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THE ARREST OF ARMAMENTS.
BY PROFESSOR GEFFCKEN. Professor GEFFCKEN, writing in the Nineteenth Century concerning the War Chests of Europe,” declares that the proposed arrest of armaments by international agree. ment to regard the present military expenditure as a maximum is impracticable. He says that no great Power would be prepared to bind its hands this way. Herein Professor Geffcken makes a mistake. There is more than one great Power in Europe who would be only too glad to bind its hands in this way, provided that the other Powers would do the same. Professor Geffcken says that all international checks against armaments are fùtile. Disarmament only comes when it imposes itself by exhaustion, and until that is the case the power for war remains the great test of the strength of States. Professor Geffcken then goes on to consider the condition of the war chests of Europe. It is one of his delusions that sound finances are indispensable for war, which reminds us of the late Lord Derby's complacent assurance, in 1876, that war was absolutely impossible because none of the great Powers could afford to draw their swords. Within a few months Lord Derby's own policy precipitated war and brought the Russian arms up to the gates of Constantinople. Professor Geffcken thus sums up the conclusions of his own survey :
Italy appears incapable of carrying on a war, except by foreign subsidies, for as to her own resources she would have nothing but paper-money or loans contracted at ruinous prices; besides, it is greatly to be doubted whether her army and navy are in an efficient state. Germany has the strongest army, and a small but excellent navy; in both of them everything is ready for war to the minutest item : the reserves and the land wehr can be mobilised on the shortest notice, so that the war force of 2,519,918 men may take the field within ten days after order; and this formidable array is backed by 620,000,000 marks in cash and sound elastic finances. As to AustriaHungary, there can be no doubt that a great war would throw back the monarchy into the réjime of inconvertible bank-notes ; however, it would stand its own, and would weather a large storm as well, or better than those of 1818 and 1866. Russia, besides her gold-treasure destined for war in foreign parts where her notes are not accepted, would in case of need probably not scruple stopping payment of interest to her foreign creditors, and for the internal administration she would constantly increase her paper-money. As to France, however embarrassed hier present financial condition may be, it will certainly not prevent her from going to war when the nation is deterinined upon doing so, or is dragged into it by improvident leaders, as was the case in 1870.
An article of a very different kind appears in the same Review by Mr. W. F. Alden, who is better known as the writer of some charming and amusing American stories. Mr. Alden, however, was at one time Co ul General at Rome, and in this paper he writes seriously. So far from sharing Professor Geffekeu's ideas as to the impossibility of declaring war because of unsound finance, he believes that war is inevitable, because Italy's finances are in such a bad way. This is the way in which he argues the matter:
Even the noble and unselfish Italian king, whose every thought is of the welfare of his people, must see as clearly as his veteran Minister that in the terrible surgery of the sabre lies the only hope of Italian salvation.
The German Emperor unquestionably desires pence, but Germany cannot afford t' purehase peace at the price of the disruption of the Triple Alliance. In case of war, Italy can casily give employment to two hundred thousand French troops that would otherwise oppse.
WHITTIER'S RELIGION. The series of papers in the Arena dealing with the ' Religion of the Latter-Day Poets,” by M. J. and W. H. Savage, is continued this month with a fascinating study of Whittier's Religion.” It will be greatly enjoyed by all lovers of the prophet-poet.
Our Whittier (says Mr. Savage) was one of the elect line of seers. The necessity laid on him as a poet was accepted by Whittier with the glad and solemn earnestness of a prophet, and for sixty years he was more influential as a teacher of religion than any other man in America. And he had the felicity, rare in the experience of prophets, of living to sce his message heedled both by the State and Church. He had no hesitation about mixing religion with polities, and he believed in Democracy, because it made it possible for the religion of the whole nation, and of every man in it, to find expression in the laws and the life of the people. How noble his ideal of Democracy was, and how high his faith in its possibilities, he showed in his poem under that title, written in 18+1, on election day. Did any man ever go farther in mixing politics and religion? Whittier's voting mood was so high that the ordinary citizen finds it hard to climb up to it in his Sunday-praying mood. His “ Democracy” was the justice and generosity of God, incarnate in human society.
