18 NOVEMBER 1916, Page 18


IL JIISSERAND with his delightful books on English wayfaring life in the Middle Ages, on Shakespeare, and on our literature as a whole did a great deal to promote those friendly relations between us and our French neighbours which have now developed into a close .Allianae. For the last dozen years, as French Ambassador at Washington, he has been engaged in the congenial task of making France and America better known to-each other, and his new volume of essays and addresses illustrates once more the value of his scholarship and his graceful style in the higher diplomacy whose aims are peace and goodwill. The main thesis which he propounds in the leading chapters—on " Rocham. beau and the French in America" and "Washington and the French" —is that Franco-American friendship began in 1780 when Rochambeau led a French army to help our revolted Colonies, and that before then France took a lively and unselfish interest in America while the Americans were by no means well disposed towards France. Our historians have naturally assumed that French intervention in our conflict with the colonies was mainly dictated by the desire for revenge. We had despoiled France of Canada in 1763; the revolt afforded her an opportunity of thrusting us out of North America. M. Jusserand protests against this reading of the case. France was just passing through a phase of Anglomania. Frenchmen copied our dress and our sports, read Shakespeare in Le Tourneur's new version, and, as the Comte de Seger said, "were all dreaming of the liberty, at once calm and lofty, enjoyed by the entire body of citizens of Great Britain." They did not hate us, but, as Turgot wrote to Dr. Price, they deplored the folly of George III.'s "absurd project to subjugate the Americans." The French people, inspired by the philosophers with a desire for free. dose, regarded America as the land of promise whore free institutions existed. " That people," wrote Turgot, "is the hope of mankind. It must show to-the world by its example that men can be free and tranquil, and can do without the chains that tyrants and cheats have tried to lay on them under pretence of public good." Frenchmen, then, regarded the American expedition as a veritable crusade for liberty. What is still more remarkable, the French Government undertook to help the immigrants without asking for any return. It decided not to accept even Canada, if its old provinces were recovered from the English ; it did not claim or receive any special privileges under its treaty of coinmerce with the Americans. This statement, of course, does not conflict with the well-known fact that in the peace negotiations Vergennes tried vainly to recover -Gibraltar for Spain, and sought compensation for France in India and the West Indies. Franklin warned Congress not to appeal to France's selfish interests, because "this nation is fond of glory, particularly that of protecting the oppressed." The expeditionary force was well organized under Marshal Rochambeau, an able and experienced veteran. Young men of good fandly, encouraged by the example of Lafayette four years earlier, competed for the privilege of serving as volunteers. The strictest discipline was maintained ; a month after the landing, Rochambeau could say that "not a man has left his camp, not a cabbage has been stolen, not a complaint has been heard." To avoid any fritition with the colonists, the French army was to be regarded as an auxiliary force under the orders of Washington, who was to rank, in French eyes, as a Marshal of France ; the French officer was to give precedence to the American of equal rank. Better and more generous allies the Americans could not have had. Their military value was soon proved at the taking of Yorktown, which decided the fate of America.

Now, while Frenchmen were enthusiastic about the American Colonies, the Americans for their part were at first by no means partial to France. Washington himself had seen service against the French on the Ohio before the Seven Years' War and found them courteous foes, but he did not like them. He had read a great deal about France in Addison and Steele's Spectator, and took all their caricature in good faith. When Lafayette and his fellow-volunteers arrived in 1776, Washington thought them "genteel sensible men," but did not know what to do with them. He expected no help from Fra nee. "I never did and still do think," be wrote in 1777, "they never meant more than to give us a kind of underhand assistance." Again, in 1778 he expressed a doubt whether France or any other possible ally was "to be trusted farther than it is bound by its interest." John Adams and others were more suspicious than Washington. Congress sent its envoys to Europe, and not to France alone, to solicit help. Arthur Lee, for example, after being

