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Title: The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879
Author: Various
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 "The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879" ***

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  Ballantyne Press


  SEPTEMBER, 1879.
  The Future of China. By Sir Walter H. Medhurst                       1

  Animals and Plants. By Professor St. George Mivart                  13

  The Artistic Dualism of the Renaissance. By Vernon Lee              44

  The Social Philosophy and Religion of Comte. By Professor Edward
    Caird. IV.                                                        66

  The Problem of the Great Pyramid. By Richard A. Proctor             93

  Conspiracies in Russia under the Reigning Czar. By Karl Blind      120

  The First Sin, as Recorded in the Bible and in Ancient Oriental
    Tradition. By François Lenormant                                 148

  Political and Intellectual Life in Greece. By N. Kasasis           164

  Contemporary Books:--

        I. Biblical Literature, under the Direction of the Hon.
           and Rev. W. H. Fremantle                                  182

       II. Essays, Novels, Poetry, &c. under the Direction of
           Matthew Browne                                            187

  OCTOBER, 1879.

  India and Afghanistan. By Lieut.-Colonel R. D. Osborn              193

  Critical Idealism in France. By Paul Janet                         212

  On the Moral Limits of Beneficial Commerce. By Francis W. Newman   232

  The Myths of the Sea and the River of Death. By C. F. Keary        243

  Mr. Macvey Napier and the Edinburgh Reviewers. By Matthew Browne   263

  The Supreme God in the Indo-European Mythology. By James
    Darmesteter                                                      274

  Lazarus Appeals to Dives. By Henry J. Miller                       290

  The Forms and Colours of Living Creatures. By Professor St.
    George Mivart                                                    313

  Contemporary Life and Thought in Turkey. By an Eastern Statesman   334

  Contemporary Books:--

        I. History and Literature of the East, under the Direction
           of Professor E. H. Palmer                                 350

       II. Classical Literature, under the Direction of Rev.
           Prebendary J. Davies                                      359

      III. Essays, Novels, Poetry, &c.under the Direction of
           Matthew Browne                                            366

  NOVEMBER, 1879.

  On Freedom. By Professor Max Müller                                369

  Mr. Gladstone: Two Studies suggested by his "Gleanings of Past
    Years." I. By a Liberal.--II. By a Conservative                  398

  The Ancien Régime and the Revolution in France. By Professor
    von Sybel                                                        432

  What is the Actual Condition of Ireland? By Edward Stanley
    Robertson                                                        451

  The Deluge: Its Traditions in Ancient Nations. By François
    Lenormant                                                        465

  Suspended Animation. By Richard A. Proctor                         501

  John Stuart Mill's Philosophy Tested. IV.--Utilitarianism.
    By Professor W. Stanley Jevons                                   521

  DECEMBER, 1879.

  The Lord's Prayer and the Church: Letters Addressed to the Clergy.
    By John Ruskin, D.C.L.                                           539

  India under Lord Lytton. By Lieut.-Colonel R. D. Osborn            553

  On the Utility to Flowers of their Beauty. By the Hon.
    Justice Fry                                                      574

  Where are we in Art? By Lady Verney                                588

  Life in Constantinople Fifty Years Ago. By an Eastern Statesman    601

  Miracles, Prayer, and Law. By J. Boyd Kinnear                      617

  What is Rent? By Professor Bonamy Price                            630

  Buddhism and Jainism. By Professor Monier Williams                 644

  Lord Beaconsfield:--                                               665

         I. Why we Follow Him. By a Tory.

        II. Why we Disbelieve in Him. By a Whig.

  Contemporary Life and Thought in France. By Gabriel Monod          697


The late reconquest by China of some of her former possessions in
Central Asia, and the firm tone in which she is urging her demands upon
Russia, in respect of the _Kuldja_ territory, are giving her a
prominence as a factor in Asiatic politics which she can scarcely be
said to have claimed before. These signs of tenacity of purpose, if not
of actual vitality, acquire an additional interest when viewed in
connection with the recently modified policy of her Government towards
Western States; a policy which, whether induced by an honest intention
to forego the traditional exclusiveness of past ages, or by a shrewd
determination to cope, if possible, with more advanced nations upon the
advantageous footing secured by the cultivation of the progressive Arts
and Sciences, has had the effect of bringing China into diplomatic
relations with the principal Powers of Europe and America, and
introducing her as a recognised element into the political calculations
of the civilized world. The issue of the _Kuldja_ controversy has a
special interest for England, as the mistress of adjacent territory in
India; but a far greater importance attaches to the result of the larger
efforts which China is making to take up a position amongst the nations,
and upon the success of which all her political future must depend. It
is of that future, and of its bearing upon the interests of China's two
great rivals in Asiatic dominion, Russia and Great Britain, that this
paper proposes to treat.

It cannot be predicated of the Government of China, at any rate at
present, that it is greedy of territory. On the contrary, its
responsibilities are already as serious as it must feel at all competent
to fulfil with credit to itself and satisfaction to its people. But, on
the other hand, it is remarkably tenacious of parting with a single rood
of ground, to which it may claim the right of traditional possession or
more recent conquest. When portions of its territory have been torn
from its grasp by successful rebellion, it has for the moment yielded to
the inevitable. But the earliest opportunity possible has been seized
for reentering upon possession, either by force or craft. The late
recovery of the province of Yunnan in China proper, and of Chinese
Turkestan in Central Asia, after crushing defeats and years of
alienation, affords notable instances of this tenacity of purpose. But
such successful reentries upon lost dominion have only been effected
where the usurping power has partaken of the same or a similar Asiatic
character with that of the Chinese themselves. Where circumstances have
brought the Government into collision with the more energetic and
enterprising people of the West, it has had no alternative but to make
material concessions, and to confirm these by treaties of perpetual
amity and commerce. Russia and England are the only Western Powers that
have thus benefited themselves at the expense of China: Russia, with a
view to the enlargement or rectification of her frontier, which from the
mouth of the Amour to the foot of the _Tien Shan_ is conterminous with
that of China; and England, for the protection and promotion of her
trade, which must have languished, if not perished, under the
constraints of the old _Co-hong_ system.

Whether the resubjugation of entire provinces by the Imperial Government
may be regarded as a blessing or a curse to the populations concerned,
it is difficult to decide. For them it is unhappily a mere choice
between being at the mercy of unscrupulous adventurers, elated with a
series of successes, and rendered ferocious by a life of rapine, but
utterly unprepared to introduce any serious system of reform; or being
restored to a rule which, although worn out and feeble, has the
advantage of an old-established organization, and can prove, by its
general policy at any rate, that it has the welfare of the governed
seriously at heart. On the whole, setting aside the wholesale cruelty
which has unhappily too often distinguished such governmental triumphs
on the part of the Chinese, and to which, indeed, the unlucky people
seem liable whichever party may happen to gain the ascendency, the
preferable conclusion would seem to be that resubmission to native
authority is perhaps the mildest fate that can be desired for those
subjects of China whose country has unfortunately been the scene of
civil war. But an entirely different result may be looked for when
foreign dominion--that is to say, European--has taken the place of
Chinese. In the case of England, there can be little fear but that, in
spite of the notable mistakes which have at times marked her colonial
administration of Asiatic peoples, the primary object to which she has
always set herself has been the welfare of the governed, and the
development of the resources of the country which they occupy. And even
as regards Russia, however irresponsible her system of government,
selfish and unscrupulous her foreign policy, and corrupt her executive,
may be regarded from an English point of view, still there can be
little question that her assumption of authority over any tract of Asian
territory must be considered preferable in the interests of philanthropy
and general expediency to its restoration to an intrinsically weak and
unpractical Government like that of the Chinese.

Assuming that the above proposition is a reasonable one, it follows as a
fair inference, that the sooner China or any part of it is brought under
the sway of some strong and progressive Power the better. And really,
looking at the matter from a purely philanthropic and utilitarian point
of view, that is about the best fate that can befall its inhabitants, as
well in their own interest as in that of the world at large. Many things
conspire to show that the days of the ruling dynasty are numbered; and
who can say, when the catastrophe does come, whether the huge but
crumbling fabric will ever be reconstructed? or, if so, whose will be
the head and hand that will accomplish the task? The probability is that
the empire will, in spite of the marvellous homogeneity which
characterizes its people, at once lose its cohesion, and break up into a
number of petty chiefdoms; and one may well imagine the grievous and
protracted misery that must follow upon such a dissolution. It would be
ridiculous, nay wicked, to suggest that this contingency might be
anticipated, and an endeavour made to avert it by the timely absorption
of a portion or of the whole of the Chinese territory. But we are
entitled to express the hope that the course of mundane affairs may so
shape itself as that such a calamity may be indefinitely delayed; or, if
it be inevitable, that it may fall to the lot of some nation to take up
the reins which shall have the will as well as the power to use the
opportunity to the best advantage of the millions concerned.

The speculation seems here to suggest itself, whether there is a Western
Power at all likely to find itself placed in this position, or which may
be considered a suitable instrument for carrying out the work of
reconstruction. The sphere of selection is limited. England and Russia,
as far as can at present be foreseen, appear to be the only two Powers
whose mission or interest seems likely to impel their influence
Eastwards. Any idea that England will ever deliberately enter upon the
possession of even a part of Chinese territory may at once be dismissed
as unworthy to be entertained. Although her vast trade and world-wide
associations are perpetually landing her in perplexing complications
with Eastern tribes, complications, too, which at times, in despite of
herself, end in conquest or annexation, still her modern policy is
anything but aggressive; and if there be one collision which the English
people would be less inclined to tolerate than another, it would be that
of a little war entered upon for the mere purpose of territorial
acquisition or philanthropic reform. China, moreover, is no mere petty
principality like Abyssinia, Ashantee, or Afghanistan, that she had need
be liable to the risk of annihilation or annexation, even should she
again unhappily venture to take up arms against England on account of a
mere trade dispute. But with Russia the case is materially different.
An acquisitive policy has been traditional with her ever since Peter the
Great, with prophetic foresight, laid down the lines by which her future
conduct was to be guided; and political interest has none the less urged
her on to extend her possessions Asia-wards, and to secure as much
seaboard in any direction as will suit her ambitious designs. Conquests
in Asia, moreover, provide a convenient safety-valve for adventurous,
discontented, or unscrupulous spirits, who might occasion mischief at
home, and who cannot otherwise be readily disposed of; whilst they at
the same time have the effect of furnishing that outlet for a through
trade which has always been the Russian merchant's dream. Russia has
already, as is well known, rectified her frontier on the north and west
of China, seriously to the diminution of the area not so long ago
comprised by the latter, and, by a well-directed combination of courage
and craft, she has within the last twenty years succeeded in conquering
or annexing extensive and fertile tracts of country in Central Asia.
What more likely, therefore, than that, octopus-like, she should
continue to stretch out her huge tentacles further and further, until
they embrace some of the broad and fair provinces of China within their
omnivorous grasp? The advantage of such an acquisition to Russia cannot
be over-estimated. The Russian press, it is true, deprecates the
acquisition of new territory, as being calculated to hinder the
economical development of the people, and seriously to increase the
present difficulties of the empire; and there can be little doubt that
the dominions of the Czar are far too disproportioned to the numerical
sum of his subjects to admit of their having realized, as they might
have done, the immense natural riches of the empire. But with the
acquisition of almost any part of China proper, Russia would gain
territory already thickly peopled to her hand, and possessed of rich
resources of every kind; and, could she approach the sea in any
direction, she would acquire--what is so important to her maritime and
commercial development--a coast-line that would go far towards giving
her the commanding position as a naval Power which has always been one
of her most cherished ambitions.

And what a glorious field would thereby be afforded her for developing
her political designs! Instead of beating her wings to her own
discomfiture against the bars which England must always throw about her
as long as she persists in her attempts to absorb Turkey, or exercise a
covert influence over the tribes on our Indian frontier, she would, if
she pressed China-wards in preference, find unlimited opportunities for
increasing her resources, enlarging her territory, and extending her
sway, no nation caring, or being called upon, to say her nay. That she
would prove the most suitable Power to be entrusted with so tremendous a
responsibility, is an assertion that few would care to hazard without
large qualification. The pitiless despotism which characterizes the
Russian rule at home, the unrelenting harshness with which she has
treated her Polish subjects, even to the studious stamping out of the
nationalism of the people, and the license which has distinguished the
grasp by Russian officials of civil power in Central Asia, scarcely tend
to render the prospect of the extension of her sway to China very
encouraging. But, as has been already advanced, a Russian administration
is not without its advantages, as compared to a Chinese, and, unless a
radical reform can be looked for in the existing system of government in
China itself, a prospect at best problematical, it may safely be said
that her people might fare worse than pass under the domination of the

For the Chinese concerned, as has been suggested, the loss might be
almost, if not altogether, construed into a gain. They would acquire an
autocratic and despotic Government very similar to their own, only more
powerful and practical in its operation and results; and, if only one
could hope that the rights and prejudices of the people could be
respected, and their general interests consulted, the change would on
the whole prove an advantageous one for the annexed territories
generally. In one respect, at any rate, such a substitution might
certainly be expected to bring about a material amelioration of the
present condition and prospects of the country at large; and that is the
improvement of general communication throughout the empire. Railways
would undoubtedly be forthwith introduced, telegraphs laid down, river
channels cleared and deepened, canals restored and maintained, and the
many obstacles which now clog a might-be flourishing trade permanently
removed. China, in fact, only needs a lion-hearted, capable, and
progressive Government in order to encourage the enterprise of her
people, bring out their many excellent characteristics, and develop the
prolific natural resources which she undoubtedly possesses, in her own
interest and that of the world in general; and, provided always such a
result can be attained, combined with a discreet and paternal care for
the people themselves, no one had need deprecate the substitution of a
foreign for a native yoke.

It might be objected, Why should not such a thorough reconstruction and
subsequent healthy development be attainable under the present dynasty,
or, at any rate, under a purely native rule? To this we reply that it is
not in the nature of the Chinese to initiate reform or carry it honestly
and steadily out. Neither the rulers nor the ruled appreciate its
necessity; and, could they be enlightened sufficiently to perceive it,
they do not possess the strength of character and fixity of purpose to
follow out implicitly the course pointed out. A curious example of this
lack of interest and resolve was to be observed as regards the
foreign-drilled levies raised at the instance of their foreign advisers
after the treaty of Tientsin. Men and money were readily provided to the
extent suggested, and the men easily learnt the drill. But the foreign
instructors had always to superintend the paying of wages in order to
prevent peculation by the native officers, and, the moment their
vigilant eyes were removed, drill and discipline were voted a nuisance
by officers and men alike, arms and accoutrements ceased to be kept in
order, and the force rapidly assumed its purely Chinese character.
Relics of these levies exist at this moment, but the most unremitting
patience and effort have been needed on the part of the foreign officers
to maintain them in a state of anything like respectable discipline or
effectiveness. A recent writer[1] calls attention to the stupendous
efforts which the Chinese Government has of late been making towards a
reorganization of its naval and military resources upon Western
principles, and to the remarkable success which has in consequence
attended its campaigns in Western China and Central Asia. But these
measures have all owed their conception and execution to foreign energy,
enterprise, and ability; and, as will be presently shown, wherever the
salutary influence of these is weakened or removed, disorganization and
relapse are sure to be the result. Something has, no doubt, been
accomplished within the last twenty years towards opening the eyes of
the Chinese Government to the wisdom of assuming a recognised place in
the comity of nations, and inducing it to introduce various domestic
measures of a useful and progressive nature. But, after all, pressure
from without, and that of the most painstaking and persistent character,
has been needed to effect what little has been done. Let this influence
be removed; let the able customs organization now in vogue be taken out
of alien hands; let foreign Ministers cease to impress upon the State
departments the imperative importance of waking up to international and
domestic responsibilities; let arsenals be deprived of foreign
superintendence; let steamers throw overboard their foreign masters,
mates, and engineers; in a word, let China try to keep afloat without
corks, and what will be the consequence? Corruption would inevitably
fatten on and extinguish foreign trade; foreign representatives would
find Pekin too hot to hold them; arsenals would gradually languish and
cease to work; native-owned steamers would leave off plying the waters;
and the whole country would eventually fall back into a condition of
even more rapid decadence than that in which it was found when England
first interfered to prop it up. What is perhaps more melancholy to
contemplate, there would be few, if any, of her most ardent patriots but
would congratulate themselves on the miserable change.

China may, perhaps, be saved from an eventual collapse, or from falling
under the sway of all-grasping Russia; but it can only be by a universal
development of the existing system of extraneous aid. What has been done
for her customs revenue must be extended to all departments of the
State, and the employment of foreign heads and hands must be rendered so
general as even to permeate the ramifications of the executive in the
eighteen provinces. But then the difficulty suggests itself. Where is
the _personnel_ needful for such a mighty organization to be found, with
the talent and probity equal to the charge? England has proved it
possible, in the case of India, to produce a corps of administrators who
possess a character for ability, uprightness, and high-minded devotion
to duty, to which the world can show no equal. But, as experience has so
far proved, political balance at Pekin demands that the prizes open to
competition in the Chinese service should be distributed equally amongst
subjects of all nationalities in treaty relations with China; and in
such a huge army of _employés_ as the exigency would require, and most
of whom would probably owe their selection to patronage rather than to
merit, it could not be but that many would find a place who might prove
even greater curses to the governed than the worst type of the Chinese
mandarins themselves. Moreover, such an innovation would practically
amount to placing the entire nation under foreign authority, and it may
be queried whether it would not be more advantageous for the people to
have one uniform foreign rule universally substituted for the native,
than to be at the mercy of an executive formed of such heterogeneous
materials as those we have described.

It may not be out of place to consider here a suggestion, which has been
thrown out by more than one representative of the English press, as to
the identity of British interests with those of China in resisting the
insidious advances of Russia eastwards, and the expediency of giving the
former our sympathy, if not material support, in her endeavour to
recover _Kuldja_ from Russian cupidity. What British interests comprise
in that quarter of the globe may be summed up in a few words.
Rectification and consolidation of certain portions of the frontier of
British India, the maintenance as far as possible of neutral and
independent Khanates to act as "buffers" between her territories and
those of Russia, and the development of a free and active trade between
the Indian and Central Asian markets. It seems scarcely worth the
trouble of refuting any arguments that could be brought forward to prove
that the concession of a covert or direct support to China in the
_Kuldja_ controversy would be likely to advantage England in any one of
these respects. On the contrary, her interference would more probably
imperil her interests under each head, and would most certainly have the
effect of greatly incensing a Power which, with all its ill-will, has
already shown its desire to conciliate, by withdrawing at our request
the influence which it had been tempted in view of certain contingencies
to use to our disadvantage in Afghanistan; a Power, too, which must and
will pursue its career of acquisition in Central Asia, whatever we may
say or do to the contrary; and with which, in view of its probable
future there, it is manifestly to our interest as holders of India to
live on neighbourly terms. To quote a recent writer on the subject,[2]
"Our object now should be rather to initiate a frank understanding with
Russia as to the aims of our respective policies, to secure her
agreement to definite boundaries to the spheres of influence of both
Powers, and to form, so far as is possible, a union of interests with
her in the future development of Asia."

Even were China to pledge herself to grant us all the advantages which
we should have to bargain for as a consideration for committing
ourselves to the serious step of affording her aid, it may be doubted
whether she is sufficiently strong to maintain her ground, not merely
against Russia, but against any adventurer like Yakoob Beg or rebels
like the Panthays, who may suddenly rise up and wrest her territory from
her. Then, again, it must be remembered what an alliance with such a
Government as that of China is likely to involve. Her civil
administration, based although it may be on a system excellently well
suited to a people like the Chinese, is so weakened, save in a few
isolated instances, by the incapacity, and so debased by the venality of
its executive, that it has long since forfeited the confidence and
good-will of the masses, and rebellion has only to raise its head to
find a fruitful soil for its speedy growth and development. Her army is
numerically large, and can be recruited without difficulty, and she has
constantly at command any quantity of the most approved war material, so
long as there are foreigners to sell and she has the money to buy; to
say nothing of what she can now to a certain extent manufacture for
herself. But of strategy and the general science of war her officers are
entirely ignorant, and beyond the capability of hurling huge masses of
men at the enemy, irrespective of all consequences, she is in no way
formidable as a military Power in the European sense of the term, nor
could her troops permanently hope to hold their own against those of any
Western State. Even the Japanese, in the little affair with China which
threatened the peaceful relations of the two countries not long ago,
showed themselves quite equal to the occasion, and their sailors and
soldiers pined to exhibit their prowess, and prove the value of their
recent acquirements in the art of war, as against the conservative and
unpractical Chinese. If the rules of civilized warfare are to the
Chinese a sealed book, still less can they be said to appreciate its
humane side. Their officers fail to value the necessity, and indeed do
not seem to possess the power, of protecting their own countrymen from
the general license which marks the march of soldiery through, or the
military occupation of, any peaceable district; and in the wholesale
barbarities which invariably distinguish their triumphs over a conquered
foe, they are scarcely to be surpassed by savages of the lowest type.
Little more can be said in favour of the Chinese in respect of their
relations with England and other Western nations. They have treaties of
peace and commerce with the leading Powers, it is true, and they do not
fail to act up to the strict letter of these engagements as construed by
themselves. But the whole history of their foreign intercourse since
1842 has shown that the Chinese Government has borne with ill grace the
restrictions thus imposed upon it, and has embraced every opportunity to
evade them in spirit, whilst professing to carry them out in the
letter. Trade has been everywhere hampered by vexatious imposts
cunningly introduced on all kinds of pretexts, and as pertinaciously
persisted in, in spite of pointed remonstrances on the part of foreign
representatives. Outrages of a glaring kind have been passed over
without redress, or perhaps with a show of redress so ingeniously
conceded as to evince distinct sympathy with the perpetrators of the
deeds complained of; and the case must be rare, if not unheard of, in
which the initiative has been voluntarily taken by a Chinese official in
righting a wrong suffered by a foreigner at the hands of a Chinese.
Amicable relations prevail between the various foreign communities and
the native population by whom they are surrounded; but these may be
traced rather to the innate good-nature of the people, and the
forbearing conduct of the "strangers from afar," than to any direct
effort on the part of the native authorities to encourage and develop
friendly feeling. The Chinese Court still affects to regard the Emperor
as the Supreme Ruler of all People under Heaven; its recognition of
foreign Ministers accredited to it seems never to have advanced beyond
the not very flattering ceremonial which accorded them a so-called
audience in a body a few years ago; and the relations between the
representatives and the high officials at Pekin cannot as yet be said to
have entered upon a phase which may strictly be styled cordial; and all
this, notwithstanding that Chinese representatives to Western Courts
have been treated with all the ceremony and consideration due to their
official position, and have been received into the highest society of
foreign capitals, not only without demur, but with a warmth and
hospitality which, whilst on the spot, they have themselves been the
first to acknowledge.[3] Under these circumstances, with a civil
administration so effete and corrupt, a military Power so unpractical,
a style of warfare so barbarous, and a Government so wanting in the
honest desire to conciliate, can it be thought politic to go out of our
way in order to further its pretensions, and that to the prejudice of a
Power which, with all its faults, is progressive in its tendencies, and
prepared to acknowledge our international rights, and which more nearly
approaches us in recognising the duty of consulting the material
interests of the people subjected to its sway? The little experience at
any rate which we have had of the results of co-operation with the
Chinese Government has not been such as to encourage us in a repetition
of the experiment. Take, for example, the important aid given by England
in clearing the province of Kiangsu of rebels in 1862-63, and thereby
bringing about the eventual extermination of the Taepings. Such a
service, it might be presumed, would have earned the lasting gratitude
of the nation, and induced a cordiality of sentiment towards their
benefactors which would have exhibited itself in an endeavour on the
part of the Chinese Government to relax the restrictions and remove the
vexations by which mutual relations had up to that time been beset. But
nothing of the kind transpired. No special and national recognition of
the service rendered was ever accorded; and, so far from any improvement
being observable, as a consequence, in British relations with China,
these were marked in the sequel by some of the most trying and difficult
crises with which we have had to deal. More than this, the very moment
of triumph was disgraced by an act of treachery in the deliberate murder
of the surrendered rebel chiefs at Soochow, which must have induced in
the mind of Colonel Gordon, R.E., the keenest regret that he had ever
embarked his honour and expended his labours in the cause of such
allies. The only other instance in which British influence was brought
to bear towards rescuing the Chinese Government from an awkward dilemma
was when the Japanese threatened reprisals for outrages committed
against their subjects, and went the length of sending a considerable
force to occupy the island of Formosa. Hostilities had commenced, and
the war might have proved a protracted if not hazardous one for the
Chinese, had not H.B.M.'s Minister volunteered his services as mediator,
and succeeded in arranging matters to the satisfaction of both parties,
and with as little loss of prestige to the Chinese as they had any
right to expect. Here, again, if any gratitude was felt, there was no
public recognition of the service rendered, and the obligation certainly
left no appreciable trace upon the subsequent policy of the Government;
for, in the very next difficulty with China which occurred not long
after--namely, the official murder of Margary--it needed the pressure of
our demands to the very verge of war, in order to procure the vaguest
attempt at redress, and then we had to rest contented with commercial
concessions as a makeweight for the substantial justice which could not,
or would not, be granted.

To conclude, China, nationally considered, is in a state of decline. The
very efforts which the more enlightened amongst her statesmen are now
making towards rescuing her from the collapse which threatens show how
desperate they consider her case, and how anxious they are to prevent or
even delay the catastrophe. Her history, it is true, shows that although
she has passed through a series of such periodical lapses, she has ever
exhibited a wonderful power of recuperation more or less effective in
its nature and extent. But these changes have been experienced at times
when she was comparatively isolated from the rest of the world. Her
political crises were never before complicated by the interposition of a
foreign element, such as must be the case in any revolution through
which she may hereafter pass. Mr. Robert Hart, the Inspector-General of
Customs, Joseph-like, has done China good service in reorganizing the
maritime revenue department, and advocating reform generally in the
policy and practice of the State; and did China know her own interest
she would largely develop and extend the advantages of a foreign
admixture in her whole system of executive. But Mr. Hart's efforts must
have a limited result at best, and they can only serve to put off the
evil day. He cannot reform the nature of the Chinese mandarin; and until
there is a radical change in this respect there can be little hope of
reconstruction and progress under purely native guidance. The process
becomes the more embarrassing and futile with aggressive foreign Powers
pressing on all sides with their irresistible influence and exacting
pretensions. China must in time, and as at present constituted, yield to
one or the other, and Russia promises to be the one whose ambition and
interests will probably lead her to turn the opportunity to advantage.
It may not be the best fate that can befall any part of China to be
Russianized, but it will be a better alternative for her people to be
subjected to the sway of a civilized and civilizing Power than to become
the prey to interminable civil wars. It will be better, moreover, for
England and other nations, whose interest in the question is mainly
commercial, that China's millions should be brought under a vigorous and
progressive Government, able and willing to develop the vast trade
resources at their disposal, than that they should decimate themselves
and ruin their country by perpetual internecine strife. Whether it will
be to the interest of England in a political point of view that Russia
should attain the commanding position which the possession of any part
of China would undoubtedly secure her, is an entirely different
question. If it be a danger, it is a danger which she must look in the
face, for everything seems to point to the possibility of such a
consummation. But no consideration of political expediency or
self-preservation can certainly warrant her in interfering as yet; and
it is to be hoped that the time may never come when she shall be called
upon to thwart the ambitious designs of her great rival in Asian
dominion in the extreme East, as she has so long and so successfully
endeavoured to do in countries more directly affecting her political
power and prestige in Europe and India.



[1] Captain C. A. G. Bridge, R.N.: "The Revival of the Warlike Power of
China," _Fraser's Magazine_, June, 1879.

[2] See _Blackwood's Magazine_, July, 1879, pp. 120, 121.

[3] Apropos of these remarks it is worth while quoting here a memorial
by the ex-Ambassador Kwo Sung-t'ao, published in the _London and China
Telegraph_ of 7th July, 1879, as the first presented to the Throne on
his return to China, and in which the best that he can say of England,
notwithstanding his cordial reception and marvellous experiences, seems
to be that he was "excessively cast down in a strange country," where,
"had he been put into a ditch, there would have been nobody to cover him
with earth." The very name of the place to which he was accredited
appears to have been beneath mention to his august master. The _Peking
Gazette_ of the 3rd moon, 3rd day, contains the following memorial from
Kwo Sung-t'ao, late Ambassador at the Court of St. James's, to the
Emperor:--"Your servant," he writes, "has suffered from many bodily
infirmities. Relying upon the heavenly (_i.e._, your Majesty's) grace, I
was appointed to go abroad on service of heavy responsibility. I am now
feeble with age, having served at so great a distance; I also deplore my
stupidity, and am extremely apprehensive of my inability in performing
the functions devolving upon me. Since the sixth or seventh moon of the
year before last I have suffered from insomnia. A year ago my spirits
became daily more _abattu_. In the second month of last year I suddenly
experienced phlegm rising in my mouth, and vomited fresh red blood,
without being able to stop it, so that in a trice a basin would get
quite full. I consider that my life has been marked by increasing
afflictions; my respiration is impeded; I am agitated and nervous;
already I have contracted an asthma, and this I certainly had not
formerly. Excessively cast down, in a strange country several tens of
thousands of li away, I thought that if I were put in a ditch there
would be nobody to cover me with earth. Fortunately, by virtue of the
heavenly (_i.e._, Imperial) compassion, having been graciously permitted
to give up my office, all that remains of me, protractedly wearing out
my failing breath, is due to the overflowing grace of the Holy Lord (the
Emperor). During the two years I have been abroad I have passed under
the hands of foreign doctors not a few, who felt my pulse and
administered medicine in a manner very different from native
practitioners. In relieving my indigestion and removing the torpor [of
my liver] they occasionally produced some little effect; but my
constitution became weaker every day, and there was no restoring it.
After casting about this way and that, there seemed but one resource
left to me--to take advantage of a steamer bound for Fu (_i.e._,
Shanghai), and then to return by way of the Yangtsze River to my native
place and put myself under medical advice. Prostrate I implore the
Heavenly Compassion to grant me three months' leave of absence, in order
to establish a complete cure, so that perhaps I may not contract disease
that will prove incurable. After your servant has got home it will be
his duty to report early the day of his arrival, and he earnestly
desires that he may be restored to health. Then I will return to the
capital to resume my functions, and implore that some trifling post may
be given me that I may testify my gratitude by strenuous exertions, like
a dog or a horse. Wherefore I, your humble servant, now beg for leave of
absence on account of my ill-health, and respectfully present the
petition in which my request is lucidly set forth, entreating with
reverence that the sacred glance may rest upon it."


In the first of the present series of Essays it was pointed out[4] that
the number of kinds of living creatures is so prodigious that it would
be a hopeless task for any man to attempt to grasp the leading facts of
their natural history, save with the help of a well-arranged system of
classification. Such a system enables the student to consider the
subjects of his study collectively in masses--masses arranged in a
series of groups, which are successively smaller and more and more
subordinate. By "subordinate groups" are meant groups which are
successively contained one within the other. As an example of such
subordinate grouping we may take the group of familiar objects denoted
by the word "money." This group contains within it the large subordinate
groups, "paper money" and "metallic money;" the latter group again
contains the more subordinate and smaller groups, "gold money," "silver
money," and "copper money," and these respectively contain still more
subordinate and smaller groups. Thus, the group "silver money" contains
the subordinate groups--(1) crowns, (2) half-crowns, (3) florins, (4)
shillings, (5) sixpences, &c.; and any one of these (_e.g._, shillings)
is further divisible into groups of "shillings" of the coinage of
different reigns.

Reversing the process we may, as another illustration, select the group
of articles of furniture called "chairs," which (with other
_co-ordinate_ groups, such as "tables" and "sofas") is contained within,
and is subordinate to, the larger group of objects, "wooden furniture."
This latter and larger group is again classifiable (together with its
co-ordinate group, "metal furniture") in the yet higher and larger group
of "furniture made of hard material," to which the wooden and metal
groups are both subordinate. Co-ordinate with the group of "hard
material" we have another group (carpets, curtains, &c.) of "furniture
of soft material," and these two groups are again subordinate to the
largest group of all "furniture."

It was also pointed out in the introductory Essay[5] that there are two
kinds of classification, one artificial, the other natural--the latter
(the kind aimed at in this Essay) being such a system of classification
as leads to the association together in groups, of creatures which are
_really_ alike and which will be found to present a greater and greater
number of common characters the more thoroughly they are examined.

The system of classification which zoologists and botanists adopt is a
system founded upon the form, structure, number, and relations of the
parts of which each living being consists. It is, therefore, a
morphological system, and rests rather upon the appearances of parts and
organs than upon the offices which such parts and organs fulfil. It
rests, that is to say upon their forms, not upon their functions.

The mode in which animals have been arranged in zoological grouping
affords an exceptionally good model for classification generally, as has
been noted by the late John Stuart Mill.[6] In fact, the number of
subordinate groups is very great in zoology. Thus, the kingdom of
animals is subdivided into a certain number of very large groups, called
_sub-kingdoms_. Each sub-kingdom is again divided into subordinate
groups termed _classes_. Each class is again divided into still more
subordinate groups called _orders_. Each order is again divisible into
_families_; each family into _genera_, and each genus into _species_,
while a zoological "species" may be provisionally defined as "a group of
animals which differ only by inconstant or sexual characters."

It could be wished that the reader should pursue his further inquiries
into the natural history of animals and plants, with a knowledge of
biological classification already acquired. But this is, unfortunately,
impossible, since biological classification reposes upon anatomical
facts, and cannot, therefore, be really understood until the main facts
of anatomy have been already mastered. Yet something in the way of a
classification, or at least of a definitely arranged catalogue, must be
even now attempted for the following reason:--

In the second of this series of Essays[7] we indicated the lines of
inquiry which must be followed up by any reader who would become
acquainted with the natural history of animals and plants. We saw that
their gross and minute structure, their very varied functions, their
relations to past time, and their geographical relations as well as
their relations to the physical forces and to their fellow organisms,
would all have to be successively considered. Obviously, however, it is
impossible to make known the facts of anatomy, physiology, and
hexicology[8] without constant references to animals and plants which
may be expected to be either altogether unknown, or at least very
incompletely known, to persons as yet unacquainted with zoological and
botanical science.

References to creatures so unknown or so little known would plainly be
of small profit and less interest, unless the reader was already
furnished with some mental images of such creatures and groups of
creatures--images calculated to sustain his attention and excite his
interest in the various kinds of animals and plants, otherwise unknown,
which will have to be again and again referred to. Accordingly, an
attempt must now be made to set before the reader a rough and general
sketch, or catalogue, of what the creatures and groups of creatures are,
the names of which will have so frequently to appear in the pages which
are to follow. In a word, as the preceding Essay[9] was devoted to
explaining what are the special characters of living beings--_i.e._,
what the phrase "animals and plants" _connotes_; so the present Essay is
intended to explain what that phrase _denotes_. It is not by any means
intended at present to place before the reader a definitive and complete
system of classification--that task must be reserved for the conclusion
of the series, as it will be the expression of all the facts and
inferences which will have been in the meantime brought forward.

For the purpose now in view it will be well, perhaps, to follow the
suggestion of the great naturalist, Buffon, and begin with creatures
which are amongst the best known and most familiar, and thence proceed
to speak of less and less familiar forms.

In this Essay assertions will be freely made as to the natural
affinities which the author believes to exist between the creatures to
be enumerated, but no attempt will be made to give the reasons for such
assertions. The justification of such affirmations will, it is believed,
become apparent later, when the organization of living beings shall have
been portrayed as far as the space and the ability at the command of the
writer may enable him to portray them.

As before said the object now in view is to endeavour to present a
general view of living beings--of animals and plants--in the hope of
fixing in the reader's memory the names of species, and of groups of
species, to which names reference will have to be more or less
frequently hereinafter made. At the least, such a catalogue may serve
for reference whenever the reader may come upon the names of animals or
plants, or of groups of animals or plants, the meanings of which names
may have escaped his recollection.

The animals most familiar to us, our domestic cattle and our dogs and
cats, all belong to a group of animals technically termed _mammals_,
from the circumstance that the females have milk-glands (or _mammæ_), by
which they nourish their young. The name "beasts" may be set apart for
the brute animals belonging to this group; but they do not altogether
form it, since man himself--the most individually numerous of all the
large animals--is, structurally considered, also a mammal.

For various reasons, which will appear later, the domestic cat (which is
a member of the genus _Felis_) may serve as an instructive, as it is a
familiar, example of a highly-organized mammal. Allied to the cat, and
formed on so completely the same model as hardly to differ, save in size
and colour, are the lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, pumas, ocelots,
lynxes, and wild-cats of different kinds. What are commonly called
pole-cats are not really cats, but belong to a different "family;" while
civet-cats are not cats in the strict sense of that term. Civet-cats
pertain to a group of beasts called _Viverrines_ (_Viverridæ_), to which
all ichneumons and mongouses (which appear to have been the domestic
cats of the ancient Romans) as well as the bone-eating hyænas also

The viverrines and the cats, however, together form one great family to
which the scientific name _Felidæ_ has been assigned. The pole-cats,
together with the ermine, ferret, weasel, marten, sable, skunk, badger,
the otter and the bear, raccoon, coati-mondi, with the kinkajoo, panda,
&c., all belong to another family. Of this family the bears are the
largest in size, and constitute a small group or "genus" called _Ursus_,
whence the whole family bears the designation _Ursidæ_.

Our dogs (genus _Canis_) are, as every one knows, first cousins to
jackals and wolves and near allies of the different species of fox, the
whole forming a family--_Canidæ_.

The otter has been already referred to, and it may be thought that
mention of the seals and sea-lions has been unintentionally omitted. But
the seals and sea-lions, in spite of a certain slight resemblance to
otters, due to similarity of habit, are not really near allies of the
latter. They (_i.e._, seals and sea-lions), together with the walrus,
form, indeed, a very distinct family, which is termed _Phocidæ_, because
its type, the common seal, belongs to a subordinate group, or "genus,"
named _Phoca_.

All these families, _Felidæ_, _Ursidæ_, _Canidæ_, and _Phocidæ_ form
together one greater group or "order," to which, of course, these four
families are subordinate. This order is called "_Carnivora_," because it
is made up of carnivorous or flesh-eating beasts.

The other familiar beasts first referred to--our domestic cattle of all
kinds--form, together with all swine, horses and all asses, deer,
antelopes and camels, another great order of beasts called _Ungulata_,
because the nails of their feet are so large and solid as to form
"hoofs." This order of hoofed-beasts, or ungulates, is a very large
order, and is divided into two sub-orders, and in each sub-order are
various families containing more or fewer genera.

The two sub-orders are characterized by the structure of the foot. The
toes of the hind foot, which are made use of in progression, are even in
number in one sub-order and are odd-numbered in the other sub-order.

The sub-order of odd-toed ungulates, or _Perissodactyla_, includes in
our day only the horses, asses, zebras, and quaggas (united together in
the family _Equidæ_); the tapirs, the rhinoceroses, and the little
hyrax--the coney of Scripture. In ancient times, however, this sub-order
was a very large one, but the great majority of the forms belonging to
it, which formerly lived, have now become extinct.

The sub-order of even-toed ungulates, or _Artiodactyla_, comprises all
oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes, giraffes, deer, chevrotains,[10] llamas,
and camels. All these, from their practice of "chewing the cud," are
called "ruminants," and they are multitudinous in kinds. The great
plains of Southern Africa are the special home of most kinds of
antelope, and the giraffe is exclusively African. Deer have their
head-quarters in Asia, though they exist in South America as well as
throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Besides the ruminating artiodactyles there is also an extensive group of
non-ruminating artiodactyles, made up of all the various kinds of swine
(including the American peccaries), together with the hippopotamus, now
found nowhere but in Africa. Distinct as are the ruminating and
non-ruminating artiodactyles now, they were in ancient time connected by
a great number of intermediate forms which have utterly passed away.

The llamas of South America represent the camels of the Old World, where
the latter are to-day exclusively found. When South America was
discovered by the Spaniards, llamas were the only beasts of burthen
found there, and, indeed, the only cattle of any kind then and there
existing; although horses had formerly abounded and had become extinct
in South America at a long anterior period.

Somewhat allied to ungulates, but distinct from them, are the elephants,
which form an order (_Proboscidea_) by themselves--an order once rich in
many species widely distributed over the earth.

Hardly less familiar than our domestic animals, are our hares, rabbits,
mice, squirrels, and their allies, which together form an "order" called
_Rodentia_ from the gnawing habits of its members which nourish
themselves on vegetable substances. This order of rodents is very rich
in species, and consists of many genera grouped in several distinct
families--such, _e.g._, as the family of mice and rats (_Muridæ_), of
squirrels (_Sciuridæ_), of guinea-pigs and spine-bearing porcupines
(_Hystricidæ_), &c. The largest form of rodent is the capybara (or
river-hog of the Rio de la Plata),--which is preyed on by the jaguar.
Though a near ally of the little guinea-pig, it is as large as a hog.
Amongst the more interesting rodents may be mentioned beavers,[11] the
fur-bearing chinchilla, the jerboa (_Dipus_), the musk-rat (_Fiber_),
and the rat-mole (_Spalax_). The jerboa has very long hind legs, and a
habit of jumping, so that it resembles superficially (but not really) a
small kangaroo. The _Spalax_ is quite blind, and has the burrowing
habit, and somewhat the shape of the common mole. Some rodents are
fitted to flit through the air in long jumps, by means of the wide
extensibility of the skin of their flanks, which, when stretched out,
acts as a parachute. Such forms are the flying squirrels, and a curious
rodent called _Anomalurus_, from the exceptional clothing of the base of
its tail, which is furnished with large scales at its under part.

Another order of beasts may here be referred to, because it affords
interesting examples of the co-existence of external resemblance without
any real affinity. This order includes the insect-eating beasts, or
_Insectivora_, and comprises the moles, hedgehogs, shrew-mice (which are
not really "mice" at all), and their allies. The _Insectivora_ and
_Rodentia_ present us with a singular parallelism in the respective
modifications of structure, which are found in these two very distinct
orders. But the insectivorous forms (as might perhaps be expected from
their less abundant food) are always smaller in size than are the
parallel vegetable-eating groups of rodents. Indeed, one insectivore of
the genus _Sorex_ (the shrew-mouse genus) is the absolutely smallest
mammal which is known to exist.

As examples of the parallelism referred to may be mentioned the moles
(which resemble the rat-moles), the shrew-mice (which resemble true
mice), the hedgehogs, and the less known spiny tanrec of Madagascar
(which resemble porcupines in their clothing); certain graceful and
active tree-frequenting insectivores of the Indian Archipelago, _Tupaia_
(which resemble squirrels); an aquatic African form, _Potomogale_ (which
resembles the musk-rat); certain elephant shrews--long-legged, jumping,
African insectivores (which resemble the jerboa amongst rodents); and,
lastly, the so-called flying lemur of the Philippine Islands, or
_Galeopithecus_, which resembles the flying squirrel, and the curious
rodent _Anomalurus_ before referred to.

The only beasts, however, which _truly_ fly are the bats, which form an
order by themselves, well-named, from the structure of their wings,
_Cheiroptera_. The bats which fly about in the twilight in this country,
or sometimes in the afternoon of a warm day in winter, are all
insect-eating forms. But in the warm regions of the Old World, and of
Australia, there are large fruit-eating kinds, called "flying foxes;"
while in South America there are blood-sucking bats, or vampires, some
of which, as we shall hereafter see, present the most curious and
interesting modifications of structure in harmony with their peculiar

The creatures which are in some respects the most interesting to us,
because they are the most like ourselves in form, are the apes.
Moreover, not only are they so like us in form, but they are so widely
marked-off from all other creatures except ourselves, that it seems
impossible they can have any real affinity to one more than to another
group of mammals below man. Apes and man then together form one order,
which as ranking first was named by Linnæus, _Primates_. With the apes
are commonly associated certain animals called Lemurs, which inhabit the
vicinity of the Indian Ocean, especially Madagascar. They have not,
however, any real affinity to apes; and if they are to be placed in the
same order at all, they must be well distinguished from its other
members. It has therefore been proposed[12] to divide the order Primates
into two sub-orders (as the hoofed order is divided into the "odd-toed"
and "even-toed" sub-orders), one of these to include man and apes, and
to be called, from the resemblance to the human form pervading it,
"_Anthropoidea_;" the other sub-order to be termed "_Lemuroidea_."

The first "sub-order" is divisible into three "families." One of these
(_Hominidæ_) contains man (forming the genus _Homo_), the second
(_Simiadæ_) contains all the apes of the Old World only, while a third
(_Cebidæ_) contains all those of America.

Amongst the _Simiadæ_ are the orang, the chimpanzee, the gorilla, and
the long-armed apes (or Gibbons), which are the most man-like of all the
apes; and there can be no question but that there is very much less
difference in structure between these four kinds of apes and man, than
there is between them and the lowest of the apes--_i.e._, the marmosets.

Concerning this resemblance, Buffon has observed, when speaking of the
ape, the most man-like (and so man-like) as to brain:[13] "Il ne pense
pas: y a-t-il une preuve plus évidente que la matière seule, quoique
parfaitement organisée, ne peut produire ni la pensée, ni la parole qui
en est le signe, à moins qu'elle ne soit animée par un principe

As to the second sub-order, it contains some very curious forms. The
typical lemurs (which inhabit Madagascar) have long fox-like snouts and
long tails. Certain African forms (the genus _Galago_) are very active
in their movements, and great leapers. A tailless group (the slender
loris) is interesting, as presenting a diminutive quasi-human form,
reflected, as it were, through a Lemurine prism, just as the rat-mole
shows us a mole-form reflected through a rodent prism.

A little animal, the Tarsier, which is found on the islands of Celebes
and Borneo, is very exceptional in its structure. Still more so is the
aye-aye (_Cheiromys_). This very remarkable species was discovered by
Sonnerat in Madagascar in 1770, and was never again seen till 1844, when
a specimen was forwarded to Paris. It has now, however, become well

Inhabiting the sea are many beasts, which are, by mistake, popularly
spoken of as "fishes." Such are the whales and the porpoises--animals
which, in spite of their form and habit, suckle their young, and have
hot blood, as all other mammals have. These creatures form an order by
themselves, called _Cetacea_.

Another order of aquatic beasts is termed _Sirenia_, and the animals
which compose it were long confounded with the _Cetacea_, from which,
however, they are widely divergent in structure, in spite of the
general similarity which exists between them in external appearance. The
order _Sirenia_ contains but two existing genera. One of these is the
now well-known manatee (_Manatus_), the other is the dugong
(_Halicore_)--an animal very similar to the manatee, and found in the
rivers of regions about the Indian Ocean. A third form, the _Rhytina_,
existed in the Aleutian Isles till recent times, but was extirpated
almost as soon as discovered, from its incapacity for flight or defence,
and from its flesh affording a welcome change of diet to hungry sailors.

The _Cetacea_ and _Sirenia_ are examples of creatures organized for a
completely aquatic life--for never coming to land.

The forest-regions of South America offer to animal life so enormous a
mass of foliage that it may not unjustly be termed a sea of verdure, and
creatures there exist which are specially organized for a completely
arboreal life--for never coming to the ground. Such creatures are the
sloths, which pass their lives hanging back-downwards, suspended to the
branches by their huge claws. Thus, they sleep without effort (from the
peculiar mechanism of their limbs), and they move slowly from tree to
tree, having no need to hurry after food, since they live suspended in
the midst of a perennial banquet.

Nearly allied to the sloths were certain huge beasts, now extinct, which
formerly inhabited the same Continent--such as the _Megatherium_ and
_Mylodon_, which rivalled or exceeded our largest rhinoceroses in bulk.
They fed on the same food which nourishes the sloth, but obviously the
branches of no tree could sustain such monsters. They obtained their
leafy pasture, therefore, by a different method. Rearing themselves on
their massive hind legs and powerful tail, as on a tripod, they embraced
the trees with their vigorous arms, and swayed them to and fro, till the
tree embraced was prostrated, and literally fell a prey to their
efforts. These bulky creatures were protected against that danger which
such a mode of life rendered imminent by a specially strong skull
structure, which enabled them to bear a broken head with but little

In the same region of the earth are found the ant-eaters and armadillos,
and more or less allied to them are the pangolins (_Manis_) of Africa
and Asia. The horny scales which cover the bodies of the last-named
animals caused them for some time to be associated with reptiles rather
than with beasts, though they are true and perfect mammals. Lastly must
be mentioned the aard-vark (_Orycteropus_) of South Africa.

All these creatures, from the sloths to the aard-vark, are commonly
associated together in an order which is termed _Edentata_.

The whole of the orders of mammals yet mentioned agree in certain
important details with respect to their reproductive processes, as well
as in certain smaller anatomical peculiarities, and the whole of the
creatures included within these orders are (and will be) often spoken of
as _Placental Mammals_.

The only beasts which it yet remains to speak of are grouped in two
other orders.

The first of these is called the order _Marsupialia_, and comprises all
opossums (_Didelphys_), kangaroos (_Macropus_), phalangers
(_Phalangista_), the Tasmanian wolf (_Thylacinus_), the dasyures
(_Dasyurus_), the bandicoots (_Perameles_), and their allies. With the
exception of the true opossums (_Didelphys_), all the members of the
order are found in Australia or its vicinity, and nowhere else in the
present day; although, as we shall better see hereafter, Europe once
possessed animals closely allied to Australian forms of to-day--notably
to a pretty little quadruped which bears the generic name _Myrmecobius_.

As last of the class of beasts, we have two extremely exceptional
mammals (both found only in the Australian region), the duck-billed
platypus (_Ornithorhynchus_), and the _Echidna_. The first of these, as
its name implies, has a muzzle quite like the bill of a duck, with a
squat, hairy body, and short limbs. The echidna is covered with strong,
dense spines, and has a long and slender snout. These creatures together
form the order _Monotremata_--an order which differs very much more from
any other Mammalian order than any of the other orders of mammals differ
one from another.

Thus, that great group which embraces man and beasts, and which group
ranks as a "class"--the _class_ Mammalia--comprises (as we have now
seen) a number of subordinate groups termed "orders," the orders being
made up of families, and these again of genera.

It would be impossible as yet (when hardly any anatomical facts have
been even referred to) to give the characters of the class _Mammalia_.
It must at present suffice to point out that, in addition to mammary
glands, the creatures have hot blood, and the body bears more or less
hair--at least at some time of life.

We may now pass to the next class, that of birds--the class _Aves_. In
spite of the great multitude of kinds which ornithologists
enumerate--upwards of ten thousand species--there is very much less
diversity of form amongst birds than there is amongst beasts.

Starting in the present class as in the preceding one from the most
familiar kinds, we may begin with the domestic fowl. This is one of an
"order" to which belong the peacock, all pheasants and tragopans (three
forms which have their home in Central and Southern Asia), also the
Guinea fowls (African forms), and the turkeys and curassows, which are
American representatives of the order. Besides these may be mentioned
partridges, grouse, black-cock, the capercalzie and quails, and, lastly,
the megapodius or bush-turkey of Australia. This last is the only bird
which hatches its eggs by artificial heat, depositing them in a mound of
earth and decaying vegetable matter, wherein they are hatched
fully-fledged, so that they can fly away immediately on leaving the egg.
All the birds yet mentioned are called gallinaceous birds, or _Gallinæ_,
and sometimes _Rasores_ or "Scratchers."

More or less allied to them are the doves and pigeons, which form the
order _Columbæ_, in which the curious ground-pigeon _Didunculus_ is
included--a form which presents an interesting resemblance to the
celebrated and extinct dodo of Mauritius, long known only by certain
pictures, and a foot and head preserved, one in the British Museum, and
the other in the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford.

Our sparrows, robins, and all our song birds are members of an
exceedingly numerous "order" "_Paseres_." In it are included the crows
(with those gaily-decorated crows, the Birds of Paradise, found only in
New Guinea and the Moluccas), the bower birds and the lyre bird of
Australia; the flycatchers, the pittas (or ground thrushes), the
water-ouzel, the weaver birds, the wrens, the tits, the creepers, the
honey-eaters, those African gems, the sun birds, and also the swallows.

To another order--the order _Macrochires_--belong those most beautiful
of all birds, the humming birds, found only in America, and long thought
to be allied with the really very different sun birds just mentioned.
With these may be associated the swifts (which have such marvellous
powers of flight) and the wide-gaped goat-suckers or nightjars.

Woodpeckers are considered to form an order (_Pici_) by themselves,
while the cuckoos are thought to be near relations of the beautiful and
eccentric toncans, the plaintain-eaters, the touracous, the kingfishers,
the hoopoes, the bee-eaters, the hornbills, and the trogons, all, from
the cuckoos to the trogons, being included in the order _Coccyges_.

The parrots form an isolated group of birds--the order _Psittaci_. Their
most peculiar forms are the macaws on the one hand, and the brush-tailed
loris on the other. The order _Accipitres_ includes all the birds of
prey--that is to say, the eagles, falcons, hawks, buzzards, vultures,
and owls. In this order is included the long-legged secretary bird,
which looks like a cross between a hawk and heron.

Pelicans, gannets, cormorants (or shags), and darters go together to
constitute the order called _Steganopodes_. The flamingoes are isolated,
and by themselves form the order _Odontoglossæ_. The same is the case
with the penguins, which have the order _Impennes_ assigned exclusively
to them.

The ducks and geese form alone the order _Lamellirostres_, in which is
included the curious bird _Palamedea_, which is a goose adapted to live
in trees in harmony with its South American forest habitat.

The rails and coots go with the bustards and cranes to constitute the
order _Alectorides_. Similarly the auks, divers, puffins, terns, and
grebes, noddies, and guillemots may be associated together in one
order--the order _Pygopodes_. The gulls and petrels form another
association--the order _Gaviæ_; while the plovers, snipes, curlews,
peewits, turnstones, &c., constitute the order _Limicolæ_. The order
_Heridiones_ includes the herons, the bitterns, the storks, spoonbill,
ibis, &c.

All the foregoing birds have a multitude of points in common; indeed, so
close is the similarity of their structure that their subdivision into
orders is a matter of much difficulty and dispute. They are collectively
spoken of as the _Carinatæ_, from the keeled form of their breast-bone.

Widely apart from them stands another group made up almost entirely of
large birds, which agree not only in having no power of flight, but also
in certain significant structural characters, amongst which may be
mentioned the absence of a keel on the breast-bone.

This latter group is sometimes spoken of as the order _Struthiones_ from
the ostrich (_Struthio_), which is its typical form. Sometimes these
keelless birds are called _Ratitæ_. Besides the ostrich, the rhea,
cassowary, and emeu are included within the group; also the small and
nocturnal _Apteryx_ of New Zealand and those giants of featherdom, the
huge species of dinornis, all also of New Zealand and all now extinct.

With this our list of birds might close, but for a bird which anciently
existed in Europe so strangely different from all modern kinds, that it
must certainly be here adverted to. This bird is the _Archeopteryx_,
found in fossil in the Solenhofen States.

The class Aves, like the class Mammalia, consists of animals with hot
blood, but all birds have feathers and a number of other peculiarities
of structure, as will appear later.

The next class to be adverted to is the class which includes all
reptiles properly so-called--the class _Reptilia_.

The reptiles which exist in the world to-day may be classed in four
well-marked sets, each of which has the value of an "order"--(1)
crocodiles, (2) lizards, (3) serpents, and (4) tortoises. The names of
these creatures alone suffice to indicate the fact that the class of
reptiles presents us with an extraordinary amount of diversity of form
as compared with the class of birds with which, nevertheless, reptiles
have, as we shall hereafter see, very close relations. Indeed, in the
diversity of kinds which it contains, the class _Reptilia_ at the least
fully equals the class Mammalia, especially if the extinct kinds are
taken into consideration. The number of species of reptiles, both living
and extinct, much exceeds also the number of living and extinct mammals.

To begin once more with forms which are the least strange and unknown,
we may start with the little elegant and harmless lizards of our heaths
and commons, which will serve as types of the order to which they
belong--the order _Lacertilia_. That order is an extremely numerous one,
containing many families, differing much in form. Our English lizards
are true lizards, belonging to the typical genus _Lacerta_ and to the
typical family _Lacertidæ_. The rather well-known large American lizard,
_Iguana_, is the type of another and very extensive family (almost
entirely confined to America), while a nearly-allied family (_Agamidæ_)
is an Old World group. Amongst the curious forms found in the latter
family may be mentioned the frilled and moloch lizards of Australia, and
those little harmless lizards of India which go by the formidable name
of "flying dragons" (_Draco_). They are the only existing aërial
reptiles--not that they can truly "fly" at all, but they are enabled to
take prolonged jumps, and to sustain themselves to a considerable extent
in the air by means of the extremely distensible skin of their flanks
which, when extended, is supported by a peculiar solid framework
hereafter to be described. Some of the largest lizards are called
"monitors," and are common in Egypt; they belong to the family

In the warmest period of the year, certain lizards are found in the
South of Europe, called geckos. They have a power of running, not only
up walls, but across ceilings by means of a peculiar structure of their
toes. They are types of a large family (_Geckotidæ_) widely spread over
the world.

Another large family (_Scincidæ_) has also its type in the South of
Europe in the skink (_Scincus_), which was formerly supposed to possess
much medicinal value. This large family contains a number of species
which exhibit a series of gradations in structure leading to forms which
have the external aspect of serpents. One such form is the perfectly
harmless slow-worm, or blind-worm, of our own country, which in spite of
its scientific name, _Anguis fragilis_[14], is a legless lizard, and no

Other lizards of a very different kind forming the family _Amphisbæidæ_
are also legless, with the single exception of the genus _Chirotes_,
which has a pair of anterior limbs, but no posterior ones. The name of
this family is derived from the similarity of appearance presented by
both ends of the body, so that either end looks as if ready to take the
lead as "head."

A family of lizards familiar by name to us all from our childhood is the
family of chameleons (_Chameleonidæ_). There are many species of
chameleons, but they are found in the Old World only; they are among the
most exceptional and peculiar of all lizards, but there is one form
which is yet more so.

This most exceptional of lizards is one found in New Zealand, and named
_Sphenodon_. Its external aspect would not lead the ordinary observer at
all to suspect that it is so remarkable a creature as its anatomy shows
it really to be.

The order _Crocodilia_ contains, of course, the true crocodiles which
are found both in the Old and New Worlds. It contains besides the
alligators (which are peculiar to America), as well as the long and
slender-snouted gavials which are now found only in India and Australia.
At one time the number of kinds of this order was very much greater than
at present, and interesting structural modifications have taken place in
it during the course of ages, as will be pointed out later.

On the whole, the order of crocodiles makes a much nearer approach to
mammals and birds--especially (strange as it may seem) to birds, than is
made by any other group of existing reptiles.

Reptiles, however, once existed have left their remains fossilized (in
the rocks of what is termed the "secondary" or "mesozoic" period), which
reptiles in the structure of their skeleton approach much more closely
to birds, and especially to birds of the ostrich order, than crocodiles
do. Amongst these reptiles may be mentioned the huge Iguanododon (type
of the, extinct order _Dinosauria_), which once roamed over the Weald of
Kent, and has left its remains in the Isle of Wight and elsewhere. Such
remains were collected by its discoverer, the late Dr. Mantell, and are
now preserved in our British Museum.

The crocodilia and some of the lizards of our own day are aquatic, but
none live constantly in the ocean, as do the cetacea amongst beasts.
This was, however, by no means always the case. In the secondary period
just adverted to, huge marine reptiles (_Ichthyosauria_ and
_Plesiosauria_) lorded it over the other then inhabitants of the deep,
and presented some noteworthy resemblances to the whales and porpoises
which have since succeeded them.

But other remains preserved in those same secondary rocks show us that
in that period which has been so deservedly called "the age of
reptiles," not only did many huge species of the class stalk over the
land (either browsing on its foliage or preying on their fellows), and
many others swarm in the then existing waters, but it shows us that the
atmosphere also had its reptilian tenants. Flying reptiles which formed
the now extinct order, _Pterosauria_, and which were some of small, some
of very large size, as truly "flew" as do the bats of our own day fly,
and by a very similar mechanism. Moreover, if the _Dinosauria_ present,
as they do present, very noteworthy and interesting resemblances to
birds of the ostrich order, no less noteworthy and interesting are the
resemblances presented by these flying reptiles to ordinary--_i.e._, to

The orders of extinct reptiles just referred to are not the only ones
which formerly existed and have now passed away. There were reptiles
with peculiarities in their teeth such as to have caused their order to
be named _Amnodontia_, and it is members of this extinct order that the
lizard _Sphenodon_ more or less resembles, and it is this resemblance
which gives it that special interest before noted.

