SOME PAPERS IN THE MAGAZINES.
Blackwood becomes terribly injudicious. A stinging political article, pessimist in tone, and full of pungent personalities which make us laugh, while the unbounded credulity of the writer in Conservative spotlessness and Liberal sins makes us smile, is due to its party, and harmlessly pleasant to the public—a sort of literary peppermint lozenge—but the leavening of the whole lump is a mistake. That "The Second Gladstone Administration" should be a frantic parade of that curious passion of mingled hate and fear that vainly tries to drape itself in a pretence of scorn, to which we drew attention some time ago as a powerful witness to the Premier's greatness, is in the fitness of things ; but sudden squeals of political spite, rising shrilly from unexpected places— among peaceful climbers of the great Scheidegg, and in the midst of a patronising introduction of " Our Coming Guest," the Shah—are discordant, bad taste, bad style. Mr. Gladstone is to Blackwood what King Charles's head was to Mr. Dick in David Copperfield, and Mr. Dick became the bore of the book. "A True Reformer," that curious, interesting, dry, insinuating treatise, pretending to be a novel, and so catching readers with a dread of treatises—that novel with a many-sided meaning which catches readers who acorn novels—is ended. The three concluding chapters are an epitome of all its oddities,—its sadness, its acquiescence in the shiftingness and fragmentariness of human lives, its matter-of-fact essayism, its packing of facts in a small compass like a soldier's kit, its real pathos. The death of the misunderstood wife, for whom the husband's intellect, his absorption in its exercise, his prosperity, have been too much, is beautifully told. The unconsciously last words, when the Secretary of State comes to bid the invalid, who is soon to be better, good-bye, before he goes down to the House, to speak in the debate upon the state of the Army, are these :—" ' Mary has promised,' she whispered, to read me the speeches to-morrow.'
That will be famous,' said I, gaily ; better than any of Dr.
Adams's composing draughts.' Don't begin to laugh at me, again, Charlie,' said Eva, patting my cheek gently, as I bent over her pillow, and smiling faintly, yet with a tear glistening in her eye, don't begin to laugh again at me, or I shall never want to get well at all. You know I'm a foolish little thing, but we can't be different from what we are, can we ?'" The point of that question ! the pathos of that " again !" The True Reformer goes away to set the world right, in which he understands every mortal thing, except the burthen of the timid, humble, jealous heart that was nearest to his own. A very clever essay on " Amateur Theology," apropos of Mr. Matthew Arnold, in which there is a singularly happy blending of the seriousness due to the subject with satirical humour, is the best paper.
Macmillan offers, among other good things, a very useful novelty, in "The Traveller's Calendar," a composition which implies much labour and care, and which seems to put the finishing-touch to modern facilities and luxuries of travel ; telling one what is the special spectacle or fête for every day in the year, in every country in Europe. This ought to be separately published, pocket-book size, for actual tourists who cannot carry magazines about with them. Mr. Routledge contributes a second paper on " Our Present Position and Probable Future in India," which is even more interesting and instructive than the first. We hope the attention of the public will be specially attracted to the writer's plain and reason- able statement of the hardship which by the present rules for the passing of competitive examinations is inflicted upon the Hindoos, especially by the recent reduction of the maximum limit of age, without any reason being assigned. It is desperately difficult to awaken interest in Indian subjects and arouse public opinion, but these papers, it seems to us, might do it. Mr. Black's serial story, " A Princess of Thule," is one of the very few serials which can bear to be read in bits, because it gratifies taste, and has not, up to this point, excited curiosity. But there are signs of change.