A short time before the poet's death, an old friend, a man of Quaker lineage, called upon him, and the two talked long over the great matters that had engaged their thoughts during the many years of their acquaintance. As they were about to separate, Mr. Whittier said : • They would call thee and me Unitarians.” In these words we have his thought about himself put into plain prose, and it agrees exactly with the statement made by Dr. Holmes shortly after his old friend's departure—“ We felt that we were on common ground.”.
We find his writings filled with hints which show that he meditated much and earnestly upon the matter of the future life, and that his belief in such a life was confident and full of cheer. Mrs. Chaffin reports him as saying :-“The little circumstance of death will make no difference with me; I shall have the same friends in that other world that I have here, the same loves and aspirations and occupations. If it were not so, I should not be myself, and surely I shall not lose my identity." He was always deeply interested in what used to be called "ghost stories," and he and Mrs. Stowe would sit and talk far into the night of ghosts and spirit-rappings and other matters that now engage the societies for psychical research.
He believed that the inner light could be trusted to guide one in the business of daily life as well as in matters purely spiritual, and he found many confirmations of this in the experiences of his Quaker friends. And all this was quite in keeping with the Quaker belief that life here is in constant touch with the Great Life that is the fountain of all being. According to this belief the gates between the seen and the unseen are always ajar. The life here and the life there flow from the Eternal, are lived in the Eternal, and because of this are always safe and good.
Women in the Mission Field. In the Sunday Magazine the Rev. A. R. Buckland writes on “ Womau's Work in the Mission Field.” It is a tribute to the work which women have done as missionaries. The first unmarried woman was sent out by the Church Missionary Society in 1920. In 1883 there were only tifteen. In 1881 they hail mounted up to 100. The proportion of female to male missionaries has risen from one-twentieth in 1873 to one-fourth in 1893. Native female teachers in the same society have increased from 375 in 1873 to 992 in 1893. In 1894 the unmarried female agents of all the Protestant missionary societies numbered 2,500. The total number of femalo missionaries in the field outnumbered the men by a thousand.
HAS THE CHURCH FAILED AMONG THE MASSES ?
By Two PROMINENT LAYMEX. The subject of the Round Table Conference in the Review of the Churches last month says: “Is the infinence of the Churches on the wane among the masses ?” Mr. Percy Alden, the Warden of the Mansfield House
Of Oxfordshire this is very largely true. The Free Church minister is a good deal more in tuucli with the people, and thta ari:es from the fact that he is approachable and preaches extempore sermons. I certainly should think the Church has failed in the country.
A CHURCHMAN'S ADVICE TO THE CLERGY, Mr. Alderman Phillips, High Churchman and trustee of the Dockers' Union, was also interviewed. He is in business as a pawnbroker, and is an alderman of the West Ham Town Council. He is a staunch temperance advocate, and it is a positive fact that in one shop over five hundred who came to pledge their goods have gone away pledged to be total abstainers. As a Churchman, he is a shining example of the power of the layman, when only he is permitted to do work that is congenial. In the pulpit he is sometimes heard, especially in London, and crowds flock to hear him. He said :
There is certainly no active liostility, but a good deal of coldness towards religion. This coldness is often a want of personal contact. I have often been in a church where a stranger has come in; instead of giving him a hearty welcome, or taking farewell and bidding him come again, he is suffered to come and go without a word. A word of welcome would often be more effective than the sermon. Personal contact will overcome indifferentism. More attentien, too, should be paid to the preaching power of the clergy. Most of our nien are accustomed to hear extempore speakers, and, of course, their leaders never speak from notes or read their utterances. These men do not like to go to church and see the parson reading through a paper. The uneducated man is ever ready to talk to his followers, and many of the working man leaders have had little education, but are always ready for a speech. Now with reference to filling the church, the clergy want educating to see things from a working man's standpoint, and I would suggest to those who are working in the East End, that one or two evenings a week they should gather the local leaders together in their rooms for the freest possible chat and a smoke. Never mind how diverse and how divergent their views, the free unrestrained interchange of opinions will be found very
Settlement in the East End, when interviewed on the subject, expressed himself in this way:
What is the reason of the indifferentism or hostility towards the Churches ?
