4 FEBRUARY 1888, Page 20


THE Contemporary begins with a strongly written statement of the comparative progress of Mahommedanism and Christianity in India, the writer's conclusion being that India will become a Mahommedan land, and that Christianity, though indefinitely the higher creed, fails there because the missionaries, to whom, however, he does full justice, unconsciously desire to Euro- peanise as well as to convert the people. His viev, if logically carried out, would be fatal, also, to the official plan of conveying the higher education to Indians through the medium of English, and, indeed, to any kind of education the object of which is to foster the imitation of Europeans by Asiatics. He is not likely, in the present condition of opinion, to find many adherents, but he presents the unpopular view without hesitation or reserves.—We are not greatly interested in Mr. Gladstone's views of the personages of Olympus, but it is curious to read them, and to think how much else must have been in his mind. One wonders which clause of his Home-rule Bill he would sur- render to secure universal acceptance of his theory of Zeus. As to Hera, he holds that, except as the wife of Zeus, she was a nobody in the celestial hierarchy, though her special relation to the Argives made her important to Homer. He probably intended to portray her as invested with a certain con- trolling power over Nature, or even as Nature herself. Hence, among other things, her singular function as deity or sovereign of the celestial mid wives,—an idea, we may remark, which lasted down to the latest era of the old Paganism. Mr. Gladstone is half-inclined to believe that in calling Hera isoZwg, Homer not only meant to describe her as calm-eyed, but to hint at the older worship of the Egyptian wife of Osiris, usually represented with the head of a cow.—Mr. Charles Williams gives a most interesting account of the New York police, which is now, in practice, exempted from party control, and is singularly efficient, especially in its detective department. It is allowed great latitude, and its members, alleging that the criminals they deal with represent the bad of all nations, resort to the club with terrible readiness. They, moreover, maintain an institution without a direct parallel in Europe, unless it be in Russia :— "A remarkable feature of the police organisation is the house of detention for witnesses in criminal cases. The police report calla this place 'a peculiar prison for the innocent.' If a man has the misfortune to be a spectator of an offence, and cannot give security for his appearance at the trial, he has, under the laws of New York State, to be kept in charge by the police. In 1886, witnesses to the number of 317 were committed ; their average imprisonment was seventeen days, and the cost of their meals was $12 17 c. per head. The house is under the charge of a serjeant and several officers, and its existence seems to be a simple invasion of the fundamental personal rights of individuals as guaranteed by the constitution, and understood and accepted without written authority in every free country. The police are themselves opposed to the maintenance of the house, but the State laws leave them no option, and thus a stranger in New York is liable to prolonged imprisonment merely because he happens to see somebody quite unknown to him injure somebody else equally uncared for by him."

That is tyranny, though endorsed by the Legislature and, upheld, we may presume, by opinion. On the other hand, the police, who number only 3,216 men in a population of 1,700,000, are all picked men, begin with salaries of £200 a year, and per- form successfully most of the functions of sanitary inspectors and relieving officers. The latter are not sinecures, as distress is even sharper in New York than London, so that there are in winter-time 100,000 "persons every night in the city who do not know where to-morrow's breakfast is to come from." Mr. Williams, himself an Irishman, endorses the popular impression that much of the crime of New York comes from Ireland:— " My countrymen seem to provide much more than half the work of the police, if we may take either the reports in the papers, or the experience of a few hours now and again in the police-courts, as a guide. In the year 1886, out of 73,928 persons arrested, 20,266 hailed direct from Ireland, against 8,596 from Germany, 2,369 from England, 687 from Scotland, and 448 from British provinces. Of the 33,768 arrested and belonging to the United States, 30 per cent, at least were of Irish extraction within two generations." The proportion is not quite as large as it looks, as the number of Irish in New York is exceptionally great ; but its excess over the English average of crime is note- worthy.—Mr. Bear, the well-known advocate of farmers' rights in England, maintains that much of the soil in Ireland is still overrented, and would substitute for the present tenure what is really a "permanent settlement," as it is called in India. That is, he would have the State buy out the owners, and let the land at low rent to the tenants, who would have all the rights of owners, but be evicted at once for non-payment. That scheme would work, if England were resolute enough to carry it out ; but then, it would work on that supposition if the landlords were left to take the low rent. We fear that, with tenants who are also voters and penetrated with thirst for freeholds, the scheme would break down.—We have mentioned Mr. Cunninghame Graham's social rhapsody elsewhere; but though that will be read, perhaps the beat, certainly the most interesting, paper in the number is M. Gabriel Monod's, on "Life and Thought in France." He evidently thinks M. Carnot's election a mistake, as well as an accident, and looks forward either to a Government of M. Ferry, which will be one of extremely moderate, or, indeed, repressive Republicanism ; or to a gradual slide towards the Extreme Left, ending in disorders, and therefore in Monarchy.

