REMARKS ON THE MAGAZDTES.
THE Nineteenth. Century for this month leads off with a reminis- cence of the "Metaphysical Society," by Mr. Hutton, "with a note by the Editor." The Society, which was born in 1868, and died twelve years afterwards, consisted of fifty-nine members, embracing every shade of religious belief, from the dogmatic Agnosticism of the late Professor Clifford to the extreme Ultramontanism of Dr. (" Ideal ") Ward and Cardinal Manning. When we find that the Duke of Argyll, Mr. Gladstone, Tennyson, Dean Stanley, Bishop Thirlwall, Professor Huxley, Professor Tyndall, the Bishop of Peterborough, Mr. Frederic Harrison, Lord Selborne, the Dean of St. Paul's, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Fronde, F. D. Mamice, Dr. Martinean, Professor Seeley, Mr. Walter Bagehot, Sir John Lubbock, the late Dr. Mozley, Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, and Mr. John Morley were among its members, we are surprised to learn from Mr. Knowles, its Honorary Secretary, that it came to an end because, after twelve years of debating [once a month] "there seemed little to be said which had not already been repeated more than once." The field of metaphysics is very wide and varied, and we should have thought that a Society em- bracing so many distinguished men of different opinions would have found no difficulty in the selection of subjects, or in the method of their treatment. Mr. Hutton's "Reminiscence" is thrown into the shape of a report of a typical discussion, in which the principal debaters are Dr. Ward, Professor Huxley, Father Dalgairns, Mr. Ruskin, Mr. Bagehot, Mr. (now Sir James) Fitzjames Stephen, Cardinal Manning, and Dr. Mar- tineau. Mr. Hutton's report does not profess to be accurate; but we infer from the editor's prefatory note that it is very like what the persons reported have at various times said in that society. The question discussed was, "Can experience prove the uniformity of Nature ?" One can easily guess how Dr. Ward would deal with a subject so peculiarly his own, and also how Cardinal Manning and Professor Huxley would deal with it. But it would not be easy to guess before- hand how Mr. Ruskin would argue. He took the bull boldly by the horns, and declared that what the human mind naturally and instinctively expects is not the uniformity of Nature, but the interruption of our phenomenal experience. If a new Joshua were successfully to bid the sun to stand still, and then claim deference as a miracle-worker, Mr. Ruskin would answer, —" What ! a miracle that the sun stands still ? Not at all. I was always expecting it would. The wonder to me was its going on." Amusingly paradoxical as this may look, Buskin's answer is undoubtedly sound at bottom. It is more wonderful that the planets should traverse their orbits unceasingly than that they should one day cease to do so. In another article Cameron of Lochiel gives a plausible argument for deer forests. He makes two assertions, and offers evidence for them,—first, that deer forests are economically a great advantage to the peasantry of Scotland, as attracting among them a large amount of wealth which would not other- wise be forthcoming ; secondly, that large tracts of land, now reserved exclusively for deer, are unprofitable for any other purpose. Lochiel, as they call him in Scotland, is followed by an American writer who undertakes to show that America possesses a real, though untitled, aristocracy. Lovers of the violin will read Mr. Huggins's article with interest; and Mr. Leslie Field believes that the solution of the Irish problem is to be found in a federation of the three kingdoms similar to that of the Canadian Dominion. But has not Mr. Field overlooked one fundamental difference between the two cases ? The Imperial Government is on all Imperial ques- tions supreme over the Canadian Parliament. Where would Mr. Field place the supreme authority in his scheme of federa- tion for the Three Kingdoms P And, without a supreme authority, would not federation be very likely to end in disintegration ? Father Ryder gives an interesting sketch of a Jesuit reformer and poet of the sixteenth century. The event is rare enough to be chronicled. Lord Melgund's paper on " The Recent Rebellion in North-West Canada" is worth reading on account of the author's personal knowledge of his subject.
