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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 63

Politics, Sociology, Voyages and Travels

page 566

Politics, Sociology, Voyages and Travels.

Mr. Rowland has presented the public with an enquiry into the foundation of morals,1 which he supposes himself to have discovered by an induction from the facts of nature, and to have established by their laws; but his conception both of induction and of laws of nature are of the loosest possible description. The latter stand in his mind for much more than formulas of our existing knowledge of nature, and anything which he can deduce from given postulates, he supposes himself to have arrived at by way of induction, as may be seen from the following extract:—

"It seems a reasonable induction from a comparison of man with brutes, that when man was introduced into the world, there was a break in [unclear: the] by which life on earth had been previously regulated. The original inhabitants were continued in the state in which from their origin they existed; ruled by instinct but with some intelligence sufficient for their condition, and for the limited intercourse they had with their kind; and free as they ever had been from responsibility to moral law. The new animal was of the same anatomical structure, and physiological organization, but a new system of life was for him, by which, through the force of the appetites, under the control of the moral law, and, with the aid of reason, he was destined to rise to a state of social, intellectual, and moral existence, unknown on the earth before. We may feel a rational confidence that the new animal was endowed with these faculties and qualities by the act of his Creator; for brutes could not transmit faculties and qualities which they do not possess, and which do not belong to race. We may also feel confident that reason and the new system of man's existence on the earth were cotemporary and part of the same design; for when reason was given employment must have been found for it; and the new system of existence could not have been carried on by a creature not possessed of reason."

The whole of the argument suggested by this passage rests upon implied assumptions of the nature of man and the designs of which beg the entire question; indeed, this must ever be the case with every theorist who endeavours to hold an intermediate position between the advocates of an innate and immutable morality, and those who content themselves with maintaining that the moral sentiments of mankind are but the result of their experience, and, like everything else human, susceptible of indefinite improvement.

It will be sufficient to enumerate the laws of nature, on which the author supposes the whole fabric of morality to rest. These are—

"The moral law of nature for the protection of labour and the institution of property. The moral law of nature for the institution of marriage, and for the raising and protection of families. And the moral laws of nature [unclear: for] protection of human life, and for the production of truth."

The supposition that any general regulative laws are implanted by nature in the mind of man is so manifestly contradicted both [unclear: by] past history and present condition, that we are reduced to a condition page 567 of surprise and wonder, when we find the present aspirations of mankind treated as laws implanted from the beginning in the mind of every member of the race. At this rate, a new and fresh theory would be required by every generation; and fresh laws of nature would be required to account for every advance in general morals, and to explain every conquest of mutual forbearance. The enumeration itself of these laws of nature which the author supposes to underlie all moral obligation, is of itself enough to show how inadequate they are to the purpose to which he applies them, if in any proper sense they can be called laws at all. The whole argument of his book is beside the only question which is worth discussion, which is not what is the nature and origin of our moral sentiments, but by what standard shall they be tried? If the nature and purposes of the Diety are introduced into the discussion, the controverted points are only removed one step farther, and gain no new light by the increased distance. Practical morality was summarized more than 1800 years ago in a very short formula, and the only question which has ever been debated is an exclusively speculative one, which has very little direct bearing on man's conduct, but which cannot be overestimated in its importance, when the influence exercised by the answer given to it on the formation of the detailed rules which shall regulate that conduct is taken into consideration.

The interest aroused in the present day by these speculations may be in some degree measured by the appearance of such books as Mr. Rowland's, which may be looked upon as one of the results of the ferment produced by the unquestionable progress of the Utilitarian theory. Another evidence of a like kind will be found in a book just published by Messrs. Longman,2 in which Mr. Mill's recent treatise on Utilitarianism is subjected to a lengthy criticism, and, in the author's opinion, triumphantly refuted. The method he adopts is to give a new definition of utility, in which he restricts its meaning to material things. "What," says he, "is utility?" and answers, "Every created thing is a utility." This occurs so early as page 9, and is a warning to every intelligent reader that he need not trouble himself with the pages that follow it. The Utilitarian theory of morals is not concerned with utilities, but with utility as a standard of conduct, Utilities may, indeed, in this sense, be asserted to result only in convenience and pleasure, and to have no relation to happiness; but, in this sense, the word has never been used except in the technical meaning sometimes given to it in the writings of political economists. As might be supposed, this confusion between utility and utilities leads the author into the most contradictory assertions; at page 11, he says "Man never gave anything useful to man. Man can give nothing useful in the true sense of utility;" and at page 29, "in the absence of human efforts there is no utility." It is somewhat surprising that any one who has studied Mr. Mill's treatise can suppose be answers it by such a misrepresentation of its terms. The only page 568 utility moralists are concerned with is that which is recognisable in certain lines of conduct; they have nothing whatever to do with the material conditions of that conduct, however necessary they maybe, except in so far as it is possible to modify them to the advantage of the utility so recognised. Defining utility as he does, it may easily be imagined what a strange confusion the author introduces into his subject when he has to discuss the differences in the degree and quality of happiness resulting from certain actions. It is, of course, impossible when utility is confined to external things to determine whether porter or port wine be the more desirable drink, except we agree as Mr. Mill does, to be guided by those who are acquainted with both. No amount of ingenious speculation on the quality of the gratification enjoyed by a thirsty cabman will persuade the world at large that the beverage he is accustomed to ought to be preferred to wine. The general judgment of the world must be accepted as proof of the superiority of one taste over another, as, in like manner, it is the sole ground on which one action is pronounced better than another, and the only guide to that judgment, apart from revelation, which has nothing whatever to do with morals, as a science, is the amount of happiness resulting from those actions; and this is the Utilitarian standard. The absurd outcry that this is a godless doctrine cannot be too severely reprobated. Everything on earth is subject to God's government or nothing is; and a godly morality is nothing more than a morality deduced from the prevailing notions of the nature of God, which themselves are but the summary of all human knowledge, and a summary most candid when it confesses its limitations. This outcry is nothing less than an appeal to the populace to put down an investigation obnoxious to those who raise it, and it is of itself a confession of incapacity rightly to appreciate the nature of the question under discussion. Speaking of conscience the author says:—

"Thus we have revealed to us by express laws (in the Scriptures), and by those innate feelings, sentiments or emotions, the necessary and sufficient guides and helps for directing our action as to secure the attainment of cost ultimate end and object in the greatest possible happiness, quite independent of any question of general utility. We are not committed to the guidance of our slow and fallible reason, but are endowed with feelings which warn us at every step," &c., &c.

