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Title: The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, December 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.

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[Transcriber's Note:

The first part of this volume (September 1879) was produced as Project
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       *       *       *       *       *

_The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, Issue 4_

Published December 1879.

       *       *       *       *       *


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

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


  The Vicarage, Broughton-in-Furness.


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

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

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

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



  LANCASHIRE, _20th June, 1879_.

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

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

  Ever most faithfully yours,




  _23rd June, 1879_.

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

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

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

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

  Ever affectionately yours,


    [Footnote 1: In answer to the proposal of discussing the
    subject during a mountain walk.]


  BRANTWOOD, _6th July_.

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

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

  Ever faithfully yours,


    [Footnote 1: Art xi.]

    [Footnote 2: Homily xi. of the Second Table.]


  BRANTWOOD, _8th July_.

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

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

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

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

  Faithfully and affectionately yours,




  BRANTWOOD, _10th July_.

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

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

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

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


  BRANTWOOD, _12th July, 1879_.

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

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

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

On the other hand, can anything be more tremendous than the words

  "[Greek: ou gar mê katharisêi ... kyrios]"?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Ever affectionately yours,



  BRANTWOOD, _14th July, 1879_.

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

Yes, certainly, that "His" in the fourth line[1] was meant to imply
that eternal presence of Christ; as in another passage,[2] referring
to the Creation, "when His right hand strewed the snow on Lebanon,
and smoothed the slopes of Calvary," but in so far as we dwell on that
truth, "Hast thou seen _Me_, Philip, and not the Father?" we are not
teaching the people what is specially the Gospel of _Christ_ as
having a distinct function--namely, to _serve_ the Father, and do the
Father's will. And in all His human relations to us, and commands to
us, it is as the Son of Man, not as the "power of God and wisdom of
God," that He acts and speaks. Not as the Power; for _He_ must pray,
like one of us. Not as the Wisdom; for He must not know "if it be
possible" His prayer should be heard.

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

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

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

  Ever affectionately yours,


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

    [Footnote 1: "Modern Painters."]

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

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

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


  BRANTWOOD, _9th August, 1879_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  _13th August._

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

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

And the people love to have it so.

  BRANTWOOD, _12th August_.

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

    [Footnote 1: Fors Clavigera, Letter lxxxii., p. 323.]


  BRANTWOOD, _19th August_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Ever faithfully yours,



  BRANTWOOD, _3rd September_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Believe me, dear Mr. Malleson,

  Ever faithfully and respectfully yours,



  BRANTWOOD, _14th September, 1879_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Ever, my dear friend,

  Believe me affectionately and gratefully yours,



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

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

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

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

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

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

The Negotiations with Shere Ali.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here, at last, we get at the veritable purpose of this tortuous
policy. As we suspected, the "terms offered to the Ameer, and
unhappily _not_ declined by him," were a mere pretence. The real
object was the "protection of the North-West frontier"--in other
words, the acquisition of a "scientific frontier"--without regard to
the wishes of the Ameer, or the interests of his dynasty. The Ameer
was to be "irretrievably alienated" by menacing his independence; and
then the "irretrievable alienation" was to be made the pretext for
carrying the menace into execution. What the "scientific frontier"
was the reader will find, if he refers to my article on "India and
Afghanistan," in the October number of this REVIEW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Famine in the North-West Provinces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The License Tax.

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

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

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

    "I am bound to say, that _after looking very carefully into
    the financial condition of India_, I believe it will not
    be necessary, at least in the initial steps, to call on the
    revenues of England. I am in possession of facts which, I
    think, would convince your Lordships that, _without unduly
    pressing on the resources of India_, there will be no
    necessity to call on the English revenues--at least during the
    present financial year. It was announced by my noble friend in
    another place the other night that, _including the £1,500,000
    of new taxes_, the surplus of Indian revenue will amount to

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

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

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

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

The Cotton Duties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  "For Nature beats in perfect tune,
  And rounds with rhyme her every rune;
  Whether she work on land or sea,
  Or hide underground her alchemy.
  Thou canst not wave thy staff in air,
    Or dip thy paddle in the lake,
  But it carves the bow of beauty there,
    And ripples in rhyme the oar forsake."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A much more brilliantly coloured member of the same family is the
_Dicentra (Diclytra) spectabilis_, so familiar in our gardens. Any
one who examines the flowers of this species will continually find the
pollen grains transferred to the stigma without the slightest trace
of the flower ever having opened so as to allow of insect agency.
Dr. Lindley[13] has given an account of the mechanism for
self-fertilization; and this flower has recently been the subject
of an elaborate study by the German botanist, Hildebrand,[14] and
he concurs in the view that the anthers inevitably communicate their
pollen to the pistil, and that as the result of a very complicated and
subtle arrangement of the parts, which it would be useless to attempt
to describe without diagrams. But he believes that in addition to the
arrangements for self-fertilization, another arrangement exists for
producing cross-fertilization by insects; but as the plant has never
produced seed under his observation, he is unable to tell whether
one mode of fertilization is more useful than the other. I think the
evidence of the self-fertilization is far clearer than that of the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. That conspicuousness is _a_ step towards fertilization in one
  mode, and might, therefore, well be used by an artist loving at
  once beauty and fertility.

