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value in this country has received a share of the profits accruing from his books. Nearly the entire body of English scientific writers are here put on the same footing that American authors are, and every novelist of recognized place has received a price for early sheets of his books. Within the last year the prices paid to English novel-writers have been considerably reduced on account of cheap opposition editions; but so far the graver writers, the scientists and historians, have not suffered from this cause. Had Mr. Howard thought proper to acquaint himself with the facts before sneering about our "reformed and suddenly upright publishers," he would have discovered that the opposition to international copyright here has not arisen from any unwillingness to pay royalties to foreign authors-this being commonly done—but from the apprehension that such a law would largely transfer book-making from our own country to England. The most strenuous opposition to international copyright has come from paper-makers, printers, stereotypers, and bookbinders, and many publishers have united with these classes, not because they wished to defraud English authors, but for the reason that they did not desire to enrich English publishers. An international copyright law without qualification or conditions would soon show us all books by English writers designed for this market manufactured in England. The English author would not sell a duplicate of his manuuscript here as now; it is the English publisher who would place editions of the author's writings in this market. That American publishers have not in all instances paid royalties to foreign authors is true; that, like other men, including authors, they are sometimes selfish and sometimes short-sighted, is also true; but foreign authors whose books can be reprinted with profit are tolerably sure in the competition that ensues to find publishers who will pay them. It was incumbent upon Mr. Howard as an American, if not as a man actuated by the spirit of fairness, to ascertain these facts before taking occasion to defame his countrymen. But Mr. Howard is not alone. The assumption always with his high-minded and patriotic class is, that in any given condition of things in America the wrong and not the right is inevitably chosen.
THE WISDOM OF LEADERS.
"THE concerted wisdom of a few brilliant leaders" is Mr. Howard's ideal of government. He is not alone in the notion that great men are necessary for the prosperity and safety of a community. And yet since the world began what has the concerted wisdom of brilliant leaders done for mankind? The prosperity, and even largely the safety, of nations has actually been wrested from those brilliant leaders whose wisdom, concerted or otherwise, is so radiant in many people's eyes. The simple right to enjoy in security the products of one's own labor has been acquired solely by the stubborn courage and persistent purpose of the people, in the face of monarchs, statesmen, priests, and other brilliant
leaders. The purpose of the men whom Mr. Howard admires has always from the first been to keep down the people and extend the power of the state. There are only two things that the concerted wisdom of rulers has ever been called upon to give the world, and these two things their united intellect has never been able to grasp-one being to let the people alone in their faiths and their industries, and the other to establish a police that will maintain order. The great men whose names shed so much luster on the past have disdained a simple task like this; they have preferred to restlessly intrigue for the extension of boundaries, and so have plunged the nations into disastrous wars; they have endeavored to establish or overthrow faiths, and in so doing have bestowed upon the world a heritage of wrong and oppression; they have schemed to augment their own resources by every possible device in taxation, and so impoverished the commonalty. They have done these things in the past, and are busy doing them to-day. The only countries that are peaceful and prosperous are those in which the people have bound down their brilliant leaders, and succeeded in controlling affairs by an “aggregate of commonplace opinions," while the supreme wisdom of Bismarck has filled Germany with discontent, and the administrative talents of the Czar have given to Russia a choice crop of conspiracies and assassinations. Ten thousand evils have sprung from the meddling wisdom of statesmen, but not one genuine good. The blessings that have come upon mankind have been the elevation of common life, the growth of the arts, and the spread of education, and these things the men in high places have resisted with all their power. "Of one thing we may be sure," says
a writer in a recent English magazine, “that the world has been too much governed by persons whose talent has lain chiefly in taking care of themselves. There have always been too many people ready to regulate society in their own interests, whereas the welfare of the world lies in the direction of selfgovernment. Humanity has been too much sat upon by rulers, heaven-born and devil-born—the latter class chiefly prevailing. What is wanted is increase in the general capacity of self-government. The far-seeing prayer of Robert Browning should be put up in all the churches
'Make no more giants, God,
But elevate the race at once!'" This writer's phrases are strong, if not elegant. "Humanity has been too much sat upon by rulers" is as terse and good as a proverb. But we suspect that it is not so much "an increase in the general capacity of self-government" that is wanted as an increase of opportunity to exhibit the capacity that exists. The main difficulty with the people is that they are still partially afflicted with the ruling notion in high places that government is indispensable in regulating industrial, commercial, educational, and social affairs; that the state must still exercise some degree of military mastery and paternal coddling. The supreme public concern is not to gain “bril
liant leaders," but to suppress the class altogether; to subordinate government just so far as it can be done, to permit the great body of affairs to be selfacting, with just supervision enough to see that the full freedom of self-acting is maintained; and for this duty the steady, clear common sense of the community is wholly adequate.