This may be very good theology but cannot be allowed any place in a discussion on the scientific grounds of morality' for it amount to this, don't talk to me of morals disconnected from religion or strive to found in knowledge what you ought to accept on the firmer basis of faith. A scientific enquiry is not to be set aside by allusions to Moss and the Prophets. Such writers should restrict themselves to improving texts and edifying their hearers by new arguments in support of received moral doctrines; for it is evident that they will never go beyond them, and that the only road open to general progress is irrevocably shut to them. Into the various political speculations and passing questions of the day which the author tacks on to the main purpose of his book, we do not care to follow him, except to remark that the improvement of our criminal law is one of the greatest page 569 triumphs of the system he repudiates, and that the standard by which they have been reformed has either been one derived from "human argument," or that higher one to which he appeals was found sadly unequal to the task for many long and weary years.

Very few churchmen will thank Lord Robert Montagu for the plea which he sets up in favour of national churches in his "Four experiments of Church and State."3 A national Church, as such, should have in his opinion, no theological or dogmatic basis, but rest solely upon its character as an association for putting down evil generally. At this rate there is no difficulty in adhering to a Church which [unclear: quately] responds to such a calling, but, unfortunately, the question is not to be turned in this facile fashion. There neither is, nor ever has been any national Church contented with such a restricted sphere; much more than a moral purpose has been set forth by every Christian Church that ever existed; and however true his lordship's rambling account may be of the collateral results of those higher purposes which they have always had in view, the conflicts of centuries have not led churchmen in any way to drop pretensions which they fortify by appeals to a higher sanction than any the world can give. So long as those higher sanctions are believed in the conflict must continue, and the Church of England is as far from resigning the appeal to them as any of her rivals. The last defender of dogmatic belief must die with finis theologiæ on his lips before such restricted views of the functions of a national Church can become general; and however this may be the logical result of his lordship's lucubrations, we fancy he would be far from welcoming it. Every form of Church government Mich he repudiates as degenerating into some form of spiritual despotism, aspires by some shorter cut to the end which he sets up as its only legitimate aspiration. As long as there are differences in the world on dogmatic questions, the conflict of Churches must continue as their only vital expression.

Dr. Edward Reich, of Cassel, has brought together from travellers and historians a very full account of the marriage tie4 in all times and countries. There is no human institution which, in itself, throws so great a light upon the degree of progress made by any nation or tribe; all the social ideas prevalent among them are reflected in their views of marriage. It is abundantly clear from this review of the different forms which it has put on, that the nature of the tie is absolutely dependent upon the character and direction of those ideas which govern and direct any particular community. Satisfying the most imperious of human passions on the one hand, and lying as it does at the very basis of human society, marriage cannot he expected to display those ideal forms which are dreamt of by the imagination until a greater harmony between the self-regarding and the social feelings is brought about a general advance of knowledge that cannot reasonably be ex- page 570 pected for many generations. The desires of one generation are the conquest of following ones, and the means of conquest are a full insight into the past. In this respect, Dr. Reich's book is more valuable than in his criticism on the existing practices by which the State endeavours in his own country to regulate, in the interest of the existing community, the circumstances under which it will allow of an increase in the number of its citizens. There is a certain violence of tone in his denunciation of the police regulations, to which marriage is subjected in many of the German States, which is out of harmony with a scientific treatment of the subject; solid conviction is the only basis of progress in this matter. The sacramental character with which marriage was invested in the middle ages, like so many other institutions of that time, was substantially a natural reaction against the lawlessness and violence which could be rendered amenable [unclear: to] restraint that was not supported by their superstitions. Under the shelter of theological sanctions, men found the opportunity of entering on full possession of their minds and bodies; less terrible ones would have been inefficient, and we are far from believing that their efficiency is exhausted, however great the shock their foundation has received. An indirect proof of this truth may be found in the absence of any practical suggestions on the part of the most ardent satirists of our existing laws on the subject. Into its physiological and pathological details we do not care to follow the author, but this division of his book is as full and well studied as the first and larger historical division. The abundant and careful references to the sources from which the author has gathered his information will be found very valuable to any who wish to pursue the subject from any of the numerous points of view from which it may be taken up.

In two volumes which he calls Caxtoniana5 Sir E. B. Lytton has collected a mass of those reflections on life, literature, and manners which, when they occur in his novels, are submitted to as an infliction that must be borne for the sake of the animated action, epigrammatic dialogue, and interesting construction to which they [unclear: serve] padding. Were it not for the popularity of Tupper we should be utterly at a loss to conceive what public the clever author could have in view in composing this mass of pompous common-place, of poor thoughts in sumptuous raiment, of trite reflections set forth with an air of the profoundest wisdom. It is, perhaps, impossible anywhere to show a more complete misunderstanding than the author display of his own powers throughout these volumes; an artist in the Most thorough sense of the term, in conception, and in talent, he will assume the attitude of a philosopher; quick perception and great facility of expression are set to do the work of patient study and obtained thought. The laborious neatness of verbal construction overwhelms the reader, and he longs with the Danish Queen for more matter and less art. The art, too, in these volumes, is but little more than an intellectual millinery. On every topic the author run on page 571 without any restraint, but that which is implied in an artificially balanced period. The frequent moral paradoxes of his novels are far more wholesome than the ethical attitudinizing of these essays for which their writer bespeaks a place beside his other works. Whatever place may be granted to them should be large enough to admit of the immediate neighbourhood of the Proverbial Philosophy.

