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itself Tory. But, although thus arrogating whatever their significance, they demand our to itself an illustrious historical name, he attention, as coming from one of the most maintains, or at least he maintained in “Con- remarkable statesmen of the day. ingsby" ten years ago, that, from almost the Is there any vital connection between policommencement of the present century, it has tics and a novel ? A most vital one, even pursued a policy which is either founded on when the novel is quite silent as to affairs of no principle whatever, or on principles ex- state; for the novel, after its kind, is a chart actly contrary to those which had always of human life, and the statesman is a naviguided the conduct of the great Tory leaders gator who steers according to his map. Some of bygone times—the Bolingbrokes and Har- politicians, no doubt—as the economists in leys, the Shelburnes and the Pitts. These the British Parliament--are not statesmen in pseudo-Tories made exclusion the principle this sense, and, however good their financial of their political constitution, and restriction schemes, can only be regarded as the pursers the genius of their commercial code; thus and supercargoes of the vessel ; but the true lifting the
very banners of the Whigs them- commanders have a scheme of politics that is selves; for the Whigs, he says, in another ever more or less consciously evolved from a part of the same work, “ introduced sectarian study of the history, the philosophy, and the religion, sectarian religion led to political ex- destiny of humanity. And this, truly, is the clusion, and political exclusion was soon ac- secret of that extraordinary eagerness with companied by commercial restraint.” When, which the public devour every scrap of infor. therefore, in one of his speeches, he described mation regarding the private life of their the policy of Sir Robert Peel, by saying that princes and governors, more than of other the right honorable gentleman caught the men; the excuse for it also, as in like manWhigs bathing, and ran away with their ner a lenient judge will find a noble element clothes, he only described what, in his view, of gold in the sandiest follies of mankind. has been the Conservative policy generally; In the present case, the public are not actuand these views he has never yet retracted. ated by a mere love of tattle; they desire to We believe, also, that he never once relin- connect, what they so often see dissevered, quished them, not even when most gallantly the statesman and the man, and to trace the pleading the cause of the august female roots of his politics in the soil of human life. whose image adorns the copper coinage of the Now there are, perhaps, no two men realm. Look at the Hughenden Manor mani- whose political opinions spring so directly festo. The phrase in which that celebrated from first principles, and from their idea of state-paper announced that the genius of the human life, as those of Benjamin Disraeli epoch is favorable to unrestricted competition, and Thomas Carlyle ; and starting with the which flew like a watchword all over the same assumption, their conclusions are country, and which ultimately became the tically the same. For a long time, Mr. Carsquire's formula of renouncing protection, lyle was considered a rank democrat, until, and accepting free-trade, what was it but a developing his doctrine of hero-worship, it resurrection of the very phrase, above quoted, appeared that he is nothing of the kind, but which had long been buried and forgotten in really an aristocrat—the aristocracy which “Coningsby," although not forgotten by bịm? he favors, however, being one of intellect, And be assured that in this, and in his other not of mere birth. In like manner, Mr. Disnovels, there are matters of weightier import raeli at first seemed to wear the colors of a than a mere turn of expression which he has flaming Radical, until at length, developing not forgotten. Perhaps it is only the fond the doctrines of young England, it appeared dream of those who are willing to think well that he is nothing of the kind, but heart, of Mr. Disraeli; yet, whether right or wrong, head, and hand, a Tory, who sees the ideal of it is said by not a few, and apparently with government in the principle of an aristocracy. some truth, that he has shown a bias to those And this principle naturally follows from the political views which he at first propounded views which both maintain regarding the inin certain pamphlets, and afterwards in certain fluence of individual character, and which may novels, as the standards of Torgism proper, be summed up in the aphorism, that history is although it is Toryism of a more enlightened but the biography of great men.
