Washington ; and throwing over an offer Ministerialists. If I see pretty girls in the of Mr. Delane to go to the seat of war as

galleries who are friends of mine (the galleries " Times” correspondent, and dismissing members and draw caricatures of them, which

are always full), I go up there and criticise illusory promises of Lord Clarendon to do they throw down into members' laps peatly something for him in the East, he started folded, who pass them to the original,- by on the first of many subsequent journeys which time I have regained my seat, and the to America. Lord Elgin's object was to

demure secretary remains profoundly political

and unsuspected. I find nothing so difficult make a commercial arrangement with the

as keeping up my dignity, and when a Bishop United States in the interests of Canada, or a Cabinet Minister calls, I take their apoloof which he was then Governor-General ; gies for intruding as if I was doing them a and a treaty was “ floated through on

favor. I am afraid of hazarding a joke unless champagne,” as was not unjustly said at the dignity of the office was so well sustained

I am quite sure it is a good one. I suppose the time, which served in the future as the by Bruce, that they are scandalized by a larky basis for a good deal of diplomatic diffi. young cove like me.” culties. In the festivities of Washington No one who has met the writer will Laurence Oliphant was in his element, have any difficulty in appreciating the making friends everywhere, and revelling fidelity of this portrait which the young in the racy society which gathered together secretary has drawn of himself. It in the Capitol in those days. The treaty Laurence Oliphant down to the heels. It effected, he accompanied his chief back to was characteristic of the man that he took Canada. He was appointed Superin- in situations of life, which to most people tendent-General of Indian Affairs, “hav- would have presented grave and formal ing as my subordinates two colonels, two aspects, with a light-hearted volatility ; captains (all of militia), and some English while others, which to the majority of us gentlemen who have been long in the ser- would be fraught with supreme absurdity, vice, and who must look rather suspicious- were treated as of the utmost moment and ly at the Oriental Traveller's interposi- seriousness. With all the nonchalance and tion.". It is not so long ago since he frivolity with which he credits himself, himself gave an account of his Western ad- Oliphant, however, must have done use. ventures while occupying this post in the ful work to secure the continuance of Magazine, that we need dwell upon them Lord Elgin's favor in other scenes of here again ; and indeed his real work statesmanship. It is not one of the least seems to have lain in the immediate vicin- puzzling enigmas in this perplexing career ity of the Governor-General. A picture how a chief of the can't-you-let-itof his life in his letters at this time is alone” Melbourne school of statesmen, however so lively, that we must give a and an impulsive secretary who was always brief quotation from it :

brinming over with energy, should have ." My life is much like that of a Cabinet rowed so long and so well together. Minister or parliamentary swell, now that the

The official career in Canada which lay House is sitting. I am there every night till open before him was not for Laurence the small hours, taking little relaxations in the Oliphant. He was offered to have his shape of evening visits when a bore gets up: secretaryship continued by Sir Edmund fast and the drive in (from Spencer Wood), Head, who was Lord Elgin's successor, etc., detain me from the office till near one. and he still had his native superintendentThen I get through business for the next ship in his hands, but all these were three hours-chiefly consisting of drafting let thrown over, and he was back again in ters, which in the end I ought to be a dab at. . . I also append my valuable signature

It was then he pub

England in 1855. to a great deal without knowing in the least lished “Minnesota and the Far West ;'' why, and run out to the most notorious gos- and while he was bringing out the book, sips to pick up the last bits of news, political he was also doing bis best to induce Lord or social, with which to regale his Excellency, Clarendon to send him as an envoy to who duly rings for me for that purpose when he has read his letters and had his interviews. Schamyl to concert a general rising of CirThen he walks out with an A.D.C., and I go cassia and the Caucasus against Russia. to the House. There I take up my seat on a Lord Clarendon was unable to comply, or chair exclusively my own next the Speaker, perhaps feared to commit himself to a and members (I have made it my business to know them Dearly all) come and tell me the spirit so forward and adventurous, but he news, and I am on chaffing terms with the Op. referred him to Lord Stratford de Redposition, and on confidential terms with the cliffo ; and Oliphant, with his father Sir

