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AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE CHARACTER OF
(London), which is opposed to the war, because, “if the present Government remain another twelve months in office, the South African problem will be solved in a way disastrous to the empire.” The News continues :
"Two small republics, seven thousand miles away, tho they may have made, and are making, a resistance unsurpassed for gallantry in the annals of Christendom, may seem a very slight affair. But the principle, now for the first time openly promulgated by a British Government, that where the British flag flies there freedom shall cease, must react upon affairs at home. Never before has the House of Commons sunk so low in public esteem. The police have raided it as if it were a den. Insolent millionaires have been allowed with impunity to issue a writ for words spoken in Parliament which the King himself would not dare to notice. The right of public meeting has, since the war began, been infringed by organized ruffianism, such as Mr. Gladstone had to face when he was laboring day and night to counteract the purposes of Lord Beaconsfield. The Government have claimed the power to seize without a warrant, even a general warrant, the whole issue of any newspaper which contains an offensive article. We demanded from President Kruger universal suffrage, the independence of the judges, and the humane treatment of natives. Sir Alfred Milner had not been a week in Pretoria before he had ordered that there should be no suffrage at all, that natives should be flogged, and that the judges should be dependent on himself."
The Guardian (Manchester), which is also opposed to the war, expresses much the same views. The country, it says, is heartily sick of the war, and desires an honorable peace. It continues: “We decline to believe that the mass of people in this country wish to pursue this war further for the mere purpose of humiliating an enemy whom they have beaten. They want terms which will secure them from a repetition of the present troubles, but they do not wish to turn South Africa into a permanent military camp. They do not want a second Ireland.”
At home, The Guardian concludes, the “best traditions of the British empire have been gravely soiled":
“A war of a type unknown to this country in its modern bistory has been forced on. The constitution of a colony has been virtually suspended. British subjects are subjected to the rigors of a Russian despotism, forbidden to move from home without permits, compelled to extinguish the lights even in a sick-room at a fixed hour. Opposition editors have been arrested, denied adequate opportunities for defense, and thirust into prison with common convicts. Private letters have been filched and publicly used for party purposes. Political partizans have been placed in positions of irresponsible authority over their political opponents. Men of bad record have received government appointments. All that distinguished a British colony, all that made. it plausible to speak of extending the benefits of British civilization, is swept away."
The tone of the Canadian press is represented by The Daily Star (Montreal) when it says:
"The strength of the Unionist ministry to-day in Britain is because it is Unionist in deed as well as in name, and is confronted by an opposition rent from top to bottom by personal jealousies and conflicting aims. When the party which professes to follow Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman is on speaking terms with itself, we may be sure the swing of the political pendulum will be resumed."
Continental comment on Great Britain is directed chiefly to the Transvaal war, but occasionally a French or German journal contains a fair, comprehensive article on British domestic politics. The Journal des Dibats (Paris) has a long discussion of the program, or, rather, lack of program, of the opposition in England, by that well-informed political writer Alcide Ebray. He declares that the rest of the world agrees with the views of the British Liberals, and hopes that a well-organized opposition to the present Conservative ministry will soon appear. The Government, he says, ought to suppress Mr. Chamberlain, who “talks too much for its good."— Translation made for The LITERARY DIGEST.
N anonymous writer in The Quarterly Review, confes
sedly one of those who were much with Queen Victoria and who "served her long and observed her closely,” thinks the time has come to abandon indiscriminate praise of the Queen and to put her character into the crucible of criticism. He says it was, to an unusual degree, a composite character:
“It was not brilliantly full at some points and void at others; it had no strong lights and shades. It presented to the observer a kind of mosaic, smoothed, and harmonized by circumstances into a marvelously even surface. There was no one element in her mind which would certainly, in other and untoward conditions, have made itself prominently felt. It was this, indeed, which constituted the very essence of her originality, her completeness on so many sides, her marvelous unity and efficiency, the broad, polished surface which she presented to all the innumerable difficulties which beset her path in life. It might be hazarded, as a paradox, that her originality lay in her very lack of originality, in the absence of salient eccentricity.”
