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half dozen? When he wrote the first copies are made and kept at Peking, so time, you knew he had no right to do so. that each side keeps the version it is Why did you not report him? He says responsible for, and tampering with you were hoping to make better terms documents is thus impossible. with him." The governor rejoined: “It Official despatches are conveyed is the custom for viceroys and governors through a service organized by the to corres
ond with local men at Peking, Board of War, and on arrival are placed and, though it may be wrong, I am not in a locked box at the Transmission one of those who pretend to goody- Office; a eunuch takes this box to the goody perfection. I simply wished to emperor, who alone possesses the key. oblige him as a local man; but when The emperor sometimes endorses his he asked me to let him off scot-free, I minute at once, but usually he reserves gave him a piece of my mind. Anyhow, his decision until the Cabinet officers no one can say I am corrupt in money appear, at 3 A.M. The empress, when matters; and even if I was such an regent, had a regular system of thumbidiot as to try and make terms, I am at nail rescripts; not because she could not least not such an idiot as to leave six write, but because this method saved letters on record, as he did.” This trouble. The Inner Council then inviceroy was totally fearless, and I sub- stantly copies the reports, whilst the sequently had very close relations with "junior lords" of the Cabinet submit him. He has innumerable faults which fair copies of the proposed decree. The a censor might fairly denounce, but he Grand Secretariat is the depository for is so honest and courageous that the the copies of memorials and endorseemperor cannot well forego his ser- ments. Memorials are sent to Peking in vices.
flat wooden cases, fitted with spring Sometimes treasurers and judges, locks, which can only be used once. A who as a rule only address the throne stock of them is periodically supplied on taking up and abandoning office, and by the Peking Board. The emperor reon imperial birthdays, may denounce turns the original box, with the original their superiors, the viceroy or governor, document simply wrapped up, not This has happened several times at locked, in it, and all old boxes and Canton; in one case they had the gov- envelopes have to be ultimately reernor degraded for giving a feast during turned respectfully to Peking, duly the time of imperial mourning; and when numbered. The couriers travel with I was there in 1875, the Manchu viceroy, the despatches strapped to the back, Yinghan, was summarily removed for and are escorted by the official who encouraging gambling, on the applica- sends the documents as far as the third tion of th Chinese governor and inner gate; the grand central portal is Manchu general. Very few high offi- then thrown open, and off rides the cials can write their own memorials, or courier, to salute of six guns. care to do so if they can, Yet they are Ordinary letters go easily “by post," i.e., held severely responsible for any slips by comfortable stages of thirty miles a in grammar, etiquette, or tact which day. The order to "go one hundred and their secretaries may make. Manchus thirty miles (or one hundred and fifty always style themselves "slave," whilst miles) a day" is merely formal, and Chinese use the word "subject;" for simply means that all speed, without some unexplained reason certain Chi- incurring extra expense, is to be made. nese military officers also use the word On the rare occasions when two hun“slave." The highest provincial official dred miles a day are ordered, the same is the Manchu general (where there is courier is expected to travel even sis one); the next the viceroy, whether days without stopping more than a Manchu or Chinese; or, if no viceroy, minute or two at a time; three such the governor. Memorials are in most successful rides entitle him to the cases returned in original, with the lowest official button. The most rapid original rescript endorsed thereon; journey ever ordered is two hundred
and sixty miles a day, and the man who in general. Thanks to the felicitous ægis accomplishes it for long distances is of our Sacred Master, Tibetan territory is pensioned for life. (Chinese pensions,
now free from any plague of sickness, and however, tend to exiguity.) When Can- all remains at peace. Accordingly, my ton was taken by our troops, the news
private vicar-general and preceptor has reached Peking in six days, and the auspicious day upon which I, petty priest
selected the 23rd of February, 1896, as an reconquest of Kashgaria in 1878, took that I am, am to proceed in person, at the very little more to report. On the great head of the whole ecclesiastical bodies of western highroad there are now 2,680 the three chief Lhasa temples, to the post-horses and 1,340 post-boys. Pre- Great Metropolitan Temple, there to hold vious to the Yakoob Beg rebellion there solemn service, and to offer up special were nearly three times these numbers, prayers for our Sacred Master's long life but the Kan Suh province has for long and prosperity, and for the welfare of his been somewhat disorganized.