THE POETRY, OF DISTANCE.
MR. HAMERTON thinks that susceptibility to the poetry of distance in landscape is a faculty not possessed by minds of a common order. In his "Life of Turner" he devotes several pages to this theme, from which we quote the subjoined:
The fascination of the remote for minds which have any imaginative faculty at all is so universal and unfailing that it must be due to some cause in the depths of man's spiritual nature. It may be due to a religious instinct, which makes him forget the meanness and triviality of common life in this world to look as far beyond it as he can to a mysterious infinity of glory where earth itself seems to pass easily into heaven. It may be due to a progressive instinct, which draws men to the future and the unknown, leading them ever to fix their gaze on the far horizon, like mariners looking for some visionary Atlantis across the space of the wearisome sea. this as it may, the enchantments of landscape distance are certainly due far more to the imagination of the beholder than to any tangible or explicable beauty of their own. It is probable that minds of a common order, which see with the bodily eyes only, and have no imaginative perception, receive no impressions of the kind which affected Turner; but the conditions of modern life have developed a great sensitiveness to such impressions in minds of a higher class. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to name any important imaginative work in literature produced during the present century in which there is not some expression of the author's sensitiveness to the poetry of distance.
Now, the fascination of landscape distance seems to us more generally felt than any other form of natural beauty. Instead of being exclusively the possession of imaginative or cultivated minds, it is with the multitude almost the very beginning and end of their sense of poetry or beauty in landscape. Traveling once with an artist in search of the picturesque, we discovered that everywhere the prevalent idea of landscape beauty was that of an extended prospect. In every flat or merely undulating district we were directed to the top of some high building for the fine view afforded therefrom, and in hilly sections there was always a rock or hill-top that was famous for the beautiful prospect it commanded. Foreground scenes never seemed to enter the minds of the people we commonly met as legitimately with in the meaning of landscape beauty. With this experience in view, Mr. Hamerton's assumption that the beauty of distance is not appreciated by minds of a common order surprises us. Whatever may be the cause, one encounters everywhere-in this country at least a sensitiveness to the fascinations so admirably described in the extract from Mr. Hamer
ton that we have copied. The delight in poetical distance may be rather an animal exaltation than a spiritual aspiration; it may be nothing more than a thrill of the nerves that comes from a sense of space and vastness, but it is as common as human nature itself. Wherever there are mountains the tops of which are accessible, or high places that command extended views, we find throngs of people making pilgrimages to them. There is no better-known scene in America than the view from the plateau in front of the Catskill Mountain House, a prospect described by Cooper's Leatherstocking, before hotels were known in that region, in a passage that every reader is familiar with, and which expresses the sentiments commonly awakened by the vast panorama unfolded there. To see the sun rise or set from a mountain
top is a pleasure that every one promises himself, and one which every summer induces many people to undergo great labor and fatigue to accomplish. We can hardly assume that American people are more sensitive to this kind of beauty than the communities with which Mr. Hamerton is acquainted, but, unless this is the case, the distinguished art critic in this matter assuredly has not evinced his usual accuracy of observation.
THE OBJECTIVE NOVEL.