This composite character is discovered, when closely studied by the writer referred to, to have been formed of a singular conjunction of discriminating shrewdness, simplicity, and sympathy. He regards the first of these qualities of hers as at once an invaluable gift and a dangerous weapon. Indulgence in it, he thinks, would have led her toward obstinacy: “By nature she certainly was what could only be called obstinate, but the extraordinary number of opposite objects upon which her will was incessantly exercised saved her from the consequences of this defect. She was obliged to cultivate her powers of discrimination, and to introduce into her action that element of deliberate and conscious choice which is fatal to the blind indulgence of prejudice."
Her will, so trained and fortified, we are told, usually kept the Queen on a high plane of action, from which, however, it was only human nature that she should sometimes descend. We quote again:
"In daily life, the inherent obstinacy, not checked by the high instinct of public duty, would often make itself felt. The Queen was fond of every regular and symmetrical order of life. . . . But the habit of regulating all the movements of life necessitated the fixture of innumerable minute rules of domestic arrange
The Queen displayed an amazing quickness in perceiving the infraction of any of these small laws, and she did not realize how harassing some of them were to those who suffered from their want of elasticity. . . . She would be cross for no reason ; she would contest a point and close the argument without further discussion. At these moments those who knew her best could realize what a merciful thing it was for her own happiness that the immensity of the field of her actions and her decisions forcibly kept her mind upon the very high plane which was its habitual station."
It is easily conceived that the stiff regularity of her life and her persistency of purpose, with even a slight abuse of her great power, might have caused real misery. But “her extreme sweetness of heart stepped in and saved all ":
"It was unquestionably a sense of this human genuineness, divined rather than known, which was the secret of the extraordinary and indeed unparallelled sympathy which existed in her last years between her subjects and herself. ... When, during the festivities of her later jubilee, she returned to Buckingham Palace, amid the shouts of those who gathered at the gates, the tears gushed from her eyes, tears of pure thankfulness. This was the signal for an outburst of frantic and perfectly unpremeditated loyalty. The Queen felt it; she had not the habit of subtleties of speech nor of the “fine shades,' but said over and over again: 'How kind they are to me! How kind they are!' This was her formula for a perfect sympathy between a subject and herself. She used it commonly for a minister or a guest whom she liked, and now she used it in the same sense for the nation that she loved, and that loved her."
For the Queen's "beautiful manners" at public functions, her Church; in Scotland of the Scottish Presbyterianism. Her relapropriety of demeanor, her doing the right thing at the oppor: tion to her Catholic subjects was of the same kind. “I am their tune moment, her self-possession, the reason is found partly in Queen, and I must look after them," she said. Her Mohammeher early training, but chiefly in a rare quality described as fol. dan and Buddhist subjects were, in this matter, in no sense diflows:
ferent from the others. This was part of the business of state“Her 'manner' was greatly aided by a trait so unusual and so
craft. Her personal religious life was carried out upon the strongly marked that no sketch of her character could be consid- plainest Christian lines, without theological finesse and without ered complete which failed to dwell upon it. It was perhaps the disputing questions of faith. We quote again: most salient of all her nature, as distinguished from her acquired
“It may be hazarded that the forms of service in which she characteristics. This was her strongly defined dramatic instinct. Queen Victoria possessed, to a degree shared with her by certain
found most satisfaction were those of the Presbyterian Church. distinguished actors only, the genius of movement. It is diffi
But she never discussed them, and never was at pains to defend
them. ... There was no reason why there should be any sects, cult to know to what she owed this. From the accounts preserved of her earliest girlish appearances it would look as tho it
she thought, and no proof that modern people were any wiser
about morals than their forefathers. In the old Tractarian days had been innate. She certainly possessed it in full force as far
she felt a certain curiosity in the movement, but when Lady back as human memory now extends. What we mean by her instinct for movement may perhaps be made apparent by the use
Canning tried to convert her to High-Church views, the Queen of a homely phrase—she was never furried by a space in front of
was very angry. It rather set a mark in her mind against a perher. How rare this is, even among the most august of every na
son that he or she was a ritualist. It was always an element in
her reticence with regard to Mr. Gladstone, that he was too High tion, only those who have had some observation of courts can know. The most experienced princes and princesses hesitate to
Church: 'I am afraid he has the mind of a Jesuit,' she used to *take the stage,' to cross alone, without haste and without hesi