  2. That there is no such preponderating advantage in beauty as
  should convert the ugly anemophilous flowers into the brilliant
  entomophilous flowers.

  3. That in an infinite number of cases beauty exists, but without
  any relation to the mode of fertilization.

  4. That it is maintained in many cases where the uglier and less
  beautiful plant is more useful, as in the case of the violet.

  5. That even where conspicuousness is useful, it furnishes no
  complete account of the whole beauty of the flower.

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

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

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

  "A presence that disturbs me with the joy
  Of elevated thoughts: a sense sublime
  Of something far more deeply interfused,
  Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
  And the round ocean, and the living air,
  And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
  A motion and a spirit, that impels
  All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
  And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
  A lover of the meadows and the woods
  And mountains; and of all that we behold
  From this green earth: of all the mighty world,
  Of eye, and ear."


    [Footnote 1: Wisdom, xiii. 3-5.]

    [Footnote 2: P. 200.]

    [Footnote 3: "Origin of Species" (4th Ed.), p. 239.]

    [Footnote 4: Wallace, "Tropical Nature," p. 232.]

    [Footnote 5: _Ibid._ p. 232.]

    [Footnote 6: _Ibid._ p. 237.]

    [Footnote 7: "Flowers and their Unbidden Guests," by Kerner,
    translated by Ogle. Prefatory Letter.]

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

    [Footnote 9: Henslow, _ubi sup._ 329.]

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

    [Footnote 11: Kerner, p. 12.]

    [Footnote 12: Lubbock's "Wild Flowers in Relation to Insects,"
    p. 56.]

    [Footnote 13: Lindley, "Veg. King." 436.]

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

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

    [Footnote 16: Meehan, "On Fertilization by Insect Agency."
    _Gardeners' Chronicle_, 11 Sept. 1875.]

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

    [Footnote 18: Bennett, Journal of Linn. Society, "Botany,"
    xiii. p. 147.]

    [Footnote 19: Meehan, "On Fertilization," _ubi supra_.]

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

    [Footnote 21: _Nature_, ix. 461.]

    [Footnote 22: _Nature_, xx. p. 386.]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it possible to conceive the Madonna di San Sisto painted under
such conditions? The cold chill of the indifferent public would have
reacted on the artist, and quenched the fire of his inspiration. The
picture was intended to be the incarnation of the religious feeling
of the whole Christian world, in the divine expression of the infant
Christ gazing into futurity, with those rapt, far-seeing eyes,--in the
holy mother, who carries him so reverently, yet with such power and
purity in her look and bearing. It was honoured sympathetically by all
who had the joy of seeing it borne as a banner through a great city as
an act of the highest worship; not cut up into little morsels and set
on a fork by every man who can write smart articles for a penny paper,
bestowing a little supercilious praise and much wholesome advice on
Holman Hunt and Tennyson, on Stevens[2] and Street alike.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                      1827.      1879.
  Mutton, the oke (2-3/10 lbs.)         4_d._    1_s._ 6_d._
  Bread      "                          4_d._          4_d._
  Fish       "                          4_d._    1_s._ 4_d._
  Grapes     "                        1/2_d._          4_d._
  Figs       "                        1/2_d._          4_d._
  Geese,    each                        6_d._    5_s._ 0_d._
  Turkeys    "                          6_d._    5_s._ 0_d._
  Wine, the oke                         2_d._          6_d._

        Game was also very abundant and very cheap in 1827.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Matter is subject to unalterable laws, which express its
  properties. No created being can originate, alter, or destroy any of
  these properties.

  2. It is possible, however, for one property to overpower the action
  of another property, either in the same matter or in other matter.

  3. By placing matter in a position in which one or other property
  has its natural action, man, as well as animals and inanimate
  matter, can overpower a law of Nature with almost boundless power.

  4. The sole means by which such results are effected, are by
  affecting the law of inertia. Therefore, whatever is effected by
  natural laws, without other interference than by affecting inertia,
  is consistent with the uniformity of natural law.

  5. All strictly physical "miracles" recorded in the Bible are
  capable of being effected by natural law, without other interference
  than by affecting inertia, and therefore are consistent with the
  uniformity of natural law.

