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President Whjte Library, 
Cornell University. 



Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 




183I— 1900 





K, \So-i-\b 

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson 6^ Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press 


The present volume has ' not the character of an 
Autobiography ; nor, indeed, could its author plead 
any of the usual excuses for publishing a Memoir of 
himself. It is not the life-history of one who has 
attained to eminence ; it is not the record of an 
eventful career ; it contains few, if any, graphic 
pictures pf remarkable scenes or remarkable men. 
Since I am not " one who has kept a diary," some 
^Ht)teworthy incidents have doubtless escaped my 
recollection ; while, on the other hand, I have been 
under no temptation to insert extracts on matters of 
slight importance. 

It is, therefore, with genuine diffidence that I 
put forth this modest collection of "Memories and 
Impressions," instead of reserving them for the 
perusal of indulgent relations and friends. If they 
shall be found to possess any value for the general 
reader, it must be derived from the source which 
has secured acceptance for other memorials of quiet 
lives. No man who is approaching his seventieth 
year, who has passed through many phases of ex- 
perience, who has viewed the world with open eyes, 
and who has thought for himself with open mind. 


can fail to have something to say which persons like 
himself may care to hear, if he can but say it with 
simplicity and sincerity. While I claim no sensa- 
tional attraction for my own Memories, and no 
special originality for my own Impressions, I have 
been encouraged to hope that both may interest 
some readers to whom I am personally unknown, 
and with this hope I await their friendly criticism. 

I desire to make it clear, at the outset, that, in 
speaking of more or less eminent persons whom I 
have been fortunate enough to know, I have no 
intention whatever of presenting a series of character- 
sketches, or of drawing a complete portrait of a 
single individual. Least of all do I presume to offer 
" appreciations," favourable or otherwise, of persons 
still living. Without blaming other writers of 
different gifts or temperament, I may say, for 
myself, that I have never consciously studied the 
characters of my friends, however eminent, from a 
literary or artistic point of view, and that I shrink 
from bestowing formal praise or censure on those of 
them whom I still hope to meet on intimate terms 
in daily life. 

One more disclaimer I venture to make. Having 
once decided on taking the public into my con- 
fidence, I cannot disguise my deliberate impressions, 
even when they happen to rise into strong convic- 
tions. On Home Kule, therefore, and some other 


subjects, I have spoken without reserve, and un- 
reserved speech may sometimes give oflfence to 
sensitive opponents. I can only say that I would 
gladly have avoided this, if it had been possible, and 
that I have never resented fair criticism of my own 
public action. As " life's night begins," we should 
become more and more charitable in our judgment 
of motives, but our perceptions of right and wrong 
ought not to become dimmed, nor should we be 
deterred from expressing them by the knowledge 
that, being human, they must needs be imperfect, 
and may, after all, be coloured or distorted by 
influences invisible to ourselves. 





Remarkable characters in Oxford fifty years ago— Successes of 
my later Oxford career— Encsenia of 1855— Election to a 
Fellowship at Merton College— Reminiscences of the Merton 
Common-room— Bishop Patteson — Experience of coaching . 103 



Reading for the Bar in the chambers of E. Bullen and Lord 
Coleridge — Reminiscences of the Western Circuit— Lord 
Bowen — Defence of a prisoner charged with murder — 
Lord Campbell and Dr. Lushington . . . .116 


JOURNALISM (1860-1873) 

Reviews and leading articles — Mr. Delane— Anonymous journal- 
ism — Variety of subjects treated — Duty of a journalist — 
Life of a journalist — Public-spirited conduct of the Times . 129 



Overtures from constituencies — First contest at Woodstock — Elec- 
tion address — Village meetings — The hustings — Invitation 
from Evesham — Second contest at Woodstock — Lord Ran- 
dolph Churchill — Contest in Monmouthshire . • I47 



Waste of power on Commissions — Commission on treatment of 
Fenian prisoners — O'Donovan Rossa — Demeanour of Fenians 
— Oxford University Commission — Its results — London Uni- 
versity Commission . . . . . .162 



FAMILY EVENTS (1854-1893) 


Family events — My father's later career and death — Life in Lon- 
don—Literary work — London School Board — Royal Geogra- 
phical Society — Geographical Club — Sir Henry Rawlinson — 
Joseph Arch — My Essays published by the Cobden Club — 
" English Land and English Landlords " — Further overtures 
from constituencies — Impressions of London society — Recent 
changes in moral sentiments, manners, and fashions . -175 



Sexcentenary of Merton College — Peterhouse — Contrasts be- 
tween Oxford and Cambridge ..... 208 



Reminiscences of statesmen — Mr. Gladstone's first Cabinet — Lord 
Granville, Mr. Lowe, Mr. Cardwell, Mr. John Bright, Mr. 
Eorster, Lord Selborne, Mr. Gladstone — Reminiscences of 
other eminent men, John Stuart Mill, Henry Fawcett, Free- 
man, Froude, Matthew Arnold, Huxley, Archbishop Tait, 
Cardinal Manning, Dean Stanley, Sir Andrew Clark— Par- 
liamentary, pulpit, and platform eloquence . . .218 



Tours in Europe — Voyage to America— Travelling in America 
—Visit to Lord Dufferin at Ottawa— Letter to the Ti-mes on 
the Canadian Pacific Railway and the political crisis in 
Canada— Experience of voyages in public steam- vessels and 
private yachts ..••■•■ ^72 





Charms of English scenery— The most beautiful districts in 
England— Riding-tours and driving-tours — Hints for tra- 
vellers on horseback — English hotels, and maps — Tours 
in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland — Braemar — 
Raasay .....•■• 298 



Visits to Ireland — Study of the Irish Land Question — Remi- 
niscences of the Vice-Regal Lodge — The " Castle-system " — 
Phcenix Park murders — Their influence on the Home Rule 
movement — My own contributions to Unionist organisation 
and literature — " Plain Facts about Ireland " — The Irish 
Local Government Act — Effect of the Home Rule movement 
on political friendships . . . . .318 



Election to "Wardenship of Merton— Educational and Social 
changes at Oxford between 1850 and 1881 — Increase of 
"ladies' society," claim of degrees for women, growth of 
specialism, mitigation of party-spirit, legislative weakness 
of the University— Position and duties of a Head of a 
College — Character of modern undergraduates . . 339 



Literary work at Merton— Articles and addresses on Socialism 
-Service on the City Council of Oxford— Experience of 
magistrates' work— The Governing Body of Eton College . 377 





Foundation of the "Oxford University Unionist League" — My 
Presidential address — Motion against me before the Special 
(Parnell) Commission for contempt of Court alleged to be 
committed in a passage of this address — My appearance and 
affidavit — Dismissal of the case — Lord Bramwell's Letter 
— Memorial from Oxford friends . . . -396 



Fallacies of forecasts — Temptations of optimism in retrospect — 

Ground for a hopeful view of the national health . .411 

Memories and Impressions 



My parents — Castle Eising — Life in a Norfolk parsonage sixty or 
seventy years ago — Old Hunstanton — School-room education — 
Glimpses of public events — Life at private tutors' — Early remi- 
niscences of travelling. 

I WAS born on May 5, 1831, at the Rectory, Castle 
Eising, four miles from Lynn, in Norfolk, being the 
second son of the Rev. William John Brodrick, then 
Rector of Castle Rising, and afterwards the seventh 
Viscount Midleton. My paternal grandfather, the 
Archbishop of Cashel, was younger brother of the 
fourth Viscount Midleton, whose third daughter (by 
his second marriage) was my mother. My parents, 
therefore, were first cousins, and, as my mother's 
only brother and four sisters died without children, 
I soon found that I had a smaller circle of relations 
than most of my friends. I was chiefly brought up 
with my eldest brother, the present Viscount Midle- 
ton, sixteen months older than myself ; my next two 
brothers, Charles and Henry, died respectively at the 



ages of sixteen and thirty-nine ; my sister, Harriet, is 
living unmarried at Eichmond ; my youngest brother, 
Alan, is Eector of Alverstoke and Honorary Canon of 

No one can adequately measure what he owes to 
his parents, but I have never doubted that I was 
indebted to mine for whatever moral and religious 
principles became part of my character. My father 
was certainly the most consistently devout Christian 
and the most perfect gentleman that I have ever 
known. He was a man of delicate physique, but 
above six feet high, and of dignified presence, with 
a singularly winning gentleness of voice and bearing. 
My mother absolutely shared his faith, and followed 
his example in practice ; nor do I believe that their 
married life was ever disturbed by the least shade of 
discord. Both had imbibed at an early age the 
Evangelical tenets of Wilberforce and Simeon, but 
my father was far too moderate in opinions, and far 
too Catholic in spirit, to be an extreme Low Church- 
man. His Evangelicalism consisted in a heartfelt 
conviction that Christ is the one mediator between 
God and the human soul ; that conscious union with 
Christ is the one great secret and end of the Gospel ; 
that such union is only to be realised by prayer and 
the aid of the Holy Spirit ; and that no external 
agencies of Churches, Ministers, or Ordinances, have 
any Divine authority- or spiritual value, except so far 
as they are instruments for the propagation and 
confirmation of personal religion. From this posi- 
tion he never swerved, and though he lived to recog- 


nise much good, if not in the High Church movement, 
yet in the devotion of many who followed it, he 
died a firm believer in the Evangelical creed. 

Castle Rising was, in some respects, a model 
country village, and its Eectory was just such a 
home as has sent forth many a hardworking youth 
to render good service in Church or State ; indeed, 
Nelson himself was nurtured in a parsonage in 
the same neighbourhood. The great feature of the 
parish is the keep of a fine old Norman castle, in 
which Isabella, the wicked mother of Edward III., 
was confined for many years ; surrounded with other 
ruins, and some of the highest and boldest artificial 
mounds to be seen in England. From these mounds, 
there called the Castle Hills, there was an extensive 
view of the Wash, and a large tract of salt-marshes 
reclaimed from the sea and protected by embank- 
ments. On stormy nights it was not uncommon for 
the inhabitants of parishes owning such land to be 
summoned hastily, for the purpose of preventing or 
repairing breaches in the sea wall. The church, too, 
is an excellent specimen of later Norman architecture, 
resembling in type the well-known church at IfHey, 
near Oxford. Close by is an almshouse of the reign 
of James I., which still retains its original character; 
as well as an interesting Hall of later date, recently 
tenanted by the Duke of Fife, but then occupied for 
two or three months of the year by Colonel and Mrs. 
Howard, the kindly and munificent proprietors of 
the village. Strange to say, though it contained but 
300 or 400 inhabitants, it had continued to be a 


borough — and, of course, a pocket-borough — until 
it was disfranchised by the first Eeform Act. My 
father always believed that at the last election before 
that event he was the only legal voter, and that, 
although several other votes were actually received, 
they would all have been struck off on a scrutiny. 
The newly-elected members were bound to undergo 
the ceremony of "chairing," and were regularly 
" tossed " at a particular spot, afterwards proved to 
be the site of the old village cross, the base of 
which was discovered a foot or two below the surface. 
Besides the Castle, the Church, the "hospital," the 
parish school, and the inevitable public-house, the 
village consisted of a very few substantial farm- 
houses, and a number of comfortable though primi- 
tive cottages, often visited by Mrs. Howard as well 
as by my parents, and chiefly inhabited by farm- 
labourers and workpeople employed at a neighbouring 
mill. There was no meeting-house, and little, if any 
Dissent ; most of the villagers attended church dili- 
gently, and sent their children to school long before 
any one dreamed of compulsory education. My 
mother, as well as my father, was assiduous in 
befriending the poor, and the remembrance of their 
example, by no means singular, would be quite 
enough to disabuse one of the untenable notion that 
devotion to parochial duties was a lesson first taught 
by the "Oxford Movement." 

In the days of my childhood our corner of 
Norfolk, though far more accessible than many parts 
of England, was very much out of the world, accord- 


ing to modern ideas. Lynn was, of course, our local 
metropolis, and Lynn itself, within one hundred 
miles of London, was practically farther removed 
from it than Edinburgh or Dublin is now. The 
single day-coach which traversed this road, and 
which in 1830 had to be dug out of the snow, took 
twelve hours in accomplishing the journey. The 
two well-known coachmen. Walker and Cross, ex- 
changed vehicles at Cambridge, each driving out 
and home the same day. The occupants of post- 
chaises travelled more slowly, and either journeyed 
from dawn to dusk on a summer's day, or slept at 
Cambridge, at the Bull Inn. Every hostelry on the 
road had its character. It was, I think, at Royston 
that an old Tory, having stopped at an inn kept by 
a Reformer, and ascertained that the waiter's politics 
were of the same colour, indignantly exclaimed, on 
paying his reckoning without the customary douceur, 
" Then, sir, there is the bill, the whole bill, and 
nothing but the bill." The change at Lynn, from 
the waving corn-fields which covered the fens in 
spring, or the huge stacks which dotted the horizon 
in autumn, to the breezy uplands of North-west 
Norfolk, was at once startling and picturesque. 
Along the shores of the Wash and the North Sea 
rare sea-birds were blown inland with every heavy 
gale, and the bustard was not yet extinct upon the 
lonely tracts of common. The heaths which fringe 
the road between Lynn and Hunstanton, with a 
village every two miles, and a church usually cap- 
able of holding all its inhabitants, looked pleasant 


enough in summer, but were swept in winter and 
spring by the bleakest of winds charged with snowy 
particles from the ice-fields of Norway, which Coke 
of Holkham used to claim as his nearest neighbour. 
Sandringham lies about midway, but was not yet 
imparked, and was then owned by a West Indian 

The graphic descriptions of village life in East 
Anglia by the author of " A ready in the Twenties" 
are applicable, with little variation, to the succeeding 
decade. Judged by existing standards, it was sadly 
rough and hopelessly dull. Wages were low, prices 
were high, and work was not always plentiful. Edu- 
cation was in its infancy, and such village schools as 
existed would now be regarded as utterly inefiicient. 
There were labourers whose whole life had been spent 
within half-a-dozen miles of Lynn, but who had only 
seen their market-town once or twice on special busi- 
ness. Notices of the requirements of the Parish 
authorities were constantly given out in church by 
the clerk, without his considering it necessary to 
inform the parson of his intention to do so. The 
parson himself had often little regard for appear- 
ances, and would sometimes change his surplice for 
his preaching -gown before the whole congregation 
without repairing to the vestry — if, indeed, there 
was a vestry. The churches were miserably kept, 
and some of the clergy were more sportsmen than 
pastors, owing their livings to patrons who cared 
little for the spiritual interests of their dependants. 
One such parson was seen to arise from his knees in 


the midst of the general Confession in order to make 
a respectful obeisance to the squire, who happened 
to enter the family pew somewhat late. Many like 
stories were told, but I must add, in fairness, not 
only that my own father was a pattern of clerical 
dignity, but that I heard — perhaps was allowed to 
hear — nothing but good of the neighbouring clergy 
who resorted to our house. Probably in respect of 
birth, and even of University education, the rural 
clergy of those days were at least the equals of their 
successors, for the gravitation of the ablest and most 
zealous young curates into London and other great 
towns had not then begun. 

The fact is that, sixty years ago, the ideal of 
clerical duty was very different from that which now 
prevails. Not only may it be said that evangelical 
"faith" counted for more and ritualistic "works" 
for less than in a modern parish, but the "priest" 
had not yet taken the place of the "minister," less 
concerned for the interests of his order than for the 
spiritual and temporal welfare of his parishioners. 
There is much truth in the language of a writer in 
the Church Gazette: "It might be that the clergy 
did not then hold so many services in the churches, 
or attend so many retreats, or study mediaeval litur- 
gies and rituals as is now the case ; yet they took 
part, and a leading part, in every movement for the 
good of the people, not as a class apart, but as being 
of the nation itself. It is true, too, that they dressed 
more like professional men than priests, and they, 
with their families, formed part of the life of every 


village and town. They were scholars, they were 
gentlemen, and they were trusted by all. It cannot 
be denied that these very qualities which made 
them of value to the State incurred the opposition 
of Newman and his followers of the Oxford Move- 
ment. The horizon of the clerical mind has since 
been curtailed, and the very name National Church 
is unpopular with the clergy." One side of this 
view was pithily expressed by an old gamekeeper 
at Castle Rising, in a conversation with myself on 
the character of a High Church Rector. " Sir, he 
don't care if there's no God and no Bible, so long 
as there's a parson, and a Prayer - Book, and a 
Church." If that Protestant gamekeeper were now 
alive, he might be further shocked to observe that 
Ritualistic practices are no longer restricted by the 
injunctions of the Prayer-Book. 

The daily life at the Hall, as well as the Rectory, 
was then simple and monotonous. The servants were 
chiefly drawn from the neighbourhood, which also 
supplied all the domestic wants, and many of the 
domestic comforts, then known to owners of country 
houses. For most of them a visit to London was a 
rare and memorable event. Year in and year out 
they lived at home, receiving near relations on visits 
measured by weeks together, walking up their own 
game with the aid of pointers, and shooting with 
clumsy muzzle-loaders, attending Quarter Sessions, 
and occasionally meeting their neighbours in the 
larger market-towns, where the clergy, too, some- 
times assembled for ecclesiastical or missionary 


gatherings. Merry-makings and social reunions were 
few and far between ; garden-parties, with the attrac- 
tions of croquet and lawn tennis, had not been in- 
vented, while school treats and village entertainments 
were very rare. I can well remember one such being 
given on a grand scale by Colonel and Mrs. Howard, 
to celebrate the Queen's coronation, when fireworks 
were displayed from the Castle Hills, and a squabble 
took place between the inhabitants of two villages 
over the partition of roast beef which is reported to 
have been revived by their descendants at a Jubilee- 
feast in 1897. In those parts, and in those days, 
the village-carrier was often the sole vehicle of news 
to cottagers, for letters cost tenpence a piece, and 
often remained exposed for weeks in the window of 
the local post-office, because those whose addresses 
they bore shrank from the expense of claiming them. 
Though Castle Eising was a healthy village, I have no 
doubt the mortality there would now be reckoned high, 
since there was no provision for drainage or water- 
supply. Nursing was an unknown art in country 
districts, and the Lynn doctors used to drive about 
equipped with medicine chests and cases of surgical 
instruments, equally prepared for "the fever" or for 
injuries requiring amputation — of course, without the 
use of anaesthetics. Soon after my own birth, the 
cholera had scourged a village four miles oS, but a 
sanitary cordon was said to have been maintained 
round Castle Rising by labourers armed with pitch- 
forks. The great epidemic of influenza swept over 
Norfolk, as it did over the rest of the country, in 


1837, and we all suffered from it. This is sometimes 
described as its first appearance in England, but 
erroneously, for it is mentioned by name as prevail- 
ing in the last century. The importance of re- 
vaccination was fully realised even by my parents, 
who had themselves been inoculated, and, as there 
was a good deal of smallpox about, I was subjected 
to it at the age of seven. 

My first sight of the sea was at the village of Old 
Hunstanton, the only seaside watering-place, if it 
could be called so, within easy reach of Castle Rising. 
Here there was but one regular lodging-house, the 
property of a Lynn clergyman, and the accommoda- 
tion was so primitive and scanty that one of us 
children was reported to have been put to bed in a 
chest of drawers. I think it is scarcely realised by 
the present generation how modern seaside watering- 
places actually are. In the last century few people 
took summer holidays, except in the form of an occa- 
sional " day off," like Johnny Gilpin, or cared much 
for change of air or scene, except for the purpose of 
enjoying hospitality or drinking waters. Bath, Tun- 
bridge Wells, Buxton, Harrogate, and other inland 
" Spas " had long been fashionable sanatoriums, but 
there must have been thousands of invalids who 
could not bear long journeys to such health-resorts 
before railways so vastly reduced the fatigue of travel- 
ling. Meanwhile, seaports and coast towns, with their 
squalid lodging-houses clustered round a narrow inlet 
receiving all the drainage, were not unjustly avoided 
by health-seekers as the very reverse of salubrious. 


Scarborough was among the earliest of marine summer 
quarters, and was patronised by North country people 
in the middle of the last century. Smollett, in 
"Humphry Clinker," couples it and " Brighthelm- 
stone" with "Bristol-Well," Tunbridge, and " Har- 
rowgate," as places to which visitors took flight 
after the end of the Bath season, which seems to 
have lasted until May. Eamsgate and Margate 
were already frequented by Londoners, while Cromer, 
Yarmouth, and Southend probably came into note 
somewhat later. Most ports and towns on the 
South Coast were quite neglected by fashion, until 
George III. brought Weymouth into vogue, with 
the result that some attention was paid to sani- 
tary requirements. In due course, Hastings, Worth- 
ing, Bognor, the Isle of Wight, and the Devonshire 
coast towns claimed their share of popularity ; but our 
grandfathers and great-grandfathers went to the sea- 
side for the sake of pleasure and sea-bathing rather 
than of health. How they could have enjoyed or 
amused themselves at such a place as Hunstanton 
then was, is a question not easy to answer. On the 
other hand, it is strange that while scores, or perhaps 
hundreds, of seaside watering-places are nowadays 
thronged with visitors (some attracted by golf-links), 
there are so few inland health-resorts frequented 
mainly for the sake of bracing air, rather than 
of mineral waters. Buxton alone combines the 
air of a high plateau with its celebrated baths, 
and is the only town in Great Britain of which 
it can be said that, of six excellent roads leading 


out of it, only one fails to attain the height of 
1500 feet. 

As we left Castle Rising when I was eight years 
old, my recollections of our life there, and, still 
more, my impressions of public events, are inevitably 
meagre, but they are perfectly distinct. We were 
brought up simply and sensibly under the kindest 
of parents, but rather strictly, and without that sensi- 
tive regard for our comfort and enjoyment which is 
now the lot of childhood in the upper classes. Our 
health was carefully watched, yet we certainly were 
not coddled ; for instance, we never wore woollen 
underclothing, and I did not adopt a " flannel waist- 
coat" until I was eleven, or my brother, until he 
suffered from an attack of pleurisy in his sixteenth 
year. Our amusements were few, and were rigor- 
ously prohibited on Sundays ; but our lesson-hours 
were not long, and were judiciously distributed — 
two hours in the morning, and one and a half in the 
afternoon. Happily, our governess was an excellent 
old-fashioned teacher, blissfully ignorant of " pseda- 
gogy" and educational specialism, but thoroughly 
grounded herself, and capable of thoroughly ground- 
ing children, in reading, writing, arithmetic, geo- 
graphy, English history, and the knowledge of 
"common things." The result was that, although 
neither of us was precocious or specially clever, and 
no attempt was made to cram or force us, we had 
attained a standard in these subjects, before I went 
to school at the age of eight, which some people 
think it unreasonable to expect from children of 


eleven or twelve in Board and Voluntary Schools. 

Our father taught us Latin himself, and we both 

acquired, without conscious eflfort, a familiarity with 

the Bible which made Biblical lessons perfectly easy 

to us at school and college. Nor was this instruction 

chiefly directed to inform our minds : from our 

earliest years the New Testament was set before us 

as the one rule of conduct, and the love of Jesus 

Christ as the one refuge of the soul in time of trouble 

or temptation. Perhaps, under such teaching, we may 

have taken a more serious view of life than was quite 

natural for children, but my conviction is that its 

good effects far outweighed this incidental drawback. 

Field sports were unknown to us, and we had few 

juvenile playmates ; but we enjoyed gardening, kept 

guinea-pigs and other pets, were sometimes taken on 

long drives, and, as we grew older, learned to ride 

ponies without stirrups — a practice, however, which 

I deprecate as too rough a discipline for beginners. 

Of course, Lynn, with its Grey Friars' tower and 
two fine churches, was the nearest place of interest, but 
one of our expeditions was along the coast to Wells 
and Blakeney, another to Houghton, the grandeur of 
which naturally made it my ideal of a country house 
for years afterwards. Every year, too, until 1836, 
we posted up to London (104 miles), closely packed 
in the family chariot, on our way to Peper Harow, 
near Godalming, the residence of our maternal grand- 
father. Lord Midleton. I can remember every stage 
on the road, especially Ely and Cambridge, the con- 
stant excitement of changing horses, and the inter- 


minable approacli to London through avenues of 
suburban gardens. There we always slept for one 
or two nights at my grandfather's house in Upper 
Brook Street, and were taken for walks into Hyde 
Park, or the sacred enclosure of Grosvenor Square, 
which I have never entered since. My chief reminis- 
cences of London, more than sixty years ago, are the 
Zoological Gardens, the Babel of London cries, and 
the dull rumble of the streets at night, which sounded 
very strange to a child from the country. It was 
not until later that I came to identify London cabs, 
which first ran in 1823, or omnibuses, which date 
from 1829, but I have a very early recollection of 
the old hackney coaches. Then came the journey to 
Peper Harow (thirty-six miles), with four horses for 
the last stage, crowned by the vision of grander 
surroundings and new scenery. Once, in 1835, we 
travelled into Surrey through Brighton, where the 
Chain Pier, recently erected, was considered a wonder 
of the world. In 1836, during our stay at Peper 
Harow, my grandfather died, and his widow, the 
Dowager Lady Midleton, took a house at Snettisham, 
seven miles from Castle Rising on the road to Hun- 
stanton. One of my aunts who lived with her 
delighted in long walks, and Ken Hill, which is still 
known to visitors from Hunstanton, then seemed to 
me an earthly Paradise. Indeed, Wordsworth him- 
self might have been satisfied with the multitude 
of childish ideas and dreamy fancies which floated 
across my brain in this first passion for natural 
scenery, but never found expression in poetry. Soon 


afterwards, Sir Edward Parry, the great Arctic 
navigator, settled at Congham, four miles from Castle 
Rising in the opposite direction, and became an 
intimate friend of my father. His son, the late 
Bishop of Dover, was the earliest of my own friends, 
and remained one of my truest friends until the day 
of his death. 

My first recollections of events outside our family 
circle date from the reign of William IV. One is 
that of witnessing a review in Hyde Park, before 
the Duke of Wellington, from the top of a house in 
Connaught Place. Another is that of being taken to 
Gaywood, near Lynn, to see the present Queen, then 
Princess Victoria, with her mother, passing in car- 
riages from Lynn to Holkham, on one of the few 
visits which she paid before she ascended the throne. 
The news of the King's death arrived on one of the 
hottest days in the hot summer of 1837. The general 
election which followed was memorable in the annals 
of Norfolk as that in which the Tory squires first 
broke the power of the great Whig house at Holk- 
ham, and succeeded in returning their candidates, 
Sir William Bagge and Mr. Chute, against the Whig 
nominees. Sir William Ffoulkes and Sir Jacob Astley. 
I was decked out in blue rosettes, by way of wearing 
Tory colours, and, placed on a wall, saw the Hun- 
stanton voters brought up in a body on the Lynn 
road, headed by the estate-steward. For the farmers 
of those days, though despots over their labourers, 
never thought of disputing the authority of their land- 
lords in politics. Two or three of the less intelligent, 


having been vigorously canvassed by a neighbouring 
clergyman's wife, tendered their votes at the poll 
for Mrs. Barnes, and were surprised at their rejection. 
The next year was the year of the great frost, of the 
great eclipse {which I saw through smoked glass), 
and of the rebellion in Canada, succeeded by the 
Chartist riots, which lasted through a great part of 
1839. Eeports of both these events reached our 
schoolroom, but our political ideas, however sound, 
were crude in the extreme. I hope it was neither of 
my parents who informed me, in answer to some 
inquiry, that the Kadicals were the wickedest of 
mankind; that so long as the Duke of Wellington 
lived they might probably be kept in some kind of 
order, but that after his death there was no telling 
what mischief they might perpetrate — a prediction 
which some may think was not wholly futile. On 
another occasion, having asked the difference between 
Whigs and Tories, I was met by the reply that Tories 
were people who held that God made the King, 
whereas the Whigs held that the people made the 
King— an opinion which, interpreted by my childish 
intellect, naturally seemed little short of blasphemy. 
In the summer of 1839 my father accepted the 
Eectory of Bath, and before moving thither in the 
autumn, he took my brother and myself to a private 
tutor's at Penn, near Beaconsfield, This was our 
first experience of railway travelling, for the Great 
Western line already extended as far as Taplow 
Station, ten miles from Penn. I can remember 
the completion of each additional link, as Twyford, 


Reading, and Wootton Bassett successively became 
its western terminus, until tlie line from Bristol to 
Bath, opened in 1840, was extended eastward 
through the Box tunnel. What chiefly struck me 
in my first journeys by rail was that objects looked 
smaller from a railway carriage than from a coach, 
and that cattle in the fields scampered about in 
terror on the approach of a train. Perhaps heredi- 
tary experience in men and animals has corrected 
both these illusions. In going home for our first 
holidays, we travelled from Reading to Bath in a 
slow pair-horse coach, through Marlborough Forest, 
in which traditions of highway robbery still lingered, 
and past the great barrow of Silbury, which did not 
fail to impress even our childish minds. This coach 
was called the " Star," and bore on its panel the 
name of Moses Pickwick, which Dickens borrowed 
for the appellation of his immortal hero. People 
now idealise coaches, but those who had experience 
of them must admit the infinite superiority, as 
regards comfort and roominess, not only of the 
modern first-class, but of the modern third-class 
railway carriage, to the inside of the very best stage- 
coach, and the infinite superiority of modern railway 
carriages to any known in 1840. An article by Mr. 
W. M. Acworth on " Infant Railways," in Murray's 
Magazine for 1887, contains a great deal of interest- 
ing information on this subject, which entirely tallies 
with my own recollection. Now and then a specimen 
of an antique first-class carriage may be seen on a 
branch railway, but the oldest type of all must 


have long since disappeared, with each compartment 
painted so as to resemble the form of a coach, and 
the roof provided with straps to secure the pas- 
sengers' luggage. As for the outside of a coach, 
which has so often been depicted in glowing colours, 
and has been copied with improvements in the 
modern drag, it was no doubt pleasant enough when 
the weather was neither too hot nor too cold, nor 
too rainy nor too dusty, but utterly miserable, for 
instance, in a winter snow-storm, especially as tra- 
velling-rugs had not been invented, and outside 
passengers were sometimes glad to hire sacks filled 
with hay to keep their feet tolerably warm. I have 
often been amused by the anxious inquiries of old- 
fashioned hosts about the health of guests arriving 
after a journey of two or three hours in a comfort- 
able first-class carriage, but such inquiries were 
natural and significant enough in the good old days 
of coaching. 

The first view of Bath, with its rows and crescents 
of gas-lamps running up and encircling the surround- 
ing hUls, was a sight never to be forgotten ; its busy 
streets were full of indescribable interest to boys 
reared in the country, and it was sad work going 
back to Penn. This village stands high among the 
beech-woods of Buckinghamshire, commanding a fine 
view of Windsor Castle, but many of the noble trees 
which used to excite our admiration have long since 
been converted into Windsor chairs. We remained 
there for a year, kindly treated on the whole, but 
miserably taught ; indeed, I may say that for three 


years after I left the hands of my governess, I seem 
to have made no appreciable progress in any branch 
of knowledge but Latin and Greek, and very little in 
those. Hardly any attempt was made to render the 
process of learning easy or pleasant, and while " cribs" 
were happily unknown, the barbarous practice still 
prevailed of teaching Latin by the slavish aid of a 
grammar written in that very language. It was 
long before it dawned upon me that grammar, after 
all, is a paedagogic invention, entirely unknown to 
the great masters of classical literature, but actually 
intended to explain the construction, and govern the 
composition, of Latin or Greek sentences. I am 
indebted to a Brighton tutor for having enabled 
me to discover a similar purpose in the Propria qucB 
Maribus and the As in prsesenti, which I com- 
mitted to memory, and thenceforth applied, with 
tolerable success, in preparing my exercises. During 
our stay at Penn the penny-post was introduced, 
and I find that I recorded, in a childish letter, the 
pleasure which it gave us to know that we could now 
write home much oftener. There were several houses 
in the village occupied by retired people of the 
middle class, who, in these days, mostly flock into 
towns. In many of the cottages lace-making was 
carried on as a domestic industry, and I have never 
understood why so many of these domestic industries 
should now be abandoned. In the summer of 1840, 
we were transferred to Launton near Bicester, and 
placed under the charge of the Rev. James Blom- 
field, a brother of the well-known scholar, then 


Bishop of London. Mr. Blomfield was a sound 
and sensible, but not an inspiring teacher, and I 
really think I cared more for his occasional lectures 
on electricity or the air-pump than for his daily 
instruction in Latin and Greek authors. After our 
first term at Launton, we travelled by coach to 
Bath from Oxford, where John Henry Newman was 
pointed out to us in the streets as a celebrity. After- 
wards we used to drive from Bath to Wootton 
Bassett, or whatever happened to be the nearest 
station on the Great Western line, and to approach 
Oxford by coach from Steventon, never ceasing to 
admire the splendid view of the city from the Bagley 
AVood. Once, in passing through the city at an 
election time, I saw Langston and Wood, the suc- 
cessful candidates, actually " chaired " along High 
Street. In the spring of 1842, Mr. Blomfield moved 
to an Essex living in the gift of the Bishop, and we 
became pupils of the Eev. Edmund Pears, at Whit- 
church Canonicorum, between Lyme Regis and 
Bridport. Here we had no fellow-pupils, and con- 
sidering our experience at Penn and Launton, I do 
not know that we lost much in the want of com- 
panionship. Judging from his own experience, my 
father had a strong feeling against private schools, 
which may have been then well founded, but I 
cannot doubt that a good modern preparatory school 
is preferable, on the whole, to Penn or Launton. 
The country about Whitchurch was far more pic- 
turesque than the country about Launton, and I 
specially enjoyed picnic excursions to Ford Abbey 


and the great landslip beyond Lyme, then a new 
feature. Though I cannot say that I was happy 
under Mr. Pears, I began to feel a rudimentary 
taste for scholarship, which he encouraged, and 
which found vent in satirical Latin verses of a juve- 
nile type. It is some proof of Mr. Pears's success 
in teaching that, whereas in the summer of 1842 my 
brother and I, being examined at Eton, were pro- 
nounced hardly fit for the Fourth Form, in January 
1843 both of us were pronounced fit for the 
" Remove," although, in accordance with a time- 
honoured rule, I was placed in the division next 
below the Remove. 




" Eton in the Forties "—School morals and school-teaching— Life in 
boarding-houses, games, and boyish self-government — "Pop" and 
" Cellar" — " Montem " — Royal visits — Newcastle scholarship- 
Review of the Eton system — Bath in the early years of the Queen's 
reign — Summer excursions. 

My entrance into Eton was the real turning-point 
in my boyhood, and has influenced the whole course 
of my after life. When I first set foot in the 
School-yard, and was awed by the brave array of 
young fellows with the airs of masters rather than of 
boys, I distinctly realised that I was launched upon 
the great world, and must henceforth be the guardian 
of my own character and powers. We became pupils 
and boarders of Mr. Goodford, afterwards Head- 
master and Provost, the " captain " (or head boy) of 
whose house was our first-cousin, the late Dr. Scott 
of Westminster. Though not equal to modern re- 
quirements, it was a well-built house compared with 
others, and if the most untiring industry on the 
part of my tutor, coupled with a high and con- 
scientious sense of duty, could have made it a good 
house from a moral point of view, it would assuredly 
have been so. Truth, however, compels me to say 


that it by no means deserved this name, chiefly 
because, unknown to my tutor, it then contained 
a set of boys, about half-way up the school, whose 
language and conduct were eminently calculated 
to corrupt their juniors, and who, to say the least, 
were not controlled by their seniors. I am not one 
of those who believe that, until society becomes 
Christian in a sense never realised since the early 
days of Christianity, perfect gentleness, or purity, 
or virtue, can be expected from boys at the age of 
adolescence, and allowed to mingle together with 
the utmost freedom. But I have never ceased to 
think it a sin and a shame, a blot on our public- 
school system, and an outrage on the better feelings 
of youth, that a degree of brutality in thought, word, 
and deed, which would not be tolerated in family life, 
and which is condemned by the individual con- 
science, should be fostered, generation after genera- 
tion, by the gregarious sentiment of boyish com- 
munities. True it is that a strange and subtle 
instinct of honour and public spirit, if not a sense 
of dignity, underlay at Eton the unwritten code of 
false morality which often quenched self-respect, 
and might have seemed equally inconsistent with 
respect for the rights of others. It is also true that 
many who had gone through this slough, not of 
despond but of humiliation, emerged from it almost 
unscathed, and, without evincing any special re- 
morse or penitence, grew into manly and even 
exemplary characters. Still, they must have forfeited 
the lifelong blessing of conscious innocence, and 


ought at least to liave deeply regretted the injury 
which they had done to others. However, what- 
ever its moral shortcomings, life in an Oppidan 
boarding-house was then a school of courtesy, if 
compared with the licensed barbarism of " College," 
well described by Mr. Arthur Coleridge, an old 
Colleger, in a racy volume entitled "Eton in the 
Forties." Probably report exaggerated the horrors 
of "Long Chamber," but assuredly the reality was 
bad enough, and was an excuse, though not a 
justification, for a contempt in which the Oppidans 
held the so-called "tugs" (togati), or Collegers, on 
the foundation. 

Much has been said lately of the reforms ori- 
ginated by Dr. Hawtrey in the early days of his 
Head-mastership, and Mr. A. D. Coleridge has done 
well to borrow from Maxwell Lyte's volume the 
masterly summary of his merits and services con- 
tributed by William Johnson. Yet the Eton system, 
in all its essential features, remained very much 
what it had been in my father's days, above thirty 
years before, and, in some respects, had altered little 
since the reign of James I. All the masters had 
been Collegers, and Provost Hodgson vetoed the 
appointment by Dr. Hawtrey of Mr Goldwin Smith, 
perhaps the most brilliant Etonian scholar of his 
time, on the sole ground that he had been an 
Oppidan, and was a graduate of Oxford. Not only 
so, but all the masters, except one, had been edu- 
cated at Cambridge, and all of these, but one, at 
King's College, Cambridge. In other words, the 


greatest school in England was manned by a staff 
of masters almost exclusively trained in a close 
backwater of Eton itself, outside the main stream 
of Etonian life, and in a close backwater of Cam- 
bridge, outside the main stream of University life. 
The wonder is that, in spite of this, nearly all of 
them were fair scholars, and even well-bred gentlemen. 
The divisions were of enormous size, sometimes con- 
sisting of eighty boys ; and, as the school lessons 
seldom lasted much above half an hour, only a very 
small minority of these could possibly be "called up," 
or tested in their work. Hence the necessity of re- 
quiring all junior boys to attend a preliminary " con- 
struing " in their tutor's pupil-room, and of requiring 
all exercises to be looked over and corrected by 
tutors before being shown up in school. A very few 
of the form-masters, like Mr. Carter (the present 
Bursar), succeeded by great energy in keeping order, 
and even in fostering a spirit of emulation among the 
boys "up to" them; but, as a rule, the form-teaching 
was very ineffective, and the more so because, in 
accordance with a strange Eton custom, the lesson, 
short as it was, did not begin at a fixed hour. The 
examination-test, especially necessary at Eton, where 
so little surveillance is exercised, was most sparingly 
and feebly applied. Hardly any one was kept down 
for idleness, or granted a " double remove " for pro- 
ficiency, and a boy's place in school was settled for 
ever by an examination which I, for one, passed in my 
fourteenth year, soon after entering the fifth form. 
Our text-books were thoroughly antiquated; our Greek 


and Latin grammars were themselves much harder 
to construe than simple Latin authors ; our lexicons 
were most inadequate, and, since boys were allowed 
to compose their verses and "themes" in their own 
room, it followed inevitably that many of them used 
" old copies," or got these precious compositions 
manufactured by others. It is credibly recorded 
of Mr. Cookesley — who, in spite of a tendency to 
buffoonery, was an inspiring teacher — that he ad- 
dressed a remarkably stupid boy in the following 
terms : " I tell you what it is, sir, if you ever show 
me up a copy of your own verses again, I'll put you 
in the bill" (an Etonian euphemism for a capital 
sentence). " Why, a great strong fellow like you 
can have no difficulty in getting a decent copy of 
verses written for him, and if you ever again bring 
me one of your own concoction, I'll have you flogged." 
Nevertheless, though books were read for the sake 
of their style rather than of their contents, though 
ancient history was hardly studied, and though clas- 
sical archaeology had scarcely been invented, there 
were masters who, even in their form-teaching, dis- 
played and imparted to a select few a genuine love 
of classical literature, still more a capacity of pro- 
ducing Latin and Greek compositions, far above the 
level of their attainments in the study of that litera- 
ture. If I may be allowed to quote my own example, 
as that of a boy singularly ill equipped with the 
knowledge to be expected of a young scholar, I may 
perhaps mention the fact that, at the age of fourteen 
and a half, I wrote, as a holiday task, a short but 


original Greek play on the glory and downfall of 
Croesus ; nor was I the only boy in that part of the 
school who attempted this Quixotic task. At that 
period I had read but one Greek tragedy, and com- 
posed but two copies of Greek iambics ; I knew 
nothing of choric metres, and was innocent of any 
views on the dramatic unities. Yet it never struck 
me as presumptuous to undertake what had only 
been proposed as a counsel of perfection for the best 
scholars in the highest forms, and I solved the 
metrical difficulty by copying, foot by foot, choruses 
of Sophocles, which I then read for the first time. 
It should be added that several, if not most, tutors 
supplemented the shortcomings of the form-teaching 
by "private business," as it was called, with their 
own pupils. My own tutor, in particular, was most 
assiduous in thus coaching his own more advanced 
pupils, and I remember that, when several of us were 
candidates for the Newcastle Scholarship, he lectured 
us privately for two hours in the week on Demos- 
thenes De Corond, and for one hour on the Agamem- 
non of ^schylus, besides practising us each week in 
Greek iambics and Greek prose, without the aid of 
a Lexicon or " Gradus." It may surprise modern 
schoolboys, and perhaps some masters, to learn that 
nearly all the verses and themes then produced at 
Eton were supposed to be original — that is, were 
composed by the boy himself (or a cleverer friend) 
on a subject propounded by the master ; and that all 
the classical passages set in the school trials, as well 
as in the examination for the Newcastle Scholarship, 


were "unseen" passages — that is, were not passages 
from selected or prepared books, which a boy with 
a good memory can get up to some extent by rote. 
Cribs, though not unknown, were certainly but seldom 

It would be absurd to describe the life of an 
Eton Oppidan between 1843 and 1848 as one of 
hardship, especially if it be compared with the school 
life of the last century. At the same time, it was 
ill suited for a delicate boy, and not many delicate 
boys were sent to a public school ; indeed, I have 
often wondered that I did not break down earlier 
myself For instance, whereas the first school was 
at half-past seven — ^and thrice a week at seven for 
the fourth form — breakfast could not be had by a 
fag in my tutor's house before a quarter past nine, 
so that a young boy could not be less than two hours 
and a quarter without food after getting out of bed, 
unless he procured a hot roll or coffee out of his own 
pocket-money. Again, fneither the chapel nor any 
one of the schoolrooms was heated in any shape or 
form, either by a fireplace, or by hot air, or by hot 
water, and it was universally believed that any boy 
wearing an overcoat (except at the seven o'clock 
lesson) was liable to be flogged. It is possible that 
boys may now be coddled too much at school, though 
I greatly doubt it, but assuredly that was not the 
besetting sin of my time. I believe that in dames' 
houses, of which several remained, more care was 
taken of their health, but there were very seldom 
matrons in tutors' houses, and tutors' wives did not — 


perhaps could not — supply their place. If a boy 
had jumped into a ditch, and neglected to change, or 
was fighting against the first symptoms of a serious 
illness without " staying out," there was no one to 
warn him ; and I must say that if the doctor had 
been summoned, as Eton doctors then were, very 
little might have been gained. For the prevalent 
impression certainly was that, whether you had 
broken your leg or had caught the scarlet fever, 
the preliminary treatment was just the same — an 
heroic dose of the nastiest medicine — and that not 
until you persisted in complaining of a specific ache 
or pain was any attempt made to diagnose your 
case. At all events, I am fully convinced that more 
than half the ailments from which Eton boys sufi'ered 
fifty years ago were entirely preventible, that many 
of them were due to gross sanitary defects in the 
houses, and that such medical skill as most country 
doctors now possess would have saved me from drift- 
ing, through a disregard of the most obvious symp- 
toms, into a serious illness, which obliged me to leave 
Eton early in 1848, and permanently affected my 
constitutional vigour. 

In those days neither athletic nor aesthetic amuse- 
ments had usurped the dominant place in public-school 
life which is now conceded to them. Concerts were 
all but unknown, and I doubt whether any boy 
took lessons in music, though a few had knowledge 
enough to enjoy the musical services in the Chapel. 
Since music is apt to be cultivated by young men and 
boys exclusively at the expense of study, and not of 


other recreations, I am not sure that we lost in this 
way more than we gained. It will scarcely be 
credited, however, that no Eton master of that day 
was known to have been chosen for his prowess on 
the river or the cricket-field, and, though such 
prowess was certainly a passport to popularity among 
the boys, it still ranked below moral and intellectual 
superiority in the estimation of their tutors. The 
dualism of cricket and rowing was already estab- 
lished in the summer half ; very few boys attempted 
to excel in both, and, since the Collegers were ex- 
cluded from the long-boats, or school navy, they 
generally devoted their energies to cricket. As a 
proof that rowing was practised vigorously, I may 
state, for the information of young Etonians, that 
all boat races except one, including the ordinary 
house sweepstakes (both pair - oar and sculling), 
were rowed from the Brocas " round the Rushes," 
and back to Windsor Bridge — and that, before out- 
riggers were invented. Almost every house had its 
football club with its own ground, and school games 
of football in the field and football at the wall were 
as vigorously played as they are now. Hockey was 
cultivated by a limited and mostly quiet set of boys ; 
racquets were unknown ; and though fives was a 
favourite game, it could only be played during my 
first three years at Eton in the makeshift courts 
between the buttresses of the Chapel. During the 
dreary school-time between Christmas and Easter, 
appropriated to no game in particular, there were 
no beagles to follow across country. Some boys. 


however, indulged in paper-chases, others were not 
ashamed to play rounders or prisoner's base, and 
even walking for the sake of exercise and friendly 
talk had not become a lost art, though it was not 
much fancied except on Sundays. Considering how 
attractive Windsor Park might have been to boys 
fond of natural history or roving about, I have often 
wondered that it was not more frequented ; but it 
is still more wonderful that Windsor Castle itself 
figured in our boyish imaginations rather as a 
stately ornament of Eton than as overshadowing 
the lowlier College beneath it. During the summer, 
most of us delighted in bathing ; it was not un- 
common to plunge in two or three times a day, and 
I have known an enthusiast achieve a record of five 
times a day. A simple but effective system of 
teaching boys to swim had been established a year 
or two before I went to Eton, and at the same time 
it was made a very grave ofi'ence to go out in a boat 
without having passed a test before a master, so 
practical that I was twice plucked before I satisfied 
it. Moreover, at the beginning of each summer 
half a "■ non-nant list" was printed, containing the 
names of all the boys who had failed to pass in 
previous years, and no one cared to see his name 
appear twice in this ignominious calendar. The 
success of the experiment was certainly most re- 
markable, and I believe that since 1841 only one 
Eton boy has been drowned at Eton, having been 
dragged and kept down by a rope, under circum- 
stances against which swimming was no safeguard. 


Assuredly, summer days on the river, whether spent 
in lounging on eyots, or in vigorous double-sculling 
beyond Surley Hall, are among my pleasantest 
reminiscences of Eton. Upon the whole, our play- 
hours were happily and healthily employed, not the 
less so because liberty and equality, as well as 
fraternity, in sport were strictly observed. In my 
opinion, idling and loafing were not more common 
because no game was compulsory. One of Hawtrey's 
first acts had been to abolish cricket-fagging, and 
the modified form of compulsory football which has 
since crept in would have been contrary to our ideas 
of Etonian freedom out of school hours. But then, 
every one took rank in games according to his 
capacity, and not according to his position in school ; 
lower boys, as such, were never left to shiver in 
goals at football, and the captain of the school, as 
such, was no one in the playing fields or on the 
river. One relic of the old servitude in games 
survived, however, to my own days, in the shape 
of fagging behind the fives-courts for the purpose of 
throwing up balls. It was an irksome duty to boys 
whose hearts were elsewhere, but not more than 
half-a-dozen, at most, could be victimised at the 
same time. 

The absence of any official regulation in games 
was, as it still is, a characteristic feature of Eton 
life, and rests on a fundamental distinction between 
Eton and schools of the Rugby type. In all our 
public schools, the principle of self-government is 
very fully recognised, and a large share of the 


authority properly belonging to masters is delegated 
to boys. But whereas at Rugby and elsewhere it 
is entrusted either to a large privileged order, called 
the Sixth Form, or to a smaller privileged order 
within the Sixth Form, called Praepostors, Monitors, 
or Prefects, it is practically distributed at Eton 
among a variety of senior boys, some holding ofl&ce 
by virtue of their school rank and some by the 
choice of their school-fellows, some having juris- 
diction in the school at large and some only in their 
own houses. The Sixth Form has always possessed 
a good deal of latent power, which I remember to 
have been called out when serious disorders were 
expected, after the suppression of Montem, on the 
first recurrence of its anniversary. But the Sixth 
Form, as all Etonians know, consists of only 20 or 
21 boys, half of whom must be Collegers, so that 
above 900 Oppidans are represented by an oligarchy 
of 10, which seldom acts together, or in concert with 
the Sixth Form Collegers, in a monitorial capacity. 
The Captain of the School (always a Colleger) and 
the Captain of the Oppidans are now and then 
singled out for honourable notice on the occasion 
of some Royal ceremonial, and sometimes exercise 
a certain personal influence, but they make no pre- 
tence of ruling the School, and have no sort of right 
to control the games. On the river the Captain of 
the Boats is all-powerful, in the playing fields the 
Captain of the Eleven, in the various football fields 
the Captains of the Clubs to which they respectively 
belong. In each house, the Captain of the house is 


bound to keep order and regulate fagging, whether 
he is in the Sixth Form or not — which, in the great 
majority of cases, he cannot be. This system was 
practically the same fifty years ago as it is now, 
but it was not complicated with one or two 
indefensible anomalies which have since grown 
up. It was by no means perfect in theory, but 
it worked tolerably well in practice ; and while 
there could be no official tyranny on a large 
scale (unless it were in College), there was little 
bullying in the houses (with one or two notable 
exceptions), and that hardly ever connected with 
fagging. The fag had to prepare his fag-master's 
breakfast or tea, and to run errands for him, but was 
not called upon to perform any menial services, and 
generally looked up to him as a protector. Personally, 
I had no reason to complain of ill-usage, and hardly 
any reason to complain of unkindness ; as I was 
reputed to be rather clever, my right to be in- 
dustrious was admitted, and I was always treated 
generously by my competitors. 

