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No. CXI.-MAY 1886.

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DEMAS hath forsaken me '-so the deserted and dejected Muse of Literature may say 'Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and hath betaken himself to this or that constituency.' It is now more than fifteen years since I exhorted my young literary and intellectual friends, the lights of Liberalism, not to be rushing into the arena of politics themselves, but rather to work inwardly upon the predominant force in our politics-the great middle classand to cure its spirit. From their Parliamentary mind, I said, there is little hope; it is in getting at their real mind, and making it work honestly, that all our hope lies. For from the boundedness and backwardness of their spirit, I urged, came the inadequacy of our politics; and by no Parliamentary action, but by an inward working only, could this spirit and our politics be made better. My exhortations were as fruitless as good advice usually is. The great Parliamentary machine has gone creaking and grinding on, grinding to much the same result as formerly. But instead of keeping aloof, and trying to set up an inward working on the middle-class spirit, more and more of one's promising young friends of former days have been tempted to put their hands to the machine; and there one sees them now, helping to grind -all of them zealous, all of them intelligent, some of them brilliant and leading.

What has been ground, what has been produced with their help? Really very much the same sort of thing which was produced without it. Certainly our situation has not improved, has not become more solid and prosperous, since I addressed to my friends, fifteen years ago, that well-meant but unavailing advice to work inwardly on the VOL. XIX.-No. 111. X X

great Philistine middle class, the master-force in our politics, and to cure its spirit. At that time I had recently been abroad, and the criticism which I heard abroad on England's politics and prospects was what I took for my text in the first political essay with which I ventured to approach my friends and the public. The middle class and its Parliament were then in their glory. Liberal newspapers heaped praise on the middle-class mind, which penetrates through sophisms, ignores commonplaces, and gives to conventional illusions their true value;' ministers of State heaped praise on the great, the heroic work' performed by the middle-class Parliament. But the foreigners made light of our middle-class mind, and, instead of finding our political performance admirable and successful, declared that it seemed to them, on the other hand, that the era for which we had possessed the secret was over, and that a new era, for which we had not the secret, was beginning. Just now I have again been abroad, and under present circumstances I found that the estimate of England's action and success under a Liberal Government had, not unnaturally, sunk lower still. The hesitancy, imbecility, and failure of England's action abroad, it was said, have become such as to delight all her enemies, and to throw all her friends into consternation. England's foreign policy, said some clever man, reminds me of nothing so much as of Retz's character of the Duke of Orleans, brother to Louis the Thirteenth: There was a wide distance, with him, between wishing and willing, between willing and resolving, between resolving and the choice of means, between the choice of means and the putting them in execution. But what was most wonderful of all, it frequently happened that he came to a sudden stop even in the midst of the putting into execution.' There, said the speaker, is a perfect prophecy of England in Egypt! At home we had Ireland; to name Ireland is enough. We had the obstructed and paralysed House of Commons. Then, finally, came the news one morning of the London street-mobs and street-riots, heightening yet further the impression of our impotence and disarray. The recent trial and acquittal of the mob-orators will probably complete it.

With very many of those who thus spoke, with all the best and most important of them at any rate, malicious pleasure in our misfortunes, and gratified envy, were not the uppermost feelings; indeed, they were not their feelings at all. Do not think, they earnestly said, that we rejoice at the confusion and disablement of England; there may be some, no doubt, who do; perhaps there are many. We do not. England has been to us a cynosure, a tower, a pride, a consolation; we rejoiced in her strength; we rested much of our hope for the Continent upon her weight and influence there. The decline of her weight and influence we feel as a personal loss and sorrow. That they have declined, have well-nigh disappeared, no one who uses his eyes can doubt. And now, in addition, what are we to

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