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taking well-recognized but expensive reforms. That the board of trustees, notwithstanding its conservative attitude on certain subjects in the past, would second him in every well-considered effort having this end in view, can scarcely be doubted; but until the financial problem shall have been satisfactorily solved, the board can hardly be expected to adopt any scheme involving heavier outlay. In the meanwhile, New York is waiting for her great university, and it is by no means an imaginary danger that Columbia, if she neglects her opportunity, may wake up some morning and find herself confronted with a formidable rival.
Slave or Master?
A COLORED clergyman of some education and much native wit was once discoursing to his congregation on what the apostle calls “the sinfulness of sin.” “There are those, my brethren," he said, "who tell us that there is no such thing as sin; that man is created with certain appetites and propensities; that these were made to be gratified; and that, whenever we gratify them, we do that which is perfectly lawful and right." The last sentence was spoken with some emphasis; and four or five of the "leading brethren," understanding that it was the proper place to respond, punctuated the parson's falling inflection with a stalwart "Amen!"
The chorus in the colored meeting-house, like the chorus in the Greek tragedy, may be supposed to reflect the philosophy of the period. To an acute observer, the close relation between what is sometimes called the "advanced" thought of the day and the rude notions of the lowest stratum of society is often apparent. You shall find the fine-spun theories of materialistic science reduced to their lowest terms in the mouths of men in country groceries and city beergardens. The sentiment which the colored brethren rather infelicitously applauded-how does it differ from this dictum of Karl Vogt?" Free will does not exist, neither does any amenability or responsibility, such as morals and penal justice, and heaven knows what, would impose upon us. At no moment are we our own masters, any more than we can decree as to the secretions of our kidneys. The organism cannot govern itself; it is governed by the law of its material combination." The doctrine that the colored clergyman was endeavoring so laudably, but with such indifferent success, to controvert, how could it be more clearly stated than in these words of Moleschott? -"Sin lies in the unnatural, and not in the will to do evil. Speech and style, good and bad actions, courage, half-heartedness, and treachery, are all natural phenomena, and all of them stand in a direct relation to indispensable causes as their natural consequences, just as much as the revolutions of the globe."
This kind of philosophy enters into the thought and speech of the most ignorant and depraved classes of the community to a considerable extent. Doubtless there is need of considering the disabilities that inhere in diseased organisms,-the hereditary tendencies to evil by which virtuous purposes are impeded; our judgments of our fellow-men will often be modified by such facts. But the "charity," or the "science," that denies human responsibility finds its proper issue and its natural votaries in the slums.
It is not, however, with the theological consequences of this philosophy that we are now concerned, but rather with its effect upon the education and training of the young. A doctrine that denies free will, and makes of man only a bundle of appetites and impulses and propensities whose law is in themselves, destroys not only religion and morality, it destroys also the foundations of education, and makes discipline a solecism. A logical deduction from it is the notion that pupils should study only what they like to study, and when they like to study; and that children should do only what they like to do, and when they like to do it. Modern theories of education are tinged by this notion; it finds place in the regimen of the home and the curriculum of the university. The popular lecturer who criticises the Old Testament with the fairness, erudition and wit of a stump-speaker, sneers at the old-fashioned notions of obedience and discipline; says that children ought to follow nature in the formation of their habits; and his audiences applaud the sentiment. It does not take such ideas long to filter down through all the strata of society, and thus to affect, in many ways, the conduct of old and young. Do we not note an increasing tendency to depend on moods and impulses? "I don't feel like work," is often proclaimed as the sufficient excuse for idleness. Disrelish for any particular pursuit is mentioned as ample reason for abandoning it. Even the paupers who beg at your door justify their failure to find employment by telling you that the labor offered them is not congenial.
Of course this plea has always been made, and, so long as the original sin of indolence continues to be so deeply rooted in human nature, it will be made; but it seems that now this vice of human nature is to be well-nigh elevated into the rule of life.
It is a pestilent notion. In it lurks the disorganizing force by which characters and communities are undermined and ruined. There never was a strong character that was not made strong by discipline of the will; there never was a strong people that did not rank subordination and discipline among the signal virtues. Subjection to moods is the mark of a deteriorating morality. There is no baser servitude than that of the man whose caprices are his masters, and a nation composed of such men could not long preserve its liberties.
