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have developed differences which were allayed when they were in office by the constant need of getting through " the daily round, the common task.”
A REMINISCENCE OF 1895. Now the contingency has arrived which has been foreseen and feared for a long time. The stories that are current as to the immediate cause of the split, recall the curious series of speeches which were made in the National Liberal Club in May, 1895. Different leaders spoke in different rooms, following each other in succession. Sir William Harcourt in the course of his speech referred to the possibility of a difference with Lord Rosebery. He said:
He was the victim of what he might call an alternate arrangement, because he understood that the leader of the Government in the House of Lords had made a speech just pow. He who so unworthily occupied the position of leader ef the House of Commons was called upon to make a speech without having the remotest idea of what the Carl of Rosebery had said. That was very inconvenient, because if he said the same things he would be regarded as a bore, and if he said different things that would be dangerous.
CESAR AND POMPEY. Hitlerto, it must be almitted, that Sir William Harcourt has not said things different from Lord Rosebery. The differences, whatever they may be, were concealed from the great public, and on the very last sub. ject upon which they both spoke-the question of the East -it is difficult to see any difference between the views of the two Liberal spokesmen. Sir William Harcourt spoke Sally, saying nothing that was new; Lord Rosebery spoke well from a full heart and resolute conviction; but what both said came to the same thing. Both of themi deprecate single-handed war, neither of them would have anything to do with the defence of Turkey, and both of them alvocated concerted action for the main. tenance of peace in the East, and the redress of the grievances of the Armenians. Indeed, it might be said of the two in the old familiar saying of the Christy Minstrels, “ Cæsar was very like Pompey, particularly Cæsar.” The difference between them which caused the resignation cannot lie there.
SIR WILLIAM TAKING LORD ROSEBERY'S ADVICE. It is rather touching to recall Lord Rosebery's speech on that occasion, and to read his earnest assurances that they had no reason to lose faith either in their cause or in their position, and to read his declaration that “it was not for them to forsake the helm merely because the storm happened to lower.” Sir William Harcourt has certainly taken that advice to heart. There have been frequent references to his intention to retire from public life, but they have always been contradicted. As Jr. Jacob Bright reminded the party on the occasion of the Harcourtian banquet, Sir William expressed the
ressed the determination when Mr. Glailstone retired “in fair weather or in foul to keep the Liberal ship seaworthy and to bring her into the haven.”
The Liberal ship, alas! is still buffeted and tossed by the tempest, but Sir William is lashed to the helm, and any temptation he may have had to cut himself adrift was terminated when Lord Rosebery announced his Itsignation.
VII.-PERSONALITIES. Althoughı, of course, like everyone else, I have seen Sir Tilliam Harcourt in the House and on the platform, and passed him in the lobby, I have never had the pleasure
of making his personal acquaintance; therefore anything that may be said here of a personal nature is necessarily at second hand. There are many ill-natured stories about concerning his lack of personal bonhomie, of which the most familiar example is the legend as to the friends who each agreed to ask the most disagreeable man of their acquaintance to dinner, only to find when the bell rang that they had all invited Sir William Harcourt. If this were ever true it must have been a very long time ago.
Those who know him now speak very differently of him. Here, for instance, are two tributes to his charm as a host and a conversationalist :
Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt is an admirable narrator, and if monologue were conversation he would be also a brilliant conversationalist. The full deep tones of his rich and musical voice, his keen sense of humour, his ready command of pure and strong English, secure him willing and delighted listeners even among men who, rightly or wrongly, conceive that they have somethiny to say themselves if haply they could find an opportunity of saying it. It is reported that in one of the apocryphal prophets, rightly excluded from the orthodox Canon, may be found the curious and apparently meaningless message, “S- W - H- is on his high horse. Let all the earth keep silence before him." The licentious conjectures of the newer criticism, so sternly rebuked by Archdeacon Denison, deny that a living statesman is indicated by this mystic announcement and injunction. But there are men, even clergymen, who will deny almost anything.
