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of a peculiar and quite superannuated opinion may have been due in part to the innate conservatism then sheltered in all the nooks and crannies of our ecclesiastical organisation, and in part to that determined tenacity of the English character, which is so beneficial and noble in a good cause, so dangerous in a bad one."

It is dangerous to generalise about races, but some other Scotchmen have been great on dogmas, but unhampered by them in the pursuit of practical truth. As a boy Mr. Gladstone made speeches full of fire, and to the end it was fire, moral and spiritual, that put his machinery into action, not subtlety, or the desire for formal consistency. Arguments did not fail him when he believed in corrapt election practices, slavery, or the exclusion of nonconformists from the Universities. Had there been no deeper influence at work in him than his arguments he need never have moved. He changed because he vibrated to messages from every source, and absorbed truth even while he opposed it. It was his instinctive openness that made his career so fruitful, while his intellectual hobbies kept up their harmless canter. The consistency which he really had was a consistency not of surface, but of centre. Had he filled twice as many volames with inexactness and futility he would still have been the man who put vitality into prodigious truths. The apparent inconsistency of his nature is partly due to his habit of thinking aloud, letting the world see his thoughts in the process of formation. If a personality is vital and progressive, the difficulty of putting it in a category increases in proportion to the amount we know about it.

If the contemplation of this heroic figure ever leads to pathos instead of to animation, it is when we contrast the noble kernel with the superficial trivialities. When he makes us think about his subjects rather than himself, he inspires indignation often, never pity, even when he describes the prisons of Naples or the horrors of Bulgaria. If there is pathos, it is in the useless baggage, in the halting effort of a mind, which could do so large & share of the world's labour, to attack subjects from which his arguments glanced like feathers; it is in the struggle of a life, which loomg so large in our century, to explain and justify itself on grounds on which its real glory did not lie. The simple kindness that lay beneath, which was a central part of the personality, comes out in a little story told by Mr. Russell. A young woman, who was in consumption, eent to Mr. Gladstone on his birthday, which was also her own, a letter containing a bookmark, on which she had embroidered the words : "The Bible our Guide.” She received in return some gifts suitable to an invalid, together with the following letter in Mr. Gladstone's handwriting :

“ DEAR MADAM, -I am greatly touched by your kindness in having worked a bookmark for me, under the circumstances at which you glance in such

feeling and simple terms. May the guidance which you are good enough to desire on my behalf avail you fully on every step of that journey in which, if I do not precede, I cannot but shortly follow you. “I remain, dear Madam, faithfully yours,


If in such words we hear a heart as kindly and unspoiled as the simplest, the same resigned honesty is felt now and then in his important political utterances, as in this famous announcement :

“There have been two great deaths, or transmigrations of spirit, in my political existence-one, very slow, the breaking of ties with my original party; the other, very short and sharp, the breaking of the tie with Oxford.

“There will probably be a third, and no more.”

And in his answer to a request for further light:

“My dear Bishop of Oxford,—The oracular sentence has little bearing on present affairs or prospects, and may stand in its proper darkness.”

Some of this genuineness is mixed even with his ecclesiastical gyrations. In such passages as the following it is possible to feel that, at times at least, his religion meant to him its simpler truths rather than the complicated unessentials for which he often waged such noisy battle :

“For the exercises of strength and skill, for the achievements and forthe enchantments of wit, of eloquence, of art, of genius, for the imperial games of politics and war-let us seek them on the shores of Greece. But if the first among the problems of life be how to establish the peace and restore the balance of our inward being; if the highest of all conditions in the existence of the creature be his aspect towards the God to whom he owes his being and in whose great hand he stands; then let us make our: search elsewhere. All the wonders of the Greek civilisation heaped together are less wonderful than is the single Book of Psalms.”

“ Palestine, in a word, had no share of the glories of our race, while they blaze on every page of the history of Greece with an overpowering splendour. Greece had valour, policy, renown, genius, wisdom, wit—she had all, in a word, that this world could give her; but the flowers of Paradise, which blossom at the best but thinly, blossomed in Palestine alone.”

From the lovable side of Mr. Gladstone, however, one soon turns to the valour and fighting power which have made the idea of him so ftirring. All of his speeches, even for one who reads and does not hear them, are best at the time they are delivered; but, even when years have passed, whose blood does not rise at some of his oral passages-at-armas ?

“As the right hon. gentleman has exhibited me, let me exhibit myself _ It is true, I deeply regret it, but I was bred under the shadow of the great name of Canning; every influence connected with that name governed the politics of my childhood and cf my youth : with Canning I rejoiced in the removal of religious disabilities, and in the character which he gave to our policy abroad; with Canning I rejoiced in the opening which he made towards the establishment of free commercial interchanges between nations; with Canning, and under the shadow of that great name, and under the shadow of that yet more venerable name of Burke, I grant, my youthful mind and imagination were impressed just the same as the mature mind of the right hon. gentleman is now impressed. I had conceived that fear and alarm of the first Reform Bill in the days of my undergraduate career at Oxford which the right hon. gentleman now feels; and the only difference between us is this—I thank him for bringing it out—that, having those views, I moved the Oxford Union Debating Society to express them clearly, plainly, forcibly, in downright English, and that the right hon. gentleman is still obliged to skulk under the cover of the amendment of the noble lord.”