The paper which will be most read in the Nineteenth Century is Professor Huxley's, which we have discussed elsewhere ; but many other essays will attract attention. Mr. Frank Hill, in particular, gives all the facts necessary to a decision as to the necessity for new rules of Procedure, and justifies the closure by a bare majority as necessary to meet the evil of the hour. He quite admits that the power might be abused, but points out with much force that when it is, Parliament can alter or repeal the new rule as easily as the old one. Mr. Hill's adhesion to this proposal is the more welcome because he is perfectly temperate, and is not blind to the fact that Parliamentary parties have fallen into excesses before. Indeed, he is inclined to think that new constituencies always require a certain time

before they acquire habits of moderation and business, and that the process of forming groups, now so visible in the House of Commons, may be merely preliminary to a new evolution :— "Grouping may sometimes be a sign of political disintegration, but groups may, on the other hand, be simply the elements of

new parties in the process of formation, disentangling them- selves from old connections which have ceased to be natural, and

forming new and healthier organisms." We hope it may prove so, but the present aspect of the Parliaments of the world is by no means encouraging. It looks as if representative govern- ment required some improvement not yet visible, to give it more stability, the present difficulty being the more remark- able because the electoral majorities are everywhere slightly but unmistakably Conservative in tone.—Sir Henry Elliot's

paper on the revolution which overthrew Abdul Aziz is a real contribution to history. His belief in Midhat is far stronger

than we think the facts justify ; but he certainly establishes a great probability that Abdul Aziz—who had repeatedly been insane while still on the throne—did commit suicide, and that his death and the insanity of Sultan Murad ruined an enterprise which had in it some possibilities of success. We say some possibilities, because we cannot conceive either of a Khalif being less than absolute, or of the Mussulmans reigning in Constantinople under any liberal system whatever. They are a garrison, not a nation, and must have a Commander- in.Chief. After the accession of Abdul Hamid, there was no hope whatever, for, although he proclaimed a Constitution, and even called a Parliament, be set himself from the first to recover absolute power ; and after the exile and death of Midhat, he did recover it in all its plenitude. Sir H. Elliot's story is full of evidences of the extraordinary position which Ambassadors occupy in Constantinople, and which of itself is inconsistent with any but absolute government. He, for example, sanctioned the deposition of Murad.—We -do not know that Mr. Phelps's account of the Consti- tution of the United States contains any novel informa- tion, but it is very lucid, and brings forward in a very

clear way the great restrictions which exist upon the power of -the separate States. The Minister is evidently thinking of Ireland in his description, but forgets to observe that we have no Supreme Court, that the State Legislatures wish to obey the law, and that the power of the central authority has just been

consecrated by the result of the greatest civil war ever recorded. If we had just crushed Ireland as the North crushed the South, the discussion on Home-rule would start from a different basis.

