8 MAY 1886, Page 21


IT 15 of little use now to criticise papers on Ireland, for they will hardly weigh with the people against the addresses of the leaders ; and we only note, therefore, that in the Fortnig. hily Review, Mr. Arthur Arnold is strongly on Mr. Gladstone's side, with the amendment that Ireland should be moderately represented in the British Parliament, and that Mr. R. Anderson is strongly against him, arguing that Irish pros- perity has been caused by the Union, and that we have

only to go on with firm patience. Neither paper contains anything new, as, indeed, there is nothing new to be said. Mr. T. Wemyss Reid sends a hearty eulogium on Mr. Forster, bringing into prominent relief his courage, his unselfishness, and his strength of conviction. He corrects one popular error.

It is constantly asserted that after the Phcenix Park murders, Mr. Forster offered to resume the post of Chief Secretary. This is not the case ; he made a finer offer than that :—

" On that Sanday morning Mr. Forster went to Downing Street, saw Mr. Gladstone, and offered to leave for Dublin the same night, not to resume the Chief Secretaryship, hut to take the place of the Under-Secretary and keep up the ioutine work of the Castle until the two vacant offices could be filled up. Ho made this noble offer at the moment when the nerves of most men had been shaken by the great tragedy, knowing full well that from the hour when he set foot on Irish soil to the hour when he left ir, his own life would be in the most imminent danger from the knives of the assassins, and knowing, too, that he would be rendering a service to a political party which seemed bent upon ostracising him, and which had just treated him with scant courtesy and fairness."

Mr. P. S. Stevenson, Member for the Eye Division of Suffolk, declares that the agricultural labourers have definite wants which they seek to secure by their votes, and these are the formation of popular local governments and the removal of all restrictions on their purchase or tenancy of land. They seek the reduction of all tenure to fee-simple, but should, Mr. Stevenson thinks, be entitled at present to claim from landlord or farmer one acre for each cottage, at a rent 10 per cent. higher than the usual agri- cultural rent. That is not an immoderate demand ; but then, is that the labourers' desire or is it Mr. Stevenson's translation of mach more vague aspirations? "Lucas Malet," as we have -mentioned elsewhere, sends a readable but hostile sketch of Amiel, whom she despises almost too much to understand, her trenchant criticism that "God and the soul, too, are among the long list of his intellectual amusements" leaving a wholly false impression. She, in fact, unconsciously it may be, contemns meditation, and thinks that every one, what- ever his nature, should not only have intense convictions—which

to some minds is impossible—but should carry them out in act; and the brilliant peroration of her paper may, in fact, be reduced to a line,—" Be thou orthodox, or be Secularist." There are vesting-places—some of them not wholly illogical—between those two points; or at least, there is between them a journey while making which a fixed station cannot be attained. Dr. H. Maudsley, in "Heredity in Health and Disease," pushes his theory of the transmission of qualities to the

verge of absurdity. He says :—" Hence it is that everybody may learn more of the deep foundations of his character—of what he is essentially and is capable of becoming—by the study of his relations, than he will by the most scrupulously minute self-inspection ; for he may observe in one or another of them the full development of what lies dormant in him, hidden and indiscernible—the actual outcome of the deep-lying potentialities of the family stock." "Study your cousins in order to know yourself," is surely an odd order, more especially to those among us who know that the closest relatives, children of the same parents, bred in the same nursery, are often radically different, and this even in constitu- tion. There is a law of heredity, but it cannot be so strong as this quotation would imply without producing a sameness which we do not find, even twins differing from each other at least as often as they show resemblance. Dr. Maudsley himself admits the non-transmission of genius, and quotes the following suggestive explanation of the fact :—

"Dr. Prosper Lucas, whose exhaustive treatise on Heredity has been a rich mine of instruction for subsequent inquirers, went so far as to formulate the proposition that giants in mind, like giants in body, do not propagate themselves, and are generally childless. He laboured, indeed, to prove that there is a law by virtue of which variations, whether of mind or body, that pass to a certain extent beyond the mean, are not inherited, the organic tendency always being to revert to the mean."

That is certainly true of physical qualities, or mankind would contain abnormal races, and it may be true also of the mental. We wonder that inquirers into this subject do not study the dynasties a little more carefully. In them you have often ten, or sometimes twenty, generations of men, every one of whom was closely observed, both by friends and enemies.