We may now return from these very various extinct forms to enumerate
other kinds of reptiles which exist to-day. But before doing so the fact
may be adverted to, that though amongst beasts many forms have become
extinct, yet the proportion borne by the known extinct forms to the
living kinds is much less than amongst reptiles, and that while it is
the most highly-organized reptiles which have ceased to exist, the
highest mammals which are in any way known to us are those which at
present inhabit the earth's surface.

In passing from the orders of crocodiles and lizards to that of
serpents--_i.e._, to the order _Ophidia_--we might select as first to be
mentioned kinds which much resemble the legless lizards; but such kinds
are not familiar ones in Europe.

The only serpents met with in England are but of three species--two
harmless snakes and the common viper, which latter is the only really
poisonous reptile in this country.

Of the harmless snakes, the ringed or collared snake (_Tropidonotus_) is
much the commoner and more widely diffused. It ought to escape
destruction on account of the ease with which it may be discriminated
from the viper by means of the white collar-like mark which appears so
conspicuously just behind its head.

Our viper is the type of a large and poisonous family, but by no means
all poisonous snakes are vipers. The deadly cobras belong to a different
group, having much more affinity with our own harmless snakes than with
the vipers. The rattle-snakes again form a family (_Crotalidæ_) by

There are such things as true sea-serpents, and they are poisonous. They
are not, however, allies of any "sea serpent," such as every now and
again figures in startling paragraphs in our journals. The true
sea-serpents are snakes of small or moderate size, which have their
tails flattened from side to side, and which inhabit the Indian Ocean.
Of other serpents which are not poisonous, the family of boas and
pythons (which kill by crushing) is tolerably familiar to all who have
visited zoological collections. There are many beautiful and harmless
snakes, such as the families of tree-snakes and whip-snakes, but the
snakes which more or less resemble legless lizards are burrowing forms
which have the habits and more or less the appearance of earth-worms,
such as those which form the families of _Uropeltidæ_ and _Typhlopsidæ_.

The last existing reptilian order (_Chelonia_) includes, besides the
land tortoises of very various dimensions, a variety of aquatic forms.

The best known of these in this country, is the marine family
(_Chelonidæ_), to which the edible and tortoise-shell turtles belong.
The best known family in the United States and in the Continent of
Europe, is the _Emydæ_, to which pertain the terrapins or ordinary river
tortoises. Besides these, however, there is a very small family
(_Trionicidæ_) of curious and exceptional forms, called mud-tortoises

The creatures which have next to be glanced at are those familiar forms,
the frogs, toads and efts, which, together with their allies, form
another class,--the class _Batrachia_. These animals were long
confounded with reptiles but are really widely distinct from them. They
are arranged in four orders, three of which have living representatives.
The creatures of the first order (the order of tailless Batrachians or
_Anoura_)--frogs and toads--exist over almost all the habitable globe;
and though the number of their kinds is very great, yet they are all
extremely alike in organization. Many kinds (of both frogs and toads)
are found to live in trees, the ends of their fingers and toes being
dilated to enable them to cling to the surfaces of leaves. The most
exceptional species of the whole group are the two tongueless toads, the
_Pipa_ of South America and the _Daclytethra_ of Africa, the last-named
kind being the lowest of all known animals provided with finger nails.

Closely related to the frogs and toads are the efts so common in our
ponds. These familiar English forms are represented in other countries
of the Northern Hemisphere by creatures, some of which (as we shall
hereafter see) are of very great interest indeed. The whole group
constitutes the second Batrachian order--the order _Urodela_.

One of the most noteworthy forms of the order is the eft _Proteus_,
which inhabits the dark, subterranean caverns of Carniola and Istria.
Allied to this is the _Menobranchus_ of North America and the Axolotl of
Mexico. Other forms of the order are the American eft-genera _Spelerpes_
and _Amblystoma_, the _Menopoma_, and the gigantic Salamander
(_Cryptobranchus_) of Japan and China, the eel-like _Amphiuma_--with its
very long body and minute legs--and the two-legged _Siren_ of the United

The third order of Batrachians is one which contains very few species,
but these are very strange, for though allied to frogs they have the
appearance of snakes, or rather perhaps of worms. With long and slender
bodies (marked by many transverse wrinkles), devoid of every rudiment of
limb, they remind us of the before-noticed _Anguis_, _Typhlops_, and
_Uropeltis_ amongst reptiles. The Batrachians in question (which belong
to the genera _Cæcilia_ and _Siphonops_) form the order _Ophiomorpha_.

The fourth order of Batrachians is one which has entirely passed away
and become extinct. It is the order _Labyrinthodonta_, and the species
which composed it were, some of them, of large size, with great heads
like those of crocodiles. Others bore more or less resemblance to
enlarged _Ophiomorpha_.

Every one knows that frogs begin their existence in the water as
tadpoles, which have the habits and mode of life of fishes. Thus, the
class _Batrachia_ naturally conducts us to the class _Pisces_, the class
of true fishes. This class contains a prodigious variety of forms, and
is far more rich in species than any other of the classes before
enumerated--even that of birds.

The fishes most familiar to us--such as the perch, carp, mackerel, cod,
herring, sole, turbot, salmon, pike, dory, and eel--all belong to one
great order called _Teleostei_, and which is made up of what are called
"bony" fishes, though there are some bony fishes which do not belong to
it. To the same order also belong the Muroena, the electric eel
(_Gymnotus_), the flying fishes (_Exocetus_ and _Dactyloptera_), the
sucking fish (_Remora_), the pipe-fish and sea-horse (_Hippocampus_),
the diodon, the ostracion, the file-fish (_Balistes_), the largest of
all fresh-water fishes (_Sudis gigas_ of South America), with a
multitude of other forms.

Certain more or less singular Teleosteans are classed together in a
subordinate group of "Siluroids" (of which fish the _Silurus_ is a
type), and which group includes, amongst others, the singular, cuirassed
fish Callichthys.

A group of fishes, which is now very small, but which at an earlier
period of the world's history was very large, includes within it all
those fishes which will be hereinafter occasionally spoken of as
"Ganoids," as they compose the order _Ganoidei_. Of all the forms of
this order, the sturgeon is that which is least unfamiliar to us. The
Ganoids are mostly fresh-water fishes and consist of the spoonbill-fish
(_Polyodon_), the bony-pike (_Lepidosteus_), the African _Polypterus_,
the mud fish (_Lepidosiren_), and the curious Australian fish
_Ceratodus_, which last is a singular instance of piscine survival.

Another order, _Elosmobranchii_, is made up of the sharks, together with
the skates (or rays) and the curious _Chimæra_. Amongst the skates may
be mentioned the celebrated torpedo or electric ray.

The three groups above enumerated contain almost all known fishes, but a
few other kinds, all of lowly organization, constitute two other groups
of very different structure.

One of these groups is called _Marsipo-branchii_, and contains the
lamprey, the _Myxine_ (or Glutinous Hag), and the _Bdellestoma_. They
are fishes of parasitic habits and of relatively inferior structure.

Last of all comes a creature of such exceptional build, so widely
different from, and so greatly inferior to, any kind of animal yet
noticed, that it may but doubtfully be reckoned as a fish at all. The
animal referred to is the lancelet (_Amphioxus_), which is a small,
almost worm-like animal, living in the sand on our own coasts, and also
widely distributed over other parts of the world. The _Amphioxus_ has no
distinct head or heart, and its breathing apparatus--its gill
structure--differs so much from that of all other fishes as to give a
name to its "order" (which contains it alone)--the order

We have now, then, hastily surveyed no less than five "classes" of
animals--(1) Mammalia, (2) Aves, (3) Reptilia, (4) Batrachia, and (5)

But, as was said in the first beginning of this Essay,[15] "classes" are
the groups into which "sub-kingdoms" are divided, and which, by their
union, make up such "sub-kingdoms."

The five classes above-mentioned together constitute the highest of
those sub-kingdoms into which the whole animal kingdom itself is
divided. This highest sub-kingdom is named VERTEBRATA, and is called the
vertebrate sub-kingdom, because every creature which belongs to it
possesses a "spinal column," which is generally built up of bones, each
of which is called a "_Vertebra_."

We ourselves are members of the genus _Homo_, of the family _Hominidæ_,
of the order _Primates_, of the class _Mammalia_, of the sub-kingdom
_Vertebrata_, and it is desirable to treat this sub-kingdom at
considerable length, both because it is, to us who are members of it,
the most interesting and important, and because, by treating it somewhat
fully, a good example can be once for all given of biological

But the number of animal kinds which belong to other sub-kingdoms vastly
exceeds the total number of vertebrate animals, and the structural
contrasts found between different non-vertebrate species is very much
greater than any such contrasts as can be found to exist between any two
members of the highest, or vertebrate sub-kingdom. This is only what we
might expect; for non-vertebrate animals--often spoken of collectively
as "_Invertebrata_"--form several distinct sub-kingdoms, each of which
has a rank approximatively co-ordinate with that sub-kingdom to which we
ourselves belong. Nevertheless, since the members of the invertebrata
sub-kingdoms are, speaking generally, much less known and familiar than
are vertebrate animals, and as the structural differences between them
cannot be pointed out till an initial acquaintance has been made with
comparative anatomy, for these reasons we may treat the various animal
sub-kingdoms which have yet to be noticed at much less length than we
have treated the vertebrata. The details of their peculiarities and the
various degrees of significance and interest which they present will
begin to appear when we proceed to treat of "The Forms of Animals."

The last class of vertebrates is, as we have seen, constituted by the
fishes, which are fishes properly so called. But there are many animals
which are familiarly and improperly spoken of as "Fishes," but which are
even more below true fishes than whales and porpoises are above them.
Thus, we hear of cuttle-fishes, and a variety of creatures are spoken of
as "shell-fish," which are not in the least related to true fishes.
Indeed, the many so-called "shell-fish" are not even nearly related one
to another. Thus, the oyster and the lobster are both commonly thus
named, but they belong respectively to two altogether distinct
sub-kingdoms of the world of animals.

The oyster is an animal which belongs to a vast assemblage of species,
with much variety of form and structure, which, on account of their soft
bodies (whether or not enclosed in shells), are called MOLLUSCA or
"Mollusks." This assemblage ranks as a sub-kingdom and contains within
it at least four subordinate great groups, or "classes." All snails and
whelks, with their allies, and also all cuttle-fishes, belong to the
sub-kingdom of "soft animals."

Amongst the most familiar of mollusks is the common snail, which may
serve as a type of the "class" of mollusks to which it belongs--the
class _Gasteropoda_. The snail, with the slug, are representatives of
land-forms of mollusca, but the bulk of the class and of the whole
sub-kingdom are aquatic animals, such as the whelk (_Buccinum_),
periwinkle (_Littorina_), limpet (_Patella_), &c. The Gasteropods
generally possess spirally coiled shells (like the cowry or whelk), but
some kinds have their shells in the form of simple cones--like a
Chinaman's cap--as, _e.g._, the limpet. There are a few Gasteropods in
which the shell consists of a series of similar segments as is the case
with _Chiton_, while many are altogether naked. In some kinds the soft
body is drawn out into a number of tufted processes, as in Doris and
Eolis, and sometimes the body is almost worm-like, as in _Phylliroë_, or
provided with a pair of ring-like lateral processes and a rudimentary
shell, as in the sea-hare _Aplysia_.

Next above the Gasteropods comes a group of animals forming the class
_Pteropoda_. These pteropods are small, active, oceanic,
surface-swimming creatures, many of which live in delicate glass-like
shells, and some of which form a large part of the food of the whalebone
whale. They flit through the water by the aid of lateral processes which
much resemble those before-mentioned as existing in the sea-hare. Allied
to these pteropods is a curious little animal, the shell of which
resembles a miniature elephant's tooth and which is named _Dentalium_.

Highest of all the mollusca stand the cuttle-fishes, forming (with the
_Nautilus_ and many extinct animals, such as ammonites and their allies)
the great class _Cephalopoda_. The Cephalopoda, such as the cuttle-fish
(_Sepia_) and the Poulp (_Octopus_), have now become familiar objects
through our aquaria, where their very eccentric forms and remarkable
movements naturally attract attention. To this group also belongs
_Spirula_, the coiled and chambered shell of which is found so
abundantly, but its soft tenant so very rarely. To it also belongs the
extinct Belemnite, which was provided with a dense, conical internal
shell, specimens of which found in rocks were at one time taken for
thunderbolts. Of a lower grade of organization is the _Nautilus_, sole
existing representative of a great group of Cephalopoda (including the
ammonites and other forms) which has, with the above exception, long
become entirely extinct.

The oyster is an animal which belongs to a much lower class of
mollusca--namely, to the class called _Lamellibranchiata_, from the
plate-like (or lamellar) structure of the gill. To that class also
belongs the scallop (_Pecten_), the mussel (_Magilus_), the fresh-water
mussel (_Anodon_), the razor-shell (_Solen_), the cockle (_Cardium_),
species with a long fleshy tube such as _Mya_, stone-perforating shells
such as _Pholas_, and the well-known wood-boring "ship-worm"
(_Teredo_)--which is no "worm" at all--with a multitude of other forms.

Certain other animals (which, like the Lamellibranchs, all have a shell
divided into two valves) form another still lower class called
_Brachiopoda_, a class which we may, at least provisionally, consider as
belonging to the mollusca. These _Brachiopods_ are also called
"Lamp-shells," from a certain resemblance which many of them show to the
form of a classical lamp. They are interesting, because in very ancient
times they seem to have held that place in the world's animal population
which is now held by the Lamellibranchs, by which, as they died out,
they have been gradually replaced till but comparatively few forms
survive. Some of these, however, are of great antiquity, and one of
them, _Lingula_, is, though still living, one of the most ancient of all
known animals.

We may next pass to a small sub-kingdom which includes the curious and
inert animals before referred to[16] as "Sea-squirts," Tunicaries or
Ascidians, and which constitute the sub-kingdom TUNICATA. These are
marine organisms of very simple but very peculiar structure which
sometimes grow up in compound aggregations. Certain forms (_e.g._,
_Pyrosoma_) are luminous at night and may be seen swimming about in the
ocean like so many red-hot urn-heaters. As we shall hereafter see, the
reproductive processes and the earlier stages of existence of these
creatures possess much interest, and have afforded strong grounds for
regarding them, in spite of their lowly organization, as very close
allies of the highest animals or _Vertebrata_.

Returning now to the "lobster" (lately mentioned as one of those animals
commonly called "shell-fish") we may regard it as an example of what is
by far the most numerous of all the sub-kingdoms of animals. This
sub-kingdom is made up of animals with jointed feet or "Arthropods," and
the ARTHROPODA are subdivided into four classes--1, _Crustacea_; 2,
_Myriapoda_; 3, _Arachnida_; and 4, _Insecta_; and it is to the first of
these four classes that the lobster belongs.

The class _Crustacea_ contains, besides the lobster (and its near
allies, hermit-crabs, prawns, shrimps, and cray-fish), all crabs,
including those very quaint-looking animals (now so often seen in our
living collections), the king-crabs (_Limulus_), and a variety of more
or less strangely different forms such as the following:--

Certain Crustaceans, of the group called _Ostracods_, have the hard
outer coat of their body so peculiarly modified that they have quite the
appearance of Lamellibranch Mollusks, and this resemblance is even more
than skin deep, as we shall see later.

Some of another group, called _Copepoda_, become, when adult, so
degraded in structure as to have the appearance of mere worms, as
_Lerneocera_ and _Tracheliastes_, and become strangely unlike the
typical forms (crabs and lobsters) of their class.

Other animals of the class _Crustacea_, which animals form the order
_Cirripedia_ (barnacles and acorn-shells), bear such an external
resemblance to mollusks that they were actually classed by Cuvier in the
class _Mollusca_. In some of them--the Barnacles which commonly attach
themselves to the bottoms of ships--the head grows from above downwards
to a relatively enormous degree, forming the long stalk or "peduncle,"
at the lower end of which the small body with its limbs hangs suspended.

In another group, _Rhizocephala_, the form of the adult becomes yet more
strange. These creatures are parasitic on other crustacea. Having
attached themselves to the surface of the soft abdomen of the Hermit
crab, the head of the Rhizocephalon grows out into it as so many
root-like processes, from which condition the group has received its

The numerous and long extinct group of _Trilobites_ also belongs to the
class _Crustacea_.

The next class, _Myriopoda_, consists of the hundred-legs (centipedes),
and thousand-legs (millipedes), which present us with some of the best
examples of creatures the bodies of which are composed of a longitudinal
series of similar segments. Allied to them is a very exceptional animal
found in Africa and New Zealand, and called _Peripatus_, the anatomy of
which presents many significant peculiarities.

The third class of Arthropods (_Arachnida_) consists of the scorpions
and spiders with their poor relations, the mites and tics, together with
the very peculiarly-shaped _Pycnogonida_ (which present us with a good
image of "no body"--being all legs and no body), and the singular
worm-like parasite _Linguatula_. Lastly, we come to the most
zoologically important and numerous of all the classes of
Arthropods--namely, to the "class" of insects--_Insecta_. Therein we
meet with the power of flight in its most perfect form--_i.e._, in the
Dragon-flies--and most of the species are aërial in their adult (or
_Imago_) condition. Some, however, are burrowers as, for example, the
mole-cricket--an insect which presents some curious analogies in
structure to the beast referred to in its name. Amongst insects may be
mentioned the most familiar of all, the House-fly (which belongs to the
order _Diptera_), and Beetles of all kinds (which constitute the order
_Coleoptera_), some of which latter are luminous, as is the well-known
glow-worm, and the exotic beetles _Pyrophorus_. Another order
(_Orthoptera_) is made up of the earwigs, cockroaches, crickets,
grass-hoppers, and their allies the locusts, with Bamboo-insects and the
curious walking-leaf (so-called from their resemblance to a Bamboo twig
and a foliage leaf respectively), the praying mantis, and other curious

Bees and Ants, which belong to the order _Hymenoptera_, are, as every
one knows, celebrated for their wonderfully complex instincts and
community-life (which will occupy us later), and to the same order also
belong the Ichneumon insects, which are provided with long appendages at
the hinder ends of their bodies wherewith to pierce the bodies of
animals in order to deposit their eggs within them, or to pierce the
substance of plants, so producing "galls" which are structures of much
interest from several points of view.

Butterflies and Moths form another order of insects called
_Lepidoptera_, amongst which may be mentioned as (having to be referred
to hereafter) the true butterflies (_Papilio_), and the hawkmoths (some
of which in their flight so much resemble Humming-birds), the clear-wing
moths, and those moths the grubs of which are known as "silk-worms," and
certain moths of the genera _Solenobia_ and _Psyche_.

The numerous group of bugs is allied to the plant-lice (_Aphides_),
which so often infest our Pelargoniums when kept in dwelling-rooms.
Allied to them, again, are the small creatures the nature of which was
so long disputed, though familiar to commerce as "Cochineal." Really,
they are small, singularly inert, plant-lice, which adhere to the
surface of certain "Cacti."

The Dragon-flies, before referred to, are the types of the order

All the insects above mentioned, save the House-fly, have four wings, or
else none; but that familiar form may serve as the type of the
two-winged order (_Diptera_) to which belong all flies and
gnats--including, of course, the Mosquito--and the numerous "Bots," one
of which (the Tsee-Tsee fly) is so fatal to cattle in Africa.

Finally, amongst insects may be mentioned the wingless, but active order
of fleas (_Aphaniptera_), the wingless but sluggish lice (_Aptera_), and
the jumping and wingless springtails (_Thysanura_).

In leaving the class of insects, we leave all the more highly-organized
Invertebrata. But the next group to which we may direct our attention is
one which is exceedingly numerous, and contains a very varied assemblage
of forms. This group is the "sub-kingdom" of Worms, VERMES. First
amongst its contents may be mentioned the higher or true "worms," such
as the earth-worm (_Lumbricus_), the leech (_Hirudo_), the sea-mouse
(_Aphrodite_), and their allies, together with the worms which live in
tubes, which are called _Tubicolous_-"_Annelids_," because the whole
class of these higher worms bears the name _Annelida_.

In this connexion may be mentioned certain exceptional vermiform
creatures, about the affinities of which naturalists dispute.

One of these is a marine creature (called _Sagitta_, from the way in
which it shoots like an arrow through the water), which has many
affinities to Arthropods.

Another is a most remarkable worm, which has been found in the Bay of
Naples, and is called _Balanoglossus_. It is the type of a group called
_Enteropneusta_. To it reference will have again and again to be made on
account of certain singularities in its structure.

A very distinct class of creatures is termed _Bryozoa_ (or _Polyzoa_),
and is composed of very minute animals which live in compound
aggregations, and often grow up in an arborescent manner. The common
sea-mat (_Flustra_) is one example of the class, and another--a good
type--is called _Plumatella_. The _Bryozoa_ have many affinities with
the _Mollusca_, to which some naturalists consider them to belong.

Other worms form the class _Nematoidea_, of which many are parasitic and
many not so. Amongst the better known of the former may be mentioned the
worms which tease children (_Ascarides_), the guinea-worm (_Filaria_),
the scourge of Germans who eat raw meat (_Trichina_), the deadly
blood-parasite of the Nile (_Bilharzia_), and many others.

Another class (_Trematoda_) is made up of parasites called "Flukes," to
some of which (_e.g._, _Monostomum_) reference will have hereafter to be
made with respect to their processes of development.

The class _Turbellaria_ contains a variety of other worms of a lowly
kind, one or two of which (_e.g._, _Borlesia_) live coiled up in complex
tangles which, if unravelled, would attain a length of forty feet.
Amongst the commoner kinds may be mentioned the worm _Nemertes_, and all
worms called _Planariæ_ (which are mostly fresh-water, though some live
on land), allied to the flukes.

The class of tape-worms (_Cestoidea_) is one most numerous in its kinds,
which are all completely parasitic in habit. Some of them are so fatal
in their effects that they are estimated to occasion every seventh death
which occurs in Iceland, and they cause mortality amidst our own flocks,
producing in sheep the disease known as the "staggers."

Certain minute organisms, familiarly known as "Wheel-Animalcules," or
Rotifers, form the "class" _Rotifera_. They have gained their name
through an apparently (though, of course, not really) rotary motion, of
that end of their bodies at which the mouth is situated. Here also may
be mentioned certain curious aquatic worms called _Gasterotricha_, which
are closely allied to the wheel animalcules.

Finally may be mentioned the class _Gephyrea_, containing animals,
worm-like indeed in form, but which have much apparent affinity to the
group next to be spoken of--the group of star-fishes and their allies.
Amongst the _Gephyrea_ may be mentioned the worms called _Sipunculus_
and _Priapulus_.

This leads us to the sub-kingdom containing the star-fishes--the
sub-kingdom ECHINODERMA, which includes, besides the star-fishes (or
_Asteridea_), all sea-eggs or sea-urchins (_Echinidea_), the
brittle-stars _Ophiuridea_, as well as the elongated soft animals called
sea-cucumbers, or _Holothuridea_, some of which latter are known as the
Japanese edible, "Trepang."

Besides these groups there are still surviving a few creatures
(_Comatula_ and _Pentacrinus_) belonging to the class of "sea-lilies,"
or _Crinoidea_, creatures which once lived in countless multitudes, but
have now almost entirely passed away. All these crinoids were like
star-fishes on stalks, and of the existing forms, _Pentacrinus_ still
passes the whole of its life, and _Comatula_ its youth, in a stalked

The next great primary division, or sub-kingdom of animals, is
COELENTERA, and a good type of the coelenterates, the sea anemone
(_Actinia_), has now become a familiar object to us in our aquaria.
These animals are plant-animals, or zoophytes, and some of them build up
coral-reefs, or islands, and it is one kind which produces the red coral
of commerce. Forms essentially similar, but the solid supporting
framework of which is of a softer nature, are such as _Alcyonium_ and
_Pennatula_. All these belong to the "class" _Actinozoa_. There are
other coelenterates of an active free-swimming habit, such as _Beröe_
and _Cydippe_, which are balls of glassy transparency displaying
iridescent hues as they move rapidly through the water by means of their
peculiar locomotive organs.

Other coelenterates, of the same essential type but of simpler
structure, form the class _Hydrozoa_. Amongst these may be mentioned the
little _Hydra_ of our ponds, which will often come before us in our
survey of animal life. Some compound forms of Hydrozoa simulate the
compound Actinozoa; such are the calcareous millipores, and those with a
softer structure, called "corallines," such as _Eudendrium_ and many
others. The Portuguese man-of-war (_Physalia_) and the various forms of
jelly-fish (_Medusæ_) all belong to the _Hydrozoa_, as also does a very
curious and very elementary form, to which the name _Tetraplatia_ has
been given.

Next we come to the group of sponges, SPONGIDA, some of which--as the
now well-known _Euplectella_--are of marvellous beauty and delicacy of
structure; while others, as the sponge of commerce, are of much greater
simplicity of form. Simplest of all the sponges is the sponge called
_Ascetta Primordialis_. Some sponges have a horny, some a calcareous,
and some a siliceous skeleton, and (strange as it may appear) some have
a habit of boring into shells, and living in the excavations they make.

An animal recently discovered, _Dicyema_, may at this initial stage of
our inquiry be left with its place and affinities undetermined. It is a
minute worm-like creature of most exceptionally simple structure, which
lives parasitically within cuttle-fishes.

We now pass to animals (if so they are really to be considered) which
are the lowest and simplest of all, and which are mostly microscopic in
size, and may be grouped together under the term HYPOZOA, or under the
generally employed name _Protozoa_. With very few exceptions these
animals are aquatic, and if terrestrial they are found in damp
localities. Some are marine, others are fresh-water organisms.

The highest of the group are the animalcules, which are named
_Infusoria_, most of which are freely swimming organisms, though a
certain number of them live fixed to some supporting body.

Another group of _Hypozoa_ is that termed _Gregarinida_, a group made up
of very lowly parasites, such as are often found tenanting the
intestines of insects as well as those of higher animals. Finally, we
have the group of _Rhizopoda_, animals which have the faculty of
projecting and retracting (so to say, at will) filamentary or conical
processes of their semi-fluid substance, such processes being the
_Pseudopodia_, which were referred to earlier.[17]

Amongst the _Rhizopoda_, the most complex and beautiful are the delicate
and symmetrical creatures known as _Radiolaria_,[18] the siliceous
skeletons of which are amongst the most remarkable of microscopic

Allied to them are the simpler _Heliozoa_, of which the after-mentioned
_Actinophrys_ may be taken as a type.

Next come the _Flagellata_, or minute creatures which swim about by
means of one or two whip-like processes, whence the name of the group.

Last of all is the group of _Foraminifera_, animals which are well
worthy of note, seeing that, though they are each but as it were a
minute particle of structureless jelly, they manage to build most
complexly-formed, generally calcareous, shells, or to pick up from the
sand of the sea minute particles, which they agglutinate around them
with marvellous neatness and precision. Their calcareous shells are
generally pierced by a multitude of minute pores, through which the
little creatures protrude their _pseudopodia_. It is from these pores
(or _foramina_) that the group receives its name. All _Foraminifera_,
however, are not provided with shells. Some, as the _Amoeba_, are
naked, and the simplest of all animals, _Protogenes_ and _Protamoeba_,
consist of but a minute particle of semi-fluid jelly, or protoplasm,
naked and as devoid of every external protection as it is of internal

We have thus descended to the bottom of the animal kingdom, and passing
from these rudimentary forms, which are generally reckoned as animals,
we may next survey in ascending order the different organisms which
together compose the kingdom of Plants, a group much less rich in
species than is the animal kingdom.

At the bottom of that kingdom are very simple creatures, but little
different, to all appearance, from the lowest animals. As an example of
such we may take the minute plant _Protococcus_, which is an humble
member of the great group of _Algæ_, to which all sea-weeds belong. Not
all of this important tribe, however, are marine. Many are found in
fresh water--such as the protococcus itself, and many of the green
vegetable threads known as _Conferræ_. Some even live on land, and draw
their moisture from the atmosphere. The _Algæ_ are exceedingly varied in
their structure; some, like the protococcus, being of extreme
simplicity; others attaining a large size, and presenting the appearance
of a stout stem with branches and leaves.

The Algæ are divisible into the green-spored[19] (_Chlorospermeæ_), the
rose-spored (_Florideæ_), and the olive-spored (_Melanospermeæ_).

It is in the first division that the _Protococcus_ may be placed, as
also those microscopic plants called _Diatoms_ and _Desmids_. The
former, the _Diatomaceæ_, are a very numerous group of minute organisms,
some of which are used as test objects for microscopes. They contain in
their outer coat or case a relatively large portion of silex, and their
remains here and there form deposits--vast beds many feet in
thickness--known as "tripoli," and used for polishing. The minute
particle of their protoplasm is contained within the siliceous case.
They may be entirely free, or cohere in aggregations, or be attached to
a supporting surface by a slender stalk, which may ramify and bear a
little siliceous case or "frustule" at the end of each branch.

The desmids (or _Desmidiaceæ_) are green and devoid of silex, though
their protoplasm is enclosed in hard or flexible cases, often marked
with beautiful and characteristic patterns.

Both diatoms and desmids may cohere together, forming more complex
masses; but another creature allied to _Protococcus_ is noted for its
mode of cohesion. This is the microscopic plant _Volvox_, the
individuals of which cohere so as to form spheroidal aggregations, which
swim about by the action of filamentary prolongations of their
protoplasm, such prolongations reminding us of the pseudopodia of
radiolarians and other rhizopods.

Amongst these simplest plants may be also mentioned the curious
thread-like organisms, which, on account of their remarkable and as yet
unexplained movements, are called _Oscillatoriæ_.

Another curious vegetable organism which may here be mentioned is
_Vaucheria_. It is a green, thread-like plant, which may be several
inches long, and which at one stage of its existence (when it is what is
called a "spore") swims about by pseudopodial prolongations of its

Some few of the _Chlorospermeæ_ are large and conspicuous organisms.
Such, _e.g._, is _Caulerpa_, which abounds on warm, sandy coasts, and on
which turtles browse. Though, as we shall hereafter see, it is really as
simple in structure as a particle of yeast, it yet presents a very
complicated external figure.

Some of the great group of _Algæ_ attain enormous dimensions. Thus,
_Macrocystis_ (one of the _Melanospermæ_), of the Southern Ocean, may be
even 700 feet in length. Another kind, _Lessonia_, forms submarine
forests, with stems like the trunks of trees.

The group of _Floridiæ_ includes the delicate and elegant sea-weeds,
which are amongst the most admired vegetable productions of our coasts.
They are of interest, on account of various peculiarities in their
reproductive processes.

Other lowly plants may, at least provisionally, be placed in the great
group to which mushrooms and truffles belong--the group of _Fungi_--a
group the members of which agree in certain exceptional phenomena of
function,[20] as well as of structure and composition--as they are
exceptionally nitrogenous.

Amongst the lowest which we may for convenience provisionally include in
this group may be mentioned minute _Vibrios_, such as the _Bacteria_ so
much talked of in connexion with spontaneous generation, and the small
plant which by its growth produces fermentation--the yeast-plant
(_Saccharomyces_).[21] Closely allied to the yeast-plant are the
"moulds" which grow on organic matters such as _Penicillium_, _Mucor_,
_Saprolegna_, _Phytophthora_, the last of which is the potato disease.

A singular group of organisms goes by the name of _Myxomycetes_. These
enigmatical creatures have been classed in turn as animals and as
plants, and, indeed, at one period of their existence they seem to have
more resemblance to the former, while at another stage of their life
history they must unquestionably be ranked as plants. When young, they
are in a semi-fluid condition, and so move that they seem, as it were,
to flow over the body on which they rest. They grow upon the bark of
trees or on leaves and decayed wood. They exhibit movements like those
of the amæbæ and are said to engulph nutritious matters which come in
their way.

The dry-looking, green, grey, red or yellow vegetable structures which
encrust our rocks, walls, and trees, and which are called _Lichens_,
form a group of plants curiously intermediate between Fungi and _Algæ_.

Plants somewhat higher in the scale of vegetable life are those which
are termed liverworts (_Hepaticæ_), including the scale-mosses
(_Jungermanniaceæ_) and _Marchantia_. These plants, as we shall see, are
interesting on account of the variations to be found in the forms of
different genera. In many, there is no stem, but only a connected series
of green disk-like expansions, while others have a distinct stem with
leaf-like outgrowths.

Two genera of aquatic plants (_Chara_ and _Nitella_) constitute another
group of plants called _Characeæ_. These will be hereafter referred to
both on account of peculiarities in their structure and on account of a
peculiar motion of protoplasm which is easily to be seen[22] in them.

Mosses (_Musci_) are familiar objects to every one in this country, and
allied to them are the so-called "club-mosses" or _Lycopods_, which form
a sort of green sward in so many parts of the warmer regions of the
earth. To one of the lycopods, called _Selaginella_, reference will
hereafter be made in connexion with its very instructive reproductive

Certain humble plants, in some of which the foliage leaves present a
superficial resemblance to those of a four-leaved clover, are popularly
called pepperworts; by botanists, _Rhizocarpeæ_ or _Marsiliaceæ_. They
are creeping or floating stemless plants which inhabit ditches or
inundated places. They are scattered over both the Old and New Worlds,
but are chiefly found in temperate latitudes.

The horse-tails (_Equisetaceæ_) are also found in most parts of the
world, though wanting in Australia and New Zealand. They inhabit wet and
sandy places, and sometimes are of a considerable size even in the
present day, but in ancient geological periods they attained the
proportions of trees.

This group leads us on to their allies the ferns which form a very large
natural group _Filices_ or _Pteridophytes_--a group now familiar to
every one interested in plants. Common as ferns are in our own country,
they are far more abundant and attain to a much greater size in southern
latitudes--notably in New Zealand and various Pacific islands.

All the plants hitherto enumerated, from the protococcus to the
tree-ferns inclusive, together form what is commonly regarded as one
great primary division or "sub-kingdom" of vegetals called CRYPTOGAMIA.
In no plant belonging to this sub-kingdom--in no single cryptogam--is
any flower ever developed. These form the great group which is often
spoken of as "flowerless plants."

The other primary division of vegetable organisms consists of all plants
with flowers, and is termed PHANEROGAMIA, and is subdivided into two
sections,[23] very unequally numerous. To the first section of
phanerogams--a section containing comparatively few kinds--belong all
firs, pines, yews, junipers, araucarias, and a most remarkable African
plant, _Welwitschia_, which has never more than two leaves, though these
attain enormous dimensions. All these plants are collectively spoken of
as conifers, or _Coniferæ_. Besides these, certain curious southern
forms called Cycads are also associated in this section. To this
section, thus composed of conifers and cycads, the name GYMNOSPERMS is
given, from the naked mode of development of their young seeds. These
gymnosperms are also characterized by having such peculiar and
inconspicuous flowers that the ordinary observer would hardly apply that
term to denote their floral organs.

All the plants which yet remain to be noticed, and which belong to the
second and very much larger section of the PHANEROGAMIA are spoken of as
_Angiosperms_. Their seeds are, from their first appearance, in a very
different condition from those of gymnosperms, and their flowers are
generally conspicuous. To this group, therefore, belong all the familiar
ornamental plants of our gardens, and all the brightly coloured natural
ornaments of our fields, as well as a number of herbs and trees, the
flowers of which, though truly flowers, are not commonly recognized as

This group of Angiospermous flowering plants is divided into a great
number of natural groups or "orders." Of these there are about 275, and
they are grouped in two sets or classes, which are separated one from
another, as we shall hereafter see, by differences as to their modes of
growth, the structure of their seeds, the numbers of the parts of their
flowers, and the course of the veins in their leaves.

First amongst the Angiospermous flowering plants may be mentioned the
grasses forming the order _Gramineæ_, including under that term the
tree-like bamboos (of multitudinous uses), with the rice plant, and all
the grain-bearing herbs, all of which are grasses. Thus, with much
reason may it be said of man, that "all flesh is grass;" for with the
exception of the piscivorous Esquimaux, the exclusively flesh-eating
Gouchos, the population of Australia, and the people of the Molluccas
who nourish themselves on sago--which is the produce of a palm--with
these and a few more exceptions, the staple food of the human race is
one or another form of grass. It is, indeed, a remarkable fact that men
of such varied races so widely spread should have thus selected as their
food objects so little tempting in appearance, and so small and so
inconspicuous as the seeds of grasses!

Allied to the grasses are the sedges (forming the order _Cyperaceæ_),
and the rushes (_Juncaceæ_). The apparently insignificant, but really
interesting duckweeds (_Pistiaceæ_) should also be noted with the
bullrushes (_Typheæ_), and the arums (_Aroideæ_). This last-mentioned
order, familiar to us by the kind known as "Lords and Ladies," presents
some climbing forms in tropical countries. Generally acrid, some
species, when in flower, even produce headache and vomiting; at least an
explorer was attacked with these symptoms after gathering forty
specimens of _Arum dracunculus_. The order is also interesting from
experiments as to vegetable heat, which have been made with the flowers
of some of its species.

The screw-pines (_Pandanaceæ_) are not "pines" at all, any more than
"pine-apples" are pines. They are, indeed, trees or shrubs, which, from
one point of view, may be regarded as gigantic bulrushes. The flowers of
certain species are in some places eaten as the solid equivalent of a
love potion. Allied to the plants of the last-mentioned order are the
palms (_Palmaceæ_), which are the first really large trees we come to
after leaving the tree-ferns and the gymnosperms. Amongst the more
noteworthy palms may be mentioned the palmetto (_Chamærops_) of Southern
Europe (a summer ornament of our public gardens), the date palm, the
areca palm, the sago palm, the cocoa palm, the rattan palm--a natural
cordage--and _Seaforthia_, so remarkable for its graceful and elegant

Next may be enumerated the great order of lilies (_Liliaceæ_), to which
the homely and useful onion, leek, garlic, chive, and asparagus belong,
no less than a multitude of lovely flowers.

The New Zealand flax (_Phormium tenax_), and all the magnificent yuccas
and aloes, together with our English butcher's broom (_Ruscus
aculeatus_), which has not a little botanical interest (as being the
only British shrub which belongs to the group called "Monocotyledons")
also belong to this order. Closely allied to the lilies are the
amaryllids (_Amaryllidaceæ_), amongst which are the agaves, with their
gigantic flower stems, sometimes forty feet high, supporting a
multitudinous crop of flowers, the product and termination of a life.

To these follow the pine-apples (_Bromeliaceæ_) all originally from
America, the useful bananas and plantains (_Musaceæ_), and the
ginger-plants (_Zingiberaceæ_), tropical herbs, generally of great

The underground parts of certain tropical plants (_Dioscoreaceæ_) are
known as "yams." A representative of this order exists in England in the
climbing black bryony (_Tamus_) of our hedges, and to the same group
belongs the very singularly stemmed elephant's foot, or tortoise-tree
(_Testudinaria elephantipes_). The last-named plant is a native of the
Cape of Good Hope, where it has been known as Hottentot's bread, because
the soft interior of its swollen base was at one time eaten by the
natives of that region, who have, however, now abandoned it to the

Lastly, in this connexion may be mentioned the very interesting and
beautiful group of orchids (_Orchidaceæ_), many of which live high up
in the air, supported on the branches of trees, from which their roots
hang freely down. Such orchids are sometimes spoken of as "air-plants."

All the Angiosperms as yet mentioned, from the grasses to the orchids
inclusively, belong to the lower of the two great groups or classes into
which, as was lately said, the whole mass of Angiosperms is divided.

This great group is named _Monocotyledones_ (on account of the structure
of the seed), and it is sometimes spoken of as _Endogens_, in reference
to a generally prevalent habit of growth. The members of this whole
class will then hereinafter be spoken of as "Monocotyledons."

All the plants which yet remain to be enumerated belong to the other and
still greater group of Angiosperms called (also in reference to their
seeds) _Dicotyledons_, a group sometimes spoken of as "_Exogens_," in
reference to the habit of growth prevalent amongst its species.

All our familiar trees which are not conifers, and most of our flowering
shrubs and herbs, are "Dicotyledons."

Amongst the many orders which compose the Dicotyledonous group the few
following may be selected for enumeration, either on account of the
general interest they possess, or because they will have to be more or
less referred to hereafter.

We may thus note the singular order of vegetable parasites, the
_Loranthaceæ_, an order containing some thirty genera with four hundred
species, and including the mistletoe, which is traditionally venerable
in our island. The great group of catkin-bearing trees (_Amentaceæ_),
contains a great assemblage of plants, familiar in England, such as the
hornbeam, hazel, oak, beech, Spanish chestnut, birch, willow, poplar,

The largest and one of the most remarkable flowers in the world,
_Rafflesia_--a parasite found in Java and Sumatra by Sir Stamford
Raffles--is the type of the small order _Rafflesiaceæ_. The eccentric
pitcher-bearing plants form the order _Nepenthaceæ_. The English herb
called "Spurge" (with its milky juice), belongs to the order
(_Euphorbiaceæ_), which is a large[25] cosmopolitan group, some species
of the plants belonging to which attain, in hot countries, the size of
trees. Certain African species strangely resemble different kinds of
_Cactus_. The elm order (_Ulmaceæ_) may come next. The hop, the hemp,
the mulberry, the fig, and the dorstenia are all nearly allied, the
first two belonging to the order _Cannabinaceæ_, the last three to the
_Moraceæ_. The bread-fruit of the South-Sea Islands belongs to the same
order (_Artocarpaceæ_) as does the deadly upas-tree of Java. Garments
made of the inner bark of this plant are like the shirt of Nessus, and
will produce intolerable irritation; and even climbing the tree to
obtain its flowers is said to have produced severe effects on the
climber. In proximity to the last-mentioned plant comes appropriately
(as also in its proper botanical order) the group of stinging-nettles
(_Urticaceæ_). The curious Australian plants which delighted the eyes of
Captain Cook's botanical companions belong to the order _Proteaceæ_.
Besides these may be mentioned the dead-nettle order (_Labiatæ_); the
broom-rapes (_Orobanchaceæ_); the order of snap-dragons and foxgloves
(_Scrophularineæ_); the potato group (_Solanaceæ_), which includes the
deadly nightshade and the dulcamara of our hedges; the parasitic order
(_Cuscutaceæ_); the beautiful group of convolvuluses (_Convolvulaceæ_);
the gentians (_Gentianaceæ_); the primrose group (_Primulaceæ_); the
heaths (_Ericaceæ_); the graceful hair-bell and its allies
(_Campanulaceæ_); the very large group to which belong the daisy,
dandelion, and thistle (_Compositæ_); the honeysuckle order
(_Caprifoliaceæ_); the ivy (_Araliaceæ_); the large order containing the
fennel, hemlock, and a multitude of other forms which, though mostly
ranking as herbs, attain gigantic dimensions in some species found in
Africa and Kamskatka (_Umbelliferæ_); the very singularly-shaped group
of cactuses (_Cactaceæ_), with leafless fleshy stems, which sometimes
look like dry columns and sometimes are globular; the begonias
(_Begoniaceæ_); the cucumbers, melons, and vegetable marrows
(_Cucurbitaceæ_); the singularly-formed passion-flowers
(_Passifloraceæ_); the myrtles (_Myrtaceæ_); the carnivorous group
containing the sundew and Venus's flytrap (_Droseracæ_); the fleshy
houseleek and stonecrops (_Crassulaceæ_); the Saxifrages
(_Saxifragaceæ_); the rose group (_Rosaceæ_), which includes within it
most of our fruits, such as the apple, pear, strawberry, cherry, peach,
plum, almond, and others; the very large order which contains the peas,
beans, and their allies (_Leguminoseæ_); the horse-chestnut order
(_Hippocastaneæ_); the maples (_Acerineæ_); the hollies (_Ilicineæ_);
the oranges and citrons (_Aurantiaceæ_); the cranesbills and
pelargoniums (_Geraniaceæ_); the flaxes (_Linaceæ_); the limes
(_Tiliaceæ_), in which the useful jute is included; the mallows
(_Malvaceæ_); the St. John's worts (_Hypericaceæ_); the order of pinks
(_Caryophylleæ_); the pansies (_Violaceæ_); the rock-roses (_Cistaceæ_);
the mignonette group (_Resedaceæ_); the great wall-flower and cabbage
group (_Cruciferæ_); the poppies (_Papaveraceæ_); the water-lilies
(_Nymphaceæ_); the berberries (_Berberideæ_); the custard-apples
(_Anonaceæ_); the magnolias (_Magnoliaceæ_); and, finally, the great
group (_Ranunculaceæ_) containing the anemones, the clematis, hellebore,
monkshood, and the buttercup, which last is of great use to the student
of Botany because it is an excellent type of all flowers.

The above may serve as a brief enumeration of the more generally known
or more interesting orders of flowering plants, as also of the most
noteworthy forms of cryptogams. The much more numerous and complex
groups of animals have also been catalogued in the earlier and larger
part of this Essay, which may thus, it is hoped, answer the purpose of
an introduction to those multitudinous forms of organic life, the
leading points in the structure and functions of which are hereafter to
occupy us.

The main groups of Animals and Plants may be provisionally tabulated as


                 { _Mammalia_ (Man and Beasts)
  (1) VERTEBRATA { _Aves_ (Birds)
  (Back-boned    { _Reptilia_ (Serpents, Crocodiles, Lizards, &c.)
  Animals)       { _Batrachia_ (Frogs, Efts, &c.)
                 { _Pisces_ (Fishes)

                 { _Cephalopoda_ (Cuttle Fishes)
  (2) MOLLUSCA   { _Pteropoda_
  (Soft Animals) { _Gasteropoda_ (Snails, &c.)
                 { _Lamellibranchiata_ (Oysters, &c.)
                 { _Brachiopoda_ (Lamp-shells)

  (3) TUNICATA     (Ascidians, Tunicaries, or Sea-squirts)

  (4) ARTHROPODA { _Crustacea_ (Crabs, &c.)
  (Animals with  { _Myriapoda_ (Hundred-legs, &c.)
  jointed feet)  { _Arachnida_ (Scorpions, Spiders, &c.)
                 { _Insecta_

                 { _Annelida_ (Earth-worms, Leeches, &c.)
                 { _Enteropneusta_ (Balanoglossus)
                 { _Bryozoa_ (Sea-mat, &c.)
                 { _Nematoidea_ (Thread-worms)
  (5) VERMES     { _Trematoda_ (Flukes, &c.)
                 { _Turbellaria_ (Planariæ, &c.)
                 { _Cestoidea_ (Tape-worms)
                 { _Rotifera_ (Wheel-animalcules)
                 { _Gasterotricha_
                 { _Gephyrea_ (Sipunculus, &c.)

  (6) ECHINODERMA  (Star-fishes, &c.)

                   { _Ctenophora_ (Beröe, &c.)
  (7) COELENTERA   { _Actinozoa_ (Coral animals)
                   { _Hydrozoa_ (Jelly-fishes, &c.)

  (8) SPONGIDA     (Sponges)

                 { _Infusoria_ (Animalcules with mouths)
  (9) HYPOZOA    { _Gregarinida_
                 { _Rhizopoda_ (Foraminifers, Radiolarians,
                    Flagellata, &c.)


                   { _Algæ_ (Sea-weeds, Confervæ, &c.)
                   { _Fungi_
                   { _Lichenes_
  (1) CRYPTOGAMIA  { _Hepaticæ_ (Liverworts and Scale-mosses)
  (Flowerless      { _Characeæ_ (Nitella, &c.)
  Plants)          { _Musci_ (Mosses)
                   { _Marsiliaceæ_ (Pepperworts)
                   { _Equisetaceæ_ (Horsetails)
                   { _Filices_ (Ferns)

  (2) PHANEROGAMIA { A. _Gymnosperms_ (Firs, Yews, Cycads, &c.)
  (Flowering       {                  { _Monocotyledones_ (Grasses, Palms, Lilies,
  Plants)          { B. _Angiosperms_ { Orchids, &c.)
                   {                  { _Dicotyledones_ (the great mass of Flowering
                   {                  { Plants and Trees).



[4] CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, May, 1879, p. 261.

[5] _L. c._ p. 262.

[6] "A classification of any large portion of the field of Nature, in
conformity to the foregoing principles, has hitherto been found
practicable only in one great instance, that of animals."--_Logic_,
third edition, 1851, vol. i., chap. viii. § 5, page 279.

[7] CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, July, 1879, pp. 716 and 717.

[8] _L. c._ p. 717.

[9] CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, July, 1879: "What are Living Beings?"

[10] Very small deer, commonly called in error musk-deer.

[11] The European beavers have abandoned the dam-building habit. They
retained it, however, as late as the thirteenth century.

[12] By the Author in a Paper read before the Zoological Society in Nov.
1864. See also his "Man and Apes," Hardwicke, 1873; and the article
"Ape" in the "Encyclopædia Britannica," vol. ii. p. 148.

[13] "Histoire Naturelle," tome xiv. p. 61, 1766.

[14] For an explanation of the zoological system of nomenclature which
has been adopted since the time of Linnæus, see CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for
May, page 262.

[15] See ante, p. 14.

[16] See CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for July, p. 710.

[17] See CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, July, p. 710.

[18] For a summary of our knowledge respecting this group, see the
"Linnean Society's Journal," Vol. xiv. (Zoology), p. 136.

[19] A "spore" is a minute reproductive particle.

[20] See CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for July, 1879, p. 714.

[21] Some botanists think that yeast is no true and definite kind of
plant, but that it is only a conglomeration of fungoid spores of divers

[22] This motion is that referred to at the bottom of page 696, in the
CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for July, 1879, as _Cyclosis_.

[23] Some readers may be startled at the mode here adopted of primarily
dividing the Phanerogams, and may object to it as opposed to usage; but
reasons will be given later for the mode of division here adopted.

[24] The above-named plants may for our purpose be thus conveniently
grouped together, according to the older fashion of botanists. Strictly
speaking, however, they should be divided amongst several
orders--_e.g._, hazel and hornbeam (_Corylaceæ_), the oak, beech, and
chestnut (_Capuliferæ_), the birches (_Betulaceæ_), the willows
(_Salicaceæ_), &c.

[25] Containing upwards of 2500 species.



Into the holy enclosure which had received the precious shiploads of
earth from Calvary, the Pisans of the thirteenth century carried the
fragments of ancient sculpture brought from Rome and from Greece; and in
the Gothic cloister enclosing the green sward and dark cypresses of the
grave-yard of Pisa, the art of the Middle Ages came for the first time
face to face with the art of antiquity. There, among pagan sarcophagi
turned into Christian tombs, with heraldic devices chiselled on to their
arabesques and vizored helmets surmounting their garlands, the great
unsigned artist of the fourteenth century, be he Sienese or Florentine,
be he Orcagna, Lorenzetti, or Volterra, painted the typical masterpiece
of mediæval art, the great fresco of the Triumph of Death. With
wonderful realization of character and situation he painted the
prosperous of the world, the dapper youths and damsels seated with dogs
and falcons beneath the orchard trees, amusing themselves with
Decameronian tales and sound of lute and psaltery, unconscious of the
gigantic scythe wielded by the gigantic dishevelled Death, and which, in
a second, will descend and mow them to the ground; but the crowd of
beggars, ragged, maimed, paralyzed, leprous, grovelling on their
withered limbs, see and implore Death, and cry stretching forth their
arms, their stumps, and their crutches. Further on, three kings in long
embroidered robes and gold-trimmed shovel caps, Lewis the Emperor,
Uguccione of Pisa, and Castruccio of Lucca, with their retinue of ladies
and squires, and hounds and hawks, are riding quietly through a wood.
Suddenly their horses stop, draw back; the Emperor's bay stretches out
his long neck sniffing the air; the kings strain forward to see, one
holding his nose for the stench of death which meets him; and before
them are three open coffins, in which lie, in three loathsome stages of
corruption, from blue and bloated putrescence to well-nigh fleshless
decay, three crowned corpses. This is the triumph of Death; the grim and
horrible jest of the Middle Ages: equality in decay; kings, emperors,
ladies, knights, beggars, and cripples, this is what we all come to be,
stinking corpses; Death, our lord, our only just and lasting sovereign,
reigns impartially over all.

But opposite, all along the sides of the painted cloister, the amazons
are wrestling with the youths on the stone of the sarcophagi; the
chariots are dashing forward, the Tritons are splashing in the marble
waves; the Bacchantæ are striking their timbrels in their dance with the
satyrs; the birds are pecking at the grapes, the goats are nibbling at
the vines, all is life, strong and splendid in its marble eternity. And
the mutilated Venus smiles towards the broken Hermes; the stalwart
Hercules, resting against his club, looks on quietly, a smile beneath
his beard; and the gods murmur to each other, as they stand in the
cloister filled with earth from Calvary, where hundreds of men lie
rotting beneath the cypresses, "Death will not triumph for ever; our day
will come."

We have all seen them opposite to each other, these two arts, the art
born of antiquity and the art born of the Middle Ages; but whether this
meeting was friendly or hostile or merely indifferent, is a question of
constant dispute. To some, mediæval art has appeared being led,
Dante-like, by a magician Virgil through the mysteries of Nature up to a
Christian Beatrice, who alone can guide it to the kingdom of heaven;
others have seen mediæval art, like some strong, chaste knight turning
away resolutely from the treacherous sorceress of antiquity, and
pursuing solitarily the road to the true and the good; for some the
antique has been an impure goddess Venus, seducing and corrupting the
Christian artist; the antique has been for others a glorious Helen, an
unattainable perfection, ever pursued by the mediæval craftsman, but
seized by him only as a phantom. Magician or witch, voluptuous,
destroying Venus or cold and ungrasped Helen, what was the antique to
the art born of the Middle Ages and developed during the Renaissance?
Was the relation between them that of tuition, cool and abstract, or of
fruitful lore, or of deluding and damning example?

The art which came to maturity in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth
centuries was generated in the early mediæval revival. The seeds may,
indeed, have come down from antiquity, but they remained for nearly a
thousand years hidden in the withered, rotting remains of former
vegetation, and it was not till that vegetation had completely
decomposed and become part of the soil, it was not till putrefaction had
turned into germination, that artistic organism timidly reappeared. The
new art-germ developed with the new civilization which surrounded it.
Manufacture and commerce reappeared: the artisans and merchants formed
into communities; the communities grew into towns, the towns into
cities; in the city arose the cathedral; the Lombard or Byzantine
mouldings and traceries of the cathedral gave birth to figure-sculpture;
its mosaics gave birth to painting; every forward movement of the
civilization unfolded as it were a new form or detail of the art, until,
when mediæval civilization was reaching its moment of consolidation,
when the cathedrals of Lucca and Pisa stood completed, when Niccoto and
Giovanni Pisani had sculptured their pulpits and sepulchres, painting,
in the hands of, Cimabue and Duccio, of Giotto and of Guido da Siena,
freed itself from the tradition of the mosaicists as sculpture had freed
itself from the practice of the stone-masons, and stood forth an
independent and organic art.

Thus painting was born of a new civilization, and grew by its own vital
force; a thing of the Middle Ages, original and spontaneous. But
contemporaneous with the mediæval revival was the resuscitation of
antiquity; in proportion as the new civilization developed, the old
civilization was exhumed; real Latin began to be studied only when real
Italian began to be written; Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio were at once
the founders of modern literature and the exponents of the literature of
antiquity; the strong young present was to profit by the experience of
the past.

As it was with literature, so likewise was it with art. The most purely
mediæval sculpture, the sculpture which has, as it were, just detached
itself from the capitals and porches of the cathedral, is the direct
pupil of the antique; and the three great Gothic sculptors, Niccoto,
Giovanni, and Andrea of Pisa, learn from fragments of Greek and Roman
sculpture how to model the figure of the Redeemer and how to chisel the
robe of the Virgin. This spontaneous mediæval sculpture, aided by the
antique, preceded by a full half-century the appearance of mediæval
painting; and it was from the study of the works of the Pisan sculptors,
that Cimabue and Giotto learned to depart from the mummified
monstrosities of the Miratic, Byzantine, and Roman style of Giunta and
Berlinghieri. Thus, through the sculpture of the Pisans the painting of
the school of Giotto received at second-hand the teachings of antiquity.
Sculpture had created painting, painting now belonged to the painters.
In the hands of Giotto it developed within a few years into an art which
seemed almost mature, an art dealing victoriously with its materials,
triumphantly solving its problems, executing as if by miracle all that
was demanded of it. But Giottesque art appeared perfect merely because
it was limited; it did all that was required of it, because that which
was required was little; it was not asked to reproduce the real, nor to
represent the beautiful, it was asked merely to suggest a character, a
situation, a story.

The artistic development of a nation has its exact parallel in the
artistic development of an individual. The child uses his pencil to tell
a story, satisfied with balls and sticks as body, head, and legs,
provided he and his friends can associate with them the ideas in their
minds: the youth sets himself to copy what he sees, to reproduce forms,
and effects, without any aim beyond the mere pleasure of copying; the
mature artist strives to obtain forms and effects of which he approves,
he seeks for beauty. In the life of Italian painting generations of men
who flourished at the beginning of the sixteenth century are the mature
artists; the men of the fifteenth century are the inexperienced youths;
the Giottesques are the children--children Titanic and seraph-like, but
children nevertheless, and, like all children, learning more perhaps in
their few years than can the youth of the man learn in a lifetime.

Like the child, the Giottesque painter wished to show a situation or
express a story, and for this purpose the absolute realization of
objects was unnecessary. Giottesque art is not incorrect art, it is
generalized art; it is an art of mere outline. The Giottesques could
draw with great accuracy the hand, the form of the fingers, the bend of
the limb, they could give to perfection its whole gesture and movement,
they could produce a correct and spirited outline, but within this
correct outline marked off in dark paint there is but a vague, uniform
mass of pale colour; the body of the hand is missing, and there remains
only its ghost, visible indeed, but unsubstantial, without weight or
warmth, eluding the grasp. The difference between this spectre hand of
the Giottesques, and the sinewy, muscular hand which can shake and crush
of Masaccio and Signorelli, or the soft hand with throbbing pulse and
warm pressure of Perugino and Bellini,--this difference is typical of
the difference between the art of the fourteenth century and the art of
the fifteenth century; the first suggests, the second realizes; the one
gives impalpable outlines, the other gives tangible bodies; the
Giottesque cares for the figure only, inasmuch as it displays an action,
he reduces it to a semblance, a phantom, to the mere exponent of an
idea; the man of the Renaissance cares for the figure, inasmuch as it is
a living organism, he gives it substance and weight, he makes it stand
out as an animate reality. But despite its early triumphs, the
Giottesque style, by its inherent nature, forbade any progress; it
reached its limits at once, and the followers of Giotto look almost as
if they were his predecessors, for the simple reason that, being unable
to advance, they were forced to retrograde. The limited amount of
artistic realization required to present to the mind of the spectator a
situation or an allegory had been obtained by Giotto himself, and
bequeathed by him to his followers, who, finding it more than sufficient
for their purposes, and having no incentive to further acquisition in
the love of form and reality for their own sake, worked on with their
master's materials, composing and recomposing, but adding nothing of
their own. Giotto had observed Nature with passionate interest, because,
although its representation was only a means to an end, it was a means
which required to be mastered, and as such became in itself a sort of
secondary aim; but the followers of Giotto merely utilized his
observations of Nature, and in so doing gradually conventionalized and
debased these second-hand observations. Giotto's forms are wilfully
incomplete, because they aim at mere suggestion, but they are not
conventional: they are diagrams, not symbols, and thence it is that
Giotto seems nearer to the Renaissance than do his latest followers, not
excepting even Orcagna. Painting, which had made the most prodigious
strides from Giunta to Cimabue, and from Cimabue to Giotto, had got
enclosed within a vicious circle, in which it moved for nearly a century
neither backwards nor forwards: painters were satisfied with suggestion;
and as long as they were satisfied, no progress was possible.

