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The fact is, even in England itself, it ture that the Far West affects—a type as was only, at the best of times, a fraction, different as possible from the Puritan re-the inert, impenetrable, pachydermatous spectability of half-Anglicized New EngSaxon bourgeois fraction, that ever im- landers like Holmes and Lowell. posed its Podsnappery upon art and litera- Now, up to the present, viewed merely ture. The People in England are fairly as audience, America and the Colonies quick-receptive, unprejudiced, accessible have counted for nothing. Literature in to ideas, when once you can get at them. England has been fired point-blank at the In London itself, the congested and snob- head of the English Philistine, and esencumbered heart of Teutonic Britain, a pecially of Miss Podsnap. We have popular audience will seize a point, will thought of little else save that young lady's laugh, will melt, will thrill responsive, sensibilities. In the future, it is possible where a bourgeois audience would only that America and the Colonies may soon gape open-mouthed, would draw down count for something. That will depend the shocked corners of its scandalized lips, in part, of course, upon the settlement of would sit stolidly, vacantly, and woodenly the copyright question. As long as unreceptive. And nowadays London and America paid the English author nothing, the Southeast are ceasing to be All Eng- the English author naturally addressed land. Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the himself to England only. He must conCeltic West Country, begin before our sult his pocket. But it is not inconceivable eyes to count for something. And the that in process of time America may genCelt had always a keen appetite for ideas. erously cease to rob and starve us ; and if He was never narrow-minded. Pure at so, a new and largely unknown element heart, and sometimes even Methodistical, will be imported into the problem. In any he has a twinkle in his eye none the less, case, I believe the new social strata in which allows him to appreciate at its full Britain itself, with the public of Greater worth even Rabelaisian humor : he sees Britain potentially at their back, will prove the wit where the stupid staring Saxon too strong before long for collective secs only the immorality, the rough edge, Philistia. Books will be produced for the coarseness. So that in proportion as them (tell it not in Gath) irrespective of the People throughout the United King- the cult of the divine Mrs. Grundy : dom assert themselves against the bour- books in which the artistic temperament geoisie, will literature tend to free itself will have its own fling, in which bold and by leaps and throes from its existing free thought will find untrammelled extrammels.
pression. All this is still more true of America, For the masses, with Ireland, Wales, of Australia, of the Colonies. Over Scotland, the Colonies, to boot, are not
ere, while social thought tends to be profoundly Philistine, like the bourge even narrower than with ourselves, there Englishman. Whenever we can tap that is yet a ready receptivity for fresh ideas great reservoir of readers, whenever we can little known in England. The initiative, fall back upon that reserve-force of to be sure, is small, but the judgment is English-speaking people, we will get a new not narrowed.
Especially in the new literature unrestrained by the conventionStates of the Far West thought is ex- alities dear to Mr. Mudie ; the artist in tremely free. “There is no God," says those days will say what he likes, and say the American proverb," beyond the Mis- it in his own way : and his public will apsissippi.” In those virgin lands where plaud instead of hooting and howling the coyote roamis at large and the cowboy But this good time coming will hardly shoots free, nobody is shocked or sur- affect the existing crop of men of letters prised or scandalized at anything. You at all. They have lost their elasticity. may say what yon think ; and though you The writers over thirty in England have niay get a bullet in your chest for your been trained by this time into an ingrained opinions from some genial dissident, you timidity, or second nature of self-restraint will at least escape the dead-weight of —an artificial incapacity for saying out social condemnation you might receive at their plain thought, unmoved by fear or the stolid hands of respectable England. favor. We are a generation sacrificed. Bret Harte and “ Jim Bludso" mark very We are the scape-goats of our own cen. well the reckless easy-going type of litera- tury. A contemptuous respect for Philistia has warped and distorted our artistic beaten path, and revel contentedly in wellfaculties. With a few rare exceptions, worn platitudes. On the present occalike George Meredith, who