"I AM told," says Mr. Frederic Harrison, in his recent essay on "The Choice of Books,"" that the last discovery of modern culture is that Scott's prose is commonplace; that the young men at our universities are far too critical to care for his artless sentences and flowing descriptions." In keeping with this discovery is the notion with us in America that Cooper's tales of the sea and the woods are of an inferior order of composition; that stories depicting the throes of heated passion, or the perturbations of well-bred lovers in drawing-rooms, are of a higher intellectual character than narratives of adventure and exploit. Let us admit that analysis of character is a very high and subtile phase of the novelist's art, but then it has not absolute possession of the whole field. There are not only other worthy things than the study of emotions and motives, but psychological probing is very apt when pushed too far to become a great bore, and with many writers is simply stimulative of an unhealthful and morbid passion for introspection. It is not a good thing to be always looking into our own minds or into the minds of our neighbors. The subjective novel within due limits is proper enough to read and study, but when made too large a part of our intellectual food the result is morally and mentally hurtful. In this case the breezy, out-of-door, objective novel affords an excellent counter-current of sensation, and for this reason alone it ought to be sandwiched between the highly seasoned preparations of the modern school.
The objective novel, however, is something more than a mere antidote to sentimental poison. Its place in art is not an inferior one. The reasons that make us cherish the epic poets, that lead us to ad.
mire the temples and statues of the ancients, that give to form and color so much fascination, are the elementary foundations of the objective novel. If it is a fine thing to be sensitive to the beauties of nature, it must be a fine thing to be sensitive to pictures of life that are closely related to those open aspects of the world around us; and, if architecture stands high in the aesthetic world, if color in painting is entitled to our admiration, if the lines of sculpture are worthy of our study, then romances which deal prominently with color and form are candidates for an equal appreciation. The novel of action is an epic in prose; the novel of picturesque situation is like a stirring painting on canvas; and the novel that gives us heroes and heroines of ideal grace and beauty awakens in us some of the same sensations that higher sculpture does. The arts generally deal with the objective, appealing exclusively to the senses; and it is therefore certainly not a wrong or an improper thing for the novelist to appeal to the same sensibilities that painters and sculptors do. It is only by realizing the really high place in art that novels of description and action may occupy when the performance is equal to the plan, that one is prepared to form a just estimate of romances like Cooper's. One must put himself in some such relation to them as he would if they were ancient classics. Let us imagine, for instance, the figure of young Uncas, in "The Last of the Mohicans," coming down to us from the remote past. As he incarnates the three special qualities of the hero-youth, grace, and daring-neither Hector, nor Paris, nor Perseus has greater fascinations than that strange and almost mystic figure would have possessed for us under such circumstances. As a product of Greek
imagination he would have embodied the melancholy, the beauty, and the spirit of the woods, just as the German sprite Undine does of the waters. He would have figured in endless statues and paintings, and have fired the fancy of innumerable poets. But born close to us, being our very own, we have lacked the faculty of seeing in him the exquisite poetical conditions that three thousand years ago would have made him immortal. We think we appreciate the heroes of Greek story because we have been industriously instructed how to admire them, but we have shown an utter lack of ability to seize for ourselves upon a singularly beautiful figure of our own land and time, which as a type of a splendid young savage is unique and artistically perfect. He is filled with the very breath of poetry, and yet neither our painters, our poets, nor our sculptors have discovered him. It may some day be thought that this Adonis of the woods is as worthy of attention as diseased studies in spiritual anatomy, and we may be sure that our tastes will not be healthful, robust, strong, or sweet until this time comes about. There are other striking poetic figures in Cooper's romances which remain largely unheeded to our dull imagination. How full of poetic associations the waters that girt New York ought to be with recollections of " the lady of the sea-green mantle," at the bowsprit of the Water-Witch gliding phantom-like through them! Cooper has, in truth, peopled our waters and our woods with figures that are as full of strange beauty as those that animate the shores of the Egean Sea, but we cherish every detail of Greek tradition and neglect every phase of our own. Our romance is not so copious as the ancient, but it has a choice flavor of its own that ought to make it dear to us.
Books of the Day.
