Puslapio vaizdai

"In the simplest possible manner," answered Monsieur de Talleyrand. "I bought stocks on the 17th Brumaire and sold them on the 19th."

One Sunday it was decided to go to the cathedral at Brussels with all possible ceremony. Early in the morning Monsieur de Rémusat was dispatched to the church to superintend the arrangements. He received secret instructions to oppose none of the distinctions devised by the clergy for the occasion. As it was decided that the First Consul should be received with the canopy and the cross at the great door, the question was asked if Madame Bonaparte would share this honor. Bonaparte did not dare say yes, and make her thus conspicuous, and she had a chair in the gallery with the Second Consul.

At noon, the hour fixed upon, the clergy left the altar and arranged themselves in the vestibule. They waited for the sovereign, who did not appear. They were amazed and uneasy, when some one looking around suddenly discovered that he had entered the church and seated (To be continued.)

himself on the throne which had been prepared for him. The priests, much troubled, returned to the choir to begin divine service.

The fact was, that just as he started Bonaparte had learned that on a similar occasion Charles-Quint had preferred to enter the Church of Sainte-Gudule by a small side-door, which ever after preserved his name, and he probably took it into his head that if he went in by that same door it would be called thenceforward the door of Charles-Quint and of Bonaparte.

I saw the Consul one morning-I should on this occasion call him the General-review the numerous and magnificent regiments summoned to Brussels. Nothing was ever more exhilarating than the manner in which he was received by these troops. He thoroughly understood how to address them, how to speak to them; he questioned them individually in regard to their campaigns and their wounds, distinguishing more especially those who had accompanied him to̟ Egypt.

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HE personal simplicity of the President of the French Republic is discussed in European circles, a good many observers believing that M. Grévy's mode of life diminishes the dignity of his office, and weakens his popularity with the mass. It seems that he lives, as he always has lived, without ostentatious expense; that, while first magistrate of the republic, in social life he is no more than a citizen. He receives just as he did when President of the Chamber, dresses like an ordinary professional man, carefully avoiding the uniforms to which he would entitled both by precedent and by his legal position as commander-in-chief of the army; avoids liveries for his servants, drives out and travels like any other gentleman-in short, he lives with as little official display as our own Presidents do. It is gravely feared by many persons, especially those wedded to the old court notions, that this plainness will bring him into contempt with the French people. The Bonapartes, it will be remembered, always believed in the influence, and even necessity, of display; they thought it important to dazzle the imagination of the masses by brilliant cortéges, and to amuse them by gorgeous pageants. Madame de Rémusat, in the memoirs of which we publish some extracts in these pages, refers to this conviction on the part of the first Napoleon. But, while this belief has been


very general, it does not appear to be founded upon wide experience. The effects of display have been witnessed that is, the immediate and surface results have been observed-but no one seems to have thought the evidence incomplete until some one should try what M. Grévy is now trying-viz., the effect upon the multitude of simple and unostentatious living. It would be odd, now, if all the theories of European potentates in the past have been wrong; that at heart the people take the show and glitter of state displays at their real worth. The London "Standard," in discussing this subject, lays it down as a proposition that the majority of men like to see great expense and show. "The populace revel," it affirms, "in the mere apparatus and demonstration of opulence"; and the "Spectator" thinks this opinion almost universal in England, having a distinct effect upon the social habits of candidates for power. It questions wisely, however, whether it rests upon any solid foundation whatever, and declares that it is simply "an opinion based on an upper-class idea of what people would like, not upon evidence of what they do like." There is a great deal of this sort of misunderstanding in the world, and it is always amusing to see the confidence with which superior people proclaim their notions of inferior people, which is generally an estimate of the class as they prefer it to be rather than as it is. One difficulty is, that the utterance and conduct of a few are assumed to be the convictions and feelings of the

