THE Magazines are not striking this month, though, of course, there are good papers scattered here and there. The best, perhaps, are in the Contemporary, where M. Gabriel Monod gives us another of his thoughtful accounts of the progress of
affairs and literature in France, marked, by the way, by a good deal of unconscious chauvinism ; and Mr. H. Dunckley (Verax) defends, in a really remarkable paper, Mr. Gladstone's views on
Egypt. He advocates the policy of centralising Egypt under the protection of Europe, and denies that we have any responsi- bility towards the Egyptians, they being eager to repel all our efforts. He holds that British possession of Egypt would alienate France, and would over-tax resources already-strained, and is, in fact, for evacuation. He does not, however, discuss the essential question of the protection of Egypt against the Mandi, or against insurrection, and throughout assumes that Egypt can, if left to itself, form a is _irking govern-
ment. That is an omission of the main points at issue.
Mr. Herbert Spencer once more repeats his perpetual thesis that democratic Governments have no more right to govern than despotisms, their moral power being limited by the inherent right of the subject to do as he pleases, provided he infringes no right of another. A democracy, for example, may not prohibit the temperate man from taking alcohol in order to
benefit the intemperate. That is true up to a point,—though a majority may be bound to enforce a law it believes to be moral, even if no injury to others results from breaking it,—but Mr. Spencer does not state with whom the definition of " injury" must rest. Clearly, it must rest with the majority, and if it does,
and they consider ignorance dangerous, and eviction disturbing, and alcohol poison, they have a right to make education compul- sory, and to limit freedom of contract for farms, and to prohibit the sale of liquor. Mr. Westall, in "The Proto-Helvetians," tells us all that is known of the earliest Swiss, who lived in huts built out into the lakes, probably for protection from wild beasts, yet gradually acquired many arts, and kept up communication both with the North and the East. Scandinavian gold-work has been found in the lacastrine deposits, and articles of Chinese jade by the score. We confess we incline to the opinion which Mr. Westall doubts, that these latter articles must have been brought by emigrants, but we know little of pre-historic Chinese trade. It may have
extended by the land route to Poland and Germany, as it extends even now to Novogorod. Professor Mahaffy calls the attention of explorers to " TIntrodden Italy "—Calabria, where so few travellers go, and where, he says, some of the oldest ruins in Europe may still be found. He confirms the accounts of the wretched condition of the peasantry, who are worse off
than Irishmen, and are almost driven into brigandage by the middlemen, who hire entire districts of the landlords, and then extract every attainable sou. Mr. James Cabitt sends a most interesting paper on "Wren's Work," in which.he maintains that the great architect was as much fettered as we are by the want of artistic workmen, and met the difficulty by relying on archi- tecture proper for the beauty of buildings, and not the orna- ments placed on buildings :— " Imagine all the detail removed : in Wren's best work there will still be left a beautiful design, while in most modern classic there will only be a shapeless mass of haphazard building. All that people will see in this latter sort of work, some day, will be its shapelessness, plus its unfashionableness. In Wren's masterpieces, on the contrary, the beauty of the main forma is striking enough to overpower the triteness of the minor features. The inner thought, which was the master's own, shines through the too familiar ornaments with which he surrounded it. It is beautiful without counting its style ; it is beautiful even if its style offends us."
Mr. Swinburne sings the praise of Chaucer, not too melodi- ously, in the Nineteenth Century; and Mr. Spencer deals smartly with Mr. Harrison, declaring that Comtism is a retrogressive religion, a revival in its essence of the Pagan worship of dead ancestors. Mr. Spencer, like others, fails to see why "the blameworthy are to be excluded from our conception of humanity," and pours out scorn on the notion of worshipping that very weak entity—modern man,—" a hundred million Pagans masquerading as Christians." Sir Samuel Baker fights once more for his view that part of the Soudan is indispensable to Egypt, and Mr. E. Dicey denounces the Agreement with
France as " a surrender:" He maintains that we must drive back the Mandi, and that to do. that work and then give up
Egypt is "the very climax of extravagance." " We have not lost the courage to figlit, but we have lost the courage to rule." Sir Richard Cross defends the Livery Companies of the City, maintaining that they have done much good work and may do more, especially in furthering the interests of the artisans of London, and substituting benevolence for
hospitality. He is, however, entirely opposed to their disso- lution or any transfer of their property to its ultimate owners, the citizens of London as a whole. Mr. E. Gurney and Mr. F. W. H. Myers publish a further instalment of the strange stories they are collecting, the most remarkable by far being one re- lated by Sir E. Hornby, late Chief Judge of the Consular Court of China and Japan, and a man not only of undoubted truth- fulness, but of strong rough sense. He was accustomed to allow reporters to call at his house for his written judgments :—
