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These dinners of fiction may be finally compared with a dinner of fact-a neat and inexpensive dinner, given by a Scotch lady of equal economy and taste, who was under the dire necessity of asking a friend to dine at the beginning of this century. The authentic bill of fare is copied from a number of the “Monthly Review.” It consisted of seven plats, and included fish, joint, game, and sweets, not to mention sauce and vegetables :
At top, 2 herrings......
01 Bottom, 3 mutton-chops, cut thin.
2 One side, 1 lb. small potatoes....
0} On the other side, pickled cabbage........ 0 Fish removed, 2 larks, plenty of crumbs. ... 17 Mutton removed, French roll boiled for pudding .....
01 Parsley for garnish...
7 Cornhill Magasine.
MR. GLADSTONE AS A MAN OF LETTERS.
UR title expresses the exact purport of our less than a genuine literary inspiration. The two
paper. We wish to view Mr. Gladstone may have often gone hand in hand, but the gesimply as a man of letters—a character which nius of the one is radically different from the gehe may be said formally to have assumed by the nius of the other. The one contemplates objects republication in seven handy volumes of his con- with which the other has nothing to do, and moves tributions to periodical literature.* Whatever in an atmosphere of faith and service which may may be thought of the intrinsic value of these attract and influence the other, but which can volumes, no one can doubt that such a collection never inspire it. The literary spirit springs from not only belongs to contemporary literature, but its own fountain-head, in a different side of huthat it forms a remarkable and significant addi- man nature altogether than that which the Church tion to it. It has been always, at least, a part of addresses. Mr. Gladstone's ambition to take a place among The predominance of the religious and ecclethe literary men of his time, and to guide the siastical element, therefore, in Mr. Gladstone's thoughts of his countrymen to worthy intellec- Essays, constitutes a difficulty. It is impossible tual as well as practical results.
to ignore this element, for, if we did so, we We feel all the same how difficult it is to pre- should ignore the greater part of these volumes. serve the mere literary view of Mr. Gladstone. We should not have their author before us save As a writer even he is always more than the man in a very imperfect shape. In fact, we should of letters ; he is moved by more than the mere not have him before us at all. For the subjects literary instinct. In point of fact, there is only which are farthest away from religion in these one of the seven volumes—the second of the volumes are yet impregnated by religious conseries—to which he himself has ventured to give ceptions, and run back by many roots to the ecthe title “Personal and Literary.” The other clesiastico-religious soil which lies so thick and volumes, like the first and fourth, are mainly po- deep in Mr. Gladstone's mind. In contemporary litical, or deal with subjects of constitutional or literature he is much more than a theological or political interest; the third again treats of “ His- political writer, otherwise we should not have set torical and Speculative” questions; while two ourselves our present task; but it may be doubtare entitled “Ecclesiastical,” and deal exclusively ed, even when he ranges farthest a-field, whether with Church questions. The ecclesiastical ele- he does not drag behind him the ecclesiastical ment, more than any other, pervades all the sev- chain which was bound around all his intellectual en volumes; and upon the whole there is nothing impulses, in those years when he believed he was less allied to literature, or which less admits of helping the public mind by such discussions as pure literary treatment, than ecclesiastical topics. constitute “The State in its Relation with the The Church has often protected and fostered lit- Church ” (1838–'39). erature—sometimes she has notably done the re- The subjects discussed in these volumes adverse; but whether she has been friendly or ad- mit of very imperfect classification, as any one verse to intellectual progress, the spirit of the may see from comparing, in the table of conChurch is always something more and something tents prefixed to the last volume, the titles with
*“Gleanings of Past Years, 1843-'79." By the the list of subjects below. It could serve no Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone. London : John Murray, useful purpose to endeavor any estimate of these 1879.
contents in detail. We wish to estimate the writer rather than any of his special productions, period of not less than thirty-five years. It would and we will best accomplish our purpose by have been better in some respects if the author looking in succession at what appear to be the had contented himself with a chronological arbroad qualities impressed upon his writings gen- rangement. But there are few writers who less erally. We shall try to seize these qualities in stand in need of being estimated chronologically. the first instance, at least, in their pure intellec- In expounding “ The Evangelical Movement" in tual form.
