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system in order to carry on the ordinary business of the PROPOSED FEDERATION OF THE BRIT- country. Nor would this rearrangement require that ISH EMPIRE.
any violence should be done to the English Parliamen
tary system; it would not introduce any new principle HE “Westminster Review” has discussed in such as would be the case if a large part of the empire
were to be represented by an advisory board, as has been of a federation of the British Empire. It is pro- tion system that has been found to work so smoothly in posed to create an Imperial Parliament, in which Germany and the United States. A scheme of this narepresentatives from the colonies are to sit, and to ture to facilitate the dispatch of Parliamentary business separate local from imperial measures by forming was put forward some years ago by Earl Russell, and a local House of Parliament for the consideration the fact that so experienced a Parliamentarian as he of the former, leaving the Imperial House to deal favored the idea is somewhat of a guarantee that it is exclusively with matters that pertain to the empire
not impracticable. at large. Local colonial Legislatures would re
It will be recalled by many of our readers that main much as at present. An Irish local Parlia
numerous English critics have condemned our Amer. ment is suggested, but the writer's plan seems to ican federal system as cumbersome; they have even suppose that the English local House would in- laughed at the notion that in order to carry on the clude Scotland in its jurisdiction. Apart from many business of the country there must exist nearly forty direct advantages that would arise from the pro- different legislative bodies and as many executives. posed plan, is the consideration that the present These critics did not consider the tremendous stress Parliament is burdened with business beyond its Congress would be under if all local questions that power to transact. Every year, it is affirmed, nu
arise in our extended country were brought to its merous measures are shelved without, from lack of chambers; and now all at once we find our system time, having been considered at all. But this evil is gravely held up as a guide and example. The partly due to the fact that on certain popular questions
“Westminster" even supposes the creation of a is the time of the House is utterly wasted in listen- sort of under-executives—its plan, for either Enging to the repetition ad nauseam of the same ideas land or Ireland, being as follows: and opinions, by members who feel it to be their duty to make speeches, in order to have them read The country would be under a Viceroy or Governor, by their constituents "-which shows that Buncombe appointed by the Queen in Council. The advisers of is a power at Westminster as well as at Washington. the Viceroy would be drawn from the members of the This is an evil which is likely rather to increase than local House, and the relations of the Viceroy to his Minotherwise, and hence a remedy must be found for it
, isters would be precisely analogous to those of the Queen
to her Ministers. which the “Westminster Review” thinks is secured House would require the assent of the Viceroy before
All measures passed by the local in its proposed plan:
they could become law. But any measure of doubtful
constitutionality could be “reserved " by the Viceroy, in The gain to Parliamentary legislation by this course which case the bill would be remitted for the considerawould be immediate and direct. The local House would tion of the Queen in Council, and either passed or vetoed. be of manageable and compact proportions ; its mem Also any measure passed by the local House, and as. bers would be able to devote their time and energies to sented to by the Viceroy, could be annulled if vetoed by the proper treatment and consideration of various local the Queen in Council within two years from the time of questions; the dissatisfaction caused at present through- assent. These provisions have been adopted in Canada out the country by the constant burking of local measures as between the Governor-General and the Lieutenantwould be allayed ; and we might even hope that the Gov nors, and as between the Queen and the Governor. Irish difficulty would be set at rest, perhaps by the for- General, so as to preserve a proper control over provinmation of an Irish local Parliament, but in any case, by cial or local legislation. Copies of all bills assented to reason of the House being able to devote proper time by the Viceroy would be immediately forwarded to the and attention to the consideration of Irish grievances. Secretary of State for her Majesty's consideration. In a similar manner, the Imperial House would be much reduced in bulk and proportionately increased in activity It will doubtless be a long time before we shall and vitality. Its time would be occupied in the consid- see as radical a change as this in the English Parliaeration of imperial questions ; its energy would not then mentary system ; but it is easy for us at this distance be frittered away upon petty local matters ; nor would
to see the advantages that would arise from such a the business of the House be obstructed by members scheme, and difficult to understand what rational obanxious to force the consideration of some local griev. jection there can be to it. Such a system would as
Such a rearrangement of the Parliamentary system suredly bind the colonies closer to the mother-counwould expedite public business to a degree that could not try, without overthrowing her supremacy; for, accordbe attained by any other system ; and, considering the ing to a schedule laid down in the “Westminster" ar. constant and steady growth of Parliamentary business, ticle, in a House of three hundred members, one hunit would seem that recourse must be had to some such dred and eighty-five members would be allotted to
England, twenty-five to Scotland, forty to Ireland, and fifty to the colonies. The immense advantages I claim for art that by it alone can the whole of man's that would arise from the greater dispatch of business nature be expressed ; and that in all great works of art ought of itself to compensate for whatever minor the three elements of the intellectual, the emotional, and evils a federation of the empire would lead to—if the spiritual are to be found. I maintain further that such evils are possible.
