best the sea in storm and commotion, with | not as a place where the shadows fall as the white horses racing, and the water they would not save for the hills; but the revealing every moment long graves as if explanation is not completely satisfactory. ready for heaps of men. The present Is it possibie that the appreciation of manwriter, for instance, cannot love the sight kind for scenery is, so to speak, a new of the sea when near, with its endless faculty, born only when the mind is ripe, restlessness and sullen roar of menace and a faculty which may exist, or, at all events, discontent; it is, to him, among scenes become general, in one century and not in what a mob is among political phenomena, another, just as sympathy undoubtedly is? and probably from the same defect of That theory would explain all difficulties, character. It is certainly not from any but it would reduce the love of scenery to want of perception of scenery. It is the the level of a love of Horace, a pleasindolent-by nature, we mean, not nec- ure not of mankind, but of the cultivated essarily by habit-who love the gentle few. hills and the sequestered valleys, the green upland and the shadowy dell, the changeless glory of the spreading tree, and the sleepy tranquillity of the village on the flat; while there are men, and not the worst, to whom no scene is truly satisfying which does not steep their minds in calm. They say they admire Salvator Rosa-nobody ever did it, but the illustration is the clearest-and really love only Morland. The land of milk and honey is the scene for them, as it was for the Jews, whose poets, bursting as they were with the loftiest imagination, have left us in all their poetry no picture of a wild scene, though the author of Ruth must have felt most keenly admiration for the scenes we now describe as idyllic.

From The Spectator.


IT is a strange and somewhat perplexing fact that the value of amenity in public life should be so little recognized as it is at present. In our habits of life, in our sports and games, amenity is recognized as an essential quality. The tendency to give an evenness, a suavity to life, is, indeed, apparent everywhere but in politics. There alone it seems to have no place, and violence, want of self-restraint, and vehemence are only looked on as signs of earnestness and resolution. If amenity We should like to know the true expla-in language and conduct had been valued nation of the indubitable fact that the common toilers of a beautiful country, with the rarest exceptions, never perceive its beauty, and cannot conceive what it is that so induces visitors to admire. The Swiss and the Highlanders are positively drawn by their mountains, when they are away from them, as lovers by their brides; but when present, they do not admire details, and are perplexed by those who do. The Switzer will point out anything as of interest except the view, unless he has got it up from a book, and the Highlander is enraptured with the new house which vulgarizes a grand prospect. The popular explanation is want of imagination; but the Switzer shows no such want in his legends, and the Highlander is the most imaginative of mankind. Another explanation is the deadening effect of custom; but why does not that affect strangers who settle amid these scenes, and never lose the inner delight the sight of them had originally caused? We presume that villagers see not what strangers expect them to see because necessity has compelled them to think first of other things than effect, to treat the glen, for example, as the place where they live and work, and

as one might expect it to have been valued in the House of Commons, a small band of Irishmen would never have been able, as they have been able, to change completely the character of Parliament within so short a space of time. The Parnellites have taught men to think that courtesy and good breeding not only do not pay, but that their opposites do; and, accordingly, the restraint which existed on the indulgence of the natural taste for violent language among men affected by strong personal interests having disap. peared, politicians consider that they need no longer trouble themselves to keep cool under irritation, and, indeed, regard it as a proper part of the Parliamentary game to bandy terms of abuse, and impute the basest motives in the plainest language. Observers notice how this demoralization has even begun to affect the leaders, and how the orator once known for the ponderous show of civility with which he made his most vehement attacks, has now adopted instead the tone of a Parliamentary pugilist who hits below the belt without respecting any of the courtesies of combat. How can it possibly be argued that any value is set upon amenity when

a member of the House of Commons de- | rat, king of Naples, wished, for reasons clares that unless certain prison rules are of State expediency, to abolish a number altered as he wants them altered, he will, of monasteries, he issued an edict making if he ever suffers under them, bring a pail the alleged misdeeds of monks his excuse, of slops into the House of Commons and and so involving himself in a general quardash them in the face of the chief secre-rel with the Church, his astute master, tary for Ireland, and when a public meeting allows a member of the Cabinet to be described as 66 base, brutal, and bloody Balfour"?

the great Napoleon, read him a very per tinent lecture on the value of amenity in such matters, and pointed out how, if he had pleaded that he made the confiscations in the interests of the Church itself, he might have attained his object just as easily, and yet have managed to give the minimum of offence. As an example of the positive value of this sort of amenity in politics—that is, of the quality of not giving offence by the use of hard words and the imputing of motives may be instanced the position of Lord Hartington in English public life. Lord Hartington, except strength, has few qualities which would render him attractive to a democ racy but amenity. Yet so valuable is this quality, that he has a firmer hold on the people of England, taking friends and foes together, than any other statesman. In one sense, indeed, Lord Hartington is a more popular man than Mr. Gladstone himself, for he has no enemies; whereas Mr. Gladstone, though his supporters actually worship him, is an object of bitter hostility to an enormous part of the population. Mr. Chamberlain, since he has differed from Mr. Gladstone, has become the object of the fiercest denunciation among his old friends. Lord Hartington, though his opinions ought to cause much more antipathy among the Gladstonians, is always treated by them with perfect respect as a man to whom it would be impossible to attribute any motives_but the highest. To win this place, Lord Hartington has had not the gifts of enthusiasm, nor of buoyant good-humor like Lord Rosebery nor of burning eloquence, nor of any skill in the manipulation of public opinion. He is simply a sincere, civil-spoken man, who is never frightened or irritated into trying to get the better of his opponents by covering them with virulent abuse. Certainly his career is a tribute, if one was needed, to the value of amenity in political life.