The above is from the Daily News, and the other I came upon in a newspaper cutting which did not betray its origin, but it was obviously written by some one who knew Sir William Harcourt well:
I remember meeting him one day in the library corridor, and I asked if a certain statement published that morning about him was correct. “My dear sir," he said, with a broad smile and a racy chuckle, placing his hand upon my shoulder, ** whenever you see anything about mo in the newspapers be sure it is not truc."
Sir William's private amusements are pastoral and inno. cent. The late Lord Beaconsfield loved his peacocks. They were the pets of the gardens of Hughenden. Sir William Harcourt readily leaves the dead Premier his unchallenged taste for the gorgeous birds of Juno, and is satisfied, like all great minds, noble in their simplicity, to dally with flowers. Sir William delights in roses, and, like a true son of the royal Plantagenet, is devoted to the red rose. He loves his home, delights to gambol in it. His strong side is undoubtedly the genial. He is a great social factor, or might be.
Like all men of action as well as of large structure, Sir William has a temper. He is of strong emotions. His displays of indignation make him the terror of permanent officials, even though they have had experience of “the chief's” little thunderstorms. But Sir William can be, and more frequently is, a man of soft and downy impulses. He will be the merriest of the merry. His laugh is broad and genial. At table he can be most entertaining. He is an excellent raconteur. To see Sir William at his best socially the student ought to pass an evening with him at Malwood, his beautiful place in the New Forest. Sir William's sons are clever actors, and the winter evenings are passed with charades. They also play Parliament. The father, Sir William, makes amusing speeches. The younger son chaffs his parent in the character of Lord Randolph. The host may be seen upon a most expansive scale of domestic philanthropy. Seated in a large throne-like chair he presents a vision of Falstaftian breadth and satisfaction. He directs the revels with a noisy gladness. He gambols, too, and is, to all intents and purposes, His Gracious Majesty King Frolic.
A PERSONAL APPRECIATION. On looking over these pages, I am painfully conscious of the absence of the personal note which I have always ondeavoured to preserve in the studies of the notables who have figured in this portrait gallery. But that is my misfortune or my fault, because I have never seen Sir William Harcourt excepting when he was, so to speak, on exhibition on his public form. To supplement this deficiency, I asked an old friend who knows Sir Williain Harcourt well, to give me some brief notes of his personal appreciation of our subject. He kindly complied with my request, and wrote the following :-
“My affection for Jumbo is real, despite my total disapproval of him as a politician and disagreement on every conceivable political question, domestic and foreign. What I think is, that, as a man, he has considerable attractions, being so warm-hearted, and genial, and humorous, with a certain largeness and generosity about him altogether, which quite disappears in his partisan utterances. I don't know any man who, in his armchair, with a cigar in his mouth, judges political opponents in a more detached spirit. On the platform, and even in the House, he is, as you know, the genius of unfairness in controversy. But this is largely from a mental defect-his tendency to exaggerate. First, he overstates enormously what his .antagonist has said or proposed, and then he assails this inflated bogey of his own imagination as if it was a real thing, and really believes in its existence. Responsibility, however, greatly sobers him. The reckless critic of the Front Opposition Bench became, as you may remember, a singularly temperate, judgmatic, and even popular leader of the House of Commons. He was much liked at the Treasury,
wch ked at the Treasury and was thought a good and conscientious administrator. He has a real zeal for economy which, though unfortunate when practised as the means of national defence, is invaluable against the thousand small jobs and fritterings away of money which are constantly cropping up in the machinery of administration.
“He hates detail, but no man is a better hand at mastering a subject, if once his natural indolence can be sufficiently overcome to allow him to break ground. Once interested in a subject, he shows both quickness and grasp. He is ràpid in picking up points, and yet broad and masterly in his general presentation of a case.
“His indolence applies to work, not to study, for he is a great reader, and in a capacious memory has stored much curious lore and humorous anecdote. Also he quotes his classics copiously-especially Horace—in the old manner. All these things add a certain old-world charm to his conversation. For at heart he is a Whig of the Whigs, whenever he is not a Tory. I think bis political ideal is probably Walpole.”