Two Eton institutions, maintained in my time, 
have since become happily obsolete. One was the 
absurd law of bounds, which nominally prohibited 
boys from going beyond the immediate precincts 
of the College, and rendered them liable to punish- 
ment if caught outside by a master, an exception 
being made in favour of the river itself, and of 
the North Terrace at Windsor, but not of the street 
which led to both of them. Of course, such a law 
was not meant to be literally enforced, and was 


allowed to be evaded by the ridiculous practice of 
" shirking," long before it was abolished, and a 
sensible rule substituted, under which it is lawful 
to wander freely everywhere except in the back 
streets of Eton and Windsor. The other was the 
practice of stand-up fights in a well-known corner 
of the Playing Fields. They were not very fre- 
quent, and the influence of senior boys or friends 
was often exerted to avert them, but they were 
the authorised mode of settling the more serious 
quarrels between schoolboys in days when duelling 
had scarcely died out in the Army and Society. 
Probably no half passed without two or three of 
them, and I have myself witnessed more than one. 
Had a master passed by when a fight was going 
on, he might or might not have felt it his duty 
to stop it, but I think a discreet master would have 
taken care not to pass by, and fighting was certainly 
not treated as a school ofi'ence. When a boy appeared 
in our pupil-room with a bruised face and two black 
eyes, my tutor only inquired who had been his 
antagonist, and then remarked, " Well, D., I don't 
know whether you have improved his beauty, but 
I can answer for it that he has not improved yours." 
Still, I think public opinion would have been shocked 
by a regular fight between two boys in the higher 
forms of the school, for in this, as well as in other 
respects, there was a marked improvement in manners, 
if not in morals, as boys gradually became members, 
or aspired to become members, of the school aris- 


The somewhat exclusive little Club known as the 
Eton Society, or more familiarly as " Pop," may be 
said to have represented the intellectual side of that 
aristocracy, as it afterwards came to represent more 
nearly the athletic side, not without regard in either 
case to social qualifications. What it may now re- 
present (such is fashion), I am by no means sure. 
Fifty years ago it fully retained the character of a 
Debating Society ; the Captain of the Boats would 
never have have been elected into it as a matter of 
course, while some of the ablest Collegers always 
found their way into it when Collegers were not as 
freely admitted into Oppidan society as they now 
are. The number of members was raised about the 
time of my own election (in 1847) from twenty-five 
to twenty -eight, and a curious rule of the Society 
effectually secured that at least half the members 
should rise to speak in each debate, for which little 
more than an hour was allotted. The consequence 
was that brevity inevitably became the soul of our 
wit, notwithstanding which, two or three of our 
number sometimes delivered excellent speeches of 
their kind. Among these I specially remember those 
of the late Earl of Strafi'ord, and those of Mr. Arthur 
D. Coleridge, who, however, in his entertaining and 
instructive book on Eton, strangely omits to describe 
the Society of which he was an ornament. Another 
rule of the Society, which may appear to savour 
of pedantry, forbade the discussion of any political 
question less than thirty years old, so that it would 
have been quite unlawful in my time to debate on 


the policy of Eoman Catholic Emancipation or the 
First Keform Act. On the other hand, all the 
speeches were supposed to be carefully reported in 
the Society's minute-books, the shorter ones by an 
official, the longer ones by the speakers themselvefe, 
and in these records some of Mr. Gladstone's earliest 
efforts in rhetoric are duly preserved. I may add 
that, as I left Eton before I was seventeen, and had 
very little historical or literary knowledge, my own 
part in these debates was a very humble one, but I 
first learned in " Pop " to stand up before a critical, 
though friendly, audience. Here, too, I first acquired 
the habit of reading newspapers, and gained some 
idea of general culture, which, though already en- 
couraged by Arnold at Rugby, was appreciated by 
very few of us at Eton, and certainly not by myself. 
On the other hand, the absurd and mischievous 
practice, since adopted, of investing this self-elected 
Club with quasi-monitorial powers and privileges 
would never have entered our imaginations. 

There was a second Club-room, or quasi-Club- 
room, of a very different nature, under the ban of the 
school authorities, but largely frequented by the 
votaries of good fellowship and conviviality among 
boys of a certain standing. This was the so-called 
" Cellar," being an inner sanctuary in the well- 
frequented Tap of the Christopher Inn, which then 
stood in the midst of the College precincts. As I 
never was initiated into the mysteries of this room, 
or even entered its doors, I am quite incompetent to 
speak of it, but I recollect that I first heard of it 


through circumstances which furnish an amusing 
instance of boyish submission to boyish usurpations. 
Some of the older boys in Goodford's House, being 
anxious to join the company at the Tap as soon as 
possible after dinner, used habitually to decline any 
second course, and virtually compelled us juniors to 
do likewise. Our tutor was annoyed, but at last he 
thought it vain to offer what every one in turn 
refused ; puddings and pastry ceased to appear at 
dinner, and it was not until I became Captain of the 
house that he succeeded with my support in reviving 
the appetite for them. Let me here add that, how- 
ever great the tyranny of fashion at Eton, and 
however excessive the admiration of boyish savoir 
faire, tuft-hunting in the baser sense was certainly 
not a besetting vice of Eton boys. 

My Eton memories contain few incidents, and none 
of any public importance. In the early summer of 
1844 I took part as a "pole-bearer" in the last 
Montem, and have a vivid recollection of the disorder 
and license which prevailed. I am not quite sure, 
however, that it might not have been reformed 
instead of abolished, though its abolition was a 
laudable act of moral courage on the part of Provost 
Hodgson and the Head-master, Dr. Hawtrey. As I 
have mentioned, when the anniversary recurred in 
1847, there was a serious fear of something like a 
rebellion to be headed by old Etonians from Oxford 
and Cambridge. Dr. Hawtrey showed real general- 
ship in minimising this risk, by encouraging his 
assistants to ask leave for their leading pupils, and 


granting it so freely that, when the crisis arrived, 
there were few possible ringleaders. 

Soon after the Montem of 1844, the Czar Nicholas 
of Russia, with the Kings of Prussia and Saxony, 
visited the Queen at Windsor, and came with her to 
see Eton. He was a man of stalwart build and stately 
presence, but his manners were not so refined as 
those of his brother, Alexander I., and sometimes 
ofiended the English sense of propriety. I believe 
it was on this occasion that I saw the Duke of 
Wellington accompanying the Royal Party on horse- 
back, and riding into the School-yard, where the 
vigorous cheers of the boys frightened his horse, 
and he was in danger of being thrown upon the 
rough flint stones which still disfigure that vener- 
able quadrangle. Sir Robert Peel, and several 
members of his Government, none of whom survive, 
were also in attendance on the Queen, and no doubt 
witnessed the grand review held in Windsor Park, 
to which Eton boys were admitted. For us the 
chief interest of the whole afiair lay in the fact 
that a second extra-week was added to our summer 
holidays, besides that traditionally granted in the 
Montem year, so that we got a Long Vacation of 
above eight weeks in all. In the later part of the 
year Louis Philippe paid us a visit. Dr. Hawtrey 
being a great favourite with the Orleans family, 
and I can remember the King making us a speech 
from the window of Election Hall. In the February 
of 1848, I first heard at Dr. Hawtrey 's dinner-table 
of the revolutionary movements which led to his 


abdication, and, being very ignorant of foreign poli- 
tics, was much astonished that any of my elders 
should express the least sympathy with such move- 
ments. Of course, telegraphic communication was 
then in its infancy, but I have a clear recollection 
of single columns from daily London newspapers, 
containing the last news by telegraph from Paris, 
being circulated and eagerly read at Eton. 

Unhappily, my school career was now rapidly 
nearing its premature close. I had always been very 
slight in figure, and delicate in health, without 
realising it, and I have no doubt that I had been 
unconsciously working for years at much too high 
a pressure. No boys, and few grown men, under- 
stand that hard exercise is no compensation for hard 
brain work, but a serious aggravation of it ; that 
both make a heavy demand on a limited stock of 
nervous energy, and that, sooner or later, this 
precious reserve will be exhausted under the double 
strain. At all events, I learned my own lesson early. 
I was not stout enough to excel in games, but I 
was almost passionately fond of football, and never 
thought of sparing myself in any physical exercise, 
while [ habitually spent more hours a day in study 
and composition than was reasonable at my age. 
Having been fortunate enough to obtain the first 
place in my "remove," I was determined to justify 
it, and was so far successful as to be placed in the 
Select List for the Newcastle Scholarship, in the 
year 1847, before I was sixteen. This success fired 
my ambition, already excessive, and I was foolish 


enough to follow the evil counsels of Mr Cookesley, 
who had an exaggerated estimate of my ability, and 
urged me to make a desperate effort to win the 
Scholarship in 1848 — a year before I had any right 
to expect it. My strongest competitors were the 
late Herbert Coleridge, a boy of great literary 
accomplishments, and the present Lord Cottesloe, 
an excellent and finished scholar of the Cambridge 
type. Both of these were a full year older, had 
been coached by Shilleto, the famous Cambridge 
tutor, and justly ranked before me in the general 
opinion of boys and masters, by virtue of their 
public running, culminating in their election to 
Balliol Scholarships. The natural consequence fol- 
lowed — Coleridge was elected Newcastle Scholar ; 
Fremantle, being placed second, was declared New- 
castle Medallist ; and though I was not very far 
behind, I not only lost the object at which I had 
so unwisely aimed, but disabled myself from com- 
peting for it in 1849, and forfeited what ought to 
have been the happiest and most profitable stage 
of my Eton life, during a whole year of which I 
should have been Captain of the Oppidans. For 
this last effort was altogether too much for me ; I 
got through the examination with the greatest 
difficulty, and, as soon as it was over, I went home 
to place myself in the doctor's hands, and, as it 
proved, to pass the next six months in a horizontal 
position. More than fifty years have elapsed since 
that first bitter disappointment, and it has been 
followed by others still more heart-breaking. Yet 


I cannot disguise from myself that I was the victim 
of a disastrous and irreparable mistake on my own 
part, and still more on that of my excellent parents. 
I have often wondered since how they, with all their 
care and foresight, could have failed to see that my 
constitutional power was giving way under the com- 
bined eflFect of overwork, overgrowth, and medical 
neglect. But so it was, and I cannot remember 
that I received the least hint or warning from my 
tutor or any of my older friends, except one. My 
experience, however, has since enabled me some- 
times to give my juniors such timely warnings, 
and my excuse for dwelling on a mere personal 
misfortune must be that it may possibly lead other 
studious aspirants to husband their strength in 

When I look back upon my Eton life as a whole, 
and bring under review the public-school system of 
which Eton was and is the leading representative, one 
reflection persistently forces itself upon my mind. 
If I extend this reflection from Eton as it was to 
Eton as it is, my excuse must be that I have the 
good of my old school very much at heart, and if 
I apply it to Eton only, it is assuredly not because 
I think it less applicable to other great schools. 
What I have never ceased to believe most earnestly 
is that, admirable as it was from many points of 
view, Eton might have been a far better training- 
ground of character and intellect than it was, and 
that without the least sacrifice of its distinctive 
merits. No one appreciates those merits more highly 


than I do. I feel the spell of Etonian traditions and 
sentiment as strongly as any old Etonian ; I would 
not willingly part with the almost Athenian spirit of 
personal independence fostered by those traditions ; I 
admire the frank and self-reliant bearing of young 
Etonians ; I know well that boys who never seriously 
learned a lesson or wrote an exercise have proved fit, 
after very little intermediate probation, to govern 
provinces and command large bodies of men ; I even 
admit that virtuous impulses may animate a young 
fellow who affects to scorn virtue, and that a kind 
of culture may be insensibly imbibed by one who 
has never consciously used the best powers of his 
own mind. And yet I am firmly convinced that 
much higher results might have been — shall 1 say, 
might still be ? — achieved with the same materials, 
and the same machinery, worked, however, in a new 
spirit and with new aims. Looking first to mental 
cultivation, I would ask whether any friend of the 
public-school system, governing as it does the pre- 
paratory schools, can afiect to be satisfied with its 
effects, as tested by the attainments of average 
public-school boys at the age of eighteen or nineteen. 
Most of these boys have been under instruction in 
Latin and Greek for ten years at least ; they have 
been taught very little else methodically; and yet what 
acquaintance have they with Latin and Greek ? The 
answer is supplied by the fact that even those of 
them who have been prepared for the University 
usually find it difficult to pass the Oxford examination 
called Responsions — an examination suited for boys 


of fifteen, and which a boy of ordinary ability, who 
had never heard of Latin or Greek before the age of 
fifteen, might well pass after three years' study. It 
is not as if their ignorance of these two dead languages 
were compensated by proficiency in other subjects, as 
is often assumed by their partial relations. In my 
time. Mathematics, French, and German were extras ; 
less than half the school learned Euclid or Algebra, 
and this out of school-hours ; French was learned by 
a small minority, and German by a mere handful of 
boys. Natural Science, of course, was wholly 
neglected. Now, it is true, these subjects (except 
German) form an integral part of school work, while 
a certain amount of teaching continues to be given, 
as it always was, in geography and history. But it 
may safely be said that an average Eton boy's know- 
ledge of these accomplishments is most elementary, 
and might easily have been acquired in a couple of 
years. What girl, of the same class in society, and 
of the same age, is so ill equipped as this, and what 
governess, who could show no better results, would 
have a chance of being employed again ? Yet many 
of these very boys, who exhibit dense stupidity in 
the class-room, and are given up by the masters as 
hopeless scholars, are among the sharpest members 
of their own set, the life and soul of games, and there 
putting forth not only the greatest energy but the 
greatest intelligence. Nay more, boys of the very 
same type, of like social position, and with no greater 
ability, are working honestly and successfully in the 
Army class at Eton, from which they often proceed 


direct to Woolwich or Sandhurst, without the aid of 
crammers. It is surely worth while and high time 
for the friends of our public-school system to inquire 
into the reasons of this strange difference, even if 
they cannot propose an effectual remedy. 

These reasons are not far to seek. The public- 
school boy fails to learn what the masters teach him, 
while he learns quickly enough what his school- 
fellows teach him, simply because he never puts his 
mind or heart into the former, and puts both into 
the latter. Whether or not he brings with him a 
fair amount of knowledge from a preparatory school, 
he soon finds that it is not really necessary for him 
to make definite progress, year by year, as a con- 
dition of remaining at his public school. No mere 
superannuation rule, unless most rigidly carried out, 
will ensure industry, and no idle boy will exert him- 
self vigorously unless he knows for certain that per- 
sistent idleness will involve compulsory retirement, 
even if he is well conducted and reported to have a 
good influence. This is the motive which operates 
on the Army Class. The Civil Service Examiners 
know nothing of an Eton boy's influence in the 
school or in the house ; they care not whether he is in 
the Eight or in the Eleven ; they have simply to judge 
of his attainments as compared with those of others ; 
and the boy, well aware of this hard fact, lays him- 
self out for work accordingly — without, however, 
becoming a bookworm, or losing rank in any of the 
school games. But this is not all. Almost all boys 
have ambition, and will naturally strive to win 


honour. Now, can it be truly said that in schools 
like Eton due honour is paid by the boys, or even 
by the masters, to conscientious industry and intel- 
lectual distinction ? On the contrary, a spirited boy 
quickly perceives that athletic prowess, especially if 
coupled with certain outward graces, is always a far 
surer passport to popularity among his fellows, and 
too often to his tutor's favour. Of course, there is 
no direct means of regulating or correcting the 
boyish standard of admiration, but at least the 
weight of tutorial encouragement might be thrown 
into the other scale. The sisters of these lads, if 
brought up at home under governesses, have no such 
adverse influences to struggle against, and actually 
recognise mental improvement as a chief object, if 
not the sole object, of education. They have a 
further advantage in receiving a far larger share of 
individual attention, being, in fact, coached privately 
rather than lectured in class. No doubt, any pro- 
posal for giving this advantage to public-school boys 
must raise a grave financial question. So long as it 
is assumed that a very large proportion of public- 
school masters should be married, deriving handsome 
incomes from boarding-houses, and taking a maximum 
number of pupils, it is practically impossible that any 
one of those pupils should obtain the benefits of 
private coaching. If any man so burdened could 
have done full justice to all his pupils, it would have 
been my own tutor, with his remarkable powers of 
work, and he was not the man to neglect the dull for 
the sake of forcing on the clever. But no man can 


do it, and though something has been gained since 
my time, at Eton and elsewhere, by limiting the 
number of boys in each form, I am satisfied that 
nothing will keep the rank and file up to a fair 
standard of industry and proficiency except a stern 
enforcement of the examination test, coupled with 
far more effective tutorial supervision — not in play- 
hours, but in hours reserved for study. 

It is more difl&cult to speak of what might be 
done for the better training of character, because all 
public-school men, and especially Etonians, are wisely 
jealous of any encroachment on the legitimate inde- 
pendence of boys. Moreover, the relations of masters 
and boys have certainly become more natural and 
confidential than in past generations, so that advice 
can now be tendered with advantage which then 
might have been rejected with something like con- 
tempt. My father was the pupil for seven years 
of the late Archbishop Sumner, a man for whom 
he always had the greatest respect, and whose piety 
was acknowledged by the whole Church, and yet he 
used to say that he never heard his tutor allude to 
religion as a motive of conduct. I might almost 
say the same of Dr. Goodford as a house-master, but 
I should be surprised if it were now true of any 
master animated, as they were, by true religious 
principle. Even in those days, the same tutors who 
showed this strange reticence about religion at other 
times, would speak far more earnestly and take great 
pains in preparing their pupils for Confirmation. 
Still, I hold that far more ought to have been done. 


and ought now to be done, to counteract the utterly- 
false notions of life and duty in which so many sons 
of wealthy parents grow up and go into the world. 
T admit that such notions are often derived from the 
home, and that hundreds of boys in the aristocratic 
and plutocratic classes have been virtually brought 
up to act on the principle, " Pleasure first, and duty 
afterwards," never realising the primary dictates of 
practical Christianity. But the corrective power of 
school-life is prodigious, as Arnold showed at Eugby, 
and, though we cannot expect to find many Arnolds 
among public-school masters, I believe they might do 
much to check and temper a spirit which, pervading 
a large section of London society, I regard as nothing 
less than a national danger. 

During the whole period of my school-days, my 
holidays were spent at Bath, or at one of the seaside 
watering-places to which my parents went for change 
of air in the heat of summer. Bath was then a famous 
Evangelical stronghold, the Rectory which my father 
held being in the gift of Simeon's trustees, and all 
the churches, with (I think) two exceptions, being in 
the hands of Evangelical clergymen. Though greatly 
shorn of its ancient splendour, it was still a gay place 
in winter, sedan chairs were on hire in the streets, 
and there were many public balls at the Assembly 
Rooms, controlled by the Master of the Ceremonies, 
a military ofiicer of high standing, who figured as the 
successor of Beau Nash. As my parents had scruples 
about clergymen's families taking part in such fes- 
tivities, my brother and myself saw little of Bath 


society, and often had reason to regtet the loss of our 
free Norfolk life. My father was engrossed by his 
clerical duties, having five parishes to superintend, and 
ten curates under him, besides all the administrative 
and other public business which devolved on him as 
Rector of Bath. Almost every week he wrote two 
sermons (each calculated to last about thirty-five 
minutes), besides preparing a Thursday evening lec- 
ture, and, after dining frugally at 6.30, always retired 
into his study for work. He never pretended to be an 
eloquent preacher, and left special directions by will 
that no sermon of his should ever be published. But 
these sermons, preached in the Abbey Church, had 
something in them which was greater than eloquence 
— something that can only be inspired by a simple 
faith and a holy life — and Charles Kingsley twice 
assured me that one of them, which he chanced to 
hear, had left a profound impression on his mind. 
My mother was constantly occupied in ministering to 
him, or in domestic and charitable engagements of 
various kinds ; my younger brothers and sister were 
in the schoolroom under a governess, and we elder 
boys moved in a very quiet circle of serious friends, all 
our seniors. In fact, one inevitably got the impression, 
derived from a very partial observation of Bath, that 
society consisted far more largely of old maids and re- 
tired officers than one afterwards found to be the fact. 
Every now and then eminent men came there 
as visitors, and commanded the admiration of Bath 
drawing-rooms — among whom I remember Sir George 
Lawrence, fresh from the tragedy of the first Afghan 



war ; Dr. Joseph* Wolff, the great traveller, who had 
just returned from Bokhara ; Rajah Brooke and Lord 
Gough, who came later, after the end of the second 
Sikh War. But perhaps the most celebrated resident 
of Bath in my school-days was the eccentric William 
Beckford, author of " Vathek," who never, I think, 
returned to Fonthill after the fall of the great tower 
there, but inhabited a large house near us in Lansdown 
Crescent, surrounded by a library of choice books and 
artistic curiosities. We lived at Rock House, opposite 
the present Lansdown Grove Hotel, and I have seen 
Beckford on horseback, with bent shoulders and a 
somewhat morose countenance, riding up the Lans- 
down Road towards his pleasure-ground, now a 
cemetery, attached to what is still called Beckford's 
Tower, another of his fantastic creations. He was 
attended, as was his wont, by three grooms, two 
behind and one in front as an outrider. I believe 
he never went abroad with a smaller cortege, and 
many were the stories about his strange freaks and 
ebullitions of passion. Indeed, the most sinister 
rumours about his character and mode of life were 
freely credited by the gossiping Bath public, and if he 
had not been a recluse by choice, he would have found 
but few to associate with him. When he died, the 
sale of his collections attracted the same class of 
purchasers from London and foreign countries as the 
great sale at Stowe. Another Bohemian personage 
who took refuge at Bath for some little time was 
Prince Louis Napoleon. I never chanced to see him 
there, but he was tolerably well kaown at Bath, and 


lie was not one to forget the friends of his exile. 
After he became Emperor, he casually recognised an 
old Bath acquaintance in the streets of Paris, whom 
he invited to call at the Tuileries. The Englishman 
hesitated to act on such an invitation, but the 
Emperor sent a secretary to bring him, and had a 
long talk with him. In the course of this conversa- 
tion, Louis Napoleon remarked, " Those were very 
pleasant days which you and I remember at Bath," 
adding significantly, " and it would not in the least 
surprise me, if you and I were to meet again at Bath 
some of these days." 

Two general elections occurred during this period 
{1839-1850) — that of 1841, which placed Sir Robert 
Peel in power, and that of 1847, when Lord John 
Eussell and the Whigs obtained a majority. Bath 
elections were notorious for their rowdy violence and 
disorders; nor was that of 1841, which I witnessed, 
unworthy of local traditions. The successful candi- 
dates were Roebuck, a Radical, and Lord Duncan, 
a Whig ; the defeated candidates were Bruges and 
Lord Powerscourt, who stood as Conservatives. Of 
course, there was an imposing display of party 
colours and banners, one of which, I remember, was 
a black flag, bearing the inscription, " Away with 
the accursed Poor-Laws." The scene at the nomina- 
tion was riotous in the extreme ; hired mobs were 
employed (for the last time) on both sides ; fierce 
encounters took place before the hustings ; stones 
were thrown in volleys, one of which seriously 
wounded Lord Powerscourt, and in one or two cases 


fatal injuries were received. The election of 1847, 
in which Lord Ashley (afterwards Lord Shaftesbury) 
defeated Roebuck, was a little more orderly, but 
enlivened by furious conflicts in the market-place, 
which in these days would be considered intolerable. 
It was further memorable for the scathing philippic 
delivered by Roebuck, after the declaration of the 
poll, against those whom he accused of deserting 
him, three of whom he gibbeted by name. The 
vials of his wrath were specially emptied on the 
Dissenters, including an excellent Nonconformist 
minister named Jay, whose respect for Lord Ashley's 
religious character and philanthropic services had 
induced them for once to change their political 
allegiance. I was present again at the Bath nomi- 
nation in 1852, and have since been more than 
once brought into personal connection with Bath 
politics. But I doubt whether party excitement, 
there or elsewhere, ever runs quite so high in these 
days of the ballot and household sufirage as it did 
in the days of a restricted franchise and open voting, 
when every vote was counted, when every elector 
could be followed up, and when some of them were 
" bottled up." 

Every one knows what has been the development 
of locomotion by land and sea during the Queen's 
reign, but few of the younger generation quite 
realise how greatly their world differs in this respect 
from that of their fathers or grandfathers. As I 
have mentioned, all my earliest journeys to Bath 
were made by coach from Reading or Oxford, and I 


saw the first train, with ribbons on the engine, start 
on its way from Bath to Bristol. Soon afterwards 
I was taken over to Bristol, where I was shown the 
Great Western, one of two steam- vessels which had 
recently made the first voyages across the Atlantic, 
and the Great Britain, then a mere shell on the 
stocks, one of the first iron ships ever built, and 
regarded as a monster of the deep because her 
burden exceeded 3000 tons. As for the Clifton 
suspension bridge, the great piers were built about 
sixty years ago, and pictures were sold in the streets 
representing carriages driving across it ; but the 
bridge itself was not completed until at least twenty 
years later, and in the meantime there was no way 
of getting over the river except by a ferry-boat or 
in a basket swinging from a rope. Strange to say, 
the railway from London to Brighton was not finished 
in the summer of 1 84 1 , when our family party went 
down from London by coach. It was an excellent 
piece of coaching, for the journey of fifty-three miles 
across three ranges of hills was accomplished within 
five hours, including a stoppage of twenty minutes 
at Crawley for tea ; indeed, the fastest coaches were 
timed to do it within four and a half hours. The 
last section of the line to be opened was the Clayton 
Hill tunnel and the approach to Brighton, but no 
sooner was this section opened than fast trains were 
run from London Bridge, and before long the whole 
distance was accomplished in about an hour. It is 
curious that, although Brighton has since trebled 
its population, and extended itself immensely both 


Northward and Westward, it has not extended itself 
by an inch Eastward, and Arundel Terrace is still 
its most easterly parade, as it was in 1841. Two 
years later we passed our summer holidays at Wey- 
mouth, an excellent centre for excursions by land 
and sea, and in 1844 we stayed at Lyme Eegis, 
Exmouth, and Torquay, then a little port encircled 
with villas nestling among trees. In 1845 "^^ took 
a house at Carnarvon, to which my brother and I 
travelled by coach from Chester along Telford's road, 
which in my father's earlier days had not been com- 
pleted. As we had our own carriage at Carnarvon, 
we saw a good deal of the country round, and I 
remember that one day we paid ten shillings for 
turnpikes. Of course, we ascended Snowdon from 
Llanberis, and there was already a little shanty on 
the summit, where the worst of coffee might be pro- 
cured. After some three weeks' stay in North Wales, 
my brother and I started on an expedition to Ireland, 
driving in a coach across the Menai Bridge to Holy 
head at the rate of twelve miles an hour. 

It would be interesting to know for how many 
centuries Holyhead has been the chief port of em- 
barkation for Ireland, but it has certainly been so 
ever since the beginning of the last century, and 
Swift once meditated walking thither from London 
on foot. In the earlier part of this century, when 
my father often travelled from Cashel to Eton or 
Oxford and back, the average passage, in sailing 
packets, was about twelve hours, and the journey 
from Holyhead to London occupied thirty-six hours 


by the mail, and forty-eight hours by the ordinary 
coach, the Menai Straits being crossed by a ferry. 
In 1845 the service was carried on by a small class 
of steamboats, and the passage lasted about six 
hours. The first of our Irish visits was at the house 
of an uncle, Mr. James Scott, in the county of 
Wicklow, the natural beauties and historical interest 
of which are scarcely appreciated as they deserve by 
many Irish tourists, perhaps because it lies so near 
Kingstown. Thence we proceeded to Dublin, and, 
leaving the Post Office one evening about seven 
o'clock, spent nearly twenty-four hours in a coach 
journey through Cork to Castle Bernard, near 
Bandon. The next day we drove on in an Irish 
car to Killarney, where my uncle, Lord Bandon, 
with a large party of relations, was already estab- 
lished at the Victoria Hotel. In the course of this 
journey our horse, being tired, would occasionally 
turn round by way of showing his desire to get 
home. The driver, being a true Irishman, humoured 
him so far as to let him make a half-circle, but 
pulled him round a full circle, after which the poor 
beast went along briskly for a while, apparently 
fancying that his object was gained. On a later 
occasion, when I was starting in a car from Bray, a 
man from the stables came forward and whipped tlie 
horse soundly, without any apparent cause. He 
wound up, however, with the remark, " I think that 
will last you until you get to Kingstown." I then 
observed that our driver had no whip, and under- 
stood that his fellow had given the horse, in one 


burst, all the flogging which it might otherwise have 
received by instalments during the next stage. At 
Killarney we thoroughly explored the lakes, heard 
the echoes, and duly shot the Old Weir Bridge, but 
climbed none of the mountains. Some years later I 
ascended the highest of them, Carran Tuol, and was 
much struck by the primeval solitude of the Black 
Valley on the other side. We returned to Bandon 
through Kenmare, Glengariff, and Bantry, travelling 
in two carriages-and-four, one of which happened to 
be painted orange, and the other green. Though the 
orange carriage was by far the grander, being Lord 
Bandon's private coach, the best horses were har- 
nessed to the green carriage, out of respect for the 
national — or nationalistic — colour. The swarms of 
beggars which crowded round us at every stoppage 
could not fail to strike even an unobservant English 
boy, but I did not then understand that all these 
poor creatures were the supernumeraries of a popula- 
tion recklessly swelled to eight millions and a half, 
dependent for bare life on potatoes, and destined to 
be the helpless victims of the impending Irish 
famine. We returned home by steamer from Cork 
to Bristol, a passage which then occupied upwards of 
twenty-four hours. 

In the summer of 1846 we tenanted Levens Hall, 
a well-known and very interesting house, with 
antique gardens, near Kendal, which belonged to my 
godmother, Mrs Howard, also the fortunate pos- 
sessor of the Hall at Castle Rising, of a place called 
Elford in Staffordshire, of Ashtead Park near Epsom, 


and of a fine old-fashioned house in Grosvenor 
Square. Thence my brother and I visited a part of 
the Lake Country for the first time, walking over 
Helvellyn from Patterdale to Keswick. Of course, 
the singular beauties of this district had already been 
popularised by the Lake poets and their friends, but 
1 am inclined to believe that they were more or less 
appreciated much earlier than is usually supposed. 
No doubt, Gray's description of an ascent of Saddle- 
back is pitched in a key which mountaineers of the 
present day would scruple to adopt in describing an 
ascent of Mont Blanc ; but tours in Westmoreland 
and Cumberland were not uncommon in the last 
century, and I have myself a good series of engrav- 
ings of Lake scenery published about 1780. 

In the summer of 1847 we spent a few weeks at 
Dover, then a squalid harbour-town, whence my 
brother and I migrated to Cambridge, where our 
cousin, afterwards Dr. Scott of Westminster, had kindly 
volunteered to coach us. Though mere boys, we made 
acquaintance with several of his friends, and the hos- 
pitable traditions of Trinity College enabled him, then 
an undergraduate scholar, to borrow for us two sets of 
rooms in the great Court, the dignified simplicity 
of which contrasts favourably, in my judgment, with 
the formality of " Tom Quadrangle " at Christ 
Church, Oxford. The next summer my parents took 
a house for two or three months at Weston-super- 
Mare, chiefly for the benefit of my own health and 
that of a younger brother, who died there. It soon 
appeared that I could not return to Eton, and, being 


forbidden to read seriously, I lived an invalid life, 
under depressing circumstances, and making doubt- 
ful progress towards recovery. At last, the doctors 
strongly recommended the experiment of a long sea 
voyage, and I am glad to believe that its success in 
my case encouraged others to seek restoration of 
health by the same means. Otherwise, my experience 
of life at sea gained in this voyage was the only 
compensation for the sacrifice of my career from the 
spring of 1848 to the autumn of 1850. 



Life on board a sailing Indiaman — Outbreak of the second Sikh War 
— Impressions of Calcutta — Return voyage — Life at St. Albans. 

When tlie somewliat heroic measure of an ocean 
cruise was first proposed, Captain Fitzroy, better known 
as Admiral Fitzroy, who had already made his famous 
voyage in the Beagle, with Charles Darwin as his 
naturalist, most kindly offered, through Sir Edward 
Parry, to take me out as his guest in the Arrogant, 
then about to sail on a new scientific expedition. 
My father, however, justly considered that I was 
too helpless to be quartered on a naval officer, and 
secured a cabin for me, to Calcutta and back, in 
the Marlborough, an East Indiaman of 1400 or 1450 
tons, owned by Messrs. Smith of Newcastle, and 
commanded by the late Sir Sydney Webb. I was 
taken on board this ship at Spithead by Sir Edward 
Parry, and, as my feet were not allowed to touch 
the ground, a gang of sailors was provided to carry 
me along the pier to the boat. On reaching the 
Marlborough, I was hauled up her side in a tub, 
with a seat in the middle, and the upper part scal- 
loped out so as to leave the chest open, but to 


protect the elbows from bumps against the ship's 
timbers. This was the recognised mode of shipping 
ladies at sea ; and I may add that a chair was 
rigged up for my use, with a tackle attached, by 
which I was daily raised and lowered, through the 
main hatch, between my cabin and the upper deck. 
It is common to assume that during the last fifty 
years the accommodation on board ship has been 
infinitely improved, and that people who could never 
have borne the hardships of a sea voyage in old 
times can now take one without the least disco tnfort. 
Such is by no means the result of my own experi- 
ence. If luxury and not comfort be the main 
object ; if quiet at night be a matter of no import- 
ance ; if a needless profusion of food be preferred 
to spacious and airy sleeping quarters ; if an incessant 
round of games and dissipations be desired, engross- 
ing the whole deck, and leaving no room for reading 
or promenading,— then, no doubt, the comparison 
is vastly in favour of the so-called ocean-palaces 
which now crowd the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, 
the North Sea, the Baltic, and the Indian Seas. 
But for passengers of quieter tastes and homelier 
wants, there were many advantages in the old sailing 
Indiamen. They were, of course, very much smaller, 
but a very much larger proportion of space was 
allotted to passengers, for the best parts of the ship 
were not occupied by machinery and coals. As the 
passenger's cabin was to be his home for some four 
months, he would not tolerate the close packing 
which has now become the order of the day at sea. 


and may be endurable for a short voyage. All the 
cabins on board the Marlborough were furnished 
by their occupants, and I still possess several articles 
of cabin furniture admirably constructed. There 
were only twenty-eight adult first-class passengers, 
most of whom, if single, had separate cabins ; these 
were nine or ten feet square, and, if on the main 
deck, had portholes large enough for a gun to play 
through, as well as Venetian blinds on the inside. 
There were no inner tiers of cabins, without proper 
light or ventilation, as in the magnificent steamboats 
of modern times ; all looked outward upon the sea, 
and there was full twenty feet of space between the 
starboard and port tiers of cabins. Ice-rooms had not 
been invented, but there were plenty of live sheep, 
pigs, fowls, and ducks in pens on deck, besides two 
cows yielding fresh milk enough for all the first- 
class passengers ; meals were frequent and plentiful ; 
the first-class fare included wine ad libitum; bread 
was baked daily, and nothing was wanting except 
fresh butter to make our diet as nutritious and 
palatable as it could have been on shore. Kegularity 
in hours, too, was strictly enforced ; all lights were 
extinguished by half-past ten o'clock, with rare 
exceptions in favour of sick persons and ladies with 
young children, so that it was possible to sleep in 
peace without being disturbed by noisy fellow-pas- 
sengers. On the other hand, the saloon or " cuddy " 
was the only public room, and passengers were 
chiefly to be seen either on deck or in their own 
cabins. As the ship was bound for " Calcutta, 


Direct," and was to touch nowhere, the allowance 
of water for washing purposes was limited to a 
minimum, sometimes reinforced, however, by tropi- 
cal showers half filling the quarter-boats and the 
pans sent up to catch the rain. For the same reason, 
no washing of clothes was possible, and the outfit of 
linen was calculated to last at least eighteen weeks, 
fifteen or sixteen weeks being the average passage. 

Our voyage began on September 7 with a very 
rough process of beating down the Channel, and 
we landed in Calcutta on December 30. Until we 
reached the latitude of Mauritius, it promised to 
be much shorter, but owing to calms and adverse 
winds our daily runs were greatly curtailed in the 
Indian Ocean. We never once sighted land between 
the Lizard Point and the banks of the Hooghly Eiver ; 
I believe ten days once elapsed without our seeing 
a sail ; and in consequence of a strange oversight, 
we had no signal-book whereby we could com- 
municate with other vessels. In accordance with 
the old rules of navigation, dictated by the course 
of the trade-winds, we sailed much nearer to South 
America than to South Africa, and passed the Cape 
of Good Hope at a distance of more than 500 miles. 
Ignorant as I was of nautical astronomy, I took 
daily observations of the sun with a quadrant, 
worked them out by the aid of Norie's Manual 
and the Nautical Almanac, and recorded our course 
on a chart, which I still possess. The quadrant 
was lent me by a young midshipman, who pressed 
me to borrow it, and, on my hesitating, replied, like 


a true English boy, "Why, you don't understand; 
if I were known to possess this quadrant, I should 
be expected to use it every day." On reference 
to my notes of latitude, longitude, and "distance 
run," I find that our best day's run was 270 miles, 
and that our outward voyage covered 15,438 miles. 
Though we had our full share of squalls, and one 
very hard gale in which the motion was as violent 
as I have ever known it, the voyage was not a very 
eventful one from a sailor's point of view. On the 
other hand, it was marked by a variety of social 
incidents, well illustrating the effect of confining a 
mixed party small enough to be on familiar terms, 
but large enough to develop mutual jealousies, for 
a period of nearly four months, within a cubical 
space less than is contained in a good-sized house. 
For instance, it was soon found that an ofl&cer in 
the Company's service had under his protection a 
lady, supposed to be his relation, whom the other 
officers on board unanimously considered to be no 
fit companion for their wives and daughters. Ac- 
cordingly, he was placed under arrest by the senior 
military officer on board, with the result that he 
was not allowed to take meals with the other pas- 
sengers, or to frequent the same part of the deck. 
As the lady chose to share his seclusion, they were 
practically boycotted for the whole voyage, and some 
highly amusing scenes arose out of the strange posi- 
tion thus created. Another trivial occurrence led 
to complications which ended in the captain of the 
ship being challenged to a duel by a military officer 


of some age and distinction, who invited him to 
fight, a outrance, the next morning on his J own 
quarter-deck. Instead of arresting his assailant, the 
captain somewhat Quixotically agreed to fight in 
Calcutta, but, as some weeks had to pass before we 
could land, there was time for peacemakers to 
intervene, and the quarrel was patched up. These 
are but specimens of what might and sometimes did 
happen on voyages measured by months, such as 
old Indians can remember, but could scarcely happen 
in colossal ships carrying hundreds of passengers, 
on voyages measured by days. However, being an 
invalid, I was treated kindly by every one, including 
the sailors, who exempted me from the customary 
tax demanded from passengers on first crossing the 
line, as a penalty for not undergoing the rough 
initiation to which young sailors were subjected, 
and which I witnessed in all its grotesque details — 
first paying my way, like others. 

As we approached the head of the Bay of Bengal, 
we signalled to an outward-bound steamer two or 
three miles off", and lowered a boat to obtain news, 
as well as to replenish our exhausted supply of 
cigars. The return of the boat was delayed by 
some cause until it was very dark, and blue lights 
were burned to guide its course ; but when it found 
the ship, it brought the exciting intelligence of the 
second Sikh War having broken out, and the battle 
of Ramnuggur having been fought. As these eventful 
tidings were read out by torch-light on deck, every 
officer, young and old, became well aware that as 


soon as lie reached Calcutta lie would be ordered 
to join his regiment at the front. And so indeed 
it was. The disastrous battle of Chillianwallah soon 
followed, and I myself was present when a letter 
from the officer in command of the artillery, de- 
scribing its least heroic incidents, was discussed by 
a group of eager listeners in the mess-room at 
Dumdum. The only other piece of news which we 
received during a voyage of nearly four months 
was the conviction of Smith O'Brien, conveyed in 
the laconic message, " Smith O'Brien sentenced — 

My impressions of Calcutta, extending over little 
more than seven weeks, from December 30, 1848, to 
February 20, 1849, are naturally meagre and super- 
ficial. Indiamen were then towed up the river by 
steam-tugs, and anchored off the " Maidan " in a long 
and imposing line— a pleasant reminiscence of home 
to residents of Calcutta riding or driving along the 
so-called Course, which corresponds with Eotten Row. 
The process of landing was rude, and consisted in 
mounting the naked back of a native, who called a 
palanquin for me, in which I was carried to the house 
of the late General E. W. Scott, then Captain Scott, 
of the Bengal Artillery. In those days, palanquins 
were the cabs of Calcutta ; there were no cab-stands, 
but rows of palanquins at the most-frequented spots 
answered the same purpose. There was a great variety 
of private vehicles, the commonest being the buggy, 
or gig with a hood, in which gentlemen drove about 
at all hours, with their syces running alongside or 


hanging on behind. The horses were mostly of Arab 
breed, with a certain admixture of Australians, not 
yet called " Walers," and a very few English of the 
best type, since the heavy cost of transit would have 
made it unprofitable to import inferior animals. 
We carried five or six horses on board the Marl- 
borough. All but one were hung in slings, and, 
unlike so many horses lately carried in troop-ships 
to South Africa, all arrived uninjured. As for 
life in Calcutta, which is now familiar to so many 
Englishmen, it has probably changed little essentially 
during the last fifty years, though an old Indian re- 
turning might notice such differences in manners and 
social arrangements as an old Londoner might notice 
in London. For instance, beer was then a favourite 
beverage, and as it was also customary to drink 
healths at dinner, two guests might often be seen 
pledging each other in tumblers of Bass's ale. No 
one spoke to a servant in English, and servants who 
understood English were generally careful to conceal 
it, lest they should be dismissed or suspected as able 
to overhear their masters' conversation at table. 
What struck me, as contrasting with my boyish ex- 
perience of London, was that almost every man had 
an employment, but that few women had any 
domestic or other duties. This must still be true 
in the main, but the old Indian would not fail to 
observe that European society no longer consists so 
exclusively of military officers, civil employes, and 
merchants, with their families, and that the race of 
old Indians rooted to the soil is practically extinct. 


It is perhaps worth noting that in our small body of 
passengers on the outward voyage was one Brigadier- 
General Tennant, who had gone out to India with 
Henry Martyn, the missionary, in 1805, had received 
the news of Trafalgar at Capetown, and who had 
never left India until after the battle of Sobraon, 
where he commanded the artillery, in 1846. Mr. 
Garling, one of a still smaller party on our homeward 
voyage, had not been in England for thirty-seven 
years. It was inevitable that such people, saturated 
with Indian ideas and habits, should look upon India 
as their real home, while the caste-like ascendency of 
the two great Services was but slightly tempered by 
an infusion of mercantile and legal elements. Since 
railways, as well as telegraphs, had not even been 
projected, independent travellers were extremely few, 
and I doubt whether there were ten hotels in all 
India. Hence the necessity for private hospitality, 
which, moreover, was facilitated by the practice of 
guests bringing their own servants, if not their own 
bedding. I was told that, in up-country journeys, 
members of either Service might claim a night's lodg- 
ing at a private house, without a formal introduction, 
by merely sending in their cards, and I dare say the 
privilege was very seldom abused. 

Assuredly, I had every reason to be grateful for 
the singular kindness of friends to whom I had 
brought letters of introduction. Though I was a 
mere boy, and had no great social connections, I 
received eight or nine invitations to stay with such 
friends for an indefinite period, and my only difficulty 


was to carry out my father's instructions without giving 
oflFence. Ultimately I accepted Captain Scott's most 
kind hospitality, and remained an inmate of his house 
in Middleton Street during my whole stay in Bengal, 
with the exception of two short visits to Dumdum 
and Barrackpore. He was then Secretary of the 
Military Board, and his wife a daughter of General 
Whish, commanding before Mooltan. We had there- 
fore the earliest reports of the campaign on the 
North- West frontier, which is now too often confused 
with the first Sikh War. First came the untoward 
news of Chillianwallah, and the conduct of a certain 
regiment in that engagement soon became the subject 
of as burning a question as the conduct of another 
regiment at Ferozeshah had been ever since the 
campaign of 1845-6. Much less confidence was felt 
in the generalship of Lord Gough than in his personal 
courage, and great anxiety was expressed about the 
issue of the conflict ; but I must say that his despatch 
on the battle of Chillianwallah was so discreetly, and 
yet not untruthfully, worded as to be worthy of a 
skilful diplomatist. After a long siege, Mooltan was 
taken while I was still in Calcutta, but the decisive 
battle of Goojerat was not fought until a day or two 
after our departure, nor did we hear of it until we 
arrived in the English Channel — nearly four months 
later. Indeed, the latest information in Calcutta 
would have been at least ten days old ; for, though 
Indian roads must have been vastly improved since 
the days of Warren Hastings, I am not sure that 
any great change had been, or could have been, 


effected in the rate of travelling for couriers and 
palanquin-express. Of course officers and civilians 
proceeding up-country in the ordinary way, either 
by palanquin or wheeled vehicles, occupied weeks on 
the journey, the first part of which they sometimes 
traversed by river steamers on the Hooghly and 
Ganges. The difficulty of taking invalids to the 
hills was thus very great, and much greater in 
Bengal than in Madras, where the Neilgherries were 
far more accessible, even in days before railways. 
Probably the rate of mortality among Europeans in 
Calcutta was not yet ascertained, but it must inevit- 
ably have been high, considering the utter neglect 
of drainage and water - supply. Those in feeble 
health, but not ill enough to be sent home " by long 
sea," were sometimes recommended by their doctors 
to cruise in tug- steamers about the Sandheads at the 
mouth of the Ganges, for want of a suitable inland 
sanatorium. Darjeeling, the nearest, was then in- 
finitely farther off in time than Simla is now, yet 
Simla itself was much frequented as a summer resort 
by officials, though I think it had not become a 
regular auxiliary seat of government. 

During my last fortnight in Calcutta, I was dis- 
abled by an accident exactly similar to one which 
befell the Prince of Wales in Rotten Row some 
twenty-five years ago, and which I happened to be 
one of the few to witness. As I was riding on the 
Course with Captain Webb, in the dusk of the 
evening, I saw a horseman galloping towards me, 
but had no idea that his horse was bolting, and 


utterly beyond control. Such was the fact, how- 
ever, and the next moment he came into most 
violent collision with my horse, which had no chance 
of swerving. Both horses were knocked down by 
the force of the charge, and mine rolled upon me, 
injuring my shoulder, and breaking open a wound 
on the leg which had but just healed. This put an 
end to various plans which I had formed for visiting 
places in the neighbourhood, and seriously retarded 
my convalescence. When I got to sea again, how- 
ever, the vis medicatrix nature came to my aid once 
more, and the accident left no permanent effects. 

More than fifty years have elapsed since I left 
Calcutta, and Sir Frederick Halliday is probably the 
only survivor of those whom I remember there as 
filling important offices in the Civil Service and 
judiciary. He went out, I believe, in 1826, and 
once stated, in my hearing, that he was one of a 
group assembled on the steps of Government House 
to welcome the Governor-General, Lord William 
Bentinck, on his return from an expedition, when 
the question was raised whether any one present 
could remember a like gathering on a like occasion. 
Thereupon, an old official quietly observed that he 
had himself taken part in the reception of Warren 
Hastings after a provincial tour. Sir Frederick had 
also been employed, as a young civilian, in con- 
trolling one of the last public " suttees " in Bengal, 
when that institution was still tolerated, but regu- 
lated, by the Government, and a Government officer 
was appointed to check any gross abuse of it. 


