THE larger Magazines are not at their best this month, no one of them containing any article of first-rate importance, and many of them publishing papers which do not fulfil the first law of magazine articles,—that they be readable. The Contem- porary begins with the first part of a monograph on Luther, by Mr. Fronde, almost brutally uncompromising in its state- ments, and so far without any novel interest. Mr. Fronde gives with extreme brevity the life of Luther up to his publication of the translation of the New.Testament into German, the turning- point of the Reformation. Mr. Fronde makes few reflections, his object being as yet to describe rather the life than the inner self of his subject, who in his pages is only a brave and opinionated monk, convinced that the Scripture is above the Papacy. We have also the beginning of a study of the four chief Apostles, Peter, Paul, James, and John, by Professor Godet, of which we have nothing to say till its object becomes a little more clear; and an argument from Cardinal Manning as to the necessity of the idea of God as the basis of any Common- wealth, which will not, we fear, convince sceptics. The Cardinal holds that the Commonwealth springs from the family, and as- sumes that the family comes from God, and that an Agnostic Parliament might abolish laws which he holds essential to civilisa- tion. His description of these laws shows a lack of the sense of proportion, as he places laws preventing divorce, laws prohibit- ing incestuous marriages, and laws protecting Sunday, Good Friday, and Christmas Day all on the same 'level. To the majority even of pious Protestants there is an element of bathos in eloquence of this kind :—" Why should not a Parlia- ment which has ceased to call God to witness to its fidelity, not only to an earthly Crown but to a Divine Lawgiver, abolish its chaplain, and cease to take its seat at prayers ? Why not hold morning sittings on Sunday, and general elections on Sunday, and throw open not museums only, but theatres on Sunday? Why not legalise all labour and traffic, thereby adding a seventh of time and gain, as political economists have argued, to the national wealth ? Why should it not abolish all laws against blasphemy ?" The fact that the Greek and Roman laws punished blasphemy with death is no more proof of the righteousness of such laws, than the fact that Rome ordered divine honours to be paid to Ctesar is proof of Ca3sar's claim t3 worship. The Cardinal, if he wishes to convince, must either produce a Christian precept ordering us to punish blasphemy, or a proof of the necessity and utility of the law. Modern legislation is not evil simply because it is without precedent. Where is the precedent to justify a legal equality of creeds ? The sketch of Count Rumford, the 'American savant who reformed pauperism in Bavaria and founded the Royal Society in England, by Professor Tyndall, is bright ; but contains little that is novel, unless it be the suggestion, which is, we think, true, that Rumford was impelled in some of his schemes as much by the love of exercising his unusual power of administration as by philanthropy. He certainly believed strongly in de- spotic, though not in cruel cures for the misery of human life, and had discovered the well-known truth that human beings, however low or wretched, if forced to labour in association, will always earn their keep and a profit. Count Rumford's extra- ordinary misery from his marriage with Madame Lavoisier, an able, amiable, and wealthy woman, is not explained by Pro- fessor Tyndall, who only quotes the Count's declarations that she was an "unfeeling, cunning, and tyrannical woman." Even his daughter di not believe this, and thought the match would have been excellent, if only they could have agreed. Madame Lavoisier was probably a woman with a passion for independ- ence in details, which the Count, a born despot, could not endure. Mrs. Oliphant protests once more against the irreverence of biographers for the dead, and Miss Ellice Hopkins, in "Social Wreckage," pleads for national remedies for over- crowding, pauperism—through more individual dealing with the poor on the Elberfeld plan—and the neglect of pauper children, who ought to be compelled to emigrate on the Liverpool scheme. Ordinary readers will, we fear, pass on with relief from both articles to M. Gabriel Monod's admirable sketch of recent events and literature in France, as full as ever of white-light. The pro- prietors-of the Contemporary have also introduced a monthly review of new literature, by qualified persons, which may attratt, though we are not sure it will. The plan has not been a success in the Westnzinster Review, where it has often been carried out with singular ability and exhausliveness.