Mr. Maguire's history of the temperance movement in Ireland, which is associated with the name of Father Mathew,6 is in many respects the counterpart of the movement itself. The whole subject is handled entirely ab extra, and is treated in a tone of indiscriminating wonder and astonishment that partakes largely of the unreasoning enthusiasm by which its short-lived vitality was supported. No sure foundation can be laid for sobriety in a method which attempts to combat intemperance by an excitement greater than itself affords. The passionate allegiance which is given to a venerated name, even when aided by a superstitious reverence for such sacramental symbols as a card or medal, has no roots in itself. As soon as the influence of personal reverence is weakened by time or distance, when the temporary enthusiasm has subsided and old habits knock at the door of the swept and garnished chamber, the symbol exerts no more power than an African fetisch. The movement, the apostle, and their historian, are all thoroughly Irish, and a fire of straw is a fit emblem for all three. Mr. Maguire makes no attempt to account for Father Mathew's success; it is simply heaven-sent, and to be explained only by his vocation; it is not thus that any one can be satisfied who wishes to arrive at reasonable conclusions on what must be admitted to have been a remarkable phenomenon. Its causes must be sought more in the excitable character of the population among which it displayed itself than in the trifling circumstances which attended it. A collection, however large, of more or less amusing anecdotes connected with the subject does but little else than display the singular want of cool reflection with which the movement was animated and maintained. The indiscriminate manner in which the pledge was administered to hasty postulants, and often forced upon unwilling ones, the strange thoughtlessness which often imposed an oath against drinking upon men while yet intoxicated, could not be expected to have any lasting consequences. Sobriety that is not born of self-command is but another kind of slavery; it may be to a master less degrading in a physical sense, but has no firm moral root from which a stable progress or even sure release can be expected. This movement has of late met with its exact parallel in the religious revivals in Ireland, from which no sane man looks for more permanent results. These efforts to draw from excited feeling that which only knowledge and conviction can continuously supply must inevitably share the fate of the seed which fell by the wayside, and be trampled underfoot by the next passing feeling which shall prove as strong as the memory of that which is relied upon. The purity of character and unquestionable self-devotion of the Rev. Theobald page 572 Mathew undoubtedly deserved a permanent record, and it may be allowed that a very full insight into his virtues and weakness is to be arrived at by the perusal of Mr. Maguire's pages; but the reader has to extract it from a chorus of indiscriminate laudations, and to wade through a mass of sentimental stories given with an exhausting detail that will sorely try the patience of most. A much shorter and simpler account would have far better answered the purpose of reviving the recollection of an amiable and enthusiastic, but not very intelligent nor strong-minded man.

Dr. F. Spiegel has brought together, from various learned periodicals to which he had contributed them, a series of papers on the Iranian peoples between the Indus and Tigris.7 They form an important addition to our knowledge of this branch of the human race, both in an antiquarian and ethnographical point of view. He enters on a comparison between their sacred writings and those of the ancient Indians, as well as those of the Semitic races. The Zendavesta is placed by him between the Vedas and Genesis; and the modifications which its doctrines have undergone are displayed in a full criticism of the philosophical system of the Parsees, who, in their new homes in Souther India, still struggle to maintain the religion and beliefs of their Persian forefathers. This volume must be welcomed by all who are engaged in those Etymological studies on which its arguments are chiefly based.

Under the title of the Empire in India,8 Major Bell has published series of letters from Madras and other places, in which he subject Lord Dalhousie's policy of annexation to the severest criticism Though this policy has in many of its features been given up, the same cannot be said of the territorial acquisitions in which it resulted In reviewing the Carnatic, Sattara, Nagpore, and Jhansi cases, Major Bell, taking his stand upon the letter of treaties concluded with the reigning families, and interpreting their terms in the sense they would convey to Indian conceptions, finds no difficulty in establishing a charge of unjust spoliation against the Supreme Government. It is however, by no means absolutely certain that the terms of the treaties in question can only be so construed. Where the choice has to be made between two adverse interpretations, the only guide is to be found in principles of general utility; and although Major Bell would himself not shrink from bringing his conclusions to this test, and in the latter part of his volume endeavours to establish them on this very ground, it is to be regretted that, in the separate treatment of the cases just alluded to, he restricts the question to the mere verbal interpretation of treaties; and by his mode of treatment on this narrow ground appears to beg the question. Every one of these cases turns upon the terms of contracts made with a native prince, his heirs, and [unclear: cessors]. The whole controversy hinges upon the word heir. In the page 573 Hindoo sense a man can never want heirs. Even should he die without children, natural or adopted, his wife has the power, and a religious, Hindoo would also feel it her duty, to adopt an heir for him, that those ceremonies might be performed at his interment which are called for by his religion at the hands of a son. We, however, cannot but think that it is an open question whether our treaties with native princes in which the word heir occurs, contemplated one thus made, as it were, to order.

