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great troubles and dangers which surrounded him. . . . Beginning, as I chanced to do, upon the Plays of the first and second parts of Henry IV., I found myself plunged into the middle of the Cipher story. You know how indignant Elizabeth was at the excitement and interest caused by the performance of the play of Richard II. ...

Upon the subject of this play, the circumstances of the production of which are of such great importance to Baconians,' he has fortunately much to say; but this is concerned with such a wide subject that it cannot be entered upon here.

The Cipher story, he tells us, after treating of Essex's plots against the Cecils, proceeds to a minute and detailed account of Robert Cecil's jealousy of his cousin Francis Bacon and his detection of the drift and authorship of the Plays, of his confiding his suspicions to the Queen, and of the complications that ensued. On this point Mr. Donnelly has written at length to his friend in this country, quoting in full the graphic description in the Cipher of the exciting events that took place, in which Shakespeare, Burleigh, Bacon himself, and his faithful servant Harry Percy are the chief actors. This lastnamed person occupies a very prominent position throughout the Cipher story; he seems to have been admitted to the greatest intimacy with his master, and to have thoroughly deserved the confidence reposed in him. Shakespeare's character, antecedents, and career are dwelt upon at some length. With the utmost detail is recorded how the Queen ordered him to be arrested, and, if necessary, racked to divulge the name of the real author, and how Bacon managed to save the disclosure. It is, writes Mr. Donnelly, a wonderful story how Bacon sent his faithful friend-servant to find Shakespeare and to get him to fly the country when the Queen gave orders for his arrest. Percy's disguise of himself; how he stooped down and embraced Bacon for the last time, as he was about to start on his mare (note the minute details) from the orchard at St. Albans; how he comforted him and told him that he would save him, Bacon meanwhile standing in the darkness and listening to the dull beats of the hoofs of his horse on the hard ground as he receded. His fondness for Percy's faithful and cheerful spirit, his feeling that only the errand of that one true man stood between him and the greatest disgrace and shame, &c. &c. The internal story will be found to be as thrilling and absorbing and as powerfully rendered as the Plays themselves. . . . The interview between Percy and Shakespeare takes place at Stratford in the presence of Shakespeare's wife and daughter. It is told with the utmost detail. The whole Shakespeare family is described, his young brother Edmund, his daughter Susanna, his wife, his sister. The very supper bill of fare is given, and a very mean one it was-'dried cakes, mouldie and ancient,' roast mutton far advanced in decomposition, the odour of which perfumed the room, bitter beer and worse Bordeaux stuff. The smell of the meal took away the dandy Percy's appetite. He told Shakespeare that the Queen's officers were after him, to arrest him as the nominal author of Richard II., which represented the murder and deposition of the King, and which was held to be an incentive to treason. Shakespeare, Percy said, must fly to Holland or Scotland, and there abide until the storm blew over. Thereupon Shakespeare became violently abusive of Bacon -'Master Francis' he calls him-for getting him into such a scrape. 'He is,' says Percy, 'the foul-mouthedst rascal in England. Shakespeare declares that he will confess

the truth and clear his own skirts. Thereupon came the first anti-Baconian argument. It is the parent of all later ones. Percy told Shakespeare (not, probably, as a fact, but as a threat, and to drive him from the country, so as to save Bacon's exposure) that 'Master Francis' would deny the authorship, and that the world would surely believe him and not Shakespeare. For who, says Percy, 'could conceive of one man putting the immortal glory of the Plays on the shoulders of another? Did not Shakespeare bear his blushing honours through all the disreputable houses of London? Did he not profit by the Plays? Was he not transformed in new silk and feathers, and looked upon in the low society in which he shone as the one who wrote the Plays? The Queen would ask, "Why kept'st thou silence so long?" and much more to the same purpose. So you see there is nothing new under the sun. Harry Percy anticipated all the anti-Baconian arguments by nearly two hundred and ninety years.

After other passages of a kindred nature Mr. Donnelly sums up as follows:

If the Cipher were nothing more than the internal history of the Plays and of Bacon's life it would be intensely interesting; but it is more than that: it is the history of the latter part of Elizabeth's reign, with all its plots and conspiracies and their effects on great historical events. As I take it, it is Bacon's appeal to posterity, and his impalement, for all the ages, of those who had so cruelly suppressed and persecuted and humiliated him. A terrible revenge! the gall and bitterness of a tortured life embalmed in poetry and the merriment of comedies. He was not only a Creator, like Providence, but, like Providence, he left his veins of secret meaning running hidden through the texture of his work. . .

Mr. Donnelly is not unaware of the obvious objections to his demanding credence for a statement not supported by more evidence than is here produced. The reticence which in self-defence he is at present compelled to preserve will, he recognises, be held up as a proof that his assertions are one vast fraud. These suspicions he must for the present be content to undergo; but, though positive evidence must for a short time longer be withheld, he writes on this subject from another standpoint :—

Why should I assert that I have found such a Cipher-not a hop-skip-and-jump Cipher, but a mathematically accurate rule—if I have not? I ask no money from any one. If I published a book that was a fraud or a delusion, the few copies which might be sold before the truth was discovered would surely not compensate me for the everlasting shame and ridicule which would fall upon me. Can any one believe that I would concoct a deliberate lie, which only a few months would explode? And for what? Not for notoriety; I have enough of that already. Is it to be believed that I would imperil whatever little ho cur I may have gained by my exceptionally successful books Atlantis and Ragnarok by a pretended claim to a great discovery? 14

With this the public must for the present be contented-or discontented. They will probably not have to wait long for the full exposition which will ensue upon his arrival in England. He is expected here within a few weeks, but the exact time must depend upon the amount of progress he is able to make with his work.