BOOK on the life and works of one great novelist by another almost equally eminent in the same field could hardly fail to be deeply interesting; and Mr. Anthony Trollope's monograph on Thackeray * not only possesses all the interest which naturally pertains to such a work, but the additional attractiveness which comes from the fact that he has not confined himself to the mere study of Thackeray, but has made his work the vehicle for imparting his own ideas upon men and things, upon literature and morality, and in particular upon the objects and methods of his own art. In fact, there is nearly as distinct a flavor of Trollope in the book as of Thackeray, and the reader learns nearly as much about the character, ideas, and habits of the former as of the latter. This comes, however, not from any obtrusive
* English Men of Letters. Edited by John Morley. Thackeray. By Anthony Trollope. New York: Harper & Brothers. 12m0, pp. 206.
egotism on the part of Mr. Trollope, but from the fact that he has used his own knowledge of life and experience as a novelist in interpreting Thackeray, and has written throughout in the first person instead of with that objectiveness and formality which is apt to accompany the impersonal "we." The whole tone of the work is eminently sincere, candid, and unpretentious-impartial in judgment and keen in criticism, but with that sympathetic feeling and cordial appreciativeness which a biographer may properly extend to one who was both a friend and a co-worker in kindred pursuits. The reader will probably agree with us that Mr. Trollope has seldom given a more favorable impression than he gives in this book of his character as a man and his power as a writer; and we think it is owing, at least in part, to the strict limitations as to space under which it was written. Had the book been twice as long it would probably have been much less than half as good, and had it been spun out to the customary
length of Mr. Trollope's later novels it would doubtless have had the same tepid flavor of toast-and-tea. It is something to know that so voluble and voluminous an author can be concise and vigorous where these qualities are indispensable; and it is more satisfactory still to know that he can be concise and vigorous without losing that ease of manner and felicity of style which we have come to regard as his most striking characteristics as a writer.
Only the first chapter of the book is avowedly biographical, and even here the minute personal details of which biography usually consists are but scantily introduced. The truth is, as Mr. Trollope notifies to his readers at the outset, there is not sufficient material available for a formal biography of Thackeray: "Of Thackeray no life has been written; and though they who knew him-and possibly many who did not-are conversant with anecdotes of the man, who was one so well known in society as to have created many anecdotes, yet there has been no memoir of his life sufficient to supply the wants of even so small a work as this purports to be. For this the reason may simply be told. Thackeray, not long before his death, had had his taste offended by some fulsome biography. Paragraphs, of which the eulogy seemed to have been the produce rather of personal love than of inquiry or judgment, disgusted him, and he begged of his girls that when he should have gone there should nothing of the sort be done with his name. . . . Acting upon these instructions, his daughters-while there were two living, and since that the one surviving-have carried out the order which has appeared to them to be sacred." Such being the case, even if there were materials for it, one who like Mr. Trollope stood in the relation of a personal friend could not undertake to write what might properly be called a life of Thackeray; and all that the present work professes to do is to give such an outline or sketch of Thackeray's career and character as will enable the reader to catch the true significance of his writings. After all, however, the published works of a really great author furnish the very best materials for a biography of him, because these, when properly understood, reveal the inmost workings of his mind and heart; and in interpreting the writings of Thackeray, not by the cold light of analytical criticism but with the aid derived from personal association and the performance of similar labors, Mr. Trollope has rendered the highest possible service to both author and readers. The fuller nar
rative and ampler details which we may hope for in time to come will be received with their due meed of appreciation; but we think it very doubtful if any future biographer will succeed in conveying to the average reader a truer, juster, or more vivid conception of Thackeray as man and author.