Being resolved to ascertain whether the widow was 
a willing martyr, Sir Frederick had an interview 
and reasoned with her, but in vain, for, in order to 
show that she was fully prepared for a death by fire, 
the woman produced a lamp, thrust her finger into 
it, and held it steadily in the flame until one or two 
joints were burned away. She then ascended the 
funeral pyre, but Sir Frederick still refused to allow 
her to be confined by two bamboo rods commonly 
used in these orgies, like straps, to prevent the 
victim struggling. They were not required, how- 
ever, for she remained quite still ; as soon as the 
wood was lighted, the heat and smoke became so 
intense that Sir Frederick was driven back a few 
paces, and before he could return to his position, the 
pyre with its victim was reduced to a mass of ashes. 
Our return voyage was singularly uneventful, and 
our party numbered only twenty-one besides children, 
no military officer being able to get leave unless for 
urgent reasons of health. As all sailors know, the 
course taken by homeward-bound sailing vessels 
diff"ered greatly from that of outward-bound vessels. 
Instead of following the meridian of Calcutta far 
into the Southern hemisphere, as we had done in 
coming out, we steered direct for Cape Agulhas, 
passed along the South African coast near enough 
for me to make a rough sketch of it, and touched 
at St. Helena for a fresh supply of water. The 
necessity for this arose from the fact that, whereas 
on the outward passage the ship carried very little 
cargo, and drew but seventeen feet as she anchored 


off Calcutta, she was somewhat overladen with tea, 
silk, and other merchandise on the homeward passage, 
and had less room for the storage of water. St. 
Helena, which is now seldom visited, is a natural 
rock-fortress, with only three landing-places, and 
admirably suited to serve as the prison of Napoleon, 
for which purpose it had been seriously considered 
before he was sent to Elba. Besides seeing Long- 
wood, a simple Indian bungalow, and Napoleon's 
grave, so well known in pictures, some of us made 
an excursion to the North- West of the Island, which 
is far richer in foliage, Diana's Peak, in particular, 
being wooded up to its summit. Near the Line we 
encountered a sudden and very fierce tornado, which 
carried away many of our sails, and tore others into 
ribbons, speedily tied up by the force of the gale 
into close and fantastic knots. In the North 
Atlantic the direction of the trade- wind, being dead 
against us, compelled us to sail far to the westward 
before we headed again for the entrance of the 
Channel. Most of the passengers landed at Wey- 
mouth in a pilot cutter, and some of them, having 
weathered the ocean voyage, were sea-sick for the 
first time in this little craft, buffeting against a 
chopping sea. Perhaps I never admired the beauty 
of English country scenery more than I did on the 
coach drive from Weymouth to Bath on a perfect 
summer day. But I can truly say that I felt sadder 
on leaving the Marlborough than I did in going on 
board of her, well knowing that I could never again 
hope to lead so calm and peaceful a life. 


The year 1849 was a "cholera year," and, if I 
mistake not, the mortality in London was higher 
than in the other great cholera years, 1832 and 
1854. Great Malvern, at which my parents took 
a house for the summer, was thronged by refugees 
from the West End, some of whom also adopted 
the cold-water cure, then at the height of its 
popularity. Though I was restored to very fair 
health, it was thought wiser that I should not go 
up to Oxford for another year, and in the autumn 
I became the pupil of the Rev. H. N. Dudding at 
St. Albans. He was an excellent and able man, 
who took a real interest in supplementing my boyish 
scholarship by more varied reading ; but, through no 
fault of his, I cannot look back on this period as 
very enjoyable or profitable. However, I owed to 
him a good preliminary study of Aristotle's Ethics, 
which I analysed carefully and fancied that I under- 
stood, until I was undeceived by further instruction 
at Oxford. Both he and I were anxious that I 
should compete for the Balliol Scholarship of that 
year (1849), but my father dreaded the effect of 
competition on my health, and I dare say his veto 
saved me from a fresh disappointment. At all events, 
above fifteen months, for which I have little to show, 
had elapsed since my return from India, and above 
two years and a half since my departure from Eton, 
when I came up to Balliol, as a Commoner, in 
October 1850. 



I 850-1 854 

The University of Oxford in 1850— Balliol College— Benjamin Jowett 
—College life fifty years ago— Reading, and reading-parties — 
Strange disappearance of James Winstanley — Reminiscences of 
the Union Society and the " Essay Society." 

The University of Oxford, in 1850, was becalmed, 
as it were, between two periods of stormy agitation. 
The reactionary wave of theological excitement, 
known as the " Oxford Movement," had almost 
spent its original force, and left Academical society 
in comparative peace. Its real tendencies, so loudly 
and ostentatiously disavowed by its authors, bad 
been revealed by the reception of Newman and 
many of his followers into the Church of Eome, 
and though High Church doctrines were still the 
fashionable creed of Oxford, the Tractarian party 
had apparently ceased to be militant. On the other 
hand, the era of University Eeform had barely com- 
menced, and the Rationalistic movement, represented 
by "Essays and Reviews," was still in an esoteric 
stage. It was in August of this very year that the 
first Royal Commission was appointed by Lord 
Russell's Government, and, though its Report (issued 
in 1852) was anticipated to some extent by the 


action of the University itself, the government, 
examination system, and social habits of the Uni- 
versity were essentially the same in 1850 as they 
had been at the beginning of the century. Both 
the University and the Colleges were subject to 
antiquated codes of statutes, which it would have 
been no less disastrous than impossible to enforce, 
but which, in the opinion of eminent authorities, 
they had no power to alter. The sole initiative 
power in University legislation, and by far the 
largest share of University administration, was in 
the hands of the Hebdomadal Board, consisting 
solely of Heads of Colleges with the two Proctors, 
and not unjustly described by Mr. Gold win Smith 
as an " organised torpor." There was an assembly 
of residents known as the House of Congregation, 
but its business had dwindled to mere formalities, 
and the only other University Assembly, known as 
Convocation, was virtually powerless, except for 
purposes of obstruction. It included thousands of 
non-resident Masters of Arts, mostly ignorant of 
Academical questions ; it had the right of debating, 
but this right was almost annulled by the necessity 
of speaking in Latin ; and it could only accept or 
reject without amendment measures proposed by 
the Hebdomadal Board. No student could then 
be a member of the University without belonging 
to a College or Hall, while every member of a 
College or Hall was compelled to sleep within its 
walls until after his third year of residence. Persons 
unable to sign the Thirty-nine Articles were ab- 


solutely excluded, not merely from degrees, but 
from all access to the University, inasmuch as the 
test of subscription was enforced at Matriculation. 
It is needless to add that, being unable to enter the 
University, they could not obtain College Fellow- 
ships, which, however, were further protected against 
the intrusion of Dissenters by the declaration of 
churchmanship required to be made under the Act 
of Uniformity. If Professorial lectures were not at 
so low an ebb as in the days of Gibbon, when the 
greater part of the Professors had "given up even 
the pretence of teaching," they were lamentably 
scarce and ineffective. The educational function 
of the University had, in fact, been almost wholly 
merged in College tuition, but the Scholarships, 
as well as the Fellowships, of the Colleges were 
fettered by all manner of restrictions, which marred 
their value as incentives to industry, while, in too 
many cases, favouritism was checked by no rule of 
law or practice. The great majority of Fellows 
were bound to take Holy Orders, and the whole 
University was dominated by a clerical spirit which 
directly tended to make it, as it has so long been, 
a focus of theological controversy. 

Balliol College, which I entered as a Commoner 
in October 1850, was already, as it has ever since 
remained, the most eminent place of education in 
the University. It had long been my ambition to 
win a Scholarship there, and when I went up for 
matriculation in the spring of that year, the autho- 
rities, being aware that ill health alone had pre- 


vented my competing, gave me a special examination, 
and placed me at the head of my year. The " old 
Master," Dr. Jenkyns, about whom so many good 
(and true) stories have been told,' had been my 
father's tutor, and was elected to the Mastership 
during his residence at Oxford. He was therefore 
always specially kind to me, as well as to my 
brother, who had come into residence two years 
earlier. He was in no respect a great man, nor 
was he by any means the sole creator of the great- 
ness of Balliol, for the class list shows that Balliol 
under his predecessor ranked high among colleges, 
and it is well known that Nathaniel Ellison, if not 
others, shared with him the credit of opening the 
Balliol Scholarships and Fellowships. Still, it is 
certain that for thirty or forty years his life was 

1 Two stories, illustrative of his peculiar simplicity and humour, are 
perhaps less familiar to old Balliol men than many others. On one 
occasion, when the late Dr. Ogilvy was still a Tutor of Balliol, a young man 
of fast habits was summoned before the Dons for the crowning offence of 
having gone to Epsom or Ascot without leave, and the "trial scene" had 
doubtless been concerted beforehand between Ogilvy and the Master. After 
enumerating other escapades, Ogilvy approached the climax — -"And, Master, 

you will scarcely believe it, but Mr. clandestinely attended a race." 

Here the Master struck in — " A boat-race, I presume, Mr. Ogilvy." " No, 
Master, " rejoined Ogilvy, in solemn accents, " the natural goodness of 
your heart deceives you — I allude to a horse-race." On another occasion, 
when the late W. G. Ward and Mr. Jenkins, a namesake of his own, were 
Fellows, he seized an opportunity of " scoring off " both at once. For, 
while he never concealed his horror of Ward's Church views, he showed 
a still greater contempt for the Fellows and Scholars of the Blundell 
foundation, to which Mr. Jenkins belonged. The subject of discussion 
being a former Master under whom the College had sunk to its lowest 
ebb, and whom Dr. Jenkyns denounced in no measured terms, some 
unwary person asked him what the enormities of this unfortunate man 
had really been. The Master promptly replied, firing right and left — 
" He was suspected of Romanising tendencies, Mr. Ward; he was a Blundell 
Fellow, Mr. Jenkins." 


steadily devoted to promoting the interests of Balliol, 
and that he enjoyed the genuine respect of all its 
members, in spite of a most comical personality to 
which no mere description can do justice. 

During my residence at Balliol, the leading 
Tutors were Mr. Woollcombe, Mr. Lake, and Mr. 
Jowett. The first of these was really an excellent 
classical scholar, and had mastered for himself most 
of the books then in use, but his apparent confusion 
of thought, and amusing deficiency in the sense of 
proportion, rendered him a very ineffective teacher. 
Lake, the late Dean of Durham, was a very clever 
man, with a knowledge of history then unusual, and 
his lectures on this subject, in particular, were highly 
appreciated. Of Jowett, as a tutor, it is impossible 
to speak too highly, and his teaching ranged over 
three distinct subjects — pure scholarship, philosophy, 
and New Testament criticism. I am not prepared 
to say that his Greek scholarship fully satisfied the 
Cambridge standard of accuracy, but he was an 
admirable interpreter of ancient authors, and in 
revising Greek or Latin composition he had the great 
merit of throwing himself into his pupil's conception 
of the piece, instead of merely substituting a version 
of his own. His " composition-lectures," too, were 
in their way unique. He was perhaps the first to 
make the " History of Philosophy " a serious study, 
while his dissection of Plato's Republic in examina- 
tion lectures was so thorough as to border on cram- 
ming. His indefatigable work, and sympathy with 
all earnest workers, attracted to him the pupils of 


other Tutors ; his door was open to all who sought 
his help at all hours of the day and up to a late hour 
at night ; he was equally successful in rebuking 
conceit and in encouraging self-reliance. After he 
became Master, he gradually ceased to be the 
prophet or the martyr, and passed into the benig- 
nant host, but he never quite acquired the ease of 
manner suited to such a part, and he certainly never 
lost the essential characteristics of a teacher. Not 
having been one of his chosen disciples, I might find 
it difficult to endorse some of the unqualified tributes 
paid to his memory, but I entirely share the opinion 
that he was the greatest Oxford Tutor of the last 
half-century ; that he was a man, if not of original 
genius, yet of truly original character ; and that, 
when he died, he left none like him in Oxford. 
These leading Tutors were ably seconded by the 
late Archdeacon Palmer, James Riddell, and soon 
afterwards by Henry Smith, a man of the most 
comprehensive intellect that Oxford has produced 
in my time. One and all of these were animated 
by that single-minded and disinterested spirit of 
duty to which Balliol owes its long ascendency, and 
which makes it an example to all the rest of the 
University. Being all unmarried, and living in 
College rooms among the men, they were able to 
keep good order, and were constantly accessible to 
pupils. Being all clergymen, they also stood in a 
certain pastoral relation to undergraduates, which 
might doubtless be exaggerated, but was not without 
its salutary influence. 


In attempting to describe College life at Balliol, 
therefore, I may possibly be drawing too favourable 
a picture of the average College life, but I believe 
that, with slight deductions, it is true of all the better 
Colleges fifty years ago. No doubt, many real im- 
provements have since been introduced, but it must 
not be taken for granted that every change has been 
an unmixed improvement. For instance, the system 
of inter-collegiate lectures delivered to very large 
classes has greatly raised the standard of tutorial 
instruction ; and one strong proof of their general 
merit is that " coaching for honours," which is still 
thought so necessary at Cambridge, has become very 
rare at Oxford. But, while the abler honour-men 
have thus gained on the whole, the less able probably 
fared better under the old system of catechetical 
lectures delivered to small classes of about fifteen 
men, all of the same College, in a tutor's private 
sitting-room. Again, the abolition of Tests, the great 
expansion of studies, the adoption of the Cambridge 
practice enabling the junior members of a College to 
lodge outside its walls, and other measures for "open- 
ing " the University, have greatly extended its influ- 
ence and usefulness, but they have seriously impaired 
the social unity of Colleges, while the introduction of 
married Fellows has, in some cases, entirely spoiled 
Common-room society. It would be easy to give 
many similar instances of so-called reforms which 
may have been inevitable, and even beneficial on the 
whole, but which one who knew Balliol in the days 
of Jenkyns cannot regard with unmixed satisfaction. 


In those days Balliol numbered some eighty or 
ninety undergraduates, nearly all living in College 
rooms. The commoners, and still more the scholars, 
were largely drawn from the great public schools, 
with the result that a spirit of freemasonry prevailed 
among us which nowadays would be impossible. The 
Snell Exhibitioners, from Glasgow University, formed 
a distinct element, of which I never fully appreciated 
the value ; but, as they were usually of a convivial 
disposition, they were acceptable guests at wine- 
parties, to which they sometimes contributed im- 
portations of Scotch whisky, then a somewhat rare 
beverage. These wine-parties were an important 
feature of College life, and helped to bring members 
of various sets into contact with each other in a way 
for which breakfast-parties supply no adequate sub- 
stitute. Though I was essentially a quiet and read- 
ing man, I usually gave two of them each Term, and 
as forty or fifty other men probably did the same, 
there must have been about two wine-parties on the 
average every night in the week ; indeed, I myself 
went to one or more on most nights of the Term, 
except Sundays. Perhaps fifteen or twenty guests 
might be invited to each, but few stayed more than 
half or three quarters of an hour, and, as we dined 
at five or (afterwards) at half-past five, all was 
generally over by half-past seven or eight, when 
reading-men betook themselves to study, and were 
actually known, and that not unfrequently, to pro- 
tect themselves against interruption by "sporting 
their oaks." I can testify, with a good conscience, 


that I never heard bad language used at a wine- 
party, or witnessed a quarrel which could have led 
to serious consequences, even in duelling days. No 
doubt, I may have been fortunate in my company, 
as I certainly was fortunate in my College ; but, as 
I often mixed with the faster set of men at wine- 
parties, this fact is not without significance, as 
indicating the prevalent tone of Balliol men in 
my time. I may also say that I never saw any one 
the worse for liquor in College rooms, though I feel 
bound to add that a like standard of sobriety was 
not always maintained at the annual Balliol " Nune- 
ham parties," to which the College barge was always 
towed down, and from which it sometimes returned 
with passengers too unsteady on their legs to ride 
or walk home. There was then no junior Common 
Room at Balliol, or at any other College, with two 
or three exceptions ; no College Musical Society, and 
no Debating Society. On the other hand, afternoon 
walks afforded constant opportunities for a friendly 
interchange of ideas on all subjects, from the highest 
to the lowest, which the present multiplicity of 
recreations has greatly diminished. For it is scarcely 
realised by the rising generation that walks in the 
country were almost the only form of exercise in 
the winter, some fifty years ago, except for those 
who cared to row on the river, or could afibrd to 
ride. Probably the number of these was somewhat 
greater than it now is, owing to the impoverishment 
of so many country gentlemen. At all events, in 
the absence of other sports, riding for exercise was 


commoner, and about two in the afternoon several 
horses might be seen being led up and down in front 
of most Colleges. But even athletics, in the form of 
running and jumping, had not yet become fashion- 
able ; racquets, which have now almost gone out 
at Oxford, had not then come in ; hockey and golf 
had not been introduced ; lawn tennis (not to speak 
of croquet) had not been invented ; bicycling was 
unknown ; even football, though vigorously practised 
at school, was voted too rough a game for grown 
men, and was very seldom played. As a natural 
consequence, there was more billiard-playing and 
general loafing, but the evenings were not so much 
cut up as they now are by social gatherings and 
other distractions fatal to study. Meanwhile, 
Balliol was specially renowned for its prowess on 
the river— no mean proof of collegiate esprit de 
corps. The credit of this success was mainly due 
to the late Lord Justice Chitty, who first made his 
reputation as the best of amateur wicket-keepers, 
but afterwards mainly devoted his energies to rowing. 
Thanks to his exertions and influence, carried on by 
successors like Dr. Warre of Eton, the Balliol Eight 
was never, I believe, lower than third in the boat- 
races during a period of fifteen years. 

It is often said, or implied, that fifty years ago 
hardly any College Tutors did their duty, and that 
hardly any lectures were worth attending, though an 
exception is sometimes made in favour of Balliol. 
Such is not my own impression. I admit that solid 
learning counted for less than it now does as a 


qualification for teaching, that most Colleges had one 
or two second-rate men as Tutors who lectured in a 
perfunctory way and left real tuition to coaches, and 
that men of equal standing but of very unequal 
attainments were often mixed up together in the 
same classes. Nevertheless, it is my belief that in 
almost every College there was at least one Tutor 
fully competent and more than willing to instruct 
reading-men in every branch of knowledge then 
recognised in the Classical Schools. Assuredly this 
was so at Balliol ; and yet it would be too much to 
say that all the lectures into which one was put, even 
at Balliol — perhaps fourteen a week — either were or 
could be profitable to a man capable of grappling 
with subjects for himself The fact is that such a 
man, with libraries at his command, needs guidance 
in reading more than oral instruction, and gains little 
from taking down notes at a lecture, however good, 
which he might not gain by reading an equally good 
text-book with equal attention. What a College 
tutor or private tutor can supply is good advice 
about the choice of books, the method of reading, and 
the management of a student's powers. This was 
freely done for us by the Balliol Tutors of my time, 
and above all by Jowett. One piece of advice which 
he gave me very early in my residence I have always 
regarded as the most practically valuable which I 
have ever received. Knowing that I had already 
broken down through overwork, and crediting me 
with some capacity for concentration, he earnestly 
dissuaded me from studying more than five hours a 


day, including lectures, but warned me against ever 
allowing my attention to flag. This excellent rule I 
followed religiously for several years in reading 
successively for Honours in Moderations, the Final 
Classical School, and the Modern History School ; 
nor did I allow myself to deviate from it when my 
work was thrown into arrear by a low fever at the 
end of 1852. My father supplemented it by an 
injunction to avoid personal competition, such as 
that for University scholarships or prizes, so that 
my reading was confined within a tolerably de- 
finite groove. The real advantage that Balliol men 
enjoyed in a high degree, as compared with their 
fellows in other Colleges, was the stimulating 
atmosphere of the place, the healthy sense of in- 
tellectual rivalry, and their friendly relations with 
the Dons. For not only Jowett, but the other 
Tutors made friends of the steadier undergraduates, 
entertaining them at breakfast or dinner, taking 
walks or rides with them, and showing a genuine 
interest in their welfare. Most of us " coached " more 
or less, but I am quite sure that coaching was not 
even then a necessity, and it would have been very 
wrong if it had been. No one has a greater respect 
for Cambridge than I have, but I cannot help saying 
that in this respect I think it had much to learn 
from Oxford in my time (for I speak not of the 
present), and that a parent who has paid tuition fees 
to a College has just reason to complain if he finds 
that, after all, efi'ective tuition can only be procured 
by paying additional fees to a coach. 


One very characteristic feature of Oxford study 
in those days was the institution of the Long Vaca- 
tion reading-party, so graphically described in the 
" Bothie of Topernavuolich," though with a some- 
what too liberal admixture of obsolete Oxford slang. 
Like my elder brother, I went on a reading-party in 
each of my three Long Vacations, and no part of 
my University life was more pleasantly or profitably 
spent. Some reading-parties, and especially those 
of Cambridge men, were organised by coaches, who 
mustered round them a group of pupils not always 
known to each other, or lodging in the same house, 
but receiving a daily lesson of an hour a-piece, and 
assorting themselves as they pleased for meals or 
otherwise. Such was not the character of the read- 
ing-parties to which I belonged in 1851, 1852, and 
1853. These were voluntary associations of friends, 
who clubbed together, and took a family house in 
some attractive part of the country for reading 
purposes. In each case we had a coach, but in two 
cases some members of the party were reading inde- 
pendently. In 185 1, three or four of us were pupils 
of Mr. Goldwin Smith, whose rare gift of pleasantry 
never shone more brilliantly than in the free and 
easy intercourse of a little society like ours. Another 
of the party was the late Professor Conington, who 
had two pupils lodging in another house, but was a 
great favourite in our domestic circle, often en- 
livening it with humorous sallies, and still more 
frequently provoking humorous sallies from Goldwin 
Smith and the rest of us. A fourth was my old 


friend and Eton school-fellow, Mr Charles Stewart 
Parker, late M.P. for Perth, and editor of Sir Robert 
Peel's letters ; a fifth was the present Dean of Ripon, 
also one of my school-fellows and most intimate 
friends. We first settled at Lynton, but afterwards 
moved to Ilfracombe. Our mornings and evenings 
were spent in reading, our afternoons in walking or 
riding along the clifi's and the country behind, especi- 
ally on Exmoor, then far less enclosed than it now 
is. Simple as our life was, it was thoroughly enjoy- 
able, and none of us got tired of it. We juniors 
discussed every subject, human and divine, with a 
freshness of interest only possible to youth, and I 
am sure gained a great deal more from the maturer 
criticisms of Gold win Smith and Conington than we 
could then realise. 

The next year (1852), after a short run in Ire- 
land, I joined the Dean of Ripon and Sir Robert 
Herbert on a reading-party at Avranches, in Nor- 
mandy, where our coach was the late Archdeacon 
Palmer, whom all of us knew as an exemplary Balliol 
tutor, and the kindest of friends. Avranches was 
then a very cheap place, and a great resort of English 
people compelled to economise strictly. We hired a 
small but comfortable furnished house for 100 francs a 
month, and dined at the table d'h6te on the ahonne- 
metit system, at the rate of forty francs a month. 
None of us, I think, had ever been in France before, 
and our essays in housekeeping, with the aid of a 
typical French maid-of-all-work, furnished us with 
an unfailing source of amusement for years after- 


wards. I knew less of the French language than any 
of my companions, and one of my experiences result- 
ing from this ignorance may perhaps be worth noting. 
Being unwell for some days, and failing to cure 
myself, I was advised to send for a French doctor. 
Accordingly, I copied a model letter to a doctor from 
a "Handbook of Travel- talk," varying it slightly, 
however, to give it an air of originality. I also got 
up, out of a French dictionary, a few words and 
phrases descriptive of my symptoms. The doctor 
arrived, and, contrary to my expectations, proved to 
be quite ignorant of English. I started well, but 
soon came to an end of my vocabulary. He began 
to put questions, after the manner of his profession, 
which I could neither answer nor understand ; when 
suddenly a bright idea struck him, and he remarked 
that, although Monsieur had evidently a difficulty in 
speaking French, he knew from a perusal of my letter 
that I wrote it admirably, so that I need only sit 
down and compose a detailed account of my case. 
It is superjQiuous to relate the sequel ; the one thing 
certain is that I never took any of his medicine. 

In the following summer (1853), being my last 
Long Vacation, I made a tour in Switzerland with 
C. S. Parker, after which he and I, with Goldwin 
Smith and Conington, started for my third reading- 
party, of which the scene was Grasmere. We had 
three other companions, all old friends — the Eev. 
Arthur G. Butler, still Fellow of Oriel ; Dr. J. H. 
Bridges, late Fellow of Oriel ; and James Winstanley, 
whose strange disappearance, never fully explained, 


startled those of us who knew and cared for him 
nearly forty years ago. This party was a revival or 
continuation of that at Lynton in 185 1 ; more than 
one argument, then left unfinished, was taken up and 
carried on with renewed energy ; Conington's incapa- 
city for mountain-climbing gave rise to as many harm- 
less jokes as his incapacity for riding Exmoor ponies ; 
Goldwin Smith was as fertile as ever in pregnant and 
pithy sayings ; and the new members of our party 
fell into our traditions without an effort. On this 
occasion, Parker, who had taken his degree early in 
1852, was coaching Winstanley and myself, having 
kindly undertaken to review the whole of my read- 
ing, with a view to strengthen weak points — one of 
the best services that a friendly tutor can render. 
Our stay at Grasmere was marked by no incident, 
and no poet, like Clough, will ever immortalise our 
unreserved conversations. Probably most of us said 
nothing worth recording, and yet, when I look back 
upon it by the light of later experience, one negative 
fact emerges from my recollections, which may not 
be quite unworthy of record : it is, simply, that I 
can recall no angry or indecorous word being spoken 
on any of my three reading-parties, and that " chaff" 
never degenerated into vulgarity or sarcasm. I be- 
lieve that members of other like reading-parties would 
bear like testimony, and my conclusion is, that 
" plain living and high thinking " among young 
Englishmen of the University type are at least 
favourable to morals and manners. 

The sad and mysterious disappearance of Win- 


Stanley took place in 1862, but almost escaped public 
notice, and there are few now living who remember 
the circumstances of it, which are not without in- 
terest. Winstanley had been educated at Rugby, 
and was a man of real ability, as well as of the 
highest character, and of a singularly amiable dis- 
position. He was a scholar of University College, 
gained the Hertford Scholarship in 1852, and might 
have obtained a First Class in the final Classical 
Schools, but he was a slow worker, and, having a 
morbid distrust of his own powers, he abandoned the 
attempt, and took an "Honorary Fourth "in 1854. 
About the same time he succeeded to a landed pro- 
perty in Leicestershire, and also adopted the Posi- 
tivist creed, under the influence of Congreve. With 
a view to prepare himself for the duties of his position, 
as he understood them, he went over to Paris, con- 
tinued his studies, and became known to Auguste 
Comte himself, before the philosopher's death in 
1857. After a long residence abroad, he came back 
and settled on his estate, interested himself actively 
in the welfare of his dependants, built a church, and 
spent much in the improvement of cottages. In the 
year of his death he became High Sheriff for his 
county, and ought to have been serving in that capa- 
city when he was suddenly missed. There were 
those who fancied that his nervous dread of figuring 
in so public an office had something to do with his 
flight, but it happens that I walked home with him 
from a dinner-party two or three weeks before it, and 
found him in a very cheerful frame of mind. In 


fact, he had already acted once as High Sheriff at 
the Assizes, and seemed to have got over his trepi- 
dation about it, while he did not seem to feel other 
troubles of which he had formerly spoken to me with 
some anxiety. Just before the next Assizes he went 
down to Folkestone, stayed at a hotel, and started 
one morning for the pier to meet his mother and 
sister coming from Boulogne, leaving, as I heard, his 
portmanteau open in his room, and with a very 
modest sum in his possession. Thenceforward, he 
was never seen alive by any one who knew him. 
Advertisements were issued, and after the lapse of 
several weeks a boatman at Coblenz came forward 
with a story which has ever since been received as 
true. He stated that a gentleman, described as cor- 
responding in appearance with Winstanley, hailed him 
one evening and desired to be ferried over to Ehren- 
breitstein, and that either in going or in returning 
this gentleman dropped over the side of the boat in 
a manner indicative of an intention to drown himself. 
I believe that a body, found in the river and buried, 
was afterwards exhumed, but was scarcely capable of 
recognition. The clothing, however, was identified 
by a servant, and the evidence, as a whole, satisfied 
his executor (Congreve) and his relations that the 
remains were, indeed, those of Winstanley. Mean- 
while, as I learned from Sir William Erie, who hap- 
pened to be Judge of Assize for Leicestershire, he 
succeeded, with the aid of the Under Sheriff, in 
hushing up and keeping out of the newspapers the 
fact of the High Sheriffs disappearance. There 


were those who, knowing Winstanley's temperament, 
thought it not impossible that he might have deli- 
berately immured himself in a monastery. My own 
fear always was that, in a fit of conscientious doubt 
as to whether he was doing any good to himself or 
others in the world, he might have proceeded to act 
upon the reasoning of Hamlet, but I never felt quite 
sure for years afterwards that he might not reappear 
in my rooms. But this was not to be. After a 
certain interval his estate passed to a distant kins- 
man, and, though some legal question was raised a 
year or two later on the sufiiciency of the evidence 
for his death, I believe that it was overruled by the 
Court. When Speke disappeared at the beginning 
of 1868, and the records of similar cases were indus- 
triously raked up, I was surprised that no one noticed 
that of Winstanley. But he is not forgotten by his 
old friends. He was one who found life too hard for 
him, not because he was the victim of special wrongs 
or trials, but simply because his sensitive, diffident, 
and gentle spirit could not bear what most of us 
take as the inevitable lot of humanity. He could 
not master or shake off the gloomy thoughts which 
crowded in upon him ; like the Psalmist, he vainly 
sought refuge in isolation from the provoking 
of all men and the strife of tongues ; and so 
he vanished from the world, little knowing how 
much he was valued or how long he would be 

The " Union Society," which is still a very flourish- 
ing institution, filled a more important place in the 


life of Oxford, during the period of my residence, 
than it does in the present day. There was then 
but one College Debating Society in Oxford, so far 
as I know, and only two or three Colleges had a 
reading-room for undergraduates, while access to 
College Libraries was difficult to obtain. If a young 
man wanted to practise his eloquence, or to borrow 
other books than novels, or to read the newspapers, 
or to write letters, with volumes of reference at hand, 
his easiest, if not his sole, resource was to join the 
Union. I did so in my second Term, being the 
earliest date then permissible, and made constant 
use of it until I left Oxford. In deference to my 
father's wish, I spoke but twice as an undergraduate, 
but as a Bachelor of Arts I took a somewhat active 
part in its debates, becoming President in Michael- 
mas Term, 1854, and Librarian in Lent Term, 1855. 
I am not prepared to maintain that ours was the 
golden age of the Union, for I observe more eminent 
names (including that of Gladstone) on the list of 
officials in the old times before us, and there seems 
to be quite as large a proportion of eminence or 
promise among those who have since held office. 
Still, I note on a single page recording the officers 
elected during the six years 1849-55 t^e names 
of Lord Salisbury, Dean Boyle, the late Lord 
Brabourne, Professor Henry Smith, the late Lord 
Beauchamp, the late Professor Shirley, the late Mr. 
Charles Pearson (author of "National Life and 
Character " ), Mr. Goschen, Sir Godfrey Lushington, 
and Mr. Frederick Harrison, all of whom, except 


Lord Salisbury and Mr. Harrison, were Presidents. 
Then, as now, many of those who obtained distinc- 
tion at the Union were men who devoted their whole 
energy to it, and made a poor show in the Uni- 
versity class-lists ; some, indeed, had great difficulty 
in getting through pass-examinations. But there 
were always men of high University reputation on 
the Committee, and when it was known that such 
men were going to speak, they seldom failed to 
command good audiences. There were two specially 
memorable debates in my time — the one in 1853, 
on Mr. Gladstone joining the Coalition Government 
of Lord Aberdeen; the other in 1854, on University 
Reform and the Report of the first Oxford Commis- 
sion. The former debate was on a motion of Mr. 
T. F. Wetherell, ,and was introduced by an incisive 
speech, in which he described Mr. Disraeli as " the 
man who hunted Sir Robert Peel to his death, and 
stood over his grave with curses." This debate 
lasted four nights, having been thrice adjourned — 
once in consequence of the furious excitement pro- 
duced by a speech of Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff, in 
which he denounced the Tory party in no measured 
terms. Almost every one who ever took, part in 
Union debates spoke on this occasion, and most 
spoke better than usual, but the most effective 
speeches were those of the late Mr. C. H. Pearson 
and Mr. B. B. Rogers, on different sides and in 
different styles, one highly rhetorical, the other 
highly Parliamentary. I thought Mr. Pearson's 
speech the finest that I had ever heard, but Mr. 


Rogers, I believe, was carried some way home to- 
wards his College on the shoulders of his admirers. 
The debate of 1854 was on a motion of my own, 
and also lasted four nights, but the proceedings 
were not so lively, though a dashing " champagne 
speech" was delivered by a man who, as I was 
told, having never spoken before, had made a 
bet at a wine-party that he would reply to me. 
Some of the best debates, however, took place in 
private business, and notably on the vexed ques- 
tion, often revived, of opening the Union rooms on 
Sundays, and on that of stamping members' letters 

It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, 
including that of Lord Randolph Churchill, all Oxford 
men who have become eminent in the House of Com- 
mons have first become eminent at the Union. In 
other words, the Union has always been an excellent 
school of speaking, and probably for this reason, 
that while the gregarious sentiment of the audience 
represses any tendency to a didactic or philosophical 
tone, the mass, after all, consists of educated gentle- 
men whose individual taste would be shocked by 
vulgarity. In the present generation, the style of 
Union oratory has been sensibly afi'ected by the rise 
of College debating societies, in which most of the 
speakers have made their debut, but fifty years ago 
every young aspirant essayed to speak as if he were 
addressing a popular meeting from a platform. The 
result was that he might occasionally rise into real 
eloquence but was in serious danger of sinking into 


bombast, and my impression is that, while Union 
speeches are nowadays somewhat more conversa- 
tional, they exhibit a somewhat higher standard of 
knowledge and debating power. It is difficult, how- 
ever, to make a comparison, for, unlike the Eton 
Society, the Oxford Union Society keeps no report of 
its debates. Once only, I believe, were shorthand 
writers admitted, when the late Lord Brabourne 
moved a resolution in favour of returning to Protec- 
tion, and was supported by the Lord Robert Cecil of 
those days, as well as by others who might scarcely 
care to reprint their juvenile speeches. This was 
before my time, but one contemporary of my own, 
Mr. Goschen, would probably be able to adopt most 
of his early utterances, barring such exuberances of 
rhetoric as few of us could wish to be raked up in 
later years. For he was always a member of the 
Left Centre, vigorously exchanging thrusts with 
Tories and ultra -Radicals on either side, and 
certainly no one of my old friends has changed 
less during fifty years in opinions and character, 
than which no better proof of a strong individuality 
can be given. Two other prominent speakers of the 
same age were Oxenham and Wetherell. Oxenham 
specially excelled in fluency and glowing perorations, 
some of which, if preserved, could not be read with 
a grave face in these days ; Wetherell, on the 
contrary, was a master of laconic sarcasm. One of 
the replies attributed to him, and still remembered, 
is perhaps worth quotation. Wetherell had laid 
down some proposition as a great constitutional 


principle, and was answered by an opponent who 
expressed surprise at so audacious an assertion, it 
being notorious, as he said, that in the reign of 
King Henry VIII. a statute had been passed estab- 
lishing the very contrary principle. Wetherell at 
that stage of his career knew little of Henry VIII. 
or constitutional principles, but he did know that his 
opponent was notorious in the University for his 
mendacity. He therefore, in his reply, declared that ' 
he was perfectly well aware that such a statute had 
been passed in the reign of King Henry VIII., but, 
he added triumphantly, " was there a tyro in history 
so ignorant as not to know that it was repealed in 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth ? " I cannot personally 
vouch for this story, for I was not present, but I 
have never doubted it ; and, if he should read these 
pages, I am sure he will forgive me for relating what 
many of us admired as a characteristic instance of 
his dialectical resource. In the later part of 1854 
he was nominated for the Presidentship, which he 
fully deserved for his prowess in debate and ex- 
perience of Union business. Contests for the 
Presidentship were then rare, but I was induced to 
oppose him on grounds which no longer appear to 
me so cogent as they did at the time, and, as he was 
known to be on the point of joining the Roman 
Catholics, I naturally found myself in the position of 
being the No-Popery champion, in which capacity I 
was elected by a large majority. The sequel may be 
omitted, with the exception of one little incident 
which has its comical side. While party spirit was 



still runnmg high, the invalid son of Dr. Pusey 
happened to become a candidate for the Union. In 
the ordinary course he would have been elected 
without a question, but Archdeacon Palmer repre- 
sented to me that, in the ferment of the moment, 
some of my hot-headed supporters might blackball 
him, and suggested as the only effectual safeguard 
that I should propose him myself. This I did, and 
he was elected unopposed. But I must not multiply 
these simple recollections of the Union, which I 
regard as one of the most interesting and useful 
institutions in Oxford. I will only add that I can 
remember no less than five debating-rooms — the first, 
a picture gallery ; the second, a Music Hall in 
Holywell ; the third, a large room, now curtailed, 
behind the Clarendon (formerly the Star) Hotel ; the 
fourth, what is now the Library, decorated with 
strange wall paintings by Rossetti and other young 
artists ; the last, and best, the present excellent 
Debating Hall, with its strangers' gallery. The 
audiences in the earlier debating-rooms were seldom 
very large, but they were generally very attentive, 
and there was less coming and going, as they 
could not fall back on any reading-room under the 
same roof. 

It is now several years since I have attended a 
Union debate, but I have occasionally been consulted 
on Union business, and was on a Committee for 
placing a bust of Mr. Gladstone in the Debating- 
room. In the summer of 1899, I was pleasantly 
reminded of my connection with the Society by a 


request that I would arbitrate on a somewhat delicate 
question. It appears that Mr. Walsh's book, "The 
Secret History of the Oxford Movement," had been 
proposed in due course to be purchased for the 
Library, when an outcry was raised against it, and 
it was ultimately resolved that three ex-Presidents 
of at least ten years' standing should be asked to 
decide whether this volume, being desired by a large 
section of the members, was of so offensive a charac- 
ter that it ought not to be so purchased. Professor 
Dicey and Mr. Strachan Davidson of Balliol were 
associated with me as arbitrators, and our unanimous 
award was in favour of admitting the book — not 
upon its merits, as to which we gave no opinion, but 
simply on the ground that, being a serious contro- 
versial work, and forming part of the history of its 
subject, it could not, consistently with sound prin- 
ciple and practice, be treated as unfit to be placed in 
the Union Library. 

In the autumn of 1852, 1 was among the founders 
of a modest Society which never adopted a distinc- 
tive title, and for that very reason was nicknamed 
The Mutual Improvement Society, but was generally 
known by the simple name of " The Essay Society." 
In these days Oxford is honeycombed by a multitude 
of little circles and coteries — literary, scientific, 
sesthetic, political, and social ; indeed, it has been 
said that if any three or four Oxford men find them- 
selves agreeing upon any subject, their first impulse 
is to say — " Go to, let us found a new Club on this 
basis." Fifty years ago it was not so. A discussion 


society of some eminence, called the " Decade," had 
lately died a natural death, and, though here and 
there a few lovers of poetry might combine to read 
Dante or Shakespeare, I am not aware that any 
society except ours existed for the purpose of freely 
comparing opinions on the higher questions of politics 
and morality, if not of religion. It has never been 
settled who actually originated the idea of forming 
such a society, not confined to one College, and more 
or less on the model of the Cambridge " Apostles," 
but it is certain that it consisted of seven original 
members, whom I mention in alphabetical order — 
G. C. Brodrick, A. G. Butler, W. H. Fremantle, 
G. J. Goschen, H. N. Oxenham, C. S. Parker, and 
C. H. Pearson. Mr. W. L. Newman, Mr. Frederick 
Harrison, Sir Henry Cunningham, Sir Godfrey Lush- 
ington, and others, were elected in the first year or 
two after our foundation ; Professor Dicey, Mr. James 
Bryce, and Lord Bowen, joined us somewhat later. 
We met to partake of a simple dessert in each other's 
rooms by turns (I think) every fortnight, when an 
Essay was read, and a discussion followed, but no one 
rose from his place to deliver his opinion. The ques- 
tions raised might perhaps appear to a more sophisti- 
cated generation somewhat trite and commonplace, 
often, for instance, touching upon theories of govern- 
ment or problems of ethics, and seldom involving any 
profound research. But, after all, they were just 
such questions as ought to interest young minds just 
entering upon their intellectual inheritance, and I am 
by no means sure that it was not more profitable to 


argue them out among ourselves, tlian to learn at 
second hand all that had been said about them by 
eminent writers. Certainly these disputations at our 
Essay Society did much to clear up my own views on 
several important subjects, not to speak of their 
effect in lowering my estimate of my own philo- 
sophical insight. Occasionally, strangers took part 
in them, and Professor Conington, though almost 
too senior a man to be a member, often entertained 
the Society, and became a kind of permanent asso- 
ciate. As some of us migrated to London or else- 
where, the succession was kept up by fresh elections, 
and (still in humble imitation of the "Apostles") 
we used to hold an annual dinner at Greenwich or 
London itself. For we always regarded ourselves as 
an Academical Round Table, and, if we did not dis- 
dain the object of " mutual improvement " as beneath 
us, we did not by any means neglect social qualifica- 
tions. Some years later another Society, called the 
" Old Mortality," was founded on much the same 
lines, and I was amused to see it described in a 
recent volume as an original invention, the fact being 
that among its first members were some who also 
belonged to our Society, while others were men of 
marked ability, but of a somewhat different type. 
However, by this time the society-forming instinct 
had begun to assert itself in the University ; the 
Essay Society, no longer unique, almost lost its 
raison d'Ure, and, after lasting about twenty years, 
it perished of inanition. Some years ago, in concert 
with Mr. A. G. Butler and the present Master of the 


University, I promoted a reunion of early members 
at Oxford, and was gratified to see that old ties of 
intellectual fellowship still maintained their vitality, 
however far we had drifted apart in political or 
theological opinion. 


■ 1854-1856 

Remarkable characters in Oxford fifty years ago — Successes of my later 
Oxford career — EncEenia of 1855 — Election to a Fellowship at 
Merton College — Reminiscences of the Merton Common-room — 
Bishop Patteson — Experience of coaching. 

It is always difficult to compare one age with an- 
other from an intellectual point of view. Probably 
the Oxford of to-day contains a greater amount of 
intellectual activity, as it certainly gives far more 
encouragement to learning and scientific research, 
than the Oxford of fifty years ago. But I am not 
equally sure that, under the easier conditions of 
modern Oxford life, force of character, or even in- 
dependence of thought, is equally developed. I do 
not say that in those days there were giants in the 
land, but there were several Heads and Fellows of 
Colleges, with marked individuality, whose names 
are still remembered, short-lived as Oxford reputa- 
tions are wont to be. I have already spoken of 
Dr. Jenkyns, and of Jowett, destined to be his next 
successor but one. Magdalen had for its President 
the famous Dr. Routh, a really learned man, who 
lived to his hundredth year, and died in 1855, after 
some years of comparative seclusion, but in full pos- 


session of his faculties. The Dean of Christchurch 
was Gaisford, a man of rough manners but kind 
heart and strong will, much respected as a Greek 
scholar in Germany as well as England. Hawkins, 
the Provost of Oriel, had presided with much sagacity 
over his College throughout the whole " Oxford Move- 
ment," which may be said to have been actually born 
and nursed in the Oriel Common-room. He, as well 
as Macbride of Magdalen Hall and Benjamin Symons 
of Wadham, lived to be more than ninety, and all 
three, by virtue of a strong personality, exercised a 
powerful influence in the University under its old 
constitution. Jeune, the Master of Pembroke, was 
a man of a different type, with little regard for 
Academical traditions, who played a great part in 
the University reforms of the same period, and proved 
himself a vigorous administrator as Vice-Chancellor. 
Dr. Wellesley, of New Inn Hall, was a much less 
stirring personage, but was regarded as the highest 
authority in Oxford on questions of artistic and 
literary taste. Buckland had not yet disappeared 
from the ranks of the Professors, or rather of the 
Eeaders, but had at last ceased to lecture at Oxford, 
having given an impulse to Natural Science by his 
contagious enthusiasm which has never been fully 
recognised. Other Professorial Chairs were held by 
more or less notable men, such as Jacobson and Pusey 
in Theology; Donkin, Baden-Powell, and Bartholo- 
mew Price, in Mathematics; Daubeny in Botany, 
Brodie in Chemistry, Halford Vaughan in Modern 
History, and J. M. Wilson in Moral Philosophy. 


Of these, no doubt, the one most widely known 
outside Oxford was Pusey. His erudition and social 
position had made him the most valuable recruit of 
the early Tractarians, and though his prestige in the 
religious world had been recently shaken by the 
declared Romanism of several among his trusted 
associates, it was beginning to revive, and lasted 
until his death. Arthur Stanley, the life and soul 
of the Common-room at University College, resigned 
his Tutorship before I took my degree, and was not 
appointed Professor of Ancient History until 1856. 
Conington was elected Professor of Latin in 1854, 
and in the broad scholar-like treatment of his subject 
has been excelled by none of his successors. Goldwin 
Smith, his intimate friend, was still a Tutor of the 
same College, and no more luminous intellect than 
his — harmonising as it did with a rare gift of expres- 
sion and style — has since appeared in modern Oxford. 
Of Henry J. S. Smith I have already spoken. He 
was a man whose mind could apply itself with equal 
power and facility to any kind of work, intellectual 
or practical. Some of his friends believed that, if he 
could have concentrated it on Mathematics alone, he 
might have rivalled the fame of Newton, but it is 
certain that in that case he could not have adorned 
Oxford society as he did, or made his influence felt 
in every branch of Academical life. Congreve was 
the leading Tutor of Wadham, and soon became 
the Apostle of English Positivism, in which double 
capacity he inspired disciples of remarkable ability 
with a new conception of Philosophy, largely based 


on history. Mark Pattison, then at his best, in my 
judgment, filled a similar position at Lincoln, and 
vigorously worked the College system which he after- 
wards loved to disparage. His sensitive nature was 
soured, however, by a bitter contest for the Rector- 
ship in 1 85 1, resulting in the preference of another 
candidate, and I doubt whether he ever afterwards 
took a genial and kindly view of the world. This 
contest led to an almost scandalous exchange of re- 
criminations, actually breaking out into a war of 
pamphlets. Mansel, of St. John's, afterwards Dean 
of St. Paul's, was not yet famous as a theological 
writer, but his many witty sayings were cherished 
in Common-rooms, and his poetical squib on the 
first University Commission, published under the 
strange title of " Phrontisterion," exhibited consider- 
able learning, as well as a great power of satire. 
Thomson, afterwards Archbishop of York, was never 
fully appreciated in Oxford, but he was a conspicuous 
member of the same group, representing a transi- 
tional period between the Tractarian agitation and 
the subsequent triumph of Liberal ideas in Oxford. 
Of this group, since Congreve's recent death, Goldwin 
Smith is now the only survivor. 

During my undergraduate career, a very impor- 
tant change was made in the examination system. 
One branch of this change was the introduction of 
Moderations, in order to break the continuity of 
idleness among passmen between " Little-go " and 
" Great-go," and also to supply a standard of Honours 
for Scholarship, independent of Philosophy and 


Ancient History. The other branch was the modi- 
fication of the Final Classical School, coupled with 
the reconstruction of the Final Mathematical School, 
and the institution of two new Final Schools — that 
of Natural Science, and that of Law and Modern 
History. The University has amused itself ever 
since by pulling to pieces and recasting the system 
thus established, and few are now aware that it 
included a feature long ago abandoned— I mean 
the obligation of passing in two Schools, at least, 
as a qualification for the B.A. degree. I was myself 
the victim of this rule. Having been fortunate 
enough to obtain a first class in the first Moderations 
ever held (May 1852), I read for the Final Classical 
Schools of November 1853. Though I lost two or 
three months through illness, 1 was unwilling to put 
off going in for that examination, and was again 
placed in the first class, together with several old 
friends, such as A. G. Butler, Lewis Campbell, W. 
H. Fremantle, Goschen, (Mr. Justice) Kekewich, 
Lord Lothian, and W. Stebbing. I then attempted 
to master in less than a fortnight the minimum 
required for a Mathematical pass, but failed to do 
so — though I have always believed that I was 
plucked in Euclid, not for geometrical ignorance, 
but for proving earlier propositions by later ones. 
However, being foiled in this way, I at once deter- 
mined, if possible, to win the highest honours in 
Law and Modern History. I had less than six 
months to read for this examination, and I never 
worked above five hours a day, but Stebbing and 


myself both succeeded in getting first class honours 
— a conclusive proof that the studies of Law and 
Modern History were then in their infancy. Lord 
Lothian alone was placed with us in the first class, 
but it was understood that his performance greatly 
surpassed ours, history being his favourite study. 
During 1854-5, I '^^^ ^^^ only a candidate for the 
Balliol and Oriel Fellowships, but for two Craven 
Scholarships, then limited to Commoners of a certain 
standing. In all of these competitions I had reason 
to believe that I stood either second or third, and, 
rightly or wrongly, I laboured under the impression 
that I had fairly earned success in one of them. 
However, though much disheartened, I competed in 
the same twelvemonth for the Arnold Essay Prize 
and for the Chancellor's English Essay Prize, writing 
my two Essays on alternate days. Both of these 
prizes were awarded to me in the Summer Term 
of 1855, ill which Term I was also elected to an 
open Fellowship at Merton College. The subject 
of my Arnold Essay was " Roman Colonise under 
the Empire," and I took much pains with it, but, 
as it was not the fruit of original research, I 
did not care to set a precedent by publishing it, 
and it appeared for the first time in my " Political 
Studies." The subject of the Chancellor's Essay was 
" Representative Government in Ancient and Modern 
Times," and the composition of it almost compelled 
me to mature and formulate my own thoughts on 
many important questions of politics. A consider- 
able part of it was read in the Sheldonian Theatre 


at the Encaenia on June 20, 1855, and, by a happy- 
accident, it was heard by a singularly brilliant 
audience, including Lord Derby, who presided as 
Chancellor, Mr. Gladstone, Lord Tennyson, Mont- 
alembert, Mr. Buchanan, afterwards President of the 
United States, Lord Houghton, and other more or 
less notable persons. The consequence was that it 
attracted more attention than it otherwise would, and 
was the direct means of my introduction to journalism. 
Lord Derby, having been an old school-fellow of my 
father, wrote him a very kind letter about it, con- 
taining some extremely gratifying criticisms of my 
performance which I forbear to quote. Among these, 
however, occurs one passage which is not without 
interest, as coming from a veteran politician : " I 
do not quarrel with what may appear to me (shall 
I say to us ? ) a somewhat Utopian view of the per- 
fectibility of human society, and the immaculate 
motives of the Electoral Body. It is well that at 
twenty-four there should be a somewhat superabun- 
dant stock of faith to start with, to meet the rude 
shocks which it will encounter, especially if engaged 
in political life, before the age of fifty- six, and your 
son's Essay shows him to be of that stamp of mind 
on which experience will work its effect in moderating 
the illusions of Theory." Such cautions against 
youthful optimism, founded on the experience of 
men who have sounded the depths of politics, are 
seldom laid to heart by their juniors, but I feel 
bound to confess that, in my case. Lord Derby's 
fears have been justified. 


