contradictions. The Land Bank of the Nobles is founded to help those proprietors who find themselves in imminent danger of being forced to sell their land, to avoid the necessity of selling it. The Land Bank of the Peasants is founded to help those peasants, whose landlords are forced to sell, to buy for themselves. In fact, one enables a man not to sell what the other enables another man to buy. It may be unpalatable, but the truth is these banks show the distance of the space between the peasant class and the nobility. The Committee, the Council, the Minister, the secretaries all belong to the nobility, and therefore it is comprehensible that they suggest, sanction, and found a bank which is to supply them with funds on mortgage sufficient to prevent the necessity of selling. These same people are wise enough in their generation to go a step farther, and found a bank which will guarantee payment for their land in the event of their wishing to part with it!

These instances show, perhaps for general purposes more clearly than the most elaborate table of statistics, how hopeless is the present state of Russian finance from a layman's point of view. And everybody knows that foreign politics must be influenced by the state of a country's finances. Our unsteady financial state must make our policy unsteady. Our deficit every year is so enormous, that no tax has been left untried except a poll-tax, and this is talked of now. As a matter-of-fact, passports are a form of poll-tax; but in addition to this, we talk of a poll-tax, pure and simple, of one rouble per head. Where are the poorer peasantry to find an additional rouble? On the other hand, the Government pension-list swallows up such an enormous sum every year, and increases so fast, that Councils, Committees and Ministers are afraid to touch the question lest they beggar some of their own families. For instance, a man who has served twenty-five years as teacher in any Government school is entitled to a pension. So far, good. But an instance crops up of a man who began giving instruction to the son of a general while he himself was still a student of eighteen years of age. As the general was in service, this student is allowed to count the years he instructed

the general's son as so much time spent toward his claim for a pension. So we see that at forty-three he will be entitled to the full pension allowed for service in a Government school. This is no imaginary case and no uncommon one. A reduction of the pension-list would be found to be far more advantageous than adding a poll-tax to the already heavily taxed peasant.

Our system is wrong, is rotten, and we are bound to do our utmost to get it cleansed. The possibilities of bringing influence to bear in Russia are so slight and uncertain, that it is by exposing our defects in other countries that we hope to open the eyes of those who ought to help us. But it is in foreign countries that we are so much misrepresented. People distrust our Government in politics, and, without further question, imagine that it is our people who sway our politics. Nothing can be further from the case. In theory, no doubt, our Czar is the representative of his people, and his interests are his people's. It would indeed be difficult to imagine a more purely democratic state in principle. But, unfortunately, we are so completely divided into two classes, that no instance exists of a state in which the mass of the people have less voice in the Government and its policy. This is, perhaps, hardly realized by foreigners, as it requires a very intimate knowledge of a country to be able to weigh fairly the various influences at work. Alexander II. was said to have been driven into the Turkish war by the irresistible wish of the Russian people. The Russian people consisted of those who were about the Emperor's person. The masses to this day have no idea what was the object of the war, or what was gained, or what was lost by it. The present Emperor is not so much influenced by those about him; but still less by the peasants, who never see him, and whom he cannot possibly understand except by tradition.

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In the January number of the Nineteenth Century there appeared an article headed "Rural Russia. There is so much admirable work in the article, that it disappointed us greatly to find the writer attempting to describe some things with which she evidently is quite unacquainted. She quotes freely from

Gogol, to illustrate her theories of our provincial life. Would it not astonish English people to find Dickens quoted to illustrate life in England as it is at present? Gogol died in 1849. Far greater changes have taken place in Russia since his day than in England since Dickens wrote even his earliest works. Both authors portrayed types which were caricatures of individuals even at the time they wrote. The article referred to opens fairly enough, though the expression "washing is unknown" demands a note explanatory of a Russian bath-so thoroughly national an institution, that it ought not to be passed over in silence, and certainly in full use in Gogol's day. As the writer proceeds, she finds much to deplore in the national songs. Surely our people do not sing songs more barbarous or less refined than are to be heard at any English village carousal. Referring to the bad ones, Lady Verney might have mentioned some of our really poetical village songs such, for instance, as "Evening," which contains a wonderfully true and life-like picture of a simple Russian peasant family.