The Fortnightly opens with a strong article upon the future of Radicalism, which is defined as "the general opinion of the more advanced section of the Liberal party for the time being," to the exclusion of fantastic or impracticable crotchetteers. The writer insists upon the word "general," maintaining that the whole people is not only more entitled to govern itself than any class, but is better able to do it,—a proposition which logically involves not only "universal suffrage," but universal suffrage of both sexes. The essayist looks to Mr. Chamberlain as the Radical leader, and maintains that he will prevail ; that Parliament will become more representative, and be filled with men more like Mr. Illingworth, Mr. Jesse Collings, Mr. Burt, and Mr. Broadhurst; and that the Radicals will become the dominant, if not the sole, factor in the Liberal Party. He suggests no programme for them, but only observes that they will rather ignore or equalise differences of religion than attack religion, and that they will fight, when- ever the majorities in the constituencies perceive the obligation. The article is worth reading as a description, by an unexcited mind, of many visible phenomena; but we do not think it will make any deep impression, any more than another, by the Marquis of Blandford, on "The Limits of English Revolution." His theory, roughly stated, is only that England is too rich to endure attacks on property, which would be more conclusive if the people, as in France, were the property-holders. The two articles on Egypt, one on "Non-Political Control," and one on "The International Position of the Suez Canal," are both too technical, though in the latter we note that the writer, Mr. T. E. Holland, Professor of International Law at Oxford, main- tains that the Canal is legally an arm of the sea, though, like the Dardanelles and the Solent, it runs between coasts both of which are owned by the same Power, the artificial character of the channel having no international bearing. Bishop Words- worth's autobiography is full of reminiscences, sometimes of men who are now almost totally forgotten. Take this sketch, for example, of Mr. James Hope, afterwards Hope-Scott, of Abbotsford, of whom the Bishop says, had be been ambitious, and had he not,—
" Early in life, under Newman's influence, joined the Church of Rome, I should have been prepared to predict, with scarcely less confidence, the same of him—viz., that he would one day prove a brilliant Prime Minister like Gladstone, and, in some respects, a more popular one. But, unlike Gladstone, Hope was singularly unambi- tious—a testimony which I remember to have seen strikingly con- firmed by Newman, in the sermon which he preached upon his character after his funeral. His great abilitieP, both as a pleader and otherwise, were well known itt the Parliamentary Bar, where, without being luxurious or extravagant in any way, or unduly fond of money, it satisfied him—and he was not displeased—to realise an income supposed to be not less than 020,000 a year, much of which, I have reason to believe, was charitably and munificently spent. The then Bishop of Exeter (Philpotts) had such an opinion of Hope, though he must have been some thirty or forty years his junior, that when he (the Bishop) was in London, he used frequently to come and take a quiet luncheon with him on Sundays, in order to pick his brains upon points of ecclesiastical law. And his speech, afterwards pub- lished, in defence of cathedrals, upon a Bill then before the Com- mittee of the House of Lords, made such an impression, that, when he sat down, Lord Brougham was overheard to mutter, That young man's fortune is made!' "
Dr. Wordsworth affirms that Mr. Gladstone's father, while most cordial with his son ,and fully aCknosvled ging his abilities, thought him wanting in stability, an opinion in which Dr. Wordsworth sub- sequently heartily concurred. He adds the extraordinary opinion that Mr. Gladstone's departure from Tory principles was due to the fascination of Sir R. Peel's administrative ability and succ,es- ful management of the House of Commons. Does the Bishop. mean that Sir R.• Peel became a Liberal ? None of the remaining articles interest us at all, and Mr. Train's imaginary conversation between Plato and Lander is decidedly below his usual level. Plato has nothing to say, and Landor only denounces modern Helleuics as being artificially sad, and totally without the "simplicity, repose, and reserve" which were the notes of Hellenic art. Landor despises all that he sees around him, and hopes only in the English Democracy, and that only because it is a bundle of contradictory qualities and essentially Conservative. How,. then, asks Plato, does your State subsist ?—
" Lex. By the grace of the gods. The English democracy is the most remarkable in the world. It is at once the strongest and the weakest, the fiercest and the tamest, the least instructed in the learn- ing of books, and the most highly trained in the discipline of life.. None was ever so studious of liberty yet so submissive to control; none so angrily intolerant of remediable hardships and yet so sanely and so nobly patient under those which nature has imposed.