From this Giottesque treadmill, painting was released by the
intervention of another art. The painters were hopelessly mediocre;
their art was snatched from them by the sculptors. Orcagna himself,
perhaps the only Giottesque who gave painting an onward push, had
modelled and cast one of the bronze gates of the Florence baptistery;
the generation of artists who arose at the beginning of the fifteenth
century, and who opened the period of the Renaissance, were sculptors or
pupils of sculptors. When we see these vigorous lovers of Nature, these
heroic searchers after truth, suddenly pushing aside the decrepit
Giottesque allegory-mongers, we ask ourselves in astonishment whence
they have arisen, and how those broken-down artists of effete art could
have begotten such a generation of giants. Whence do they come?
Certainly not from the studios of the Giottesques; no, they issue out of
the workshops of the stone-mason, of the goldsmith, of the worker in
bronze, of the sculptor. Vasari has preserved the tradition that
Masolino and Paolo Uccello were apprentices of Ghiberti; he has remarked
that their greatest contemporary, Masaccio, "trod in the steps of
Brunelleschi and of Donatello." Pollaiolo and Verrocchio we know to have
been equally excellent as painters and as workers in bronze; sculpture,
at once more naturalistic and more constantly under the influence of the
antique, had for the second time laboured for painting. Itself a
subordinate art, without real vitality, without deep roots in the
civilization, sculpture was destined to remain the unsuccessful pupil of
the antique, and the unsuccessful rival of painting; but sculpture had
for its mission to prepare the road for painting and to prepare painting
for antique influence, and the noblest work of Ghiberti and Donatello
was Masaccio, as the most lasting glory to the Pisani had been Giotto.

With Masaccio began the study of Nature for its own sake, the desire of
reproducing external objects without any regard to their significance as
symbols or as parts of a story, the passionate wish to arrive at
absolute realization. The merely suggestive outline art of the
Giottesques had come to an end; the suggestion became a matter of
indifference; the realization became a paramount interest; the story was
forgotten in the telling, the religious thought was lost in the search
for the artistic form. The Giottesques had used debased conventionalism
to represent action with wonderful narrative and logical power; the
artists of the early Renaissance became unskilful narrators and foolish
allegorists almost in proportion as they became skilful draughtsmen and
colourists; the Saints had become to Masaccio merely so many lay
figures on to which to cast drapery; for Fra Filippo, the Madonna was a
mere peasant model; for Filippino Lippi and for Ghirlandajo, a miracle
meant merely an opportunity of congregating a number of admirable
portrait figures in the dress of the day; the Baptism for Verrocchio had
significance only as a study of muscular legs and arms; and the
sacrifice of Noah had no importance for Uccello save as a grand
opportunity for foreshortenings. In the hands of the Giottesques,
interested in the subject and indifferent to the representation,
painting had remained stationary for eighty years; for eighty years did
it develop in the hands of the men of the fifteenth century, indifferent
to the subject and passionately interested in the representation. The
unity, the appearance of relative perfection of the art had disappeared
with the limits within which the Giottesques had been satisfied to move;
instead of the intelligible and solemn conventionalism of the
Giottesques, we see only disorder, half-understood ideas and abortive
attempts, confusion which reminds us of those enigmatic sheets on which
Leonardo or Michel Angelo scrawled out their ideas, drawings within
drawings, plans of buildings scratched over Madonna heads, single
flowers upside down next to flayed arms, calculations, monsters,
sonnets, a very chaos of thoughts and of shapes, in which the plan of
the artist is inextricably lost, which mean everything and nothing, but
out of whose unintelligible network of lines and curves have issued
masterpieces, and which only the foolish or the would-be philosophical
would exchange for some intelligible, hopelessly finished and finite
illustration out of a Bible or a book of travels.

Anatomy, perspective, colour, drapery, effects of light, of water, of
shadow, forms of trees and flowers, converging lines of architecture,
all this at once absorbed and distracted the attention of the artists of
the early Renaissance; and while they studied, copied, and calculated,
another thought began to haunt them, another eager desire began to
pursue them: by the side of Nature, the manifold, the baffling, the
bewildering, there rose up before them another divinity, another sphinx,
mysterious in its very simplicity and serenity--the antique.

The exhumation of the antique had, as we have seen, been contemporaneous
with the birth of painting; nay, the study of the remains of antique
sculpture had, in contributing to form Niccoto Pisano, indirectly helped
to form Giotto; the very painter of the "Triumph of Death" had inserted
into his terrible fresco two-winged genii, upholding a scroll, copied
without any alteration from some coarse Roman sarcophagus, in which they
may have sustained the usual _Dis Manibus Sacrum_. There had been, on
the part of both sculptors and painters, a constant study of the
antique; but during the Giottesque period this study had been limited to
technicalities, and had in no way affected the conception of art. The
mediæval artists, surrounded by physical deformities, and seeing
sanctity in sickness and dirt, little accustomed to observe the human
figure, were incapable, both as men and as artists, of at all entering
into the spirit of antique art. They could not perceive the superior
beauty of the antique; they could recognize only its superior science
and its superior handicraft, and these they studied to obtain.

Giovanni Pisano, sculpturing the unfleshed, carved carcases of the
devils who leer, writhe, crunch, and tear on the outside of Orvieto
Cathedral, and the Giottesques painting those terrible green, macerated
Christs, hanging livid and broken from the cross, which abound in
Tuscany and Umbria, the artists who produced these loathsome and
lugubrious works were indubitably students of the antique; but they had
learned from it not a love for beautiful form and noble drapery, but
merely the general shape of the limbs and the general fall of the
garments; the anatomical science and technical processes of antiquity
were being used to produce the most intensely un-antique, the most
intensely mediæval works. Thus matters stood in the time of Giotto. His
followers, who studied only arrangement, probably consulted the antique
as little as they consulted Nature; but the contemporary sculptors were
brought by the very constitution of their art into close contact both
with Nature and with the antique; they studied both with determination,
and handed over the results of their labours to the sculptor-taught
painters of the fifteenth century.

Here, then, were the two great factors in the art of the
Renaissance--the study of Nature, and the study of the antique; both
understood slowly, imperfectly; the one counteracting the effect of the
other; the study of Nature now scaring away all antique influence; the
study of the antique now distorting all imitation of Nature; rival
forces confusing the artist and marring the work, until, when each could
receive its due, the one corrected the other, and they combined,
producing by this marriage of the living reality with the dead but
immortal beauty, the great art of Michel Angelo, of Raphael, and of
Titian: double like its origin, antique and modern, real and ideal.

The study of the antique is thus placed opposite to the study of Nature,
the comprehension of the works of antiquity is the momentary antagonist
of the comprehension of Nature. And this may seem strange, when we
consider that antique art was itself due to perfect comprehension of
Nature. But the contradiction is easily explained. The study of Nature,
as it was carried on in the Renaissance, comprised the study of effects
which had remained unnoticed by antiquity; and the study of the statue,
colourless, without light, shade, or perspective, interfered with, and
was interfered with by, the study of colour, of light and shade, of
perspective, and of all that a generation of painters would seek to
learn from Nature. Nor was this all; the influence of the civilization
of the Renaissance, of a civilization directly issued from the Middle
Ages, was entirely at variance with the influence of antique
civilization through the medium of ancient art; the Middle Ages and
antiquity, Christianity and Paganism, were even more opposed to each
other than could be the statue and the easel picture, the fresco and
the bas-relief.

First, then, we have the hostility between painting and sculpture,
between the _modus operandi_ of the modern and the _modus operandi_ of
the ancient art. Antique art is in the first place purely linear art,
colourless, tintless, without light and shade; next, it is essentially
the art of the isolated figure, without background, grouping, or
perspective. As linear art it could directly affect only that branch of
painting which was itself linear, and as art of the isolated figure it
was ever being contradicted by the constantly developing arts of
perspective and landscape. The antique never directly influenced the
Venetians, not from reasons of geography and culture, but from the fact
that Venetian painting, founded from the earliest times upon a system of
colour, could not be affected by antique sculpture, based upon a system
of modelled, colourless forms; the men who saw form only through the
medium of colour could not learn much from purely linear form; hence it
is that even after a certain amount of antique imitation had passed into
Venetian painting, through the medium of Mantegna, the Venetian painters
display comparatively little antique influence. In Bellini, Carpaccio,
Cima, and other early masters, the features, forms, and dress are mainly
modern and Venetian; and Giorgione, Titian, and even the eclectic
Tintoret were more interested in the bright lights of a steel
breastplate than in the shape of a limb, and preferred in their hearts a
shot brocade of the sixteenth century to the finest drapery modelled by
an ancient.

The antique influence was naturally strongest among the Tuscan schools;
because the Tuscan schools were essentially schools of drawing, and the
draughtsman only recognized in antique sculpture the highest perfection
of that linear form which was his own domain. The antique not only
appealed most to the linear schools, but even in them it could strongly
influence only the purely linear part; it is strong in the drawings and
weak in the paintings. As long as the artists had only the pencil or
pen, they could reproduce much of the linear perfection of the antique;
they were, so to speak, alone with it; but as soon as they brought in
colour, perspective, and scenery, the linear perfection was lost in
attempts at something new; the antique was put to flight by the modern.
Botticelli's crayon study for his Venus is almost antique, his tempera
picture of Venus, with the pale blue scaly sea, the laurel grove, the
flower-embroidered garments, the wisps of tawny hair, is comparatively
mediæval; Pinturricchio's sketch of fauns and satyrs contrasts strangely
with his frescos in the library of Silena; Mantegna himself,
supernaturally antique in his engravings, becomes almost trivial and
modern in his oil paintings. Do what they might, draw from the antique,
calculate its proportions, the artists of the Renaissance found
themselves baffled as soon as they attempted to apply the result of
their linear studies to coloured pictures; as soon as they tried to
make the antique unite with the modern, one of the two elements was sure
to succumb. In Botticelli, draughtsman and student though he was, the
modern, the mediæval, that part of the art which had arisen in the
Middle Ages, invariably had the upper hand; his Venus has, despite her
forms studied from the antique and her gesture imitated from some
earlier discovered copy of the Medicean Venus, the woe-begone prudery of
a Madonna or of an abbess; she shivers physically and morally in her
unaccustomed nakedness, and the goddess of Spring, who comes skipping up
from beneath the laurel copse, does well to prepare her a mantle, for in
the paled tempera colour, against the dismal background of rippled sea,
this mediæval Venus, at once indecent and prudish, is no pleasing sight.
In the Allegory of Spring in the Academy of Florence, we again have the
antique; goddesses and nymphs whose clinging garments the gentle Sandro
Botticelli has assuredly studied from some old statue of Agrippina or
Faustina; but what strange livid tints are there beneath those
draperies, what eccentric gestures are those of the nymphs, what a
green, ghostlike light illumines the garden of Venus! Are these
goddesses and nymphs immortal women such as the ancients conceived, or
are they not rather fantastic fairies or nixen, Titanias and Undines,
incorporeal daughters of dew and gossamer and mist?

In Sandro Botticelli the teachings of the statue are forgotten or
distorted when the artist takes up his palette and brushes; in his far
greater contemporary, Andrea Mantegna, the ever-present antique chills
and arrests the vitality of the modern. Mantegna, the pupil of the
ancient marbles of Squarcione's workshop even more than the pupil of
Donatello, studies for his paintings not from Nature, but from
sculpture; his figures are seen in strange projection and
foreshortening, like figures in a high relief seen from below; despite
his mastery of perspective, they seem hewn out of the background;
despite the rich colours which he displays in his Veronese altar-piece,
they look like painted marbles, with their hard clots of stone-like hair
and beard, with their vacant glance and their wonderful draperies,
clinging and weighty like the wet draperies of ancient sculpture. They
are beautiful petrifactions, or vivified statues; Mantegna's
masterpiece, the sepia "Judith" in Florence, is like an exquisite,
pathetically lovely Eurydice, who has stepped unconscious and lifeless
out of a Praxitelian bas-relief. And there are stranger works than even
the Judith; strange statuesque fancies, like the fight of Marine
Monsters and the Bacchanal among Mantegna's engravings. The group of
three wondrous creatures, at once men, fish, and gods, is as grand and
even more fantastic than Leonardo's Battle of the Standard: a Triton,
sturdy and muscular, with sea-weed beard and hair, wheels round his
finned horse, preparing to strike his adversary with a bunch of fish
which he brandishes above him; on him is rushing, careering on an
osseous sea-horse, a strange, lank, sinewy being, fury stretching every
tendon, his long clawed feet striking into the flanks of his steed, his
sharp, reed-crowned head turned fiercely, with clenched teeth, on his
opponent, and stretching forth a truncheon, ready to run down his enemy
as a ship runs down another; and further off a young Triton, with
clotted hair and heavy eyes, seems ready to sink wounded below the
rippling wavelets, with the massive head and marble agony of the dying
Alexander; enigmatic figures, grand and grotesque, lean, haggard,
vehement, and yet, in the midst of violence and monstrosity,
unaccountably antique. The other print, called the Bacchanal, has no
background: half-a-dozen male figures stand separate and naked as in a
bas-relief. Some are leaning against a vine-wreathed tub; a satyr, with
acanthus-leaves growing wondrously out of him, half man, half plant, is
emptying a cup; a heavy Silenus is prone upon the ground; a faun, seated
upon the vat, is supporting in his arms a beautiful sinking youth;
another youth, grand, muscular and grave as a statue, stands on the
further side. Is this really a bacchanal? Yes, for there is the paunchy
Silenus, there are the fauns, there the vat and vine-wreaths and
drinking-horns. And yet it cannot be a bacchanal. Compare with it one of
Rubens's orgies, where the overgrown, rubicund men and women and fauns
tumble about in tumultuous, riotous intoxication: that is a bacchanal;
they have been drinking, those magnificent brutes, there is wine firing
their blood and weighing down their heads. But here all is different, in
this so-called Bacchanal of Mantegna. This heavy Silenus is supine like
a mass of marble; these fauns are shy and mute; these youths are grave
and sombre; there is no wine in the cups, there are no lees in the vat,
there is no life in these magnificent colossal forms; there is no blood
in their grandly bent lips, no light in their wide-opened eyes; it is
not the drowsiness of intoxication which is weighing down the youth
sustained by the faun; it is no grape-juice, which gives that strange,
vague glance. No; they have drunk, but not of any mortal drink; the
grapes are grown in Persephone's garden, the vat contains no fruits that
have ripened beneath our sun. These strange, mute, solemn revellers have
drunk of Lethe, and they are growing cold with the cold of death and of
marble; they are the ghosts of the dead ones of antiquity, revisiting
the artist of the Renaissance, who paints them, thinking he is painting
life, while that which he paints is in reality death.

This anomaly, this unsatisfactory character of the works of both
Botticelli and Mantegna, is mainly technical; the antique is frustrated
in Botticelli, not so much by the Christian, the mediæval, the modern
mode of feeling, as by the new methods and aims of the new art which
disconcert the methods and aims of the old art; and that which arrests
Mantegna in his development as a painter is not the spirit of paganism
deadening the spirit of Christianity, but the laws of sculpture
hampering painting. But this technical contest between two arts, the one
not yet fully developed, the other not yet fully understood, is as
nothing compared with the contest between the two civilizations, the
antique and the modern; between the habits and tendencies of the
contemporaries of the artists of the Renaissance and of the artists
themselves, and the habits and tendencies of the antique artists and
their contemporaries. We are apt to think of the Renaissance as of a
period closely resembling antiquity, misled by the inevitable similarity
between southern and democratic countries of whatever age; misled still
less pardonably by the Ciceronian pedantries and pseudo-antique
obscurities of a few humanists, and by the pseudo-Corinthian arabesques
and capitals of a few learned architects. But all this was mere
archæological finery borrowed by a civilization in itself entirely
unlike that of ancient Greece.

The Renaissance, let us remember, was merely the flowering time of that
great mediæval movement which had germinated early in the twelfth
century; it was merely a more advanced stage of the civilization which
had produced Dante and Giotto, of the civilization which was destined to
produce Luther and Rabelais. The fifteenth century was merely the
continuation of the fourteenth century, as the fourteenth had been of
the thirteenth; there had been growth and improvement; development of
the more modern, diminishing of the more mediæval elements; but, despite
growth and the changes due to growth, the Renaissance was part and
parcel of the Middle Ages. The life, thought, aspirations, and habits
were mediæval, opposed to the open-air life, the physical training, and
the materialistic religion of antiquity. The surroundings of Masaccio
and of Signorelli, nay, even of Raphael, were very different from those
of Phidias or Praxiteles. Let us think what were the daily and hourly
impressions given by the Renaissance to its artists. Large towns, in
which thousands of human beings were crowded together, in narrow, gloomy
streets, with but a strip of blue visible between the projecting roofs;
and in these cities an incessant commercial activity, with no relief
save festivals at the churches, brawls at the taverns, and carnival
buffooneries. Men and women pale and meagre for want of air, and light,
and movement; undeveloped, untrained bodies, warped by constant work at
the loom or at the desk, at best with the lumpish freedom of the soldier
and the vulgar nimbleness of the 'prentice. And these men and women
dressed in the dress of the Middle Ages, gorgeous perhaps in colour, but
heavy, miserable, grotesque, nay, sometimes ludicrous in form; citizens
in lumpish robes and long-tailed caps; ladies in stiff and foldless
brocade hoops and stomachers; artisans in striped and close-adhering
hose and egg-shaped padded jerkin; soldiers in lumbering armour-plates,
ill-fitted over ill-fitting leather, a shapeless shell of iron, bulging
out and angular, in which the body was buried as successfully as in the
robes of the magistrates. Thus we see the men and women of the
Renaissance in the works of all its painters; heavy in Ghirlandajo,
vulgarly jaunty in Fillipino, preposterously starched and prim in
Mantegna, ludicrously undignified in Signorelli; and mediæval stiffness,
awkwardness, and absurdity reach their acme perhaps in the little boys,
companions of the Medici children, introduced into Benozzo Gozzoli's
Building of Babel.

These are the prosperous townsfolk, among whom the Renaissance artist
is but too glad to seek for models; but besides these there are
lamentable sights, mediæval beyond words, at every street corner--dwarfs
and cripples, maimed and diseased beggars of all degrees of
loathsomeness, lepers and epileptics, and infinite numbers of monks,
brown, grey and black, in sack-shaped frocks and pointed hoods, with
shaven crown and cropped beard, emaciated with penance or bloated with
gluttony. And all this the painter sees, daily, hourly; it is his
standard of humanity, and as such finds its way into every picture. It
is the living; but opposite it arises the dead. Let us turn aside from
the crowd of the mediæval city, and look at what the workmen have just
laid bare, or what the merchant has just brought from Rome or from
Greece. Look at this: it is corroded by oxides, battered by ill-usage,
stained with earth: it is not a group, not even a whole statue, it has
neither head nor arms remaining; it is a mere broken fragment of antique
sculpture,--a naked body with a fold or two of drapery; it is not by
Phidias nor by Praxiteles, it may not even be Greek; it may be some
cheap copy, made for a garden or a bath, in the days of Hadrian. But to
the artist of the fifteenth century it is the revelation of a whole
world, a world in itself. We can scarcely realize all this; but let us
look and reflect, and even we may feel as must have felt the man of the
Renaissance in the presence of that mutilated, stained, battered torso.
He sees in that broken stump a grandeur of outline, a magnificence of
osseous structure, a breadth of muscle and sinew, a smooth, firm
covering of flesh, such as he would vainly seek in any of his living
models; he sees a delicate and infinite variety of indentures, of
projections, of creases following the bend of every limb; he sees, where
the surface still exists intact, an elasticity of skin, a buoyancy of
hidden life such as all the colours of his palette are unable to
imitate; and in this piece of drapery, negligently gathered over the
hips or robed upon the arm, he sees a magnificent alternation of large
folds and small creases, of straight lines, and broken lines, and
curves. He sees all this; but he sees more: the broken torso is, as we
have said, not merely a world in itself, but the revelation of a world.

It is the revelation of antique civilization, of the palæstra and the
stadium, of the sanctification of the body, of the apotheosis of man, of
the religion of life and nature and joy; revealed to the man of the
Middle Ages, who has hitherto seen in the untrained, diseased, despised
body but a deformed piece of baseness, which his priests tell him
belongs to the worms and to Satan; who has been taught that the monk
living in solitude and celibacy, filthy, sick, worn out with fastings
and bleeding with flagellation, is the nearest approach to divinity; who
has seen Divinity itself, pale, emaciated, joyless, hanging bleeding
from the cross; and who is for ever reminded that the kingdom of this
Divinity is not of this world.

What passes in the mind of that artist? What surprise, what dawning
doubts, what sickening fears, what longings and what remorse are not
the fruit of this sight of antiquity? Is he to yield or to resist? Is he
to forget the saints and Christ and give himself over to Satan and to
antiquity? Only one man boldly said Yes. Mantegna abjured his faith,
abjured the Middle Ages, abjured all that belonged to his time, and in
so doing cast away from him the living art and became the lover, the
worshipper of shadows. And only one man turned completely aside from the
antique as from the demon, and that man was a saint, Fra Angelico da
Fiesoli. And with the antique, Fra Angelico rejected all the other
artistic influences and aims of his time, the time not of Giotto or of
Orcagna, but of Masaccio, of Uccello, of Poliaiolo and Donatitis. For
the mild, meek, angelic monk dreaded the life of his days; dreaded to
leave the cloister where the sunshine was tempered and the noise reduced
to a mere faint hum, and where the flower-beds were tidy and prim;
dreaded to soil or rumple his spotless white robe and his shining black
cowl; a spiritual sybarite, shrinking from the sight of the crowd
seething in the streets, shrinking from the idea of stripping the rags
off the beggar in order to see his tanned and gnarled limbs; shuddering
at the thought of seeking for muscles in the dead, cut-open body;
fearful of every whiff of life that might mingle with the incense
atmosphere of his chapel, of every cry of human passion which might
break through the well-ordered sweetness of his chants. No; the
Renaissance did not exist for him who lived in a world of diaphanous
form, colour, and character; unsubstantial and unruffled, dreaming
feebly and sweetly of transparent-cheeked Madonnas with no limbs beneath
their robes; of smooth-faced saints with well-combed beard and placid,
vacant gaze, seated in well-ordered masses, holy with the purity of
inanity; of divine dolls with pallid flaxen locks, floating between
heaven and earth, playing upon lute and viol and psaltery; raised to
faint visions of angels and blessed, moving noiseless, feelingless,
meaningless, across the flowerets of Paradise; of assemblies of saints
seated, arrayed in pure pink, and blue and lilac, in an atmosphere of
liquid gold, in glory. And thus Fra Angelico worked on, content with the
dearly-purchased science of his masters, placid, beatic, effeminate, in
an æsthetical paradise of his own, a paradise of sloth and sweetness, a
paradise for weak souls, weak hearts, and weak eyes; patiently repeating
the same fleshless angels, the same boneless saints, the same bloodless
virgins; happy in smoothing the unmixed, unshaded tints of the sky, and
earth, and dresses; laying on the gold of the fretted skies, and of the
iridescent wings, embroidering robes, instruments of music, haloes,
flowers, with threads of gold.... Sweet, simple artist saint, reducing
art to something akin to the delicate pearl and silk embroidery of pious
nuns, to the exquisite sweetmeat cookery of pious monks; a something too
delicately gorgeous, too deliciously insipid for human wear or human
food; no, the Renaissance does not exist for thee, either in its study
of the truly existing, or in its study of antique beauty.

Mantegna, the learned, the archæological, the pagan, who renounces his
times and his faith; and Angelico, the monk, the saint, who shuts and
bolts his monastery doors and sprinkles holy water in the face of the
antique, the two extremes, are both exceptions. The innumerable artists
of the Renaissance remained in hesitation; tried to court both the
antique and the modern, to unite the pagan and the Christian--some, like
Ghirlandajo, in cold indifference to all but mere form, encrusting
marble bacchanals into the walls of the Virgin's paternal house,
bringing together, unthinkingly, antique-draped women carrying baskets
and noble Stroggi and Ruccellai ladies with gloved hands folded over
their gold brocaded skirts; others, with cheerful and child-like
pleasure in both antique and modern, like Benozzo, crowding together
half-naked youths and nymphs treading the grapes and scaling the
trellise with Florentine magnificos in plaited skirts and starched
collars, among the pines and porticos, the sprawling children, barking
dogs, peacocks sunning themselves, and partridges picking up grain, of
his Scripture histories; yet others using the antique as mere pageant
shows, allegorical mummeries destined to amuse some Duke of Ferrara or
Marquis of Mantua, together with hurdle races of Jews, hags, and
riderless donkeys.

Little by little the antique amalgamates with the modern; the art born
of the Middle Ages absorbs the art born of paganism; but how slowly, and
with what fantastic and ludicrous results at first; as when the
anatomical sculptor Pollaiolo gives scenes of naked Roman prize-fighters
as martyrdoms of St. Sebastian; or when the pious Perugino (pious at
least with his brush) dresses up his sleek, hectic, beardless archangels
as Roman warriors, and makes them stand, straddling beatically on thin
little dapper legs, wistfully gazing from beneath their wondrously
ornamented helmets on the walls of the Cambio at Perugia; when he
masquerades meditative fathers of the Church as Socrates and haggard
anchorites as Numa Pompilius; most ludicrous of all, when he attires in
scantiest of clinging antique drapery his mild and pensive Madonnas,
and, with daintily-pointed toes, places them to throne bashfully on
allegorical chariots as Venus or Diana.

Long is the period of amalgamation, and little are the results
throughout that long early Renaissance. Mantegna, Piero della Francesca,
Melozzo, Ghirlandajo, Filippino, Botticelli, Verrocchio, have none of
them shown us the perfect fusion of the two elements whose union is to
give us Michel Angelo, Raphael, and all the great perfect artists of the
early sixteenth century; the two elements are for ever ill-combined and
hostile to each other; the modern vulgarizes the antique, the antique
paralyzes the modern. And meanwhile the fifteenth century, the century
of study, of conflict, and of confusion, is rapidly drawing to a close;
eight or ten more years, and it will be gone. Is the new century to find
the antique still dead and the modern still mediæval?

The antique and the modern had met for the first time and as
irreconcileable enemies in the cloisters of Pisa; and the modern had
triumphed in the great mediæval fresco of the Triumph of Death. By a
strange coincidence, by a sublime jest of accident, the antique and the
modern were destined to meet again, and this time indissolubly united,
in a painting representing the Resurrection. Yes, Signorelli's fresco in
Orvieto Cathedral is indeed a resurrection, the resurrection of human
beauty after the long death-slumber of the Middle Ages. And the artist
would seem to have been dimly conscious of the great allegory he was
painting. Here and there are strewn skulls; skeletons stand leering by,
as if in remembrance of the ghastly past, and as a token of former
death; but magnificent youths are breaking through the crust of the
earth, emerging, taking shape and flesh; arising, strong and proud,
ready to go forth at the bidding of the Titanic angels who announce from
on high with trumpet sound and waving banners that the death of the
world has come to an end, and that humanity has arisen once more in the
youth and beauty of antiquity.


Signorelli's fresceos at Orvieto, at once the latest works of the
fifteenth century, and the latest works of an old man nurtured in the
traditions of Benozzo Gozzoli and of Piero della Francesca, mark the
beginning of the maturity and perfection of Italian art. From them
Michel Angelo learns what he could not be taught even by his master
Ghirlandajo, the grand and cold realist; he learns, and what he has
learned at Orvieto he teaches with doubled force in Rome; and the
ceiling of the Sixtine Chapel, the superb and heroic nudities, the
majestic draperies, the reappearance in the modern art of painting of
the spirit and hand of Phidias, give a new impulse and hasten on
perfection. When the doors of the chapel are at length opened, Raphael
forgets Perugino; Fra Bartolomeo forgets Botticelli; Sodoma forgets
Leonardo; the narrower hesitating styles of the fifteenth century are
abandoned, as the great example is disseminated throughout Italy; and
even the tumult of angels in glory which the Lombard Correggio is to
paint in far-off Parma, and the daringly simple Bacchus and Ariadne with
which Tintoret will decorate the Ducal palace more than fifty years
later, all that is great and bold, all that is a re-incarnation of the
spirit of antiquity, all that marks the culmination of Renaissance art,
seems due to the impulse of Michel Angelo, and, through him, to the
example of Signorelli. From the celestial horseman and bounding avenging
angels of Raphael's Heliodorus, to the St. Sebastian of Sodoma, with
delicate limbs and exquisite head, rich with tendril-like locks against
the brown Umbrian sunset; from the Madonna of Andrea del Sarto seated,
with the head and drapery of a Niobe, on the sack of flour in the
Annunziata cloister, to the voluptuous goddess, with purple mantle half
concealing her body of golden white, who leans against the sculptured
fountain in Titian's "Sacred and Profane Love," with the greenish blue
sky and hazy light of evening behind her; from the most extreme
examples of the most extreme schools of Lombardy and Venetia, to the
most intense examples of the remotest schools of Tuscany and Umbria,
throughout the art of the early sixteenth century, of those thirty years
which were the years of perfection, we see, more or less marked, but
always distinct, the union of the living art born of the Middle Ages
with the dead art left by antiquity, a union producing life and
perfection, the great art of the Renaissance.

This much is clear and easy of definition; but what is neither clearly
understood nor clearly defined is the nature of this union, the manner
in which the antique and the modern did thus amalgamate. It is easy to
speak of a vague union of spirit, of the antique idea having permeated
the modern; but all this explains but little; art is not a metaphysical
figment, and all its phases and revolutions are concrete, and, so to
speak, physically explicable and definable. The union of the antique
with the modern meant simply the absorption by the art of the
Renaissance of elements of civilization necessary for its perfection,
but not existing in the mediæval civilization of the fifteenth century;
of elements of civilization which gave what the civilization of the
fifteenth century,--which could give colour, perspective, grouping, and
landscape,--could never have afforded: the nude, drapery, and gesture.

The naked human body, which the Greeks, had trained, studied and
idolized, did not exist in the fifteenth century; in its stead there was
only the undressed body, ill-developed, untrained, pinched, and
distorted by the garments only just cast off, cramped and bent by
sedentary occupations, livid with the plague-spots of the Middle Ages,
scarred by the whip-marks of asceticism. This stripped body, unseen and
unfit to be seen, unaccustomed to the air and to the eyes of others,
shivered and cowered for cold and for shame. The Giottesques ignored its
very existence, conceiving humanity as a bodiless creature, with face
and hands to express emotion, and just enough malformed legs and feet to
be either standing or moving; further, beneath the garments there was
nothing. The realists of the fifteenth century tore off the clothes and
drew the ugly thing beneath, and brought the corpses from the
lazar-houses, and stole them from the gallows, in order to see how bone
fitted into bone, and muscle was stretched over muscle. They learned to
perfection the anatomy of the human frame, but they could not learn its
beauty; they became even reconciled to the ugliness they were accustomed
to see, and, with their minds full of antique examples, Verrocchio,
Donatello, Pollaiolo, and Ghirlandajo, the greatest anatomists of the
fifteenth century, imitated their coarse and ill-made living models when
they imagined that they were imitating antique marbles.

So much for the nude. Drapery, as the ancients understood it in the
delicate plaits of Greek chiton and tunic, in the grand folds of Roman
toga, the fifteenth century could not show; it knew only the stiff,
scanty raiment of the active classes, the shapeless masses of lined
cloth of the merchants and magistrates, the prudish and ostentatious
starched dress of the women, and the coarse, lumpish garb of the monks.

The artist of the fifteenth century knew drapery only as an exotic, an
exotic with whose representation the habit of seeing mediæval costume
was for ever interfering; on the stripped, unseemly, indecent body he
places, with the stiffness of artificiality, drapery such as he has
never seen upon any living creature; the result is awkwardness and
rigidity. And what attitude, what gesture, can he expect from this
stripped and artificially draped model? None, for the model scarce knows
how to stand in so unaccustomed a condition of body. The artist must
seek for attitude and gesture among his townsfolk, and among them he can
find only trivial, awkward, often vulgar movement. They have never been
taught how to stand or to move with grace and dignity; the artist must
study attitude and gesture in the marketplace or the bull-baiting
ground, where Ghirlandajo found his jauntily strutting idlers, and
Verrocchio his brutally staggering prize-fighters. Between the
constrained attitudinizing of Byzantine and Giottesque tradition, and
the imitation of the movements of clodhoppers and ragamuffins, the
realist of the fifteenth century would wander hopelessly were it not for
the antique. Genius and science are of no avail; the position of Christ
in baptism in the paintings of Verrocchio and Ghirlandajo is mean and
servile; the movements of the "Thunderstricken" in Signorelli's lunettes
is an inconceivable mixture of the brutish, the melodramatic, and the
comic; the magnificently drawn youth at the door of the prison in
Filippino's "Liberation of St. Peter" is gradually going to sleep and
collapsing in a fashion which is truly ignoble.

And the same applies to sculptured figures or to figures standing
isolated like statues; no Greek would have ventured upon the swaggering
position, with legs apart and elbows out, of Donatello's "St. George,"
or Perugino's "St. Michael;" and a young Athenian who should have
assumed the attitude of Verrocchio's "David," with tripping legs and
hand clapped on his hip, would have been sent away from school as a
saucy little ragamuffin.

Coarse, nude, stiff drapery, vulgar attitude, was all that the fifteenth
century could offer to its artists; but antiquity could offer more and
very different things--the naked body developed by the most artistic
training, drapery the most natural and refined, and attitude and gesture
regulated by an education the most careful and artistic; and all these
things antiquity gave to the artists of the Renaissance. They did not
copy antique statues as living naked men and women, but they corrected
the faults of their living models by the example of the statues; they
did not copy antique stone draperies in coloured pictures, but they
arranged the robes on their models with the antique folds well in their
memory; they did not give the gestures of statues to living figures, but
they made the living figures move in accordance with those principles of
harmony which they had found exemplified in the statues.

They did not imitate the antique, they studied it; they obtained through
the fragments of antique sculpture a glimpse into the life of antiquity,
and that glimpse served to correct the vulgarism and distortion of the
mediæval life of the fifteenth century. In the perfection of Italian
painting, the union of antique and modern being consummated, it is
perhaps difficult to disentangle what really is antique from what is
modern; but in the earlier times, when the two elements were still
separate, we can see them opposite each other and compare them in the
works of the greatest artists. Wherever, in the paintings of the early
Renaissance, there is realism, marked by the costume of the times, there
is ugliness of form and vulgarity of movement; where there is idealism,
marked by imitation of the antique, the nude, and drapery, there is
beauty and dignity. We need only compare Filippino's "Scene before the
Proconsul" with his "Raising of the King's Son" in the Brancacci Chapel;
the grand attitude and draperies of Ghirlandajo's "Zachariah" with the
vulgar dress and movements of the Florentine citizens surrounding him;
Benozzo Gozzoli's noble naked figure of Noah with his ungainly,
hideously dressed figure of Cosimo de' Medici; Mantegna's exquisite
Judith with his preposterous Marquis of Mantua; in short all the purely
realistic with all the purely idealistic art of the fifteenth century.
We may give one last instance. In Signorelli's Orvieto frescoes there is
a figure of a young man, with aquiline features, long crisp hair and
strongly developed throat, which reappears unmistakably in all the
frescoes, and in some of them twice and thrice in various positions. His
naked figure is magnificent, his attitudes splendid, his thrown-back
head superb, whether he be slowly and painfully emerging from the earth,
staggered and gasping with his newly-infused life, or sinking oppressed
on the ground, broken and crushed by the sound of the trumpet of
judgment; or whether he be moving forward with ineffable longing towards
the angel about to award him the crown of the blessed; in all these
positions he is heroically beautiful.

We meet him again, unmistakable, but how different, in the realistic
group of the "Thunderstricken,"--the long, lank youth, with
spindle-shanks and egg-shaped body, bounding forward, with most
grotesque strides, over the uncouth heap of dead bodies, ungainly masses
with soles and nostrils uppermost, lying in beast-like confusion. This
youth, with something of a harlequin in his jumps and in his ridiculous
thin legs and preposterous round body, is evidently the model for the
naked demi-gods of the "Resurrection" and the "Paradise:" he is the
handsome boy as the fifteenth century gave him to Signorelli; opposite,
he is the living youth of the fifteenth century idealized by the study
of ancient sculpture; just as the "Thunderstricken" may be some scene of
street massacre such as Signorelli may have witnessed at Cortona or
Perugia, while the agonies of the "Hell" are the grouped and superb
agonies taught by the antique; just as the two archangels of the "Hell,"
in their armour of Baglioni's heavy cavalry, may represent the modern
element, and the same archangels, naked, with magnificent flying
draperies, blowing the trumpets of the Resurrection, may show the
antique element in Renaissance art. The antique influence was not,
indeed, equally strong throughout Italy; it was strongest in the Tuscan
school which, seeking for perfection of linear form, found that
perfection in the antique; it was weakest in the Lombard and Venetian
schools, which sought for what the antique could not give, light and
shade and colour; the antique was most efficacious where it was most
indispensable, and it was more necessary to a Tuscan, strong only with
his charcoal or pencil than to Leonardo da Vinci, who could make an
imperfect figure, smiling mysteriously from out of the gloom, more
fascinating than the finest drawn Florentine Madonna, and could surround
an insignificant childish head with the wondrous sheen and ripple of
hair, as with an aureole of poetry; it was also less necessary to
Giorgione and Titian, who could hide coarse limbs beneath their
draperies of precious ruby, and transfigure, by the liquid gold of their
palettes, a peasant woman into a goddess.

But even the Lombards, even the Venetians, required the antique
influence. They could not perhaps have obtained it direct like the
Tuscans; the colourists and masters of light and shade might never have
understood the blank lines and faint shadows of the marble: they
received the antique influence, strong but modified by the medium
through which it had passed, from Mantegna; and the relentless
self-sacrifice to antiquity, the self-paralyzation of the great artist,
was not without its use; from Venetian Padua, Mantegna influenced the
Bellini and Giorgione; from Lombard Mantua, he influenced Leonardo; and
Mantegna's influence was that of the antique.

What would have been the art of the Renaissance without the antique? The
speculation is vain, for the antique had influenced it, had been goading
it on ever since the earliest times; it had been present at its birth,
it had affected Giotto through Niccoto Pisano, and Masaccio through
Ghiberti; the antique influence cannot be conceived as absent in the
history of Italian painting. So far, as a study of the impossible, the
speculation respecting the fate of Renaissance art had it not been
influenced by the antique would be childishly useless. But lest we
forget that this antique influence did exist, lest, grown ungrateful and
blind, we refuse it its immense share in producing Michel Angelo,
Raphael, and Titian, we may do well to turn to an art born and bred like
Italian art, in the Middle Ages; like it, full of strength and power of
self-development, but which, unlike Italian art, was not influenced by
the antique. This art is the great German art of the early sixteenth
century; the art of Martin Schongauer, of Aldegrever, of Graf, of
Wohlgemuth, of Pencz, of Zatzinger, of Kranach, and of the great
Albrecht Dürer, whom they resemble as Pinturricchio, and Lo Spagna
resemble Perugino, as Palma and Pario Bordone resemble Titian. This is
an art born in a civilization less perfect indeed than that of Italy,
narrower, as Nürnberg is narrower than Florence, but resembling it in
habits, dress, religion, above all the main characteristic of being
mediæval; and its masters, as great as their Italian contemporaries in
all the technicalities of the art, and in absolute honesty of endeavour,
may show what the Italian art of the sixteenth century might have been
without the antique. Let us therefore open a portfolio of those
wonderful minute yet grand engravings of the old Germans. They are for
the most part Scriptural scenes or allegories, quite analogous to those
of the Italians, but purely realistic, conscious of no world beyond that
of an Imperial City of the year 1500. Here we have the whole turn-out,
male and female, of a German free town, in the shape of scenes from the
lives of the Virgin and saints; here are short fat burghers, with
enormous blotchy, bloated faces and little eyes set in fat, their huge
stomachs protruding from under their jackets; here are blear-eyed
ladies, tall, thin, wrinkled though not old, with figures like hungry
harpies, stalking about in high headgears and stiff gowns, or sitting by
the side of lean and stunted pages, singing (with dolorous voice) to
lutes; or promenading under trees with long-shanked, high-shouldered
gentlemen, with vacant sickly face and long scraggy hairs and beard,
their bony elbows sticking out of their slashed doublets. These courtly
figures culminate in Dürer's magnificent plate of the wild man of the
woods kissing the hideous, leering Jezebel in her brocade and jewels.
These aristocratic women are terrible; prudish, malicious, licentious,
never modest because they are always ugly. Even the poor Madonnas,
seated in front of village hovels or windmills, smile the smile of
starved, sickly sempstresses. It is a stunted, poverty-stricken,
plague-sick society, this mediæval society of burghers and burghers'
wives; the air seems bad and heavy, and the light wanting physically and
morally, in these old free towns; there is intellectual sickness as well
as bodily in those musty gabled houses; the mediæval spirit blights what
revival of healthiness may exist in these commonwealths. And feudalism
is outside the gates. There are the brutal, leering men-at-arms, in
slashed, puffed doublets and heavy armour, face and dress as unhuman as
possible, standing grimacing at the blood spurting from John the
Baptist's decapitated trunk, as in Kranach's horrible print, while
gaping spectators fill the castle yard; there are the castles high on
rocks amidst woods, with miserable villages below, where the Prodigal
Son wallows among the swine and the tattered boors tumble about in
drunkenness, or rest wearied on their spades. There are the Middle Ages
in full force. But had these Germans of the days of Luther really no
thought beyond their own times and their own country? Had they really
no knowledge of the antique? Not so; they had heard from their learned
men, from Willibald Pirkheimer and Ulrich von Hutten, that the world had
once been peopled with naked gods and goddesses; nay, the very year
perhaps that Raphael handed to the engraver, Marc Antonio, his
magnificent drawing of the Judgment of Paris, Lukas Kranach bethought
him to represent the story of the good Knight Paris giving the apple to
the Lady Venus. So Kranach took up his steady pencil and sharp chisel,
and in strong, clear, minute lines of black and white showed us the
scene. There, on Mount Ida, with a castellated rock in the distance, the
charger of Paris browses beneath some stunted larches; the Trojan
knight's helmet, with its monstrous beak and plume, lies on the ground;
and near it reclines Paris himself, lazy, in complete armour, with
frizzled fashionable beard. To him, all wrinkled and grinning with
brutal lust, comes another bearded knight, with wings to his vizored
helmet, Sir Mercury, leading the three goddesses, short, fat-cheeked
German wenches, housemaids stripped of their clothes, stupid, brazen,
indifferent. And Paris is evidently prepared with his choice: he awards
the apple to the fattest, for among a half-starved, plague-stricken
people like this, the chosen of gods and men must needs be the fattest.

No, such pagan scenes are mere burlesques, coarse mummeries, such as may
have amused Nürnberg and Augsburg during Shrovetide, when drunken louts
figured as Bacchus and sang drinking songs by Hans Sachs. There is no
reality in all this; there is no belief in pagan gods. If we would see
the haunting divinity of the German Renaissance, we shall find him
prying and prowling in nearly every scene of real life; him, the ever
present, the king of the Middle Ages, whose triumph we have seen on the
cloister wall at Pisa, the lord "Death." His fleshless face peers from
behind a bush at Zatzinger's stunted, fever-stricken lady and imbecile
gentleman; he sits grinning on a tree in Orso Graf's allegory, while the
cynical knights, with haggard, sensual faces, crack dirty jokes with the
fat, brutish woman squatted below; he puts his hand into the basket of
Dürer's tattered pedlar; he leers hideously at the stirrup of Dürer's
armed and stalwart knight. No gods of youth and Nature; no Hercules, no
Hermes, no Venus, have invaded his German territories, as they invaded
even his own palace, the burial-ground at Pisa; the antique has not
perverted Dürer and his fellows, as it perverted Masaccio, and
Signorelli, and Mantegna, from the mediæval worship of Death.

The Italians had seen the antique and had let themselves be seduced by
it, despite their civilization and their religion. Let us only rejoice
thereat. There are indeed some, and among them the great English critic,
who is irrefutable when he is a poet and irrational when he becomes a
philosopher;--there are some who tell us that in its union with antique
art, the art of the followers of Giotto embraced death, and rotted away
ever after; there are others, more moderate but less logical, who would
teach us that in uniting with the antique, the mediæval art of the
fifteenth century purified and sanctified the beautiful but evil child
of Paganism, that the goddess of Scopas and the athlete of Polyclete
were raised to a higher sphere when Raphael changed the one into a
Madonna, and Michel Angelo metamorphosed the other into a prophet. But
both schools of criticism are wrong. Every civilization has its inherent
evil; antiquity had its' inherent evils, as the Middle Ages had theirs;
antiquity may have bequeathed to the Renaissance the bad with the good,
as the Middle Ages had bequeathed to the Renaissance the good with the
bad. But the art of antiquity was not the evil, it was the good of
antiquity; it was born of its strength and its purity only and it was
the incarnation of its noblest qualities. It could not be purified,
because it was spotless; it could not be sanctified because it was holy.
It could gain nothing from the art of the Middle Ages, alternately
strong in brutal reality, and languid in mystic inanity; the men of the
Renaissance could, if they influenced it at all, influence the antique
only for evil; they belonged to an inferior artistic civilization, and
if we conscientiously seek for the spiritual improvements brought by
them into antique types, we shall see that they consist in spoiling
their perfect proportions, in making necks longer and muscles more
prominent, in rendering more or less flaccid, or meagre, or coarse, the
grand and delicate forms of antique art. And when we have examined into
this purified art of the Renaissance, when we have compared coolly and
equitably, we may perhaps confess that, while the Renaissance added
immense wealth of beauty in colour, perspective, and grouping, it took
away something of the perfection of simple lines and modest light and
shade of the antique; we may admit to ourselves that the grandest saint
by Raphael is meagre and stunted, and the noblest Virgin by Titian is
overblown and sensual by the side of the demi-gods and amazons of
antique sculpture.

The antique perfected the art of the Renaissance, it did not corrupt it.
The art of the Renaissance fell indeed into shameful degradation soon
after the period of its triumphant union with the antique; and Raphael's
grand gods and goddesses, his exquisite Eros and radiant Psyche of the
Farnesina, are indeed succeeded but too soon by the Olympus of Giulio
Romano, an Olympus of harlots and acrobats, who smirk and mouth and
wriggle and sprawl ignobly on the walls and ceilings of the dismantled
palace which crumbles away among the stunted willows, the stagnant
pools, and rank grass of the marshes of Mantua. But this is no more the
fault of antiquity than it is the fault of the Middle Ages; it is the
fault of that great principle of life and of change which makes all
things organic, be they physical or intellectual, germinate, grow,
attain maturity, and then fade, wither, and rot. The dead art of
antiquity could never have brought the art of the Renaissance to an
untimely end; the art of the Renaissance decayed because it was mature,
and died because it had lived.




In my last article I considered the subjective synthesis of Comte, or in
other words, his attempt to systematize human knowledge in relation to
the moral life of man. For it is his view, as we have seen, that science
can never yield its highest fruit to man unless it be
systematized--_i.e._, unless its different parts be connected together
and put in their true place as parts of one whole. Scattered lights give
no illumination; it is the _esprit d'ensemble_, the general idea in
which our knowledge begins and ends, that ultimately determines the
scientific value of each special branch of knowledge. But while
synthesis is necessary, it is not necessary, according to Comte, that
the synthesis should be objective. The error of mankind in the past has
been that they supposed themselves able to ascertain the real or
objective principle, which gives unity to the world, and able,
therefore, to make their system of knowledge an ideal repetition of the
system of things without them. Such a system, however, is entirely
beyond our reach. The conditions of our lot, and the weakness of our
intelligence, make it impossible for us to tell what is the real
principle of unity in the world, or even whether such a principle
exists. The attempts to discover it, made by Theology and Metaphysics,
have been nothing more than elaborate anthropomorphisms, in which men
gave to the unknown and unknowable reality, a form which was borrowed
from their own. They saw in the clouds about them an exaggerated and
distorted reflection of themselves, and regarded this Brocken spectre as
the controlling power whose activity was the source and explanation of
everything. Positivism, on the other hand, arises whenever men learn to
recognize the nature of this illusion, and to confine their ambition
within that which is really the limit of their intelligence. All that we
can know is the resemblances and successions of phenomena, and not the
things in themselves that are their causes; and if we seek to find a
principle of unity for these phenomena, we must find it within and not
without. We must organize knowledge with reference to our own wants,
rather than with reference to the nature of things. We must regard
everything as a means to an end, which is determined by some inner
principle in ourselves--not as if we supposed that the world and all
that is in it were made for us, or found its centre in us--but simply
because this is the only point of view from which we can systematize
knowledge, as it is indeed the only point of view from which we need
care to systematize it.

It may be asked why system is necessary at all, why we should not be
content with a fragmentary consciousness of the world, without
attempting to gather the dispersed lights of science to one central
principle. To critics like J. S. Mill, Comte's effort after system seems
to be the result of an "original mental twist very common in French
thinkers," of "an inordinate desire of unity." "That all perfection
consists in unity, Comte apparently considers to be a maxim which no
sane man thinks of questioning: it never seems to enter into his
conceptions that any one could object _ad initio_, and ask, Why this
universal systematizing, systematizing, systematizing? Why is it
necessary that all human life should point but to one object, and be
cultivated into a system of means to a single end?"[26] To this Mr.
Bridges answers that unity in Comte's sense is "the first and most
obvious condition which all moral and religious renovators, of whatever
time or country, have by the very nature of their office set themselves
to fulfil."[27] In other words, all moral and spiritual life depends
upon the harmony of the individual with himself and with the world. A
divided life is a life of weakness and misery, nor can life be divided
intellectually, without being, or ultimately becoming, divided morally.
Such unity, indeed, does not exclude--and in a being like man who is in
course of development cannot altogether exclude--difference and even
conflict. In the most steadily growing intellectual life there are
pauses of difficulty and doubt; in the most continuous moral progress
there are conflicts with self and others. But such doubts and
difficulties will not greatly weaken or disturb us, so long as they are
partial, so long as they do not affect the central principles of thought
and action, so long as there is still some fixed faith which reaches
beyond the disturbance, some certitude which is untouched by the doubt.
If, however, we once lose the consciousness that there is any such
principle, or if we try to rest on a principle which we at the same time
feel to be inadequate, our spiritual life, in losing its unity or
harmony with itself, must at the same time lose its purity and energy.
It must become fitful and uncertain, the sport of accidental influences
and tendencies; it must lower its moral and intellectual aims. This, in
Comte's view, is what we have seen in the past. The decay of the old
faiths, and of the objective synthesis based upon them, has emancipated
us from many illusions, but it has, as it were, taken the inspiration
out of our lives. It has made knowledge a thing for specialists who have
lost the sense of totality, the sense of the value of their particular
studies in relation to the whole; and it has made action feeble and
wayward by depriving men of the conviction that there is any great
central aim to be achieved by it. And these results would have been
still more obvious, were it not that men are so slow in realizing what
is involved in the change of their beliefs were it not that the habits
and sympathies developed by a creed continue to exist long after the
creed itself has disappeared. In the long run, however, the change of
man's intellectual attitude to the world must bring with it a change of
his whole life. As the creed which reconciled him to the world and bound
him to his fellows ceases to affect him, he must be thrown back upon his
own mere individuality, unless he can find another creed of equal or
greater power to inspire and direct his life. And mere individualism is
nothing, but anarchy. That this is so, was not indeed manifest to those
who first expressed the individualistic principle: on the contrary, they
seemed to themselves to have, in the assertion of individual right, not
only an instrument for destroying the old faith and the old social
order, but also the principle of a better faith, and the means of
reconstructing a better order. But to us who have outlived the period
when it could be supposed that the destruction of old, involves in
itself the construction of new, forms of life and thought, it cannot but
be obvious that the principles of private judgment and individual
liberty are nothing more than negations. For as the real problem of our
intellectual life is how to rise to a judgment which is more than
private judgment, so the real problem of our practical life is how to
realize a liberty that is more than individual license. It is in this
sense that Comte says that the last three centuries have been a period
of the insurrection of the intellect against the heart, a phrase by
which he means to indicate at once the gain and the loss of the
revolutionary movement; its gain, in so far as it emancipated the
intelligence from superstitious illusions, and its loss, in so far as it
destroyed the faith which was the bond of social union, without
substituting any other faith in its room. At the same time, the
expression points to a peculiarity of Comte's Psychology, which affects
his whole view of the history, and especially of the religious history,
of man; and it is therefore necessary to subject it to a careful

Is it possible for the intellect to be in insurrection against the
heart? In a sense already indicated this is possible. It is possible, in
short, that the moral and intellectual spirit of a belief may still
control the life of one who, so far as his explicit consciousness is
concerned, has renounced it. Rooted as the individual is in a wider life
than his own, it is often but a small part of himself that he can bring
to distinct consciousness. Further, so little are most men accustomed to
self-analysis; that they are seldom aware what it is that constitutes
the inspiring power of their beliefs. Generally, at least in the first
instance, they take their creed in gross, without distinguishing between
essential and unessential elements. They confuse, in one general
consecration of reverence, its primary principles, and the local and
temporary accidents of the form in which it was first presented to them,
and they are as ready to accept battle _à l'outrance_ for some useless
outwork as for the citadel itself. And, for the same reason, they are
ready to think that the citadel is lost when the outwork is taken; to
suppose, _e.g._, that the spiritual nature of man is a fiction if he was
not directly made by God out of the dust of the earth, or that the
Christian view of life has ceased to be true if a doubt can be thrown on
the possibility of proving miracles. Yet however little the individual
may be able to separate the particulars which are assailed from the
universal with which they are accidentally connected, his whole nature
must rebel against the sacrifice which logical consistency seems in such
a case to demand from him. It is a painful experience when the first
break is made in the implicit unity of early faith, and it is painful
just in proportion to the depth of the spiritual consciousness which
that faith has produced in the individual. Unable to separate that which
he is obliged to doubt from that in which lies the principle of his
moral, and, even of his intellectual, life, he is "in a strait betwixt
two;" and no course seems to be open to him which does not involve the
surrender, either of his intellectual honesty, or of that higher
consciousness which alone "makes life worth living," Such a crisis is
commonly described as a division between the heart and the head, for in
it the articulate or conscious logic is on the side of disbelief, and
the resisting conviction generally takes the form of a feeling, an
impulse, an intuition, which the individual has for himself, but which
he is unable to communicate in the same force to another. And, as such
feelings and intuitions of the individual are necessarily subject to
continual variation of intensity and clearness, so the struggle between
doubt and faith may be long and difficult, the objections, which at one
time seem as nothing, at another time appearing to be almost
irresistible. Not seldom the result is a broken life, in which youth is
given to revolt, and the rest of existence to a faith which vainly
strives to be implicit. There is, indeed, no final and satisfactory
issue from such an endless internal debate and conflict, until the
"heart" has learned to speak the language of the "head,"--_i.e._, until
the permanent principles which underlay and gave strength to faith have
been brought into the light of distinct consciousness, and until it has
been discovered how to separate them from the accidents, with which at
first they were necessarily identified. The hard labour of
distinguishing, in the traditions of the past, between the germinative
principles, out of which the future must spring, and those external
forms and adjuncts, which every day is making more incredible, must be
undertaken by any one who would restore the broken unity of man's life.
We begin our existence under the shadow and influence of a faith which
is given to us, as it were; in our sleep; but in no age, and in this
age less than any other, can man possess a spiritual life as a gift from
the past without reconquering it for himself.

In this sense, then, we can understand how Comte might speak of an
insurrection of the intelligence against the heart, which must be
quelled ere the normal state of humanity could be restored; for this
would be only another way of saying that, in the modern conflict of
faith and reason, the substantial truth, or at least the most important
truth, had, up to Comte's own time, been on the side of the former. In
this view, the deep unwillingness of those nourished in the Christian or
Catholic faith to yield to the logical battery of the Encyclopædists was
not merely the result of an obscurantist hatred of light; it was also in
great part due to a more or less definite sense of the moral, if not the
intellectual, weakness of the principles which the Encyclopædists
maintained. For, while the insurrection was justified in so far as it
asserted the claims of the special sciences, it was to be condemned in
so far as it involved the denial of all synthesis whatever, and also in
so far as it was blind to the elements of truth in the imperfect
synthesis of the past. It thus tended to destroy the spirit of totality
and the sense of duty (_l'esprit d'ensemble et le sentiment du
devoir_).[28] It practically denied the existence of any universal
principle which could connect the different parts of knowledge with each
other, of any general aim which could give unity to the life of man. Its
analytic spirit was fatal, not only to the fictions of theology, but
also to that growing consciousness of the solidarity of men of which
theology had been the accidental embodiment. The reluctance of religious
men to admit the claims of what appeared to be, and, indeed, to a
certain extent was, light, was thus due to a more or less distinct
perception that their own creed, amid all its partial errors, contained
a central truth more important than all the partial truths of science.
In clinging to the past they were preserving the germ of the future, and
the final victory of science could not come until this germ had been
disengaged from the husk of superstition under which it was hidden. Till
that was done, the logic of the heart in clinging to its superstitions
was better than the logic of the head in rebelling against them. In
other words, the implicit reason of faith was wiser than the explicit
reason of science.

But this is not all that Comte means. For him the appeal to the heart is
not merely the appeal to feelings and intuitions, which are the result
of the past development of human intelligence, and especially of the
long discipline by which the Christian Church has moulded the modern
spirit; it is an appeal to the altruistic affections as original or
"innate" tendencies in man which are altogether independent of his
intelligence. It is not that the reason of man often speaks through his
feelings, but that feeling and reason have in themselves different, and
even it may be opposite, voices. In this sense, the attempt has often
been made in modern times to stop the invasions of critical reflection
by setting up the heart as an independent authority. From the Lutheran
theologian who said, "_Pectus theologum facit_," down to Mr. Tennyson
who declares that whenever he heard "the voice--Believe no more,"

  "A warmth within the breast would melt
    The freezing reason's colder part,
    And like a man in wrath, the heart
  Stood up and answered, 'I have felt:'"

appeals have constantly been made to the feelings to resist the
intrusion of doubt. Such appeals, however, cannot be regarded as
otherwise than provisional and self-defensive. "The heart knoweth its
own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy;" but
just for that reason it has no general content or independent authority
of its own. Whether the "I feel it" mean little or much, depends upon
the individual who utters it. It may be the concentrated expression of a
long life of culture and discipline, or it may be the loud but empty
voice of untrained passion and prejudice. The "unproved assertions of
the wise and experienced," as Aristotle tells us, have great value,
especially in ethical matters; but it is not because they are unproved
assertions, but because we otherwise know that the speakers are wise and
experienced. To appeal to the heart in general, without saying "whose
heart," either means nothing, or it means an appeal to the natural
man--_i.e._, man as he is before he has been sophisticated by culture
and experience; but of the natural man, in this sense, nothing can be
said. The further we go back in the history of the individual or the
race the more imperfect does their utterance or manifestation become;
and when we reach the beginning, we find that there is no manifestation
or utterance at all. The natural man of Rousseau was simply an ideal
creation, inspired with that intense and even morbid consciousness of
self, and that fixed resolve to submit to no external law, which were
characteristic of Rousseau himself, and which in him were the last
product and quintessence of the individualism of the eighteenth century.
The simplicity of this ideal figure was not the first simplicity of
nature, but the simplicity of a spirit which has returned upon itself
and asserted itself against the world; a kind of simplicity which never
existed, at least in the same form, before the great Protestant revolt.
The unhistorical character of this idea becomes doubly evident when we
find that, as time goes on, and the spirit of the age alters, the
qualities of the natural man are also changed. To St. Simon and Fourier,
as to Rousseau, man is good by nature, and it is bad institutions or bad
external influences which are the source of all the ills that flesh is
heir to. But while with the latter the natural man is a solitary, whose
chief good lies in the preservation of his independence, with the former
he is essentially social, and what is wanted for his perfection and
happiness is only to contrive an outward organization in which his
social sympathies shall have free play. Comte, as we might expect, rises
above these imperfect theories, in so far as he refuses to attribute all
the evils of humanity to its external circumstances; but he does not get
rid of the essential error which was common to them all, the error of
seeking for the explanation of the higher life of humanity in the
feelings of the natural man--feelings which are prior to, and
independent of, the exercise of his reason, and which supply all the
possible motives for that exercise. There are, in his view, two sets of
"innate" feelings or desires, between which man's life is divided--the
egoistic and the altruistic tendencies, each separate from the others as
well as from the intelligence, and having its "organ" in a separate part
of the brain. The egoistic feelings at first exist in man in far greater
strength than the altruistic; but by the reaction of circumstances, and
the influence of men upon each other, the latter have in the past
gradually attained to greater power; and it is the ideal of the future
to make their victory complete. Meanwhile, the intelligence is
necessarily the instrument of desire, and its highest good is to be the
instrument of altruistic as opposed to egoistic desire. For it has at
best only a choice of masters, and the emancipation of the intelligence
from the heart could mean only its becoming a slave of personal vanity.
Comte's appeal, therefore, is still to the natural man, or rather to one
element in him, which, however, as he acknowledges, is never so weak as
it is in man's earliest or most natural state.