1789, he is very much the same expositor as Perhaps the first, and in some respects the when he dealt at length with “The Present Ashighest intellectual quality which marks these pect of the Church" in 1843. If in the former essays, is their varied energy of thought. There paper his attitude is different, which it could is no sign of weariness, of languor, or even re- hardly help being, considering the different mepose in them, but everywhere the throb of a fresh, dium he has found for his views,* he yet speaks powerful, and unsated intellectual impulse. A in both from the same background of substantial genuine life of thought moves in them all. It is conviction. His views are as fully formed in the impossible for any serious reader not to be one case as in the other. Nothing is more retouched by their depth and force of sentiment, markable, in fact, in these essays than the imand the frequent vigor and eloquence, if also the movable background of opinion which everyoccasional clumsiness and complexity, of their where crops through them. Whatever may
have language. Mr. Gladstone writes always as from been the vacillations of Mr. Gladstone's political a full mind, in this respect alone taking at once career, there has been but little change in his a higher position than that of many contempo- more inward and higher thoughts. We do not rary writers. It is no conventional or professional know any other writer of the day who has reimpulse that animates his pen; he has always mained more steadfast through a generation and something to say, and which he is eager to say; a half to the same central principles. he is so moved by his thought, whatever it is, Nor is it merely that there is little change or that he brings all the forces of his mind to bear growth in his central thought; there is but little upon it. He never dallies, seldom pauses over a change in his manner as a writer. He writes subject; still less does he, after a prevalent mod- with the same rhetorical fullness in the end as in ern fashion, touch it all round with satiric and the beginning—with the same energy and glow, half-real allusion, as if it were rather a bore to and excessive, at times inelegant movement. If touch it at all, and not of much consequence there is any difference in this respect, it is cerwhat conclusion the writer or the reader came to, tainly not in favor of the papers of his more maafter all. There is not a trace of persiflage in ture years. For with the same force and intenany of the essays. There is, in fact, far too little sity of thought these papers are upon the whole play of mind—too much of the Scotch quality of less duly proportioned, less harmonized. More weight. It is well to be earnest. In this respect literary care, apparently, has been taken in the it is nothing less than a relief to turn from the preparation of the remarkable series which fill silly and inconsecutive sentence-making of much the fruitful decade following 1843, than in some of our present writing to Mr. Gladstone's moving of his recent productions. We would notice for and powerful pages. But they are frequently their literary characteristics the articles on “Blanfatiguing from the very weight and hurry of their co White,” in 1845, and on “ Leopardi,” in 1850; energy. And if sentence-making in itself be but and we must add to these, although of later a poor business with which no man will occupy origin, the articles on “Tennyson ” and “Mahimself who has much to say, it is yet, so far, an caulay.” If any one wishes to see Mr. Gladstone indispensable element in all literature. And Mr. at his best as a man of letters, let him read these Gladstone, as we may have occasion to point out articles, especially the two last mentioned. They before we close, too often neglects it. He lacks are intense and powerful, radiant with all his the special instinct of style, or the repressive art peculiar energy of conception; but they are also which restricts the outflow of energy in all the stamped by a special impress of literary form. highest writers, as indeed in every creation of The vivid and impetuous march of thought is genius — withdrawing the glowing conception held within bounds. The writer is less swept within the “mold of form." But of this again. along by the force of his ideas; the rein is laid In the mean time it is not the negative but the upon them, and they beat step to a more harpositive aspect of his writings that we are notic- monious pace. ing.
The quality of energy characteristic of Mr. * The paper on “The Evangelical Movement : its Gladstone's essays is impressed on them from Parentage, Progress, and Issue,” is reprinted from the
“British Quarterly Review," July, 1879 ; that on “The the first. It is perhaps their chief literary quality Present Aspect of the Church" is from the “ Foreign to the last—and the volumes before us cover a and Colonial Quarterly Review," October, 1843.