Shiela has evidently married the wrong man. Is the weather really always so awful in "Thule "? We don't remember a fine day since Mr. Black piloted us into Stornaway harbour. The -oddest thing is that the people there seem to like the weather, and he evidently does, or he would not have made the bride skurry through the driving rain on board a wet steamer. So very unbecoming, you know ! Dean Stanley's translation of the " Veni, Sancte Spiritus," or hymn for Whit- suntide, is prefaced by this not very clear statement :—" In the accompanying translation the attempt has been made, while pre- serving as far as possible a verbal and rhythmical likeness to the original, to bring out the deeper meaning which belongs to the words when considered as describing the purely spiritual aspect of Christianity." The verbal and rhythmical likeness is preserved, up to a certain point, no more and no less than in the ordinary translation of the beautiful Latin hymn ; but what is the " deeper meaning," what is the " purely spiritual aspect," extracted by Dean Stanley from an invocation of the Holy Ghost ? The com- poser of the hymn (King Robert the Pious, it is said,) addressed the whole of it to the Holy Spirit, as unmistakably as he embodied the sacramental system of the Catholic Church in the concluding verse, which Dean Stanley somewhat etherealises. He is more successful with his "Hymn on the Accession; for National Bless- ings, an Accommodation of Milton's Version of the 136th Psalm." A most amusing paper on Vermont leads us to believe that the very tall-talkingest place in the world, including the United States, must be that green borne of the agricultural Yankee.
There are two gems in the Cornhill, and we think the same hand has cut, polished, and set them. One is the conclusion of the story called " Willows," the other is a paper entitled " In Friend- ship," exceedingly beautiful, wise, tender, and profound. Every one will thank the writer for this essay, which she has written "thinking that not the least lesson in life is surely that of human sympathy, and that to be a good friend is one of the secrets that comprise most others." Two contrasted papers on " Our Civilisa- tion "—one full of hard, horrid truths, pushed to their uttermost meaning, indeed, but containing an exposure and denunciation of the vice of cruelty to which we respond with all our heart ; the other, a more comfortable, conciliatory view, but one in which there is a terrible absence of God, a still more terrible lack of per- ception of the void—have a jarring effect, despite their cleverness. We advise our readers to read their Cornhill through, omitting the above-mentioned gems, and then to study them by themselves. The pice de resistance is Part I. of a history of the French Press, full of curious information, and containing an interesting account of Dr. Theophraste Renandot, the father of French journalism. M. Charles Gidel, Laureate of the Academie Francaise, has recently handled the same materials, chiefly Eugene Hativ's Histoire de la Presse en France, in an able essay which finds a place in his latest volume, Les Francais du XVIIme. Siecle.
Fraser's Magazine is scarcely so interesting as usual, though Professor Max Muller presses hard his argument against Mr. Darwin, that the bridge between the speaking and the inarticu- late animal cannot be found, that this one gulf separates them for ever, the animal being incapable of rational speech. The professor, however, admits that if language were originally imitative or purely emotional, his argument would not stand, and he brings forward very little evidence. The truth is, there is very little. That animals communicate and discuss in some way is nearly certain, that they use articulate sounds of command is certainly true of monkeys, but their methods, when in a wild state, have never been carefully observed, neither have those of congenital idiots, who constantly acquire some sorts of speech, while the tradition of the Eastern Archipelago on the subject has never been sufficiently investigated. The Dutch Government could tell us in a moment, if it pleased, if the astounding story told by "the prisoner of Weltevreden," Captain Gibson, a man apparently honest, though we dare say dangerous to Holland, had any foundation at all. He declares that he was waited on for months by a being ap- parently a monkey, who used a few articulate words and dis- played some human feelings, and who was believed locally to be of a crossed race. That case has always seemed to us to deserve more attention than it has received, as has also the very strange fact that a monkey, unlike any other beast except man, has no instinct for swimming, and never has taught himself to do so, though in his native habitat it would indefinitely increase his security. The paper on the peasantry of the South of England seems to us poor, the writer desiring, as far as we can make out, to restore kindly feudalism, yet perfectly aware that it has passed away, killed, not, as he says, by the "nexus of cash wages," but by the desire for individuality and comfort ; but Mr. Leslie Stephen gives a most readable though contemptuous account of the author of the "Fable of the Bees," a cynical thinker who held that evil was the true nexus of the world, and fought the ascetics by the simple argument, most brutally stated, that their theory, if acted on, would destroy the world, or at least its civilisation,—an answer which would be perfect, if only there were any proof that the world and its civilisation are things with any inherent right to
Rosa and Cromarty
79,083 80,909 Sutherland 26,008 23,686 Inverness 89,660 87,480 Argyle 82,806 75,635 277,557 267,710 The total population have decreased directly 10,000, and indirectly about 26,000 more,—the natural increase driven away.
