Puslapio vaizdai

been limited by the grain of the wood. But it has not been duly noticed that the devotional statuary, especially of Doric shrines, continued to be largely of wood down to the postPheidian period. Thus Xenophon tells us of a copy in cypress wood of the Ephesian Artemis in a temple on the way from Sparta to Olympia. Being a copy makes the material more. remarkable, since the original seems to have been of gold. And Pausanias, besides a great number of incidental notices of these coava, dwells especially on five such as having drawn his attention, of which three were in Crete and Delos, the others in Boeotia.† He, moreover, had seen promiscuous examples sufficiently numerous for him to register six or seven different timbers as those mostly preferred. The more conservative Greek cities would naturally cling most tenaciously to the rude but venerable figures which had received the homage of earlier ages. So we find in Theocritus mention of a statue of Asclepius in cedar-wood. Dry-rot, white ants, and other kindred pests, to say nothing of the warps and fissures caused by time, rendered wood too obviously a ' vesture of decay' to clothe immortal conceptions, and it only did so permanently where something of contempt blending with a grovelling ideal found in clumsiness a fit vehicle of caricature; as when the

Faber incertus scamnum faceretne Priapum
Maluit esse deum.

But from such ungainly blocks-at first rude conventional symbols the spirit of Greek art subdued the symbolical, and made its way through the natural to the ideal. In that ascendency that spirit floats sublime without effort, as beyond rival,

Radit iter liquidum celeres neque commovet alas,

and becomes the teaching and informing genius of every following age.

* Anab. v. iii. 12.

† Paus. IX. xl. 3, 4; and vIII. xvii. 1, 2; also I. xviii. 5, xxvii. 1; II. iv. 5; xvii. 5; xix. 3, 6; xxiv. 3; xxv. 1; III. xv. 10; xvi. 7; xxv. 3; iv. xxxiv. 7; v. xiii. 7; 1x. iii. 2; xvi. 3; x. iv. 9. In all these the word toavov is used, or wooden material mentioned, and probably in other passages where specially ancient statues are recorded as existing the same material is to be understood.

† καὶ τόδ' ἀπ ̓ εὐώδους γλύψατ ̓ ἄγαλμα κέδρου, Epigram. 5, 4.

ART. VII.—A History of England from the conclusion of the Great War in 1815. Vols. IV. and V. By SPENCER WALPOLE, Esq. London: 1886.


HE jubilee year of the reign of Queen Victoria could not be celebrated in a more appropriate manner than by the publication of a careful historical record of the vast and varied events which have occurred in the last half-century. To those who, like ourselves, have lived through these multifarious scenes and have known most of the actors in them, the retrospect is one of singular interest, not unmixed with wonder at the ever-shifting changes of opinion and the prodigious advance of the nation in its social and political condition, due mainly to the triumph of Liberal principles. Men of the younger generations, which have come to life in this long interval, can scarcely realize a state of society so different in many respects from that in which they are born. L'histoire d'avant-hier,' said M. Guizot, est la moins 'connue, on peut dire la plus oubliée du public d'aujourd'hui.' Curiously enough, Her Majesty, Mr. Gladstone, and Earl Grey are, we believe, the only living political personages of the first rank who have taken a part in all these occurrences, and whose memory includes them all. Even the humbler surviving spectators of the evolution of this great drama are now few in number.

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By a fortunate coincidence Mr. Walpole resumes his narrative, which was suspended six years ago, at a moment when the attention of the public is naturally directed to a retrospect of those interesting and momentous years which will be for ever designated as the Victorian epoch. The third volume of this important work left off at the fall of the Melbourne Ministry in 1841-an event which terminated the series of administrations directly owing their existence to the Reform Act of 1832. The author resumes his task with the year when the accession to power of the Conservative party under the guidance of Sir Robert Peel opened an entirely new era in political life, infused fresh energy into the government of the empire, and began that great series of social and financial reforms which followed closely upon the political changes of the preceding decade. Sir Robert Peel had succeeded not only in reorganising the party of which he was the head, after a crushing defeat sustained less than ten years before, but he had himself adopted to a large extent the Liberal principles which could

alone find acceptance in a reformed Parliament, even with a Tory majority; and he gradually infused into the legislation of the country as much of the Liberal policy of the future as circumstances would permit; not, it must be said, without some sacrifice of consistency and some breach of old engagements. From that moment the old Tory party was powerless, if not extinct, and it underwent the transformation we have witnessed into the modern Conservative party, whose principles of administration are much more nearly allied to those of their old opponents than to the obsolete creed of Lord Liverpool, Lord Eldon, and Lord Castlereagh.