There is no doubt, however, that in another sense the question is also open, and a sense in which it deserves the most serious consideration. After the special argument devoted to each case, Major Bell enters on Consideration of those general motives of policy which are effectively the true standard to which they should he referred. There can be but little doubt in the minds of any at all acquainted with Indian affairs hold our dominion in the East by the same means by which it was acquired. An occupancy and growing power of an hundred years has left few traces on the minds of the natives at all commensurate with the extent of our supremacy. Confidence and sympathy are not to be won by the sword, and without either, no sure foundation can be laid either for the continuance of our power or for the best welfare of those subjected to it. Major Bell is a staunch, able, and well-informed advocate for a thorough revision of our mode of governing our possessions in India. A conciliated Hindoo and Mahometan nobility is, in his opinion, the only instrument by which we can hope either to diminish the expense of our government or to secure it from a constant liability to attack. By offering in the fullest manner the highest rewards in our power to able and educated natives, we may, he thinks, make partisans of the which we must otherwise continue to estrange, and from which most of our dangers are, in future, to be dreaded. Every independent principality which we have gradually enclosed in the area of our dominion, should, in his opinion, have been rather fostered than absorbed and even where possible new ones should be established.

"I believe," he says, "that the maximum of immediate dominion and direct European agency involves the minimum of European influence: whatever tends facilitate and "promote intercourse and harmony between the higher classes of India and the higher classes of Great Britain, will tend to assimilate their habits and modes of thought, and to diffuse new ideas and new wants among the mass of the population. We must gain the leaders, and the flock will follow."

The native misrule with which we have been disgusted, must be improved by friendly influence, and not abrogated in the interest of the subject thousands, who cannot comprehend our motives, and give as no credit for anything but what appears to them high-handed injustice to families they have been accustomed to fear and reverence. We relieve them of the fear, but cannot destroy the old-established reverence. If these opinions had been expressed by any home student of our Indian policy, they would be at once disposed of as unpractical, and as betraying a complete ignorance of the impassable gulf which lies between Indian and European ways of thought, but it; as impossible to adopt this tone with anyone so manifestly well page 574 acquainted as the author with Indian life and character. We have in many points acquired the respect of our Indian subjects; is it not also possible to arrive at their affection? The strong make few allowances for the vices of the weak; and we have been, perhaps, too apt, both for our own happiness and that of the natives, to turn with disgust from features of Indian character which we have rather aggravated than improved. An effort to govern India, for the most part, by the Indians themselves, is one not to be set about in a hurry, and Major Bell is the last man to advocate anything like a precipitate action on the principles he advocates; but he makes out a strong case, and is so thoroughly well-informed, that his arguments can only be met by assertions of their being founded on an ignorance of native character. An assertion of this kind would be very hardy in the face of what be brings forward. In conclusion, we strongly recommend these letters to the attentive consideration of all who are interested in the future of our Indian dependency assuring them that whether they become converts or not to the views of the author, they cannot but reap valuable information from his pages or fail to be pleased by the clear and able manner in which he advocates a change of policy in the East which, at least, promises results of the utmost importance. That such a policy would call for the rarest judgment and self-control is unquestionable, but great results are to be had by corresponding exertions. If this be thought to add to its difficulties, it can hardly be said to contribute to its condemnation but is rather a fresh recommendation to its attentive consideration.

If it were not for its affectation, Mr. Reade's book on the "Coast of Africa"9 would be one of the most enjoyable descriptions country very little known, and to which, of late, much attention has been devoted. But his unquestionable good sense is dressed out to such an extent that it is almost lost sight of in the smartness of its attire. If he has a good story to tell, be so polishes and complete it that faith breaks down under the accumulated claims he makes upon it. Often humourous and witty, he never counts the cost of the effect he seeks; and if he has a pathetic tale to tell, mostly ends it with a pathos upon an absurd principle of moral relief. These, however, are but faults of exuberance, and may be regarded as passing peculiarities of the author. The worst of the affectations to which he is subject is that of the fine gentleman, because one that is in itself essentially vulgar. Though he has devoted much time and study to the questions connected with the country he describes, and [unclear: though] questions are neither few nor easily mastered, he everywhere assumes the air of writing for his amusement, and offers what is [unclear: really] result of much labour, as the relaxation of a young man [unclear: about] in search of something fresher than Pall-mall; like a [unclear: gaboon] who once very opportunely invited him to dinner while [unclear: ascending] Ncomo, he indirectly apologizes for the best meal be can set before and endeavours to impress upon us that under other circumstances as page 575 would have given us champagne. In spite of these peculiarities his book is not only most interesting throughout, but when he has a special subject which calls for careful investigation and serious statement, be lays aside his smartness, and proves that he can be instructive, too, when he cares to be so. His investigations into the natural history of the gorilla are full and complete. He authoritatively sets aside all the fearful features with which M. du Chaillu had endowed this beast, and shows him to be as timid and harmless as the other large apes.

"That which I can attest from my own personal experience (he says) is as I have seen the nests of gorillas. I cannot positively say whether they are used as beds, or only as lying-in couches. I have repeatedly seen their tracts, and could tell by them that the gorilla goes habitually on all fours. I have never seen the tracks of two gorillas in company. I have seen a young gorilla and a chimpanzee in a domestic state. They were equally docile. I have seen the dung of a gorilla, which resembles that of a man; and I can say positively that the gorilla sometimes runs away from man, for I have been near enough to hear one run away from me. Both the gorilla and the chimpanzee attack by biting. A white man has never yet bagged a gorilla or chimpanzee. The wariness of these animals, the uncertainty of their haunts, and the jealousy of the native hunters will always render ape-shooting a difficult task, and one which offers more interest to the naturalist than to the sportsman. At present we possess only the evidence of native hunters, collected by Messrs. Wilson, Savage, Ford, and myself."

The account he gives of the Fans, among whom he lived for some time, though confirming the accounts of their cannibalism, disproves Especial ferocity to attend upon that custom; indeed, he treats this subject with so much charitable philosophy that we should not be surprised if he has the best reasons for assuring us that man tastes very much like monkey, only is a little fatter and more succulent. His resolute superiority to all prejudices stands him in good stead while reviewing the history of the slave trade, and the efforts we have so long made for its suppression. His last conclusion is that to which almost all acquainted with the subject have now come, viz.:—

"That the export of slaves from Africa can only be prevented by the coasts being walled with civilization; that the trade is now confined almost entirely to Congo; and that English settlements in that country would drive it entirely from the west coast."