Then we find a statement, that land in Russia has hardly any value. A difficulty at the present moment is to find anything half as valuable as the land. Our population does not increase rapidly, and our country is thinly populated; but even now we find that the land is not wide enough. At the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, the land was divided in proportion to the number of males in each village. In 1887-yes, and sooner than that-the land given has been

found to be insufficient, and the price has risen accordingly. Land in the better districts cannot be bought for less than £io an acre now; a price by no means insignificant when the prices of other things are taken into consideration. The writer referred to has some excellent remarks on the system of agriculture, and quotes well from Professor Jansen in support of her views; and the conclusions she draws are worthy of the attention of those who would create peasant proprietors in other countries.

The pictures of life and character which she draws are exaggerated. Gogol's works are true in the same sense that Dickens' were true; in the same sense that all caricatures, to be worth anything, must be true. We have come less in contact with other European nations, so that our characteristics are still distinct, and our manners and customs less assimilated than those of other nations. But our folk-lore belongs to the universal strain, which varies only according to the circumstances of each country. Our people are no whit inferior to the people of Western Europe, save for the want of education; and this want is one of the first that must be satisfied. Through education only can the people express their wishes, and bring their influence to bear; and their influence must compel the wealthier classes to realize that the interests of all Russians are identical; that agriculture is the real source of Russian wealth; and that the present rotten system of mal-administration is the prime cause of our troubles, political, social, and financial.-Murray's Magazine.



THE following paper was in great part composed when I came across some sentences on Hazlitt, written indeed before I was born, but practically unpublished until the other day. In a review of the late Mr. Horne's New Spirit of the Age, contributed to the Morning Chronicle forty-two years ago, and but recently included in his collected works,

Thackeray writes thus of the author of the book whose title Horne had rather rashly borrowed:

"The author of the Spirit of the Age was one of the keenest and brightest critics that ever merable, he had a wit so keen, a sensibility so lived. With partialities and prejudices innuexquisite, an appreciation of humor, or pathos, or even of the greatest art, so lively, quick, and


cultivated, that it was always good to know what were the impressions made by books or men or pictures on such a mind; and that, as

there were not probably a dozen men in England with powers so varied, all the rest of the world might be rejoiced to listen to the opinions of this accomplished critic. He was of so different a caste to the people who gave authority in his day-the pompous big-wigs and

schoolmen, who never could pardon him his familiarity of manner so unlike their own-his popular too popular-habits and sympathies so much beneath their dignity; his loose, disorderly education gathered round those bookstalls or picture-galleries where he labored a penniless student, in lonely journeys over Europe tramped on foot (and not made, after the fashion of the regular critics of the day, by the side of a young nobleman in a postchaise), in every school of knowledge from St. Peter's at Rome to St. Giles's in London. In all his nodes of life and thought he was so different from the established authorities with their degrees and white neckcloths, that they hooted the man down with all the power of their lungs, and disdained to hear truth that came from such a ragged philosopher."

Some exceptions, no doubt, must be taken to this enthusiastic, and in the main just, verdict. Hazlitt himself denied himself wit, yet if this was mock humility, I am inclined to think that he spoke truth unwittingly. His appreciation of humor was fitful and anything but impartial, and, biographically speaking, the hardships of his apprenticeship are very considerably exaggerated. It was not, for instance, in a penniless or pedestrian manner that he visited St. Peter's at Rome; but journeying comfortably with surroundings of wine, vetturini, and partridges, which his second wife's income paid for. But this does not matter much, and, on the whole, the estimate is as just as it is generous. Perhaps something of its inspiration may be set down to fellow-feeling both in politics and in the unsuccessful cultivation of the arts of design. But as high an estimate of Hazlitt is quite compatible with the strongest political dissent from his opinions, and with a total freedom from the charge of wearing the willow for painting.

There is indeed no doubt that Hazlitt is one of the most absolutely unequal writers in English, if not in any, literature, Wilson being perhaps his only compeer. The term absolute is used with intention and precision. There may be others who in different parts of their work are more unequal than he is; but

with him the inequality is pervading and shows itself in his finest passages, in those where he is most at home, as much as in his hastiest and most uncongenial taskwork. It could not, indeed, be otherwise, because the inequality itself is due less to an intellectual

than to a moral defect. The clear sunshine of Hazlitt's admirably acute intellect is always there; but it is constantly obscured by driving clouds of furious prejudice.

