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“ problems which ought to be seldom notion of the real meaning of either of “ mentioned, but never for one instant the words he was using. But the article “ forgotten. Strange as it may appear is chiefly an attack on Trades Unions. “ to popular lecturers, they really do An instance of one murder is cited (as “ make it seem rather unimportant to the truth of which I know nothing, “ whether, on an average, there is, or is and neither deny or admit that it “ not a little more or less good-nature, was traceable to a Union. Then the “ a little more or less comfort, and a article goes on, “similar outrages have “ little more or less knowledge in the “ been committed in other parts of the “ world.”

“ country, but we need not lengthen the This is not much of a gospel for poor “ list :" and then it comments with the men, who have to work and not to talk usual flippancy on “the sentimentalism in the world, and have a dim sort of of assassination,” and “the murders of notion of trying to set the crooked things the Trades Unions.” about them somewhat straighter, to Now here the writer is speaking, I make the rough places of life somewhat should hope, without having made any smoother, for those with whom their inquiry, or taken the least trouble to lot brings them into contact. But yet it ascertain the truth. But, if this be so, is good as far as it goes ; a manful if he had no right as a gentleman to make not hopeful putting of a view of life, charges against hundreds of thousands which, if it will not help and strengthen of his fellow-countrymen founded on men to do wise and good acts, will, at superficial and hostile newspaper gossip. any rate, be likely to keep them from If it be not so—if he has really made doing silly ones.

himself acquainted with the character But whether it be that success has and action of the trades societies for the made Saturday Reviewers reckless, or last few years-why, I can only say he that the writers are no longer the same, is publishing anonymously a gross and or that they are getting tired of Olympus, wicked libel, knowing it to be such." certain it is that of late the immortals This is the spirit of much of the rehave given up their high style, and have cent speech of Saturday Reviewers. come down on the common pavement They have also lately given us a glimpse amongst ordinary mortals. Alas! that of their opinions on one of the most instead of setting us a good example important points connected with public when there, they should have broken writing. out into the sort of virulent sauciness In a recent article on “The Weapons which the street-boys and costermongers of Controversy" (the good taste of which of the press give us quite enough of al- article, under all the circumstances, is ready, and which might well have been much more than questionable), we are left to them. Probably they don't like

The writers in the Saturday Review seem the discovery that ordinary mortals have to respect Mr. J. S. Mill's writings. The folelbows.

lowing passage from his last work might sug. Out of dozens of instances of what I gest a different treatment of the trades societies mean, which the files of the Saturday for

question to them :--"On the question of

• strikes, for instance, it is doubtful if there the last few months would furnish, I will

" is so much as one of the leading members of only refer to one, and to that one because “ either house, who is not firmly convinced that I was myself part of the subject-matter “ the reason of the matter is unqualifiedly on operated upon. The article in question

“ the side of the masters, and that the men's

“ view is simply absurd. Those who have was entitled “Genial Socialism." I sup

“ studied the question know how far this is pose from the context that the writer “from being the case, and in how different thought he was saying something very “and how infinitely less superficial a manner diagreeable to me when he hit upon the “ the point would have to be argued if the

