13 MARCH 1875, Page 23


'THE Contemporary for March contains several articles of great vigour, but probably none which will interest the general reader so much as the last instalment of Mr. Julian Hawthorne's ex- tremely amusing, but somewhat malicious attack on Dresden and the Saxon people. We hardly remember any greater in- stance of the amazing fertility which profound dislike sometimes engenders in the mind of men of genius, than this set of Saxon studies has brought before us. There is no corner nor cranny of Dresden in which Mr. Julian Hawthorne cannot find a new reason for contemptuous amazement, and sometimes even for a sort of quizzical and airy loathing. For instance, he has quite a tenderness for a particular hall-porter, on whom he descants very kindly as well as amusingly for a time, but he dismisses him thus :— " Next to the baby, the porter's trump card was a gigantic dog, a cross between a Newfoundland and a Saint Bernard. He was as big as a Shetland pony, and lay majestically about the hall, or stalked lion-like up and down the side-walk. The chief objection to him was that he was above keeping himself clean, and had no valet to do it for him ; and whoever made bold to caress him had reason to remember it for the rest of the day. Nevertheless, this huge beast slept in the porter's room, filling up all the space unoccupied by the porter himself ; and considering that fresh air was rigorously excluded in summer as well as in winter, it was a constant surprise to me to see the porter appear, morning after morning, apparently no worse off than when he went to bed. But I do the dog injustice ; it was he who suffered and degenerated ; why should be be forced to share his kennel with a man? There was in him a capacity for better things; for when the porter watered the lawn at the back of the house with the garden hose-pipe, the dog would rush into the line of the stream and take it point-blank on his muzzle, barking and jumping with delight. But the porter never took the hint home to himself, nor understood, I suppose, what pleasure the dog could find in being wetted. The porter's bearing towards the various inhabitants of the house was accurately graduated in accordance with their elevation above the ground-floor. With the waifs of the attic he was hail-fellow-well-met. Pleasantly affable was his demeanour to the respectable families on the third etage, whose rent did not exceed £150 a year. The second floor, at £300, commanded his cordial respect and good offices ; while speechless, abject reverence, and a blue dress-coat with brass buttons, fail to express his state of mind towards the six-hundred-pounders of the first landing. This be- haviour of his was not so much acquired, as an instinct. The personality of its recipients had nothing to do with it; were Agamemnon, on the first etage, to change places with Thersites, in the attic, our porter would slap the king of men on the back at their next meeting, and hustle him out of the way of Thersites, when the latter came down to his carriage."

But if you want to find Mr. Hawthorne in the humour in which he plants his most poisoned stiletto in the Saxon habits, take his description of the plundering shopkeepers of Dresden :—

"I have somewhere seen it asserted that the German tradesman is notably of a scientific, philosophic, and asstbetic turn, and that, in the intervals of labour, he snatches up his volume of Rosencranz, Lemelte, Bolzmann, or Goethe, from the perusal of which the very chink of coin will scarcely win him. So far as my observation goes this is a cruel and unfounded aspersion upon the character of a guild whose singleness of purpose has profoundly impressed me. They do not know what Science and Philosophy are. They will not read oven a novel, nor yet a newspaper, unless it be the Boerse Zeitung. They look at the pic- tures in Kladderadatsch, but do not understand the political allusions. Their eyes are dull to the culture and progress of the world, and to all that is above the world, wholly blind. But they can spy a bargain through a stone wall, and a thievish advantage through the lid of a coffin. Nevertheless, I am of opinion that a wider culture might help them to be even more truly themselves than they are now. Beautiful as is the untutored earnestness of their character to the eye of the psychologist, to the man of the world they seem deficient in the breadth and grasp of mind which would enable them most effectively to carry out their de signs. With all the disposition to steal that an ardent German nature can have, they lack the wisdom so to commit their thefts as to secure the largest and most permanent returns. There is a rugged directness in the way they pick our pockets which at first charms us by its naivete, but ends with wounding our feelings and lowering our self-esteem. They take so little trouble to make their lies plausible, that we cannot pretend to believe them without blushing. It is easy to pay a bill of three times the amount of the original charges ; but to pay again and again for things which we never had, and which it is not oven feigned that we ever had, gets to be almost painfully embarrassing. If I lay my purse upon the counter, it would evince a delicacy of sentiment in the shopkeeper to wait until I had turned away ray eyes bolero taking it. Such a course would be to his advantage, besides ; for I could then ignore the theft, and we could continue our relations with the same frankness and cordiality as before, and in due course of time I might let him steal my purse again. But openly to transfer it to his till, while I am looking straight at it, seems to me tantamount to a wanton rupture of our acquaintance. There is originality, there is vigour, there is noble simplicity in the act, if you will ; but our effete civilisation is apt to forget its beauties in shuddering at its lack of clothing."

