10 NOVEMBER 1883, Page 21


THE Fortnightly Review has some excellent papers, the one which has interested us most being Mr. S. Laiug's "A Month in Connemara." The Member for the Orkneys strongly supports the best informed view, viz., that in Western Ireland the Land Act has been felt to be a great gain, but that it has scarcely gone far enough, rent being still too high—Griffith's valuation, says Mr. Laing, would be about a fair average—and that in congested districts nothing but emigration can benefit the people, who could not live off their land if they held it in free- hold. Migration he does not believe in, as the reclamation of land on a large scale costs more than it is worth ; but emigra- tion succeeds, more especially the emigration of women This has been greatly aided by Mr. Vere Foster, and as a result, 19,000 girls between eighteen and twenty have been helped to new homes, at a cost of £35,000, or less than £2 a head. All have done well, and it has been ascertained that they have already remitted home ninvards of £250,000 to their families in Ireland, in many cases to assist brothers and sisters to join them. Emigration is most popular with the people, though i is not liked by the agitators or by the priesthood, whom it leaves absolutely without means of living. Mr. Laing, who thinks well of the priests' influence, contends that the richer Catholics ought to form a Sustentation Fund for them, on the Scotch model, and thus make them more independent, a recom- mendation in which we heartily concur. It is to be noted that

the priests approve the emigration of girls, and do their utmost to stimulate education. Mr. Laing's opinion of the poor folk of Connemara is distinctly favourable, and should be remembered at a time when the crimes of a few are so disturbing the English estimate of Irish character. The authors of " The Radical Pro- gramme " deal this time with the agricultural labourer, who is to be raised in the social scale by compelling landlords to build two cottages per 100 acres, and to let them, with a piece of ground, to the labourers on a yearly tenure. The Inclosure Acts are to be revised, and all instances of past stealings from the community to be examined, with a view to restitution. The authors, though well-intentioned, disregard prescriptive rights too completely. Mr. A. Forbes essays, in a rather slashing and over-confideut style, a vindication of Marshal Bazaine, which in the end really

rests on his-assertion that after Sedan, Bazaine could not leave Metz. The tribunal which tried him thought he could, though

he might have sacrificed half his army in the attempt. Mr. Forbes does not deny that Bazaine treated with the enemy, but holds that he was not bound, as a soldier of the Empire, to recognise the Revolutionary Government. The plea is vigorously written, but it brings no conviction to our minds that Bazaine did not place the Empire above France. Mr. A. Beaman argues that as yet our occupation of Egypt has done nothing but injury to the people, and that a clean sweep ought to have been made of all the old officials, who are incurable. That was impossible without annexation, and annexation was the one policy barred by our pledges. Mr. Gorst, a most competent witness, rather to our surprise defends the Corrupt Practices' Act most heartily ; declares that it will not work oppressively, that it will restrict expenditure, and that it will not greatly lower the class of candidates. He thinks candidates will hence- forth be more freely chosen, rich men not being wanted, and that they will be seated by Associations, unpaid, and not

tempted to spend. As was shown in the Spectator last week, the regular expenses will still be too heavy for any but well-to-do candidates, unless they are so popular that expenses are paid by subscription:— "Instead of having a large majority of the constituencies open to almost any wealthy candidate who chooses to go down and nurse' them, the access to every constituency may be guarded by a powerful and influential association, whose support is essential to success and whose choice is not curtailed by the necessity of looking to tho purse of its candidate for the means of carrying on the contest. Such associations would exercise an influence upon the composition of the House of Commons, would curb the selfishness of party leaders, and would compel a strict fidelity to broad lines of principle and policy. The vested interests of those satellites of political parties who look to gain something in the periodical scrambles for office might be interfered with ; but the subjection of the Members of the House of Commons and their leaders to a larger amount of control on the part of organised associations sensitive to the influences of public opinion, would not be without advantage to the interests of the country at large."

We do not see that Don L. Figuerola, tells us anything new about Spain, except that she is rapidly increasing in material resources, and pass on to Mr. Healy's speculation upon the party alliances of the Parnellites. It is cynically clever. He contends that with a new suffrage Irish Toryism will disappear, that the Nationalists will return 70 Members, and that the Tories should buy them by conceding a measure of Home-rule. The Nationalists would then support them, for the peasantry do not care for general politics, and would soon find that, as the Liberals could not oppose Liberal measures, the Tories would give them much more than their rivals. The usual resisting force would in fact be the advancing force, and the House of Lords in particular would be out of the way. If politicians had absolutely no principles, Mr. Healy's advice might be accepted ; but as things are, he forgets that its acceptance would cost the Tories all their English votes, and reduce the two parties in the House to Radicals and Whigs. We very much doubt if the Nationalists, when so numerous, will hold together; but if they dos the great parties must arrange to render their vote of no import- ance. It would not be impossible, if the danger became extreme and a solid Government could not be formed, to find thirty-five Liberals and thirty-five Tories who, for a Session, would form a group, and would vote steadily on all occasions in the opposite direction to the Parnellites. Matters will not be driven so far, but the British, if too much pressed, could suspend all questions in defence of unity as easily as the Irish can in defence of Nationalism.