" They generally availed themselves of the opportunity, especially one reporter, who was also the editor of an evening paper. He was a peculiar man, reticent about himself, and I imagine had a history. In appearance ho was also peculiar. I only know hum as a rep star, and had no other relat'ous with him. On the day when the event occurred, in 1875 or 187d, I went to my study an hour or two after dinner, and wrote out my judgment. It was then about half-pact eleven. I rang for the butler, gave him the envelope, and told him to give it to the reporter who should call fur it. I was in bed before twelve. I am a very relit sleeper, and my wife a very heavy one. Indeed, it is difficult to rouse her out of her first sleep. The bed—a French one—faced the fireplace ; on the mantelpiece was a clock, and the gas in the chandelier was turned down, but only so low as to admit of my see- ing the time at any time of the night, for—waking easily and fl equeutly—I often smoked a cigarette before I went to sleep again, and always desired to know the hour. I had gone to slerp, when I was awakened by bearing a tap at the study door, but thinking it might be the butler—]coking to see if the fire were safe and the gas turned off—I turned over with the view of getting to sleep again. Before I did “s, I heard a tap at my bedroom door. Still thinking it might be the butler, who might hare something to say, I said, Come in.' The door opened, and, to my surprise, in walked Mr. —. I sat up and said. You have mistaken the door ; but the butler has"the judgmen', so go and get it.' Instead of leaving the room he came to the foot edge of the bed. I said, Mr. —, you forget your- self! Have the goodness to walk out directly. This is rather an abuse of my favour.' He looked deadly pale, b •t was dressed in his usual dress, and was cer- tainly quite sober, and said, I know I am guilty of an unwarrantable iutrus..on, but finding that you were not in your study I have ventured to come hero.' I was losing my temper, but something in the man's in •user disinclined me to jump out of bed to eject him by force. So I said simply, ' This is too bad, really ; pr, ,y leave the room at once.' Instead of doing so, be put one hand on tr e and gently, and as if in pain, rat down on the foot of the bed. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was about twenty minutes past one. I said, ' The butler bas had the judgment since half-past eleven ; go and got it.' He said, Pray for- give me ; if you knew all the circumstances, you would. Time presses. Pray give me a press of your judgment, and I will take a note in my book of it,' drawing his reporter's book out of his breast packet. I said, ' I will do nothing of the kicd. Go downstairs, find the butler, and don't disturb me—you w?l wake my wife ,_- otherwise I shall have to put you out.' Ile slightly moved his hand. I said, ' Who let you in ?' He answered. No one." Confound it,' I said, what the devil do you mean ? Are yua drunk ?' He replied, quietly, No, and never shall be again ; but I pray your lordship give me your decision, for my time is short.' I said, ' You don't seem to care about my time, and this is the last time I will ever allow a reporter in my house.' He stopped me short saying, ' This is the last time I shall ever see you anywhe e.' Well, fearful that this c•mmotion might arouse and frighten my wife, I shortly gave him the gist of my judgment in as few words as I could. He seemed to he taking it down in shorthand ; it might have taken two or three minutes. When I finished, he rose, thanked me for excusing his intrusion and for the consideration I had always shown him and his colleagues, opened the door, and went away. I looked at the clock ; it was on the stroke of half-past one. (Lady Hornby now awoke, thinking she had heard talking and her husband told her what had happened, and repeated the account when dressing next morning.) I went to the emu t a little before ten. The usher came into my room to robe me, when he said, ' A sad thing happened last night, sir. Poor — was found dead in his room.' I said, ' Bless my soul! dear me ! What did he die of, and when ?'—' Well, sir, it appears he went up to his room as usual at ten to work at his pacers. His wife went up-about twelve to a-k him when he would he ready for bed. He said, "I have only the judge's judgment to get ready and than I have finished." As he did not come, she went up again, about a. quarter to one, to his room and peeped in, and thought she saw him writing, but she did not disturb him. At half-past one she again went to him, and spoke lo him at the door. As he did not answer she thought he had fallen asleep, so she went up to rouse him. To her horror I e was d-ad. On the floor was his note-book, which I have brought as ay. She sent for the doctor, who arrived a little after two, and said he had been deed, he concluded, about an hour.' I looked at the note-book. There was the usual heading:—' the Supreme Court, before the Chief Judge. — v. —.—The Chief Judge gave judgment this morning in this cas3 to the following effect '—and then followed a few lines of indecipherable shorthand."
The reporter, it should be added, neither had nor could have left his house. We confess we do not see how Mr. Myers' theory of thought-transference explains that story at all. The reporter never thought of sitting at the foot of Sir E. Hornby's bed.