It is because the average parson has not an ideal of social service, but a class ideal; and very often he has no opportunity of learning or knowing anything else. The whole tendency of University training has been in the past to emphasise class distinction; and though now this is being gradually broken down, still the young men who go into the ministry see but little of that larger life which concerns the misery or happiness of the many rather than the few. I think there is very little active hostility, but a terrible lot of indifferentism towards the masses. I think sometimes we forget that it takes time to bring about reform. The moment a parson is a Socialist he is apt to think all working men ought to rally to him, and he expects people to trust him in a minute.
It is a serious question with me as to whether ministers shonld give relief. Would it not be better to form strong and active committees representing the whole locality, including a strong representation of working men, who can investigate and relieve, and would do so rather as a matter of love and duty than charity? We want to redeem that word charity. Mansfield House was the head of a relief fund which was inaugurated by the present mayor, and which did a lot of excellent work during the winter; and in cordial co-operation with all religious organisations. The question is a very difficult one; but if you can get all to feel that the relief question concerns everybody, and not a few paid permanent officials, a great improvement may be hoped for.
is there a great chasm between the Church and the rural labourers; and is not the chapel filled while the church is empty?
beneficial to all parties. The Bishop of Brisbane used to do this when he was Vicar of Holborn.
Answering further questions, the Alderman did not consider the Church of England a losing force.
MR. STEVENSON'S “FIRST BOOK."
THE STORY OF “ TREASURE ISLAND." In the Idler this month Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson gives an account of the genesis of “ Treasure Island.” “It was far indeed from being my first book," he says, “ for I am not a novelist alone. But I am well aware that my paymaster, the Great Public, regards what else I have written with indifference, if not aversion; if it call upon me at all, it calls on me in the familiar and indelible character; and when I am asked to talk of my first book, no question in the world but what is meant is my first novel. Of the difficulties associated with the writing of a novel Mr. Stevenson has the highest opinion.
NOVEL WRITING AND MORAL ENDURANCE. Anybody can write a short story--a bad one, I mean—who has industry and paper and time enough; but not every one may hope to write even a bad novel. It is the length that kills. The accepted novelist may take his novel up and put it down, spends days upon it in vain, and write not any more than he makes haste to blot. Not so the beginner. Human nature has certain rights; instinct-the instinct of self-preservation -forbids that any man (cheered and supported by the consciousness of no previous victory) should endure the miseries of unsuccessful literary toil beyond a period to be measured in weeks. There must be something for hope to
The beginner must have a slant of wind, a lucky vein must be running, he must be in one of those bours when the words come and the phrases balance of themselves -eren to begin. And having begun, what a dread looking forward is that until the book shall be accomplished! For so long a time, the slant is to continue unchanged, the vein to keep running, for so long a time you must keep at command the same quality of style : for so long a time your puppets are to le always vital, always consistent, always vigorous ! I remember I used to look, in those days, upon every threevolume novel with a sort of veneration, as a feat-not possibly of literature-but at least of physical and moral endurance and the courage of Ajax.
THE GERM OF THE BOOK. Mr. Stevenson attempted the task " some ten or twelve times,” but never with success. At last, one day at Braemar, he was helping a schoolboy “ turn one of the rooms into a picture-gallery” with " a shilling box of colours," and he “made a map of an island”:
It was elaborately and—I thought--beautifully coloured ; the shape of it took my fancy beyond expression. It contained harbours that pleased me like sonnets, and, with the unconsciousness of the predestined, I ticketed my performance " Treasure Island.” Somewhat in this way, as I paused upon my map, the future characters of the book began to appear there visibly among imaginary woods; and their brown faces and bright weapons peeped out upon me from unexpected quarters, as they passed to and fro, fighting and hunting treasure, on these few square inches of a flat projection. The next thing I knew I had some papers before me, and was writing out a list of chapters. How often have I done so, and the thing gone no further! But there seemed elements of success about this enterprise. It was to be a story for boys; no need of psychology or fine writing; and I had a boy at hand to be a touchstone. Women were excluded.
By-and-by a great part of the story was completed and approved of, both by Mr. Stevenson and his family.