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many. There are, no doubt, persons who are fond of pageantry and ostentatious living; and, as the 'Spectator" says, "the rich like a chief of the state to be rich, just as cultivated people like him to be cultivated." But it is doubtful whether this is the feeling of the great body of the community. On the contrary, it may be questioned if the multitude "do not prefer him not to be divided too far from them by wealth, if a sense that he has, as they say, a fellow feeling with them is not a source of far deeper popularity. The poor exaggerate the separating influence of wealth, and, even when not envious of the things it will buy, believe in its hardening effect upon the sympathies." The "Spectator," in support of this view, cites instances in our historyLincoln, who was urged upon the people for the presidency as a rail-splitter, and whose simplicity of manners was even made a factor in favor of his popularity. General Harrison, we are told, was elected for his roughness; but here the "Spectator" slips, and doubtless means General Taylor, whose sobriquet "Rough and Ready" was the war-cry of his party. English history is not without similar examples. George III. beat the Whig oligarchs, with all their splendor, as ' Farmer George,' who ate mutton and turnips for dinner; and Pitt, who never had a penny, had far more of the confidence of the people than any duke. George IV., most expensive of mankind, was loathed. Nor is there the slightest evidence that the public taste has changed since George III. The two public men of our day with most influence over the people-Mr. Gladstone and Lord Beaconsfield-are both comparatively poor men, leading simple lives, and utterly careless of that visible opulence' which is supposed so greatly to impress the multitude. The Queen keeps less state than half her nobles, and what little she does keep is not visible, and she is reverenced, by comparison with her Hanoverian predecessors, to adoration." The "Spectator" might have added that the Lord Mayor's official displays excite the derision more than the admiration of the London people.

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It needs no argument to convince the majority of the American people of these facts, but there is an interesting significance in the discussion nevertheless. If M. Grévy succeeds in maintaining his popularity with the French people despite his plainness of living, a host of long-current notions in regard to French character will disappear, and numerous benefits arise therefrom. The notion that a dynasty in France is rendered secure only by intoxicating the people with military glory will vanish with the theory that the populace must be dazzled and amused with pageants in order to be kept in good humor. Confidence in the steadiness and earnestness of the French masses will necessarily lead to the strengthening of the republican idea in other particulars, and eventually a people sober enough to prefer authority without garniture will be thought steadfast enough to possess a free press. In ceasing to cultivate a war-spirit and in disregarding gilt and splendor, there will follow a marked decline in the cost of maintaining the government, and this fact

will aid in securing for republicanism a lasting hold in France. For these reasons it will be interesting to watch M. Grévy's experiment, for the results of which we, for our part, have no fears. He may for many reasons become unpopular, but never, we are convinced, for the reason that he disdains ostentation, and declines as the chief of a republic to imitate the pomp of a chief of a monarchy.


IN the September "Nineteenth Century" Mr. Froude gives, under the title of "A Cagliostro of the Second Century," an account of one of the most extraordinary impostures ever conceived and carried out. The ladies and gentlemen who are convinced of the truth of so-called spiritualism would find in this paper some things well worth their consideration; but, of course, they laugh at us for the suggestion. Credulous people are never so much disturbed as when evidence is adduced likely to impeach their delusions. "A superstition once established," says Mr. Froude, "is proof against commonplace evidence"-we should say proof against evidence of any kind. But, whatever may be the significance of the imposture to which we refer in regard to spiritualism, it at least shows how ready mankind are to believe when their hopes and imaginations are excited.

Alexander was a native of Abonotichus, a small town on the south shore of the Black Sea. He was educated by a doctor, who was learned in all the mystic arts of the period, and who set up for a magician, dealt in spells and love-charms, found treasures with a divining-rod, and performed other mysteries. Young Alexander was an apt pupil, and at twenty had learned all his master's traditionary secrets. He was a youth of singular beauty, of light spirits, boundless confidence in himself, and of aspiring ambition. At the death of the old doctor he went to Byzantium and set up for himself. In Macedonia, and especially about Pella, at this time there were a number of large, harmless snakes that came into the houses, where they were useful in keeping down rats and mice; they let the children play with them; they crept into beds at night, and were never interfered with. Alexander saw that something could be made of one of these serpents. A handsome specimen was bought, and the adventurer prepared for work. Some brass plates bearing an inscription that Apollo and Esculapius were about to visit Pontus, and that Æsculapius would appear at Abonotichus in bodily form, were buried, and in due time conveniently discovered. One here marvels whether Joe Smith had read the story of Alexander. The discovery of the brass plates excited all Asia Minor, and the delighted people of Abonotichus resolved to build a temple to receive the god at his coming. Alexander is described as having been tall, majestic, with eyes large and lustrous, hair flowing, voice sweet and limpid. In a purple tunic, with a white cloak thrown over it, bearing a falchion in his hand, and with rolling eyes and streaming locks, he presented himself to