Yet, notwithstanding that hard-headed men who ought to know their own business, show, by violating every dictate not merely of courtesy but of decency, that they set no kind of value on amenity in politics, we are by no means inclined to think that they are well advised. Let a government be as democratic as you please, and still amenity of language and conduct will pay. Amenity means strength, fairness, tolerance, and comes so obviously from the desire to get at the real issue, and not to trouble with the personal crust which surrounds every political question, that the mob understand and admire it. The lesson that when two men are disputing, the one that keeps his head, grows cool as his opponent gets hot, and refuses to be led into a new quarrel because he is called names and has motives imputed to him, is the one that will win, is soon learned and understood by the most uneducated. The man who does not get angry and does not call names is in every society recognized as the strong man, and strong men always inspire a democracy with respect and admiration. Great, however, as is the value of amenity in inspiring the sense of strength and confidence, it is almost as great from the fact that it does not, like its opposite, make enemies. The man who has no amenity in conduct or language is always making personal enemies. Now, for one man who will fight hard where principles are involved, there are fifty who will fight to the death for personal considerations. The politician, therefore, who cannot keep a civil tongue in his head often finds this out. Examples might be quoted of sharptongued candidates who, to the apparent delight of the audience, have night after night silenced the askers of awkward questions by some piece of clever insolence, Yet another value of amenity may be and who, in spite of good prospects, have found in its effect as an immediate weapon found themselves at the bottom of the in political warfare. To answer a violent poll. The man who gets a telling, ill-man with violent language is the very natured score off an opponent, may silence that opponent and expose his ignorance; but he creates for himself the most dangerous possible form of enemy, an enemy with a personal grudge. When Mu

worst way in which to deal with him. To remain firm with a good grace is just as important as to yield gracefully. There is no such effective answer as silence, or else language which shall make as vio

employed, resistance would have been useless. As it could not be used without an impossible expenditure of time and money, peoples like the Boers and Montenegrins have maintained their independence.

lent a contrast as possible with the intem- | ers possessed of far superior military force. perance of the attack to be be met. If, in either case, artillery could have been When Lord Melbourne answered Lord Brougham's furious but astonishingly able attack on his ministry by declaring that "he felt sure their lordships, after the speech they had just heard, would realize how many and how grave must be the rea- The new gunpowder, if we are to believe sons which would prevent any adminis- the rumor, will change all this. Ordinary tration from availing themselves of such gunpowder and guncotton explode by extalents," he was giving a far more effect- panding either simultaneously in all direcive answer to his assailant than if he had tions, or else downwards. In using gunindulged in any invective, however forci- powder, therefore, to propel projectiles ble, in which Brougham's duplicity and from a cannon, the cannon has to be made untrustworthiness had been shown in all of sufficient strength, weight, and thicktheir nakedness. Instances in plenty ness to resist the explosion of the charge. might be produced to emphasize this con- The new gunpowder, which is the discov tention, that courtesy of demeanor and ery of a Russian engineer, and has been language is a very effective weapon. The named "sleetover," is an explosive which career of Burke, for instance, shows it only acts in one direction, namely, forconclusively. Burke's failure and since wards. This quality immediately does Burke was so great a genius, his life was away with the necessity for solid, heavy one of the greatest of failures was in a instruments from which to throw the great measure due to his absolute want projectile. It is said, indeed, that ballof amenity. We fear, however, that no cartridges loaded with sleetover have acamount of preaching would make the ex-tually been fired from cardboard tubes treme men listen to reason just now. with complete success, and without damTheir object is to discredit government; and since they imagine that the easiest way to do this is to call names, they will go on degrading politics till they find that they have at last violated the sense of justice which, though sometimes hidden, exists none the less among all classes of Englishmen.

[ocr errors]

From The Spectator.


It is rumored in St. Petersburg that a new form of gunpowder has been discov. ered the qualities of which are such as may be expected completely to revolutionize modern warfare. If the compound turns out really to be what it professes, a means of destruction has been discovered which will do away forever with the chance of success always possessed before by a population determined to defend its open country, its hills and forests, against invasion, even when confronted with vastly superior military force. Hitherto, wild and mountainous countries, granted that the inhabitants were of a warlike kind, have been difficult to conquer, in a great measure because of the impossibility of making use of artillery. It is the absence of artillery that often gives a population trained to arms—say, like the Boers or Montenegrins the advantage over pow

aging the tubes in any way. If these statements are true, they certainly mean a most extraordinary change in the complexion of modern warfare. Even if it might not be possible to use paper cannon in actual war though, of course, paper could be made quite stiff and tough enough for the purpose - metals far lighter than