With the hue than that of Lord Eldon, and laying claim truth of that statement we have nothing, at to a birthright elder by far—the true, the present, to do; it has been impugned; it has aboriginal, the antediluvian Toryism. At all been said that a nation is not created by its events, he is now reissuing these novels : individual geniuses, but that these individuals most of them have a political meaning; and, I bubble up from the heart of the nation ; and
perhaps it is not more impossible for mortal Scriptures which Mr. Disraeli is so justly man to create an individual Frankenstein, proud of, it receives no countenance. If there than to create such a Leviathan as figures in is one idea which they urge more forcibly the title-page of the celebrated political than another, it is this: that the race is not work so named, in which a nation is pictured to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; and as a monster- giant whose huge frame is that is for man to wait, and God to work. made up of an infinite number of manikins. And is not this also the grand moral taught Without going into that question, however, in the nursery literature of all countries ?let us mark how the answers which they it is little Jack that kills the giant; the ogre give to it bear on the political dogmas of is destroyed by a puny boy; Cinderella Disraeli and Carlyle, and how naturally the is the happy bride; the palace is built, and idea of an aristocratic government, in the the princess won, by the half-starved Alad. highest sense-government of the best-din. flows from the vivid apprehension of indi- But if, in “Coningsby,” Mr. Disraeli gave vidual influence. Carlyle's idea of the heroic a definite expression to ideas which, although -the grand idea of his philosophy-every- really bis own (for they float through all body knows, but it is not generally under his compositions), Carlyle, in his lectures on stood that no other man has barped so long, Hero-worship, was the first to develop disso earnestly, and so variously as Mr. Disraeli tinctly; on the other hand, be in the same upon the same note, albeit in a lower pitch. work anticipated, and in some measure foreHow the young man, by force of will and stalled, the Latter-day Pamphlets.” “Condint of brain, rises to power; how Joseph, ingsby" was an attempt to explain the true almost the youngest of iwelve, becomes ruler principles of the Tories, therefore an attempt over his brethren; how the youthful David to explode mere Conservatism as the carimounts a throne; what is greatness, and how cature of Toryism, and little better than to achieve it: such has ever been the theme twaddle. Conservatism, according to this of his novels, as witness the very earliest, view, is the endeavor to carry on affairs by “ Vivian Grey” and “Contarini Fleming." substituting the fulfilment of the duties of In the interval between the publication of office for the performance of the functions these and of “Coningsby," he seems to have of government; so that ministers are the studied the writings of Mr. Carlyle ; or at least slaves of routine, not masters of their sphere. in the latter novel, the points of resemblance And against such a system of universal red between the brilliant Jew and the perfervid, tape Mr. Disraeli directed his satire, to show Scot are more numerous and marked, al- that mere administrative ability can never though, perhaps, neither of them would like supply the place of good government-the to be thus classed together. It is impossi- very war-cry raised by Mr. Carlyle in his ble, however, not to discern the likeness, pamphlet on the New Downing Street : which may be traced yet further in the con- Give us a strong government, the governtempt entertained by both of them for per- ment of strong man. And who shall be the sons wanting in such force of character as man or men for the hour? who the coming they severally admire. Whether the weak- man? they both asked, and answered, each ness be in the intellect or in the will, they after his own fashion, wistfully gazing have no compassion for it: the man is a into the future. Carlyle, of course, took a blockhead, an idiot, respectable, perhaps, in rather gloomy view of matters. He is like appearance, but all the more despicable in another John the Baptist, so wild, so shaggy, reality. They have none of that profound so melancholy, preaching to another generafeeling for the infirmities of human life and tion of vipers, but with this enormous differlowliness of every type, which is so charac-ence, that, whereas the Baptist cried, Repent teristic of Christianity, and which made ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, Wordsworth discover a mysterious .attraction Carlyle cries, “ Repent, for lo! the kingdom even in an idiot, and feel that to such a being of hell.” Disraeli, on the contrary, is too the words of the apostle peculiarly apply, shrewd, raven-locked as he is, to be, like the when he speaks of a life hid with Christ in raven, a prophet only of evil; and so his God. In short, if we may invent a seeming warning voice was raised in more equivocal paradox, they have no idea of microscopic tones-Look out, for there's something loomgreatness; they have no idea that any thing I ing in the future: and the saviours of the great can be accomplished except by a great country to whom he pointed his finger were man. It is a great mistake; and let it be those whom no one could scorn, because observed, by the way, that in those Hebrew | they were utterly unknown, although for the same reason, also, their pretensions might be purchases experience with only his penny of scouted--the new, the rising generation. observation; such a man contents himself, for