Concentrated oil of vitriol, with gleams of poetic picture here and there, such is the essence of the new paper on "Saxon Studies." Mr. Hawthorne's book, when these papers are collected, will be a great monument to the fecundity-causing influence which hatred generates in a delicate and somewhat cynical genius.—Mr. Arnold, in answering fresh objections made to "Literature and Dogma," seems to us to pass a very temperate and trustworthy judgment on the history of the formation of the New Testament Canon. Nothing can be more instructive than his comparison be- tween the accuracy with which Clemens Romanus cites the Septua- gint version of the 51st Psalm, and the vagueness and inexactitude of all those assumed quotations from the Gospels which are sup- posed to show that the Gospels, as we know them, were then already in existence, and were the recognised authorities of the Christian Church. But we are not at all sure that Mr. Arnold draws the correct inference from this comparison. It may of course be, as he thinks, that the early fathers quoted from an oral Gospel, or an early written Gospel which is not any one of the Gospels now preserved in our Canon. But it may also be that, while they regarded the Old Testament as Scripture in the same sense in which our orthodox Christians regard the whole Bible, they had not yet come to look upon the text of the Gospels at all events, in the same light, but still regarded it in that more natural light in which it would not

be thought necessary to quote it with perfect accuracy as a divine text, but merely to refer to it as showing how the prophecies of the old Covenant had been in the latter days fulfilled. This, we think, might account even better for some of the actual phenomena than the supposition that there were a great many floating versions of the Gospels, one theologian having access to one of them and one to

another. However, the result is pretty much the same in either view,—namely, that for half a century at least after the death of Christ we have no means of proving that the Gospels as we know

them were in existence.—The philosophical stronghold of the new number of the Contemporary is Dr. Ward's very able paper on

"Necessary Truth," in reply to Mr. Stephen. We have indicated previously our belief that Dr. Ward has very much the best indeed of this controversy ; nor, indeed, can we conceive of any answer to his refutation of the general sceptical doctrine, that neither do our faculties testify to the existence of any necessary truth, nor nor does it much matter whether they do or no, because there is no reasonable ground for regarding them as trustworthy. Dr. Ward's reply is as follows :—