This is a truth that the young must lay to heart. It will be a sorry day for this world, and for all the people in it, when everybody makes his moods his masters, and does nothing but what he is inclined to do. The need of training the will to the performance of work that is distasteful; of making the impulses serve, instead of allowing them to rule, the higher reason; of subjugating the moods instead of being subjugated by them, lies at the very foundation of character. It is possible to learn to fix the wandering thought, to compel the reluctant mental energy, to concentrate the power upon the performance of a task to which there is no inclination. Until this victory has been gained, life holds no sure promise; the achievement of this conquest is the condition of future success. No matter how splendid may be the natural gifts, unless there is a will that can marshal and command them, the life is sure to be a failure.
Even in the fine arts the highest inspirations wait on those who have learned to work. The poets who
never write except when they are in the mood, who do not learn to hold their minds firmly down to the work in hand, to justify the thought and shape the utterance, are not among the immortal bards. To the man who has wrought long and faithfully in perfecting the art of expression, in studying the subtile shades of meaning and the subtile tones of music that are found in words, and in combining them so that they will harmoniously tell some master truth of human experience, or show some phase of natural beauty, many a strain of beautiful and perfect melody comes suddenly; but it is because the molds of beauty were fashioned in the poet's mind by long and painful study. What is true of the poetic art is true of every other; the condition of artistic success is faithful work and thorough training.
The young men in the colleges know that training is indispensable to physical perfection. They know that the men who eat and drink just what their appetites crave, and take their exercise only when they feel like it, never win the boat-races or the foot-ball matches. It should not be difficult for them to see that mental and moral power, without which success and happiness in life are impossible, are equally dependent on discipline. The body will not do its best work unless, as a great authority says, it is "kept under"; and what is true of the body is equally true of the mind; its whims and caprices and moods must be brought under the subjection of a masterful will; the man must become not the servant, but the ruler of his own nature.
The Press and the New Reform.
THE platform seems to have had less to do proportionately with the triumphs of the principles of civil service reform than it had to do with the triumphs of anti-slavery principles. It would appear that the new political reform owes more to the arguments of writers than to the eloquence of speakers. We by no means intend to disparage the labors of speakers in Congress, in political conventions, in the pulpit, and elsewhere; but it should not be forgotten that the great work of educating the people in the matter of the new reform has been mainly by means of the printing-press, by means of books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
Weekly," writes of the late Thomas Allen Jenckes, of Rhode Island, as "The Father of Civil Service Reform," he does justice to one who should not be overlooked in the apportionment of honors. But Mr. Curtis is hardly the man to give a full and truthful account of the entire struggle, for modesty might occasion a serious hiatus in the story. As an orator, and in his office as President of the Reform Association, Mr. Curtis's labors have been great; but, as a writer and editor, they have been greater. Mr. E. L. Godkin should be mentioned with Mr. Curtis among those whose pens have been powerful in bringing about the just-begun reform. The wider dissemination of Mr. Curtis's political writings, in the pages of a popular illustrated weekly, is to be taken into the account; but the influence of "The Nation" upon the great body of thoughtful minds in all sections of the country can hardly be over-estimated. Not only the direct teachings of "The Nation" on the subject of civil service reform have been of incalculable value at this epoch in our history, but the tone that this journal has helped to impart to political thinking and discussion in general has been of the greatest importance.
We have named Mr. Curtis and Mr. Godkin especially; but we think it no more than just that Dr. Holland's convinced and convincing writings on this subject, in these columns, should be mentioned in this connection. Many of the monthly magazines and reviews have, moreover, welcomed papers by such able and persistent promoters of the reform as Mr. Dorman B. Eaton and Dr. Washington Gladden; and many of the religious weeklies and a certain number of the daily newspapers have kept up for years an able and earnest advocacy of the reform, though in these cases it is not so easy to detect the individual writers and single them out for the praise they deserve.