The Nineteenth, Century gives us two articles on Ireland, one by Mr. Frank Hill, being a strong and temperate statement not so much of the argument for Federalism, as of the writer's view that Federalism must come. We are not about to discuss it here, but we may make a remark on the curious fact that the writer, like, we think, every one who has discussed the problem from that side, implicitly refuses to England any self- will at all. It is assumed throughout that the strongest State will always follow certain ideas and believe certain dogmas, leading logically to the grant of any terms the sister-Kingdoms may desire. The notion that she can ever feel as the North felt about secession, or as she herself used to feel about rebellion, is put quietly on one side, as outside the discussion. That may

be an accurate judgment of the facts—it probably is accurate for the present moment—but as a historic assumption intended to be true for a century, it is a rather large assumption. Sup- pose England to lose for a moment her rather unusual access of meekness, and to decide that she intends to settle for herself the terms of the connection with her surrounding States without consulting anything except the perfection of the general machine. Suppose, that is, she were governed for a generation by a Pitt, who was also a great soldier. That is improbable ? Possibly ; but though the line of change is not discernible, this assumption of the permanent effacement of England must be more or less unhistorical. Mr. Matthew Arnold's essay, called "The Nadir of Liberalism," is in the main an attack upon Mr. Gladstone, as always victorious but always un- successful,—as, in fact, a great party leader, rather than a statesman. The writer forgets Mr. Gladstone's immense triumphs as a financier, the aid he gave to the emanci- pation of Italy, his success in securing Thessaly for Greece without the expected war, and the results of his entirely original, and, as many people believed, over-pacific, policy towards the United States. We should have said that Mr. Gladstone had been singularly successful, except in the few cases, as Egypt and Ireland, in which he had applied sound maxims to a people

temporarily unfitted for them. We fear we cannot predicate for Mr. Arnold's alternative plan, which is to divide Ireland into three Provinces, any general acceptance. It would not content Ireland, and therefore it would do no good to the United Kingdom, which, nevertheless, it breaks up. In "The Jubilee of the Reform Club,"

Mr. Fraser Rae condescends to rather small detail, and gives 118

little idea of the relation of the Club to the Liberal Party, tln,ugh he disposes en passant of the persistent illusion that the Political Committee of the Club distributes money. It acts, he says, only as a Council of Conciliation. Mr. Proctor sends a speculation on "the origin of comets," some of which, like meteorites, he attributes to the ancient "eruptive energies" of the planetary bodies, while others have been ejected from the stars :—

" We have no means of recognising by its orbital motion a star- expelled comet or meteor flight. But we need not seek for bodies to tell us of expulsion, ages on ages ago. The stars are now in their eunlike state. They must therefore be doing such work now, if there is any truth in the theory to which we have been led. Now there is one of the stars which is near enough to be asked whether it really possesses and uses such expulsive power—our own sun. His answer is unmistakable. In 1872, and at sundry times since, he has been caught in the act of ejecting bodies, probably liquid or solid, through the hydrogen atmosphere around his globe, with velocities so great that the matter thus expelled from his interior can never return to him—the velocities ranging to 450 miles per second at the least. What he is doing now he has doubtless done for millions, nay for tens of millions, of years in the past. What he has thus done, his fellow- sans the stars, thousands (if not millions) of millions in number, have doubtless done also. Uncounted billions then of ejected meteor flights or comets mast be travelling through interstellar spaces, visiting system after system, flitting from sun to sun, in periods to be measured by millions of years."

That is bold theorising ; but at all events it accounts, pending farther evidence, for the phenomena. Only we should like to know why Mr. Proctor thinks that the expulsive energy of a planetary or stellar body is proportioned to size, so that a planet or sun, if it is only big enough, can communicate to the ejected body the almost inconceivable degree of speed necessary to release it from the force of the planet's or sun's attraction. The article in the Nineteenth Century which will, however, attract most attention, if only as a literary curiosity, is one by Mr. Percy M. Wallace, on "Mr. Donnelly's Shakespeare Cipher." Mr. P. M. Wallace asserts that Mr. Ignatius Donnelly, of Minnesota, has discovered absolute proof that Bacon was the author of Shakespeare's plays. This proof consists of a cipher which he has found running through the Folio of 1623, and which, when interpreted, he has found to contain not only a statement that Bacon was the author, but a complete secret history of the later years of Elizabeth. Certain words, pagings, hyphens, brackets, and capitals are deliberately inserted, in order to indicate words in the De Augmentis, which, when put together, make a connected whole. Mr. Donnelly, says Mr. Wallace, is certain of his theory, though he has not yet finished the laborious work of interpretation ; but he is advancing, and will shortly bring his proofs to England, where, no doubt, they will be studied with much interest, if also with much scepticism. Mr. Wallace does not produce any evidence of his marvellous story, except the singular printing of the Folio of 1623, and finds it necessary to enter on a quite needless defence of Mr. Donnelly's good-faith. That is not likely to be ques- tioned. Mr. Donnelly has only to publish his rules, and they will be tested by a hundred minds, quite well-instructed enough to admit that his error, if it be one, is only the fiftieth instance of a fallacy based upon a misreading of a certain number of coincidences.

Sir Charles Gavan Duffy' s opinion of Mr. Gladstone's Home- rule Bill, given in the Contemporary, is, of course, favourable in the main. He would, however, like a separate Upper House, would reduce the number of Members in the Commons to 150, and does not see why the present representatives of Ireland at Westminster should be seated in the first Parliament in Dublin by the Bill. If he were Mr. Parnell, perhaps he would see.