The Rev. Dr. Charles H. H. Wright sends to the Nineteenth Century a paper on the charge of human sacrifice brought

against the Jews, which most readers, before they have read it, will pronounce unnecessary. It is, however, a very learned and curious statement of the reasons for the charge which, it appears, has been formally brought forward by one or two learned Professors, in especial by Dr. A. Rohling, Professor of Hebrew Antiquities in Prague, and by Dr. Justus, a Jew converted to Catholicism. They declare that the imputed practice of killing a non-Jewish virgin, and mixing her blood with the Passover bread, is taught in Cabalistic works reverenced by the Jews. This statement has been very widely circulated, and is, Dr.

Wright contends, the origin of the prejudice, both in Germany and Hungary, which calminated in the recent trial and acquittal of Joseph Scharf. The texts quoted exist, but as Dr.Wright shows, they refer to a totally different subject, one of the old Levitical laws of purity, and have either been misconceived by prejudice or misrepresented by malice. The article is full of incidental

evidence as to the extent and depth of this strange belief, which has reappeared in so many countries at such widely separated

points of time. We honour Mr. Barnett's courage in his sug- gestions for improving our great cities more than his judgment. He wishes the Town Councils to rehouse the people almost by force, and regardless of expense :-

"Wise Town Councils, conscious of the mission they have inherited, could destroy every court and crowded alley and put in their places healthy dwellings; they could make water so cheap and bathing-places so common, that cleanliness should no longer be a hard virtue; they could open playgrounds for the children, and take away from a city the reproach of its gutter-children; they could provide gardens, libraries, and conversation-rooms, and make the pleasures of inter- course a delight to the poor, as it is a delight to the rich ; they could open picture-galleries and concerts, and give to all that pleasure which comes as surely from a common as from a private possession; they could light and clean the streets of the poor quarters ; they could stamp out disease, and by enforcing regulations against smoke and all uncleanness, limit the destructiveness of trade and lengthen the

span of life ; ;hey could empty the streets of the boys and girls, too. big for the narrow homes, too small for the clubs and public-houses, by opening for them play-rooms and gymnasia ; they could help the strong and hopeful to emigrate ; they could give medicine to heal the sick, money to the old and poor, a training for the neglected, ana- a home for the friendless."

Mr. Barnett clod not tell us where the money is to come from, but intimates that ultimately it must come from the rich. We fear he will find, if he consults a financier, that to carry out his ideas fully, taxes must be imposed which would empty the cities of the rich as completely as some parishes of London have been emptied of them. The cost would then fall either on the poor householders, or on the State, which would shrink from a never- ending task. Money must be expended, no doubt, but the object to be secured must be rigidly limited, or nothing will be done. If Mr. Barnett will inquire at Bruges, he will find it possible for a population to be even splendidly housed, and yet steeped in misery and want. There is no housing so perfect as the housing in a decaying city. The paper on the French Army, by Captain Norman, is a little too full of statistics and techni- calities, but its general conclusions should be noted. They are,. that the Army is too large for its officers and non-commissioned officers, and that discipline is therefore still lax, though every now and then strengthened by the infliction of death for insubordina- tion. It is, however, difficult to read Captain Norman's figures without the thought that if a Republican General with a genius for war ever got hold of those masses of men and materiel, Europe might after one French victory still have cause to tremble. Lord Lymington, on " Land as Property," argues that unless peasant-proprietorship can be rapidly established through State loans, tenant-right will be claimed in England, and that where- ever it is claimed proprietorship ceases to be desired. That is, we think, as a general rule, true ; but we question whether it would not be well to try first the sweeping-away of all difficulties

in the way of the acquisition of land. When Smith can buy an acre at its price, plus sixpence for a transfer as perfect as the transfer of Consols, we shall at least know clearly what the people want. Mr.

G. Brodrick's essay on "The Progress of Democracy in England," though it contains little that is strictly new, is well worth study as a thoughtful sketch of the forces now at work. He is probably right in believing that the decaying strength of conviction on any point helps on Democracy, by paralysing resisting forces, but he hardly allows enough for the temporary character of the decay. Convictions will grow strong again, whether they be scientific or religious, and with them will revive the means of resisting the popular rush. It would be possible even now to organise very desperate resistance to an anti-vaccination move- ment, or a movement for preventing the celebration of the Sacraments ; and convictions of that sort tend, amid universal and free discussion, to deepen rather than die away. We doubt

