on the other hand, let us suppose that it is, or may be, true.
Then, in order to find out whether it is or not, we must attend to what
it says of itself. And its first saying is an order to adopt a certain
line of conduct. _Do_ that first, and you shall know more. Its promise
is of blessing and of teaching, more than tongue can utter, or mind
conceive, if you choose to do this; and it refuses to teach or help you
on any other terms than these.

292. You may think it strange that such a trial is required of you.
Surely the evidences of our future state might have been granted on
other terms--nay, a plain account might have been given, with all
mystery explained away in the clearest language. _Then_, we should have
believed at once.

Yes, but, as you see and hear, that, if it be our way, is not God's. He
has chosen to grant knowledge of His truth to us on one condition and no
other. If we refuse that condition, the rational evidence around us is
all in proof of our death, and that proof is true, for God also tells
us that in such refusal we shall die.

You see, therefore, that in either case, be Christianity true or false,
death is demonstrably certain to us in refusing it. As philosophers, we
can expect only death, and as unbelievers, we are condemned to it.

There is but one chance of life--in admitting so far the possibility of
the Christian verity as to try it on its own terms. There is not the
slightest possibility of finding out whether it be true, or not, first.

"Show me a sign first and I will come," you say. "No," answers God.
"Come first, then you shall see a sign."

Hard, you think? You will find it is not so, on thinking more. For this,
which you are commanded, is not a thing unreasonable in itself. So far
from that, it is merely the wisest thing you could do for your own and
for others' happiness, if there were no eternal truth to be discovered.

You are called simply to be the servant of Christ, and of other men for
His sake; that is to say, to hold your life and all its faculties as a
means of service to your fellows. All you have to do is to be sure it
_is_ the service you are doing them, and not the service you do
yourself, which is uppermost in your minds.

293. Now you continually hear appeals to you made in a vague way, which
you don't know how far you can follow. You shall not say that, to-day; I
both can and will tell you what Christianity requires of you in simplest

Read your Bible as you would any other book--with strictest criticism,
frankly determining what you think beautiful, and what you think false
or foolish. But be sure that you try accurately to understand it, and
transfer its teaching to modern need by putting other names for those
which have become superseded by time. For instance, in such a passage as
that which follows and supports the "Lie not one to another" of
Colossians iii.--"seeing that ye have put on the new man, which is
renewed in knowledge after the spirit of Him that created him, where"
(meaning in that great creation where) "there is neither Greek nor Jew,
circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free." In
applying that verse to the conduct and speech of modern policy, it falls
nearly dead, because we suffer ourselves to remain under a vague
impression--vague, but practically paralyzing,--that though it was very
necessary to speak the truth in the countries of Scythians and Jews,
there is no objection to any quantity of lying in managing the affairs
of Christendom. But now merely substitute modern for ancient names, and
see what a difference it will make in the force and appeal of the
passage, "Lie not one to another, brethren, seeing that ye have put off
the old man, with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is
renewed to knowledge," [Greek: eis epignôsin], according to the
knowledge of Him that created him, in that great creation where there is
neither Englishman nor German, baptism nor want of baptism, Turk nor
Russian, slave nor free, but Christ is all, and in all.

294. Read your Bible, then, making it the first morning business of your
life to understand some piece of it clearly, and your daily business to
obey of it all that you understand, beginning first with the most human
and most dear obedience--to your father and mother. Doing all things as
they would have you do, for the present: if they want you to be
lawyers--be lawyers; if soldiers--soldiers; if to get on in the
world--even to get money--do as they wish, and that cheerfully, after
distinctly explaining to them in what points you wish otherwise. Theirs
is for the present the voice of God to you.

But, at the same time, be quite clear about your own purpose, and the
carrying out of that so far as under the conditions of your life you
can. And any of you who are happy enough to have wise parents will find
them contented in seeing you do as I now tell you.

295. First cultivate all your personal powers, not competitively, but
patiently and usefully. You have no business to read in the long
vacation. Come _here_ to make scholars of yourselves, and go to the
mountains or the sea to make men of yourselves. Give at least a month in
each year to rough sailor's work and sea fishing. Don't lounge and
flirt on the beach, but make yourselves good seamen. Then, on the
mountains, go and help the shepherd at his work, the wood-men at theirs,
and learn to know the hills by night and day. If you are staying in
level country, learn to plow, and whatever else you can that is useful.
Then here in Oxford, read to the utmost of your power, and practice
singing, fencing, wrestling, and riding. No rifle practice, and no
racing--boat or other. Leave the river quiet for the naturalist, the
angler, and the weary student like me.

You may think all these matters of no consequence to your studies of art
and divinity; and that I am merely crotchety and absurd. Well, that is
the way the devil deceives you. It is not the sins which we _feel_
sinful, by which he catches us; but the apparently healthy ones,--those
which nevertheless waste the time, harden the heart, concentrate the
passions on mean objects, and prevent the course of gentle and fruitful

296. Having thus cultivated, in the time of your studentship, your
powers truly to the utmost, then, in your manhood, be resolved they
shall be spent in the true service of men--not in being ministered unto,
but in ministering. Begin with the simplest of all ministries--breaking
of bread to the poor. Think first of that, not of your own pride,
learning, comfort, prospects in life: nay, not now, once come to
manhood, may even the obedience to parents check your own conscience of
what is your Master's work. "Whoso loveth father and mother more than me
is not worthy of me." Take the perfectly simple words of the Judgment,
"Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto
me:" but you must _do_ it, not preach it. And you must not be resolved
that it shall be done only in a gentlemanly manner. Your pride must be
laid down, as your avarice, and your fear. Whether as fishermen on the
sea, plowmen on the earth, laborers at the forge, or merchants at the
shop-counter, you must break and distribute bread to the poor, set down
in companies--for that also is literally told you--upon the green
grass, not crushed in heaps under the pavement of cities. Take Christ at
His literal word, and, so sure as His word is true, He will be known of
you in breaking of bread. Refuse that servant's duty because it is
plain,--seek either to serve God, or know Him, in any other way: your
service will become mockery of Him, and your knowledge darkness. Every
day your virtues will be used by the evil spirits to conceal, or to make
respectable, national crime; every day your felicities will become baits
for the iniquity of others; your heroisms, wreckers' beacons, betraying
them to destruction; and before your own deceived eyes and wandering
hearts every false meteor of knowledge will flash, and every perishing
pleasure glow, to lure you into the gulf of your grave.

297. But obey the word in its simplicity, in wholeness of purpose and
with serenity of sacrifice, like this of the Venetian maids', and truly
you shall receive sevenfold into your bosom in this present life, as in
the world to come, life everlasting. All your knowledge will become to
you clear and sure, all your footsteps safe; in the present brightness
of domestic life you will foretaste the joy of Paradise, and to your
children's children bequeath, not only noble fame, but endless virtue.
"He shall give his angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways;
and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."


[Footnote 178: Left, at the Editor's request, with only some absolutely
needful clearing of unintelligible sentences, as it was written for free
delivery. It was the last of a course of twelve given this
autumn;--refers partly to things already said, partly to drawings on the
walls; and needs the reader's pardon throughout, for faults and
abruptness incurable but by re-writing the whole as an essay instead of
a lecture.--(_Nineteenth Century_, January, 1878.)]

[Footnote 179: Of course, this statement is merely a generalization of
many made in the preceding lectures, the tenor of which any readers
acquainted with my recent writings may easily conceive.]

[Footnote 180: The references were to the series of drawings lately
made, in Venice, for the Oxford and Sheffield schools, from the works of
Carpaccio, by Mr. Fairfax Murray.]

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