11 NOVEMBER 1876, Page 18


THE November number of the Contemporary is, perhaps, the strongest number published for years, and if, taken alone, it is not the best illustration of the perfect impartiality of the editor in dealing with all schools of opinion, taken in connection with previous numbers, it certainly is so. It contains a theological paper by Mr. W. R. Greg, and a philosophical paper by Cardinal Manning, a criticism on Matthew Arnold by Dr. Appleton ; and an essay on the weight to be assigned to the participation by great religious teachers in the illusions of their time, by Matthew Arnold ; the essay, now so famous, by Mr. Gladstone, on "Russian Policy and Deeds in Turkistan ;" and a paper on the oppressions to which the subjects of the Porte are subjected, by Mr. MacColl ; finally, a paper on " Bunsen and his Wife," by Lady Verney, and a trans- lation, in terse, nervous, and rhythmical English, of the " Song of Brunanburh," by Mr. Hallam Tennyson. It is clear that with such a wealth of subjects before us we cannot profess to give any criti- cism of more than one or two of the papers which best admit of condensed treatment, and must pass over several which might well deserve an even fuller notice without further remark.

Mr. Gladstone's review of Schuyler's journey in Turkistan, con- taining his indictment of the Pall Mall Gazette for dishonesty in pro- ducing only such parts of Schuyler's evidence as supported its attack on Russia, and in suppressing all the testimony favourable to Russia, has, as our readers are aware, brought down upon him a fierce retort from that journal, accusing him of fraudulently sup- pressing in his turn the worst features of the Russian massacre of the Yomud tribe, as given by Schuyler. We have examined both the attack and the rejoinder with great care, and believe the imputations of dishonest motive to have been a great mistake on both sides. Undoubtedly, the Pall Mall's use of Schuyler was almost wholly one-sided, and instead of giving the general effect of his testimony as to the Russian treatment of weaker and less civilised peoples, brought out in the most pointed relief the one great act of inhumanity of which, in Schuyler's opinion, they were guilty. And curiously enough, both the Pall Mall and Mr. Gladstone in all probability fell into the same mistake, one which greatly exaggerated the degree of that inhumanity, a mistake which Mr. Henry Sidgwick clearly pointed out in Tuesday's Times. By forgetting the difference of Styles, and repeating the Russian (Gromof's) narrative of the conffict with the Yomuds, as if it were a continuation, instead of a second version, of Schuyler's own, both the Pall Mall and Mr. Gladstone managed to get and give the impression that the slaughter was twice as great, and much more wanton than it was. We believe that, so far as regards the evidence produced by Schuyler in relation to the general character of Russian rule in Asia, Mr. Gladstone's account is complete and fair in every way, which we cannot say of the Pall Mall Gazette's; the latter, however, did not, we think, profess to estimate the general effect of Schuyler's narra- tive, but only to use it for the purpose of illustrating the unscru- pulous barbarity of which Russia could on occasions be guilty. And in doing this, as a letter in another column shows even more completely than Mr. Gladstone, the Pall Mall certainly suppressed many mitigating circumstances of the greatest import- ance, as well as exaggerated the " atrocity " through the mistake into which Mr. Gladstone also fell. On the other hand, Mr. Gladstone would clearly have done better to recite the impression evidently formed by Schuyler, that the impost placed upon the Yomuds was more or less intended to produce war, though Schuyler certainly does not go half as far as the Pall Mall stated, and never expressly says that General Kaufmann was imposing a contribution which could not be paid, and that he was imposing it for that very purpose. The only passage in which this is to any extent implied is in the remark that the officers wanted oppor-

tunities to gain military decorations, especially the Cross of St.

George,—which want Schuyler assumes to have been an operative motive in inducing General Kaufmann to place a heavy contribu- tion on the Turkomans. We can understand easily why it did not strike Mr. Gladstone that this appearance of cruelly picking a quarrel was any essential part of Schuyler's evidence, because, first, Schuyler was not himself present, and did not speak of what

he himself knew; and secondly, if true, the cruel hypocrisy of the policy would be General Kaufmann's own, and would not necessarily be much evidence against the Russian system or the Russian army or Russian officers collectively. Still, the cruel ruse of so distinguished an officer as General Kaufmann, if cruel ruse it was, would be more or less an indication of the morale of the army which he leads ; and though we think it very likely that