" Now, an obvious reply to such reasoning is always put forth by the philosophers who repudiate scepticism. We thus address sceptical philosophers 'Why, in every syllable you say, you are taking for granted the very fact which you deny. You are arguing ; or, in other words, you are making use (in fact, very vigorous use) of your reasoning faculty. Yet how can you even guess that this faculty is not a mere instrument of delusion ? If you are sincere in saying that you entirely distrust your faculties, your only consistent course is profound and motionless intellectual inactivity.' As far as I happen to know, this retort has never been met by any rejoinder which possesses even the semblance of plausibility. The illustration to which I have myself commonly had recourse in assailing scepticism, has been the faculty, not of reasoning, but of memory. Thus I argue (I. 45) that on the sceptical view—not only all knowledge of necessary truths is rendered impossible, but (quite as thoroughly and effectively) all knowledge of experimental truths also. The physical scientist tolls me that he has just been witnessing a very important experiment. How do you know, I ask him, how can you even guess, that you have witnessed any ex- periment of the kind? You reply, that you have the keenest and most articulate memory of the fact. Well, I do not doubt at all that you have that present impression, which you call a most clear and articulate memory. But how do you know—how can you legimatfily even guess —that your present impression corresponds with a past fact ? See what a tremendous assumption this is, which you, who call yourself a cautious man of science, take for granted. You are so wonderfully made and endowed—such is your bold assumption—that in every successive case your clear and articulate impression and belief of something as past corresponds with a past fact. At all events, do not take so vast a con- clusion for granted; give some kind of reason for your acceptance of it. Professor Huxley (quoted by me in L 45, note) has fallen into a fallacy, which I could never have expected to find in so able a writer, and which a little reminds one indeed of what Englishmen call an Irish bull. He says that 'the general trustworthiness of memory' is one of those hypothetical assumptions, which cannot be proved or known with that highest degree of certainty which is given by immediate conscious- ness ; but which nevertheless are of the highest practical value, inas- much as the conclusions drawn from them are always ver(fiedby ex- perience.' (' Lay Sermons,' p. 359.) How can Mr. Huxley know, or even reasonably guess, that any one avouchment of memory was ever even once verified by experience '? Because he trusts his present act of memory. But why does he trust his present act of memory ? He answers, because he remembers that his past acts of memory have been verified by experience. He trusts his present act of memory, because be knows that the past avouchments of his memory have been verified by experience ; and he knows that the past avouchments of his memory have been verified by experience, because he trusts his present act of memory. The blind man leads the blind around a 'circle' incurably vicious.'" •

That seems to us final as a reply to any one who suggests that neither do the human faculties impose peremptorily any belief on us, nor would it be reasonable to trust them even if they did. Dr. Ward makes us see that we couldn't trust them at all if they didn't

impose such beliefs onus, and that, as a matter of fact, even those persons do trust them who assert that they only trust them so far as to let them infect their minds with an otherwise universal dis- trust. We may remark, however, that we do not think Dr. Ward's paraphrase of a "necessary truth" as "a truth of which Omnipo- tence could not effect the reversal" a particularly happy one. It seems to us that we only know what Omnipotence cannot do through our knowledge of necessary truth, so that the explanation is like explaining "2" by saying "x = 2," and then adding that a

good equivalent for "2" is "x." Indeed, to make the explanation

correct at all, Dr. Ward should say that it is "a truth of which Omnipotence could not have effected the reversal," because

the language he uses would cover too much. Even Omnipotence could not make it untrue that Mr. Stephen wrote his previous article with the particular pen, in the particular place, and on the particular sheet of blue paper which he described to us, if he did so write it ; but no one would call that a necessary truth.

For our own parts, we do not see the possibility of explaining necessary truth further than by saying that it is truth of which the contradictory is absolutely rejected by our minds on an ade - quate consideration of the meaning of the terms. For the rest, we accept heartily Dr. Ward's very powerful bit of metaphysical exposition.

We have already criticised at length the most important paper

in the Fortnightly—the biography of Mr. Charles Austin, by Mr. Tollemache—but the number contains other papers of interest, particularly an account of the present position of the Irish Judges by Mr. G. Fottrell, a sketch of German Socialism by Mr. John P. Macdonell, and a review of Sir H. Maine's "Early History of Institutions,"—the latter so full of suggestiveness as to make the reader regret that it is so short. We wish Mr. Cliffe Leslie would work out in the Fortnightly the evidence for the theory in which

historic antiquarians seem now to believe, that the exclusion of women from property arose not out of the feudal system, but out of the practice of holding property in common among a tribe of kinsmen. As the woman could not marry into her own tribe, it was an object to forbid her carrying property out of it. Such an inquiry might probably explain the extraordinary varia- tion on Aryan customs introduced by the early Hindoo law- givers, who allowed a woman under certain circumstances to hold property—a deviation in itself from the central ideas of Hindooism—but decreed that such property must descend pre- ferentially to a daughter, thus creating—to use European terms— an entail in the female line.—Mr. John Macdonnell confines him- self to an explanation of Karl Marx's ideas on Socialism, which, be says, are attaining a wide circulation in Germany, and we may add, in Russia and Spain, and which may be briefly summed up as follows. There is no source for the increase of wealth except labour. Consequently if the labourer were justly paid, all would belong to him. The capitalist, however, though compelled to pay wages and replace the value of material, contrives, usually by over-work, to make the labourer produce something more, which we call