  6. It is consistent with natural law that created minds should
  affect the inertia of certain forms of matter directly.

  7. It is not inconsistent with natural law that Divine mind should
  affect the inertia of other forms of matter directly.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To give an exhaustive reply to such a question will scarcely be
possible until the sacred books of Buddhists and Jainas (or, as they
are commonly called, Jains) have been more thoroughly investigated.
All that I can do at present is to give a general outline of Jaina
doctrines, and to indicate the principal points in which they either
agree with or differ from those of Buddhists and Br[=a]hmans.[4]
Perhaps the first point to which attention may be directed is that
recent investigations have tended to show that Buddhism and Jainism
were not related to each other as parent and child, but rather as
children of a common parent, born at different intervals, though at
about the same period of time, and marked by distinct characteristics,
though possessing a strong family resemblance. Both these systems, in
fact, were the product of Br[=a]hmanical rationalistic thought, which
was itself a child of Br[=a]hmanism. Both were forms of materialistic
philosophy engendered from separate kindred germs.

For there can be no doubt that different lines of philosophical
speculation were developed by the Br[=a]hmans at a very early period.
All such speculations were regarded by them as legitimate phases of
their own religious system. In some localities where Br[=a]hmanism
was strong and dominant, rationalism was restrained within orthodox
limits. In other places it diverged into unorthodox sceptical
inquiries. In others into rank heresy and schism. Buddhism and Jainism
represented different schools of heretical philosophical speculation
which were in all likelihood nearly synchronous in their origin. That
is to say, Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, and P[=a]rs´van[=a]tha,
the probable founder of Jainism, may have lived about the same time
in different parts of India. Nor is it unreasonable to conjecture
that both these freethinkers may have followed closely on Kapila, the
reputed founder of the S[=a]nkhya system and typical representative of
rationalistic Br[=a]hmanism.[5] By far the most popular of the three
was Gautama, commonly called the Buddha. The influence of his personal
character, combined with the extraordinary persuasiveness of his
teaching, was irresistible. His system spread with his followers and
admirers in every direction, and threw all kindred systems into the
shade. Very soon Buddhistic doctrines leavened the religions of the
whole Indian peninsula, from Afgh[=a]nist[=a]n to Ceylon. They found
their way into every home. They became domesticated in the cottages of
peasants and palaces of kings. As to Jainism, centuries elapsed before
it emerged from the obscurity to which the greater popularity of
Buddhism had consigned it. Nor, even when its rival was extinguished,
did it ever rise above the rank of an insignificant sect. At present
the total number of Jainas in all India does not exceed 400,000, at
least half of whom are found in the Bombay Presidency.

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

But it must not be supposed that P[=a]rs´van[=a]tha and his successor
Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, are regarded by the Jainas as their first supreme
Jinas. They were preceded by twenty-two other mythical leaders
and patriarchs, beginning with Rishabha,[6] whose fabulous lives
protracted to millions of years, and whose fabulous statures,
proportionally extended, were probably invented in recent times, that
the Jaina system might not be outdone by that of either Br[=a]hmans or

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

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

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

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

Very different is the doctrine of Buddhists and Jains. With them there
is no Supreme Being, no Supreme Divine Eternal Soul, no separate
human eternal soul. Nor can there be any true soul-transmigration. A
Buddhist and a Jaina believe that the only eternal thing is matter.
The universe consists of eternal atoms which by their own inherent
creative force are perpetually developing countless forms of being
in ever-recurring cycles of creation and dissolution, re-creation and
re-dissolution. This is symbolized by a wheel revolving for ever in
perpetual progression and retrogression.[7]

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

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

He represents the perfection of humanity, the typical man, who has
conquered self and attained a condition so perfect that he not only
ceases to act, but is able to extinguish the power of former acts;
a human being who is released from the obligation of further
transmigration, and looks forward to death as the absolute extinction
of personal existence. But he is also more than this. He is a being
who by virtue of the perfection of his self-mortification (_tapas_)
has acquired the perfection of knowledge, and therefore the right
to be a supreme leader and teacher of mankind. He claims far more
complete authority and infallibility than the most arrogant Roman
Pontiff. He is in his own solitary person an absolutely independent
and infallible guide to salvation. Hence he is commonly called a
_T[=i]rthan-kara_, or one who constitutes a T[=i]rtha[8]--that is
to say, a kind of passage or medium through which bliss may be
attained--a kind of ford or bridge leading over the river of life to
the elysium of final emancipation. Other names for him are _Arhat_,
"venerable;" _Sarva-jna_, "omniscient;" _Bhagavat_, "lord."

A Buddha with the Buddhists is a very similar personage. He is a
self-conqueror and self-mortifier (_tapasv[=i]_), like the Jina,
and is besides a supreme guide to salvation; but he has achieved
his position of Buddhahood more by the perfection of his meditation
(_yoga, sam[=a]dhi_) than by the completeness of his self-restraint
and austerities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing, perhaps, better illustrates the difference between
Br[=a]hmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism than the daily prayer used in all
three systems. That of the Br[=a]hmans is in Sanskrit (from Rig-veda
iii. 62. 10), and is addressed to the Supreme Being as giver of
life and illumination. It is a prayer for greater knowledge and
enlightenment: thus, "Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the
divine Vivifier. May He stimulate our understandings." That of
the Jainas, also called by them G[=a]yatr[=i], is in M[=a]gadh[=i]
Pr[=a]krit, and is in five short clauses to the following effect:--"I
venerate the sages who are worthy of honour (_arhat_). I venerate the
saints who have achieved perfection. I venerate those who direct our
religious worship. I venerate spiritual instructors. I venerate holy
men (_s[=a]dhus_) in all parts of the world." This is obviously no
real prayer, but a mere formula, expressive of veneration for human
excellence, like that used by the Buddhists, which is perhaps the
simplest of all,--"Reverence to the incomparable Buddha;" or (as in
Thibet), "Reverence to the jewel in the lotus."[9]