It would be difficult perhaps to select any of Two brief passages from the same essay Mr. Gladstone's essays more finished in its rhe- especially rivet themselves upon the mind by torical fullness, and more felicitously composed their vivid energy and compact swiftness—their after his manner, than the essay of 1843, on the strength, great as it is, being well contained position and prospects of the Church of England. within a highly finished, if hardly graceful, vehiHis peculiar genius is here seen in full swing, cle of expression. We have the more pleasure and yet controlled throughout by a strong sense in quoting them as they show definitely that howof form. The secret no doubt is, that he then ever high may be Mr. Gladstone's conception of wrote not only from a copious and inspired in- the position and prerogatives of the Church, he telligence on a theme which stirred his whole is as far as possible from any vulgar inclination heart, but also with comparative freedom, under to Romanism. His sentiments on this, as on no other impulse than a faith jubilant in its cognate subjects, are presumably quite unaltered strength, and in the fresh light of the new morn- since 1843 : ing which seemed rising on the Church of England. This is how he speaks of the revival of
Is our national history, bound up in great part Catholic principles. The passage has the in- with the grand protest and struggle that originated volved and long-drawn note of much of his later in their (the reformers') time, and resting upon it for writing at its best; but it has also a sweetness much of its meaning and character, to be disowned and harmony, a graceful swell of tone, which this of the Roman bishop, to admit his impositions, and
and dishonored by our return to crouch at the feet often lacks:
to implore his pardon for our long denial of his sovAnd strange indeed it would have been at least ereign authority ? “Never, never, never," said Lord in the view of those who regard the Church visible Chatham, would he, if he had been an American, and Catholic as the everlasting spouse of Christ, have laid down his arms under oppression. “Nevdowered with the gifts which he purchased by his er, never, never"_would that we could add emphablood and tears--most strange to them it would have sis to his words—will this people so forego its duties been if in a great religious revival that spouse had and its rights as to receive back again into its bosom not found herself a voice for the assertion of her
those deeply ingrained mischiefs and corruptions
prerogatives. It is not indeed for her to do battle with which Rome and her rulers still seem so fondly, her foes like earthly potentates, for the sake of ac
God grant it may not be inseparably !—to cherish. quisition or possession, of admiration or renown;
We firmly believe that in the day when the sc. but her prerogatives are also her duties, and by them crets of all hearts are revealed, it will appear that alone can she discharge any of the high trusts com
many and many a one has in these last years deeply mitted to her by her Lord. And so in an order pondered the subject of the bold claims of Rome on which seems to us to bear every mark of the hand
our allegiance as Christians. . .. In the chamber of Almighty wisdom, after that the embers of faith of many a heart has that matter been sifted and reand love have been extensively rekindled in thou- volved ; on the one hand, with varying force have sands upon thousands of individual breasts through. marshaled themselves such inducements as have out the land, there came next a powerful, a resist- been described. Upon the other side men have reless impulse to combine and harmonize the elements Alected that the question is not of appearances, but thus called into activity, to shelter them beneath a
of realities; not of delights, but of duties ; not of mother's wings, that there they might grow into the private option, but of divine authority. And that maturity of their strength, and issue forth prepared solemn and imposing imagery which wins souls to for the work which might be ordained for them to Rome has, in the English mind, as we judge, been perform. This was to be done by making men sen.
outshone by the splendors and overawed by the tersible that God's dispensation of love was not a dis
rors of the Day of Judgment; of the strong sense pensation to communicate his gifts by ten thousand of personal responsibility connected with that last separate channels, nor to establish with ten thousand account, and of the paramount obligation wbich it elected souls as many distinct, independent relations. involves, conjuring us by the love of the Redeemer, Nor again was it to leave them unaided to devise
no less than commanding us by the wrath of the and set in motion for themselves a machinery for Judge, to try and examine well the substances lying making sympathy available and coöperation practi- under those shows that surround our path, and to cable among the children of a common Father. But suspend upon his changeless laws alone the issues of it was to call them all into one spacious fold, under life and death. one tender Shepherd; to place them all upon one level ; to feed them all with one food; to surround
Next to the energy of Mr. Gladstone's writthem all with one defense ; to impart to them all the ing in an ascending scale may be mentioned its deepest, the most inward and vital sentiment of com
constant elevation and frequent ideality of sentimunity and brotherhood and identity, as in their fall ment. On the descending scale his energy is apt so in their recovery, as in their perils so in their to pass into sheer intensity and rhetoric. The hopes, as in their sins so in their graces, and in the “Never, never, never” which he borrows from means and channels for receiving them.