And now who should come dropping in, ex machina, but Dr. Japp. like the disguised prince who is to bring down the curtain upon peace and happiness in the last act; for he carried in his pocket, not a horn or a talisman, but a publisher-had, in fact, been charged by my old friend, Mr. Henderson, to unearth new writers for Youn, Folke. ... From that time on I have always thought highly of his critical faculty; for when he left us, he carried away the manuscript in his portmantenu.
JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS AND TREASURE ISLAND."
Proofs began to come in, but suddenly Mr. Stevenson found the well of his inspiration run dry. "I was a good deal pleased with what I had done,” he says, “and more appalled than I can depict to you in words at what remained for me to do."
I was thirty-one; I was the head of a family; I had lost my health; I had never yet paid my way, never yet made £200 a year; my father had quite recently bought back and cancelled a book that was judged a failure: was this to be another and last fiasco? I was indeed very close on despair; but I shut my mouth hard, and during the journey to Davos, where I was to pass the winter, had the resolution to think of other things and bury myself in the novels of M. de Boisgobey. Arrived at my destination, down I sat one morning to the unfinished tale; and behold ! it flowed from me like small talk; and in a second tide of delighted industry, and again at a rate of a chapter a day, I finished “ Treasure Island.” It had to be transcribed almost exactly; my wife was ill; the schoolboy remained alone of the faithful; and John Addington Symonds (to whom I timidly mentioned what I was engaged on) lookerl on me askance. He was at that time very eager I should write on the characters of Theophrastus : so far out may be the judgments of the wisest men. But Symonds (to be sure) was scarce the confidant to go to for sympathy on a boy's story. He was large-minded; "a full man,” if there was one; but the very name of my enterprise would suggest to him only capitulations of sincerity and solecisms of style. Well! he was not far wrong.
Incidentally we learn that Mr. Stevenson had originally intended to call his novel “The Sea Cook," and that it was Mr. Henderson “who deleted" this title; and he refers again and again to the importance of the map.
I have said the map was the most of the plot. I might almost say it was the whole. A few reminiscences of Poe, Defoe, and Washington Irving, a copy of Johnson's “ Buccaneers," the name of the Dead Man's Chest from Kingsley's “ At Last," some recollections of canoeing on the high seas, and the map itself, with its infinite, eloquent suggestion, made up the whole of my materials. It is, perhaps, not often that a map figures so largely in a tale, yet it is always important.
ALTERNATIVE TO WELSH DISESTABLISHMENT.
In the Review of the Churches for June Archdeacon Sinclair puts forward the following suggestion as to measures which might be promoted in place of the Welsh Disestablishment Bill :
The following measures might well be introduced in a Bill in Parliament with a view to heal religious discord in Wales :
1. The purchase of all tithes paid by Nonconformists. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners should sell enough property or devote enough money to carry out this object. The proportion paid by Sonconformists is not large, as the tithes are paid by the landlords. The grievance is sentimental, as the tithes have been a perpetual charge on the land, and always deducted from its value. But it is worth removing in the interests of peace.
2. The election of representatives of the parents of children attending the church schools to serye on the Committees of Management.
3. The grant of a settled social precedence to all ministers of religion.
4. The Monconformist Churches to be prayed for at the Assizes and on all public and oflicial occasions as well as the Established Church.
5. The restoration of the ancient Ecclesiastical Province of Wales, which would have its own Synod or Convocation, like the Province of York, where measures affecting Welsh Christianity could be better discussed than in the Convocation of Canterbury, but which could hold joint sittings when necessary with that Convocation. This would do more than anything cse to identify the Welsh Church with that racial aspiration which is the most marked feature of Welsh contemporary life.
REMINISCENCES OF JOHN RICHARD GREEN.
By Rev. H. R. IIAWEIS. The most readable article in the Young Man this month is by Mr. Haweis, who recalls some of the incidents connected with his close intimacy with John Richard Green, covering the period from 1863 to 1870, when Mr. Haweis was in his first curacy at St. Peter's, Bethnal Green, and the future historian of the English people was incumbent of St. Philip's, Stepney.
