« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
rous, unmeddlesome, firm, and persistent. These qualities alone can give it dignity, influence, security, and peace. Are these qualities likely to distinguish a policy of which the democratic element determines the direction, and to which it gives the tone? What do observation and reflection indicate on this head, and what are the lessons we learn from history? The democracy has many noble and some estimable attributes. It is often generous, always enterprising and courageous; but, alas, always impulsive, and almost never steady and enduring. Its sympathies are easily aroused, and generally on the side of humanity and justice; but it is prone to exaggerate and misconceive the right of interference, and it seldom sits down to calculate the cost. Its susceptibilities are quick and eager; it is prompt to fancy affronts, and keen to avenge them ; it is not apt at the soft answer that turneth away wrath; and it is more alive to passion than to policy. But it soon grows weary of the quarrels into which it has been hurried by generous sentiment or by touchy pride; the feeling languishes and dies away, the irritation subsides or is forgotten; the obligations incurred, and the struggle entered upon, become onerous and hateful if unexpectedly prolonged; and the quarrel is patched up as hastily as it was commenced, with little regard either for national dignity or allied interests and claims. Foreign policy especially demands foresight, caution, and a distinct and consistent aim; and these are alien from the very nature of an unphilosophic and untrained democracy. Democracies too are usually encroaching, and always warlike. The morality which rigidly respects the rights and property of other states is not easily taught to uncultivated masses, whose appetite is insatiable, and whose power is Was republican France pacific, self-controlled, or unambitious ? Are the United States models of tranquillity, good neighbourhood, and absence from unruly territorial desires? Is not their whole brief history one continued violation of the tenth commandment, breaking out from time to time into violation of the sixth? Does our own country give us the least reason to believe that it has been or will be an exception? Is there the slightest foundation for Mr. Bright's assertion, that wars are got up by the aristocracy? Who compelled the Spanish war, against which Walpole protested so vehemently and so vainly? Was not the great body of the English people as enthusiastic in favour of the French wars as Pitt himself, and, for a while, even as resolute? What must be said about the Russian war? Is it not notorious that our rulers used every effort to avoid that fearful strife, and that it was forced by the people on a reluctant and indifferent aristocracy? The explanatory truth is obvious enough, viz. that war, for a while at least, and in prospect, is attractive to the pas
great. sions and the fancies of the natural man: it is only thought and self-restraint that make us shrink from it; and thought and selfrestraint are never the characteristics of democracy. Nations are propelled towards war by sympathy, by anger, by ambition; they are withheld from war by foresight of the consequences, by calculation of the cost, by experience of the past, by conscientious sensitiveness to the folly and the crime:-which motives are most prevalent and most powerful among the uneducated, the unpropertied, and the impulsive?
IV. Lastly, what are our prospects in reference to domestic legislation from an assembly chosen by an electoral body in which the labouring classes are predominant? In the first place, the masses are not fond of abdicating power when they have once tasted its sweets; they will choose to retain a very firm hold on those whom they elect; they will insist upon their members yielding a strict and frequent account of their stewardship; they will call upon them (as already they have often done) to resign whenever they may differ from their constituents, or from the active and noisy section of them; they will transform and degrade representation into delegation, and make the House of Commons, not the embodiment of the permanent and sober wishes and opinions of the people, but the mirror of the transient passions and prejudices of the populace. In the next place,--and we entreat our readers to lay this well to heart, — the only safe foundation and guide for domestic legislation or executive action is sound principles of political economy. How far is this science understood, and how far do these principles prevail among the working classes, or those who are their leaders and will probably be their nominees? How far are they disposed to listen to those who would enlighten them on these matters? How far have they mastered even those points most immediately bearing on their own interests, and most easily within their cognisance? Let the doctrines and the practice of trades-unions and the Builders' strike answer the question. Political economy is a difficult subject. It requires exact knowledge and close logic. It is no reproach to the masses that they do not thoroughly understand it. But it would be a reproach to them to wield power, or to direct legislation, without thoroughly understanding it. And it is simply wicked in their tribunes and their flatterers to persuade them that they can conscientiously or safely dispense with understanding it. Now, on the economic questions which most specially concern the working classes, and on which their prosperity depends, they are as yet, and have always been, utterly astray, —and their leaders have for the most part endeavoured to keep them so. On the questions of a free commercial policy, of wages being left to find their own level, on the necessity of accumulated capital, on the laws which regulate the division of profits between capital and labour, on the unexceptional and inviolable character of the law of supply and demand, as applied to population as well as to bread, and on others of nearly equal significance, the working classes have not yet grasped even the alphabet of the true faith. It was not by them, but in spite of them, that freedom of commerce was achieved. It was not by them, but in spite of them,—or at least without them,--that the corn-laws were repealed. Regulation in their interests, not liberty for the operation of natural laws, is their notion of the right system. Wherever they have their own way, their proceedings are marked by a reckless violation of the free action and disregard for the just rights of their fellow-man. The ideas of shorter hours of labour and a minimum of wages, liberty of combination to the men, prohibition of combination to the masters, and all to be fixed by parliamentary enactment, are still uppermost in their creed. And, most assuredly, a rapid retrogression towards those fallacies which Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden were so mainly instrumental in exploding, would be the inevitable result of a legislature chosen under the auspices which Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden seem now so anxious to establish.