the vital quality in all fine art is the presence of this spiritual element, this deeper insight which endows with new meaning whatever it touches. And regarding this
element as the highest in man's nature, I consider that to THE SPIRITUAL IN ART.
be the highest art in which the proportion of the spiritual A writer in the last “ Cornhill," in an article insight to the intellectual meaning and the sensuous per
ception is the greatest. entitled " The Apologia of Art,” attempts to account for the existence of art in all its forms. He says: The air is full of criticism similar to the above,
If we look back through the records of past ages, although it is not always so cogently and eloquently back even to the very dawn of civilization, we find one expressed; and hence we are disposed to inquire fact of human life continually presenting itself : this is, whether the whole assumption of a spiritual element the need of man for expression-his overmastering de- in art is not a vague sentiment, a piece of transcensire not only to enjoy, but to show that he enjoys-not dental ecstasy. That art exercises great power over only for conquest, but also for triumph. There seems to our emotional susceptibilities is not to be denied ; be some inherent tendency which compels mankind to but it is no new thing to imagine that our sensuous record their sorrows and their joys, to leave upon the emotions have their birth in the spirit, and that they earth some trace of their presence. The earliest traces we can find of art show us that its birth was due to this Now it is doubtless quite impossible to explain how
are nothing less than a form of divine exaltation. impulse ; the rhythmic song of the savage was raised in moments of rejoicing or mourning; the adorning of his it is that beauty and harmony exercise their great face with paint, and his head with feathers, was but an sway over us; how and why“ measured sound" and other way of expressing his joy in battle and his confi- the “harmonies of color and line" should thrill us dence in victory. However the idea first dawned in the and fill us with delightful and indescribable sensa. world, to whatever accident it was due, it can hardly be tions; but to assume that a spiritual element in doubted that even among savage tribes the power of these forms of expression is the source of their measured sound is recognized to be expressive of some power seems to us to jump the whole matter. It is feelings in their nature which can not otherwise find vent, This I believe to be the fundamental fact concerning the quite possible, indeed, that, if the spirit of man were origin of art-namely, that it gave expression to a new
wholly freed from the influences and seductions of element in man's nature.