profit and Karl Marx calls Mehrwerth. This belongs to the labourer, but the capitalist steals it, and grows rich virtually by obtaining unpaid-for labour. This theft produces misfortune to the world, for the capitalist's interest is to obtain more lifehrwerth, partly by increasing the hours of labour, partly by using machinery, which

in Karl Marx's judgment is, and can be, of no use to the labourer whatever, and therefore is rendering men more miserable than, they otherwise would be. He pushes these ideas unhesitatingly to their extreme conclusions, and would for practical remedy make the State—that is, All—sole proprietor and sole controller of labour :—

" Things will go from bad to worse. Misery will increase, fresh re- cruits will enlist in the reserve of industry. All the evils of which we have spoken will exhibit themselves in an exaggerated degree ; large capitalists will swallow up the smaller one, as Aaron's rod swallowed up the rods of Pharaoh's priests. In the course of time things will become intolerable, and misery having created a large disciplined and discon- tented class of workmen, there will by and by grow up a community of free labourers owning the earth and the means of production, availing themselves of all the expedients which science and industrial organisa- tion can bestow, and using it all, not as now, for the aggrandisement of the few, but for the common good and comfort of all that- toil. The Ausbeutung of labour, or sponging system of production, will give place to a scientific and beneficent form of co-operation."

It is not worth while in this country to answer these ideas, which, after all, only amount to this,—that a competent partner- ship society of labourers would rule labourers more for their own comfort than the capitalist does ; but we have our oft-repeated query still to ask,—Does Carl Marx think that labourers made his book " Das Kapital "? If they did, what is his share in it? One labourer's, or one hundred? If it is only one, what tempts him to such extra labour ; and if it is one hundred, how does he differ from a capitalist ? Law can make a man work on inadequate pay, but it cannot make him think; and universal, compulsory, equal co-operation must therefore either kill progress, as it did in Peru and Madras, or substi- tute for the capitalist the man of intelligence, who, we take it, is quite as hard a lord.—Mr. Fottrell will not, we fear, soothe away the alarm of the Irish Bar. He not only supports Lord Cairns's plans for the diminution of the Irish Judicial establishment, but says he uses a pruning-knife where a hatchet is required. He would use the hatchet also with a ruthlessness in which we can- not altogether follow him, cutting down not only the number of the Judges, which he proves to be preposterous by overwhelm- ing evidence, but also their salaries, till they bear the same proportion to the incomes of Irish barristers as those of English Judges to English leaders at the Bar. That proposition requires to be limited by the rider that a Judgeship should be an object of honourable ambition, and that a Judge should be placed above pecuniary cares. As to the number, however, Mr. Fottrell is unanswerable, and the following paragraph contains a general conclusion more than supported by his official statistics :— " The population of England in 1871 (the date of the last census) stood in round numbers at twenty-two and three-quarter millions, while that of Ireland was returned at less than five and a half millions, so that, as regards population, England is to Ireland in the ratio of something over four to one. As regards wealth, she is to Ireland in the ratio of about eleven to one. We should therefore a priori infer that, in the absence of abnormal disturbing causes, both the quantity of law business and the number of the judicial staff would be somewhere be- tween four times and eleven times larger in the one country than in the .other. Yet on checking our a priori inference by an examination of the actual facts and figures, we are brought face to face with this strange anomaly, that although the business performed by the English Judges is as would have been expected, about five times as heavy as that which engages the attention of their Irish brethren, yet the judicial staff in England, so far from being five times as numerous as in Ireland, is not four times as numerous, nor even anything like twice as numer- ous, there being for all England only twenty-four Judges of first instance, viz., eighteen in Common Law, four in Equity, one in Admiralty, and one in Probate and Divorce ; while there are in Ireland twenty judges of first instance, viz., in Common Law twelve, in Equity six, in Ad- miralty one' and in Probate and Divorce one ; the business of the Divorce Court in Ireland being, however, practically

A difference of 500 per cent, in the amount of Court business in favour of England does not, however, reveal the whole truth. The Chamber business of the English Judges is•seventy times that of the Judges in Ireland, the fact being, that to increase the appar- ent work the Irish Judges transfer to the full Court most of the business which in England is settled by a single Judge in Chambers.