people. To return to our reports. Each impor- The above received through tant document would be on the average K’weihwan, Manchu resident in Tibet. quite as long as the whole of this paper, An imperial rescript was received as so that it will readily be seen that we follows: “Let the department concannot give full examples. As with the cerned take due note." By the emdecrees, so with the reports,-many peror. occur daily; others weekly, monthly, In view of the revolution now taking quarterly, or yearly. Daily ones-not place in Tibet, the above official definidaily from each province, but appearing tion of the relations between the almost every day—are such as propose Buddhist pope and the emperor of promotions and transfers; report the China is interesting.
E. H. P. rehearing of appeal cases; announce the despatch of funds to Peking; apply for the imperial approval in cases of marked filial piety, and so But their nature can be best judged by the
From The Fortnightly Review.
“SIR GEORGE TRESSADY” light of the decrees and rescripts, of
POLITICAL NOVEL. which instances have been given above.
Critics of authority assure us, and we E. H. PARKER.
all repeat after them, that the nine
teenth century has found its distinctive P.S.-Since writing the above, I have
and characteristic medium of expresreceived a Gazette containing a very
sion in the novel. Politicians tell us, curious memorial from the Dalai Lama of Tibet, an exalted ecclesiastical func- their office, but still with substantial
therein perhaps a little magnifying tionary analogous to the pope of Rome,
truth, that, next to sport, the subject except that the Manchu emperors,
which enlists the greatest interest of whilst recognizing his spiritual claims,
the greatest number of Englishmen is insist upon his keeping to his proper that of politics. Yet of all forms of temporal place.
nineteenth-century fiction, the political Petty priest that I am, in obedience to novel is the most rarely attempted, and the precedents followed by my pre- very much the most rarely attempted decessors, I descend from my mountain with success. It would almost seem as seat, and, having selected a propitious day, if this peculiar literary genre-popular
coceed to the Great Temple to hold a full and attractive to the literary artists as, choral service on all occasions upon whic)
for the reasons above set forth, we the territories subject to Tibetan rule are found free from temporal afflictions, with should have supposed it to be had a view to somewhat relieving my loyal perished with its inventor. More than cares by offering devout prayers for the fifty years have passed since the young peace and long life of his Majesty the Benjamin Disraeli startled, half scanEmperor, and the tranquillity of the world dalized, and wholly delighted his then
” and the Political Novel. contemporary world of letters and well marked; and that Disraeli had, for politics with the first of three novels, him, the great good fortune of not which a quarter of a century later he having been born in.o that society, and described as “forming a real trilogy,” yet obtaining such early opportunities having for their motive the exhibition of observing it from within-if from of (1), “the origin and character of our only just within-its portals, as to enpolitical parties;" (2), “their influence able his quick satiric observation to on the moral and physical condition of master its types, its language, and its the people;" and (3), “the means by ideas by the time, or more probably which that condition could be elevated much before the time, when his briland improved.” The first member of liantly effective literary faculty had this trilogy “Coningsby;" the fully matured. His own account of second, “Sybil;" the third “Tancred.” those experiences, given with that mis. All three, but the first two in particular, ture of pomp and naïveté which has so were brilliantly successful with at any delightful a relish when you have once rate the educated and informed public acquired the taste for it, is to be found of their time; they were recognized, con- in a well-known paper in the introducsciously or unconsciously, as new and tion to the “Hughenden" edition of his happy experiments; they are admired, novels, published in 1870. "Born in a quoted, and even read to this day. library,” he wrote, "and trained from Yet, though half a century has elapsed early childhood by learned men who did since their appearance, they still occupy not share the passions and prejudices of a place by themselves in literature. our political and social life, I had imThey are not only the first in their class, bibed on some subjects conclusions but they are almost alone in it. Nec different from those which generally viget quicquam simile aut secundum. prevail, and especially with reference to Even the claimants for a place in that the history of our own country.” This, class during the fifty years' interval if I may be allowed to quote certain may be counted on the fingers of one previously published remarks of my hand.
