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no political expert, from Elijah himself downwards, has succeeded in proving his capacity for guessing what these feelings on any given subject are. All we know is, that two successive guesses were made within little more than six years of each other, by the two statesmen of the highest reputation and the longest experience in England—one in 1874, and the other in 1880—and that both were deplorably, and even ludicrously, wrong. It is not for Lord Randolph Churchill to complain of this uncertainty; it is simply one among the results of that Reform Act which "laid the foundation of the modern Tory party" on a fine, smooth, commodious quicksand, of unknown depth, of incalculable instability, and undetermined area— compelling the modern Liberal party, it is true, to shift their own quarters to "this highly eligible piece of building-land" at the same time. It is not, I repeat, for Lord Randolph Churchill to complain of this, he must simply accept the fact and duly ponder it; and the application to it of so shrewd a mind must, I should think, convince him that if it is difficult to say when you should beat a Ministry and send it to the country, it is easy to see that it is no good troubling yourself to beat Ministries in the mere hope of discrediting them in advance with an electorate to whom Parliamentary tactics, conflicts, defeats, and victories are all matters of supreme indifference.
As to Lord Randolph Churchill's other schemes for turning the Conservative minority into a majority, the most effective is the least admissible. It is the one which he rightly describes as a "dangerous subject," and "passes from with haste:" the scheme of " an Irish policy which would captivate the Celtic race." This is an idea indeed—a notion with a vengeance. If the Conservatives are prepared to go any length in the "captivating" line—if, in plain terms, they are ready to grant Home Rule, it is no doubt quite on the cards that they might be able to put the Liberals into a minority at the next election—unless, indeed, the Liberals went in for Home Rule too, as in that case they probably would. But if Lord Randolph Churchill only means a renewal of the time-honoured attempts of both English parties to buy over Ireland with something which they hope will cost England nothing, he has forgotten one important fact, which is, that" the Celtic race" is no longer represented in politics by a Celt, but by an Anglo-American, without a drop of Celtic blood in his veins, a touch of Celtic plasticity in his nature, or an ounce of Celtic improvidence iu his dealings—by a man who is as little likely as a Yankee pedlar to be "captivated" by anything short of "money down;" and who, in all his past transactions with English Governments, has certaiuly not had the worst of vhe bargain.
As to Tory Democracy, that, no doubt, might be made captivating enough to the mass of the electorate; but how is it to be made specially useful to the Conservative party? Democracy I understand; but how is the "Toryness" to be got into it? What, I mean, is to prevent the Liberals from trumping the Conservative trick upon every one of the list of social reforms which Lord Randolph Churchill enumerates? Why should they not outdo the Conservatives, in ameliorating the dwellings of the poor with Lord Salisbury, and in encouraging national thrift with Lord Carnarvon? Why should they not be equally beforehand with their rivals in the other matter of temperance, recreation, and cleanliness—sobering their countrymen with Sir Wilfrid Lawson; reclaiming commons and open spaces, aud constructing people's parks, to an extent beyond the dreams of Mr. Bryce; and washing the great body of the people even to the heart's content of Mr. Jesse Collings? It may be true that the adoption of this policy as a policy was first suggested by Lord Beaconsfield; but if there was anything specially Conservative and Conservatizing about it, why did he not realize it when he had the chance? If it really is the Tory trumpcard, why didn't he play it when it was his turn to play? Lord Randolph Churchill says that he only had time to "dream of it, to hint at it, and to sketch it." But three years of power, and of leisure for domestic legislation, is a long time to spend over dreams, hints, and sketches; and this is the time which was spent, in fact. The "Sanitas sanitatunv" speech was made in 1871; Mr. Disraeli came into office in the early spring of 1874; and those who complain that foreign troubles diverted his attention from domestic matters, appear to forget that the Eastern Question did not begin to become acute till the autumu of 1876. The Conservative Premier had three sessions in which to attempt the realization of his social reform policy, and unless the abortive Artisans' Dwellings Act can be so described, he did not even make a beginning. Why did he not? I plead guilty to the heresy of believing that the reason why he did not seize this opportunity of initiating the Tory Democratic policy ■was because no such policy had ever taken definite shape in his mind —because its outlines still wavered as vaguely before the eyes of the Prime Minister as they did before the author of "Sybil.-' As a dream it had arisen, and a dream it remained; nor had he so much as ascertained whether the vision had come to him through the gate of ivory or through the gate of horn. So far as I can see, he had never had any inducement to make the inquiry. I am aware, of course, that according to the latter-day Conservative legend, he had the strongest motive for so doing. He was bound, according to this legend, to think out his policy of Tory Democracy because he felt that he had struck new veins of popular Conservatism in democratizing the franchise. But where is the evidence that he felt anything of the kind? Where is the evidence that the Reform Act of 1867 was anything more to Mr. Disraeli than it avowedly was to the late Lord Derhy—to wit, a divinely inspired contrivance for "dishing the Whigs?" Few men, either Liberals or Conservatives, regarded it as anything else, at the time, or for several years afterwards. The mass of Mr. Disraeli's own party were as impressed by the calamity which overtook him in 1868 as were the simple islanders of Melita at the supposed judgment executed by the viper upon St. Paul. It was not till the Conservative leader seemed to have shaken off " the venomous beast" Revolution, in 1874, and "to feel no harm," that they "changed their minds and said that he was a god."