This it is which gives so keen an interest to the political and parliamentary records of the period embraced in these volumes. They extend, indeed, even now, over no more than half the Queen's reign, and they leave another long and important period of nearly thirty years to be related by some future historian, or, as we hope, by Mr. Walpole himself. The events recorded in these volumes begin with the accession of the Peel Administration in 1841, and end with the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

The difficulties of the writer who seeks to deal with contemporary or recent history arise not from the want of materials, but from the excess of them. Parliamentary papers and blue-books would fill a library, and are multiplied at the rate of about fifty volumes a year. Parliamentary debates have become inordinately prolix, and the numbers of Hansard accumulate with excessive rapidity. Yet it is necessary for the historian to take cognisance of this indigesta moles, and to extract from it some quintessence or residuum of fact and reason, worthy to be remembered of men. Mr. Walpole appears to us to have performed his task with extraordinary industry, precision, and success. He has acquired a familiarity with the pages of Hansard which very few men possess, and which must be the result of infinite labour and research; but as the language of parliamentary debate is liable to be one-sided and misleading, he relies still more on the authority of the official papers presented to the House of Commons, from which all that can be known of the statistics of the empire may be extracted. The patience which has carried him through these long and tedious researches displays itself in a taste for figures which is not common, and a belief in their demonstrative accuracy which some of us do not share. It is impossible by any artifices of language to revive an interest in extinct budgets, or in the financial expedients of the last two generations.

But those who desire to understand the financial history of the Queen's reign have the materials condensed with great skill in Mr. Walpole's pages; and the readers who are less easily attracted by these details will find ample subjects of interest in the later chapters of his work. It must never be forgotten that good finance is the first condition of good government; and that the greatest statesmen are never so great as when they contrive that the burdens of the exchequer shall sit easily on the people.

The picture of the state of the country in 1841, with which the fourth volume opens, is a gloomy one, and if our present contemporaries are loud in their complaints of the depression in agriculture and trade from which all classes are suffering, they will do well to reflect on far greater evils borne at an earlier period. The public revenue of the preceding years had failed to equal the expenditure, and the proposals of the minister of finance had not met the deficit. The distress of the people, which had been increasing since 1837, had attained proportions which it is difficult to realise. The trade of the country and the food of the nation were still burdened with heavy duties, and the prices of the most necessary commodities were raised by an artificial system of protection. Even under that system the distress of the agricultural classes continued, and was only exceeded by the wretched condition of the inhabitants of the great towns. It was stated on the authority of the Statistical Society of Manchester that one-tenth of the population of Manchester and one-seventh of the population of Liverpool lived in cellars, or in hideous abodes, without drainage, without the decencies of life.

The pauper roll of England and Wales rose in 1842 to 1,429,000 persons, or, allowing for the increase of population, nearly double what it is at present. Wages were incredibly low. The country was devoured by the canker of pauperism, to which the New Poor Law of 1834 applied a stern but necessary remedy; for the poor laws had demoralised and pauperised the people. We think Mr. Walpole is hardly fair to the authors and administrators of the New Poor Law when he says that the stern despots of Somerset House 'would not listen to any appeal for mercy in passing from 'one system to another.' It was a gross misrepresentation on the part of the adversaries of the law to impute cruelty, or even harshness, to the Poor Law Commissioners, or to the boards of guardians who carried the law into effect. It is untrue that outdoor relief ceased in England, as is proved

by the fact that the number of paupers relieved reached its maximum in 1842. Moreover, the union-houses in many parts of the country were not then built. The conditions annexed to admission to the union were not cruel, and the condition of the inmates was vastly improved. In short, when the alleged grievances under the new law were carefully investigated by a parliamentary committee which sat for two sessions, instead of denouncing the law the Committee declared that it had improved the condition of the poor, and that the Commissioners had acted with zeal, ability, and discrimination. These facts Mr. Walpole admits and records. We are the less able to understand the severe language in which in some places he speaks of the administration of the law. The experience of fifty years has convinced us, and convinced the country, that of all the reforms carried in that period none was more needed, and none has proved more successful, than the Poor Law of 1834. The passionate opposition to it, which has long since died away, is only another proof of the blindness of popular leaders to the true interests of the people; and meanwhile pauperism has decreased to about half the rate at which it stood in 1842, having regard to the large increase of the population.

Socialism and Chartism flourished in 1840, says Mr. Walpole, side by side. Both were due to the same cause-the misery of the people. Both of them aimed at the same high object-the amelioration of the people's lot. Yet the two associations had widely different objects. The Socialist desired to improve the people's income and material condition; the aim of the Chartists was the political enfranchisement of the working man. It deserves to be remarked that the wild theories of the Socialists, though still in existence, have made no sensible progress, whilst the political claims of the Chartists a name of terror to a former generation-have been conceded by Parliament and have brought the class of working men and agricultural labourers within the active mechanism of the Constitution; and this has been done with no detriment to the State, and with no fear of those acts of violence which caused the riots at Birmingham and Newport.

Such was the condition of the people when Sir Robert Peel assumed the reins of government in 1841.

When Toil plays, Wealth ceases," said Gerard. "When Toil " ceases, the People suffer," replied Sybil. The great strike of 1842 proved the truth of both dicta. The prospects of improvement which

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