In the meantime, inspirited by Jowett, I plucked 
np courage to stand once more for a Fellowship, and 
was elected at Merton College in May 1855. The 
vacancy which I filled was caused by the death of 
General Capell in his eighty-ninth or ninetieth year. 
This veteran had long ceased to reside in the College, 
though not to draw his salary. When he did come, 
he imported the language of the mess-room into the 
Common-room, but, so far as I could ascertain, his 
only interesting reminiscence was the fact of his being 
" shot at, like a pigeon," at the siege of Cadiz. The 
next in seniority was the Rev. Edward Griffith, as he 
would call himself, though his Christian name was 
really Moses, who died at the age of ninety a year 
or two later. Other senior Fellows were Henry 
F. Whish, George Hammond, and George Tierney, 
son of the famous politician, who died at ages 
between eighty and ninety, the first some twenty- 
five years ago, and the last two since I became 
Warden in 1881. Of these, Whish and Hammond 
retained their rooms and resided much in College 
up to the last, whereas Tierney was never seen in 
Oxford after 1840. The Warden, Dr. Bullock 
Marsham, had been elected in 1826, and was destined 
to attain the age of ninety-four. If he be added to 
the list, the record of longevity in the Merton Com- 
mon-room is somewhat remarkable, and never can be 
matched in the future, since the lifelong tenure of 
Fellowships has been abolished. All these relics of 
that system were men of the old school, courteous, 
gentlemanlike, and (in their own way) loyal to their 


College, which they regarded not exactly as a place 
of education, but rather as a pleasant resort in which 
sons of the landed gentry might profitably spend 
three years before entering into possession of their 
estates or launching forth into professions, and which 
Fellows might use as a country house in Vacations. 
Griffith, however, deserves more particular notice, 
having been the subject of many good stories, which 
I have been able to verify, and representing a type of 
eccentric College recluses which is now wholly extinct. 
He was in Holy Orders, but never would take 
College preferment, and was content to waste the 
whole of his life between his rooms at Oxford and 
his lodgings at Bath. Yet he was a man of almost 
ascetic habits, never carpeted his room, gave largely 
in charity, and was reported to have thrown down 
his own overcoat from the top of a coach to cover a 
shivering bystander. A still more notable proof of 
his sense of duty was his resignation of a sinecure 
emolument for the purpose of endowing a resident 
clergyman for one of the College livings. But he was 
chiefly known to the Oxford world, and even to 
his own brother-Fellows, as a privileged cynie, de- 
lighting in churlish repartees, not unmixed with good- 
humoured drollery. It would be easy, but useless, 
to give specimens of these, because they largely 
depended for their effect on his own comical appear- 
ence and manner. During the later part of his life, 
he always resided at Bath in Term-time and at Merton 
during most of the Vacations, when the " Philistines," 
as he called the undergraduates, could not disturb 


his serenity. At Bath he appreciated and expected 
visits from old friends, and I remember that he used 
to complain because my father, then Rector of Bath 
and engrossed with clerical duties, could not be 
incessantly calling upon him. At Oxford he often 
found himself alone in the Long Vacation, but took 
his solitary dinner in the Hall. One day he became 
conscious of the presence of an undergraduate, who 
happened to be in residence, on noticing whom he 
exclaimed : " Oh ! an undergraduate ! Bring me a 
screen." But when other Fellows were up, he usually 
mingled with them in the Common-room, and took 
part in College meetings. 

I have been informed that when I was a 
candidate for a Fellowship in 1855, and stress was 
laid by some of his colleagues on the duty of electing 
the man who might be placed first by the examiners, 
Mr. Griffith announced that he had come up from 
Bath to vote for my father's son, and would certainly 
do so, whatever might be the result of the examination. 
After an earlier Fellowship election, the new Fellow, 
on being ushered into the Hall, was heartily wel- 
comed by Mr. Griffith, who advanced to the front and 
said : " I congratulate you, sir, and I consider it an 
honour to the College that you have joined us." 
Then, lapsing into one of those strange transitions 
from courtesy to rudeness which he would sometimes 
affect, he added in a loud whisper to his neighbour, 
and pointing to the new-comer : " Who is that person, 
sir ? I don't know him from a dog." 

On another occasion I myself witnessed a speci- 


men of his rougher manner. It happened that he 
was in the chair at a Common-room dinner in my 
first Long Vacation, when Mr. Whish, the next to 
him in seniority among the Fellows, came in with 
the jaunty air peculiar to him, and remarked, 
" Well, Mr. Griffith, how are you to-day ? " Where- 
upon Mr. Griffith, turning upon him, and looking 
at him "like a bull,'' as Plato would say, replied 
sullenly, " Yes, it's much good that you wish me." 
Happily, Mr. Whish rejoined more gently than 
might have been expected of him ; but it was evi- 
dent that some grudge, perhaps of fifty years' stand- 
ing, had been harboured in the breasts of these 
two old men, to reveal itself in this curious little 
scene for the amusement of their juniors. Indeed, 
Walter Ker Hamilton, afterwards Bishop of Salis- 
bury, used to cite an earlier case, in which Mr. 
Whish incurred the rebuke of Mr. Griffith for the 
habitual indulgence in strong language of which 
Hamilton had complained. Soon afterwards he 
overheard Mr. Griffith rapping at Whish's door, and 
exclaiming from the outside, "Mr. Whish, Mr. 
Whish, Walter Ker says that, if you don't mend 
your language, he will not dine with you." 

One of his old cronies was the famous Dr. Frowd 
of Corpus, and a story, not without a touch of 
pathos, which has been told in various forms of 
various other persons, is told with at least equal 
probability of this eccentric pair. As they were 
slowly tottering round Christ Church Walk together. 
Dr. Frowd was overheard to remark, "Mr. Griffith^ 



what a pity it is that there are no characters in 
Oxford nowadays. Why, when you and I were 
young, Oxford was full of strange and original 
characters ; I wonder what can have become of 
them ! " To which Mr. Griffith, the shrewder man 
of the two, was overheard to reply, "Did it never 
occur to you, Dr. Frowd, that you and I may he the 
characters oj the 'present day ? " 

Among the junior Fellows, the most remark- 
able was John Coleridge Patteson, first Bishop of 
Melanesia, afterwards murdered by the natives at 
Nukapu, in the South Sea Islands. I remembered 
him as a cricketer at Eton, and had known him 
as a B.A. of Balliol, when I was an undergraduate. 
But he had already left Oxford, and I think had 
actually started for New Zealand, when I was elected 
Fellow of Merton, and I never met him there as 
a colleague. It is needless to say that I heartily 
admired his simple and saintly character, and I 
received two or three letters from him after he went 
out. In one of these he gave a proof of his con- 
scientious loyalty to his College by asking me to 
obtain renewed leave of absence for him, without 
forfeiture of his Fellowship, on the ground that his 
private means and official salary were not sufficient, 
with the strictest economy, to cover the necessary 
expenses of his missionary work. The contrast 
between his conception of duty and that of such 
Fellows as I have mentioned was certainly very 
striking. Some years after his death, an epitaph 
composed by me, and originally intended for Merton 


Chapel, was placed at the disposal of Bishops Selwyn 
and Abraham, who caused it to be inscribed on a 
brass tablet in memory of Patteson to be placed 
in a church on Norfolk Island. Another junior 
Fellow, but senior to me by four years, was Charles 
Savile Roundell, one of my oldest friends, with 
whom I always co-operated in College aflfairs. I 
cannot refrain from recording one service which he 
and I rendered the College, in persuading it to 
rescind a resolution, already passed, which involved 
the partial destruction of our old College Library. 

After my election at Merton, I was obliged to 
keep a year of residence as a Probationer Fellow, 
and perhaps no year of my life has been so enjoy- 
able. My recent successes had given me heart, and 
I looked forward with confidence to my future, 
though I had not yet made a definite choice between 
the Bar and the Civil Service, both of which I 
regarded as preparatory to a Parliamentary career. 
During this year I took a few pupils reading for the 
Classical or Modern History School, among whom 
were the present Rector of Lincoln and Lord Clinton. 
I also lectured on Modern History at Balliol, for the 
late Dean of Durham, as well as at Merton. In the 
summer of 1856 Mr. Walter Morrison, M.P., and 
Mr. Markham Law were my pupils at Dresden, but 
in the autumn of that year I settled in London, 
having finally decided to read for the Bar. 




Reading for tlie Bar in the chambers of E. BuUen and Lord Coleridge 
— Reminiscences of the Western Circuit — Lord Bowen — Defence 
of a prisoner charged with murder — Lord Campbell and Dr. 

When I came up to London in 1856, my first 
lodgings were in Davies Street, but in 1857 I 
moved to 32A Mount Street, where I remained con- 
tinuously for thirty-six years, and was only displaced 
in 1 893 by the impending demolition of that and all 
the adjoining houses involved in the Duke of West- 
minster's improvement scheme. At that period there 
were two modes of qualifying for the Bar, the one 
by an unbroken attendance of a year on two courses 
of lectures, the other by passing an examination. 
Having run the gantlet of so many examinations, 
and being advised that I should probably fail to 
obtain a Studentship against candidates who might 
have been trained for years in lawyers' offices, I 
selected the former alternative, and attended those 
lectures of Sir Henry Maine which he afterwards 
developed into his treatise on " Ancient Law." At 
the same time, after two or three months' private read- 


ing, I entered the chambers of Mr. Herman Prior at 
Lincoln's Inn. Mr. Prior was an accomplished con- 
veyancer, but just then business was very slack in his 
chambers, and he used to prepare imaginary instruc- 
tions for mortgages, settlements, wills, and other 
deeds, purporting to take effect on a plot of land 
which he owned at Eltham. I doubt whether so 
many real operations of conveyancing were ever 
performed upon an area of like extent with this 
little estate, the corpus vile of our experiments. In 
the autumn of 1857 I became the pupil of Mr. 
Edward BuUen, the well-known special pleader, to 
whom I shall always feel grateful as the best teacher 
under whose instructions I ever came. There were 
about ten of us in his pupil-room, and we found it 
necessary to elect a chairman to keep order ; but 
every one liked and respected Bullen. Instead of 
merely giving us the run of his chambers, he would 
come in and lecture us in class, for about an hour 
and a half every morning, on some branch of law, 
questioning us like a form-master at a public school, 
and playing us off against each other. Once, when 
he was discoursing on the Law of Contracts, one of 
his pupils betrayed, or more probably affected, dense 

stupidity. " Come, L ," said Bullen, " if your 

tailor were to sue you upon his bill, what course 

should you pursue?" "Sir," replied L , "in 

that case, I really think I should appeal to his better 
feelings." One saying of Bullen himself has dwelt 
ever since in my own mind as having a far wider 
significance than he contemplated at the moment : 


" People talk of easy cases. No easy case ever came 
into my chambers." In other words, every case in 
real life defies casuistry, being complicated with one 
or more petty but material circumstances which 
bafile the application of general rules. While I was 
Bullen's pupil, I read quietly, and without the know- 
ledge of my associates, for a Law Scholarship at the 
London University, having first passed the LL.B. 
examination. Happily, the competition for it was 
not strong, and I was fortunate enough to obtain it. 
In this year, too, I published my first pamphlet, 
of which the subject was "Promotion by Merit," a 
subject which had lately been thrust into prominence 
by the disclosures of civil and military incompetence 
during the Crimean War, and a later " Inquiry into 
Public Ofiices." With the enthusiasm of youth, I 
stoutly assailed the old system of Patronage, advo- 
cating the substitution of Competition for all branches 
of the public service, in the form of competitive 
examination for clerkships and first commissions in 
the Artillery and Engineers, and of discriminating 
selection for all the higher positions. Even then I 
was fully aware of the objections to a mere literary 
test of capacity for active duties, and shrank from 
recommending competitive examination for ordinary 
regimental commissions. Further reflection has 
strengthened my sense of these objections, and, 
while I hold as strongly as ever that all appoint- 
ments and promotions should be awarded by merit 
and not by favour, I am less disposed to regard mere 
intellectual superiority as the main factor in merit. 


There are great difficulties in admitting physical and 
moral superiority to a share in competitions, but 
these difficulties no longer seem to me insuperable, 
and if I should re-write "Promotion by Merit," I 
should largely modify its tone. 

On leaving BuUen at the end of 1858, I went 
for six months into the chambers of John Duke 
Coleridge, afterwards Lord Coleridge, whom I always 
found a kind friend. He did not profess to receive 
pupils, but allowed me to make free use of all his 
papers, and talk over legal questions with him after 
he returned from the Court. I think he saw that, 
in spite of my Law Scholarship and BuUen's instruc- 
tions, my heart was not really in the Law, and he 
was careful in revising any work that I did for him. 
He did not pretend to be a profound lawyer, but he 
impressed me as a sound lawyer ; and if he after- 
wards relied somewhat too much on the labours of 
others, it was not so at this stage of his career, when 
he divided with Karslake the leading practice among 
the juniors on the Western Circuit, just before they 
both entered the ranks of Queen's Counsel together. 
I have since regretted that I failed to profit as I 
might by Coleridge's singularly wide acquaintance 
with English literature, partly because our literary 
sympathies were often in conflict. He never con 
doned my defective admiration of Wordsworth, and 
I was often shocked by the vehemence of his preju- 
dices not only on literary but on many other sub- 
jects. Still, he added to his rare conversational 
powers a fine literary gift, and might probably have 


become eminent as an author, if he had concentrated 
himself on that object. His rival, John Karslake, 
who died at an early age, was a man of fine 
physique, and universally popular, both with seniors 
and with juniors, on the Western Circuit. His 
knowledge of law was probably wider than Cole- 
ridge's, and he possessed more racy mother-wit, but 
he was far inferior to him in general culture. He 
was a most conscientious worker, and his friends 
were convinced that, if he would have consented to 
delegate part of his business to others when he was 
a law-officer of the Crown, he might have escaped 
his premature breakdown, beginning with a loss of 
eyesight, and ending with a decay of all his facul- 
ties. But another cause of it was his practice of 
plunging into the hardest physical exercise on 
Scotch moors and mountains, without any prelimi- 
nary training, during his Long Vacations. This 
he told me himself, and though I did not venture 
to remonstrate against it with one of so powerful 
a frame, his doctor afterwards warned him that 
persistence in it would be suicidal. 

In the summer of 1859 I was called to the Bar, 
and joined the Western Circuit myself, sharing 
Coleridge's lodgings at Winchester, by his kind 
invitation. Besides himself and Karslake, there 
were then several leaders of great ability on the 
Circuit, such as Montague Smith, Serjeant King- 
lake, Sir Frederick Slade, and Collier, afterwards 
Lord Monkswell, while several younger men, such 
as Lord Lopes, were establishing a high reputation. 


Nevertheless, so great was the dearth of business 
that, according to Coleridge's estimate, confirmed 
by my own inquiries, not above seven or eight men 
earned enough to clear their Circuit expenses, apart 
from small appointments which they might hold. 

Before I left the Circuit in 1862, it received a 
brilliant recruit in the person of Charles Bowen, 
afterwards Lord Bowen. I had known Bowen from 
childhood, as his father was the senior curate of 
the Abbey Church when my father became Rector 
of Bath in 1839. As he went to Rugby and I to 
Eton, we lost sight of each other until he came 
up to Oxford in 1854, from which time we re- 
mained intimate friends until the day of his death. 
His life and character have been well depicted, 
from the fullest personal knowledge, in Sir Henry 
Cunningham's Memoir, to which I can add little. 
With the brightest of intellects, a rare power of 
expression, and the highest Academical reputation, 
Bowen was not a great speaker either at Oxford 
or at the Bar. Whether it was due to over-subtlety 
of mind or over - refinement of temperament, he 
lacked the rough homely wit which appeals to a 
common jury, and the slashing prowess which tells 
in the cut-and -thrust encounters of the Circuit. It 
was through his connection with Coleridge, and the 
opportunities which he found of showing his won- 
derful ability in Coleridge's chambers, that he rose 
to eminence in London business, and earned his pro- 
motion to the Bench. I have always felt gratified 
to know that, if I did not actually introduce Bowen 


to Coleridge, I was the first person from whom 
Coleridge heard of Bowen's fame at school and col- 
lege, on mj showing him one of Bowen's scholar- 
like articles on "Faithful Allies" in the Saturday 
Review. It is hard to say whether Bowen or Cole- 
ridge owed most to the alliance thus commenced, 
which led to a lifelong friendship between them. 
To me, the most impressive characteristic of Bowen 
was a profound reserve, concealed behind a delicate 
veil of irony, seldom pierced or lifted in the most 
confidential intercourse. I could have wished that 
his inner nature had been more accessible, but then 
he would not have been Charles Bowen. Perhaps 
in the eyes of others this inscrutable air enhanced 
the charm of his personality, never greater than 
when his soul dwelt apart with his family and 
chosen friends, before he became a favourite of 
select coteries in London society, and fell under 
the spell of feminine homage. Not that even these 
enervating influences could spoil the noble simplicity 
of his true self. 

To myself, Circuit society was somewhat disap- 
pointing, as compared with that of Oxford Common- 
rooms. There was plenty of good fellowship, and 
some of those whom one met in Court or at the 
mess were pleasant companions individually, but 
"shop" and "chaff" were the chief materials of 
general conversation, and I seldom heard an inter- 
esting discussion at the mess-table. The old rules 
of etiquette were still rigorously observed. The 
prohibition of travelling by coach had, of course, 


become obsolete since the introduction of railways, 
but it was a doubtful point whether it was lawful 
to proceed from the railway station in an omnibus, 
lest perchance the briefless young barrister might be 
rubbing shoulders with solicitors. As to the im- 
propriety of lodging at hotels there was no doubt 
at all, and I well remember that a few of us juniors 
were rebuked for staying a night or two at the 
Queen's Hotel, Clifton — which might well be con- 
sidered as separate from Bristol — and that, by one 
or two of our seniors who themselves were guilty, 
at those very Assizes, of what I must always con- 
sider a most unprofessional act. We had not the 
hierarchy of officials peculiar to the Northern Circuit, 
but there were two important officers — the wine- 
treasurer, who controlled the cellar reserved for us 
at every assize-town ; and the baggage-master, who 
presided over the great van which conveyed book- 
boxes and other heavy articles from London to 
Bodmin. This van, conducted by men who took 
up luggage at a barrister's lodgings in one assize- 
town and delivered it at his lodgings in the next, 
was a special convenience to me when I twice " rode 
the Circuit" in i860. Formerly, there were always 
parties of barristers thus journeying on horseback, 
but I traversed the distance from London to Exeter 
alone, by two different routes, of course resting at 
the assize -towns on the way. Having no local 
interest, I seldom got a brief, except at the Somer- 
setshire and Bath Sessions, which I attended, and 
where I had a fair practice for about two years in 


defence of prisoners. In this humble branch of 
the profession I was singularly lucky, especially at 
the outset, for I believe I defended six prisoners 
(all but one guilty) with success before I knew what 
it was to lose a case, and of all the defence-cases 
entrusted to me 1 won more than I lost. I am 
not aware that I showed any remarkable skill in 
advocacy, but there were almost always some weak 
points on the side of the prosecution which it was 
my duty to bring out strongly, and which usually 
justified the acquittal. Though I could wish all 
my clients to have been innocent, I cannot say 
that my conscience was shocked by defending those 
whose guilt I suspected, nor can I understand the 
scruples cherished by many excellent laymen on 
this subject. If a counsel for the defence were 
in a judicial position, charged with the responsibility 
of trying his client in his own mind, and furnished 
with the means of doing so eff'ectually, he would 
no doubt be wrong in defending him publicly after 
convicting him privately. But such is not the 
system or theory of the English law. That system 
is based on the assumption that justice is most 
likely to be attained by a subdivision of functions, 
the judge, the juror, the prosecuting counsel, and 
the defending counsel having each his allotted part. 
If any one of them were to go outside his own 
part, the system would break down, and the ends 
of justice might often be defeated ; but it is well 
understood at the Bar that a counsel for the defence 
has no more right to volunteer his own personal 


assurance of his client's innocence, tlian a counsel 
for the prosecution has to volunteer his own personal 
assurance of the prisoner's guilt. 

I was once requested by the Judge of Assize — 
the late Mr. Justice Vaughan-Williams — to undertake 
the defence of a prisoner indicted for murder at the 
Taunton Assizes. Though I would gladly have 
declined the office, I felt myself bound to accept it, 
and was at once informed that the prisoner wished to 
have an interview with me. In ordinary cases, a 
solicitor acts as intermediary between the accused 
person and his counsel, who is not allowed to know 
more than is expedient ; but in undefended cases like 
this, where the counsel is appointed by the Court, he 
must play the part of solicitor as well as barrister, 
and, in fact, stands between his client and death. In 
dealing with the poor man whom I had to defend, I 
was most anxious not to become the recipient of any 
confidences which might embarrass me, and had framed 
my questions to him with this object in view ; but he 
very soon let it appear that his own hand had struck 
the fatal blow, though he alleged circumstances which 
might either support an acquittal on grounds of 
temporary insanity, or a verdict of manslaughter. 
Having failed to obtain sufficient authority for the 
former plea, I fell back upon the latter, and have 
believed ever since that I might have succeeded had 
not the Judge been deaf — an infirmity which obliged 
him to retire shortly afterwards from the Bench. 
By dint of placing each witness close to himself, he 
managed to get the efi"ect of their evidence, but when 


I rose to address the jury, he gave up any attempt 
to listen in despair, probably fancying that he knew 
exactly what a young counsel would say. The con- 
sequence was that, when he came to charge the jury, 
he grievously misstated the nature of my defence, and 
ultimately left them no option whatever between an 
absolute acquittal and a verdict of murder. I happen 
to know that in this dilemma they all but adopted 
the first alternative, but in the end they found the 
man guilty of murder, with a strong recommendation 
to mercy. The Judge sentenced him without holding 
out the least hope of a respite, and a memorial in his 
favour (drawn by me), having been numerously signed 
in Taunton, was forwarded to the Home Office. The 
reply was that the capital sentence had already been 
commuted to one of transportation for life at the 
instance of the Judge himself, who must have changed 
his mind on reflection. This prisoner was among the 
last convicts transported to Western Australia. I 
remember two little incidents of this trial. When I 
concluded my appeal to the jury, the attorney for 
the prosecution whispered to me that, as I had 
mentioned the prisoner's wife, it might be well for 
me to know that a message had been received from 
her intimating that, while she could not wish her 
husband to be hanged, she trusted she might never 
see him again. She attested the reality of this 
sentiment by marrying another man a few months 
afterwards, without any of the misgivings which 
troubled Enoch Arden's wife. During my interview 
with the prisoner, he showed me a kind of testimonial 


purporting to be signed on his behalf by many of the 
great landowners of the neighbourhood, and declaring 
that he was far too respectable a man to be capable 
of a murder. This absurd document was all in his 
own handwriting, and contained several words mis- 
spelt, but he asked me whether I would advise his 
sending it to the Judge. Having already the idea of 
raising the plea of temporary insanity, I replied that 
I thought it would do no harm, for I hoped it might 
predispose the Judge's mind to entertain such a plea. 
However, my design miscarried, and when the Judge, 
assuming the black cap, proceeded to pronounce 
sentence, he actually treated "this wicked forgery" 
as an aggravation of the crime. 

I had taken chambers, in 1859, with Dudley 
Campbell, the youngest son of Lord Campbell, the 
Lord Chancellor, who had been my fellow-pupil at 
BuUen's. These chambers were situated in Mitre 
Court Buildings, Temple, facing the river, which in 
that year of drought was a great nuisance, as the 
Main Drainage Scheme had not been carried out. I 
retained my share of them for several years after I 
gave up the Bar, finding them useful for purposes of 
literary work. I came to know Lord Campbell 
through his son, and received much kindness from 
him, staying with him once at Hartrigge, near 
Jedburgh, and dining with him on one or two 
occasions, of which the last was shortly before his 
death. He was a man of plain speech and simple 
manners, with a comprehensive grasp of law in all 
its branches which is rare even among Judges. 


Though he died suddenly, and was found to have 
been in perilous health for some time, he looked the 
picture of a strong old man, and told me at the age 
of eighty that he had never lost a tooth, adding that 
he thought such a fact should be engraved on his 
tombstone. His contemporary, Dr. Lushington, 
whom I knew more intimately through his son (the 
present Sir Godfrey), survived him for more than ten 
years, and died past ninety years of age, being one 
of three nonagenarians who had been engaged as 
counsel on Queen Caroline's trial. He was the very 
type of a genial and gracious patriarch, full of 
interesting reminiscences, which he delighted to re- 
call for the benefit of younger men. One of these 
was the sudden interruption of a play at some London 
theatre, when the manager came forward with the 
news of Marie Antoinette's execution and ordered the 
house to be closed, with the full assent of the 
audience. The last time that I saw Dr. Lushington 
was on his return journey from Oxford, to which he 
had come to support Arthur Stanley against a bitter 
opposition on his appointment to the post of Select 
Preacher. Dr. Lushington never recovered the efiiects 
of this journey. 



Reviews and leading articles — Mr. Delane — Anonymous journalism — 
Variety of subjects treated — Duty of a journalist — Life of a 
journalist — -Public-spirited conduct of the Times. 

Soon after the publication of my Essay on Eepre- 
sentative Government, a copy of it was placed in the 
hands of the late Mr. John Walter, the principal and 
managing proprietor of the Times. The result was 
that he invited me to become a writer for that journal, 
and introduced me to Mr. Delane, its well-known 
Editor. Having taken advice on this welcome offer, 
I expressed a wish to defer the contribution of lead- 
ing articles until I should have completed my law 
studies and made a start at the Bar — undertaking, 
however, to write occasional reviews of books in the 
meantime. This I did, beginning with reviews of 
Stanley's " Sinai and Palestine," Grote's twelfth 
volume, a volume of Thiers's " Consulate and Em- 
pire," and other historical works. I also contributed 
a few miscellaneous articles to the Saturday Review, 
but was so little satisfied with the suppression of 
others, after receiving the Editor's approval, that 
my connection with it was broken off by myself It 


was not until i860, at the end of the Summer Circuit, 
that I decided to embrace journalism seriously, and 
made fresh overtures to Mr. Delane. He at once 
accepted them, and arranged that I should make my 
dihut in the dull season. My first "leader" ap- 
peared on August 18, i860, and from that time until 
July 10, 1873, I was a regular writer of leading 
articles, though not a member of the permanent 
staff. One misgiving which haunted me at the out- 
set proved entirely delusive. It was the fear that I 
should be expected to write strictly to order, and to 
advocate views opposed to my own convictions. A 
little reflection satisfied me that it would be wiser to 
put aside bugbears of this kind, since the supposed 
difficulty might never occur, and, if it did occur, I 
might rely on the good sense of the Editor to relieve 
me from it. This is exactly what happened about 
a year later, when I was asked to criticise un- 
favourably a measure of which I had been an active 
promoter. On my appealing to Mr. Delane, he 
promptly substituted another subject, and placed 
the first in the hands of some other contributor, 
who no doubt honestly took a line which I could 
not have adopted. It is curious how little one saw, 
or even knew, of one's collaborateurs ; indeed, it 
was justly said of the Times under Delane that it 
" kept its beasts in separate cages." I more than 
suspected two or three friends of being engaged in 
the same occupation as myself, but it was never 
mentioned between us, nor did we ever meet at 
the office. Delane's communications with me were 


mostly in writing. I hardly ever chose my own 
subject, but sometimes received a requisition for 
an article at my lodgings soon after breakfast, some- 
times at my chambers in the Temple about four 
o'clock in the afternoon. At the end of August and 
in September I often led a very solitary life, break- 
fasting and lunching alone, still meditating on my 
subject, finding no companion for my constitutional 
ride in Rotten Row, and dining at my Club so late 
that no stragglers remained in the dining-room. It 
is certainly a great drawback of journalism carried 
on under a strict incognito, that you never receive a 
cheering word from a friend, and can hardly venture 
to ask advice on a difficult subject without revealing 
the secret. Against that, however, must be set the 
inward gratification of knowing that your produc- 
tions will be read and your views imbibed daily by 
hundreds of thousands, instead of by the very 
limited circle which might be attracted by your own 
name on a title-page. 

My relations with Mr. Delane were always most 
friendly, and I share the general opinion of all who 
came into contact with him that he was second to 
none as an Editor. He was not a learned or even 
a distinctively literary man, still less was he a keen 
partisan, nor did his power consist in exercising a 
personal magnetism over his stafi". But he was a 
shrewd, genial, and open-minded man of the world, 
with a large experience of human affairs, personally 
acquainted with many of the chief actors on the 
European stage as well as in the political arena of 


his own country, independent in judgment, fearless 
of responsibility, and most conscientious in his devo- 
tion to work. In temperament he was not unlike 
Lord Palmerston, who represented his political views 
better than any one else ; but those who saw him at 
Lady Palmerston's evening parties were grievously 
mistaken if they fancied that he was most at home 
in the atmosphere of salons, or allowed social dis- 
tractions to interfere in the smallest degree with his 
editorial duties. On the contrary, he was almost 
always at his post by half-past ten in the evening, 
never to quit it until four in the morning ; he took 
breakfast when others took luncheon, and was busily 
engaged with interviews and correspondence during 
all the earlier part of the afternoon, or perhaps, 
during emergencies, up to dinner-time. It was not 
his business to write articles, but he possessed in a 
rare degree the art of inspiring them by short and 
pithy notes, suggesting, but not dictating, the line 
to be taken. If these notes could be published, 
they would show how complete, yet how easy, was 
his grasp, not only of home and foreign affairs, but 
of all the subjects, grave or gay, which interest the 
readers of newspapers. In looking through other 
letters of his which now lie before me, I am chiefly 
struck by the kind consideration for my own health 
and feelings which several of them show. He speaks 
little of himself, but always cheerfully until his final 
breakdown. In one letter, written in September, 
he says : " I have not stirred from this place since 
I last saw you, and I believe not a column has been 


published in the Times which had not some of my 
handwriting in the margin. I hope, however, to 
make a start northwards next week, and to go 
straight among the deer at once. I only hope they 
will wait for the lovely new Whitworth with which 
I propose to assail them." He was fully aware of 
my Parliamentary aspirations, but always dissuaded 
me from giving up journalism in the meantime. 
One of his notes on this subject, referring to the 
Jamaica question, will serve as a specimen of his 
paternal rebukes. " I humbly think that, until you 
obtain a seat, you exercise as large an influence as 
most private M.P.'s by writing as good articles as 
you do on your own subjects. I am sure all 
Buxton's speeches did not have as much efiect as 
your articles on the Jamaica aflfair, nor has Forster 
afibrded so efi'ective a support to Cardwell as you 
have been able to do." I am really ashamed to read 
over, after the lapse of twenty-six years, his friendly 
offers to retain my services on terms allowing me the 
maximum of liberty. When I felt, at last, that I 
must choose between journalism and politics, I re- 
ceived the following characteristic note from him : 
" I am very sorry to hear that you propose to 
separate from us, and, had I the smallest hope of 
success, would do my best to shake your resolution. 
I can, however, only express my sincere regret, and 
assure you that, whenever you propose to return, 
the strayed sheep will find the gate of the fold wide 
open, the pasture inside as fresh as ever, and a warm 
welcome on the part of the shepherd." 


While my engagement lasted, I never found 
him unduly censorious ; he scarcely ever corrected 
what I had written and never altered its sense, 
though he would occasionally strike out a sentence, 
or even a paragraph which might commit the paper 
too far, or which later intelligence had falsified. Of 
course it sometimes became necessary, on this last 
ground, to sacrifice a whole article, especially when 
it had been composed in the morning or afternoon, 
and conflicted with telegrams received late at night. 
This was one disadvantage of writing before dinner ; 
another was that all the heavy work, such as that 
of getting up blue-books, was naturally thrown 
upon the early workers — of whom I was generally 
one. When I happened to write at night, I 
observed that, for the most part, the subjects were 
lighter, and seemed to suggest their own treatment. 
Since the great development of telegraphic news, 
I believe that a much larger proportion of leading 
articles is produced by the light of the midnight oil, 
and, if the journalist can only accustom himself to 
sleep well into the morning, I suspect that his work 
is done with less expenditure of nervous power. 
But it is vain to expect articles dashed ofi" in a 
couple of hours to exhibit the same care in arrange- 
ment and the same finish of style which can be 
attained if more time be allowed, and which the 
public taste used to exact more strictly than it now 
does. As for myself, having a thorough respect 
for my work, whenever I had the day before me, 
I always took as much pains as I could to do my 


subject justice, buying or borrowing the necessary 
materials, looking up books of reference, and dealing 
witb all important questions as if (to use Delane's 
own phrase) I had been writing a State paper. 
Doubtless, the result was less smart and sensational 
than it might otherwise have been, but it was at 
least safer, and I can now look back at it without 

The salutary rule which forbids an anonymous 
journalist to identify himself as the author of any 
particular leading article is no longer observed, I 
fear, as it ought to be. However this may be, I 
do not propose to violate it, by taking credit for a 
single one of about 1600 leading articles which I 
contributed to the columns of the Times, and which 
have been carefully indexed. By the aid of this 
Index, however, I may venture to give some idea 
of their range and scope, premising that I have no 
reason whatever to claim greater versatility than 
any one of my colleagues or successors. I find, 
then, about 160 articles under the head of "United 
States," covering every branch and stage of our 
relations with them during a very critical period ; 
and that, in spite of the fact that, for some three 
years of the Civil War, I was seldom invited to 
write on American affairs, owing to my known 
sympathy with the cause of the Union. Ireland 
is represented by more than 170 articles, dealing 
with such topics as the Church question, the Land 
question, the Education question as affecting Irish 
Schools and Universities, the Irish Poor-La w, Irish 


Agriculture, the social condition of the country, 
Fenianism, and Home Eule. In mentioning these 
last topics, I am reminded of two facts which, 
I think, are not appreciated, if they are known at 
all, by the rising generation. The first is that 
Fenianism was the immediate product of the 
American Civil War, and that many of its first 
champions were filibustering soldiers disbanded from 
the Federal or Confederate armies. The second is 
that Home Eule was the immediate product of 
discontent among Irish Protestants, caused by the 
destruction of the Irish Church. I speak the more 
confidently on this point, because I wrote several 
articles on this new phase of Irish Nationalism, 
which resulted in the formation of a " Home Govern- 
ment Association," with its head-quarters in Dublin 
before the end of 1870. I may say that I have 
myself been credited with the invention of the 
phrase " Home Rule," nor is it easy to find authority 
for it earlier than an article of mine, speaking of a 
"Home Rule party," which appeared in the Times 
on February 9, 1871, and another article of mine 
on the "Past and Future Relation of Ireland to 
Great Britain" which appeared in Macmillan's 
Magazine for the following May. But, apart from 
the fact that, had I coined such a phrase, I must 
needs remember it, the context shows in both eases 
that I was using a term almost current. Mr. Butt 
had already published and presented me with a 
pamphlet on "Irish Federalism," which fully de- 
veloped a Home Rule scheme, as it would now be 


called, though he did not call it so, and I have no 
doubt that some clever member of the " Green- 
Orange" faction, the result of a temporary alliance 
between Protestant malcontents and Catholic 
Nationalists, suggested that "Home Rule" would 
be a shorter and more telling watchword than 
either "Federalism" or "Home Government." Let 
me add that, in my opinion, Mr. Butt's elaborate 
scheme of "Federalism" was more statesmanlike, 
more symmetrical, and not less practicable, than 
either of Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bills. 

The other topics represented in this Index of 
articles almost defy analysis or classification, so fan- 
tastic are they in their variety. Every European 
country and every important country in the world 
has its separate head, under some of which occur 
great historical events, like the Danish, the Austro- 
German, and the Franco-German wars, the emancipa- 
tion of serfs in Russia, and the progressive conquests 
of Russia in Central Asia, with the international 
disputes arising out of them. Every important 
colony, too, is the subject of many articles, some of 
whose titles recall bygone crises, such as the Maori 
Wars, the abolition of transportation to Australia, 
the Fenian raids into Canada, and, above all, the 
suppression of the Jamaica revolt by Governor Eyre. 
India, of course, claims a number of articles, re- 
minding one that famine, pestilence, and financial 
stress, have always taxed the energies of its Govern- 
ment. Questions of Home-policy naturally fill a 
still larger space in the Index. Several of these are 


of the first magnitude, as, for instance, Parliamentary 
Reform, Law Reform (including the Judicature Act), 
and Army Reform (including the Abolition of Pur- 
chase). Among the minor, but still very grave 
questions of Home-policy which here find a place, are 
University Reform in all its aspects, Capital Punish- 
ment, the amendment of our Marriage Laws, the 
difficulties arising out of the Lancashire Cotton 
Famine, and the Regulation of Merchant Shipping 
under the impulse of Mr. PlimsoU's agitation. Church 
questions even then occupied much of public atten- 
tion, embracing, as they did, the attack on Essays 
and Reviews as well as on Bishop Colenso, besides 
controversies on the Royal Supremacy, Ritualism, 
and the Confessional. Every public man of note has 
his niche in this Index, and almost every memorable 
incident in the period between i860 and 1873 sup- 
plies a theme for an article. Celebrated murders, 
trials, wrecks, explosions, Alpine and other accidents, 
strikes, London improvements, exploring expeditions, 
University boat-races. Public School cricket matches, 
prize fights — each in turn came in for discussion, 
figuring in the same motley list with the Suez Canal, 
the Great Exhibition of 1862, the Prince of Wales's 
marriage, the Balaclava charge (on an action for 
libel), the Clerkenwell outrage, the cattle-plague, 
the epidemic of garrotte robberies, the failure of 
Overend & Gurney, and the famous Tichborne Case 
— which last subject cost me the greatest efi"ort of 
concentration which I ever attempted. Sometimes 
leading articles took the form of essays, as, for 


instance, on Spiritualism and Darwinism in the 
infancy of its development ; but, however trivial or 
however lofty the subject, Delane expected it to be 
treated in good simple English, capable of being 
translated into Latin Prose, without slang and with- 
out technicality. To this rule his writers instinctively 
conformed ; all of them, so far as I know, had to 
deal, as I had, with every class of materials ; and I 
suspect that, except here and there, no one but 
Delane himself could have detected the hand of any 
particular writer in any particular article. I must 
say that I felt a satisfaction in knowing that no 
reader, lighting upon an article of mine, could put it 
aside as the work of a young man with little experi- 
ence or authority, but that, if he cared to read it at 
all, he must needs judge it upon its merits. This is, 
in my opinion, the supreme advantage of anonymous 
journalism. It seems to me quite right that peri- 
odicals should admit signed articles, and I now prefer 
myself to write under my own name ; but when I 
remember all the rubbish which I have read with an 
eminent signature attached to it, probably command- 
ing a fancy price and an immense audience, I realise 
how much is gained by compelling the public to read 
the comments of the Daily Press with a more or less 
open mind. Nor have I the least doubt that, if 
leading articles were signed, they would often become 
far more bitter and offensive in tone than is now the 
case under the mask of anonymous writing. 

To persons who have no practical acquaintance 
with journalism, it may appear strange, if not mon- 


strous, that any single writer should presume to 
handle such a variety of questions, and quite easy 
so to apportion subjects that no one shall write on 
anything outside his own special province. But the 
slightest consideration will show that no such com- 
plete division of labour would be practicable. In 
order to retain the services of a really good staff, 
each member of it must have the promise of 
tolerably regular employment. It would not be 
worth the while of an able writer to hold himself 
ready to supply an article, at the shortest notice, 
if he were not likely to be wanted above once a 
week or once a fortnight. He must have some 
assurance that he will be wanted three or four 
times a week, if not oftener, and this is only pos- 
sible if the principle of specialism be abandoned. 
Moreover, as Delane was fond of insisting, a jour- 
nalist should not pretend to be a public instructor 
in a Professorial sense, to guide a policy, or to 
speak as if he were absolute master of his subject. 
His true function is to comment on the events 
of the day, with a wider and more recent knowledge 
than most of his readers, and, if possible, in an 
effective style, but without the prejudice of advo- 
cacy or the affectation of infallibility. I learn from 
the life of the late Mr. Henry Eeeve that he was 
largely responsible for articles on foreign affairs 
in the Times before my connection with it, and 
no doubt exceptional qualifications like his may 
sometimes be wisely utilised in this way. But I 
contend that most journalists ought to be " all- 


round " writers, and prepared to grapple with almost 
anything that comes to hand. There is no im- 
posture in thinking out e very-day questions and 
formulating ideas on behalf of the public, which 
has no leisure for either process ; and I believe that 
leading articles would compare favourably, as re- 
gards independence of thought and condensation 
of matter, with most political speeches, both in and 
out of Parliament. In one respect, however, the 
journalist is at a great disadvantage as compared 
with the statesman. He is expected, perhaps on 
the slightest possible information, to notice and 
explain incidents or utterances just reported by 
telegraph, whereas a Minister can either keep silence 
or decline to commit himself until he is more fully 
informed. Nevertheless, I can truly say that, in 
writing on great measures or international disputes, 
I felt that I (with my unknown comrades) was doing 
the work of an unrecognised statesman, and exer- 
cising a greater influence on public opinion than any 
politician, except a very few in the foremost rank. 
It is true, I was not as free to set forth every shade 
of my own innermost convictions as if I had been 
writing under my own name ; but I am not sure 
that my articles lost much in force by this limited 
suppression of individuality, with its besetting temp- 
tations of personal vanity. It is not always one's 
best thoughts which clamour most loudly for ex- 
pression ; and, as I read over these articles by the 
light of later experience, I can see how much of my 
own character found its way into them after all. 


and how probable it is that what I pruned away 
with sorrow was cruder and less mature than what I 

The life of an ordinary journalist is, of course, 
very tame and uneventful by comparison with that 
of a War correspondent, and even in feats of rapid 
production the latter must certainly bear the palm, 
especially if we allow for the extreme difficulties 
under which he must often write. Still, many an 
ordinary journalist develops a marvellous power of 
improvising, to which I never pretended, being per- 
haps too fastidious in style, and too scrupulous (if 
that be possible) about the substance of my articles. 
Even 1, however, was sometimes compelled to make 
unwonted exertions, such as writing almost the 
whole of three leading articles in one day ; while on 
another occasion, if I mistake not, three articles of 
mine, but not all written on the same day, appeared 
side by side. One of my humble tours deforce was 
a political biography of Count Cavour, written on 
a sudden emergency. The news of his death arrived 
about three in the afternoon, and, strange to say, 
took London by surprise. Delane for once was 
caught unprepared, and appealed to me so urgently 
that I could not refuse to write — not a leading 
article, but a somewhat elaborate obituary notice, 
which has since been republished in my " Political 
Studies." Few writers could have been less qualified 
to execute such a task, for I was very ill informed 
about Italian politics, and did not fully share the 
admiration of Cavour felt by many of my friends. 


Moreover, of the only two biographical records 
which I could procure (after considerable delay), 
one was in Italian, which I did not understand, 
the other being in French, and both ended before 
the most remarkable part of his career began. 
Meanwhile, I was ransacking my own memory and 
some other scanty materials which I possessed. 
Every one has more in his mind on any given 
subject than he can realise, until he comes to rally 
it under high pressure. So it proved in this case. 
About five o'clock I made a start, and though I 
had to dine out, I escaped speedily from the dining- 
room, and completed two columns and a half by 
one or two o'clock in the morning. I have reason 
to believe that my hasty composition not only 
passed muster with the general public, but was 
approved by persons familiar with Italian history, 
one of whom afterwards assured me that, while he 
noticed some omissions, he could find no material 
errors in it. What amuses me now, in reading it 
over, is the suggestion of reserved knowledge which 
pervades it, whereas all my goods were really ex- 
posed in the shop window. But this is an art 
common to all practised journalists, and, indeed, 
is cultivated successfully by Oxford candidates in 
Fellowship examinations. A difi"erent experience 
was that of writing beforehand leading articles in- 
tended to appear on the day following the deaths 
of two very eminent personages. One of these, who 
shall be nameless, survived my article by about six 
months ; the other weathered a serious illness and 


lived on for two or three years, by which time it was 
necessary to add a few touches and bring the article 
" up to date." 

When I look back at my short journalistic career, 
extending from my thirtieth to my forty-third year, 
I cannot but feel that it was a failure, so far as it 
did not serve the purpose for the sake of which I 
entered upon it — that of preparing me for Parlia- 
mentary life. Moreover, it cut me off from the 
bracing influences of an open profession, including 
the advantage of friendly co-operation and even of 
friendly rivalry with one's fellows. All my work, 
as I have said, was done in the dark, without a word 
of encouragement or advice ; but, on the other hand, 
much of it was of a far higher order, and called 
one's best faculties into far more frequent play, than 
ordinary professional business. One other reflection 
which I feel bound to record is my constant sense 
of the public-spirited and honourable principles on 
which the Times has ever been conducted. I often 
differed in opinion or judgment from the late Mr. 
Walter, but I do not believe that a more honest or 
conscientious man ever existed ; still less do I believe 
that either he or Mr. Delane was ever actuated by 
sinister or unworthy motives in the line which they 
adopted on questions of the day. Had it been so, 
though I was not behind the scenes in the manage- 
ment of the paper, it is simply impossible that, in 
the course of thirteen years' connection with it, I 
should never have found reason to suspect any such 
thing, as the ignorant public often did. In one 


instance which I remember, people were startled 
by a strong article on the result of a celebrated 
trial, which seemed inconsistent with the supposed 
prejudices of the Times, and was forthwith attri- 
buted to some base inspiration. Now, as a matter 
of fact, that article was written by myself in the 
middle of the night, after a patient review of the 
whole case ; and not only had I no bias either way, 
but I did not know until the last to what conclusion 
I should be led. Still less did I know whether 
Delane would allow me a free hand to state this 
conclusion plainly, but he did so, on my consulting 
him, at no little sacrifice of his own private inclina- 
tion, simply because justice required it. Assuredly, 
what happened then had constantly happened before, 
and is constantly happening now. Humanum est 
errare, and it may have been a grave error on the 
part of the Times to favour during two or three 
years the cause of the Southern Confederacy in 
America. But, if it erred, it erred honestly, in 
company with Mr. Gladstone and other leading 
politicians of the highest character. There was 
much to be said for regarding the principle of State 
Eight as more sacred than Federal Union, for desir- 
ing to see a balance of power on the North American 
Continent, and for declining to welcome the war as 
a crusade for the abolition of Slavery, which Presi- 
dent Lincoln's Government had expressly disclaimed ; 
while, if anything could justify a tone of hostility 
towards that Government, it was the outrageous 
language and attitude which its leading supporters 



in Congress and the Press had adopted towards 
Great Britain. 

Equally honourable — if I may venture to express 
an opinion — were the motives actuating the con- 
ductors of the Times in publishing the famous 
series of articles on "Parnellism and Crime," how- 
ever doubtful it may be whether the publication 
was ultimately for the benefit of the Unionist cause. 
They believed, and justly believed, that they had 
the means of exposing an infamous conspiracy ; they 
vainly challenged a prosecution for libel ; when the 
Special Commission was appointed, they spontane- 
ously undertook the burden and enormous expense 
of making good their charges ; they did make good 
their charges on most of the material issues, and 
they rendered a signal public service by so doing. 
Unfortunately they raised a side-issue, of no great 
importance in itself, by undertaking to prove the 
genuineness of the so-called " Pigott Letters," and 
because they here failed, the damning verdict of 
the Special Commission on the character of the 
Land League and its organisers has received much 
less attention than it deserved, and has even 
been quoted as an acquittal. This was perhaps 
inevitable, but those who review the whole story 
calmly and impartially must, I think, recognise that, 
wise or unwise, the action of the Times was eminently 
patriotic throughout, and quite as worthy of national 
gratitude as its bold denunciation of a famous com- 
mercial fraud in the last generation. 



Woodstock, 1868 and 1874 Monmouthshire, 1880 

Overtures from constituencies — First contest at Woodatock — Election 
address — Village meetings — The hustings — Invitation from Eves- 
ham — Second contest at Woodstock — Lord Randolph Churchill — 
Contest in Monmouthshire. 