“ classes who strike were able to make themnickname, whereas I should have con

con “selves heard in Parliament." —Representative

sen sidered it a compliment had there been Government, p. 57. For “ Parliament” read instructed in the nature and objects of he is witnessing in one common conridicule as a weapon of controversy, tempt, and for the time to blind the from the point of view of the Saturday. eyes of fools, and raise the laugh of the The position taken up by the writer is, thoughtless; but it is not the kind of that ridicule used against opinions or work which does any one good at the acts which are not ridiculous is harm time, or for which the world has any less. This is true, no doubt, in the long reason to be thankful. What do we run. The truth can never, in the end, think now of Jeffrey's ridicule of Wordsbe hurt by ridicule, or any other weapon worth? But it hindered many from of controversy. But it is not true—it is reading and profiting by his poems. Has just the reverse of true-as regards both not every one of us seen instances of those who raise such laughs as the the poorest ridicule hindering boys or Saturday approves, and those who join men from taking a manly and righteous in them. To leave us in no doubt as to course ? what in his eyes is a fair use of ridicule, Such ridicule as that of the Saturday the writer quotes a passage from Sydney of late never did nor ever can do any good. Smith's writings, in which he answers a If they care for it at all, it only drives complaint of the Methodists against his men further wrong. The only ridicule mode of attacking them, by comparing which can do good is that behind which them to fleas and lice, who are “to be lies sympathy with the persons ridi. ", caught, killed, and cracked, in the culed, and a sincere desire to bring them " manner and by the instruments which right, and not to lead them further “ are found most efficacious for their astray. “ destruction; and the more they cry Would not these failings of the Satur“out, the greater, plainly, is the skill day, too, be likely to disappear if the “ used against them.” Now, the Me- writers had to sign? They could not thodists, with all their faults, were a thereby certainly acquire any sort of body of his fellow-citizens, many of belief, or be put into sympathy with any whom, in all points, except powers of class of their countrymen, but they satire and ridicule, might well have would learn to keep within bounds, to borne a comparison with the witty canon. think rather more of what they really The whole of his works would not, pro- have to say, and rather less of mere bably, afford so gross an instance of low smartness. and bad ridicule; and this is the one These are the two leading instances which the Saturday selects to indorse of the specially English newspaper, So far as it is able, I must allow that it according to the Times definition—the consistently strives to reach the bad newspaper without cause, or party, or taste of its model. The fact is, that in definite principle, but conducted “ for very few human beings or human socie- the instruction and advantage of the ties is the tone so pure and noble, that public," generally. Not that I mean to some petty dislike or jealousy of men, compare such dissimilar entities. The some impatience of new and unpalatable Times is like a great stalwart leader truth, will not be warmed into life by, at the head of a mob, who shoulders and start out to enjoy and applaud, the you from the wall, and if you remonmost unjust and shallow ridicule—the strate, kicks you into the gutter; who is more unjust and shallow the better for just as likely to meet you in the face if this purpose. Moreover, it does often you are going east as if you are going happen that the men who have hold of, west ; but, nevertheless, is thoroughly and are struggling by word and act to English when he has made up his mind express, some truth not yet received, are which way he means to go for the time themselves inconsiderate, and hasty, and being. The Saturday is the very oppoeccentric. Nothing is easier than for site of all this, and gets its following those who sit in the seat of the scorner (apart from its ability) by fine-gentle

“ problems which ought to be seldom “ mentioned, but never for one instant “ forgotten. Strange as it may appear “ to popular lecturers, they really do “ make it seem rather unimportant " whether, on an average, there is, or is “ not a little more or less good-nature, “ a little more or less comfort, and a « little more or less knowledge in the “ world.”

This is not much of a gospel for poor men, who have to work and not to talk in the world, and have a dim sort of notion of trying to set the crooked things about them somewhat straighter, to make the rough places of life somewhat smoother, for those with whom their lot brings them into contact. But yet it is good as far as it goes ; a manful if not hopeful putting of a view of life, which, if it will not help and strengthen men to do wise and good acts, will, at any rate, be likely to keep them from doing silly ones.

But whether it be that success has made Saturday Reviewers reckless, or that the writers are no longer the same, or that they are getting tired of Olympus, certain it is that of late the immortals have given up their high style, and have come down on the common pavement amongst ordinary mortals. Alas! that instead of setting us a good example when there, they should have broken out into the sort of virulent sauciness which the street-boys and costermongers of the press give us quite enough of already, and which might well have been left to them. Probably they don't like the discovery that ordinary mortals have elbows.