LULU AND HIS FATHER. This strikes me, from all that I can hear from those who know the Squire of Malwood in the privacy of domestic life, as a singularly accurate and just description of a man whose better side is seldom turned to the public gaze. There is another point that deserves to be noted which tells strongly in favour of what may be regarded as the more kindly estimate of Sir William's character. I refer to the devotion of his son Lulu. There are few things in English public life more altogether admirable than the absolutely crystalline devotion of the son to the father. Lulu is now a man full grown, but no child could believe more implicitly in the goodness and wisdom of his father than does Lulu in the genius and the talents and the grace of his sire. Lord Rosebery some years ago publicly referred to the relation between
Sir William Harcount and Lulu as one of tho beautiful things of our contemporary public life, and there must be much sterling good in a father who can so command the loyalty and devotion of his son.
“HISTORICUS" AND HIS TRENCHANT PEN. Space fails me to dwell upon many other qualities of Sir William Harcourt, to which I have not even attempted to do justice. I have said nothing, for instance, concerning the keen, incisive style which has made his pen for more than thirty years one of the most powerful weapons of journalistic disputation. Like Lord Salisbury, he is an old Saturday Reviewer, but, unlike Lord Salisbury, he has continued to keep his hand in down to the present time by contributions to the columns of the press. He has never, so far as I know, contributed to the pages of any periodical, but has limited himself for years to the correspondence columns of the Times, in which the elaborate and erudite articles of “ Historicus appeared many years ago.
HARCOURT AT THE HOME OFFICE. Another phase of his character which I regret to have passed by refers to his success as an administrator. He had five years at the Home Office, and althongh it was before Mr. Asquith's time, when the Home Office had not become the most important department of our administration, it nevertheless gave him ample opportunity of proving that he possessed talents of no mean order, and a very level-headed judgment. His tenure of office is remembered by no conspicuous blunder as was that of Mr. Matthews. He showed great sympathy with legislation for the treatment of children, and he showed himself an administrator who possessed many of the good qualities which distinguish him in his own house.
WHAT IS THE HARCOURTIAN POLICY ? But what may he be in the future? It depends upon his health. Last session he did well in the House of Commons. As long as the House of Commons is the only assembly in which trial of political strength is possible, so long will the leader of the Lower House loom much more conspicuously before the country than any leader in the Peers. The right of pre-eminent domain, the post which enabled him to stand conspicuous at the foretop of the party, departed from Lord Rosebery when the Liberals went out of office. He has now deliberately by his own act still further aggrandised the position of Sir William Harcourt, but it is doubtful whether Sir William Harcourt will be equal to the opportunity which has thus been afforded him. It was bitterly said of him by a keen and unsparing critic. that Sir William Harcourt possessed all the qualities, both good and bad, of that useful but much maligned animal the mule. He is a great worker, indispensable to the team, with a vicious temper, and an obstinate disposition; but there is a closer resemblance still. Disraeli made one of his characters declare: “ Conservatism is the mule of politics that engenders nothing," and in the sphere of political thought and speculation Sir William resembles Conservatism.
In foreign policy it is probable that he would be in favour of working with Russia in the East of Europe. Whether he would lay it down as a general principle of British policy, e.g., in the Far East, I don't know. He would look coldly upon entangling alliances of any sort. So he would look coldly upon extensions and expansions of the Empire generally.
He was at one time in favour of accepting Mr. Rhodes's offer to take over Uganda. Perhaps he may live to hand it over yet to the British South Africa Company,
“How can it be that strong and fruitful life
While yet with battle-cries the air is rife!
