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second infancy is not, and cannot be, in other in the same directions as they had any way like his first. The store of expe- diverged in before they were suddenly rerience by which he was guided before the duced to the same level of experience. accident is gone, but the character trained | The old would have, if not the same advanby that experience remains; and you tages over the young as before, - or the might as well say that a blossom is inde- same disadvantages, as the case might be, pendent of the stages of seed, root, stalk, - still the greater part of their old advanand leaf, because it has no memory or rec- tages, — or disadvantages ; — the disciord of them, as that George Nickern is so pline, or want of discipline, would be because he has lost the memory and record there, though wrapt up in the shape of a of them. No doubt his character shows species of taste or habit of mind, of which somewhat differently under its new condi- they could give no account, — the caution, tions, as all our characters would show so far as it had been worked up into their differently if we had suddenly either a vast practical nature though, of course, not so accession or a vast diminution of our or far as it was a mere memory of pain and dinary resources. Put a man under quite failure, would remain; the taste, so far as it new circumstances, and he will probably had been educated and cultivated, would appear in quite a new light; but what he remain, though it would have lost the clue is in these new circumstances is not the to its own discriminations ; finally, the revless, in some sense, the resultant of what erence of mind, the devotional disposition he was in the old, and of the new influ- would be ready in the Christian, though the ences brought to bear on him. Supposing, grasp of the historical sources of it would for instance, that it were possible for the have vanished away. The destruction of whole of any nation to get up some morn- memory would be to some a vast relief, ing with a completely blank memory, the and to others a terrible loss of the best wife not knowing the husband, nor the happiness of life, but we believe very husband the wife; the mother her chil- strongly that it would be very far indeed dren, nor the children their mother; the from making “ all things new." The old creditor his debtors, or the debtors their lives again in the new in a way that defies creditor; in short, with every transaction oblivion to wipe it out. clean wiped out, except those on record, and they, for the time, utterly unintelligible, because the key to the national language, as well as to all the appliances of civilization, would have been lost, — yet
From The Spectator. even then, we take it, the characters of
THE EMPIRE OF NOVELS. men would be so much influenced by their An essayist, in the number of the Westunrecollected and unconscious past, that,minster Review published this week, asks a after a very few years of imparted teach- question which, though purely speculative, ing, we should probably have the same has an interest for the students of English men philanthropists who were philanthro-Literature. He asserts with great justice pists before, - burglars, or something like that Fiction has attained in England a kind it who were burglars before, - misers who of “ empire," which enables it to overshadow were misers before, — selfish pursuers of for the time almost every kind of non-politipleasures who were selfish pursuers of cal literature. Nothing except a successful pleasures before, — and so forth. Any journal is so much read as a successful returning citizen who had not been in- novel, no man except a great orator has the cluded in the general blight of memory audience of a great novelist, and no literary would soon perceive how the unremem- production whatever, not even a first-class bered past was shooting anew in the pres-poem, is so sure to be minutely discussed ent, and would probably make the obser- as a first-class story. To thousands of vation that essential as memory is to the Englishmen Mr. Trollope's personages are business of life and its duties, the most im- as real as the personages of comedy were to portant influence of the past over the pres- their grandfathers, and writers like Thackeent is one not exerted through the memory, ray exercise a far more decisive influence but through the active tendencies of emo-on manners, if not on opinions, than Contion and character, which are unconsciously, greve or Sheridan could have claimed. The and not consciously, due to past life. A religious world, which has frequently defied whole nation of George Nickerns would the Theatre, has been beaten by the Novel, soon become as different from each other and the masses who never open In Memoas they were before their loss of memory, riam know Nicholas Nickleby by heart. and in most cases by diverging from each | The empire, such as it is, is undeniable; but, asks the reviewer, “ Can it be held a novels are now, but we doubt if Mr. Lacy matter of absolute certainty that the do- ever sells a copy of a “play” to any one minion of the English novel, which began not impelled to read it for some professional in 1741, with Pamela, will prove more en- reason, as actor, or amateur, or critic, and during,”— than that of, say, the Attic we feel quite sure that to most men the drama, which lasted only a hundred years ? effort to read a production of the kind would He makes no effort to answer his own ques- be intolerably wearisome. There exists, in tion, but it is clear that he inclines to a fact, a dislike to read dialogue except in a negative reply; and we confess that, in novel, which is strange, considering how spite of many present appearances, we large a part dialogue plays in most stories, agree, with one material qualification, in notably in Mr. Trollope's, and how popular bis opinion. We doubt, in fact, whether that form of discussion once became. Long the Novel, at all events in its present shape, dialogues are scarcely tolerated even on the has not passed the zenith of its power. No stage, where they have every aid to make opinion of a purely speculative kind is more them real, and it would require genius difficult to justify by argument, and no ar- greater than that of W. S. Landor to make gument can on such a point be absolutely a new series of Imaginary Conversations' conclusive, but there are some considera- sell. If any one doubts this remark, let tions tending towards a conclusion which him read the comments of the day on the our readers can readily estimate for them- Noctes Ambrosiance, and then sit down and selves.