The Fortnightly Review opens with a very interesting and instructive article on "The Paris Newspaper Press." The writer lets his readers behind the scenes both as regards the leading organs of the Paris Press and the modus operandi of bringing out new papers. The latter does not seem to be a very formidable adventure. "Barely a week passes without a new journal appearing or an old one disappearing ; and all this mushroom growth does not imply the displacement of any great capital." "A few thousand francs" suffice to bear the expense of a few numbers. "If the journal succeeds a little, all is well; if it does not succeed, the disaster is not great." "Not only every political group, but every fraction of a group, and indeed almost every eminent senator and deputy, wishes to inspire a paper and to command an organ in which to carry on his own private political campaigns and intrigues." "In France it does not cost more to keep a daily political, financial, and literary
newspaper than it does to keep a steam yacht, an elegant mistress, or a pack of hounds." This system naturally engenders corruption, and the writer of the article shows how the Paris theatres have been brought under the direct dominion of newspaper cliques, and have woefully degenerated in consequence. Through the same agency the politics of France have of late become the shuttlecock of financial gamblers who have practi- cally superseded professional statesmen. French politics are now probably more corrupt than they were under the Empire. Mr. Sumner Maine has a good article on the "International Tribunals in Egypt." He accuses the International Judges, we fear with only too much truth, of subordinating their judicial functions to their political prepossessions and antipathies ; and, of coarse, he suggests various changes which are worth con- sidering, but which we cannot discuss here. Mrs. Lynn Lynton's article on Pasteur is interesting, and will enable those who are not familiar with that distinguished man's con- tributions to physical science to appreciate him, but she appears to be quite unconscious of the extent to which the German phy- siologists have invalidated his supposed discoveries, especially as regards inoculation for splenic disease. The article is followed by a very readable one on "Yacht Racing," and that is followed by one not so readable on "Lord Peterborough," by Lord Ribblesdale. The article, however, shows Lord Ribblesdale to be a well-read and thoughtful nobleman, with a considerable literary faculty. General Henry Brackenbury's article on the Soudan is redolent of the desert—fresh, bright, invigorating. He calls attention- to one great defect in our military expeditions, namely, the neglect to send scientific men with them. We seem to have missed a great opportunity in this respect in the Soudan. Mr. Edwin Arnold has a paper on "Death—and After- wards." It is a dreamy meditation rather than a contribu- tion to theology or philosophy. Mr. Arnold's creed seems to be a somewhat incongruous combination of Buddhist and Christian ideas. The attempt is not, and could hardly be, successful; for Mr. Arnold has not a very clear apprehension of the central doctrines of either religion. He asks,—" Does anybody find the Immaculate Conception' incredible P" The answer is,— No ; there is nothing incredible in the Immaculate Conception, whether the doctrine be true or false. But the context shows that Mr. Arnold means the doctrine of Christ's birth from a Virgin, not that of the Immaculate Conception. Mr. Lilly's article on the "New Naturalism" is very good. It shows in lurid colours the moral deterioration, not to say revolution, which the school of M. Zola is rapidly producing in French literature. M. Zola professes to act on the highest dictates of art and morals, which shows that good intentions and noble professions are no safeguard against a debasing and corrupting treatment of foul and obscene subjects. The warning is sorely needed just now among ourselves. Lord Balfour of Burleigh has a sensible article on" Church and State in Scotland," with which may be compared another in the Contemporary Review by Dr. Donald Fraser. The editor's own article on "Home and. Foreign Affairs" is, as usual, excellent, and affords wholesome food for reflection to the Tory Party.