And here we are reminded of a further the most part, with a bare recital of the facts. development which Mr. Disraeli has given to Theory, on the contrary, is the offshoot of his views of individual character. “The in- inexperience, insufficient knowledge. It is fluence of the individual is nowhere so sensible when our experience is partial, or rather as at school,” he remarks. “There the per- (since it is always more or less so, let us sonal qualities strike, without any intervening say) when we are conscious of its partiality, and counteracting causes. A gracious pres- that we attempt to complete and solidify it ence, noble sentiments, or a happy talent, in a theory. Partly, then, we believe, on make their way there at once, without pre- this account, but partly, also, through the liminary inquiries as to what set they are in, vivacity of an intellect that must have exeror what family they are of, how much they cise, Mr. Disraeli hardly ever states a fact have a year, or where they live." Accord without linking it to a theory, and someingly, in pursuing his grand theme, his hero times, it must be added, in a very reckless is always a youth; and, while maintaining manner, as if he merely wished to give play that history is but the biography of great to his ingenuity, no matter what the result men, he adds, by the mouth of Sidonia : no matter whether it be true or false, if only "Almost every thing that is great has been it be plausible. And thus - as Samson done by youth. The history of heroes is the caught the three hundred foxes, tied them history of youth.” It is a doctrine that tail to tail with firebrands between, let them flatters young men, and which may partly loose amongst the fields of the Philistines, account for his extraordinary influence over and so burned up their standing corn and the adolescent mind of Great Britain, re- the shocks, the vineyards and the olivesmarkably displayed at it was in the enthusi- he, by the glowing theories which, in his asm which gave him the lion's share of novels, as well as in bis speeches, he is fond popularity at the late Oxford installation. It of attaching to uninteresting facts and dreary was also displayed at the Edinburgh Uni- statistics, throws terrible confusion into the versity, where the students, in proposing a established customs and received opinions of president for their associated societies, first the day. And very much to his own hurt, thought of Mr. Disraeli, and, had he accepted since the prosaic man who cannot understand the honor, would probably have elected him that kind of play, the political opponent who unanimously. That is not, however, the only ought to know better but pretends not, and cause of his popularity. There is more food the rigid moralist who disapproves of every for thought in his writings than in those of thing in the shape of fiction, all conspire to any other novelist, and such thought as hoot him down as a hairbrained dreamer, young men most admire. What a young who foolishly assumes the tone of an oracle man chiefly pants for is experience; he while divulging mere speculations that are wishes to know and to try life, at whatever not only false, wild, and impracticable in bazard; and Mr. Disraeli
, besides dilating themselves, but utterly discordant with each with poetic ardor on those experiences which other. It is either very weak vision or very are ever most fascinating to youth, dissects poor candor, however, that can thus conthem with a sbow of philosophic accuracy found the pyrotechnics of an excited intelwhich makes a young fellow fancy that he lect with the sober conclusions and honest already understands the whole secret of life convictions of a lifetime, which are not only and art of living. His writings exhibit a consistent with themselves, but which he has profound and varied acquaintance with all also maintained through good and bad report, the manifestations of life, that is, perhaps, from the very commencement of his career, the result of nearly as much imagination as never swerving from, although gradually real experience; for it is wonderful how far developing them. For our own part, we a bright invention will go to supply the want confess that these fireworks give an extraof actual knowledge. And that our novelist ordinary charm to his writings. If they do is largely indebted to imagination for bis not always enlighten, they at least dazzle; apparently intimate acquaintance with human if they do not always express truth, they are nature in all its phases, may be gathered at least eminently suggestive. And it is not from the very form into which he has thrown difficult to understand how such broad and his observations. He seldom gives mere sweeping, it may be sometimes hasty, generfacts: almost every fact is capped with a alizations should possess peculiar attraction theory. Now, that is not like a man who for youthful minds. Young people have an
astonishing craze for every thing that can | Coningsby; and when they have gained exbear the name of multum in parvo: a knife perience they want energy.' 'Great men with a dozen blades of different design; a never want experience,' said the stranger. stick that is at once a staff, a whistle, a tele-But every body.says that experience-Is scope, a toasting-fork, an eel-spear, and a the best thing in the world--a treasure for yard mcasure; a pencil-case ibat has as you, for me, for millions. But for a creative many contrivances in it as there are colors in mind, less than nothing. Almost every thing a pencil of light—a penholder, a toothpick, that is great has been done by youth. It is a seal, a sovereign-gauge, and a letter-weight; at least a creed flattering to our years,' said last, not least, a theory of universal appliance. Coningsby, with a smile. Nay,' said the The world is all before them; they have stranger, for life in general there is but one much to learn; and they entertain a vast ad. decree. Youth is a blunder; manhood a miration for the man who can supply them struggle; old age a regret. Do not supwith quintessences.