Sir Julian Goldsmid, in the Fortnightly Review, in very moderate language, but still unmistakeably, denounces the policy of the Government in Egypt. He maintains that we should leave the Soudan entirely alone—the relief of Tokar and the despatch of General Gordon having both been mistakes— and should directly govern Egypt. Otherwise, he contends, nothing will be improved in Egypt, and the country, under colour of government by Europe, will really be replaced under the old dual control. Sir Julian, however, like ourselves, hopes for a better policy only from the Government, being convinced that the Tories are untrustworthy, and that the constituencies intend Mr. Gladstone's govern- ment to continue. Mr. Mallock adds a new contribution to General Gordon's biography in the shape of a summary of a series of letters which the General, convinced that be should not return from Egypt alive, wished to be placed before the world. They show the General to be a deeply convinced mystic, with some strangely materialistic and anthropomorphic ideas. "Hell for him is a veritable abyss of fire ; the New Jerusalem is a veritable city in the heavens ; and the Jerusalem on the earth is a spot so sacred, that the configuration of the ground it stands upon hi a hieroglyphic designed by God. Over that spot, in a special way, the glory of God is still hovering in the firmament ; Christ, with human eye, still looks down on the place of his crucifixion ; and whenever the sacrament of the altar is celebrated, an angel descends from above with a drop of the
blessed blood, and mixes it with the bread and wine." " When the number of the elect is made perfect, General Gordon believes that a spiritual city—that is, a city which is material,
but whose material substance is purified—will descend to earth, from its present position above the firmament, and occupy the spot on which Jerusalem now stands ; that the sea will disap- pear into the centre of the earth, and with the sea the devil, incarnate in a material form. Meanwhile the river which once flowed in Eden, but which is now above the firmament, will rain its waters downward to the earth perennially, and that from it will flow a terrestrial stream, which will encircle the earth with a girdle of living waters." Mr. Mallock says it is impossible to describe the intensity with which General Gordon believes all this to be true. The Duke of Marlborough contributes an odd paper to the Review, called " On the Cross Benches," about the position and functions of the House of Lords. His idea appears to be that the House should be let alone as a reserve force against the excesses of Democracy, but that, as between the parties, it should be strictly impartial, taking up something of the position of the American Supreme Court, and defending the Constitution. That would not be unwise advice if the Constitution were settled; but then it is not settled, and probably never will be, each generation making some movement which the House of Lords, as a rule, determinedly resists. The notion that the House usually re- presents the opinion of the " unallied battalions," that is, of the electors who are neither Tory nor Liberal, is a pure fantasy. Mr. Bowles' ideas about "newspapers " are neither new nor very interesting ; but it is curious to hear him repeating Mr. Cobden's opinion that the successful newspaper of the future will be de- voted entirely to the collection of news, leaving opinions to be formed by publications of a different class, whose writers have more time to think. We see little evidence of the coming of such papers, though we agree with Mr. Bowles that, of late years, the collection of news has been somewhat neglected. Mach happens in the world, much of importance, we mean, which is not recorded in any newspaper.
There is nothing to read in the National Review, unless it be " England's Foreign Policy," by " A Foreigner," who holds the absurd notion that England's very " life " is dependant upon the possession of India ; and a paper on the House of Lords, by a writer who gravely maintains that Mr. Gladstone's object in passing the Franchise Bill alone is to hold a general election, with the present electoral districts flooded with the new electors. He holds the House of Lords is bound to defeat that fraud, and thinks the English people will support them. Well, we shall see.
Among the lesser magazines, the only paper we have found this month of distinct interest is the conclusion of Mr. H. James's short story, in the English Illustrated Magazine,. the "Author of Beltraffio." We do not pretend to understand its object, and doubt if the author has any ; bat, nevertheless, the account of the woman who out of very goodness lets her- child die, rather than it shall in the future be injured by his father's views, has a strong fascination. No such woman ever existed, and yet as you read she seems so probable. The readers of this magazine will study with pleasure the miniatures by Cooper, especially the very striking one of Charles II., in which the evil side of the urbane Stuart comes out with startling force. The face, too, of the Duke of Monmouth as a child is note- worthy. There is a plebeian as well as a feminine character in it which disappears in the later portraits, the boy clearly having remained up to a certain age a true "mother's child."
Macmillan, too, has a cynically clever paper in the form of a dialogue on "The Consolations of Pessimism," by "H. D. T., the object of which is apparently to prove that the pessimist, who holds that life cannot be happy, need not be either Whig or Tory ; but may regard his own opinions, whatever they are, as subject to the general forces driving on the world. That is, Mr. Train will observe, rather necessitarianism than pessimism, as is also his theory that some hardier race will take the sceptre from us, yet that the catastrophe will be for the good of the world ; but in reading the paper no one will think much of its philosophy in enjoyment of its trenchant satire. One is not nourished by intellectual olives ; but they are pleasant after dinner. " M. A. W." sends a finely-written review of " Renan's New Volume," appreciative, but with a keen perception of M. Renan's occasional smallness ; but we can only quote this singular prophecy by Frederic Amiel, the Genevese Renan, 'who is so profoundly different from the French one. He says : —"A narrow creed has much more energy than an enlightened creed ; the world belongs rather to will than to wisdom. It is not then altogether certain that liberty will triumph over fanaticism ; and, if it were, independent thought will never have the force of prejudice. The solution perhaps will be found in :a
division of labour. After those whose business it is to disengage the ideal of a free and pure faith, will come the men of violence, who will open a path for it within the circle of recognised things, prejudices, and institutions." That may well be; but what a tyranny conquering Free Thought will be, at least for a time.