own on the same subject, "was no comOf course,
no formidable rival of mon advantage in a day when strait Disraeli was to be reasonably expected. was the gate and narrow the way that The peculiar combination of gifts and led through public school and university advantages to which his extraordinary to political distinction, but when those success was due will possibly never who took that route found that the high repeat itself: assuredly it is not likely walls which on either hand kept out to recur except at cometary intervals. competitors proportionately obstructed We may get again-perhaps unknown their own view of the world in which to ourselves we have already had again they lived. It was from the heart of among us—that happy compound of this outer world that the young Disraeli youth, wit, audacity, and impertinence made a way for himself into the sacred which gives to his political novels their avenue by dint of an inborn power complex charm. But we can no more which would not be denied recognition, restore the political and social condi- and a native audacity which did not tions under which he wrote than we know the meaning of rebuff. Once coħld re-create his personality, and sur- there, he was able to survey the scene round it with the peculiar environment of petty strife and ignoble ambition amid which it developed. One of the around him with a critical detachment wholly irreproducible conditions of the
which was impossible to his rivals, and Thirties and Forties was that political, with larger, other eyes' than theirs." like fashionable, “society,”—and indeed These advantages, however, of origin the two terms were to a large extent
and training, and exceptional mode of convertible-was a numerically small entrance into public life, were not the body, with characteristics, like those of only valuable superadditions to the all exclusive coteries, proportionately “dæmonic" element in Disraeli's nature.
There was another of hardly less impor- less fertile in occasions for the satirist; tance and of his own acquisition. For 'that, Heaven knows, is far from being if, from 1837, the date of his first return the case. There is still world of to Parliament, in 1844, when he pub- fashion which plays with politics and lished “Coningsby," he had studied pol. fancies itself serious; fussy and impoitics from the inside,” he had also during tent intrigue is not unknown among the same period taken every oppor- ladies "great,” or so fancying themtunity of mixing with that world of selves; and if the wire-puller conducts fashion which plays at politics and his manœuvres a little more decently fancies itself serious; he had indulged than of old, and the disappointed his satirical appetite to the full upon grandee conceals his wounds with the fussy and impotent intrigues of more Spartan fortitude, it must be adgreat ladies, the agitations of hungry mitted that the minor office-seeker has office-seekers, the manæuvres of cynical never displayed his hopes and fears wirepullers, the disappointments of with a more artless indecency at every pompous grandees. After a few years change of government than he does of this experience he must have been to-day. All these types still exist, and fully equipped even on the lighter and the part which they play in the inner more trivial side of his art for imme- history of politics is still, no doubt, condiate success. Had he been without a siderably greater than the innocent political idea in his head, he would provincial delegate to “Federations have been thoroughly qualified to pro- here,” and “Federations there," for a duce what is nowadays our almost moment suspects. But it is from the only substitute for the political novel-' very lack of that suspicion that a folthat is to say a “roman à clef," in which lower of Disraeli in these days would prominent public men are episodically suffer. If the contemporary public besketched under more or less easily pene- lieve, as the vast majority of them do, trable disguises. But having, in fact, a that the political types and individuals head as full of political ideas as it could of the Disraelian era have been swept hold, it only needed that he should inter into the background by the stately adweave satirical sketch with political vancing march of Democracy, that the speculation, and “mount" the composite Lady Firebraces and St. Julians, the fabric on a background of orthodox love Tadpoles and Tapers of our own time, romance, in order to produce the inimi- have ceased to count, it would be idle table Disraelian political novel that has for a political novelist of to-day to give become a permanent addition to the them prominent places in his work. He literature of English fiction.