Schuyler's impression was false, as Schuyler was the witness ap-

pealed to by both parties, the worst he implied should have been produced. The imputation of fraud to Mr. Gladstone in the matter is ridiculous, but so, we think, was Mr. Gladstone's imputation of deliberate and intentional dishonesty to the Pall Mall Gazette. Literary men are too apt to find in history only what they are looking for ; but there are very few, we hope, who, if they see what they are not looking for, say what is equivalent to implying that they have found nothing of the kind. We must say, however, that the Pall Mall ought, in common candour, to have noticed Mr. Sidgwick's very important contribution to the criticism

of Schuyler's story. And up to last night it had not, we believe, done so. Mr. MacColl's account of the condition of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian rayahs' miseries is one of the most effective papers ever contributd to the elucidation of the Eastern Question. We cannot go into it at length, but take this horrible illustration of

the intensity of the " sentimental " grievances to which they are subject:—

"Nor is it in life alone that the intolerance of the Turk is shown ; it pursues the rayah into the grave. Dr. Humphrey Sandwith has pub- lished the form of burial certificate which is given when a Christian

dies, and here it is We certify to the priest of the church of Mary that the impure, putrified, stinking carcase of Sardeh, damned this day, may be concealed under ground. (Sealed) EL SAID MIIIIEME D Fein A.H. 1271, Rejib 11 (March 29, 1855).' "

The intolerable grievances of a physical kind which turn the rayah's life into one prolonged misery can hardly exceed in bitterness, we should think, such a " sentimental " grievance as this. Mr. Matthew Arnold's paper is, as usual, very interesting, but his panegyric on Mr. Smith, of Cambridge,—a preacher of the seventeenth century—for diverting a sermon on diabolical tempta- tions into one on the inner weakness and sinfulness which make us liable to such temptations, as if the latter view virtually confuted Mr. Smith's previously expressed opinion as to the reality of an external tempter, seems to us undeserved. Supposing a preacher of the present day to be warning his hearers against the temptations caused by bad companions, and were to insist that, after all, the danger consists in our own weakness and sinfulness, without which we might venture to associate with evil men and yet take no harm, would that prove that the preacher was disposed to disbelieve in the objective existence of these evil companions ? Dr. Appleton's " Plea for Metaphysic " is very able, both as a criticism on Mr.

Arnold, and as an essay on the metaphysical method, as he con- ceives it. But surely it is a very new and questionable meaning to give to the word " metaphysic," to speak of metaphysic as the process which exhibits the better social self which overcomes the

comparatively worthless individual self. Why is the Zeit-geist to be credited with always being better than the individual? Surely it is often worse. Metaphysic means that which comes "after nature " as the explanation of nature, but the Zeit-geist is as liable to all sorts of natural miscarriages as the individual himself. This

is not the place in which to criticise Mr. Greg's very candid paper on " The Prophetic Element in the Gospels," which nevertheless well deserves careful study.

The Fortnightly is not quite so interesting as the Contemporary, but it contains some admirable papers. Indeed, we know nothing more curious or more hopeful in the history of our time than that it should be possible to sell—and, we suppose, sell at a profit—.

two monthly volumes of essays such as are published this month in these two magazines. Their conductors publish no story, scarcely disguise their dislike for so-called "light literature," issue the most serious and conflict-stirring disquisitions, and yet suc- ceed in catching the attention and securing the respect of the reading public. No doubt it is a limited public, but still the

public which can enjoy papers like Mr. Arnold's in the Contemporary, and Mr. Bagehot's on Lord Althorp, in the Fortnightly, must gradually influence the mass who can enjoy

neither. Mr. Bagehot's article, nominally on Lord Althorp, and containing many acute hints as to the general bearing of his character, is really an admirably written diatribe against the framers of the Reform Bill, for having prepared a measure which ultimately lodged all power in the hands of a single class, and that the most numerous and the most stupid, composed of men who choose their representatives in such a way that, on the whole, the talk of an average Member of the House of Commons is inferior to the talk of an average member of cultivated society. That this is so no one doubts, but no one has stated so clearly as Mr. Bagehot the possible evils which may arise from the fact. He thinks that positive want of intelligence in the governing classes may one day produce great evils :—