NOT WORTH THE MONEY." When Dr. Tait was Bishop of London, he received both Green and Haweis into the ministry:
We were neither of us good candidates, but he was very kind to both of us from the first, and had quite a special affection and admiration for Green, whom he appointed hon. librarian at Lambeth; and although Green hardly ever went near the place, Tait sent him a £50 honorarium, at a time when he certainly wanted it, which very much surprised and touched my friend, and he went down the very next Saturday to Lambeth and made himself busy with the books and MSS, showing the Archbishop's guests anything of interest that he could think of. “But,” he said, “ you know, old boy, knocking about with those sort of fashionable dilettante folk isn't in my line, and I shall tell the Archbishop I ain't worth the money, and I shall throw it up,” which I believe he did very soon afterwards.
Neither of the two curates agreed with Dr. Tait, either as Bishop or Archbishop--they thought his opinions were generally wrong, his tact and management generally right, but they loved and obeyed him for all that:
Tait officiated for and visited Green at Stepney. He usually referred to us, however, with a certain grim little smile. He remarked to a friend not long before his d ath that the episcopal examinations failed somehow to test the qualifications of candidates for Holy Orders, since he called to mind that “two of the strongest horses in his London diocese (Green and myself) had certainly passed two of the worst examinations." The fict is, I knew my Bible, but was weak in my Greek verbs; Green knew his Greek verbs, but was no', strong in the Bible. I believe, too, that our interest in the Thirty-nine Articles and the Athanasian Creed was discovered by the examining chaplain to be lukewarm, a point which was submitted to Tait, but which he refused to take any notice of.
Mr. Haweis received many charming letters from Green. There was one from Mentone, in later days, when the historian saw a good deal of Archbishop Tait. In it he wrote:
It is a great and inspiring spectacle to see me in black tie, wide-awake, brown coat and pepper and salt inexpressibles, walking by the side of the Lord Primate. My object is to convert him to Neology, in which cas', there being no provision made for a heretic Archbishop, the Church of England will be in a hole! He can't issue a commission to inquire into his own errors, or sit on himself in the Arches Court, or send himself up to be sat upon by himself at the Privy Council; cousequently everybody will do as seens good in their own eyes.
GREEN'S HELPERS-WOMEN OF THE TOWN. During the cholera epidemic in East London the two friends saw a good deal of each other. Of Green's devotion to duty at that time Mr. Haweis writes:
He was devoted and indefatigable. We used to go into the London Hospital together in the morning, and rub the hlackener limbs of the cholera patients, which seemed to give them relief. Those piteous wars even 12w rise vividly before
I shall never forget that terrible time-the stiffened bodies, so hastily covered; the poor little children sitting ups three and four in a large bed, moaning in the early stays of seizure, and not knowing what ailed them; the long ruws of the dying and the deal. Green was perfectly fearless, and kept his head level, and stond to his guns when, I regret til say, many of the Erst-End clergy fouuid it convenient to go out of town for change of air.
This hand-to-hand fight with death was to me a most exciting spectacle. To get the dead away-to burn the cholera rags and beds---required the utmost vigilance, determination, and promptitude. It was almost impossible to get adequate help, but Green went about with me and we did it ourselves, and in those days it was not an uncommon thing to meet Green walking between two loose women of the town, entering house after house, and with their own hands getting the dead out and the rooms deodorised. Green often referred to the noble self-sacrifice of those poor outcast girls, who rallied round their pastor when many respectable folk hung back. He said he could always rely upon them in an emergency for such dangerous work.
SHORT HISTORY CAME TO BE WRITTEN. One day Green unfolded to Haweis his idea of a book on English history, of which he had dreamt since his boyhood :
One night he said to me, “I don't want to bore you, old fellow, but I should like to read you a few pages of my Plantagenet book. It is Stephen's ride to York. I wonder whether it is really worth much, or whether I shall ever write a book that will be read.” He then read me that brilliant fragment now incorporated with the “Short History.” From time to time he read me his MSS., and talked wondrously on the Plantagenet Period, which he had made especially his own. He did not at first mean to write anything but the story of the Plantagenets, and the period in which he said the elements of our English people and our English constitution came together. He thought he could do this in about three volumes. But coming across Mr. Macmillan, the publisher, he was persuaded to take a wider sweep, which resulted in the matchless little book, the “Short History.” We owe this entirely to Macmillan. Its cheapness we owe entirely to Green himself. The publisher wanted a much more expensive book, but Green insisted upon keeping down the price, and the result justitied his resolve. In a very short time 80,000 copies were disposed of. It was a little annuity to him as long as he lived, and its sale has been steady ever since.