—Mr. Jeans's account of the Panama Canal adds nothing that we see to current knowledge ; nor can we take much interest in Mr. Layard's evidence that it is possible to live a pleasant life and keep three servants on 2700 a year. The clergy do it every day on less than that sum, and do not, let us hope, obey the following counsel :— " Both husband and wife should daily make up their separate accounts. The trouble of doing so is reduced to a minimum by the excellent diaries which are now published with columns for every item clearly marked. This habit soon becomes confirmed, and is practised as naturally and with hardly more trouble than winding one's watch before getting into bed. Then, at the end of every week, these separate accounts should be entered into the general account book. The emulation of each to keep their expenditure low, and the little triumphs of ways and means, help to make interesting a practice which, to those who have not experienced it, may appear sordid and devoid of charm."

Is life worth living under that burden, which is, moreover, utterly useless P Accounts never yet stopped extravagance in anybody, and the simple rule, "Pay ready money," is a far more effective check. We note, by-the-way, that the author, in his schedule of expenses, puts down nothing for literature, omitting even a newspaper, unless, indeed, it is included under the 235 allowed for "pleasures, presents, and smoking."

The Fortnightly is a little dry this month. Sir Charles Dilke continues his attack upon our miltiary system, which he declares to be insufficient, unprovided, ill-educated, and without sufficient organisation. It is quite unable to do the work which will fall upon it in the event of a European war, which, he says, Lord Salisbury fully expects ; and it could not be mobilised without great expense and most inconvenient delay. Many of these charges are doubtless true, as they are true also of any other Army in the world, except the German; but able professional men believe them to be exaggerated, and we see little use in making them while the position of affairs does not permit a remedy to be applied. The country will not at present allow of great reforms, and little reforms will not serve the ends

to be kept in view. Attention should, however, be paid in Parliament to the allegations about the supply of arms. —Mr. C. R. Lowell, in a short but most pregnant article, points out that England is thinking of Federalism just at the moment when many able Americans are crying out for the British system, with its union of legislative and executive power. He holds that the federal system is based upon a sub- division of powers so extreme that they practically cease to exist, and that in the United States the people have been drilled for a hundred years to the non-fulfilment of their desires,

receiving, in return, perfect security for their individual rights. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, a centralised

democracy rules, and if it adopts Federalism, must give up much of its powers, so that, for instance, neither the Irish Parliament nor the Imperial one could abate one jot or tittle of a landlord's rights. The Irish Parliament could not do it, because it would be unable to alter contracts ; and the Imperial Parlia- ment could not, because land-tenure would be outside its purview altogether. Mr. Lowell holds that probably neither system will be altered, but if it is, it will be the American, which will tend to allow more power to a centralised democracy. The paper is most suggestive, and will remind our people of what they forget, that the stability of American affairs is purchased at the price of refusing the people their own way.—Miss Cobbe's paper on "The Education of the Emotions" amounts, as far as we can see, to this,—that the emotions are con- tagious, and that the readiest source of inspiring them is the personal influence of teachers, parents, and companions. We should, therefore, be careful as to the general character of them all. The world, we think, has accepted that doctrine, and now needs rather instruction as to the new precautions to be taken, than as to the value of precautions. Upon this Miss Cobbe gives us no new light, beyond a recommendation that, in choosing Professors, we should regard their characters and bias, as well as their attainments,—a truth, but one on which it is most difficult to act, especially when religion is in question, without giving bigotry and prejudice a most unfair scope. She would, we fancy, in choosing the candidate for a Greek chair, consider his politics as important as his knowledge. The world, however, has tried that scheme, and found the result to be that the inferior teacher was always selected because of his political leanings.—We do not care for Mrs. Lynn Linton's enthusiastic accounts of the adulteresses and profligates of the Italian Renaissance, who seem to us only to show what the world would be if human will were unchecked ; and have read without much instruction Mr. Boulton's "Housing of the Poor."