!rebuffed at Madrid, went to Frederick the Great and was refused an !audience, though he was graciously permitted to inspect the Prussian troops. France was the only Power which offered to' assist the revolt. Rochambcau and hit troops by their gallantry and good behaviour won .the hearts of theAmericans. The affiance, accepted by the Americans in sheer desperation, developed into a. sincere friendship Wsahieetaa wrote in his private diary in 1781 about his "generous allies," aral to the end of his life kept up a correspondence with Lafayette and -Rochazubeau and other members of the expedition of 1780. French . visitors made the pilgrimage across the Atlantic to call on Washington at Mount Vernon. The great Houdon journeyed there to make a statue of Washington, to the order of the Virginian Assembly. The French Revolution naturally excited profound-sympathy in the Western Republic. Lafayette sent the key of the Bastille to Washington ; it is still preserved at Mount Vernon. On the death of Franklin, Ho French Assembly, at the instance of Miraheau, went into mourning for three days. The Americans for their part celebrated the 14th ef July. the French national fate. Washington, as M. Jusserand admits, was 'distressed by the excesses of the Terror and the despotism of the Directory. Ha did not live to see the voluntary cession by Fran.oe of all her rights in the vast territory then called Louisiana, which .114W forms the great States west of the Mississippi. At his death the French .Republic went intomourning ; officers wore crape for tea days, and the First Consul attended a solemn function at the Invalides to hoar an oration on -Washington and the -American Revolution. The Empire. the Restoration, the Orleanist regime, and still more the-Second-Empire with its unhappy Mexican adventure, cooled the friendly relations between the Governments. But French Republican writers continued La devote much attention to America, and since the establishment of the Third Republic, France and America have been on the best -of terms with each other, as in the-Revolutionary days. Rochambeau'a .soldiers, fighting side by side with the Americans in America,. had made a lasting conquest of their allies. We believe that our gallant troops, fighting beside the -French on French soil as well as in Macedonia, have in the same way established the Entente on an unshakable foundation of mutual liking and goodwill. That, for us, -is. the moral of M. Jusserand's book. Alliances,• to be permanent, must have their roots in human nature. If the individuals competing nations like and respect one another, thenations can safely co-operate andmake enduring agreements. But alliances made by the Governments alone, between races which do not like. or trust one another—such as the Prussians and Austrians, Hungarians, Turks, and Bulgariau.s-are built upon the mind.

One interesting outcome of the Franco-American Alliance which .M. Jusserand recalls with pride was the -planning of the American capital by a French engineer. Washington was empowered byCongress in 1790 to select a territory ten miles square on the Potomac. Ho 'chose as his expert adviser Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant, a versatile Jengineer and. artist, who had arrived in America with the first French -volunteers before Lafayette and .had made it his home after the war. Ile built the Federal Hall in New York, he organized processions, he drew portraits. In the rustic society of the New World he represented the art and culture of old France. He offered his services to Washington. and was given full power to make plans for the future capital and . designs for its thief buildings. His main idea was to plan a city that would be worthy of a great nation. He would build, not the capital of a State with three million people, but the capital to which untold millions might look with pride. At the time, of course, and for many -years after, he was ridiculed for his grandiose schemes. He quarrelled with the Federal authorities because he insisted on carrying out his plans, and actually demolished a house which an obstinate landowner with influential, friends had built on the site of one of his-avenues. But 'though, he lost his post and died in poverty, hia designs. were in the -main adopted, and have been fully justified by time. Washington was long derided as "the city of magnificent distances," or, as Ampere said in 1851, as the city "of streets without houses and houses without 'streets." But L'Enfant's dream has long beenfulfilled, and in -1902 Congress decided, in view of the rapid growth of the Federal capital, to revert to his plan where it had been modified,. and especially to widen the grand avenue between the Capitol and the White Honer which was an integral feature of his original proposal. Never has a prophet been more abundantly justified. The Australians, who have been criticized for planning a great Federal city in the back-blocks at Canberra, may take hertzt from the story of L'Enfant. 'A new capital ,thould be planned on a-grand scale, or not at all.