Fraser is not very interesting this month, but Mr. Fellowes issues another of his warnings to New Zealand bondholders, which seem almost unanswerable, but to which nobody will listen; and there is a most thoughtful and able paper on the condition of Egypt, where Ismail Pasha is striving to build up a new Empire which may survive the destruction of Turkey. His efforts as yet have only produced an appearance of civilisation, and have met with no real response from the people of the country, who only obey, and would obey a destructive or fanatic Pasha just as readily as a reforming one. His attempts to suppress the slave trade have irritated his most powerful subjects without suppress- ing slavery, and a new Pasha might make a clean sweep of the debt, which now begins to weigh upon his resources. The sketches of "German Home Life" are continued, and are as full of flavour and bitterness as ever ; and there is a valuable sug- gestion in "The Dangers of the Sea," the substitution of pontoon rafts in passenger ships for the boats which are never ready in dangerous emergencies.

The preachiness and prosiness into which Blackwood has relapsed since the accession of its political friends to power are mercilessly

displayed in the current number. The article on "The Prospects of the Session" is so dull in its pompous and patronising praise of the powers that be and the potentialities of their performance, that even the touch of comicality in the mental attitude of the writer, when he puts the Liberal party in the corner and lectures them in big-bow-wow style, cannot reconcile us to it. A heavy attempt at quizzing Lord Hartington is very well, that is, it would be, if it were cleverly done ; but a coarse comparison of Mr. Bright to a worn-out actor who takes pathetic farewells of the public, and then turns up with the clown's formula, "Here we are again !" is hardly in harmony with the ultra-genteel style of the article, and especially with the assertions that "we [the writer] reverence the modesty of language," and that "after all, some courtesy is due to political opponents." There is an amusing passage in Miss Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," about the different meanings attached by different people to "a competency." The interpretations of " courtesy " would seem to be as various. Blackwood thinks it means charging the Liberal party with loudly proclaiming "the right to talk un- limited nonsense." An able, but over-eulogistic review of " Lord Lytton's Speeches" exalts his political abilities as unduly as his literary capacity has been exalted in the same and other quarters. Lord Lytton was neither a writer of high genius nor a great states- man, and the surest way for his injudiciously vehement admirers to depreciate him in the opinion of the future is by endeavouring to force the public to accept him as either or both. Lord Lytton himself could hardly have beaten, in the grandiloquent common- place into which he too frequently strayed, the re.sumi of his political creed with which the writer of this article ("to be con- tinued") concludes the first instalment, "the creed of a politician who is progressive, but not destructive, who advances, not for the mere sake of movement, but for improvement's sake, or who stands still not for the mere sake of obstructing, but because pro- gress in a given direction at a given time appears to be inexpedient." "Mais " (to quote poor Grenier), " c'est du catechisme, ca!" A description of the province of Zanskar in the present instal- ment of "The Abode of Snow "is one of the most interesting chapters of travel we have ever read, and quite the most interesting section of this serial work. The author is so full of the dreary grandeur of his subject, so puzzled by the problems of human life under the circumstances which he has been investigating, that he departs from the somewhat curt, unexpansive style of his earlier chapters, and writes frankly out of the fullness of his thoughts, and the suggestions of the awfully grand and beautiful scenes he has passed through, where creation is at its divined height of grandeur, and humanity has but one phrase wherein to address its Maker,—" 0 God ! the jewel in the lotus. Amen !" The author quotes Koeppen's description of the universality and effi- cacy of this formula, but his own illustrations of them are more striking. After all, does it not amount to "Our Father, who art in heaven," said by his more helpless children? "Andromache —the Daughters of Priam," is a very delightful study of the heroines of mythology and classical romance, according to Homer, Euripides, and Racine. This is the complement of the article in the July (1874) number, and we hope they are both to be pre- served in permanent book form. The writer's interpretation of the story of Cassandra and the comparison which he draws be- tween it and that of Polyxena are very striking. For quiet humour and true pathos, for the kind of writing which makes one laugh out loud suddenly, no matter who may be pre- sent and liable to be politely astonished, and a little after makes one feel a great lump in one's throat, and a throb of one's heart, half-angry, half-sorrowful, there has been nothing for a long time to equal "A Dog Without a Tail." It would be difficult to praise this story too highly for its humour, its quaintness, and its pathos, but we are bound also to say that it contains an incident which never ought to have found its way into print, and which no explanatory or deprecatory re- marks by the writer can excuse. We do not believe that so ingenious and clever a story-teller could have been reduced by the exigencies of' the case to account for the cutting-off of Muffino's tail, to the expedient of making the dog spring at a priest "engaged in some duty at the high altar," and seize the conse- crated Host in his teeth. There are limits imposed by good taste on artistic imagination, and the writer of this story was bound to keep within them, even by the restrictions of good-sense. What class among his readers does he hope to please by a recital which must be horrible to many thousands of his fellow-countrymen? How can he expect, by declaring that he means no special irrever- ence, to be acquitted of a grave want of reverence for the laws of common propriety and observance ? Dean Stanley's verses in Macmillan upon the recovery of Prince Leopold are better than most perfunctory poetry, but the last two lines are very clumsy :—