Br[=a]hmans, Jains, and Buddhists all alike aim at the attainment of
perfect knowledge; but the Br[=a]hman, by his G[=a]yatr[=i] prayer,
acknowledges his dependence on a Supreme Being as the source of all
enlightenment; while the formulas of Jains and Buddhists are simply
expressive of their belief in the divinity of humanity--the efficacy
of human example, and the power of unassisted human effort.

It will be evident from the foregoing outline of the first principles
of Jainism, that the whole system hinges on the efficacy of
self-mortification (_tapas_), self-restraint (_yama_), and asceticism.
Only twenty-four supreme saints and T[=i]rthan-karas can appear in
any one cycle of time, but every mortal man may be a self-restrainer
(_yati_). Every one born into the world may be a striver after
sanctity (_s[=a]dhu_), and a practiser of austerities (_tapasv[=i]_).
Doubtless, at first there was no distinction between monks, ascetics,
and ordinary men, just as in the earliest days of Christianity there
was no division into bishops, priests, and laity. All Jainas in
ancient times practised austerities, but among such ascetics an
important difference arose. One party advocated an entire abandonment
of clothing, in token of complete indifference to all worldly ideas
and associations. The other party were in favour of wearing white
garments. The former were called Dig-ambara, sky-clothed, the latter
S´vet[=a]mbara (or, in ancient works, S´veta-pata), white-clothed.[10]
Of these the Dig-ambaras were chronologically the earliest. They were
probably the first to form themselves into a regular society. The
first Jina, Rishaba, as well as the last Jina, Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, are
said to have been Dig-ambaras, and to have gone about absolutely
naked. Their images represent two entirely nude ascetics, whereas the
images of other Jinas, like the Buddhist images, are representations
of a sage, generally seated in a contemplative posture, with a robe
thrown gracefully over one shoulder.

It is not improbable that the ­S´vet[=a]mbara division of the Jainas
were merely a sect which separated itself from the parent stock in
later times, and became in the end numerically the most important, at
least in Western India. The Dig-ambaras, however, are still the most
numerous faction in Southern India, and at Jaipur in the North.[11]

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

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

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

All laymen[12] among the Jainas are called S´r[=a]vakas, "hearers or
disciples," while the Yatis,[13] or "self-restraining ascetics,"
who constitute the only other division of both Jaina sects, are the
supposed teachers (_Gurus_). Many of them, of course, never teach at
all. They were formerly called Nirgrantha, "free from worldly ties,"
and are often known by the general name of S[=a]dhu, "holy men."
All are celibates, and most of them are cenobites, not anchorites.
Sometimes four or five hundred live together in one monastery,
which they call an Up[=a]s´raya,[14] "place of retirement," under
a presiding abbot. They dress, like other Hind[=u] ascetics, in
yellowish-pink or salmon-coloured garments.[15] There are also female
ascetics (_S[=a]dhvin[=i]_, or, anciently, _Nirgranth[=i]_), who may
be seen occasionally in public places clothed in dresses of a similar
colour. When these good women draw the ends of their robes over their
heads to conceal their features, and cover the lower part of their
faces with pieces of muslin to prevent animalculæ from entering their
mouths, they look very like hooded Roman Catholic nuns. I saw
several threading their way through the crowded streets of Ahmedabad,
apparently bent, like sisters of mercy, on charitable errands.

Of course, in Jainism anything like a Br[=a]hmanical priesthood would
be an impossibility. Jainas reject the whole body of the Veda, Vedic
sacrifices and ritual, and hold it to be a heinous sin to kill an
animal of any kind, even for religious purposes. They have, however,
a Veda of their own, consisting of a series of forty-five sacred
writings, collectively called [=A]gamas. They are all in the Jaina
form of the M[=a]gadh[=i] dialect (differing from, yet related to,
the P[=a]l[=i] of the Buddhists, the M[=a]gadh[=i] Pr[=a]krit of
Vararuchi, and the Pr[=a]krit of the plays), and are classed under
the different heads of Anga, Up[=a]nga, P[=a]inna (Sanskrit,
_Prak[=i]rnaka_), M[=u]la, Chheda, Anuyoga, and Nandi. Of these the
eleven Angas are the most esteemed, but the whole series is equally
regarded as S´ruti, or divine revelation. The M[=a]gadh[=i] text
is sometimes explained by Sanskrit commentaries, and sometimes by
commentaries in the M[=a]rw[=a]r[=i] dialect, very common among
merchants in the West of India. Some of the best known Angas and
Up[=a]ngas were procured by me when I was last at Bombay, through the
kind assistance of Dr. Bühler; but it appears doubtful whether
they would repay the trouble which a complete perusal and thorough
examination of such voluminous writings would entail. It may safely be
affirmed that their teaching, like that of the Pur[=a]nas, is anything
but consistent or uniform, and that they deal with subjects--such as
the formation of the universe, history, geography, and chronology--of
which their authors are profoundly ignorant.

