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LAST YEARS OF THE PRINCE CONSORT.

IR THEODORE MARTIN has accomplished a difficult task? with

remarkable success. Everyone knew before that he was an accomplished literary artist ; but important as literary skill is, especially in biography, there were many higher qualities required to do well such a task as he undertook. He has shown himself possessed in an eminent degree of such qualities-political penetration, moral enthusiasm, and above all, delicacy of intellectual tact and good sense. This is all the more to be noted because it is not the fashion in our modern literary world to appraise highly some of these qualities, and their very presence has been made the ground or occasion of unfavourable criticism, from certain quarters, of the * Life of the Prince Consort. Whatever may be the merits of our highly-charged intellectual era, moderation of judgment and mental sanity cannot be held among its characteristic virtues. There is a prevailing love of exaggeration in almost all departments of thoughtpolitical, religious, and artisticwhich more than anything gives the note of success. And the balance of judgment—the fairness and yet the sympathy-with which our author has endeavoured to set forth certain personal and political topics; his evident wish to do justice to the great ideas which never failed to animate the Princem whether in all respects these may be called characteristically English' ideas or not-has exposed him, as any biographer of Prince Albert was sure to be exposed, to the charge of what is called 'courtliness. Critics who know very little indeed of what they write, have over and again supposed that they summed up the demerits of his successive volumes in this phrase. Now courtliness' may mean either of two quite different things. It may mean mere subserviency to the personal or royal interests which are necessarily the main theme of the book. of this we trace nothing from beginning to end. Or it may mean sympathy with the atmosphere in which a royal person like Prince Albert, of course, grew up, and in which he lived, and the earnest attempt springing out of this sympathy to depict with full appreciation the influences which were constantly bearing upon his mind and character. Without some measure of this courtliness it would have been wholly impossible to do justice to the life of the Prince, or the ideas and events which were the subject of narration. If there had been nothing of this the book would have been an unintelligible misrepresentation. A certain measure of sympathy relative to the subject is just as necessary in depicting the life of a prince as of a peasant.

It is possible, however, that such critics mean something different

Life of the Princ. Consort, vol. v.

London : Smith, Elder and Co., 1880.

1845 six and seven tons of potatoes per acre were constantly raised upon Irish soil. This produce dropped to 5.6 tons between 1847 and 1851; to 5.3 between 1852 and 1856; and fell as low as 3•1 tons between 1869 and 1878. In other parts of the United Kingdom there has been little falling off in the produce of this crop; and the weakened state of the tuber, to which the decline is commonly as cribed, as a result of the potato disease, has no real foundation. It is a canon in agriculture that the best manure for any crop is that of the animal which fed on that crop, because all its ingredients are in exact proportion to the wants of the plant. It is in this way that the cotton lands of America are now so benefited by the sheep which feed upon the pressed seeds. In Ireland, however, a great change has taken place in the habits of the population. Formerly the potato was a staple article of food; the people lived upon the farms and restored to the land what was extracted in the growth of the potatoes, but when many emigrated to America, and when the residue changed so materially their mode of diet, the manurial balance of production and restoration was much changed, and the immense falling off of production has been the consequence. It can only be by due restoration of the abstracted ingredients of the soil through artificial manure that the land of Ireland can regain its old fertility. Cereals during a lengthened period have been lessening, and cattle increasing, in Ireland. If the balance of nutritive equivalent be struck between them, the startling result follows that Ireland could have fed 2,520,000 more people in 1856-7 than it could in 1878. During a large portion of that time England and Scotland were increasing in food-producing power, but latterly they have been decreasing also, though not nearly to the extent of Ireland. I state this important fact because it clearly shows that our agriculture is already changing its condition. The economical aspect of the question is another matter. It might pay a farmer to grow nothing but lavender, and the land might be fulfilling its functions without growing food at all, if it produced profit to invest in food from other lands. But changes are going on, and rapidly, in the production of food in this country, and it is a problem for all of us to consider attentively. As a very small contribution to it, I have given the impressions produced upon my own mind during a pleasant residence of a few months in the New England States last autumn.

Postscript. Since the above has been in type I have read Mr. Caird's letter, in the Times' of May 12, referring to American competition with English farmers. It is gratifying to me that so eminent an agricultural authority has come to the same conclusions as myself in regard to the probable results of future competition. In fact, our arguments and mode of viewing the question are so similar that I have thought it righ: to add this postscript, to assure the reader of this artic'e that I had not the advantage of knowing Mr. Caird's views when it was written. LAST YEARS OF THE PRINCE CONSORT.

SIR

success.