The most attractive articles in the Contemporary this month exist. In reality, as Mr. L. Stephen points out, he was one of those men who, perplexed by the enormous contrasts between the world as it is and the world as it would be if conformed to the law of God, give up the problem as insoluble, and begin amusing themselves with a Rabelaisian horse-laugh. The beat paper in Fraser is a cold and somewhat old-fashioned exposure of what honest Irishmen mean by Home Rule, and the newest an estimate of the courage of the Parisians, by a Volunteer Colonel named J. de Bouteiller. He declares that the bourgeoisie would not fight from dislike to fighting, and that the workmen would, as they did afterwards under the Commune, but distrusted their Bonapartist Generals, a distrust most clearly proved by subsequent evidence ; that the Generals thought the defence a folly ; and M. de Bontellier's own statement, is that the Generals refused to complete the victory of Buzenval, saying the National Guard had asked for the troude, and might carry it through how they could. They knew that if the Parisians won, Flourens would next day be Generalissimo, and wanted to keep things all regular. This theory, which is, we believe, the true one, though Trochu was acting on honest convictions, is illustrated with an entire series of facts, most of them in direct accord with the evidence of Generals Trochu and Vinoy.
The Fortnightly begins with an eloge on Mill, which is full of new or only partially known facts, and is therefore entirely readable Mr. Morley assigns to him a quality of intellectual courage which undoubtedly existed in him in a high degree, and is too often forgotten, and his main criticism that Mill knew how to call out the zeal of his own followers without exciting an equal zeal in his opponents is undoubtedly true. Some stray notes of his conver- sation during a day at Mr. Morley's house are valuable, as, for instance, his opinion that the best solution of the Irish University difficulty is a Catholic University, which would soon find obscuran- tism checked by the competition of other universities ; and his view of the coming modification of religion :—" Thinks we cannot with any sort of precision define the coming modification of religion, but anticipates that it will undoubtedly rest upon the solidarity of mankind, as Comte said, and as you and I believe. Perceives two things, at any rate, which are likely to lead men to invest this with the moral authority of a religion ; first, they will become more and more impressed by the awful fact that a piece of conduct to- day may prove a curse to men and women scores and even hundreds of years after the author of it is dead ; and second, they will more and more feel that they can only satisfy their sentiment of grati- tude to seen or unseen benefactors, can only repay the untold benefits they have inherited, by diligently maintaining the traditions of service." In other words, we are to substitute for religion the worship of ancestors, which has not done China much good, and a sentimental interest in our great grandsons, who may be horrid bores. As we are reviewing Mr. Fitzjames Stephen for ourselves, we can have nothing to say on Mr. Frederic Harrison's, except that the points on which Mr. Stephen errs are very strongly put ; that the name of his paper, " The Religion of Inhumanity," is the essence of his criticism, and that he sums up Mr. Stephen's theology in this little story :—" The master of a work- house in Essex was once called in to act as chaplain to a dying pauper. The poor soul faintly murmured some hopes of heaven. But this the master abruptly cut short, and warned him to turn his last thoughts towards hell, And thankful you ought to be,' said he, that you have a hell to go to.'" That is too hard ; it would be fairer to say that Mr. Stephen, who, as we have said elsewhere, is merely an Evangelical with the bottom of his creed knocked out, still believes in the Elect, but holds that the Elect are the tough. These are the attractive articles of a rather unattractive number, but there is a most interesting paper, almost unanswerable, as it appears to us by Mr. Beealy, on "Deer Forests and Culpable Luxury "— a paper which certainly shows that deer forests thin off both men and cattle. We do not know that it must be one object of the organisation of a State to grow cattle—it may be better economy to import them—but any mere luxury which thins out man must be