The Indian commentator, M[=a]dhav[=a]ch[=a]rya, in his well-known
summary of Hind[=u] sects (called Sarva-dars´ana-sangraha) has given
an interesting sketch of the Jainas from his own investigation
of their sacred writings. Their philosophers are sometimes called
Sy[=a]d-v[=a]dins, "asserters of possibility," because their
system propounds seven modes of reconciling opposite views
(_sapta-bhanga-naya_) as to the possibility of anything existing
or not existing. All visible objects--all the phenomena of the
universe--are distributed under the two principles (_tattva_) or
categories of animate (_j[=i]va_), and inanimate (_a-j[=i]va_). Again,
all living beings comprised under the former are divided into three
classes: (1) eternally perfect, as the Jina; (2) emancipated from the
power of acts; (3) bound by acts and worldly associations. Or, again,
nine principles are enumerated--namely, life, absence of life, merit
(_punya_), demerit, passion, helps to restraint, helps to freedom
from worldly attachments, bondage, emancipation. Inanimate matter is
sometimes referred to a principle (_tattva_) called Pudgala, which it
is easier for Jaina philosophers to talk about than to explain.

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

If equal practical importance were attached to these ten precepts,
the Jaina system could not fail to conduce in a high degree to the
happiness and well-being of its adherents, however perverted their
religious sense may be. Unfortunately, undue stress is laid on the
first duty and first prohibition, to the comparative neglect of
some of the others. In former days, when Buddhism and Jainism were
prevalent everywhere, "Kill not" was required to be proclaimed by
sound of trumpet in every city daily.[16]

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

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

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

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

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

The penances inflicted generally consist of various kinds of fasting;
but it must be observed that fasting is with Jainas a duty incumbent
on all. It is a duty only second to that of not killing. Fasting
(_upav[=a]sa_) is also practised by Hind[=u]s and Buddhists, and held
to be a most effective means of accumulating religious merit. Orthodox
Hind[=u]s fast twice a month, on the eleventh day of each fortnight,
as well as on the birthday of Krishna (_Janm[=a]shtam[=i]_), and the
night sacred to S´iva (_S´iva-r[=a]tri_). On some fast days fruits may
be eaten, but no cooked food of any kind.

With Buddhists and Jainas the season of fasting, religious meditation,
and recitation of sacred texts, far outdoes our Lenten period. The
Buddhists in some parts of the world call their fasting season Wasso
(corrupted from the Sanskrit _Upav[=a]sa_). That of the Jainas is
called Pajj[=u]san or Pachch[=u]san (for Sanskrit _Paryushana_). The
S´vet[=a]mbara Jainas fast for the fifty days preceding the fifth of
the month Bh[=a]dra, the Dig-ambaras for the seventy following days.
In both cases the Pajj[=u]san corresponds generally to the rainy
season or its close. Possibly the practice of fasting during that
period may be intended as an expiation for the supposed guilt incurred
by the unintentional destruction of damp-engendered insects.