LAFCADIO HEARN% "INTERPRETATIONS OF LITERATURE." " LAFCADIO HEAlet, in his books the interpreter of the Japanese genial to the Western world, held the Chair of English Literature in the University of Tokyo from 1896 to 1902. It has not been sufficiently recognized that in his classroom for those six years he was the interpreter also of the Western world ta Japan." These first sentences are sufficient apology for the publication, from students' notes, of a course of lecturce upon English literature given to Japanese students by a man who may be said to have belonged almost equally to Europe, Asia, and America. The lecturer had a very modest opinion of his own ability as a literary critic. "I have not," he said, "thescholarship needed for the development and exercise of the critical faculty, ilk the proper sense of the term." He did not—he has left it in writing that he did .not—consider his literature lectures worth printing. He regarded them, however, as good for their purpose. "They are good for the Tokyo University, because they have been adapted, by long experience, to the Japanese student's way of thinking and feeling, and are put in the simplest possible language." Our "ambassador to the mind of the Far East," as his editor calls him, had found out that it in not what the great English writers say but what they take for granted which can hardly be translated into Japanese, not the poetry but the standpoint which it is so difficult to intta in et. For instance, one of his ablest students told him after years of study that the Western attitude towards women was, and would always remain, a complete puzzle to him. Europe worships and ill-treats its wives, and the Japanese cannot understand either its ideal or its deviations from its ideal. Lafcadio Hearn devotes a good many words to the explanation of the Western man's notion of chivalry, and in his explanation shows a loyalty, indeed a devotion, to the ideas of the West which will surprise some of his readers. Be draws the relation between the sexes in very beautiful colours, as apparently he believes it to exist in America and England, and it is a relief to read his words after the very bitter way In which he continually alludes to English education and the relations between parents and children. One would • almost think, when he comments upon the hard youth of many of the early Victorian men Of letters, that parental love was only known in Japan. The upper classes will not, he says, be troubled with their sons after a very early age, hut send them to live amongst strangers, who cruelly crush their individuality and break their childish hearts. He regards Public Schools as much what they were fifty years ago, he does not speak of holidays, and seems to think that these separations of fathers and sons continue often for two years at a time.

But to return to the proper subject of the lectures. Lafcadio Hearn speaks chiefly of the greater and lesser poets belonging to the near past. All the same, we find in the two large volumes before us a chapter upon Shakespeare, another upon the Authorized Version of the Bible, and others upon Sir Thomas Browne, Berkeley, Carlyle, and Meredith. His estimates have ar strange fascination for the reader. They are marvellously simple and lucid, also they arc extraordinarily dogmatic. Ho tokl his students exactly what they were to think and why they were to think it. He analyses the emotional side of the poetry that he quotes with a simplicity which has the effect of originality. He never avoids the obvious, yet he is never commonplace. Take, for instance, what he tells his class about Shelley's " Skylark " :— "The thought of the poet is simply that the happiness of the bird, which cannot think in the same way that a man think', is shown by its song to be superior to any happiness that man can feel. But this simple-happiness of the bird is not necessarily superior in itself. It may be due to the fact that the _memory of such little creatures as birds and insects is too short or too special to allow of their thinking about the troubles of life. Most of our human sorrows are either of memory or of prevision ; and fear of the future can only exist in minds that keep the memory of the past. We are troubled by the prospective only in proportion as we see the retrospective. Except for this fact we might say that Shelley's ;statement about the happiness of the little bird is really true. And he thinks to himself, If a man could only feel the same delight in living that the bird feels—if a maul could only have the same freedom from pain, what happiness it would be I ' " The whole story of Shelley's life Lafcadio Hearn unfolds before Ins hearers—the whole difficult story of his condemnation by English opinion and its sudden voile-face at the time of his death. The reader wonders at the courage which could attempt to put the English point of view—as yet hardly understood by Englishmen themselves—before these more than foreign youths; but it is so well done that, just as in teaching a subject to a young • 'child we often clear our own thoughts in regard to it, so the reader feels that he has been enabled to "see Shelley plain," as his contemporaries saw him. It is interesting to note that the lecturer feels assured that Wordsworth at his beet speaks directly, and intelligently to the Japanese mind. Lafcadio Hearn is not a true Wordsworthian. He speaks of Wordsworth having written an "astonishing quantity of nonsense," and declares that the difference between his worst and his :hest work is so great as to form one of the mysteries of English literature.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways" is, he of course admits, "a bit of world-poetry," and he thinks his students will remember various Japanese poems much resembling it. Any exposition of such a poem can be nothing but the pulling to pieces of a flower ; but lecturers must do these thankless tasks, and Lafcadio Hearn does it well, and moreover the attempt is of interest because it was acceptable to the Japanese mind. The poem, he says,