But, as we have said, the great reform is really only just begun. The adaptation of these new methods to our political system, the proper enforcement of the law, the extension of the reform to the machinery of our State and municipal governments,- these, also, are matters not so much for oratorical discourse and appeal as for the alert watchfulness and calm arguments and warnings of the press. Our political writers have by no means finished their work, with relation to the civil service; there is, if anything, more need of vigi
When Mr. Curtis, in a recent number of "Harper's lance and wisdom than ever before.
Conway's "Emerson at Home and Abroad."* THE numerous readers of Mr. Conway's earlier books are accustomed to think of him as an insatiable explorer of facts and traditions, an enthusiastic heroworshipper, and a littérateur of unfailing vivacity and almost unerring tact. His drawbacks have seemed to
*Emerson at Home and Abroad. By Moncure Daniel Conway. Boston: Jas. R. Osgood & Co.
lie in a certain exuberance of material, some neglect of arrangement, and an occasional want of minute accuracy in details. It is pleasant to see that, as time goes on, he gains more and more self-mastery, and puts his faults behind him. In this book we find him at his best. Even that which has been criticised as a slightly over-confidential and too autobiographical tone, in the opening chapter, is so frank and ardent as really to disarm all objection; and it has its peculiar value as giving the key-note for the whole
book. It is the tribute of a pupil to the master, and it is essential to such a tribute that the pupil should give some revelation of himself.
There is here and there a passage in the book which suggests that it was written in England,-the spelling of "favour" and "storeys," the estimate of Emerson's early income in pounds sterling, and the pains taken (p. 33) to explain that "it was the rule in the [Emerson] family to distribute their possessions equally between the members of their family." The absence of an index is also a defect more common in English books than in American; but the flavor of the book has that essential Americanism which Mr. Conway's long English residence has not at all impaired, and there is even a distinct air of oldfashioned transcendentalism about the titles of the chapters. "Fore-runners," "Sursum Corda," "Sangreal," 66 Concordia," and "The Python" remind us anew of the ardent young prophet who once essayed to give "The Dial" a new lease of life in Cincinnati, and still remains true to his early visions.
It is in the story-telling faculty that we are chiefly reminded how the prophet has become a magazinist; and certainly no single volume has yet brought together so many fresh memorials of Emerson as are here combined. At the very outset, with his wonted appetite for a good bit of symbolism, Mr. Conway emphasizes the fact that the first American Emerson was a baker, and points out that his great descendant furnished the bread of truth to men (p. 132). Probably, if we looked far enough into the genealogy of any eminent person, we should come to some such apt analogy; as in the fact lately brought to light by Mr. Kennedy, that the pioneer Whittier's chief outfit for America was a bee-hive. Those who have visited the house of Goethe at Frankfort will remember the paternal horse-shoes converted into lyres above the front door, and our American bards seem to be as neatly provided with appropriate emblems.
It was in a letter to Mr. Conway that Mr. Emerson wrote a sentence which has already been widely circulated: "They say the ostrich hatches her egg by standing off and looking at it, and that is my present secret of authorship" (p. 14). There is another charming letter to him on the birth of a child (p. 15). Mr. Emerson told Mr. Conway that no early intellectual experience had ever so influenced him as Wordsworth's description of the effect of nature on the mind of a boy (p. 50); that he had used his sermons as material for his essays (p. 65); and many other private confidences. There are also very interesting statements illustrative of Emerson's influence in England, the best of these being the fact that Professor Tyndall wrote "Purchased by Inspiration" in his copy of Emerson's "Nature" as being the book which first gave an active impulse to his mind.
Mr. Conway has also had access to some peculiarly valuable unpublished materials, apart from his own recollections; as in the case of an important correspondance between Mr. Emerson and the late Mrs. Lyman of Northampton (pp. 59-60); of a letter from Emerson to Mr. Ireland, describing his first visit to Carlyle (p. 75); and of an exquisite letter by Emerson to a youth who had sent him some verses. They have truth and earnestness, and a happier hour may add that external perfection which can neither be com
manded nor described" (p. 124),—which last phrase sums up all the canons of criticism in ten words. But perhaps the best of all the new matter in the book is the description by Miss Sarah Hennell of a visit made to her family by Emerson in 1848, where he saw "George Eliot," then Miss Marian Evans, and so remote from fame as to be mentioned by Miss Hennell as Mary Ann. ""He was much struck with Mary Ann (Miss Evans); expressed his admiration many times to Charles-That young lady has a calm, serious soul"" (p. 338). It seems quite characteristic of both that, when Emerson asked her "What one book do you like best?" she answered, "Rousseau's Confessions," and he said, “So do I. There is a point of sympathy between us (p. 339).
