« VorigeDoorgaan »
would not be at all salutary, and views have / weakly obstinate, and dictatorial man, has been propounded of our duty as neutrals succumbed to the intense feeling of racethat wouli, if adopted, place us at the hatred and race-suspicion whicho alienates mercy of any belligerent who might call on the white colonists of Jamaica from the deus to carry them into practice. But some scendants of their former slaves, it is only a changes, more or less effectual and benefi- remarkable illustration of the highly contacial, might be made. In the first place, as gious character of certain moral disorders our existing law does not express the meas- to which we are all liabie. The close analure of our duty as neutrals, and as our ogies which exist between physical and morGovernment, in order to fulfil that meas- al organisms are really very remarkable. ure, was forced to defy and infringe our In both alike we find that the most hopeless law, we might profit by our experience, kinds of disease are seldom contagious, and bring our law up to the proper stand though not unfrequently hereditary; in both ard. We might give our Government the alike we find many of the most fatal dispower to deal with all vessels of war in con- eases, – that is, of those which, though selstruction, as they dealt with Mr. Laird's dom hopeless, attack and frequently destroy steam-rams. And, in the next place, it de- multitudes in a very short time, what our serves consideration whether we might not Registrar-General calls the zymotic class, borrow a lesson from the PRESIDENT'S to be exceedingly temporary in their naremark that we greatly aggravated the in- ture, and if survived at all, scarcely likely jury caused by the escape of the Alabama to leave the constitution weaker for the atand her sister cruisers when we allowed tack. Cancer, consumption, scrofula, none them to come into British ports to refit. of them contagious, all of them slow in Need we do this for the future? The their approaches, all of them hereditary, Spanish Governinent, immediately on hear- resemble the mental diseases which arise ing of the war with Chili
, announced that, from organic taints in the will, or what in if a Spanish vessel of war capture 1 any ship some cases is equivalent, deficiency in bearing a Chilian commission, but which healthy social impulse caused by predomihad not issued from a Chilian port, it would nance of will. No moral disorder is more treat the crew as pirates, which is a con- hereditary than a consuming pride (closely fused and technical periphrasis for hanging allied to insanity), which we may call an them. The only reason why a belligerent isolating will-disease; it is pride in great should not take this course is that he lays measure which has sapped the strength of himself
to reprisals; and the Chilians the Ottoman race and insulated it in a sort might reply that, if this were done, and a of lonely and fatalistic despair. Pride in Chilian man-of-war ever captured a Span- its intensest forms may be called moral conish vessel, the whole oť the captured crew sumption, and is curiously allied with cershould be hanged in retaliation. It is for tain forms of unnatural cruelty, impurity, the belligerent to decide whether he likes to and sin, which may be called moral scrofula, take this risk. But a neutral might per- disorders which so far from being infectious, haps say that no vessel of war of either bel- destroy by their very tendency to evade ligerent should enter any of the harbours of that social influence which, once brought to the neutral unless it had issued from the bear on them, would extinguish them import of the belligerent having already been mediately. And yet no kinds of vices are invested with a military character. All more distinctly hereditary than these unthat the neutral would have to do would be natural forms of cruelty, these secret vices to refuse shelter, and this he might do prob- of proud natures. Again, the contagious ably without accepting any burden of duty physical diseases which trouble children so that he was not able to bear. The next much, and are usually dangerous only to time that a great war arises, it England is youthful blood and overflowing vitality, happily a neutral, it may be worth while usually diseases of the skin, have their anthat she should announce at the outset that alogue in the social vices which, though often this will be the principle by which she will of the same class as the unsocial, - vices of be guided in the reception of belligerent cruelty, for instance, as between race and
race, vices of profligacy which are so catching in Universities and any large associa
tions of young men, have always in them From the Spectator.
something absolutely distinct in kind from MORAL CONTAGION.
