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from the same premises. A man may be in gross error, and yet reason strictly from the premises which the church or custom may have given him. So did these citizens.
We deferentially, but still very firmly, dissent from the vague and uninstructive manner in which Mr. Lewes frequently and contemptuously alludes to 'scepticism'- -never condescending to say what he means by it. Mr. Lewes is too well informed not to know that there are no persons (or noue of sufficient importance to deserve his notice) who disbelieve in all things-who are sceptical professedly-who doubt till they doubt whether they do doubt. Mr. Lewes will be understood to allude, as he appears actually to do, to the persons commonly called 'infidels.' But he must be aware that, though they reject the dogmas of the church, they receive the truths of nature, the maxims of wise politics, and the precepts of morality. These parties cannot be classed with 'sceptics' by profession without an injustice, which we are sure Mr. Lewes would not consciously do them. In one sense most thinking men are sceptics in relation to some other men. Mr. Lewes is a great sceptic in reference to various systems of philosophy which he rejects; and in religion, inasmuch as his views appear to be refined by rationalism, he is in sceptical antagonism with nine-tenths of the Christian world: while, in reference to much that is excellent in nature and truth, Mr. Lewes is evidently an enlightened and decided believer. No man who uses the language of controversy with accuracy, would attempt to class Mr. Lewes under the vague denomination ofsceptics,' yet it might be done with as much propriety as Mr. Lewes himself uses this phrase, and subjects other persons under this designation to his polished contempt.
Nevertheless, there is scarcely a man known to literature whom we would so soon should have undertaken the Life of Robespierre as Mr. Lewes. His ability, candour, and independence are great. He in many respects generously redeems Robespierre from unmerited obloquy, and has established him higher in the estimation of the public, and of a class of persons who would not have accepted the same testimony from our pen. Therefore, in all our dissent from Mr. Lewes's dicta, we desire to keep prominently before the reader the gratitude we feel for what he has generously and ably done. What we venture further to represent in Robespierre's favour is respectfully submitted in the hope that it may induce a reconsideration of some important opinions in a future edition of this work.
Mr. Lewes seems of opinion that Robespierre's fanaticism was shown in his inexorable adherence to general rules-that in following so fixedly general principles he did that which it is not given to humanity to accomplish without violating humanity, and pursuing virtue till it verges on crime. Robespierre had many faults--in philosophy, in politics, and in religion he was often in signal error; but in implacable consistency with his own convictions he had no parallel in his own or other times. His error lay in assuming too much-not in the effort of realising what he did adopt. G. J. HOLYOAKE.
[The great length of this article compels us to defer its conclusion till next week.]
STATE OF THE NATION.
WHAT was the meaning of the motion which Mr. Disraeli, the other night, brought before the House on the state of the nation? Was anything intended by it which could seriously affect the welfare of the people? For what political object did the new leader of the Tory party bring forward his resolution?
The meaning, the tendency, the avowed object were the same. The motion signified the dissatisfaction of Mr. Disraeli that he was not a member of the government of England; its tendency was to substitute the policy of protection in the place of free-trade, and Toryism administered by Tories, in the place of Toryism administered by Whigs; its avowed object was to enable Mr. Disraeli and the country gentlemen to sit on the right hand of Mr. Speaker, and turn Lord John Russell over to the left. In fine, the very practical object the gentleman had in view was, to turn out the government'-nothing more. What a farce! Well might Mr. Osborne call it a 'flash-in-the-pan motion !'
Instead of the state of the nation, Mr. Disraeli should have moved for a committee on the state of the treasury benches. He should have asked the House to be logical, and resolve that the policy of Castlereagh should be carried out by his admirers and disciples. He should have asked the Whigs to restore the political ideas they have filched from the statesmen of mediocrity and dulness, who afflicted England with their rule thirty years ago, and restore power to those who still believe Toryism and protection, unveiled by the false and hypocritical semblance of Liberalism, practicable in England as engines of government; and he should have told the Whigs that they were in office because no other party could be found who would administer the affairs of the country at the expense of their honour.