pose,' he added, smiling, that I hold that But we have digressed into remarks on youth is genius; all that I say is, that genius, young men's opinion of Mr. Disraeli, whereas when young, is divine. Why, the greatest we were talking of Mr. Disraeli's opinion of captains of ancient and modern times both young men. The following extract from a conquered Italy at five-and-twenty!' " Such dialogue between Conings by and Sidonia, is the text of all Mr. Disraeli's novels. He will give a good idea of the direction bis displays an extraordinary interest in youth; views of heroism have taken with reference and is in this respect the most remarkable to youth. Observe how pregnant with mean- type of the present age. Never at any foring is every sentence, every syllable:“Imer period of our history has the child-life perceive,' said Coningsby, pursuing a train of been magnified into such importance in the thought which the other had indicated that pages of literature, and in the eyes of all you have great confidence in the influence of thinking men. Look at the last novel : the individual character. I also have some first volume is a minute analysis of childish fused persuasions of that kind; but it is not experience. Look at the innumerable schemes the spirit of the age.' • The age does not of education ; think of the esteem in which believe in great men, because it does not pos- the teacher of youth is now held; consider sess any,' replied the stranger. The spirit the host of books composed expressly for of the
age is the very thing that a great man children, sermons for schools, manuals of changes.' •But does he not rather avail devotion; the man who overthrew ancient himself of it?' inquired Coningsby. Par. history writing Greek legends for his grandvenus do,” rejoined his companion, but not son, the most popular author of the day prophets, great legislators, great conquerors. penning a “Child's History of England,” a They destroy, and they create.' * But are veritable archbishop inditing. " Easy Lessons these times for great legislators and great on Reasoning," and "Easy Lessons on Moconquerors ?" urged Coningsby. "When ney Matters.' It is the mark of a missionwere they more wanted ?' asked the stran- ary epoch—dissatisfied with the past, doubtger. •From the throne to the hovel, all ful of the present, but living in hope, and call for a guide. You give monarchs con- better than hope, expectation. And no one, stitutions to teach them sovereignty; and certainly no statesman, represents this tennations Sunday-schools, to inspire them with dency of the times more strikingly than Mr. faith.' 'But what is an individual,' exclaim- Disraeli. His mind is singularly well bal. ed Coningsby, ‘against a vast public opin- anced in the regard which it bestows alike ion?' Divine,' said the stranger : 'God on the past, the present, and the future. Of made man in his own image ; but the public is all the members of parliament he comes made by newspapers, members of parliament, nearest to Macaulay in his fondness for hisexcise officers, poor-law guardians. Would torical illustrations; he is almost equal to Philip have succeeded, if Epaminondas had Palmerston in understanding the nick of prenot been slain ? And if Philip had not suc. sent time; but he is absolutely unrivalled ceeded? Would Prussia have existed, bad for the intensity of his gaze, and the depth Frederick not been born ? And if Frederick of his insight into the secrets of the future. had not been born? What would have been Prophecy, fortune-ielling, astrology, sooththe fate of the Stuarts if Prince Henry had not saying-call it what you will—this fascinatdied, and Charles I., as was intended, had ed gazing into the future as into the eye of been Archbishop of Canterbury ?' But when a basilisk, is a part of his oriental heritage; men are young they want experience,' said as in like manner, also, and as the natural
effect of it, is the warmth of his interest in part of “ Venetia," and to the closing scene the possibilities of youth. Where do we find of the “Tragedy of Count Alarcos," where, such biographies of youth as in the Hebrew | however, he has mixed up the pathetic with Scriptures ? It is because youth is the sea- the terrible, so that the effect is by no means son of promise, and because of the many equal to that of the Spanish ballad of the same senses in which the child is the father of the name. And yet, with all this power of excitman, none is more often true than this, that ting the tenderest emotion, Mr. Disraeli has the achievements of the man are but the shown very little inclination to shed tears over schemes of the stripling.
