Imágenes de páginas
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small]



R. PHOEBUS was the most successful, not to say the most eminent, painter of the age. He was the descendant of a noble family of Gascony that had emigrated to England from France in the reign of Louis XIV. Unquestionably they had mixed their blood frequently during the interval and the vicissitudes of their various life; but in Gaston Phoebus Nature had chosen to reproduce exactly the original type.


"It is presumption in my talking about such things,' said Lothair; "but might I venture to ask what you may consider the true principles of art?"

"Aryan principles," said Mr. Phoebus; "not merely the study of Nature, but of beautiful Nature; the art of design in a country inhabited by a first-rate race, and where the laws, the manners, the customs, are calculated to maintain the health and beauty of a first-rate race. In a greater or less degree, these conditions obtained from the age of Pericles to the age of Hadrian in pure Aryan communities; but Semitism began then to prevail, and ultimately triumphed. Semitism has destroyed Art; it taught man to despise his own. body, and the essence of art is to honor the human frame."

"I am afraid I ought not to talk about such things," said Lothair, but, if by Semitism you mean religion, surely the Italian painters, inspired by Semitism, did something."

"Great things," said Mr. Phoebus; "some of the greatest. Semitism gave them subjects, but the Renaissance gave them Aryan art, and it gave that art to a purely Aryan race. But Semitism rallied in the shape of the Reformation, and swept all away. When Leo the Tenth was pope, popery was pagan; popery is now Christian, and Art is extinct."


"I can not enter into such controversies," said Lothair. "Every day I feel more and more I am extremely ignorant."

"Do not regret it," said Mr. Phoebus. "What you call ignorance is your strength. By ignorance you mean a want of knowledge of books. Books are fatal; they are the curse of the human

race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man was the invention of printing. Printing has destroyed education. Art is a great thing, and Science is a great thing; but all that Art and Science can reveal can be taught by man and by his attributes-his voice, his hand, his eye. The essence of education is the education of the body. Beauty and health are the chief sources of happiness. Men should live in the air; their exercises should be regular, varied, scientific. To render his body strong and supple is the first duty of man. He should develop and completely master the whole muscular system. What I admire in the order to which you belong is that they do live in the air; that they excel in athletic sports; that they can only speak one language; and that they never read. This is not a complete education, but it is the highest education since the Greek."

"What you say I feel encouraging," said Lothair, "for I myself live very much in the air, and am fond of all sports; but I confess I am often ashamed of being so poor a linguist, and was seriously thinking that I ought to read."

"No doubt every man should combine an intellectual with a physical training," replied Mr. Phoebus; "but the popular conception of the means is radically wrong. Youth should attend lectures on art and science by the most illustrious professors, and should converse together afterward on what they have heard. They should learn to talk; it is a rare accomplishment, and extremely healthy. They should have music always at their meals. The theater, entirely remodeled and reformed, and under a minister of state, should be an important element of education. I should not object to the recitation of lyric poetry. That is enough. I would not have a book in the house, or even see a newspaper."

“These are Aryan principles?" said Lothair. "They are," said Mr. Phoebus; "and of such principles I believe a great revival is at hand. We shall both live to see another Renaissance."

[ocr errors]



O true American can fail to be interested in the great Englishman who, by the magic of his eloquence and the power of his name, did so much to retain for us the sympathy of the working-classes of his 'country during our civil war. John Bright is the English statesman who, more than any other, has demonstrated that in high places in the government, personal honor, absolute integrity, and open candor, are the best rules of conduct. He never made a "deal" to secure office, or found it necessary to sacrifice his individual sense of right to the exigencies of the public service. He was by nature a democrat, and had full faith in popular feeling as opposed to the aristocracy. His public life was devoted to temperance, the cause of peace, the removal of the burdens imposed by the corn-laws upon the English working-classes, and to the extension and protection of popular rights.