Blazon his name in England's book of gold,
Who loved her and who wrought her legends fair
Woven in song and written in design,
The wonders of the press and loom, a shrine
Bevond death's chilling hand, that shall unfold Ah! ere the morning must he, too, depart,
In life's house beautiful a spirit rare."—WALTER CRANE. NOTHING can be more unjust than the accusation with us, having closed his eyes in death on the same
frequently levelled against this age by men of day on which his last book was given to the world
commonplace minds who can see nothing in con- —we have a personality that may be compared without temporary life, society, and literature but what is dull, fear to almost any of those of the brilliant throng which stale, flat and unprofitable.
surrounded the Court of “How mediocre everything
the Virgin Queen. is," they cry; “how mono
i William Morris had tonous the dead level of
almost every quality posthe common place! Where
sessed by the Elizabethans, are now the picturesque
with this difference, which personalities, the men of
is not to his disadvantage : commanding character, the
that instead of regarding heroes and heroines who
his art, whether of decoraembody in their own
tion or of song, as a talent career all the elements of
to be used for the enterromance?” So they said,
tainment of the few, he and so they moan and
placed it at the disposition mutter, doing their puny
of all his countrymen. best to reduce the world,
The last letter I had and all the men and
from him was a brief line women in it, to their own
giving me full and free dreary level. To compare
permission to issue as one great things to small, we
of the Penny Poets a demay apply to them Cole
scriptive analysis with coridge's famous lines con
pious extracts from the cerning the owlet
pages of “ The Earthly Atheism :
Paradise.” As for his Forth from his dark and
taste in decorative design, lonely hiding-place
- he devoted himself steadily (Portentous sight) the owlet
to diffuse among the homes Atheism, Sailing on obscene wings,
of the English of his day athwart the noon.
some conception of beauty Drops his blue-fringed lids,
and design and taste in and holds them close,
mural decoration. Three And, hooting at the glorious
hundred years ago he Sun in Heaven,
would probably have been Cries out, “Where is it?”
retained to ornament a Much nearer the trutlı
palace or a castle, but towas the remark made to
day he brought the lamp me by a distinguished
of beauty and the light of
WILLIAM MORRIS. Canadian, who exclaimed,
taste into the homes of "I never come to your
(From a photograph by Hollyer.)
myriads of ordinary men city without feeling what a
and women who do not privilege it is to live in these times and in this place. inhabit palaces, but who have learnt from him to appreAll the incidents of every life, all the personages whom ciate beauty of form and colour in their domestic suryou meet, are as interesting and romantic as anything roundings. that you read of in the pages of history.” There is good It may sound absurd to those who take the most reason to believe that three hundred years hence our superficial view of things to compare Morris, "the walldescendants, looking back upon the age of Victoria paper man," with the fashionable exquisites who sunned through the mist of tradition, and after a sufficient length themselves in the radiance of Elizabeth's Court; but of time to enable the great amongst us to be seen in their those who knew the man as he was, and who appreciated true proportions among the crowd that jostled them in the great ideals which ever impelled him to dedicate his the street, will think it vies in all the elements of great whole life to the service of art and the people, will agree ness with that of Elizabeth. It is true we have no with me in thinking that the comparison between the Shakespeare, but the world has only had one Shakespeare, “wall-paper man” and the Euphuists and artists of the and he was not for an age but for all time. In every Elizabethan age is not by any means to the disadvanother respect, we of the Victorian age have little reason tage of William Morris. to envy the lot of our ancestors of the sixteenth century. It is only now, when he has gone from amongst us,
All of which exordium is intended to lead up to the that we realise how much he counted for in our remark that in William Morris-who, alas! is no longer modern civilisation. He was never, as he described
himself, “an empty singer of an idle day," but ever an inspired soul, full of an ambition which denied him rest-an ambition, not for himself alone or chiefly, or indeed at all, but a desire to unite together the two great objects of his devotion, Art and the People. Those whom God had joined let not man put asunder, and as man had severed them far apart, he addressed himself with all the means at the disposal of a singularly gifted mind and winning character to bring them together again. There was a unity in his life that was beautiful to behold, a light which shone through as many facets as those of a diamond, but which was nevertheless one light. Whether he was writing poetry, or staining wall-papers, or taking part in Socialist agitations, or composing novels, or reviving the lost art of splendid bookbinding, he was ever on the war-path, ever consumed by the one desire to make life once more beautiful, not merely for the gifted and wealthy few, but for the innumerable many. Here indeed was an ambition worthy of the immortal gods; here was a quest as great and as noble as any that figured in the romance of the Table Round, or Spenser's “Farry Queen.” To bring back beauty to the everyday life of common men and women; to exorcise ugliness, filth, and squalo!, and all the bideous meanness of life; to do that by all and every means, using every kind of weapon which he could win or grasp,--this was William Morris's life.