PIA. To what is this happy balance of their tendencies to be referred ?
LAN. I know not. I know only that it exists, and that the un- broken tranquillity of our country attests it."
There is surely not much light, there. It is only the old cry,.
that "Allis bad, but we get on," which will add no strength or perception to any human brain.
Nor have we found much to interest us in the National Review, which is this month distinctly snippety. We see no- wit in the rather vulgar travesty of Liberal ideas called "A Stroll with Corkhouse," by "Lord Sangfroid," and not much reason in Mr. H. H. Gibbs's argument that bimetallism would correct the appreciation of gold which Mr. Goschen describes.. Of course it would, if law could make gold and silver of steady,.
proportionate value ; but then, law cannot. Mr. Gibbs might as well try to make coal and corn exchangeable at a fixed rate- He says Mr. Jevons proposed to issue one-pound notes to correct the appreciation, and asks why silver would not do as well ; but the notes would be limited in quantity, and exchange- able for gold, therefore, at par. Silver would not. We have always admitted that if silver were made a Govern- ment monopoly by international treaty, its value could be fixed, because its production could be limited ; but short of - that extreme measure, nothing in the power of legislatures could make the price of the two metals keep step, and if they did not keep step, one would oust the other. How much has the remonetization of "the dollar of our fathers" done for Ameri- can currency ? There are two grave political articles, in one of which Mr. Kebbel argues that the middle-class, though Liberal,
has Conservative interests, and in the other Mr. Percy Greg pre- dicts Conservatism for the working-man. With the former we
do not care to argue, as the middle classes no longer rule, but to. the latter we have a word to say. Mr. Percy Greg thinks the Tories protect property, enforce order, defend liberty, and fight for the honour of England, and that the working-classes are in favour of those things being done. Therefore the working-men will ultimately vote for Tories. That is a perfect syllogism,. provided the Liberals will not protect property, enforce order, defend liberty, and fight for the honour of England ; but where is the proof of that Mr. Greg says the workmen want these things, and if they want them, why should not Liberals give them ? We should have said, and we think Mr. Greg would say, that the grand weakness of English Liberals was an over- readiness to respond to demands from below, and that in stating the desires of the majority, the Liberal course would be stated also. If that is so, what becomes of Mr. Greg's prophecy ?
The Nineteenth Century opens with an attack on British domination in India, by Mr. J. Seymour Keay, called "The- Spoliation of India," which assuredly does not err from a desire- to utter smooth things. The writer declares that, exclusive of the rank and file of the Army, there are 25,402 Europeans hold- ing Government posts in India, and drawing 212,776,573 a year-
from the country, besides 24,006,000 drawn by non-residents. Mr. Seymour Keay alleges that India is getting poorer, that our-
taxation is merciless and cruel, that the people are underfed,. and that in no long time hunger will produce a catastrophe such as the world has rarely seen. He describes the salt-tax, the only tax paid by the Indian poor, as a fearful oppression, and the Abkaree duties as demoralising agencies. It is quite right that the other side of our domination in India should be seen, but exaggerations of thin kind do no good. Mr. Keay should study the account of the silver import of India, that is,
of the increase of wealth caused solely by the order which we
maintain. Lord Cowper continues his paper on the Whigs, but we do not see that it comes to much, except that the Whigs are nearer to the Radicals than to the Tories, that the extreme men talk, while the moderate men are silent, and that the Whigs will not be attracted by the present Tory leaders,—three un- deniable propositions. Politicians are more interested to know whether the leading 'Whigs apprehend a point of progress at which they must quit the Radicals, and whether they really believe that they have any army behind them. Earl Cowper asserts strongly that the Radicals cannot do without the Whigs, but he does not prove his case, which, in our judgment, is only true if he assumes an unreformed House of Lords always to be a co-ordinate portion of the Legislature. That is a very great assumption. Major-General the Hon: W. Feilding advocates Australia as the best place for emigration, particularly for young men with capital, but adds little to current information on the subject; and Mr. Coutts Trotter defends the annexation of New Guinea, though in a temperate manner, and with evident doubts whether the acquisition would be immediately profitable. He, however, minimises the expense, by a