We find some errors in Mr. Conway's book, but they are mostly such as would naturally be made by one writing in England about American affairs, after slight points of time and locality had grown dim in memory. Rev. James Freeman Clarke did not "surrender his pulpit rather than exclude Theodore Parker from it" (p. 9), but he merely endangered it. Some of his influential parishioners left him, but he and his church went on. It is not "a mistake" (p. 86) to attribute to the New England Quakers the naked exhibition several times charged upon them, nor has Mr. Whittier proved that this was merely the reaction from Puritan whippings. Southey's "Commonplace Books" contain a long extract from the diary of an English Quaker of that period, who vindicates these naked performances as proper symbolical acts, without resorting to any such justification as Mr. Whittier has offered. The "Boston Museum” (mentioned on p. 160) is not a systematic collection of natural history, but is mainly a theater; Mr. Conway must mean the "Museum of Comparative Zoology" at Cambridge. Emerson was not made LL. D. at Harvard in 1867, but in 1866 (p. 162). Mr. George William Curtis was not graduated at Harvard, but at Brown University (p. 237). Mr. Alcott's twentydollar gold piece (p. 247) is reduced by several narrators to five or ten dollars. The name of George Searle Phillips is curtailed to "George Searle Phil" (p. 329), probably through some typographical misfortune. It was not at Longfellow's funeral, but on the way home from it, that Emerson spoke of having forgotten that poet's name (p. 382).
Exception might be taken to some of Mr. Conway's points of criticism or description. When he says of Emerson (p. 136): “He studied the sciences carefully, always keeping abreast of their vanguard," he goes too far. Emerson, after all, approached science as a literary man, not as a scientist, and simply read about it instead of studying it. There is sometimes a little inconsistency, as where Mr. Conway says (p. 112) that, from the time Emerson began to read "Landor," "his tone became less fervid and prophetic, and more secular," and then afterward remarks (p. 123): "In the first discoverable scrap of Emerson's writing there is to be found nearly the same literary style as in his last. The only authors whose influence seems traceable are Shakspere and Montaigne." On the other hand, some of his remarks are singularly acute and valuable, as this: "It would be difficult to cite from any generation authors so various in air and style as those whose minds have been personally
enameling, he would have done a substantial service to the potter's art. But the chapters on lacquers and pottery may be commended to the reader as models of patient and intelligent study and preparation.
The author is evidently a close student of what may be termed evolution in art. It was his desire to discover, if possible, whence the Japanese have derived their designs, theories, and knowledge of art and artprocesses. He finds in Japan many curious analogies leading to Egypt, Greece, India, China, Corea, and distant parts of Asia. His studies of these branches of inquiry, although they may not all be received with unquestioning faith, are highly interesting. In the matter of designs of a purely native origin, also, the reader will find much novel entertainment in the illustrations that profusely adorn the work. A striking example may be found on page 278, where is given a cut from a Japanese artist's drawing, showing the origin of the familiar "hawthorn" pattern of decoration on porcelain. The translation of the legend, "The late frost nips the plum blossoms, and causes them to fall on the thin and cracked ice," sufficiently explains the design and its source.
The only drawback to the complete enjoyment of the volume is the ineptitude with which it has been put together. The flaws in the composition are numerous and often flagrant. The persistent use of the present tense is tedious, exasperating, and sometimes ludicrous. The author seems to have taken out a license to revise the generally received orthography of Japanese names to suit his own whims. For example, there is neither sense nor reason in his giving
"sachi" for the liquor commonly known as sake, and so spelled by all makers of Anglo-Japanese dictionaries. Nor is "Cutane," for Kutani, any more reasonable than any of the numerous other changes in the names of towns and cities which the author has unwarrantably made. We find him taking from Dr. Wistar the dedication to him of the climbing plant known as the wistaria, and repeatedly referring to it as the "westeria." These little liberties taken with
and strongly influenced by Emerson " (p. 297). Mr.