" Lord Althorpe embodies all the characteristic virtues which enable Englishmen to effect well and easily great changes in politics: their essential fairness, their ' large roundabout common-sense,' their courage, and their disposition rather to give up something than to take the uttermost farthing. But on the other hand also he has all the characteristic English defects ; their want of intellectual and guiding principle, their even completer want of the culture which would give that principle, their absorption in the present difficulty, and their hand- to-mouth readiness to take what solves it without thinking of other consequences. And I am afraid the moral of those times is that these English qualities as a whole—merits and defects together—are better suited to an early age of politics than to a later. As long as materials aerxepedrecnitegn t, intandeasep Dt 00 successful C nt ewue uses, l ,f and hexittetinngdinegff ancient customs ; Ley are fit for instantaneous little creations, and admirable at bit-by-bit growth. But when, by the incessant application of cen- turies, these qualities have created an accumulated mass of complex institutions, they are apt to fail, unless aided by others very different. The instantaneous origination of obvious expedients is of no use when the field is already covered with the heterogeneous growth of complex past expedients ; bit-by-bit development is out of place unless you are sure which bit should and which bit should not be developed ; the extension of customs may easily mislead when there are so many customs ; no immense and involved subject can be sot right except by faculties which can grasp what is immense and scrutinise what is involved. But mere common-sense is here matched with more than it can comprehend, like a schoolboy in the differential calculus ;—and absorption in the present difficulty is an evil, not a good, for what is wanted is that you should be able to see many things at once, and take in their bearings, not fasten yourself on one thing. The characteristic danger of great nations, like the Romans or the English, which have a long history of continuous creation, is that they may at last fail from not comprehending the great institutions which they have created." Mr. Bagehot doubts, moreover, whether the evil is remediable by any plans for improving representation, believing that those plans, though excellent in themselves, will not be accepted by the ruling populace :—"What we have now to do, therefore, is to induce this self-satisfied, stupid, inert mass of men to admit its own insuffi- ciency, which is very hard ; to understand fine schemes for supplying that insufficiency, which is harder ; and to exert itself to get those ideas adopted, which is hardest of all. Such is the duty which the reformers of 1832 have cast upon us." We do not agree entirely with Mr. Bagehot, because we think be leaves out of sight the right of peoples to govern themselves, even if they govern themselves badly, because he forgets the educating influence of power, and because he entirely passes over the first of political necessities,—that government shall be sup- ported by adequate physical force, which in a non-military State a restricted suffrage does not yield ; but there can be no doubt that he hits the blot in our present system, and hits it with a force of which our notice necessarily can give but a feeble idea. Mr. Earle's paper on "The Eastern Situation " is a well-reasoned argument in favour of allowing the neighbouring Great Powers to take the South Slavons in hand till they are ready for self-government, but though well worth reading, is almost too dreamy for men intent on the actual facts of the situation, which as yet does not permit Germany and Russia to parcel out European Turkey among them ; and we pass on to Professor Tyndall, who argues with great force, from the ascertained phenomena of fermentation, that " re- productive parasitic life is at the root of epidemic disease ;" and to Mr. Morley's eloquent though somewhat dislocated lecture upon popular culture. We noticed this lecture shortly after its delivery, but we want to quote here a morsel of practical wisdom, which the new generation, notwithstanding all its examinations, wants at least as much as any which preceded it :- " You know as well as I or any one can tell you, that knowledge is worth little or nothing until you have made it so perfectly your own, as to be capable of reproducing it in precise and definite form. No- body can be sure that he has got clear ideas on a subject unless he has tried to put them down on a piece of paper in independent words of his own. It is an excellent plan, too, when you have read a good book, to sit down and write a short abstract of what you can remember of it. It is a still better plan, if you can make up your minds to a slight extra labour, to do what Lord Strafford, and Gibbon, and Daniel Webster did ; after glancing over the title, subject, or design of a book, these eminent men would take a pen and write roughly what questions they expected to find answered in it, what difficulties solved, what kind of information imparted. Such practices keep us from reading with the eye only, gliding vaguely over the page; and they help us to place our new ac- quisitions in relation with what we knew before. All this takes trouble, no doubt, but then it will not do to deal with ideas that we find in books or elsewhere as a certain bird does with its eggs—leave them in the sand for the sun to hatch and chance to rear. People who follow this plan possess nothing better than ideas half-hatched, and convictions reared by accident."

Mr. Morley might have added that his plan is the only one which will save readers from those deceptions of the memory to which any man is liable on any subject in which he is not directly and keenly interested. Writing down a fact or a line of reasoning does not secure your remembering it, else authors would remember all they ever knew, which is not the case ; but it does prevent you from remembering it wrongly, a difficulty often more embarrassing than mere forgetfulness. There is a curious paper in the Fortnightly on the Rodiyas, an outcast tribe of Ceylon, now numbering hardly a thousand persons, who for centuries—certainly since 487—have performed the meanest offices and have lived in utter isolation among the Singhalese, yet have retained their special language and a decided superiority of form to their oppressors. Their origin is entirely unaccounted for, but Mr. Hartshorne thinks their separateness proved by their physique. We doubt it. The Mehter of Bengal is decidedly bigger, braver, and handsomer than the Bengalee peasant, from among whom he sprang, and so is the hereditary Christian, and in both instances from the same reason. Neither Mehter nor Christian is debarred by his creed from animal food. The Rodiya is probably fed very differently from a Singhalese, and from the sanitary point of view very much better.