must treat them, if he introduces them So remarkable a concourse of rare at all, as secondary figures, almost perconditions was, of course, most unlikely haps as eccentric survivals from a past to repeat itself. Fortune might be age, and must seek models for his prinprodigal in her production of brilliant cipal characters among the new types young men, of potential Disraelis, yet of politician to whom the Democratic never again place any one of them in period has given birth. And it must be the peculiar position of the author of obvious-even to themselves, I should “Coningsby” and “Sybil." Let us ad- think—that these worthy persons yield mit, too, in justice to our brilliant young infinitely less artistic material than the men and women, that history, for all unworthy persons whom they have, in its alleged trick of repeating itself, the popular eye, at any rate, displaced. shows no disposition to “reconstitute The New Politician may be respectable, the facts.” Let us admit that the but he is not picturesque. He may have material with which the contemporary -ne has-an ample supply of foibles political novelist would have to deal is ready to the student's hand, but they less attractive, less readily lends itself
are of the kind that depress rather than to the novelist's use, than the material of the Victorian days. Not that it is Not that the essayers of the political novel who have appeared in the course which has just been made by the accomof the intervening half-century bave plished author of "Robert Elsmere.” been much more fortunate in their era. Perhaps the word "serious” may not The most notable among them was un- seem a very apt adjective to apply to doubtedly Mr. Anthony Trollope: but the spirited enterprise which has borne “Phineas Finn” is a truly disastrous fruit in "Sir George Tressady;" but the attempt. As one looks back upon the truth is that it is only too appropriate. period of that novel, and recalls the “Sir George Tressady" is a serious-a class of politicians who at that time very serious-effort in a department of filled the stage, and among whom the fiction in which to be too serious—or at “jaunty Viscount" was a mere pictur- any rate to be nothing besides serious esque survival, one feels it only just to —is inevitably to miss complete success; admit that Mr. Trollope was not fortu- and the first and most potent cause of nate in the particular political life Mrs. Ward's comparative failure as a which he had undertaken to depict, or political novelist is to be found in her in the models from which he drew. lack of humor. She takes all her Still the time of the second reform characters-her hero and heroine (above movement was distinctly a stirring all, her heroine), her ministers, her Optime. Its dramatic quality was keenly position leaders, her Parliamentary felt by those who were of sufficiently orators, her "abor members”-as serimature age to be interested in politics ously as she has always (quite justifiwithout having yet become acutely ably) taken herself and her art; and the critical of politicians; and one might result, to those of her readers who have have thought that a practised story- bad a near vision of the politics and teller would have succeeded in getting seen most of the leading political actors some of the stir and passion of the time off the stage, is to give an idealized air into his pages. But Mr. Trollope, to scenes and portraits which are noththough a practised and indeed a highly ing if not realistic, and which were popular story-teller, was not one of that obviously meant for examples of the kind. He was so little of a politician most conscientious realism. The disapthat he seems not even to have felt the pointment is all the greater because excitement of a struggle which agitated Mrs. Ward undoubtedly describes and many in those days who paid scant at recounts as one who knows. She has tention to the ordinary political con- herself, doubtless, had some such near troversies of the period. "Phineas view of politics and sight of the leading Finn," though published in 1869, but political actor with his "paint and two years after the “shooting of Niag- spangles off,” as might have enabled ara," shows no traces of anything of many a writer of less ability to add the kind. There is not even Words- those satiric touches to their portraits worth's doubtful basis of the poetic, which would have made them human. “Emotion recollected in Tranquillity;" Quite possibly she may know as well as while, on the other hand, the author's her critics where these touches should perfect frigidity of temperbas not have come in; she is quite observer added to the penetration of his glance, enough to know; but if so, it is to be The hero, otherwise a poor creature supposed that she could not find it in enough, is interesting as a "document" her heart to put them in. Such is the -a specimen of the Irish member of the deadly earnestness of her “views," that pre-Parnellite day; but the political she must find mouth-pieces for them, magnates of the novel, from Mr. Mild- and, of course, for the opposite views may, downwards, are painfully wooden, too—who will do them justice; and if and its whole political “business" is appropriate spokesmen and spokesquite pathetically dull,