Dresser's "Japan: Its Architecture, Art and Art
In his new book on Japan, Dr. Christopher Dresser has wisely chosen an entirely untrodden field in Japan. In "A Glimpse at the Art of Japan," Mr. Jarves has tantalized the student and the inquirer with a series of suggestive essays, chiefly historical, and none of which gives the slightest clue to what we want to know of the art of that wonderful and muchwritten-about country. Dr. Dresser went to Japan on a special mission: he was determined to discover, if possible, the secret of Japanese art. He thirsted for information concerning the motives and the processes of art, as it has been practiced for hundreds of years in an isolated and secluded kingdom. He accomplished much in the four months spent in the country; and, when we consider what he might have given us after an extended sojourn, we must needs regret the haste which necessarily characterizes his
work. The faults of the book, which are by no means few or slight, are partly chargeable to the shortness of his stay and to his invincible and amiable good na
ture. It was his custom, evidently, to believe all that
was told him.
Nevertheless, we have in this volume the first clear and satisfactory glimpse of the subject of which it treats. It is the only book, it may be said, that gives an intelligible notion of the theory and practice of art in Japan. Dr. Dresser was not only a guest of the nation, going on an official errand, but he is, as he says, "an architect and ornamentist by profession," and it is as a specialist that he submits his laborious volume. In the course of his extended journeys, he visited sixty-eight potteries and more than one hundred temples and shrines, many of which he studied minutely.
The work is divided into two parts, the first containing the simple narrative of the author's movements, his daily observations, and his reflections upon all that he saw and heard. These are set down with conscientious fidelity, and with much of what we may call "the local color." The second part contains chapters devoted to special subjects, religion and architecture, analogies and symbols, the manufactures of lacquer, pottery, metals, fabrics, etc., being each treated separately and with delightful clearness and minuteness. This part of the author's work contains a great deal that is new and valuable. It is to be regretted that he did not have time and space to describe at greater length the details of working in what is popularly known as cloisonné enamel. The general description of this branch of art with which he favors us is not new; and if he could have gone into details as to the methods employed in the prepparation and coloring of the materials used in the
Japan: Its Architecture, Art, and Art Manufactures. By Christopher Dresser, Ph. D., F. L. S., etc. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. New York: Scribner & Welford.
existing facts and accepted theories are calculated to shake our faith in the authority of the writer. But this is a minor drawback to one's enjoyment of what must long be considered the best work ever written on the industrial art of Japan.
Mabie's "Norse Stories."'*
To render poetry, and especially old Scandinavian poetry, in good English prose, is a difficult task, as any one who has tried it is apt to appreciate. What Mr. Mabie has undertaken to do, however, is not to paraphrase the lays of the Elder Edda and the tales of the Younger, but rather to select the most interesting and poetic myths, clothing them in a form which would appeal to modern readers. A translation of the Elder Edda, retaining the alliterations and the rhapsodic form, was published many years ago by Mr. Thorp; and Professor R. B. Anderson, of the University of Wisconsin, gave us recently a very creditable version of the principal portions of the Younger. These two works, and possibly also Mallet's "North
*Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas. By Hamilton Wright Mabie. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1882.
ern Mythology,” have furnished Mr. Mabie with the material for his pleasing stories, and it must be admitted that he has performed his task both with taste and skill. The arrangement of the myths, in what might be called their chronological sequence, is especially to be commended. The creation of the world from the body of the giant Ymer, the happy life of the gods in the shining Valhalla, their adventures and perpetual warfare with the giants, their destruction at Ragnarök by the powers of evil, and the final regeneration of the world under the reign of one god, All-father, are described with a happy simplicity and a keen appreciation of the poetic element in each separate myth. Especially delightful is the story of Balder, the God of Love, who, through the machinations of Loke, was slain by the blind god Höder, and had to descend to the under-world, whence he returned after the great battle of Ragnarök to reign once more over a peaceful and happy earth.