But to do him justice, he never countenanced the apotheosis. He did not actually disclaim the character of a successful prophet, but he laid little stress upon his success. Nor did he proceed to use it as a successful prophet would. lie said little about policy, and much about "no-policy." He professed little knowledge of what the people desired in the way of legislation: he was clear only upon one point—that they wanted repose. They were wearied, he declared, of Mr. Gladstone's intolerable restlessness, and had overthrown him and restored his rival because they wished, for the time at any rate, to be let alone. That was Mr. Disraeli's explanation of the event of 1874; and I think it quite possible that it was the true one. At any rate, I hope it was; for the hypothesis is at all events preferable to what appears to me its sole alternative— namely, that the constituencies swayed over in a mass from the Liberals to the Conservatives for no better reason than mere caprice and love of change. But if the former explanation is the true one, its moral for Lord Randolph Churchill and other impatient spirits is obvious. If the country only displaced the Liberals and recalled the Conservatives in 1874 because it wanted repose, there is nothing for the Conservatives but to wait till it wants repose again. For aught I know, that time is now; but if not, it is impossible to hasten it by any ingenuities of Parliamentary tactics. Moreover, the party which offers rest to the harassed British elector, should seek to emphasize the restlessness of their adversaries by their personal composure, and not to weaken the force of the contrast by factious fidgettings of their own.
H. D. Traill.
TWO ASPECTS OF SHAKSPEARE'S ART.
rilHAT which Coleridge termed the aesthetic criticism of Shak_L speare was so sorely done to death in his own day—not certainly by himself, or by Lamb, but by critics, who, while they abused them, wrote iu roundabout imitation of them—that there eventually occurred a natural and complete critical reaction. The Shakspeare scholarship which succeeded the transcendentalism of the first thirty years of the century took form about 1840 in the unquestionably concrete investigations of the first Shakspeare Society. About thirty years were thenceforth devoted to sundry matter-of-fact inquiries, which have since proved valuable, not only in themselves, but in the elucidation of certain higher problems which centuries of speculation might not have solved. Later still, a younger generation of Shakspeareans have devoted themselves with an assiduity deserving of more than the somewhat meagre results that have accrued to the study of the text of the poet, partly with a view to cleansing it of the corruptions that still cling to it, but mainly in the hope of arriving at certain metrical tests which, being mathematically demonstrable, are expected to afford us that knowledge of Shakspearean chronology which neither history nor tradition can give. And among these three schools of criticism the study of the national dramatist has throughout the years of the present century been systematically divided, not only in England, but also in Germany and America. After so much subdivision of critical labour, it is humiliating to reflect how little has been achieved. At the inauguration of the Shakspeare Society much was said, with the emphasis of confident expectation, of the superiority of actual research over speculative inquiry; but what in the end has proved to be the outcome of these forty years' laborious traversing of record offices and corporate archives? Some substantial and unlooked-for gains Lave indubitably resulted, but by much the more considerable portions of the investigations of students, like Mr. Halliwell Phillipps, have merely gone to the verification of the salieut features of the hitherto unauthenticated story of Shakspeare's life and work which tradition hands down. Mr. Phillipps gives us now the net results of his life's labour in an interesting volume of some 700 pages,* but the reader, who has been decoyed by the fascination of the subject and the lucidity of the treatment into a careful perusal of the bulky work in question, will probably Jay it aside with the reflection that the facts of the poet's life that have there been substantiated are only just too numerous to be inscribed upon his tomb. It has been pertinently, if not generously, remarked, that from fear of the reproach of belonging to the serviceable army of the dry-asdusts of 1840, the younger Shakspeareaus of 1870 established an ornamental corps of dryer-than-dusts; and certainly the metrical computations to which they have devoted themselves have been attended by results which are, it is to be feared, at once more laboriously unedifying (at least to the average reader of Shakspeare) and more conjectural. Indeed, while making frank recognition of the obligations under which we rest to Mr. Furnivall and his followers for the helps afforded towards a systematic study of the poet's works in something like the order in which he wrote them, one cannot but think that these accomplished students, in their mysterious pursuit of time and metrical analyses, are often sadly amenable to Dr. Johnson's well-known strictures on the prosy stolidness of the elder Sheridan, which implied that it must have taken the rival lexicographer a great deal of learned trouble to become so dull. And now it seems within the limits of probability that, in view of the unsatisfying outcome first of the rational criticism of 1840, and next of the scientific criticism of 1870, the Shakspeare criticism of the remaining years of the century may be, in general character, a revival of the sesthetic criticism which Coleridge began in England. In that case we may reasonably look for flights of speculative thought, before which the recent amazing discovery, that the sonnets of Shakspeare were after all addressed to the poet's own son, must fail of interest and amusement. The prospect is at least an exhilarating one, after nearly fifty years of the too patient and secure groping in the ground of short-breathed philosophers who have been unable to trust their wings, and have honestly if humbly contented themselves with solemn discussion of the burning questions of whether Shakspeare stole deer on the estate of Sir Thomas Lucy, and died of a fever contracted by hard drinking in the company of Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton, and whether he wrote more lines with double-endings at fifty than at forty, and more lines with female-endings at forty than at twenty