The articles in the Contemporary Review this month are all up to a fair average; and one or two are above the average. But they do not call for special criticism. Signor Bonglai's, on "The Fighting Strength and Foreign Policy of Italy," shows that Italy has become a formidable military and naval Power; that she is well disposed towards England; but that she still adheres to the Austro-German alliance. "Cholera, and its Prevention" is a very opportune contribution from the pen of Professor Bunion Sanderson; Mr. Mnlhall's article on "Prices and Gold Supply" is both interesting and instructive to students of that subject. Mr. Rowe Bennett seeks, with much ingenuity, to put Christian ideas into the admissions of Messrs. Spencer, F. Harrison, and Matthew Arnold. M. Emile de Laveleye's article on "Pessimism on the Stage" is interesting reading, and is aimed against the Evolutionists, who argue that the existence of evil and the triumph of in- justice, which is so conspicuous in human history, are neces- sary elements in evolutionary progress. The Bishop of • Durham has an article in explanation and commendation of the White Cross Society, of which he is himself a member, and the object of which is to safeguard sexual purity. The • peg on which the Bishop hangs his article is the "apocalypse of evil" which the Pall Mall Gazette has exposed in all its hideous nakedness. The Bishop condemns the manner in which this has been done, but thinks the good resulting from it overbalances the eviL In this we cannot agree with him. Farther, he seems to us to hope:that a very humble new expedient, not definitely religions, will succeed where all the power of Christianity has failed. We wish it success most heartily. We only wish we could share his strangely sanguine hope. His own article breathes that pure and elevated spirituality which those who know anything of Dr. Lightfoot would expect of him. We have commented elsewhere on Mr. Stanley Leighton's article in the National Review. It is followed by a fair and calmly reasoned article by Mr. Alfred Austin, advocating "A New Constitution." He is greatly troubled by the incon- sistencies and contradictions of our foreign policy, in contrast with the substantial continuity of our domestic policy. His statement of this part of his thesis is clear and quite free from party bias, but his remedy, the withdrawal of our foreign policy from the field of party warfare, seems to us one of the most impossible suggestions ever made. The last decade of English foreign policy furnishes a crucial illustration of the mischief caused by party spirit and party exigencies, though Mr. Austin and ourselves would, of course, distribute the blame very differently. But his remedy, the appointment of the Foreign Secretary immediately by the Crown, the controllers of his policy being, not the Ministry of the day, but a Standing Committee upon Foreign and Imperial Affairs, selected impartially, as we infer, from both political parties, is the strangest in the world. Does he propose to withdraw Foreign Affairs from the consideration of the constituencies, and if so, how is it to be contrived P If not, how is he to prevent the constituencies from putting confidence in the recommendations of the same advisers on Foreign Affairs whom they are accustomed to trust in Home Affairs I' Lord Pembroke publishes a sensible protest against State Socialism, and warns his party against the perilous doctrines and tactics of Lord Randolph Churchill, whom, how- ever, he does not name. There is also a shrewd article on "The Establishment of Newspapers," in which the writer makes a very ingenuous admission :—" The anxious Conservative poli- tician who is deploring the state of the Conservative Press in the provinces will ask, What about the politics P I answer, the less the better." Make your paper readable, and a good vehicle for useful information ; but be shy of showing your Tory colours too openly. Such is the advice of this astute partisan, and it certainly does not show a very robust faith in the popularity of Tory principles.
Blackwood is in a state of doleful perplexity this month. It rejoices ecstatically, of course, over the downfall of the Gladstone Government; but it is sadly distressed about the doings of its own friends, and especially about their Irish policy. It pensively admits that it is not proud of the Tory Government. It lives on hope, however, and comforts its drooping spirits with the not very confident anticipation of a Conservative majority in the General Election. That would put matters all straight; for a Tory Government in a majority would be a very different thing from a Tory Government in a minority. Just so, and Liberals cannot have a stronger motive for keeping the Tories in a minority.
The most important feature of Macmillan, for August, is an article on "The Riel Rebellion in North-West Canada." This is deserving of serious consideration on its own merits, and acquires additional gravity from the trial and condemnation of Riel, of which we have just been informed. The article, written by Mr. R. Mackray, is a lucid and succinct account of the recent rising. In it the grievances and the miseries of the Indians on many of the reserves in North-West Canada are frankly ad- mitted and temperately stated ; so is Riel's case, after an interesting description of that remarkable insurgent, who thinks be has a personal grievance against the Dominion, maintaining that he was outlawed, notwithstanding that a solemn pledge had been made him that he should share in the general amnesty to be granted to those who took part in the Red River Rebellion.