Anthony, who had now retired from the gular one. He accompanied Mr. Delane Colonial Bench, was soon on his way to of the “ Times” to America upon some the East. But the Great Elchi was not journalistic enterprise, the object of which more amenable than the Foreign Office, can only be guessed. While in the Southand nothing came of Oliphant's recom ern States, he chanced to hear of the exmendations. Oliphant, however, was al- pedition which Walker, " the filibuster,'' lowed to accompany Mr. Alison of the was fitting out for Nicaragua. The temptaConstantinople embassy on a mission to tion was too strong for Oliphant, and he gather information along the Circassian at once enrolled himself in the number of coast, and he spent some time with Omar Walker's followers. We cannot suppose Pasha's force, and joined in the action on that he had any enthusiasm in the enterthe Ingour, and some other engagements prise, or set any store by the prospects of the campaign. In the Magazine, Oli- held out to the adventurers ; but the exphant, after his return, gave a very graphic pedition was risky, daring, and novel ; it account of his Circassian travels ; but would supply an excellent subject to write from a letter which Mrs. Oliphant gives about ; and that was enough for Laurence we may take the following characteristic Oliphant. The expedition was a failure anecdote :

so far as Laurence Oliphant was concerned, “ By the by, I never told you I had made a and it would have been well for his chief battery. Skender Pasha, the officer in com- in the end had it proved equally abortive. mand, thought I was an officer from my hav: for himself. A British squadron lay across ing a regimental Turkish fez cap on, and asked the mouth of the San Juan river ; and me if I knew where a battery was to be made when the filibustering vessels were boardthat I did, because I had been walking over ed in search of Englishmen, Oliphant was the ground with Simmons (now General Sir readily detected and carried on board the Lintorn Simmons) in the morning ; so Sken, flagship, where he found a

« Scotch der told off a working party of two hundred cousin' in command of the squadron, who men, with two companies of infantry and two field-pieces, put them under my command, took good care that he should not be again and sent me off to make the battery. It was allowed to associate himself with the Nicaabout the middle of a pitch-dark night, slap raguan enterprise. under the Russian guns, about two hundred We next find Oliphant again occupying yards from them. Luckily they never found us out, we worked so quietly. I had to do a position on Lord Elgin's staff

, this time everything, --line the wood with sharpshoot on the warlike mission to China, which ers, put the field-pieces in position, and place was intended to bring the Celestials to the gabions. Everybody came to me for orders their senses. As he himself not so long in the humblest way. In about three hours I ago has described to our readers his exing a shot fired at me, while Simmons, who periences that expedition, as well as. was throwing up a battery a few hundred the narrow escape which he had from as. yards lower down, had a man killed. Both sassination in Japan, we shall merely refer these batteries did good service two days the reader to Mrs. Oliphant's volume for after. The dificulty was, none of the officers this period of his life, and to the numerwith me could speak anything but Tarkish. Afterward Skender Pasha was speaking to Sim ous fresh letters by which she illustrates mons about it, complaining of the want of in- it ; for we must press on to more important terpreters, and instancing the English officer phases of his career. We must give, howwho made the battery not having an inter. ever, the following story, on Mrs. Olipreter ; so Simmons said, ' Ce n'est pas un officier, ce n'est qu'un simple gentleman qui phant's authority, indicating as it does the voyage, which rather astonished old Skender. mystic tendencies which were already beI think Simmons looks on the 'Times' corre- ginning to manifest themselves in his. spondent with a more favorable eye since that nature : experience." In addition to his communications to

"Sir Anthony's death was entirely unex. the “ Times,” and his contributions to pected, and occurred, I believe, at a dinner

party to which he had gone in his usual health. “ Blackwood,” Oliphant described his I have been told that, being at sea at the time, Circassian experiences in the “Transcau- Laurence came on deck one morning and in. casian Campaign of the Turkish Army,” formed his comrades that he had seen his which was published soon after his return that they endeavored to laugh him out of the

father in the night, and that he was deadto England. The next adventure in which impression, but in vain. The date was taken he signalized himself was a still more sin- down, and on their arrival in England it was