"And from thy hard-wrought happiness Thou wilt the world around thee bless," is as "hard-wrought" a rhyme as one would not desire to see. Mr. Pattison, in an article on "Milton," refutes Keble's judgment of the poet, and inclines to ascribe it, while protesting that he doesn't, to theological prejudice. The essay is an interesting one, and the author gracefully avails himself of the appropriate oppor- tunity of paying a high compliment to Mr. Masson upon his "Life of Milton." Mr. Fleay's essay on the "Motive of Shakespeare's Sonnets," which is a spirited defence of his morality, is very ingenious. His reduction of the incriminated sonnets (1-125) to prose, and placing of them in juxtaposition as a piece justificative, after he has expounded his theory of their application to Lord Southampton, during the period of their clouded but ardent friendship, are happy expedients, and the ex- planation is not only more acceptable, but much more natural and probable than any of the hypotheses which it opposes. Mr. Stapleton's Political Reminiscences," and Mr. Sutherland Edwards's article on "The Brussels Conference and the Laws of War," are well worth reading. The former has a somewhat dis- mal and minatory tag, and the latter is opposed to the action of the Government in refusing the concurrence of England. We have not seen the case as against that decision so well stated.

In Cornhill, besides the astronomical specialite, this time, "The Sun's Surroundings and the Coming Eclipse," we have one of those odd chapters of European history which are also a feature, though a rarer one, of the magazine. Now it is "The Siege of Florence," and it is powerfully and minutely told. An erudite article on the "Disposal of the Dead," and a second essay on Shelley, which contains nothing new, and is almost rhapsodically eulogistic of "this illustrious friend of humanity," but not likely to convince anybody that atheism and 'practical Christianity' are convertible terms, are among the notable contents of this number. We are always sorry when Miss Thackeray fails to fulfil our ideal of her powers, or falls short of the standard she has hitherto reached. She is doing so, in her present work. "Miss Angel" is not a successful revival ; and it is unsuccessful mainly because it is overdone, not only by the exaggeration of pictorial effects, but by the introduction of anecdotes, many of them much over worked already. It is a severe comparison, perhaps, but it naturally suggests itself,—we mean the comparison between "The Vir- ginians" as a resuscitation of old-world society, in which person- ages well known to fame play their parts, and "Miss Angel." The one is resurrection, the other is the movement of galvanised death.