Mr. Charles Reade continues his lively story of " The Woman- Hater" in Blackwood, and gives in this number an acid account of the effort of the female medical students in Edinburgh to get common justice from the Professors, which, we are told, is most exact, and which must be pleasant reading for the ladies and un- pleasant reading for the Professors. We must doubt, how- ever, whether annoyance at the frequent defeats of men by women in the examinations really irritated the professors, who were much more influenced, some of them by old prejudices about women's work, and others by the spirit of Trades Unionism found more or less in every profession. That the women were unjustly treated is certain, but the theory of fear as the actuating cause belongs rather to some woman who secretly believes all men to be fools than to Mr. Beade, who believes openly that they are only fools when they iliffer with him. The best paper in the number is undoubtedly the account of the Holy Mountain in Kattiawar, by a traveller who broke all rules, passed all guards, and succeeded in seeing the Sweating Statue at Girnar, a statue shown only to Jains and the most pions Hindoos, and guarded so rigorously that a servitor -who carried a light for him was believed to have been subsequently put to death for the offence. The statue is a figure of Paraahva- natha, made of a very fine marble, and represented squatting on the ground in a small underground chamber excavated from the rock. The traveller did not see the figure sweat, but he believes it does, and accounts for the phenomenon in the most natural way, without imputing direct trickery to the guardian priests :—

" On inquiring particularly into that point, I was told that its per- spiring qualities were specially manifest in the great season of pilgrims to Girnar—that is to say, in April and May—towards the end of the hot season, when the outer air is laden with moisture. Little of that outer air may descend into the Amijhara excavations, for the tendency of hot air is to ascend ; but a certain amount of moist hot air will be brought into it by attraction, and the moisture in it will be at once con- densed, with the appearance of perspiration, on the large cold marble statue to which the pilgrims' attention is chiefly directed. Moreover, when a dozen of pilgrims or so are collected in that cold underground apartment, the moisture of their warm breaths will condense upon the cold marble figure before them, just as moisture condenses upon a tumbler with ice in it, or on the windows of a crowded church which on the outside are exposed to cold."

The Jain pilgrims were very angry at the violation of their sanctuary, and the traveller, to quiet them, took the odd resolu- tion of going up to visit the shrine of the Dread Mother of Gods and the top of Mount Kalika, the former of which he accom- plished, though for some unexplained reason he gives no account of the shrine except that it was very weird, and held a painted stone like nothing in particular. He, however, failed to reach Mount Kalika, the ascent being too difficult, from the granite boulders, and although assisted by the ascetics, quitted the task with the impression that no native, at all events, would be allowed to ascend. He mentions, by the way, that he had reason to 'believe in the continued

existence of the Aghors or Ughors—Anglice, Ogres—who live naked in the Kattiawar jungle, and are still cannibals, though

devout Hindoos. We thought the fact had been undoubted, and though we cannot recall the exact title, haves distinct recollec- tion of reading an official report about two of them, who made their appearance as human flesh-eaters at Ilurdwar some years

since. Bindooism is now so humanised that respectable Hindoos deny the existence of such people, as they deny that any Hindoo sect ever justified or practised human sacrifice, but both facts are true, for all that.

We have noticed the best paper in the Cornhill—the one on the law of dreams—at considerable length, and there is not much to say about either Macmillan or Fraser. In the former, Mr. T.

Wemyss Reid concludes a contribution to the biography of Charlotte Brontb, which is of great value, but which leaves us still anxious for the much more complete materials that are evi- dently in existence. The reticence is still too great for any clear unfolding of the truth. For instance, her father appears in these documents as a selfish brute, resisting his daughter's marriage because he thought it would not be for his pecuniary advantage, and only yielding when he fancied his daughter might die of dis- appointment and repression. That is not said in so many words, but if that is not meant, we cannot comprehend reticent writing.