Out of dozens of instances of what I mean, which the files of the Saturday for the last few months would furnish, I will only refer to one, and to that one because I was myself part of the subject-matter operated upon. The article in question was entitled “Genial Socialism." I suppose from the context that the writer thought he was saying something very diagreeable to me when he hit upon the nickname, whereas I should have con

con sidered it a compliment had there been

notion of the real meaning of either of the words he was using. But the article is chiefly an attack on Trades Unions. An instance of one murder is cited (as to the truth of which I know nothing, and neither deny or admit that it was traceable to a Union. Then the article goes on, “similar outrages have “ been committed in other parts of the “ country, but we need not lengthen the “ list ;” and then it comments with the usual flippancy on “the sentimentalism of assassination,” and “the murders of the Trades Unions.”

Now here the writer is speaking, I should hope, without having made any inquiry, or taken the least trouble to ascertain the truth. But, if this be so, he had no right as a gentleman to make charges against hundreds of thousands of his fellow-countrymen founded on superficial and hostile newspaper gossip. If it be not so—if he has really made himself acquainted with the character and action of the trades societies for the last few years—why, I can only say he is publishing anonymously a gross and wicked libel, knowing it to be such.

This is the spirit of much of the recent speech of Saturday Reviewers. They have also lately given us a glimpse of their opinions on one of the most important points connected with public writing.

In a recent article on “The Weapons of Controversy” (the good taste of which article, under all the circumstances, is much more than questionable), we are

The writers in the Saturday Review seem to respect Mr. J. S. Mill's writings. The following passage from his last work might sug. gest a different treatment of the trades societies question to them :--"On the question of s strikes, for instance, it is doubtful if there " is so much as one of the leading members of “either house, who is not firmly convinced that “ the reason of the matter is unqualifiedly on " the side of the masters, and that the men's “ view is simply absurd. Those who have “ studied the question know how far this is “ from being the case, and in how different “and how infinitely less superficial a manner " the point would have to be argued if the " classes who strike were able to make them“selves heard in Parliament." —Representative Government, p. 57. For “ Parliament” read instructed in the nature and objects of ridicule as a weapon of controversy, from the point of view of the Saturday. The position taken up by the writer is, that ridicule used against opinions or acts which are not ridiculous is harmless. This is true, no doubt, in the long run. The truth can never, in the end, be hurt by ridicule, or any other weapon of controversy. But it is not true—it is just the reverse of true-as regards both those who raise such laughs as the Saturday approves, and those who join in them. To leave us in no doubt as to what in his eyes is a fair use of ridicule, the writer quotes a passage from Sydney Smith's writings, in which he answers a complaint of the Methodists against his mode of attacking them, by comparing them to fleas and lice, who are “ to be ", caught, killed, and cracked, in the " manner and by the instruments which " are found most efficacious for their “ destruction; and the more they cry "out, the greater, plainly, is the skill “ used against them.” Now, the Methodists, with all their faults, were a body of his fellow-citizens, many of whom, in all points, except powers of satire and ridicule, might well have borne a comparison with the witty canon. The whole of his works would not, probably, afford so gross an instance of low and bad ridicule ; and this is the one which the Saturday selects to indorse. So far as it is able, I must allow that it consistently strives to reach the bad taste of its model. The fact is, that in very few human beings or human societies is the tone so pure and noble, that some petty dislike or jealousy of men, some impatience of new and unpalatable truth, will not be warmed into life by, and start out to enjoy and applaud, the most unjust and shallow ridicule—the more unjust and shallow the better for this purpose. Moreover, it does often happen that the men who have hold of, and are struggling by word and act to express, some truth not yet received, are themselves inconsiderate, and hasty, and eccentric. Nothing is easier than for those who sit in the seat of the scorner

he is witnessing in one common contempt, and for the time to blind the eyes of fools, and raise the laugh of the thoughtless; but it is not the kind of work which does any one good at the time, or for which the world has any reason to be thankful. What do we think now of Jeffrey's ridicule of Wordsworth? But it hindered many from reading and profiting by his poems. Has not every one of us seen instances of the poorest ridicule hindering boys or men from taking a manly and righteous course ? ,

Such ridicule as that of the Saturday of late never did nor ever can do any good. If they care for it at all, it only drives men further wrong. The only ridicule which can do good is that behind which lies sympathy with the persons ridiculed, and a sincere desire to bring them right, and not to lead them further astray.

