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Milverton. I will begin with that great Italian historian, Guicciardini. He says:
“No mortal thing should Man more desire, neither attribute to a higher Felicity, than to behold his Enemy prostrate upon the Earth, and reduced to such a Condition, that he hath him at his discretion. But the more Felicitous is he to whom this doth chance, the more is he bound to render himself Glorious, by using it in a laudable manner; that is, to show Clemency, and to pardon; which is the especial Quality of Generous and Exalted Spirits.
“Those Undertakings and Affairs, which are not to be expected to fall through any sudden shock, but through consuming and wasting away, draw out to a much greater length than is believed at first; because, when men are obstinately determined to endure, they endure and sustain much more than would be believed. Wherefore, we see that a War, which is to be finished by Famine, by Inconveniency, by Lack of Money, or the like, runs off farther than would be believed. As it often happens with one who is dying of a Phthisic, that his Life doth always prolong itself beyond the opinion of the Physicians. Thus a Merchant, before he fails through being consumed by Usury, doth always stand a longer Time than was believed.”
Now I have before ventured to commend to Count Von Bismarck and to M. Jules Favre, some passages similar to the foregoing, which I was fortunate enough to find in Machiavelli; but I am afraid that my lucubrations had not much chance of reaching the ears of those potent personages. And if they had reached them, I believe I might as well have suggested to the east wind to be gentle and consolatory; to young men, not to fall in love with the wrong person ; to old men, to approve of their sons making moneyless marriages; to statesmen, to abjure expediency; to lawyers, to say nothing in favour of their clients but what they thoroughly believe to be true; and to learned Churchmen, to avoid subtleties—as to recommend such wise conduct, as Machiavelli counsels, to the combatants on either side.
Ellesmere. Don't abuse my friend Bismarck, but give us some more extracts.
Milverton. I will now give you three from Voltaire, in an excellent article which he wrote in his “ Dictionnaire Philosophique”:
“ Vers le Canada, homme et guèrrier sont synonymes; et nous avons vu que dans notre hémisphèré, voleur et soldat étaient même chose. Manichéens ! voila votre excuse.
“Le merveilleux de cette entreprise infernale, c'est que chaque chef des meurtriers fait bénir ses drapeaux et invoque Dieu solennellement, avant d'aller exterminer son prochain.
“ Misérables médecins des ames, vous criez pendant cinq quarts d'heure sur quelques piqûres d'épingle, et vous ne dites rien sur la maladie qui nous déchire en mille morceaux! Philosophes moralistes, brûlez tous vos livres. Tant que le caprice de quelques hommes fera loyalement égorger des milliers de nos frères, la partie du genre humain consacrée à l'héroïsme sera ce qu'il y a de plus affreux dans la nature entière.”
Ellesmere. How admirably the fellow writes! Now that is the kind of writing I like, in which there is transparent clearness.
Milverton. Now I must trouble you with a passage from Swift. It is in the “Travels of Gulliver amongst the Houyhnhnms.” He is informing his master about the warlike proceedings in Europe. The Houyhnhnm remarks:
". In recounting the numbers of those who have been killed in battle, I cannot but think you have said the thing which is not.'
"I could not forbear shaking my head and smiling a little at his ignorance. And, being no stranger to the art of war, I gave him a description of cannons, culverins, muskets, carabines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, sea-fights, ships sunk with a thousand men, twenty thousand killed on each side, dying groans, limbs flying in the air, smoke, noise, confusion, trampling to death under horses' feet, flight, pursuit, victory; fields strewed with carcases, left for food to dogs, and wolves, and birds of prey; plundering, stripping, ravishing, burning, and destroying. I was going on to more particulars, when my master commanded me silence. He said, 'whoever understood the nature of Yahoos, might easily believe it possible for so vile an animal to be capable of every action I had named, if their strength and cunning equalled their malice. But when a creature, pretending to reason could be capable of such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption of that faculty might be worse than brutality itself. He seemed, therefore, confident, that instead of reason, we were only possessed of some quality fitted to increase our natural vices, as the reflection from a troubled stream returns the image of an ill-shapen body, not only larger, but more distorted.'
Ellesmere. This, too, is admirable. Here is another writer who never leaves one in doubt as to what he means.
Milverton. Now I am going to rejoice the cockles of your heart, Ellesmere, and to give you an opportunity of reading to the assembled company the fable which you have imparted to me.
I return to my Guicciardini. You may observe that I am not quoting from that ponderous work, but from a little book written by a lady, Emma Martin, who has given a translation of his maxims. I have not had time to verify the translation.
“I commend him who stands Neutral in the Wars of his Neighbours, if he be so powerful, or hath his Dominions of such Condition, as that he hath nothing to fear from the Conqueror; because he doth thus avoid Peril, Expenses, and Exhaustion, and the Disorders of the others may afford him some profitable Opportunity. Except it be with these conditions, Neutrality is foolishness, because, binding thyself to one of the parties, thou dost run no danger but the Victory of the other, but standing between, thou art always bruised, conquer who will."