Well, granting that this was so, what else was he besides a selfish brute which made his great daughter so devoted to him ? What made her so perfecta daughter, a sister, and a wife, and above all, whatinduced her to efface herself so constantly in those relations, when in the relations of friendship she could not efface herself at all, and was quite conscious she could not? The time has passed for bits of Charlotte Bronte's letters. We want all, so that we may either judge her as she was—judge with understanding—or may resign ourselves to study her only through her works,—works which we agree with this biographer will one day again be regarded as evidences of exceptional intellectual power. There is a fair paper on the Eastern Question, written to hint that Count Andrassy and Lord Beaconsfield are secretly opposing the Eastern Christians —which is probably the fact—and a most readable article by

Mr. Sutherland Edwards on "Historic Phrases," full of knowledge, applied to correct popular beliefs about the grand mots attributed to statesmen under critical circumstances. We extract a para- graph which suits the -time, and records a singular instance of Napoleon's insight into the political facts around him :- "Most of the sayings which pass for Napoleonic did really proceed from Napoleon, and are to be found in his correspondence or in authen- tic records of his speeches and conversations. But Grattez le Russo, vous trouverez Is Cosaque ' was first said by the Prince de Ligne; and when Napoleon called England La nation boutiquibre,' he had been in a measure anticipated by Sir Philip Francis, who, in the debate on the armament against Russia, denounced his countrymen as ' a nation of -stockjobbers." Il fast laver son linge sale en famille ' was a piece of advice addressed, in a furious speech, to the Chamber of Deputies during the crisis which followed the disasters of 1814. ' What is the throne ? Four pieces of wood covered with velvet!' exclaimed Napo- leon on the same occasion. This was new. But Wash your dirty linen at home' had been said (as M. Fournier points out) by Voltaire, in the very words which Napoleon was afterwards to employ. 'In fifty years Europe•will be Cossack or Republican,' is a very precise forecast, which if a true one ought now to be on the point of being verified. Another prediction on the same subject, 'Woe to Europe when the Czar of Russia wears a beard !' is less absolute, more mysterious, more pic- turesque, and finer in every respect. The beard prophecy, moreover, has gained in significance since it was first uttered. The Slavoniso] and Part-Slavonian idea had at that time scarcely been conceived,ead to Napoleon at St. Helena was certainly unknown. Few even among the Russians had learned that the Poles, the Czechs of Bohemia, the Croats and other Slavonians of Hungary, the Servians, and the Bul- garians were of the same race as themselves. At present, however, if a bearded Czar were to head a great national movement, he would do so not as Emperor of Russia, but as Emperor of the Slavonians. Fortunately Alexander II. shaves. Central Europe, too, thanks to Napoleon's imperial successor, is more strongly constituted now than it was in 1815.

The most interesting paper in Fraser, to our minds, is the "Astronomy of the Future," in which Mr. Newton Crosland amazes us by suggesting doubts of the incandescence of the sun, and hints that the luminary may be no more luminous than Mont Blanc on a fine evening, but is a centre of polarised force, which

outside our atmosphere would look dark and cold ; and the best, "Islam and Race Distinctions," in which the specialty of Islam—

its contempt for distinctions of colour and birth—is accounted for by supposing the Semitic mind to be radically distinct from the Aryan :—

" The Semitic mind, on the other hand, destitute, it has been alleged, of the scientific instinct, looks upon man—every man—as standing in direct relation to God, who has not ceased his communications with His creatures, still speaking to them at times in dreams and visions, and at other times by the ordinary events of life. Nature is regarded as in-

animate ; her powers proceed from and are moved by the will of God. 'Pantheism in the Greek sense is utterly unknown to the Sheanites.' By its very nature the Semitic mind will ever throw itself confidently upon those primal intuitions which, if they do not admit of scientific or logical proof, are yet superior to scientific or logical, disproof. Its inquiries, in spite of Tyndallism or Darwinism, will never go beyond the simple truth that, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' The government of the world offers to the Shemite an infinite problem which man can never solve, and hence the greatest aim of man should be the cultivation of those qualities in which he may most re- semble God Development among them was not in material, but in moral and intellectual forms. Hence while the Greek or Indo- European paid more attention to physical than to moral excellence, to the Shemite the spirit, the mind of man, was the great object of de- velopment and culture—the inward character, rather than the outward form The Mahommeden religion, an offshoot from the Semitic mind, disregarding all adventitious circumstances, seeks for the real man, neglects the accidental for the essential, the adventitious for the integral. Hence it extinguishes all distinctions founded upon race, colour, or nationality. ' I admonish you to fear God,' said Mahommed to his followers, 'and yield obedience to my successor, although he may be a black slave.'" That being so, why does the Jew, who is as Semitic as the Arab, care about race first of all? The Jew feeling about pedigree— which is a kind of central faith, and permeates their whole thought, from their notion that the seed of Abraham is separate to their notion that salvation must come of the House of David —is a final answer to the assertion that the Semite loves equality. Mahommed fell far below Christ, but in this respect he rose far .above the Rabbis.