never cared sion, for example, many honest and worthy for any public at all, and Robert Louis critics, good citizens to a man, will no Stevenson, who, divining the future, threw doubt object that English literature in the himself frankly from the very first on this past produced no small store of very noble wider public, the English littérateurs of works, in spite of Philistia. -Ah me, how our generation have sold themselves for hard it is to get one's point seized ! That Saxon gold to Satan. They have gained, objection, dear friends, is wholly beside not the whole world, but a modest com- the question. My contention is, not that petence ; and they have lost their souls English literature isn't a fine article in its blithely, in exchange for the pittance. way-our own preparation—but that it Every one of us in his turn has had to bow isn't cosmopolitan. "Instead of addressing the knee in the temple of Rimmon-some the world, it addresses nobody but the of us submissively, some of us rebelliously English church warden. It gives np to and after a hard struggle—but almost all Methodism what was meant for mankind. have bowed till the knees have become too And by narrowing itself to meet the views supple and the back too much bent ever of a peculiarly vulgar and provincial pubagain to assume the upright attitude. lic, it fails to produce the effect it ought Purveyors by appointment to Messrs. upon the four quarters of the planet, from Pecksniff and Podsnap, we must go on China to Peru. Shakespeare and Milton purveying milk-and-water now to the end
were very great men : oh, yes, we admit of the chapter. But we don't like it; oh it. But in Shakespeare's and Milton's no ! we don't like it. It goes against our time such a thing as a cosmopolitan literaconscience to truckle to Miss Podsnap. ture had never yet been dreamt of. It Every one of us in his heart is ashamed of became possible only at the beginning of it and disgusted at it.
the present century, with the Goethes, the The world, however, as I said just now, Schillers, the De Staels, the Byrons, the is indeed to the young. The new crop of Scotts, the Châteaubriands. But as ill budding English writers, who will burgeon luck would have it, just about the time and bloom under these new conditions, when it became really possible, the unneed no longer roar as gently as any suck- clean bourgeois spirit took possession of ing dove to our insular Askelon, but may England, body and soul, so that for fifty speak with an audible voice to the cosmo- years English men of genius were compelled politan assemblage. Then modern English to write, with their hands tied and literature will achieve a destiny worthy of cramped, not what they felt and believed the English tongue, which puts a girdle and knew themselves, but what they round the world in either hemisphere. As thought would prove as incense in the the Elizabethan expansion produced the nostrils of Dagon. They were dragged in Elizabethan outburst of song and drama, triumph through the streets of Gath, at the so the expansion of our own day I take it chariot-wheels of the ingenuous young per(the greatest ever known) must inevitably son from the coasts of the Philistines. produce in time a corresponding outburst " But Dickens ? But Thackeray ? of fresh and vigorous thought in literature Well, and do you think Dickens and and philosophy. We shall have a new Thackeray loved their Philistia ? Do you heaven and a new earth ; our Parnassus will think they were well pleased with the cenbreak forth into beautiful flowers that all sorship and the edicts of Mrs. Grundy ? the world will come to cull as from an We know Thackeray wasn't : he kicked open garden.
against the pricks very unaffectedly in I'm aware that this humble essay of many a long digression. And as for Dickmine will provoke in certain quarters in- ens, is it conceivable that the creator of dignant criticism. It's unfortunate in- Stiggins and Chadband, of Podsnap and deed, that if by accident one ever blurts Pecksniff, was really enamored of the colout anything one really means, it in- lective Podsnappery and Chadbanddom variably puts up the back of innumerable that smiled complacent all round him? good souls who feel themselves aggrieved No, no ; incredible ! English literary men by it. That's why it's so much more have never ceased to chafe in secret uncomfortable in the end to stick to the der the galling strait waistcoat imposed
upon them by their Philistine audience. confine their operations to England, where And their works have never achieved there are millions of souls to save, and cosmopolitan fame because they never wbere most souls will cheerfully accept dared to throw off the encumbrance-to such unofficial salvation. They carry the write for any but a limited section of their war on to the Continent, among the Latin insular public.