The psychology implied in this theory is substantially that which found
its fullest expression in Hume's Treatise on Human Nature. Hume, with
that tendency to bring things to a distinct issue which is his best
characteristic, declares boldly that "reason is, and ought to be, the
slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to
serve and obey them." The passions or desires are tendencies of a
definite character which exist in man from the first; the awaking
intelligence cannot add to their number, or essentially change their
nature. It can only take account of what they are, and calculate how
best to satisfy them. "We speak not strictly and philosophically when we
talk of the combat of reason and passion," for reason in itself
determines the true and false, but it sets nothing before us as an end
to be pursued and avoided. It does not constitute or transform the
desires, which are given altogether apart from it, and the will is but
the strongest desire. When we say that reason controls the passions what
we mean is simply that a strong but calm tendency of our nature, which
has reference to some remote object, overcomes some violent impulse
towards a present delight; but for intelligence, in the strict sense of
the word, to war with passion is a simple impossibility.

The modifications which Comte makes in this view of motive are
comparatively trifling. He does not, indeed, like Hume, call reason the
slave of the passions; rather he says that "_l'esprit doit être le
ministre du coeur, mais jamais son esclave_;" but this change of
language does not involve any important modification of Hume's theory.
The intelligence has to give to the heart all kinds of information about
the objects through which it may find satisfaction, but after all the
end itself has to be determined solely by feeling and desire. In Comte's
language the intellect is a "slave," when theology makes it acknowledge
the existence of supernatural beings who are agreeable to our desires,
but who have no reality as objects of experience; it is a "master," when
it pursues its inquiries into the phenomena of the objective world, at
the bidding of an errant curiosity, without reference to the well-being
of man; it is in its true place as a "servant" when it studies the
objective world freely, but only with reference to the end fixed for it
by the affections. "_L'univers doit être étudié non pour lui-même, mais
pour l'homme, ou plutôt pour l'humanité_;" and this, Comte thinks, will
not be done if the intelligence be left to itself, but only if it be
made subordinate to the heart. To say, therefore, that the intelligence
is not to be a slave but a servant, implies merely that it is to be left
free to collect information about the means of satisfying the desires,
without having its judgment anticipated by the imagination or the heart;
but that, on the other hand, it must keep strictly to its position as an
instrument to an end out of itself. For if it once emancipates itself
from the yoke of feeling, it soon becomes altogether lawless, and
disperses its efforts in every direction in the satisfaction of a vain
curiosity. The intelligence, as the scholastic theologians said, is in
itself, or when left to itself, a source of anarchy and confusion; it
must be, not indeed the _serva_, but the _ancilla fidei_, or it defeats
its own ends. The intellectual life, as such, is an unsocial, even a
selfish existence; for, as reason is guided by no definite objective aim
derived from itself, it must find its real motive in the satisfaction of
personal vanity and self-conceit, whenever it is not subjected to the
yoke of the altruistic affections.

This theory (which, as we shall see, underlies Comte's whole conception
of history) suggests two questions. It leads us to ask, in the first
place, whether the tendencies of the intellectual life are thus
dispersive and opposed to the social tendencies? and, secondly, whether
the social tendencies in the form which they take with man, are not
necessarily determined to be what they are by his intelligence? The
former question really resolves itself into another: Is the intelligence
of man a mere formal power of apprehending what is presented to it from
without, so that when it is left to itself it must lose itself in the
infinite multiplicity of individual objects in the external world? or
does it carry with it any synthetic principle, any idea of the whole, to
which it necessarily and inevitably seeks to bring back the difference
of things? Against Comte's assertion that the natural tendency of the
intelligence is to lose itself in difference without end, we might quote
the well-known saying of Bacon, that the tendency of the "_intellectus
sibi permissus_" is rather towards a premature synthesis. "_Intellectus
humanus ex proprietate sua facile supponit majorem ordinem et
æqualitatem in rebus quam invenit_." Surely, if we may speak of
tendencies of the intellectual life as separated from the life of
feeling, the tendency to unity and the universal belongs to it quite as
much as the tendency to difference and the particular; just as in the
life of feeling the tendency to isolation and self-assertion against
others is combined with the tendency to society and union with others.
From the first moment of intellectual life the world is to us a unity;
_subjectively_ a unity, as all its varied phenomena are gathered up in
the consciousness of one self, and _objectively_ a unity, as every
object and event is definitely placed in relation to the other objects
and events in one space and one time. The development of knowledge is,
no doubt, the continual detection of new differences and distinctions in
things, but the phenomena which are distinguished from other phenomena
are at the same time put in relation to them. Nor can the intelligence
find complete satisfaction until this relation is discovered to be
necessary, and thus difference passes into unity again. Individual
minds, indeed, may be more of the Aristotelian, or more of the
Platonist, order, may tend more to divide what at first is presented as
unity, or to unite what at first is presented as difference. But it is
absurd to talk of either tendency as belonging to the intelligence in
itself, since it is utterly beyond, or rather beneath, the powers of
thought to conceive either of an undifferentiated unity, or of a chaos
of differences without some kind of relation. Descending to particulars,
we may bring Comte as a witness against himself; for while he declares
that the sciences which deal with the inorganic world are mainly
analytic in their tendencies, he at the same time maintains that the
sciences of Biology and, still more, of Sociology and Morals, are
synthetic, since they deal with objects in which the whole is not a mere
aggregation or resultant of the parts, but in which rather the parts can
be understood only in and through the whole. Hence it would seem that
the dispersive tendencies of science are confined to lower steps of the
scientific scale; and that the final science (as was shown more
particularly in a previous article) admits and necessitates a synthesis,
which is not merely subjective, but also objective. For Comte does not
hold that we are to regard other men merely as means, or to seek to
understand them only so far as is necessary for the gratification of
some desire in ourselves as individuals. We are, on the contrary, to
seek to know man in and for himself; and when we do so know him, we find
that he is essentially social, and that the individual, as such, is a
mere "fiction of the metaphysicians." Here, again, therefore, we find
that Comte's system ends in a compromise between opposite tendencies of
thought. His subjective synthesis proved after all to be objective, at
least so far as mankind were concerned; and in like manner his
opposition of the intellect to the heart turns out to be only partial;
for when the intelligence is directed to psychology and sociology, it
gives us an idea of humanity, according to which all men are "members
one of another." The warfare of the heart and the intelligence thus
resolves itself into another expression of that dualism between the
world and man, which we found to be an essential characteristic of
Comte's system.

The second question--whether the altruistic affections of man do not
imply, or are not necessarily connected with, the development of his
reason or self-consciousness--is even more important. Comte, like Hume,
took all the desires, higher and lower, as tendencies given apart from
the reason, which can only devise the means of satisfying them, and is,
therefore, necessarily their servant. Reason itself on this view does
not essentially affect the character of those tendencies which it obeys.
"_Cupiditas est appetitus cum ejusdem conscientia_," said Spinoza, and
he then went on to speak as if the "_conscientia_" made no change in the
character of the "_appetitus_." But if we think of appetites or
desires--some of them tending to the good of the individual, others to
the good of the species--as existing in an animal which is not conscious
of a self, these appetites will neither be selfish nor unselfish in the
sense in which we apply these terms to man. Where there is no _ego_
there can be no _alter-ego_, and therefore neither egoism nor altruism.
The idea of the self as a permanent unity to which all the different
tendencies are referred, and the rise in consequence of a new desire of
pleasure, distinct from the desires of particular objects, are essential
to egoism. The idea of an _alter-ego_, _i.e._, of a community with
others which makes their interests our own, and hence the rise of a love
for them,--which is not merely disinterested as the animal appetites are
disinterested, because they tend directly to their objects without any
thought of self, but disinterested in the sense that the thought of self
is conquered or absorbed, is essential to altruism. Each of these
tendencies may in its matter, or rather in its first matter, coincide
with the appetites; viewed from the outside, they may seem to be nothing
higher than hunger or thirst, or sexual or parental impulse, but their
form is different. They are changed as by a chemical solvent, which
dissolves and renews them; nay, as by a new principle of life, whose
first transformation of them is nothing but the beginning of a series of
transformations both of their matter and their form; so that, in the
end, the simple direct tendency to an object--the uneasiness which
sought its cure without reflection either upon itself or upon anything
else--becomes changed, on the one side, into a gigantic ambition and
greed, which would make the whole world tributary to the lust of the
individual, and, on the other, into a love of humanity in which
self-love is altogether transcended or absorbed. Neither of these,
however, nor any lower form of either, is in such wise _external_ to
reason, that we can talk of them as determining it to an end which is
not its own. Both are simply the expression in feeling of that essential
opposition of the self to the not self, and at the same time that
essential unity of the self with the not self, which are the two
opposite, but complementary, aspects of the life of reason. And the
progressive triumph of altruism over egoism, which constitutes the moral
significance of history, is only the result of the fact that an
individual, who is also a conscious self, cannot find his happiness in
his own individual life, but only in the life of the whole to which he
belongs. A selfish life is for him a contradiction. It is a life in
which he is at war with himself as well as with others, for it is the
life of a being who, though essentially social, tries to find
satisfaction in a personal or individual good. The "intelligence" and
the "heart" equally condemn such a life; it is not only a crime but a
blunder. For a spiritual being as such is one who can only save his life
by losing it in a wider life, one who must die to himself in order that
he may live. In the progress of man's spirit, therefore, there is no
necessary or possible schism between the two parts of his being; but, on
the contrary, the development of each is implied in the development of
the other. It is the more comprehensive idea, as well as the higher
social purpose, which always triumphs; and if what is called
intellectual culture sometimes seems to have the worse, it is because it
is a superficial or formal culture, and does not really represent the
most comprehensive idea.

This leads us to observe that the opposition of the heart to the
intelligence is Comte's key to the whole history of the past, especially
in relation to religion. Theology is to him a system growing out of a
natural, though partially erroneous, hypothesis, a hypothesis which in
its first appearance was well suited to excite the nascent intelligence
and satisfy the primary affections of man, but which, in its further
development, tended to secure moral and social ends at the expense of
truth, and became more and more irrational as it became more and more
useful. Fetichism, the first religion, was the spontaneous result of
man's primitive tendency to exaggerate the likeness of all things to
himself. It is "less distant from Positivity" than any other sort of
theology,[29] for its error is only that it supposes the existence of
life wherever it finds activity--an error which can "easily be brought
to the test of verification" and corrected. "We can show it to be an
error, and so get rid of it." But Polytheism, seeking for greater
generality, refers phenomena to beings who are not identified with them,
to "indirect wills belonging to beings purely imaginary," whose
"existence can no more be decisively disproved than it can be
demonstrated." Further, Polytheism extended to the order of man's life
that kind of explanation which Fetichism necessarily confined to nature,
because the latter sought to explain everything by man, and never
thought of man himself as requiring explanation. But this, while it had
the advantage of bringing human life within the domain of speculation,
at the same time reduced theology into a palpable instance of reasoning
in a circle. For "humanity cannot legitimately be included in the
synthesis of causes, from the very fact that its type is found in
man."[30] Last of all came Monotheism, concentrating still further the
theological explanation of the universe, but rendering it still more
incoherent and irrational, for "the conception of a single God involves
a type of absolute perfection complete in each of the three aspects of
human nature, affection, thought, and action. Now such a conception
unavoidably contradicts itself, for either this all-powerful Being must
be inferior to ourselves, morally or intellectually, or else the world
which he created must be free from those radical imperfections which, in
spite of Monotheistic sophistry, have been always but too evident. And
even were this second alternative admissible, there would remain a yet
deeper inconsistency. Man's moral and mental faculties have for their
object to subserve practical necessities, but an omnipotent Being can
have no occasion either for wisdom or for goodness."[31]

What reconciles mankind, and especially the leaders of mankind, to these
intellectually unsatisfactory conceptions of God, is their practical
value in extending and strengthening the social bond. Polytheism was
superior to Fetichism, because it lent itself to the formation of that
wider community, which we call the State, whereas Fetichism tended
rather to confine the sympathies of men to the narrower limits of the
family. And Monotheism was the necessary basis of that still wider
society which binds men to each other simply as men, and apart from any
special ties of blood or language. This at least was the case so long as
the truth of the unity of humanity had not yet assumed a scientific
form, and therefore still needed an external support. But when the
sciences of sociology and morals arise, this external scaffolding ceases
to be necessary, and must even become injurious, as, indeed, Theology
was from the first imperfectly adapted to the social end it was made to

This last point deserves special attention. According to Comte,
Theology, and above all Monotheistic Theology, is a system whose direct
influence is altogether unfavourable to the social tendencies, although
indirectly, by the course of history, and through the wise modifications
to which it has been subjected by the leaders and teachers of mankind,
it has become the main instrument in developing altruism. The increasing
generality of theological belief, indeed, was a necessary condition of
the establishment of social unity; but, by directing the eyes of men not
to themselves, but to supernatural beings, by making the event of life
turn on the favour or disfavour of such beings, rather than on the
social action and reaction of men upon each other, and by reducing this
world into a secondary position, so that its concerns were subordinated
to those of another world, Theology tended to dissolve rather than to
knit closer the bonds of society. The relation of the individual to God
isolated him from his fellows. Especially was this the case with the
Christian form of Monotheism, with its tremendous future rewards and
penalties, and the direct relation which it established between the soul
of the individual and the infinite Being. "The immediate effect of
putting personal salvation in the foremost place was to create an
unparalleled selfishness, a selfishness rendering all social influences
nugatory, and thus tending to dissolve public life."[32] "The Christian
type of life was never fully realized except by the hermits of the
Thebaid," who, "by narrowing their wants to the lowest standard, were
able to concentrate their thoughts without remorse or distraction on the
attainment of salvation."[33] What else, indeed, but egoism could be
awakened by the worship of a God who is himself the supreme type of
egoism? For "the desires of an omnipotent Being, being gratified as soon
as formed, can consist in nothing but pure caprices. There can be no
appreciable motive either from within or from without. And above all,
these pure caprices must of necessity be purely personal; so that the
metaphysical formula, To live in self for self, would be alike
applicable to the two extreme grades of the vital scale. The type of
divinity thus approximates to the lowest stage of animality, the only
shape in which life is purely individual, because it is reduced to the
one function of nutrition."[34] The natural result of such a religion
was, therefore, to discourage the altruistic affections, and, indeed,
Monotheism has systematically denied that such affections form part of
the nature of man.

The alchemy which, according to Comte, turned this poison into an elixir
vitæ, was found in the altruistic affections of the teachers of mankind,
which led them to limit and modify the doctrine they taught, so as to
subserve man's moral improvement. This, however, would not have been
sufficient, if these teachers had not at an early period ceased to be a
theocracy, or, in other words, if the practical government of mankind
had not been wrested from their hand by the military classes. By this
change, which contained in itself the germ of the separation of the
Church from the State, of theory from practice, of counsel from command,
the priests, prophets, or philosophers, who were the intellectual
leaders of men, were reduced to that position of subordination in which
alone they can concentrate their attention upon their proper work. For
the influences of the intellect, like those of the affections, must be
indirect if they are to be pure. "No power, especially if it be
theological, cares to modify the will, unless it finds itself powerless
to control action."[35] But when the theoretic class were subordinated
to the practical class, they became the natural allies of the women,
and, like them, had to substitute counsel for command. At first, indeed,
their subjection was too absolute, for the military aristocracies of
Greece and Rome did not leave to the priesthood sufficient independence,
or at least sufficient authority, to permit even of counsel. But with
the rise of Catholic Monotheism, supported as it was by a new revelation
based upon an incarnation of God, the separation of Church and State
was definitely established, and the intellectual life was put in its
proper relation to the life of action.

The consequence is that the theological priesthood have continually
sought to counteract the natural influences of their theological
doctrines by making additions which were inconsistent with its
"absolute" principle, but which rendered it better fitted for the
purpose of binding men together. This was especially the case under
Monotheism, where, as we have seen, such counteraction was most
necessary. From this source arose a series of supplementary doctrines,
generally tending to connect God with man, and men with each other. St.
Paul, "the real founder of Christianity," took the first step in
reducing Monotheism into a shape in which it could act as an "organic"
doctrine, and his successors followed steadily in the same path. If the
omnipotence of God raised him above all human sympathy, and tended to
destroy human sympathy in his worshippers, the doctrines of the Trinity
and the Incarnation again brought him near to them, and taught them to
reverence a humanity which was thus raised into unity with God. In the
Feast of the Eucharist all men celebrated and enjoyed their unity with
this exalted and deified humanity. The same influence, in its further
development, led to the adoration of the saints, and above all of the
Virgin Mother, in whom Christian devotion really worshipped humanity, in
its simplest and tenderest affections. Finally, if benevolent sympathies
were denied to nature, St. Paul found a place for them by attributing
them to grace, "which Thomas à Kempis admirably defines as the
equivalent of love--_gratia sive dilectio_--divine inspiration being
substituted for human impulse."[36] And the struggle between egoism and
altruism was expressed in the doctrines of the Fall and Redemption of
mankind.[37] Thus the social passion, which, according to the theory,
could not be found in humanity, was conceived to flow from a divine
influence, and became ennobled, at least as a means of salvation, in the
eyes of those who would otherwise have suppressed it. At the same time,
as Comte also contends, these additions or corrections of the original
doctrine were inconsistent or imperfect in themselves, and inadequate to
the social purpose for which they were destined; and they naturally
disappeared whenever, by the emancipation of the intelligence, the
immense egoism, which Monotheism consecrated in God and favoured in man,
was let loose from the bonds in which the Church had confined it.
Protestantism was the first indication of this change; for Protestantism
is but an organized anarchy, in which the only elements of order are
derived from an instinctive conservatism, clinging to the fragments of a
past doctrinal system, which, in principle, has been abandoned. It
contains no organic elements of its own--no positive contribution to the
progressive life of humanity; it is simply the first imperfect result of
that metaphysical individualism which, in its ultimate form, freed from
all the limits of the Catholic system, expressed itself theoretically
in Rousseau and Voltaire, and practically in the French Revolution. The
hope of mankind, however, lies in the new synthesis of Positivism, which
alone can give due value to the innate altruistic sympathies of man, and
which therefore alone can place on a permanent scientific basis that
social order which the mediæval Church attempted in vain to found on the
essentially egoistic and anarchic doctrine of Monotheism.

The fundamental conception, then, which underlies Comte's view of
progress is, that every past religion, with the partial exception of
Fetichism, has been an amalgam of two radically inconsistent elements,
one of which only was due to the theological principle itself; while the
other was due, partly to the practical instinct of its priests, which
led them to modify the logical results of that principle in conformity
with the social wants of man; and partly also to their subordinate
position, which obliged them to use the spiritual means of conviction
and persuasion instead of the ruder weapons of material force. To
criticise fully this position would be to re-write Comte's history of
religion. It will be sufficient here to point out that his view of
modern history begins in a false interpretation of Christianity, and
ends in an equally false interpretation of the Protestant Reformation.

Christianity from its origin has two aspects or elements; and if we
compare it with earlier religions, we may call these its Pantheistic and
its Monotheistic elements. But these elements are not, as Comte asserts,
joined together by a mere external necessity. They are necessarily
connected in the inner logic of the system; nor can we regard one of
them as more or less essential than the other. In the simplest words of
the Gospels we find already expressed a sense of reconciliation with
God, and therefore with the world and self, which is alien to pure
Monotheism, though there is some faint anticipation of it in the later
books of the Old Testament. For a spiritual Monotheism, while it awakens
a consciousness of the holiness of God, and the sinfulness of the
creature, tends to make fear prevail over love, and the sense of
separation over the sense of union. The idea of the unity of the Divine
and the human--an original unity which yet has to be realized by
self-sacrifice--and the corresponding idea that the individual or
natural life must be lost in order to save it, were set before humanity,
as in one great living picture, in the life and death of Christ. And
what was thus directly presented to the heart and the imagination in an
individual, was universalized in the writings of St. Paul and St. John:
in other words, it was liberated from its peculiar national setting, and
used as a key to the general moral history of man. The Messiah of the
Jews was exalted into the Divine Logos, and the Cross became the symbol
of an atonement and reconciliation between God and man, which has been
made "before the foundation of the world," yet which has to be made
again in every human life. The work of the first three centuries was to
give to this idea such logical expression as was then possible, in the
doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity. It is true that this idea
of the unity of man with God was not immediately carried out to any of
the consequences which might seem to be contained in it. It remained for
a time a religion, and a religion only; it did not show itself to be the
principle of a new social or political order of life. Rather it accepted
the old order represented by the Roman Empire, and even consecrated it
as "ordained of God," only demanding for itself that it should be
allowed to purify the inner life of men. Such a separation of the things
of Cæsar and the things of God was then inevitable; for it is impossible
that a new principle can ever be received simply and without alloy into
minds, which are at the same time occupying themselves with its utmost
practical or even theoretical consequences. In this sense there is great
truth in what Comte says about the value of the separation of the
spiritual from the temporal authority. The power of directly realizing a
new religious principle, just because it draws away attention from the
principle itself to the details of its practical application, is likely
to prevent that application being either effective or even a true
expression of the principle. Such practical inferences cannot safely be
drawn by direct logical deduction; they will be made with certainty and
effect only by spirits which the principle has remoulded. The decided
withdrawal of the Christian Church from the sphere of "practical
politics" was, therefore, not merely a necessity forced upon it from
without; it was a condition which its best members gladly accepted,
because without it the inner transformation of man's life by the new
doctrine would have been impossible. If Christianity had raised an
insurrection of slaves, it never could have put an end to slavery.

But while this withdrawal was necessary, it contained a great danger;
for the inner life cannot be separated from the outer life without
becoming narrowed and distorted. Confined to the sphere of religion and
private morality, the doctrine of unity and reconciliation necessarily
became itself the source of a new dualism. What had been at first merely
neglect of the world was gradually changed into hostility to worldly
interests; and the germs of a positive morality, reconciling the flesh
and the spirit--which appear in the New Testament--were neglected and
overshadowed in the growth of asceticism. Christianity, even in its
first expression, had a negative side towards the natural life of man;
while it lifted man to God, it yet taught that humanity "cannot be
quickened except it die." But the mediæval Church, while it constantly
taught that humanity in its desires and tendencies must die, had almost
forgotten to hope that it could be quickened. Its highest morality--the
morality of the three vows--was the negation of all social obligations;
its science was the interpretation of a fixed dogma received on
authority; its religion tended to become an external service, an _opus
operatum_, a preparation for another world, rather than a principle of
action in this. Its highest act of worship, the Eucharist, in which was
celebrated the revealed unity of men with each other and with God, was
reserved in its fulness for the clergy, and even with them was finally
reduced to an external act by the doctrine of transubstantiation, in
which poetry "became logic," and in becoming logic, ceased to be truth.

Now, Comte, seeing the working of this negative tendency in mediæval
Catholicism, and regarding it as the natural work of Monotheism, is
obliged to treat all the positive side of Christianity as an external
addition suggested by the practical wisdom of the clergy. St. Paul is
supposed by him to have invented (and Comte's language would ever
suggest that he consciously invented[38]) the doctrine of grace, in
order to reconsecrate those social affections which Monotheism, in its
condemnation of nature, had either denied to exist, or, what is nearer
the truth, had treated as having no moral value. But this only shows how
imperfectly Comte grasped the Pauline conception of the moral change
which religion produces. The idea that the immediate untamed and
undisciplined will of the natural man is not a principle of morality,
and that therefore man must die to live, must rise above himself to be
himself, is one which has in it nothing discordant with the claims of
social feeling. It is the commonplace of every powerful writer on
practical ethics, from the Gospels to Thomas à Kempis, and from Luther
to Goethe.

  "Und so lang du das nicht hast
  Dies-es: Stirb und Werde,
  Bist du nur ein trüber Gast
  Auf der dunkeln Erde."

St. Paul adds that this death to self is possible only to him in whom
another than his own natural will lives; "so then it is not I that live,
but Christ that liveth in me." Comte would probably accept the sentence
with the substitution of humanity for Christ. But either substitution
involves the negation of the natural tendencies, whether individual or
social, in their immediate natural form; and Comte himself, when he
placed not only the sexual but even the maternal impulse among those
that are merely "personal," virtually acknowledged that the natural or
instinctive basis of the altruistic affections is not in itself
moral.[39] But because he begins with a psychology which treats the
egoistic and altruistic desires, and again the intellect and the heart,
as distinct and independent entities, he is unable to do justice to an
account of moral experience which involves that they are essentially
related elements in one whole, or necessarily connected stages of its

In the form in which it was first presented, the teaching of
Christianity was undoubtedly ambiguous, as, indeed, every doctrine in
its first general and abstract form must be. We cannot then call it
either social or anti-social, without limitations; it is anti-social and
ascetic, because of its negative relations to the previous forms of life
and culture; it is social and positive in so far as in its primary
doctrine of the unity of the divine and human--of divinity manifested
in man and humanity made perfect through suffering--it contains the
promise and the necessity of a development by which nature and spirit
shall be reconciled. The progressive tendency of Christendom was based
on the fact that from the earliest times the followers of Christ were
placed in the dilemma, either of denying their primary doctrine of
reconciliation between God and man and going back to pure Monotheism, or
of advancing to the reconciliation of all those other antagonisms of
spirit and nature, the world and the Church, which arose out of the
circumstances of its first publication. And modern history is more than
anything else the history of the long process whereby this logical
necessity manifested itself in fact. The negative spirit of the Middle
Age, its asceticism, its dualism, its formalism, its tendency to
transform the moral opposition of natural and spiritual into an external
opposition between two natural worlds, present and future, and thus to
substitute "other-worldliness" for worldliness, instead of substituting
unworldliness for both--all these characteristics were the natural
results of the fact that the idea of Christianity, in its first abstract
form, could not include, and therefore necessarily became opposed to,
the forms of social life and organization with which it came into
contact. But while the early Christians looked for the realization of
the kingdom of Heaven in some immediate earthly future, and the Middle
Age postponed it to another life, Christ had already taught the truth,
which alone can turn either of these hopes into something more than the
expression of an egoistic desire--the truth that "the kingdom of God is
within us." The reaction of the social necessities of mediæval society
on the doctrine--which Comte quite correctly describes as leading to the
gradual elevation of humanity and of human interests--found its main
support in the principles of the doctrine itself, so soon as its lessons
had been absorbed into the mind of the people. The irresistible force of
the movement, whereby the intelligence was emancipated from authority,
and the claims of the family and the State were asserted against the
Church, lay above all in this, that Christianity itself was felt to
involve the consecration of human life in all its interests and
relations. Luther's appeal to the New Testament and to the earliest ages
of Christianity was in some ways unhistorical, but it expressed a truth.
Protestantism was not a return to the Christianity of the first century;
it was an assertion of the relation of the individual to God, which was
itself made possible only by the long work of Latin Catholicism. But the
development of a doctrine, if it has in it any germ of truth which is
capable of development, involves a continual recurrence to its first,
and therefore its most general, expression. The elements successively
developed in the Catholic and the Protestant, the Latin and the Germanic
forms of Christianity, were both present in the original germ, and the
exaggerated prominence given in the former to the _negative_ side of
Christianity could not but lead, in the development of thought, to a
similarly exaggerated manifestation of its _positive_ side. But it is
nearly as absurd to say, as Comte does, that the true logical outcome of
Christianity is to be found in the "life of the hermits of the Thebaid,"
as it would be to say that its true logical outcome is to be found in
those vehement assertions of nature--naked and unashamed--as its own
sufficient warrant, which poured almost with the force of inspiration
from the lips of Diderot. Both extremes are equally removed from that
special moral temper and tone of feeling which we can alone call
Christian--the former by its want of sympathy and tenderness, no less
than the latter by its want of purity and self-command. Reassertion of
nature through its negation, or to put it more simply, the purification
of the natural desires by the renunciation of their immediate
gratification, is the idea that is more or less definitely present in
all phases of the history of Christianity; and, though swaying from one
side to the other, the religious life of modern times has never ceased
to present both aspects. Even a St. Augustine recoiled from the
Manichæism by which nature was regarded, not simply as fallen from its
original idea, but as essentially impure. And, on the other hand, even
Rousseau's Savoyard vicar, who has got rid of the negative or ascetic
element, as completely as is possible for any one still retaining any
tincture of Christianity or even of religion, and who insists so
strongly on the text that "the natural is the moral," is yet forced to
recognize that nature has two voices, and that the _raison commune_ has
to overcome and transform the natural inclinations of the individual. In
the life of its Founder, the Christian Church has always had before it
an individual type of that harmony of the spiritual and natural life,
which it is its ideal to realize in all the wider spiritual relations of
man; nor, till that ideal is reached, can it be said that the Christian
idea is exhausted, or that the place is vacant for a new religion,
however great may be the changes of form and expression through which
Christianity must pass under the changed conditions of modern life.

That Comte was not able to discern this, arose, as we have seen, from
the fact that he held a kind of Manichæism of his own. To him the
egoistic and altruistic desires were two kinds of innate tendencies,
both of which exist in man from the first, though with a great
preponderance on the side of egoism. Moral improvement simply consists
in altering the original proportions in favour of altruism, and moral
perfection would be the complete extinction of egoism (which with Comte
would naturally mean the extinction of all the desires classified as
personal). Hence there is a distinctly ascetic tendency in some of the
precepts of the _Politique Positive_,--_i.e._, asceticism begins to
appear, not simply as a transitionary process through which certain
natural desires are to be purified, but as a deliberate attempt to
extinguish them. A deeper analysis would have shown that the desires in
themselves, as mere natural impulses, are neither egoistic nor
altruistic, neither bad nor good; and that while, as they appear in the
conscious life, they are necessarily at first poisoned with egoism, yet
that the _ego_ is not absolutely opposed to the _alter ego_, but rather
implies it. A spiritual or self-conscious being is one who can find
himself, nay who can find himself only, in the life of others: and when
he does so find himself, there is no natural desire which for itself he
needs to renounce as impure; no natural desire which may not become the
expression of the better self, which is _ego_ and _alter ego_ in one.
But Comte, unable from the limitations of his psychology to see the true
relation of the negative and the positive side of ethics, is obliged to
treat the ascetic tendency of Christianity as involving a denial of the
existence, or the moral value, of the social sympathies; and on the
other hand, to regard the efforts of the Christian Church to cultivate
those sympathies, as the result of an external accommodation. His view
of Christianity, in short, practically coincides with the definition of
virtue given by Paley; it is "doing good to man, in obedience to the
will of God, with a view to eternal happiness." It is the pursuit of a
selfish end by means in themselves unselfish, with the pleasures and
pains of another world introduced as the link of connection; and it must
therefore leave bare selfishness in its place, so soon as doubt is cast
upon these supernatural rewards and punishments. Hence Comte is just
neither to Catholicism nor to Protestantism; considering that the former
was only _indirectly_ social, and that the latter is merely the first
step in a scepticism which, taking away the fears and hopes of another
world, must at the same time take away the last limit upon selfishness.
And, just because he is unable to understand either the negative
tendencies of the former, or the positive tendencies of the latter,
phase of modern life, he has an imperfect appreciation of that social
ideal to which both are leading, and which must combine in itself the
true elements of both. As, however, it is the temptation of writers on
social subjects to be least just to the tendencies of the time which
preceded their own, and against whose errors they have immediately to
contend, so we find that Comte is fairer towards Catholicism than he is
towards Protestantism, or towards that individualism which grew out of
Protestantism, and which he is pleased to call Metaphysics. The latter
he sees solely on their destructive side, as successive stages in the
modern movement of revolt, without appreciating the constructive
elements involved in them. Hence also he is led, in his attitude towards
this great movement, to all but identify himself with Catholic writers
like De Maistre; and his own scheme of the future is essentially
reactionary. The restoration of the spiritual power to its mediæval
position was a natural proposal for one who saw in the Protestant revolt
nothing more than an insurrectionary movement, which might clear the way
for a new social construction, but which in itself was the negation of
all government whatever.

For what was Protestantism? To the Protestant it seemed to be simply a
return to the original purity of the Christian faith; to the Catholic,
it seemed to be a fatal revolt against the only organization by which
Christianity could be realized. Really it partook of both characters. It
involved at once a dangerous misconception of the social conditions,
under which alone the religious life can be realized and developed, and
a deeper and truer apprehension of that religion, which first recognized
the latent divinity or universal capacity of every spiritual being as
such, and which, therefore, seemed to impose upon every individual man
the right or rather the duty of living by the witness of his own spirit.
Comte saw only the former of these aspects of it. Hence he regarded the
French Revolution as a practical refutation of the individualism which
grew out of the Protestant movement, and not, as it was in truth, a
critical event, which should force men to distinguish and separate its
true and its false elements. And he drew from it the lesson that the
individual has no moral or religious life of his own, but that it is
only in proportion as he transcends his own individuality and lives the
life of humanity, that his own spiritual life can have any depth or
riches in it. Like Burke he could say, "We are afraid to put men to live
and trade each on his own private stock of reason, because we suspect
that the stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do
better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations
and of ages." But because he discerned this, he regarded the effort of
Protestantism to throw individuals back upon themselves as merely
tending to empty their minds of all valuable contents, and to deliver
them over to their own individual caprice. Private judgment and popular
government are to him only other forms of expression for intellectual
and political anarchy; and his remedy for the moral diseases of modern
times is the restoration of that division of the spiritual and temporal
authorities, which existed in the Middle Ages. But there is another
aspect of the Protestant movement and of these apparently anarchical
doctrines, to which Comte pays no attention. Catholicism, as we have
seen, had developed one aspect of Christianity, until, by its exclusive
prominence, the principle of Christianity itself was on the point of
being lost. It had changed the opposition of laity and clergy, world and
Church, from a relative into an absolute one; it had presented its
doctrine, not as something which the spirit of the individual may
ultimately verify for itself, but as something to which it must
permanently submit without any verification. It had made the worship
into an _opus operatum_ instead of a means through which the feelings of
the worshipper could be at once drawn out and expressed. Now, it is as
opposed to these tendencies that the Protestant movement had its highest
importance. It would, no doubt, be intellectual anarchy, for every
individual to claim to judge for himself, on subjects for which he has
not the requisite training or discipline; but it is a slavery scarcely
less corrupting in its effect than anarchy, when he is made to regard
the difference between himself and his teachers as a permanent and
absolute one. In the former case, he has no sufficient feeling of his
want to make him duly submissive to teaching; in the latter, he has no
sufficient consciousness of his capacity to awake a due reaction of his
thought upon the matter received from his teachers. Again, the decline
of the sovereignty of the people would be the negation of all rule, if
it meant that the uninstructed many should govern themselves by their
own insight, and that the instructed few should simply be their servants
and their instruments. But where the people are not recognized as the
ultimate source of power, where their consent is not in any regular way
made necessary to the proceedings of their governors, they are by that
very fact kept in a perpetual tutelage, and cannot possibly feel that
the life of the State is their own life. Now, the most important effect
of the Protestant movement was just this, that it awakened in each
individual the consciousness of his universal nature, in other words the
consciousness that there is no external power or sovereignty, divine or
human, to which he has absolutely and permanently to submit, but that
every outward claim of authority must ultimately be justified by the
inner witness of the spirit. The freedom of man is that his obedience to
the State, to the Church, even to God, is the obedience of his natural
to his spiritual self. The essential truth of the Reformation lay in its
republication of the doctrine that the voice of God speaks within and
not only without us, and indeed that "it is only by the God within that
we can comprehend the God without." And the nations, which had learned
that lesson in religion, soon hastened to apply it to the social and
political order of life. It is undoubtedly a dangerous lesson, as may be
seen, not only in the tendency of many Protestant sects to put the inner
life in opposition to the outer, and so to deprive the former of all
wider contents and interests; but also in the ultimate substitution, by
Rousseau and others, of the assertion of the natural, for the assertion
of the spiritual, man. In such extreme cases we find the mere _capacity_
of man for a higher life treated as if it were the higher life itself;
forgetting that the capacity is nothing unless it be realized, and that
its realization requires the surrender of individual liberty and private
judgment to the guidance and teaching of those, in whom that realization
has already taken place. But it is not the less true that the
consciousness of the capacity, and the consequent sense of the duty of
becoming, not merely a slave or instrument, but an organ, of the
intellectual and moral life of mankind, is the essential basis of modern
life. "Henceforth, I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not
what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends," is a word of Christ
which scarcely began to be verified till the Reformation. And while its
verification cannot mean the negation of that division of labour upon
which society rests,--cannot mean that each one should _know_ and
_judge_, any more than that each one should _do_, everything for
himself,--it at least means that every power and authority should
henceforth be, in the true sense of the word, spiritual, and rest for
its main support upon the opinion of those who obey it. It is because he
has not appreciated this truth that Comte so decidedly breaks with the
democratic spirit of modern times, and seeks to set up an aristocracy in
the State and a monarchy in the Church. Yet the spirit of the age is,
after all, too strong for him, and while he refuses to the governed any
regular and legitimate way of reacting upon the powers that govern them,
he recognizes that the _ultima ratio_, the final remedy for
misgovernment, lies in their irregular and illegitimate action. As
regards the State, he declares that "the right of insurrection is the
ultimate resource with which no society should allow itself to
dispense."[40] And as regards the Church he says that if "the High
Priest of Humanity, supported by the body of the clergy, should go
wrong, then the only remedy left would be the refusal of co-operation, a
remedy which can never fail, as the priesthood rests solely on
conscience and opinion, and succumbs, therefore, to their adverse
sentence." The civil government, in fact, can bring the spiritual power
to a dead-lock, by "suspending its stipend, for in cases of serious
error, popular subscriptions would not replace it, unless on the
supposition of a fanaticism scarcely compatible with the Positive faith,
where there is enthusiasm for the doctrines, rather than for the
teachers."[41] Comte also desiderates among the proletariate a strong
reactive influence of public opinion, by which the officers, both of
Church and State, are to be kept to their work. But if this is
desirable, why should the proletariate have no regular means of making
their will felt? An "organic" theory of the constitution of society must
surely provide every real force with a legitimate form of expression; if
a social theory embodies the idea of revolution in it, it is

Comte's social ideal is in many respects a close reproduction of the
mediæval system, with its _régime dispersif_ of feudalism in secular
politics, and its concentration of Papal authority in the Church. For
him, the growth of national States to their present dimensions, and, on
the other hand, the increasing division of labour in the realm of
thought, are equally steps in the wrong direction. Still more strongly,
if possible, does he reprobate that interference of the State with
spiritual matters, such as the education of the people and its religious
life, which has been the natural consequence of the failure of the
mediæval Church to maintain its old authority. Notwithstanding his
worship of humanity, the idea of a "parliament of man, a federation of
the world," by which all the powers of mankind should be united for the
attainment of the highest material and spiritual good, has no attraction
for him. To reduce the State to the dimensions of a commune, and to
confine it to the care of purely material interests, is his first
political proposal. France, England, and Spain (and we may now add
Germany and Italy) are, in his view, "factitious aggregates without
solid justification," and they will only become "free and durable
States," when they are broken up into fragments, each with a population
of two or three millions, and a territory not exceeding that of Belgium
or Tuscany. The "West" will thus be divided into seventy republics, and
the earth into five hundred, and the main work of the patriciate will be
to direct and regulate the industrial life of the community; each member
of the banker triumvirate, who are to be at the head of the State,
having one of the great industrial departments under his special
superintendence. On the other hand the unity of humanity is to be
represented solely by the spiritual power, in whose hands is to be left
the whole work of extending science, teaching the people, and exercising
a moral censorship over all Governments and individuals. And while this
spiritual power is, for practical purposes, to be strictly organized on
the model of the mediæval Church, it is also, like that Church, to
remain, for scientific purposes, inorganic. In other words, it is to
admit no scientific division of labour, but every one, like a mediæval
doctor, is to profess all science, adding to this the priestly office,
which, with Comte, includes both the cure of souls and of bodies.

To criticize the details of this scheme seems to be unnecessary after
what has been already said. It is not to be denied that the division of
Church and State in the Middle Age was a most important and even
necessary condition of progress. Christianity could never have been
impressed upon the minds of men, if its concrete application and
development had been too rapid. The essential condition of such
development was that men should not concern themselves too prematurely
with it. For the consequences of a moral and religious principle cannot
be reached by direct logical deductions; it is like a living germ, in
which, by no analysis or dissection, you can discover the lineaments of
the future plant. To know what it really is, or involves, you must plant
it in the minds of men, and let it grow. Hence the mediæval Church was
strong in its weakness, and it was its very victories over the temporal
power that were its greatest danger. It became corrupt and lost its hold
upon the minds of men, just when it seemed to have established its right
to an absolute supremacy. Comte, following De Maistre, attaches great
importance to the position of the Popes as arbiters between the
Sovereigns and nations of mediæval Europe. But he forgets that, in
claiming and maintaining this position the Popes were distinctly ceasing
to be a spiritual power, if it be the function of a spiritual power to
inculcate principles rather than to use them to solve present
difficulties. A power interfering in this way with the immediate
struggle of interests, could not but be invaded by the passions they
excite, and it was the more certain to be corrupted by these passions,
because it conceived them to be evil, and pretended altogether to
renounce them. The mediæval authority of the Church might have its
value, as an anticipation of the peaceful federation of the nations
under one supreme Government, but it was at the same time the first
step towards the erasing of the distinction between the temporal and the
spiritual power.

The truth seems to be that the distinction, of secular and spiritual
powers, except in the sense already indicated, is essentially
irrational, and that the attempt to realise it in practice must involve,
as it did involve in the Middle Ages, a continual internecine struggle.
To set up two regularly constituted powers face to face with each other,
one claiming man's allegiance in the name of his spiritual, and the
other in the name of his temporal, interests, is to organize anarchy. So
long as man's body and soul are inseparable, it will be impossible to
divide the world between Cæsar and God; for in one point of view all is
Cæsar's, and in another all is God's. In the Middle Ages the conflict of
two despotisms was necessary to the growth of freedom; but, when
government ceases to be despotic, the need for such division of power
passes away. The relative separation between the speculative and the
practical classes--between the scientific and moral teachers of mankind,
on the one hand, and the statesmen or administrators who have to
discover what immediate changes in the organization of life have become
necessary, on the other--is a division of labour which can surely be
attained without breaking up the unity of the social body. It is not
desirable that the philosopher, or priest, or man of science, should be
king--and we may even acknowledge that if he were king he would probably
be a very bad one;--on the other hand, it is desirable that he should
have his due influence, as the teacher of those general truths out of
which all practical improvement must ultimately spring. But the natural
difference of the tastes and capacities of men should, in a
well-organized State, be sufficient to secure due influence to those who
are the natural representatives of man's spiritual interests (whether
they be religious, philosophic, or scientific), without tempting them
from their proper task of discovering and teaching the truth, to the
less appropriate work of determining how much of it comes within "the
sphere of practical politics." Comte, indeed, by organizing them as an
independent power apart from, and outside of, the State, would make such
a perversion extremely probable. A hierarchy of priests, under a
despotic Pope, would soon cease to be, in any sense, a spiritual power;
and this would be only the more certain if, by the Comtist denunciation
of specialism, they were prohibited from any division of labour
according to capacity in their own peculiar sphere of scientific
research. For by this prohibition their attention would be drawn more
and more from the truth of their doctrines to their immediate practical
effects, not to mention that, in the case of all but a few comprehensive
minds, the natural result would be an omniscient superficiality, which
would be the enemy of all real culture. For he who knows one thing well
may find the whole in the part; but he who knows the whole
superficially, inevitably reduces it to the level of something partial
and subjective. Deprived of its natural aim, the Comtist Church of the
future would inevitably throw itself, with all its energy, into the task
of directly influencing the practical life of men, and there it would
find itself in the presence of a number of communal States, none of them
large enough to offer any effective resistance. Positivism must indeed
alter human nature, if such a priesthood would not seek to make itself
despotic, especially if it could wield such a formidable weapon as the
Positivist excommunication is supposed to be.[42]

The truth is that Comte commits the same error which misled Montesquieu
and his followers, when they supposed that the great security of a free
State lay in the separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial
powers,--_i.e._, in treating the different organs through which the
common life expresses itself as if they were independent organisms. In
doing so, they forgot that, if such a balance of power was realised, the
effect must either be an equilibrium in which all movement must cease,
or a struggle in which the unity of the State would be in danger of
being lost. The true security against the dangers involved, on the one
hand, in the direct application of theory to practice, and, on the other
hand, in the separation of practice from theory, must lie, not in giving
them independent positions as spiritual and temporal powers, but in the
organic unity of the society--communal, national, or, if it may be,
universal--to which the representatives of both belong. And organic
unity, though it does not mean any special form of government, means at
least two things: in the first place, that each great class or interest
should have for itself a definite organ, and should therefore be able to
act on the whole body in a regular and constitutional manner, so as to
show all its force without revolutionary violence; and, in the second
place, that no class or interest should have such an independent
position, that there is no legal or constitutional method of bringing it
into due subordination. But Comte, losing his balance in his jealousy of
the individualistic and democratic movement of modern society, has built
up a social ideal, which fails in both these points of view. And he is
consequently obliged, against his will, to contemplate revolution and
war as necessary resources of the Constitution.

It would not be fair to conclude these articles, which have necessarily
been devoted in great part to criticism and controversy, without
expressing a sense of the power and insight which are shown in the works
of Comte, especially in the _Politique Positive_. Controversy itself, it
must be remembered, is a kind of homage; for, as Hegel says, "It is only
a great man that condemns us to the task of explaining him." But if we
can sometimes look down upon such men, it becomes us to remember that we
stand upon their shoulders. Comte seems to me to occupy, as a writer, a
position in some degree similar to that of Kant. He stands, or rather
moves, between the old world and the new, and is broken into
inconsistency by the effort of transition. Like Kant, he is embarrassed
to the end by the ideas with which he started, and of which he can
never free himself so as to make a new beginning. Comte had only a small
portion of that power of speculative analysis which characterized his
great predecessor, but he had much of his tenacity of thought, his power
of continuous construction; and he had the same conviction of the
all-importance of morals, and the same determination to make all his
theoretic studies subordinate to the solution of the moral problem.
Also, partly because he lived at a later time, and in the midst of a
society which was in the throes of a social revolution, and partly
because of the keenness and strength of his own social sympathies, he
gives us a kind of insight into the diseases and wants of modern
society, which we could not expect from Kant, and which throws new light
upon the ethical speculations of Kant's idealistic successors. To
believe that his system, as a whole, is inconsistent with itself, that
his theory of historical progress is insufficient, and that his social
ideal is imperfect, need not prevent us from recognizing that there are
many valuable elements in his historical and social theories, and that
no one who would study such subjects can afford to neglect them. A mind
of such power cannot treat any subject without throwing much light upon
it, which is independent of his special system of thought, and, above
all, without doing much to show what are the really important
difficulties in it which need to be solved. And, especially in such
subjects, to discover the right question is to be half-way to the
answer. Further, as Comte himself somewhere says, it is an immense
advantage in studying any complex subject to have before us a distinct
and systematic attempt to explain it; for it is only by criticism upon
criticism that we can expect to reach the truth, in which all its varied
sides and aspects are brought to a unity.



[26] "Comte and Positivism," p. 140.

[27] "The Unity of Comte's Life and Doctrine," p. 28.

[28] Pol. Pos. iii. p. 419. I quote from the translation.

[29] Pol. Pos. iii. p. 71.

[30] Pol. Pos. iii. p. 218.

[31] Ibid. iii. p. 365.

[32] Pol. Pos. iii. p. 348.

[33] Ibid. iii. p. 383.

[34] Ibid. iii. p. 376.

[35] Ibid. iii. p. 283.

[36] Pol. Pos. iii. p. 78.

[37] Ibid. iii. p. 346.

[38] Pol. Pos. iii. p. 346.

[39] Ibid. i. p. 562.

[40] Pol. Pos. i. p. 106. In my first article (CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for
May, p. 211) I inadvertently spoke of the hierarchical arrangement of
society as extending to the proletariate. This is inaccurate, for Comte
rather dwells on their "homogeneity," and seeks to obliterate all
distinctions of rank among them, only allowing to the engineers a kind
of "fraternal ascendancy." Pol. Pos. iv. p. 307.

[41] Pol. Pos. iv. p. 294.

[42] Pol. Pos. iv. p. 292.


A few months ago I endeavoured to trace out, in these pages, the
probable origin of the week, as a measure of time, by a method which has
not hitherto, so far as I know, been followed in such cases. I followed
chiefly a line of _à priori_ reasoning, considering how herdsmen and
tillers of the soil would be apt at a very early period to use the moon
as a means of measuring time, and how in endeavouring so to use her they
would almost of necessity be led to employ special methods of
subdividing the period during which she passes through her various
phases. But while each step of the reasoning was thus based on _à
priori_ considerations, its validity was tested by the evidence which
has reached us respecting the various methods employed by different
nations of antiquity for following the moon's motions. It appears to me
that the conclusions to which this method of reasoning led were more
satisfactory, because more trustworthy, than those which have been
reached respecting the week by the mere study of various traditions
which have reached us respecting the early use of this widespread time

I now propose to apply a somewhat similar method to a problem which has
always been regarded as at once highly interesting and very difficult,
the question of the purpose for which the pyramids of Egypt, and
especially the pyramids of Ghizeh, were erected. But I do not here take
the full problem under consideration. I have, indeed, elsewhere dealt
with it in a general manner, and have been led to a theory respecting
the pyramids which will be touched on towards the close of the present
paper. Here, however, I intend to deal only with one special part of the
problem, that part to which alone the method I propose to employ is
applicable--the question of the astronomical purpose which the pyramids
were intended to subserve. It will be understood, therefore, why I have
spoken of applying a somewhat similar method, and not a precisely
similar method; to the problem of the pyramids. For whereas in dealing
with the origin of the week, I could from the very beginning of the
inquiry apply the _à priori_ method, I cannot do so in the case of the
pyramids. I do not know of any line of _à priori_ reasoning by which it
could be proved, or even rendered probable, that any race of men, of
whatever proclivities or avocations, would naturally be led to construct
buildings resembling the pyramids. If it could be, of course that line
of reasoning would at the same time indicate what purposes such
buildings were intended to subserve. Failing evidence of this kind, we
must follow at first the _à posteriori_ method; and this method, while
it is clear enough as to the construction of pyramids, for there are the
pyramids themselves to speak unmistakably on this point, is not
altogether so clear as to any one of the purposes for which the pyramids
were built.

Yet I think that if there is one purpose among possibly many which the
builders of the pyramids had in their thoughts, which can be
unmistakably inferred from the pyramids themselves, independently of all
traditions, it is the purpose of constructing edifices which should
enable men to observe the heavenly bodies in some way not otherwise
obtainable. If the orienting of the faces of the pyramids had been
effected in some such way as the orienting of most of our cathedrals and
churches--_i.e._, in a manner quite sufficiently exact as tested by
ordinary observation, but not capable of bearing astronomical tests,--it
might reasonably enough be inferred that having to erect square
buildings for any purpose whatever, men were likely enough to set them
four-square to the cardinal points, and that, therefore, no stress
whatever can be laid on this feature of the pyramids' construction. But
when we find that the orienting of the pyramids has been effected with
extreme care, that in the case of the great pyramid, which is the
typical edifice of this kind, the orienting bears well the closest
astronomical scrutiny, we cannot doubt that this feature indicates an
astronomical purpose as surely as it indicates the use of astronomical

But while we thus start with what is to some degree an assumption, with
what at any rate is not based on _à priori_ considerations, yet
manifestly we may expect to find evidence as we proceed which shall
either strengthen our opinion on this point, or show it to be unsound.
We are going to make this astronomical purpose the starting-point for a
series of _à priori_ considerations, each to be tested by whatever
direct evidence may be available; and it is practically certain that if
we have thus started in an entirely wrong direction, we shall before
long find out our mistake. At least we shall do so, if we start with the
desire to find out as much of the truth as we can, and not with the
determination to see only those facts which point in the direction along
which we have set out, overlooking any which seem to point in a
different direction. We need not necessarily be in the wrong track
because of such seeming indications. If we are on the right track, we
shall see things more clearly as we proceed; and it may be that evidence
which at first seems to accord ill with the idea that we are progressing
towards the truth, may be found among the most satisfactory evidence
obtainable. But we must in any case note such evidence, even at the time
when it seems to suggest that we are on the wrong track. We may push on,
nevertheless, to see how such evidence appears a little later. But we
must by no means forget its existence. So only can we hope to reach the
truth or a portion of the truth, instead of merely making out a good
case for some particular theory.

We start, then, with the assumption that the great pyramid, called the
Pyramid of Cheops, was built for this purpose, _inter alia_, to enable
men to make certain astronomical observations with great accuracy; and
what we propose to do is to inquire what would be done by men having
this purpose in view, having, as the pyramid builders had, (1) a fine
astronomical site, (2) the command of enormous wealth, (3) practically
exhaustless stores of material, and (4) the means of compelling many
thousands of men to labour for them.

Watching the celestial bodies hour by hour, day by day, and year by
year, the observer recognizes certain regions of the heavens which
require special attention, and certain noteworthy directions both with
respect to the horizon and to elevation above the horizon.

For instance, the observer perceives that the stars, which are in many
respects the most conveniently observable bodies, are carried round, as
if they were rigidly attached to a hollow sphere, carried around an axis
passing through the station of the observer (as through a centre) and
directed towards a certain point in the dome of the heavens. That point,
then, is one whose direction must not only be ascertained, but must be
in some way or other indicated. Whatever the nature of an astronomer's
instruments or observatory, whether he have but a few simple
contrivances in a structure of insignificant proportions, or the most
perfect instruments in a noble edifice of most exquisite construction
and of the utmost attainable stability, he must in every case have the
position of the pole of the heavens clearly indicated in some way or
other. Now, the pole of the heavens is a point lying due north, at a
certain definite elevation above the horizon. Thus the first
consideration to be attended to by the builder of any sort of
astronomical observatory, is the determination of the direction of the
true north (or the laying down of a true north-and-south line), while
the second is the determination, and in some way or other the indication
of the angle of elevation above the north point, at which the true pole
of the heavens may lie.

To get the true north-and-south line, however, the astronomer would be
apt at first, perhaps, rather to make mid-day observations than to
observe the stars at night. It would have been the observation of these
which first called his attention to the existence of a definite point
round which all the stars seem to be carried in parallel circles; but he
would very quickly notice that the sun and the moon, and also the five
planets, are carried round the same polar axis, only differing from the
stars in this: that, besides being thus carried round with the celestial
sphere, they also move upon that sphere, though with a motion which is
very slow compared with that which they derive from the seeming motion
of the sphere itself. Now, among these bodies the sun and moon possess a
distinct advantage over the stars. A body illuminated by either the sun
or the moon throws a shadow, and thus if we place an upright pointed rod
in sunlight or moonlight, and note where the shadow of the point lies,
we know that a straight line from the point to the shadow of the point
is directed exactly towards the sun or the moon, as the case may be.
Leaving the moon aside as in other respects unsuitable, for she only
shines with suitable lustre in one part of each month, we have in the
sun's motions a means of getting the north-and-south line by thus noting
the position of the shadow of a pointed upright. For being carried
around an inclined axis directed northwards, the sun is, of course,
brought to his greatest elevation on any given day when due south. So
that if we note when the shadow of an upright is shortest on any day, we
know that at that moment the sun is at his highest or due south; and the
line joining the centre of the upright's base with the end of the shadow
at that instant lies due north-and-south.

But though theoretically this method is sufficient, it is open, in
practice, to a serious objection. The sun's elevation, when he is nearly
at his highest, changes very slowly; so that it is difficult to
determine the precise moment when the shadow is shortest. But the
direction of the shadow is steadily changing all the time that we thus
remain in doubt whether the sun's elevation has reached its maximum or
not. We are apt, then, to make an error as to time, which will result in
a noteworthy error as to the direction of the north-and-south line.

For this reason, it would be better for any one employing this shadow
method to take two epochs on either side of solar noon, when the sun was
at exactly the same elevation, or the shadow of exactly the same
length,--determining this by striking out a circle around the foot of
the upright, and observing where the shadow's point crossed this circle
before noon in drawing nearer to the base, and after noon in passing
away from the base. These two intersections with the circle necessarily
lie at equal distances from the north-and-south line, which can thus be
more exactly determined than by the other method, simply because the end
of the shadow crosses the circle traced on the ground at moments which
can be more exactly determined than the moment when the shadow is

Now, we notice in this description of methods which unquestionably were
followed by the very earliest astronomers, one circumstance which
clearly points to a feature as absolutely essential in every
astronomical observing station. (I do not say "observatory," for I am
speaking just now of observations so elementary that the word would be
out of place.) The observer must have a perfectly flat floor on which to
receive the shadow of the upright pointer. And not only must the floor
be flat, but it must also be perfectly horizontal. At any rate, it must
not slope down either towards the east or towards the west, for then the
shadows on either side of the north-and-south line would be unequal. And
though a slope towards north or south would not affect the equality of
such shadows, and would therefore be admissible, yet it would clearly be
altogether undesirable; since the avoidance of a slope towards east or
west would be made much more difficult if the surface were tilted,
however slightly, towards north or south. Apart from this, several other
circumstances make it extremely desirable that the surface from which
the astronomers make their observations should be perfectly horizontal.
In particular, we shall see presently that the exact determination of
elevations above the eastern and western horizons would be very
necessary even in the earliest and simplest methods of observation, and
for this purpose it would be essential that the observing surface should
be as carefully levelled in a north-and-south as in an east-and-west

We should expect to find, then, that when the particular stage of
astronomical progress had been reached, at which men not only perceived
the necessity of well-devised buildings for astronomical observation,
but were able to devote time, labour, and expense to the construction of
such buildings, the first point to which they would direct their
attention would be the formation of a perfectly level surface, on which
eventually they might lay down a north-and-south or true meridional

Now, of the extreme care with which this preliminary question of level
was considered by the builders of the great pyramid, we have singularly
clear and decisive evidence. For all around the base of the pyramid
there was a pavement, and we find the builders not only so well
acquainted with the position of the true horizontal plane at the level
of this pavement, but so careful to follow it (even as respects this
pavement, which, be it noticed, was only, in all probability, a
subsidiary and quasi-ornamental feature of the building), that the
pavement "was varied in thickness at the rate of about an inch in 100
feet to make it absolutely level, which the rock was not."[43]

But now with regard to the true north-and-south direction, although the
shadow method, carried out on a truly level surface, would be
satisfactory enough for a first rough approximation, or even for what
any but astronomers would regard as extreme accuracy, it would be open
to serious objections for really exact work. These objections would
have become known to observers long before the construction of the
pyramid was commenced, and would have been associated with the
difficulties which suggested, I think, the idea itself of constructing
such an edifice.

Supposing an upright pointed post is set up, and the position of the end
of the shadow upon a perfectly level surface is noted; then whatever use
we intend to make of this observation, it is essential that we should
know the precise position of the centre of the upright's base, and also
that the upright should be truly vertical. Otherwise we have only
exactly obtained the position of one end of the line we want, and to
draw the line properly we ought as exactly to know the position of the
other end. If we want _also_ to know the true position of a line joining
the point of the upright and the shadow of this point, we require to
know the true height of the upright. And even if we have these points
determined, we still have not a _material_ line from the point of the
upright to the place of its shadow. A cord or chain from one point to
the other would be curved, even if tightly stretched, and it would not
be tightly stretched, if long, without either breaking or pulling over
the upright. A straight bar of the required length could not be readily
made or used: if stout enough to lie straight from point to point it
would be unwieldy, if not stout enough so that it bent under its own
weight it would be useless.

Thus the shadow method, while difficult of application to give a true
north-and-south horizontal line, would fail utterly to give material
indications of the sun's elevation on particular days, without which it
would be impossible to obtain in this manner any material indications of
the position of the celestial pole.

A natural resource, under these circumstances--at least a natural
resource for astronomers who could afford to adopt the plan--would be to
build up masses of masonry, in which there should be tubular holes or
tunnellings pointing in certain required directions. In one sense the
contrivance would be clumsy, for a tunnelling once constructed, would
not admit of any change of position, nor even allow of any save very
limited changes in the direction of the line of view through them. In
fact, the more effective a tunnelling would be in determining any
particular direction, the less scope, of course, would it afford for any
change in the direction of a line of sight along it. So that the
astronomical architect would have to limit the use of this particular
method to those cases in which great accuracy in obtaining a direction
line and great rigidity in the material indication of that line's
position were essential or at least exceedingly desirable. Again, in
some cases presently to be noticed, he would require, not a tubing
directed to some special fixed point in the sky, but an opening
commanding some special range of view. Yet again it would be manifestly
well for him to retain, whenever possible, the power of using the shadow
method in observing the sun and moon; for this method in the case of
bodies varying their position on the celestial sphere, not merely with
respect to the cardinal points, would be of great value. Its value would
be enhanced if the shadows could be formed by objects and received on
surfaces holding a permanent position.