NEW SERIES.-VOL, LIV., No. 2. 17

But by

found that Sir Anthony Oliphant had indeed he disliked them all, followed a system of died on that night—which," Mrs. Oliphant

“ free selection," and sought for views to drily adds, “ would be a remarkable addition, if sutficiently confirmed, to many stories of á supply the place of dogina. As is comsimilar kind which are well known."

monly the case with men who pursue this Even so, but how rarely does the confirma- course of religious speculation, the notion prove sufficient ! In Oliphant's case,

torious fact that the practice of Christianhowever, the story has its significance.

ity never has squared, and never will square Then followed three years of restless with its precepts in an imperfect world, activity, much literary work, and many

made a great impression upon Oliphant's Continental excursions. He made the ac- mind, leading him ultimately first to seek quaintance of the Prince of Wales as his for, and then to construct, a system which Royal Highness was passing through this time we find nothing in his letters

might reconcile the two. But down to Vienna on his tour to the East, and the that would not justify us in classing him interest with which he then inspired his Royal Highness remained unimpaired until the time he accompanied Lord Elgin to the end. Henceforth, from whatever the time he accompanied Lord Elgin to scenes or from whatever quarter of the He astonished his fellow-members of the

China a change was evidently working. globe he had come to “ Took in" for a moment upon English society-perhaps to

Embassy, when they first met him on have a laugh over it-he received the board ship, by talking of matters spiritual Prince's cominands to visit him and relate and mystical, singularly different from the his adventures. One of his most re

themes that usually occupy such groups. markable expeditions during these years had been attracted during his stay in the

There can be little doubt that Oliphant was that made to the camp of the insurgent Poles, in which he ran no small risk of and though he does not appear to have

States by the spiritualist” movement ; being shot had he fallen into the hands of had any sympathy with it in its better the Cossacks, who were on all sides hemming in the patriots ; but with Laurence

known and more vulgar aspects, there can Oliphant danger only lunt a novel and ad- be little question that it gave his mind a ditional zest to the adventure. His wan

propulsion in search of the mystic and derings of these days were duly recorded supernatural. He was beginning to seek


a sign. in the pages of “Maga,' with which his connection was becoming more close and "I would willingly," he writes to his mothfrequent.

er during the China period—“ I would will. A seat in Parliament had naturally been ingly go into a dungeon for the rest of my days one of the objects of Oliphant's ambi- if I was vouchsafed a supernatural revelation

of a faith ; but I should consider myself posi. tion, and he had felt his way with several tively wicked if upon so momentous a subject burghs in Scotland, keeping his eye, how. I was content with any assumptions of my ever, steadily upon the Stirling group, erring and imperfect fellow.creatures when which his father during his lifetime had against the light of my own conscience." canvassed for him, and which accordingly As yet all was mere inquiry, mere specureturned him in 1865. But before we say lation, with little result upon conduct or anything about his parliamentary career, action. Laurence Oliphant, outside bimand about the position which he occupied self, was the brilliant man of the world, in society at this time, we must go back amusing himself as much as he amused for a moment to trace Oliphant's inner others, and none the less that he had a history. We have seen him during his keen eye for the foibles, the shams, and earlier youth encouraged, even ordered, the hollowness of the society amid which to lay open his soul to his mother; and he moved. He was everywhere, saw whatever disadvantages may be inseparable everything and laughed, not ungenially, from this system of confession, it neces- in his sleeve at most things. Yet those sarily enforced habits of introspection. who knew him at his gayest, knew also His letters down to the time of his voy- that there was a serious side to his charage to China suggest a mind accustomed acter. One night a little group of memto dwell much upon religion, without bers were wrangling in the lobby of the being to any notable degree penetrated by Commons about a Scriptural quotation. its influences. Having been brought up “ Here is Oliphant,” said one, as Laurence in none of the definite Christian creeds, came out—“ be always carries a New


Testament in his pocket ;” and the little consistent with the most orthodox Christianvolume was forthcoming, and the accuracy theory, which replaces the Trinity by a Father

ity, slightly tempered by the Swedenborgian of the text settled there and then.