I HAVE already said that I always regarded journalism 
chiefly as a training for politics, and, though I could 
barely have afforded it, I would gladly have stood 
for a seat in Parliament at the General Election of 
1865. Before this election, as well as before those 
of 1868, 1874, and 1880, I was more or less in 
negotiation with a larger number of constituencies 
than I should care to specify, with a view to coming 
forward as a decided, though moderate, Liberal. I 
soon found, however, that good chances on the Liberal 
side were mostly reserved for local candidates, or for 
rich men prepared to give money or money's worth 
for the honour of being elected. Most of the openings 
proposed to me, therefore, were very unpromising, 
and 'in some cases the local wire-pullers insisted on 
holding a kind of competitive examination by inviting 
would-be candidates to speak against each other before 
the Liberal caucus. This humiliation I steadily de- 
clined to undergo, holding that no candidate worthy 


of a nomination should be expected to solicit it pub- 
licly, or to come before a popular meeting of the 
Party except as recommended by its responsible 
leaders. At all events, as I look over the list of 
twenty or thirty boroughs and counties from which 
I received overtures in the course of some twenty 
years, I observe that in all but very few the chance 
offered proved to be a losing one. In 1868 a tem- 
porary illness, caused by the great heat of that 
memorable summer, obliged me to give up my in- 
tended candidature for the borough of Cambridge, 
where the prospects were hopeful, but, after a month's 
rest in Scotland, I entered upon a contest for the 
borough of Woodstock. This little borough had re- 
turned two members until the Reform Act of 1832, 
when it would certainly have been disfranchised with 
many others, had it not belonged politically as well 
as territorially to the Marlborough family, which 
supported the Whig Ministry. Accordingly, it was 
deprived of one member only, and extended, for the 
sake of appearances, by the addition of all the villages 
immediately surrounding Blenheim Park, in which 
the Duke of Marlborough was chief land-owner. Thus 
rehabilitated, it contained some 300 voters before 
the introduction of Household Suffrage in 1867, and 
some 1 100 when I stood for it in 1868. I believe 
most of my friends thought my enterprise a forlorn 
hope, and wondered that I should have undertaken 
it ; but I had more confidence in the Liberal sym- 
pathies of the agricultural labourers, who formed 
about one-half of the constituency, and the result 


showed that I was not far wrong. I opened the 
campaign late in August, and was engaged for two 
months and a half, with the aid of many loyal friends, 
in canvassing and educating in the alphabet of the 
Liberal creed these little communities of villagers, 
most of whom had never voted before, and some of 
whom were actually breaking stones on the road. 
No electioneering work could well be rougher ; we 
spoke not only in public-house rooms, but oftener in 
the open air, from carts and waggons and the tops of 
walls. My election address had been far too compre- 
hensive for* the simple population of Woodstock and 
the neighbouring villages, being, in fact, intended to 
be the overture of a political career. It dealt with 
all the questions of the day, including Household 
Suffrage, the Ballot, the Disestablishment of the Irish 
Church, the reform of Irish land-tenure. Education 
in all its branches. Church rates, the Combination 
Laws, Law Eeform, Civil Service Eeform, Municipal 
Keform, Poor-Law Eeform, Licensing Eeform, and 
Local Government Eeform, anticipating the creation 
of County Councils. It also touched on Foreign 
Affairs from a pacific standpoint, anticipating the 
Czar's scheme by expressing the hope " of seeing the 
moral power of England exerted in bringing about 
a general disarmament and a permanent system of 
international arbitration." 

I am not sure how many of the cottagers in 
the hamlets round Woodstock mastered or studied 
this ambitious programme, but our speeches were 
simple enough, treating mainly of questions affect- 


ing the interests of farmers and cottagers, with 
the addition of popular education, flogging in the 
army, and the Irish Church. This was, of course, 
the great issue on which Mr. Gladstone had 
challenged the verdict of the country ; but, as 
many voters of Woodstock had not so much as 
heard that there was an Irish Church, it became 
necessary to set it up before we knocked it down ; 
nor did we find it easy to awaken Protestant en- 
thusiasm in favour of abolishing a bulwark of Pro- 
testantism. In spite of this flaw in their political 
knowledge, they were probably more intelligent about 
politics two years before the Education Act than 
some rural constituencies are now, almost thirty 
years after it ; a fact which I attribute to frequent 
contests at Woodstock during the previous genera- 
tion, though mere householders did not then possess 
the franchise. At the close of our evening meetings, 
we used to invite any of the audience who had been 
convinced by our arguments to come forward and 
have their names taken down (by torchlight) in a 
book. As the ballot did not then exist, we had the 
means of ascertaining how many of the promises so 
entered were kept, and it is interesting to know that 
very few were broken. Indeed, I may say that the 
number of votes recorded for me (about 480) almost 
exactly tallied with the number for which I had taken 
credit in my canvassing -book, the diff'erence being 
that some thirty on which I had counted failed me, 
but some thirty which I had marked as " doubtful " 
proved to be favourable. We had a lively scene on 


the hustings, where I confronted my opponent, Mr. 
Barnett, and his supporters for the first time. The 
mob was clearly for me, and when the poll was de- 
clared, stones were thrown freely at them until I 
intervened and succeeded in restoring some kind of 
order. Still, Mr. Barnett and his escort were some- 
what roughly handled in crossing the market-place, 
and one policeman became the laughing-stock of the 
spectators because, having been struck by a full ink- 
bottle and besprinkled with its black contents, he 
mistook these for his own blood, and asked leave to 
fall out, as if seriously wounded. It is needless to 
add that it was long before he heard the end of it 
from the rest of the force. I had studiously abstained 
from resting my candidature on any but political 
grounds, and, in particular, from exciting local ani- 
mosities against Blenheim Palace. In the course of 
this contest, however, I became engaged in a corre- 
spondence with the Duke of Marlborough regarding 
the alleged coercion of voters by his agent, which 
amused the public for a time, and found its way into 
some Continental as well as American newspapers. 
I was only defeated by twenty-one votes, and, though 
we had little or no evidence of bribery, my political 
friends were advised that a petition against Mr. 
Barnett's return might probably succeed on the 
ground of intimidation. But the idea was aban- 
doned, in deference to my own judgment ; for, while 
I felt assured that many voters had been influenced 
by the fear of losing their cottages, their allotments, 
their employment, or their doles of blankets and 


coals, I saw clearly that no overt threat would have 
been necessary to awaken this fear in the villages 
round Blenheim, and that it would have been most 
difficult to bring home such a charge. 

In February 1874, having been sounded on the 
subject of standing for Evesham, I was invited to 
a political dinner there, and a speech that I made 
on that occasion was extremely well received. The 
next day I returned to London, and on the following 
morning before breakfast received the startling news 
that Gladstone had advised an immediate dissolu- 
tion of Parliament. Within twenty-four hours, a 
requisition was signed by more than one-third of 
the electors of Evesham, urging me to become a 
candidate. Being already pledged conditionally to 
stand again for Woodstock, I could not but defer 
my reply for a day, but went down to Evesham, so 
that I might be able to take the field at once, in 
case I should be free to do so. Fate, however, de- 
cided otherwise. While I was in earnest conference 
with the leading Evesham Liberals, a telegram 
arrived which convinced me that I could not 
honourably desert the Woodstock Liberals. I have 
seldom gone through such an agony of deliberation, 
but, my decision once taken, I wrote a farewell 
address in the middle of the night, and hastened 
to Woodstock. My opponent. Lord Randolph 
Churchill, who had lately been an undergraduate 
of my own College, was already canvassing vigor- 
ously, and I repeated my experiences of 1868 in 
addressing village meetings and making house-to- 


house visits, so far as time allowed. Strange to say, 
Lord Randolph adopted very different tactics, relying 
almost entirely on personal influence, and holding 
only one really open meeting, on the advice of a 
political friend, where he spoke with very little 
effect. The result, however, justified his policy, as 
well as my own misgivings — for I was under no 
illusions about the altered tone of the constituency. 
The fact is that I had pledged myself to stand 
against my own judgment, well knowing that a 
son of the Duke would be a more formidable candi- 
date than Mr. Barnett, that a turn had taken place 
in the political tide, and that I was sure to suffer 
from the inevitable disappointment of hopes rashly 
held out by my supporters in 1868. In the mean- 
time, the Agricultural Labourers' Union had been 
founded, and was supposed to be very strong in 
the Woodstock district. Its leaders adopted my 
candidature, though I warned my audiences against 
some of their chimerical views in almost every speech, 
but I am satisfied that I lost far more than I gained 
by their adhesion. I doubt whether any one voted 
for me who would not have done so if there had 
been no Union, whereas it is certain that many 
farmers, small tradespeople, and non-Unionist 
labourers, were estranged from the Liberal cause 
by hostility to Joseph Arch and his associates. 
Dissensions, too, had sprung up in the Libera] 
camp, and I am under a strong impression that, 
under cover of the ballot, many old scores between 
neighbours were paid off at my expense. At all 


events, I was defeated by the comparatively large 
majority of about i6o, and finally severed my 
personal connection with the borough of Woodstock. 
I took the chair, however, at public meetings on 
two later occasions. The one was held, in anticipa- 
tion of a casual vacancy, to bring forward the ex- 
member. Lord Alfred Churchill, against his nephew, 
Lord Randolph. The other was to celebrate the 
return of Mr. F. Maclean for Mid-Oxfordshire, after 
the absorption of Woodstock into that County 
division. At this meeting, held on February 3, 
1886, I expressed the firm conviction "that, quite 
apart from English interests, no measure could be 
devised so fatal to Ireland as Home Rule, and that, 
if it were granted at the dictation of the conspiracy 
which now dominated Ireland and demoralised the 
House of Commons, the next generation of Irishmen 
would rise up and curse us — and with much better 
reason than ever before." These sentiments were 
heartily applauded, and I remember that nothing 
was so loudly cheered as denunciations of the 
Conservative Party for coquetting with the Home 
Rulers. Within a few months, the leading promoters 
of the meeting, who had stood by me so faithfully 
in two contests, and seemed to remain as staunch 
Unionists as the rest of the Liberal Party, were 
eagerly supporting "the great betrayal," and 
efi"ectually urging the County Liberal Association 
to make Home Rule the chief plank of its platform, 
in spite, too, of a very earnest appeal from myself. 
This prompt and blind adhesion of nearly all the 


Liberal caucuses to Mr. Gladstone's new Irish policy, 
even though condemned, for instance, by Mr. 
Chamberlain, has always appeared to me the most 
remarkable feature of that great crisis. As I said 
in a speech delivered soon afterwards, when the 
Liberal host broke up into two armies, Mr. Glad- 
stone contrived to carry oflf all the regimental colours 
and all the regimental bands. Wherever the colours 
were seen flying bravely, and the bands heard play- 
ing lustily, most of the rank and file supposed the 
head-quarters of the regiment must needs be there 
planted, rallied under such officers as they found 
there, and asked no further questions. 

Having mentioned Lord Kandolph Churchill, 
whom I never met again until long afterwards, I 
may add that he was twice my guest at Merton 
in later years — once when he came to speak at the 
Union on the Irish Question, and once when he 
attended a College dinner shortly before the sad 
close of his meteoric career. His speech at the Union 
was sound and sensible rather than brilliant ; that 
at Merton was a failure, owing to an evident decay 
of his powers. On both occasions he was perfectly 
friendly and natural with me, talking over old times 
and present times without reserve, revisiting his 
former haunts, and pleasing young and old, College 
servants not less than Fellows or undergraduates, 
by his simple and affable manner. Nevertheless, 
I well knew that he had that in him which in a 
horse would be " vice," and I have never ceased to 
hold that his signal political fall, preceding his 


almost tragical death, was a salutary lesson in 
political morality for the rising generation. My 
estimate of his public character is briefly expressed 
in the following passage from an obituary article 
which I contributed to the Oxford Magazine : — 

" The secret of his marvellous, though transitory, success 
is even now somewhat difficult to analyse. He was favoured, 
of course, by his social position, but he never possessed 
a robust physique, and he was not endowed with the flash- 
ing eye, or the ringing voice, or the instinctive sympathy 
of a true-born orator. On the other hand, he was gifted, 
in a very high degree, with intellectual intrepidity and 
presence of mind. The peculiar courage of experience 
recognised by Aristotle — the courage which quails not 
before dangers which it has often faced with impunity — 
came to Lord Eandolph Churchill without experience, and 
was sedulously cultivated by him as a political resource of 
the greatest value. His audacity was perfectly natural; 
it showed itself in season and out of season, both at School 
and at College ; it was restrained by few scruples, and by 
little respect for others. But there can be no doubt that 
it was deliberately and skilfully employed to break down 
what has been called the Gladstonian legend, as well as — 
with less excuse^ — to humiliate and undermine his own 
political leaders. Probably the world has given him undue 
credit for original genius ; at all events, his originality was 
of temperament rather than of intellect. There is no proof 
that he was a man of mental grasp above that of his fellows, 
while he excelled them all in a mutinous independence 
of thought and expression which rebelled against all con- 
ventions, and impelled him to exert the madman's strength 
in political conflict. But he added to his audacity and 
independence a truly admirable industry, little suspected 
in the earlier stages of his career. It was this that fairly 
won him the confidence of permanent officials both at 
the India Office and at the Treasury ; it was this, coupled 


with a newly-developed tact and self-restraint, that en- 
abled him to lead the House of Commons, and command 
loyal support from his party. He was no impostor or 
hypocrite, and would frankly discuss his own political errors, 
including the fact that he had quite forgotten the existence 
of Mr. Goschen, when he petulantly threw up the Chancel- 
lorship of the Exchequer. In fact, his strength as well 
as his weakness largely consisted in his combination of two 
natures, both equally genuine — the one prompting to an 
almost shameless and aggressive self-assertion, the other tem- 
pered by kindliness, pubUc spirit, and patriotism. Which- 
ever of these two natures predominated for the moment, 
he never ceased to be true to himself, and, if he could have 
written his own obituary memoir, he would assuredly have 
admitted that his fall, no less than his rise, was due to his 
indomitable self-will. If he survived an almost unique 
popularity, he also survived the enmities that attended it, 
and after his death all men spoke gently of his memory. 
Few have ever enjoyed " one crowded hour of glorious life " 
more fully than he did ; fewer still have atoned for a too 
reckless enjoyment of it by a swifter Nemesis of political 
failure and premature decay." 

When the General Election of 1880 was known 
to be impending, I had but just returned from a visit 
to Lord Spencer at Algiers, and had no constituency 
specially in view. Several overtures reached me 
from counties in search of candidates, but I declined 
them as too speculative, until I received an invita- 
tion to stand for Monmouthshire (then undivided), 
in conjunction with Mr. C. M. Warmington, Q.C. 
The representation of that county had been in the 
undisputed possession of the Conservatives for many 
years, and I dare say that our chances of success 
there appeared to most of my friends worse than 


some which I had just rejected. But facts were laid 
before us which convinced Mr. Warmington and my- 
self that one seat, at least, ought to be won, and, 
after some hesitation, we undertook to fight. The 
question of expense was still a serious one, as no 
limitation was imposed by law, and ;^ 10,000 was no 
excessive estimate for a county election ; but my col- 
league guaranteed a moderate sum, and the generosity 
of two or three old friends emboldened me to become 
responsible for the rest, whatever it might be. In 
the end, the entire cost on our side amounted to 
some ;!f3300 or ;^3400, being very much less than 
was shown by the election accounts of our opponents. 
Colonel Morgan and Mr. J. Rolls, now Lord Llan- 
gattock. On our arrival at Newport, the real capital 
of Monmouthshire, we narrowly escaped becoming 
the laughing-stock of the inhabitants through one of 
those comical incidents which seem to beset elec- 
tioneering. A carriage and pair had been ordered to 
meet us, but the driver, being drunk, had put his 
horses into a hearse, and, unless opportunely stopped, 
would have come to welcome the Liberal candidates 
at the station in that funereal vehicle. We soon found 
that we had a most arduous struggle before us, espe- 
cially as we had little support from so-called Liberals 
of position in the county, one of whom had been 
a party to our candidature, but saw fit to back out 
when fighting began. There was practically no 
organisation until Mr. Warmington brought down a 
London solicitor, who happened to be a friend of his 
own, and co-operated efl&ciently with my agent, Mr. 


Graham, whose guest I was. I was myself in very 
delicate health, chiefly due to persistent insomnia 
(for which I took a strong dose of chloral every night 
with perfect impunity), and I had been assured that 
I should not be required to speak at more than one 
meeting a day. Of course, the absurdity of any such 
restriction became manifest at once ; we often had to 
address three meetings in the day, once four, and 
once five, having driven fifty or sixty miles with four 
horses. The whole contest occupied little more than 
a fortnight, and as we seldom appeared twice at the 
same place, it was necessary for us to set forth our 
whole creed at some length at each meeting. It is 
not easy to do this without a good deal of repetition, 
and, as we were dogged by reporters, the efibrt to 
avoid repetition was always trying, and not always 
successful. Since Gladstone was nominally in retire- 
ment, and I hoped that he would remain so, I seldom 
mentioned his name, and studiously abstained from 
endorsing his passionate and one-sided views on the 
Eastern Question. The question of the Welsh Church 
had not yet been practically raised, and it was a 
tacit order of the day that neither Warmington nor 
I should be pressed to commit ourselves upon it. 
The exigencies of time often prevented our figuring 
together on the same platform. Two meetings would 
be advertised for the same hour at places (such as 
Khymney and Tredegar) several miles apart, and 
separated by a range of hills. He would open one 
meeting while I opened the other, after which each 
of us drove at full speed across the hills to speak at 


the second meeting, which had been kept going in 
the meantime by local politicians. Our main strength 
lay in what is now West Monmouthshire, and is 
represented by Sir W. Harcourt, where most of the 
population were Eadicals, Nonconformists, miners, 
and AVelsh-speaking. They gave us most enthusiastic 
receptions, and our colours reddened the hillsides, so 
that it became the fashion to say (in reference to our 
opponents' colours) that we had seen " nothing blue 
but the sky." Unhappily for us, however, few of 
those who shouted had votes, before household suf- 
frage was extended to counties. In the South-East 
district of the county, Conservative influence largely 
preponderated among English-speaking farmers and 
tradespeople, the principal industry being agriculture, 
and the Established Church much stronger. The 
Northern region about Abergavenny held an inter- 
mediate position, in these respects, between the other 
two, and was supposed to be equally divided in 
political sympathies, but it disappointed our hopes. 
When the poll was declared at Monmouth, it was 
found that 3529 votes had been given for Colonel 
Morgan, 3294 for Mr. EoUs, 3019 for myself, and 
2927 for Mr Warmington. 

I at once accepted this defeat as final, and, being 
already near my fiftieth year, I abandoned definitely 
the idea of seeking a seat in Parliament. I had long 
realised that a man entering the House of Commons 
in middle life, without a great extra-Parliamentary 
reputation and the hope of a respectful welcome, must 
compete at a great disadvantage with younger men. 


His successes, if any, excite less interest, his failures 
receive no allowance, his stock of hopefulness and 
self-confidence is much smaller, and, if he should 
earn an influential position after all, it is too late for 
him to make full use of it. Nor have I ever been 
able to understand why any man should covet the 
position of a cipher in the House of Commons, scorn- 
ing delights and living laborious days, unless he has 
social or commercial objects to serve by acquiring the 
title of M.P. For these reasons, I bade adieu to 
active politics, not without a sense of having received 
little encouragement from the leaders of my Party, 
but without any foresight of the more than suicidal 
policy which a few years later was to shatter that 
Party, and drive its leaders into opposite camps. 



Waste of power on Commissions — Commission on treatment of 
Fenian prisoners — O'Donovan Rossa — Demeanour of Fenians — 
Oxford University Commission — Its results — London University 

It has been said that most Englishmen not devoted 
to mere pleasure heartily enjoy serving on Com- 
mittees, and assuredly the vast amount of unpaid 
service rendered on public bodies, from the House 
of Commons and the great Metropolitan Boards to 
Parish Councils and Vestries, is a fact that reflects 
honour on our national character. Personally, I 
have never felt attracted to such work, chiefly be- 
cause, useful as it is in the aggregate, it is generally 
carried on with an enormous waste of time and 
energy. This evil is sure to be aggravated if the 
Committee or Commission is formed, as it so often 
is, on a representative basis, so that its members 
are divided ab initio into two hostile sections. No 
better illustration of such tendencies could be given 
than may be found in the abortive results of the 
great Licensing Commission. But many Commis- 
sions, as well as many Boards, are crippled by their 
mere size. If Companies were managed by half the 
number of Directors (none of them ornamental), the 


saving in salaries would be great, fewer scandals 
would arise, and I firmly believe that the business 
would be more efiiciently conducted. The same 
principle applies, in my judgment, to Governing 
Bodies of Public Schools, and to almost all the 
Commissions or Committees of which I have been 
a member. A large Commission means slack and 
fluctuating attendance, especially if it includes, as it 
so often does, one or two of the most eminent and 
therefore busiest men in the country. Questions 
decided at one meeting are re-opened at the next by 
some member who never heard the original discus- 
sion ; the difficulty of obtaining a general agreement 
is greatly increased, and no one feels as much sense 
of responsibility as if he shared it with three or four 

However, my own experience of service on Com- 
missions or other public bodies has been limited, and 
not specially unfavourable. It began with the Home 
Office Commission, appointed in 1870 by Mr. Glad- 
stone's Ministry, to inquire into the alleged maltreat- 
ment of Fenian prisoners in English convict-prisons. 
The most extravagant and mendacious statements 
had been circulated on this subject, and repeated in 
the House of Commons, just as has been done on 
several later occasions, until at last Mr. Gladstone 
promised an independent inquisition. I thought this 
an act of weakness, as the Home Office could easily 
have investigated the case for itself ; but I was ad- 
vised that, as there was to be a Commission, I might 
be of some public use by serving on it. It was con- 


stituted on somewhat peculiar lines. Lord Devon, 
an excellent Irish landlord, and a man respected by 
all, was appointed Chairman ; Sir Stephen de Vere, 
an Irish Roman Catholic gentleman, was associated 
with myself as an unprofessional and unpaid Com- 
missioner ; while the professional element in both 
countries was represented by Dr. Greenhow, a London 
physician, and Dr. Lyons, a Dublin physician, being 
also a Roman Catholic. Both of these were paid 
Commissioners, and contributed the medical know- 
ledge essential to some parts of our inquiry. 

The form of the Commission was in itself a con- 
clusive proof of the view taken by the Government 
of that day with respect to the proper treatment of 
political prisoners. We were instructed to inquire, 
not whether the governors and other officials of 
English convict-prisons had been guilty of con- 
founding the Fenian prisoners with ordinary convicts, 
but, on the contrary, "whether the treason-felony 
prisoners have been subjected to any exceptional 
treatment in any way, or have suffered any hardships 
beyond those incident to the condition of a prisoner 
sentenced to penal servitude." In other words, it 
was assumed that a political convict, as such, had no 
claim to exceptional privileges or indulgence ; the 
only question being whether, as alleged, the Fenians, 
as such, had been singled out in English convict- 
prisons for exceptional severities and indignities. 

It is needless to state (but with one reservation) 
that all these allegations, published quite as con- 
fidently and recklessly as those more recently fabri- 


cated, utterly broke down on examination. We 
reported unanimously that, " after a patient and 
minute investigation, we do not find any ground for 
the belief that the treason-felony prisoners in English 
convict-prisons have, as a class, been subjected to 
any exceptionally severe treatment, or have suffered 
any hardships beyond those incident to the condition 
of a prisoner sentenced to penal servitude." It 
appeared, on the contrary, that, in individual cases, 
governors or directors of convict-prisons had sanc- 
tioned certain mitigations of prison discipline in 
their favour, where health or special circumstances 
might justify such leniency. For instance, every 
well-conducted prisoner under sentence of penal ser- 
vitude is entitled to occasional visits from relations ; 
but as the Fenian prisoners, being Irish, were less 
accessible to relations in English convict-prisons, they 
were allowed greater latitude in letter-writing than 
would otherwise have been permitted. It is right to 
state, however, that in the single case of O'Donovan 
Rossa, a charge of arbitrary treatment made in the 
House of Commons, and denied by the Home Office, 
was fully proved by evidence laid before us. Having 
been a most refractory prisoner, by his own admis- 
sion, O'Donovan Rossa had been guilty of a gross 
outrage, for which, if he had not been a Fenian, he 
would assuredly have been flogged. As it was, he 
was handcuffed for thirty-five days, except during 
meals, and at night — a punishment not sanctioned 
by prison law, and only explained (for it could not 
be excused) by the sudden departure of the Governor 


on leave, and gross, if not wilful neglect on the part 
of his subordinates. Happily, not long afterwards, 
O'Donovan Rossa, having got into trouble again, 
came before Sir E. Ducane, then Chief Director of 
Convict Prisons, who made a timely appeal to his 
good sense, and remitted the penalty, with the result 
that his prison character became excellent, and re- 
mained so for two or three years before our visit to 
Chatham. He certainly impressed us all favourably 
by his manly bearing ; and, after his release, I received 
a letter from him which did credit to his better feel- 
ings. It would be well if this revival of them had 
proved lasting. 

We visited Millbank and Pentonville, the two pre- 
paratory convict-prisons, Chatham, Woking, Portland, 
and Dartmoor, but not Portsmouth, where no Fenian 
convict happened to be confined. Our practice was 
to give about three days' notice of our coming to 
each prison, during which the Fenian prisoners were 
allowed writing materials to draw up any state- 
ments of complaint, but were supposed to be care- 
fully separated from each other, lest they should 
concoct a story together. This precaution was effec- 
tually frustrated in cases where Sunday happened 
to intervene, for my Roman Catholic colleagues, sup- 
ported by Lord Devon, would not hear of Catholic 
prisoners being kept away from mass in the chapel, 
where the facilities are great for the secret tele- 
graphy which is an occult science of jails. The 
result was a highly suspicious family likeness be- 
tween the papers handed in to us in prisons where 


such communication had been possible. Some two- 
thirds of the prisoners, however, doubtless acting in 
concert, utterly declined to make any complaint 
whatever, or to have anything to do with us, 
sometimes adding expressions of contempt for the 
Government which had commissioned us. One of 
these was M'Caflferty, the chosen leader of the pro- 
jected attack on Chester Castle, which had been 
far better organised than is generally supposed, and 
was almost as near succeeding as the G-unpowder 
Plot. Another was Eickard Burke, for the purpose 
of rescuing whom the wall of Clerkenwell prison was 
blown up. This man had long been under medical 
supervision, and was suspected by the prison author- 
ities of feigning madness, like King David. Perhaps 
it may have been so, but I am by no means sure 
that, by dint of shamming, he did not work his 
excitable temperament into a state of real, if tem- 
porary, madness. At all events, during our first 
interview with him in the prison infirmary, he was 
so furious in manner and incoherent in speech that 
we could make nothing of him. A few weeks later, 
being rather quieter, he came before us ; but the 
prison authorities suggested to us that it might be 
well for Thomas Bourke, a fellow-prisoner who had 
much influence with him, to be present during his 
examination. Now, Thomas Bourke, who had been 
condemned to death for high treason but spared 
by the clemency of Lord Mayo, was one of those 
prisoners who absolutely declined to make any 
statement on their own behalf Still, he willingly 


accompanied Eickard Burke, on whose appearance 
our table was cleared of everything that could serve 
as a missile, and he intervened more than once to 
calm down the ebullitions of his namesake. We found 
it impossible, however, to get any intelligible answer 
to our questions, and at last abandoned the attempt 
as hopeless. Other prisoners dwelt querulously on 
the petty discomforts of prison life as serious griev- 
ances, but made it clear that their one real grievance 
was their being consigned to prison at all. Several 
of them managed to show a familiar acquaintance 
with Mr. Gladstone's letters on Neapolitan prisons, 
which they indignantly contrasted with his treat- 
ment of Irish patriots. Whatever may have been 
the quality of their patriotism, it certainly enabled 
most of them to assume a certain air of dignity, not 
unmingled with insolence, but very different from 
the bearing of ordinary criminals. 

Before our report appeared, all of them were 
released, on condition of leaving the country ; and, 
though O'Donovan Rossa, if not others, revisited it, I 
am not aware that any of them but he has since been 
among the prominent organisers of crime in Ireland. 
The mischief done by their release consisted in its 
discouraging effect on Irish juries disposed, at some 
personal risk, to return honest verdicts. Of course, 
after this decision of the Government, few cared to 
read the report, which I cannot say that I regretted, 
for, while it truly stated the results of our inquiry, 
its hesitating and guarded tone was only too signifi- 
cant of a compromise between two principles. 


My next experience of service on Commissions 
was in 1877, when the Conservative Government, 
at the instance of Lord Salisbury, carried a fresh 
measure of Academical reform, under which a body 
i)f executive Commissioners, with Lord Selborne for 
its chairman, was empowered to remodel once more 
the University and Colleges of Oxford. I have always 
regarded this measure as ill considered, founded 
on one-sided statements of Oxford opinion, and pro- 
ductive, on the whole, of more harm than good. Its 
leading principle was essentially socialistic — the spolia- 
tion of the Colleges, as rich corporations, for the sup- 
posed benefit of the University, as a comparatively 
poor corporation. Its main effect has been a large 
reduction in the number of Fellowships, the reward 
of the ablest and most industrious students, with a 
corresponding increase in the number of well-endowed 
Professorships, not so much in the interest of edu- 
cation as in that of " research." Whether this enor- 
mous diversion of revenues has been justified by the 
results is more than doubtful ; what is certain is that, 
accompanied by other changes, such as the sweeping 
abolition of restrictions on marriage among Fellows, 
it has grievously weakened the College system. On 
the other hand, no attempt was made to reorganise 
the University system of teaching on a symmetrical 
plan, or even upon one capable of being worked in 
harmony with College tuition. The dualism of these 
rival systems was perpetuated, and the educational 
life of the University continued to be centred, as 
before, in the Colleges, except so far as regards 


Natural Science, for instruction in whieli the Museum 
supplies the necessary laboratories and collections in 
close proximity to the lecture-rooms. A new order 
of University Eeaders was created, but their salaries 
have mainly served to augment the stipends of 
successful College tutors, whose lectures were already 
open ; and, since attendance at University lectures 
was not made compulsory, it has been found easier 
to endow Professors and Eeaders out of College 
revenues than to provide them with audiences at 
the expense of College lecturers. Nevertheless, the 
Commission did good service in abolishing most of 
the clerical restrictions left by its predecessor, thus 
carrying out the policy of the University Test Act, 
passed in 1871, of which I had been a very active 
promoter. It also established a general, and, on the 
whole, salutary uniformity in the tenure of College 
Scholarships and Fellowships, though it would perhaps 
be too much to expect that " Prize Fellows," as they 
are ungracefully called, elected for seven years only, 
should cherish the same feeling of College loyalty as 
Fellows elected for life — but on condition of celibacy. 
As I was one of those who foresaw the doubtful 
result of this Commission, I am glad to reflect that I 
was in no way responsible for it. Indeed, I was one 
of the Commissioners only for the purpose of revising 
the Statutes of Merton, by virtue of a clause in the 
Act which empowered each College to appoint three 
of its members to act on the Commission ad hoc, 
when its own turn came to be remodelled. We had 
no special reason to complain of the mode in which 


they dealt with us, but their general policy in deal- 
ing with Colleges was open to at least two grave 
objections. The first was that, instead of proceeding 
on well-considered lines applicable to all, they made 
a separate bargain with each ; the other was that, 
legislating during a "boom" of agricultural prosperity, 
and assuming that it would continue, they enormously 
overestimated the average rentals of Colleges, and 
imposed on them contributions quite out of propor- 
tion to their present revenues. It is to be feared 
that any future Commission, issued under democratic 
pressure, is likely to aggravate rather than to correct 
the mistakes of the last. The real and manifest 
shortcomings of the University will probably remain 
untouched — the want of any matriculation examina- 
tion, the inordinate length of Vacations, the licensed 
idleness of passmen, the absurd complexity and still 
more absurd instability of the examination system. 
But the revenues of the Colleges, now the life-blood 
of the University, are sure to be attacked again, and 
it will be fortunate if, instead of being re-appropriated 
to education and learning within the University 
itself, they are not confiscated to subsidise provincial 
centres of teaching. 

Some years later, I was appointed to serve on a 
Koyal Commission for inquiring into the best mode 
of organising a Teaching University in London, of 
which Commission Lord Selborne was chairman. 
After a few sittings, I felt it right to retire from it 
upon grounds which may be worth stating, inasmuch 
as they apply to the action of many similar Com- 


missions. In my opinion, a Eoyal Commission should 
retain absolute control over the reception of evidence, 
selecting expert witnesses at its own discretion, 
inviting representative witnesses from bodies inter- 
ested in the subject of inquiry, receiving offers from 
individuals desirous of being examined, but exercis- 
ing a strict discrimination in the acceptance of such 
offers, and rigorously limiting both the scope and 
the duration of the proceedings. Unhappily, the 
contrary policy too often prevails, the consequence 
being that inquiries which might be completed in a 
few months are too often protracted over years, 
resulting in a halting report, with one or two 
memorandums of dissent, followed by piles of evi- 
dence so voluminous that hardly any one reads them, 
and published so late as to be almost obsolete for 
purposes of legislation. The amount of power wasted 
in futile Commissions, and the mass of valuable 
materials buried away in blue-books, would appear 
incredible if it were estimated, and constitutes an 
abuse which ought to be remedied. For some years 
past the British public has been justly shocked by 
the irrelevance and prolixity of the various proceed- 
ings arising out of the famous " Dreyfus Case." But 
the needless delay, though not the scandal, was 
scarcely less in the Venezuela Arbitration, where 
the Attorney-General was engaged for many weeks 
together in stating or combating, and two eminent 
Judges in solemnly hearing, elaborate arguments, 
the whole of which had been, or might have been, 
embodied in printed documents. Finding the London 


University Commission disposed to adopt a like 
course by welcoming evidence from all comers, and 
having failed to carry a motion in a contrary sense, 
I declined to be responsible for the sacrifice of time 
which I thought would ensue. In the end, this 
proved less than I had anticipated ; but the re- 
commendations of the Commission did not meet with 
general acceptance. Another was soon afterwards 
appointed, and, after infinite debates and negotia- 
tions, a third Commission with executive powers is 
at last engaged in framing a working scheme on 
the inevitable basis of a compromise. Upon the 
merits of this compromise, and still more upon those 
of the controversy to be settled by it, I desire to 
express no opinion. I must say, however, that the 
alleged grievance of Londoners, in respect of Univer- 
sity education, never seemed to me a very substantial 
one. London students, unable or unwilling to avail 
themselves of Oxford or Cambridge, have long had 
excellent lectures and tuition provided for them at 
University and King's Colleges, not to speak of 
others. Those who aspired to degrees could obtain 
them at the London University, after examinations 
which had the great merit of being conducted by 
independent examiners, and which, so far as I know, 
satisfied both the students and the public. The 
grievance, in short, was not so much a students' 
grievance or a public grievance as a professorial 
grievance, and, though it may be well to bring 
lectures and examinations into closer harmony with 
each other, I shall regard it as a retrograde step if 


lecturers are allowed to dominate over examiners. 
The example of the older Universities, cited in favour 
of making lecturers examiners, should rather have 
been cited as a warning against it. The only good 
reason why College tutors are so often appointed to 
examine, is that it is very difficult, especially at 
Oxford, to find equally capable outsiders who have 
kept pace with the progress of knowledge in all 
the subjects of examination. But it is a weakness, 
if a necessary weakness, of the Oxford system, that 
so many tutors should have a voice in what Lord 
Derby called " branding their own herrings." It 
is partly corrected by an occasional infusion of 
examiners from Cambridge, and it is creditable to 
Oxford that it seldom involves any gross abuses. 


FAMILY EVENTS, 1854-1893 



Family events — My father's later career and death — Life in London — 
Literary work — London School Board — Eoyal Geographical Society 
— Geographical Club — Sir Henry Rawlinson — Joseph Arch — My 
Essays published by the Cobden Club — "ifinglish Land and 
English Landlords " — Further overtures from constituencies — Im- 
pressions of London society — Recent changes in moral sentiments, 
manners, and fashions. 

Family events have little or no interest for the 
public, and if I now pause to mention a very few 
of those which affected my own life, it is because 
" Memories and Impressions " would be somewhat 
incomplete without such landmarks. In 1854, just 
when I was taking my B.A. degree at Oxford, my 
father thought it right to resign the Eectory of Bath, 
finding himself unable to maintain his former standard 
of work, and being unwilling to see any decline of 
efficiency under his own incumbency. After spending 
the "Crimean winter" in a house near Maidenhead, 
he was appointed in 1855 to a Canonry of Wells, an 
ideal Cathedral-town, surrounded by a beautiful 
country and full of antiquarian interest, which I 
was then unable to appreciate as I now do. But for 


the smallness of its scale, Wells Cathedral, with its 
Vicar's Close, Bishop's Palace, and other ancient 
houses, would deserve to rank with the grandest 
Cathedrals of the Eastern Counties. One of my 
father's brother- Canons, the Rev. F. Beadon, attained 
the patriarchal age of nearly 102, and I retain a 
letter of his to myself, in a clear handwriting and 
very lively tone, written after he reached his 
hundredth year. In 1861 my father was promoted 
to the Deanery of Exeter, and succeeded his eldest 
brother as Viscount Midleton in 1863. During his 
residence at Exeter, Bishop Philpotts, once so active, 
had delegated most of his episcopal duties to other 
hands, and lived in seclusion near Torquay, leaving 
the Palace empty, so that most of the ecclesiastical 
hospitality naturally fell upon the Dean. I was too 
much engrossed by journalism to be often at Exeter, 
and preferred to spend my short holidays at Peper 
Harow, our family -place in Surrey. It was now that 
I began to explore the county on horseback, and 
learned to admire its beauties, when its " residential " 
value had not yet been advertised, and it was still 
little spoiled by villas. In 1866, when the cholera 
raged in the East of London, we had a startling little 
outbreak at Peper Harow, which might have been 
worth recording as throwing some light on the 
method of its propagation. A man and his wife 
came down with one child from a cholera-stricken 
district, and were lodged in the cottage of some 
near relations. The child was suflfering from symp- 
toms which, being neglected, soon developed into 


cholera, and within less than twenty-four hours 
two grown persons, besides the child, died in that 
cottage ; while another, a young boy, was only saved 
by the devoted care of our clergyman's daughter, 
who played the part of doctor and nurse when hardly 
any one would go near the premises. In this case I 
have no doubt that germs of cholera were quickened 
into virulent activity by the local circumstances of 
the cottage, beyond which the disease never spread. 

In 1867 my father decided on resigning the 
Deanery of Exeter. Several of his family would 
have dissuaded him from doing so, but, in spite of 
legal advice to the contrary, he felt himself bound to 
keep the full eight months' residence, so long as he 
remained Dean, without deduction for attendance in 
Parliament, and this, for private reasons, he did not 
see his way to undertake. Thenceforward his time 
was divided between London and Peper Harow, 
where Lord Cardwell was our nearest neighbour. 
There he died, on August 29, 1870, after some 
months' illness, leaving us the example of a perfectly 
blameless life, of a truly Evangelical piety, and of a 
self-respecting dignity peculiarly his own, which no 
shock or provocation could disturb. My mother 
survived him by twenty -three years, dying on August 
13, 1893, at Richmond, where she had resided, with 
my only sister, for some twelve years. When I am 
tempted to repine inwardly at the many trials and 
disappointments of my own lifetime, I sometimes 
remind myself that it is no light thing, but a blessing 
shared by few, to be the child of such parents, born 



in the most enviable class of English society, and 
educated in those simple principles of Christian faith 
which, once imbibed, permanently transform a man's 
whole ideal of human life. On my father's death, my 
brother, the present Viscount Midleton, succeeded to 
his title, having represented Mid-Surrey for two 
Sessions only in the House of Commons. Peper 
Harow now ceased to be " the parent nest " for me, 
though it has continued to be a second home ever 
since, and I have lived to see it peopled first by 
nephews and nieces and latterly by their children. 
My father, being the youngest, was also the last of 
his own family, none of whom attained remarkable 
longevity. It was otherwise with my mother's 
family. Sydney Smith used to say that every one 
has aunts at Bath, and three sisters of my mother 
lived there between fifty and sixty years, the fourth 
having died prematurely during an attack of which 
the gravity was not suspected. The eldest of these 
aunts had just passed her ninety-fourth birthday at 
her death in 1893, ^^^ ^^^ average age reached by 
her and three sisters (including my mother) was 
above eighty-eight, which is the more remarkable as 
all were frail in appearance, and two had been 
extremely delicate from girlhood. It may be added 
that none were total abstainers, but all were ab- 
stemious in diet. The youngest of them, who died 
on December 31, 1895, was the last survivor of what 
to me is the older generation; and the fact that 
all this is in the order of nature does not reconcile 
me, or any one else, to the gradual loss of " the old 


familiar faces " of those who called us by our Christian 
names, and watched our lives from childhood upwards. 
Being one of my youngest aunt's executors, I arranged 
that all letters addressed to her should be forwarded 
to me from the Bath Post Office. A large proportion 
of them were begging letters, and such are the 
demands on the charity of benevolent old ladies 
supposed to be wealthy, that I received hundreds of 
such letters within two years of her death, which her 
correspondents had not discovered. 

The six years between the General Election of 1 874 
and that of 1 880 were a comparatively blank period in 
my life. I was living chiefly in my rooms at 3 2 a Mount 
Street, which I occupied for thirty-six years continu- 
ously, and from which I was only dislodged in 1893 
by the Duke of Westminster's improvements. Almost 
every day I rode in Eotten Row, or made a longer 
round on the North-West or South of London, 
through regions which have now been transformed, 
and practically closed against riders, by the constant 
progress of building. Rotten Row had then been 
extended as far as Queen's Gate, between the Prince 
Consort's Memorial and Kensington Gardens. Here 
I witnessed the narrow escape of the Prince of Wales, 
when he was ridden down by a gentleman on a run- 
away horse, and apparently much injured by his own 
horse rolling over him. I was near enough to jump 
off" my horse, which I left standing, and ran forward 
to his assistance, but heard from one of his equerries 
that he was almost unhurt, and he soon afterwards 
rode home in good spirits. As hardly any one else 


could have seen this incident, which might well have 
proved fatal, I wrote a short anonymous paragraph 
in the Times, which I believe to be the only record of 
it. Several people who had read this paragraph, 
hearing that I had been an eye-witness, were anxious 
to know whether it was a truthful description of the 
adventure. I always replied that I thought it re- 
markable for its accuracy, and that, had I written it 
myself, I should have told the story in much the 
same way. And here I may remark that I have never 
found it very difficult to parry questions about anony- 
mous articles without resorting to falsehood. No 
doubt direct lying is the most effectual form of dis- 
avowal, but, in addition to its moral turpitude, it has 
the disadvantage that, if you are found out, no one 
trusts you afterwards. 

Since I ceased to be a journalist in 1873, 
I think I have written only three anonymous 
articles, but several pamphlets or essays of mine 
appeared during the next few years, and I was busily 
employed during most of 1880 on my " English Land 
and English Landlords." I have already spoken 
of my pamphlet issued in 1874, ^^^^ entitled "Five 
Years of Liberal Policy and Conservative Opposition." 
This was followed in 1875 by another pamphlet 
entitled "What are Liberal Principles?" being an 
attempt to give professed (but sometimes ill-informed) 
Liberals solid reasons for their political faith, and to 
disengage the mere temporary watchwords of the 
Party from the fundamental elements of its creed. 
If I were now to revise it, I hope I should find little 


to alter, so far as regards my own convictions, but I 
fear I should have to admit that opportunism and 
popularity-hunting count for more, and adherence 
to fixed principles for less, than I then supposed, in 
the counsels of the so-called Liberal Party. In 1878, 
after reading an article by Mr. Goldwin Smith on 
" Whigs and Liberals," I was moved to write a reply 
in the Fortnightly Review, which I entitled " Liberals 
and Whigs." In this article I claimed for the Whigs 
the essential capacity of leadership, and endeavoured 
to show how far the Liberal Party would have been 
led astray by its Left Wing had there been no Left 
Centre to guide it. In 1879, when the "caucus 
system " had been lately organised, and threatened 
to usurp functions properly belonging to the recog- 
nised leaders of the Liberal Party, I contributed 
three letters (since republished) to the Manchester 
Examiner and Times on the subject of " Liberal 
Organisation." My object was, first, to show the use 
and abuse of the caucus system as an organ for the 
concentration and expression of Liberal opinion in 
constituencies ; secondly, to protest against the 
creation of an intermediate power between Liberal 
constituencies and Parliament itself, under the 
name of a " Federal Council of Liberal Associa- 

Among my contributions to educational literature 
were an article on " The Universities and the Nation " 
inthe Contemporary Review oiSxme 1875; a carefully- 
written paper on "The Influence of the Older Eng- 
lish Universities on National Education," read at the 



Social Science Congress, Brighton, in October 1875 ; 
and a Presidential address on Education, delivered 
before the Education section of that Congress, at 
Cheltenham, in October 1878. I also addressed to 
the Times, in 1876, three letters on the Fellowship 
system, against which a crusade had been proclaimed 
by the apostles " of mature study and original 
research." I have always believed that, in comply- 
ing with their demand for a second Commission, Lord 
Salisbury was no less actuated by a desire to prevent 
the government of Colleges from passing into the 
hands of young Radicals, than by a genuine zeal for 
the benefit of science. At all events, the endow- 
ment of new Professorships, mainly scientific, was to 
be procured by an unsparing suppression of open 
Fellowships, which I regarded as the mainspring of 
Academical industry. Many of the arguments which 
I then used still appear to me sound, and many of 
the consequences which I foresaw have actually taken 
eflfect. But experience has not altogether justified 
my expectation that a dearth of open Fellowships 
would largely diminish the influx of able young men 
into the University. That it would do so, if Cam- 
bridge were not equally handicapped, seems to me 
self-evident ; nor can I doubt that some clever youths 
have been diverted from a University career into 
business, since the chances of getting a Fellowship 
have been lessened, and that still more are deterred 
by the same cause from staying up to read after 
taking their degrees. But I gladly admit that 
Scholarships, without much prospect of a Fellowship, 


still attract a goodly number of promising young 
scholars to Oxford. 

In the meantime, I filled various educational 
offices of more or less importance. For several years 
I served on the Council of the London Society for 
the Promotion of University Teaching, and also acted 
as a nominated Governor of Dulwich College, under 
the genial chairmanship of the Rev. W. Rogers, 
Rector of Bishopsgate, known to his friends as "Billy 
Rogers," many of whose homely sayings have become 
current, and contain a quaint mixture of wit and 
wisdom. I often rode down to our meetings, then 
held at Dulwich, by a route no longer practicable. 
In 1877, when I had barely recovered from a concus- 
sion of the brain due to a fall in riding, I was elected 
by the London School Board to fill the first death 
vacancy that had occurred since its foundation. 1 
sat with Mr. Sydney Buxton and three other col- 
leagues for the Westminster Division, and took a fair 
share, though not a leading part, in the business of 
the Board. There was then no burning question to 
create sharp party divisions, for that of religious 
instruction was supposed to have been settled by 
a judicious compromise, and had not been unwisely 
reopened. Still, there was the irrepressible antagon- 
ism between the forward " School Board policy" and 
that of friendly co-operation with Voluntary Schools, 
between the advocates of economy and the advocates 
of liberal expenditure on school buildings, and still 
more on teachers' salaries. In these controversies I 
steered a middle course, weighing the arguments 


used in debate by more experienced members, and 
often suspending my judgment until just before my 
vote was given. My sympathies had been previously 
in favour of Board Schools, as destined not so much 
to supplement as gradually to supersede Voluntary 
Schools, but I saw reason to modify this prefer- 
ence. Not that I ever observed any tendency in 
Board Schools to disparage religious teaching ; on 
the contrary, I used to say that if an inspector could 
be taken blindfold into a number of Board Schools 
and Church Schools, chosen at random, during the 
hour of religious teaching, he would not be able to 
distinguish between them, unless the Church Cate- 
chism happened to be the lesson of the hour. More- 
over, I was favourably impressed by the sincere 
desire of the Board to get the best managers for its 
own schools, including, if possible, the rector or vicar 
of the parish. But I soon learned how difficult 
it was for Board Schools to equal Church Schools in 
the personal zeal of their managers, and I never could 
justify the deliberate policy of raising teachers' 
salaries in Board Schools far above the market price, 
as if for the purpose of outbidding their rivals — not 
aided by the rates. 

One of the least pleasant, bub most useful, duties 
which I had to perform, was sitting in judgment on 
parents who had failed to send their children to 
school. The sphere of my special jurisdiction was 
the Soho District, where " Notice B meetings," as 
they were technically called, were held every fort- 
night, and I had to determine, with the aid of the 


" superintendent," whether or not the defaulting 
parents should be prosecuted. One thing which 
surprised me, and continues to surprise me when I 
hear cases of non-attendance as a magistrate, was 
that so few of those summoned protested loudly 
against the rule of compulsion, and the hardship of 
depriving parents of their children's possible earnings. 
On the other hand, it was common enough to plead 
that a boy had been regularly sent off to school in good 
time, but would not go there, finding it more amusing 
to play about with other boys in the streets. Some- 
times the mother would bring the young malefactor 
with her to be overawed into obedience ; and our super- 
intendent, dragging him forward, and pointing to me, 
would exclaim, " Look at that gentleman, and attend 
to what he is about to say ; " whereupon I was ex- 
pected to take up my parable, and, beginning with 
the crime of "truancy," to indicate the gallows as 
the inevitable end of such a career. But, after all, 
these interviews gave one an insight into the life of 
the London poor which I should never have obtained 
otherwise, and I am sure that much real good can 
be done by a mixture of firmness and kindly advice. 
Difiicult cases which had come before some individual 
member of the Board were occasionally discussed at 
a general Committee on school attendance. I hap- 
pened to have mentioned a case of this kind, when 
one of my colleagues, suspecting me of weakness, 
and jealous for the rigid enforcement of our Bye- 
Laws, challenged me to state how I had dealt with 
it. I replied, in language which I have no wish to 


retract, " I laid down the law with great solemnity, 
and gave private orders that it should not be en- 
forced." Without such discretionary relaxations, I 
believe that it would be simply impossible to maintain 
a law of compulsory attendance. 

