5 MAY 1866, Page 20


THE Magazines present nothing this month of any remarkable in- terest. The most notable single paper perhaps is the new version of the " Fairy Tale" of the Sleeping Beauty, offered, it is said, by Miss Thackeray. A beautiful girl trained in a ruined house to feed on formalisms, to " divide her time " and perform her duties as duties are interpreted by the dull, wakes at the accidental kiss of a cousin into life and movement. At least that is the idea, for' the author has done little more than suggest it, leaving all the steps of the process to the writer's imagination—a pity, when the power of analyzing emotions, and especially women's emotions, exists in so high a degree. We trust the idea thus started will be worked out, and that we may have a series of Fairy Tales for grown-up people, as soft and as piquant as the story of Elizabeth. There is little else in the Cornhill; but " Armadale," we are happy to see, draws to a close, and the " Claverings " alone is well worth its cost. The story promises to be among the best Mr. Trollope has ever written.

Fraser is full of variety, but it never has a really first-rate story, and the papers this month are somewhat wanting in exhaustiveness. The theological paper on " Prayer in Connection with Certain Public Calamities " is, for Fraser, strangely orthodox in tone, stuffed full of illustrations from the Old Testament, and preceded by a distinct assertion that " Law is nothing but the expression of the Divine Will, and He who framed the Law greater than it," which seems to reduce the government of the world to an arbitrary volition. Upon that basis it is as impossible to argue as to build on water, for if the Deity is not bound by the essential laws of His being, if, for instance, He can make a lie right as well as forgive it, or annul the past, or make the same substance be in two places at once, the mind has no more power of reasoning than a dumb man of oratory. There is no foothold either in morals, or spiritual things, or physics, and man is reduced to apply his intellect to a careful study of phenomena which on that assumption may be illusory, and compel his soul to a blind obedience to a will which, on this writer's showing, is not necessarily good or just. With this limitless "faith," however, as he would describe it, the writer unites a singular view of prayer, holding that while God can suspend a law, just as a " man by holding a stone in his hand thwarts for a season the natural opera- tion of the law of gravitation," He very seldom does it, and conse- quently we ought to wait patiently for the cattle plague to pass away, and not pray for it, an idea which, if carried to its logical extent, simply changesthe personal and living Ruler with whom every man can, if he will, commune, into an inexorable though sentient Fate. Why wait, if by commune with the Father we can change not indeed His will, but the misery the operation of that will seems to us to be inflicting upon ourselves or others? The paper on "The Priest in the School and as Professional Man" is a little thin, while that on "The Officers of European Armies" wants space. The writer has an idea, which is that we should add to our present examina- tions another in the actual duties of an officer, which would of course require a probation of two or three years ; but he seems to us, like most writers on armies, to forget one point. It is possible to make officering a very unpopular profession, which the upper and middle classes will not enter, and thereby to throw the Army utterly out of rapport with English society. This, he himself admits, would be a great evil, but it is one which, if the English officer were made to do his own work and that of the non-commissioned officer too, would almost inevitably occur. We do not want the British Army turned into a military caste, with a separate life of its own, and this cardinal truth must be remembered by the reformers who are so eager to change it into a perfect and highly instructed machine. The extremely temperate and careful paper on " Our Commons and Open Spaces" contains a clear resume of a law very difficult to understand, but of great interest to Londoners, the 38,000 acres which still, remain uuiuclosed being daily threatened. The different rights of lords of the manor and commoners to unin- closed land are thus described :- " The fact is that, in the view of the Inclosure Commissioners, the rights of the lord are in general sufficiently compensated by as allot- meat to him of no more than one-fifteenth or one-twelfth part of the land inclosed, the remainder being apportioned among the commoners. This is according to the general practice, though a few exceptional cases have occurred in which, for special reasons, the lord has had a larger proportion. In a recent case, where a railway company purchased part of Barnes Common, and paid the purchase-money into the Court of Chancery, the Vice-Chancellor, Sir William Page Wood, distributed it among the lord and commoners by giving one-twelfth to the lord and eleven-twelfths to the commoners. The justness of the view on which the Inclosure Commissioners have so long proceeded has therefore been substantially confirmed by one of our most eminent judges. This method of apportionment makes an inclosure under the Acts more valuable to the commoners than to the lord. The latter may also have another reason for not wishing an inclosure to be made when the waste land is in a populous district ; for he may have lands of his own surrounding the common, the value of which, for building purposes, may be made greater by the common being kept open. But the lord has an absolute veto on inclosure, and the commoners without his concurrence 'N can do nothing."

The lords, however, availing themselves of the old Statute of Merton, hold that they are at liberty to seize commons when they cease to be used for pasture, and most of the commons have been attacked under this statute. The attack is not, however, legal, and whenever the commoners have the spirit to resist, either by destroying the fences or trying the legal point, the judgment of the Court has gone in their favour. According to the writer, Lord Spencer is the greatest offender near London, he being Lord of Wimbledon, Wandsworth, and partly also of Clapham, whose com- moners, however, are much too wealthy to be safely attacked. It is to be regretted that the question should not be set at rest by vesting the right of veto possessed by the lord of the manor in the Crown, giving him the compensation given by the Inclosure Commissioners, and so preserving the commons to the inhabitants for ever.