and Mother God-atwofold instead of a threewith all this he was no precisian, as wit- fold Unity—though even that is so little dwelt ness the nest from which the “ Owl” first upon that it might easily be overlooked, even winged that night which was to astonish by a critical hearer ; but not even the most the world for a season. He contrived to

careless could, I think, be unimpressed by the extract his full share of enjoyment out of spiritual indignation against wrong-doing and

fervent and living nobility of faith, the high the world and the world's pleasures, and against all that detracts from the divine eswhatever deeper feelings were simmering sence and spirit of Christianity, with which within him, did not obtrude themselves the dingy pages, badly printed upon bad upon the attention of his friends, or, for paper and in the meanest form, still burn and

glow. The effect, no doubt, must have been aught one could see, dictate to him any greatly heightened when they were spoken by special and unusual line of conduct. a man possessing so much sympathetic power

And yet at the time when he had a seat as Mr. Harris evidently had, to an audience in Parliament, and was comporting him already prepared, as the hearers in whom we

are most interested certainly were, for the comself more or less after the fashion of a

munication of this sacred fire. The very man of the world, he had already come points that had most occupied the mind of under an influence which was destined to Laurence Oliphant, as the reader has already change the whole course of 'bis life and seen–the hollowness and unreality of what conduct. It cannot be positively ascer

was called religion, the difference between

the divine creed and precepts, and the everytained when Oliphant first encountered day existence of those who were their exHarris, the American nystic and scer, ponents and professed believers - were the obwho cast so unfortunate a spell upon the ject of Harris's crasade. He taught no novbest period of his life. Amid the con

elty, but only—the greatest novelty of allflicting accounts which we have of this practice, not playing with the possibilities of

that men should put what they believed into person, the statements of hostile critics

a divided allegiance between God and mam. and the still more untrustworthy lauda- mon, but giving an absolute-nay, remorseless tions of his own devotees, it is impossible obedience, at the cost of any or every sacrito form an accurate estimate of Harris's fice, to the principles of a perfect life. I pre

sume confidently that, so far as the disciples character ; but such records as we have of could be aware, the prophet himself at this his life do not prepossess us in his favor. * period was without blame, and maintained his So far as Laurence Oliphant was con

own high standard. Perhaps, it may be sug. cerned, we are forced to the conclusion gested by profano criticism, the mystery in that Harris was his evil genius. Harris

which he wrapped himself would be beneficial

to the maintenance of this impression upon appears to have been in England in 1858, their minds. The great novelty in him was and on several other occasions during sub- that he required no adhesion to any doctrine, sequent years, when Oliphant was proba- and did not demand of his converts that they bly attracted toward him, if he had not necessity of living a Christ-like life.'

should agree with him upon anything but the already fallen in with him in America. In 1860 Oliphant refers to him with interest The last indication of Laurence Oliin one of his letters, and it seems proba- phant's views, before he suddenly exiled ble that in the interval between that time himself from public life and society, is to and his return for the Stirling Burghs, the be found in his novel of “Piccadilly." foundation of their future connection had In this, the most brilliant of his works, been laid, if it was the case, as there is marked by his sparkling wit, his incisive reason to believe, that Laurence Oliphant's penetration into shams and humbugs, bis failure in Parliament was due to a com shrewd yet genial faculty of unmasking mand from Harris to refrain from speak all that was hollow and untrue, we fail to ing.

discover any traces of a serious quarrel We must quote the description which with the world and society, in spite of the Mrs. Oliphant, with notable leniency and imperfections with which he charged charity, gives of this man's teaching : them. Indeed, the circumstances under

which “Piccadilly' began in the Maga'V'ery little, if anything, is said that is in.

zine lead directly to the supposition that

the dénouement was other than that origi* See Oxley's “ Modern Messiahs' for a full and apparently reliable account of Harris's nally intended. It is possible, perhaps, checkered career.

that the severe tests which he applied to

social and religious institutions in analyz- of a disciple became practically that of a ing them for this work, inay have shown serf.* them to him in a more severe and serious light than before, and thus precipitated

