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the Prelude' that he found the explanation of the immediate failure of the French Revolution in the fact that the Revolutionists forgot the unity of humanity and the continuity of its development. In the first enthusiasm of his youthful Republicanism, he bad hoped to see
The man to come parted as by a gulf
From him who had been.
Trust the elevation which had made him one
Sage, warrior, prophet, hero.
One great society alone on earth,
The noble living and the noble dead. And the effect of this belief in what Comte would have called the solidarity of man, was shown in Wordsworth’s intense sympathy with the national struggles of Spain and Germany against Napoleon. Yet, on the whole, we have to admit that this idea did not carry him very far. He apprehended it, but it did not possess him as he was possessed by the ideas we have already mentioned. He is not the poet of the unity and the progress of humanity; perhaps the poet whom that idea shall inspire has yet to arise. What Wordsworth, like Rousseau, loves to speak of is rather the power and dignity of the individual man, and how he can attain to “freedom in himself' under all circumstances. The ‘Prelude,' in which Wordsworth gives an account of his own spiritual development, is one of the numerous echoes of the Confessions' of Rousseau ; but it is an echo in which the morbid and unhealthy self-analysis of the Confessions' has all but disappeared, and in which the interest of the reader is claimed on grounds which are all but independent of the mere individual. Wordsworth seeks to exhibit to us, not so much his own personal career, as the way in which, amid the difficulties of the time, a human soul might find peace and inward freedom. He rejects any claim to exceptional privilege, and takes his stand upon the rights of simple humanity.
There's not a man
As natural beings in the strength of nature ! He bids us find a confirmation of our spiritual destiny even in the childish appetite for wonder.
Our childhood sits,
That hath more power than all the elements.
Our destiny, our being's heart and home,
And something ever more about to be ! Lastly, out of this sense of the spiritual greatness, the 'godhead' of human nature, springs what we might call, in philosophical terms, the optimism of Wordsworth—his assertion that good is stronger than evil, and even that the latter is but a means of the development of the former. "The godhead which is ours,' he says, 'can never utterly be shamed or stilled,' and
The immortal spirit, with godlike power,
That time can lay upon her. Wordsworth's optimism, if it may be so called, has no fear of sorrow or of evil.
He can stand in the shadow of death and pain, ruin and failure, with a sympathy that is almost painful in its quiet intensity; yet the sense of something far more deeply interfused' which makes our noisy years seem moments in the being of the eternal silence;' the faith in the omnipotence of love and man's unconquerable mind,' is never destroyed or even weakened in him. The contemplation of evil and pain always ends with him, by an inevitable recoil, in an inspired expression of his faith in the good which transmutes and transfigures it, as clouds are changed into manifestations of the sunlight they strive to hide. It is this spiritual recoil against the pressure of evil that draws from Wordsworth some of the loftiest and purest notes which his music ever reached," notes in which the minor tones of sorrow are made the means of expressing a deeper joy :
Sighing, I turned away; but ere
A ritual hymn,
* Cf. v. 138, 216; vi. 37, 118, &c.
ENGLISH LIBERALS AND CONTINENTAL LIBERALS.
TITH February the contest between the Liberal Opposition and
the Conservative Government enters upon a new stage. This week the country will see in what attitude Lord Beaconsfield and his colleagues are prepared to confront the fact, which the Recess must have brought home to them, that national feeling is reverting emphatically to Liberalism. Readers of Fraser 'know very well in what condition the five months' battle of parties has left respectively the Liberal and Conservative causes. It would be superfluous for us to repeat the tale of the momentous issues which are now being weighed in the scales of public opinion. But English Liberalism, as represented by this Magazine, rests upon truths of wider application than to election contests in the British Isles. We take advantage of the pause
before the curtain rises on a fresh scene in the campaign to show the bearing of the principles we have been endeavouring to inculcate during the past eight months, on the relations between English and foreign Liberals, and on the party controversies of the European Continent. Great Britain during the last two years has intervened more directly in the affairs of Continental Europe than at any period since the Crimean War. Negotiations with foreign governments, and questionings on the probability of this or that diplomatic arrangement, have elbowed domestic legislation out of Parliament, and even domestic news out of the journals. Every Englishman has felt as much bound to have his opinion on the connection of foreign sovereigns and statesmen with the affairs of these islands as the coffee-house politician immortalised by Addison in the days of Queen Anne. Yet seldom has less of that kind of personal interest been shown in the internal politics themselves of Continental Europe, and the views and tendencies of its several peoples, which arises from, and is marked by, open sympathy between the corresponding political parties at home and abroad. English Liberals, who at other times have studied the course of Continental political feeling with the most anxious vigilance, may probably have seemed to foreign Liberals passive and neutral, in respect of recent European conflicts of party passions. They have certainly exhibited singular unconcern while the foreign representatives of progress have been panegyrising a British policy actively selfish and intellectually suspicious.