Even as the clouds pass, the light may still be seen on distant and scattered parts of the landscape; but wherever their influence extends there is nothing but thick darkness, gusty wind and drenching rain. And the two phenomena, the abiding intellectual light and the fits and squalls of moral darkness, appear to be totally independent of each other, or of any single will or cause of any kind. It would be perfectly easy, and may perhaps be in place later, to give a brief collection of some of the most absurd and outrageous sayings that any writer not a mere fool can be charged with of sentences not representing quips and cranks of humor, or judgments temporary and one-sided, though having a certain relative validity, but containing blunders and calumnies so gross and palpable that the man who set them down might seem to have forfeited all claim to the reputation either of an intelligent or a responsible being. And yet side by side with these are other passages (and fortunately a much greater number) which justify, and more than justify, Hazlitt's claims to be, as Thackeray says, one of the keenest and brightest writers that ever lived;" Lamb had said earlier, one of the wisest and finest spirits breathing."

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The only exception to be taken to the well-known panegyric of Elia is, that it bestows this eulogy on Hazlitt in his natural and healthy state.' Unluckily, it would seem, by a concurrence of all testimony, even the most partial, that the unhealthy state was quite as natural as the healthy one. Lamb himself plaintively wishes that "he would not quarrel with the world at the rate he does ;" and De Quincey, in his short, but very interesting, biographical notice of Hazlitt (a notice entirely free from the malignity with which De Quincey has been sometimes charged), declares



with quite as much truth as point, that Hazlitt's guiding principle was, "Whatever is, is wrong. He was the very ideal of a literary Ishmael; and after the fullest admission of the almost incredible virulence and unfairness of his foes, it has to be admitted, likewise, that he was quite as ready to quarrel with his friends. He succeeded at least once in forcing a quarrel even upon Lamb. His relations with Leigh Hunt (who, whatever his faults were, was not unamiable) were constantly strained, and at least once actually broken by his infernal temper. Nor were his relations with women more fortunate or more creditable than those with men. That the fault was entirely on his side in the rupture with his first wife is, no doubt, not the case; for Mrs. Hazlitt's, or Miss Stoddart's, own friends admit that she was of a peculiar and rather trying disposition. It is indeed evident that she was the sort of person (most trying of all others to a man of Hazlitt's temperament) who would put her head back as he was kissing her to ask if he would like another cup of tea, or interrupt a declaration to suggest shutting the window. As for the famous and almost legendary episode of Sarah Walker, the lodging-house keeper's daughter, and the Liber Amoris, the obvious and irresistible attack of something like erotic madness which it implies absolves Hazlitt partly-but only partly; for there is a kind of shabbiness about the affair which shuts it out from all reasonable claim to be regarded as a new act of the endless drama of All for Love, or the World Well Lost!" Of his second marriage, the only persons who might be expected to give us some information either can or will say next to nothing. But when a man with such antecedents marries a woman of whom no one has anything bad to say, lives with her for a year chiefly on her money, and is then quitted by her with the information that she will have nothing more to do with him, it is not, I think, uncharitable to conjecture that most of the fault is his.

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foreigners which accompanied his Liberalism and his Bonapartism, and other traits, are very much more English than Irish. But Irish, at least on the father's side, his family was, and had been for generations. He was himself the son of a Unitarian minister, was born at Maidstone in 1778, accompanied his parents as a very little boy to America, but passed the greater part of his youth at Wem in Shropshire, where the interview with Coleridge, which decided his fate, took place. Yet for some time after that he was mainly occupied with studies, not of literature, but of art. had been intended for his father's profession, but had early taken a disgust to it. At such schools as he had been able to frequent he had gained the character of a boy rather insusceptible of ordinary teaching; and his letters (they are rare throughout his life) show him to us as something very like a juvenile prig. According to his own account, he

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thought for at least eight years' without being able to pen a line, or at least a page; and the worst accusation that can be brought against him (it is an accusation which his Tory foes never dreamt of bringing, and which is based on his own and his grandson's confessions) is, that when he began to write he left off reading. Those of us who (for their sins or for their good) are condemned to a life of writing for the press know that such an abstinence as this is almost fatal. Perhaps no man ever did good work in periodical writing unless he had previously had a more or less prolonged period of reading with no view to writing. Certainly no one ever did other than very faulty work if, not having such a store to draw on, when he began writing he left off reading.