the senses, color and sound would cease to agitate it,
or physical beauty have any meaning for it. We do If we grant, then, that it was owing to its power of not find the races with whom or the epochs in which giving adequate representation to the whole nature of spiritual life has been the most exalted falling under man that art became the exponent of his emotions, we the dominion of art ; nor do we see persons of the may well be asked, Why it was that only in harmonies finest spiritual strain show either the need or much of of color and sound would this whole nature be shown ? the influence of art. After four hundred years of Why is it that language can not give the same degree of contest with the Church,” says the writer from whom meaning? To this I can only suggest a possible an
we have been quoting, “the force of nature was too swer. For our definite thoughts and emotions, we can find words which shall paint them with far greater clear- strong for the force of the priesthood, and, though ness than art can ever do ; the emotion of poets, for in- still consecrated to the service of religion, Art be. stance, can be analyzed and detailed in prose to a far
came free to represent her subjects in her own way, greater extent than would be possible in either a picture and began that great forward movement that culmi. or a poem, though in the latter we might give an instance nated in the Renaissance. From the time of Giotto of the passion that should light up our prose analysis to the time of Raphael, Art, as it were, took the vows with a fuller meaning. But when the spiritual element of the Church, and so in narrowed but perhaps deep. has to be grasped in words, we find ourselves compara- ened channels passed into being the sole exponent tively powerless; our instrument is not subtile enough of the overmastering religious emotions of the age.” for the tune we wish to play upon it-words are too hard, cold, and definite to express the feeling we would
We apprehend that art conquered the Church only put into them. Here it is that Art steps in to our rescue,
as the spiritual earnestness of its worshipers detalking to us, as it were, in two languages at once, sup- clined, and that the “overmastering religious emoplementing the deficiencies of language by the harmonies tions,” of which art became the exponent, was far of color and line. The subject and its correct drawing more a passion for the sensuous form of religion than may well be compared to language expressing the emo- for its spiritual bliss—for the pomp, the music, the tion and the thought; the combinations of line and col- color, the splendor of a grand pictorial worship, or, by which the artist expresses his idea, stand in the
rather than for inner light and grace. If the Rerelation of the spiritual element to the rest of the picture. naissance was a grand revival of art, the ReforAnd as it is true that the vital power of any scene or beauty is one which we alone can not put into words, so
mation was a general spiritual awakening, in the the vital power of any work of great art is that spiritual heat of which art and all the emotions that art exelement which has unconsciously to itself breathed its cites were consumed. We do not sympathize with influence over the master's mind and his hands' work. that form of religious fervor that fortifies the sensi.
bilities against beauty; but there is no denying the that laymen unacquainted with the principles at work fact that intense spiritual life renders everything else have found it so difficult to understand the ground in the world valueless; it rises to a plane to which of approval among critics. They have found the art with all its manifold seductions can not rise. dreariest and most uninteresting paintings exalted And this is also true of pure intellectual life. Sound to the skies, and any question of the verdict they and color have very little fascination for the mind might utter denounced as ignorance. They have engrossed in the study of great problems or deeply been ignorant in one sense-ignorant of the studio concerned in any pursuit of an engrossing char- point of view, which may be attained with utter inacter. Neither great reformers nor great thinkers sensibility to genuine beauty and natural laws. If have exhibited much susceptibility to art, at least the authority of academic art were deposed, how in its forms of painting and sculpture.
many of the innumerable 'canvases that encumber Let us admit, however, that art has great control the galleries of Europe would longer be imposed on over the human heart. Has it more than beauty in the credulity of the world? And is it not strange nature has ? Are the emotions that it awakens in that a critic should tell us with so much eloquence any way different? When we look upon the ravish- of the spiritual beauty of art, when, according to his ing beauty of a “maiden in her flower,” can it be own confession, art, with a very few exceptions, has pretended that the sensations thus awakened—diffi- been merely exemplifications of pedantry and techcult as they are to analyze or to comprehend—are in nical skill? And then the current defiances of acaany wise more than a delight of the senses-an in- demic law that we see are almost invariably in the diexplicable emotion which color and contour, fresh- rection of pure sensuous art, its mission being, acness and grace, have the power to excite? Does cording to one of its disciples, to represent a land loveliness in marble awaken emotions other than "where perfect women, with their feet on perfect those that loveliness in flesh stimulates, unless it be flowers, move across our fancy as in twilight.” the single one of admiration for the skill of the copy In another place our writer delivers himself as ist? It is a great temptation, no doubt, to remand follows: the strange agitations of the senses to the spirit ; they are certainly subtile and profound enough to To penetrate the mark of commonplace circumstance escape dissection; but we exalt ourselves by illusions and familiar indifference that spreads between the rich if we fall into the habit of thinking that the delights and the poor; to show them governed by the same pasof the senses, so often enjoyed at the cost of spiritual sions, subject to the same needs, and crushed by the same
sorrows, as their more fortunate brethren ; to find in the purity, are really identical with the felicities of the death of a vagrant as great an element of pathos as in soul.