say. She liked Roman Catholics very much better than Anglitation, over a clear foor, just so far as is exactly harmonious and
can ritualists, partly because she had a respect for their antiq. suitable. The most hardened are apt to shrink and sidle, to ap
uity, and partly because she was not the head of their church,
and so felt no responsibility about their opinions. She had forpeal mutely for help. These movements never gave Queen Vic
eign Roman Catholic friends with whom she sometimes spoke on toria a moment's inquietude. She knew by divination exactly
religious matters with a good deal of freedom. Her knowledge where, and exactly how, and exactly how far to advance; how to pause, and how to turn, and how to return, were mysteries
of many phases of modern religious thought was rather vague :
and when the creed of the Positivists was first brought to her which never bewildered her in the slightest. ... Her movements on these occasions were never without a purpose. It was
notice, she was extremely interested. “How very curious,' she not her custom to go directly to a personage of the first impor- plain to them what a mistake they are making. But do tell me
said, “and how very sad. What a pity somebody does not extance who had just been brought within her circle. She made it
more about this strange M. Comte.' She was a Broad Churcha practise to be well-informed, and she greatly disliked being
woman, in the true sense, and her attitude toward religion was put at a conversational disadvantage. She would therefore walk
a latitudinarian one, tho perhaps she would have disliked it over to a man or woman of less prestige, and obtain from him or her the information she required about the ultimate object of her
being defined in that way.” inquiry. . . . It is impossible to conceive a social function more In literature and art, the Queen, we are told, was neither indistressingly set about with snares for an unwary footstep. But clined nor competent to take a leading part. Her personal tastes the Queen was trammeled by no bourgeois fear of not doing the
and predilections in these were not brilliant. She saw a vast right thing. She trusted to the unfailing nicety of her famous
and growing work being performed by her subjects, and she did dramatic instinct.”
not feel that she was in touch with it. She accordingly left it None of Queen Victoria's published likenesses wear a smile, alone, and she had wisdom not to attempt to patronize what she and there is no tradition of her to associate with a smiling coun- did not comprehend. tenance. Yet her smile is said to have been the most notable of
"Modern authors received little attention from her; and the her personal attributes: “It came very suddenly, in the form of
stories current of the Queen's particular interest in this or that a mild radiance over the whole face, a softening and a raising of recent writer may be dismissed as the fables of self-advertisethe lines of the lips, a flash of kindly light beaming from the ment. She would sometimes begin a book, at the earnest reeyes. Then, in another moment, it was gone, leaving behind a quest of one of her ladies, who would immediately write off to suffused softness, something that was the antidote of embarrass
the author: 'I am happy to tell you that the Queen is now deep ment or fear." Nor did she lack a quick and rich sense of humor,
in your “Prodigies of Passion"'; but the correspondent would
fail to mention that Her Majesty has tossed it away when she tho the jests which provoked it were not of the subtle kind. And
reached the fifth page. ... She never took the right kind of inshe could resist, when necessary, the temptation to laugh. At terest in the beautiful objects she possessed in her palaces, and a certain ceremonious reception to an Oriental embassy the ap- it is mere courtly complaisance to pretend that she did." pearance, language, and formalities of the envoys were, to say
The Queen's attitude toward her own regal position is thus the least, extraordinary:
described : "From the very opening of the scene, there was something in- "It is possible that if her signature had been required to a decconceivably funny about everything that happened. When, at laration, on paper, of her belief in the divine right of kings, she last, the ambassadors suddenly bowed themselves, apparently as would have thought it prudent to have refused to sign ; but in men struggling with acute internal pain, and squeezed their her own heart she never questioned that she was the anointed of hands together in passionate deprecation between their knees, the Lord, called by the most solemn warrant to rule a great nathe English court quivered with merriment like aspen-leaves. tion in the fear of God. She was fond of the word loyalty,' but The Queen alone remained absolutely grave. If anything be- she used it in a sense less lax than that which it bears in the idle trayed emotion, it was a deepened color and a more intense so- parlance of the day. When the Queen spoke of her subjects as lemnity. The envoys withdrew at last, with salaams the most 'loyal,' she meant it in the medieval sense. The relation was exquisite imaginable, and then, but not till then, the Queen not, in her eyes, voluntary or sentimental, but imperative. If broke down, saying, through her sobs of mirth, ‘But I went she had been a wicked or a foolish woman, it would have been through it, I did go right through it!'”