In conclusion. It is impossible to guard ourselves against wilful misrepresentation; but we are desirous of adding a few words in order to preclude the possibility of sincere or hasty misconception. It must not be supposed that, because we denounce the proposed changes in our representative system, we would desire to see it remain unchanged. Our disapproval of what is to be involves no satisfaction with what is. So far from this, we have always declared that the exclusion of the working classes from a fair and substantive participation in the franchise is a blot upon the system,-an imperfection, an impolicy, and an injustice. We have always advocated, and we now strongly urge, such participation, not as a concession that should be made to those classes, but as an improvement which is needed in our constitution. We would introduce it, not in deference to popular demands, but as the dictate of political wisdom. But on the same principles, in obedience to which we counsel the extension of electoral power, do we demur to the transfer of electoral power to those classes. It is in the name of THE NATION that we resist and repudiate the undue claims of one single section and element of the nation. It is because we abhor all class-legislation that we withstand the most flagrant piece of class-legislation ever attempted in our islands. The ground on which we take our stand is no temporary or local one. Our principle will apply equally to all lands and to all times. We shall never have oc
casion to swerve from it or to modify it. Under no circumstances, after the lapse of no centuries of years or of decades, notwithstanding any progress in civilisation and any spread of education, we shall always-as stoutly as at present-deny the claim of the mere numerical majority to reign supreme. So long as the labouring classes remain more numerous than any other class, or than all other classes put together, so long must their very numbers bar their claim to a nominally equal, but a virtually overwhelming, franchise. So long as they are less cultivated, less intelligent, less well-trained, less endowed with moral courage and individual will, than the classes who are endowed with wealth, leisure, and the habits and means of study and self-improvement, — and however intelligent, however educated, however improved in culture and in training they may in time become, this relative inferiority, so far as we can look into our human future, can never cease, so long will any system of suffrage, universal or quasi-universal, which gives to them an electoral preponderance, be an indefensible blunder and anomaly, of which the folly can only be equalled by the obvious injustice and the certain mischief.
ART. VIII.-CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN.
The History of Japan, giving an Account of the ancient and present
state of that Empire, fc. fc. Written in High Dutch by Engelbertus Kämpfer, M.D., Physician to the Dutch Embassy to the Emperor's Court; and translated from the original manuscript, never before printed, by J. G. Scheuchzer, F.R.S., and a Member
of the College of Physicians, London. London, 1727. Histoire et Description général du Japon. Par le Père de Charle
voix, de la Compagnie de Jésus. Paris, 1736. Nippon : Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan, Bc. P. F. von Siebold.
Leyden, 1832-51. Narrative of Lord Elgin's Mission to China and Japan. By Lau
rence Oliphant, Private Secretary to Lord Elgin. Edinburgh and
London, 1859. If there were never-failing truth in the trite saying, that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,* Protestantism would at this day be dominant in Spain, and Catholicism would be the established religion of the Japanese. That, secretly, there linger among the latter some hereditary aspirations after the creed which was once embraced by thousands of their countrymen we are strongly inclined to believe; but, to all outward appearance, persecution has thoroughly triumphed in Japan. Elsewhere the “ children” have built the monuments of the prophets whom the “fathers” slew. But in Japan there are no such signs of admiring or regretful memory. Not a trace is left of schools, colleges, monasteries, and churches, which once studded the face of the country ; and, but for the books of foreigners, no reader could learn that Christianity had ever secured a single native disciple. As will appear in the sequel of this Article, the Japanese Annals just barely advert to circumstances which have scarcely their parallel in the records of missionary enterprise. Contemporaneously with the Catholic faith the Portuguese introduced tobacco and gunpowder into Japan. Tobacco-smoking has long been universal, among both sexes, throughout the empire: portraits are preserved of the adventurers Pinto and Zeimoto, from whom the islanders gained their first knowledge of the existence and use of fire-arms; but Christianity is spoken of by native gentlemen as “a transitory and forgotten evil;" and the only custom from which we might infer that it had ever taken root in Japanese soil is the annual ceremony of trampling on the cross :
* " Semen est sanguis Christianorum” are Tertullian's words.
“ On the 22d of February (1776) the horrid ceremony was performed of trampling on such images as represent the cross, and the Virgin Mary with the Child. This ceremony is performed for the purpose of imprinting on every one an abhorrence of the Christian doctrine, and of the Portuguese who attempted to propagate that doctrine, and at the same time to discover whether any remains of it be yet left in any Japanese. The trampling is performed in such places as were formerly most frequented by the Christians. In the town of Nagasaki it continues for four days, after which period the images are carried to the adjacent places, and at last are laid by till the following year. Every one, except the governor and his train, even the smallest child, is obliged to be present; but that the Dutch, as some have been pleased to insinuate, are obliged to trample on these images is not true. At every place overseers are present, who assemble the people by rotation in certain houses, calling over every one by his name in due order, and seeing that every thing is duly performed. Adults walk over the images from one side to the other, and children in arms are put with their feet on them.” Thunberg, iii. 89.
But while this inquisitorial usage supplies the only direct indications which would lead us to conclude that the cross had once been a revered symbol in Japan, the whole internal and external policy of the empire is dominated by antipathy to Christianity. The espionage, which has enclosed in its subtle web each individual — emperor and serf alike—in a population amounting to some forty millions, originated in the recoil