Among the points to which Mr. Trollope devotes most attention-after telling briefly how Thackeray became an author, how he first worked and struggled, and then worked and prospered until he became a household word in English literature-is an explanation of the sense in which Thackeray can and can not be called a "cynic." This charge of cyni
cism is the one most commonly brought against Thackeray's writings; and it is, of course, highly important to know clearly how far it is true and in what respect it is unjust or mistaken. Mr. Trollope recurs to the subject several times; and, in summing up what he has to say about it, points out that, in considering the charge, it is necessary to discriminate between the author and the man. A public man, he admits, should be judged from his public work. If he who is to be known as a writer writes as a cynic, it is fair that he should be so called. Upon the question whether the nature of Thackeray's writings entitle him to be called a cynic, he says:
The word is one which is always used in a bad sense. "Of a dog, currish," is the definition which we get from Johnson-quite correctly and in accordance with its etymology. . . . That Thackeray's nature was soft and kindly-gentle almost to a faulthas been shown elsewhere; but they who have called him a cynic have spoken of him merely as a writer, and as a writer he has certainly taken upon himself the special task of barking at the vices and follies of the world around him. Any satirist might in the same way be called a cynic in so far as his satire goes. Swift was a cynic, certainly. Pope was cynical when he was a satirist. Juvenal was all cynic, because he was all satirist. If that be what is meant, Thackeray was certainly a cynic. But that is not all that the word implies. It intends to go back beyond the work of the man, and to describe his heart. It says of any satirist so described that he has given evil, but because he himself has been evil. Hamlet himself up to satire, not because things have been is a satirist, whereas Thersites is a cynic. If Thackcray be judged after this fashion, the word is as inappropriate to the writer as to the man. allow his intellect to be too thoroughly saturated with But it has to be confessed that Thackeray did the aspect of the ill side of things. We can trace the operation of his mind from his earliest days, when he commenced his parodies at school; when he brought out "The Snob at Cambridge; when he sent "Yellowplush" out upon the world as a satirist his "Catherine," to show the vileness of the taste for on the doings of gentlemen generally; when he wrote what he would have called Newgate literature; and "The Hoggarty Diamond," to attack bubble companies; and "Barry Lyndon," to expose the pride which a rascal may take in his rascality. "Becky Beatrix," both as a Sharp," "Major Pendennis," young and as an old woman, were written with the same purpose. There is a touch of satire in every drawing that he made. A jeer is needed for something that is ridiculous, scorn has to be thrown on something that is vile. The same feeling is to be found in every line of every ballad. . . . He was
crying his sermon," hoping, if it might be so, to do something toward lessening the evils he saw around him. We all preach our sermon, but not always with the same earnestness. He had become so urgent in the cause, so loud in his denunciations, that he did him. Now and again he paused and blessed amid not stop often to speak of the good things around
the torrent of his anathemas. There are "Dobbin " and "Esmond" and "Colonel Newcome." But his anathemas are the loudest. It has been so, I think, nearly always with the eloquent preachers.—(Page 203.)
As to the accuracy with which the term "cynic" can be applied to Thackeray's personal character as a man, Mr. Trollope says:
I protest that it would be hard to find an individual further removed from the character. Over and outside his fancy, which was the gift which made him so remarkable, a certain feminine softness was the most remarkable trait about him. To give some immediate pleasure was the great delight of his life a sovereign to a schoolboy, gloves to a girl, a dinner to a man, a compliment to a woman. His charity was overflowing, his generosity excessive. I heard once a story of woe from a man who was the dear friend of both of us. The gentleman wanted a large sum of money instantly-something under two thousand pounds-had no natural friends who could provide it, but must go utterly to the wall without it. Pondering over this sad condition of things just revealed to me, I met Thackeray between the two mounted heroes at the Horse Guards, and told him the story. "Do you mean to say that I am to find two thousand pounds?" he said angrily, with some expletives. I explained that I had not even suggested the doing of anything, only that we might discuss the matter. Then there came over his face a peculiar smile, and a wink in his eye, and he whispered his suggestion, as though half ashamed of his meanness. "I'll go half," he said, "if anybody will do the rest." And he did go half, at a day or two's notice, though the gentleman was no more than simply a friend. I am glad to be able to add that the money was quickly repaid. I could tell various stories of the same kind, only that I lack space, and that they, if simply added one to the other, would lack interest.