In regard to the duty of worshipping images, this also, like the last
duty, is incumbent on all. But it is worthy of remark that images were
at first only used as memorials or as simple decorations, in places
consecrated to pure forms of worship. Idolatry has always been a later
innovation. It has never belonged to the original constitution of any
religious system. One or two differences between Hind[=u], Buddha, and
Jaina images should be noted. Hind[=u] images (excepting that of the
ascetic form of S´iva) are often profusely decorated, while Buddha and
Jaina idols are always left unadorned, though sometimes cut out of
the finest marble, and often having a nimbus[18] round their heads.
Twenty-two of the Jina images, as well as the seven Buddhas, are
represented with a coarse garment thrown over the left shoulder, the
other shoulder being bare. Those of the first and last Jinas (Rishabha
and Mah[=a]v[=i]ra) are completely nude; and Jina images, like some
of those of the Buddha, are often erect. Moreover, the idols of the
Buddha Gautama represent him in four principal attitudes. He is
(1) seated in deep contemplation; or (2) is seated while engaged in
teaching, with the tip of the forefinger of one hand applied to the
fingers of the other hand; or (3) he is a mendicant ascetic in a
standing posture; or (4) he is recumbent just before his decease. In
the first or contemplative attitude, he is indifferent to everything
except intense concentration of thought on the problem of perfect
knowledge. According to others, he is supposed to be thinking of
nothing, or, if that is impossible, his thoughts are concentrated on
the tip of his nose, till he does not even think of that. Or there may
be a modification of this meditative attitude, in which his mind is
apparently engaged in ecstatic contemplation of the short distance
which still separates him from the goal of annihilation. The first
contemplative attitude is by far the commonest. The sage is seen
seated (generally on a full-blown lotus) with his legs folded under
him, the left palm supinate on his lap, and the right hand extended
over the right leg. He has pendulous ears, curly hair, and a top-knot
on the crown of his head. His garment is thrown gracefully over
the left shoulder, leaving the right bare. The modification of this
attitude, representing the sage in ecstatic contemplation, has both
the palms resting one above the other on the lap, and occasionally
holding a circular object, the meaning of which is not well
ascertained. In the second or teaching attitude, the great teacher is
supposed to be marking off the points of his discourse, or emphasizing
them on his fingers. This attitude expresses an important peculiarity,
already pointed out, as distinguishing Buddhism from Jainism--namely,
that it lays more stress than Jainism on the acquisition and imparting
of knowledge. I have never seen a Jina image in a teaching attitude.
The recumbent attitude of Buddha is supposed to represent him in the
act of dying, and attaining Nirv[=a]na. Pious Buddhists regard
this supreme moment in the life of their great leader with as much
reverence as Christians regard the death of Christ on the cross.
Through the kindness of Sir William Gregory, I was taken to see
a colossal recumbent statue of the Buddha, at least thirty feet
long,[19] in the celebrated temple of Kelani, not far from Columbo,
in Ceylon. The image appeared to be highly venerated by numerous
worshippers, who presented offerings at the shrine. On each side were
colossal images of attendants and doorkeepers (_dv[=a]ra-p[=a]la_),
and in other parts of the temple figures of Buddha's demon enemies,
besides idols of the Hind[=u] deities, Vishnu, S´iva, and Ganes´a.
All around the walls of the temple were fresco representations
of incidents in the life of the Buddha. A huge bell-shaped Dagoba
(_Dh[=a]tu-garbha_), of massive masonry, covered with chunam, was in
the garden, on the right side of the temple. It doubtless enshrined
ashes or relics of great sanctity. But in all these Dagobas there is
no passage to any interior chamber: whatever relics they contain have
been bricked up for centuries, and no record is preserved of their
history or nature. On the left of the temple were the residences of
the high priests and monks, in a well-kept garden overshadowed by
an immense P[=i]pal tree, supposed to represent the sacred tree of
knowledge. Both Buddha and Jina images have always certain objects
or symbols (_chihna_) connected with them. Those of the Buddha are
generally associated with the tree of knowledge, or a hooded serpent,
or a wheel, or a deer.[20] The seventh T[=i]rthan-kara of the Jainas
is specially associated with the Svastika cross--an auspicious symbol
common to Hind[=u]ism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Worshippers in Buddhist
and Jaina temples may be seen arranging their offerings in the form of
this symbol, which is shaped like a Greek cross, with the end of each
of the four arms bent round in the same direction. The question as to
the origin of the emblem has called forth many learned dissertations
from various scholars and archæologists. For my own part, I am
inclined to regard it as a mere rude representation of the four arms
of Lakshm[=i], goddess of good fortune, the bent extremities of the
arms denoting her four hands.

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

The Jainas hold views similar to those of the Hind[=u]s in regard to
the treatment of dead bodies. They never preserve the ashes of their
saints in St[=u]pas, Chaityas, or Dagobas, or worship them, as the
Buddhists do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With regard to the last injunction, it may be mentioned that the
ceremony of initiation (_d[=i]ksh[=a]_) usually takes place at the
age of twelve or thirteen, and that part of the rite once consisted in
forcibly pulling out every hair of the head (_kes´a-lunchana_). In the
present day ashes are applied, and a few hairs torn out by the roots
before the scissors are used.

It remains to state that the Jainas of the present period are leaning
more and more towards Hind[=u] ideas and practices. They have their
purificatory rites (_sansk[=a]ras_), and a modified caste system.
Not unfrequently Br[=a]hman priests are invited to take part in
their marriage ceremonies. Indeed, it is by no means uncommon for
intermarriages to take place between lay Jainas (_s´r[=a]vakas_) and
lay Vaishnavas, especially in cases when both belong to the Baniya or
merchant caste.

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

I must reserve the subject of the Indo-Zoroastrian creed, and modern
P[=a]rs[=i] religious usages, for treatment in my next paper.


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

    [Footnote 2: In many images of the Buddha he is represented
    with the sacred thread over the left shoulder and under the
    right arm, according to orthodox Br[=a]hmanical usage.]