* Amid the mass of newspaper correspondhis resolution to shake himself rid of their ence which this Memoir bas called forth, there trammels. There is some significance in is no more valuable light thrown upon the the episode of the mysterious stranger in

connection with Harris than in a communica

tion from Mrs. Rosamond Oliphant (now Tem“Piccadilly," with his revelations of a pleton), in the "Times” of the 6th June : better life, and we may safely presume that “At this time he met Thomas Lake Harris, Harris and his doctrines are indicated, as

and was deeply impressed by his magnetic well as that in the course of his work his eloquence ; yet it was not the power of the

man which held him in thrall, but rather his mind had been led to contrast the artificial

own great need of help. He believed in Mr. world he was describing with the quiet Harris, and loved him with that self-giving and simple life which had been represented sweetness of devotion which was one of the to him as to be found beyond the Atlan

traits of his singular nature, holding within tic. This mental evolution which went on

itself the gentlest attributes of femininity with

the manliest courage of masculinity; and this concurrently with the progress of “ Picca- love continued for some years. But, so my dilly’’ is further confirmed by wbat Oli- husband told me, even during these years his phant wrote to Mr. John Blackwood : “I faith had a number of slight shocks, of which

he gave me an instance. Harris said to Laudare say you will be surprised at the half

rence that he had'received the message spiritu. serious, half-mysterious tone of the last ally that one of his (Laurence's) most dangerparts ; but after having attacked the re ous characteristics was that of personal vanity, ligious world so sharply, it is necessary to and that he must do all that lay in his power show that one does not despise religion of

to subdue his love of dress, etc. As a matter

of fact, Mr. Oliphant had scarcely enough rea right kind.':

gard for his personal appearance to take the It was not, however, until two years necessary pains with his toilet, although posafter the conclusion of “ Piccadilly” that sibly appearing well dressed in a country vil. Laurence Oliphant disappeared from Eng- lage. And as he was aware that Harris could Jand, and took up his residence in the scarcely have made a greater mistake, this

naturally somewhat shook his belief in the Harris colony at Brocton. Did he take keenness of the prophet's judgment, and in this step of his own free-will, or was he the general trustworthiness of his unsean acting under Harris's orders? We have gnidance. Mr. Oliphant, howewer, did not no means of knowing ; but the question, gradually on a little different plane, as he

swerve in his allegiance, he only readjusted it at least, deserves to be mooted. He had found him to be a more fallible man than he already put himself in Harris's hands, and bad at first imagined. Nevertheless, so Mr. this second Mokanna had not scrupled to Oliphant stated to me, Mr. Harris was at this exercise his power even in so serious a

time a noble aspirational soul, far above the matter as closing Oliphant's mouth in the

average in his ideals ; and he Laurence) con

tinued to revere and to love him for many House of Commons. It is but fair, how

years. ever, to say that Oliphant always repre Perhaps among all the gifts intrusted to sented himself as being “ rather held at man or woman, the most dangerously temptarm's-length than cajoled into the tremen- ing is that of a strong magnetic personality ; dous step which severed him from all bis undoubtedly possessed a singular power over

and this temptation Mr. Harris had. For he past life.” It may have been honestly so, those who surrounded him, and, like many but no one can read these volumes without another, this temptation proved by degrees being forced to the conclusion that he was too strong for him. His success finally in

toxicated him. When he found himself the wax in the hands of Harris. And

master of such individualities as Laurence whence did Harris derive this superiority ? and Alice, Lady Oliphant, and others equally From an intellectual point of view he was aspiring and almost as talented, he who had unquestionably Laurence Oliphant's in- been originally an obscure man oi the people ferior. So far as we can see, there was

had not the equilibrium of soul to maintain

his balance. And this is perhaps scarcely to nothing in his character to overawe and be wondered at when we reflect how easily the impress a man who had mixed with the heads of the most of us are turned. At the most talented and cultivated society of the time of his death Mr. Oliphant believed that Old World. On whatever grounds and the teachings of Harris in latter years had by whatever means, this is at least certain, worked grievous mischief. Nevertheless, he that Harris obtained the mastery of Lau- as willing to give every man his due, even rence Oliphant's will, and that his position and to the last Mr. Oliphant always spoke of


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