The beat paper in Macmillan by far, despite its ill-omened title is " Cant and Counter-Cant," the plea of a Sadducee to his brethren to adhere to their principles a little more closely. They are becoming propagandists, and will come to grief. It is their business to let the world drift, eating the fat and sleeping on the soft, not angrily to denounce the efforts made by other men. Why, supposing Sadduceeism a creed, should we denounce the work of other men, rail at the missionary, sneer at the philan- thropist, or murder the abolitionist?— "Now against the system of warfare against Cant, of which the above may be taken as a fair example, I feel bound to raise my protest in behalf of the Sadducean order. If once we leave our high vantage- gthund of impartiality and descend into the arena of discussion, we place ourselves in a false position. After all, we cannot expect the mass of mankind to belong to our fraternity. Unlike Freemasonry, our craft is virtually confined to one section of the community. The true Saddncee must be a man of culture and leisure and refinement : a man not engaged in a hard struggle for the necessaries of existence, but able always to enjoy its luxuries in moderation. Nor would it be desirable, even if it were possible, that the number of Zadoc's disciples should be more than a small minority of the whole community. With all our respect for drones, we ought still to recognize the fact, that it is well for every- body, even for ourselves, that for one drone there should be a hundred of working bees. This consideration ought to convince us of the im- policy of our present crusade against Cant. This whole outcry against Cant seems to me entirely antagonistic to the true spirit of our order. It is our mission to be Iconoclasts, not to be founders of new faiths. And, superstition for superstition, I am not sure I do not prefer Cant to Counter-Cant. There is something so ineffably silly about all our fashionable outcry against humanitarianism and philanthropy. Practical experience of the world has shown us, as it has shown any one who has sense enough to use his powers of obser- vation, that actual hypocrisy is one of the rarest of vices. Nobody, at any rate, is a hypocrite without strong personal motives ; and no man, who is not a fool, can suggest any motive which induces the philanthro- pists we deride to play the part of Tartuffe. It is not a pleasant thing to go amongst the poor and wretched. To labour among savages ; to try and set wrong right ; to protest against abuses ; to perform any one of the hundred duties undertaken by men addicted to philanthropy is not an agreeable occupation. To walk by on the other side is always infinitely more agreeable than to help a man who has fallen amongst thieves, at the risk of being attacked by robbers, with the certainty of having to stain your hands with blood, and with the possibility of having the object of your charity thrown upon your care afterwards. It is, I repeat, more agreeable, and therefore we of the Sadducean creed, con- sistently with our principles, invariably adopt the part of the Levite, not of the Samaritan. But to say that the Samaritan simply performed his action in the vain hope of exciting our admiration, or because his mind was so constituted that the duty of tending a sick man was actually a pleasure to him, or because, more likely still, he hoped to get paid for the job, is downright folly. Suct cuique voluptas, as one of our great poets wrote ; and if other men find a pleasure we do not in doing their duty to their neighbour, why should we grudge them the enjoy- ment 1"

It is of course quite proper to do nothing, and get all the enjoy- ment we can, and leave the miserable in their misery and the *etched in their degradation, but why stop people who are not Sadducees from living themselves out if they like ? Is it that their toil is a reproach, or is it that the voluptuary, whether his pleasures be intellectual or physical, is always cruel at the core? There can, we fear, be no Sadduceeism without selfishness, and selfishness is only cruelty asleep.

Blackwood has nothing very remarkable this month, unless it be a paper on negroes which reads as if it had been published during the height of the first slavery controversy, and is full of assertions such as that mulattoes are mules, who in the fourth generation cease to propagate, that abolitionists hold themselves wiser than the Almighty, and that their only possible position in the world is that of workmen for white benefit:—

"It is no more possible, by means of education, to confer upon the negro the mental vigour of the white man, than it is, by means of educa- tion, to elevate the white man into angelic perfection. Nature, which fixed the limits of the white man's mind, fixed those also of the black ; and no training, no example, can cultivate the lower animal into the higher. It is true that to a certain extent the negro can be improved by admixture of blood with the white race. The mulatto is generally more intelligent than the full-blooded negro, and the quadroon and octo- roon make still further advances in the scale or humanity; but even this intermixture of blood can only be carried to a definable limit. Nature is inexorable in punishing infractions of her laws. The white and the black may intermarry, but the decree of ultimate barrenness is the penalty pronounced upon the hybrid race—a penalty that is certain to be exacted in the fourth generation. After that time the unnatural plant dies out, and nature vindicates her own intention to suffer no permanent amalgamation. As a pure black the negro may live and multiply, but not otherwise."

Very good; we admit all that. Consequently the white man who

intermarries with negroes produces a sterile race. Consequently there is a permanent barrier between him and the negro. Conse- quently the white man ought to be made a slave. Why is not that line of argument to be as applicable to one race as the other? There is no need of answer nowadays to such allegations, but we would just remark that even now the great Tory magazine delibe- rately upholds the massacres in Jamaica as " technically illegal

perhaps in the case of Gordon, but in their general results highly beneficial to blacks and whites." The political .article is a mere rifacimeto of the speeches against the Reform Bill, though the

writer produces one new argument. He says he is willing to see a few working men in the House of Commons, but that they could not enter without a Bill giving to members of Parliament a sufficient maintenance. Why not ? What stops a constituency from paying its representative just as Dissenting ministers are paid ? We do not want to see any such practice introduced, thinking it much more honourable, if a workman ever enters Par- liament—a most unlikely contingency—that he should live as he did before he entered it, but the obstacle as stated simply does not exist. Any constituency can pay its representative now if it chooses, and his election expenses besides, and there is not the smallest necessity for a tax.