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

    [Footnote 3: The expression, Jainism, corresponds to
    Vaishnavism and S´aivism just as the term Jaina does to
    Vaishnava or S´aiva. Of course consistency would require
    the substitution of Bauddhism and Bauddha for Buddhism and
    Buddhist, but I fear the latter expressions are too firmly
    established to admit of alteration.]

    [Footnote 4: There is one place in India where the growth of
    Vaishnavism out of Buddhism, and their near relationship, are
    conspicuously demonstrated. I mean Buddha-gay[=a], with the
    neighbouring Vishnu temple of the city of Gay[=a].]

    [Footnote 5: In the Caves of Ellora, Br[=a]hmanism, Buddhism,
    and Jainism, may be seen in juxtaposition, proving that at
    one period, at least, they existed together, and were mutually
    tolerant of each other.]

    [Footnote 6: Their names at full are:--1. Rishabha; 2. Ajita;
    3. Sambhava; 4. Abhinandana; 5. Sumati; 6. Padma-prabha;
    7. Sup[=a]rs´va; 8. Chandra-prabha; 9. Pushpa-danta; 10.
    S´[=i]tala; 11. S´reyas; 12. V[=a]sup[=u]jya; 13. Vimala; 14.
    Ananta; 15. Dharma; 16. S´[=a]nti; 17. Kunthu; 18. Ara;
    19. Malli; 20. Suivrata; 21. Nimi; 22. Nemi; 23.
    P[=a]rs´van[=a]tha; 24. Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, or Vardham[=a]na. The
    first of these lived 8,400,000 years, and attained a stature
    equal to 500 bows' length. The age and stature of the second
    was something less. The twenty-third lived a hundred years,
    and was little taller than an ordinary man. The twenty-fourth
    lived only forty years, and was formed like a man of the
    present day. The Buddhists hold that their Buddha Gautama was
    much above the usual height.]

    [Footnote 7: When Buddhism merged in Vaishnavism, its symbol
    of a wheel (_chakra_) was adopted by the worshippers of

    [Footnote 8: The word T[=i]rtha may mean a sacred ford or
    crossing-place on the bank of a river, or it may mean a holy
    man or teacher.]

    [Footnote 9: This is by some interpreted to mean--Reverence to
    the creative energy inherent in the universe.]

    [Footnote 10: The actual colour of an ascetic's dress is a
    kind of yellowish-pink, or salmon colour. Pure white is not
    much used by the Hind[=u]s, except as a mark of mourning, when
    it takes the place of black with us.]

    [Footnote 11: There is also a very low, insignificant, and
    intensely atheistical sect of Jainas called Dhundhias. They
    are much despised by the Hind[=u]s, and even by the more
    orthodox Jainas].

    [Footnote 12: This term, as well as Up[=a]saka, is also used
    to designate the Buddhist laity.]

    [Footnote 13: From the Sanskrit root, _yam_, to restrain. The
    Buddhists call their monks S´ramanas; from the root _S´ram_,
    "men who work hard at austerities," or Bhikshus, "mendicant
    friars." Their laymen are S´r[=a]vakas, like the Jaina laymen,
    but are also called Up[=a]sakas.]

    [Footnote 14: Also written Ap[=a]s´raya.]

    [Footnote 15: When so attired they may be called
    P[=i]t[=a]mbaras, or Kash[=a]y[=a]mbaras, though they belong
    to the S´vet[=a]mbara, or white-clothed party.]

    [Footnote 16: Dr. Stevenson conjectures that As´oka's famous
    edicts were similar proclamations, embodying all the commands
    and prohibitions of Buddhism and Jainism, engraved on stone to
    secure their permanence.]

    [Footnote 17: It is doubtless intended as a Jaina satire on
    the worship of deceased parents and ancestors enjoined by
    the Br[=a]hmanical system, and commonly practised by true

    [Footnote 18: The idea of encircling the heads of saints
    with a disc of light probably existed in India long before

    [Footnote 19: Buddhists believe that the stature of the
    Buddha far exceeded that of ordinary men. Muslims have similar
    legends about the stature of Moses.]

    [Footnote 20: There is a legend that the Buddha taught first
    in a deer-park near Benares.]