When the official life of this School Board expired 
in 1879, I did not oflfer myself for re-election, but I 
can truly say that I parted from my colleagues with 
a hearty respect for their industry and public spirit. 
In the autumn of 1882, when a fresh election took 
place, and "the policy of the Board" was rudely 
assailed, I addressed a letter to the Times in defence 
of that policy, from which I extract one passage : — 

" Let me protest against the common, but quite delu- 
sive idea that party spirit, in the usual sense, runs high on 
the London School Board and colours most of its proceed- 
ings. On the contrary, I have never belonged to any 
public body in which controversy was so rarely conducted 
on party lines, or in which ' cross divisions ' were so 
frequent. I am sure that many of my colleagues seldom 
or never considered the party aspect of the vote which 
they were about to give, and, notwithstanding the subse- 
quent introduction of an obstructive minority, I believe 
that a disinterested zeal for the cause of education con- 
tinues to animate a large majority of the present Board. 
Indeed, the matters which occupy its attention are so 
diverse as to defy party manipulation or classification. 
An advocate of pure secular education may be in alliance 
with the most bigoted denominationalist on industrial 
school management. An advocate of rigorous economy 
in salaries may act cordially with anti - economists in 
strictly enforcing school attendance. An advocate of free 
schools may join hands with a supporter of high school- 
fees on the many vexed questions concerning the selection 


of sites and construction of buildings. No permanent 
division of parties is possible on a Board mainly engaged 
in administration. 

"But I go further, and assert that on the London 
School Board, with all its faults, public spirit has 
hitherto largely predominated oyer sectarian bias, as it 
notoriously has over the temptations of pecuniary ia- 
terest. It is no faint praise of a body dispensing vast 
sums of money, and constantly dealing with house-owners 
and contractors, to record the fact that no taint or sus- 
picion of jobbery has yet rested upon it. Though person- 
alities have too often been imported into its debates, I am 
not aware that any member has ever imputed mercenary 
or dishonourable motives to a colleague, except in one 
instance where the imputation was ultimately withdrawn. 
Until the claims of justice and of humanity were unreason- 
ably pitted against each other in the St. Paul's Industrial 
School case, the assumption always was that opponents 
on the School Board were equally single-minded in their 
devotion to educational interests, however irreconcilable 
their differences of judgment. Not only so, but members 
previously committed to one side of a question have often 
been converted to another by their experience on the 
Board, and have acknowledged their change of views with 
a candour supposed to be impossible in political life. In 
short, the prevailing sentiment among the members of the 
London School Board has certainly been one of mutual 
respect, and herein consists the chief secret of its success 
in solving difficulties formerly regarded as insoluble." 

I had been elected a Fellow of the Eoyal Geogra- 
phical Society in 1863, under the dignified Presidency 
of Sir Roderick Murchison, and became a member 
of its Council about ten years later, since which 
time I have often been re-appointed. Not that 
I have the least claim to such a position, either as a 


traveller or as a scientific geographer, but it was 
thouglit tliat I might render some little service in 
connection with the educational work of the Society, 
and I have always taken a very warm interest in all 
its proceedings. It is easy to disparage the Koyal 
Geographical Society as the least scientific and most 
popular of scientific bodies, but I greatly doubt 
whether any scientific body, except the Royal 
Society, can render a better account of solid contri- 
butions to science, in its larger sense. Happily for 
some of us, it is generally possible to follow the 
papers read before it without a scientific training ; 
but, inasmuch as the earth is the basis and theatre 
of almost all scientific research, it would be wonder- 
ful if the promotion of geographical knowledge had 
not contributed — and it is demonstrable that it has 
contributed most powerfully — to advance all the other 

In its origin it was virtually an ofishoot from 
the Royal Society itself, and Sir Joseph Banks, who 
presided so long over that Society, did much to 
prepare the way for its foundation. This took place 
in July 1830, and it has ever since taken the leading 
part in all the great explorations, organised by English- 
men, which have opened up every part of the globe, 
except the regions surrounding the North and South 
Poles. The illustrious list of its Presidents is second 
only to that of the Royal Society, while the list of 
its medallists contains the names of all the eminent 
geographical explorers of the last seventy years. 
Among these, a large proportion are the names of 


foreigners ; and it speaks well for the cosmopolitan 
spirit of the Society, that in the year 1899, within a 
few months of the Fashoda incident, both the 
Founder's and the Patron's Medal should have been 
conferred upon Frenchmen. It is only the great 
popularity of the. Society, and the large number of 
its so-called Fellows, which has given it the means of 
initiating and subsidising geographical expeditions ; 
and if that now being organised for the purpose of 
Antarctic discovery should prove to be successful, 
nearly the whole credit of it will be due to the Royal 
Geographical Society, and especially to its President, 
Sir Clements Markham. On the other hand, it is 
inevitable that an association so popular in its char- 
acter, and numbering 4000 members, should occasion- 
ally be agitated by vehement controversies ; and I 
can remember three or four somewhat tumultuous 
meetings, especially one on the admission of women 
as Fellows, which threatened to imperil the peace of 
the Society. However, by dint of a little tact, it 
has tided over every crisis successfully, and the chief 
danger which I see in the future is, that by the 
mere progress of exploration it may have no fresh 
worlds to conquer, the whole field of geographical 
research, in the proper sense, having been exhausted. 
A pleasant adjunct of the Geographical Society 
is the Geographical Club, which has a friendly dinner 
before each of the evening meetings. To my con- 
nection with the Society and Club I owe the personal 
acquaintance of distinguished officers in both Services, 
men eminent in the scientific world, and others whom 


I should probably never have met in other circles. 
Perhaps none of these was more highly qualified for 
the position of President, which he so long filled, 
than the late Sir Henry Rawlinson. To his long 
experience in India, his achievements in Oriental 
research, his political sagacity, and his wide know- 
ledge of geography in all its branches, he added 
great conversational powers, and a wonderful stock 
of anecdotes. His stories illustrating the endurance 
of men and animals in Persia and other parts of the 
East would have been well worth collecting and 
preserving. One of them, for which he vouched, 
I found it equally impossible to believe or to 
disbelieve. He stated that, in making a forced 
march of several hundred miles, with relays of 
horses, at the rate of a hundred miles a day, he 
overtook an express-messenger riding a highly-bred 
mule (without relays) at the same rate. This was 
at the end of his first day's journey, and the man 
reached Sir Henry's destination (which, I think, was 
a camp near Herat), a few hours after Sir Henry 
himself But this was not all, for the mule and 
his rider had already covered the same ground in 
the opposite direction at the same pace, and were 
on their return trip when Sir Henry fell in with 
them ; moreover, they afterwards repeated the feat 
by covering it a third time from Herat back 
again. Altogether, they actually traversed above 
two thousand) n)iles, according to the story, within 
twenty-five days, including a rest of some forty- 
eight hours at each end of the course. 


Several of my colleagues on the Council of the 
Geographical Society have been naval officers of 
Arctic experience, and if I single out from among these 
the name of the late Sir George Back, it is partly 
out of gratitude for his genial hospitality, and partly 
for the sake of preserving a good story which he 
told me of himself. When he was in command of a 
ship, as a younger man, he became conscious that he 
was treated with scanty respect by his own officers, 
and discovered by degrees that his first-lieutenant 
was the real instigator of disaflFection. One night, 
therefore, he took this man aside on the quarter- 
deck, spoke freely and confidentially on the affairs 
of the ship, and ended by expressing his gratification 
in the assurance that he was ably and loyally sup- 
ported by the whole body of his officers. On parting 
from him, as he afterwards learned, the first-lieu- 
tenant went down below, and addressing the other 
officers (who had said nothing), remarked, in a loud 
tone, " You fellows may say what you like, but I'll 
be d d if our captain is not one of the best- 
hearted men that I have ever known in my life." 
After this he observed a marked change in the 
manner of all his subordinates. At the Geographical 
Club I have met a great many celebrated travellers, 
including H. M. Stanley and Nansen, fresh from their 
latest journeys. Both of these showed a power of 
describing their experiences in a graphic and effective 
manner, and, considering that Nansen is a foreigner, 
I have always thought his narrative of his Arctic 
expedition in the Albert Hall a marvellous exhibition 


of nerve and resource in speaking. Here was a man 
who had carried his life in his hand for months, with 
a single companion, suddenly confronted with the 
greatest audience that could be assembled in London, 
yet no more embarrassed by the presence of the 
Prince of Wales and thousands of eager listeners 
than if he were still battling with the ice-floes of 
the Arctic Ocean. But, with few exceptions, great 
travellers are not great orators, and as they are also 
anxious not to spoil the sale of their forthcoming 
books, I have often been disappointed that men with 
so much to say should contrive to say so little. 

My second contest at Woodstock had brought me 
into direct contact with the Agricultural Labourers' 
Union, but I had made acquaintance still earlier with 
Mr. Joseph Arch, of whom I desire to speak with 
respect. I think we met first at a friend's house in 
London, we met again in Lord Dufferin's house in 
Quebec, and after 1874 I had the opportunity of 
conversing with him on various occasions. His 
biography informs us that, at one time, he did 
not escape calumnious imputations. I know nothing 
of these ; all I can say is that I never had the 
least reason to doubt either his sincerity or his 
honesty, and I could wish that all Trades' Union 
leaders had an equally clear record. He possessed 
several eminent gifts for conducting the movement 
of which he was the pioneer, and I felt great sym- 
pathy with its legitimate objects, but it would 
perhaps have been too much to expect that he 
should have studied the Labour question from its 


economical side. I often warned my audiences at 
Woodstock against the ignorant and passionate 
statements of the Chronicle, published by the 
Agricultural Labourers' Union, but I must say 
that, so far as I am aware, its spokesmen were 
honourably distinguished from those of other 
Unions by never advocating violence or breaches 
of the law. My knowledge of the movement 
is not wide enough to warrant me in stating 
this confidently, but I never heard at Woodstock 
of Unionist labourers assaulting or coercing non- 
Unionists, and, though it may have occurred else- 
where during a temporary strike, the practice has 
not been general enough to fill much space (if any) in 
the newspapers. Contrast this with the conduct of 
the Dock Labourers, and the avowed policy of their 
leaders, in the great strike of 1889. It was never 
pretended for a moment that plenty of men were not 
willing and anxious to go on working at the docks 
on the old terms, but the right of the strikers to 
keep them out, by fair means or foul, was openly 
proclaimed, and — what is worse — by their culpable 
inaction, the Home Ofl&ce authorities virtually sanc- 
tioned the practical assertion of this right. Day 
after day, hundreds of honest men with families, 
desirous of work, were forcibly deprived of it and 
thrust back from the Dock gates, by threats and 
personal maltreatment, in presence of the police, 
who apparently were forbidden, as a rule, to protect 
them. Cardinal Manning and other influential per- 
sons espoused the side of the wrong-doers, and a 



large section of the public, both in this country and 
in the colonies, in a fit of impulsive sympathy, 
actively supported them under the specious fiction of 
providing for their families, while they were out of 
work, and unlawfully keeping others out. Happily, 
the police magistrates dealt vigorously with the few 
cases that came before them, and when a gas strike 
broke out not long afterwards, the Government 
awoke to a sense of its duty. The police were 
ordered to enforce the law, the Chairman of the Gas 
Company showed more resolution than the Directors 
of the Dock Company, and organised intimidation 
collapsed. But for this fortunate sequel, it is diflfi- 
cult to say how far the anarchical spirit kindled by 
the Dock Strike, and aggravated by the shameful 
mismanagement of it, might have spread among the 
industrial classes throughout the country. 

During this period of comparative idleness, I 
took a somewhat active part on the Committee of 
the Cobden Club, then engaged in issuing a series of 
useful publications by no means confined to advocacy 
of Free Trade. I had already contributed an Essay 
on the " Law and Custom of Primogeniture " to a 
volume entitled "Systems of Land Tenure," which 
appeared in 187 1. This Essay, afterwards published 
in my " Political Studies," contained the fullest ex- 
position of its subject which had then been attempted, 
but has since been followed by more learned works. 
It is remarkable that no serious attempt has yet 
been made to reform the Law or to limit the 
Custom, notwithstanding the almost unanimous con- 


sent of those who have carefully studied this feature 
of the English Land-system from Blackstone down- 
wards. In 1875 I contributed a similar Essay on 
" Local Government in England " to a volume deal- 
ing with the principal systems of Local Government 
prevailing in various countries. This Essay, unlike 
the other, has been quoted more than once in the 
House of Commons, and has not been without its 
effect in promoting the reform of Local Government 
since carried out. But the method of reform which 
it recommended differed materially from that actu- 
ally adopted, while it resembled that proposed by 
Mr. Goschen in 1871. For it contemplated a recon- 
struction of local institutions from the parish or 
township upwards, instead of one beginning with 
County Councils, working downwards, and ending 
with Parish Councils. My volume, entitled " Eng- 
lish Land and English Landlords," also published by 
the Cobden Club, was a more considerable effort. 
Its object was to present, within a moderate com- 
pass, a tolerably complete and trustworthy view of 
the whole agrarian and agricultural system of Eng- 
land for the information of students, both English 
and foreign. No summary of its contents would be 
readable or profitable, but I may say that in follow- 
ing out the history of British agriculture the conclu- 
sion was forced upon me that it never had a golden 
age. Now and then war prices enriched farmers, and 
still more landlords, for a few years together ; but 
prosperity soon made them indolent and improvident, 
the old poor-law reduced their profits by crushing 


rates, and practically, I believe, there are few instances 
of men having made fortunes out of cultivating 
the land. It is curious, too, how inveterate the ten- 
dency is to contrast the luxury of the present with 
the rustic simplicity of the past. There is a well- 
known distich in which the hunting farmer, with his 
fine-lady wife and her piano, his hoys learning Greek 
and Latin, and his girls arrayed in silk and satin, is 
unfavourably compared with his ruder father or 
grandfather working like a drudge on his farm with 
all his family. But this distich, which is often quoted 
as if it were new and meant to describe the difference 
between the farmer of our own day and the farmer in 
the early part of the century — as, indeed, it well 
might be, — was really written in the early part of 
the century, and idealised the hard-working farmer 
in the reign of George II. 

Another fact which strongly arrested my attention 
was the inordinate multiplication of middle-men 
between the farmer and the consumer, and its very 
important effect in diminishing the farmer's profits. 
The late Mr. Bence-Jones, who farmed on a large 
scale in the West of Ireland, assured me that butter 
made on his own estate paid six profits before it could 
reach the London householder — three in England and 
three in Ireland : to obviate which, for his own bene- 
fit, he supplied one of the London Clubs direct from 
his Irish dairy. A still more familiar illustration may 
be given. The breeding and keeping of fowls must 
have yielded a profit, however small, when fowls sold 
at three and sixpence a couple at country towns 


sixty years ago ; the expense of keeping and feeding 
them has since been somewhat reduced by the cheap- 
ness of meal and other foodstuffs ; and, since they 
now fetch seven shillings a couple at similar towns, 
they ought to bring in a profit of at least a hundred 
per cent. But the hard-working and thrifty farmers' 
wives who then reared them and jogged to market 
with them have long passed away, and have been 
succeeded by dealers, who save the farmer much 
trouble, but relieve him of profit to a degree which 
few realise. 

Of course, after my retirement from journalism, 
I had more leisure both for seeking a constituency 
and for enjoying London society. Many and amus- 
ing were my interviews with electioneering agents 
and local Committees, who had either heard of my 
campaigns at Woodstock, or found my name on the 
list of would-be candidates at the office of the Liberal 
Whip. Perhaps the most grotesque overture which 
I received was from an agent of some pretensions, who 
proposed to me that I should espouse the cause of a 
bogus claimant to a great estate — not the Tichborne 
estate — as the price of his support in a certain 
borough, where he was falsely represented to have 
great influence. I had more serious negotiations with 
some other boroughs, such as Brighton, Portsmouth, 
and Guildford, but was no longer prepared to accept 
anything less than a winning chance, and nearly 
all those which I declined proved losing chances in 
the end. On December 28, 1878, I delivered at 
Guildford a carefully -prepared Address on "Imperial- 


ism and Liberal Policy," in which I endeavoured to 
draw the line between true and false Imperialism — 
the Imperialism which is opposed to a "Little Eng- 
land" conception of our colonial responsibilities, and 
the Imperialism of the so-called "Jingo" party, which 
seemed to measure national greatness by the constant 
annexation of new territories. Two years before, 
the Queen had assumed the title of Empress of India, 
a step which, in common with most Liberals, I then 
condemned, though I now think it may have been 
justified by adequate reasons of State. Those who 
defended it laid great stress on the assurance that 
Her Majesty would never be called Empress in the 
United Kingdom, and I always wondered that no 
one happened to quote the strangely apposite saying 
of Casca, in " Julius Csesar," when he reports the 
intention of the Senate to make Cjesar a king : 

"And he shall wear his crown by sea and land, 
In every place save here in Italy." 

In those days there was no question of my standing 
for a county. Contests for counties, not yet sub- 
divided, were too expensive for candidates of small 
means but prepared for hard work, such as those 
who often stand now for the new county divisions. 
These divisions exact an amount of speaking beyond 
anything formerly required, when a few great 
meetings were enough for an ordinary borough 
(though not for Woodstock), and a county candidate 
only needed to make one speech in each market- 
town, whereas he is now expected to make one in 


each of sixty or seventy villages. Since the Corrupt 
Practices Act was passed, elections, and especially 
county elections, have become less costly, but I fear 
that in many cases more numerous subscriptions, as 
well as more frequent public appearances, are de- 
manded from the sitting member. I have often pre- 
dicted that, since these demands have grown heavier, 
and the House of Commons has ceased to be " the 
pleasantest Club in London," men of high social 
position and independent character would become 
less and less willing to solicit a seat in Parliament. 
It surely tells well for the energy and public spirit of 
English gentlemen that, so far, my predictions have 
not been verified. 

No one man can be competent to offer a com- 
plete, or even an approximately complete, descrip- 
tion of what is called London society at the end 
of the nineteenth century. Sir George Trevelyan, 
in his " Early Days of Charles James Fox," has 
reminded us how narrow the circle of this society 
was in the last half of the last century, and even 
at a later period in the reign of George III. it was 
possible for all who constituted it to be received 
at Court, and to be on terms of imaginary acquaint- 
ance with each other. Sir Algernon West, my 
junior by a year, but a much older Londoner, has 
drawn an excellent picture in his " Recollections," 
not only of every-day life in London soon after the 
Queen's accession, but of the notable personalities 
and privileged salons which still dominated the 
West End. Nowadays, this is wholly impossible ; 


London society consists of scores or hundreds of 
little systems whose orbits rarely touch each other ; 
and I have myself dined out three or four times 
a week, for twenty or thirty years, without once 
meeting friends whom I knew to be dining out as 
often as myself in houses of the same class. I 
would not, therefore, presume to compare London 
society as it was some forty years ago with London 
society as it is now, especially as I was never a 
member of the gay world, and have mingled with it 
less than ever since it has been ruled by a younger 

No one, however, can have lived in London so 
much as I have, and for so many years, belonging 
to clubs and associating with friends of various 
types, without observing some features distinctive 
of our own time. It is needless to say that I do 
not reckon among these the organised pursuit of 
pleasure, the senseless despotism of fashion, the 
worship of rank among plebeians, or the ignoble 
deference to mere wealth among patricians. The 
West End of London has been " Vanity Fair " ever 
since the days of Pepys's and Evelyn's "Diaries," 
of Swift's "Journal to Stella," of Lord Hervey's 
" Memoirs," and of the many Diaries and Biographies 
illustrating social life and manners during the reign 
of George III. and the Regency. There have always 
been match-making mothers, scheming aventurieres, 
oppressive rules of etiquette, mutual admiration 
societies, and exclusive coteries ; indeed, no social 
tyranny within the last seventy years has been 


so wide-spread and yet so centralised as that of 
Almack's. Even the practice not only of giving 
balls in borrowed houses, but of getting the guests 
invited by others with longer visiting-lists, is not, I 
believe, so modern as might be supposed. The 
shameless homage paid by aristocratic fortune-seekers 
to Hudson the Eailway King, and by their wives 
to Mrs. Hudson, preceded by fifty years the pitiable 
disclosures elicited by the proceedings on Hooley's 
bankruptcy, the chief difference being that Hudson's 
suitors only sought allotments of shares below their 
value, while Hooley's nominees were alleged to have 
sold their names for lucrative directorships and large 
pecuniary bribes. The merit of novelty cannot be 
claimed for the London "crush" itself — that re- 
ductio ad ahsurdum of social intercourse — where 
the most eminent men and proudest women in the 
metropolis are to be seen painfully struggling up 
a staircase, where those who force an entrance into 
the drawing-room are so jammed that it takes 
several minutes to reach the other end of the room, 
where no two people can exchange a word of con- 
versation in earnest, where getting out is as tedious 
as getting in, and where a perfect combination of 
all these discomforts constitutes a perfect success. 
In most essential respects, it may be said that 
London society is the same as ever ; in some essen- 
tial respects, it has been greatly improved. The disuse 
of hard drinking among gentlemen ; the coincident, 
and perhaps consequent, abolition of duelling; the 
marked growth of philanthropy, and the almost 


fashionable exhibition by the rich of practical sym- 
pathy with the poor — these are signs of the times 
which it • is pleasant to recognise. Nor is it un- 
worthy of notice that, by the action of some occult 
law, the race of dandies, who figured so largely 
in old novels, has well-nigh become extinct. Hand- 
some young fellows may think somewhat too much 
of their personal appearance, and spend too much 
on dress ; but these are venial weaknesses, and sanc- 
tioned by the custom of many generations. Unlike 
the dandy of a hundred years ago, who seldom left 
the West End and never dreamed of athletic 
exercise, these same young fellows may be found 
on Scotch moors or Swiss mountains, and, if they 
happen to be in the Army, are ready to rough it 
with the hardiest in severe campaigns, as has been 
nobly shown in South Africa. 

Still, there have been more doubtful changes in 
London society within the last thirty or forty 
years, and — let it be said frankly — since the Queen 
abandoned the leadership of it after the death of 
the Prince Consort. One of these changes, for good 
or for evil, is the much greater freedom claimed by 
and allowed to women, especially to young women. 
I am not one of those who take a censorious view 
of this inevitable change of manners, or think the 
worse of it because it may have been imported from 
America. Before it came in, I used to ask what 
Christianity and civilisation could be worth, if two 
young people of opposite sexes must not take a 
friendly walk together on pain of incurring suspicion 


or scandal. I welcome the discovery that girls, 
no less than boys, are gifted with muscular powers, 
to be developed by exercise with benefit to their 
health, and the remarkable increase of strength and 
stature among young ladies which has been the fruit 
of this discovery. I regard with pleasure the assimi- 
lation of studies and tastes which has corrected 
the flimsiness of female education and encouraged 
boys to cultivate " accomplishments " without being 
ashamed of it, which has thus enriched the common 
stock of ideas and interests between young men 
and young women, and which enables them to share 
an innocent camaraderie formerly monopolised by 
one sex only in England, though not in America. 
I like to see young women manly, in the best sense, 
without being masculine, and young men as gentle 
and self-restrained as girls, without being eflfeminate; 
and I am slatisfied that, on the whole, happier 
marriages will result from a relaxation of the old 
code of chaperonage. Nor do I wholly blame the 
extraordinary diminution of reserve which enables 
young people to exchange opinions on all possible 
subjects, no longer through whispers in the secret 
chambers, but through open talk in drawing-rooms, 
and even ballrooms. Having said thus much, I 
cannot shut my eyes to abuses, actual as well as 
possible, of the more liberal code which now prevails, 
abuses which occasionally show themselves in the 
conduct of young married women even more than in 
that of unmarried girls. I recall an interesting 
conversation with Mr. Gladstone, in which he dwelt 


most earnestly on these abuses, and expressed a con- 
viction that London society had become demoralised 
by the suspension of salutary restrictions. I com- 
bated his view as well as I could, but I confess that 
I should now do so with less confidence. Unless 
I am greatly misinformed, though London society 
as a whole is as pure as ever, there are larger and 
more numerous circles within it to which his stric- 
tures are justly applicable than 1 then supposed, or 
than was the fact when London was my chief home. 

Another, but less serious, change which has come 
about within the last thirty or forty years is the 
marvellous increase of evening amusements and dis- 
tractions, almost superseding friendly dinner-parties, 
among the many habitual patrons of theatres and 
similar entertainments, or converting such dinners 
into hurried but sumptuous meals at hotels or 
restaurants, preliminary to " going on." The decay 
of breakfast-parties, which I for one lament, is a 
change of less importance, because the enjoyment 
of them was confined to few, since men of business 
could seldom attend them, and ladies hardly ever 
appeared. But the survivors of those who could 
and did attend them would bear witness in their 
favour ; and though I never aspired to rival the 
success of such hosts as Samuel Rogers or Lord 
Houghton, I invariably found that a breakfast-party 
of eight, composed of diverse elements, if it did not 
rise to being a feast of reason, at least promoted 
a flow of soul. In such a party, naturally dividing 
itself into two sets of four, it is possible for conversa- 


tion sometimes to become general ; and I think I 
have listened to better conversation across a break- 
fast-table than I have ever heard across a dinner- 
table. Unfortunately, the art of conversation, if not 
lost, has grievously degenerated under the influence 
of the same causes which have affected the style 
of journalism. I do not mean that " talking like 
a book" has ceased to be fashionable — that would, 
in itself, be an improvement — but that slang is 
the order of the day, even in good society ; that 
few people deign to finish their sentences, or to 
let you finish yours ; and that a real interchange 
of thought at social gatherings has become rarer 
than it used to be. Perhaps some of the best speci- 
mens of modern talk are to be heard in smoking- 
rooms ; and I regret that my inveterate habit of 
going to bed early has caused me to lose so many 
of them. 

Of course, the fashions of dissipation change as 
rapidly as the fashions of feminine dress, and if 
Major Pendennis should return to life, he would 
find much to astonish him. For instance. Clubs, 
Theatres, and Music Halls have sprung up like 
mushrooms since his day, grand Sunday water- 
parties and parties on the terrace of the House of 
Commons are still more recent innovations, and 
every summer contributes its own quota to new in- 
ventions of amusement. But the " London season" 
itself unhappUy monopolises the same period of the 
year as ever, though it has been somewhat curtailed 
of late years at the end. In other countries a far 


more rational apportionment of time prevails ; society 
enjoys the beauties of the country in the summer, 
and assembles in the capital for the winter. Even 
in this country the London season was once con- 
sidered to end with June 4, being the birthday of 
George III. Assuming that Christmas must be 
spent in country-houses, the period between Christ- 
mas and Easter or Whitsuntide might naturally be 
appropriated to London gaieties, and I have never 
heard any reason alleged against this arrangement 
excepting the convenience of hunting-men. Now, 
hunting-men constitute but a fraction of London 
society as it is now constituted, and even they, if 
their country residences should happen to be within 
a moderate distance, might easily combine their 
choicest London engagements with two or three 
days a week of their favourite pastime. The Parlia- 
mentary Session already begins early in February, 
and if the Sovereign were to set the example of 
residing in London and holding levies or drawing- 
rooms before Easter, I greatly doubt whether either 
the allurements of hunting or the exigencies of 
Lent would stand in the way of this social revolu- 
tion. Another social revolution, equally unexpected, 
has accomplished itself silently and insensibly in the 
present generation. Thirty years ago flats were 
comparatively few, and mainly occupied by old 
bachelors or strong-minded ladies. It was supposed 
that an Englishman's house would cease to be his 
castle unless it were protected by a separate hall- 
door, and that English traditions of domestic privacy 


were too inveterate to admit of common staircases, 
not to speak of common refreshment-rooms. But 
these deeply-rooted ideas have been completely 
broken down. The convenience and economy of 
having all the rooms of a dwelling on one floor, 
with the advantage of being able to shut it up 
safely for months and leave the keys with a porter, 
are now so widely acknowledged, that vast blocks 
of flats have sprung up in every quarter of London, 
and command enormous rents. Indeed, the rents of 
bachelors' lodgings and chambers in Mayfair and 
the districts north and south of it have been almost 
doubled within my own recollection, and the young 
law student or City clerk of limited income must 
go further afield to find apartments within his 
means. But then underground railways have come 
to his aid, as well as cheap omnibuses traversing 
streets and squares formerly reserved for private 
carriages, or he can bicycle almost into the heart 
of the City along the Thames Embankment. These 
and like changes, superficial or radical, in the social 
life of London, would supply infinite materials for 
such diaries as that of Pepys ; but no single diarist, 
nor even an organised company of diarists, could 
possibly group them into one synoptical picture for 
the benefit of future historians. 




Sexcentenary of Merton College — Peterliouse — Contrasts between 
Oxford and Cambridge. 

The sexcentenary festival of Merton College, held 
in 1874, attracted attention beyond the confines 
of the University, as commemorating an event which 
in its consequences proved to be of national import- 
ance. The original foundation of the College, indeed, 
dates from 1264, and had been celebrated in 1864, 
but the first " House of Scholars " was located at 
Maiden in Surrey, with a branch at Oxford, and it 
was not until 1274 that Oxford was designated as 
their exclusive and permanent home. Before that 
year, Oxford students had lived in monasteries, 
licensed halls, or private chambers, under little or no 
discipline, and in a state of squalid discomfort which 
is now difiicult to conceive. It was to Walter de 
Merton that it first occurred to establish within the 
precincts of the University a great seminary of 
secular clergy, modelled on the monastic idea of self- 
government and domestic rule, but unmonastic and 
even anti-monastic in its objects and essential char- 



acter. In founding Merton, he founded the College I 
system in both the great English Universities, and ' 
his statutes of 1 2 74, viewed across the interval of six 
centuries, astonish us by their comprehensive wisdom 
and foresight. These statutes continued in force 
within my own memory ; they are a marvellous 
repertory of minute and sagacious provisions govern- 
ing every detail of College life, and they have become 
the pattern of all other College statutes at Oxford 
and Cambridge. It fell to my lot at the first sex- 
centenary celebration, in 1864, to propose the toast, 
" Stetfortuna domus" in an historical speech, which 
formed as it were a text for the " Memorials of Merton 
College," which I published twenty years later. In 
December 1884, Peterhouse, the oldest College in 
Cambridge, followed the example of Merton by cele- 
brating the 600th anniversary of its foundation. 
This College, like the older Oxford Colleges, was in 
its origin almost a copy of Merton, and its founder 
expressly ordained that it should be governed accord- 
ing to Merton rules. Recognising this almost filial 
relation to my own College, the Master and Fellows 
kindly invited me to be present on the occasion, and 
to respond for the older society. The late Duke of 
Clarence was one of the company, which included an 
unusually brilliant . assemblage of guests, and several 
very good after-dinner speeches were delivered, in- 
cluding one from Lowell, the American Minister. I 
cannot, however, forget my consternation when I 
looked down the list of toasts, and found that I was 
one of some thirty advertised to speak. Happily, 


there was safety in numbers, and every one cut his 
speech mercifully short, but the festivities were in- 
evitably prolonged to a very late hour. 

This would not be the place to descant on the 
antiquities of Merton College, the interest of which 
is well known to all who have any acquaintance with 
the architectural history of the University. It is 
\ not, however, generally realised that Merton is the 
I only College which has collegiate buildings of the 
thirteenth century, and the only College, except 
' New College and (perhaps) Trinity, which has col- 
legiate buildings of the fourteenth century, for the 
Saxon and Norman architecture of the Cathedral 
did not become collegiate until the reign of Henry 
•j VIII. The Merton Library is admitted to be the 
I oldest specimen of mediaeval libraries in England ; 
but perhaps a still greater curiosity is the Merton 
Treasury, or muniment-room. In this antique and 
' fireproof chamber, with its high-pitched roof of solid 
! masonry, the records and title-deeds of the College 
I have been safely guarded for six centuries, with a 
beautifully written and ornamented Catalogue, itself 
,1 six hundred years old, and still in use, of the docu- 
ments then in our possession. There is probably no 
family and no other institution in England which 
possesses such a relic, and I have always felt a certain 
pride in unlocking it to foreigners, especially to 
Americans, in whose native country buildings less 
than two hundred years old, and in the worst style 
of Georgian architecture, pass for being venerable. 
There are other English towns, such as London, York, 


and Chester, far more ancient than Oxford, and many 
of our Castles and Abbeys were built a century or 
inore before Merton was founded ; but there are very 
few corporate bodies, if auy, which have so unbroken 
a history of equal duration, partly based on contem- 
porary lists of Wardens and Fellows regularly kept 
since the reign of Henry V., and partly on a domestic 
chronicle regularly continued since the reign of 
Richard III. 

Of course, these are aspects of College life 
which cannot be explained by local guides to mixed 
parties of holiday-makers patrolling the College in 
summer, and which are only half appreciated by 
many residents ; but I am quite sure that some of 
our visitors from the Continent and our Colonies 
have carried away from Merton deep impressions of 
how the home of an undying corporation may be 
preserved in an old country with the Conservative 
instinct of England. On several occasions, I had the 
pleasure of conducting such visitors over our buildings 
and gardens. In 1894, the College boarded and 
lodged for a week about twenty scientific men, both 
English and foreign, attending the famous meeting 
of the British Association when Lord Salisbury 
presided. They enjoyed themselves thoroughly, 
and their gratitude more than repaid us for any 
trouble incurred on their behalf In 1895, I niyself 
entertained in the College Hall a large party from 
the Geographical Congress then in session, and in 
1897 I entertained a similar party of colonial guests, 
most of whom had come to England for the Queen's 


Jubilee. In both cases I took care to sbow my 
parties a few of the objects best worth seeing in 
Merton and other Colleges, well knowing that no 
other place in Europe, except Cambridge, offers the 
same attractive spectacle of modern Academical life 
in a mediaeval framework. I like to believe that 
among the many hundreds of friends who have kindly 
stayed with me in the Warden's house at Merton, 
not a few have imbibed a new sense of the respect 
due to associations so deeply rooted in the past, so 
fruitful of good in the present, so difl&cult to create, 
and yet so easy to destroy. 

My visit to Peterhouse was but the renewal of a 
very old acquaintance with Cambridge. Indeed, my 
first view of it dates further back than my first view 
of Oxford, and, as I have mentioned, I spent a fort- 
night there in the summer of 1847, three years 
before I went into residence at Oxford. At that time 
my father intended me to be a member of Trinity, 
and only abandoned this intention on my breaking 
down in 1848, when he decided to avoid the risk of 
my overworking myself again in reading for double 
honours, little appreciating my distaste for Mathe- 
matics, and little foreseeing that I should actually 
read for two First Classes at Oxford. During the 
last fifty years, I have constantly revisited Cambridge, 
and been hospitably entertained at King's, Peter- 
house, St. John's, Trinity Hall, and, above all. 
Trinity College, the present master of which, Dr 
Butler, is one of my oldest friends. Until the Ad 
Eundem and Ambarum Clubs were founded for the 


purpose of bringing together young Dons of the two 
Universities, it used to be said that no one was so 
ignorant of Oxford as a Cambridge man, or of Cam- 
bridge as an Oxford man. That was never my case. 
Ever since my early acquaintance with Cambridge, I 
have always recognised it and felt towards it as 
the sister University, never countenancing invidious 
comparisons between it and my own, or doubting its 
claim to complete equality with Oxford in all respects 
but antiquity. Even in this respect I see no reason 
to believe that it was far behind, nor have I yet 
embraced the learned theory of Mr. H. Eashdall, 
that as Oxford was (or must have been) a swarm 
from Paris, so Cambridge was (or must have been) a 
swarm from Oxford. What is certain is that Oxford 
was by far the more eminent University in the Middle 
Ages ; that with the Renaissance and the Reformation 
Cambridge became a formidable rival and perhaps 
took precedence ; that Oxford resumed the lead in 
the seventeenth century until the unique fame of 
Newton brought Cambridge again to the front ; that 
Cambridge more than maintained this position in 
the eighteenth century, and that in the nineteenth 
century there has been a generous competition 
on perfectly even terms between our two older 
Universities. From a foreign point of view, 
indeed, no difference is perceptible, unless it 
be in natural beauties and dignity of surround- 
ings, though it is very difficult to surpass the 
combination of buildings, foliage, and water at 
Cambridge in the Summer Term. Nevertheless, 


there are differences, as Oxford and Cambridge 
men know, which, being characteristic, may be 
worth noticing. 

I will first mention certain points in which I 
should assign the superiority to Cambridge. Though 
it has lately borrowed much from the Oxford system 
of reading the classics mainly for the sake of their 
substance, its studies are still far less speculative, 
and therefore more conducive to docility of mind. 
There is less cultivation of style, which is not an 
unmixed advantage, but there is also more intoler- 
ance of specious rhetoric. Again, there is a greater 
disposition among Cambridge than among Oxford 
students to mind their own business, that of educa- 
tion and learning, rather than to enlighten the world 
on theology and politics. I have always thought it 
creditable and beneficial to Cambridge that it had no 
Cambridge " Movement," and I can sympathise with 
the esprit de corps of an eminent Cambridge wrangler 
who meditated joining the Church of Rome, but drew 
back on being reminded that he would be the first 
man of his order to go over. Hence the Evangelical 
school of thought has been more strongly represented 
at Cambridge ever since the days of Simeon, and the 
strange alliance between Radicalism and Ritualism 
has scarcely reared its baleful head in that University. 
The Cambridge examination system, too, if it be 
somewhat narrower in its scope, seems to me to fulfil 
its ends better, to be more carefully worked, and to 
produce more accurate results. There may be a 
question whether the schools of Natural Science at 


Cambridge set before themselves so high an aim as 
those at Oxford, but no one can deny that in make- 
shift buildings, far less ambitious and infinitely less 
expensive than those at Oxford, a larger number of 
students are extremely well taught. Partly because 
it is less overrun by visitors, but partly also because 
it cherishes old-fashioned traditions of a scholar's 
life, Cambridge retains more simplicity of habits 
than Oxford, and is enviably free from a too modern 
atmosphere of thought and action. 

On the other hand, in my judgment, Cambridge 
has much to learn from Oxford as regards its 
collegiate and tutorial system. Not to speak of 
the other larger Colleges, the mere size of Trinity 
is hopelessly fatal to its social and disciplinary 
unity, constituting it in fact a University within 
a University. But, apart from the disproportion- 
ate size of Trinity and one or two other Colleges, 
the whole idea of tutorial superintendence differs 
materially at the two Universities. For instance, 
a Cambridge undergraduate's bills are supposed to 
be sent in by his tradespeople through his tutor' — a 
degree of surveillance which is not professed at Oxford. 
But then his tutor is not supposed to be the director of 
his studies, and, as I have already said, a parent who 
has already paid tuition-fees discovers that, if his son 
is to be really instructed, he must pay extra fees to a 
coach. An amusing illustration of this is the so-called 
" Long Vacation Term " at Cambridge. Residence 
during the Long Vacation is not recognised at all by 
the University ; neither Professors nor College tutors, 


as such, have anything to do with it ; what is meant by 
the expression is merely that certain eminent coaches 
agree to instruct their pupils at Cambridge during a 
part of the summer, instead of taking them on 
reading-parties, and Colleges facilitate this by letting 
men stay up. But so necessary is coaching that such 
informal arrangements suffice to create a " Long 
Vacation Term." There are other respects in which 
greater laxity and freedom are allowed to students 
under the Cambridge than under the Oxford system. 
For example, it is much easier to obtain leave of 
absence for a night or two during Term-time, and 
permission to give dinner-parties in College rooms ; 
against which, however, may be set the stricter en- 
forcement of rules enjoining the use of Academical 
costume. A curious proof of this came under my 
own notice, when a Unionist meeting, addressed by 
the Duke of Argyll and the Master of Trinity, as 
well as by myself, was disturbed and nearly broken 
up by a rowdy mob of Home Eulers, headed by 
undergraduates in caps and gowns. It may be added 
that Cambridge Colleges are supposed to adopt a 
lower standard of proficiency for the admission of 
freshmen — a supposition which those best acquainted 
with the Oxford standard will be the slowest to 
credit. It is more certain that Cambridge has opened 
its arms wider to welcome medical and other profes- 
sional studies, including that of engineering, but I 
am not prepared to regard this as any degradation of 
the Academical ideal. One of its eflfects has been to 
undermine the exclusive dualism of " classics " and 


"mathematics," which so long distinguished Cam- 
bridge, and made Cambridge men wonder that Oxford 
men had so large a stock of knowledge and interests 
in common. Still less would I indicate as a mark of 
inferiority the comparative narrowness of " society " 
at Cambridge. ^ No doubt, the great influx of non- 
Academical residents has improved Oxford as a social 
centre, but the question remains whether it is well 
for a University town to be an attractive social 
centre, and whether the very fact of its resembling 
London so little is not an important gain on the side 
of Cambridge. 



Reminiscences of statesmen — Mr. Gladstone's first Cabinet — Lord 
Granville, Mr. Lowe, Mr. Cardwell, Mr. John Bright, Mr. Forster, 
Lord Selbome, Mr. Gladstone — Reminiscences of other eminent 
men, John Stuart Mill, Henry Fawcett, Freeman, Froude, Matthew 
Arnold, Huxley, Archbishop Tait, Cardinal Manning, Dean Stanley, 
Sir Andrew Clark — Parliamentary, pulpit, and platform eloquence. 

As a journalist, and a candidate for Parliament, 
mixing freely in London Society for some twenty- 
five years, I was naturally brought into contact with 
many persons who played an important part in the 
politics of the last generation, and was in intimate 
relations with some of them. I shall not, however, 
attempt to add another series of literary portraits to 
so many which have lately appeared, but only to 
record briefly and simply the impression left upon 
me by some of the eminent men whom I have per- 
sonally known. The statesmen of the period before 
the Queen's reign were fast passing away when I 
began to live in London, and I was not in a position 
to meet them in private life. Earl Eussell I knew 
but slightly, and not until after his retirement from 
office, when he was occupying Lord Tennyson's 

house near Haslemere. Lord Palmerston and Lord 



Beaconsfield I never met but once in society — and 
that, strange to say, was in Mr. Gladstone's house — 
on two diflferent evenings. Sir George Grey, having 
been a friend of my father, was very kind to me ; I 
consulted him in difficulties on two occasions, and, 
like all who knew him, I had the highest respect not 
onl)' for his character, but for his capacity and judg- 
ment. Except Sir Robert Peel, and perhaps Sir 
James Graham, he represented better than any one 
of his day the older traditions and dignified manners 
of English statesmanship : when he retired, he never 
thought of keeping himself before the public eye by 
any of the arts now so familiar to us ; and when 
he died, after some years of modest seclusion, the 
general public had long been unconscious of his 
existence. When Mr. Gladstone took office in 
December 1869, his Cabinet was composed of fifteen | 
Ministers, all of whom, except Lord Hatherley and j 
Lord Clarendon, I was fortunate enough to know as 
friends. This was probably the strongest Cabinet, ) 
in respect of intellectual ability, that has ever been | 
constructed in our own times. Six of its members 
were Oxford men of the highest Academical as well 
as Parliamentary distinction ; all the rest were men 
of great political experience and reputation. Five 
of the fifteen are still living — the Dukes of Argyll 
and Devonshire, the Marquis of Ripon, Lord 
Kimberley, and Mr. Goschen, one of my oldest 
personal friends. Of these I will not presume to 
speak, for, though I think a rule De vivis nil nisi 
honum would be quite as reasonable as De mortuis 


nil nisi bonum, I confess that I dislike the modern 
practice of publishing obituary notices of contempor- 
aries during their lifetime. I will, therefore, only 
mention the remarkable power of adaptation shown 
by Mr. Goschen, when he was suddenly transferred 
from the Poor-Law Board, of which he had thoroughly 
mastered the business, to the Admiralty, where he had 
everything to learn. 

My acquaintance with Lord Granville grew up in 
a way very characteristic of him. I had never been 
introduced to him, but I suppose he must have heard 
of me when he began nodding to me in Rotten Row, 
of which both of us were habitues, following it up by 
asking me to dinner, and ending by admitting me to 
his friendship and staying with me at Oxford. His 
was a notable example of a man with no special 
training for politics and with no special love of work, 
yet gifted with such a combination of patrician self- 
possession, genial affability, instinctive tact, and real 
tenacity of purpose, that he was able to fill great 
offices of State with success, and to lead his party 
admirably in the House of Lords, whether in opposi- 
tion or in power. Here the velvet glove almost 
sufficed by itself, and it was hardly ever necessary 
for the iron hand to be felt beneath it. In foreign 
affairs it was otherwise. Perhaps he sometimes mis- 
calculated the efficacy of Parliamentary address in 
applying it to diplomacy in earnest, especially when 
he was playing the diplomatic game against such 
opponents as Gortschakoff and Bismarck, for whom 
he was scarcely a match. Mr. Bruce, afterwards 


Lord Aberdare, had something in common with 
Lord Granville, being the kindliest of men, a man 
of great accomplishments, and an ornament of 
society. He was a worthy pupil of Sir George Grey 
at the Home Office, and, though I doubt whether he 
ever quite enjoyed his work as Home Secretary under 
Mr. Gladstone, he did it manfully and without 
sparing himself. His Licensing Bill was, no doubt, 
a Parliamentary failure, but not owing to any 
intrinsic demerits ; and I believe there are few con- 
versant with the subject who have not come to 
recognise that it was framed on a sound basis, and 
would have gone far to settle one of the most in- 
tractable of domestic questions. It should ever be 
remembered, to Lord Aberdare's honour, that when 
Mr. Gladstone found himself unable to offer him a 
seat in a later Cabinet, under the necessity of im- 
porting new blood, he accepted his retirement with 
admirable temper, and gave his old chief a most 
loyal support from outside. 

Mr. Lowe, afterwards Lord Sherbrooke, was 
probably one of the cleverest men who has entered 
the House of Commons in the last half-century. 
Having been a great scholar and teacher, he loved to 
disparage the value of scholarship, and gave the rein 
to his spontaneous wit in conversation after a fashion 
the very reverse of pedantry or deference to authority. 
No Minister was ever more unguarded, or less in- 
clined to regard discretion as the better part of 
valour in politics, and his offhand proposal of the 
unlucky Match-tax certainly helped to weaken the 


Government. But he was a perfectly honest poli- 
tician, and a genuine man ; one proof of which was 
his close and lifelong friendship with his school| 
fellows, Lord Cardwell and Lord Selborne, than 
whom no two persons could have been found more 
diflferent from him in temperament and character. 
He began his political career in Australia, and was 
always fond of referring to his Australian life. 
Being once forced into a lawsuit with a clever 
solicitor, he was advised by friends to compromise 
the dispute with an opponent likely to prove his 
superior in sharp practice. This advice Lowe in- 
dignantly rejected. "I tell you," he said, "that I've 
been to Botany Bay myself, and I know as many 
scoundrels as he does." His Speeches on Keform in 
1866, since published in a volume, were the most 
brilliant and argumentative series of Parliamentary 
orations delivered in that decade of political history, 
and later experience has verified too many of the 
predictions contained in them. I had occasion to 
study them carefully, as I undertook the arduous 
task of replying to them in another volume entitled 
" Essays on Eeform." I there pointed out, what I 
still hold, that Mr. Lowe had laid undue stress on 
the ignorance, venality, selfishness, and other vices 
of the working-classes, but I now see that I fell into 
an error against which Mr. Lowe had not sufficiently 
warned his readers. I assumed too easily that can- 
didates of the higher class would do their best to 
educate the new constituencies, and, without rising 
altogether superior to party bias, would appeal to 


the better feelings and aspirations of their hearers. 
Mr. Lowe's acquaintance with demagogy in Australia 
had convinced him of the very reverse. He knew 
that men of ability and professing high principles 
would not scruple to flatter the prejudices, pander to 
the passions, and inflame the class antipathies, of 
voters whom they might have educated, for the sake \ 
of winning their support. This is exactly what has j 
occurred, and had I clearly discerned this aspect of the 
question, whUe I should have advocated a moderate 
extension of the franchise on other grounds, I should 
have appreciated more justly the force of Mr. Lowe's 
reasoning. I do not think he ever quite forgave me 
for measuring swords with him in print, haud 
virihus aequis, but a short letter which I received 
from him, after sending him a copy of " Essays on 
Eeform," may be worthy not only of quotation but of 


" 34 Lowndes Square, 

March 15, 1867. 

"Mt dear Brodrick, — "I am much obliged to you 
for your book, and not at all aggrieved by your critique. 
Indeed I ought to feel much flattered that mere speeches 
are thought worth so serious a controversy. Let me point 
out to you, what seems to have been generally overlooked, 
that 'permanence is an element in my idea of good govern- 
ment, and that this disposes of the argument which repre- 
sents my principles as tending to arbitrary power. One of 
the great merits, in my mind, of existing things in England 
is that they offer, if let alone, a guarantee for their 

"I don't know exactly what meaning you attach to 
the word 'Eight.' I mean such a claim as a man may 
assert by force or by the aid of the State without violating 


the Law of the Land. All other uses of the term seem to 
me metaphors, and have this evil, that they imply the 
justification of the individual in giving effect to them, 
making him both Judge and Executioner in his own case. 
But my objection is to a priori reasoning of any kind, not 
merely from rights. You seem to think the way to judge 
whether a measure should be adopted is to look to equality, 
justice, and so on. I think you should rather look to the 
effects such a measure has had in similar cases. Thus, 
for instance, before we adopt the Municipal Franchise we 
ought to inquire how it has worked in Municipal Elections. 
To you, I suppose, that would seem quite superfluous, and 
yet it is the way in which we proceed in all other questions 
except Keform. In page 23 I think you assume incon- 
sistencies which do not exist. Is there anything incon- 
sistent in objecting to a ^7 franchise, and saying that the 
working-man may attain the ;^io if he will ? Or that 
people now indifferent to the Franchise may, when they 
have it, use it ill ? Or that property may be swamped by 
the votes of millionaires who bribe and eke out their 
bribery by all kinds of humiliating pledges, just as you 
see Irish Landlords ready for the sake of a seat in Parlia- 
ment to advocate measures going directly to the destruction 
of their own class ? 