HOW MR. ZANGWILL WRITES HIS NOVELS.
The feature“ Without Prejudice” which Mr. Zungwill regularly contributes to the l'all Mall Magazine is very amusing this month. He has a lot to say about interviewers and the “auto-interview," as he christens that " form of persecution ” which consists of being "asked to supply information about yourself by post, prepaid.”
But perhaps the climax of irritation is reached when, having troubled to write down autobiographical details, having wrestled with your modesty and overthrown it, having posted your letter and prepaid it, the
editor rejects your contribution without thanks. This hard fate overtook me-moi qui vous parle—not very long ago.
The conductor of a penny journal, not unconnected with literary tit-bits, honoured me with a triple interrogatory. This professional Rosa Dartle wanted to know
(1) The conditions under which you write your novels.
(3) Ilow you find your titlos. I was very busy. I was very modest, but the accompanying assurance that an anxious workil was on the qui rire for the information app aled to my higher self, and I took up my pan and wrote: (1) The conditions under which I write my novels can be
better imagined than described. (2) Vy plots and characters I get from the MSS. sub
mitted to me by young authors, whose clever but crude ideas I hate to see wasted. I always read everything sent to me, and woull advise young authors to encourage younger authors to send them
their efforts. (3) As for my title's, they are the only things I work out
myself, and you will therefore excuse me if I preserre a measure of reticence as to the method by which I get them.
CARLYLE'S PLACE IN LITERATURE.
SARTOR RESARTUS” AND “THE FRENCH REVOLUTION." By Mr. FREDERIC HARRISON.
“Sartor Resartus” (1831), the earliest of his greater
works, says this critic, is unquestionably the most MR. FREDERIC Harrison thinks that, as it is now half original, the most characteristic, the deepest and most a century since Carlyle gave to the world all that was
lyrical of his productions. The “French Revolution,” most masterly in his work, the time has arrived when the however, is far more distinctly a work of art than sum total of Carlyle's influence may be fairly weighed. “ Cromwell," and far more accessible to the great public He publishes in the Forum his own estimate of Carlyle's than “Sartor.” Viewed as an historical poem it is a · place in literature. The first question which he seeks to
splendid creation. Its passion, energy, colour, and vast answer is this :
prodigality of ineffaceable pictures place it undoubtedly
at the head of all the pictorial histories of modern times. HOW MUCH OF HIS WORK WILL LIVE?
But it would need an essay, or rather a volume, on the Do the chief works of Carlyle belong to that class of books
French Revolution to enumerate all the wrong judgments which attain an enduring and increasing power, or to that class which effect great things for one or two generations and
and fallacies of Carlyle's book if we bring it to the bar of then become practically obsolete? It would not be safe to put
sober and authentic history. his masterpieces, in any exclusive sense, into either of these
It being then clearly understood that Carlyle did not leave categories; but we may infer that they will ultimately tend
us the trustworthy history of the French Revolution in the to the second class rather than the first. Books which attain
way in which Thucydides gave us the authentic annals of the to an enduring and increasing power are such books as the
Peloponnesian war, or Cæsar the official dispatches on the “ Ethics,” the "Politics," and the “ Republic,” the “ Thoughts”
Conquest of Gaul, we must willingly admit that Carlyle's of Marcus Aurelius and of Vauvenargues, the “Essays” of
history is one of the most fruitful products of the 19th century. Bacon and of Hume, Plutarch's “Lives" and Gibbon's
“A TRUE AND PURE 'MAN OF LETTERS."", • Rome.” In these we have a mass of pregnant and ever “Hero-Worship” is mentioned as coming next in order fertile thought in a form that is perennially luminous and of abiding value. “The book is the simplest and most inspiring. It can hardly be said that even the masterpieces of easily legible of his works, with the least of his mannerism Carlyle-no! not the Revolution,” “ Cromwell," or the
and the largest concessions to the written language of “Heroes ”—reach this point of immortal wisdom clothed with consummate art. On the other hand, if these masterpieces of
sublunary mortals.” “ Past and Present" is a happy and
true thought, full of originality, worked out with art and sixty years ago are not quite amongst the great books of the world, it is preposterous to regard them as obsolete, or such as
power. It is a splendid piece, and has done much to now interest only the historian of literature. They are read
mould the thought of our time. Then Mr. Harrison sums to-day prac lly as much as ever, and are certain to be read up Carlyle's work in these words :for a generation or two to come. But they are not read to-day Carlyle was a true and pure man of letters," looking at with the passionate delight in the wonderful originality, nor things and speaking to men, alone, in his study through the have they the commanding authority they seemed to possess medium of printed paper. All that a “man of letters,” of great for the faithful disciples of the 'forties and the 'tifties.