very sad ; but the duty of obedience would, in her idea, have
been the same. Toward religion the Queen's attitude is considered to have
Subjects must be loyal'; it they loved their
sovereign, so much the better for them and for her, but affection been twofold, political and personal. The first was a constitu
was not essential. In her phraseology this constantly peeped tional matter, and she accepted without discussion the paradox
out-:1, the Queen,' my people.' “my soldiers.' She regarded that she was at the head of tiro antagonistic religious bodies. herself, professionally, as the pivot round which the whole maIn England she was the official representative of the Anglican chine of state revolves. This sense, this perhaps even chimeri
cal conviction of her own indispensability, greatly helped to keep her on her lofty plane of daily, untiring duty. And gradually she hypnotized the public imagination, so that, at last, in defiance of the theories of historic philosophers, the nation accepted the Queen's view of her own functions, and tacitly concluded with her that she ruled, a consecrated monarch, by right divine."
A JAPANESE CRITICISM OF WESTERN
EUROPEAN journals, which wer
vere so full of praise for Japan after her war with China, have recently given expression to a good deal of rather bitter criticism of Japanese public and private morality, most of the adverse criticism being directed against the alleged bad faith of Japanese merchants and the assumed low state of social relations in the Mikado's empire. This has evidently nettled the Japanese, for a long and vitriolic reply is made to these charges in a recent number of a new Japanese review, the Toyo, which was founded a year or so ago in Tokyo by Prince Konoye, president of the House of Peers. The article is entitled “Pride and Prejudice," and is unsigned. The writer declares that there are three classes of critics of Japan : the statistical, the “worshipful,” and the damnatory. His reply is to the third class, because "their flippant and cynical observations, tho in themselves unworthy of notice, have, nevertheless, deluded many Western readers and caused them to look down upon Japan as an immoral, lotos-eating empire, progressive in a good many ways, yet with the cancer of Oriental laxity of virtue at its core ; quite out of the question as a compeer with the enlightened, civilized, moral Occident.” At this point the writer begins his denunciation of the West as follows:
"Think of the moral Occident, that wonderfully straightlaced Occident that connives at Armenian and Macedonian massacres ; spends millions in crushing and stamping out two sturdy little republics, fighting for bare independence; stabs, shoots, and assassinates its monarchs; gives over the streets of its greatest cities, after nightfall, to the unquestioned rule of the 'demimonde'; is forever trying to bully weaker nations into ceding portions of their territory, and, in broad terms, goes about with a Bible in one hand and a gauntlet on the other; of which the ranting, all-knowing, hard-drinking, preaching, racing, Louis XIV. 'redivivus,' Kaiser Wilhelm II., is the truest type.
“We do not stab our monarchs in the female line, nor do we act so as to compel our great Emperor to live in a steellined study or travel in a bomb-proof train. We acknowledge the truth of the imputation that we are not Caucasians. Yet there is no quarter of our largest cities that is not as safe at night as it is in the day-time. Our restaurants are not flooded with bawds after dusk, nor are even our cheapest theaters houses of assignation. We do not go into boasting ecstasies after a victory over a weaker foe, nor do we make idols of our admirals and generals one day to revile them the next. We do not encourage and foster the bearing of illegitimate children, nor is the state ever willing to pay a premium on the rearing of fatherless boys. We do not lynch even the vilest offenders, nor have we-we confess it to our shame --ever once burned a murderer at the stake. We admit that we are, on the whole, a Buddhistic nation. Yet we have never undertaken a propaganda of this creed with cannon in the background to enforce religious arguments; we can not boast of a Jesuitical society yearning to confound church with state ; nor have we, to our liumiliation be it said, ever had an Inquisition wherein to teach the gospel of peace and love by means of thumbscrews, the rack, and the wheel. We hasten to plead guilty to the accusation of being Japanese, Asiatics of the Asiatics. Yet we do not seek to enrich ourselves at the expense of weaker people. We do not talk justice and act unjustly. Nor do we permit our soldiers to rape defenseless women, kill helpless infants, or loot the habitations of powerless non-combatants."