the deeper, unsocial, more hopeless organic IF it be true, as we believe it is, that Mr. diseases which are hereditary, but not conEyre, naturally a brave and just, though tagious. As a rule, we believe the conta
gious mental diseases do not originate in infection of the anti-negro passion which has the will, but in the sympathies and the so- burst out there so violently, - nay, might cial emotions, and only overpower the will have done much to stem the tide of impetthrough its weakness; while the deeper- uous feeling. But it seems that he had rooted organic diseases originate in the cen- been engaged in a vehement political quartre of our individuality - the will, and creep rel with the party commonly called the nelike a cancer thence to the more superficial gro party in the Assembly, about many loportions of our nature.
cal matters of expenditure as well as genBut if this were true, then it would seem eral policy, - and the naturally tenacious to follow that men of strong wills and weak spirit of the man's purposes rendered him social impulses would be less liable to moral peculiarly open to the infection of any hoscontagion than men of weak will and strong tile feeling running directly against this social impulses; and almost all women, who party. We do not of course mean to imply though less generally social than men, are that Mr. Eyre used a passion he did not far more closely bound up with the few share for his own purposes. That would be nearest and dearest to them than men them- the most shocking of all wickednisses. The selves, — would be more so. But how whole purport of our remarks is to show would this apply to the illustration of moral that he did catch the infection from a specontagion with which we set out? Mr. cial predisposing cause, — the ready and Eyre is unquestionably a man in some sense rapid conducting medium supplied to him of more than strong will, of irresistible ob- by the intensity of his own indignation stinacy, and there is nothing to show that against the party which was resisting as he is a man of strong social impulses; wbat he thought the wise and salutary exercise is known of him seems rather to imply an of his authority in the island. If you are alinsulated man. We believe the explanation ready angry with anybody, you must be in his case would prove that it is not so very impartial indeed not to believe far much his general liability to infection, as more easily what others have to say against his liability to infection in this particular him than you would do if no such anger had case, which has caused this fatal attack of ever been excited. Mr. Eyre was certainthe prevalent disease. We know that in ly very angry with the Gordon party in the the case of all infectious physical diseases. assembly before these troubles began and there is something, extremely difficult to the planter panic broke out, and this anger analyze, called predisposing causes. It is was apparently the special predisposing by no means universally true that mere del cause which rendered him liable to an inicacy is a predisposing cause. In one vis- fection he would not otherwise have taken. itation of a great epidemic it has been re- It is nothing more than an individual illusmarked that all the weakly and sickly per-tration of the ordinary remark on the greatsons came off with no ill result, while the er liability to be deceived by fallacious strongest and healthiest fell at the first touch. reasoning displayed by an audience who Again, at other times these diseases wither agree heartily with an orator's practical all the sickly plants at once, and leave the ends, than is displayed by an audience who healthy ones comparatively uninjured. So are indifferent to the ends which he tries it is with moral infections. There are not to promote, and judge his reasoning thereonly generally predisposing causes to catch- fore simply by its reasonableness. Coning the contagion, such as strong social im- voke an assembly to promote reform, or the pulses, weak will, and an early education abolition of slavery, or anything else, and adapted to receive the poison instead of to the weakest arguments will excite even enrepel it, but special predisposing causes, thusiasm in an audience that goes heart and such as the tendency of the alarm, when it soul with the drift of the speaker, when arises, to lend strength and justification to they would excite contempt in those who deep-seated currents of purpose already ex- are convinced that he is wrong. In precited in the mind. So far as it is at pres- cisely the same way the spread of a moral ent possible to judge, this would be Mr. infection must depend very much on its Eyre's case. He was not a timid man, and finding a state of feeling identical in drift, not originally liable to the feeling of race. though not in origin, with the state of feelhatred and caste-privilege. Had bę been in ing it would promote. This is of course Jamaica as a mere observer, as one of the the true reason of the highly contagious people unidentified with any part in the character of bad sentimental morality — in political struggle which had been going on, French novels or elsewhere. It is not the he would probably have never taken the depth of the sentiment itself, but the high