" Pray excuse these rough notes, which will show you 
at any rate that I have read your essay. 
" Believe me always, 

" Very truly yours, 

" K. Lowe." 

When Household Suffrage was proposed by the 
Conservative Government in the following year, Mr. 
Lowe vigorously opposed it, but with far less effect. 
On my noticing this contrast in conversation vpith 
Mr. Gladstone, he replied, " Do you suppose it is as 
easy to turn against the stream as to swim with it ? " 


Mr. Cardwell, as I have already said, belonged 
to an entirely opposite type. If ever there was 
a Peelite, he was one, inheriting both Peel's caution 
and Peel's readiness to carry out the will of " the 
country," once ascertained and declared. His dis- 
trust of democracy was as great as Lowe's, and 
I remember his ridiculing, in 1866, the existence 
of a real popular demand for Reform ; but he voted 
steadily for it, and, when it was carried, he well 
knew how to address large bodies of his new house- 
holding constituents in the City of Oxford, which 
he long represented. It may be remembered that 
W. M. Thackeray was once brought forward in 
opposition to him at a bye-election, but was easily 
defeated, after discovering his own incapacity of 
public speaking. Cardwell told me himself that, 
soon after Thackeray's first visit to Oxford, he fell 
in with him at the Athenaeum Club, when Thackeray 
remarked : " Well, Cardwell, you know that I have 
been down among your d — d constituents. Of 
course, I did not expect that all of them would 
have read my novels, but I certainly did expect that 
most of them would have heard of me ; instead of 
which, I found that the question on every one's lips 
was — ' Who the devil is Thackeray ? ' " Without 
being a powerful speaker, Cardwell stated a ease 
with admirable clearness ; and without having the 
aggressive dash which is prized in Opposition, he 
was an excellent debater, and a tower of strength to 
his party in office. But he knew the limits of his 
own powers, and I more than suspect that, in accept- 


ing a peerage on Mr. Gladstone's retirement in 1874, 
one of his chief motives was the desire to escape 
all risk of the leadership in the Commons being 
pressed upon him. For there was little or no love 
of fight in him, or, as he once said to me, in reference 
to one of Gladstone's fiery outbursts — " I suppose 
we do not all know what it is to have a volcano 
in one's breast." His true forte lay in the work of 
administration. He was the very model of an able 
and conscientious public servant, leaving a reputation 
second to none both at the Colonial Office and at 
the War Ofiice, where his decisive action in the 
abolition of the Purchase-system astonished those 
who mistook his prudence for timidity. 

During the period of his rule at the Colonial Office, 
and especially during the crisis of the Jamaica affair, 
on which I was constantly engaged as a journalist, 
I was in confidential intercourse with him, and had 
many opportunities of knowing what was passing 
behind the official scenes. The course which he 
took from the first seemed to me singularly judicious, 
and I was particularly struck by his prompt recog- 
nition of the essential fact that before a certain 
date nearly all the acts of the Jamaica government 
were excusable, if not justifiable, but that after that 
date its policy in setting up a reign of terror, by way 
of giving the negroes a lesson never to be forgotten, 
was absolutely and wholly indefensible. While, 
however, he felt it his duty to issue a Commission, 
and ultimately to supersede Governor Eyre, a single 
passage from one of his letters to me suffices to show 


that he was fully capable of appreciating the other 
side. " It appears to me that the public is now- 
beginning to remember that white people, and loyal 
people, are entitled to some sympathy, as well as 
rebel negroes, and that the events which occurred 
in Jamaica between Wednesday 1 1 th and Sunday 
15th urgently required to be repressed by the 
most vigorous measures." The gradual decay of his 
faculties which preceded his death, as it did that 
of his old friend Lowe, was a peculiarly severe trial 
for him, but he bore it patiently and with a quiet 
dignity natural to him. 

I never knew John Bright personally until his 
time of storm and stress was over, and he had long 
ceased to be the fierce tribune of the people. The 
only two speeches which I heard him deliver were 
at the close of the American War, and, though fine, 
were not among his greatest. It has often been 
denied that he made careful preparation for his 
speeches, the very form of which is a conclusive 
proof that he did so ; but I can only bear witness 
that I saw him deliberately use notes covering eight 
or ten pages of note-paper for a speech in St. James's 
Hall occupying less than half an hour. He would | 
have been the last to compare himself with Gladstone i 
in range of knowledge and dialectical resource, but, , 
notwithstanding his lack of scholarly training, his I 
best orations were superior to Gladstone's as com- 
positions, and rang truer on a critical ear, if they 
were read aloud. Whatever may have been his 
rhetorical method, he stood almost alone in the 


political world as a master of simple but lofty 

eloquence, enhanced by 

"that great voice which, rising, brought 
Eed wrath to faces pale with thought. 
And, falUng, fell with showers of tears." 

When he came to visit me at Oxford, in 1884, I 
reminded him that he had described the University 
as " that home of dead languages and undying pre- 
judices," upon which he volunteered something very 
like a recantation. No one could be pleasanter or 
less exacting as a guest ; he enjoyed being shown 
the historical sights of Oxford, consorted most ami- 
cably with Dons, attended our College Chapel, and 
gave our house-party a short resume of "Joshua 
Davidson " (which he greatly admired), with so much 
fervour and pathos as to reveal the secret of his 
influence over large audiences. I was much gratified 
by his assurance that he had twice read through my 
volume, " English Land and English Landlords," 
adding, with genuine modesty, that he never could 
understand the process of composing a solid book of 
that kind. 

A year or two later, when an honorary D.C.L. 
degree was to be conferred upon him, he stayed 
with Dr. Tylor. I have understood that he feared 
lest a neat and appropriate speech in reply should 
be expected of him, and was much relieved to 
hear that it would be quite out of order. On the 
other hand, some people absurdly fancied that he 
might object to donning the scarlet gown of a D.C.L. 
as something between a Court costume and a military 


uniform — both equally repulsive to him. Instead of 
which, he was said to have been so pleased with his 
gorgeous robe, when he was once in it, that it was 
not easy to get him out of it. 

No doubt many critics, and especially those pro- 
voked by his stout opposition to Home Eule, profess to 
be shocked by the alleged inconsistency between his 
earlier and later career. I see no such inconsistency, 
except what may fairly be explained by the enlarge- 
ment of his experience. Broad as his sympathies 
always were, he was brought up in a narrow school of 
politics and religious thought. For instance, he was 
never tired of denouncing the landed aristocracy and 
clergy of the Established Church as bitter enemies of 
enlightenment and progress. When he came to know 
them better, he found that with some faults of their re- 
spective classes they combined virtues not so common 
in the millowners and Nonconformists among whom 
he moved, and had the candour to own his mistake. 
His attitude to Home Eule was simply that of an 
honest man deceived by a section of his colleagues, 
and suddenly urged by his chief to adopt a policy 
which the whole Liberal Party had been solemnly 
repudiating, in alliance with men whom he regarded, 
and did not scruple to describe, as "rebels." Very 
soon after Mr. Gladstone thus sprung Home Eule 
upon the country, I ventured, under great pressure 
from Unionist friends, to ask Mr. Bright whether he 
would accept an invitation to address the Palmerston 
Club. His reply seems to me characteristic enough 
to be preserved. 


"Reform Club, Pall Mall, S.W., 
March 9, 1886. 

"My dear Me. Brodrick, — Your two letters have 
reached me. 

" I shall have to ask your friends to excuse me if I am 
unable to accept their proposed invitation. I am very 
weary of speaking, and just now there is so much con- 
fusion that I seem to feel as if not wisdom only but safety 
is to be found in silence. The name of the Palmerston 
Club rather amuses me — it is strange that its members 
should think of my being a guest at one of its meetings. 
I have just been reading Mr. Greville's Memoirs. His 
account of Lord Palmerston is something very scandalous 
and very shocking ; but I believe he says no more than 
is true. I believe him to have been the worst Foreign 
Minister that we have seen in our time, and that his 
Policy generally was a continued crime against the real 
interests of his country and against the peace of Europe. 

" It may be that his name is but a name for the Club, 
and that his Policy is forgotten, or, if remembered, only to 
be condemned. 

"I have quitted the platform, and no longer feel the 
warm interest that is required to make me speak. 

" Age comes on apace, and with it brings weariness and 
desire for rest. I consider myself no longer an actor, and, 
as a spectator, far less deeply or hotly interested than in 
past times and in now settled questions. It is not neces- 
sary that you should say to your friends all I have written. 
You will thank them for me for their friendly notice and 
remembrance of me. 

" I thank you for your suggestion that I should spend 

another Sunday at your house. I remember my former 

visit with much pleasure. — Always sincerely yours, 

" John Bright. 
" Honble. Geo. C. Brodeick." 

In the last conversation which I had with Mr. 
Gladstone, though I was studiously reticent on 


politics, he went so far as to deplore Bright's recent 
aberrations, as he called them, which, he thought, 
might be partly due to a feeling of resentment, on 
Bright's part, against the ingratitude shown him by 
Irish Nationalists — a remark to which I made no 
reply. However this may be, Bright's convictions 
on the subject of Home Rule assuredly lay very deep, 
and were never shaken, though his growing sense 
of failing powers disabled him from pleading the 
Unionist cause, with his old vigour, on the platform. 
This sense of weakness finds expression in the letter 
which I have quoted, and in another letter, dated 
December 6, 1887, he speaks yet more emphatically 
of his own failing powers : " I am forced to resist 
invitations to meetings and dinners, and to content 
myself with writing a letter now and then on the 
great disturbing question. I find myself much older 
during this year, and 1 cannot afford to disregard 
the warnings which gathering years impress upon 
the mind." 

Neither Mr. Chichester Fortescue, afterwards 
Lord Carlingford, nor Mr. Hugh Childers, struck me 
as men of quite the same calibre as those of their 
colleagues whom I have specially named. Never- 
theless, they were both extremely capable men, 
and left their mark on the Departments over which 
they presided. Without being a born Irishman, Mr. 
Fortescue knew more of Ireland before taking office 
than any Chief Secretary who has succeeded him. 
He was for governing Ireland according to Irish ideas, 
but upon strictly Unionist principles, and under 


strictly Imperial control. It was he who inspired, 
if he did not actually frame with legal advice, the 
Irish Land Act of 1870, a measure which, though not 
without blemishes, was a perfect model of far-sighted 
legislation, as compared with the eminently unjust 
and unstatesmanlike Act of 1881. This was his 
one important contribution to Irish reform, but he 
was always understood to favour the educational 
claims of the Irish Catholics, when the very idea of 
" concurrent endowment " was scouted by Liberals. 
He was not, however, a man to force his own views 
on a Cabinet or on his party, being too fastidious 
and scrupulous in mind for the rough work of poli- 
tics, if his physical and moral stamina had been 
equal to it. Perhaps, too, he was too much the 
husband of Frances, Countess of Waldegrave, to be 
estimated as he deserved for his own ability, and, 
soon after her death, being himself in failing health, 
he practically retired from public life. Mr. Childers's 
strong and weak points were very different. He 
was essentially a man of business, and for this 
reason was valued most highly by Gladstone, who 
always seemed to be attracted by men with more 
pretence to knowledge of the world than himself. 
I do not presume to criticise the merit of his 
administrative reforms at the Admiralty and the 
War Office, but my own belief is that he was some- 
what out of his element at both ; that his proper 
sphere of action was at the Treasury, and that he 
was rather a financier than a statesman or adminis- 
trator in the highest sense. At the same time, his 

MR. W. E. FORSTER 233 

air of self-confidence and robust appearance con- 
cealed a gentleness of nature and variety of culture 
which revealed itself in private life. 

Almost the same may be said of Mr. W. E. Forster, 
who was not an original member of Gladstone's first 
Cabinet, but filled a leading place in the Government 
as Vice-President of the Education Department, and 
was so well known as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 
Gladstone's second Cabinet. Forster was a sturdy 
Yorkshireman, of stalwart build, and simple Quaker 
manners which sometimes verged upon rudeness, but 
with a warm heart, a truly religious character, and 
a single-minded zeal for the public good. Having 
long been known as a man of exceptional energy in 
his own county, he came into notice in the House 
of Commons as a staunch adherent of the Unionist 
cause during the American Civil War, and then 
passed for a thorough-going Eadical. As Minister 
of Education, however, he showed an unexpected 
capacity of conciliating opponents, and (it must be 
added) of irritating extremists on his own side 
of the House. The fact is that he was determined 
to carry a comprehensive Education Act, and that he 
measured both the forces wielded by the champions 
of Voluntary Schools, and the services which they 
were capable of rendering to a National system of 
Education, more justly than most of his implacable 
critics. I remember his saying (before the Fenian 
convicts were released) that Gladstone and himself 
were both hampered in their legislative efibrts by 
the action of their extreme Left Wing, but he added, 


with a sly look, " Gladstone has this advantage over 
me, that many of his Extreme Left are in prison." 
In his Irish policy, he laboured under the fatal 
delusion, shared by other Liberal optimists ignorant 
of Irish history, that large doses of remedial legis- 
lation, as prescribed by well-meaning English states- 
men, would suffice to cure the unrest, discontent, 
and love of anarchy, which have been the curse of 
Ireland for so many centuries. The inevitable 
failure of this treatment shocked and distressed 
him ; he knew too much of the country to adopt 
Bright's reckless dictum that " force is no remedy," 
but the method of applying force under the Coercion 
Act on which he relied proved almost abortive, and 
the "Kilmainham Treaty" closed his Irish Adminis- 
tration. While less than justice has been done to 
Forster in regard to some others of his public acts, 
more than justice has been done to him in regard 
to this untoward transaction. Unhappily, it is not 
the fact that he indignantly rejected the proposal to 
enter into any negotiations with Parnell, then in 
Kilmainham jail. On the contrary, these negotia- 
tions were expressly sanctioned by him, and he 
broke away from the Government, not because they 
ended in an agreement, fairly described as a Treaty, 
but rather because this unworthy Treaty was not 
sufficiently formal and effective. Meanwhile, he 
was perfectly unconscious of the murderous con- 
spiracy which dogged his footsteps daily, and I have 
myself taken a walk of some length with him in 
the Phoenix Park, after dark, unarmed, and with- 


out escort or attendance, at a time when, as it 
was afterwards shown by evidence, assassins were 
constantly lying in wait for him. 

Lord Selborne, as is well known, did not enter 
Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet until after the settlement of 
the Irish Church question. His admirable character 
and unblemished career are faithfully portrayed in 
his Memoirs. His extraordinary success at the Bar, 
and his conscientious distribution of judicial patron- 
age, will long be remembered by his own profession. 
His transcendent powers of work almost amounted to 
genius, and as they have probably never been equalled 
by any lawyer of our own day who remained in 
practice for an equal time, I could wish that more 
instances of his dialectical resource and physical 
endurance had been recorded in the materials which 
he left for publication. He was said to be rather 
supercilious in his consultations with juniors, and 
his bearing on two Commissions of which I was a 
member enables me to understand this complaint, 
but I have reason to speak gratefully of his kindness 
and consideration during thirty or forty years of 
private friendship. 

My knowledge of Mr. Gladstone himself dated 
from his visit to Oxford in 1855, when he took kindly 
notice of my Prize Essay on Eepresentative Govern- 
ment. In 1859, I was one of three Secretaries of his 
London Committee during his contest for the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, and, owing to my two co-secretaries 
being more or less disabled, I had to pull the labour- 
ing oar on the Committee for some days together. 


Again, in 1865, I rendered as much service on his 
Committee as my journalistic duties allowed. In 
these and other ways I came into frequent contact 
with him ; he was fully cognisant of my Parliamentary 
ambition, and he did me the honour to give me a 
general invitation to his Thursday morning break- 
fasts — a privilege of which I availed myself yearly 
for many years. These breakfasts were an institution 
of long standing, and took place on Thursdays after 
Easter during the rest of the Session. Besides Mr. 
Gladstone's own family, there were probably one or 
two old friends who might come in without notice, 
other guests were specially invited for the occasion, 
but younger men like myself who had the entree 
wrote beforehand to ascertain which Thursday would 
best suit his convenience. The party was almost 
always a mixed one, and there was no visible attempt 
to harmonise its elements, yet it always seemed to 
be well assorted, and Mr. Gladstone could hardly be 
seen to better advantage. It was impossible not to 
treat so illustrious a man without a certain deference, 
but he never exacted it, and though all were naturally 
anxious to draw him out in talk, I never observed in 
him the least tendency to monopolise conversation. 
On the contrary, he eagerly took up any topic started 
by others, showed a courteous respect for differences 
of opinion, and accepted the rule of " give and take " 
in discussion, as if unconscious of any superiority. 

It happened that more than once, when I break- 
fasted with him, a political crisis was impending 
which might well have engrossed his mind, but he 


betrayed no sign of care or anxiety ; and lie was 
equally cheerful and natural when I rode with him 
in the Park just before one of his Budget speeches, 
about which he talked without much reserve. I think 
it was on this occasion that he spoke of Sir Eobert 
Peel as having never quite shaken off the fear of a 
Protectionist reaction, or definitely pledged himself 
not to resume office. It has often been said that he 
was deficient in the sense of humour, and it must be 
admitted that he sometimes missed fire in sallies 
intended to be humorous, and sometimes failed to 
catch the humours of his audience. But he certainly 
was not incapable of seeing himself as others saw 
him ; on the contrary, he keenly entered into the 
spirit of the random attacks to which he was always 
exposed. He may have enjoyed being treated as a 
demigod, but he could laugh heartily at being treated 
as a lion ; and he once told me, with a full sense of 
its comical aspect, that he had received an invitation 
from an eminent American to visit the United States 
upon a guarantee of £250 a night. 

What he may have been in official relations I 
have no means of judging, but I shall always bear 
witness that in his own house I found him entirely 
free from " donnishness," never overbearing, and far 
more genial in his intercourse with myself than two 
or three of his less eminent colleagues, whom I knew 
more intimately. I was equally struck with this 
characteristic when he kindly came to call upon me 
during his visit to Oxford en garqon in 1891, and 
when I went to call upon him at Hawarden the year 


but one before his death. He was, of course, well 
aware that I had most strongly condemned his Irish 
policy, and had long ceased to be one of his followers ; 
but his manner was as cordial as ever, and he talked 
as freely about matters of common interest — not ex- 
cluding politics altogether — as if no such gulf yawned 
between us. Since he has been popularly canonised, all 
the world professes the same absolute confidence in the 
goodness of his private character which I, for one, 
never lost or disguised ; but I cannot forget that, in 
past times, even this was sometimes made the sport 
of malicious gossip by men who now adulate his 

My estimate of his public character is essentially 
the same as that lately published by Mr. Lecky, as 
well as that embodied in Lord Selborne's Memoirs, 
and this is not the place to justify it. I may, how- 
ever, say that, with the fullest appreciation of his 
marvellous gifts, I had never for a moment looked 
up to him as a sound Liberal or a far-sighted states- 
man. In short, I never was a Gladstonian. I had 
myself adopted the Liberal creed under other auspices, 
in 1852 ; and from the moment that he joined the 
Liberal camp, as a somewhat intractable recruit, in 
1853, I was often out of sympathy with his political 
conduct, and still more often with the reasons by 
which he defended it. For instance, having stoutly 
opposed the University Test Bill, he once took me 
aside after a breakfast-party, and asked me how far 
the Oxford Reformers were determined to go. I told 
him that we only desired all degrees (except in 


Theology) and all such Academical emoluments as 
Fellowships or Scholarships, to be thrown open to 
students without distinction of creed. His reply 
was : " Well, I admit that some day you will get it, 
but we shall all be cold in our graves before you do." 
When his own Government, within a very few years, 
carried a measure conceding, in effect, all that had 
been demanded, I was enabled to measure the value 
of his political sagacity. Still, in common with all 
Liberals, I accepted him as a necessary leader of the 
Liberal Party, and when he was known to intend 
retiring from that position at the end of 1874, 1 
complied with a request that I would draw up a 
memorial, afterwards signed by many Liberal members 
of Parliament, begging him to reconsider his decision. 
But, if I had ever felt any confidence in his judgment 
or true statesmanship, it would have been finally 
shattered by his passionate and one-sided agitation 
on the so-called Bulgarian atrocities. To invoke a 
plebiscite on a most difficult and complicated question 
of foreign policy — to consult, as an oracle, great mass- 
meetings of people who could not have pointed to 
Bulgaria on the map, and were childishly ignorant 
of its history and condition — to parade before Europe 
(including Kussia) the resolutions passed by these 
meetings at the dictation of wire-pullers, as if they 
were the deliberate conclusions of the national intel- 
ligence and conscience — to repudiate with scorn any 
treaty rights pleaded by Turkey, yet to insist with the 
implacable hate of Shylock on any treaty rights urged I 
against Turkey — all this seemed to me so appalling] 


an exhibition of unwisdom and injustice that, having 
always mistrusted Gladstone as a guide, I ceased 
thenceforth to regard him even as my leader. 

I was, therefore, less surprised than many 
Liberals when he suddenly turned round on his 
former declarations, and announced his conversion 
to Home Eule. The motive of this conversion was 
self-evident, but I must say, in fairness to him, 
that I believe his mind had been long tending in 
the direction of Home Rule, as that of Sir Robert 
Peel had been long gravitating towards a Repeal 
of the Corn Laws. He never met the Home Rule 
motions of Mr. Butt with a direct refusal to dis- 
member the United Kingdom, but only with a protest 
against being asked to accept so wide-reaching a 
principle without having seen it embodied in a 
working scheme. One slight incident confirmed my 
suspicion that he was beginning to harbour the 
idea in the summer of 1885, when I was starting 
for a voyage to the Norwegian Fiords. On hearing 
that I was bound for Norway, Gladstone earnestly 
counselled me to make a careful study of the 
constitutional union of that country with Sweden, 
already more or less shaken, and I could not but 
see that he was himself meditating on this favourite 
(but very unfortunate) example of Home Rule, on 
which he and others afterwards laid so much stress. 
I had very few opportunities, however, of talking 
politics with him, and, when I did so, I was favour- 
ably impressed by his candour. Thus, I once 
ventured to draw him out on the famous letter in 


which he declared the destruction of the Irish 
Church to be outside the sphere of practical politics, 
when his seat at Oxford was in danger, and only 
three years before he led a crusade against that 
Church as established by law. Instead of seeking 
to evade responsibility for his own words, he quoted 
another emphatic declaration of his to the same 
purpose, but minimised its effect by assuring me 
that he then regarded the question as one reserved 
for a somewhat remote future. He did not explain 
who, or what, had forced it into immediate and 
exclusive prominence. 

Again, in 1874, when I was about to write a 
pamphlet entitled " Five Years of Liberal Policy 
and Conservative Opposition," I had a long con- 
versation with him, in which I sought to elicit the 
general plan of campaign which he proposed to 
himself on taking office at the end of 1868. My 
own notion had been that, finding many arrears of 
legislation awaiting him, after a long period of 
comparative inaction, he had consciously mapped 
out a series of reforms, beginning with the abolition 
of the Irish Church, to be accomplished, in due 
order, during his term of administration. This 
notion he entirely dispelled, stating frankly that 
he came in to disestablish the Irish Church, without 
any very definite conception of further measures 
to be introduced, but had utilised his surplus of 
Parliamentary energy for the Irish Land Bill, the 
Education Bill, and other legislative tasks. In 
criticising the conduct of the Opposition, as in 



some cases unpatriotic, he recalled the fact of 
having been himself rebuked by Sir Eobert Peel 
for voting with O'Connell on some trifling issue 
raised to damage the Whigs. This kind of liaison 
Peel condemned as inconsistent with the higher 
traditions of English politics — little foreseeing on 
how grand a scale it would be repeated by the very 
statesman who then bowed to his admonitions. 
During the same interview, Gladstone specially 
charged me to acknowledge the patriotic attitude 
of Disraeli on the relations of Great Britain with 
the United States, and, on reading my pamphlet, 
gave me credit for having done so, apparently 
forgetting that it was his own suggestion. The 
letter which I received from him on this occasion 
is a good specimen of his ordinary conversation 
on the new Conservatism. 

"21 Carlton House Terrace, S.W., 
July 23, 1874. 

" My dear Mr. Brodrick, 

" I received your pamphlet this morning, and 
I must lose no time in thanking you for it. There was 
certainly a great gap : you have completely filled it by a 
masterly performance. I am truly sorry to say that, in 
my judgment, much the most needful, much the most 
valuable part of it (though all was needful and all valuable), 
is the section from p. 3 1 to the end. Nothing in the re- 
cent services of Liberalism is, in my judgment, comparable, 
as to importance, with the demoralisation now naturalised 
in Parhament by the Conservative Oppositions of the last 
twenty-five years. It wiU be long before the results are 

" I, who lived and worked under Peel, have groaned 


from week to week at the unseen, unfelt degradation of 
a great party, as well as the mischief thereby inflicted on 
the public interests. I can see now, on looking back on 
the old Conservative Opposition, honest errors of opinion, 
but no cause for shame. These disclosures are sad ; sores 
of such a kind it is painful to lay bare, and this the most 
painful part of your task is, I must again say, the most 
valuable. I am truly glad that the grand exception, Mr. 
Disraeli's conduct in the American question, did not 
escape you. — Yours sincerely, 

" W. E. Gladstone." 

I do not remember his mentioning Disraeli in 
my presence on any other occasion, except once, 
when he spoke of him as the most remarkable 
Parliamentary phenomenon since the younger Pitt. 
Nor did I ever hear him indulge in bitter outbreaks 
against any of his opponents ; indeed, if I judged 
from my own observation, I should describe Glad- 
stone as much less impulsive than he was usually 
represented. Excitable he certainly was, to all 
appearance, but there was a great deal of method 
in his excitement, and I see no reason to suppose 
that it sprung from a peculiarly sensitive tempera- 
ment. On the contrary, I believe that few public 
men have ever possessed a tougher nervous fibre, 
or cultivated more perfect self-command, and I 
have always recognised his success in organising and 
disciplining his own powers of intellect and of 
character as one of his signal virtues, and as one 
chief secret of his greatness. Nor was he less 
careful and successful in managing his physical 
health. Judging from his somewhat pallid com- 


plexion and the deep lines upon his noble counte- 
nance, most people fancied that he was a delicate 
man, whereas he was a man of great natural 
strength, which he skilfully trained and husbanded. 
In youth he was remarkable as a walker, and, when 
he was past middle age, he made an expedition on 
foot in Scotland which a young sportsman might 
well have regarded as a tour de force. At one 
time he used to ride frequently, at another time 
he would row, and during his later years, until old 
age fairly disabled him, he regularly practised the 
felling of trees as an athletic exercise. He once 
told me that he regarded this as a very trying 
exercise for a man with any weakness of the heart ', 
and on another occasion, not long before his death, 
he mentioned incidentally that, until his eyesight 
failed, he had placed all, or nearly all, the books in 
St. Deiniol's Library on their shelves with his own 
hands. So unsparing was he of his own labour in 
everything small or great. 

There was a time when I thought that most of 
\ the inconsistencies and aberrations of his career might 
; be explained by a strange dualism in his nature, 
' resulting from the rare alliance of a simple character 
■ with a subtle and sophistical intellect. Perhaps, 
as I look back over the last period of his life, I am 
more impressed by the latter than by the former 
attribute ; still, however tortuous may have been 
the mazes of his mind, and, however indefensible 
many of his actions, I cannot think of him other- 
wise than as a true-hearted man, nor should I 


strongly protest against the application to him of 
the lines quoted to me by one of his admirers — 

" The loftiest spirits in their wildest motion 
Dip to their anchors deep beneath the ocean." 

I cannot, however, share Mr. Lecky's extremely 
high estimate of his eloquence, supported though it 
is by general acclamation. It is true I never heard 
him at his best in the House of Commons, as, for 
instance, in one of his great replies, but I was dis- 
appointed by his expository speeches in introducing 
the Eeform Bill of 1866, the Irish Land Bill of 1870, 
and the Irish University Bill of 1873. ^^ ^^^ whole, 
I consider his speech against the Divorce Bill the 
finest of those which I heard him deliver, and 
very few of his speeches which I have read seemed 
to me to reach so high a level of oratory. No one 
else could have poured forth such torrents of rhetoric 
as he did in the agitation against the Bulgarian 
atrocities or in his Midlothian campaigns ; but not 
one of those impetuous speeches, flung oflf at a white 
heat, would bear studying as a model of eloquence. 
To me he was a great dialectician rather than a great 
orator, marvellously skilful in reply, but seldom 
moving either my judgment or my feelings, partly 
because he so often failed (as I thought) to see a 
subject in its true proportions, and partly because 
the sentiments which most came home to him so 
often met with little response in me. But I admit 
that he will be immortalised as a great orator by a 
verdict of public opinion, against which there is 


no appeal. This verdict mainly rests on platform 

speeches made during the last half of his political 

life. Until the death of Lord Palmerston, in 1865, 

Gladstone was scarcely known as a popular speaker, 

'■ much less as a demagogue, though he had long been 

: admired as a Parliamentary debater of the very first 

j order. It was his defeat at Oxford in that year, the 

! Reform movement of 1866-67, and the attack on the 

j Irish Church in 1868, which revealed his capacity 

1 for swaying great audiences, and his love of demo- 

; cratic applause. 

Whether the services which he rendered to his 
country in the earlier part of his life outweighed 
the irreparable injury which he wrought in the 
later part of it, is a question on which I forbear to 
enter. What is certain is that, whether or not he 
was a great statesman, he was by far the greatest 
member of Parliament in our national history, and 
that, whatever the quality of his work, its quantity 
' far surpassed that produced by any one of his con- 
temporaries. Whether for good or evil, the silent 
influence of his towering personality and example has 
impressed itself deeply on the rising generation, and 
even the few pre-Gladstonian Liberals who followed 
Gladstone in 1886 must be conscious of a wide differ- 
ence in sentiment between themselves and those for 
whom Gladstone was the author of their political 

It might be supposed that, having written so 
much for the Press, I must needs have lived much 
in literary circles, and stored up many personal 


anecdotes of literary men. This, however, is not 
the fact. I worked, for the most part, alone ; my 
own productions were political rather than literary ; 
I never sought admission to select clubs or coteries 
frequented by litterateurs; while a certain indepen- 
dence of character, perhaps carried to excess, has 
always prevented me from making advances to 
"celebrities" in conversation, and noting down their 
flashes of wit. Still, no one with literary tastes can 
have moved for many years in general society, or en- 
joyed the privileges of friendship with eminent men 
of letters, without carrying away a few reminiscences 
of more or less interest. And here, perhaps, I ought 
to say that I have never known any one to whom 
I could attribute "genius," if by "genius" is meant 
an intellectual power of a different order from that 
bestowed on other men. I see no reason to believe 
that differences of intellectual stature are greater 
than differences of physical stature, and, so far as I 
have observed, the main superiority of a man like 
Gladstone over his fellows consists in the combina- 
tion of several qualities, not in themselves excep- 
tional, and the energy of will displayed in the use 
of them. Probably John Stuart Mill was one of the 
ablest men that I have known, and, if his memories 
of early boyhood can be trusted, his precocity must 
have nearly approached to genius. What chiefly struck 
me in him was not so much any special brilliancy as 
his calm earnestness, his masterly facility in moving 
from subject to subject, his conscientious way of 
measuring his words, and his respectful attention to 


what others might say — a quality which he shared 
with " George Eliot." He was in the chair when 
Mr. Goldwin Smith delivered a lecture at Manchester 
on the period of the French Eevolution, and con- 
demned its leaders in very sweeping terms, against 
which Mill felt himself bound to protest, in replying 
to a vote of thanks, and, in so doing, he showed a 
range of historical knowledge which astonished the 
audience. It is well known that, after the Hyde 
Park Eiots, when there was a serious risk of organ- 
ised violence on a much larger scale, it was Mill's 
earnest and moderate counsels which averted it ; and 
though his sympathies were altogether with the 
popular demonstration, he said, in my presence, that 
had it been carried to a certain point, it would have 
been quite justifiable to fire on the people. On a far 
less important occasion, I myself had a proof of his 
thoughtful consideration, when I had been addressing 
an impatient audience under great difficulties and with 
little success ; for Mill promptly came forward and 
thanked me for my speech. His election for West- 
minster in 1865 was an almost unique instance of a 
candidate being taken on trust by a popular con- 
stituency on the strength of his intellectual reputa- 
tion. Of course, it is often stated that he was a 
" failure in the House," but Mr. Gladstone's testi- 
mony to the contrary is conclusive. Considering 
that he had no rhetorical gift whatever, that he 
entered Parliament as an elderly man, that he never 
studied to please the House in the smallest degree, 
and that he remained in it for three or four years 


only, the wonder is that he struck out a new line in I 
several memorable debates, and was always heard i 
with respect. 

Partly owing to my father's position in the 
Church, and partly to accidental circumstances, I 
came to know personally many great ecclesiastics 
of the Queen's reign, including all the Archbishops 
of Canterbury since Archbishop Howley. Amon g 
these, I should not hesitate to place Archbishop 
Tait first, as a statesman. It was he who proposed 
to Dean Tremantle (then his chaplain) and myself 
the publication of the "Ecclesiastical Judgments 
of the Privy Council," with a view of showing how 
wisely that maligned tribunal had ever held the 
balance even between extreme opinions on either 
side, always leaning in the direction of liberty. 
For, as the Archbishop often said, had they decided 
otherwise in the Gorham case, the Denison case, and 
the case of Essays and Reviews, the result might 
have been three secessions, carrying away many 
of the most zealous clergymen in the Church of 
England, and leaving nothing but a high and dry 
residuum, hardly worth preservation. What he 
would have thought of the present crisis it is need- 
less to inquire, but it is worth remembering that 
Bishop Philpotts of Exeter (whom I have met in Mr. ' 
Gladstone's house), being the foremost champion of i'; 
High Church doctrines, was strongly opposed to \ 
Ritualistic practices. I can recollect Bishop Magee 
(afterwards Archbishop of York) in all the stages 
of his remarkable career. He began as a curate 


at Bath, first became famous as a preacher at the 
Octagon Chapel in Bath, and thenceforth was marked 
out for rapid promotion. Though I often met him, 
and received him in my own house when he came 
to preach at Oxford, I scarcely realised how clever 
or how imprudent he was until I read his published 
Letters, in which so little reticence is observed. He 
was certainly one of the best speakers that I ever 
heard, having cultivated to perfection the art of 
preparing ideas and sentences exactly suitable to 
oral delivery, and of delivering the matter thus 
prepared exactly as if it was rising spontaneously to 
his lips. 

I think Bishop (Samuel) Wilberforce, whom I 
knew less intimately, was a greater orator by nature, 
and equal, if not superior, to Gladstone himself in 
speaking impromptu with effect ; but his sermons 
were not reasoned out as closely as Magee's. Another 
great Churchman, whose acquaintance I made in 
the later part of his life, was Cardinal Manning. 
He was for a short time a Fellow of Merton, and 
1 was rather startled one day when he was ushered 
into my room together with Jowett, the Master of 
Balliol, whom in earlier years he might have will- 
ingly consigned to the stake. I always found him 
, most courteous and friendly ; but I cannot say that I 
was surprised by the disclosure of his inconsistencies 
contained in his Memoirs. Indeed, when he lent his 
authority to Socialistic demands, doubtless in the 
interest of his Church, I could not reconcile his 
action with the language which he used to me, in 


asking me to send him two anti- Socialistic articles of 
my own which had lately appeared in the Nine- 
teenth Century. His reply acknowledging them con- 
tained the following mysterious phrase : " Socialism 
is to social laws what Rationalism is to reason — a 
disease, and a morbid growth." 

Like all his friends — and few men had more — I 
was greatly attracted by the simple and beautiful 
character of Dean Stanley ; and I often blame myself 
for not having more fully used my opportunities 
of intercourse with him. Our acquaintance, which 
had begun earlier, was revived by my review of his 
" Sinai and Palestine," for which he often expressed 
gratitude, as if the book had really needed any such 
recommendation. Fearless and chivalrous as he was 
in the maintenance of his convictions, and still more 
in defence of his friends, Stanley had true humility, 
and would speak of himself with a charming naivetS. 
Huxley once asked him in my presence whether 
he knew and could say off the multiplication table. 
(Stanley at once admitted that he could not, explain- 
ing that he had formerly learned it, but had forgotten 
it. He was as pleased as a child at having delivered 
a more elaborate speech in Convocation than he 
thought himself capable of producing, and never 
shrunk from discussing any subject without reserve 
— at least with any one whom he trusted. He was 
puzzled to understand why all the forces of ortho- 
doxy should have been concentrated against the 
authors of Essays and Reviews, while he himself, 
who had been equally bold in Biblical criticism, was 


left unscathed, except by the futile attempt to 
exclude him from the University pulpit at Oxford. 
I The only explanation which occurred to him was, 
that he was supposed to be under Eoyal protection, 
|; and I am by no means sure that this was not the 
true explanation. But he was, above all, an anti- 
sacerdotalist and an Erastian, though with too much 
reverence for antiquity and ecclesiastical pomp not 
to sympathise with the opposite view. Thus, he 
delighted to trace out the lowly and prosaic origin 
of costumes and ceremonies now invested with a 
superstitious halo of sanctity, while his ideal of the 
relation between Church and State was concisely 
expressed in an off-hand hon mot during a conversa- 
tion with myself and a friend on a railway journey 
between Oxford and London. Stanley had been 
' ridiculing the habit of personifying the Church as a 
I woman, and speaking of it tenderly as she, when 
; a sudden thought struck him, and he added, " Well, 
! I should not mind it so much if they would only 
( speak of the State as " he." Here we have the 
Erastian creed in a nutshell. 

The names of Froude and Freeman are so often 
coupled together by historical critics of opposite 
schools, without any personal knowledge of either, 
that a few words of appreciation from one who 
had a personal knowledge of both may not be 
considered presumptuous. No one can deny that 
Freeman's standard of accuracy was higher, or that 
he made, on the whole, more solid contributions to 
history. In his early Oxford days, he deliberately 


selected historical research as the labour of his life ; 
he pursued it with amazing and lifelong industry, 
under favourable conditions ; he ranged over the 
whole field of history, ancient and modern, English 
and foreign ; and his voluminous works, if collected, 
would exceed, both in mass and weight, those of any 
modern English historian. His " General Sketch of 
European History," the first volume of an " Historical 
Course for Schools," is an admirable summary of its 
subject, and shows how dispassionate he could be as 
a teacher. On the other hand, he bristled with pre- 
judices, he displayed violent partisanship in treating 
of contemporary politics, and he was not only a 
truculent but an unscrupulous controversialist, hunt- 
ing down his literary enemies in periodical articles, 
and refusing to see either any merit in those whom 
he had once condemned, or any defect in those 
whom he had once admired. Happily for me, I was 
reckoned among his friends, and retain several racy 
letters from him, out of which, however, I found it 
impossible to select one suitable for insertion in his 
Memoirs, since they all contained sallies against some 
one whom he despised. Yet his bark was worse than 
his bite, and he was essentially a kind-hearted man. 
When I stood for Woodstock in 1868, he was stand- 
ing for Mid-Somerset, and I remember one of his 
speeches concluding with a grand historical perora- 
tion, in which he appealed to the memories of Kirke's 
" Lambs," and the Bloody Assize, by way of rousing 
the Somersetshire rustics against Tory domination. 
He was unequally yoked with a colleague whose 


style of speaking was very diflferent, and seemed to 
Freeman beneath the dignity of history. But when 
he proceeded to give a specimen of it, I cannot say 
that I thought it showed any want of electioneering 
resource. At a meeting held at Wells, Freeman's 
colleague had been dwelling upon the benefits to be 
expected from a Liberal Government, when a work- 
ing-class voter at the end of the room called out, 
"And what are you going to do for the poor 
man ? " Freeman was shrewd enough to feel 
relieved that, not being on his legs, he was not 
expected to answer such a question, but the speaker, 
nothing daunted, replied after a short pause, that 
" when Mr. Gladstone came into ofiice, with a good 
strong Liberal majority at his back, he trusted and 
believed that there would be very few poor men." 
In the course of this campaign, he and his col- 
league had the hardihood to face a Tory stronghold 
at Wedmore — a place well known for the peace signed 
there in the days of King Alfred. Here they found 
themselves in a hornet's nest, and, being driven into 
opposite corners of a large room, were in some danger 
of personal violence, until they were rescued by the 
vigorous intervention of a popular Tory doctor. 
They drove off under a shower of " election-eggs," 
the marks of which remained on Freeman's carriage 
when I stayed with him, for he would not have them 
washed off. 

It was by a strange coincidence that Froude 
succeeded Freeman as Regius Professor of Modern 
History at Oxford, having an entirely different 


conception of history, and a temperament the very 
reverse of his predecessor's. I am by no means pre- 
pared to claim for him a just view of historical pro- 
portion, or even a truly impartial mind, but I believe 
that his moral aims and sense of duty to his vocation / 
were as high as Freeman's, while his transparent [ 
style and picturesque eloquence have secured to him 
a foremost place among the prose writers of our age. 
In my opinion, he was singularly deficient in the 
lawyerlike virtue of weighing evidence, and started 
from an obviously false principle, when he treated 
State papers and preambles of Statutes, drawn up 
almost under the eyes of Henry VIII., as the most 
trustworthy materials for the reign of his favourite 
monarch. Still, it is fair to say that Froude con- 
sulted, more or less thoroughly, original MS. docu- 
ments ; whereas Freeman, perhaps rightly, thought 
it a waste of time for an historian to grub in palaeo- 
graphy, while he studied, with the utmost care, the 
numerous volumes of ancient records printed by the 
EoUs Office. If Froude was inferior to Freeman in 
knowledge and insight — if his view of historical 
method and historical truth was less sound — it was 
not for want of an equally genuine passion for 
history ; and it must be confessed that, as Professor, 
he took more pains than Freeman to make his lec- 
tures interesting and useful to students. In his ^. 
bearing towards opponents, he compared most favour- 
ably with Freeman ; he was always the gentleman, i 
never returned railing for railing, and was content to | 
let the critics answer each other. I read with much 


pleasure the sympathetic appreciation of him in 
Professor Max Miiller's "Auld Lang Syne." Few 
knew him so well as Miiller, and his character, as 
there portrayed, tallies closely with the results of 
my own intercourse with him. When I stayed with 
him in his beautiful seaside villa at Salcombe, about 
a year before his death, I never heard him speak 
bitterly of any one ; he was the kindliest of hosts, 
and the gentleness of his nature showed itself in his 
relations with all about him. His love of the sea 
was quite remarkable, and, so far as I could judge 
from a short trip in his little yacht, his knowledge 
of seamanship was very considerable for an amateur 

Being ignorant of Natural Science, I have known 
few men of great scientific eminence, with the excep- 
tion of one or two still living. I was, however, 
on the most friendly terms with Tyndall, who 
came to settle and spent the last years of his 
life at Hindhead, within seven miles of Peper 
Harow, our family place. There was something very 
attractive in his character, and inspiring in his con- 
versation, which enabled me to understand his mar- 
vellous success in lecturing ; but he seemed to me too 
impulsive and sensitive, if not prejudiced, to be an 
ideal man of science. It was otherwise with Huxley, 
whom I knew far more intimately, and whose feel- 
ings, however strong, were habitually subjected to 
his reason. Soon after his death, I was requested, at 
very short notice, to write a few " Personal Eemini- 
scences" of him for the Fortnightly Review. As 


many knew him far better than I did, and T was 
perfectly incompetent to pass any judgment on his 
scientific life-work, I felt much difficulty in comply- 
ing. Still, as he left very definite impressions on my 
mind, and as any definite impressions of so remark- 
able a man are perhaps not wholly unworthy of 
record, I did contribute a little paper to the Fort- 
nightly Review of August 1895, and will not apolo- 
gise for reproducing the greater part of it. 

" It must now be above thirty-seven years since I first 
made the acquaintance of Huxley by correspondence. 
The first Oxford University Commission had appropriated 
several Fellowships of Merton College to the foundation of 
a Liaacre Professorship of Physiology, coupled with Human 
and Comparative Anatomy — ^for these branches of Biology 
had not yet been specialised and differentiated in the Uni- 
versity hierarchy of Professors. I was then a junior Fellow 
of no great influence, but it was intimated to me by a com- 
mon friend that Mr. T. H. Huxley meditated becoming a 
candidate for the Chair, and wished for some preliminary 
information about it. I confess that, although I already 
knew the name of Owen, I had never heard that of Huxley, 
but I successfully concealed my ignorance of his fame, and 
several letters passed between us upon the expediency of 
constituting the Professorship, and appointing a Professor, 
before the endowment could be completed by the suppres- 
sion of sufficient Fellowships. I was struck by the decided 
tone of Huxley's letters, and gradually learned something 
of his eminence ; but a year or two elapsed before the elec- 
tion took place, and in the meantime Huxley made up his 
mind not to seek the office, which was awarded to the late 
Professor RoUeston. The reason which he assigned was 
that his opinions were too little in harmony with those 
prevalent at Oxford, and I am convinced that this was 
really one of his chief motives for declining the candida- 



ture, but it is probable that he was also unwilling to aban- 
don the great position which by that time he had gained in 
London. More than twenty years later, when Professor 
RoUeston died, I was myself requested, as Warden of Mer- 
ton, to sound Huxley upon his willingness to accept the 
Chair, but he felt that he could no longer entertain 
the idea of beginning a new career, and he did not fail 
to repeat, though with diminished emphasis, his belief 
that he would be out of his element in the Oxford atmos- 

" During my own residence in London, between 1857 and 
1 88 1, 1 came to know and appreciate Huxley as a friend, 
often meeting him in private society, at the Athenaeum 
Club and elsewhere. I was afterwards his colleague on 
the governing body of Eton College, where he stoutly 
advocated the educational claims of natural science, as he 
was bound to do, but earned general respect, as he always 
did, by the fairness and moderation of his practical views. 
When he retired to live at Eastbourne, he resigned this 
with other public duties, and more than once declined my 
invitation to Oxford, chiefly, I think, because he dreaded 
being drawn into lively discussions likely to aggravate his 
tendency to sleeplessness. He appeared, indeed, at the 
funeral of Professor Jowett, the late Master of Balliol ; but 
when he delivered the Romanes Lecture in 1893, his want 
of nervous power was evident, and he told me that it was 
long before he recovered from the effects of that effort. 
However, when the British Association met at Oxford in 
August 1894, he was persuaded to come with Mrs. Huxley 
and occupy a quiet room carefully selected for him. On 
this occasion he gave a proof of the good sense and kindly 
feeling which seldom deserted him. It happened that he 
had just been thrown into sharp antagonism, upon a 
question affecting University education in London, with 
the Marquis of Salisbury, the President of the Association 
and Chancellor of Oxford. Hearing that he would probably 
be requested to move or second a vote of thanks to Lord 


Salisbury for his Presidential address, Huxley was greatly 
perturbed, and expressed to me serious doubts as to wbether 
lie should or could undertake such a task. I took care 
not to communicate any such doubts to the Executive 
Committee, lest they should make a change in their 
programme, and my reticence was rewarded. On recon- 
sidering the matter, Huxley saw that he ought to under- 
take the part entrusted to him ; he did so with the best 
possible grace, and his reception in the Sheldonian Theatre 
was such as must not only have reminded him of old 
times and his duel with Bishop Wilberforce, but must 
also have satisfied him that old times and old prejudices 
had passed away. While he was in my house he seemed in 
the best possible spirits, but he felt unequal to staying 
until the end of the Association meeting, and I saw him 
but once again. This was at the beginning of January 
1895, when I was at Brighton, and, fearing that his tenure 
of life was growing precarious, I went over for a few hours 
to visit him at Eastbourne. He exhibited no trace of 
faihng powers, talking as freely and cheerfully as ever; 
and I left him with renewed faith in his vitality. It was 
either just before or just after this visit that he gave me 
a copy of his " Collected Essays," and certainly, until I 
looked through volume after volume of these, I had never 
realised the extent or variety of his intellectual range and 
literary ability. 