a little if promotion by merit is as democratic as Mr. Brodrick thinks. The system gives a tremendous " pull " to hereditary culture, and, but that they are too rich to work, would restore power to the privileged classes, who can learn two languages well before they are twelve years old. And we are quite sure that Socialism does not, in a Teutonic people, help on democracy. It rouses alike the individualism of a people who at heart would hardly care for Heaven if they thought they were to live in phalansteres, and the desire for sole property, which is probably the strongest, among those who feel it, of earthly sentiments. Nobody in England wishes for a right of commonage in Salisbury Plain. He wants a half acre, off which he may kick anybody he does not desire to see there. We ques- tion, also, if democracy will prove contemptuous of experience. The leaders of the masses often take that tone, but the masses themselves hesitate, and in countries which have adopted the " referendum," always vote for the usual. Let Mr. Brodrick just try, as Lord Coleridge tried, to reduce the number of a jury. That the Government of England, as a democratic community, will take ability not required in the Pitt days, is probably true ; but, then, the Pitt of 1900 will have tenfold force behind him. We are writing, however, from the critical point of view, and have omitted to give our impression that Mr. Brodrick's paper is singularly thoughtful, free from prejudice, and full of white light. Its single defect is that its author is thinking aloud, and has not arrived, as the rest of us have not arrived, at definite conclusions.

Lord Lorue's essay on " Canadian Home-rule," in the Con- temporary, deserves attentive study. It is not very well written, but there is one clear thought in it fairly supported by evidence• The thought is, that the instinct of Englishmen, left alone, is not to exaggerate Home-rule, but to reduce the claim of the Pro- vincial against the Central Government to matters upon which contest—or, at least, armed contest—can hardly arise, a proposi- tion illustrated from the whole history of the Dominion, as well as of the Union since the war. It is, therefore, only necessary to prevent any province from becoming too strong to make Federation work smoothly,—an idea the Australian Colonies will do well to bear in mind. They might, under certain cir- cumstances, find too much of the national energy and wealth concentrated in Victoria. Mr. Sheldon Amos's discourse on " The Copts as a Political Factor " (in Egypt) is rather curious than convincing. He believes the Copts could become in some sort a ruling class, or at least an enlightened class, in a 'land of darkness. Quite acknowledging that they are the old Egyptians, and that they are Christians, and that on both grounds they are a most interesting people, we ask why, during the centuries, they have done nothing, and see no answer except inability to do anything. Dr. William Barry describes "The New Birth of Christian Philosophy " with singular eloquence and force, his thesis being that in avowed Agnosticism—the assertion that the supernatural is unknowable—is the germ of new-born faith, and in the undeniable reverence for the person of Christ, as of one above the contests even of philosophers, the beginning of a revival of religion. He expects the birth of a new philosophy, or rather the reinvigoration of an old one, the philo- sophy of Thomas Aquinas, who, in the essayist's judgment, recon- ciles thought with faith, or, as we now-a-days put it, science with religion. Probably no reader will quite agree with Dr. Barry ; but very few will leave his paper without a feeling that he has indicated a coming truth, though he may not have seen it accurately. Mr. Godkin's account of the Southern States since the war is interesting, though not very satisfactory. He thinks that slavery is dead in the South, on economic grounds, that education is increasing, that violence still prevails, that dis- honesty among Whites has distinctly increased, that the Negroes have shown great capacity for free labour, but that the morale of the Negroes, especially in the matter of chastity, has by no means improved. The general result would seem to be that all the impulses have come to the top, which is precisely what one would expect at first from emancipation. We wish, however, that Mr. Godkin, when he next writes about the South, would tell us a little more exactly what has been the effect of emancipation on a class more important than the negroes,—the lower white population of the - South, the 4' white trash " who filled the armies. Are they getting civil- ised, or emigrating, or perishing of competition and despair, or what ? S. Giovanni Boglietti's account of parties and poli- tics in Italy, though grave and thoughtful, amounts to very little more than this, which we all knew before,—that S.

Depretis, with his adroit, and, in its way, quite honest Oppor- tunism, has formed an effective majority, at the cost of making the Radicals almost openly Republican. What Englishmen want to know is whether cool Italian observers think the Re- publicans can win ; or whether, as many fancy, Italy will pass through a period of Cmsarism, the House of Savoy, after a dangerous commotion, decreeing and supporting the social reforms, especially in the tenure of the soil, which are nearly indispensable. The danger of Italy is the suffering of half its population, which S. Depretis, with all his ability, does not deal with, wisely or unwisely.

The publication of Lord Salisbury's article on " Labourers' and Artisans' Dwellings " has been a great success for the National Review, as his project has been quoted and discussed in every journal in the kingdom, and almost every house. There is, however, no other distinctive article in the number, though many quite equal to the average of other magazines. The one which interests us most is an essay by S. Villari, on the differences which wall off Italians from Englishmen. It is far too short, but seems to us full of insight, especially in the remark that Italians cannot even comprehend why Euglishmen, who study their country, its history, and its politics so assidu- ously, do not study thew. Blackwood has nothing marked, the author of the clever sketches from Galilee underrating the knowledge of his readers ; while fffacmillan's best paper, an admirable one, is a translation of Turgenieff's prose poems. Some of these are exquisitely dreamy. Mrs. Oliphant, too, has in these chapters of "The Wizard's Sou " recovered her curious force in managing the supernatural, and is developing her Wizard into a perfectly new kind of Mephistophiles, a being to whom neither good nor evil is attractive, but both are as red and blue.