the people of Abonotichus, declaring that it had been revealed to him by an oracle that Perseus was his mother's ancestor, and that a wonderful destiny was in store for him. The oracle was believed, and Alexander was received with an ovation. The temple for Æsculapius was meanwhile progressing, and the whole town watched eagerly for the coming god. The intending prophet now emptied the egg of a goose, placed inside a snake just born, and then concealed the egg in a water-filled hole in the foundations of the temple. The next morning he rushed into the market-place in a state of frenzy, almost naked, a girdle around his waist, and the falchion whirling about his head, proclaiming that the god had come. The people followed him to the temple; he scooped out the egg, broke it before the multitude, who, when they saw the living snake-that symbol of knowledge and immortality-coiling about his fingers, cried out in ecstasy, and believed without a question. Alexander carried the divinity home, followed by the excited crowd. The snake, which he had purchased at Pella, was by this time of enormous size, and very tame. It would coil around his body, and remain in any position he desired. He had made a human face for it out of linen ingeniously painted, with a mouth that opened and shut by an arrangement of horsehair. To this mysterious being the embryo found in the egg had developed, as Alexander told the people, in a few days! The excitement was tremendous, and people from all the neighboring cities flocked to see the god. In a tabernacle erected for the purpose, behind a rail, on a couch in a subdued light, the prophet sat, visible to every one, the snake wreathed about his neck, the coils glittering in the folds of his dress, the tail playing on the ground. The head was concealed; but occasionally the prophet raised his arm, and then appeared an awful face, the mouth moving, the tongue darting in and out. Everywhere now spread the intelligence. A god had been born at Abonotichus, with a serpent's body and the face of a


Pictures were taken of him; images made in brass and silver were circulated in thousands. At length it was announced that the god had spoken. "I am Glycon, the sweet one," the creature had said, "the third blood of Zeus and the light of the world." The temple now being finished, the god was installed within it, and announcement was made that the divinity for a proper consideration would answer any questions that might be put to him. Questions must be written on paper or parchment, which might be sealed up. The packets were received from the anxious inquirers, and after a day or two restored with the answers attached. The seals being apparently unbroken, the mere fact that an answer was given predisposed the people to be satisfied with


"Either," says Mr. Froude, "a thin knife

blade made red-hot had been passed under the wax, or a cast of the impression was taken in collyrium, and a new seal was manufactured. The obvious explanation occurred to no one. People in search of the miraculous never like to be disappointed. Either they themselves betray their secrets, or they

ask questions so foolish that it can not be known whether the answer is true or false." Here is a thought for frequenters of modern spiritual séances to digest-not that they will do so, however. Whether we believe or not always depends upon whether we are inclined to believe. Evidence has very little to do with it. In the case of Alexander his audacity was splendidly rewarded. People came in thousands:

The gold ingots sent to Delphi were as nothing compared to the treasures which streamed into Abonotichus.

Each question was separately paid for, and ten or fifteen

were not enough for the curiosity of single visitors. The work soon outgrew the strength of a single man. The prophet had an army of disciples, who were munificently paid. They were employed some as servants, some as spies, oracle-manufacturers, secretaries, keepers of seals, or interpreters of the various Asiatic dialects. Each applicant received his answer in his own tongue, to his bitions with it. Emissaries were dispersed through the overwhelming admiration. Success brought fresh amempire spreading the fame of the new prophet, instigating fools to consult the oracle, and letting Alexander know who they were and what they wanted. If a slave had run away, if a will could not be found, if a treasure had been secreted, if a robbery was undiscovered, Alexander became the universal resource. The air was full of miracles. The sick were healed. The dead were raised to life, or were reported and were believed to have been raised, which came to the same thing. To believe was a duty, to doubt was a sin. A god had come on earth to save a world which was perishing in skepticism. Simple hearts were bounding with gratitude; and no devotion could be too extreme, and no expression of it in the form of offerings too extravagant. reached the imperial court, and to consult Alexander became the fashion in high Roman society. Ladies of rank, men of business, intriguing generals or senators, took into their counsels the prophet of Abonotichus. Some who had perilous political schemes on hand were


His fame

rash enough to commit their secrets to paper, and to send them, under the protection of their seals, for the opinion of Esculapius. The prophet, when he discov ered matter of this kind, kept the packets by him without returning them. He thus held the writers in his power, and made them feel that their lives were in his hands.