Cranmer. I should like to hear your fable now, Sir John.
Milverton. Pray don't be modest, Ellesmere, but give it them at
I tell you candidly that I mean, if I can, to compose a fable on the other side of the question, for some future occasion.
Ellesmere. It won't be as good as mine.
Milverton. Now Ellesmere is speaking in his natural tone, which becomes him much better than when he is superfluously modest.
Ellesmere. Well, here is the fable, since you will have it :
A spectacle very attractive to all boys, and indeed to most grown-up people, is occasionally to be seen in our streets.
It consists of a perambulating cage, containing birds and animals of various kinds, all living together in complete harmony, and enticingly labelled, " The happy family. "
A monkey is seated on a cat's back, to the complete satisfaction, apparently, of bcth parties; a mouse nestles to an owl; a hawk fondles a sparrow; a raven's only thought appears to be, that each of its friends and fellow-prisoners should enjoy its own property.
Altogether “ the happy family" forms a most instructive sight to the human beings who crowd round it—a slightly reproachful, but still a most engaging, object for contemplation.
This “happy family," when at home, and off duty, no longer being obliged to perform a most unwilling friendship, sometimes indulges in its natural propensity for internecine warfare.
The weather was cold ; and there was a good fire in the showman's garret, for monkeys (expensive creatures to buy, and not easily tamed) are very chilly, and require warmth and care, lest, like their human prototypes (as they call us), they should languish away in consumption.
The genial heat provoked the combative tendencies of some of the members of “ the happy family.” The hawk and the raven commenced a fierce attack with beak and claw upon each other. The dog, a mastiff, the only really tamed and good-natured creature in the miniature menagerie, summoned with loud barking its master, who happened to be absent, then growled its displeasure at this outbreak, and finally lay down upon the hearth-rug, blinking and winking as is the wont of dogs while basking in the light of the fire.
The contest ended with many screams of rage and much flying about of fluff and feather. But peace was not in their minds. Both combatants, after a moment's pause, made a common onslaught upon the unhappy dog, for each maintained that he had winked encouragement and approbation to the other side. The pecks and clawings of furious hawks and ravens are not pleasant things to encounter, and may, at first, appal even the most stouthearted of dogs. And, at last, when victory did incline to his side, he was somewhat of a piteous spectacle. But wisdom is seldom gained without suffering. And surely it was a wise saying which the dog then uttered, “ If they quarrel again, I will take a side early in the fray, and not have to endure, at the same time, the claw of the hawk and the beak of the raven. These creatures are not tame enough, or wise enough, to understand the merits of a consistent neutrality.”
Cranmer. The fable is a very droll one, but you really don't mean, Ellesmere, that we should take a part in this war?
Ellesmere. I don't know that I mean anything. I won't be crossquestioned in this way. Great imaginative writers are not bound to
accommodate themselves to the peculiar circumstances of the present moment. I give you something which has a certain appropriateness in it for all times. The poor dog's honest nature and unintentional winking, are always misunderstood. You can't take “Faust” home, can you, and apply it as a family book? It does not pretend to be an equivalent for “ Buchan's Domestic Medicine."
Sir Arthur. I wish that Ellesmere were one of us authors. How he would defend us and his Opera Omnia at the same time!
Ellesmere. Here is a streak of sunshine! Do you see? For goodness' sake, don't let us waste our time in this dull study in talking about authors and their works, when there is a chance of our getting a walk before dinner, after all this rain.
Present-Day Papers on Prominent Questions in Theology. Edited
by the Right Rev. ALEXANDER EWING, D.C.L., Bishop of
Argyll and the Isles. First Series. Strahan & Co. 1870.
Intercession of our Lord. By the Rev. HUGH MARTIN, M.A.
James Nisbet & Co. 1870.
Lectures for 1866. By HENRY PARRY LIDDON, M.A. Riving
tons. 1867. The Dogmatic Faith. An Inquiry into the Relations subsisting be
tween Revelation and Dogma. The Bampton Lectures for 1867.
By EDWARD GARBETT, M.A. Rivingtons. 1867.
in Germany and in England, concerning dogma and its relation to the essence of Christianity. It cannot be said that what has been written is of little value ; but no one will affirm that on this subject the last word has been spoken, or is likely to be for some time to come. A glance at the contents of the volumes placed at the head of this paper will show, not merely how widely men differ as to what are Christian dogmas, but even as to the meaning, the importance, and the place of dogma itself.
The question is intimately connected with several others. It involves the character of Christianity, the meaning of Revelation, and the functions of the Church. From the stand-point of the Church of Rome, the subject is very simple; as, indeed, all subjects are except that of the Church itself. A dogma with the Church of