The whole stretch, however, of this coast is so unhealthy that even the blacks degenerate after a few generations, and sink below the type of their forefathers who descended from the high grounds of the interior. On this subject, and on the continuous migration from the interior to the coast, Mr. Reade has collected many valuable and interesting details. On the general question of the future of Africa, a comparison of our modes of treating the Negro with those of the French in Senegambia, and of the Mohammedans in central Africa is full of indications that are more valuable than likely to be at once accepted as guides in our intercourse with the native tribes. Mr. Reade, after visiting all the Southern stations, passed some time in the French settlements, and loses no opportunity of pointing out those measures which there already promise a success we have long struggled for in vain.

page 576

"Some Glimpses into Life in the Far East"10 is a gossiping account of the external features of society thirty years since, in Penang, Singapore, and the Straits. They are the remembrance of a boy's impressions, and were suggested by the perusal of Captain S. Osborne's "Quedah." Apparently a planter, and consequently in the eyes of Penang officials an interloper, the author fully shares those feelings of exasperation and wounded vanity which the covenanted servants of the East India Company were at that time not slow to provoke. He takes his revenge by highly-coloured portraits of corrupt and incompetent "civil servants," and sets beside them as foils sketches of local celerities with, it must be confessed, but a qualified success. Although he betrays a strong feeling of opposition to the powers that were, he conveys at the same time a general sense of the truth of his His pages abound in stories of Malay pirates, alligators, and wild beasts, some of which are to the full as striking as reliable in all their details. On the general practice of Europeans in these settlements, and in China, of forming connexions with native women he is very condemnatory, and shows how often it brings about the most unhappy results both to the European himself and to those who are subject to his power and influence which are by these connexions office directed rather by the oriental feelings and customs of the [unclear: Nonia] by those which her master brought with him from Europe. Though slight in construction, and very careless in style, the book has certain freshness and air of direct experience, which are not without their attractions, and leaves the impression when you lay it down that the couple of hours given to its perusal have not been altogether thrown away.

Very different from the idyllic pictures drawn by the first navigation of those seas are the accounts of recent voyages in the Pacific. Partly this arises from a fuller knowledge, that will not admit of the colouring from Rousseau's philosophy which so greatly influenced the early historians of geographical discovery in these regions. But, most of all is this different picture to be traced to the effects of the tree of European knowledge of good and evil which has borne such strange theological, social, and commercial fruit among the islanders. Our diseases have carried such havoc into their villages, that in several of these islands, after offering libations to their gods at their evening they address any ship seen in the offing with this prayer: "These is ava for you, O sailing gods! do not come ashore in this place, but be pleased to depart along the ocean to some other land." A very fair report of their present condition will be found in [unclear: Mr.] account of the cruise of the Fawn in 1862,11 for the purposes of inspection and police, and to collect fines imposed upon the islanders for misconduct in the matter of stranded ships, or boats which visit them for fresh provisions. It is to be feared that the overwhelming power of an English man-of-war is sometimes brought to bear where [unclear: the] page 577 has not been judged with that favourable consideration which ought to attend it. The Fawn touched at Uvea, or Wallis Island, for the purpose of enforcing payment of a fine of twenty tons of cocoa-nut oil, value about 600l., inflicted by the commander of H.M.S. Elk upon the natives for plundering a vessel which got ashore on the reef and for maltreating her crew. This Cornish custom of theirs must certainly be put down, but in this case it would seem from the evidence collected by Mr. Hood, that the vessel was lost through the captain's refusal to take a pilot after he had threatened to flog one of the native chiefs who had offered his services. The queen of the island admitted that some things had been taken when washed ashore, but declared they had been returned as soon as she became aware of it, and that it was quite false that the crew had been maltreated. The claimant's representative had agreed to take half the quantity of oil; but Captain Cator, of course, had no discretion in the matter, and was obliged to enforce payment of the whole amount, though the statements of the queen were confirmed by all the Europeans in the island; and it was found that the complainant had opened a store with the very goods returned by the natives and those left in the vessel, which were brought off for him, and sold them to these people whom he represented as savage robbers. Few, we think, can fail to agree with the justice of Mr. Hood's concluding remarks on this transaction:—

"It is one of the most flagrant cases, certainly, which has come under our notice, of the unfair treatment the Polynesian islanders too often experience at the hands of the Papalangis; and in this particular instance it is the more intolerable when it is considered that H.M.S. Elk took away from Uvea thirteen shipwrecked British subjects, saved by the natives. A vessel having foundered at sea off Savaii, the crew constructed a raft, upon which they were driven before the strong south-east wind towards the island, which they in vain endeavoured to reach. They were observed helplessly drifting past its shores by the natives, who swam out, and towed the raft through the breakers into the reef: no slight undertaking even for Polynesian swimmers. Many of the men were so exhausted that they could not walk, and were carried by them kindly into their houses, where all the thirteen were hospitably taken care of, supplied with all the luxuries within reach, until they were afforded the means of leaving. For this they were munificently rewarded with the sum of one dollar and a half for each man, the estimated value of an English sailor by his countrymen who inflicted the severe penalty of nearly a year's whole produce of the island upon the people of Uvea because one or two of them had appropriated a few dollars' worth of goods floating about the reef."