We begin to see some of the requirements of an astronomical building
such as we have supposed the earlier observers to plan.

First, such a building must be large, to give suitable length to the
direction lines, whether along edges of the building or along tubular
passages or tunnellings within it. Secondly, it must be massive in order
that these edges and passages might have the necessary stability and
permanence. Thirdly, it must be of a form contributing to such
stability, and as height above surrounding objects (even hills lying at
considerable distances) would be a desirable feature, it would be proper
to have the mass of masonry growing smaller from the base upwards.
Fourthly, it must have its sides carefully oriented, so that it must
have either a square or oblong base with two sides lying exactly north
and south, and the other two lying exactly east and west. Fifthly, it
must have the direction of the pole of the heavens either actually
indicated by a tunnelling of some sort pointed directly polewards, or
else inferable from a tunnelling pointing upon a suitable star close to
the true pole of the heavens.

The lower part of a pyramid would fulfil the conditions required for the
stability of such a structure, and a square or oblong form would be
suitable for the base of such a pyramid. We must not overlook the fact
that a complete pyramid would be utterly unsuitable for an astronomical
edifice. Even a pyramid built up of layers of stone and continued so far
upwards that the uppermost layer consisted of a single massive stone,
would be quite useless as an observatory. The notion which has been
entertained by some fanciful persons, that one purpose which the great
pyramid was intended to subserve, was to provide a raised small platform
high above the general level of the soil, in order that astronomers
might climb night after night to that platform, and thence make their
observations on the stars, is altogether untenable. Probably no fancy
respecting the pyramids has done more to discredit the astronomical
theory of these structures than has this ridiculous notion; because even
those who are not astronomers and therefore little familiar with the
requirements of a building intended for astronomical observation,
perceive at once the futility of any such arrangement, and the enormous,
one may almost say the infinite disproportion between the cost at which
the raised small platform would have been obtained, and the small
advantage which astronomers would derive from climbing up to it instead
of observing from the ground level. Yet we have seen this notion not
only gravely advanced by persons who are to some degree acquainted with
astronomical requirements, but elaborately illustrated. Thus, in
Flammariou's "History of the Heavens," there is a picture representing
six astronomers in eastern garb, perched in uncomfortable attitudes on
the uppermost steps of a pyramid, whence they are staring hard at a
comet, naturally without the slightest opportunity of determining its
true position in the sky, since they have no direction lines of any sort
for their guidance. Apart from this, their attention is very properly
directed in great part to the necessity of preserving their equilibrium.
In only one point in fact does this picture accord with à priori
probabilities--namely, in the great muscular development of these
ancient observers. They are perfectly herculean, and well they might be,
if night after night they had to observe the celestial bodies from a
place so hard to reach, and where attitudes so awkward must be
maintained during the long hours of the night.

It is perfectly clear, and is in fact one of the chief difficulties of
the astronomical theory of the pyramids, that it would only be when
these buildings were as yet incomplete that they could subserve any
useful astronomical purposes; nevertheless we must not on this account
suffer ourselves at this early stage of our inquiry to be diverted from
the astronomical theory by what must be admitted to be a very strong
argument against it. We have seen that there is such decisive and even
demonstrative evidence in favour of the theory that the pyramids were
not oriented in a general, still less in a merely casual, manner, and
this is, in reality, such clear evidence of their astronomical
significance, that we must pass further on upon the line of reasoning
which we have adopted--prepared to turn back indeed if absolutely
convincing evidence should be found against the theory of the
astronomical _purpose_ of the pyramids, but anticipating rather that, on
a close inquiry, a means of obviating this particular objection may
before long be found.

Let us suppose, then, that astronomers have determined to erect a
massive edifice, on a square or oblong base properly oriented,
constructing within this edifice such tubular openings as would be most
useful for the purpose of indicating the true directions of certain
celestial objects at particular times and seasons.

Before commencing so costly a structure they would be careful to select
the best possible position for it, not only as respects the nature of
the ground, but also as respects latitude. For it must be remembered
that, from certain parts of the earth, the various points and circles
which the astronomer recognizes in the heavens occupy special positions
and fulfil special relations.

So far as conditions of the soil, surrounding country, and so forth are
concerned, few positions could surpass that selected for the great
pyramid and its companions. The pyramids of Ghizeh are situated on a
platform of rock, about 150 feet above the level of the desert. The
largest of them, the Pyramid of Cheops, stands on an elevation free all
around, insomuch that less sand has gathered round it than would
otherwise have been the case. How admirably suited these pyramids are
for observing stations is shown by the way in which they are themselves
seen from a distance. It has been remarked by every one who has seen
the pyramids that the sense of sight is deceived in the attempt to
appreciate their distance and magnitude. "Though removed several leagues
from the spectator, they appear to be close at hand; and it is not until
he has travelled some miles in a direct line towards them, that he
becomes sensible of their vast bulk and also of the pure atmosphere
through which they are viewed."

With regard to their astronomical position, it seems clear that the
builders intended to place the great pyramid precisely in latitude 30°,
or, in other words, in that latitude where the true pole of the heavens
is one-third of the way from the horizon to the point overhead (the
zenith), and where the noon sun at true spring or autumn (when the sun
rises almost exactly in the east, and sets almost exactly in the west)
is two-thirds of the way from the horizon to the point overhead. In an
observatory set exactly in this position, some of the calculations or
geometrical constructions, as the case may be, involved in astronomical
problems, are considerably simplified. The first problem in Euclid, for
example, by which a triangle of three equal sides is made, affords the
means of drawing the proper angle at which the mid-day sun in spring or
autumn is raised above the horizon, and at which the pole of the heavens
is removed from the point overhead. Relations depending on this angle
are also more readily calculated, for the very same reason, in fact,
that the angle itself is more readily drawn. And though the builders of
the great pyramid must have been advanced far beyond the stage at which
any difficulty in dealing directly with other angles would be involved,
yet they would perceive the great advantage of having one among the
angles entering into their problems thus conveniently chosen. In our
time, when by the use of logarithmic and other tables, all calculations
are greatly simplified, and when also astronomers have learned to
recognize that no possible choice of latitude would simplify their
labours (unless an observatory could be set up at the North Pole itself,
which would be in other respects inconvenient), matters of this sort are
no longer worth considering, but to the mathematicians who planned the
great pyramid they would have possessed extreme importance.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

To set the centre of the pyramid's future base in latitude 30°, two
methods could be used, both already to some degree considered--the
shadow method, and the Pole-star method. If at noon, at the season when
the sun rose due east and set due west, an upright A C were found to
throw a shadow C D, so proportioned to A C that A C D would be one-half
of an equal-sided triangle, then, theoretically, the point where this
upright was placed would be in latitude 30°. As a matter of fact it
would not be, because the air, by bending the sun's rays, throws the sun
apparently somewhat above his true position. Apart from this, at the
time of true spring or autumn, the sun does not seem to rise due east,
or set due west, for he is raised above the horizon by atmospheric
refraction, before he has really reached it in the morning, and he
remains raised above it after he has really passed below--understanding
the word "really" to relate to his actual geometrical direction. Thus,
at true spring and autumn, the sun rises slightly to the north of east,
and sets slightly to the north of west. The atmospheric refraction is
indeed so marked, as respects these parts of the sun's apparent course,
that it must have been quickly recognized. Probably, however, it would
be regarded as a peculiarity only affecting the sun when close to the
horizon, and would be (correctly) associated with his apparent change of
shape when so situated. Astronomers would be prevented in this way from
using the sun's horizontal position at any season to guide them with
respect to the cardinal points, but they would still consider the sun,
when raised high above the horizon, as a suitable astronomical index (so
to speak), and would have no idea that even at a height of sixty degrees
above the horizon, or seen as in direction D A, Fig. 1, he is seen
appreciably above his true position.

Adopting this method--the shadow method--to fix the latitude of the
pyramid's base, they would conceive the sun was sixty degrees above the
horizon at noon, at true spring or autumn, when in reality he was
somewhat below that elevation. Or, in other words, they would conceive
they were in latitude 30° north, when in reality they were farther north
(the mid-day sun at any season sinking lower and lower as we travel
farther and farther north). The actual amount by which, supposing their
observations exact, they would thus set this station north of its proper
position, would depend on the refractive qualities of the air in Egypt.
But although there is some slight difference in this respect between
Egypt and Greenwich, it is but small; and we can determine from the
Greenwich refraction tables, within a very slight limit of error, the
amount by which the architects of the great pyramid would have set the
centre or the base north of latitude 30°, if they had trusted solely to
the shadow method. The distance would have been as nearly as possible
1125 yards, or say three furlongs.

Now, if they followed the other method, observing the stars around the
pole, in order to determine the elevation of the true pole of the
heavens, they would be in a similar way exposed to error arising from
the effects of atmospheric refraction. They would proceed probably
somewhat in this wise:--Using any kind of direction lines, they would
take the altitude of their Polar star (1) when passing immediately under
the pole, and (2) when passing immediately above the pole. The mean of
the altitudes thus obtained would be the altitude of the true pole of
the heavens. Now, atmospheric refraction affects the stars in the same
way that it affects the sun, and the nearer a star is to the horizon,
the more it is raised by atmospheric refraction. The Pole-star in both
its positions--that is when passing below the pole, and when passing
above that point--is raised by refraction, rather more when below than
when above; but the estimated position of the pole itself, raised by
about the mean of these two effects, is in effect raised almost exactly
as much as it would be if it were itself directly observed (that is, if
a star occupied the pole itself, instead of merely circling close round
the pole). We may then simplify matters by leaving out of consideration
at present all questions of the actual Pole-star in the time of the
pyramid builders, and simply considering how far they would have set the
pyramid's base in error, if they had determined their latitude by
observing a star occupying the position of the true pole of the heavens.

They would have endeavoured to determine where the pole appears to be
raised exactly thirty degrees above the horizon. But the effect of
refraction being to raise every celestial object above its true
position, they would have supposed the pole to be raised thirty degrees,
when in reality it was less raised than this. In other words, they would
have supposed they were in latitude 30°, when, in reality, they were in
some lower latitude, for the pole of the heavens rises higher and higher
above the horizon as we pass to higher and higher latitudes. Thus they
would set their station somewhat to the south of latitude 30°, instead
of to the north, as when they were supposed to have used the shadow
method. Here again we can find how far they would set it south of that
latitude. Using the Greenwich refraction table (which is the same as
Bessel's), we find that they would have made a much greater error than
when using the other method, simply because they would be observing a
body at an elevation of about thirty degrees only, whereas in taking the
sun's mid-day altitude in spring or autumn, they would be observing a
body at twice as great an elevation. The error would be, in fact, in
this case, about 1 mile 1512 yards.

It seems not at all unlikely that astronomers, so skilful and ingenious
as the builders of the pyramid manifestly were, would have employed both
methods. In that case they would certainly have obtained widely
discrepant results, rough as their means and methods must unquestionably
have been, compared with modern instruments and methods. The exact
determination from the shadow plan would have set them 1125 yards to the
north of the true latitude; while the exact determination from the
Pole-star method would have set them 1 mile 1512 yards south of the true
latitude. Whether they would thus have been led to detect the effect of
atmospheric refraction on celestial bodies high above the horizon may be
open to question. But certainly they would have recognized the action of
some cause or other, rendering one or other method, or both methods,
unsatisfactory If so, and we can scarcely doubt that this would actually
happen (for certainly they would recognize the theoretical justice of
both methods, and we can hardly imagine that having two available
methods, they would limit their operations to one method only), they
would scarcely see any better way of proceeding than to take a position
intermediate between the two which they had thus obtained. Such a
position would lie almost exactly 1072 yards south of true latitude 30°

Whether the architects of the pyramid of Cheops really proceeded in this
way or not, it is certain that they obtained a result corresponding so
well with this that if we assume they really did intend to set the base
of the pyramid in latitude 30°, we find it difficult to persuade
ourselves that they did not follow some such course as I have just
indicated--the coincidence is so close considering the nature of the
observations involved. According to Professor Piazzi Smyth, whose
observational labours in relation to the great pyramid are worthy of all
praise, the centre of the base of this pyramid lies about 1 mile 568
yards south of the thirtieth parallel of latitude. This is 944 yards
north of the position they would have deduced from the Pole-star method;
1 mile 1693 yards south of the position they would have deduced from the
shadow method; and 1256 yards south of the mean position between the two
last-named. The position of the base seems to prove beyond all
possibility of question that the shadow method was not the method on
which sole or chief reliance was placed, though this method must have
been known to the builders of the pyramid. It does not, however, prove
that the star method was the only method followed. A distance of 944
yards is so small in a matter of this sort that we might fairly enough
assume that the position of the base was determined by the Pole-star
method. If, however, we supposed the builders of the pyramid to have
been exceedingly skilful in applying the methods available to them, we
might not unreasonably conclude from the position of the pyramid's base
that they used both the shadow method and the Pole-star method, but
that, recognizing the superiority of the latter, they gave greater
weight to the result of employing this method. Supposing, for instance,
they applied the Pole-star method three times as often as the shadow
method, and took the mean of all the results thus obtained, then the
deduced position would lie three times as far from the northern position
obtained by the shadow method as from the southern position obtained by
the Pole-star method. In this case their result, if correctly deduced,
would have been only about 156 yards north of the actual present
position of the centre of the base.

It is impossible, however, to place the least reliance on any
calculation like that made in the last few lines. By _à posteriori_
reasoning such as this one can prove almost anything about the pyramids.
For observe, though presented as _à priori_ reasoning, it is in reality
not so, being based on the observed fact, that the true position lies
more than three times as far from the northerly limit as from the
southern one. Now, if in any other way, not open to exception, we knew
that the builders of the pyramid used both the sun method and the star
method, with perfect observational accuracy, but without knowledge of
the laws of atmospheric refraction, we could infer from the observed
position the precise relative weights they attached to the two methods.
But it is altogether unsafe, or, to speak plainly, it is in the logical
sense a perfectly vicious manner of reasoning, to ascertain first such
relative weights on an assumption of this kind, and having so found
them, to assert that the relation thus detected is a probable one in
itself, and that since, when assumed, it accounts precisely for the
observed position of the pyramid, therefore the pyramid was posited in
that way and no other. It has been by unsound reasoning of this kind
that nine-tenths of the absurdities have been established on which
Taylor and Professor Smyth and their followers have established what may
be called the pyramid religion.

All we can fairly assume as probable from the evidence, in so far as
that evidence bears on the results of _à priori_ considerations, is that
the builders of the great pyramid preferred the Pole-star method to the
shadow method, as a means of determining the true position of latitude
30° north. They seem to have applied this method with great skill
considering the means at their disposal, if we suppose that they took no
account whatever of the influence of refraction. If they took refraction
into account at all they considerably underrated its influence.

Piazzi Smyth's idea that they knew the _precise_ position of the
thirtieth parallel of latitude, and also the _precise_ position of the
parallel, where, owing to refraction, the Pole-star would appear to be
thirty degrees above the horizon, and deliberately set the base of the
pyramid between these limits (not exactly or nearly exactly half-way,
but somewhere between them), cannot be entertained for a moment by any
one not prepared to regard the whole history of the construction of the
pyramid as supernatural. My argument, let me note in passing, is not
intended for persons who take this particular view of the pyramid, a
view on which reasoning could not very well be brought to bear.

If the star method had been used to determine the position of the
parallel of 30° north latitude, we may be certain it would be used also
to orient the building. Probably indeed the very structures (temporary,
of course) by which the final observations for the latitude had been
made, would remain available also for the orientation. These structures
would consist of uprights so placed that the line of sight along their
extremities (or along a tube perhaps borne aloft by them in a slanting
position) the Pole-star could be seen when immediately below or
immediately above the pole. Altogether the more convenient direction of
the two would be that towards the Pole-star when below the pole. The
extremities of these uprights, or the axis of the upraised tube, would
lie in a north-and-south line considerably inclined to the horizon,
because the pole itself being thirty degrees above the horizon, the
Pole-star, whatever star this might be, would be high above the horizon
even when exactly under the pole. No star so far from the pole as to
pass close to the horizon would be of use even for the work of
orientation, while for the work of obtaining the latitude it would be
absolutely essential that a star close to the pole should be used.

A line along the feet of the uprights would run north-and-south. But the
very object for which the great astronomical edifice was being raised,
was that the north-and-south line amongst others should be indicated by
more perfect methods.

Now at this stage of proceedings, what could be more perfect as a method
of obtaining the true bearing of the pole than to dig a tubular hole
into the solid rock, along which tube the Pole-star at its lower
culmination should be visible? Perfect stability would be thus insured
for this fundamental direction line. It would be easy to obtain the
direction with great accuracy, even though at first starting the borings
were not quite correctly made. And the further the boring was continued
downwards towards the south the greater the accuracy of the direction
line thus obtained. Of course there could be no question whatever in
such underground boring, of the advantage of taking the lower passage of
the Pole-star, not the upper. For a line directly from the star at its
upper passage would slant downwards at an angle of more than thirty
degrees from the horizon, while a line directly from the star at its
lower passage would slant downwards at an angle of less than thirty
degrees; and the smaller this angle the less would be the length, and
the less the depth of the boring required for any given horizontal

Besides perfect stability, a boring through the solid rock would present
another most important advantage over any other method of orienting the
base of the pyramid. In the case of an inclined direction line above the
level of the horizontal base, there would be the difficulty of
determining the precise position of points under the raised line; for
manifest difficulties would arise in letting fall plumb-lines from
various points along the optical axis of a raised tubing. But nothing
could be simpler than the plan by which the horizontal line
corresponding to the underground tube could be determined. All that
would be necessary would be to allow the tube to terminate in a
tolerably large open space; and from a point in the base vertically
above this, to let fall a plumb-line through a fine vertical boring into
this open space. It would thus be found how far the point from which the
plumb-line was let fall lay, either to the east or to the west of the
optical axis of the underground tunnel, and therefore how far to the
east or to the west of the centre of the open mouth of this tunnel. Thus
the true direction of a north-and-south line from the end of the tube to
the middle of the base would be ascertained. This would be the meridian
line of the pyramid's base, or rather the meridian line corresponding to
the position of the underground passage directed towards the Pole-star
when immediately under the pole.

A line at right angles to the meridian line thus obtained would lie due
east and west, and the true position of the east-and-west line would
probably be better indicated in this way than by direct observation of
the sun or stars. If direct observation were made at all, it would be
made not on the sun in the horizon near the time of spring and autumn,
for the sun's position is then largely affected by refraction. The sun
might be observed for this purpose during the summer months, at moments
when calculation showed that he should be due east or west, or crossing
what is technically the _prime vertical_. Possibly the so-called azimuth
trenches on the east side of the great pyramid may have been in some way
associated with observations of this sort, as the middle trench is
directed considerably to the north of the east point, and not far from
the direction in which the sun would rise when about thirty degrees (a
favourite angle with the pyramid architects) past the vernal equinox.
But I lay no stress on this point. The meridian line obtained from the
underground passage would have given the builders so ready a means of
determining accurately the east and west lines for the north and south
edges of the pyramid's base, that any other observations for this
purpose can hardly have been more than subsidiary.

It is, of course, well known that there is precisely such an underground
tunnelling as the considerations I have indicated seem to suggest as a
desirable feature in a proposed astronomical edifice on a very noble
scale. In all the pyramids of Ghizeh, indeed, there is such a tunnelling
as we might expect on almost any theory of the relation of the smaller
pyramids to the great one. But the slant tunnel under the great pyramid
is constructed with far greater skill and care than have been bestowed
on the tunnels under the other pyramids. Its length underground amounts
to more than 350 feet, so that, viewed from the bottom, the mouth, about
four feet across from top to bottom on the square, would give a sky
range of rather less than one-third of a degree, or about one-fourth
more than the moon's apparent diameter. But, of course, there was
nothing to prevent the observers who used this tube from greatly
narrowing these limits by using diaphragms, one covering up all the
mouth of the tube, except a small opening near the centre, and another
correspondingly occupying the lower part of the tube from which the
observation was made.

It seems satisfactorily made out that the object of the slant tunnel,
which runs 350 feet through the rock on which the pyramid is built, was
to observe the Pole-star of the period at its lower culmination, to
obtain thence the true direction of the north point. The slow motion of
a star very near the pole would cause any error in time, as when this
observation was made, to be of very little importance, though we can
understand that even such observations as these would remind the
builders of the pyramid of the absolute necessity of good
time-measurements and time-observations in astronomical research.

Finding this point clearly made out, we can fairly use the observed
direction of the inclined passage to determine what was the position of
the Pole-star at the time when the foundations of the great pyramid were
laid, and even what that Pole-star may have been. On this point there
has never been much doubt, though considerable doubt exists as to the
exact epoch when the star occupied the position in question. According
to the observations made by Professor Smyth, the entrance passage has a
slope of about 26° 27', which would have corresponded, when refraction
is taken into account, to the elevation of the star observed through the
passage, at an angle of about 26° 29' above the horizon. The true
latitude of the pyramid being 29° 58' 51", corresponding to an elevation
of the true pole of the heavens, by about 30° 1/2' above the horizon, it
follows that if Professor Smyth obtained the true angle for the entrance
passage, the Pole-star must have been about 3° 31-1/2' from the pole.
Smyth himself considers that we ought to infer the angle for the
entrance passage from that of other internal passages, presently to be
mentioned, which he thinks were manifestly intended to be at the same
angle of inclination, though directed southwards instead of northwards.
Assuming this to be the case, though for my own part I cannot see why we
should do so (most certainly we have no _à priori_ reason for so doing),
we should have 26° 18' as about the required angle of inclination,
whence we should get about 3° 42' for the distance of the Pole-star of
the pyramid's time from the true pole of the heavens. The difference may
seem of very slight importance, and I note that Professor Smyth passes
it over as if it really were unimportant; but in reality it corresponds
to somewhat large time-differences. He quotes Sir J. Herschel's correct
statement, that about the year 2170 B.C. the star Alpha Draconis, when
passing below the pole, was elevated at an angle of about 26° 18' above
the horizon, or was about 3° 42' from the pole of the heavens (I have
before me, as I write, Sir J. Herschel's original statement, which is
not put precisely in this way); and he mentions also that somewhere
about 3440 B.C. the same star was situated at about the same distance
from the pole. But he omits to notice that since, during the long
interval of 1270 years, Alpha Draconis had been first gradually
approaching the pole until it was at its nearest, when it was only about
3-1/2' from that point, and then as gradually receding from the pole
until again 3° 42' from it, it follows that the difference of nine or
ten minutes in the estimated inclination of the entrance passage
corresponds to a very considerable interval in time, certainly to not
less than fifty years. (Exact calculation would be easy, but it would be
time wasted where the data are inexact.)

Having their base properly oriented, and being about to erect the
building itself, the architects would certainly not have closed the
mouth of the slant tunnel pointing northwards, but would have carried
the passage onwards through the basement layers of the edifice, until
these had reached the height corresponding to the place where the
prolongation of the passage would meet the slanting north face of the
building. I incline to think that at this place they would not be
content to allow the north face to remain in steps, but would fit in
casing stones (not necessarily those which would eventually form the
slant surface of the pyramid, but more probably slanted so as to be
perpendicular to the axis of the ascending passage.) They would probably
cut a square aperture through such slant stones corresponding to the
size of the passage elsewhere, so as to make the four surfaces of the
passage perfectly plane from its greatest depth below the base of the
pyramid to its aperture, close to the surface to be formed eventually by
the casing stones of the pyramid itself.

Now, in this part of his work, the astronomical architect could scarcely
fail to take into account the circumstance that the inclined passage,
however convenient as bearing upon a bright star near the pole when that
star was due north, was, nevertheless, not coincident in direction with
the true polar axis of the celestial sphere. I cannot but think he would
in some way mark the position of their true polar axis. And the natural
way of marking it would be to indicate where the passage of his
Pole-star _above_ the pole ceased to be visible through the slant tube.
In other words he would mark where a line from the middle of the lowest
face of the inclined passage to the middle of the upper edge of the
mouth was inclined by twice the angle 3° 42' to the axis of the passage.
To an eye placed on the optical axis of the passage, at this distance
from the mouth the middle of the upper edge of the mouth would (_quam
proximé_) show the place of the true pole of the heavens. It certainly
is a singular coincidence that at the part of the tube where this
condition would be fulfilled, there is a peculiarity in the construction
of the entrance passage, which has been indeed otherwise explained, but
I shall leave the reader to determine whether the other explanation is
altogether a likely one. The feature is described by Smyth as "a most
singular portion of the passage--viz., a place where two adjacent
wall-joints, similar, too, on either side of the passage, were vertical
or nearly so; while every other wall-joint, both above and below, was
_rectangular_ to the length of the passage, and, therefore, largely
_inclined_ to the vertical." Now I take the mean of Smyth's
determinations of the transverse height of the entrance passage as 47.23
inches (the extreme values are 47.14 and 47.32), and I find that, from a
point on the floor of the entrance passage, this transverse height would
subtend an angle of 7° 24' (the range of Alpha Draconis in altitude when
on the meridian) at a distance 363.65 inches from the transverse mouth
of the passage. Taking this distance from Smyth's scale in Plate xvii.
of his work on the pyramid ("Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid"), I
find that, if measured along the base of the entrance passage from the
lowest edge of the vertical stone, it falls exactly upon the spot where
he has marked in the probable outline of the uncased pyramid, while, if
measured from the upper edge of the same stone, it falls just about as
far within the outline of the cased pyramid as we should expect the
outer edge of a sloped end stone to the tunnel to have lain.

It may be said that from the floor of the entrance passage no star could
have been seen, because no eye could be placed there. But the builders
of the pyramid cannot reasonably be supposed to have been ignorant of
the simple properties of plane mirrors, and by simply placing a thin
piece of polished metal upon the floor at this spot, and noting where
they could see the star and the upper edge of the tunnel's mouth in
contact by reflection in this mirror, they could determine precisely
where the star could be seen touching that edge, by an eye placed (were
that possible) precisely in the plane of the floor.

I have said there is another explanation of this peculiarity in the
entrance passage, but I should rather have said there is another
explanation of a line marked on the stone next below the vertical one. I
should imagine this line, which is nothing more than a mark such "as
might be ruled with a blunt steel instrument, but by a master hand for
power, evenness, straightness, and still more for rectangularity to the
passage axis," was a mere sign to show where the upright stone was to
come. But Professor Smyth, who gives no explanation of the upright stone
itself, except that it seems, from its upright position, to have had
"something representative of setting up, or preparation for the erecting
of a building," believes that the mark is as many inches from the mouth
of the tunnel as there were years between the dispersal of man and the
building of the pyramid; that thence downwards to the place where an
ascending passage begins, marks in like manner the number of years which
were to follow before the Exodus; thence along the ascending passage to
the beginning of the great gallery the number of years from the Exodus
to the coming of Christ; and thence along the floor of the grand gallery
to its end, the interval between the first coming of Christ and the
second coming or the end of the world, which it appears is to take place
in the year 1881. It is true not one of these intervals accords with the
dates given by those who are considered the best authorities in Biblical
matters,--but so much the worse for the dates.

To return to the pyramid.

We have considered how, probably, the architect would plan the
prolongation of the entrance passage to its place of opening out on the
northern face. But as the pyramid rose layer by layer above its
basement, there must be ascending passages of some sort towards the
south, the most important part of the sky in astronomical research.

The astronomers who planned the pyramid would specially require four
things. First, they must have the ascending passage in the absolutely
true meridian plan; secondly, they would require to have in view, along
a passage as narrow as the entrance tunnel, some conspicuous star, if
possible a star so bright as to be visible by day (along such a tunnel)
as well as by night; thirdly, they must have the means of observing the
sun at solar noon on every day in the year; and fourthly, they must also
have the entire range of the zodiac or planetary highway brought into
view along their chief meridional opening.

The first of these points is at once the most important and the most
difficult. It is so important, indeed, that we may hope for significant
evidence from the consideration of the methods which would suggest
themselves as available.

Consider:--The square base has been duly oriented. Therefore, if each
square layer is placed properly, the continually diminishing square
platform will remain always oriented. But if any error is made in this
work the exactness of the orientation will gradually be lost. And this
part of the work cannot be tested by astronomical observations as exact
as those by which the base was laid, unless the vertical boring by which
the middle of the base, or a point near it, was brought into connection
with the entrance passage, is continued upwards through the successive
layers of the pyramidal structure. As the rock rises to a considerable
height within the interior of the pyramid,[44] probably to quite the
height of the opening of the entrance passage on the northern slope, it
would only be found necessary to carry up this vertical boring on the
building itself after this level had been reached. But in any case this
would be but an unsatisfactory way of obtaining the meridian plane when
once the boring had reached a higher level than the opening of the
entrance passage; for only horizontal lines from the boring to the
inclined tunnelling would be of use for exact work, and no such lines
could be drawn when once the level of the upper end of the entrance
passage had been passed by the builders.

A plan would be available, however (not yet noticed, so far as I know,
by any who have studied the astronomical relations of the great
pyramid), which would have enabled the builders perfectly to overcome
this difficulty.

Suppose the line of sight down the entrance passage were continued
upwards along an ascending passage, after reflection at a perfectly
horizontal surface--the surface of still water--then by the simplest of
all optical laws, that of the reflection of light, the descending and
ascending lines of sight on either side of the place of reflection,
would lie in the same vertical plane, that, namely, of the entrance
passage, or of the meridian. Moreover, the farther upwards an ascending
passage was carried, along which the reflected visual rays could pass,
the more perfect would be the adjustment of this meridional plane.

To apply this method, it would be necessary to temporarily plug up the
entrance passage where it passed into the solid rock, to make the
stone-work above it very perfect and close fitting, so that whenever
occasion arose for making one of the observations we are considering,
water might be poured into the entrance passage, and remain long enough
standing at the corner (so to speak) where this passage and the
suggested ascending passage could meet, for Alpha Draconis to be
observed down the ascending passage. Fig. 2 shows what is meant. Here D
C is the descending passage, C A the ascending passage, C the corner
where the water would be placed when Alpha Draconis was about to pass
below the pole. The observer would look down A C, and would see Alpha
Draconis by rays which had passed down D C, and had been reflected by
the water at C. Supposing the building to have been erected, as Lepsius
and other Egyptologists consider, at the rate of one layer in each year,
then only one observation of the kind described need be made per annum.
Indeed, fewer would serve, since three or four layers of stone might be
added without any fresh occasion arising to test the direction of the
passage C A.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

It is hardly necessary to remind those who have given any attention to
the subject of the pyramid that there is precisely such an ascending
passage as C A, and that as yet no explanation of the identity of its
angle of ascent with the angle of descent of the passage D C has ever
been given. Most pyramidalists content themselves by assuming, as Sir E.
Beckett puts it, "that the same angle would probably be used for both
sets of passages, _as there was no reason for varying it_," which is not
exactly an explanation of the relation. Mr. Wacherbarth has suggested
that the passages were so adjusted for the purpose of managing a system
of balance cars united by ropes from one passage to another; but this
explanation is open, as Beckett points out, to the fatal objection that
the passages meet at their lowest point, not at their highest, so that
it would be rather a puzzle "to work out the mechanical idea." The
reflection explanation is not only open to no such objections, but
involves precisely such an application of optical laws as we should
expect from men so ingenious as the pyramid builders certainly were. In
saying this, let me explain, I am not commending myself for ingenuity in
thinking of the method, simply because such methods are quite common and
familiar in the astronomy of modern times.

While I find this explanation, which occurred to me even while this
paper was in writing, so satisfactory that I feel almost tempted to say,
like Sir G. Airy of his explanation of the Deluge as an overflow of the
Nile, that "I cannot entertain the slightest doubt" of its validity, I
feel that there ought to be some evidence in the descending passage
itself of the use of this method. We might not find any traces of the
plugs used to stop up, once a year or so, the rock part of the
descending passage. For they would be only temporary arrangements. But
we should expect to find the floor of the descending passage constructed
with special care, and very closely fitted, where the water was to be

Inquiring whether this is so, I find not only that it is, but that
another hitherto unexplained feature of the great pyramid finds its
explanation in this way,--the now celebrated "secret sign." Let us read
Professor Smyth's account of this peculiar feature:--

     "When measuring the cross-joints in the floor of the
     entrance-passage, in 1865, I went on chronicling their angles, each
     one proving to be very nearly at right angles to the axis, until
     suddenly one came which was _diagonal_; another, and that was
     diagonal too; but, after that, the rectangular position was
     resumed. Further, the stone material carrying these diagonal joints
     was harder and better than elsewhere in the floor, so as to have
     saved that part from the monstrous excavations elsewhere
     perpetrated by some moderns. Why, then, did the builders change the
     rectangular joint angle at that point, and execute such unusual
     angles as they chose in place of it, in a better material of stone
     than elsewhere; and yet with so little desire to call general
     attention to it, that they made the joints fine and close to that
     degree that they escaped the attention of all men until 1865 A.D.
     The answer came from the diagonal joints themselves, on discovering
     that the stone between them was opposite to the butt end of the
     portcullis of the first ascending passage, or to the hole whence
     the prismatic stone of concealment through 3000 years had dropped
     out almost before Al Mamoun's eyes. Here, therefore, was a secret
     sign in the pavement of the entrance-passage, appreciable only to a
     careful eye and a measurement by angle, but made in such hard
     material that it was evidently intended to last to the end of human
     time with the great pyramid, and _has_ done so thus far."

Whether Professor Smyth is right in considering that this
specially-prepared position of the floor was intended not for any
practical purpose, but to escape the notice of the careless, while yet,
when the right men "at last, duly instructed, entered the passage," this
mysterious floor-sign should show them where a ceiling-stone was
movable, on perceiving which they "would have laid bare the beginning of
the whole train of those sub-aërial features of construction which are
the great pyramid's most distinctive glory, and exist in no other
pyramid in Egypt or the world," I leave the reader to judge. I would
remark, only, that, if so, the builders of the pyramid were not
remarkably good prophets, seeing that the event befell otherwise, the
ceiling-stone dropping out a thousand years or so before the floor-sign
was noticed; wherefore we need not feel altogether alarmed at their own
prediction (according to Professor Smyth), that the end of the world is
to come in 1881, even as Mother Shipton also is reported to have
prophesied. For my own part, I am quite content with my own
interpretation of the secret sign; as showing where the floor of the
descending passage was purposely prepared for the reception of water, on
the still surface of which the Pole-star of the day might be mirrored
for one looking down the ascending passage.

Albeit, I cannot but think that this ascending passage must also have
been so directed as to show some bright star when due south. For if the
passage had only given the meridian plane, but without permitting the
astronomer to observe the southing of any fixed star, it would have
subserved only one-half its purposes as a meridional instrument. It is
to be remembered that, supposing the ascending passage to have its
position determined in the way I have described, there would be nothing
to prevent its being also made to show any fixed star nearly at the same
elevation. For it could readily be enlarged in a vertical direction, the
floor remaining unaltered. Since it is not enlarged until the great
gallery is reached (at a distance of nearly 127 feet from the place
where the ascent begins), it follows, or is at least rendered highly
probable, that some bright star was in view through that ascending

Now, taking the date 2170 B.C., which Professor Smyth assigns to the
beginning of the great pyramid, or even taking any date (as we fairly
may), within a century or so on either side of that date, we find no
bright star which would have been visible when due south, through the
ascending passage. I have calculated the position of that circle among
the stars along which lay all the points passing 26° 18' above the
horizon when due south, in the latitude of Ghizeh, 2170 years before the
Christian era; and it does not pass near a single conspicuous star.[45]
There is only one fourth magnitude star which it actually
approaches--namely, Epsilon Ceti; and one fifth magnitude star, Beta of
the Southern Crown.

When we remember that Egyptologists almost without exception assert that
the date of the builders of the great pyramid _must_ have been more than
a thousand years earlier than 2170 B.C., and that Bunsen has assigned to
Menes the date 3620 B.C., while the date 3300 B.C. has been assigned to
Cheops or Suphis on apparently good authority, we are led to inquire
whether the other epoch when Alpha Draconis was at about the right
distance from the pole of the heavens may not have been the true era of
the commencement of the great pyramid. Now, the year 3300 B.C., though a
little late, would accord fairly well with the time when Alpha Draconis
was at the proper distance 3-2/3° from the pole of the heavens. If the
inclination of the entrance-passage is 26° 27', as Professor Smyth made
it, the exact date for this would be 3390 B.C.; if 26° 40', as others
made it before his measurements, the date would be about 3320 B.C.,
which would suit well with the date 3300 B.C., since a century either
way would only carry the star about a third of a degree towards or from
the pole.

Now, when we inquire whether in the year 3300 B.C. any bright star would
have been visible, at southing, through the ascending passage, we find
that a very bright star indeed, an orb otherwise remarkable as the
nearest of all the stars, the brilliant Alpha Centauri, shone as it
crossed the meridian right down that ascending tube. It is so bright
that, viewed through that tube, it must have been visible to the naked
eye, even when southing in full daylight.

But thirdly, we must consider how the builders of the pyramid would
arrange for the observation of the sun at noon on every clear day in the

They would carry up the floor of the ascending passage in an unchanged
direction, as it already pointed south of the lowest place of the noon
sun at mid-winter. They would have to turn the tunnel into a lofty
gallery, to increase the vertical range of view on the meridian. It
seems reasonable to infer that they would prefer so to arrange matters
that the upper end of the gallery would be near the middle of the
platform which would form the top of the pyramidal structure from the
time when it was completed for observational purposes. The height of the
gallery would be so adjusted to its length, that the mid-winter's sun
would not shine further than the lower end of the gallery (that is, to
the upper end of the smaller ascending passage). In fact, as the moon
and planets would have to be observed when due south, through this
meridional gallery, and as they range further from the equator both
north and south than the sun does, it would be necessary that the
gallery should extend lower down than the sun's mid-winter noon rays
would shine.

As it would be a part of the observer's work to note exactly how far
down the gallery the shadow of its upper southern edge reached, as well
as the moment when the sun's light passed from the western to the
eastern wall of the gallery, and other details of the kind; besides, of
course, taking time-observations of the moment when the sun's edge
seemed to reach the edge of the gallery's southern opening; and as such
observations could not be properly made by men standing on the smooth
slanting floor of the gallery, it would be desirable to have
cross-benches capable of being set at different heights along the
sloping gallery. In some observations, indeed, as where the transits of
several stars southing within short intervals of time had to be
observed, it would be necessary to set some observers at one part of the
gallery, others at another part, and perhaps even to have several sets
of observers along the gallery. And this suggests yet another
consideration. It might be thought desirable, if great importance was
attached (as the whole building shows that great importance must have
been attached) to the exactness of the observations, to have several
observations of each transit of a star across the mouth of the gallery.
In this case, it would be well to have the breadth of the gallery
different at different heights, though its walls must of necessity be
upright throughout--that is, the walls must be upright from the height
where one breadth commences, to the height where the next breadth
commences. With a gallery built in this fashion, it would be possible to
take several observations of the same transit, somewhat in the same way
that the modern observer watches the transit of a star across each of
five, seven, or nine parallel spider threads, in order to obtain a more
correct time for the passage of the star across the middle thread, than
if he noted this passage alone.

How far the grand gallery corresponds with these requirements can be
judged from the following description given by Professor Greaves in
1638:--"It is," he says, "a very stately piece of work, and not
inferior, either in respect of the curiosity of art, or richness of
materials, to the most sumptuous and magnificent buildings," and a
little further on he says, "this gallery, or corridor, or whatever else
I may call it, is built of white and polished marble (limestone), the
which is very evenly cut in spacious squares or tables. Of such
materials as is the pavement, such is the roof and such are the side
walls that flank it; the coagmentation or knitting of the joints is so
close, that they are scarce discernible to a curious eye; and that which
adds grace to the whole structure, though it makes the passage the more
slippery and difficult, is the acclivity or rising of the ascent. The
height of this gallery is 26 feet" (Professor Smyth's careful
measurements show the true height to be more nearly 28 feet), "the
breadth of 6.870 feet, of which 3.435 feet are to be allowed for the way
in the midst, which is set and bounded on both sides with two banks
(like benches) of sleek and polished stone; each of these hath 1.717 of
a foot in breadth, and as much in depth." These measurements are not
strictly exact. Smyth made the breadth of the gallery above the banks or
ramps as he calls them, 6 feet 10-1/5 inches; the space between the
ramps, 3 feet 6 inches; the ramps nearly about 1 foot 8-1/14 inches
broad, and nearly 1 foot 9 inches high, measured transversely, that is
at right angles to the ascending floor.

As to arrangements for the convenience of observers in the slippery and
difficult floor of this gallery, we find that upon the top of these
benches or ramps, near the angle where they meet the wall, "there are
little spaces cut in right-angled parallel figures, set on each side
opposite one another, _intended no question for some other end than

The diversity of width which I have indicated as a desirable feature in
a meridional gallery, is a marked feature of the actual gallery. "In the
casting and ranging of the marbles" (limestone), "in both the side
walls, there is one piece of architecture," says Greaves, "in my
judgment very graceful, and that is that all the courses or stones,
which are but seven (so great are these stones), do set and flag over
one another about three inches; the bottom of the uppermost course
overlapping the top of the next, and so in order, the rest as they
descend." The faces of these stones are exactly vertical, and as the
width of the gallery diminishes upwards by about six inches for each
successive course, it follows that the width at the top is about 3-1/2
feet less than the width, 6 feet 10-1/5 inches, at the bottom, or agrees
in fact with the width of the space between the benches or ramps. Thus
the shadow of the vertical edges of the gallery at solar noon just
reached to the edges of the ramps, the shadow of the next lower
vertical edges falling three inches from the edges higher up the ramps,
those of the next vertical edges six inches from these edges, still
higher up, and so forth. The true hour of the sun's southing could thus
be most accurately determined by seven sets of observers placed in
different parts of the gallery, and near mid-summer, when the range of
the shadows would be so far shortened, that a smaller number of
observers only could follow the shadows' motions; but in some respects,
the observations in this part of the year could be more readily and
exactly made than in winter, when the shadows' spaces of various width
would range along the entire length of the gallery.

Similar remarks would apply to observations of the moon, which could
also be directly observed. The planets and stars of course could only be
observed directly.

The grand gallery could be used for the observation of any celestial
body southing higher than 26° 18' above the horizon; but not very
effectively for objects passing near the zenith. The Pleiades could be
well observed. They southed about 63-2/3° above the horizon in the year
2140 B.C. or thereabouts when they were on the equinoctial colure.[46]
But if I am right in taking the year 3300 B.C. when Alpha Centauri shone
down the smaller ascending passage in southing, the Pleiades were about
58° only above the horizon when southing, and therefore even more
favourably observable from the great meridional gallery.

In passing I may note that at this time, about 3300 years before our
era, the equinoctial point (that is, the point where the sun passes
north of the equator, and the year begins according to the old manner of
reckoning) was midway between the horns of the Bull. So that then, and
then alone, a poet might truly speak of spring as the time

  "Candidus auratis aperit quum cornibus annum

as Virgil incorrectly did (repeating doubtless some old tradition) at a
later time. Even Professor Smyth notices the necessity that the pyramid
gallery should correspond in some degree with such a date. "For," says
he, "there have been traditions for long, whence arising I know not,
that the seven overlappings of the grand gallery, so impressively
described by Professor Greaves, had something to do with the Pleiades,
those proverbially seven stars of the primeval world," only that he
considers the pyramid related to _memorial_ not _observing_ astronomy,
"of an earlier date than Virgil's." The Pleiades also, it may be
remarked, were scarcely regarded in old times as belonging to the
constellation of the Bull, but formed a separate asterism.

The upper end of the great gallery lies very near the vertical axis of
the pyramid. It is equidistant, in fact, from the north and south edges
of the pyramid platform at this level, but lies somewhat to the east of
the true centre of this platform. One can recognise a certain
convenience in this arrangement, for the actual centre of the platform
would be required as a position from whence observation of the whole sky
could be made. Observers stationed there would have the cardinal points
and the points midway between them defined by the edges and angles of
the square platform, which would not be the case if they were displaced
from the centre. Stationed as they would be close to the mouth of the
gallery, they would hear the time signallings given forth by the
observers placed at various parts of the gallery; and no doubt one chief
end of the exact time-observations for which the gallery was manifestly
constructed, would be to enable the platform observers duly to record
the time when various phenomena were noticed in any part of the heavens.

This corresponds well with the statement made by Proclus, that the
pyramids of Egypt, which, according to Diodorus Siculus, had been in
existence during 3600 years, terminated in a platform upon which the
priests made their celestial observations. The last-named historian
alleges, also (Biblioth. Hist. Lib. I.), that the Egyptians, who claimed
to be the most ancient of men, professed to be acquainted with the
situation of the earth, the risings and settings of stars, to have
arranged the order of days and months, and pretended to be able to
predict future events, with certainty, from their observations of
celestial phenomena. I think that it is in this association of astrology
with astronomy that we find the explanation of what, after all, remains
the great mystery of the pyramid--the fact, namely, that all the
passages, ascending, descending, and horizontal, constructed with such
extreme care, and at the cost of so much labour, in the interior of the
great pyramid, were eventually (perhaps not very long after their
construction) to be closed up. I reject utterly the idea that they could
have been constructed merely as memorials. Sir E. Beckett, who seems
willing to admit this conception, rejects the notion that the builders
of the pyramid recorded "standard measures by hiding them with the
utmost ingenuity." Is it not equally absurd to imagine that they
recorded the date of the great pyramid, by construction, by those most
elaborately concealed passages? Why they should have concealed them
after constructing them so carefully, may not be clear. For my own part,
I regard the theory that the Pyramid of Suphis was built for
astrological observations, relating to the life of that monarch only, as
affording the most satisfactory explanation yet advanced of the
mysterious circumstance that the building was closed up after his death.
Supposing the part of the edifice (fifty layers in all), which includes
the ascending and descending passages, to have been erected during his
lifetime, it may be that some reverential or superstitious feeling
caused his successors, or the priesthood, to regard the building as
sacred after his death--to be closed up therefore and completed as a
perfect pyramid, polished _ad unguem_ from its pointed summit to the
lines along which the four faces met the smooth pavement round its base.
We might thus explain why each monarch required his own astrological
observatory afterwards to become his tomb. Be this as it may, it is
certain that the pyramids were constructed for astronomical
observations; and it would, I conceive, be utterly unreasonable to
imagine that the costly interior fittings and arrangements, "not
inferior, in respect of curiosity of art or richness of materials, to
the most sumptuous and magnificent buildings," were intended to subserve
no other purpose but to be memorials; and that, too, not until, in the
course of thousands of years, the whole mass of the pyramid had begun to
lose the exactness of its original figure.



[43] It seems to me not improbable that the level was determined by
simply flooding (though to a very small depth only, of course) the
entire area to be levelled--not only the pavement level, but higher
levels as the pyramid was raised layer by layer. By completing the
outside of each layer first, an enclosed space capable of receiving the
water would be formed (the flooding being required once only for each
layer), and when the level had been taken the water could be allowed to
run off by the interior passages to the well which Piazzi Smyth
considers to be symbolical of the bottomless pit.

[44] The irregular descending passage long known as the well, which
communicates between the ascending passage and the underground chamber,
enables us to ascertain how high the rock rises into the pyramid at this
particular part of the base. We thus learn that the rock rises in this
place, at any rate, thirty or forty feet above the basal plane.

[45] There is a statement perfectly startling in its inaccuracy, in a
chapter of Blake's "Astronomical Myths," derived from Mr. Haliburton's
researches, asserting that in the year 2170 B.C. the Pleiades were
"_exactly at that height that they could be seen in the direction of the
Southward-pointing passage of the pyramid_." The italics are not mine.
As this passage pointed 33-2/3°, or thereabouts, below (that is south
of) the equator, and the Pleiades were then some 3-2/3° north of the
equator, the passage certainly did not then point to the Pleiades. Nor
has there been any time since the world began when the Pleiades were
anywhere near the direction of the southward pointing passage. In fact
they have never been more than 20° south of the equator. The statement
follows immediately after another to the surprising effect that in the
year 2170 B.C. "the Pleiades _really_ commenced the spring by their
midnight culmination." The only comment an astronomer can make on this
startling assertion is to repeat with emphasis the word italicized by
Mr. Haliburton (or Mr. Blake?). The Pleiades being then in conjunction
with what is now called the first point of Aries, culminated at noon,
not at midnight, at the time of the vernal equinox.

[46] This date is sometimes given earlier, but when account is taken of
the proper motion of these stars we get about the date above mentioned.
I cannot understand how Dr. Ball, Astronomer Royal for Ireland, has
obtained the date 2248 B.C., unless he has taken the proper motion of
Alcyone the wrong way. The proper motion of this star during the last
4000 years has been such as to increase the star's distance from the
equinoctial colure; and therefore, of course, the actual interval of
time since the star was on the colure is less than it would be
calculated to be if the proper motion were neglected.



Much astonishment has been expressed of late, by those who are too apt
to forget the main facts even of contemporary history, that under "so
benevolent a prince as Alexander II." the most fearful conspiracies
should have become rife. This view of the situation shows a
misconception of the whole system of government in Russia, and more
especially of the character of the ruling Autocrat, as it has been
formed by his education and by the ever-worsening course of his reign.
For the proper understanding of what has occurred within the last twelve
years or so, we must consequently go back for a moment to Alexander's
early training and antecedents. No despotic system can be judged without
a knowledge of personal facts relating to its bearer. A sketch of the
character of Alexander II. and of his strange acts of "benevolence,"
will make it clear to the commonest comprehension why his antagonists
should at last have met him by wild deeds of conspiracy.

Alexander's arbitrary bias may be said to have been inherited in his
blood. A disposition, originally, perhaps, less severe than that of
Nicholas, was darkened and vitiated in him from his early days. Custine
already remarked the expression of deep melancholy in the Grand Duke;
and all those who have seen Alexander II. since have been struck with
his sour and sullen morosity. No smile ever lights up this "humane"
Czar's face. His uneasy glance is that of the misanthrope; his brow
seems overcast as with the lowering shadow of a tragic fate. The harsh
way in which he was brought up by his martinet father, without the
slightest regard for his somewhat delicate health, no doubt laid a
foundation for this pensive sadness, which, under a pernicious Court
atmosphere, and with the terrible recollections crowding about his
family history, gradually changed into the fierceness of the Tyrant.

Poor royal humanity is sometimes strangely led up to its task in life.
Almost from infancy the sickly boy had to don the soldier's uniform. All
joyous sprightliness was crushed out of the infantine heir of a
barbarous Imperialism. His education by the crowned corporal who
happened to be his parent, appeared to aim mainly at making him
physically and in character as rigid as a ramrod. By nature of a
sensuous bent, he had to undergo all the ordeals of barrack-room
practices, which Nicholas held to be the proper sum and substance of
human life.

The stern nature and teaching of that typical tyrant came out one day in
a striking manner during the early boyhood of Alexander. Even Imperial
children do not seem to be able to shake off the dark historical
recollections that hang about the Winter Palace. In the manner of
children they will make a ghastly sport of them. Once, when they were in
a specially jocular mood, Alexander, in company with his brother
Constantine and some comrades in play, enacted--as youngsters in their
apishly imitative mood will do--one of the most hideous scenes that
concluded a previous reign. The throttling of the Emperor Paul was the
subject! Alexander, standing for Paul, was assaulted and thrown down by
his brother, who knelt upon his chest. With the aid of the sportive
accomplices, a cord was passed round the victim's throat. It is said
that young Constantine took a malicious pleasure in putting into this
semblance of strangulation rather an unexpected deal of energy.

"For mercy's sake! For mercy's sake!" Alexander cried, with half-stifled
voice, and at last with a fearful yell.

Nicholas, hurrying out from his room, beheld the spectacle before him in
deep consternation. When the matter was explained to him, he severely
reproved and actually punished his eldest-born. "It is not worthy of an
Emperor," he said, "to call out for mercy!"

This well-authenticated anecdote has been told by writers who expressed
the most adulatory sentiments towards the present Czar. It is to be
found in Castille's highly flattering biography of Alexander II.,
published about the time of his accession to the throne. The incident,
loathsome as it must appear to every sensitive mind, strikingly paints
both the gloom that always hangs about the Russian Court, and the kind
of education given by Nicholas to his offspring.

The youthful despotic propensities of Alexander may be seen from an
account given by another of his admiring biographers, Mr. J. G.
Hesekiel. This writer enthusiastically swings the censer before Nicholas
as the "Iron Knight of Legitimacy" and the "Invincible Champion of
Government by the Grace of God." (I may mention in passing that Mr.
Hesekiel has done the life of Prince Bismarck into similar adulatory
prose). At the age of fourteen--he relates--the boy-prince, Alexander,
in going through a state room of the Palace, was respectfully greeted by
the assembled high dignitaries of the Empire, senators, generals, and
so forth. They all rose and bowed before the Heir-Apparent. The boy's
vanity being flattered, he purposely came back several times, expecting
the grey-beards on each occasion to rise and salaam before him. When he
found that they thought they had done their duty by the first
salutation, he angrily complained against them to his father. Nicholas,
however, blamed the son for his unreasonable exaction. This vicious
arrogance of the boy ripened afterwards into the haughtiness of the
despot, being but slightly mitigated by a naturally melancholy
disposition, which sometimes gave the appearance of comparative

Of Constantine, the second son of Nicholas, there is a further
characteristic anecdote on record. It is to be found even in
publications otherwise marked by servile feelings towards the Court. We
all know at what a supernaturally early age the purple-born are
appointed to high titular positions in the State Administration or in
the army. In Russia, where the "right divine of kings to govern wrong"
is pushed to its most logical or illogical consequences, this royal
custom flourishes to excess. At the mature age of eight, Alexander was
appointed Chancellor of the University of Finland. His brother
Constantine was nominated in early youth High Admiral of the Fleet. One
day, Constantine, between whom and his elder brother there was little
love lost, had Alexander arrested because he had come on board ship
without special authorization. Something of the sentiment of Franz Moor,
in Schiller's _Robbers_, seems to have animated Constantine in his
youth. He was often heard to utter a malediction against the law of
heredity. He declared that, being born when his father (Nicholas) was
already on the throne, he (Constantine) had a better right of succession
than Alexander, who had been born when Nicholas was only a Grand Duke.
He further said that, after the death of Nicholas, he would contend
against Alexander with the object of partitioning the Empire.

These may seem trifling occurrences--mere freaks of childhood. They
would certainly be so regarded in countries where the nation practically
possesses self-government and the Crown is mainly an ornamental cipher,
or where the sovereign privilege is at least largely circumscribed by
the parliamentary power. It is different in an Empire like Russia, with
its murderous dynastic antecedents. There, the personal character of the
princely personages is of the utmost importance; for a youthful freak or
hideous trick may point to a coming horrible event. In olden times,
previous to the Tatar dominion, Russia passed through the so-called
Appanage Period of Separate Principalities, when the Empire was actually
partitioned. The feuds which then tore the various branches of the Rurik
family greatly facilitated the Mongol conquest that weighed upon the
country for centuries. With the condition of Russia such as it was until
lately, and still is for that matter, a bold attempt on the part of a
Prince second in birth could not be said to be beyond the range of
possibility. Even now we hear of a deep estrangement between the ruling
Autocrat and the Czarewitch, reaching even to such an extent that for a
moment there was an intention of arresting the latter.

Nothing has come of the childish threat of the Grand Duke Constantine,
who to this day fills the post of Admiral-General of the Russian Fleet.
Still, the incident alluded to has its value. When a whole nation is
disinherited from political rights, a younger member of the ruling
House, of violent and ambitious temper, may easily take the idea into
his head of altering, by a palace plot, the very basis of the Empire for
his own special benefit. What looks like boyish play may in time to come
turn into a tragedy. These dangers, characteristic of all autocracies,
can only be done away with by the introduction of a settled order of
Constitutional law, conferring the chief power in the State upon
representative bodies.


The death of Nicholas, shortly before the end of the Crimean War,
remains to this day enshrouded in darkness and doubt.

His proud spirit had been deeply humiliated by a series of defeats. He
who once posed as the arbiter of the destinies of Continental Europe had
been beaten, not only by the Western Allies, but, before that, even by
the Turks single-handed. He wrathfully avowed that "he had been deceived
as to the state of public opinion in England." The messengers of the
Peace Society, the language held by the organs of the Manchester school,
had emboldened him to try to realize the secular dream of Russian
despots,--namely, the conquest of Constantinople. The disenchantment he
experienced gave even his iron frame a terrible shock. Yet his haughty
temper forbade him to entertain offers of, still more to sue for, peace.
Those surrounding him, including his nearest by kinship, were afraid of
angering the ruthless man by unwelcome counsel.

At the same time vague murmurs were heard in society against the
absolutistic _régime_ which had led Russia to the brink of utter ruin.
From the southern part of the Empire, where opinion, since the days of
Cossack and Ukraine independence, had always been the most advanced,
threatening tales came up of a spirit of rebellion among the peasantry,
upon whom the relay duties and other hardships connected with the war
weighed most heavily. There was a universal feeling that the removal of
Nicholas from this world's stage would be a blessing.

In the midst of this darkening situation men learnt that the Czar was
slightly indisposed; immediately afterwards, that he was--_dead_. He had
only taken a cold; but the illness--as the manifesto of Alexander II.
afterwards said--"developed itself with incredible rapidity." The
manifesto added:--"Let us bow before the mysterious decrees of

Was the mystery a real or merely an apparent one?

Abroad a rumour quickly spread of foul play having once more taken
place in the Winter Palace. In the German and the Danish press--for
instance, in the Copenhagen _Faedrelandet_, and the Berlin _National
Zeitung_ and _Volks-Zeitung_--surmises were openly uttered that the
Russian Emperor had died from poison. Not a few thought he had fallen a
victim to a palace plot in the interest of the maintenance of the
dynasty which was endangered by his obstinacy. In a medical journal of
this country it was shown that the bulletins concerning the course of
his illness were, at all events, quite at variance with well-known
physiological laws. In a lithographed pamphlet--attributed to Dr. Mandt,
the physician-in-ordinary to Nicholas--it was alleged that the Czar, in
a fit of life-weariness, had himself asked for strychnine, and forced
his physician to prepare it for him. A noted Russian writer, Mr. Ivan
Golovin, in a book published at Leipzig about eight years ago,[47]
refers to the statement of this pamphlet. He himself remarks that the
reason for the head of the Emperor having been covered up, when lying in
state, was, that his features were so terribly disfigured by the poison
as to render it advisable to conceal the face.

It is impossible to unravel the truth. This much can, however, be said
beyond mere probability, that, if Nicholas had not been suddenly taken
away, the contrast between his iron rule at home and his continued
defeats on the field of battle would have roused a spirit of rebellion
and mutiny very similar to that against which he had to contend in the
ensanguined streets of the capital at the beginning of his reign. As it
was, men expected that his successor would prove more pliant. The
prevailing feeling of dissatisfaction did not, therefore, at first
assume a revolutionary shape.

Perhaps it was a consciousness of being surrounded by men who watched
him closely which made Alexander II. speak out in rather a peremptory
tone in his manifesto of March 2, 1855. Monarchs who fear an attack upon
their sovereign privileges often seek to terrify their would-be
antagonists by bold language. "I hereby declare solemnly," Alexander
said, "that I will remain faithful to all the views of my father, and
_persevere in the line of political principles_ which have served as
guiding maxims both to my uncle, Alexander I., and to him. These
principles are those of the Holy Alliance. If that Alliance no longer
exists, it is certainly not the fault of my august father." The fling
against Austria, which had half taken the side of the Western Allies in
the Crimean War, and the covert reference to Prussia, which had refused
making common military cause with Russia, was unmistakable.

So far as public opinion existed then, or could make itself heard in the
Czar's Empire, the impression of this manifesto was a highly
unfavourable one. Its allusions to the maintenance of the political
principles of Nicholas and to the maxims of the Holy Alliance were
little relished--all the less so, because there was not a word about
coming reforms. Military preparations were continued. The whole country
seemed to be destined to become a military camp. No prospects were held
out either of the emancipation of the serfs, or of the admission of any
section of the nation to a share in the Government.