Lord Chatham, and would even emphasize in its
repetition, is the note of a manner which rises In such a sketch as that of Bishop Patteson naturally to vehemence, and the strong rush of it is comparatively easy for him to maintain a words sometimes pass off into shrillness. He high level of applausive criticism. It is his own can realize for the time little or nothing but the Anglican ideal of virtue that is everywhere reidea which moves him, and it expands and glows flected back upon him. Bishop Patteson is the till, like an illuminated cloud, it fills the whole hero at once of Oxford culture, of Catholic orheaven of his thought and casts on his page an thodoxy, and of self-sacrificing missionary enintense shadow “dark with excessive bright.” thusiasm. It seems to Mr. Gladstone and many But his manner of thought, if rhetorical and ve- others of his school a never-failing marvel that hement, is always elevated. It never sinks to such heroism should have been in our time, and frivolity, seldom to commonplace; it ranges at a that such a man should have gone forth from high level.“ Whatsoever in religion is holy and his native country, where he might have spent sublime, in virtue amiable or grave; whatsoever his days in scholarly and parochial peace, to the hath passion or admiration in all the changes of wilds of Melanesia to labor among savages, and that which is called fortune from without or the ultimately to fall a victim to their mistaken venwily subtilties and reflexes of men's thoughts geance. The picture of self-sacrifice is beautifrom within "*_such things are the main haunt ful and heroic, but it is hardly more so because of our author's literary spirit, and his pen aspires Patteson was born a gentleman and reared at to describe them with “a solid and treatable Oxford, and left behind him an affectionate and smoothness.” Even Milton had no higher con- admiring home-circle. Such a career must alception of the business of literature than he has, ways involve sacrifice of this kind more or less. and his example so far, no less than in the thor- Mr. Gladstone's admiration, if slightly excessive oughness and energy of his work, is of special here, is entirely natural. The very prejudices of value. For that we are “moving downward " in Patteson, as in the matter of Colenso (one never this respect, if not in others, can hardly be doubt- hears somehow of the sacrifices of this outcast ed. Lightness of touch, if it be also skillful and bishop, and yet they must often surely have been delicate, is a distinct merit. It saves trouble. It very real and bitter) and the “Essays and Reattracts casual readers who might otherwise not views,” are congenial to the writer. They meet read at all. It soon passes, indeed, into a trick, at once a response in the same soil of culture and becomes the feeble if pointed weapon of ev- from which they have sprung. In such a case ery newspaper critic. But when to lightness of there is no strain put upon the critic's sympathies. touch is added lightness of subject and frequent But in the article on Macaulay and in others the emptiness of all higher thought, the descent be- same genuine love of true greatness comes forth comes marked indeed; and literature, from being no less warmly and genially, notwithstanding the lofty pursuit imaged by the great Puritan, many differences of taste and opinion. becomes a mere pastime in no degree higher It would be difficult to find anywhere a more than many others.
exhaustive analysis of Macaulay's personal, inMr. Gladstone never descends to the flippant tellectual, and literary character than in the essay facility to which the mere passions and gossip of in the second of these volumes. The marvelous the hour are an adequate theme. He not only range of Macaulay's powers, “his famous memdeals in all his essays with worthy subjects, but ory, his rare power of illustration, his command he always deals with them in a worthy manner, of language, united to a real and strong individso far at least as his tastes and sympathies are uality,” are all exhibited with copious and feliciconcerned. If by no means always true or just tous analysis. His combination of intellectual in his judgments, it is yet always what is noble splendor with ethical simplicity, and the charm in character, and pure and lofty in sentiment, and of true and unsophisticated taste, is particularly dignified in feeling that engages his admiration. emphasized. “Behind the mask of splendor," His pen fastens naturally on the higher attributes says our essayist,“ lay a singular simplicity; beof mind and action in any figure that he draws; hind a literary severity which sometimes apand this too, as in the sketches of Lord Macau- proached to vengeance an extreme tenderness; lay, the Prince Consort, and Dr. Norman Mac- behind a rigid repudiation of the sentimental a leod, where it is plain he has only an imperfect sensibility at all times quick, and in the latest sympathy with the type of character as it comes times almost threatening to sap, though never from his pen. On this very account these por- sapping, his manhood. He who as a speaker traits are the more interesting, and test more di- and writer seemed, above all others, to reprerectly the genuineness of his high capacity of ap- sent the age and the world, had the real center preciation.