It is difficult to imagine what must have been the effect on the simple congregation of a sermon which Mr. Hood heard in one of the Samoan Islands, which consisted of a tirade against the "Poor Pope," as the preacher called him, and the catholic missionaries of the island, for withholding the Bible from the natives, geologists also receiving their share of the anathemas, being in some mysterious way chargeable with the same offence. The Protestants seem, however, no way behind the Catholics in the use of weapons, which have been frequently supposed peculiarly Romish. In another island of this group—

"A girl was being carried to the grave by her friends, having been, to all page 578 appearance, dead for some time, when suddenly she awoke from the trance in which she had been. When recovered a little, being asked what she had seen, she told her wondering friends that she had been at the gate of heaven, and was met there by an angel, whom she described with the most imaginative minuteness, convincing all the superstitious people that she had [unclear: actually] all she related. She was told by this celestial being that there was [unclear: but] religion only, and that the people who alone could gain admittance at the were Protestants. Many of the Roman Catholics here it is said have taken the alarm, and left their priest."

The Christian religion seems to sit but lightly upon any of them for they will throw off their profession for a time when tempted to indulge in any of their national customs, too flagrantly in contradiction with its precepts, and quietly return to their profession when they have carried out their purpose. The cruise of the Fawn extended from Sydney to the Samoan Islands and back by the Feejees and New Caledonia. The account of the domestic politics of these small archipelagoes, of their productions, and inhabitants, given by Mr. Hood, is very full and impartial; and we regret that our space will not admit of a fuller notice of his book, to which he has appended—what ought always to be published with every account of a sea voyage—a track chart of the route followed by the ship. It is not, however, lettered in such exact conformity with the text as could be desired, and falls very short of the admirable completeness of German maps of a similar character as all will acknowledge who remember the admirable one which accompanied the account of the voyage of the Austrian frigate the Novars in these seas.

Miss Cobbe has collected into a little volume those papers on Baalbec, Cairo, Rome, the Dead Sea, Athens, and Jerusalem, which she first published in "Eraser's Magazine.12 Many of our readers are no doubt already familiar with them. No one, however, can regret they are thus brought together in a more handy form. The subjects might be supposed worn and threadbare, but how little this is the case will soon be found by those who take up this charming collection of Impressions de Voyage. As she very justly remarks, everyone brings home different impressions; and those who cannot, for want of means, leisure, or opportunity, gather them for themselves, could hardly have a better introduction to the scenes visited than that here afforded by Miss Cobbe. The freshness and originality of her remarks, the [unclear: gen] sympathy for every human feeling, and the sharp observation which allows no characteristic feature to escape, however different the forms of civilization under which they display themselves, make this a very delightful book. There is, perhaps, a certain tone of [unclear: affectionate] nine enthusiasm about the author which one at first [unclear: sight] knows whether to love or laugh at; but the sound sense [unclear: and] charity that pervade all her reflections make it impossible to [unclear: do] latter, and the great extent and accuracy of her information [unclear: often] them a fulness and depth that is not usually found in a lady's [unclear: chro] of foreign travel.

page 579

An "old bushman's" account of a spring and summer in the most northern province of Sweden13 will be of most interest to the practical naturalist and especially to the ornithologist, as the main purpose of his journey was to collect fine specimens of the birds which frequent these high latitudes in the early summer; but his description of a very interesting country that is but little known to southern Europeans gives his book a general interest which will render it attractive to a larger circle of readers. It has one of the first requisites of all descriptions, an air of unexaggerated truthfulness, especially in the account he gives of adventurous expeditions among the forests and on the hills or high lands which form the chief features of the Country. The rule he laid down, never to recount any traveller's tales, however probable in themselves, but to restrict himself to his own personal experience, if it has deprived his pages of many of an animated story of hunting exploits with bears and gluttons, has at least had this good effect—the reader feels that he can put the fullest confidence in what he has before him. We have never met with a more excellent account of the suffering endured in a sub-arctic snowstorm than that given in this volume. For purposes of sport it is sufficient to start from England late in the spring; but as the author wished to be on the spot as soon as the birds began to build,—for it was part of his purpose to make a collection of their eggs—he was obliged to make a winter journey, by sledging up the whole length of the country to [unclear: Luleä], at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, and from thence inland to Quickiock, close under the mountain ridge which divides Sweden from Norway. The first and much longer part of this journey is rendered so easy by the excellent postal arrangements of the Government, that no one need be deterred from undertaking it who wishes to find employment for either gun or fishing-rod in a country which gives full opportunity of good sport for either. The fullest directions are given in this volume for the necessary equipment, and a cheaper or more enjoyable trip can hardly be imagined. In the middle and southern districts the elk is to be found, in private forests it is true, but the hospitable landowners are always ready to invite a stranger to their annual hunts. The lakes and streams in this most watery country abound in salmon, trout, grayling, and char, the last especially of great weight; if these things in the wildest landscape, and among the simplest people, are attractive to any, they cannot do better than avail themselves of the instructions of an "old bushman."

We do not know of any book more calculated to interest the young in the geography of the British Empire than the excellent compilation lately published by Mrs. Bray.14 It is an enormous advance upon the usual bare list of isolated facts with which children are too often tormented under the name of geography. Not only is this the most complete work of its kind within the necessary-limits of a schoolbook, page 580 but its arrangement is so good that the memory is relieved of half the burthen usually imposed upon it by manuals on the subject. The progress of the nation is first rapidly sketched, and then every Colony and dependency of the Empire is treated of in appropriate groups. Though primarily a geographical book, the natural and political features of each of the numerous countries subject to the British Crown are added with so much judgment, that a strong and interesting impression can hardly fail to be the result on the minds of the young people for whose use it is intended. Though the result of very wide reading and great labour, the style is so clear and fresh that we should be much surprised if it did not soon assume a place among the most popular educational works of the day.