try to read those enthusiastically admired It is, for example, we believe nearly cer- conversations. There is no particular reason tain that while the habit of reading novels for the change that we know of, except the for themselves, and not merely to pass growing taste for realism even in the forms away the time, is increasing, like all other of literary work, and that taste as it develforins of reading, among the less educated, ops is sure to react more or less against all it is dying away among the more cultivated but one kind of fiction, and inay possibly section of society. They will read only operate against the popularity of all kinds. novels supposed to be exceptional either We suspect that the most remarkable feature from the genius displayed in them, or the in the history of novels, their inability to speciality of the plot they develop, or it keep alive, is due, in a great measure, to may be something sensational or morbid in this taste. Nothing is true in most novels the characters depicted. Ordinary novels except their descriptions of manners, and bore them, and as the supply of extraordin- the instant those descriptions cease, from ary novels is limited, the habit of novel social changes, to be true, the novels themreading rapidly declines. It is the com-selves disappear. There never was a body monest of occurrences to hear such men de- of literature with so little vitality in it. clare that they cannot get through novels, The number of novels which have really and the change in taste in them is sure lived, — lived, that is, in any just sense of sooner or later to be a change of taste in the word, as books which most men read, the public. There is no evidence of a con- at all events, once, — may be counted on tempt of the old kind for novels, but of a the fingers, and we question if so many as decline of regard for them which makes it-ten will, except as literary curiosities, surself visible in the decreasing attention they vive two centuries. If the taste for readcommand in the reviews, a decrease which ing them were a permanent mental desire, has been marked for some time even in as, for example, the taste for poetry cerjournals of a strictly literary kind. While tainly is, the destruction could hardly' be so George Eliot writes, the publication of a rapid, or the oblivion so complete. novel must every now and then be a liter- It may be said that as the habit of readary event; but the book of the season is ing is not likely to decline, and as novels more and more rarely a story. The pro- are the pleasantest form of light reading, duction of stories — good stories, too – the supply will always keep pace with the does not decrease; but the taste for them, demand. That may be true, without afand above all, the belief in them as impor- fecting the question, which is not the sale tant works, certainly does. Similar tastes of novels, but their place in literature, their have declined before, and in all probability "empire," as the Westminster reviewer will decline again. Nobody, for example, calls it; but we are inclined to question if now thinks the production of a new comedy it is true. We suspect that as the mechanan event, or cares very much to see a first ical appliances of communication improve, representation, or is much interested in all kinds of light reading will be swallowed gossip about it, or above all, dreams of up by the most sensational of all, the hourly reading it. Comedies were read once as history of the world, its doings and its peo
ple. This tendency is already noted in | facts, but that seems to us the tendency of America; and even in England, where peo- the time. ple adhere longer to habits, the journal, And then comes the only serious quesand especially the journal of news, threatens tion in the whole matter. The empire of to supersede the novel. People are, on the novel, so far as the novel is more than the whole, more amused by seeing “what a passing phase of public taste, is really is going on" than by reading what imagin-based on the desire of a self-conscious race ary people suffer, and that taste once ac- to look at itself in the glass, and to see itquired, lasts for life. It is as strong as a self as it were, under analysis, – to study thirst for drams, and as a great many peo- itself either clothed, as with Trollope; or ple think, - we do not agree with them, - nude, as with Thackeray; or under the is very little less deleterious to the mental anatomist's knife, as with the Author of palate. Owing to causes not worth dis- Romola. As long as that consciousness encussing here, it has been very little fostered dures, there will be an interest felt in the in England; but still the demand for news- best kind of novel, the novel of character; papers which for any reason are readable and authors of genius will endeavour to increases, till as the Westminster reviewer gratify it by analyses nominally fictitious, remarks, the empire of the novel is already really patient studies of living beings. disputed, and but for the lingering distaste of They cannot write autobiographies, which women for newspapers, a distaste rapidly alone from this point of view could superpassing away, it would be seriously