of his being in the simplest domestic tastes and
joys.” “Was he envious ?” he asks, and the * Milton's " Account of his Own Studies." passage deserves quotation at once as an appre
ciation of Macaulay and an illustration of Glad- provement and of delight which so many have
found and will ever find in it!" Was he envious ? Never. Was he servile ? No. marked off by still more distinct lines from the
The "Anglican position" of our essayist is
“ Was he insolent? No. Was he prodigal ? No. Was he avaricious ? No. Was he selfish? No. subject of the essay which follows that on MaWas he idle? The question is ridiculous. Was he caulay—the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod. This is false? No; but true as steel and transparent as
specially acknowledged, while much in Dr. Maccrystal. Was he vain? We hold that he was not.
leod's character, it is allowed, excites an entire At every point in the ugly list, he stands the trial; and cordial sympathy. “Even when differences and though in his history he judges mildly some sins and position intervene, there is still material from of appetite or passion, there is no sign in his life or which we ought to draw some valuable lessons." his remembered character that he was compounding This note of narrowness is unhappily characterfor what he was inclined to.
istic. It is allied to all that is least worthy and There is no attempt to depreciate the level of least true in these volumes. It is a blemish in Macaulay's greatness because the critic feels it itself; it is specially a blemish in the literary necessary to point out with an unsparing hand sphere in which we are now estimating Mr. his deficiencies. It is a poor criticism of which Gladstone. As if such differences were vital on the Whig historian, after his first popularity, had any broad view either of literature or humanity; more than enough—which tries to take down the and character was to be judged by the special general power of a man because he is far from Christian communion to which a man belonged. perfect, or even shows many imperfections.
No one can yield to such sectarianism without
distinct loss. There is nothing of this. The characterization
It is impossible to shut out the is bold and manly, and generous without stint, light even with so good a substitute as an Anglibut at the same time discriminating and upon from distortion or imperfection of vision.
can eye-glass without suffering in many respects the whole correct. Macaulay's mind is described as strong and rich and varied rather than deep:
We are bound to say, however, that after the
opening apologies for taking up such a subject He belonged to that class of minds whose views at all, our reviewer does full justice to Dr. Macof single objects are singularly and almost preter- leod, and some may think more than justice. naturally luminous. But Nature sows her bounty We can only find room for the following comwide; and those who possess this precious and fas
parison : cinating gift as to things in themselves, are very commonly deficient in discerning and measuring He (Dr. Macleod) stands out, we think, as having their relations to one another. For them all things supplied, after Dr. Chalmers, one of the most disare either absolutely transparent, or else unapproach- tinguished names in the history of Presbyterianism. able from dense and utter darkness. Hence amid In some respects much after Chalmers; in others a blaze of glory, there is a want of perspective, of probably before him. He had not, so far as we see, balance, and of breadth.
the philosophic faculty of Chalmers, nor his inten. This may be, although it is profundity and sity, nor his gorgeous gift of eloquence, nor his
commanding passion, nor his absolute simplicity, nor insight rather than breadth in which Macaulay's his profound, and, to others, sometimes his embargenius is lacking. But after all exceptions, his rassing, humility. Chalmers, whose memory, at a genius remains a great fact; after all inaccura- period more than forty years back, is still fresh in cies, his history is among the prodigies of litere the mind of the writer of these pages, was indeed a ature, His writings are as “lights that have man greatly lifted out of the region of mere flesh and shone through the whole universe of letters; they blood. He may be compared with those figures who, have made their title to a place in the solid fir- in Church history or legend, are represented as risen mament of fame.” There is no aspect of his into the air under the influence of religious emotion. character as a man or a writer which is dwelt Macleod, on the other hand, had more shrewdness, upon invidiously. All is amply and warmly more knowledge of the world, and far greater elassketched. The only point in which the essayist ticity and variety of mind. Chalmers was rather a at once marks his own leanings and points a pre- Macleod receptive on all hands and in all ways.
man of one idea, at least of one idea at a time ; judicial inference is where he often fails. He Chalmers had a certain clumsiness, as of physical, so shows his customary tendency to judge a man's religion by the extent of his dogmatic creed; Both were men devoted to God; eminently able,
of mental gift ; Macleod was brisk, ready, mobile. and a doubt is suggested whether the great Whig carnest, energetic; with great gifts of oratory and historian “ had completely wrought the Christian large organizing power. A church that had them dogma, with all its lessons and all its consola- not may well envy thein to a church that had them. tions, into the texture of his mind, and whether he had opened for himself the springs of im- We have spoken of the ideality, no less than