The first volume of a history of the United States, by Herr Karl Neumann,15 which brings the narrative down to the Presidentship of Jefferson, may be recommended as a very clear and careful account of one of the most instructive periods of the world's political history. In spirit it is more a constitutional history than a pageant of events. With great judgment the author goes back to the colonial system, out of which the power of the Union was ultimately to be evolved; and traces with a sure hand, how early the seeds of the present struggle were sown in the Constitution itself. The second volume, which is nearly finished will bring down the narrative to the Presidentship of Andrew Jackson, and the third will contain the events of the present day. By confining himself, as he does, to the essential social facts of American history, he is enabled, in the small compass of these volumes, to give a most useful guide through a complicated series of party manoeuvres that is even now too little understood in Europe; but the magnitude of the issue involved in and interests connected with them must, before long, force a more intelligent appreciation upon spectators who were, at first, but too willing to be misled by an apparently simple issue drawn from a supposed right of revolt. This argument, at first adopted to cloak an ignorance—at the time too general—has ever since been a weight round the necks of those who sought relief in it. If revolt is a political right, it must be always ready to show its grounds; but those who have likened the present rebellion in the United States to the revolt from the Mother-country in which they originated as a nation have been very careful to avoid a comparison of the causes which brought about each. With better knowledge, a truer and more charitable judgment will form itself in England and on the Continent of the events now taking place in America; and every candid lover off the truth must be glad to welcome any effort to bring about so desirable state of things. On this account, as well as on the ground of [unclear: its] very great merits, we strongly recommend the present history.

There are few books more worthy of attention from the light they throw on the state of public opinion in America, than a collection of Speeches by Wendell Phillips, recently published at Boston.16 They page 581 cover, in some sort, the progress of the best democratic thought of the last quarter of a century, and seldom has greater progress been made in any country in so short a time. Nothing can be more easy than to find fault with their style, which is very different from the political oratory of our own country. All that is needed is to put out of sight the first consideration of every orator—namely, the public he addresses, and to substitute another of which he is not thinking, and it may then be conclusively shown that the canons of taste appealed to utterly condemn the performance thus criticized. Violence, bitterness, and personal invective have been thought graces in the oratorical triumphs of the Ancients; but in the mouth of an American they are too often the only thing attended to, while the purpose and animating spirit is cautiously kept out of view, that nothing may interfere with the judgment pronounced by polite indifference on a man struggling with all his might in a cause to which he has given every feeling of his heart. The almighty dollar has become a catch-word with many writers among us, as if Americans were the first who ever hesitated between God and Mammon. But this is the way in which an American abolitionist speaks to his fellow-countrymen on the election of the present President:—

"The saddest thing in the Union meetings of last year was the constant presence in all of them of the chink of coin—the whirr of spindles—the dust of trade. I must confess those pictures of the industrial value of the Union made me profoundly sad. I look, as beneath the skilful pencil trait after trait leaps to glowing life, and ask at last—Is this all? Where are the nobler element's of national purpose and life? Is this the whole fruit of ages of toil, sacrifice, and thought?—those cunning fingers, the overflowing lap, labour vocal on every hillside, and commerce whitening every sea—all the dower of one [unclear: aughty] and overbearing race. The zeal of the Puritan, the faith of the Quaker, a century of colonial health, and then this large civilization; does it result only in a workshop? Oh, no! not such the picture which my glad heart sees [unclear: when] look forward."

And in another place, when, last year, describing the task which must be heartily undertaken, he meets the great problem of the future of America in the only way in which it can possibly be solved, and shrinking from no tittle of its magnitude, exclaims—

"We cannot expect in hours to cover the place of centuries. It is a great problem before us: we must take up the South and organize it anew. It is not the men we have to fight—it is the state of society that produces them. He would be a fool who, having a fever, scraped his tongue and took no medicine. Killing Davis is only scraping the tongue; killing Slavery is taking a wet sheet-pack, destroying the very disease. But when we have done it, there remains behind it the still greater and more momentous problem, whether we have the strength, the balance, the virtue, the civilization, to absorb six millions of ignorant embittered, bedevilled Southerners, and transmute them into honest, descent, well-behaved, Christian mechanics, worthy to be the brothers of New Ehud Yankees—that is the real problem."

There can be no doubt of it, and insight is the first step towards success. Nothing is more remarkable than the growing confidence with which these speeches are animated; what in 1837 and up to [unclear: the] of the last election was pleaded for by every constitutional device, page 582 and defended by every resource of legal fence, now steps boldly forward on the ground of its own inherent principles of justice, which it is manifest are felt to be sufficient and no longer to need any collateral support. If it were necessary to show that the violence of language which so often appears in these addresses is but the necessary tone to be adopted to a democratic assembly when a party question has to be discussed before them, it would be sufficient to refer to the only one in this volume which touches on a subject beyond the circle of party organizations, to that on the Rights of Women, in which a subject so often disfigured by enthusiastic declamation is treated with a clearness of philosophical insight and temperate command, both of thought and language, that leave nothing to be desired.

The "Diplomatic History of the years 1813,14,15," just published by F. A. Brockhaus, of Leipsic,17 is a very well written account, from the German point of view, of the events of the War of Liberate, There is considerable advantage in making treaties and conventions the turning-points of any historical summary, comprising, as they usually do, the definite results attained at their respective dates. These volumes are a curious mixture of patriotic boasting and querulous complaint, that Germany was ultimately deprived of what she looked upon as not only a just retribution on her enemy, but as the only adequate condition of her future safety. A very different view is, of course, taken by M. Capefigue in his introduction to a collection of all the treaties and conventions connected with the settlement of Europe at Vienna, which forms two bulky volumes of the "Bibliothèque des Archives Diplomatiques," published by the Count d'Angeberg.18 An interesting map is added to the first of these volumes, from the papers of Talleyrand, in which the demands of the German Powers for an improved frontier are very clearly laid down, together with those points ultimately yielded by France.