"reminds us of one of the sad things of existence—namely, that the most beautiful things of life never can be largely known. We think the persons whom we moat love—our fathers, mothers, sisters, eweethearts—better than anybody else's. Jests have been made about this very natural weakness of human nature. But is it really -weakness ? and is it really foolish? I am inclined to think that it is-not. The persons whom we love best are really better to us than -any other human beings could be, and the best side of their souls et nature is shown only to us. No human being is exactly the same to all other human beings. We cannot show the best and kindest side of us without great caution and long experience. In the household all experience exiists for us, and we know that caution is quiteunnecessary;

therefore at home we can be our true selves. This is posaible also in the case of a betrothed maiden and her lover. Elsewhere it is not possible. So it may be said that we can see the best side of human hearts only at home, and there we really do see it, and it is not unreasonable that we should consider those we love superior to all other human beings. They are that for us—though for us only. Everybody, soon or late, comes to feel this, and having felt it, one must also feel a little sad at the thought that the most beautiful hearts and minds which we know can never be known to anybody but ourselves. The consolation is, of course, that everybody has the same experience."

The chapter on Shakespeare, again, contains some wonderfully elucidating sentences and some original theories. Lafcadio Hearn's interpretation of Iago's character in very interesting. "Really Iago's cunning is only the cunning of the primitive man, the pure savage" ;- " The plain truth is," he goes on, "that the very bad persons are difficult to understand, not because they are more clever than the rest of mankind, but because they are less human, less emotionally developed. The difficulty of understanding them is very like the difficulty of understanding the feelings and thoughts of an animal. Wherever there is an Othello, there is always likely to be an Iago ; and Oldhelledwill always be the victim of lago because he cannot understand the existence of a nature so inferior to his own."

It is very noticeable how strictly moral the lecturer is in his point of view, how perpetually it is the moral point of now which strikes him first, how naturally he regards it as the one most worth while. Seeing that this is so, it is remarkable how utterly inadequate is his paper on the Bible. He is moved by Hebrew poetry, or more correctly by its rendering into Elizabethan English, but he gives it nothing like its due place, and puts it emphatically below Shakespeare in greatness, though he admits that no one mind could have produced the Authorized Version of the Old Testament.

As we read we get some insight into the minds of the students who listened so anxiously, and to whose diligence it is doe that these lectures could be reproduced. We find ourselves, however, continually wishing that we could get more. With this in his mind the reader will turn to the lecture on "Short Poems." Here we suppose the Japanese excel. Their language is, Lafcadio Hearn tells thorn, more pliant than ours, better adapted to miniature expression. Ho quotes Goethe's great quatrain beginning " Who ne'er his bread in sorrow ate" as a perfect instance of a short poem, and among English poems he thinks Landor's "I strove with none, for none was worth my strife," is the greatest example of perfection in miniature. We shall produce more such poems, he believes, as our language—still, he thinks, in ita youth—grows older. We hope he may be right. At present it is the second-rate writers who most often attempt this supremely difficult and beautiful form. In his farewell address he tells his students that the only value his lectures can have for them is to help them to make literature in their cum language. The Western must read these words with a certain shock, and will, if he is fair-minded, argue with himself and laugh at himself for having felt it. The natural desire of the Western man to force front the Eastern an acknowledgment of his superiority is neither dignified nor profitable. Lafcadio Hearn knew nothing of suoh a spirit. He lectured solely for the edification of his students, and in so doing sacrificed, to some extent, the literary value of his discourses.