ly conducting medium of the passions it
From the Spectator 30th Dec. finds ready to its purpose, which renders so LES ETATS-UNIS PENDANT LA GUERRE. * feeble a poison dangerous. If, as we have ventured to suggest, the
It is a curious, to an Englishman an unregion of infectious diseases is usually the pleasantly suggestive, fact that the best social emotions and sympathies – those work ever written on America should have which bind classes and nations together, had a Frenchman for its author. Upon the and so propagate either false morality or
absolute merits of De Tocqueville as a pofalse sentiment almost with as little free litical observer opinions may differ, but choice among the individuals as there is in there can be no question that on the whole the meal as to whether it shallor shall not be his work is the ablest and most exhaustive leavened by the yeast, - then it would follow which has yet been published concerning that the great disinfectant must be solitary
America. As a rule, French treatises on judgment, — that babit of mind which habit- American affairs have been infinitely fairer ually interposes a kind of minute capillary and more impartial than those which have repulsion between the pressure of social in proceeded from English authors. Yet it is fluences and the attitude of its own secret very hard to conceive at first how this thought, — which clears a space, as it were,
should be the case. We all know by like a juggler with his balls in a crowd, round experience how difficult, if not possithe will, into which it will not admit the pres- ble, it is for a Frenchman really to undersure of social influences till it has given its stand English character, or institutions, or sanction to their tendency. Such a habit politics; and it is not easy to see how the of mind would really operate to save so- mere fact of crossing the Atlantic should ciety from false corporate judgments, much give a Frenchman an appreciation of the as the cellular system of building iron ves
Anglo-Saxon nature of which he is uttersels operates to save a ship from the disas- ly devoid in the Old World of Europe. trous effects of leakage. “As it is, when a There is a story told of Kant, that on his moral accident happens to the social nature
death-bed he said:
Nobody can explain of influential persons in any closely organ- my philosophy except Hegel, and he can
In much the same ized society the bad results are never isolated, not understand it. and sometimes extend so rapidly that the way we should say that nobody but Englishwhole ship founders. But if the ship is built men can explain America, and that they of non-communicating cells, one cell may about the model Republic could ever real
cannot understand it. If English writers fill and all the others remain as water-tight as before. It is true, as we have admitted, that ize the simple fact that Americans are the worst social vices, - even social cruelty Englishmen, with all our national virtues and impurity,
are seldom so utterly de- and vices, strength and weakness, energies strutive of the soul as the organic tenden- and failings, differing from us only in the cies to disease originating in a perverted would be able to understand America în
different conditions of their lives, they will, which, though often hereditary, are never very contagious. Yet a French or
a way no foreigner, or certainly no FrenchJamaica reign of terror destroys the souls man, can ever hope to do. As, however, as well as bodies of multitudes, and steels no amount of experience or observation by cruel wrongs the souls of multitudes ever seems able to persuade Englishmen of whom it does not destroy. A párverted this
patent fact, they never can give any and evil enthusiasm is as terrible a force as
estimate of America which does not err on any which does not imply absolutely the one side or the other. Owing to this fact constutitional exhaustion of a great commu
French writers on American subjects have a nity. Nor are men less in need of the dis- great advantage over English ones. They infectant we have mentioned who apparent
do not see as much as the latter, but what ly, like Mr. Eyre, are not naturally liable they do see they see it in its natural light. to be affected vehemently by social influ- The minor differences of customs and manences, if they permit special conductors,
ners which strike Englishmen so much are such as political hostility, to open the gates
not perceptible to foreign observers. To of their minds to besieging influences which,
a writer like Mr. Russell, or Mr. Sala, or acting alone, would have had no chance of
* Les Etats-Unis pendant la Guerre. By Autriumph.
guste Laugel. Paris : Baillière.