It is easier to comprehend why Liberal Continental opinion should have favoured a very illiberal British policy than why English Liberals should not have exerted themselves to dissipate the foreign misconception as well of Liberal indifference as of Conservative public spirit. That Europe generally should experience satisfaction at a momentary return of Great Britain to her Pitt and Castlereagh habits of intervention in its affairs was natural enough. The Con
is jealous of Russian predominance. But the circumstances of the present time disincline individual Powers from braving Russia singly. France would vehemently object to an absorption in Russia of the European dominions of the Porte. She could not, nevertheless, abandon her own private schemes of foreign policy to embark on a crusade against a possible ally in a future war with Germany, Germany has less pleasure even than France in anticipating a European aggrandisement of Russia; still Germany, for reasons the same as those which guide French councils, was equally anxious that the work of trimming the balance of Continental power should not be cast upon her. Austria felt only sufficiently strong to share the spoils when the common enemy should have been defeated. Italy entertained a similar view, though her hopes, unlike those of Austria, were not in fact gratified. Thus all the great European Powers, with one necessary exception, were well content that England should bell the cat. She was applauded on every side for doing other people's business. In addition to the contentment Europe felt at being relieved from a troublesome task, there was the same sort of pleasant excitement which seizes upon a party of schoolboys when they are joined on an excursion by the capitalist of their class. A traditionary belief pervades the European mind that English treasure owes toll to Continental feuds. Europe is indignant at being robbed of its due by English abstinence from its controversies. Lord Beaconsfield fulfilled a popular European theory of English obligations by indicating readiness to resume payment of this tribute.
The Cyprus Convention damped for an instant the enthusiasm for British magnanimity. It appeared that, after all, Great Britain was not prepared to fight the battle of the balance of power for nothing. The Continent recognised in the facts the Conservative principle of payment for British disinterestedness by an island or a cape before Lord Salisbury cynically turned the practice into a maxim of patriotic duty. But the vexation at the discovery that English Conservatives had not grown suddenly generous wore off: if British intervention were a good in itself, its continuance may have seemed to the Continental mind to be secured by British selfishness. France made amends for the first disappointment by sarcasms. Italy, however aggrieved at another State sharing in territorial spoils while she had nothing thrown to her, was yet gratified at the acknowledgment of a doctrine peculiarly after her own heart. From Austria and Germany the fullest acquiescence went out to meet and even anticipate the act. It was an earnest for the cession to the former of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It pledged England to settle the Turkish question in an anti-Russian sense. To the German Chancellor it was more agreeable than to the German nation. But the German nation indorses beforehand whatever policy its illustrious Minister chooses to adopt. A transaction like the Anglo-Turkish Convention would be specially acceptable to a mind like his. He could point to it as one proof more that selfishness is the key to national politics. At an earlier Egypt. Such a stroke of rapacious policy would have embittered irredeemably the relations of France and England. That would hardly have been a strong motive in the Chancellor's judgment against advising the attempt.
There is no difficulty in understanding the acquiescence of Europe in the renewal of the former system of British intervention. What Liberal Europe fails to perceive at present, but what it will perceive hereafter, is that English Liberals, in charging a foreign policy based on imaginary British interests with treason to those interests, are proclaiming no principle of English alienation from European affairs. The Liberal party does not set its face against all intervention. The Liberal protest is directed against intervention by England alone, and for British interests alone. English Liberals desire nothing for England in Europe; but they desire much for Europe. English Conservatives exult when Great Britain is made to thrust herself into doubtful acceptance as a great European Power. English Liberals wish Great Britain to occupy a position at once in Europe and not in Europe. Great Britain in the Liberal opinion is bound in her own interest to watch the course of European affairs and to hold definite views upon the tendencies they display. She is not bound to do the work of Europe, when Europe does not care to do its own work. Above all, when she co-operates with Europe for the accomplishment of European objects she owes a duty to herself to make sure first that she will not be inveigled into applying abroad principles she would repudiate at home.
English Conservatives in treating of questions of foreign policy almost cease to be Englishmen. They are like respectable matrons who, in the old days of Homburg and Baden Baden, would, by attendance in the gambling rooms, and their presence at the opera on Sunday, be countenancing practices which at home would have appeared to them sheer destruction to the soul. English Liberals cannot cease to be English Liberals, however remote from England the matters under consideration. Conservatives, like Liberals, being Englishmen, have never been averse from denouncing English Governments which have misgoverned, or been incapable of governing at all. Unlike Liberals, they hold that foreign Governments, however tyrannical or incompetent, are entitled to English sympathy. They make exception only of the foreign Government, Russia now, as it was France formerly—which happens to be for the moment their pet aversion. When in a lucid interval the Conservative Cabinet instructed Lord Salisbury to join the European Conclave at Constantinople in insisting upon Ottoman reform, the Conservative rank and file were dismayed, and Liberals applauded. When the Turk refused to mend his ways, Liberals, though they have no cause to love the oppressors of Poland, and do not love them, were, because they were Liberals, precluded from denying the right of Russia to interpose between Ottoman barbarism and the Christian rayahs. Liberals, being Englishmen, would have been as resolute as Lord