Soon, however, Alexander II. had to alter his tone. The wave of public
discontent rising ever higher, whilst the Russian arms suffered defeat
after defeat, peace had to be concluded, and the full stringency of the
despotic rule could no longer be maintained. Gortschakoff was
substituted for Nesselrode in the Chancellorship. At that time this was
almost considered progress--so unspeakably degrading was the slavery of
the nation, and so apt are men in their despair to catch at a straw.

Gortschakoff, nevertheless, pronounced the famous saying, "_La Russie ne
boude pas; elle se recueille!_" The old war policy had been scotched,
not killed. Scarcely had the army returned from the campaign, before
Government busied itself with a well-studied plan for a network of
railways, not in the commercial, but in the strategical interest. With
the same object of an ulterior return to the aggressive war policy,
Alexander II. sought an interview with Napoleon III. soon after the
conclusion of the Crimean War. Piedmont, also, was diplomatically
approached in a remarkably friendly manner. England was to be isolated.
Revenge was to be ultimately taken against her. Between all these
significant, though somewhat weak attempts, the new Czar addressed to
the Marshals of the Polish nobility at Warsaw his threatening
words:--"Before all, no dreams, gentlemen!... If need be, I shall know
how to punish with the utmost severity; and with the utmost severity I
mean to punish!" ("_Avant tout, point de rêveries, messieurs!... Au
besoin, je saurai sévir, et je sévirai!_")

Thus the autocratic vein strongly stood out even in this more sickly
type of a barbarous autocracy. It is the fashion at present, at least
among some who take the name of "philosophical Radicals" in vain when
they curtsy before a Machiavellian tyrant, to dwell with admiring pride
upon the philanthropic character of Alexander the Benevolent. All the
cardinal virtues are his. He is the Liberator of the Serfs, the
Deliverer of Downtrodden Nationalities, the Educator and Friend of the
People--a monstrous paragon of princely perfection. The truth is that
this Czar, albeit lacking the nerve of his sire, has from early youth
shown the full absolutistic bent. Dire necessity only brought him to the
accomplishment of some reforms. But the evidence before us clearly shows
that in this he acted on the well-known lines of despotic calculation,
and that he never did good without the intention of thereby preventing
what to him appeared to be the greater evil for his position as an
irresponsible autocrat, by the so-called "Grace of God."


So deeply shaken was the Empire by the events of 1853-56, that Alexander
did not dare for several years--in fact, not until 1863--to ordain any
fresh recruitment for the army. This necessity greatly diminished the
oppressive power of the Crown. At the same time, public opinion showed
signs of a threatening unrest. An "Underground Literature," as it was
called, began once more to express the ideas of the better-educated,
progressive classes. Among the troops, the "Songs of the Crimean
Soldiers," by Tolstoy, an artillery officer, made a great stir. Count
Orloff, then Minister of the Police, wrote to the Commanding-General in
the South, that he should silence these rebel songs. The General
somewhat bluntly replied, "Please come yourself, and try to silence

Among the secret publications then in vogue there were some political
poems of Pushkin, hitherto only known in clandestine manuscript form.
Pushkin is often called, with a great deal of exaggeration, the Russian
Byron, whereas others will only let him pass as a Byron travestied,
wanting in originality, like most of his Russian brother-poets of the
end of the last and the beginning of this century. At all events, one of
Pushkin's utterances containing the words,

  "I hate thee and thy race,
  Thou autocratic villain,"

does not lack in allusive clearness. Secretly printed abroad, his
writings were largely propagated at Alexander the Second's accession.
Again, men like Lawroff--who, ten years later, was imprisoned as a
suspect, after Karakasoff's attempt against the life of the Czar--had
celebrated the advent of the successor of Nicholas with such ironically
questionable sentiments as this:--

  "Be proud, ye Russian men,
  Of being the slaves of a Czar!"

Writers of comedies, novelists, delineators of the life of the people,
ultra-realistic and cynical describers of the criminal classes arose in
rapid succession, whose tendency, one and all, was to show to what a
state of corruption Russian society, from top to bottom, had come under
the famous "Champion of Order," the dreaded Nicholas. That Czar had been
in the habit of speaking of Turkey as the Sick Man. Russia was now shown
to be the Sick Man. Neither did St. Petersburg, Moscow or the other
chief towns, alone serve as a theme for this kind of semi-political
literature. "Provincial Sketches" also came out in a similar strain.
These publications obtained an ever-increasing success among those
classes--few in number, it is true--which were able to read. A whole
"Revelation Literature" sprang up, dealing with cases of governmental
corruption. The censorship could not be upheld any longer against these
writers with the strict severity of the previous reign. A beaten
Absolutism had to do things a little more cautiously; and the watchful
eyes of men hitherto treated like slaves quickly found out, with the
rapid glance and intuition of the oppressed, that it was safe to "dare
it on" a little more than they would have dreamt of doing before the end
of the Crimean War. Truly, those Liberals in this country who now
denounce that war as a mistake and even a crime, do not know, or do not
care to remember, what a relief it brought to Russian Liberals

Soon after the death of Nicholas, desires, until then only muttered,
were publicly expressed for the recall and the amnesty of the Martyrs of
the Conspiracy and the Insurrection of December, 1825. Pestel, Ryleieff,
Bestujeff-Rumin, and the other leaders, had been strung up on the
gallows. Many of those transported to Siberia had died a miserable
felon's death in the lead-mines. Brought up in the lap of luxury, they
ended like galley-slaves, because they had loved freedom more than
wealth and ease. It is reported of one of the political prisoners, a
nobleman, that he died in Kamtschatka with a chain round his neck,
fastened to the wall. Others had been sent to the Caucasus, which in
Russia was long ago said to be "not so much a frontier as a grave-yard."
There they had fallen in a hateful war against brave, independent
mountain tribes, as the unwilling tools of an aggressive tyranny. Still,
some of the sufferers were yet alive--among them men of the foremost
families of the country. They had to be allowed to come back. They
came--mere shadows and ruins of their former selves. But their decrepit
condition was the most telling evidence of the infamy of the Tyrant who
had fortunately passed away.

In the salons of the upper classes these suffering witnesses of a
terrible past received lavish proofs of admiration. Men would listen
with sympathetic avidity to the tales of horror told by them. All those
present at such a gathering made it a point to be profuse towards the
martyrs with little attentions such as only women ordinarily receive
from the other sex. Thirty years--a long time--had passed since the
armed struggle in the streets of St. Petersburg. Now, all of a sudden,
memories were revived. Political tendencies, which some imagined had
died out, came up afresh among a younger generation, for whom the
"December Conspiracy" was surrounded with a poetical halo. There was
danger in the air for the autocratic principle.

Count Rostoptchin, the same who ordered the burning of Moscow in 1812,
said in 1825 he could not understand that attempt at a revolution. He
"could understand the French Revolution, because there the ordinary
citizen wished to become an aristocrat, but he could not conceive
aristocrats wishing to become simple burghers." That was the version of
a cynical, though otherwise clever, member of the nobility, who was
unable to comprehend the spirit of self-sacrifice for noble aims showing
itself even among the wealthy and the "noble" by birth. However, had
Count Rostoptchin only been capable of feeling the degradation under
which the Russian aristocracy itself lies in its relations with a
despotic Crown, he might, even from his own point of view as a mere man
of the world, have found a reason for the uprising of independent
characters among men of his own rank.


The more cultured and wealthier classes again came to the front as
political agitators, at the accession of Alexander. They wanted to throw
down the Chinese Wall which Nicholas had built around them--if it is not
an insult to the Chinese to compare the wall they erected as a
protection against barbarism with the barrier set up by Nicholas against
Western ideas of culture and freedom. At first, Alexander II. did not
hold out any hope of reform. Driven to straits, he busied himself with
throwing a sop to public opinion by various small relaxations in
administrative matters. They were small enough; and they were given with
a niggard hand.

Anyone taking a survey of the earlier part of the reign of Alexander II.
must see that the main object of his government was to foil the tendency
towards the introduction of parliamentary institutions, which was
sullenly but perceptibly making its way among the better educated
section of the nation; that, with the view of attaining this reactionary
end, he pursued the traditional despotic policy of approaching the lower
classes on the one hand, and engaging the country in fresh warlike
enterprise abroad on the other. Foiled in Europe by England and France,
he throws his armies, after the conclusion of the Peace of Paris, with
renewed fury upon the Tcherkess tribes. They had long barred the way of
Russia towards Asia Minor and Persia, thereby insuring the safety of
India from that side. Now Schamyl, the hoary-headed warrior-prophet, is
compelled to surrender in his last mountain stronghold. From his lofty
Alpine home, which is filled with the renown of his romantic deeds, he
is carried a prisoner to St. Petersburg, there to be stared at by the
crowd of decorated slaves of autocracy.

With this "pacification" of the Caucasus, the Czar obtained the
unimpeded use of the high-road leading into Asia Minor. He then struck a
blow against the independent tribes on the eastern shore of the Caspian.
With the Court of Teheran he entered into relations calculated to
threaten Turkey with a double danger from the Asiatic side, in case of a
renewal of war. Again, he enlarged his Empire, at the cost of China, by
filching territories as extensive as some of the greatest European
countries. In what once was Independent Turkestan, his armies overran
one Khanate after the other, thus coming nearer and nearer to India from
the north-west. There is a striking war-picture by Vereshagin, with a
pyramid of skulls as its centre--a very Golgotha of the horrors of
massacre; but Russian monarchs, in their ceaseless career of conquest,
out-Tatar the Tatar in the fiendishness of their atrocities. Witness the
order given by General Kaufmann, the pampered tool of Alexander II., in
these Turkestan campaigns:--"_Kill all; spare no age, or sex!_" Witness
also the death-dance that took place when his Majesty, the crowned head
of Holy Russia, the magnanimous Champion of Religion and Humanity, made
his victorious entry into Plevna,[48] carousing there jubilantly,
whilst the Turkish wounded lay unattended in the town for fully two
days--a helpless mass of men, dying in raving agony.

I have anticipated for a moment the course of events. In glancing at the
reign of Alexander II., the eye involuntarily runs over the full
panorama of tyrannic outrages. From the time of the wholesale
proscription of the Tcherkess and Abchasian tribes to the heart-rending
horrors committed against Toork populations and wounded Ottoman
prisoners of war, there has been, in his career, a perfect climax of
inhumanity. Conferences for the professed humanization of warfare were,
with him, only the hypocritical precursors of fresh barbarities. But it
is not necessary to forestall events. Enough was done in the way of
atrocities even in the earlier years of his rule.

Between the conquests made in the Caucasus and the annexations on the
Amoor or in Central Asia, Alexander II. bullied, and at last put down,
by unspeakably cruel means,--even as did his predecessor,--the national
aspirations of unhappy Poland. Like Nicholas, he kept the road to
Siberia alive with the wretched convoys of unfortunate exiles. Even in
the Baltic Provinces, whence the Russian Government draws so many able
administrators, diplomatists, and military leaders, whose capacities
might be employed in a better cause, he began a system of persecution
against the German population, of so galling a nature that it
threatened, in course of time, to alienate that very mainstay of the
public administration. The special towns' charters of the Baltic
Provinces were infringed. The German tongue, hitherto possessing full
privileges, was threatened. A process of Russification was attempted;
the superior civilized element being pushed and annoyed by the inferior
and barbarous one.

These acts of the earliest years of the reign of Alexander II. have to
be kept in mind, in order to understand that humanitarian motives were
not the ruling ones in the final adoption of the Serf Emancipation
measure. On his death-bed, Nicholas is stated to have said to his
son:-- "Thou hast two enemies--the nobility and the Poles. Emancipate
the serfs; and do not allow the Poles any Constitution!"

It is impossible, with the mystery which envelopes the last days of
Nicholas, to know whether these words are authentic. At all events,
Alexander did not give back to the Poles the Constitution they
possessed until 1830. Nor did he grant a Constitution to the Russians
either. He emancipated the serfs--but not before the principles which
had actuated the Conspirators of 1817-25 once more began to show
themselves among the upper strata of society; and in passing his
measure, he mainly sought to deprive a restive nobility of some of its
influence, and to take the wind out of the sails of those Liberal
agitators who would have made the abolition of bondage the outcome of
the establishment of a freely-chosen Legislature. When, finally, the
Poles, counting upon a corresponding movement in Russia, resolved upon
that heroic, though desperate, rising which by anticipation I alluded to
in the last article, such fresh cruelties were practised by Alexander
II. against the vanquished victims, that every human heart worthy of the
name must shudder at the mere recollection of them.

From those days, however, the Conspiratory Movement in Russia began to
assume larger proportions. What I have said in the preceding pages, goes
far to explain the violence by which that movement has latterly been


Partly from the aggressiveness which is the natural bent of a despotic
military monarchy, partly from the wish to check the home-growth of
Liberal sentiments by frequent blood-letting abroad, the government of
Alexander II. has tried to meet the danger which has been gathering
round the autocratic system by lighting up foreign wars. Central Asia
has served him for that purpose. So has Turkey. The flag of ambition was
flaunted before public opinion as soon as there was a revival of the
Opposition tendency in internal affairs.

An attempt at opening up the whole Eastern Question was made as early as
1870, when France and Germany were locked together in deadly embrace.
The confidential despatches and cypher telegrams exchanged in 1870
between Mr. de Novikoff, the Russian Ambassador at Vienna, and Mr.
Ionin, the Russian Consul-General at Ragusa, which fortunately came to
light some years ago, have fully proved that even then Muscovite policy
busied itself with getting up a phantom insurrection in Herzegovina,
preparatory to an attack upon Turkey. Nor is it a secret that a
Bulgarian Committee of Insurrection, affiliated to Russia, had been in
existence at Bucharest for years previous to the late war. All these
propagandistic intrigues were in a measure designed to occupy some of
the more active minds in Russia, who hesitated, between home reform and
Panslavistic ambition.

The Czar has indulged in his warlike enterprizes, but he has deceived
himself in his calculations as regards home policy. All his frightful
spilling of blood abroad has not been able to prevent the formation and
extension of what is called the Nihilist Conspiracy. Side by side with
his wars, the Secret League has grown apace, overshadowing all his
glory. So extensive have the ramifications of that Conspiracy become
that the liveliest interest is now awakened as to its origin and its
earliest germs.

In the nature of things it is impossible, at present, to speak with full
certainty on this subject. The Russian revolutionists, being engaged in
a desperate struggle, have neither the leisure necessary for writing
such statements; nor is it their interest to go into details. Judicial
inquiries have lifted, here and there, some corner of the mysterious
winding-sheets in which the secret _Vehme_ is enveloped. But more light
can only be expected after the Conspiracy has been entirely crushed,--in
which case, however, owing to the heroic silence which its adherents
generally maintain, a great deal of knowledge will for ever be buried in
the grave,--or the fuller clearing up will come when, as I would fain
hope, this fierce struggle ends with a triumph, whether complete or
partial, of the cause of freedom.

Even under the iron rule of Nicholas, there were, many years after the
St. Petersburg insurrection of 1825, still some faint traces of Secret
Societies, in which the spirit of Pestel and Murawieff was continued.
One of these occult Leagues was that of Petrascheski, detected in 1849,
whose members were sentenced to forced labour and to banishment to
Siberia. A nearer approach to the plebeian element than was observable
in the Conspiracies of 1817-25, characterized this later association.
Altogether the more educated classes gradually began to seek closer
contact with the people at large.

This task was in so far facilitated by the tyrannical Czar-Pope
Nicholas, in that he not only trod under foot that portion of the
nobiliary class which aimed at a Constitutional share of the political
power, but also persecuted the various dissenting sects in the most
barbarous fashion.

Under an outward gloss of official orthodoxy, Russia is eaten up with a
chaos of sects. The Raskolniks, or Old Believers, profess to be the real
Church; yet the simplest civic rights were always denied to them.
Besides those Old Believers, numerous other sects exist. They in their
turn are surrounded by a strange fringe of "Runners," "Jumpers,"
"Flagellants," "Self-Mutilators," and other eccentric or anti-social
pests which crop up most thickly in the dank shadow of an obscurantist
despotism, whose very roots, however, they gradually destroy and
encroach upon. Persecuted men often seek solace in wild hopes and
prophetic beliefs, which, if strongly nurtured by agitation, are apt to
imperil the persecutor. Under Nicholas, the persecutor of all
Dissenters, popular seers occasionally arose, who in their occult
meetings predicted from the book of Esdra that, after the reign of
Nicholas should be over, the Monarchy would fall down under his son and
that "the people then would be happy and free."

Such a state of feeling in the lower and more backward social strata
rendered it at all events easier for would-be reformers of the
conspirator type to enter into closer contact with the plebeian
element. Though educated men could not have any sympathy with the
mystic views and tone, they found a practical ally in the sullen
dissatisfaction which drove Dissenters to opposition against the
Government. So it was under Nicholas. So it still is under Alexander II.
It may suit the sacerdotal Ritualists, who would fain establish a
connection of High Church Anglicanism with the official orthodoxy of the
East, to promote the aggressive policy of the Czar. But English
Dissenters, who prize their freedom from clerical trammels, might
remember that Autocracy in Russia represents all that is worst in
political as well as in religious fields. Besides upholding the Stuart
doctrine with the means of a Gengis Khan and a Tamerlane, it pretends,
in Church matters, to a Papal authority, crushing the Bible Christian,
the eccentric Mystic, and the religious Rationalist, with an equally
heavy hand--and, if need be, as in the case of the Greek Uniates under
Alexander II., with the Cossack knout.

In the educated class of Russia, two very different political currents
are observable: the one inclining towards Western Liberalism, whilst the
other cultivates the Nationalist sentiment under rather antiquated
forms. The "Westerners," "Europeans," or "Liberals," are often regarded
by the more stolid adherents of Katkoff as men lacking in patriotism.
Between these two parties--if we could speak of parties in a country
which has no ordered public life--a third group is observable: the
Panslavists, many of whom pursue, under a Liberal mask, aims favourable
to the aggrandizement of Czardom. Not a few of the Panslavists are in
reality mere Government tools. Others, who, like Aksakoff, began as
independent workers in the Panslavist cause, finally yielded to
Government temptation; but after a while even they were found to be too
much imbued with reforming ideas, and consequently were placed under
police surveillance.

The great mass of the Russian people has nothing to do with Panslavism;
it does not even know what it is. The idea of a Slav brotherhood is
foreign to it. It can be made, by much priestly preaching, to take a
sort of bigoted interest in alleged co-religionists who are said to be
ill-treated by "unbelieving Turks;" but the interest and the
understanding do not go beyond that. Such is the distinct statement made
lately by one of the best observers, Ivan Turgenieff, the novelist, in a
conversation with a German writer. As to the revolutionary party in
Russia, it has more and more become estranged from the Panslavistic
tendency--so much so that at present it stands in direct opposition to

Alexander Herzen,[49] who favoured the Panslavistic cause, could still
speak, retrospectively, of Russian Czars as being "Robespierres on
horseback"--an expression of so doubtful a value that it rather reminds
us of the pseudo-revolutionary language of Napoleonism than of the purer
Democratic principles. Herzen's idea being that Constantinople should
become the capital of a great Russo-Slav Empire, we can easily
understand that he should have represented Muscovite history under such
a deceptive garb. Bakunin also was a Panslavist for a time, but of a
different type, aiming as he did at a loose Democratic Federation of the
various Slav tribes. The impossibility of this federation all those will
acknowledge who think it equally chimerical to form a Romanic Federation
between nations so dissimilar in origin, history, language, and
aspirations, as are the Italians, the French, the Spaniards, the
Portuguese, the French-speaking section of the Swiss, and the Roumans of
Moldo-Wallachia and Hungary. Or would it be less chimerical to try to
form a Teutonic Federation among Germans, Dutch, Danes, Swedes,
Norwegians, Icelanders, German-Swiss, Englishmen, North Americans, and
the various English colonies?

Nihilism, on its part, has nothing in common with those Panslavist
intrigues which mainly cover an Imperialist ambition. Nihilism, as at
present known, is, in fact, the very negation of such dangerous
ambitious schemes.

The first Nihilist Society, properly speaking, is said to have been
founded by Russian students about the year 1859. German works on
philosophy and natural science were then much in demand, as forbidden
fruit among the aspiring youths of Russia. The books not being allowed
to pass the frontier, stray copies were smuggled in, and lithographed
translations passed from hand to hand. The Agricultural College of
Petrovski, near Moscow, is considered to have been one of the first
places where young men became imbued with such advanced ideas. In this
neighbourhood the Netchaieff tragedy was enacted. Among literary men,
Tchernitcheffski was one of the first who became a "Nihilist." He
suffered for it by being banished to Siberia.

The word "Nihilist" is, however, a somewhat misleading one. It was
conferred at first as a nickname. Afterwards it was adopted (like the
name of the _Gueux_) in a kind of dare-devil mood; and has covered, ever
since, a great many varieties of political and social discontent, as
well as of philosophical Radicalism. There are Nihilists who, from the
sheer hopelessness engendered by a tyranny lasting a thousand years,
have come to cultivate a Philosophy of Despair, of Disgust, and of
Destruction, without troubling themselves as to the constitution of the
Future. These are men that profess a wish to do away with all State
organizations, for the sake of a morbid Individualism. Others there are
who, in the semi-revolutionary vein of Comte, incline towards a
socialist Collectivism in a rather utopian, not to say hierarchic, form.
To them the word "Nihilist" is scarcely applicable.

Strictly speaking, the word "Nihilist" covers, at most, a small group of
persons of a brooding and impracticable temper, such as is sometimes
created under the darkest tyrannies. It may be doubted whether the
majority of those who use the dagger and the revolver without
compunction against the vile _sbirri_ of an intolerable despotism would
call themselves Nihilists, or even Socialists. The greater number of the
members of the secret leagues are believed to hold views not far removed
from those which have found a practical expression in some freely
constituted countries. The violent means employed are, with many, only
the outcome of a feeling of revenge easily to be understood under the
circumstances; or else they are regarded as a dire necessity in
insurrectionary warfare. True, there have been Russians abroad who spoke
of "abolishing the Family and Property." But nothing warrants the
assumption that this is the principle of the Nihilists in Russia itself.

If either mere anarchy, or a system of barrack Communism, be the object
of the majority of the men and women whose deeds have of late riveted
the attention of all Europe, it is hard to comprehend that these
conspirators should have secured so many friends among classes which by
education and position cannot possibly have any sympathy with mere
destructive or utopian schemes. Of the existence of numerous friends of
the Nihilists in the higher classes there is, however, no doubt. Thus
only can the hold be explained which the occult propaganda of this _hic
et ubique_ conspiracy has obtained upon the commonwealth.


I have mentioned the participation of women in the present desperate
struggle. Students, lawyers, officers, Government officials, landed
proprietors, merchants, all kinds of men of the more educated or
well-to-do classes, have been found to be mixed up with the "Nihilist"
Conspiracy. By far the most characteristic feature, however, is the
share which women have taken in the late startling events. When women
thus actively and enthusiastically step forth in a revolutionary or
national movement, even to the extent of sacrificing their lives, it is
always a sign of a people's feelings being wrought up to the highest
tension. So great a strain upon the more delicate nature of the fairer
sex cannot be borne very long. It is only at a time of extreme crisis
that the unusual event occurs; and Russia is now at the very acme of
such a crisis.

We have seen, in succession, Vjera Sassulitch, a captain's daughter;
Sophia Löschern von Herzfeld, a lady of high rank; Nathalie von
Armfeldt, the daughter of an Imperial councillor; Mary Kovalevski, who
also ranks as a noble; Katharina Sarandovitch, the daughter of a
_tchinovnik_, or official; and several more, of equally prominent
position, playing in the revolutionary contest a most remarkable part.
They have suffered imprisonment; they have risked their lives; some of
them have been condemned to hard labour. One of them was sentenced to
be shot--but this latter decision even the Czar, though having to wage
war against women, dared not carry out. This extraordinary mixing of the
female sex in a widely ramified conspiracy is of so phenomenal a
character that a sketch of the educational and emancipatory movement
which led up to it, may well be here in its place.

By way of contrast, let us first look into times which seem to lie ages
behind us, but which are yet in the recollection of a great many.

When Gogol wrote his "Dead Souls," not quite forty years ago, the
education of young ladies in Russia was conducted on wonderful
principles of "finishing." Young ladies--said Gogol, with cutting
satire--receive, as is well known, a very good education. Three things
are looked upon, in the establishments to which they are sent, as the
pillars of all human virtues: namely, first, a knowledge of the French
language; secondly, the piano; thirdly, domestic economy, which consists
of the embroidery of purses and other objects of surprise. "Our present
time," he added, "has shown itself most inventive as regards the
perfection of this educational method; for in one establishment they
begin with the piano, and then go on to French, concluding with the
domestic economy alluded to; whereas in another school the embroidering
of purses forms the introduction, upon which French and the piano
follow. It will be seen that there is much difference in the methods."

Gribojedoff also, in a telling comedy, has some striking sarcasms on the
superficiality and hollow frivolousness of the education of girls of the
upper classes. "We bring up our daughters," he says, "as if they were
destined to be the wives of the dancing-masters and the buffoons to whom
we entrust their instruction." Now and then a reformer started up, but
in a very curious fashion. One of the earliest was Tatjana Passek, the
cousin of Alexander Herzen, of whom a writer, who adopts the signature
of "Borealis," in the Berlin _Gegenwart_, says that in consequence of
the straitened circumstances of her father, she was compelled to open a
Young Ladies' Establishment in a provincial town. Intelligent, but
without any solid knowledge, she herself relates in her memoirs how she
taught ancient history off-hand, chiefly by means of a lively
imagination. She even critically expounded the philosophical systems of
Greece and Rome without knowing or understanding them. Her handbook for
Greek History was "The Travels of Young Anacharsis." There was no system
or connection in what she taught, but the sprightliness of her delivery
made up for the defect. "When we came to the history of Sparta, we
became so enthusiastic for the Lacedæmonian girls that we tried to
imitate their hardened style of life, washing ourselves with cold water,
promenading with bare feet, doing gymnastics, drinking no tea, and
ceasing to cry. When I look back upon these performances, I wonder how
my pupils remained in good health." The same lady reports that the
friends of her youth, disgusted with the hollowness of drawing-room
life, had endeavoured to satisfy their emancipatory inclinations by
donning men's dress, indulging in Amazonian tastes, and secretly
frequenting taverns where, with their aristocratic small hands, they
jubilantly raised the foaming cup.

So much for girls' education in the higher strata. As to the immense
mass of the Russian population they were left to rot, intellectually, in
utter neglect. The school system in some Western countries--including
central and southern Italy before 1859-60, France, and even England
until a few years ago--was bad enough. In Russia it was simply
nonexistent. The private educational establishments and grammar schools
in a few towns, which were destined for the more well-to-do middle
class, were sorry copies of the few Government institutions. I have
before mentioned how, under the present reign, a movement for a more
Liberal education arose, which, however, soon led to students' tumults
and to severe police measures. In girls' education, too, a progressive
movement was initiated. For a short time it was said that the Empress
herself, whose German origin inclined her to that view, would assume its
protectorate. But soon it was seen that Government mainly busied itself
with bureaucratic regulations, whilst the foundation of the girls'
schools for which these extensive and often harassing regulations were
framed, proceeded with extreme slowness. In fact, the regulations were
there; but in most cases the schools were wanting.

Meanwhile, the aspiring girlhood of Russia threw itself with avidity
upon the new sources of knowledge, scant as they were, which had at last
been opened to it. The Minister of Public Instruction, Golovnin, who was
in office between 1861-66, promoted, in his quality of an opponent of
the classical method of education, by preference the study of natural
science. Hence a realistic tendency--often verging upon the harsh and
the crude--became the prevailing tone. Girls, sick of the idleness and
the conventional frivolities of social life, eagerly devoted themselves
to scientific pursuits, both as students at the new academies, and as
subscribers to the courses of lectures which were getting into vogue.
The very antagonists of the more extreme "emancipatory" practices
acknowledge that the greater number of these lady-students, who soon
were driven to seek for an opportunity of acquiring knowledge at a
foreign university--that is, at Zurich--distinguished themselves by much
diligence and talent, as well as by a spirit of personal sacrifice in
regard to worldly comforts.

At the same time it must be averred that some of them, yielding to an
exaltation and eccentricity easily aroused in womankind, mentally
overbalanced themselves as it were, and began to assume hideous mannish
and hermaphrodite ways. The close-cropped hair, the unnecessarily
spectacled face, the short tight jacket, the cigar, and the frequenting
of public-houses were unpleasant outward signs; but far more deplorable
was the cynic tone. These were and are the sad excrescences of an
otherwise laudable aspiration; but it may be hoped that in course of
time the excrescences will disappear. The sooner the better, else the
best friends of the progressive tendency among womankind will turn away
from it in sorrow and anger at the unsexing of the sex, whose tenderer
nature--in Schiller's words, let us hope not quite antiquated--is
destined to "weave wreaths of heavenly roses into the earthly life."

However, all the odd eccentricities, all the sad contempt of the natural
and recognised forms of beauty, delicacy, or even decency, into which
some may have allowed themselves to be betrayed by their eagerness to
throw off intolerable intellectual fetters, must not render us unjust to
the sounder aspect of the movement. Nor can those vagaries prevent us
from giving a due meed of admiring praise to the heroism displayed by
those nobly aspiring women, with whom the exaggerated manner is more an
outward form, whilst their self-sacrificing deeds in the cause of the
freedom of the nation and the welfare of the neglected masses, show the
true humanity and nobility of their heart. "Dead souls" they are not.
The fire of enthusiasm is within them.


After this rapid general survey of the condition of mind of the more
advanced women in Russia I come to the tragic story of Vjera Sassulitch.
It is a story typical of the base cruelty of autocratic government;
typical also of the results such a system must needs produce.

The victim and heroine of that ever-memorable tragedy was not, at first,
a member of any secret organization. Far from it. At the age of
seventeen, Vjera, then a mere school-girl, had made the acquaintance of
another school-girl, whose brother was a student. In the course of this
innocent girlish friendship she was induced to take care of a few
letters destined for the student, Netchaieff, who afterwards played a
part in the revolutionary movement. A "Nihilist" Miss Sassulitch, at
that time, certainly was not. Her whole ambition centred in the wish of
passing her examination to qualify herself for a governess, which she
did "with distinction."

Netchaieff's democratic connections having been denounced by a traitor,
whom he thereupon slew, the school-girl of seventeen, who had known his
sister, and him through her, was thrown into prison as one "suspected"
of conspiracy. There was not a shadow of proof against her. No
accusation was even formulated against her. Nevertheless she was kept,
_for two long years_, in the Czar's Bastille--an eternity of torture for
a captive uncertain of her fate. These were the words which her counsel,
Mr. Alexandroff, addressed to the jury, when, later on, she was tried
for an attempt upon Trepoff, one of the most hated tools of despotic

     "The time between the eighteenth and the twentieth year--these are
     the years of youth when childhood ceases; when impressions lasting
     for life are most powerful; when life itself appears yet spotless
     and pure. For the maiden it is the most beautiful time--the time of
     budding love--the time when the girl rises to the fuller
     consciousness of womanhood--the time of fanciful reverie and
     enthusiasm--the time to which, in later days, as a mother and a
     matron, her thoughts will yet fondly turn. Gentlemen of the jury!
     you know in the company of what friends Vjera Sassulitch had to
     pass her best years. The walls of a casemate were her companions.
     For two years she saw neither mother, nor relations, nor friends.
     Sometimes she heard that her mother had come and had given a
     message of greeting. That was all she was allowed to learn. Locked
     up without occupation within the walls of a prison!... Everything
     human concentrated in the single person of the turnkey who brings
     the food!... The monotonousness only broken, now and then, by the
     call of the sentinel, who, peering through the window bars,
     asks,--'Prisoner, have you not done any harm to yourself?' or by
     the rattling of the locks and door-bolts, the clack of guns
     shouldered or grounded, or the dreary striking of the hour in the
     fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul.... Far, far away from
     everything human!... Nothing there to nourish the feelings of
     friendship and love; nothing but the sympathy created by the
     knowledge that, to the right and to the left, there are
     fellow-sufferers passing their wretched days in the same way....
     Thus it was that, in the depth of her solitude, there arose, in
     Vjera Sassulitch, such warm-hearted sympathy for every State
     prisoner that every political convict sufferer became for her a
     spiritual comrade in her recollections, to whom she assigned a
     place in the experience and the impressions of her past life."

During the two years that Vjera was kept in dungeons under a mere
suspicion, she was twice only subjected to a secret inquiry--"judicial,"
if that is a word applicable to these dread Inquisition procedures. At
last she feared she was forgotten. Nothing whatever having come out
against her, she was finally set free, and went back to her heart-broken
mother, only to be suddenly re-arrested ten days afterwards! For a
moment, in spite of a two years' bitter experience, she childishly
thought there was some mistake. But the horrible truth of her situation
soon broke upon her. One morning she was seized in prison, and, without
being allowed to take even a change of dress, or a mantle, transported
by gendarmes to a distant province by way of banishment. One of these
gendarmes threw his own fur over her shivering shoulders, or else she
might have perished on the road.

I will not go here through the whole "infernal circle" of her sufferings
and involuntary migrations, which I have elsewhere described more fully.
I will not relate how she was "moved on" from one place to the other;
the only variety in her treatment consisting of an occasional return to
prison. Eleven years had thus altogether elapsed when at last, in those
vast dominions of the Czar, and amidst more thrilling events which began
to crowd upon public attention, she seemed to be really forgotten. In
this way she managed clandestinely to go back to the capital, whence
again she started for Pensa. It was there that, by chance, she learnt
from the _Novoje Vremja_ ("New Times,") the infamous treatment of
Bogoljuboff, a political prisoner, by the chief of the police at St.
Petersburg, the vile and universally despised Trepoff, the personal,
intimate, and pampered darling of Alexander II.

The flogging practices of this tyrannic head of the "Third Section" are
still in every one's recollection. In referring to the knouting applied
to Bogoljuboff, Vjera Sassulitch's counsel gave the following

     "The sufferer whose human dignity is to be insulted, knows not why
     he is to be punished. He thinks indignation will lend him strength
     to resist those who throw themselves upon him. But he is grasped by
     the iron grip of jailers' hands; he is dragged down; and in the
     midst of the regular counting of the strokes by the leader of the
     execution, a deep groan is heard--a groan not arising from mere
     physical pain, but from the soul's grief of a down-trodden,
     outraged man. At last, silence reigned again. The sacred act was

It was the brooding over such disgrace and affront to which a political
prisoner had been subjected in the very capital by an official whose
department is under the Czar's direct control that pressed the weapon of
revenge into the hands of a tender woman--not so much for her own past
miseries as for those of a still suffering fellow-man.

Trepoff had been attacked by Vjera Sassulitch in his own Cabinet, in the
very midst of his minions. The jury which tried her was composed almost
exclusively of Aulic Councillors and such-like titled dignitaries.
Prince Gortschakoff sat among the audience; so did the pick and flower
of the upper classes of St. Petersburg. Who could doubt, in presence of
the open avowal of the accused, that the verdict would be "Guilty?"

Strange to say, even among the officially faultless remarks of the
Public Prosecutor there were some curious admissions. "I, for my part,"
Mr. Kessel said, "fully believe the statements made by Vjera Sassulitch.
I believe that facts appeared to her in the light in which they have
been placed here; and _I am ready to accept the feelings of Vjera
Sassulitch as facts_. The Court, however, is bound to measure these
feelings, as soon as they are converted into deeds, by the standard of
the law." Through the summing up of the Judge there ran a strong vein of
interpretations favourable to the accused. "An accused person," he
remarked, "could certainly not be looked upon as an infallible
commentator on the event with which he or she was connected. At the same
time it had to be noted that criminals were to be divided into two
groups: those who are led by selfish impulses, and who therefore, in the
majority of cases, try to mask the truth by lying statements; and those
who commit an act from no motive of personal profit, and who entertain
no wish to hide anything of the deed they have done. You, gentlemen of
the jury, are in a position to judge how far the statements of Vjera
Sassulitch merit your confidence, and to which type of transgressors she
most nearly comes up."

This was a clear hint to any intelligent jury; and the jury of Aulic
Councillors were intelligent men. Going over all the details of the
case, the Judge made a great many more remarks in the same spirit. The
audience, who had frequently cheered the eloquence of counsel to such an
extent that the President of the Tribunal had to warn them, were on the
tip-toe of expectation. When the Foreman brought in the verdict: "No;
she is _not_ guilty!" the Hall of Justice--for justice had for once been
done--rang with enthusiastic applause. Vjera Sassulitch was borne away
in triumph.

In the streets, however,--and here we come once more upon all the dark
and terrible ways of Autocracy,--there ensued a fearful scene. An attack
was made upon the coach in which Vjera Sassulitch was to be carried
home--apparently with the object of getting her once more into police
clutches. There was a clash of swords and a confused tumult. Gensdarmes
and police broke in upon the mass of people, who wished to protect her.
Shots were fired. A nobleman and relation of Vjera, Grigori Sidorazki,
lay dead in the street. A lady also, Miss Anna Rafailnowna, a medical
student, writhed on the ground, wounded. The victim of so much prolonged
persecution had herself mysteriously disappeared. Afterwards, an order
for her re-arrest, marked "No. 16," and dated from the Secret Department
of the Town, came to light--evidently through information given by an
affiliate of the Revolutionary Committee within the police
administration itself. This occult connection of sundry officials with
the leaders of the Democratic or Nihilist Conspiracy explains why
Government should so often have been hampered in its efforts to suppress
that organization.

The verdict of "not guilty," in the case of Vjera Sassulitch, has been
followed by several similar ones--a strong proof of the sympathy felt
among the town populations, at least, with the aims of the
revolutionists. Franz von Holtzendorff, a well-known legal authority in
Germany, wrote on the case above detailed:--"Far more significant than
the verdict of the jury is the fact that that verdict, in spite of its
contrast to the existing law, has received the approval, as it appears,
of the whole Russian press, of the whole of the upper classes, and even
of the circles of Russian legists. I have had personal occasion to
convince myself that prominent officials of the Russian Empire gave
their applause to that verdict." Again, Dr. Holtzendorff said:--

     "In Russia, the feelings of right and justice, which are
     systematically and artificially kept down and repressed, and which
     have no outlet in public life, concentrate themselves with their
     full weight in the verdict of a jury. That which the press had no
     liberty of saying during long years, is given vent to in the
     debates of a Court of Justice. An accusation is raised on account
     of a deed which, though punishable as a crime in itself, has been
     produced and nurtured by a system of administrative arbitrariness
     and gross ill-treatment that stands morally deep below the deed in
     question--a system of corruption which cannot be attacked legally,
     nay, which enjoys all the honours the State can award. And who can
     help it if an injustice committed day after day, in the name of the
     State, without any expiation, weighs more heavily upon the public
     conscience than the act of a single person who, boldly risking his
     or her own life, rises with a feeling of the deepest indignation
     against so rotten a system of Government? It is but too natural,
     this wrathful utterance of the popular voice, when it declares that
     a high official, who, trusting in the practical approval of the
     Imperial favour, ordains corporal punishment according to his
     arbitrary caprice against defenceless prisoners, is guilty of a
     greater offence than he who feels driven, by a passionate notion of
     justice, to constitute himself, of his own free will, an avenger of
     the public conscience.... If, in a State afflicted with political
     sickness, the institution of the jury had fallen so deep as to work
     with the mechanical certainty of a military court, and to heed
     nothing but the points of view of jurisprudence, without being
     touched by the current of moral aspirations, thus merely
     registering, with Byzantine obedience, the paragraphs of a code of
     law: such a phenomenon--keeping, as it would, the Government in a
     dangerous error as regards public life--would be far more
     reprehensible than that verdict of 'not guilty' by which a whole
     system of Government was practically condemned."

The Russian Government system Herr von Holtzendorff, who personally
belongs to a very moderate political party, brands as "a system of
arbitrary police ordinances, and of the virtual sovereignty of the
Adjutants-General of the Czar--a system of administrative deportations,
of despotic arrestations, of press-gagging--a swashbuckler's
government." Another German writer of some distinction, Dr. Henry
Jaques, observes--

     "Where an absolutist monarch rules in arbitrary manner, without any
     limits to his power, the jury becomes the only representative organ
     of a people utterly bereft of all political rights. In such a case,
     a jury is indeed entitled to speak, before all, the language of the
     people, the language of its aspirations towards freedom, which must
     be heard before everything else, if the nation is to acquire its
     true rights. Even as, in the Iliad, the orphaned Andromache says to
     the parting Hector: 'Thou art now father, brother, and dear mother
     to me!' so the Russian people may say to its jury: 'You are now
     legislators, judges, and the source of mercy at one and the same
     time to me! In you there reposes the One and All of my political
     hopes, of my political rights!"

Noble words, but vain hope! First of all, it is not correct to say that
Vjera Sassulitch had been judged by a jury under a political charge. For
political crimes, or accusations, no jury has ever existed under
Alexander II. Vjera Sassulitch was charged with what Government chose to
consider a _common_ crime; hence only she was brought before a jury. For
political offenders, or what Government chooses to regard as political
offenders, packed tribunals have always been assigned. Happily,
Government overreached itself in the case of Vjera Sassulitch, feeling
too secure in the loyalty of its own Aulic Councillors.

Secondly, no sooner had the trial resulted in a verdict of "not guilty,"
than Count Pahlen, the Minister of Justice, who thought the jury were,
of course, quite a safe one, was dismissed. Thirdly, an ukase went
forth, withdrawing from the cognizance of juries even cases of "common
crime," when such crime was directed against one of the Czar's
officials. Fourthly, fresh regulations were framed for a change of the
jury system, as well as for the discipline of lawyers acting for the
defence. Fifthly, in the teeth of the verdict given in favour of Vjera
Sassulitch, a fresh trial was ordered, to be held in a country town, at
Novgorod, as soon as she could be recaptured. Finally, Alexander the
Liberal, seeing that all ordinary procedures were of no avail,
instituted a state of siege and drum-head law for political offenders
over a large portion of his Empire.

These are the desperate doings of a despotism maddened by an ever-active
host of enemies. It is usually the beginning of the end.


If any more proofs were wanted of the "benevolent" character of the
Government of Alexander II., they might be found in the increase, year
by year, of the deportations to Siberia. They are reckoned to be now
four or five times more numerous than under the galling system of
Nicholas. Political banishments have enormously augmented under his
successor. So has the number of the prescribed loose and vagabond class
of ordinary criminals, or suspects, who are frequently whisked off to
Siberia--for the sake of clearing "Society," as it is called--when the
criminals often become mixed up with the political exiles in an
indistinguishable mass. This is the very refinement of torture, applied
by the agents of a brutal despotism against men generously striving for
a reform of the State and of society.

The arbitrary deportations are decreed by the "Third Section," or Secret
Police, which is under the Emperor's personal direction. Formerly, this
dreaded office had the power of administering corporal punishment, in
secret, to persons of the upper classes, male or female. At the
Sassulitch trial, the counsel for the defence made a dark allusion to
this practice, which created a deep impression in Court. It was a
reference to a whipping-machine once in use, and of which some of those
present--ladies, as well as gentlemen--may have had personal experience.
A correspondent has given the following description:--The suspected
person, who could not be brought to trial, but whom it was intended to
castigate, would be invited to call at the Office of the Secret Police.
After a few moments' conversation with the dread functionary, the floor
would suddenly sink beneath the visitor's feet, and he would find
himself suspended by the waist, all that part of the body below it being
under the floor, and concealed from view. Then invisible hands and
equally invisible rods would rapidly perform their duty--the trap-door
would rise again--and the visitor would be bowed out with great
courtesy, and go home, carrying with him substantial marks to remind him
of his interview.

Though this more than Oriental custom has been abolished, enough remains
of barbarity to explain why successive chiefs of the hated police
Hermandad--Trepoff, Mesentzoff, and Drentelen--should have been the mark
of the bullet of popular revenge. A Russian writer says:--

     "A history of the secret doings, of all the horrors and crimes
     perpetrated by this disgraceful institution, would fill up many
     volumes, before the contents of which the most sensational novels
     would appear tame and shallow. There is scarcely any sphere of
     public or private life which is exempted from the irresponsible
     control of this Inquisition of the nineteenth century. The verdict
     of a Court has no value whatever for the Third Section. Not only
     acquitted political offenders are as a rule transported,
     administratively, to some distant town of the Empire, but even the
     judges themselves, when they are considered to have passed too
     lenient a verdict, are liable to be forced into resigning their
     office, and to be then _exiled in company with the very prisoners
     who had stood before them_!"

Lest this description should appear to be overdrawn, I may quote from
the letter of the St. Petersburg correspondent of an English journal,
which is certainly not unfavourable to the Government of Alexander II.
The letter was written after the recent proclamation of a state of
siege. And the writer says:--

     "As proofs and instances, not so much of martial law as of the
     repressive measures adopted (in many cases by ordinary
     administrative agency, without the machinery of martial law), I may
     mention that at the present time, as I am well informed, _more than
     600 persons of the privileged classes are under arrest, to be
     deported to Siberia without trial_. In one of the temporary
     governor-generalships in the south of the Empire (Odessa), sixty
     privileged persons have been already sent to Siberia without trial,
     and 200 persons of this class are under arrest to be judged. So
     great is the number of persons of this category to be escorted that
     a practical difficulty is said to have arisen in connection with
     their deportation. A noble, or privileged person, who has not been
     judicially sentenced, when sent to Siberia by 'administrative
     process' (as it is called, _i.e._, by the orders of the Third
     Section, or Secret Police), must be escorted by two gensdarmes, it
     being against the laws to manacle a privileged person who is
     uncondemned. It appears that there are not gensdarmes enough thus
     to escort the number of persons to be deported, and the Ministry of
     Secret Police has, I understand, proposed to get rid of this
     difficulty by sending the privileged persons fettered like ordinary
     criminals.... The Third Section, or Secret Police, which is in its
     proceedings essentially _extra leges_, claims to act independently
     of any other department of the Empire. This institution, which lays
     hold of suspected persons, whether justly or unjustly suspected,
     and consigns them to Siberia at its pleasure, savours more of
     Asiatic lawlessness than of enlightened European rule, such as it
     must be the desire of all in authority to see established
     throughout the Empire.... I have myself met with respectable,
     honourable men, who have been arrested and imprisoned, in some
     cases for a few weeks, in other cases during months, _followed by
     years of exile in Siberia, without any charge being brought against
     them_; and it is the possibility of this recurring to them, or to
     others, that constitutes a Reign of Terror."

The above description is from the correspondent of the _Daily News_.
Clearly it is a very pleasant position to be a "privileged person" in
Russia. It marks its occupant, by preference, as a possible candidate
for exile to Siberia; the more cultivated classes being essentially
those which constitute the active element of political dissatisfaction.

Of the treatment of political exiles in Siberia, as it has been carried
on for a long time past, I have before me a thrilling description from
the pen of Mr. Robert Lemke, a German writer, who has visited the
various penal establishments of Russia, with an official legitimation.
He had been to Tobolsk; after which he had to make a long, dreary
journey in a wretched car, until a high mountain arose before him. In
its torn and craggy flank the mountain showed a colossal opening similar
to the mouth of a burnt-out crater. Fetid vapours, which almost took
away his breath, ascended from it.

Pressing the handkerchief upon his lips, Mr. Lemke entered the opening
of the rock, when he found a large watch-house, with a picket of
Cossacks. Having shown his papers of legitimation, he was conducted by a
guide through a long, very dark, and narrow corridor, which, judging
from its sloping descent, led down into some unknown depth. In spite of
his good fur, the visitor felt extremely cold. After a walk of some ten
minutes through the dense obscurity, the ground becoming more and more
soft, a vague shimmer of light became observable. "We are in the mine!"
said the guide, pointing with a significant gesture to the high iron
cross-bars which closed the cavern before them.

The massive bars were covered with a thick rust. A watchman appeared,
who unlocked the heavy iron gate. Entering a room of considerable
extent, but which was scarcely a man's height, and which was dimly lit
by an oil-lamp, the visitor asked, "Where are we?" "In the sleeping-room
of the condemned! Formerly it was a productive gallery of the mine; now
it serves as a shelter."

The visitor shuddered. This subterranean sepulchre, lit by neither sun,
nor moon, was called a sleeping-room. Alcove-like cells were hewn into
the rock; here, on a couch of damp, half-rotten straw, covered with a
sackcloth, the unfortunate sufferers were to repose from the day's work.
Over each cell a cramp-iron was fixed, wherewith to lock-up the
prisoners like ferocious dogs. No door, no window anywhere.

Conducted through another passage, where a few lanterns were placed, and
whose end was also barred by an iron gate, Mr. Lemke came to a large
vault, partly lit. This was the mine. A deafening noise of pickaxes and
hammers. There he saw some hundreds of wretched figures, with shaggy
beards, sickly faces, reddened eyelids; clad in tatters, some of them
barefoot, others in sandals, fettered with heavy foot-chains. No song,
no whistling. Now and then they shyly looked at the visitor and his
companion. The water dripped from the stones; the tatters of the
convicts were thoroughly wet. One of them, a tall man, of suffering
mien, laboured hard with gasping breath, but the strokes of his pickaxe
were not heavy and firm enough to loosen the rock.

"Why are you here?" Mr. Lemke asked.

The convict looked confused, with an air almost of consternation, and
silently continued his work.

"It is forbidden to the prisoners," said the inspector, "to speak of the
cause of their banishment!"

Entombed alive; forbidden to say why!

"But who is the convict?" Mr. Lemke asked the guide, with low voice.

"It is Number 114!" the guide replied, laconically.

"This I see," answered the visitor; "but what are the man's antecedents?
To what family does he belong?"

"He is a count," replied the guide; "a well-known conspirator. More, I
regret to say, I cannot tell you about Number 114!"

The visitor felt as if he were stifled in the grave-like atmosphere--as
if his chest were pressed in by a demoniacal nightmare. He hastily asked
his guide to return with him to the upper world. Meeting there the
commander of the military establishment, he was obligingly asked by that

"Well, what impression did our penal establishment make upon you?"

Mr. Lemke stiffly bowing in silence, the officer seemed to take this as
a kind of satisfied assent, and went on--

"Very industrious people, the men below; are they not?"

"But with what feelings," Mr. Lemke answered, "must these unfortunates
look forward to the day of rest after the week's toil!"

"Rest!" said the officer; "convicts must always labour. There is no rest
for them. They are condemned to perpetual forced labour; and he who once
enters the mine never leaves it!"

"But this is barbarous!"

The officer shrugged his shoulders, and said, "The exiled work daily for
twelve hours; on Sundays too. They must never pause. But, no; I am
mistaken. Twice a year, though, rest is permitted to them--at
Easter-time, and on the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor."


Can we wonder, when we see the ultra-Bulgarian atrocities practised in
Russia, that "Terror for Terror!" should at last have become the parole
of the men of the Revolutionary Committee?

I will not go over the harrowing details of the events of the last seven
or eight months; they are still fresh in every one's remembrance. The
only measures that could stay this destructive contest are
systematically withheld by the Czar, who will not permit the slightest
display of popular sentiments within the lawful domain of Representative
Government. Many years ago a distinguished French writer described the
Russian system as "a tyranny tempered by the dagger." Alexander, too,
himself is fully aware of this tragic concatenation of events. He is
even known to have often, in the very beginning of his reign, expressed
a feeling of fear lest his own end should be a violent one, like that of
so many of his predecessors. The attempts of Karakasoff and Berezowski
have lately been repeated by Solovieff. Whilst strongly condemning the
deed of the latter, even the Conservative _Standard_ felt called upon,
by the dangers of the situation at large, to make the following
comments, which possess a lasting interest:--

     "It would be well if this painful incident could be disposed of by
     a homily upon individual wickedness and individual perverseness.
     Unhappily, it is but too certain that not only the deed itself, but
     the peculiar circumstances attending it, are closely related with
     the existing condition of a considerable section of Russian
     society. We are obliged to add that this condition is closely
     connected, in turn, with the form of government and the methods of
     administration that prevail in that country.... In spite of the
     emancipation of the serfs from the condition of territorial
     slavery, the Russian people have made little visible progress in
     the acquisition of political freedom. The Czar is still an absolute
     Sovereign; his Ministers still remain responsible to no will but
     his, and their agents have to answer only to their superiors for
     the manner in which they exercise authority.... The sanguine youth
     of the nation, eager for a career, and burning for activity, finds
     itself debarred from any course of distinction save that of arms,
     or that official existence which too often places men in Russia in
     antagonism to their own countrymen.... The old method of
     government--of police supervision, of private espionage, of
     imprisonment, of exile, of political silence--has been tried, and
     the result is discontent and extensive conspiracy. We fear that
     even the confession of sensualistic atheism by Solovieff will not
     prevent his memory from being cherished by thousands of his
     countrymen. They will forget everything, save his desire to endow
     them with more freedom. Whatever his faults, they will consider
     that he perished in their cause, and _what they will be most
     disposed to blame will be the unsteadiness of his hand and the
     uncertainty of his aim_."

The _Times_ also, whilst pleading for Solovieff's execution,
acknowledged the fact of the sway of Czardom being rotten to the core,
in the following words:--"It cannot be disputed that whole classes in
Russia are penetrated almost to desperation with a sense of social
oppression and wrong.... A social condition like this is the natural
soil in which the brooding temperament which seeks a remedy in
assassination is nourished."

When all the safety-valves are closed, Nature takes its revenge, and
ever and anon occasions the inevitable outburst. Russia is at present
under a state of siege from St. Petersburg to Moscow and Warsaw, from
Kieff to Kharkoff and Odessa. An Army of Porters, about 15,000 strong,
must watch the streets of the capital, day and night; and policemen are
set to watch the watchers. Under General Gurko, the crosser of the
Balkans, who is now Vice-Emperor, the last lines of legality have also
been crossed--if the word "legality" applies at all to Russian
institutions. He is invested with unlimited powers, in the place of the
disheartened tyrant. The very Grand Dukes are under his orders. Arrests
among officers of the army have been the immediate consequence of
General Gurko's satrap rule. In several cases, compromising letters and
prints were discovered, and executions both of officers, like Lieutenant
Dubrovin, and of privates, have followed. The gallows are in permanent
activity. But perhaps the most significant feature--and a promising one
too--is the order issued, under court-martial law, that in all the
barracks a list of the soldiers' arms is to be drawn up, and to be
handed over to the police! This is the strongest sign of a suspicion
against the army itself; and on the army the whole power of Czardom

When we hear of the arrest of a Senator, of a Director of the Imperial
Bank, of Professors, of the son of the Chancellor of the dreaded "Third
Section," of the wife of the procurator of a Military Court, of the
nephew of the Chief of the Secret Police, and many other such cases, we
are driven to the conclusion that, in spite of its furious acts of
repression, the autocratic system has become untenable--that it must
sooner or later fall. Like the Roman Emperor, Alexander II. might be
glad if revolt had but a single neck. But is it possible for him to
imagine that there exists but one party of malcontents? Do not the very
arrests just mentioned belie such an assertion?

Conspirators are laid hold of by the Czar's _sbirri_ together with men
who would not think of armed resistance. Despotism is frightened, in
fact, by the very shadows on the wall. Even the Slavophil and Panslavist
parties--still the ready instruments of aggressive policy--have both
become imbued with Constitutional ideas that look like sacrilege in the
eyes of the Pope-Czar. The revolutionists of _Land and Liberty_ ("Zemlja
i Wolja"); the Socialist Jacobins who follow the doctrines of the
_Tocsin_ ("Nabat"); the Nihilists, properly speaking; and the moderate
Constitutionalists, are all alike the enemies of the present form of
Government. In some districts the peasantry have risen; and, remarkable
to say, the first troop of Cossacks that was led against the insurgents,
refused to fight them. These are portents whose gravity cannot be

Ten years ago, when the Napoleonic Empire still stood erect, I said, in
an article on "The Condition of France," in the _Fortnightly Review_:--

     "A mighty change is undoubtedly hovering in the air. There may be
     short and sharp shocks and counter-shocks for a little while; but,
     unless all signs deceive, the great issue cannot be long delayed.
     The calmest observer is unable to deny the significance of the
     electrical flashes occasionally shooting now across the atmosphere.
     It is as if words of doom were traced in lurid streaks, breaking
     here and there through the darkened sky. We are strongly reminded
     of the similar incidents which marked the summer of 1868 in Spain.
     Those incidents were then scarcely understood abroad; yet they
     meant the subsequent great event of September. Even so there are
     now signs and portents in France--only fraught with a meaning for
     Europe at large."

This was published in December, 1869. In the following year, September,
1870, Bonapartist rule was a thing of the past.

Czardom, on its part, may play out its last card by embarking upon a
fresh war. It will only thereby hasten its doom. Though in Russia
concentrated action, for the sake of overthrowing a system of
Government, is surrounded with greater difficulties than in France, I
fully expect that the day is not far distant when Autocracy must either
bend by making a concession to the more intelligent popular will, or be
utterly broken and uprooted. "Terror for Terror!" is a war-cry of
despair; but on such a principle a nation's life cannot continue. The
moment may come when the Tyrant will be driven to bay in his own palace.
And loud and hearty will be the shout of freemen when that event
occurs--of the men striving for liberty in the great prison-house of the
Muscovite Empire itself, as well as of all those abroad who have still
some pity left in their hearts for the woes of a host of down-trodden



[47] Russland unter Alexander II. Leipzig: 1870.

[48] "The day and night of the battle passed, and the sufferers received
no food or water, and their festering wounds were undressed. The
following morning the Russians entered and took possession, and made the
but this celebration of the event, however short it may have seemed to
the victors, was a long season of horrible suffering for the wretched,
helpless captives who stretched their skeleton hands in vain towards
heaven, praying for a bit of bread or a drop of water. Neither friend
nor foe was there to alleviate their sufferings, or to give the trifle
needed to save them from a painful death, and they died by hundreds; and
before the morning of the third day the dead crowded the living in every
one of those dirty, dimly-lighted rooms which confined the wounded in a
foul and fetid atmosphere of disease and death. It was only on the
morning of the third day that these wretched, tortured creatures had
been left to their fate, that the Russians began the separation of the
living from the dead."--_Daily News_ Letter from Plevna.

[49] There is a notion in this country that Herzen, at one time, was
banished to Siberia, and lived as an exile there. The idea is founded on
a book of his, published in German and English, under the title of "My
Exile in Siberia." Herzen, however, was never banished to Siberia, but
only interned for a time at Perm, which is several hundred miles from
the Siberian frontier, and later at Novgorod. There, as a Government
official, he had to sign the passport documents of those who were
transported to Siberia. He left Russia, and lived abroad in voluntary
exile when he wrote his works of Panslavistic propagandism under
Socialist colours.



The idea of the Paradisiacal happiness of the earliest human beings
constitutes one of the most universal of traditions. According to the
Egyptians, the terrestrial reign of the God Ra, by which the existence
of the world and of humanity was inaugurated, was an age of gold, to
which Egyptians ever recurred regretfully; so that in order to convey
the idea of any given thing transcending imagination, they were in the
habit of affirming that "nothing had ever been seen like unto it since
the days of the God Ra."

This belief in an age of innocence and bliss, by which the career of
humanity began, is also to be met with amongst all peoples of Aryan or
Japhetic race, and was theirs anterior to their separation, the learned
having long agreed that this is one of the points on which Aryan
traditions are most plainly derivable from one common source with those
of the Semitic race, of which last Genesis affords us the expression.
But with Aryan nations this belief was closely linked with a conception
specially their own--that, namely, of four successive ages of the world;
and we find this conception attain to fullest development in India.
Created things, and among them humanity, are destined to endure for
12,000 divine years, each of which contains 360 years as reckoned by
men. This enormous period of time is divided into four ages or epochs:
the age of perfection, or _Kritayuga_; the age of the threefold
sacrifice--that is, the perfect accomplishment of all religious duties,
or _Trêtayuga_; the age of doubt or of the obscuration of religious
notions, _Dvaparayuga_; finally, the age of perdition, or _Kaliyuga_,
which is the present age, only to be brought to a close by the
destruction of the world.[50] The Works and Days of Hesiod show us that
precisely the same succession of ages was held by the Greeks, but
without their duration being calculated by years, and with the
supposition of a new humanity being produced at the beginning of each;
the gradual degeneracy, however, which marks this succession of ages is
expressed by the metals after which they are named--gold, silver, brass,
and iron. Our present humanity belongs to the age of iron, and is the
worst of all, although it began with the heroes. Zoroastrian Mazdeism
also admits this theory of the four ages, and we find it expressed in
the _Bundehesh_,[51] but under a form less nearly akin to the Indian
conception than was Hesiod's, and without the same spirit of crushing
fatalism. Here the duration of the universe is fixed at 12,000 years,
divided into four periods of 3000. In the first all is pure; the good
God _Ahuramazda_ reigns over his creation, in which as yet evil has not
appeared; in the second, the evil spirit Angromainyus issues from the
darkness in which he had up to this time remained inert, and declares
war against Ahuramazda, and then begins their conflict of 9000 years,
which occupies three of the world's ages. During the first 3000 years
Angromainyus has but little power; during the second, the success of the
two principles remains pretty evenly balanced; finally, during the last
age, which is that of historic times, evil prevails, but this age is to
terminate with the final defeat of Angromainyus, to be followed by the
resurrection of the dead and the beatitude of the risen just. The advent
of the prophet of Iran, of Zarakhustra (Zoroaster) is placed at the
close of the third age, or exactly in the middle of that period of 6000
years which is assigned to the duration of the human race under their
actual conditions.