even Mr. Trollope, it seems a serious mat-nent towards the close of the last century. ter that an English-speaking, man should It may be asserted confidently that the war say
instead of " I expect,” or would never have broken out if class rivishould pronounce "do” “du," or should leges, under their most unjust and cruel wear white-kid gloves in the day-time, or form, had not been surrej titiously introshould commit any other of the solecisms dured into the laws and society of the whose commission in England would argue Union, – into the laws by the constitua certain want of knowledge of the habits tional protection afforded to slavery, - into of genteel society. To a Frenchman these society by that prejudice of race which is sort of criticisms, with which the works of so terrible an obstacle to the emancipation English tourists are filled, never suggøst of the blacks. . . . . What can you say of a themselves. His very ignorance of English social system where, in the midst of the habits of thought and society preserve him most absolute equality, there existed a privfrom the fatal error of attaching undue im- ileged class, founded neither on merit, nor portance to incidental features in Ameri- on education, nor on distinguished services, can life which have nothing to do with its nor even on wealth, but only on a certain real essence and character.
description of property, that in human beM. Laugel is in many respects a very fa- ings ?' This fatal antagonism of slavery and vourable specimen of a French tourist. freedom is the key to all the political and Connected, we believe, with America by social history of the United Staies." family relations, and intimately acquainted M. Laugel was in America during the with our English language, and life, and lit- Presidential election, and his account of the erature, he united to a very great extent the fundamental questions at issue between Mr. opposite advantages of a French and an En- Lincoln and McClellan is the clearest we glish observer. Having resided for some time have yet seen. He utterly denies the asin America in the closing year of the war, he sertion so commonly made at the time in has published a series of recollections of England, that the Democratic party was in his Transatlantic experiences, which are favour of making peace with the South. well worth the study of anybody who wish- The only difference in his opinion between es to understand the real aspect of that great the two parties was that while the Demo country. Like most educated French Lib- crats proposed to restore the Union by erals, M. Laugel was throughout the war a guaranteeing the South the possession of strong supporter of the Northern cause. their “peculiar institutions,” the RepubliSeveral of the chapters of bis book were cans proposed to restore the Union and published in the Revue des Deux Mondes abolish slavery. Of all the many estimates at different periods during the last three of Abraham Lincoln's character, M. Lauyears, and to re-read these now is to an gel's seems to us the most philosophical we Englishman curious enough. At the very have met with. No doubt the portrait given time when our own public writers ridiculed of him in these pages is in some degree an and laughed at the notion that the North exaggerated one. The humour of the man, could possibly defeat the South, or that the honesty, the ignorance, the shrewd the Union could ever be restored, this mother-wit; the mental hesitation till the French essayist treated the triumph of final conclusion was arrived at, and the dog. the Federals, the restoration of the Union, ged courage with which that resolution the present out-turn in fact of the war, as a was adhered to; the mixture of fanaticism matter of certainty; and this not because with a kindly cynicism, were all too charache had any superior channel of information, teristic of our strange Anglo-Saxon nature not because he was an impassioned parti- for any one not belonging to our race to unsan, but because he was cool enough to derstand thoroughly. One feature, howlook facts in the face, and because, we are ever, of Mr. Lincoln's character, the influafraid we must add, he had more faith in ence which his life in the West had producfreedom than we showed ourselves. With ed upon him, is brought out by M. Laugel the clar, incisive logic of a French intel- with great power and acuteness. " It so lect, he saw at once that slavery was the happened,” he says with truth, “that the real cause of the war, and perceiving this, one dominant and almost only passion of he found no difficulty in understanding the Abrabam Lincoln's nature was the passion nature of the struggle. “It cannot,” he of the nation. I ought perhaps not to use the says, “ be fairly asserted that the crisis we word passion to express a resolute, calm, have just witnessed was the natural result inflexible conviction, a sort of innate and of the application of those democratic ideas inborn faith in the destiny of the American which triumphed on the American conti- | people. In no part of the Union has the
national sentiment entered so deeply into ignores or despises shades, and degrees, and the souls of Americans as amidst the popu- classifications; in the middle of so many lations which live beyond the Alleghanies. equals a man feels himself in truth alone. The inhabitant of Massachusetts may well Everybody has his home, where he shuts be proud of the history of his little State. himself up with his wife and children ; but Most of the sea-board States have tradi- at his hotel the American seos new faces, tions and memories of their own, but Indi- he hears other things talked about besides ana, Ohio, and Illinois bave as yet no history. his own business; he learns to love order, The citizen of these vast territories, which cleanliness, luxury, large and spacious he feels are called to such high destinies, is rooms; he forms his manners on those of above all an American ; he is, he means to the strangers he meets with there; he remain, the citizen of a great country; he is watches the movements, listens to the determined to measure the greatness of his smallest words, of the celebrated personacountry by the magnitude of the States he ges, generals, statesmen, orators, or writers, inhabits, and his patriotism knows literally whom chance has placed beside him for the no bounds."