Although Mr. Mabie's book is primarily intended for youthful readers, to whom the heroic element in such tales as Thor's "Fishing" and his fight with Hrungner must strongly appeal, there is a poetic suggestiveness in many of the myths, the full significance of which can only be appreciated by maturer minds. Thus, the charming tales of the "Apples of Ydun" and Odin's "Search for Wisdom" are replete with elusive hints, which invite to poetic treatment; and "The Twilight of the Gods," with its sequence "The New Earth," seem to contain an obvious allegory, prophesying the end of the bloody reign of the ancient gods, and the harmonious development of humanity under a new and peaceful code, when war shall have disappeared, and Balder the Beautiful, returning from the dead, shall pervade the earth with his beneficent influence. Mr. Mabie has done wisely, however, in confining himself to pure narrative and avoiding the many tempting opportunities for allegorical interpretation. That the above-named myths indicate a dim consciousness on the part of the Norsemen that their fierce and fratricidal religion was destined to be superseded by a gentler and more humane creed, is scarcely to be questioned, but beyond that fact all conjectures are unsafe. That Odin was neither a sun-myth, nor personified valor, nor a corruption of an original purer conception of the deity, has been demonstrated; while there is a strong probability in the theory which assigns both him and his colleagues definite places in remote history as chiefs who led the Teutonic tribes in their early wanderings from their home in Central Asia.
Bartlett's "Life of Rimmer "'*
DR. RIMMER is one of the many figures in American art that fill one with uneasiness. The artistic genius in this country, until recently, has had no place. In other circumstances Rimmer might have achieved more satisfactory results; here everything was against him, though perhaps nothing was so much against him as a disquiet and pride inherited from a father who believed himself a prince by birth, and his own inherent
The Art Life of William Rimmer, Sculptor, Painter, and Physician. By Truman H. Bartlett, Sculptor. Illustrated with Heliotype Reproductions. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. 1882.
lack of patience and humble teachableness. He had a strong artistic temperament, but was thorough in nothing except anatomy. In that he was an excellent theoretic teacher, though he always disapproved of dissection for art-students, and, in explaining the most difficult parts of interior anatomy, would use the blackboard only.
Rimmer made his strongest impression not in his studied designs, pictures, and modelings, but at the blackboard. He had a most facile pencil, and would improvise on the blackboard as a musician does on the key-board, producing varied and beautiful harmonies of line. He was eminently a draughtsman, caring little for the illusion which a picture-maker is apt to cherish. He was totally ignorant of color, and took very uncertain interest in form as such; but line as a rapid means of expressing a situation, an idea, a passion, was always at his own command, and strongly moved him in such men as Rembrandt and Michael Angelo. His enormous egotism not only prevented him from understanding and learning from his immediate contemporaries, but kept him from acknowledging indebtedness to an older artist like Allston (whom he was doubtless affected by), or to a modern master like Blake, who also evidently had a decided effect upon his thought.
As a teacher he will long be remembered with gratitude by many who were helped on by his stimulating manner and ready encouragement. As is apt to be the case to-day, his best pupils were women, who, for the sake of learning, were willing to be "bullied," and who would blindly follow his lead. Mr. Bartlett's book contains many curious testimonials and notes from this class of acquaintances and critics. The author throughout has done, perhaps, a little more than justice to an extraordinary man—a man of an irascible and far from frank disposition; of much untrained and unfruitful power; and one whose career was pathetically painful and unsatisfactory. The reproductions scattered through the volume will give an idea of the largeness and vigor of some of Rimmer's conceptions.
Hunt's "Talks on Art."*
THE second series of the late Mr. Hunt's "Talks," as preserved by one of his pupils, is, if anything, of first has had a success at home and abroad which more value and interest than the first,- although the must have been gratifying to the artist. Both books give an interesting insight into his method of teaching, which seems to have been by a series of mental shocks alternations of scorn with extravagant praise. He regarded his pupils as little children, and scolded or commended them accordingly. Artists will find the book full of suggestion, and the general reader will learn much in it of interest in regard to Millet and Couture (both of whom Hunt knew well) and in regard to inany other persons and things of artistic and human interest; and the same general reader, as well as the artist, will get either a pleasant or a painful, and very likely a profitable mental fillip, from nearly every paragraph.
*W. M. Hunt's Talks on Art. Second Series. Compiled by Helen M. Knowlton. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1883.