Sir Charles maintains that Ireland will be governed as well as any Colony, his main argument being contained in the following paragraph :—

"There was loud exaltation a few months ago throughout England at the spontaneous loyalty of New South Wales, which despatched an expedition to the Soudan at its proper coat. But who was the prime mover in that proceeding ? The Prime Minister was the Australian son of an Irish Catholic. When an eminent public man, who, like Mr. Chamberlain, came from Birmingham, took exception to the legality of the proceeding, the populace supported it enthusiastically, and in New South Wales every third man is an Irish Catholic. Its moat conspicuous defender was Sir Patrick Jennings, who is now Prime Minister ; a man born and bred in Ulster, but who belongs to the race and religion of the majority of Irishmen. These are facts, I think, calculated to modify Mr. Chamberlain's opinion, and induce him to believe that the maxim, Like case, like rule,' has a world- wide application. But these are not the only facts ; how many Irish regiments fought in the same army with the Australian contingent—

Irish peasants in red coats ? Men of Irish birth or blood have held the supreme offices of government in all the great possessions of the Empire, and I have never heard of any case in which they failed to perform the duties entrusted to them adequately and honourably."

Before we can fully accept those precedents, we must have some explanation of the fact that Irishmen proclaim themselves indifferent to the Empire, and that other Irishmen abroad— namely, Irish-Americans—pay dynamiters. If freedom makes an Irishman friendly, why is Mr. Ford so hostile P Mr. W. T. Stead sings a loud, not to say rhapsodical, hymn to journalism, which he maintains is controlling the Government ; but he fails to convince us either of his facts or their beneficial character. He seems to believe journalists are tree representatives, because every man who buys a paper votes for its Editor ; but in the first place, he ignores the position of the proprietor, who may be selecting his man only to support certain Bonds—a constant feature in Continental journalism—and he forgets that as many people buy a paper to see the other side as buy it to read their own opinions well defended. As a matter of fact, the voters constantly go against the journalists ; and in the next election the majority may possibly vote against their nearly unanimous opinion. And it is best it should be so ; for besides the fact that the most successful journalists are usually critics of politics rather than of statesmen, they are of necessity irresponsible, are liable to orders from proprietors who may be seeking nothing but gain, and are compelled by the conditions of their trade to scream out immature judgments, formed without time for reflection, or even investigation of the facts. We do not believe that irresponsible word-spinners, seldom independent of con- cealed capitalists, and never independent of the momentary favour of a news-seeking class, can be a good governing oody, and should regard the supersession of Parliament by them, to which Mr. Stead looks forward, as proof of national decadence and coming ruin. Even Mr. Stead admits that, under the regime of the journalist, intrigue does not cease :—

"I remember on one occasion being confidentially approached by a permanent official who holds a high place in an important depart- ment. He was a personal friend, and he spoke freely. He wanted me to write an article praising a certain Act connected with his department, against which some interested clamour was being raised.

Why just now ?' I asked.-4 To stiffen the back of my chief,' he replied. He does not want to surrender, but he needs backing trp,, and if you could see your way to publish a rouser, he would pluck up courage enough to pat his foot down.'—As I wanted him to pat his foot down, I wrote the rouser,' and soon afterwards had the satisfaction of knowing that it had had the desired effect. The Minister knew nothing of the communication that had been made to me; but without that communication, and the action which followed, he would have given way, and mischief, which he regarded even more seriously than I did, would have ensued, specially affecting the department for which he was answerable."

In other words, a responsible Minister skulked from his duty till cheated by an Editor into a belief that the public wanted him to do it. That is the way Kings are managed in Asia by their Ministers, and it is not very successful. M. H. Baudril- lart sends a paper of some value and much good writing on "Peasant Property in France," in which he certainly shows that the petite culture was not due to the Revolution, before which there were four millions of landowners in France. He also proves that the increase of production on the small pro- perties is very considerable ; bat we do not quite follow his argument as to the increase of selling value. The value of small properties has, it appears, tripled since 1821, while that of large properties has only doubled. That may be true, but may be due, as in Ireland and Bengal, not to increased productiveness, but to increased competition. M. Baudrillart maintains that the peasant is fairly well off, and is distinctly attached to the existing social order. There is no agrarian question in France any more than in England :—

" Peace, profound peace, reigns in the country. There has been no troubling of the harmony between landowners and farmers in conse- quence of the exactions of the former when the competition for farms was keenest, nor yet any when times changed, and the landlord was forced to reduce his rents. In the same way, the difficulties between the farmers and the labourers who demanded higher Wages have never got beyond the stage of complaint and recrimination."

The paper, in its extreme moderation, is well worth study. Mr. Holman Hunt sends the second part of his autobiographical essay, which gives a fresh impression of his sincerity and devotion to his art, but is not otherwise so interesting as the part describing the beginning of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The first of Mr. Hunt's pictures hung on the line at the Academy, and, indeed, the first fully recognised by the artists, was "The Hireling Shepherd," after the appearance of which his difficulties compara- tively ended. Before it was accepted, however, Mr. Hunt was reduced to such straits that, as he gratefully records, he was only able to continue painting through a loan from Millais, who placed at his disposal his whole savings, £500.