VIR THEODORE MARTIN has accomplished a difficult task with remarkable

knew an accomplished literary artist; but important as literary skill is, especially in biography, there were many higher qualities required to do well such a task as he undertook. He has shown himself possessed in an eminent degree of such qualities-political penetration, moral enthusiasm, and above all, delicacy of intellectual tact and good sense. This is all the more to be noted because it is not the fashion in our modern literary world to appraise highly some of these qualities, and their very presence has been made the ground or occasion of unfavourable criticism, from certain quarters, of the • Life of the Prince Consort. Whatever may be the merits of our highly-charged intellectual era, moderation of judgment and mental sanity cannot be held among its characteristic virtues. There is a prevailing love of exaggeration in almost all departments of thoughtpolitical, religious, and artistic—which more than anything gives the note of success. And the balance of judgment—the fairness and yet the sympathy—with which our author has endeavoured to set forth certain personal and political topics ; his evident wish to do justice to the great ideas which never failed to animate the Princewhether in all respects these may be called characteristically • English' ideas or not-has exposed him, as any biographer of Prince Albert was sure to be exposed, to the charge of what is called 'courtliness, Critics who know very little indeed of what they write, have over and again supposed that they summed up the demerits of his successive volumes in this phrase. Now courtliness' may mean either of two quite different things. It may mean mere subserviency to the personal or royal interests which are necessarily the main theme of the book. of this we trace nothing from beginning to end. Or it may mean sympathy with the atmosphere in which a royal person like Prince Albert, of course, grew up, and in which he lived, and the earnest attempt springing out of this sympathy to depict with full appreciation the influences which were constantly bearing upon his mind and character. Without some measure of this courtliness it would have been wholly impossible to do justice to the life of the Prince, or the ideas and events which were the subject of narration. If there had been nothing of this the book would have been an unintelligible misrepresentation. A certain measure of sympathy relative to the subject is just as necessary in depicting the life of a prince as of a peasant.

It is possible, however, that such critics mean something different

Life of the Princ Consort, vol. v.

London : Smith, Elder and Co., 1880.

1845 six and seven tons of potatoes per acre were constantly raised upon Irish soil. This produce dropped to 5.6 tons between 1847 and 1851; to 5.3 between 1852 and 1856; and fell as low as 3.1 tons between 1869 and 1878. In other parts of the United Kingdom there has been little falling off in the produce of this crop; and the weakened state of the tuber, to which the decline is commonly ascribed, as a result of the potato disease, has no real foundation. It is a canon in agriculture that the best manure for any crop is that of the animal which fed on that crop, because all its ingredients are in exact proportion to the wants of the plant. It is in this way that the cotton lands of America are now so benefited by the sheep which feed upon the pressed seeds. In Ireland, however, a great change has taken place in the habits of the population. Formerly the potato was a staple article of food; the people lived upon the farins and restored to the land what was extracted in the growth of the potatoes, but when many emigrated to America, and when the residue changed so materially their mode of diet, the manurial balance of production and restoration was much changed, and the immense falling off of production has been the consequence. It can only be by due restoration of the abstracted ingredients of the soil throngh artificial manure that the land of Ireland can regain its old fertility. Cereals during a lengthened period have been lessening, and cattle increasing, in Ireland. If the balance of nutritive equivalent be struck between them, the startling result follows that Ireland could have fed 2,520,000 more people in 1856-7 than it could in 1878. During a large portion of that time England and Scotland were increasing in food-producing power, but latterly they have been decreasing also, though not nearly to the extent of Ireland. I state this important fact because it clearly shows that our agriculture is already changing its condition. The economical aspect of the question is another matter. It might pay a farmer to grow nothing but lavender, and the land might be fulfilling its functions without growing food at all, if it produced profit to invest in food from other lands. But changes are going on, and rapidly, in the production of food in this country, and it is a problem for all of us to consider attentively. As a very small contribution to it, I have given the impressions produced upon my own mind during a pleasant residence of a few months in the New England States last autumn.

Postscript. Since the above has been in type I have read Mr. Caird's letter, in the Times of May 12, referring to American competition with English farmers. It is gratifying to me that so eminent an agricul tural authority has come to the same conclusions as myself in regard to the probable results of future competition. In fact, our arguments and mode of viewing the question are so similar that I have thought it right to add this postscript, to assure the reader of this artic e that I had not the advantage of knowing Mr. Caird's views when it was written. LAST YEARS OF THE PRINCE CONSORT.

VIR THEODORE MARTIN has accomplished a difficult task with remarkable success.

knew an accomplished literary artist; but important as literary skill is, especially in biography, there were many higher qualities required to do well such a task as he undertook. He has shown himself possessed in an eminent degree of such qualities-political penetration, moral enthusiasm, and above all, delicacy of intellectual tact and good sense. This is all the more to be noted because it is not the fashion in our modern literary world to appraise highly some of these qualities, and their very presence has been made the ground or occasion of unfavourable criticism, from certain quarters, of the • Life of the Prince Consort. Whatever may be the merits of our highly-charged intellectual era, moderation of judgment and mental sanity cannot be held among its characteristic virtues. There is a prevailing love of exaggeration in almost all departments of thoughtpolitical, religious, and artistic—which more than anything gives the note of success. And the balance of judgment—the fairness and yet the sympathy-with which our author has endeavoured to set forth certain personal and political topics; his evident wish to do justice to the great ideas which never failed to animate the Prince~ whether in all respects these may be called characteristically • English' ideas or not-has exposed him, as any biographer of Prince Albert was sure to be exposed, to the charge of what is called “courtliness.' Critics who know very little indeed of what they write, have over and again supposed that they summed up the demerits of his successive volumes in this phrase. Now "courtliness' may mean either of two quite different things. It may mean mere subserviency to the personal or royal interests which are necessarily the main theme of the book. of this we trace nothing from beginning to end. Or it may mean sympathy with the atmosphere in which a royal person like Prince Albert, of course, grew up, and in which he lived, and the earnest attempt springing out of this sympathy to depict with full appreciation the influences which were constantly bearing upon his mind and character. Without some measure of this courtliness it would have been wholly impossible to do justice to the life of the Prince, or the ideas and events which were the subject of narration. If there had been nothing of this the book would have been an unintelligible misrepresentation. A certain measure of sympathy relative to the subject is just as necessary in depicting the life of a prince as of a peasant.

It is possible, however, that such critics mean something different

Life of the Prince Consort, vol, v.

London : Smith, Elder and Co., 1880.

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