There were men of a less credulous character

who saw through the impostor's tricks, but they were

not believed. "To doubt was a sin," and these

blasphemers were even sometimes stoned for their last; he lived to be an old man, and died with the pains. The impostor maintained himself to the faith in him unabated, so difficult is it to overthrow a superstition. The people were wholly unfitted to deal with the problem, and very much like believers in mysteries of to-day, who, because they see things they can not understand or explain, immediately assume that they must be of preternatural origin. In this all ages are largely alike, and there is no more

important lesson to be taught than that "men without scientific training who trust their own judgment in such matters are the natural prey of charlatans."


A FRENCH critic declares that the quality conspicuously deficient in American fiction is taste. Unfortunately, this defect is strikingly characteristic in the works of the more popular of our writers. The American story-tellers who cultivate taste, who exhibit fastidiousness and artistic finish, are commonly without large constituencies of readers. And yet, in singular contrast with this is the fact that English novelists of the first class are very widely read in America. This being true, the conclusion is inevitable that native authors of superior culture are not neglected because they aim too high. A public that devours tens of thousands of a new novel by George Eliot, or William Black, or Thomas Hardy, shows its capacity to rise to the level of the most fastidious of the Boston penmen. There is a rude, sentimental multitude that delight in the coarse and stirring romances of Southworth and Holmes, and another multitude in keen sympathy with the very best works of English writers, but only a comparatively small group of people that heartily appreciate the productions of home authors such as James and Howells. We in America present the singular spectacle of a public with decided literary tastes, one very much given to the perusal of books, without writers with a conspicuous hold on its sympathies. We are speaking here distinctly of novelists; we have two or three poets that are read in almost every household, and essayists and historians that Americans proudly acknowledge and sometimes study; but we have no novelist with anything like a genuine hold upon the people. It is asserted that the novels of Mrs. Holmes are very popular in the Southwest, but here they are read only by young people with very vealish tastes. The religious novels of Mr. Roe have many admirers among a class of the community that consider the ordinary secular novel improper reading for earnest-minded people, but they are scarcely known to the wider body of readers. Literary folk, and certain groups of people who always take a place by the side of literary leaders whether they understand or not, talk very zealously of Mr. Henry James, Jr., and measure other people's culture by their estimate of this writer's books. They are very good books indeed, very noticeable for keen insight into character, and for refined subtilty, but refinement and subtilty are never enough alone to command wide suffrages. The mountain-stream is clear, sparkling, and full of beauty, but it is the broad, deep sea that encompasses. Of pleasant and sparkling literary rivulets we have perhaps enough, and hence we now long for the majesty and power of the deep-for books that shall have finish and taste without losing the pulse of humanity, that shall stir our passions and our sympathies profoundly without transcending the bounds of nature or the laws of art. Our better writers seem to be frightened at the turbulence of actual life and the passions of earnest men and women; they play on the verge of the great expanses of life, dallying with trifles, analyzing queer specimens, asking us to admire them because they have

dissected a blade of grass, and lamenting because the world casts but a half glance at their pretty toys. It is simply impossible that these writers should find acceptance with the general public. There are English novelists that have all their refinement with a large measure of real power, with strong sympathies with deeper currents of feeling, and these writers must inevitably be preferred to our own writers so long as the latter prefer intellectual legerdemain to earnest purpose, and are content to address their tasteful nothings to each other and their little parlor circles rather than write for the great world at large.

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Hitherto no nation has been able to sustain itself in a

front place without an aristocracy of some kind maintained as the hereditary principle. So far the answer of history is uniform. The United States may inaugurate a new experience. With the one exception of the Adamses, the great men who have shown as yet in American history have left no representatives to stand at present in the front political ranks. There are no Wash

ingtons, no Franklins, no Jeffersons, no Clays or Randolphs now governing States or leading debates in Congress. How long this will continue, how long the determination that all men shall start equal in the race of life will prevail against the instinctive tendencies of successful men to perpetuate their names, is the most interesting of political problems. The American nationality is as yet too young for conclusions to be built on what it has done hitherto, or has forborne to do. We shall know better two centuries hence whether equality and

the ballot-box provide better leaders for a people than

the old methods of birth and training.