It was a life lived for the redemption of the raceredemption and regeneration interpreted, no doubt, in a non-theological sense, but none the less for all that, a real redemption and a real regeneration. It was this which made him a Socialist. He was no scientific thinker, like Karl Marx; he was a dreamer of ennobling dreams, and his Socialism was more of a whole-souled protest against the existing order of things which had its natural fruitage in the filth and squalor of our modern life, than any distinct attempt at the reconstruction of society. In his “ News from Nowhere," which I reviewed at some length in the REVIEW OF Reviews for Jay, 1891, we have a poet's vision of an anarchical millenniuin. For Morris, instead of regarding Socialism as the conversion of the world into one gigantic prisonhouse, in which all men receive equal rations as the price for consenting to equal servitude, dreamed ever of an ideal Commonwealth, in which law was not and punishment was unknown,
He expressly says that crime springs from property, and with the abolition of property all crime will vanish. In a society where there is no punishment to evade, no law to triumph over, remorse will certainly follow trusgression. In his Utopia there were to be no law courts, no government, no politics, Parliament House was to be conformed into a dung market, and so forth and so forth, after the fashion of an idealist who takes little heed of the iron laws that rule the affairs of man.
It was his sympathy with liberty, his hatred of police tyranny, and his whole-souled devotion to the cause of the people which first brought me into personal contact with the man who stained his wall-papers with poetry, and made the melodiousness of his verse the murmurous music of a myriad homes.
In his “ News from Nowhere" he has a terrible picture of the massacre of Trafalgar Square. You can see in every line of it the memory of that horrid time when Sir Charles Warren reigned at Scotland Yard and Mr. Matthews was at the Home Office. Mr. Morris was one of the committee which had charge of the agitation for vindicating the popular rights to meet in the Square. He subscribed to its funds and attended its committee meetings, sitting for the most part silent, but always attentive.
Of the many conversations that went on at those times I do not recollect any save one. Things were mueh more strained then than even those who went through it can very well recollect to-day ; but those who saw the cavalry called out to clear the Square on the memorable afternoon of “ Bloody Sunday” had to discuss miny things which ought never to have been within range of possibility in modern England. At one time it was reported that Sir Charles Warren intended to defend the Square with machine guns, and there was a question, supposing the troops opened fire upon the crowd, from what point would they fire? I well remember William Morris's look of horror at the remark which I let drop, that it was at any rate well there were no houses, only the National Gallery, behind the Square, in case they fired from Charles Stuart's statue. .“ Only the National Gallery!” he said with a shudder; and although nothing more was said, I felt the cold shudder of the art'st to whom the treasures of ancient and modera art store in the National Gallery were far more precious even than human lives. I never knew exactly whether Mr. Morris had anything to do with another phase of that agitation, which consistel in sending the unemployed in batches to the National Gallery on free days as a means of at once keeping them warm and giving them an opportunity of inspecting the pictures of the nation.
William Morris went through the whole of that tim? quietly, but resolutely taking part in all that wils done. After that I saw but little of him, and our paths lay far apart; but the fact that he livel, that he was writing, and dreaming, and lecturing, and working at Hammersmith and at Kelmscott, was like a thread of bright colour worked through the warp and woof of contem: porary life. Quiet, unassuming, steadfast in season and out of season, devoted with his whole soul to his particular work in life, his death removed one of the typical Englishmen of the nineteenth century-one of those knights of modern times who are ever in the saddle, riding restlessly to and fro in quest of their Holy Grail.