But no; Mr. Disraeli is too much of an egoist, too intent on selfglorification, too ambitious to serve his new masters, to tell truths like these. It would not have answered his purpose to have identified the home policy of the Whigs with that of the ministry of mediocrities; and he is not high-souled and earnest enough to point out the true sins of the renegades of 1830. Peace, Reform, and Retrenchment,' they exclaimed, that is our watchword. Peace they have preserved because was unpopular, and the burden of further taxation intolerable. Reform they have scoffed at, and Retrenchment they have changed into Extravagance. But these are not sins in the eyes of Mr. Disraeli, virtues rather are they. And so he arraigned them for offences of which they alone were not guilty, and deeds to which they were impelled by the national will. It was the state of Ireland-Ireland, whose crime and misery lie at the door of Toryism-Ireland, whose state' is the greatest example in the world of what Toryism can do for a country— Ireland, whose whole legislation and administration, whose social and political status, as far as government is concerned, has always been Tory; it was the state of Ireland, and the policy of free-trade-of free-trade, which the middle classes forced through Parliament, spite of Whig and Tory-these were the sins for which Mr. Disraeli denounced Her Majesty's Ministers. The State of the Nation! Why in his mouth it is
only a phrase, a piece of rhetorical humbug-a mere cry, used for the purpose of turning out a ministry whom the people despise, and substituting a ministry whom the people would hate!
What does the charge with respect to Ireland amount to? 'Ireland,' says Mr. Disraeli, 'is actually in a state of social decomposition.' How ridiculous! Why, Ireland not only is, but has been in a state of social decomposition for many long years, during the greater part of which period Mr. Disraeli's party, aided and abetted by the Whigs, have held the reins of power; while the present government have only been in office three years. The miseries of Ireland were unheeded until O'Connell came into the House of Commons. She was bought and sold; provoked, desolated; persecuted, insulted, a prey to a profligate faction of Anglo-Irish and Orangemen. Rebellion, famine, fever, eviction, legal injustice, tithe massacres, religious persecution, infested her cities and fields. Who took heed? Who helped her? Who even talked of helping her? No one. Suddenly came reform, the reign of publicity, debates in the House, and sustained discussions in the press. Then we all perceived that Ireland was and is in a state of 'social decomposition'with famine every ten years; agrarian outrages and agrarian evictions; always on the verge of rebellion, and violently, pathetically, earnestly demanding repeal. Such was the result of publicity on public opinion. But the evils had not just arisen. We look into the history of Ireland, and we find that the 'state of the nation' has for years been one of 'social decomposition;' and we look into the political principles and social practices which govern that history, and find that she has always been governed according to the rubric of Toryism-that the very marrow of Tory legislation has wrought out the sad destiny of Ireland. And now her so desperate condition is dragged in to play its part in a clap-trap speech, whose object is the ousting of that ministry-whose chief, perhaps only, merit is, that it has been the first to make some effort to release Ireland from the decomposing influence of Toryism, and its natural consequence, bankruptcy.
With respect to free-trade-the great sin of the Ministry—in the first place the country compelled Parliament to enact it, and in the second that enaction averted a revolution. Would Mr. Disraeli have liked a revolution? We rather think not, except it had turned out to be a revolution of reaction. However, Mr. Disraeli and his party were defeated in '46, and we have had food instead of fighting, bread instead of barricades.
When will the House leave off patronising the People? When will the patrician and country party, instead of making the state of the nation a stepping-stone to place, consent to let the nation take the care of its own state into its own hands? Self-imposed physicians, like those who prescribe for us, are a doubtful race. A man who is continually reminding you that he is a gentleman, is but too often a pretender or an upstart. The House of Commons and the House of Lords decide that their collective wisdoms alone can furnish the genuine kind of government, the pure essence of just legislation. They are the self-imposed physicians, the self-declared legislators. In their eyes all, beyond the circle of the evervenerable ten pound householders, is ignorance and cunning, turbulence
and anarchy, red republicanism and Communism. They, the ever-venerable, elect their representatives to look after their interests, which they dignify under the name of the interests of the nation. The elected and electors are no doubt respectable, but they are not the representatives of the Nation-they are not a national body. Exceptional, privileged, exclusive, they can never deal adequately and justly with the state of the nation; and they and their legislation will always be, however they may pretend to the contrary, exceptional, privileged, and exclusive. We demur to the competency of the court, we except to the capacity of the state physician. If Mr. Disraeli believes, as his speech would lead us to infer, that the state of the nation is so critical, the administration of affairs so disastrous, the exceptional legislative so incapable, surely he ought to take away the abused privileges, break through the excluding limits, and appeal to the nation to save itself; or, he should roundly and plainly tell us that in absolutism alone rests our salvation. He will take neither course. Democracy delights him not, nor despotism neither; and we should hear nothing of the desperate state of the nation if the Tory oligarchy were in power, corn at 80s. a quarter, protection decimating our manufacturės, and rents high enough to relieve the wants of a bankrupt and extravagant landed proprietary. Because these things are not, the nation forsooth is rushing to ruin.