day. Amidst this continual flood of new Of the feeling thus depicted Mr. Lincoln coipers, amongst so many strange faces, he was undoubtedly a worthy representative, learns the greatness of his country more and no small portion of his strength was fully than by studying an atlas. If he candue to the fact that he knew and sympa- not visit every Siate, every State in turn thised with the depth of the passion for the comes to visit bim. His horizon extends Union which prevails in the West. In the itself, and from the centre of his vast conticourse of years Western men may come to nent he turns his gaze to the shores of the have the same feelings towards their own Atlantic, to the Gulf of Mexico, to the valStates as are entertained by the citizens of leys of California. The hotel is in fact an Massachusetts or Maryland; but in the West epitome of the Union.” the States as yet exist simply as geographi- The theory thus exposed may be true cal expressions. Even the most ardent pa- or not, but at any rate it seems to us triot cannct be enthusiastic about the allot better worth studying than an account ment of prairie land out of which his State of how many times the traveller had to has been formed within the memory of men ring before he could get buttered toast still young, and therefore if the Western for breakfast, or of how many dishes the settler has any patriotism in him it is given lady seated next him at dinner composed undivided to the Union.
her repast. We have had enough, and more The reader who wants to learn how Yan- than enough, of comic American tourists, kees gobble down their food, or neglect the and we are glad to find one in M. Laugel use of spittoons, or liquor up at bars, had who is serious without being dull. better not turn to M. Laugel's pages. Strange to say, he omits almost all mention of these and similar topics, which form the staple of ordinary Anglo-American books of travel. But those who wish for a great deal of very valuable information about the
From the Spectator. Western States, told very pleasantly, can- CITOYENNE JACQUELINE.* not do better than read the record of M. Laugel's travels.
The grotesque side of The conception of condensing the Great Ame.ican men and manners and cities has French Revolution into a novel concerning been described so often that it is a change an individual woman's lot must seem at first to meet with a writer who tries to under-sight almost as bold as that of condensing stand and explain their real character. the lightning into a conductor of individual Here, for instance, is a remark on the mon- messages, or compelling the ocean to carry ster hotels of the West which throws a new a single boat wherever its owners will. light on these institutions :
There is a largeness in the machinery which “ The hotel, like the political meeting, is seems too great for the individual purpose at once an opportunity for and an occasion to which it is applied, and perhaps the artisof social intercourse; life is too busy in the tic enterprise is really bolder than the sciWest for those social relations which re-entific, for if you undertake to paint "a woquire leisure, which demand a disinterested man's lot in the Great French Revolution," taste for abstract things, a half serious, halt frivolous eagerness in the pursuit of some
* Citoyenne Jacqueline; a Woman's lot in the
Great French Revolution. By Sarah Tytler. 3 vols. conventional ideal. Democratic roughness London : Strahan.