Certain learned authorities--as, for instance, Ewald and M. Maury--have
striven to discover in the general order of Biblical history traces of
this system of the four ages. But impartial criticism must admit that
they have not made out their case; the foundations on which they have
tried to establish their demonstration are so entirely artificial, so
opposed to the spirit of the Scripture narrative, that they break down
of themselves.[52] And, indeed, M. Maury is the first to allow that
there is a fundamental opposition between the Biblical tradition and
the legend of Brahminical India or of Hesiod. In this last, as he
himself remarks, we see "no trace of a predisposition to sin transmitted
by inheritance from the first man to his descendants, no vestige of
original sin."

No doubt, as Pascal has so eloquently said, "it is in this abyss that
the problem of our condition gathers its complications and intricacies,
so that man is more inconceivable without this mystery than this mystery
is inconceivable to man;" but the truth of the fall and of original sin
is one of those against which human pride has most constantly rebelled,
is, indeed, the one from which it spontaneously seeks to escape. Hence
of all portions of primeval tradition as to the beginnings of humanity
it has been the earliest obliterated. As soon as men felt the sense of
exultation to which the progress of their civilization and their
conquests in the material world gave birth, they repudiated the idea.
Religious philosophers springing up outside the revelation which was
held in trust by the chosen people took no account of the Fall; and,
indeed, how could that doctrine have been made to harmonize with the
dreams of Pantheism and emanation? By rejecting the notion of original
sin, and substituting the doctrine of emanation for that of creation,
most of the peoples of pagan antiquity were led to the melancholy theory
of the four ages, such as we find it in the Sacred Books of India and
the poetry of Hesiod. It was by the law of decadence and continual
deterioration that the ancient world believed itself so heavily laden.
In proportion as time passed and things departed further and further
from their point of emanation, they corrupt themselves and grow ever
worse. This is the effect of an inexorable fate and of the very force of
their development. In this fatal evolution towards decline, there is no
room left for human freedom; the whole revolves in a circle from which
there is no means of escaping. With Hesiod, each age marks a decadence
from the one that preceded it; and, as the poet explicitly declares
regarding the iron age inaugurated by heroes, each of these ages taken
separately follows the same descending scale as does their totality. In
India the conception of the four ages or _Yuga_, by developing itself
and producing its natural consequences, engenders that of the
_Manvantara_. According to this new theory the world, after having
accomplished its four ages of constant degeneration, undergoes
dissolution (_pralaya_), things having reached such a pitch of
corruption as to be no longer capable of subsisting. Then there springs
up a new universe, with a new humanity--doomed to the same cycle of
necessary and fatal evolution, which the four _Yugas_ in turn go
through, till a new dissolution takes place; and so on to infinity. Here
we have, indeed, fatalism under the most cruelly inexorable form, and
also the most destructive of all true morality. For there can be no
responsibility where there is no freedom, nor is there in reality any
good or evil where corruption is the effect of an irresistible law of

How far more consolatory is the Biblical statement, hard though it first
appear to human pride, and how incomparable the prospects it opens out
to the mind! It admits that man, almost as soon as created, fell from
his state of original purity and Edenic bliss. In virtue of the law of
heredity everywhere imprinted on Nature, it was the fault committed by
the first ancestors of humanity in the exercise of their moral freedom
which condemned their descendants to punishment, and by bequeathing to
them an original taint predisposed them to sin. But this predisposition
to sin does not condemn man fatally to its committal; he may escape from
it by the exercise of his free will; and in the same way he may by
personal effort raise himself gradually out of the state of material
decline and misery to which the fault of his ancestors has brought him
down. The pagan conception of the four ages unrolls before us a picture
of constant degeneration, whereas the whole order of Biblical history
from its starting-point in the earliest chapters of Genesis affords the
spectacle of the progressive rise of humanity from the period of its
original fall. On one hand, its course is conceived of as a continual
descent; on the other, as a continual ascent. The Old Testament, which
we must here embrace in one general view, occupies itself but little
indeed with this ever-ascending course as regards the development of
material civilization, of which, however, it cursorily points out the
principal stages with a good deal of exactness. It rather traces for us
the picture of moral progress, and of the more and more definite
development of religious truth, the apprehension of which goes on ever
gaining in spirituality, purity, and breadth amongst the chosen people,
by a series of steps marked by the calling of Abraham, the promulgation
of the Mosaic Law, and, lastly, by the mission of the prophets, who in
their turn announce the last and supreme progress. This is to result
from the coming of the Messiah, and the consequences of this last
providential fact will go on continually developing themselves, and
tending towards a perfection, the term of which lies in the Infinite.
This notion of a rise after the fall, the fruit of man's free effort
assisted by divine grace and working within the limit of his powers
towards the accomplishment of the providential plan, is shown to us by
the Old Testament as existing only in one people, the people of Israel;
but the Christian spirit has extended the view to the universal history
of mankind, and thus has arisen that conception of a law of continual
progress unknown to antiquity, to which our modern society is so
invincibly attached, but which is, we should never forget, an idea due
to Christianity.

Zoroastrianism was unlike other pagan religions in this, that it could
not fail to admit and preserve the ancient tradition of a first sin.
Rather would it have been forced to construct for itself an analogical
myth, had it not found such in the primitive memories that it bent to
its own doctrines. The tradition squared, indeed, but too well with its
system of a dualism having a spiritual basis, although as yet but
imperfectly freed from confusion between the physical and moral worlds.
It explained quite naturally how man, a creature of the good God, and
consequently originally perfect, should have fallen under the power of
the evil spirit, thus contracting a taint which in the moral order
subjected him to sin, in the material to death, and to all the miseries
that poison earthly existence. Thus the notion of the sin of the first
authors of humanity, the heritage of which weighs constantly on their
descendants, is a fundamental one in Mazdean books. The modification of
legends relative to the first man even resulted in the mythic
conceptions of the later periods of Zoroastrianism, in attaching a
rather singular repetition of this first transgression to several
successive generations in the initial ages of humanity.

Originally--and this is at present one of the points most solidly
established by science--originally in those legends common to Oriental
Aryans before their separation into two branches, the first man was the
personage that the Iranians call Yima, and the Indians Yama. A son of
Heaven and not of man, Yima united the characteristics that Genesis
divides between Adam and Noah, fathers both, the one of antediluvian,
the other of postdiluvian humanity. Later, he appears as merely the
first king of the Iranians, but a king whose existence, as well as that
of his subjects, is passed in the midst of Edenic beatitude in the
paradise of Airyana-Vædja,[53] the dwelling-place of the earliest men.
But after a time when life was pure and spotless, Yima committed the sin
which weighs on his descendants, and in consequence of that sin, lost
his power, was cast out of Paradise, and given up to the dominion of the
serpent, the evil spirit Angromainyus,[54] who finally brought about
Yima's death by horrible torments.[55] It is an echo of the tradition
about the loss of Paradise ensuing upon a transgression prompted by the
Evil Spirit that we find in what is incontestably one of the oldest
portions of the Sacred Scriptures of Zoroastrianism.[56] "I created the
first and the best of dwelling-places. I who am Ahuramazda: the
Airyana-Vædja is of excellent nature. But against it Angromainyus, the
murderer, created a thing inimical, the serpent out of the river and the
winter, the work of the Doevas."[57] And it is this scourge, caused by
the power of the serpent, which occasions the departure for ever from
the paradisiacal region.

Later, Yima appears as no longer the first man, or even the first king.
The period of a thousand years assigned to his existence in Eden[58] is
now divided between several successive generations, occupying the same
space of time, from the moment when Gayomaritan, the type of humanity,
began to find himself struggling against the hostility of the Evil
Spirit up to the death of Yima. This is the system adopted by the
Bundehesh. The history of the sin which made Yima lose his primal
happiness, and subjected him to the power of the adversary, still
remains connected with the name of that hero. But this transgression is
no longer the original sin; and in order to be able to attribute it to
the ancestors whence all humanity springs, its story is again told here
(subserving a double purpose) in connection with the first pair whose
existence was completely terrestrial and similar to that of other human
beings--Masha and Mashyâna. "Man was; the father of the world was.
Heaven was destined to be his on condition of his being humble in heart,
and doing with humility the work of the law, of his being pure in
thought, pure in word, pure in deed, and of his never invoking the
Doevas. Under these conditions man and woman were reciprocally to make
each other's happiness. They drew near and became man and wife. At first
they spoke these words: 'It is Ahuramazda who has given the water, the
earth, the trees, the beasts, and the stars, the moon and the sun, and
all the blessings which spring from a pure root and pure fruit.' Later,
falsehood ran through their thoughts, perverted their disposition, and
said to them: 'It is Angromainyus who has given the water, earth, trees,
beasts, and all above-named things.' Thus, it was that in the beginning
Angromainyus deceived them concerning the Doevas, and to the end this
cruel one has only sought to seduce them. By believing this lie, both
became like unto demons, and their souls will be in Hell until the
renewal of bodies."

"They ate during thirty days; they clothed themselves in black raiment.
After these thirty days they went hunting; a white goat presented
itself; with their mouths they drew milk from her udder, and nourished
themselves with that milk which delighted them....

"The Doeva who told the lie, grew more bold, and presented himself a
second time, _and brought them fruits which they ate, and by so doing of
the hundred advantages they enjoyed there remained to them only one_.

"After thirty days and thirty nights a fat white sheep appeared; they
cut off his left ear. Instructed by the celestial Yazata[59] they
brought fire from the tree Konar, by rubbing it with a piece of wood.
Both set fire to the tree; they blew up the fire with their mouths; they
first burnt the branches of the tree Konar, next of the date-tree, and
the myrtle.... They roasted the sheep, dividing it into three parts.[60]
... Having eaten of the flesh of the dog they covered themselves with
the skin of that animal. Then they gave themselves up to the chase and
made themselves garments of the hair of wild beasts."[61]

We may here observe that in Genesis also, vegetable food is the only one
made use of by the first man in his state of bliss and purity; the only
one promised him by God. Animal food does not become lawful till after
the Flood. It is also after the Fall that Adam and Havah first clothe
themselves with coats of skin made for them by Yahveh himself.

The late lamented George Smith believed that amongst the fragments of
the Chaldean Genesis, discovered by him, one might be interpreted as
relating to the fall of the first man, and that it contained the curse
pronounced upon him by the God Ea, after his transgression.[62] But this
was an illusion, which a more profound study of the cuneiform document
has dispelled. Smith's translation, which was too hasty, immature, and,
moreover, hardly intelligible, turns out erroneous from beginning to
end. Since then Mr. Oppert has given us an entirely different version of
the same text,[63] the first possessing a really scientific character,
in which the general meaning becomes tolerably clear, though there are
still many obscure and uncertain details. One thing at least is now
quite established: the fragment has no kind of reference to original sin
and the curse of man. We must therefore leave it entirely outside the
sphere of our present researches; endeavouring, however, to convey a
warning to such as may be tempted, in dependence on the celebrated
Assyriologist, to make use of it in a Commentary on the Bible.

Thus, then, we have no formal and direct proof that the tradition of the
original transgression, as told in our Holy Scriptures, formed part of
the cycle of the records of Babylon and Chaldea, respecting the origin
of the world and of man. Neither do we find any allusion to the subject
in the fragments of Berosus. But, despite this silence, a similarity
between Chaldean and Hebrew traditions on this point, as upon others,
has so great a probability in its favour as almost to amount to a
certainty. Further on we shall return to certain very valid proofs of
the existence of myths relating to a terrestrial paradise in the sacred
traditions of the lower basin of the Euphrates and Tigris. But it
behoves us to dwell for a few moments on the representations of the
sacred and mysterious plant, guarded by celestial genii, that Assyrian
bas-reliefs so often display. Up to the present time no text has been
found to elucidate the meaning of the symbol, and we have to deplore a
want, that no doubt will one of these days be met by the discovery of
new documents. But the study of these figured monuments alone renders it
impossible to doubt the high importance of this representation of the
sacred plant. Whether it appear alone, or, as sometimes happens,
worshipped by royal figures, or, as I have just said, guarded by genii
in an attitude of adoration, it is incontrovertibly one of the loftiest
of religious emblems; and what places this character beyond doubt is,
that we often see above the plant the symbolic image of the Supreme God,
the winged disc--surmounted or not by a human bust. The cylinders of
Babylonian or Assyrian workmanship present this emblem no less
frequently than the bas-reliefs of Assyrian palaces, and always under
the same conditions, and evidently attributing to it an equal

It is very difficult to avoid comparing this mysterious plant, in which
everything points out a religious symbol of the first order, with that
famous tree of life and knowledge which plays so prominent a part in the
narrative of the earliest transgression. All paradisiacal traditions
make mention of it; the tradition in Genesis, which sometimes seems to
admit of two trees, one of life and one of knowledge, sometimes of one
tree only combining both attributes, and standing in the midst of the
garden; the Indian tradition, which supposes four plants on the four
counterforts of Mount Méru; and, lastly, that of the Iranians, which
sometimes treats of a single tree springing from the very middle of the
holy spring of water, Ardvî-çûra, in Airyana-Vædja, and sometimes of
two, corresponding exactly to those of the Biblical Eden. This
similarity is so much the more natural, that we find the Sabians or
Mendaites, an almost pagan sect, dwelling in the environs of Bussorah,
who retain a great number of Babylonian religious traditions, to be also
conversant with the tree of life, which they designate in their
Scriptures as _Setarvan_, "that which shades." The most ancient name of
Babylon in the idiom of the Ante-Semitic population, _Tin-tir-kî_,
signifies "the place of the tree of life." Finally, the representation
of the sacred plant which we assimilate with that of the Edenic
traditions, appears as a symbol of life eternal on those curious
sarcophagi, in enamelled clay, belonging to the latest period of
Chaldean civilization, after Alexander the Great, which have been
discovered at Warkah, the ancient Uruk.

The manner of representing this sacred plant varies in Assyrian
bas-reliefs and exhibits different degrees of complexity.[64] It is,
however, invariably a plant of moderate size, of pyramidal form, having
a straight stem from which spring numerous branches, and a cluster of
large leaves at its base. In one example only[65] is the plant
represented with sufficient accuracy to enable us to classify it as the
_Asclepias acida_ or _Sarcostemma vinimalis_, the plant known as the
Soma to the Aryans of India, the Haoma to the Iranians, the crushed
branches of which afford the intoxicating liquor offered as a libation
to the gods, and identified with the celestial beverage of life and
immortality. More generally, however, the plant has a conventional and
decorative aspect, not answering exactly to any natural type, and it is
this purely conventional form which the Persians have borrowed from
Assyro-Babylonian art, and which represents the Haoma on gems, cylinders
or cones of Persian workmanship in the era of the Achemenides.[66]
Such an adoption of the most usual shape of the sacred plant of the
Chaldeans and Assyrians by the Persians, in order to represent their own
Haoma--although the conventional bore no similarity to the real
plant--proves that they recognized a certain analogy in the conception
of the two emblems. In point of fact the Persians have shown great
discernment in their borrowing and adapting; and where they took
Chaldeo-Assyrian art for model and for teaching, they only adopted such
of those religious symbols common in the basin of the Euphrates and
Tigris, as might be rendered applicable to their own peculiar doctrines,
and even to a very pure Mazdeism. The adoption of the image of the
divine plant of the Chaldeo-Assyrians in order to represent the Haoma
is, therefore, a conclusive sign that an assimilation of the symbols had
taken place, and we find in it a new proof in support of the close
connection between the plant guarded by genii on Assyrian or Babylonian
monuments and the tree of life of paradisiacal tradition. Indeed, if
Indians vary in opinion as to the nature of the mysterious trees of
their earthly paradise of Mènu, even generally admitting of four
different species, and if the Bundehesh-pehlevi, in bestowing on the
tree of Airyana-Vædja the name of _Khembe_, appears to have had in view
one of the plants placed by Indians on the counterforts of Mèru--_i.e._,
the _Panelea orientalis_, which in Sanscrit is called _Kadamba_; it is
the "white Haoma," the Haoma type that is almost always found in the
sacred books of Mazdeans springing from the middle of the fountain
Ardvî-çûra, and distilling the beverage of immortality. The Aryans of
India connected a similar idea with their Soma, for the fermented liquor
that they produced by pounding its branches in a mortar, and offered as
a libation to their gods, is named by them _Amritam_, "ambrosia draught
that renders immortal." The Haoma and its sacred juice is also called
"that which keeps off death," in the ninth chapter of the _Yaçna_ of the
Zoroastrians. It is for this reason that, both with the Indians and the
Iranians, the personification of the sacred plant and its juice, the god
Soma, or Haoma, prototype of the Greek Dionysius, becomes a lunar
divinity, inasmuch as he is the guardian of the ambrosia stored by the
gods in the moon. And here we have another similarity forced upon us
when we stand before Assyrian bas-reliefs, where the sacred plant is
guarded by winged genii, having heads of eagles or peripterous vultures.
These symbolic beings present, indeed, a singular analogy with the
Garuda, or rather the Garsudas of Indian Aryans, genii, half men, half
eagles. Now, in the Indian myths, more particularly in the beautiful
story of the _Astika-parva_ of the Mahâbhârata, it is Garuda who
reconquers the ambrosia _Amritam_--that is, the sacred juice of the
Soma, used for libations, that had been stolen by demons, and who
restores it to the celestial god, himself remaining its guardian. The
part played by him and by the eagle-headed genii of Assyrian monuments,
with regard to the tree of life, is consequently the same as that which
we find in Genesis assigned to _Kerubin_, armed with flaming swords,
who were placed by God at the gate of Eden, after the expulsion of the
first human pair, to prevent the entrance into Paradise, and to guard
its tree of life.

In one part at least of Chaldea properly so called, to the south of
Babylon, it appears as though it were no longer the type we have just
been considering that was employed to represent the tree of life. It was
the palm, the tree that furnished the majority of the inhabitants of the
district with food, and with fruit from which they distilled a fermented
and intoxicating liquor, a kind of wine; the tree to which they were
wont to attribute in a popular song as many benefits as there are days
in the year--this palm it was that was there considered the sacred, the
paradisiacal tree. We have the proof of this in cylinders that show us
the palm surmounted by the emblem of the Supreme God, and guarded by two
eagle-headed genii. Moreover, the essential character of the tree of
life lies in its fruits affording an intoxicating juice, the beverage of
immortality; and accordingly the books of the Sabians or Mendaites
associate it with the tree Setarvan, "the perfumed vine," Sam Gufro,
above which hovers "the Supreme Life" in the same way as does the
emblematic image of divinity in its highest and most abstract form above
the plant of life in the monumental representations of Babylon and

And, further, the fact that in the cosmogonic traditions of the
Chaldeans and Babylonians respecting the tree of life and paradisiacal
fruit, there was contained a dramatic myth, closely resembling in form
the Biblical narrative of the Temptation, appears to be as positively
established as may be in the absence of written texts, by a cylinder of
hard stone preserved in the British Museum.[67] There we actually see a
man and woman, the former wearing on his head the kind of turban
peculiar to Babylonians,[68] seated opposite each other on either side
of a tree, from whose spreading branches two big fruits hang--one in
front of each of the figures who are stretching out their hands to
gather it. A serpent is rearing himself behind the woman. This
representative might serve as a direct illustration of the narrative in
Genesis, nor as M. Friedrich Delitzsch has observed, can it lend itself
to any other interpretation.

M. Renan has no hesitation in agreeing with ancient commentators in
finding a vestige of the same traditions among the Phenicians in the
fragments of the Book of Sanchoniathon, translated into Greek by Philo
of Byblos. In point of fact it is there told, in connection with the
first human pair, that Aion--which seems a rendering of Havah--"invented
feeding on the fruits of the tree." The learned academician even thinks
he discovers in this passage an echo of some type of Phenician figured
representation, retracing a scene such as that recorded in Genesis, and
visible on the Babylonian cylinder. Certain it is that, at the epoch of
the great influx of Oriental traditions into the classic world, we see a
representation of the kind figure on several Roman sarcophagi, where it
indicates positively the introduction of a legend analogous to the
narrative of Genesis, and associated with the myth of the formation of
man by Prometheus. One famous sarcophagus in the Capitol Museum displays
in the neighbourhood of the Titan, son of Japetos, who is performing his
work as modeller--a pair--man and woman--in the nudity of primeval days,
standing at the foot of a tree, the man's gesture showing that he means
to gather its fruit.[69] We meet with the same group in a bas-relief
built into the wall of the small garden of the Villa Albani in Rome,
only here it is in still closer conformity with the Hebrew tradition, as
a huge serpent is coiled round the trunk of the tree beneath which the
two mortals are standing. It is this plastic type that was imitated and
reproduced by the earliest Christian artists, when they attempted the
representation of the fall of our first parents, which formed so
favourite a subject with them, both in sculpture and painting.

On the sarcophagus of the Capitol the presence in proximity of
Prometheus of one of the Parcæ drawing the horoscope of the man whom the
Titan is forming, leads us to suspect in these sculptured subjects the
influence of the doctrine of those Chaldean astrologists who had spread
themselves, during the later centuries before the Christian era,
throughout the Greco-Roman world, and had acquired an especial amount of
credit in Rome. Nevertheless, the date of these last monuments renders
it possible to look upon the representation of the first pair beside the
tree of Paradise, of which they are about to eat, as directly borrowed
from the Old Testament itself, as well as from the cosmogony of Chaldea
or Phenicia. But the existence of this tradition in the cycle of the
indigenous legends of the Canaanites seems to me placed beyond doubt by
a curious painted vase of Phenician workmanship of the seventh or sixth
century B.C., discovered by General di Cesnola, in one of the most
ancient sepulchres of Idalia, in the Isle of Cyprus.[70]

There we actually see a leafy tree, from the branches of which hang two
large clusters of fruit, while a great serpent is advancing with
undulating movements towards the tree, and rearing itself to seize hold
of the fruit.[71]

Now, we are justified in doubting that in Chaldea, and still more in
Phenicia, a tradition parallel to the Biblical account of the Fall ever
assumed a significance as exclusively spiritual as it does in Genesis,
or that it contained the moral lesson also to be found in the story as
given in the Zoroastrian scriptures. The spirit of grossly materialistic
Pantheism in the religion of those lands rendered this impossible.
Nevertheless, we may remark that among the Chaldeans, and their
disciples the Assyrians, at all events from a given epoch, the notion of
the nature of sin and the necessity of repentance was to be found more
precisely formed than amongst the majority of ancient peoples, and
consequently it is difficult to believe that the Chaldean priesthood did
not, in their profound speculations on religious philosophy, seek for
some solution of the problem of the origin of evil and sin.

With the foregoing reservation, it is, indeed, probable that the
Chaldean and Phenician legend of the fruit of the tree of Paradise was
nearly akin in spirit to the cycles of ancient myths common to all the
branches of the Aryan race. To the study of these M. Adalbert Kuhn has
contributed a book of the highest interest.[72] He deals with such as
refer to the invention of fire, and to the beverage of life. These are
to be found in their most ancient form in the Vedas, and they then
passed over, more or less modified by the course of time, to the Greeks,
Romans, Slavs, as well as the Iranians and Indians. The fundamental
conception of these myths, which are only to be found complete in their
oldest forms, is of the universe as an immense tree, whose roots embrace
the earth, and whose branches form the vault of heaven.[73] The fruit of
this tree is fire--indispensable to human existence, and the material
symbol of intelligence; and the leaves distil the Elixir of Life. The
gods had reserved to themselves the possession of fire, which sometimes,
indeed, descends on earth in the form of lightning, but which men were
not themselves to produce. He who--like the Prometheus of the
Greeks--discovers the method of artificially kindling a flame, and
communicates this discovery to other men, is impious, has stolen the
forbidden fruit from the sacred tree, is accursed, and the wrath of the
gods pursues him and his race.

The analogy between these myths and the Bible narrative is striking
indeed. They are, really, one and the same tradition, only bearing a
quite different sense, symbolizing an invention of a material order,
instead of dwelling on the fundamental fact of the moral order, and
disfigured further by the monstrous conception, too frequent in
Paganism, of the Divinity as a formidable and adverse power, jealous of
the happiness and progress of man. The spirit of error among the
Gentiles had distorted the mysterious symbolic memory of the events by
which the fate of humanity was decided. The inspired author of Genesis
took it up under the form that it had evidently retained among the
Hebrews, as among the other nations where it had acquired a material
meaning, but he restored to it its true significance, and made it the
occasion of a solemn lesson.

Some remarks are still needed regarding the animal form assumed by the
tempter in Bible story, that serpent who, as figured monuments have
shown us, played the same part in the legends of Chaldea and Phenicia.

The serpent, or, more correctly speaking, different kinds of serpents,
held a very considerable place in the religious symbolism of the peoples
of antiquity. These creatures figure therein with most opposite
meanings, and it would be contrary to the laws of criticism to group
together confusedly, as some learned scholars were once wont to do, the
contradictory notions linked in old myths with different serpents, so as
to form out of them one vast Ophiological system,[74] referred to a
single source, and brought into relation with the narrative in Genesis.
But by the side of divine serpents, essentially benign in character,
protective, prophetic, linked with gods of health, life, and healing, we
do find in all mythologies a gigantic serpent, who personifies a hostile
and nocturnal power, a wicked principle, material darkness, and moral

Among the Egyptians we meet with the serpent, Assap, who fights against
the sun and moon, and whom Horus pierces with his weapon. Among the
Chaldeo-Assyrians we find mention made of a great serpent called the
"enemy of the gods," _aiub-ilani_. We need not introduce here the myth
of the great cosmogonic struggle between Tiamat, the personification of
Chaos, and the god Masuduk, related in a portion of the epic fragments,
in cuneiform character, discovered by George Smith. Tiamat assumes the
form of a monster often repeated on monuments, but this form is not that
of the serpent. We are distinctly told that it was from Phenician
mythology that Pherecides of Syros borrowed his account of the Titan
Ophion, the man-serpent precipitated into Tartarus, together with his
companions, by the god Kronos (El), who triumphed over him at the
beginning of things, a story strikingly similar to that of the defeat
of the "old serpent, who is the accuser and Satan," repulsed and
imprisoned in the abyss, which story does not, indeed, occur in the Old
Testament, but existed among the oral traditions of the Hebrews, and
makes its appearance in Chapters xii. and xx. of the Apocalypse of St.

Mazdeism is the only religion in whose symbolism the serpent never plays
any but an evil part, for even in that of the Bible it sometimes wears a
benign aspect, as, for instance, in the story of the brazen serpent. The
reason is, that in the dualistic conception of Zoroastrianism the animal
itself belonged to the impure and fatal creation of the evil principle.
Thus, it was under the form of a great serpent that Angromainyus, after
having tried to corrupt Heaven, leaped upon the earth; it was under this
form that Mithra, god of the pure sky, fought with him; and, finally, it
is under this form that he is eventually to be conquered and chained for
3000 years, and at the end of the world burned up with molten

In these Zoroastrian records, Angromainyus, under the form of a serpent,
is the emblem of evil and personification of the wicked spirit as
definitively as is the serpent of Genesis, and this in an almost equally
spiritual sense. In the Vedas, on the contrary, the same myth of the
conflict with the serpent has a purely naturalistic character, evidently
describing an atmospheric phenomenon. The idea most frequently repeated
in the ancient hymns of the Aryans of India at their primitive epoch, is
that of the struggle between Indra, the god of the bright sky and the
azure, and Ahi, the serpent, or Vritra, the personification of the
storm-cloud that lengthens out crawling in the air. Indra overthrows
Ahi, strikes him with his lightnings, and by tearing him asunder sets
free the fertilizing streams that he contained. Never in the Vedas does
the myth rise above this purely physical reality, never does it pass
from the representation of the warring atmospherical elements to that of
the moral conflict between good and evil, as it does in Mazdeism.

According to a certain school of modern mythologists, of which M.
Adalbert Khun is the most prominent representative in Germany, this
storm-myth is the pivot on which hinges a universal explanation of all
ancient religions whatever. And in particular the fundamental source,
origin, and true significance of the traditions we have been reviewing,
including the Biblical accounts of the Fall, are all, according to him,
to be looked for in this naturalistic fable of the _Vedas_. No doubt the
allegory which served as starting-point to this myth was not unknown to
the Hebrews. We find it distinctly expressed in a verse of the Book of
Job (chap. xxvi. 13), where it is said of God, "By his Spirit he hath
garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent." Here,
indeed, by the parallelism of the two clauses of the verse, the former
determines the meaning of the latter. But the Vedic myth is only one of
the applications of a symbolic statement, of which the source does not
lie among the Aryans; but must be sought much further back in the
primitive thought of humanity, anterior to the ethnical separation of
the ancestors of Egyptians, Semites, and Aryans, of the three great
races represented by the three sons of Noah; for it is common to all.
The pastoral tribes, whence sprung the Vedic hymns, only connected it
with an idea exclusively naturalistic, almost childish, and specially
drawn from the phenomena that most interested their simple existence, to
which all advanced civilization, whether material or intellectual, was
still foreign. But among the Egyptians the same metaphor appear with a
far more general and elevated significance. The serpent Assap is no
longer the storm-cloud but the personification of darkness, which the
sun, under the form of Ra or Horus, encounters during his nocturnal
passage through the lower hemisphere, and has to triumph over before he
appears in the east. Thus, the conflict between Horus and Assap is daily
renewed at the seventh hour of the night, a little before the rising of
the sun, and the "Book of the Dead" shows that this strife between light
and darkness was taken by the Egyptians as the emblem of the moral
strife between good and evil. Neither is the serpent the mere
storm-cloud in those paradisiac legends of Chaldea and Phoenicia in
which we have been able to discern a relation in form to the record in
Genesis. The aspect of the cloud lengthening out in the sky may, indeed
(I could not positively deny it without more positive certainty) have
furnished the first germ of the idea of constituting the serpent the
visible image of the adverse power, combining the intimately associated
ideas of darkness and of evil--a notion from which, by a confusion of
the physical and moral orders, no ancient religion, not even Mazdeism,
was entirely able to free itself, unless it were that of the Hebrews.
But with all the highly civilized peoples whose traditions we have
scrutinized, the great serpent symbolizes that dark and evil power in
its widest significance.

But be this as it may, my faith as a Christian finds no difficulty in
admitting that, in order to relate the fall of the first pair, the
inspired compiler of Genesis made use of a narrative which had assumed
an entirely mythical character among neighbouring peoples, and that the
form of a serpent assigned to the tempter may have had for
starting-point an essentially naturalistic symbol. Nothing obliges us to
understand the third chapter of Genesis literally. Without any departure
from orthodoxy we are justified in looking upon it as a figure intended
to convey a fact of a purely moral order. It is not, therefore, the form
of the narrative that signifies here, but rather the dogma that it
expresses, and this dogma of the fall of the human race through the bad
use that its earliest progenitors made of their free will, remains an
eternal truth which is nowhere else brought out with the same precision.
It affords the only solution of the formidable problem which constantly
returns to rear itself before the human mind, and which no religious
philosophy outside of revelation has ever been able to solve.



[50] The system is thus expounded in the "Laws of Manu," i. 68-86. For
its ulterior developments see Wilson, Vishnu-Purana, pp. 23-26, and

[51] Theopompus, cited by the author of the treatise "On Isis and
Osiris," attributed to Plutarch (c. 47), already pointed out this
doctrine as existing among the Persians.

[52] Ewald calculates the four ages of the world which he believes he
has discerned in the Bible as follows:--1. From the Creation to the
Deluge; 2. from the Deluge to Abraham; 3. from Abraham to Moses; 4. from
the Promulgation of the Mosaic Law. Such epochs have scarcely any
resemblance to the Ages of Hesiod or of the Laws of Manu. And, moreover,
it is well to note that wherever we meet simultaneously, as we do with
Indians, Iranians, and Greeks, with the existence of the four ages and
the tradition of the Deluge, these are completely independent of each
other, have no connection whatever, which indicates a difference of
origin, from sources having nothing in common. Nowhere does the Deluge
coincide with the transition between two of these ages.

Nevertheless, there is a point where a certain approximation may be
established between the theories of India and those of the Bible. The
Laws of Manu say that in the four successive ages of the world the
duration of human life goes on decreasing in the proportion of 4, 3, 2,
1; in the Bible we have the antediluvian patriarchs, with the exception
of Enoch, who was translated to Heaven, living about 900 years.
Subsequently Shem lives 600, and his three first descendants between 430
and 460; to the four succeeding generations there is assigned a life of
between 200 and 240 years; finally, from the time of Abraham the
existence of the patriarchs comes nearer to normal data, and no longer
reaches a maximum of 200 years.

[53] "Vendidâd," ii. It is also related how Yima preserved the germs of
men, animals, and plants from the Deluge. See, too, "Yesht," i. 25-27,
ix. 3-12, xv. 15-17. "Bundehesh," xvii.

[54] "Yesht," xix. 31-38. "Bundehesh," xxiii. and xxxii. "Sad-der," 94.

[55] "Yesht," xix. 46.

[56] "Vendidâd," i. 5-8.

[57] Demons.

[58] It is rather remarkable that the life of Adam, which, according to
Genesis, was one of 930 years, should so nearly approach this duration.

[59] Genii.

[60] In the "Yacna" (xxxii. 8) it is Yima who teaches men to cut meat in
pieces and to eat it. Windeschman has rightly compared this with Genesis
ix. 3.

[61] "Bundehesh," xv.

[62] "Chaldean Account of Genesis," p. 83. The original text is given in
Friedrich Delitzsch's "Assyrische Losestücke," 2nd edition, p. 91.

[63] See E. Ledrain: "Histoire d'Israel," vol. i. p. 416.

[64] See Rawlinson: "The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient World,"
2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 7.

[65] Botta: "Monuments of Nineveh," vol. ii. p. 150.

[66] This image was also employed for the same purpose in the time of
the Sassanides, and we can trace the history of the curious vicissitudes
which led to its being imitated as a mode of ornamentation, having no
particular significance, first among the Arabs, and next in some western
edifices of the Roman Period.

[67] Layard: "Cultus of Mithra," xvi. No. 4. G. Smith: "Chaldean Account
of Genesis." The cylinder is of Babylonish workmanship and great

[68] This head-dress, frequently represented on monuments, is spoken of
as characteristic of the Chaldeans in Ezekiel xxiii. 15.

[69] Panofka inclines to give to this couple the names of Deucalion and
Pyrrha, the son of Prometheus and daughter of Pandora, progenitors of a
postdiluvian human race. We see no objection to this, provided, however,
that it be admitted that the monument shows the introduction of a legend
similar to that of Adam and Havah, attached to those personages. As the
probable theatre of such an introduction, one might be led to think of
Iconia in Asia Minor, when the formation of men by Prometheus was, by
local tradition, assigned to a period immediately succeeding the deluge
of Deucalion, and told with details singularly akin to those given in
the Bible.

[70] Cesnola: "Cyprus: its Ancient Cities, Tombs, and Temples," p. 101.

[71] We must limit ourselves, must not be carried away into exaggerated
developments. We will not, therefore, carry these analogies further. But
they might be pursued in a direction that shall be briefly pointed at.
It is difficult to avoid seeing a similarity between the Tree of
Paradise of Asiatic Cosmogonies, and the tree of golden fruit in the
garden of the Hesperides, guarded by the serpents which figured
monuments invariably represent coiled about its trunk. In that myth of
incontestably Phenician origin, according to which Hercules slays the
guardian serpent and secures the golden apples, we have the revenge of
the luminous or solar god reconquering the tree of life from a dark,
jealous, and inimical power, personified by the serpent, which had taken
possession of it in the world's early days. In the same way we have in
the Indian myth the gods regaining the ambrosia from the Asouras or
demons that had stolen it. We may also observe that Hercules, the
conqueror of the dragon of the Hesperides, is also the liberator of
Prometheus, him who first, despite the divine prohibition, gathered
fire, the fruit of the celestial and cosmic tree.

[72] "Die Herabkunft des Feuers und die Göttertranks." Berlin, 1859.

[73] On the existence among the Babylonians of the idea of the cosmic
tree, see C. W. Mansell, _Gazette Archéologique_, 1878, p. 138.

Among the myths borrowed by the philosopher Pherecides, of Syros, from
the Phenician mysteries, was that of the winged-oak ([Greek: hupopteros
drus]), over which Zeus had spread a magnificent veil representing the
constellations, the earth and ocean. Here we manifestly have the cosmic
tree again.

[74] Mr. Fergusson's work, "Tree and Serpent Worship" (London, 1868), is
not quite free from this defect, the learned author having displayed
more erudition and ingenuity than critical faculty.

[75] "Bundèhesh," xxxi. The serpent's form is also that given to
different secondary personifications of the evil principle, different
mythological beings created by Angromainyus to ravage the earth, and war
with the good, and with the true faith--such as Azhi-Dahâka (the serpent
that bites), conquered by Thraetaina, and the dragon Cruvara, slain by
the hero Kereçaçpa.


  ATHENS, _August, 1879_.

If during this latter period of our national existence, which from every
point of view presents one of the most serious crises in our history,
all Europe finds itself agitated by constant commotions, Greece, which
more than any other European nation is interested in the various events
of the Eastern crisis, is truly under the power of a national paroxysm.
The serious modifications which have been accomplished in the state of
affairs in the East were of a nature to exert a great influence on
Greece, threatening each day to swallow up that country in the tempest.
Doubtless, it was impossible for Greece to remain indifferent at a time
when nations, but till lately unknown, were created by caprice or
interest, without themselves having any sentiment of their national
existence, and which now threaten her national and political future in
the East. The armed protests of Crete, of Epirus, of Thessaly, and of
Macedonia, were but the commencement of a general participation of
Hellenism in the struggle between the Slavs and the Turks, and doubtless
of a more serious complication of the Eastern Question, to the great
dismay of European diplomacy, which can not or will not re-establish the
equilibrium between the different national elements which struggle
fiercely with each other in the Balkan Peninsula. It was only the demand
made on Greece by united European diplomacy, at the commencement of the
war in the East, that she should remain neutral, and the promises made
to her that she should not be forgotten in a Congress of the Powers
relative to the improvement of the state of things in the Ottoman
Empire, which induced her to restrain her national aspirations, and to
await that justice from a European Congress, which she was on the point
of claiming by arms. However, the delay which has occurred up to the
present time in the solution of the question of the delimitation of the
Hellenic frontiers--which is still pending between the Greek Government
and the Sublime Porte--is a sad sign of the blindness of the Turkish
Government, and equally hurtful to both peoples, paralyzing their
progress in civilization. For if this question were once settled, they
would be able to turn their attention to another quarter--that, namely,
where the common interests and dangers of the two peoples meet. For not
only the Sublime Porte, but Europe also, should well understand that a
predominance of the Hellenic element in the East has in nowise for its
object to satisfy the ambitious tendencies of a race. Modern
civilization is in danger of being overrun by the furious waves which
threaten to carry away everything in the Russian Empire. Those
fundamental principles of Russian Society, those ideas (extravagant and
anti-social in all points of view) of a Panslavist Cæsarism, and the
principles of Nihilism, and of other social and religious sects, so
absurd and so contrary to human nature, between which there is just now
raging a combat so keen and so barbarous, are symptoms fatal to
civilization and to the peace of Europe, and the forerunners of a
catastrophe near at hand. Slavism, which is as ancient as the Latin and
German nationalities, has not, up to the present time, personified any
civilizing element in European history. Its proper character is
despotism, and in recent times it is anarchy in its most inauspicious
and frightful aspect. Consequently, Europe must open her eyes to the
danger which threatens her. A nationality which, from the very beginning
of its historical activity, represents principles of society and of
civilization in a state of decadence--at a period when it should be full
of youth and of ideality--ought to be seriously studied by those who
direct the destinies of the West. Not only is the preponderance of
Panslavism in the East a menace and a danger for the future and for the
regeneration of Hellenism, but dangers and complications more grave
threaten all Europe, in consequence of such preponderance. The Cossack
in the East, at Constantinople or near it, signifies nothing else but an
entire and immediate overturning of the European equilibrium and of
modern civilization. A man who well knew Russia and the Russians, the
famous author of the "Soirées de Saint Petersbourg," has written these
words:--"We must know how to set bounds to Russian desire, for by its
nature it is without limits." Deeply significant words of Joseph de
Maistre! The history of Russian policy is a development of this idea.
The public conscience of Europe ought to meditate upon and consider that
peril which the Marquis of Salisbury exposed with so much lucidity and
precision in that famous and memorable circular addressed to the Powers
of Continental Europe--that circular which had made us hope, but in
vain, for the advent of a new era in the history of English diplomacy
and in the progress of international morality. But now we must, alas!
repeat the famous saying of M. de Beust: "There is no longer any

We hoped, in common with the whole of the free and enlightened opinion
of Western Europe, that this circular of the noble Marquis, containing
the exalted traditions of George Canning with respect to the Hellenic
cause, was about to inaugurate a new era in European diplomacy. What,
then, was the motive for the sudden change in British diplomatic policy
during the Berlin Congress? Lord Beaconsfield, on his return from
Berlin, attempted to throw a doubtful light on this mysterious change in
the policy of the Cabinet of St. James's, when he finished his speech
with this vague remark, which has since become so celebrated among us:
"Greece has a future; and if I might be permitted to offer her my
advice, I would say to her, as to every individual who has a future,
Learn to wait."

We refrain from examining here the motives for this change, because we
believe it is very difficult to lift the veil which covers the mysteries
of the political inconstancy of the Cabinet of St. James's; and leaving
the solution of this enigma to time, that great OEdipus of history, we
will here make only this remark, that English diplomacy has allowed a
favourable opportunity to escape for taking the initiative in all the
great questions which concern the general interests of civilization, and
this notwithstanding the hopes which Lord Salisbury's circular for an
instant caused us to entertain. However, the propitious moment has not
yet passed away. France, which appears at this moment to be holding
aloft the standard of the policy first enunciated by the Marquis of
Salisbury, serves not only the interests of Greece and of Europe, but
also those of England.

Beware of the North! In the triumph of the Panslavist idea there is not
only the absorption of Hellenism, there is something of still more
general interest, which for some time past should have furnished
European diplomacy with matter for reflection, before the icy blast of
the North, changing our fears into realities, obliges diplomacy to
submit to accomplished facts.

Europe to-day, in proceeding with the execution of a decision of the
Congress, is not only doing a work of importance, but also a work of
justice in repairing the wrong which she formerly committed in narrowing
the limits of the Greek kingdom, and hindering the physical development
of its people. The political prophets of the time when this new European
State was created--Palmerston, Leopold of Belgium, Metternich--were
unanimous in pointing out how doubtful was the future of this nation,
which had not the elements necessary to a regular life, and which,
consequently, was incapable of fulfilling the exalted mission which
Europe had confided to it in creating it. What was the cause of this
niggardliness of the Powers towards a nation full of youth and activity,
at the very moment of its creation? Mr. Gladstone has already told us in
this REVIEW.[76]

Greece, which, more than all the other Eastern races, had always the
_pre-eminence_ intellectually and morally, might, in concert with the
West, and making herself, so to speak, the organ of its views in the
East, become a powerful barrier against that torrent of Slavism which
for some time past has threatened to overwhelm the Balkan peninsula.

In that ethnological pandemonium, which is called the Peninsula of the
Balkans, of which so many nationalities dispute the possession, to the
exclusion of the only possessors whose rights are consecrated by
history, Greece seems to be the only nationality which, better than all
the other races,--most of which lack historic traditions and a true
national consciousness,--is capable of realizing the views of Europe for
the fulfilment of which, on the initiative of England, the European
Congress was convoked at Berlin. It was, doubtless, these principles
which inspired the Congress when, in Article 13 of the Treaty, it
ordered the annexation to Greece of the bordering provinces of Epirus
and Thessaly; this was a reparation of the political fault committed at
the time of the creation of the new kingdom. However, a dishonest policy
on the part of Turkey delays up to this moment the accomplishment of the
Treaty fulfilled by her in its other Articles. She has reaped its
advantages, but she seems not to wish to submit to its sacrifices. We
cannot conceive what benefit the Sublime Porte derives from this vain
delay. It ought to understand that it will not gain anything from this
continual paroxysm with which it finds itself struggling since the last
Eastern crisis. And we see with satisfaction that public opinion in
Turkey has already acknowledged that an enlargement of Greece, even at
the expense of Turkey, is not contrary to the interests of the two
races, whose common peril from the Slavs is indisputable. Turkey must
seek the centre of her activity and power in Asia, where she may play an
important part, and not in Europe, where she has always remained a
stranger, and has never succeeded in creating an indigenous and national
civilization. It will one day depart from Europe, this Mussulman race,
which for five centuries has only encamped in Europe, without leaving
any memorial of civilization or morality, except a few pages of military
history. It can carry European civilization to the nations of Asia,
initiating them into its mysteries, by means of a wiser government and a
more enlightened activity. This is the true and just policy of Turkey in
the future. By the cession of the provinces where the Turkish element is
_nil_ she will gain much more strength than by their retention, which
cannot be of any profit to her.

We hope that Turkish statesmen, whose enlightenment and intelligence are
well known, will recognize the urgent necessity for a sincere
understanding between the two neighbouring States on the basis of the
cession of the two provinces in accordance with the Berlin Treaty; then
perhaps, later on, a union may be formed in order to oppose the common
enemy. The obsolete policy of _non possumus_, behind which Turkey
persists in sheltering herself has been, on more than one occasion,
hurtful and fatal to her.

The province of Epirus, without the town and department of Jannina, is
like a body without a head. The town of Jannina, which fills so
glorious a page in the modern history of Hellenism, has been ever since
its foundation the capital of Epirus in every point of view. It is only
the bad faith of the Turkish Government which could take advantage of
the inconceivable patriotism of the Albanians to create all of a sudden
an Albanian nationality. It is true that there does exist an Albanian
race, an insignificant branch of that powerful tree of the Hellenic
family; but this race has never played an important, independent, free
part in history. Once only, in the time of Scanderbeg, does Albania
appear to have fulfilled a separate mission, in fighting against the
Turks for the liberty and independence of her rugged mountains; but the
brilliant star of this memorable and almost unique epoch in the poor
history of Albania, the famous hero of Croia, according to recent
researches into this part of the history of the Middle Ages, was not of
Albanian origin. In those long combats for Hellenic liberty and
independence, when the Albanian race fought with the _ilephtes_ and
_armatoles_ of the national regeneration, it was not an Albanian idea
which inspired those brave champions of our independence: it was the
Greek standard, it was the _sabanum_ of Constantine, under the shadow of
which the tyrant was combated by the Greek patriots, and by those who,
in this time of sophism and paradoxes, plume themselves upon Albanian
nationality, in claiming with incomparable _naïveté_, in documents and
manifestoes in which historical traditions are disfigured, the
independence and liberty of a nation which never existed in history.
These mountaineers, these intrepid combatants in a holy cause, remained,
during all that revolutionary epoch of Greece, in the rear of the
Hellenic idea, which was doubtless their national idea. This idea
impresses its peculiar stamp on the life of the nation, in its material,
moral, and intellectual existence; but such has never existed in the
Albanian race. Unity of history, of language, of religion, all that
constitutes the essence of nationality, is altogether wanting in the
Albanians. This is not the time to discuss all the obsolete and
paradoxical things which have lately been said about the Albanians by
anthropologists, ethnologists, &c. &c. We do not wish, either, to
pronounce against them the death-sentence of the celebrated geographer
Kiepert, who wrote some time ago in the _National Zeitung_ of Berlin,
"We think the total dissolution of this part of an important and very
ancient nation, which always retrogrades" to be very probable, and
useful for European interests. Doubtless, the Albanians have a right of
historical existence; but that history in which is always represented
more or less the famous scientific conception of the great naturalist of
modern times, the _struggle for existence_, is favourable only for those
who know how to work and struggle successfully in the arena of
civilization. Up to this moment, this race has been entirely unknown in
history. A learned German naturalist, Haeckel, has found in this region
of Eastern Europe the rudiments of a savage life exactly resembling as
to manners the state of pre-historic times, especially in Upper Albania,
where this race has a numerical and national preponderance. The
Albanian nationality, then, about which its _soi-disant_ representatives
have made so much noise, has no real existence, and is at this day but a
national Utopia, a _terra incognita_, existing only in the ardent
imagination of certain high functionaries of the Sublime Porte, and
certain religious fanatics of Mussulman Albania. As for the
non-Mussulmans, they still remain supporters and friends of the Hellenic
idea and of the Greeks, with whom they have always made common cause,
and have played a glorious part in our history by their courage and
patriotism. Let the Albanians show by their European culture that there
are among them the elements of a compact race which has the full
consciousness of its individuality; and, what is more important, let
them abstain from declaring to-day against Hellenism, by becoming the
instruments of treacherous movements whose sole aim is their absorption.
The object of the Hellenic idea is not the absorption of the races with
which it is called to live; it is neither fusion nor conquest, as has
been more than once proved in history. It is only in the Greeks that the
Albanians will find their natural friends and allies; it is only with
them that they will not lose their national individuality, because they
are their brothers, retarded in the history of humanity and of

But if the idea of an independent and peculiar Albanian race and
nationality is shown to be false by ethnological research and by
historical documents, it is a still greater error and a ridiculous
pretension to say that the town of Jannina is the centre and the capital
of the Albanian idea and nationality. This argument, which for some time
past has been going the round of Europe, and which has found supporters
in Italy,--in the Italian Government unfortunately,--is truly pitiable,
and unworthy of being seriously debated, in the view of those who are at
all acquainted with the history of modern Greece. But since, in these
times of vain questions and useless and sophistical debates about the
peoples of the East, much has been written and argued on this question
in the European press, we think it may not be out of place to give some
information on the political and intellectual state of Jannina, its
population, and the historical and moral traditions of the town, which
was formerly, prior to the creation of the new kingdom, the intellectual
capital of Hellenism.

Jannina is, of all the districts of Epirus, that in which the Greek
population is the most numerous and the most compact. Out of 100,000
inhabitants of this district, there are only 5000 Mussulmans; and these
also are of Greek origin, because they all speak Greek. And in Turkey in
Europe, Jannina is the most Hellenic village, in which there is not one
inhabitant who does not speak the language of the country. It is,
perhaps, an historic curiosity, but still it is a fact which has already
been proved, that the Sublime Porte has no right of conquest over this
town, because Jannina has not been conquered by the Turks, but has only
recognized the Turkish rule by a treaty which guaranteed to it all the
rights of self-government--rights which were afterwards trampled under
foot in consequence of a rising in the unfortunate town. In the
seventeenth century, at the very dawn of the Hellenic revival, Jannina
was already a centre of light which illumined the dark sky of Hellenism;
for a long time this part of Epirus was the mother-country of the
greatest patriots, and the most earnest propagators of national
education. Athens was but a village, known only through history, when
this town was already the central point of the national consciousness;
the capital of the learning of the dispersed nation, which was without a
political official centre. In the famous school of this town, afterwards
called [Greek: Zôsimaia Scholê] (The School of Zosimas), illustrious
professors taught Greek literature; and, according to the testimony of
many travellers, Jannina was the town whose inhabitants spoke the most
correct Greek. Our national historian, M. Papparigopoulos, speaks thus
of it in his French work, already well known and esteemed in
Europe[77]:--"Jannina especially became a true nursery of teachers, who
in their turn were placed successively at the head of other schools in
Peloponnesus, in continental Greece, in Thessaly, in Macedonia, at
Chios, at Smyrna, at Cydones, at Constantinople, at Jassy, at
Bucharest." The intellectual superiority of this town lasted until the
death of Ali Pasha and the creation of the new kingdom, when the centre
of the moral and political activity and work of the nation was
transferred to Athens, the town which, from its grand traditions, was
worthy to become once more the capital of the great Hellenic idea. But
the school of Jannina still remains one of the most renowned and the
most useful centres for the propagation of the learning and literature
of Ottoman Greece. At this day, for the foreigner who visits the capital
of the kingdom of the Hellenes, the first spectacle which will attract
his attention will be that majestic view of national monuments, worthy
to be compared with the most renowned monuments of the European cities:
these are the University, the Academy, the Polytechnic School, the
Arsakion, the Seminary of Rizari, &c., all eloquent witnesses of the
patriotism and self-sacrifice of the nation. Who are the founders of
these monuments? By what means have these brilliant ornaments of the
Hellenic revival been constructed? The greater part of their generous
founders are Epirotes, natives of Jannina itself, that town of which one
of the most illustrious _savants_ of regenerated Greece spoke with so
much appropriateness when he compared its school to a great river which
has given rise to several streams, which in their turn have watered and
fertilized all the other towns of Greece, but which to-day, contrary to
all reason and to historic truth, is represented as the Albanian
capital, and finds for this strange idea supporters who willingly
sacrifice the rights of populations to political interests and
necessities; a sad but eloquent sign of the moral confusion of our
times, and of the bad faith which dominates over the political and
international conceptions of some Governments.

The political life of Greece has, doubtless, been very stormy of late
years. The state of confusion and uneasiness which followed the
expulsion of King Otho, and, later, the unfortunate issue of the Cretan
rising, acted to some extent as a drag on the peaceful progress of the
new kingdom. Besides this, the adoption of a political Constitution
dissimilar and entirely strange to our customs and political and social
habits, the introduction of what is called in political language the
Constitutional _régime_, transplanted from the cloudy region of England
to the sunny climate of Greece, has not proved the political panacea
which had been hoped for by the enthusiasm of the political ideologists
of our times. Already, and especially during the last fifteen years, the
intellectual life of a young nation full of health and vigour has been
wasted foolishly in a barren struggle about political formalities, while
other questions, more serious and more vital to the national
development, have been neglected. No doubt we may console ourselves with
the thought that we are neither the first nor the last for whom the
fruit of the political wisdom of old Albion has proved so bitter and so
indigestible, and that other nations of the Continent, more advanced
than ourselves in civilization, have committed the same fault of not
taking into account that the Government of a nation is not a mere
question of forms, but that it ought to be the expression of its moral
and social life, that it ought to represent its historical traditions
and political aspirations. Like most of the Continental nations, we also
have the external forms of the English Constitution, without having its
internal essence, which constitutes the real value of its political
institutions,--viz., Self-government. It is true that the political
wisdom of nations does not improvise itself, nor reveal itself all at
once in its fulness, as Minerva of old sprang from the head of Jupiter,
clad in complete armour, but that it develops itself during their
historic progress amidst vicissitude, and by turning to profit the
lessons of trial and experience. It is this that gives us the hope that
in future our nation, enlightened by the painful events of which we are
now reaping the sad fruits, will become more clear-sighted, especially
after the annexation of the new Hellenic provinces, when the need will
be the more felt for a revision of our political system, and the
reconstruction of our new political edifice on a basis more real, more
solid, more durable, and more in conformity with our national character,
with our needs, and with contemporary aspirations. Our political life,
especially during its latter years, instead of adding a page to our
contemporary history, has, on the contrary, consumed and wasted
foolishly many of our intellectual faculties which might have been more
usefully employed. At the moment when vague questions, which were
useless to our national and political development, were being gravely
debated in the Parliament of Athens, Greece might, with a more perfect
political Constitution and military organization, have shown herself
fully in a position to face the storm which still agitates the Balkan
peninsula; might have shown herself to be a respectable Power, capable
of measuring her strength with her enemies. The East was in flames, the
populations of the Balkans in full revolt, only the Government of Athens
had no definite policy. Whilst the Greeks of Turkey were waiting
impatiently, and turning their eyes to the Cabinet of Athens, this
latter, under the presidency of M. Coumoundouros, remained inactive and
irresolute. When the danger became more serious, and all parties, under
the impulse of an obsolete illusion, had united themselves in order to
form that common Government which our press has called the OEcumenical
Government, then was seen in all its obviousness the political
incapacity of those parties who for fifteen years past had governed
Greece, without doing anything, and without thinking of the important
and serious position which Greece might have occupied in the East. This
coalition ministry, without principles and without political aim, was
driven from office, after a period of internal languor, in order to give
place to M. Coumoundouros, the skilful perplexer of our policy, worthy
to be compared in more than one respect with Walpole, whose memory,
doubtless, does not occupy an illustrious and honourable page in English
political history. It is this same uncertainty and confusion which
reigns to this day in the thoughts and in all the actions of the
Government, which under a wiser and more politic direction might and
ought to say the last word in those negotiations, which already have
been going on for a year between the Cabinets of Europe, on the subject
of the new frontiers of Greece.

       *       *       *       *       *

But if our political life cannot call forth the admiration and
enthusiasm, nor win the applause of an impartial judge, the individual
and social progress of the nation, on the contrary, in many points of
view, compensates us to some extent for our political inexperience and
incapacity in these latter times. If the Hellenic State, wearing a dress
which is burdensome and strange to its customs and its free
individuality, cannot advance as it should do, on the other hand society
has in other respects made immense progress. The impulse which has been
given to the active mind of the nation of late years is in every way
remarkable. In its social development Greece does not encounter any
obstacle which hinders the march of its civilization. The ancient
class-divisions of Europe, which are now exciting terrible passions that
threaten the overthrow of the social edifice, have no cause of existence
under the calm and happy sky of regenerate Greece. The social work of
the progress and development of the national forces goes on here without
obstacles, in a perfect accord of all classes of society. We have not
here classes having opposite aspirations, suspected one by the other,
and ready to engage in a deadly struggle. We only want political wisdom,
and then Greece, which has not to-day to expiate past faults, because
she has already expiated many of them, will be capable of becoming a
political society worthy of the nineteenth century.

We recommend to the readers of this REVIEW two works recently published
in French, in which they will be able to study the progress of Greece
since its regeneration. These are--"La Grèce telle qu'elle est," by M.
Moraitinis; and "La Grèce à l'Exposition universelle de Paris en 1878,"
by M. Mansolas, director of the Office of Statistics, in which may be
found a record of the social and intellectual work which in the space of
fifty years has transformed Greece, by changing the uncultivated desert
of former times into a prosperous and vigorous society. The apology of
much-misunderstood and much-decried Hellenism is made by the eloquence
of the figures in this history, which is symbolical of its spirit. The
regenerate country, by comparison with the other provinces which have
remained under the yoke of Turkey, witnesses to the work which has been
accomplished, and which has transformed the aspect of Greece, thanks to
its national and political enfranchisement.

Fifty years ago Greece emerged from a catastrophe: she had been deprived
of everything and devastated by a long and desperate war; she was
without resources, without agriculture, without commerce, without
manufactures, without the least social or political organization;
everything had perished during her long struggle for independence,
except her genius and her faith in the future. This faith has already
wrought marvels. Agriculture, which is _par excellence_ the basis of the
prosperity of nations, has made considerable progress; its development
goes on day by day in geometrical progression. Thus, in the space of the
last fifteen years there have been taken into cultivation nearly
5,000,000 acres. The number of inhabitants engaged in the cultivation of
the soil, including the shepherds, is, according to the census of 1870,
562,559 out of the 901,387 inhabitants (among the 1,457,894 inhabitants
of the kingdom) whose employment could be stated. Of this number 218,027
are agriculturists, properly so called. This is the chief industry of
the country. Like agriculture, manufactures have also made considerable
progress of late. We extract from M. Mansolas' book the interesting
description which he gives of the state and progress of manufacturing
industry in Greece:--

"Any one returning to Athens after an absence of fifteen years would
certainly be surprised to see, on landing at the Piræus, tall chimneys
by the side of the railway station, and the vast district of industrial
establishments which has been formed, where a few years ago one did not
see a single cottage, a tree, or a blade of grass.