the calamities of boyhood; and he has thus And, in passing, let us dwell for a moment displayed a truer appreciation of the life of on the exceeding beauty of Mr. Disraeli's children than Mr. Dickens, as indeed his porpictures of boyhood, so vivid and so minute, traiture of youth generally is of the most acso natural and so ideal, so full of the boy curate description, and exhibits a most minute and so reflective of the man. No novelist study of the little ways of children. Here is seems to have understood boy-nature so “Venetia ;" we open it at random-page 34; well; no one has entered into the spirit of a Lord Cadurcis, a mere boy, has presented a boy's pleasure so entirely; not even Dickens jewel to Venetia : “ Venetia went up to her has spread such a pure azure light on those mother, who was talking to Mrs. Cadurcis. halcyon days when our hearts were yet un- She had not courage to speak before that sullied by the world. In fact, Mr. Disraeli very lady and Dr. Masham, so she called her seldom touches the string that Dickens often- moiher aside. “Mamma,' she said, 'someest plays upon in the description of child- thing has happened. “What, my dear?' hood-it is a string very easy to play upon said Lady Annabel, somewhat surprised at
-the sorrows of a child. If one has the the seriousness of her tone. Look at this, gift of pathos at all, he has a very juicy mamma!” said Venetia, giving her the theme in describing the wretchedness and brooch." Something has happened, says the wrongs, the perplexities and the fears, of the little creature, as if it were an earth. a little helpless innocent, that bears all the quake. The volume is full of those minute contradiction of the world so meekly, feeling touches. Here is another novel ; we open the pain, but not able to question the jus- it at random, and find the following letter tice, of its suffering ; and with such a theme from one schoolboy to another, who has Mr. Dickens certainly has done wonders. saved him from drowning :Mr. Disraeli, on the other hand, seldom “Dear Coningsby.--I very much fear that touches it. Not that he is deficient in pathos, you must think me a very ungrateful fellow, as it has been said. Latterly, indeed, and because you have not beard from me before; we might say from the date of his entrance but I was in hopes that I might get out and say into Parliament, he seems to have studiously to you what I feel ; but whether I speak or veiled the tenderer feelings of his nature ; write, it is quite impossible for me to make you never in his speeches, and but rarely in his understand the feelings of my heart to you. writings, appearing in any character save Now, I will say at once, that I have always that of an utter stoic-a man without a tear. liked you better than any fellow in the school, But, even in these writings, turn to the last and always thought you the cleverest ; inchapter of bis last work, the Political Biog: deed, I always thought that there was no raphy of Lord George Bentinck, and we find
you; but I never would say this, or a very beautiful pathos, although its effects show this, because you never seemed to care are somewhat marred by the pedantry of for me, and because I was afraid you would certain quotations from the Greek tragedians. think I merely wanted to con with you, as When the grief is only strong, it is expressed they used say of some other fellows, whose in a quotation, beginning with é, t; when it names I will not mention, because they albecomes doubly strong, it is expressed, if we ways tried to do so with Henry Sydney and remember rightly, in a quotation, beginning you. I do not want this at all; but I want, with another interjection, ai, ai; until at length though we may not speak to each other when the force is trebled and absolutely over- more than before, that we may be friends.; powering, it bursts forth in the cry of peữ. and that you will always know that there is DEŬ. But the best examples of his mastery nothing I will not do for you, and that I over the pathetic are to be found in his earlier like you betier than any fellow at Eton. novels : we may refer to the death of Violet And I do not mean that this shall be only at Fane in “ Vivian Grey,” to the death of Al- Eton, but afterwards, wherever we may be, cesté in “ Contarini Fleming,” to the latter that you will always remember that there is