The first really important event in Hazlitt's life, except the visit from Coleridge in 1798, was his own visit to Paris. after the Peace of Amiens in 1802-a visit authorized and defrayed by certain commissions to copy pictures at the Louvre, which was then, in consequence of French conquests, the picture-gallery of Europe. The chief of these commissioners was a Mr. Railton, a person of some fortune at Liverpool, and, unless John Hazlitt, the critic's brother, was a man of genius, the father of a daughter


who had one of the most beautiful faces the accusation of gin-drinking brought of modern times. Miss Railton was against Hazlitt by the whiskey-drinkers one of Hazlitt's many loves it was, of the Noctes. For the greater part of perhaps, fortunate for her that the his literary life he seems to have been course of the love did not run smooth. almost a teetotaler, indulging only in Almost immediately on his return he the very strongest of tea. He soon gave made acquaintance with the Lambs, up miscellaneous press work, as far as and, as Mr. W. C. Hazlitt, his grandson politics went; but his passion for the and biographer thinks, with Miss Stod- theatre retained him as a theatrical critic dart, his future wife. Miss Stoddart, almost to the end of his life. He gradthere is no doubt, was an elderly co- ually drifted into the business really best quette, though perfectly "proper." suited to him, that of essay-writing, and Besides the "William" of her early cor- occasionally lecturing on literary and respondence with Mary Lamb, we hear miscellaneous subjects. During the of three or four other lovers of hers be- greatest part of his early London life he tween 1803 and 1808, when she married was resident in a famous house, now deHazlitt. It so happens that one, and stroyed, in York street, Westminster, only one, letter of his to her has been next door to Bentham and reputed to preserved. His biographer seems to have once been tenanted by Milton; think it in another sense unique"; and he was a constant attendant on but it is, in effect, a very typical letter Lamb's Wednesday evenings. The defrom a literary lover of a rather passion- tails of his life, it has been said, are not ate temperament. The two were mar- much known. The chief of them, beried, in defiance of superstition, on Sun- sides the breaking out of his lifelong day, the first of May; and certainly the war with Blackwood and the Quarterly, superstition had not the worst of it. was, perhaps, his unlucky participation in the duel which proved fatal to Scott, the editor of the London. It is impossible to imagine a more deplorable muddle than this affair. Scott, after refusing the challenge of Lockhart, with whom he had, according to the customs of those days, a sufficient ground of quarrel, accepted that of Christie, Lockhart's second, with whom he had no quarrel at all. Moreover, when his adversary had deliberately spared him in the first fire, he insisted (it is said owing to the stupid conduct of his own seconds) on another, and was mortally wounded. Hazlitt, who was more than indirectly concerned in the affair, had a professed objection to duelling, which would have been more creditable to him if he had not been avowedly of a timid temper. But, most unfortunately, he was said, and believed, to have spurred Scott on to the acceptance of the challenge, nor do his own champions deny it.

At first, however, no evil results seemed likely. Miss Stoddart had a certain property settled on her at Winterslow, on the south-eastern border of Salisbury Plain, and for nearly four years the couple seem to have dwelt there, once, at least, entertaining the Lambs, and producing children, of whom only one lived. It was not till 1812 that they removed to London, and that Hazlitt engaged in writing for the newspapers. From this time till the end of his life, some eighteen years, he was never at a loss for employment-a succession of daily and weekly papers, with occasional employment on the Edinburgh Review, providing him, it would seem, with sufficiently abundant opportunities for copy. The London, the New Monthly (where Campbell's dislike did him no harm), and other magazines also employed him. For a time he seems to have joined "the gallery'' and written ordinary press-work. During this time, which was very short, and this time only, his friends admit a certain indulgence in drinking, which he gave up completely, but which was used against him with as much pitilessness as indecency in Blackwood; though heaven only knows how the most Tory soul living could see fitness of things in

The scandal is long bygone, but is unluckily a fair sample of the ugly stories which cluster round Hazlitt's name, and which have hitherto prevented that justice being done to him which his abilities deserve and demand.

This wretched affair occurred in February, 1821, and shorly afterward the crowning complication of Hazlitt's own

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