Mr. Boulton's theory is that "the poor man must breathe, eat,

and sleep somewhere, and society must see that the somewhere is both sufficient, cheap, and good. He must also be able to obtain food satisfying the same conditions." He has, however, no scheme for securing his end, except that Government should create a Commission with somewhat autocratic powers,—that is, that the State should " house " the poor. Would not the immediate

result of that be a rush of the poor to London, and a conse- quent renewal of all evils in an exaggerated form ? There are some sound remarks on the excessive proportion which rent bears

to the wages of the unskilled labourer, and a suggestion that if roughly furnished rooms could be let cheap, they would not be taken, as all decent rooms are now, by a class above the very poor. Mr. Boulton, however, forgets a little that if the respect- ables throng to Peabody Buildings and the like, they leave the rooms they had to the class next below. What solid improve- ment is, however, possible, with London adding a Norwich to its population every year ?

We have discussed elsewhere Mr. Traill's paper in the National Review on "The Evolution of Humour ;" and Mr.

Goldwin Smith's protest against female suffrage is most vigorous and readable. Most of his arguments have been heard before, though in less incisive language ; but this one is addressed directly to Conservatives :—

" Experience, also, as has already been said, renders it extremely doubtful whether the woman of the platform will be Conservative, whatever the woman of the hearth may be. At all events, she has furnished a pretty large and pronounced contingent to the Revolu- tionary side. English as well as French and American names will readily present themselves in illustration of the fact. If a woman seeks excitement, she will find most of it in revolution. We should very soon have female demagogues and wire-pullera whose charac- teristics not much imagination is required to forecast. There would also be female issues,' and the pretensions which woman has been taught by her worshippers in prose and verse to cherish would be embodied in political demands, to be pressed by the 'solid female

vote.' That a recoil would follow is very probable ; bat why do that which is to be undone by a recoil ?"

The notion that women are in the main Conservative, has been taken, we imagine, from the experience of Catholic countries, where women pass directly under the influence of the priesthood. Female London at the polls would, upon most political subjects, give a very divided vote.—Mr. A. Austin replies to Matthew Arnold's remarks on Shelley's moral Ulises, in a bright but cynical paper, the meaning of which really is that poets are beyond the laws. At least, we are never to apply them :— "Having ran off with Mary Wollstonecmft Godwin to the Con- tinent, Shelley wrote to his wife, saying in effect, Come and join us, and we will make you happy.' Truly colossal in its contempt of that wise morality that registers the experience and satisfies, better at least than anything else can, the permanent necessities of man- kind and the enduring cravings of the average human heart ! Bat what should I, what would any one, gain by preaching a sermon on that text, with Shelley as an illustration ? Just as our indignation is getting under way, the culprit interrupts our excellent discourse, and

breaks out thus :—

' Be has outsoared the shadow of our night. Envy and calumny and hate and pain, And that unrest which men miscall delight, Can touch him not and torture not again. From the oontagion of the world's slow stain He is secure ; and now can never mourn A heart grown acid, a head grown grey, in vain, Nor, when the spirit's self has ceased to burn,

With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.'

—Lament for Adonais, a. al.

What is the use, I say, of discoursing on the errors of a man who can interrupt your sermon with a song like that ? We can go on with the sermon if we choose ; but the congregation will assuredly soon have left us. They will 'follow the music.'"

True enough, in one way ; but then, sadly true, not a truth to be exulted in. Surely, if we are to study the man in the poet, as well as in the King or in the founder of a creed, we must test him by the accepted laws ; and judged by those laws, Shelley was a contemner of just obligations. The defence which we should make ourselves, that Shelley was scarcely a responsible being, and could not discern right from wrong, is a totally different one from Mr. Austin's, who would be bound to say that the Psalmist ought not to be judged for the murder of Uriah because through the ages his poetry has raised the heart of man. That is even a better example, for David's ultimate self was good, which we should doubt about Shelley ; but still, David did instigate the murder of Uriah, and in considering David, still more in imitating David, that fact has to be taken into the account.