that of a Cæsar ; in a word, to show that the same heart Our writer in the course of his article has the beats beneath frieze, fustian, and broadcloth coats—this, following to say in regard to academic art :
at any rate, is a legitimate sphere for art, and one in
which its very highest qualities may find fitting exerAcademic art may be briefly defined as the endeavor cise. to paint actions in a way which could never have taken place, with the idea of thereby creating a pleasing effect Here it is our pleasure to cordially agree with upon the eye of the beholder. The creed of those who him. But, then, nine tenths of the painters would adhere to this school is this: A picture is not to be stigmatize this as the literary notion of art, the wonjudged by any other rules than those of pictures—that is to say, you must not blame a picture for being unnatural, derful purpose of which is not to be pathetic, or huor uninteresting, or meaningless, or even absurd, or all
man, or even interesting, but to fill us with spiritor any of these; but you must simply notice whether the ual ideas by stimulating the color nerves ! effect produced by the lines upon the eye is a pleasing one, whether the figures are arranged in obedience to the laws of composition, whether the light and shade are evenly distributed and skillfully opposed, whether the
ADORNING THE CITY. figures have dignity of gesture and form, and so on. Plainly stated, this sounds as if it were a burlesque, but
It is reported that a movement is on foot in Bosit is strictly and literally the creed of academists, though
ton to form a society for promoting the adornment they would probably hesitate to write it as clearly as I and improvement of that city. If this rumor prove have done.
to be true, Boston is to be congratulated; but we If this be the end and aim of art, I confess myself a must claim for ourselves priority in suggesting the “Philistine" at once; better never have another picture organization of societies for the purpose described. in the world, and then go on adding absurdity to absur. It is now fully eight years ago since we first broached dity and thinking it to be art. How long will it be, I in " Appletons' Journal” the idea of a metropolitan wonder, ere all the dreary formulas of the schools cease
art association for the purpose of erecting, or proto be heard among us; when a picture will be judged, moting the erection, of statues, monuments, founnot by its accordance with empirical rules, but in accordance wit established truth ; when our students are
tains, towers, or other objects of a purely art chartaught to put thought as well as drawing, feeling as well acter, and we have several times since urged the idea as color, into their work ?
upon the public. If Boston anticipate New York
in the formation of such an association, it will not But this academic method has been very largely be because no such notion has ever been promulthe end and aim of art; and it is because of this gated here ; and Boston will surely anticipate the
metropolis unless we take steps to make it other. instructed people, if ever so well-meaning, should wise. The difficulty in every movement of the kind not be intrusted with a task such as we have conis to find an energetic, influential, and disinterested sidered. Wealth is a good thing ; enterprise is a leader. There are enough people who would sym- good thing; public spirit is a good thing ; but these pathize with such a purpose, and liberally subscribe three good things have succeeded in disfiguring every money to further it, provided they believed it to rest comer of the land with architectural monstrosities, in the right hands. A suitable leader is obviously and in leaving their unhappy mark on every town therefore the first desideratum, and this leader should in which they have had unrestricted sway. We be a man of influence, culture, and known responsi. trust there is in New York zeal enough of the right bility. We venture to suggest that the President of character to carry out a large, worthy, and approthe Metropolitan Museum of Art would be an appro- priate scheme of metropolitan adornment. priate selection for the purpose ; the President of the National Academy of Design would also be an appropriate choice; and, possibly, these two gentlemen would be glad to coöperate in the plan.