The manner in which the Liberal party in the French Legislative Chamber has taken advantage of the relinquishment by the Emperor of the power of increasing the floating debt of the country by the issue of supplementary credits, and the general financial tone of their opposition to the Government, give a special interest to two recent books on French finance. The first of these, by M. Casimir Perier,19 a programme of the Liberal party, and may be usefully studied covering nearly the whole of that field to which they have, in the present state of French opinion, very judiciously restricted their [unclear: comm] action. It is to be hoped that on such simple issues as are here [unclear: raised] the many shades of free opinion in France may acquire [unclear: a] mutual support which will with every succeeding session [unclear: give] and force to their influence on the Government. M. [unclear: Perier's] originally appeared, for the most part, in the "Revue des Deux [unclear: monha] page 583 and are directed to a general consideration of the character of the control exercised by the French Chambers from the times of Louis Phillipe. They also contain a review of the financial reforms of 1861, and of the subsequent budgets, with an estimate of the present debt and sinking fund; the whole closing with a very cautious aspiration to the beau idéal, yet so distant, of collective Ministerial responsibility, and a budget open to detailed amendments.

The second, and much longer work, by the Baron de Nervo,20 with its epigraph, "Facta loquuntur," is an extended history of French finance from the times of Jacques Cœur to those of Mollien. Its purpose is to inculcate, by the examples of Sully, Colbert, and the First Consul, the necessity of a firm and able hand to sweep away the ruins of former disorder, and reconstruct the financial edifice on a new basis. As might have been expected, it is much more concerned with the administrative than with the Constitutional side of the question, and is a commentary on the epigram of Baron Louis: "Give me a good government, and I will answer for a good financial system." It is not surprising that the adversaries of the Imperial system look upon this view as putting the cart before the horse; nor is it to be expected that they will be led by patriotic admiration of successful administration to an implicit confidence in the working of a system which they cannot even bring themselves to look upon as good in itself, or be misled by examples which they refuse to consider applicable to the wants of the present moment. But whatever may be thought of its political intention, the Baron de Nervo's book will be welcome to those who appreciate the difficulties of research he has overcome; while the clear manner in which he handles a subject not usually very attractive to any but those political students who know how necessary such labours are for the correct appreciation of the cotemporary events they underlie and so powerfully influence, deserves the highest praise.

A manual of the current gold and silver coins of all countries, compiled by Messrs. Leopold C. Martin and Charles Trübner,21 is, since the publication of that by Messrs. Eckfeldt and Dubois of the United States Mint, the most useful volume of its kind; and in the number and beauty of its facsimiles of the coins described, excels that well-known work. This volume cannot but be of great use to all connected with the trade in bullion, and, though from the impossibility of correctly valuing the silver coins of other countries in the terms of own currency, owing to the operation of the seignorage on the silver coinage, the values given cannot be made the basis of any extended calculation, they are yet sufficiently accurate as approximations to the value of single pieces, while the accompanying quotation of the amount of fine silver they contain obviates any difficulty with those who engaged in exchange operations.

1 "Laws of Nature the Foundation of Morals." By D. Rowland, author of "A Manual of the English Constitution." London: J. Murray. 1863.

2 "Utilitarianism Explained and Exemplified in Moral and Political Government." London: Longman and Co. 1864.

3 "The Four Experiments in Church and State and the Conflict of Churches." By Lord Robert Montagu, M. P. London: Longman and Co. 1864.

4 "Geschichte, Natur und Gesundheitslehre des Ehelichen Lebeus." Von E. Reich Cassel: Theodor Kay. 1864. London: D. Nutt.

5 "Caxtoniana: a Series of Essays on Life, Literature, and Manners." by Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart. London: W. Blackwood and Sous. 1863. 2 vols.

6 "Father Mathew: a Biography." By J. F. Maguire, M.P., author of "Rome: its Rulers, and its Institutions." London: Longman and Co. 1863.

7 "Eran, das land zwischen dem Indus und Tigris." Von Dr. F. Spiegel Berlin: F. Dümmler. London: D. Nutt. 1863.

8 "The Empire in India: Letters from Madras and other Places." By Make Evans Bell. London: Trübner and Co. 1864.

9 "Savage Africa." By W. W. Reade, Fellow of the Geographical and Anthropological Societies of London, and Corresponding Member of the Geographical Society of Paris. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1863.

10 "Some Glimpses into Life in the Far East." London: Richardson and Co. 1864.

11 "Notes of a Cruise in H.M.[unclear: S] awn in the Western Pacific, in the year 1862." By T. H. Hood. Edinburg: Edmonston and Douglas. 1863.

12 "The Cities of the Past." By F. P. Cobbe. London: Trübner and Co. 1864.

13 "A Spring and Summer in Lapland: with Notes on the Fauna of Luleä lapmark." By an old Bushman, author of "Bush Wanderings in Australia." London Groombridge and Sons. 1864.

14 "The British Empire." By Caroline-Bray, author of "Physiology for Schools." London: Longman and Co. 1863.

15 "Geschichte der Vereinigton Staaten von Amerika." Von Karl F. Newmann. Berlin: C. Heymann. London: Williams and Norgate. 1863.

16 "Speeches, Lectures, and Letters." By Wendell Phillips. Boston. U. S. J. Redpath. 1863.

17 "Diplomatische Geschichte der Jahre 1813, 14, 15." Leipzig: F. A. [unclear: Brockhaus]. London: D. Nutt. 1863.

18 "Le Congrès de Vienne et les Traités de 1815. Bibliothèque des Archive Diplomatiques." Paris: Amyot. London: D. Nutt. 1863.

19 "Les Finances et la Politique." Par M. Casimir Perier. Paris: [unclear: Levy] London: D. Nutt. 1863.

20 "Les Finances Françaises." Par M. Le Baron de Nervo. Paris: M. Levy fores. London: D. Nutt. 1863.

21 "The Current Gold and Silver Coins of all Countries." By Leopold C. Martin and Charles Trübner. London: Trübner and Co. 1863.