races, where the feelings and beliefs on Let me explain by an analogy. The which the Army bases itself are wholly Salvation Army is a peculiarly British and unknown and seem simply ridiculous. It's provincial product. It is Methodisın gone no use asking the average Frenchman or mad. It represents in its crudest and Italian or Spaniard whether he's saved or rudest form the universal English philoso- not-no use inviting him to accept weak phy of the divine economy. It takes for tea and the ministrations of a volunteer granted in its catechumens implicit accept- priesthood at the headquarters of the ance of a whole complex system of theol- Army. He has no such organized body ogy and morals. This system is endemic of beliefs for the captains to work upon. in England and nowhere else ; it has " Saved ?” he will answer if he has any always existed there and reigned supreme religion at all, “ why that's all been done in the public mind ; it will continue to ex. long ago. The modus operandi is perist, as long as any relic of Christianity sur- fectly simple. The way to get to heaven vives in Britain. It is wholly independent is arranged for us by authority. You comof formularies or creeds. When England municate three times a year ; you drop in was Catholic, it existed all the same. You to matins or vespers occasionally ; you beget it, full-fledged, in Wulfstan's Anglo- have in most things like a good sound Saxon sermons, in Piers Plowman's Catholic ; and when you're dying, the medieval verse, in Bunyan's Grace priest of God gives you extreme unction. Abounding, in Wesley's hymns, in Mr. If you feel yourself a miserable sinner, the Spurgeon, in Father Ignatius, in the authoritative Church has an official remedy, Reverend Hugh Price Hughes, in General ready provided for you-confession, penBooth and his roving commissioners. ance, absolution, the priestly blessing.” Briefly, it is the enchorial Britannic form In short, while the Briton takes for of the Christian faith ; and these, reduced granted the need for hysterical conversion to very simple terms, are its chief tenets and personal conviction of sin, the Latin -You are a lost sinner and you need sal- races regard the plan of salvation as a matvation. You can get it by conversion, ter of etiquette, duly regulated beforehand which is a sudden and definite internal to the minutest detail by the recognized act, almost as physically recognizable as ordinances of a divine Lord Chamberlain. baptism or vaccination. Either you are Here, then, is our analogy. The Salva. converted or you are not ; if you are not, tion Arnıy is a means of grace for Englishthen of course you ought to be. The Sal- men, in Britain or over sea, which appeals vation Army, therefore, believing — and in vain to the deaf ears of Continental na
the whole rightly believing—that tions, because it puts forward an essenalınost every Briton implicitly accepts this tially insular and provincial scheme of strange insular theology, just boards its theology. Well, English literature as it man with the simple question, “ Are you exists at the present inoment is, just in saved ?” It doesn't trouble about asking the same way, literature for Englishmen, bim, “ Do you swallow wholesale all this and for Englishmen only, because it is monstrous farrago of assumptions or not ?" produced in deference to the narrow and It goes straight to its point-“ Are you stupid ideas of a wooden fraction of the saved ? If you aren't, you're in a very English people. It grovels in London fog. parlous way ; come to our barracks at once It can only become cosmopolitan when it and get salvation !"
consents to trust its own wings and spread In Britain, I say, this procedure is per- its vans for wider flight in a purer æther. fectly effective. Nine people out of ten If ever a generation of men of letters arises whom the Hallelujah Lasses assail on the in England strong enough to snap their public street admit, in principle, every fingers froin the first at the dissenting item of their main contention. But the grocer, and defy from the outset the sentiGeneral and his staff are not content to mental girl of seventeen, then English lit
erature will be as widely read as Norwegian first omen of the coming time ? Such or Russian, and will be worthy of the hun- things have been. Who knows? Perdred and odd million_souls of English- haps so.-Fo:tnightly Review. speaking people. Is Rudyard Kipling a
Sing on, sweet bird, pour out thy soul among
Yon darkling woods, and flood the vacant air
With thy rich melody! Thou knowest no care
About thy heart, and prompt thy love-lay, wear
No tinge of woe as yet—thou hast laid bare
Must change, thy song must fade, and thou wilt know
Upon that bitter past of long ago,
entirely abandoned in practice was a most
convenient help for subsequent periods of IDEALS of morality are interesting as recovery. That morality was always evidence of the heights to which popular ready, at least in theory ; there it was, imagination may ascend, and it is never still in the keeping of the Church, ready safe to criticise them, because they are to be applied to common life whenever the sure to be vigorously and even indignantly world felt the need of applying it. No defended ; but their practical interest is one who has an ideal ought ever to abandon small until practice itself has approached it in despair. He may sorrowfully admit within measurable distance, and this is that it is not applicable now, that it may very rarely the case. The true utility of not be applicable within any future time professed ideals is that if there is a prac- that one can accurately foresee, yet it is tical decline in morality, the preservation always possible that a time may come of the ideal simply as a mental conception when his ideal or some part of it may be atfords a chance of recovery where such within the range of improvements that recovery might be impossible without its begin to be practically attainable. In help. It is like losing one's way on a morals, as in politics, there are hopes and mountain, when to have an ideal path in dreams of which nobody has yet seen the the mind may help in the recovery of the realization, and if ever the time were to real one. There can be no doubt that the come when men ceased to hope and to continued theoretical maintenance of Chris- dream, that time would see the end of tian inorality at times when it was almost human advancement. The way to mend is first to long for what ought to be, then to at their proper value. Knowledge of the confess that, as a whole, it is unattainable, world does not consist in knowing what is finally to get some part of it and be satis- theoretically accepted, but what virtues fied for the present, while preserving the are really esteemed, and what laxities are hope of a fuller satisfaction in the future. tolerated.