Born in 1811, the son of a prosperous manufacturer of Rochdale, he was a member of the Society of Friends, and consistently advocated its principles throughout his life. About 1839 he formed the intimate friendship of Richard Cobden and joined in the anti-corn-law agitation, whose final victory was due to Bright only in a less degree than to Cobden. He entered Parliament in 1843, and continued a member for nearly forty years. He had naturally an ungraceful manner and a bad delivery, but his ready speech and terrible earnestness overcame all obstacles and made him one of the most effective orators of his time. "He is endowed," said a London paper during the Reform Bill agitation of 1866, "with a voice that can discourse most eloquent music, and with a speech that can equally sound the depths of pathos or scale the heights of indignation," and the Times declared that "no orator of the century has stirred the heart of the country in so short a time, or so effectually, by his own unaided intellect." The compelling force of his sense of personal honor is well illustrated in his leaving the Gladstone Cabinet in 1882 on account of the bombardment of Alexandria, and Mr. Gladstone, while radically differing from him, has declared this to be the action of all his life most deserving of honor.

Mr. Bright did not follow Gladstone in his advocacy of home rule for Ireland, but believed that policy to be contrary to the interests, not only of England, but of Ireland as well. He died in 1889, and perhaps no more fitting eulogium could be pronounced upon his life and labors than to say of them, as did the Lon

[ocr errors]

don Spectator of his speech on Ireland in 1868, that it "did more to draw the noblest men of all parties nearer to each other than long years of discussion had effected before." Higher praise could no man have than that he was an instrument in bringing together the conflicting opinions of his countrymen; helping right-minded men to see the real truth which so often lies midway between the partial views of shallower thinkers. This is the praise that belongs to the great Quaker Statesman of England.




IT MUST not be supposed, because I wish to represent the interest of the many, that I am hostile to the interest of the few. But is it not perfectly certain that if the foundation of the most magnificent building be destroyed and undermined, the whole fabric itself is in danger? Is it not certain, also, that the vast body of the people who form the foundation of the social fabric, if they are suffering, if they are trampled upon, if they are degraded, if they are discontented, if "their hands are against every man, and every man's hands are against them," if they do not flourish as well, reasonably speaking, as the classes who are above them, because they are richer and more powerful,-then are those classes as much in danger as the working-classes themselves?

There never was a revolution in any country which destroyed the great body of the people. There have been convulsions of a most dire character, which have overturned old-fashioned monarchies and have hurled thrones and scepters to the dust. There have been revolutions which have brought down most powerful aristocracies, and swept them from the face of the earth forever; but never was there a revolution yet which destroyed the people. And whatever may come as the consequence of the state of things in this country, of this we may rest assured that the common people, that the great bulk of our countrymen, will remain and survive the shock, though it may be that the Crown, and the aristocracy, and the Church may be leveled with the dust, and rise no more. In seeking to represent the working

classes, and in standing up for their rights and liberties, I hold that I am also defending the rights and liberties of the middle and richer classes of society. Doing justice to one class can not inflict injustice on any other class, and "justice and impartiality to all" is what we all have a right to from government. And we have a right to clamor ; and so long as I have breath, so long will I clamor against the oppression which I see to exist, and in favor of the rights of the great body of the people.

I have seen the emblems and symbols of affliction such as I did not expect to see in this city. Ay! and I have seen those little children who at not a distant day will be the men and women of this city of Durham; I have seen their poor little wan faces and anxious looks, as if the furrows of old age were coming upon them before they have escaped from the age of childhood. I have seen all this in this city, and I have seen far more in the neighborhood from which I have come. You have seen, in all probability, people from my neighborhood walking your streets and begging for that bread which the corn-laws would not allow them to earn.

"Bread-taxed weaver, all can see
What the tax hath done for thee,
And thy children, vilely led,
Singing hymns for shameful bread,
Till the stones of every street
Know their little naked feet."

This is what the corn-law does for the weavers of my neighborhood, and for the weavers and artisans of yours.

« AnteriorContinuar »