The writer declares that Japan, single-handed, was more than able to rescue the besieged Peking legations; but that the jeaious distrust of the Western Powers would not permit her to do
He characterizes the indemnity demands of Germany, France, and Russia as barbarous and absurd. These powers, he says, know very well that “China never can, never will pay.” But they must have their pound of flesh. Russia wants Manchuria and as much of Chih-li as the other nations will let her have. Germany wants the whole of Shantung. France wants as much of Southern and Southwestern China "as the nerves of British ratepayers will permit.” And Japan! She wants simple justice. She wants to see poor China “helped, not crushed; raised once more to her feet, not humbled in the dust; the lives of Chinese citizens made safe, not given to the mercy of every vodka-swilling, absinthe-drinking kümmel-sipping soldier." Japan warns the "tripartite harpies” not to exhaust her patience. “Let them have their pound of flesh; but if they shed one other drop of Asiatic blood in the taking of it, they will have another indignant, righteously indignant, empire to deal with; a nation that will fight to its last gasp in the defense of Oriental peace and integrity.” He closes with an appeal to England and the United States for aid in these words:
“England! Is your insular prejudice, your pride of race, so great that you will refuse to stand by us, shoulder to shoulder? Will you let Russia work out her nefarious schemes on Oriental soil and seek to enforce her · orthodoxy' on the Chinese at the bayonet's point? Brutus, awake! Thou sleepest. Orientals tho we be, we have not shown ourselves unworthy of your trust and friendship.
“America! Nation of liberty and the rights of man, will you let three great European nations work ruin on Oriental soil? Are you ready to proffer us the right hand of fellowship? Join our standard, on which we have inscribed, in hues never to fade, 'Justice.' As you are great, be you strong to redress the wrongs of millions of Asiatics. Newest and greatest of great nations, stand by us, the 'Anglo-Saxons of the Orient,' in our struggle for the right."
A number of the thirusts come so nearly home to Europe and the United States and show such an intimate knowledge of Western history and conditions that the Kobe Herald (published under British auspices) doubts its real Japanese authorship. It is not Japanese thought or sentiment, declares this journal. It is probably to be described as “a dumping-ground of some temporarily jaundiced foreigner's imaginings of things from the Japanese point d'appui.'” It is merely “a gusb of bile," observes The Japan W’eekly Gazette (British, Yokohama), which declares that while quite in sympathy with the aspirations of the Toyo writer with regard to China, it wishes that his style were calmer, less bitter, and less disfigured by that rather vulgar jingoism which is not ordinarily a Japanese fault.
A NUMBER of Canadiaa journals contain appreciative editorials on the public career of the late Hazen S Pingret, of Michigan. The World (Toronto) calls him a model patriot, and The Herald (Montreal) calls upon all Canadians to take him as “an example of civic virtue and up-to-date political patriotism.”
The Peking correspondent of the Berlin Kreuz-Zeitung, Baron Binders, recently lunched with one of the French generals in the French quarter of the Chinese capital. The Baron and his aide were impressed with the simplicity of the French table. Our officers' mess, he writes, are provided with every comfort, “all our dinner and coffee services are of European manufacture, and we have an abundance of wine of the best brands. On the other hand, at General Baillond's dinner, only Chinese porcelain was used, and, and instead of cut glass decanters, such as we have, simple beer bottles filled with claret and water stood on his table."
A FRENCH periodical publishes the following legend : In order to people the world, God desired to create a man of each nation, and accordingly took a piece of earth from which he formed a negro, a Chinaman, an Indian, etc. There still remained two men to complete the number on which he had decided. But there was no more earth, and so he seized the first animal that presented itself, which happened to be a butterfly. He took off its wings, gave it arms and legs, endowed it with a soul and set it in a corner of the earth. This was the first Frenchman. He proceeded again in like manner and this time seized an ant, of which he made the first Englishman. This, says the French periodical, accounts for the great success the English man has in trade, and moreover accounts for the different temperaments of the two nations.
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A TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO HAVE DIED FOR OLD
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