[ocr errors]


steel or brass could in future be used for
artillery. That lightest, toughest of met-
als, aluminium, would serve the purpose
admirably. But if the artillery train for
an army could consist of tubes of alumin-
ium, and a siege train could thus be car-
ried on men's shoulders, or, at any rate,
slung between horses, where would be the
protection of a mountain range?
canon, quand pourrait-il passer le Sim-
plon?" was Napoleon's constant question
to the engineers who were building him
the first and best mountain road in the
world, for till he could take his artillery
safely and quickly into Italy, he felt that
he had no real hold on the mountain-walled
peninsula. If sleetover fulfils its prom-
ises, a modern general will have no such
cares; for wherever a trooper can go,
there can go the guns. Of course, the
ammunition and the shells will remain as
heavy as ever; but that, since their bulk,
except in the case of naval artillery, is not
excessive, will not really prevent move-
ments of troops over mountains. To get
the cannon across is the real point; that
once accomplished, the means for firing

it off will follow. The Swiss rely upon | guns could be made practicable, the territhe fact that though the'r highlands are now crossed by roads in every direction, they could in a very short time, by break ing down bridges and blowing up rockcuttings and tunnels, render the country as inaccessible for artillery as it was a hundred years ago. With aluminium guns, however, the obstructions on which they think they can rely would be rendered absolutely useless. Again, in the case of India, the Himalayas, if sleetover comes into use, will afford by no means the protection against a Russian attack which they would have done in the case of heavy guns, which could only move along something in the nature of a road. The Russian advance by the snowy passes of the Cabul range, the most direct, and, in that sense, easiest route into India, has always been regarded as impossible, because of the difficulty of conveying the cannon. If now for an army to march "light" means marching with a train of powerful guns, we are certainly placed by the new invention in a far more difficult position than when the hills still forbade the passage of anything but mule or camel batteries. But though in India the invention might in these ways harm us, in other ways it would do us nothing but good. Take, for instance, the pacification of Burmah. If we could be now employing powerful batteries of artillery, which could be moved anywhere on horses' backs, we should have a far easier task in breaking up the bands of dacoits. In the case, too, of those small expeditions into the hills which are so often occurring on the northern and north-western frontiers of India, where it is necessary to march into a wild hill country and attack the stockaded hill citadel of some small hostile tribe, the new invention would indeed prove invaluable. If the attacking force could only take with them a powerful piece of artillery, the difficulties of such expeditions would vanish.

Perhaps one of the most efficient ways in which guns of paper or very light metal might be used, would be by their adaptation to tricycles. If two men could propel, by their own energy, a double tricycle fitted with a light aluminium gun, the artillery might be made almost independent of horses. Some recent experiments at Aldershot showed that velocipedes carrying some twenty or thirty soldiers could easily be developed into a very useful arm of the service for occasions where very rapid marching was required. If cycle

ble difficulties encountered by the general
who has to find, first his horses and then
their forage, would be very simply got
over. We may see the time when cycle
batteries will be a feature of every army,
and when that most striking of sights, the
horse artillery coming up at the gallop,
will be nothing but a memory. It is not,
however, in artillery alone that the effect
of an invention like sleetover would be
felt. One of the great difficulties of the
repeating rifle is its weight. If, however,
the barrel could be made of sheet tin, or
aluminium just thick enough to keep its
shape, the weight saved might be utilized
by adding to the charge in the magazine,
and a rifle that would fire thirty shots in
succession might conceivably be pro-
duced. A curious feature of the new
explosive is stated to be its cheapness.
The cost of sleetover is said to be only
one-tenth of that of ordinary gunpowder.
This, however, is not a very important
consideration, for the money required for
gunpowder, were it sixty times as expen-
sive as it is, would always be forthcoming.
The nature of the new composition is
stated to be at present a profound secret.
If it turns out a success, we very much
doubt its remaining so. Some workman,
or, as it is in Russia, perhaps some high
official, will betray it. If not, a hint will
be traced out by some ingenious chemist
anxious to benefit the world. Sooner or
later, it is sure to come out.
It is possi.
ble, of course, that the Russians might
keep it till the outbreak of a war
- in war-
time the secret must be divulged, for some
of the cartridges would certainly be taken
or found lying about, and the contents
analyzed and might gain thereby a great
advantage. But would any power dare to
enter on a struggle using the new gun-
powder alone? Till tested by actual war,
no one could say positively if it would
really answer. Probably, therefore, no
army would venture beyond an experi
ment, and a mere experiment would ren-
der them no real assistance. New devices
in war show about an equal record of suc-
cess and failure. The Prussians founded
their supremacy on the needle-gun. In
1870, the French utterly failed to effect
anything with their boasted mitrailleuses.
If sleetover is a reality, it may possibly
turn out like the needle-gun. It is equally
possible that it may, for some unforeseen
reason, be utterly valueless; but rumors
about weapons of war are usually derived
from experts by no means credulous.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.

Single Numbers of THE LIVING AGE, 18 cents.

« ElőzőTovább »