men- scde novels, nor have they usually shown aced. The reader in fact obtains, say in much tendency to use verse as their instruan evening paper, all that be obtains in an ment, as Shakespeare did; and the probaordinary novel, - a distraction, and some bility is, therefore, that they will continue thing else besides, - a distraction which is to use the novel as a vehicle for conveying not based on a fiction. He finds as many to the world the results of their vivisecstories, tragic or comic, as many charac- tion. Should the world ever cease to care ters, as many social sketches; and they are for self-introspection, for the study of the all real, all more or less true, and all de- inner man, as, for example, the Roman scribed in the style which, be it bad or world appears latterly to have done, - life good from an artistic point of view, is the growing too stern and terror too permanent easiest and pleasantest to him to read. for such occupation, - even the character Knowledge of a kind is widening, and as novel, the only true novel, will disappear; knowledge widens so does the interest felt but we see little prospect of such a catasby ordinary mankind in the daily life of the trophe. The newspaper cannot take up world. A man must have some trace of this function, there is no sign that the theaeducation to watch with interest telegrams tres will ever again attract crowds by new from three continents, but the capacity of pictures of the inner life of men, and the interest once acquired, the habit is never novel of character therefore will probably lost. Novels did not sell in America while continue. But its continuance as a mode the army was marching on Richmond, or of literary expression is not equivalent to in India during the Mutiny, and to the edu- that “empire of the novel" of which the cated there is always some event occurring reviewer speaks, that predominant system somewhere which interests men nearly as of conveying all instruction, from the subtmuch as a war or a revolution. It is be- lest to the simplest, from the deepest difcause French papers do not feel this inter-ficulties of religious inquiry to the elemenest in history, confining themselves as they tary facts of physical geography, through do to political oratory and epigram, that the medium of stories which has given the they find readers for the feuilleton, for the Novel for a moment such a preposterous novel which, however bright it might be, I place in the literature of Great Britain. would inevitably kill an English newspa- The marsh need not continue because the per, however dull it might be. It is not, river must find its way to the sea, and perhaps, a very enticing prospect to fore- there are signs, to us welcome signs, that cast that the novel will ultimately give at no very distant period the superfluous place to the news journal, a farrago of rub- and, as we believe, the miasmatic overflow bishy sentiment to a collection of snippety will be dried up, leaving the soil with a
new capacity for bearing new fruit.
From The Spectator, 2 Jan. | life, and permanently change their standard THREE PHASES OF SCIENTIFIC FINANCE. I of living. This is no doubt a perfectly
POLITICIANS in search of a thoroughly distinct end from the mere removal of imscientific account of what Mr. Gladstone pediments to the natural accumulation and has really achieved in finance, and the productive use of capital, but it is almost methods by which he has achieved it, can- inevitably suggested as the second stage not do better than to read a very able and of financial science verges towards its end, instructive article in the new Fortnightly i.e., when the nation can feel satisfied that Review, by Mr. Robert Giffen. The fault the taxes are so raised as not to shut up or of the paper is that in style it hovers a little embarrass access to any natural field of between a treatise and a sketch, — some-productive labour. As the new impulse to times attempting the impossible in the form production begins, which is due to the aboof representing a chapter of detailed in-lition of artificial restraints, the poorest formation and discussion by a paragraph, class is seen to be rising so fast out of - a paragraph, of course, too allusive, and pauperism that the statesman cannot but resting on supports of knowledge outside be struck by the possibility of completing the article itself. If Mr. Giffen would ex- the process almost within a single generapand his article into a volume, he might tion, and so raising a whole class at one not only add a very needful supplement to heave above those habits which cause pauthat once useful, but now antiquated book, perism and rest contented with it. To efPorter's Progress of the Nation, but illus- fect this, not only must there be more trate it with all the resources of an accom- wealth in the nation and therefore more plished economist and an acute student of demand for industry, but also higher tastes political finance. Even as it is, however, and wants amongst the labourers. The the essay is one of no little value on the former might exist without the latter, nay, principles and tendencies of Mr. Glad might almost advance indefinitely without stone's financial measures.