Would not these failings of the Saturday, too, be likely to disappear if the writers had to sign? They could not thereby certainly acquire any sort of belief, or be put into sympathy with any class of their countrymen, but they would learn to keep within bounds, to think rather more of what they really have to say, and rather less of mere smartness.

These are the two leading instances of the specially English newspaper, according to the Times definition—the newspaper without cause, or party, or definite principle, but conducted “for the instruction and advantage of the public," generally. Not that I mean to compare such dissimilar entities. The Times is like a great stalwart leader at the head of a mob, who shoulders you from the wall, and if you remonstrate, kicks you into the gutter; who is just as likely to meet you in the face if you are going east as if you are going west ; but, nevertheless, is thoroughly English when he has made up his mind which way he means to go for the time being. The Saturday is the very opposite of all this, and gets its following (apart from its ability) by fine-gentleentism. But, different as they are, it seems to me that impersonality fosters the special vices of each, and that both would be the better for an infusion of the personal.

No one would deny, I suppose, that the burthen of proof must lie on those who maintain that anonymous writing is the best form of periodical writing. Prima facie, it cannot be doubted that secrecy is a bad thing. The habit of open dealing in all matters has been always acknowledged and reverenced as a manly—one may almost say, the manly-virtue, ever since there was a man on the earth. What special circumstances are there then in modern society; how have we got so out of gear, that the contrary has become true for us, and it has come to be for the good of all that those who address us from day to day, and week to week, on the most deeply interesting subjects, should do so from behind a veil? In short, what is there to be said in favour of anonymous writing, and the mighty “we” ?

The most powerful of our English newspapers has, in its last essay, as we have seen, left us pretty much in the dark on the question—in fact, has not condescended to argue or give reasons, though it has spoken plainly enough as to its own belief ; so we must hunt for the reasons ourselves. I shall be very glad if my attempt to consider the question should lead any of our best journalists to discuss it, even though they should do it anonymously, and take me severely to task for my heresy. Meantime, I will do the best I can to state the opposite views to my own.

In the first place, a very large, and probably the best, part of the writing in newspapers (to which we will confine ourselves) is the work of men in other professions-often of young men, at any rate of men who have some spare time on their hands. In England we are still believers in the old saying that “ the cobbler should stick to his last.” It is well that we are so. On the whole the belief is a wholesome one, and helps to make us the thorough-going race

extent are. Of late, indeed, we seem to be beginning to open our eyes to the fact, that other knowledge beside that of leather goes to the making of a really first-rate pair of shoes ; but, on the whole, no doubt it is still true that a young man is damaged in a strictly professional sense if it is known that he has any serious pursuit outside his profession, especially if it is known that he writes for newspapers. But yet men must live, and maintain their station in life (and their wives and families, if they are lucky enough to have them), during those long years which must be lived through before the ablest amongst us can hope to make a livelihood in a liberal profession. Is it not good for the nation that such men should write ? Ought they to be damaged professionally by writing? If they are not to be damaged, must they not write anonymously?

Admitting it to be good that they should write, and that they ought not to be damaged by writing, I don't see that it follows that they must or ought to write anonymously. It may be better for them so far as their own individual chances of getting on are concerned, and yet worse for the nation ; and, if these interests clash, the individuals must go to the wall. Besides, if they don't feel strongly enough about a subject to risk something that they may say their say on it, they had better not write.

But, even if they were debarred from other subjects, they would still have professional subjects open to them--a large field, if not so easy a one or so lucrative. For, prejudiced as we are, none of us think a man a worse lawyer or doctor for having gained a reputation as a writer on jurisprudence or medicine. Again, it is urged that it is a good thing for a young writer to sink his individuality. His vanity would be flattered by seeing his own name affixed day after day, or week after week, to leading articles in a first-class journal ! And, when a man is past the age of vanity in such matters, he may very well dislike to see his own name con

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