de- claration, which we think unreasonable, that England need only extend its government in the island gradually as neces- sity arose. Does Mr. Trotter think the pioneers will rest content without government, or that the island once British, they will abstain from settling ? Mr. A. M. Sullivan argues that the removal of Irishmen from Ireland is no cure for Irish disaffection, the reduction in the population having been accompanied with an increase of bitterness and a distinct decline in the wealth of the country, which, he maintains, is in no way increased by the substitution of grazing for tillage. He writes temperately and eloquently, but with the under- lying feeling of Irishmen that justice is not to be expected from the English, and that the American-Irish will ulti- mately enfranchise their countrymen by subscriptions. He does not explain why, if that is so, the Irish at home do not subscribe, so as to dispense with aid from abroad ; but his paper is worth reading, if only for the sense of despair it excites. If a man like Mr. A. M. Sullivan writes, under the emotion of hatred 'visible in every line of this paper, what hope is there ? Separa- tion clearly is no remedy, for the Irish-Americans are separated, have no grievances, and are rather possessed by hate than
merely feel it. By far the best paper in the Nineteenth Century is Dr. Jessopp's history of "The Coming of the Friars," an essay brimful of compressed knowledge, and as interesting as any -chapter in Macaulay or Green. He agrees in the main with
Macaulay that the mendicant friars reconquered for Rome the dominion which the parochial clergy and the monks had lost.
They were the " evangelieers of the English towns for 300 years," growing, of course, like all conquerors, in the end corrupt.
The cheaper Magazines carry off the palm this month. We noticed the new sixpenny Cornhill last week, and Longman's
'has at least three admirable papers. Nothing can be better than Mr. Hardy's account of "The Dorsetshire Labourers," who, he maintains, are as diverse as the members of any other class ; Bret Harte's new story, "In the Carquinez Woods," is, at least, original; and, in its way, we have rarely read anything so good as Mr. Stevenson's "Across the Plains," an account of a trip with emigrants through the States. If Defoe's humour had been drier still, he would have written very like Mr.
Stevenson, who realises to his readers an emigrant's miseries as if they had emigrated themselves. We can, however, quote only this most characteristic paragraph :—
" I must tell here an experience of mine with another newsboy. I tell it because it gives so good an example of that uncivil kindness of the American, which is, perhaps, their most bewildering character to one newly landed. It was immediately after I bad left the emigrant train; - and I am told I looked like a man at death's door, so much had this long journey shaken me. I sat at the end of a car; and the catch being broken' and myself feverish and sick, I bad to hold the door open with my foot for the sake of air. In this attitude my leg debarred the newsboy from his box of merchandise. I made haste to let him pass when I observed that he was coming ; but I was busy with a book, and so once or twice he came upon me unawares. On these occasions he most rudely struck my foot aside ; and though I myself apologised, as if to show him the way, he answered me never a word. I chafed furiously, and r fear the next time it would have come to words. But suddenly I felt a touch upon eny shoulder, and a large juicy pear was put into my hand. It was the newsboy, who had observed that I was looking ill, and so made me this present out of a tender heart. For the rest of the journey I was petted like a sick child; he lent me newspapers, thus depriving him- self of his legitimate profit on their sale, and came repeatedly to sit by me and cheer me up."
"Fortune's Fool," Mr. j. Hawthorne's novel, is at last
resumed in Macmillan; but we confess we have so much diffi- culty in remembering the former chapters. the first one excepted, that we can hardly piece the bits together. "The Wizard's Son" grows more interesting than ever, as the supernatural element influences the story more directly ; and Mr. Fawcett sends a coldly thoughtful criticism of modern schemes of State Socialism. He is, we think, too pessimist in his view of all schemes for rehousing the people, though it is true that any plan of construction supported by the State might kill the Building Societies, now so wonderfully successful. Could not the need which Mr. Fawcett fully admits be met through the agency of those very societies, assisted by loans, and by a grant of heavy interest for their deposits,—perhaps the only "aid" which really helps without demoralising ? The criticism of M. Renan's " Autobiography " is full of a faintly smiling humour, which M. Renau would appreciate, and which, panoplied as he is in gentle self-esteem, would, if he read it, reach the skin.