A CORRESPONDENT ON THE NUDE. New York needs an association of the kind, not only as an active but as a restrictive agent. It would APROPOS of our recent article on the nude in art, not fulfill its mission solely by the occasional erec a correspondent writes as follows: tion of a monument or a fountain, if it did not educate public taste and promote public sentiment in Editor Appletons' Journal. the direction of architectural adornment, and this it DEAR Sır: In perusing the article which appeared in would be sure to do. Every good piece of work “ Appletons' Journal” for October, entitled “The Nude put up would be a silent comment on every bad or in Art once more," I can not refrain from calling your vulgar surrounding. Perhaps a Metropolitan Art attention to one thing which may possibly have escaped Association would prove a great promoter of clean your attention. streets ; for the dullest citizen would eventually dis- "To say that youthful imagination ought not to be sen
Very near the end of the article occurs this sentence: cover that beauty and foulness can not be appro- suously stirred by art of this kind is to require of it more priately conjoined ; and the discrimination thus than is possible in nature.” Very true, but might not awakened would see that an ugly, misshapen tele- other things harmless in themselves inflame the imaginagraph-pole standing against a handsome façade, or tion equally as much? If the nude in art excites the crossing the lines of an artistic fountain, is an abomi- imagination to so great a degree, how much more will nation ; and with the telegraph-pole would disappear the imagination of the young physician be excited by the many other things that now affront and amaze the nude in nature ! Must we on that account abolish the eyes of beholders. It is, indeed, just possible that liar to those parts of our body which custom demands
practice of medicine, and the alleviation of diseases pecugood art in our streets would do more for general should be covered? Would it be expecting too much to art-education than galleries or museums, for pictures beg from you an answer to this letter ? and sculptures inevitably are seen by only a small
M. D. part of the public, while everybody, from the millionaire to the beggar, frequents the streets, and each In our first article on the subject, printed in the falls more or less, even if unconsciously, under the number for February last, we pointed out how, as it influence of the objects and the scenes that he daily seemed to us, the art student and the medical student, comes in contact with.
in their academic relations to the nude, so to speak, But while an association such as we have indi. fall under a different influence from that which affects cated would be a public boon, a society animated by persons who look upon it merely from a curious other than a high and severe art-ideal would simply or emotional point of view. With the student, a spedisgrace us. A lot of fussy, self-sufficient, innately cial and scholastic purpose may be supposed to domi. vulgar men, more bent upon parading themselves nate every other feeling. But, even if this were not than in rendering worthy public service, eager for so, the fact that a duty and a necessity are involved newspaper puffs and the applause of the idle, would separates the act from others; and then it does not soon hopelessly disfigure our parks and thorough- follow that, because one set of experiences is danfares, A noble fountain or monument is a thing gerous, we must therefore surrender ourselves to all of delight, but bits of cheap, flimsy, inartistic orna other experiences. It is impossible in this world to mentation-of which there are instances enough al- avoid things which are seductive to the senses; but ready—we most distinctly do not want. Mean and assuredly we may try and reduce the number-we cheap art is a great deal worse than no art at all. may take care not to voluntarily and unnecessarily If, therefore, any set of people combine with the in- place ourselves under unwholesome influences. Betention of adorning the city, it ought to be looked cause the soldier must stand fire in battle, that is to that the organization is made up rightly, and com no reason why he must submit to every musket that posed of persons of approved culture and taste. Un- may be idly opened upon him.
Books of the Day.