This is the language of Mr. Froude in an article in the September number of "Fraser." It would be curious to compare with this statement a history in detail of the aristocratic families of the European monarchies. If civilization has advanced, if legislation is wiser to-day than it was in the past, if justice is more uniformly administered, if as a whole right ideas of government have superseded wrong ideas of government, if life and property are more secure, if personal liberty is better guaranteed now than formerly, if despotic rule has yielded to the authority of law, if there are rights, privileges, protection, security, legal safeguards, religious liberty, social advancement-if in all these things the nations of today are better off than the nations of the past, how much of all these beneficent results do we owe to those aristocratic leaders whom Mr. Froude thinks so indispensable for our prosperity and eminence? We apprehend that a close examination of history would show that pretty nearly all the modern world

has accomplished in political advancement and reform has been won directly in the face of great hereditary families. It is no doubt true that the great families have produced a few statesmen who have struggled to arrest the exercise of despotic power on the part of sovereigns, but as a rule family leaders have not been leaders of the people beyond their own tenantry, have not identified themselves with necessary reforms, have done little to secure for the world those precious boons of religious and political liberty which England now enjoys. The great families have done some good, however. Their conservative influence has at times been useful; they have doubtless checked disorder and prevented unwise haste, and contributed a good deal to the social balance and well-being of society; but, when Mr. Froude declares them necessary to the achievement of national eminence, one can but wonder that before writing that sentence he did not cast his eyes backward. The aristocracy has contributed its share to

warlike eminence, but everything really great in Mr. Froude's beloved England has come of the commonalty: the grand energy that has carried its ships to every sea, that has peopled vast colonies, that has built up the greatest industries the world has ever seen; the resolute and turbulent spirit that has conquered the right of free government; the righteous forces that have made its jurisprudence respected and studied by all mankind; its superb and copious literature in every department of thought— all these things are products of energies that have found very little support in the hereditary influence of great families. If Mr. Froude argues that an hereditary aristocracy is indispensable to the conservative order and permanent welfare of nations, it may not be easy to gainsay him; but it seems to us obvious that the forces which give eminence to a community in all worthy things are the energies of the people rather than the restrictive tendencies of a cautious aristocracy.


Books of the Day.

BETTER indication of the growing interest in politics as a science and as a subject of serious study could hardly be found than in the number and variety of the publications dealing with them that have lately appeared in such rapid succession. From Dr. Woolsey's profound and elaborate treatise down to the slenderest pamphlets and tracts, the literature of the subject is being multiplied, and every symptom seems to point to the conclusion that the turmoil and disasters of the period through which the country has recently passed have set the more intelligent portion of the people to thinking anew upon the nature, functions, and methods of government. Two books of the kind referred to appear simultaneously upon our table, and may conveniently be noticed together, not only because they deal with the same general subject, but because each throws light upon the special topics discussed in the other.

Mr. Johnston's "History of American Politics" belongs to a series of handbooks designed for students and general readers, and aims to furnish a compendious outline of our political history from the formation of the first confederation of the colonies down to the accession of President Hayes. The very narrow limits as to space within which it was necessary for the author to confine himself have rendered it impossible for him to enter into details or to take cognizance of those minor eddies and currents which are perpetually forming within the main stream of politics; but quite as much is gained as is

* Handbooks for Students and General Readers. History of American Politics. By Alexander Johnston, A. M. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 16m0, pp. 274.

lost by this restriction of the discussion, since he is thereby enabled to present a much clearer and more luminous view of the direction, force, and volume of the main stream itself. More comprehensive and detailed accounts of our political history have been written than Mr. Johnston has attempted, and the commentaries upon the Constitution are practically without number, but we doubt if there is any work available from which the general reader will obtain a more exact and trustworthy knowledge of the essential facts and lessons of American political history than from Mr. Johnston's little handbook.

It may be well to explain further that Mr. Johnston's plan does not include criticism of parties or exposition of principles, but aims at presenting a perspicuous narrative of leading events with just enough of explanation to indicate their meaning and significance. Beginning with a brief account of the relations of the several colonies to the mother-country, the author describes the structure of the first Confederation, points out in some detail the precise nature of the defects in the government then formed, tells with noteworthy skill the ever-interesting story of the formation and adoption of the Constitution of 1787, and expounds briefly but lucidly the leading features of the Constitution and of the amendments shortly afterward added to it. His work thenceforward is mainly in the form of a chronicle, a chapter being assigned to each Administration, and a summary being given of the work and discussions of each successive session of Congress. Now and then the somewhat monotonous account of legislation and debate is broken by a more general review of the state and character of parties and of the "issues" which from time to time have become para

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