He was no cynic, but a satirist, and could now and then be a satirist in conversation, hitting very hard when he did hit. When he was in America, he met at dinner a literary gentlemen of high character, middle-aged, and most dignified deportment. The gentleman was one whose character and acquirements stood very high-deservedly so-but who, in society, had that air of wrapping his toga around him which adds, or is supposed to add, many cubits to a man's height. But he had a broken nose. At dinner he talked much of the tender passion, and did so in a manner which stirred up Thackeray's feeling of the ridiculous. "What has the world come to," said Thackeray, out loud to the table, "when two brokennosed old fogies like you and me sit talking about love to each other!" The gentleman was astounded, and could only sit wrapping his toga in silent dismay for the rest of the evening. Thackeray then, as at other similar times, had no idea of giving pain; but, when he saw a foible, he put his foot upon it and tried to stamp it out.-(Page 59.)
Besides the discussions on general topics there are many interesting circumstantial details concerning the origin, purpose, and methods of each of Thackeray's more important works, the composition of his ballads and burlesques, and the founding of the "Cornhill Magazine," of which Thackeray was editor, and to which Trollope was one of the earliest and most valued contributors. Intermingled with the general narrative, there are also numerous passages of a more personal interest, such as the following about Thackeray's habits of work:
I think that at no time did Thackeray doubt the sufficiency of his own mental qualification for the work he had taken in hand; but he doubted all else. He doubted the appreciation of the world; he doubted his fitness for turning his intellect to valuable account; he doubted his physical capacity -dreading his own lack of industry; he doubted his luck; he doubted the continual absence of some of
those misfortunes on which the works of literary men are shipwrecked. Though he was aware of his own power, he always, to the last, was afraid that his own deficiencies should be too strong against him. It was his nature to be idle-to put off his work-and then to be angry with himself for putting it off. Ginger was hot in the mouth with him, and all the allurements of the world were strong upon him. To find on Monday morning an excuse why he should not on Monday do Monday's work was, at the time, an inexpressible relief to him, but had become a deep regret-almost a remorse-before the Monday was over. To such a one it was not given to believe in himself with that sturdy, rock-bound foundation which we see to have belonged to some men from the earliest struggles of their career.-(Page 15.)
This suggests a comparison, or rather contrast, between Thackeray and Dickens—a comparison, not as to their literary merits, but as to their dominant characteristics as authors. Dickens, though a year younger than Thackeray, had reached almost the zenith of his reputation before the latter's name had been heard at all. Why, asks Mr. Trollope, was Dickens already a great man when Thackeray was still a literary Bohemian?
The answer is to be found not in the extent or in the nature of the genius of either man, but in the condition of mind-which indeed may be read plainly in their works by those who have eyes to see. The one was steadfast, industrious, full of purpose, never doubting of himself, always putting his best foot foremost and standing firmly on it when he got it there; with no inward trepidation, with no moments in which he was half inclined to think that this race was not for his winning, this goal not to be reached by his struggles. The sympathy of friends was good to him, but he could have done without it. The good opinion which he had of himself was never shaken by adverse criticism; and the criticism on the other side, by which it was exalted, came from the enumeration of the number of copies sold. He was a firm, reliant man, very little prone to change, who, when he had discovered the nature of his own talent, knew how to do the very best with it.
It may almost be said that Thackeray was the very opposite of this. Unsteadfast, idle, changeable of purpose, aware of his own intellect but not trusting it, no man ever failed more generally than he to put his best foot foremost. Full as his works are of pathos, full of humor, full of love and charity, tending, as they always do, to truth and honor, and manly worth and womanly modesty, excelling, as they seem to me to do, most other written precepts that I know, they always seem to lack something that might have been there. There is a touch of vagueness which indicates that his pen was not firm while he was using it. He seems to me to have been dreaming ever of some high flight, and then to have told himself, with a half-broken heart, that it was gions. I can fancy, as the sheets went from him beyond his power to soar up into those bright reevery day, he told himself, in regard to every sheet, that it was a failure. Dickens was quite sure of his sheets. (Page 18.)
Perhaps as piquant as any other portions of the book are those in which Mr. Trollope takes a quotation from or an anecdote about Thackeray as a text for his own lucubrations. Here is an example which is worth reproducing on account of the importance of the subject with which it deals. Thackeray held