any corresponding advance in the latter; Mr. Giffen notes carefully the three and here there comes in the third general stages of scientific finance, — the stage in aim of a scientific financier to see that the which its object is mainly to bring national newly accumulated wages-fund shall not be revenue well up to expenditure, a stage needlessly debarred from investment in which, under wise and even acute states- those comforts and enjoyments which raise men, necessarily develops into the second the self-respect of the poorest class by stage, because it can attain its object only by any needless taxation of their comforts and developing into the second stage, — namely, enjoyments; – that so far as taxation must that in which it is the primary object of the press heavily on them at all, it shall press financier not so much to extract sufficient on their most questionable or even injurirevenue, as so to distribute and review his ous tastes, like the crave for stimulants and taxation as not to embarrass or impede un sedatives, for spirits and tobacco. Furnecessarily any single branch of human in- ther, such a statesman will see many finandustry, in other words, so to arrange his cial directions in which the agency of the taxes thai he forces no artificial change State can really stimulate the progress of in the distribution of capital and labour the proletariat class positively as well as among those productive or distributive op- negatively, - and this not only without erations for which there exist the greatest loss, but with gain to the Government, — natural advantages. But this second stage as by controlling and regulating the great of development in the financier's science national monopolies of civilization, the can scarcely be matured without the dawn-post, the railway, and the telegraph, by ing of a third aim, distinct both from the giving a Government guarantee to savings' mere extraction of the income needful for banks, and to the insurance against sickthe national expenditure and from the ness and old age. Of these three great careful avoidance of all taxation likely to stages in the science of modern English disturb the natural conditions of produc- finance, Mr. Giften assigns the credit of tive operations, — namely the possibility the first and the initiation of the second to of raising the whole social status of the the late Sir Robert Peel, but to Sir Robproletariat class, — and this not merely by ert Peel most ably supported and seconded preparing the way for more work and giv- by Mr. Gladstone; the completion of the ing every opportunity for the accumulation second stage and the initiation of the third, of the new capital on which alone they can — and this at a time when necessity was be set to work, but also by pressing as not the mother of invention, since public lightly as possible on their comforts and opinion had ceased to apply any consideraenjoyments, so as to open to them a new ble pressure to the problem of financial
reform, - to Mr. Gladstone. And very realized, how much production was hinably does he illustrate the intensity of pur- dered, how much wealth was wasted, how pose, the fertility of invention, the un-much wealth was never produced which daunted courage, which enabled Mr. Glad-otherwise would have been produced, in stone to triumph over what would have consequence of embarrassing and vexatious been to most financiers the temptation of taxes; and the advantage of extending the bringing forward • easy budgets,' — budgets movement had thus gained a far stronger with which no one would have cavilled, and hold over his imagination than over the imwhich would perfectly have satisfied his agination of the nation at large. He had, chiefs.
as Mr. Giffen says, to create that " artifiThere is something even more imprescial intelligence" by which alone his own sive than Mr. Giffen has brought out in this proposed reforms became possible. He threefold development of modern finance, had to kindle in the nation the same hope froin a finance the only fear of which was of vast progress and new resources which not to get enough money, through a fi- he had grasped himself, and to kindle nance the main fear of which was an un- enough for the purpose of enforcing immedue interference with the distribution of diate painful sacrifices on both the middle the capital and labour of the nation, to a and the upper class, like the prolonged infinance the principal fear of which is the come-tax and the new succession duty. needless limitation of the enjoyments and He had to repeat the same effort under peedless checks on the expanding tastes of still more disadvantageous circumstances in the people, and which even in some de- 1860, when the expenditure had risen to a partments hopes to make a tax less a con- far higher level, and when yet the mood of tribution for the general decessities of Gov- the public mind, under the spell of Lord ernment than a purchase of valuable imme- Palmerston, was utterly inert and averse to diate privileges at a far cheaper rate than efforts of faith and self-denial. The popany but Government could afford to charge. ular · policy would have been to let well And there is something in this progressive alone' and remit taxation, especially the development of financial science especially income-tax, to the extent of the surplus. illustrative of the genius of the statesman Mr. Gladstone had to make the nation feel who has been the means of causing it. We that there were still great and needless fetusually suppose that it is because our Gov- ters on the springs of industry, and still ernment is a popular Government that we greater and as needless fetters on the means bave bad all this financial reform. But the of popular enjoyment and civilization; he financial bistory of the period shows us how had to withstand the pleasures of indolence false this conception is. The first move, and the pleasures of expenditure, in order no doubt, the move against the Corn Laws, to set the nation free from restrictions of was popularized by the Anti-Corn Law / which they did not complain, and give them League, and, so far, Sir Robert Peel may privileges for which they did not ask. The have been said to have been carried over result has been, we believe, that, by his the first great obstacle by a wave of popular policy chiefly, the name and idea of govfeeling. Still, even in his case the great ernient have become popular, where a financial instrument by which he was en- quarter of a century ago government' was abled to lighten so much the burden of a term of reproach; that through him it mischievous taxation, the income-tax, was has become possible to regard government in the highest degree unpopular. And as the centre of popular life, instead of as when Mr. Gladstone became Chancellor of the centre of all that was hostile to popular the Exchequer in 1853, he had, as Mr. I life,—that, in fact, he has at last persuaded Giffen shows, a very difficult task before the English people to like and trust a Govhim in persuading the country to submit to ernment which for generations they had rethat tax still longer for the sake of financial garded as at best a necessary evil. Reimprovements the urgency of which was by form Acts may have been essential to give no means keenly or widely felt. By that him the motive power by which this change time it was not the popular opinion which has been accomplished; yet but for Sir was urging on Mr. Gladstone, but Mr. Robert Peel and for him, the Government Gladstone who was urging on popular opin- of the Reformed Parliament would still be, ion. He had seen the real mischief of the as it was in 1842, almost, if not quite, as old plan of taxation in a way which had ta- unpopular as the Government of the old ken bold of his imagination. He had be- régime. gun to realize, as the nation had never!