Ideals of morality are still for the most I have not space to enter into detail part, though not exclusively, guarded by with regard to these special moralities, different priesthoods. It would be wrong and, indeed, do not profess to understand to undervalue their services even when them, but they have always this quality, their morality is not exactly ours. It is that they establish a common rule by pertrue that they are sometimes obliged to mitting some things and forbidding speak with much deference of very early others, so that a man who follows them is conditions of morality which have now be- no longer an isolated individual, but acts come repugnant to us and inadmissible as as a member of some social order or comexamples for our practice, but the more munity. It is in this, I believe, that we we study the subject the more we gain a find the basis of such morality as there is. spirit of tolerance for all primitive moral Man alone, acting by private impulses, is effort. The beginnings of human morality not moral, but he becomes so by his defdo at least manifest the presence of the erence to the corporate will of some assomoral sense, even when its action is but ciation of which he forms a part. Accordlittle educated and constantly liable to ing to this view, morality is strictly a soerror. It is not so much a perfect morality cial virtue, and this may help to explain that is needed as a morality of some kind, why hypocrisy is so often regarded as a suitable to the social state, and enough at moral virtue ; for, in fact, hypocrisy is a least to show that the moral sense exists, form of deference to the will of a majority, and that it is active. However, as a fact, though it may be practised for private it does anfortunately happen that priest- ends. In religion some stigma always athoods are somewhat burdened with ancient taches to those who express the opinions moralities that a cultivated moral sense of a minority, and the smaller the minority has in our time left behind it, and this is the deeper the stigma becomes, so that the one reason why many people are looking members of very small minorities are conelsewhere. Another reason is that eccle- demned as immoral men. Their offence siastical teaching of morals is not consists in shutting themselves off from the rigorously and everywhere the same. main current of national life, which is supSometimes one virtue is insisted upon, posed to carry the national morality along sometimes another; and when any partic- with it. ular vice is ingrained in local custom, it is In our own time there is a new source hard to fight against it with sustained en- of anxiety. The national morality of Engergy ; so that, by mere persistency, it land is connected with the belief in wins for itself a sort of tolerance. There miracle, indirectly, through the national is less hope than ever that at some future religion. But the belief in miracle is deday any one religion now known to us will clining ; in many minds, and those not the be able to impose its morality as a practi- least cultivated, it is entirely extinct, while cal rule of life on all the various popula- the number of those who no longer believe tions of the world. Even in theory the in miracle increases from day to day., For agreement is never complete, and as for some time it was possible to refuse to see practice, we all know that it differs widely, this change ; but now it is no longer posnot only between different localities, but sible, and every body recognizes it. The between different classes and trades. As a consequence is a profound anxiety for the matter of fact, each profession cultivates preservation of the moderate degree of its own virtues, encouraging them by re- morality which has been already attained. spect and esteem, whilst it allows itself a
“We can give up miracle and certain liberty and latitude with regard to the supernatural ; we inay even resign oursome, at least, among the vices. In this selves to giving up the hope of a future way special professional moralities are es- state ; but we cannot do without morality tablished which seem perfect within the in this life, even if it is to end in annihilapale of the professions, but which it is ex- tion." For those who speak of the mattremely difficult for outsiders to appreciate ter in this tone, and they are neither the
Men say :