14 These two most fascinating books are now in their twelfth and sixth editions respectively.


I hold no brief for the Baconians.' The above is not an enunciation of their position. As before stated, their belief is not grounded upon this discovery. Though it is perhaps hardly fair to Mr. Donnelly's contribution, which will to the general public appear of less force, standing as it does here by itself, I have been anxious not to introduce any of the evidence upon which the Society's conviction rests. Nor have any of the à priori objections to the theory been adduced, not from any want of recognition of their number and force, but because against them are arrayed the publications containing the rudiments of the movement, which are available in England. To the Cipher alone the foregoing pages have been confined. Consequently it is due to the 'Baconians' to point out that those not conversant with the rest of their evidence will not only not have learnt from the above any fair notion of the nature of their belief, but also will hardly be able to approach this phase of the movement in the same spirit of preparedness as they would otherwise bring to its consideration.


VOL. XIX.-No. 111.

3 B



THE city of Bombay was the scene of a remarkable gathering at the close of last year. On the last three days of November a National Indian Congress assembled to deliberate upon the state of India, and, after full discussion, to embody their wishes in a series of resolutions for the information of the people and Government of Great Britain. In taking to itself the designation of National' the Congress accurately described its character. Representatives were there assembled from Calcutta, Madras, Poona, Allahabad, Lahorein a word, from every part of British India. The proceedings were conducted throughout in the English language. The speeches, while clear and explicit upon the urgent need of various reforms, were characterised by a spirit of genuine loyalty to the established order of things; and the resolutions, as I hope to show presently, were remarkable not less for their practical sagacity than for their moderation. The Congress broke up with the determination to reassemble-but this time at Calcutta-on the 28th of December, 1886. Now, this Congress is, to my mind, one of the most extraordinary occurrences that are to be found during the period of British rule in India. Many may dislike it, but it would be the merest folly to underrate its profound importance. It is like the handwriting on the wall of Belshazzar's palace. It shows that the time has passed when the paternal despotism we have hitherto maintained in India could satisfy the new life and the new desires which the English language and English literature have breathed into the population. The voices which tell us of this great fact are altogether friendly. The debt of gratitude is freely admitted, and they only call upon us to worthily complete the work which has been begun. It rests with the people and their leaders in this country to determine the character of the response that shall be given to the appeal thus made from India.

The first resolution earnestly recommends that the impending inquiry into the condition of India should be entrusted to a Royal Commission, the people of India being adequately represented thereon, and evidence taken both in India and in England.' So far as the nomination of a Royal Commission is concerned, this resolution

has been anticipated by a refusal. The Ministry has decided to be guided by former precedents, and to entrust the inquiry to a parliamentary committee. There can be no question that a Royal Commission would have been the better and more efficient machinery. At the same time it is essential to point out that if the inquiries of the committee are carried on according to the practice hitherto, they will be almost useless. The evidence taken before the parliamentary committees of 1853 is contained in about a dozen bulky volumes, and was obtained almost wholly from English officials employed either in India or at the India Office, then located in Leadenhall Street. A few missionaries were also examined; but of the people of the country there were no representatives beyond three or four Parsees from Bombay. And yet, even in those days, those who make it their business to go through this voluminous evidence will find that by far the most valuable portions of it are contained in the appendices, in the form of petitions drawn up by native associations at the chief presidency towns. I would draw the especial attention of the student to one from the inhabitants of the town of Madras, giving a truly doleful picture of the fortunes of that presidency since it was privileged to enjoy the 'inestimable blessings of British rule.' The neglect of native evidence in 1853 was a serious misfortune then; to ignore it now would be a political crime.

The Indian National Congress has also expressed its desire that evidence should be taken in India as well as England; and this is a matter of the greatest importance. The conveyance of native witnesses from India to this country will heavily increase the costs of the inquiry, and even if carried out on the most lavish scale will only inadequately achieve the object desired. There are, it is true, a great number of highly educated and representative men in India who will not be deterred by scruples of caste or other hindrances from coming to this country; but there are also many-and these witnesses of a perfectly indispensable kind—who will be so deterred. An inquiry into the condition of India will be a very imperfect and unsatisfactory affair which does not include within its scope the state of feeling in the independent native states, and their political relations with the supreme power. Those best fitted to furnish information upon these points are men like Sir Dinkur Rao, Sir Salar Jung, Sir Mahdava Rao, and others whose position and occupations render it impossible for them to come to England. In British India, also, there are scores of native gentlemen held in the highest esteem among their countrymen, distinguished for their ability, their knowledge, and their public spirit, but who, from one cause or another, could not leave India.

Resolution No. 2 records that, 'in the opinion of the Congress, the abolition of the Council of the Secretary of State for India, as at present constituted, is the necessary preliminary to all other reforms.'

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