The passage with which the article closes is a weighty one ; it follows a serious representation of the decline of the herds of buffalo, and also of the other kinds of game which served as food to the Indian tribes, whose condition is pitiable indeed. The author says :—
"There seems to be little doubt that the outrages perpetrated during the last few months are the desperate deeds of men maddened by famine. That they were incited to rebel by Riel is no doubt true ; but their chief grievance is the want of food. There does not seem to be any reason for suspecting the Indian agents of cheating the Indians, whose cry against the paternal government is that they are not able to live on the allowance made them, and that their reserves are insufficient ; not that they did not receive what was promised them. When the Dominion took over the NorthaWest from the Hudson'e Bay Company, the Indians everywhere were contented, loyal, and happy. But the situation now is entirely changed. Then the whites lived in an Indian country, now the Indians are in a white country; and it is more than possible that the Indian is being un- generously dealt with. It is to be hoped that a more liberal policy may be inaugurated, otherwise the Indian may suspect that it is the intention of the white to starve him out, and his suspicions, once thoroughly roused will be hard to set at rest."
We hope the cry of these poor people will find an echo in the new Parliament. The " protection " of Great Britain ought not to be anywhere synonymous with starvation. Mrs. Ritchie's "Mrs. Dymond" goes on smoothly and pleasantly. " Rhodiau Society" is the title of a somewhat cynical article, from which we gather that the island is an abyss of ignorance, and that the author considers the maintenance of such a state of things the grand object of the priesthood. The writer gives an odd account of the Governor of Rhodes, Khamel Bey, who is of a literary and poetical turn, considered dangerous by the Sultan, who allows him 250 a year to keep his pen quiet. This, as the writer justly remarks, "is quite a novel and Oriental way of making the profession of literature pay." Mr. George Meredith's verses on "The Thrush in February" we really must decline to accept as poetry. A bird which "valentines," sprays that "paw," song that "spouts," the city's day described as "a vulture's morsel beaked to bones," and a sky that "takes darkness, long ere quite," are ugly affectations incompatible with poetical language.
Temple Bar is remarkably good. "A Girton Girl" begins to
move more briskly. Lady Pollock's paper on Victor Hugo is interesting, appreciative, and judicious. A biographical sketch of the Princess° de Lamballe is profoundly affecting, but the author has omitted one moving incident in the story of the Due de Penthi6vre's devotion to his daughter-in-law, and that persistent grief for her fate which ultimately killed him. It is his tracing out (in disguise) the route through which her body was dragged by the mob, and finding the little green-silk shoe that one looks
at with a shudder in the Muse de Cluny. Perhaps this incident is not anthenticated,—at least, it has always been believed by the
Royalists. "According to Her Lights" is an excellent short story.
In the English Illustrated Magazine we have an interesting and opportune paper on "The Highland Crofters," illustrated by four clever and characteristic drawings by Mr. Macnab.
The delightful "Pilgrimage of the Thames" is concluded. " Sinodun, from Day Loch," from a drawing by Mr. Lucien Davis, presents a lovely scene. The mystical "Three Syrens " poem, with its quaint and graceful pictures, both by Mr. Walter Crane,
is continued, with its thread of three ; it is fanciful and pretty, but it affects to be profound rather unsuccessfully.
In Longman's Magazine, Mr. Walter Pollock contributes to
the wearisomely abundant current literature concerning actors and acting, an article on " Garrick's Acting as Seen in His Own Times." There is nothing new in this article, but the points are pertinently put ; and Mr. Pollock avails himself of the opportunity to pay Mr. Irving the compliment of calling him "our present Garrick," although on his own showing the famous " abridgement " and Mr. Irving have no characteristics in common. Mr. Black's serial story, "White Heather," is not attractive ; it does not gain from the introduction of some un- couth Highland minstrelsy, and hard-drinking scenes are none the less repulsive for being Scotch.
In Cornhill we have a pleasant bit of antiquarianism under the title of " Unparliamentary Boroughs," and a very funny story, with a dash of American ferocity in it, called "A Cheap Nigger."