genius and lofty spirit, could do by mere printed paper, he did. WHICH ARE THE MASTERPIECES ?
And as the “supreme man of letters” of his time he will ever
be honoured and long continue to be read. He deliberately Now, what are the masterpieces of Thomas Carlyle? In the
cultivated a form of speech which made him unintelligible to order of their production they are “ Sartor Resartus,'' 1831 ;
all non-English-speaking readers, and intelligible only to a “French Revolution,” 1837; “Hero-Worship," 1810; “ Past and
select and cultivated body even amongst them. He wrote in Present," 1813; “ Cromwell," 1815. We need not be alarmed
what, for practical purposes, is a local, or rather personal, if this list forms but a third of the thirty volumes (not includ
dialect. And thus he deprived bimself of that world-wide and ing translations); and if it omits such potent outbursts as
European intluence which belongs to such men as Hume, "Chartisin," 1839, and "Latter-Day Pamphlets," 1850, or such
Gibbon, Scott, Byron, Dickens, -- ven to Macaulay, Ruskin, a'wonderful piece of history as “ Friedrich the Second,” 18581805. “ Chartism” and the Latter-Day Pamphlets” are
and Spencer. But his name will stand beside theirs in the
history of British thought in the nineteenth century; and a full of eloquence, insight, indignation, and pity, and they
devoted band of chosen readers, wherever the Anglo-Saxon exerted a great and wholesome effect on the generation whom they smote as with the rebuke and warning of a prophet.
tongue is heard, will for generations to come continue to drink But, as we look back on them after forty or fifty years
inspiration from the two or three masterpieces of the Annan
dale peasant-poet. of experience, we find in them too much of passionate exaggeration, at times a ferocious wrong-headedness, and
The Historical Novel. everywhere so utter an absence of practical guidance or fruitful suggestion, that we cannot reckon these magnificent
In the first of a series of papers which Mr. George Jeremiads as permanent masterpieces.
Saintsbury is contributing to Macmillan's upon “The Mr. Harrison will not admit that “ Friedrich" is a book
Historical Novel," he says that “the canons negative and at all; it is“only an encyclopædia of German biographies
affirmative" of such romances “run somewhat thus": in the latter half of the eighteenth century.” “Judged
Observe local colour and historical propriets, but do not by the standard of Carlyle's own masterpieces, it is a
become a slave either to Dryasdust or to Heavysterne. failure.”
Intermix historic interest and the charm of well-known Cromwell,” though not a literary masterpiece
figures, but do not incur the danger of mere historical tranin the sense of being an organic work of high art, is quoted
scription; still more take care that the prevailing ideals of as “ the greatest of Carlyle's effective products” :
your characters, or your scene, or your action, or all three, be With his own right hand alone, and by a single stroke, he fantastic and within your own discretion. When these are completely reversed the judgment of the English nation put together we shall have what is vernacularly called “the about their greatest man. The whole weight of church, bones” of the Historical Novel. . .. The Historical Novel, monarchy, aristocracy, fashion, literature and wit, had for like all other novels without exception, if it is to be good, two centuries combined to falsify history and distort the must not have a direct purpose of any sort, though no doubt it character of the noblest of English statesmen. And a simple may, and even generally does, enforce certain morals Luth man of letters, by one book, at once and for ever reversed this historical and ethical. It is fortunately by its very form and sentence, silenced the allied forces of calumny and rancour, postulates freed from the danger of medulling with conand placed Oliver for all future time as the greatest hero of temporary problems; it is grandly and artistically unactual, the Protestant movement.
though here again it may teach unobtrusive lessons.