F all the work which he did in various depart. ment at the injustice of present opinion, he always
Bayard Taylor would doubtless prefer to be known the verdict of that posterity which should bring to and judged, is that which his friend Mr. Boker has the inquisition calmer feelings and larger views. brought together in “The Poetical Works of Bayard Our own opinion coincides with his, to this extent, Taylor." * Poetry,” says Mr. Boker, in the pref- at least, that his poetry will be relatively more ace which he has contributed to the volume, "was highly esteemed hereafter than it was during the the literary element in which Taylor lived and author's life. One of the most deeply rooted and moved and had his being; to which all other efforts widely prevalent of human instincts appears to be and all other ambitions were subjected, as vassals to that which holds intellectual versatility and intela sovereign; and to success in which he gave more lectual depth to be incompatible qualities; and there thoughtful labor, and held its fruits in higher esteem, can be no doubt that the variety and copiousness of than all the world and all the other glories thereof. Mr. Taylor's literary work did more than anything He traveled pen in hand ; he delivered course after else to divert attention from his achievements in that course of lectures in the brief nightly pauses of his field whose fruits he himself esteemed most highly. long winter journeys; he wrote novels, he wrote The reputation which he earned as traveler, novelist, editorials, criticisms, letters, and miscellaneous arti- critic, essayist, and lecturer, tended to confuse the cles for the magazines and the newspapers ; he toiled impression which his poetry alone might have made ; as few men have toiled at any profession or for any and the generally accepted idea of him was that he end, and he wore himself out and perished prema- attempted too many things to win the highest sucturely of hard and sometimes bitter work.” His cess in any. Longfellow's “Hyperion” and “Outresolace, we are assured, during all this wearing and Mer" are left entirely out of account in the common soul-hardening toil, was his pursuit of an art for estimate of his literary standing; and it can hardly which his reverence was boundless. “ To him," be doubted that, if his productiveness as a novelist continues Mr. Boker, “poetry was a second religion, had kept pace with his work as a poet, he would or an intellectual continuation of that natural, moral have failed to attain that undisputed primacy which sentiment which lifts man above himself and his for. he now holds in American literature. It is said of tunes in his aspiration after immortality and super- Macaulay that the only criticism that ever really nal life. He held that no achievement of man was touched him was the implication that such opulence comparable to the creation of a living poem. He of knowledge and brilliancy of style were inevitably saw, with other thinking men, that the work of the linked with superficiality of thought; and, whether poet is more like the work of God than any other it was correct in his case or not, a wellnigh univerearthly thing, since it is the only product of art that sal truth is embodied in the proposition that excelis assured of perpetuity, by the safety with which it lence in any pursuit so exacting as poetry can be can be transmitted from generation to generation. reached only by according to it an unreserved and He believed himself to be a poet—of what stature undivided allegiance. and quality it is now for the world to decide-and For this reason, we think, as Mr. Taylor's work in that faith, he wrought at his vocation with an in other fields is gradually forgotten, his work as a assiduity, and a careful husbanding of his time and poet will be more highly esteemed; but whether opportunities for mental and for written poetical any portion of that work is “ assured of perpetuity” composition, that was wonderful as an exhibition of seems to us a matter of very grave doubt. The human industry, and in its many and varied results, fatal defect of Mr. Taylor's poetry seems to us to when we take into consideration his wandering life be clearly implied even in Mr. Boker's touching deand his diversified and exacting employments." scription of the circumstances and sentiments which
That the author should place a high estimate controlled its production. To him poetry was a upon work produced under such difficulties, and as manufacture or a fabric rather than an inspiration ; the result of such exalted aspirations, was natural and his art was too conscious—with too much of and perhaps inevitable; and Mr. Taylor made no what the Germans call intention-to reach those attempt to conceal the fact that he set a greater celestial harmonies which are the irrepressible utvalue upon his poetry than the public seemed dis- terance of spontaneous singing. His literary method posed to concede to it. As we pointed out on a appears to have borne too close a resemblance to previous occasion, the burden of many of his later that of Southey - another Protean worker — who poems was the somewhat querulous complaint of would write the history of Brazil before breakfast, unappreciated genius ; but, amid all his disappoint- an ode after breakfast, then the history of the Penin
sular War till dinner, and an article for the “ Quar* The Poetical Works of Bayard Taylor. With a terly Review” in the evening; and the fate of the Preface by George H. Boker. Household edition. Bos- one poet is only too likely to be the fate of the ton: Houghton, Osgood & Co. 2mo, pp. 341.