The vision which sustained him may not have been as exalted as that which enabled saints and martyrs of olden time to go rejoicing to the stake, but, such as it was, he believed in it firmly and lived for it wholly England to him to-day was, as he said, a country of hideous and foul workshops and fouler gambling dens, surrounded by an ill-kept and poverty-stricken farın, pillaged by the masters of the workshops. Eugland 25 he hoped in time it might be made was to be a garden, where nothing was wasted and nothing spoilt, with the necessary dwellings and sheds and workshops scattered
up and down the country, all trim and neat and pretty. the man as he used to find him at work in his own TV realise that, to bring about the Garden-England of study:-the future. bright with the roses and sunshine of June,
His eyes were blue-grey in tint, and in repose they might he devoted all the energies of his manhood. In that be described as meditative, not, however, even then, withont a Garden-England, where life was very pleasant, he something in their glance that betokened the boundless passed his ideal existence, but from it he continually energy of the man. But when his face was absolutely still emerged, as he advised the hero in his “News from No one noticed rather the loftv uprightness of the brow than the where.” to “strive with whatever pain and labour needs eyes. What impressed me most abont William Morris (who must be to build up little by little the new day of
granted me the honour of personal intercourse with him in fellowship, rest and happiness."
his later years) was an indescribable sense of power, arising in
part, I fancy, because of his commanding presence. OccasionEULOGY BY A FRIEND.
ally there was an aspect almost of sternness about his face
when at rest, an aspect caused in part by the great strength In the Fortnightly Review for November, Mr. Mackenzie
of will apparent in the set of the lower jaw and in the comBell contributes what the editor describes as a eulogy pressed lips. of the poet and decorator. Mr. Bell was a friend of William
HIS POETIC RANK AND PERSONAL CHARACTER. Morris, as well as a worshipping disciple. He says:
Speaking of his friend, he says :-
Real kindness and good nature were always visible in him, In William Morris we have lost a poet of supreme excellence; av l the irritability sometimes also visible was more the result,
(From a photograph by Mr. P. H. Evans.
an artist and designer of exquisite skill; a master of English prose whose style is rare in its delicacy, rich in its beanty; a scholar who had more learning of the dry-as-dust kind than many whose sole claim to celebrity arises from this source, and who, in addition, brought to his scholarly work a luminous imagination of the first order; an ever active worker, whom all who really understooil him (whether they agree with his views or not) must admit to have had pure, lofty aims and ennobling purposes. The underlying unity of his career was his quest of the beautiful, and this was at the root of his Socialism.
THE MAN AS HE LIVED. Mr. Bell had not the privilege of Mr. Morris's acquaintance when he was in the prime of life, at the time, for instance, when his portrait was painted by Mr. Watts. Mr. Bell truly says :
For it is fortunate that our greatest living painter should havo produced as one of his masterpieces the likeness of one of the most deeply interesting personalities that our century has brought forth.
He does not make much effort to draw a portrait of Morris in black and white, but he gives us a glimpse of
I used to think, of his marvellous energy and his conseqnent resulting impatience of control, stupidity, or slowness, than sharp temper. To a man of his quick and ever-alert intelligence and wholesome freedom from many silly conventions, the prejudices and inanities of ordinary people must have appeared more than usually silly. Fully conscious of his own position in English letters, and regarding Mr. Swinburne as his only equal among living poets, he was nevertheless far too considerable a man to be vain in the ordinary acceptation of the term.
Mr. Morris was not much of a success as a lecturer, but he was a brilliant conversationalist, much given to paradox, an artist who valued inspiration much more than the labour necessary to fashion the result of the artistic in. Not but that he was prodigal of labour in all that he did, but it was his exuberant outflow of high potential vitality which distinguished him most from other men.
I finish this by quoting the sentence with which Mr. Bell begins his essay :
By the death of William Morris England has lost her man of greatest genius.