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


    SUMMARY.--_Politics_: Agitations during the Parliamentary
    Recess--Unjust Accusations levelled at the
    Ministry--Reforms carried out or projected in the Public
    Instruction--Justice--Public Works--Activity and Liberalism of
    the Ministry--Its want of Cohesion and Unity--Renewal of the
    Socialist Agitation--Return of the Amnestied--Election of M.
    Humbert in Paris--M. Blanqui's and M. Louis Blanc's Addresses
    in the Provinces--Socialist Congress at Marseilles--Reaction
    against these exaggerations--Dangers caused by the attitude
    of the Conservative Party inspired by the Clerical
    spirit--Efforts to create a Republican Conservative Party--"Le
    Parlement"--Unfortunate effect of the Ministry's Anti-clerical
    Campaign--Legitimist Banquets--The Bonapartist Party and
    its hopes--M. Naquet's Campaign in favour of Divorce.
    _Literature_: Novels--Mme. Greville, Mme. Bentzon, M.
    Lemonnier, M. Gualdi, M. Daudet, M. Zola, Flaubert, M.
    Theuriet--"L'Eglise Chrétienne," by M. Renan--"Rodrigue
    de Villandrando," by M. Quicherat--"Mémoires de Mme.
    de Rémusat"--"Nouvelle Revues". _Science_: Geographical
    Studies--"Géographie Universelle"--"La Terre et les Hommes,"
    by Elisée Reclus--Map of France on scale of 1/100000--Lectures
    on Historical Geography, by M. A. Longnon. _Fine Arts_:
    Subjects opened to Competition--Death of MM. Viollet Le Duc,
    Cham, Taylor. _Theatres_: Le Grand Opera, l'Opéra Populaire,
    Pasdeloup and Colonne Concerts--Professor Hermann--The
    Hanlon-Lees--"Jonathan," by M. Gondinet--"Les Mirabeau," by M.
    Claretie--Le Théâtre des Nations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps, after all, our judgment is partial, and the success of the
_Nouvelle Revue_ is due to its attention to the immediate interests of
the present, and the space allotted to politics. The number of those
who take an interest in literature daily grows smaller in France.
Of those not absorbed by politics some forsake pure literature for
erudition, and the greater number give themselves up to science. It is
owing to the scholars that the _Revue Philosophique_ is succeeding
so brilliantly; all the scientific societies are flourishing, and
L'Association pour l'Encouragement des Sciences again verified
its growing advancement at its late meeting at Montpellier. The
geographical section, recently founded, promises to become one of the
most active, for geographical studies, so long neglected in France,
have suddenly made an extraordinary start. The Geographical Society
now has 1700 members, and has built itself a magnificent _hôtel_;
the Alpine Club, a geographical rather than a climbing society, is
increasing so rapidly in numbers that it is impossible to give
the exact figure. It amounts to several thousand. If unscrupulous
speculators have taken advantage of this reawakening zeal for
geographical study to publish a swarm of superficial and hastily
compiled handbooks, and carelessly engraved maps, some works of real
merit have appeared that do credit to our French editors. And here
the firm of Hachette holds the first rank. "La Tour du Monde" is an
illustrated journal of travels, admirably arranged and printed; the
great Historical Atlas and Universal Dictionary of Geography of M.
Vivien de Saint Martin have but one fault, the excessive tardiness of
their publication. M. Elisée Reclus's handsome work, "La Terre et les
Hommes," on the contrary, is issued with unexceptionable regularity.
The fifth volume, now approaching completion, comprises the countries
of Northern Europe, principally Russia, which is now attracting the
attention of historians and politicians generally. M. Reclus's point
of view is especially calculated to answer to the nature of the
present interest, for he enters more particularly into the relations
of the people to the soil; to the administrative geography, details
concerning which are to be found everywhere, he pays only secondary
attention, devoting himself more especially to the physical geography,
customs, and institutions. His book is more particularly a work on
geology, ethnography, and sociology; and therein lies its originality
and usefulness. Hachette is also engaged in publishing a map of France
that exceeds in beauty and precision everything that has ever been
produced of the kind until now. It is drawn by the Service des Chemins
Vicinaux at the expense of the Ministry of Interior, and will consist
of 467 sheets. The scale is 1/100000. The admirable engraver, M.
Erhard, has been entrusted with the execution, which is beyond
criticism alike as regards fulness of detail, clearness, and
colouring. Each sheet costs only 75c., a moderate sum, considering the
exceptional merit of the work, the most considerable of its kind since
the Staff map. A proof of the importance attached in these days to the
study of geography is the foundation of Chairs of Geography in several
of our Faculties of Letters--Bordeaux, Lyons, Nancy--and a course of
lectures on historical geography at the École des Hautes Études. This
course will be given by M. A. Longnon, whose works on "Les Pagi de la
Gaule" and "La Géographie de la Gaule au sixième siècle," have made
him a European authority. By the combined use of the philological
laws of the transmutation of sounds, historical documents, and
archæological data, he has reached a precision it seemed impossible to
attain in these matters. He may be said to have founded a new science,
and the happiest results are to be expected from his teaching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:

Some of the words from the Article, "Hinduisn and Jainism" contain
vowels with macron accents (line above the letter). These are
depicted as [=A], [=a], [=i], [=u]. Some words in the article
contain stand-alone acute accents, which have been retained.

e.g., As´oka; Pars´van[=a]tha; Pajj[=u]san; S[=a]dhvin[=i];
S´iva-r[=a]tri; Up[=a]s´raya;


Page 555: 'Governmeut' corrected to 'Government'

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

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

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

Page 642: 'is' corrected to 'Is'

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

Page 714: Extraneous 'the' removed.
"Besides the Grand Opéra there is L'Opéra Populaire [the] located...."

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.