Of course, had he not been so powerful in debate and oratory, so astute in political manipulation, so clear and constructive in finance, 60 hardy and long-lived, Mr. Gladstone could not have gained such a spiritual hold upon his time; yet it is probable that for posterity his portrait will take its tone from his moral genius. Restless in & party which remained coherent by restricting its range, he broke away to a position where his emotions and his sentiments could have an unchartered liberty. He became known to conservative minds as a dangerous man, and Prince Bismarck said that, had he injured his country as much as Mr. Gladstone had injured England, he would die by his own hand. How far Mr. Gladstone created the desire for change, -and how far he merely executed and encouraged it, will probably never be known. Certain it is that under the shifting moods which swept across him, and had open expression, there was a steady march in a direction in which the world has marched also. Making brilliant - speeches, which even Cobden could not understand, he has advanced with the accuracy, not of philosophic clearness, but of practical instinct. It is his conclusions, and not his syllogisms, which are remembered. He was speaking to the people, who, like the jury of twelve common men which is the corner-stone of English law, are relied upon to reach the truth by mental processes unlike those of judges and critical spectators. Many of the fastidious have not liked Mr. Gladstone. The morality which could claim motives superior to those of other men, and yet employ means of which an example may be seen in his use of the royal prerogative, seemed to them elastic. The fervour which made constitational peace, or other worthy principles so absolute, appeared to them dangerous in a universe where truth is relative, and where justice at wholesale cannot be administered as it is at retail without violence to nature's economy. Æsthetic minds have missed humour, geniality, and balance in the man, coherence and measure in the statesman. They have seen grace sacrificed to eager speed, ethical standards so obtruded that the moral would be sought even within the bosom of the rose, and Gratiano rivalled in the proportions of chaff and reason. The whole spirit struck them as encyclopædic and bourgeois.

Sach hostile criticism rests on ideals which the world needs and will not relinquish, but they are ideals which will be injured by Mr. Gladstone's lack of allegiance to them only if they are doomed by the tendencies for which he stood. He did what he could do best. It may be that the finish and distinction in detail which have been seen in the arts and the individuals of more aristocratic civilisations, where the many lived for the few, are to be diminished by democracy. Perhaps we shall have to look at larger masses, at a greater distance, for our pictures of beauty, majesty, and grace. Inspected in detail

. the modern locomotive is hardly as uplifting as the perfect harmony in a statue of the Greeks; but when it dashes through the night, with the great lighted train behind it, the most sensitive man in a levelling civilisation may see what glorious spectacles are born in a mechanic age. So in the human drama, the protagonist may be hereafter the rough public, lacking a perfect sorface, but rumbling onward, half: blind in its irresistible marcb, with as inspiring a significance as any of the past. In such a movement the detached and eagle mind of Mr. Gladstone was a brilliant engineer. His eager will became the servant of the threats and promises of democracy. His long experience and manifold gifts gave him the highest place in her service. A man so able and so earnest, to alter a sentence of his own, is never wholly wrong. In his pursuit of one truth he may trample upon others; in: his crusade against one error another may gain root; but the man of action has to choose, and Mr. Gladstone lifted for his standard the reconciliation of democracy with the preservation of spiritual light. Họ fought in political economy and finance for a shifting of burdens from the poor to the rich ; in foreign relations for justice and peace ; in all the details of his existence for vivid life and sympathy with a myriad interests. This fight he waged with such endurance and such valour that thousands who had confided in nobody brightened at the name of Gladstone. They were the poor and the commonplace, intowhose lives he had forced confidence and hope. The fewer and more critical thousands, whose eyes discern in this great monument of our age the flaws of common boman clay, will yet decide, as feeling becomes calm, that with the dazzling abilities and the splendid fighting courage there was an ardent and true moral ideal, without which one man could hardly have done so much to quicken millions, receiving his messages in vapour and pouring them back in a flood which left the spiritual life of his age purer and more abundant.




INGLISH religion is facile. We are a nation whose religion is

the possession not of the nation, but of “religious people," and facility is the besetting sin of "religious people.” “Religious people do not see that the “irreligious” are “irreligious” because they demand much of religion, more than the religion of “religious people” has to give them. The mystery of life is more acutely felt by those who do not suppose themselves to hold its solution in their hands. . And the mystery of life is the initial challenge to religion. A sense

of this mystery is bred in the blood of the Englishman, that visionary enthusiast who we are so fond of miscalling matter-of-fact.

In an early chapter of the history of the conversion of the English are recorded the words which embody this challenge of the mystery of life to religion :

“So seems the life of man as a sparrow's flight through the hall where you are sitting at meat in wintertide, with the warm fire lighted on the hearth, but the icy rainstorm without. The sparrow Aies in at one door, and tarries for a moment in the light and heat of the hearth fire, and then, flying forth from the other, vanishes into the wintry darkness whence it come. So tarries for a moment the life of man in our sight, but what is before it, what after it we know not."

So the Northumbrian thegn made his demand on the Christian Gospel. And the Englishman still demands of his religion that it shall be as great and wide and deep as the mystery of life. It was, perhaps, the attraction of what has seemed to aftertimes the strangely anattractive creed of Puritanism, the religion which has played the most conspicuous part on the stage of English history, that its theology, incredibly crude and repellent, still brought the mysteries of eternity into close and constant touch with daily life. In the apparent irre

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