radically injurious to the community. That such a decrease has taken place is clear from the census of the four great deer-hunting counties :— are Mr. Herbert Spencer's on " Sociology " and Dr. Tylor's ote "Primitive Society." Mr. Spencer shows by very- happy and striking illustrations how much the ethical estimate of social tendencies is often deformed by early prejudices in favour of particular religious systems, and how the same distortion also pro- ceeds from the reaction against such religious prejudices, and the vain effort to strip life of all the sanctions of religious belief. The only thing that puzzles one is how Mr. Spencer sets off theological prejudices against anti-theological, in order to keep room for his own recognition of the inscrutability of the power behind all phenomena, and his justification of the awe which that inscrutable agency properly excites, and yet fails to see that it is equally competent to another thinker to treat Mr. Spencer's own belief in the inscrutable power behind phenomena as a new species of theology, to be balanced against the negative speculations of those who resist this elevation of the Unknown and Unknowable into a subject of emotion, with the result of evolving some third and intermediate mode of contemplating the Unknown and Unknowable, which shall be more scientific then that of either ex- treme. It seems to us that the impartiality which treats all theo- logies and all reactions against theology with equal philosophical complacency, is as liable to be itself treated as one of the tem- porary phases of human thought, as the systems for which it apolo- gises. Dr. Tylor's paper on " Primitive Society " contains some most interesting pictures of the early morality which treats families and tribes as a moral unit, sharing and heartily accepting full moral responsibility for all the offences that any one of the members of that family or tribe commits ; and also some very picturesque illustrations of the primitive form assumed by the right of property in land. When, however, Dr. Tylor assumes that in modern society the strictly penal or vindictive idea of punishment for wrongs done is passing away, and yielding place to the higher conception of punishment, as either a step taken for the mere protection of society, or a measure intended to bring about the reform of the criminal, he is going beyond the legitimate inference from the facts. It is certainly true that the idea of punishing for the purpose of mere retribution has been more and more abandoned,—from the very just feeling that men cannot measure guilt, and therefore cannot measure retribu- tion ; but is it not clear that the whole theory of punishment is still bound up with the notion that punishment should decrease in proportion to the harmlessness of the criminal's intent, and increase in proportion to the harmfulness of that intent,. —and again, should decrease on proof of overwhelming temptation, and increase on proof of strong motives tending to protect him against temptation ? And is not that a practical admission that it is not unjust to punish true guilt, even though to do so be of little benefit to society, and that it is unjust to punish innocence, even though to do so be the greatest benefit to society ? Dr. Tylor pushes his inferences as to the principle to which society is approximating beyond the legitimate point.
In the Gentleman's Magazine, Mr. Cowden Clarke discourses upon Shakespeare's philosophy. The paper is well worth reading,. but we greatly prefer that upon the Jesters. In Saint Paul's there is an amusing article by Mr. Greenwood, describing a City Rag Shop, in what Mr. Sala used to call " the broker's-man style ; " and a tremendous attack on Tea, as a cause of national demoralisation, by Matthew Browne. We can't agree with him, and we would rather not be convinced. In Temple Bar there is a capital sketch of the career of Mr. Macready, and a remarkable poem, entitled " The C'rect Card : a Racing Lyric." It has real power and pathos. Aunt Judy is as charming as ever, charming enough to make one wish to be a child again. But grown-up people may read this best of all the profuse literature for children, certainly with pleasure, and with perhaps more profit than they would like to acknowledge. There is a great deal of knowledge dexterously conveyed in a story of a jet necklace, from which the wariest child, with the strongest. disinclination towards useful information, could not recoil.