"When we consider that all these manufacturing establishments which one
sees in Greece are the work of a few years, we shall learn with interest
what progress has been made in so short a space of time, and so much the
more so since all this is due to individual enterprise, to the
association of capital, and to competition, that universal condition of
the progress of nations as of individuals. The various manufactories in
which steam-power is employed, distributed among the different towns in
the kingdom, have been founded since 1863; their saleable value is over
£1,000,000 sterling. They spend £1,600,000 in raw material, about
£100,000 in fuel, and turn out products of the value of nearly
£2,000,000. Seven thousand three hundred and forty-two operatives, male
and female, are employed in these establishments, which, under the
impulse of the national industry, are multiplying and developing
themselves daily with considerable rapidity. Again, it is a Greek, an
Epirote, Evangeli Lappa, at whose cost have been instituted, under the
name of [Greek: Olympia], exhibitions of agriculture, and manufactures
every four years, in which, conformably with the fundamental statutes,
all the products of Hellenic industry are to be represented, and
particularly its manufactures, its agriculture, and cattle-breeding. A
magnificent palace, erected expressly for it at the cost of the generous
founders, is destined to receive, when finished, the fourth exhibition
of the [Greek: Olympia]."

In common with agriculture and manufactures, trade is likewise making
considerable progress. It is to the commercial spirit of the Greeks, of
which traces are everywhere seen, that we owe the considerable extension
which commerce has undergone in Greece since her national regeneration.
Her general trade shows the following figures:--

  Year.     Imports.       Exports.

  1865     £3,196,403      £1,775,775
  1874      4,261,870       2,663,662

The spirit of association, under every aspect, is the secret of human
progress and development in modern times. In Greece this idea,
essentially human, of association has not yet realized the grand results
in the way of progress which we admire in the rest of Europe. The
poverty of the country, recently delivered from general destruction, is,
doubtless, one of the chief causes of this. However, since the year
1868, a great impetus has been given to our national life in respect of
association. The first company was formed in 1836. From that time to the
present 144 joint-stock companies have been created at different dates.
Of all these companies there remain at this day fifty, witnesses to the
vitality of the country, and to the constant progress of Greece. This
fact is still more clearly affirmed by the operations of the National
Bank of Greece.

This bank, established in 1842 with a capital of £165,000 divided into
5000 shares, possesses to-day a capital of £600,000. While in the year
following its establishment (1843) the highest amount of its note
circulation only reached £12,500 that of its discounts £85,000 and that
of its advances £6500; in 1877 the note circulation reached £1,500,000,
its discounts £3,800,000, and its commercial advances £1,100,000. The
annual dividend has increased from about £3 per share in 1846 to £8
6_s._ 6_d._ in 1875.

It is in the budget more especially that we may ascertain this great
national progress which is manifesting itself under every aspect of
Hellenic life. The revenue of the kingdom, according to the budget for
the year 1879, amounted to over £1,600,000, while at the date of the
establishment of the first monarchy the total of the ordinary public
revenue was £260,000.

This extension of the vital forces of the nation is, doubtless, a
visible progress. We have not yet arrived at the completion of the
national work necessary to place us on the level of European
civilization. Much has yet to be done; but this does not depend only on
the good-will and the capacity of the inhabitants. The too narrow limits
of the kingdom, the political uncertainty which has weighed upon the
life and upon the future of the country, particularly during recent
years, divert the attention of the Government and of the nation to more
general and more urgent matters. The peaceful labour of the country has
not, however, been entirely suspended during the late period of
agitation and crisis, when the cannon was thundering in close proximity
to us. The material and social progress which has taken place during the
last three years shows the confidence which the nation has in herself,
in her mission, and her future.

Already, since the creation of the new kingdom, the West, regretting in
some sort what it had just done, had shown itself very severe towards
Greece. After the phil-Hellenic enthusiasm a singular change supervened
in the sentiments of Europe. A calculating and scornful spirit had
succeeded that fever of generosity which produced the day of Navarino.
It was thought that a Liliputian could play the part of a giant.
Impossibilities were asked of a new State, without means, without
resources, scarcely risen from the tomb of oblivion and ruin. If
clear-sighted men of this period had been listened to--Leopold of
Belgium, Palmerston, Metternich even--Greece would have had limits more
natural in order that she might breathe and act more freely. This
youngest child of the European States would to-day be a strong Power,
capable of struggling against the Panslavist spectre in the East, and of
realizing the projects of the West in this country of the Balkans which
appears to be menaced by Muscovite conquest. However, if in a military
point of view Greece cannot to-day be the chief actor, she yet remains
the most important factor of civilization in the East in intellectual,
political, and ethnological respects. It is the indomitable genius of
this nation which in the darkest moments of its historical life has been
able to throw some brilliant flashes over the history of the human race.
It is Greek industry which to-day plays _par excellence_ the most active
part in the propagation of culture in the East. Intermediate between the
West and the East, the Greeks assimilate with an astonishing rapidity
the results of progress; and the ancient East, that unfortunate mummy of
history, begins to be born again, to revive, to breathe, to speak, like
the legendary statue of Memnon, under the breath and at the approach of
the new spirit casting its vivifying rays on the motionless and silent
body of the _alma mater_ of human civilization.

Here is a country which formerly existed and which lived only in its
past, and which to-day presents itself with promises, aspirations,
claims on the future. It was only an historic tradition, a sad souvenir,
a geographical expression, a land of the dead, where everything was
lacking except the sun, which still shone as a lamp which cast a
mournful light on the tomb of a departed glory. This land has to-day
become quite young again. There are towns now, where formerly the
shepherd led his flock silently among the ruins of a past which he did
not know. Athens, formerly an insignificant village, is to-day the
finest town in the East, and may be compared with the first cities of
the West. She numbers, according to the recent census, more than 70,000
inhabitants; the Piræus, which contains more than 20,000 of this number,
has latterly become the centre of the industrial activity of the new
State. All the large towns of Greece are now centres of commerce, of
manufactures, of culture. The population which existed at the time of
the creation of the new kingdom has been doubled, in consequence of the
material development of the country, whose prosperity is every day
attracting foreign capital. The credit of Greece is assured in the
money-markets of Europe in consequence of the much desired agreement
which has been come to between the Government and the creditors of the
unfortunate loan of 1824. Already the _Times_ is raising its voice in
favour of the Greek exterior loan recently contracted at Paris. Greece
has, indeed, yet other unworked resources; she lacks only sufficient
means by the aid of which she might continue her civilizing march in

The disquietude and uncertainty in the condition of Eastern affairs
which have followed upon the war and changed the political condition of
the Balkan peninsula have not been able to completely arrest the
intellectual movement which is a peculiar trait of the Hellenic race. On
the contrary, there has in recent years been observed in the life of the
nation a more active and serious tendency to a radical improvement and a
more complete reorganization of the education of the country, and
particularly of popular instruction. This famous word, which for some
time past has been going the round of Europe, and according to which it
was the German schoolmaster who gained the victory over France, is in
Greece also, as everywhere in Europe, the watchword of the day, which
occupies individuals as well as the Government. The impetus which was at
first given by the _Syllogoi_ on this fundamental question of a more
complete instruction of the nation has been followed by the Government,
which does not ordinarily distinguish itself by taking the initiative in
general questions which do not particularly affect its political
interests. Primary normal schools, on the model of those of Germany,
without, however, losing sight of the character and the individuality of
the Hellenic mind, have been founded in different parts of the kingdom,
and in the Turkish provinces; and we hope that this lively and generous
impulse will produce the most glorious and most useful fruits in the
future of the nation. A thorough and living popular education is always
the fundamental basis of the morality and liberty of nations. It is
always the surest guarantee of their intellectual and national
independence. In modern society, in which, according to the famous
saying of Royer Collard, democracy moves like a ship in full sail, in
which the people, by universal suffrage, take a direct part in the
affairs of the State, popular instruction ought to be always very
extensive and scattered abundantly among the people. We would even say,
quoting from M. Jules Simon, that no citizen who does not know how to
read and write ought to take any part in the concerns of the State. Our
Governments unfortunately do not take the initiative in order to revive
the noble tendencies of the nation. However, there are here individuals,
associations, and societies (_Syllogoi_), who, in a way different from
that which is taking place in other countries, have the preponderance
and make up for the deficiencies of the Government.

It is to the "Society for the Propagation of Greek Literature" that we
owe this new impetus which has been given to public instruction. Popular
instruction, methodical, practical, according to principles and
experience of modern science, at present occupies all the enlightened
minds in our nation, both in independent Greece and in the Greek
provinces of Turkey. The principal aim of this society is the
instruction of the two sexes, especially in the Greek communities of
Turkey, and the publication of works useful for the young and for the
people generally. It has, according to the latest returns, founded at
Thessalonica a model school similar to those of Germany, in which are
four classes, five masters, and 118 pupils. It has, moreover,
established in the same town a normal school to educate masters for
primary instruction. This same Society has also opened, in several
communes and communities of enslaved Greece, schools for boys and girls.
It has subsidized several schools in the communes of Greece and in the
Greek communities of Turkey concurrently with other Societies, which
have the same end in view, of instructing the people and of maintaining
the patriotic idea in the Greek provinces of Turkey, which the rising
wave of Panslavism to-day threatens to engulf. In order to attain this
object, the Society has, up to the present time, published several works
of instruction, and has expended considerable sums in the purchase and
distribution of books for the use of the people. It has founded at its
own cost, or aided by the liberality of generous fellow-countrymen,
several prize competitions, the most important of which have for their
subjects the Greek language, education in Greece, the mercantile marine
of the country, labour, the improvement and encouragement of
agriculture, manufactured and artistic products, commerce, and the
means of communication and circulation in general. At the present moment
one of our fellow-countrymen, who knows how to put his fortune to the
most noble use, M. Zaphiropoulo, a rich merchant of Marseilles, has
placed at the disposal of the Society the necessary funds for publishing
some geographical maps, in order to give a better knowledge of the
historical geography of Greece. These maps are those of "Ancient
Hellenism," of "Macedonian Hellenism," and of "Hellenism during the
Middle Ages." These maps, taken in conjunction with that which was
recently published at the cost of the same donor, will serve to give the
most exact and complete idea of the historic and national unity of

The "Parnassus," a Society of young men connected with literature and
the sciences, has for its object the progress of the nation and general
usefulness. This Society is developing day by day, and will soon become
one of the most active and serviceable agents of the literary education
and the scientific movement of the country. The Parnassus pursues this
aim by the reading during its sessions of articles and memoirs, by the
collecting of documents and materials relating to the language, songs,
and popular legends, as well as by the publication of these works in a
Review which appears under the title of [Greek: Neoellênika Analekta].
In this collection are published popular songs of modern Greece,
riddles, proverbs, distichs, tales, &c. Under the auspices of this same
Society is published another Review, bearing the name of the _Syllogos_,
which has already won, by its articles so interesting and full of
learning, the first place in the periodical press of Greece. But what
specially indicates the exalted and philanthropic point of view in which
this Society has placed itself is the foundation of a school, almost
unique of its kind, and which does not exist even in Europe--that which
is called the "School for Poor Children." In this school the classes are
held in the evening. They comprise reading, writing, arithmetic,
grammar, physical geography, Greek history, and elements of natural
philosophy and chemistry. It is an interesting sight to see attending
these lessons each evening a number of orphan children, who, by means of
a suitable education, will one day be good citizens and useful members
of society, whose enemies they would probably have become had they
remained without education and without a moral influence on their

It is perhaps needless for me to enlarge upon other learned societies
and associations having an analogous object in view--such as the
Archæological Society, the Association of Friends of the People, the
League of Instruction, the Musical and Dramatic Society, and other
similar ones, which demonstrate that activity of the Greek mind--always
vigorous, always aspiring after moral victories--which is the
characteristic feature of all its history.

This movement was manifested in a brilliant manner some time ago, when
the general congress of all the societies and associations assembled
under the initiative of the Parnassus Society. This was a most evident
proof of the intellectual and national unity of Greece. Representatives
from all points wherever Hellenism is scattered--of free Greece, of
enslaved Greece, and of the Greek colonies established in all parts of
Europe--assembled at Athens, that Jerusalem of the dispersed people. The
congress, which lasted a fortnight, discussed several questions touching
the future of Greece and her mission in the East. We are unable at this
moment to say what were the results. What we hope is that from this
moment may commence a new era of work and of activity, greater, more
important, than that which has already preceded our modern history.
Alone, more or less proscribed, finding in the policy of the Western
Powers only a cold indifference, our future depends entirely upon
continual and persevering labour. Greece, though, doubtless, she has not
yet produced men worthy to be compared to the ancients,--those masters
in every branch of science, art, and literature,--is nevertheless the
most active agent in the propagation of Western civilization in the
East. We have seen this phenomenon produced in the Congress of the
_Syllogoi_, where might be seen the representatives of Athens and of
Constantinople, of Macedonia and of Asia Minor, of Alexandria and of the
Greek colonies established in Europe--of all places, in short, where the
beautiful and sonorous Greek tongue makes itself heard--discussing all
the questions which constitute the vital force of Hellenism. The words
of an ancient writer who called Athens "the Greece of Greece" were
brought to my memory when the president, in a parting address to the
members of the congress, called this latter "the organized manifestation
of the public consciousness, and the incarnation of the intellectual
unity of the nation."

This unity is concentrated in the University of Athens. This is the most
brilliant star, which directs the nation in the ways of civilization and
progress. It exercises a great and salutary influence as well in the
free country as in the neighbouring provinces. Pupils of the University
of Athens become zealous apostles, who propagate in all corners of the
East devotion to the national sentiment, and reawaken the ancient
traditions and hopes of the future. At the doors of the University young
men from all the Hellenic countries, who will form the generations of
the future, meet and mingle, more and more. This fusion of the nation,
fortunately already begun by those great struggles for independence
during which all have passed through the same dangers and kept up the
same combats under the same standard, the University is gradually
completing, by prosecuting unremittingly the double aim which it
proposes to itself,--that is to say, the education and the unity of the
Hellenic race. More than two hundred doctors of every branch of science
go forth from the University annually, and spread themselves throughout
the East, among the Greeks or other nations, carrying with them the
salutary influence of civilization and of the spirit of modern times.
The University, which includes four chief faculties, possesses at the
present time an endowment of nearly £166,000, made up of the donations
of various liberal fellow-countrymen, one of whom, recently deceased,
bequeathed to it £33,000. According to the return of the last rector of
the University, from the foundation to the end of the academical year
1877-78, 8426 students have attended the lectures, of whom 3130 have
obtained diplomas. We think that in these figures, more than in the
whole of our argument, may be seen that vital force of Hellenism which
it exercises on the destinies and the future of the East.

The character of the intellectual movement in Greece is didactic rather
than scientific, in the widest acceptation of the term. We have not yet
here those strifes and debates which at the present time agitate and
enliven the modern mind in Europe. We teach, and teach. This is our
mission for the present. Debate, which, if I may so express myself, is
the luxury of science,--strife, which betokens a vigorous body trained
by labour for the combat, have not yet disturbed the peace of our
intellectual arena. We do not concern ourselves with philosophical,
theological, or social discussions, and latterly we have abandoned even
political discussions, which a few years ago were the exclusive
occupation of the newspapers and of the professional politicians at
Athens and in the provinces, because the whole attention of the nation
has been turned towards the Eastern Question, the solution of which
concerns alike its present and its future.

We are in the epoch of translations, but not yet in that of production.
Our printing-offices are every day reproducing the results of Western
science by means of translations, which spread abroad useful information
for the instruction of the nation.

There have not been many original productions within the last few
months. M. Koumanondis, the distinguished archæologist, the well-known
author of a learned work, [Greek: 'Attikês epigraphai epitymbioi]
(Sepulchral Inscriptions of Attica), frequently publishes in a
Periodical Review of the University, the [Greek: Athênaion], very
interesting papers on the archæological discoveries which are daily
being made in Hellenic soil. M. Anagnostakis, one of the most eminent
professors of our Faculty of Medicine, has recently published two
pamphlets full of interest relating to the archæology of that
science--[Greek: Melitai peri tên optikên tôn archaiôn] (Studies on the
Optics of the Ancients); and another small work in French, "Encore deux
mots sur l'extraction de la Catarracte chez les Anciens."

But a work by the eloquent Professor of History at the University is
that which is most deserving of particular mention--viz., the [Greek:
Epilogos tês historias tou hellênikou ethnous], which has been published
in French under the title of "Histoire de la Civilisation hellénique."
It is a summary of his large work in five volumes on the history of the
Hellenic nation from the most distant period down to our own time. The
writer has had for his object to establish the idea of Hellenic
civilization and history, so often called in question in the West. We
may boldly affirm that the author has attained the object of his labour.
At a moment when Greece is condemned in Europe unheard, this book has
appeared very opportunely as a defence of Hellenism. It is thus that the
European press characterizes this product of an enlightened patriotism,
in analyzing it in terms as flattering to the author as to the nation
for whose apology this book serves.

We have here made a rapid sketch of the intellectual work of the last
few months. We do not wish to speak now of other publications and
labours of young men who promise still more than they realize for
science. What we have to say to-day is that Greece, which has taken some
eminent steps in progress and in modern culture, ought to repeat to
Europe with assurance these words of her Archimedes: [Greek: Dos moi pou
stô kai tên gên kinêsô] (Give me a fulcrum, and I will shake the earth).
The narrow horizon within which this small kingdom was enclosed when it
was created does not allow of that intellectual spring and flight which
is necessary for the accomplishment of the views and wishes of those who
see in Greece the most active and enlightened propagator of civilization
among the peoples of the East. Lord Beaconsfield has said of us
recently, that we ought to hope, because _the future belongs to us_. I
know not whether these words are a biting irony of the author of
"Coningsby," or whether they express his sincere opinion on the future
of Greece in the East. Doubtless the future belongs to those who hope
and work; but no nation can produce anything great by struggling on a
soil so small, so barren, and so narrow, just as no individual can work
efficiently if deprived of every resource, and kept without air and

Such is the position of Greece to-day. She can neither work sufficiently
for her physical and moral development, nor become powerful and capable
of contending against the Panslavist invasion in the East. Europe will,
no doubt, understand this at last; but it will then be too late.



[76] See CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, December, 1876.

[77] "Histoire de la Civilisation hellénique," 399, 400.



(_Under the Direction of the_ Hon. and Rev. W. H. FREMANTLE.)

The Bishop of Natal has published his seventh and final volume on the
Pentateuch (_The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically Examined_, by
the Right Rev. J. W. Colenso, D.D., Bishop of Natal. Part VII. Longmans:
1879). In the preface he notices the various works, including the
Speaker's Commentary, the work of Alford on the Pentateuch, and those of
Kalisch, Graf, and Kuenen, which have appeared of late years, together
with the New Table of Lessons, and explains the method of the present
volume. The body of the work consists of an examination of the
Scriptural books from Judges to the Canticles, undertaken with the view
of showing what testimony they yield to the views maintained by the
author in the earlier part of the work. Incidentally, however, the books
themselves come under review, and the opinion of the author on their
age, authorship, and purpose is given. The general results of this
laborious criticism may be given as follows:--

It is believed that five persons or sets of persons, at five different
periods, composed or rehandled the Pentateuch and the other historical
books. These are (1) the first Elohist (E), who was Samuel or one of his
scholars; (2) the second Elohist (_E_), who wrote about the end of
Saul's reign or early in that of David; (3) the Jehovist or Jahvist (J),
who wrote towards the end of David's or the beginning of Solomon's
reign, who may be identified with Nathan, and may possibly be the same
with _E_; (4) the Deuteronomist (D), who probably was Jeremiah; and (5)
the Levitical Legislators (LL), who wrote about 250 B.C., or even later.

The share which each of these is supposed to have had in the six first
books of the Bible is given in the final appendix, a "Synoptical Table
of the Hexateuch." In another appendix, the author explains the changes
in his views of numerous passages, which have led to the more precise
conclusions now put forward, and the task is attempted of giving (1) the
story of E alone in Exodus and Numbers, and (2) the story of _E_ and J
by themselves in Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua. Thus the author gives
the reader the fullest means of judging of his theory.

It may be best to give the author's conclusions as to the authorship of
the various books in order:--

  Genesis, chiefly written by E and J, with some additions by _E_ and D.

  Exodus, mostly by J and D, with a shorter narrative by the earlier

  Leviticus, a very late work, wholly by LL.

  Numbers, mainly by J and D, but with considerable additions by LL.

  Deuteronomy, almost wholly by D, but with a few verses by J and LL.

  Joshua, shared between all the writers, but in the proportions indicated
    by the numbers 1, 1, 4, 4, 7.

  Judges, mostly by E.

  1 Sam. to 1 Kings xi., by J.

  The rest of the books of Kings, by D.

  The books of Chronicles, Ezra, and half Nehemiah, by LL; a late,
    hierarchical, and quite untrustworthy work.

  Esther, a mere romance of a late date.

  Job, written after the Captivity, about 450 B.C.

  Psalms, at various times; great stress is laid on Ps. lxviii., which
    is assigned to the age of David, "the golden age of Hebrew
    literature," which produced also the Songs of Moses and Deborah.

  Proverbs, written at various times from Solomon till after the Exile.

  Ecclesiastes, in the age of Antiochus.

  Canticles, in the time of Rehoboam II., about 800, and in the Northern

The Bishop believes that the name Jahveh was originally used by some of
the tribes of Canaan, that it was then merely a name like that of
Chemosh or Milum, but that it was adopted by _E_, the great writer of
the early days of David, as the name of the national deity of Israel,
and inserted by him in his narrative of the Exodus, and under the
influence of the Prophets came gradually to be associated with the noble
ideas of purity and righteousness.

The criticisms upon the authors of the latest books are severe and
vehement. In the books of Chronicles "the real facts of Jewish history,
as given in Samuel and Kings, have been systematically distorted and
falsified, in order to support the fictions of the LL, and glorify the
priestly and Levitical body, to which the Chronicler himself belonged."
In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, not only the whole narrative (except
part of Nehemiah) but also the decrees of the kings of Persia, the
letters of the governor, and the prayers of Ezra and the Levites are
"pure fictions of the Chronicler;" and the book of Esther is an
unhistorical romance, suggested by a wish to account for the existence
of the Feast of Purim, which was probably no more than the commemoration
of the choosing by lot of the new inhabitants of Jerusalem in the days
of Nehemiah.

It was said by Dr. Arnold that the Old Testament required a Niebuhr; and
Bishop Colenso is not a Niebuhr. Indeed, it is but fair to him to say
that he is modest enough to disclaim functions such as those of the
great German, and to regard himself as preparing the way for their
future exercise. Many of his criticisms are telling and convincing. But
in his construction he is weak. Even if men can be persuaded that the
employment of fiction in the Old Testament histories is as extensive as
the Bishop supposes, and that at every turn they are to be on the watch,
not only for a Levitical colouring of the narrative but for the most
barefaced invention, yet they will hardly be persuaded that the name of
Moses should be "regarded as merely that of the imaginary leader of the
people out of Egypt, a personage quite as shadowy and unhistorical as
Æneas in the history of Rome or our own King Arthur." Indeed, when even
Kuenen attempts a reconstruction of the earlier history, his narrative
is merely a bald and meagre statement of the events as usually believed.
The impartial reader will close this book with the conviction that the
goal has not been reached, and will await the time when mere criticism
must give way to positive history.

The work of the Bishop of Natal has extended over eighteen years. It
closes in a different tone and amid different feelings on the subject
from those in which it was begun. It arose in a panic about the doctrine
of inspiration; and it created a panic. In the first volume sound
criticism could hardly see clearly or escape the series of absurdities
on account of the clouds of controversy. In the last volume all this is
changed. The author writes calmly and in the consciousness that many of
the views it propounds are no longer unacceptable. The present state of
theological thought in the English Church (how far brought about by the
work itself each man must judge for himself) is such that any serious
criticism will be weighed quietly and without prejudice.

       *       *       *       *       *

The plan of the New Testament Commentary for English Readers (_A New
Testament Commentary for English Readers_.) By Various Authors. Edited
by C. J. Ellicott, D.D., Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. Vol. II.
Cassell, Petter and Galpin: 1879 has been given in our notice of the
first volume (CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for August, 1878). The second volume
is in every respect worthy of the first. The Acts of the Apostles and
the Second Epistle to Corinthians are taken by Professor Plumptre; the
Epistles to the Romans and Galatians by Mr. Sanday; the First Epistle to
the Corinthians by Mr. Teignmouth Shore.

The Acts of the Apostles afford Professor Plumptre a congenial field for
his powers. He considers that the main purpose of the book is "to inform
a Gentile convert of Rome how the Gospel had been brought to him, and
how it gained the width and freedom with which it was actually
presented." He admits, but justifies, the mediating or reconciling
character of the work. This is done successfully, for the most part; but
perhaps his vindication of the omission of the dispute between St. Peter
and St. Paul at Antioch will be felt to be somewhat constrained, both
when he remarks that "there is absolutely no evidence that he (St. Luke)
was acquainted with that fact," and when he says: "Would a writer of
English Church History during the last fifty years think it an
indispensable duty to record such a difference as that which showed
itself between Bishop Thirlwall and Bishop Selwyn at the Pan-Anglican
Conference of 1807?" The introduction, besides the usual dissertations
on the authorship, &c., contains some important and suggestive sections
on the relation of the work to the controversies of the time, to the
Epistles of St. Paul, and to external history, and on the sources from
which St. Luke probably derived his information. It contains also lists
of the coincidences between the Acts and St. Paul's and St. Peter's
Epistles, of their points of contact with the contemporary history of
the outer world, and of the incidents which show the naturalness and
veracity of the narrative. The introduction closes with an excellent
chronological table from A.D. 28 to 100.

The Book of the Acts is treated throughout as sound history, and this
enables the commentator to find himself at home in all the circumstances
of the contemporary world, both within and without the Church. In the
scene on the Day of Pentecost full scope is allowed to the physical
phenomena, the storm and darkness, the earthquake and the lightning.
Ananias' death is understood as in the familiar phrase "by the
visitation of God." The state of Peter in his deliverance from prison
(xii. 9) is understood by reference to the phenomena of somnambulism.
The "revelation" by which St. Paul went up to the Council at Jerusalem
is explained in harmony with the assertion of the Acts that he was sent
by the Church at Antioch, as "a thought coming into his mind, as by an
inspiration, that this was the right solution of the problem." The
healing of the sick by handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched the
body of St. Paul (xix. 12) is likened to that attributed to the relics
of saints. The accounts of Theudas, Judas, Gamaliel (v. 57), of Claudius
(xi. 28), of Herod (xii.), of the early life of St. Paul (vii. 58), of
the numbers composing the first congregation at Jerusalem (iv. 37), are
interesting and suggestive. Under the vivid realizations expressed in
these notes we seem to see the Apostles sitting in permanent conclave
(iv. 35), the daughters of Philip as members of an incipient, "order of
Virgins" (xxi. 9), or the rapacious Felix catching at the words "alms
and offerings" when uttered by St. Paul (xxiv. 26). The extreme
fertility of conjecture which we noticed in the Commentary on the
Gospels is somewhat chastened, and is exercised in a more legitimate
field. The possibility, for instance, of Stephen's having had some
connection with Samaria, as accounting for various statements in his
speech (note on vii. 16), the possibility that the words of St. Paul's
description of God's goodness at Lystra (xiv. 17) may have formed part
of an ancient sacrificial hymn, the conjecture that Apollos may have
been the author of the apocryphal Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, are all
interesting and worthy of consideration.

Turning to Mr. Sanday's portion of the work, on the Epistles to the
Romans and Galatians, we have in the introduction to the former Epistle
a vigorous and original conception of the object of both Epistles. We
give this in the words of the author:--

     "The key to the theology of the Apostolic age is its relation to
     the Messianic expectation among the Jews. The central point in the
     teaching of the Apostles is the fact that with the coming of Christ
     was inaugurated the Messianic reign. It was the universal teaching
     of the Jewish doctors--a teaching fully adopted and endorsed by the
     Apostles--that this reign was to be characterized by
     righteousness.... The means by which this state of righteousness is
     brought about is naturally that by which the believer obtains
     admission into the Messianic kingdom,--in other words, Faith.
     Righteousness is the Messianic _condition_, Faith is the Messianic
     _conviction_. But by Faith is meant, not merely an acceptance of
     the Messiahship of Jesus, but that intense and living adhesion
     which such acceptance inspired, and which the life and death of
     Jesus were eminently qualified to call out."

In accordance with this view, Mr. Sanday, in his analysis of the
Epistle, terms it "A treatise on the Christian scheme as a
divinely-appointed means for producing righteousness in man, and so
realizing the Messianic reign."

The simple view thus indicated, which is also borne out by the "Excursus
on Faith, Righteousness and Imputation," is somewhat impaired by another
Excursus (D), in which Sacrifice is regarded as the infliction of a
penalty. In the notes also this view exercises a weakening influence,
and, combined with some other similar features, produces a sense of
indistinctness. Otherwise, the notes are written with great care,
impartiality, and freedom. There is a devout sense of the greatness of
the subject, and much modesty in the treatment of it, while at the same
time the commentator does not hesitate to treat all the latter part of
Gal. ii. as St. Paul's afterthoughts or comments upon his own words (a
suggestion which has a wide application to other passages both in the
Gospels and in the Epistles); or to speak of words such as those of Gal.
v. 10: "I would that they were even cut off that trouble you," as
"momentary ebullitions" which "are among the very few flaws in a truly
noble and generous character." As regards the curious question suggested
by the MS. discrepancies in the last three chapters of the Epistle to
the Romans--namely, whether the Epistle was sent to the Romans
alone--Mr. Sanday follows Dr. Lightfoot in believing that its original
form was such as we now have it, with the exception of the last three
verses, and that these formed an appendix, added on at the end of
chapter xiv., when, during his captivity at Rome, St. Paul converted the
earlier part into a circular epistle. The interesting view of M. Renan,
who believes it to have been originally a circular epistle, and takes
the four endings (xv. 33, and xvi. 20, 24 and 27) as the endings of the
copies addressed respectively to the Churches of Rome, Asia, Macedonia,
and some other unknown, is rather too curtly discussed with the remark
that it fails when applied in detail. There is one more serious omission
in this part of the commentary. Though honourable mention is made of the
commentaries of Dr. Vaughan and Dr. Lightfoot, of Meyer and Wieseler,
Alford and Wordsworth, not a single allusion is made to that of
Professor Jowett. We can hardly believe that the old theological
prejudice against the author has blinded the present commentator to the
great exegetical and philosophical value of Professor Jowett's labours.
But we cannot account for this strange omission of a work to which all
English students of St. Paul's Epistles are so much indebted.

The two Epistles to the Corinthians are commented on respectively by Mr.
Teignmouth Shore and Professor Plumptre. It is hardly possible that
anything new or striking should be written on these Epistles, which in
our day have not only passed through the hands of writers like Alford
and Wordsworth, but have been a specially congenial field for the genius
of F. W. Robertson and of Stanley. But Mr. Shore and Dr. Plumptre have
well represented to English readers the sense and spirit of these
Epistles and the Church-life which they reveal to us. Mr. Shore's
judgment is, perhaps, at fault in a few special instances; he still
believes not only in a non-extant Epistle to the Corinthians, but in an
unrecorded visit of St. Paul to them; in which Professor Plumptre
differs from him (conf. p. 285 with note on 2 Cor. xii. 14 and xiv. 1);
he attributes the words, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (1
Cor. vii. 1) to St. Paul, not to those who wrote to him; and he thinks
the history of the Last Supper was revealed to the Apostle directly in a
trance--as to which he might be corrected by Professor Plumptre's
explanation of St. Paul's "going up to Jerusalem by revelation" in the
note on Acts xv. 2. But these are comparatively small blots, if they be
blots, in an exposition which is well worthy to take its place in this
most useful of modern Commentaries on the New Testament.

We are glad to hear that Professor Plumptre's "Commentary on the Acts"
has been reprinted for the use of schools, and we hope that the other
parts of the Commentary may be similarly treated.

       *       *       *       *       *

The translation of Professor Cremer's "Biblico-Theological Lexicon,"
from the German, by Mr. Urwick (_Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New
Testament Greek_, by Hermann Cremer, D.D., Professor of Theology in the
University of Griefswald. Translated by W. Urwick, M.A. Edinburgh: T.
and T. Clark), supplies a great want in our helps to the study of the
New Testament. Parkhurst is out of date and limited in his range of
reference. Winer is a Grammar, not a Lexicon. Archbishop Trench's
Synonyms, with all their value, do not cover the whole ground. The
student turns, therefore, with eagerness to such a book as that of
Professor Cremer. And he will not be disappointed. The book is what it
professes to be. The author speaks modestly and truly of his work: "The
work which, after a labour of nine years, I have now brought to
completion is certainly an attempt only, and effort to do, not a result
accomplished; it simply prepares the way for a cleverer hand than mine."
He writes as an earnest believer, a pupil of Tholuck's, whose
commentaries he singles out as alone fully investigating the great
conceptions embodied in particular words of the New Testament Greek. He
seems to have been fired by an expression of Schleiermacher's, which
might be taken as the motto for his work: "A collection of all the
various elements in which the language-moulding power of Christianity
manifests itself would be an adumbration of New Testament doctrine and
ethics." Like so many of Tholuck's pupils, he has tested his theology by
the practical work of the ministry, not, however, neglecting the
student's part, which after many years' toil has issued in the important
work which has won him his professorship. The work has reached a second
edition, and it is from this second edition (which contains an addition
of 120 words) that the present translation is made.

Some words will, we may hope, be added in future editions. Such a word,
for instance, as [Greek: thrêskeia] (James i.), which is used for
religion itself; or, again, such a word as [Greek: pêroô], with its
compounds, which St. Paul makes the vehicle of so much teaching in
Rom. xi.; or [Greek: areskô], a word which may be said to have been
converted by the language-forming power of Christianity, and others of
equal or greater importance, have as yet no part in this Lexicon. The
classical use of the words is fully noticed; it is, he says, in many
cases "a vessel prepared to receive the Christian thought." The use of
Greek words in the Septuagint is also worked out, though the author
laments that the helps for this are so few. Of the Rabbinical or
Post-Biblical writings use is also made, and of some of the earlier
Fathers of the Church. But we miss the wide range of varied illustration
from mediæval and modern literature which charms us in the work of
Archbishop Trench. One source of illustration is deliberately put aside.
"The works of Philo and Josephus," he says, "afford little help, because
of their endeavour to import Greek ideas and Greek philosophy into
Judaistic thought." Most students will be surprised to find that, even
in reference to the conception of the [Greek: Logos], Professor Cremer
considers that Philo's use of the word has no bearing on its use by St.
John, which he considers to be simply an adaptation of the "Word of the
Lord," as commonly used in the Old Testament and the Rabbinical writers.
The object of the work is to discover the conceptions or ideas of the
New Testament (or, as the writer expresses it with Rothe, "the language
of the Holy Ghost"), by bringing together the passages in which the
words are used. Whether he has always succeeded in this, or whether, as
in the case of [Greek: aiôn] (where he says that [Greek: O aiôn mellôn]
is even in Matt. xiii. and xxiv. the new age of the world inaugurated by
the resurrection of the dead and the second coming of Christ), or as in
the case of [Greek: sôma] (where he does not even refer to the apparent
use of the word by St. Paul in 1 Cor. xv. and otherwise elsewhere as
implying hardly more than personality), he has not at times been
dominated by conventional views, each reader must judge. But every
student will find in the careful enumeration of passages, and the
discriminating and decided but not dogmatic judgment pronounced upon
them, materials which will assist him in working out (as each man must
do) his own theological conceptions.

       *       *       *       *       *

An edition of the Septuagint, with a literal translation into English
(_The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament_; with an English
Translation, and with various Readings and Critical Notes: Samuel
Bagster and Sons), is a work attempted by no one, we believe, before Mr.
Bagster, and will be welcomed by the increasing number of thoughtful
students of the Bible. There is a short introduction, stating all that
is known of the origin of the Septuagint; the Greek text and English
translations are given in parallel columns, in neat and small type,
which enables the whole work to be comprised in a moderate quarto
volume; and short notes are added which notice variations of readings,
alternative translations, and the additions made by the Hebrew original,
and direct attention to the passages quoted from the Septuagint in the
New Testament. There is also an Appendix noticing a very few words as to
which some difficulty arises, and a few passages which are supplied from
the Alexandrine text. No mention is made of the Apocrypha.

The translation is for the most part exact and literal, yet made to read
fluently, where this was possible--perhaps more fluently than the Greek
text. The following passage from Isaiah ix. 1-5, is a good specimen of
the translation, and, being well known as the Lesson for Christmas Day,
will enable the reader to appreciate the singular discrepancies often
existing between the Septuagint and the original text as it stands in
our Bible. The passage begins in the English version with the words,
"Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation." In
the translation of the Septuagint it stands thus--

     "Drink this first. Act quickly, O land of Zabulon, land of
     Niphthalim, and the rest _inhabiting_ the seacoast and _the land_
     beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

     "O people walking in darkness, behold a great light: ye that dwell
     in the region _and_ shadow of death, a light shall shine upon you.
     The multitude of the people which thou hast brought down in thy
     joy, they shall even rejoice before thee as they that rejoice in
     harvest, and as they that divide the spoil. Because the yoke that
     was laid upon them has been taken away, and the rod that was on
     their neck; for he has broken the rod of the exacters as in the day
     of Midian. For they shall compensate for every garment that has
     been acquired by deceit, and _all_ raiment with restitution; and
     they shall be willing, even if they were burnt with fire.

     "For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose
     government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called the
     Messenger of great counsel; for I will bring peace upon the
     princes, and health to him."


(_Under the Direction of_ MATTHEW BROWNE.)

There is something very winning about Mr. Peter Bayne, who, by-the-by,
has just received a Doctor's degree from his University, and read
whatever you will of his, you quit the page with respect and liking for
the author. You will, indeed, go far to find books or articles which
more plainly bear the stamp of manliness, kindliness, intelligence, and
wide reading. These are some of the most necessary qualities of a
critic, whether of life or literature, and most of them are of especial
value in historical criticism. _That_ has lately taken up with
principles and methods not very favourable to the just appreciation of
such a book as Mr. Bayne's last, "The Chief Actors in the Puritan
Revolution;" and it struck some of us that the best points in that work
were missed by too many of its reviewers. A venture of a very different
kind is _Lessons from my Masters: Carlyle, Tennyson, and Ruskin_ (James
Clarke & Co.). This large volume has grown out of articles which were
originally published in the _Literary World_, but these have now been
much elaborated by Dr. Bayne, and have received considerable additions.
The essay on Carlyle is beyond dispute the most valuable of the three
studies, but they all belong to a class of writing which is sure of a
welcome. We feel quite certain, however, that Dr. Bayne imposed upon
himself a little, or more than a little, when he undertook his task. He
tells the reader plainly he found, as he went on with it, that he could
not maintain the attitude of mere pupil, as he had fancied he might. Of
coarse not; and he need not have apologized even indirectly for the
freedom of his criticisms, which might well have been much bolder. The
real attraction of the work he undertook was, that it _would_ give him
scope for widely-ranging comment; and it is the inevitable, by no means
inartistic or unhealthy discursiveness of the treatment which makes it
difficult to do justice to it. But we will venture upon a point or two
nearly at random.

In discussing "Model Prisons," or rather the assumptions of that
Latter-day Pamphlet, Mr. Bayne takes a view of our duty to criminals
with which we agree, and he quotes the fact that the majority of those
who belong to the criminal class are found to have abnormal brains and
often diseased bodies. He also treats just in the way we might expect
the _dictum_ that stupidity means badness. The last meaning of that, we
almost fear, Mr. Bayne has not quite caught; as John Bunyan meant it,
and as Carlyle means it, it is surely true. Again, it seems doubtful if
Mr. Bayne, in taking up Kant's complaint that, while there is so much
kindness in the world, there is so little justice, has put the complaint
in the right place. It is awfull true, and not to be hidden from any
honest and acute observer, that the love of justice and truth is very
weak in most human beings; while the instinct of kindness is
comparatively strong. Again, Dr. Bayne nearly surprises us by adopting
the commonplace that great talents bring with them an increase of moral
responsibility. Well, we all know the insuperable difficulties of the
subject, how they all run up at last into one final problem of which the
most plausible-looking solutions turn out to be only paradoxes. But,
after all, can it be maintained that there is really any final
difference in the degree of moral responsibility to be assigned to a man
with a constitution like Byron's or Edgar Poe's, and that which is to be
assigned to one of those criminals with abnormal brains? Shelley's
grandfather was crazed; the father, Sir Timothy, was _half_-crazed; what
Shelley was we know. And can we consistently say that his faults (we do
not speak of any particular act) were one shade less the natural result
of the constitution of his brain than are those of any of Mr. Carlyle's
"dog-faced" criminals? Is there any sense in suggesting that the
splendid powers of such a man ought to be expected to act as breakwaters
against the force of his special temptations? Of course we know how the
enlightened British juryman would answer such a question, and equally of
course there are rocks ahead answer it as you may; but we must pause a
little longer on it than Dr. Bayne does (page 89) over the question
"What is justice?"

Passing over other things, we now come to smoother water--the Essay on
Tennyson. Here there is, of course, much to say "on both sides." Many of
us would have liked a little less poet-worship, and a little more
scrutiny. "The Princess" is dismissed with a line or two of
apology--but it is far more, for Dr. Bayne's purpose, than "a
serio-comic poem,"--it contains, indirectly, a great deal of
self-disclosure. There is something very wrong about M. Taine's way of
looking at Mr. Tennyson's domestic sweetness, but he has a glimpse of a
truth about the poet and his work. Whatever the worshippers of Mr.
Tennyson may say, his poetry contains more feeling after human passion
if haply he may find it, than of passion itself; and he _is_
conventional. He has never been right out and away into the
wilderness. His poetry wants largeness, boldness, and breadth of
atmosphere. We find no fault--being profoundly grateful for what this
exquisite singer has given us; and knowing better than to expect
contradictory qualities from the same harp; and certainly M. Taine has
made a great blunder in setting up Alfred de Musset on the other side of
his antithesis--but it is a fact that Mr. Tennyson has shown in his
writings a tendency (or sub-tendency, if the phrase may pass) to please
Mrs. Grundy, as well as the higher Pallas--a tendency which does a
little to excuse those who insult the poor old soul without occasion;
and who, indeed, are sometimes thought to be grimacing at the Divine
Wisdom, when they are only teasing the old lady.

The subject of "Emendations" interests Mr. Bayne more than it does us,
and we decidedly disagree with him in his general apology for the
digging up of early writings which the writers may be presumed to wish
kept dark. The alteration in the words of Iphigenia in the "Dream of
Fair Women" is not as good as it might be, and Mr. Bayne most justly
condemns "the bright death," but it is quite clear that the lines as
they originally stood--

  "One drew a sharp knife through my tender throat
      Slowly--and nothing more--"

did not, grammatically considered, express the poet's meaning; and are
certainly open to ridicule on other grounds. The words, "And _I knew_ no
more," _do_ express the meaning.

The alterations and additions in "Maud" appear to us to be about as bad
as they could be. Explanatory additions were wanted, but not those flat
prosaic lines, though Mr. Bayne appears to like them. On the other hand,
the verse--

  "I kissed her slender hand,
    She took the kiss sedately,
  Maud is not seventeen,
    But she is tall and stately,"

which our intelligent critic does not like, appears to us perfect--in
its place. Sweeter love-poetry than the finest parts of "Maud" is not to
be found in the language; the remark being confined to the more
superficial kinds of love. For the "tender passion" of the poem is,
after all, superficial and thin: the strongest parts being the cynical.
It has always been a grief to us that so much exquisite poetry (Cantos
XII., XVIII., XXII., in Part I; and IV. in Part II.) should have been
framed in what is really nothing but a very poor "sensation" novel, with
a moral or lesson which is poorer still. Poetry is not bound to be
unintermittingly poetic; there must be flat passages,--but such
second-hand phrasing as "a war in defence of the right"--"that an iron
tyranny now should bend or cease"--"a cause that I felt to be pure and
true"--"a giant liar"--is intolerable in a poem of which the climax is
so high-pitched. Better the merest conversational familiarity, than this
rhetorical magniloquence.

Before passing from Tennyson's poems, we cannot help noting a curious
example of Dr. Bayne's tendency to excessive praise and admiration. In
that very poor poem, "Sea-Dreams," the city clerk's wife induces her
husband to forgive the just-dead man who has robbed them of their
savings. Upon which Dr. Bayne remarks; "There is not a nobler heroine in
literature than this wife of a city clerk, and I see no reason to
believe that there are not many such to be found in London." Nor do
we--six women out of ten exhibit every week of their lives "heroism"
just as "noble." It is perfectly commonplace; and it is the critic's
warm-heartedness which betrays him into these extravagancies of

The Essay on Ruskin has been nearly all rewritten, and it is a fine
specimen of studious candour, and something more. All we will add is,
that we hope Mr. Bayne holds, along with Mr. Ruskin--though it hardly
looks as if he did--that "the destruction of beauty is a sacrilege and a
sin." This is undoubtedly a fair account of what Mr. Ruskin means in
certain portions of his writings, and he is not the only one who has
suffered "anguish," little short of despair, at certain "works of
profanation." Mr. Bayne quotes Mr. Ruskin's passionate words about the
befouling and desecration of the "pools and streams" around Carshalton.
Now, it would not be easy, perhaps, to prove that God made those "pools
and streams," still lovely in their degradation, in a sense in which he
did _not_ make the human beings who have "insolently defiled" them; but
we may at least say that the human will was concerned not only in the
"defiling" but in the production of the defilers, while it was _not_
concerned in the production of those "pools and streams." And we may
conjecture that if Mr. Ruskin had been asked to decide whether the
"pools and streams" should retain their original clearness and beauty,
and the human beings remain unproduced, or whether the latter should
come into existence and the "pools and streams" be defiled--he would
have stood for the first alternative. But if he afterwards followed out
his decision to its consequence, it would make an end of what Mr. Bayne
rightly calls the "communistic" element in his writings. It is painfully
certain that if Mr. and Mrs. Wordsworth had been disgusted by "people
from Birthwaite" before the "Excursion" was written, that poem would
have been very different here and there.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. John Addington Symonds writes much, and he writes with absorbing
pains. When he called his new book _Sketches and Studies in Italy_
(Smith, Elder, & Co.), had he forgotten a previous title of his,
_Sketches in Italy and Greece_? In any case there is a wide difference
between the two volumes; in the former we had more of the traveller, in
the latter we have more of the scholar, though the traveller is still
present; for instance, in the Essay, "Amalfi, Pæstum, Capri," and in the
"Lombard Vignettes." In the Essay on the "Orfeo" of Poliziano, and that
on the "Popular Italian Poetry of the Renaissance," we are again glad to
recognize the author's masterly power in certain kinds of translation;
and those the kinds in which the labourers are few, though the harvest
is so large. In about seventy pages, close pages it is true, Mr. Symonds
presents us with a sketch of Florentine history, the like of which, for
compactness and minuteness of information, one knows not where to seek.
Mr. Symonds is a striking example of the modern school of
"culture"--using that word in its more special sense. Unwearied in the
pursuit of detail, it occasionally tires the reader. There is a want of
emphasis--not to say a shamefaced avoidance of it; there is the want of
grasp which comes of the absence of hearty controlling emotion, or of
any purpose beyond what may belong to the monograph before you. There is
too much colour, and too little motion--the reader would even be glad of
a jolt now and then; almost anything rather than this eternally grave
gliding manner, in which the end is like the beginning, the beginning
like the middle, and the _quorsum hæc?_ seldom answered with anything
like energy. If we take an Essay like that on "Lucretius," we become
conscious, indeed, of an effort, but it seems rather an effort to lift a
weight, than the effort of a living mind in free movement over a large
subject. Inevitably we have much that is true, very much of refinement
and accomplishment, and of course a good aperçu now and then; but such
interest as there is appears a little forced, as if the author only
half-believed in his own points, and too often endeavoured to give an
air of breadth to literary stippling by mere largeness of phrase. These
hints apply (in our opinion) with peculiar force to the paper on
"Lucretius;" but they are not wholly inapplicable to that entitled
"Antinous," which does not fall far short of being tedious. But no
apology was necessary for reprinting the essays on blank verse, &c.,
which are contained in the Appendix, though in those also there seems an
excessive tendency to make small "points," and force large meanings on
trifles. The volume has a finely-executed steel engraving of the
Ildefonso group (Antinous) in the museum at Madrid.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is nothing rude, we trust, in wondering aloud how many readers
will know quite off-hand, without glancing lower down, who wrote this
exquisite little poem, though scarcely any one will read it without a
sob, and none will ever forget it:--

  "My little son, who looked from thoughtful eyes,
  And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
  Having my law the seventh time disobey'd,
  I struck him and dismiss'd
  With hard words and unkiss'd,
  His mother, who was patient, being dead.
  Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
  I visited his bed,
  But found him slumbering deep,
  With darkened eyelids, and their lashes yet
  From his late sobbing wet.
  And I, with moan,
  Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
  For, on a table drawn beside his head,
  He had put, within his reach,
  A box of counters and a red-veined stone,
  A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
  And six or seven shells,
  A bottle with bluebells,
  And two French copper coins ranged there with careful art,
  To comfort his sad heart.
  So, when that night I pray'd
  To God, I wept and said:
  Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath,
  Not vexing Thee in death,
  And Thou rememberest of what toys
  We made our joys,
  How weakly understood
  Thy great commanded good,
  Then, fatherly not less
  Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
  Thou'lt leave Thy wrath and say,
  'I will be sorry for their childishness.'"

Only we hope the number of those who can readily assign the poem to its
author is after all, considerable: for it would be an ill omen if "The
Angel in the House," "Faithful for Ever," the "Unknown Eros," and their
companion poems did not find a fairly large, as well as a choice public.
"The Unknown Eros, and other Odes," was published in 1877. Though it
contained the little poem we have just quoted, and a few others of the
most pellucid simplicity and the most homely sweetness, these were found
in the company of "odes" in which the theme was as high-strung as the
title, and a few in which the author's peculiarities were stretched to
the utmost. On the whole that volume could hardly be supposed to appeal
to any but a few. Several years ago, there was a very cheap edition of
"Tamerton Church Tower," and most of the other poems (including the
"Angel in the House"), and we should conjecture that it sold well--but
it is now out of print, we are told. We have now, published by Messrs.
George Bell & Sons, a selection from Mr. Patmore's poems, made by Mr.
Richard Garnett (himself a poet) and entitled _Florilegium Amantis_. It
makes 230 pages in a very handy little volume, and contains some of the
most exquisite things Mr. Patmore has printed; along with a few that are
new to us. We are not sure that we miss many of the very best (or
best-loved) pieces; but judging, as we are at the moment compelled to
do, from the earlier editions of the poems, we fancy there has been some
"cooking,"--the sort of thing which an affectionate reader who gets his
poet by heart always resents a little. The "Wedding Sermon," as we have
it here, looks like an extension of Dean Churchill's letter to Frederick
in "Faithful for Ever"--though we note some changes in the old familiar
lines. Some very charming touches are omitted in "The Rosy Bosom'd
Hours;" but we are not surprised, for we had them struck out once by an
editor! The first four lines, about the curtained and locked "coupé" in
the train, were, we presume, looked upon as sure to set the hogs
snorting over any such touch as "the isthmus of your waist." Some
portions of "The Victories of Love" seem to have been worked into
"Amelia." The piece entitled "Alexander and Lycon" does not strike us as
being good enough for its company. But certainly we know of no such
"lover's garland" as this, and do not well see how there can be such
another. This must not be taken to imply that Mr. Patmore will seem to
every thoughtful reader consistent in his presentation of the ethics of
his topic. For example, Dean Churchill's Sermon will not hang together
with Mrs. Graham's beautiful letter to Frederick upon the difficulties
of married life.

If there is any real defect in this nosegay, it is, perhaps, that we do
not see a little more of Lady Clitheroe, with her ever-delightful
humour. But perhaps Mr. Garnett--or Mr. Patmore, looking over his
shoulder--remembered Mr. Shandy's advice to my Uncle Toby, to eschew
mirth while paying his addresses to Widow Wadman. We, however, are under
no restraint in this respect, and recommend everybody who takes up Mr.
Patmore to make the most of Lady Clitheroe, and not to pass
thoughtlessly over her most playful sayings; for they are usually quite
as wise and good as the serious passage which we now extract from her
letter to a newly-married couple:--

  "Age has romance almost as sweet,
  And much more generous than this
  Of your's and John's. With all the bliss
  Of the evenings when you coo'd with him,
  And upset home for your sole whim,
  You might have envied, were you wise,
  The tears within your mother's eyes
  Which, I dare say you did not see.
  But let that pass! Yours yet will be
  I hope, as happy, kind, and true
  As lives which now seem void to you.
  Have you not seen shop-painters paste
  Their gold in sheets, then rub to waste
  Full half, and, lo, you read the name?
  Well, Time, my dear, does much the same
  With this unmeaning glare of love."

These are the last words of the book, and, having read them, the worst
enemy of lovers' garlands will not accuse Mr. Patmore of "putting stuff
and nonsense into people's heads" about love and marriage.

Two more slight but perhaps not uninteresting remarks. It may be from
our ignorance, but we have never been able perfectly to enjoy the

  "It was as if a harp _with wires_,
  Was traversed by the breath I drew."

The force of the "harp" suggestion is plain, and it is good, but why "a
harp _with wires_?" The other small matter is amusing. The piece in
praise of England (p. 76), reproduced from "Faithful for Ever," is dated
1856, and this is the only date given in the volume. What does it mean?
We conjecture that Mr. Patmore has an almost savage wish to make it
clear that since what he has elsewhere called "the year of the great
crime, when the false English nobles, with their Jew, slew their trust,"
he thinks this beautiful description has become inapplicable to his

  "Remnant of Honour, brooding in the dark,
  Over your bitter cark,
  Staring, as Rizpah stared, astonied seven days,
  Upon the corpses of so many sons
  Who loved her once,
  _Dead in the dim and lion-haunted ways_,
  Who could have dreamt
  That times should come like these?"

Those are a few of the bitter lines about England which abound in "The
Unknown Eros, and other Odes."

       *       *       *       *       *

Among books to possess--books to be bought, begged, or stolen, pleasant
to look at, pleasant to dip into, and useful to refer to, we give a
place in the front rank to _Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect_,
by William Barnes (C. Kegan Paul & Co.), and nobody will dispute this
award. Many of these poems are familiar upon the tongue, or laid up
silent-sweet in the memory of hundreds of world-weary Cockneys, who
never set eyes on a Dorset vale, and probably never will. Mr. Barnes
writes a modest and characteristic preface explaining that two of these
three Collections of rural poems had long been out of print (we are glad
to hear it), and also calling attention to the glossary at the end of
the volume, "with some hints on Dorset word-shapes." Mr. Barnes is past
reviewing, and we will only add that this complete collection (467
pages) forms a handsome and well-printed volume, and is altogether a
thing to be delightedly thankful for.

       *       *       *       *       *

Titles often prove misleading things, and it is not often that the
outside of any book gives the faintest hint of its quality, unless it
tells you, or nearly tells you, the publisher's name, for of course
there are publishers who very rarely issue bad, or even weak books.
_Memories: a Life's Epilogue. New Edition. With a Lament for Princess
Alice._ This is so very unpromising a title-page that if it had not been
for the names, Longmans, Green & Co. at the foot of it, we might well
have begun to turn over the leaves with some prejudice against the
anonymous author. But a very casual glance informs the reader, in this
case, that he has to deal with a highly intelligent man of the old
school, with plenty of caustic humour in him. The author appears to be a
gentleman advanced in years, and the "Memoirs" consist of recollections
of incidents in his father's life and his own, going back at least as
far as the days of Cribb and Molyneux, and taking in some pleasant
scenes of Continental travel. There is something exceedingly quaint,
almost ludicrous, in the author's way of employing the Spenserian
stanza, and as it is not always clear that he is conscious of the humour
there is in it, the reader's attention is kept on the alert in the very
last way that would commend itself to a critic:--

  "The matron of the house obligingly
    Led him to two large rooms on the first floor,
  Where he would have more light and liberty,
    With a good walk along the corridor;
  Besides which, they expected one or more
    Nice gentlemen to-morrow afternoon.
  The gentleman who left the day before--
    Poor man! he had a cough would kill him soon--
    Ten months he had been with them on the twelfth of June."

This is certainly odd, and the puzzle is that though the author, as we
have said, has true and biting humour in him, he never drives his stanza
with the conscious _lilt_ that you find in, for example, Byron's use of
a substantially kindred measure in "Beppo," or "Morgante Maggiore." Take
the first lines that occur to one's mind in the latter:--

  "There being a want of water in the place,
    Orlando, like a trusty brother, said,
  Morgante, I could wish you in this case
    To go for water. You shall be obeyed," &c.

Here Byron is making the flat prose of the metre (so to speak), a source
of humour in itself: but we cannot find that the author of these
"Memories" intends anything of the kind. We agree with some of our
brethren in finding the occasional lyrics good, and the opening lines of
the seventh canto contain hints of genuine poetic quality. Altogether
the book is a noticeable budget of gossip in verse, with not a few
strong, pointed passages to relieve the effect of the flat or weak
pages; which latter are, to speak the truth, too numerous. We should
guess the author to be a very "clubable man."

       *       *       *       *       *

This is a very pleasant title, at all events, _A Nook in the Appennines,
or a Summer Beneath the Chestnuts_, by Leader Scott, author of "The
Painter's Ordeal," &c., &c. With twenty-seven Illustrations, chiefly
from Original Sketches (C. Kegan Paul & Co.), and the book is pleasant
too. Finding the heat at Florence, on the 11th of June--not _last_
June--too much for them, it being 96° in the shade, an English family
flee to a nook in the mountains, where an old villa has been got ready
for them; and there they sit, "at the receipt of coolness," like Lamb's
"gentle giantess," till September. The villa on the Apennines is 2220
feet above the level of the sea, and the thermometer stands only at 70°
in the open air. Now 70° is ordinary agreeable summer heat for England;
though it is many degrees higher than anything we have seen (up to the
middle of July) in England this dreadful year. The illustrations are
helpful, and, without being obtrusively antiquarian, have most of them a
retrospective or historical interest, as well as the more obvious one
which is common to illustrations. The forty short chapters of which the
book consists are filled with sketches of the life our English friends
lived in the mountain nook, and of the manners and daily lives of the
peasantry by whom they were surrounded--and these will be more
instructive to a reader who knows a little about the Etruscans than to
one who knows nothing of them. The interest of the narrative is never
strong, but it is strong enough to carry the attention equably forward
to the end, and there is no affectation; but it is a great mistake, and
an unkindness to the reader, to omit, in a case of this sort, giving a
sufficiently full, complete, and picturesque account of the travelling
party themselves. We ought to be told how many there were, their ages,
relationships, &c., and something of their previous travelling
experience, if any.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course it is a good thing when a first-rate French, German, or
Scandinavian novel is translated into English, and this is pretty sure
to happen, when it does happen, through the agency of high-class
publishers. But it is a very different thing when translations of
foreign novels are thrown at our heads by the score, by writers or
publishers whose chief object is to pander to certain questionable
tastes. We fear that this evil is upon us, or not far off. But a word of
pleasant, if qualified, welcome is due to _A Distinguished Man: a
Humorous Romance_, by A. Von Winterfeld, translated by W. Laird-Clowes,
(C. Kegan Paul & Co. 3 vols.). The chief thing to _qualify_ the welcome
is the fact that the author is too fond of hinting at the skeleton in
the cupboard of what people call "modern thought." But apart from this,
the book is amusing, and often more than amusing. It belongs to a type
which is very rare in English literature--a sort of child-like farce,
that is exceedingly difficult to describe; but it must be a very
saturnine reader that can help a good laugh at some of the wild
adventures of the German schoolmaster and German doctor upon English
ground. These two men are rivals in love, and have both sought the hand
of a German butcher's daughter. In the fulfilment of a certain ordeal,
or test, which he imposes, they have to travel by way of Ostend to
London, and thence to Edinburgh; the one who is first at certain marked
points in a given route, to be the winner of the fair prize. Make up
your mind that you are going to read some nonsense, and you will enjoy
the book. The accuracy of the German in guide-book matters, in spelling,
and in just those matters in which a French author always fails, is very
striking. But we fear he is a little off the line once or twice. Is
there in London any teacher of mathematics who keeps a man-servant, and
covers his floor with carpets of velvet pile?

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