But the boy is gone by with the cows, as the homely proverb hath it. The nation itself is anxiously considering its state; and, judging from its growing political activity, will ere long make an effort to take the regulation of that state into its own hands. Let Mr. Disraeli reserve his strength for that day-the oligarchy will want him; but, if they, with his help, win the battle, is he sure that they will not keep the spoil?
V.-GEMS FROM THE 'DIA L.'
THE 'Orphic Sayings' of Mr. Alcott, which appeared in the first vol of the Dial, are of genuine, but, I think, of unequal, interest. The following passages from them are among the finest, and well deserve reprinting and considering. The Poetry which follows is on similar subjects, and calls in varied ways to the development of moral heroism. The pieces signed 'H. D. T.' are, I believe, by the author of the article on Natural History quoted in the first of this series. The six pieces headed New Poetry' are from an article with that title in No. 2 of the Dial, on the productions of an unknown author.*
All these verses are rather metrical aspirations than poems. They lack the careful phrasing and measured rhythm which are essential to perfect poetry. And this defect is shared by Emerson himself, the highest type and fullest exponent of this American school of thought. Moreover, it
*Having since met with the last of these ('A Life Well Spent ') in the Harbinger, No. 2, Vol. 4, ascribed to W. E. Channing, the distinguished Associationist, and the author of the recently published Life of Dr. Channing (his uncle), I conclude that he is the author of this New Poetry. P.
is evident these poets rather think they are doing something praiseworthy in thus despising measure. This is probably a reaction from the monotony of the old cut-and-dried school of versification-a reaction which, in its anxiety to be natural, forgets that culture is also a part of true nature. Why not give noble thoughts the most musical utterance? But while large numbers debase Art by low aims, the honest reformer will always be liable to run into Puritanism, and curse beauty as effeminate. If, however, he keep his eyes open, he will in time see that Beauty and
Never can be sundered without tears.
Meantime, while so many poets seek fame at the expense of genuine purpose, one cannot but respect those who sacrifice even artistic beauty to an unpopular but truthful manner of expressing their thoughts.
BY A. BRONSON ALCOTT.
Three qualities are essential to the reformer-insight, veneration, valour. These are the arms with which he takes the world.-To all else are institutions, men, ages, invulnerable.
The hunger of an age is alike a presentiment and pledge of its own supply.
Christians lean on Jesus, not on the soul. Such was not the doctrine of this noble reformer. He taught man's independence of all men, and a faith and trust in the soul herself.-Jesus gives his arm to none but those who stand erect, independent of church, state, or the world, in the integrity of self-insight and valour. Cast aside thy crutch, O Christendom, and, by faith in the soul, arise and walk.
The current version of all sacred books is profane.
The actual and ideal are twins of one mother, Reality, who, failing to incarnate her conceptions in time, meanwhile contents herself with admiring in each the complement of the other, herself integrant of both. Alway are the divine Gemini* intertwined: Pan and Psyche, man and woman, the soul and nature.
Gentleness is the divinest of graces, and all men joy in it.
Either subordinate your vocation to your life, or quit it for ever: it is not for you: it is condemnation of your own soul. Your influence on others is commensurate with the strength that you have found in yourself. First cast the demons from your own bosom, and then shall your word exorcise them from the hearts of others.
Great thoughts exalt and deify the thinker: still more ennobling is the effect of great deeds on the actor.-Action mediates between conscience and sense: it is the gospel of the understanding.
Opinions are life in foliage: deeds, in fruitage. Always is the fruitless tree accursed.
The man of sublime gifts has his temptation amid the solitudes to which he is driven by his age as proof of his integrity. Yet nobly he
Gemini, twins. The twins who give this name to the third sign of the Zodiac, are Castor and Pollux.