" To me his whole nature, intellectual and moral, pre- 
sented a singular unity ; both elements appeared to be in 
perfect harmony with each other, and the distinctive note 
of both was the combination of strength with simplicity. 
From this source was derived the manly dignity of his 
beariag, the uncompromising directness of his thought, 
and the enviable lucidity of his style. No subtle analysis 
is needed to explain his character, the beauty of which 
consisted in being completely natural, and much that he 
says of David Hume, in one of his Essays, might be applied 
with equal justice to himself. He possessed in a high 


degree that rare but open secret to which General Gordon 
owed so much of his marvellous influence ; he was always 
himself, the same to young and to old, to rich and to poor, 
to men and to women, and, had his lot been cast like 
Gordon's in Asia or in Africa, he would doubtless have 
been the same to Orientals as to Europeans. He was 
frank, because he was fearless ; he inspired confidence, 
because he was evidently a true-hearted man ; his native 
self-respect was set off by a respectful manner towards 
others; his intolerance of sophistry sometimes betrayed 
him into undue vehemence in controversial writing, but 
there was no pettiness in his odium scientificwm, and a 
pure love of truth shone through all his most trenchant 
diatribes, political or theological. As I shared most of his 
convictions on politics, we talked over such questions 
without reserve ; but I forbore, and never had occasion, 
to discuss with him questions concerning rehgious doctrine. 
I have, therefore, no right to speak from personal know- 
ledge of his attitude towards them. I cannot doubt, 
however, that whatever his creed, his inner life was that 
of a good Christian, and that his hopes went beyond his 
beliefs, though he was too honest to mistake hopes for 
beliefs or beliefs for demonstrations. Assuredly, with all 
his apparent leaning to materialism, and rigorous avoid- 
ance of sentiment in reasoning, he inherited and even 
cultivated the precious gift of philosophical imagination. 
Of him, as truly as of Lyell, it might be said, in the 
picturesque language of Dean Stanley, that he chose for 
himself, and courageously pursued, that perilous and lofty 
path which the vulture's eye hath not seen nor the lion's 
whelp hath trodden — the path which leads upward from 
ascertained facts and inferences miscalled 'laws' into the 
sublimer regions of speculation, where the mysteries of 
Theology, Metaphysics, and Natural Science mingle and 
lose themselves, it may be, in the dim confessions of 
Agnosticism, or, it may be, in the dim aspirations of 


I have already said that 1 moved but little in 
literary circles, and shall not dwell on my personal 
reminiscences of men eminent in literature, because 
they are too slight to be worthy of preservation in 
these days when memoirs and obituary notices are 
so lavishly multiplied. I could wish, however, that 
obituary notices of men in the second rank of eminence 
were sometimes expanded into short memoirs, and a 
volume compiled out of them on the principle of Dean 
Burgon's "Twelve Good Men," not one of whom 
would have deserved a biography to himself. I had 
several opportunities of meeting Tennyson at his 
own house on Blackdown and elsewhere, and always 
found him gracious, but I had no adequate means of 
estimating his great intellectual powers. I often saw 
Browning at the Athenaeum Club, and he was always 
so friendly with me that I regret having generally 
failed to draw him out in conversation, partly because 
I was secretly conscious of being out of sympathy ■ 
with his poetry. Abraham Hayward and J. A. 
Kinglake were members of the same group, and often 
dined together with one or two other chosen associates 
in Theodore Hook's corner of the Athenaeum dining- 
room. I was rarely invited to join the party, but, 
when I did, I was always edified by the variety of 
knowledge displayed, and amused by the number of 
good stories told across the dining-table. That 
Kinglake was a strong Unionist, appears clearly 
from a letter to myself, in which, praising my 
" Home Rule and Justice to Ireland " in terms which 
1 will not quote, he adds : " It brings under clear 


light the question which, though strangely passed 
over by others, is really after all the main question 
so far as concerns poor Ireland, viz., whether she is fit 
to govern herself; and I can say that I not only 
agree with the whole tenor of your letter, but with 
every sentence it contains." Lord Houghton was 
most kind to me, as he was to so many younger men, 
and I once stayed with him at Fryston, but I never 
was among his special proteges or favourites. His 
insatiable curiosity and perfectly natural desire to 
know every one worth knowing, added to no ordinary 
accomplishments and poetical gifts of a high order, 
made him a personage in English society, and his 
memory is still cherished with gratitude. But he 
fell short of the greatness to which perhaps he once 
aspired, and his failure to attain it is partly explained 
by the humorous reason which he is said to have 
given for his doubtful success in the House of 
Commons, viz., that he could not help saying to 
himself in the midst of his speeches, " Well, Dicky, 
how are you getting on ? " Probably many other 
aspirants to fame, if equally candid, would make the 
same confession. 

Another literary man whom I knew far more 
intimately, and whose friendship 1 deeply valued, 
was Matthew Arnold. What Professor Max Mtiller 
well calls " his Olympian manners " never repelled 
me, for 1 soon discovered that they were not in the 
nature of airs, and did not even conceal his warm and 
simple heart. I seldom talked with him on theology 
or literary subjects, and I hope that he never found 


out how much I preferred his poetry to his prose ; 
but he was perfectly frank and open in discussing 
political and other subjects in which we had a common 
interest. When the Professorship of English was 
founded and endowed from the revenues of Merton, 
I was deputed by my fellow-electors to ascertain 
privately whether he would care to become a candi- 
date for the post, without in any way prejudicing our 
freedom of choice. He at once decided against it, 
telling me that he regarded himself as a more or less 
ornamental lecturer, who might deliver a few well- 
finished discourses in each year, but who could not 
undertake the weekly drudgery of teaching. Though 
he latterly went to America on a lecturing tour, and 
was afterwards induced to lecture elsewhere, he as- 
sured me that he disliked it heartily, and the last 
letter that I received from him, dated January 26, 
1888, expresses the same feeling. " I am just off for 
the North to make a horrid discourse about America 
at Hull and at Bradford ; I have then to prepare a 
horrid discourse about Milton, and a horrid article 
on Welsh Disestablishment — all before the middle 
of February. ... I should much like to come and 
hear you on Home Rule, instead of discoursing 
myself on America ; you are sure to be good, and 
I know you speak without the least difl&culty. 
Fortunate man ! " In this last remark, I must say 
that he showed very little insight into char- 

Among those friends of about my own age who 
attained reputation in political life, few, if any, were 


so remarkable as Henry Fawcett, of whom Mr. Leslie 
Stephen wrote an admirable memoir. I did not 
know him until long after he had lost his sight, and 
when he had made his position in the House of 
Commons. I always regarded him as a singularly 
honest and straightforward man, with no finesse and 
not much delicacy of perception, but with true 
political instincts and insight. Of course, his triumph 
over his blindness was heroic, but, this victory once 
achieved, I suspect that his infirmity was not an un- 
mixed disadvantage to him. Not only did it win the 
sympathy of great audiences, but it compelled him 
to concentrate his thoughts and train his memory, 
fortifying him against many distractions to which 
most people yield. The speech by which he secured 
his acceptance at Brighton from a meeting assembled 
to adopt another candidate was a veritable masterpiece 
of legitimate self-confidence, and he is credited with 
a characteristic reply to an objector at a later meeting. 
This gentleman wanted to know how Mr. Fawcett 
would be able to catch the Speaker's eye, and how he 
would avoid going into the wrong lobby. As to the 
first query, Fawcett said that he feared he must be 
dependent on the kindness of friends in attracting 
the Speaker's attention ; as to the second, he admitted 
that he might now and then accidentally find his way 
into the wrong lobby, but he added that at all events 
his case would not be so bad as that of the sitting 
member, " for he is always in the wrong lobby, and 
he does it on purpose." This story reminds me of 
another also told of Fawcett, though I cannot vouch 


for it. When he first stood for Southwark as a carpet- 
bagger, he promptly engaged an apartment described 
in the printed notice affixed to it as " Mr. Fawcett's 
Committee Room." If any one called, which rarely 
happened, he was informed that just then the Com- 
mittee was sitting, the fact being that, as in the show 
of Punch and Judy, there was no one behind the 
curtain except Fawcett and his secretary. At last a 
time came when a larger room had to be engaged for 
a public meeting, which of course was properly 
advertised, and attended by reporters. Very few 
electors looked in, but Fawcett delivered a spirited 
address and afterwards got hold of a reporter, when 
the following dialogue is supposed to have occurred. 
" What do you think you can say of this meeting, 
reporter ? Can you describe it as a numerous 1 
meeting?" "No, sir, this is not exactly what we 
should call a numerous meeting ; it is rather what we'i 
are in the habit of describing as an influential^ 
meeting." And so the papers of the next morning 
duly stated that Mr. Fawcett had addressed a highly 
influential meeting of Southwark electors. 

It has been my lot to consult many doctors, and, 
like others who have suffered from the eflfects of 
nervous strain, I became a patient of Sir Andrew 
Clark, whose death I felt as a personal loss. There 
was something in his manner which failed to inspire 
confidence in some, on a first visit, but he struck me 
at once as a conscientious and skilful physician. In 
several respects he seemed to me an example to his 
profession. Instead of regarding diagnosis as every- 


thing, and treatment as quite secondary, lie firmly- 
grasped the supreme truth that diagnosis is worth 
absolutely nothing, from a medical point of view, 
except as a guide to the treatment and cure of 
disease. In the next place, he devoted far more 
time than most doctors to careful questioning of his 
patient, well knowing that half an hour spent in this 
way may throw more light on a case than could be 
obtained by repeated and scientific investigation of 
symptoms without invoking the patient's aid. Then 
he would go fully and minutely into personal habits 
— diet, exercise, sleep, and so forth — recognising 
the obvious fact that a proper regulation of these, 
operating over months and years, is a far more 
potent instrument of health than a temporary ad- 
ministration of drugs. If he gave each patient the 
impression that he was specially interested in the 
case submitted to him, it was no deceptive art, for 
he carefully noted the facts of each case, referred 
to his notes on each subsequent visit, and gave 
written instructions as well as written prescriptions. 
Nor is it true to say that he laid down much the 
same rules for all. On the contrary, as I can testify, 
his system was diff"erent not only for diff"erent 
patients, but for the same patient at diff"erent 
periods, and he expressly authorised me to vary it 
according to my own experience. To him, the 
detection and mitigation of organic or very serious 
disease was not the one function of a consulting 
physician ; he was equally interested in helping men 
of weakly health to economise it and make the most 


of it. In spite of his enormous practice, he invited 
patients to correspond with him, and would find 
time to correspond with them, however much he 
may have overtaxed his strength by such extra 
work. A story is told of him in connection with this 
which may be worth repeating, and may well have 
been true of some one else, but which is so little 
characteristic of him that it eminently "requires 
confirmation," He is said to have confided to a 
friend his feeling of despair when, on returning home 
late at night from a country visit, he found a pile 
of letters awaiting him. On being asked what he 
did with them, he replied that he ordered a bottle of 
champagne. " Well," said his friend, " did that en- 
able you to dispose of them ? " " No," he answered ; 
" but it put me into a frame of mind in which I 
did not care a d — n whether I disposed of them 
or not." 

While I have always been a great admirer of 
eloquence, and anxious to hear the best speakers 
of my time, I have not been very fortunate in my 
opportunities of doing so — at least on memorable 
occasions. Excluding those still living, I agree with 
the popular judgment in placing Gladstone and 
Bright first in the political class — the one as a 
debater, the other as an orator. The same want, 
of concentration which is an admitted weakness 
of Gladstone's speeches, equally struck me in those 
of Edward Geofirey, Lord Derby, lucid and elegant 
as they were in form. But I heard him late in his 
life, when he had ceased to be the Rupert of debate, 


and was speaking on no congenial theme. If a 
second class of political speakers were to be found, 
it must be a very large one indeed ; for public life 
in England is a national training school of rhetoric, 
and success depends only too much on the gift of 
addressing large audiences. This gift, too, is more 
cultivated than ever by politicians, since a seat is 
no longer to be won quietly, and every member 
of Parliament must now have talked himself into 
the House of Commons. For one man who can 
make a great speech, there are hundreds — nay, thou- 
sands — who can make a good speech, and skill in 
debating is probably commoner than it was in the 
great days of Parliamentary oratory. The decline 
of such oratory, no less than of forensic oratory, is 
largely due to a very simple cause — the overwork 
of leading speakers both in Parliament and at the 
Bar, who naturally set the standard to younger 
men. It is not due to any loss of sensibility on 
the part of the modern public, rendering them 
incapable of being moved by true eloquence. When- 
ever any one capable of true eloquence trusts him- 
self to speak from his heart in language worthy 
of his subject, he scarcely ever fails to meet with 
a cordial response ; and the eloquence of the pulpit, 
if it is less studied than in former ages, retains 
as much power as ever. 

I have already mentioned Samuel Wilberforce 
and Magee as really great preachers, and I think 
Liddon may fairly be ranked with them. I should 
place F. D. Maurice and Dean Stanley in a some- 


what lower class ; still, both commanded the atten- 
tion of large congregations by a certain prophetic 
earnestness and breadth of Catholic sympathy. 
Though I heard Spurgeon twice at the Surrey Music 
Hall, and recognised in him the qualities of an 
admirable platform speaker, there was no pretence 
of literary finish in his style, and his efibrts to 
stir the higher emotions were much less successful 
than his broad touches of humour. For a combina- 
tion of both these faculties, and, indeed, for popular 
oratory of the most persuasive kind, I have never 
heard the equal of Gough, the " Temperance orator." 
The homeliest topics became full of pathos under 
his treatment, and few could refrain without diffi- 
culty from tears, as he described the joy felt in a 
drunkard's home when the news comes of his having 
taken the pledge, or compared his downward course 
from conviviality towards hopeless intemperance to 
the fate of a sailing party above the falls of Niagara, 
which laughs at warnings until it is too late to stem 
the current, and the boat is carried over into the 
abyss. The lecture which I attended was in the 
Oxford Town Hall, and Gough soon quelled some 
undergraduate opposition by challenging the dis- 
turbers to mount the platform and have it out with 
him. When they declined, he taunted them with 
knowing in their hearts that what he said was true, 
and pleased the gallery with a story not incapable of 
manifold applications. "An American," he said, 
"came home to his wife in the worst of tempers, 
and was asked by her what ailed him. On his 


coraplaining tliat he had been shamefully abused, 
and called all manner of names, by a neighbour, the 
wife sensibly remarked : ' Never mind that, Thomas ; 
he may say it, but he can't prove it.' ' Confound 
the fellow,' replied the husband, ' but he has proved 
it, and that's just what I complain of.'" It is 
wonderful how dull a speech may be enlivened by 
a judicious seasoning of apposite, though common- 
place, and even stale, anecdotes. Not that any 
speaker is justified in " talking down to his audience," 
or will generally find it good policy to do so. It 
may be necessary to choose simple ideas and ex- 
pressions for a simple audience ; but a simple 
audience knows as well as a learned body whether 
a speaker's heart and soul is in what he is saying ; 
and this, after all, is the secret of winning — not 
perhaps applause, but confidence. It is possible 
to have too high a literary standard, for that cannot 
be sustained in debate or impromptu allusions ; but 
it is not possible to have too high a standard of 
morality and sentiment. As for preparation, I have 
no belief in any speech worth study being delivered 
without preparation, though it is possible for a 
speaker with Gladstone's marvellous repertory of 
ready-made ideas and expressions to arrange and 
produce them at very short notice. But the kind 
and degree of preparation required must depend 
on the individual character of the speaker. One 
man, for instance, may be more consciously inspired 
by first thoughts and words occurring to him at 
the moment ; another man, by second thoughts and 


words carefully weighed beforehand. In either case, 
the speaker will do wisely to follow his own natural 
method, the object being that, whatever the source 
of his inspiration, his audience should be made to 
feel it. 



Tours in Europe — Voyage to America — Travelling in America — Visit 
to Lord Dufferin at Ottawa — Letter to tlie Times on the Canadian 
Pacific Eailway and the political crisis in Canada — Experience of 
voyages in public steam- vessels and private yachts. 

I MAY pass lightly over my travels in foreign 
countries, because they have been neither extensive 
nor fruitful of interesting experiences. My know- 
ledge of French and Grerman being too slight for 
purposes of sustained conversation, I have seldom 
obtained introductions to foreigners of eminence, and 
when I have gone abroad, it has generally been for 
purposes of recreation or health, rather than of study. 
I first visited Switzerland in 1853, with my old 
friend Mr. C. S. Parker, and made a rapid tour in 
the Mont Blanc district, the Monte Rosa district, and 
the Bernese Oberland. Those were days before the 
formation of the Alpine Club, when a reputation for 
climbing was cheaply earned, and ascents now con- 
sidered easy still enjoyed a prestige of difiiculty 
carefully maintained by the self-interest of guides. 
It is fair to say, however, that many a mauvais pas 
has since been made practicable for ladies by steps 
and even chains, while the experimental discovery of 
new routes has rendered most summits accessible to 


stout climbers in good training. In the course of 
the next thirty years, I often revisited the Alps, 
though latterly at long intervals. In this way I 
became familiar with all the best-known passes, 
and a few of the best-known peaks in the classical 
districts around Chamounix, Zermatt, Grindelwald, 
and Pontresina, but I never attempted difficult 
feats, and was satisfied with such glacier passes 
as the Strahleck and the Weiss Thor — which then 
included the Arite Blanche. I have therefore no 
right to speak with authority on the vexed ques- 
tion of mountaineering without guides, and yet I 
will venture to express a strong opinion against this 
growing practice. It can be said, of course, that 
a thoroughly experienced and well-trained amateur 
may be as good as a guide in activity, strength, 
endurance, skill in climbing, judgment of weather, 
and even knowledge of the ice-world. So it can be 
said that an amateur may be equal to a professional 
sailor in the management of a sailing-boat. But 
what cannot be said, in either case, with the least 
approach to truth, is that it is equally safe for a 
party to go out in charge of an amateur ; and that, 
for the most obvious of reasons. With the profes- 
sional the study of safety is a traditional art, 
strengthened by training from boyhood ; and his 
whole livelihood depends on his never meeting with 
a serious accident ; whereas the amateur, however 
prudent, has no such instinct and no such motive to 
guard him against rashness. 

In the cholera year of 1854, I posted with a 



family party from Dijon to Geneva, with leisure to 
admire that superb view of the Mont Blanc range 
from the Jura which is now rarely seen by travellers. 
The epidemic was spreading in those regions, and in 
one town it was difficult to get the carriage har- 
nessed, but no visible precautions were taken on the 
frontier or elsewhere, and there was much less panic 
than has since prevailed on much slighter occasions. 
In the following year, when the cholera had revived, 
I was twice fumigated, together with my luggage, in 
the Italian lake-country, the authorities being then 
content with this perfectly futile substitute for 
quarantine. In 1856 with Lord Davey, and again 
twenty years later with Mr. Francis Galton, I made 
a short tour in the Bavarian and Austrian highlands, 
to which I should assign the prize for natural beauty 
among those parts of Europe which I have visited, 
reserving the second place for the Italian valleys of 
the Alps. In 1871 I witnessed the famous Passion- 
play at Ober-Ammergau, a beautiful and pathetic 
spectacle, which had not then (and perhaps has not 
yet) been vulgarised by popularity, but which is 
hardly calculated to fortify Christian faith. The 
dramatic art of the villagers who play the chief parts 
is certainly marvellous, and is often explained as 
traditional or hereditary ; but it has not been 
sufficiently remarked that many of them are manu- 
facturers of church ornaments by trade, and live 
surrounded by engravings of Holy Families and 
other sacred groups. Nothing struck me as more 
wonderful than the statuesque rigidity of some two 


hundred men, women, and children marshalled in a 
tableau vivant around an effigy of the brazen serpent, 
among whom I could not detect the slightest move- 
ment, with an opera-glass, except that of a flag 
stirred by the wind. 

In other years I made somewhat hasty expedi- 
tions into Belgium, Holland, North and South 
Germany, North Italy, the Riviera, the South of 
Spain, and Algiers. When I visited the great cities 
of Andalusia (in 1878), my headquarters were at 
Gibraltar, where I was the guest of Lord Napier of 
Magdala. On my return journey from Granada, I 
was to have proceeded by steamer from Malaga, but 
the boat was suddenly taken off, and, having failed 
to get a passage by a Spanish coaster, I was happily 
obliged to make a forced march, chiefly on horseback, 
by the coast route, which proved the most interesting 
part of my Spanish journey. It was said to be 
rather dangerous, as passing through a country 
haunted by the brigands ; but I was consoled by 
the assurance that, as they had lately committed a 
daring robbery and were being chased by the police, 
they would probably not hazard another crime 
just then. While I was at Gibraltar, Lord Napier 
crossed to Tangier, on the invitation of Sir John 
Hay, and kindly took me with him. Tangier was 
then a purely Moorish toWn, and squalid in the 
extreme. Lord Napier declared that, except Benares, 
he had never seen a city so intensely Oriental. 
Curious as it was, it did not strike one as an attrac- 
tive place for a residence, but I greatly enjoyed two 


rides across the open country at the back. I spent 
the month of January 1880 at Algiers, with Lord 
and Lady Spencer, who had a villa in Mustapha 
Superieu7\ Unfortunately, the season was unusually 
cold, and unsuitable for excursions into the moun- 
tains, but we rode almost every day on excellent 
little horses hired on the spot, and explored the 
whole neighbourhood for miles in every direction. 
The view of the Atlas range from the hill behind 
Mustapha Superieur was certainly very impressive, 
and the Moorish city very interesting, though not 
quite so primitive as Tangier. The air, too, was 
crisp and exhilarating, but the chill at sundown was 
almost as trying as on the South Coast of France, 
where the climate is much the same, and I used to 
doubt whether much was gained by crossing the 
Mediterranean from health-resorts with a southern 
aspect, comfortable hotels, and ample means of 
communication, by road or railway, to an African 
watering-place with a northern aspect, inferior hotels, 
and comparatively small facilities of locomotion, 
which have since been greatly increased. During 
that winter a number of robberies took place in the 
best quarter of Algiers, and I remember that one 
evening, when I wished to communicate with Lord 
Minto, who lived about half a mile off, no servant 
was prepared to go on such an errand without an 

In August 1873 I took a voyage to America 
with the present Dean of Eipon and Mrs. Fremantle. 
Our port of destination was Boston, and shortly 


before reaching " the banks," some hundreds of miles 
from the American coast, we encountered a hurricane, 
which proved most destructive to Nova Scotian 
shipping, and has its place in the history of Atlantic 
storms. The barometer suddenly went down to 
28.1, and the ship was hove-to for many hours, but, 
the engines being somewhat too weak, there was 
great difficulty in keeping her from falling off into 
the trough of the waves, and I believe that during a 
part of the night we were in considerable danger of 
being thrown on to our beam-ends. However, we 
had an admirable captain, and nothing worse hap- 
pened than a delay of two days. While the storm 
was at its height, I noticed two things which I had 
not seen before, and which I was told are character- 
istic of specially violent gales. One was a certain 
flattened appearance of the waves as they rose angrily 
to their greatest height, as if the gusts of wind bore 
down upon them like weights, and suppressed their 
upward dash ; the other was the semblance of seams 
or scratches on their surface, as if the blast was com- 
posed of gritty particles harrowing the water. From 
Boston we proceeded into the White Mountains, 
partly in order to get relief from the great heat. 
This region may be compared in some respects with 
our Lake District, but the highest peaks attain 5000 
or 6000 feet, though in other respects the scenery is 
not so varied and beautiful. We ascended Mount 
Washington by the mountain-railway in so heavy a 
gale as to endanger our equilibrium in passing over 
trestle-bridges which span the gullies, and some of 


our fellow-passengers actually preferred to remain 
for the night at the hotel on the summit. This 
lightened the car, and so increased the risk for those 
of us who came down, and it was thought prudent at 
certain points for all the party to sit on the weather 
side. I then enjoyed the kind hospitality of Lord 
DufFerin for ten days or a fortnight at the Citadel of 
Quebec, where I remember to have met at dinner 
Mr. Joseph Arch, whom I already knew, and who 
was then engaged on some mission connected with 
emigration. Thence I went on by water and railway, 
through Montreal, to Toronto, on a visit to Mr. 
Goldwin Smith, and, by Niagara and Buffalo, to 
Albany, on a visit to the late Mr. Pruyn. The great 
financial crisis of 1873 was then at its worst, and I 
have no doubt that, under his skilful advice, I might 
have invested money very profitably in American 
railway securities depreciated far below their value. 
Meanwhile, a slight, but persistent, indisposition 
crippled me from travelling far in hot weather, and 
I had to content myself with visiting several American 
friends in their own houses. Among these were 
Mr. Charles Adams, the American Minister in London 
during the war, Mr. Abram Hewitt, and President 
Eliot of Harvard University, with whom I stayed, 
after visiting Yale on my way. 

Tt would be superfluous to praise the hospitality 
of American private houses, but it was impossible not 
to see how much it is hampered and curtailed by 
difficulties of serOTce,of which all my hosts complained. 
I hardly ever ventured to ask for hot water in dress- 


ing, or to utter an actual request that my boots 
should be cleaned ; my plan was to place them out- 
side my door, as at an hotel, and I generally found 
that, if not blacked, they had been rubbed over 
before the next morning. Once, after dinner, at an 
American country house, I put the question whether 
any one present, except myself, had ever been invited 
by a total stranger, in a public vehicle, to spend the 
night under his roof, instead of going to an hotel. I 
confess that I was surprised, as well as gratified, 
when the only three Americans in the room declared 
that they had been the recipients of this very courtesy 
in England, and each proceeded to tell his own story. 
Considering that memories of the Civil War were 
still comparatively recent, I was fortunate in escap- 
ing hostile criticisims on the attitude of England 
during that crisis. On one occasion, however, I was 
driven into a corner, but succeeded in turning the 
tables on my opponent, by compelling him gradually 
to admit that no charge of Secessionist partisanship 
could be made against our working-classes or middle 
classes, but only (if at all) against the British aristo- 
cracy, " whom," I said boldly, " you afiiect to despise, 
but whose favour you value above that of all the rest 
of the nation put together." To which his candid 
reply was : " Well, sir, you have us there." 

Much has been written about the comparative 
facilities and conveniences of travelling in America 
and England. My experience of American travelling 
is, of 'course, out of date, but I gather from all that 
I have read or heard that the essential features of 


the railway system remain unchanged. If this be 
so, I consider it far inferior, on the whole, to our 
own, in comfort, if not in economy. The most 
obvious difference between the two lies in the 
arrangements of carriages. The ordinary English 
train consists of a number of separate carriages, each 
containing several compartments, usually separate 
from each other, though sometimes connected by a 
side corridor. The ordinary American train is a line 
of long one-roomed carriages and Pullman cars, all 
constructed with platforms at both ends, so that 
guards or passengers can pass through all of them 
from the hindmost carriage to the engine by a corri- 
dor in the middle, which is virtually continuous. 
This arrangement has evidently the advantage of 
publicity. It is an undoubted safeguard, for instance, 
against a solitary lady being insulted or robbed, it 
enables passengers to walk about on the journey in 
search of friends, and it gives free access to smoking- 
cars, refreshment-cars, and lavatories. All these are 
great conveniences, though not altogether incon- 
sistent with the adaptation of the English system. 
On the other hand, all the comforts of comparative 
privacy are lost. A small party cannot secure a 
separate carriage; invalids must travel exposed to 
the public gaze, unless they can engage the " state- 
room " of a Pullman car ; any one desiring a window 
to be opened or closed, instead of asking the leave 
of his opposite neighbour, must negotiate with 
twenty or thirty occupants of the car, some of whom 
may probably object. Again, the corridor in the 


middle leaves a space for seats on either side rather 
too wide for one but rather too narrow for two ; the 
consequence being that American railway travellers 
in a long open car are more isolated from each other 
than in an English compartment. It may be added 
that, not only are the cars apt to be greatly over- 
heated, but ventilation is apt to be very defective, 
and the windows, having no sashes, cannot be let 
down from above, but must be gouged up from 
below and fixed at the side, just so as to admit a 
current of air where it is least wanted — a defect 
which has been slavishly copied in certain sleeping- 
cars on our own lines. Pullman cars are the Ameri- 
can substitute for our first-class carriages. Their 
upholstery is gorgeous, and, but for the publicity 
which is inseparable from their principle, I am 
disposed to prefer them to any other type of sleeping- 
car. But I know by experience that even a " state- 
room " in a Pullman car may be heated to a tempera- 
ture like that of Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. In one 
of these ovens I was reposing on a journey from 
Boston to Montreal, when the negro conductor in 
charge roused me about midnight with the pleasant 
news that a bridge had broken down in front of us, 
and that we must all turn out in heavy rain. There 
we had to wait an hour or two, and drive round 
several miles in open vehicles to the other side of 
a river, to proceed in unwarmed cars, and without 
any means of procuring food. 

There are many other annoyances incident to 
American railway travelling, such as the incessant 


intrusion of newsboys and other hawkers of petty 
wares patrolling the train from end to end, back- 
wards and forwards, the equally incessant demands 
of conductors for tickets to be punched, and 
so forth. All such annoyances are incident to a 
system which makes the whole train a thoroughfare, 
but they might possibly be remedied if American 
patience did not tolerate any amount of annoyances 
in travelling. The worst of all, according to my 
observation, was the habitual surliness, not to say 
insolence, of American railway officials, whether 
booking clerks, porters, or ticket collectors. By way 
of contrast, I may here say that in sixty years' expe- 
rience of English railway travelling I have never 
once had to complain of a railway servant for 
incivility, and only once for misconduct. Before I 
had been a week on American railways, I had fre- 
quently met with official rudeness in response to 
studious courtesy on my part, and witnessed it in 
the case of other passengers. When I complained of 
it to one of my American hosts concerned in railway 
management, he fully admitted it, but said that it 
was an incurable evil, as the directors would find it 
very difficult to replace a dismissed servant, while 
their servants, if dismissed, would easily find a place 
elsewhere. I see that the English travellers in 
America are still making the same complaint, which 
is as old as Anthony Trollope's American tour. My 
own experience exactly tallies with his. Americans 
whom you meet in society, in the streets, on the 
railways, or elsewhere, are as civil and obliging as 


Englishmen, provided that you have no claim upon 
their services ; but those who are officially engaged 
and paid to help or attend upon you, too often seek 
to show their independence by obtrusive neglect or 
rude behaviour. 

But the special merits and vices of the American 
railway system do not end there. Its great boast is 
the express service for luggage, and, so far as this 
consists in attaching a numbered label to each 
article, and giving a corresponding label or " check " 
to the owner, it is certainly deserving of imitation, 
though it inevitably involves some little delay. In 
all other respects, it is a clumsy and very expensive 
substitute for the English plan of dealing with 
luggage. The fact is that, but for the miserable 
scarcity of railway porters in America, the express 
system would lose half its raison d'Stre. The reason 
why an American traveller employs an express 
company to call for his luggage hours before his 
own departure, and see it placed in the train, is 
that he must otherwise convey it himself to the 
station much earlier than should be necessary, take 
his chance of finding a porter willing to serve him, 
and submit to a great deal of unmannerly hustling, 
besides the vexatious delay. For a similar reason, 
he makes over his checks to the itinerant express- 
man who touts for his custom in the train, well 
knowing that, if he did not, he might have to wait 
and be hustled for half an hour or an hour before he 
could get hold of his luggage at the station of his 
arrival. Let it be granted that he seldom loses it 


in the end — though nearly the same may be said of 
the English system — he buys this security at the 
cost not merely of paying two exorbitant charges, 
but of having to allow a large margin of time at 
both ends of his journey. A single instance may 
suffice to illustrate this. When I first arrived at 
New York, I had no more luggage than could have 
been packed into the inside of a four-wheeled London 
cab, and, as my destination was less than two miles 
from the station, I might have been conveyed 
thither, luggage and all, for one shilling, had I been 
in London, and had I been shabby enough to grudge 
the driver anything above the bare minimum fare. 
As it was, being in New York, I had to pay the 
equivalent of five shillings for my cab, and six 
shillings for the delivery of my luggage two hours 
later — in all, eleven shillings for a worse result than 
might have been obtained in London for one. I 
thought, in my simplicity, that I had been grossly 
overcharged, but I was assured by New York friends 
that I had only paid the regular tarifi". 

The inordinate expense of cabs is said to have been 
more or less reduced of late years by one or two of the 
great American railway companies, but it will pro- 
bably be long before other discomforts of American 
railway travelling are abated, simply because they suit 
the ideas and habits of the people, who, after all, 
cannot be expected specially to consult those of travel- 
ling Britishers. Americans are naturally gregarious, 
and are constantly taking longer journeys than are 
possible in Great Britain ; it is no wonder, then, if 


their travelling arrangements are inconsistent with 
privacy, and calculated to please those who require 
a travelling hotel for days and nights together. But 
there was no excuse for the want of anything like 
an American Bradshaw's Railway Guide when I was 
in the United States. This almost indispensable 
manual for travellers was first published in England 
about sixty years ago, when railways were in their 
infancy, yet in 1873 the connections between various 
American lines had to be laboriously gleaned by a 
comparison of the time-tables issued by difi'erent 
companies. As for the so-called omnibuses which 
I saw in Boston, and the coaches which ran in the 
White Mountain district, I doubt whether any 
public vehicles so ramshackle and cumbrous have 
traversed English . roads since the reign of Queen 
Anne or George I. All the White Mountain coaches 
were drawn by six horses, skilfully driven from the 
box. Most of the American roads on which I 
travelled, and even the streets of New York, were 
so miserably kept, that I understood for the first 
time the contemptuous use of the phrase, " a one- 
horse concern." But all this was more than twenty- 
six years ago, and this in so new a country is 
equivalent to a century. 

I had still a fortnight to spare, and, being in 
better health, was about to visit Washington and 
Philadelphia, when I received an urgent invitation 
from Lord Dufierin to return and stay with him 
at Ottawa, for the purpose of attending the great 
and critical debate in the Dominion Parliament on 


the question of the Canadian Pacific Railway, then 
convulsing the whole country. As I was more in- 
terested in Imperial politics than in American insti- 
tutions, I hastened back to Canada, passing again 
through Montreal, and attended the Canadian House 
of Commons almost every night while the debate 
lasted, though I was obliged to leave for New York 
before the final division was taken, in order to catch 
my steamer for England. At Ottawa, party spirit 
ran so high that Lord Dufierin felt bound to suspend 
his wonted hospitalities, so that I had no opportunity 
of meeting the political leaders at his table, but Lord 
Rosebery and other friends were among my fellow- 
guests in the house. On my homeward voyage, I 
wrote a somewhat elaborate letter to the Times, 
which appeared a day or two after our arrival, re- 
cording my impressions of the debate which led to 
the fall of Sir John Macdonald. As I was composing 
this letter on a saloon table, with some difficulty, in 
a gale of wind, I was flattered by a compliment to 
my seamanship from one of my fellow-passengers, 
who told me that he and others, after watching me, 
had agreed that I was the only landsman on board 
who could attempt literary work under such condi- 
tions. As Sir John Macdonald himself afterwards 
told me that my letter had produced a sensible effect 
on Canadian opinion, and as the sentiments expressed 
in it have been more than confirmed by the later 
course of events, I subjoin three paragraphs which 
I have no desire to modify. 

" During my stay at Ottawa, it was impossible 


not to be struck by the malicious credulity of Cana- 
dian party-spirit, and the extreme lengths to which 
party-warfare is carried at the instigation of a most 
virulent and unscrupulous Press. I was constantly 
assured that Sir J. Macdonald had advised the Pro- 
rogation for the sole purpose of gaining time to buy 
off opponents, and was deliberately spinning out the 
debate while his agents were employing the basest 
means of winning back defaulters. On the other 
hand, I was gravely informed, with particulars of 
names and circumstances, that persons connected with 
the Northern Pacific Railway Company were paying 
down hard cash for promises to vote against the 
Government, in the hope of frustrating the rival 
scheme of a Canadian Pacific Railway. . . . Con- 
sidering how great had been the irritation produced 
by certain scandalous incidents, and how sedulously 
it had been fomented by newspaper writers, the 
debate was, on the whole, characterised by tolerable 
moderation of tone and abstinence from personalities. 
The language used was, indeed, more incisive and 
less measured than we are accustomed to hear at 
Westminster, and I sometimes asked myself whether 
the most animated of our Parliamentary speakers 
would not be regarded as tame and spiritless by the 
Canadian Legislature. Still the rules of the game, 
so to speak, were evidently the same, and even when 
the hitting was hardest and wildest, what Lord 
Dufferin aptly called "striking below the belt" was 
very rare. One gentleman went so far as to accuse 
another of having taken money out of the Provincial 



Treasury and applied it to electioneering corruption, 
but when lie proceeded to press the matter home, he 
was checked by the sense of the audience. Perhaps 
Canadian skins are thicker on the average than are 
developed in an old country and a temperate climate ; 
certainly the wounds inflicted did not appear to 
rankle ; social intercourse was hardly interrupted, and 
the combatants met at the Rideau Club on the same 
terms of friendly enmity as those which prevail 
among barristers at the circuit mess after the fiercest 
encounters in court. The whole temper of the de- 
bate was distinctively English, and not American. 
In the most vigorous sallies and retorts there was 
usually a tacit assumption of honest and patriotic 
motives, and if few speeches were seasoned with 
classical quotations or literary allusions, none that I 
heard was disfigured by ambitious bombast. The 
only serious departure from the unwritten law of the 
House of Commons that came under my notice was 
the bold insinuation, or rather the positive asser- 
tion, made by Mr. Mackenzie and repeated by an- 
other member, that Mr. Speaker had been guilty of 
' collusion ' with the Government in respect of the 
Prorogation. But for this violation of a salutary 
etiquette, I should have carried away the convic- 
tion that, in all essential points, the Canadian 
Parliament had faithfully reproduced the spirit 
as well as the form of English Parliamentary pro- 

" It was inevitable that such a debate as that 
which I witnessed should incidentally throw some 


light on the prevailing sentiments of Canadians 
towards Great Britain and the United States. That 
which first roused public indignation against the 
Ministers was not the discovery that Sir John 
Macdonald had played the part of election agent 
for the Government, but a false story that a rail- 
way on which the political destinies of Canada were 
in some degree staked had been treacherously de- 
livered over into the power of an American ring. 
Making every allowance for the share which party 
spirit may have had in stimulating this indignation, 
I cannot doubt that it was spontaneous, and no one 
carefully watching the political drama at Ottawa 
could fail to arrive at the conclusion that, for the 
present, nothing is so unpopular in Canada as Ameri- 
can influence. On the future relation of Canada to 
her powerful neighbour there was less reticence than 
I should have anticipated, and more than one speaker 
openly declared, what I had often heard said in pri- 
vate, that, in the opinion of all sensible Canadians, 
Independence would practically be nothing but a step 
towards Annexation — a measure which no public 
man in Canada dares to advocate, and which, so far 
as I could learn, is repudiated by all classes except 
a small mercantile circle at Montreal. It is easy 
to sneer at Canadian loyalty, but if by loyalty is 
meant fidelity to the Crown as the golden link be- 
tween Canadians and the Mother Country, of which 
they habitually speak as 'home,' I for one believe 
the feeling to be the mainspring of Canadian politics, 
to have been materially strengthened by Confedera- 


tion, and to be almost as universal in the Maritime 
Provinces as in Ontario. 

"This deep attachment to British nationality is 
not inconsistent with a certain jealousy of British 
interference with Canadian legislation, such as was 
manifested in some barely respectful allusions to the 
opinions of the Privy Council, and the law-officers of 
the Crown, on the validity of the Oaths Bill. Nor 
is it to be treated as transitory, because it is difficult 
to conceive of Canada, with her population quad- 
rupled, still content to be a dependency, or because 
the law of geographical necessity is supposed to 
require her junction with the United States. Let 
us compare realities with realities, and ideals with 
ideals. Canada, as it is, has no reason to desire, and 
does not, in fact, desire, annexation to the American 
Union as it is ; Canada, as it might be, if Con- 
federation should realise the visions of its founders, 
may perhaps be still less willing to exchange an 
almost nominal dependence on London for a real 
dependence on Washington, even though Washington 
should then be the capital of a Republic numbering 
1 00,000,000 citizens. Happily, the disposal of their 
allegiance rests entirely with the Canadian people, 
and can hardly become a subject of dispute between 
Great Britain and the United States. Until the voice 
of the Canadian nation pronounces decisively in 
favour of annexation, it cannot be the policy of the 
United States to propose annexation ; if ever, and 
whenever, that day shall come, it cannot be the policy 
of Great Britain to oppose annexation." 


In the summer of 1885, and again in 1896, I 
made voyages to the fiords of Norway, the first, in the 
steam-yacht Ceylon, and the second, in the Orient line 
steamship Garonne. In 1885 we reached a point a 
little beyond the North Cape, but were unable to 
land. In 1 896, after landing at the North Cape, we 
touched at Vadso, went on to Spitzbergen, and re- 
turned to Vadso for the eclipse. Such voyages are 
now much too common to be worthy of description, 
and neither of these was marked by any incidents of 
special interest. On both occasions we had tolerably 
good weather, and on one or other of them I had the 
opportunity of seeing all the finest coast scenery of 
Norway. This is certainly more striking, because on 
a larger scale, than anything on the West coast of 
Scotland, with the addition of snow-clad mountains, 
and some of the fiords strongly resemble Swiss valleys 
with the sea running up into them. Perhaps Loch 
Hourn alone of Scotch sea-lochs will bear comparison 
with them. But I should not place even the Romsdal 
or any other Norwegian valley that I saw, except the 
Nserodal, on the same level with the finest Swiss 
valleys, especially as they are greatly inferior in 
forests, pasturages, and picturesque chdlets. The 
mountains of Spitzbergen, as seen from the West, are 
like the summits of the High Alps, with three or 
four thousand feet of rocks and glaciers sliced ofi" 
from their green pedestals and set down in the midst 
of the Arctic Ocean, but I observed no peaks as steep 
as those of the Mont Blanc, Monte Eosa, or Bernese 
Oberland group. We first anchored in Advent Bay, 


where a small wooden hotel, of the Alpine type, had 
just been erected. Sir Martin Conway had quitted 
it on the morning of our arrival, but we found there 
an English gentleman who had been staying farther 
north with Andr^e's party — which abandoned its 
enterprise soon afterwards, for want of a favourable 
wind. We also saw the wreck of a coasting vessel 
driven ashore in the previous autumn, and the rude 
graves of all but two of its crew, who died of scurvy 
during the winter. One of the survivors came on 
board the Garonne, and was said to have been saved 
by the resolution of his comrade, who kept constantly 
shaking him and punching him in the ribs to rouse 
him from his deadly lethargy and exhaustion. On 
sailing northward from Vadso, we had left behind 
two of our fellow-passengers — Sir Norman Lockyer, 
who required a few days on shore to adjust his 
astronomical instruments, and Mr. William Morris, 
then in broken health and under the care of a doctor, 
who could not risk the cold of Spitzbergen. He 
gained nothing by the voyage, and died shortly after- 
wards. As is well known, the great eclipse was 
practically invisible at Vadso, owing to a persistent 
bank of clouds, though it was fairly well seen off 
Nova Zembla, and even farther south. AVe had 
already had two rehearsals of it on board ship by the 
aid of magic lanterns, for the purpose of practising 
those of our passengers who could draw, in the art of 
sketching rapidly the various phenomena to be ex- 
pected, and all were roused early in the morning to 
witness an unique spectacle. Yet there we lay, sur- 


rounded by twenty or thirty ships of divers nations, 
all assembled on the same errand, vainly watching 
the heavens, while Nature, sublimely indifferent to 
our hopes or desires, obstinately refused to be inter- 
rogated. The darkness was not so great as on an 
ordinary starless night, but it seemed to me of a more 
lurid hue, and, on looking away from the sun, I dis- 
tinctly observed two or three luminous patches on 
the horizon, like the halo over a town lighted by gas, 
which doubtless represented land or water beyond 
the range of the advancing shadow. Had we re- 
mained but a day or two longer in those latitudes, 
we should have fallen in with Nansen, who appeared 
at Vardo (west of Vadso) a day or two later, and of 
whose safety we heard at Trondhyem. 

Having had some experience of voyaging in 
ocean-going vessels under sail and steam, as well as 
in public steam-yachts equipped for shorter cruises, I 
venture to record one or two practical reflections 
that have been forced upon me. No one can expect 
to find a select party on board any ship but a private 
yacht, but passengers soon assort themselves, and 
there is more good-fellowship than might be expected 
in such very close quarters, perhaps because the 
necessity of mutual concessions is felt by every one. 
But the gregarious spirit of camaraderie is apt to be 
carried too far, and to verge upon social tyranny, 
when all the members of a very mixed party are 
pressed to join in entertainments got up by a few, 
and both sides of the deck are monopolised by deck- 
billiards, deck-quoits, "bull," dancing aZ /resco, and 


other amusements which are positively irksome to 
some of the passengers. Again, it is vain to hope 
that even the best of cabins should equal in comfort 
or cubical space the worst of bedrooms, and an 
admiral must often content himself with a sleeping- 
place which no upper servant would accept on shore. 
But then everything should be done to minimise this 
inevitable discomfort, whereas berths are usually 
made narrower than need be, on the pretext that 
otherwise their occupants would be rolled out in 
rough weather, and the bed-clothes are almost in- 
variably too narrow even for these coffin-like berths. 
Above all, some arrangement should be made for 
those who are dependent for sleep on quiet at night, 
and are willing to pay for this blessing. If it be too 
much to expect that separate cabins should be pro- 
vided in comparatively secluded parts of the ship, 
at least the hours for putting out lights should be 
strictly regulated, the smoking-room placed where 
the noisy talk in it is least likely to disturb others, 
the ship's bell hung at a distance from the passengers' 
cabins, and so forth. Nor have I ever been able to 
understand why decks, constantly drenched by the 
sea, need to be washed every day, when uncarpeted 
floors do not, or why they should be washed (and 
sometimes holy-stoned) two hours before any pas- 
senger wishes to be awakened in the morning. 
Luxurious as the decorations and fittings are on 
board ocean-going steamers and public steam-yachts, 
there is still much room for improvement in the 
accommodation in respect of sleeping-quarters, 


ventilation, and quiet. On the other hand, I have 
generally found the food excellent as well as abun- 
dant, and the dinner sent up for hundreds of people 
from a galley not many feet square, with the ship 
tossing about like a restive horse, would put to 
shame the performances of professed cooks in grand 
houses, with their spacious kitchens, sculleries, larders, 
and store-rooms fitted up regardless of expense. It 
is wonderful, too, how the service is carried on under 
the greatest difficulties, and how well the officers 
combine their nautical duties with kind attention to 

Some of these remarks apply even to private 
yachts, where of course less discipline is maintained, 
and, the party being small, each member of it is 
more at the mercy of the others for enjoyment by 
day and quiet at night. Not that I can speak from 
personal knowledge of the palace-yachts of many 
hundred tons burden, now fitted up as floating 
hotels, and crowded with people from the smartest 
circles in London. My two longest yachting cruises 
were made as far back as 1854 and 1859, in sailing- 
yachts of no more than 168 and 118 tons burden 
respectively. These cruises were of several weeks' 
duration, but of no special interest. In the first of 
these years I joined the yacht (the Gltana) at Kiel, 
which I reached vid Hamburg, and our intention was 
to sail up the Baltic, and anchor behind the British 
fleet ofi" Cronstadt. Unfortunately, the captain or 
owner was deluded by a report of Kussian gunboats 
lurking along the Prussian coast in siearch of such 


prey as ourselves, and it was decided to return by 
Copenhagen across the North Sea, in which we 
buifeted for ten days against a head-wind, making 
for the Pentland Firth. Here the tide was running 
eastward so rapidly, that it actually drifted us back- 
ward while the yacht was sailing against it with a 
fair wind at the rate of about seven knots an hour. 
Thence we came south, by the outward passage 
through the Hebrides, in time for the Kingstown 
Regatta, and ended our cruise at Holyhead. In 1859 
I undertook to coach a reading-party on board a 
yacht called the Albatross, belonging to Mr. Brassey, 
father of the present Lord Brassey — himself a mem- 
ber of the party. We sailed from Cowes to Inverness, 
passed down the Caledonian Canal, and anchored off 
Raasay, where I had already stayed with the owner, 
Mr. Rainy. The programme of our cruise, which 
had embraced a visit to the Orkney and Shetland 
Islands, the outer Hebrides, and possibly to Iceland 
or St. Kilda, was now cut short by a continuance of 
rough weather, lasting all through the autumn, and 
culminating in the famous storm in which the Royal 
Charter foundered. After coasting along Rosshire, 
therefore, we ran southward for Belfast — where 
bands of " Revivalists " happened so be parading the 
streets — paid a flying visit to the Giant's Causeway, 
and were driven by a hard gale across the Channel to 
Liverpool. In 1873 I '^^s on board another yacht 
of Lord Brassey's to witness the Naval Review in 
honour of the Shah of Persia, and met with a curious 
little adventure. The tug-steamer which had us in 


tow dragged the yacht directly across the broadside 
of the Sultan, then on the point of firing a salute. 
The result was that we were plentifully besprinkled 
with pebble powder, some pellets of which tore holes 
through a strong tarpaulin, while others struck many 
of us on deck with a lighter impact, burning away 
some of my own back-hair and of Brassey's whiskers. 
Again, in 1881, I made a sea-trip in the Sunbeam, 
alone with Lord Brassey, from the Solent to Aberyst- 
with, encountering head-winds all the way, so that, 
for want of time, I could not go on with him to 
Oban. All these cruises, including that in the 
Sunbeam, were made under sail, but I afterwards 
took a short voyage in a steam-yacht with Mr. 
William Mackinnon, along the West coast of Scot- 
land. I cannot help adding, with the pride of a 
landsman who cannot boast of a strong digestion, 
that in all my experiences of the sea, covering a 
considerable fraction of my life, and diversified by 
several memorable storms, I was never once sea- 



Charms of English scenery — The most beautiful districts in England 
— Riding-tours and driving-tours — Hints for travellers on horse- 
back — English hotels, and maps — Tours in the Highlands and 
Islands of Scotland — Braemar — Raasay. 

It is often said that Englishmen of the present day 
know much less of their own country than English- 
men 01 former generations. The reproach is not 
quite unfounded, but this comparative ignorance 
admits of more than one excuse. The facilities of 
foreign travelling are of course infinitely greater than 
they were a century, or even half a century ago, 
and the change of scene, air, diet, habits, language, 
and associations, to be gained by foreign travelling, 
makes it more profitable as well as more amusing to 
a large class of holiday-seekers. Even for those who 
seldom go abroad, railway journeys at express speed 
offer less opportunities for studying the local features 
of a county or district than leisurely stages by coach 
or postchaise, and the roadside inns, which figured 
so largely in early novels from " Tom Jones" down- 
wards, no longer furnish incidents for the amusement 
of travellers — unless, indeed, of bicyclists, for whose 
benefit many of them have been revived. Yet 

England, or rather Great Britain, certainly deserves 



more attention from English tourists than it receives, 
and would probably be far more visited by foreigners, 
but for the fact that it is not a " passage-country," 
and leads nowhere, except to America. In the first r, 
place, it possesses in its castles, its abbeys, its cathe- : 
drals, its country-houses, and its parish churches, an j 
amount and variety of architectural and antiquarian ; 
interest to which, I believe, no other part of Europe, i 
equal in area, can pretend. There are, no doubt, 
castles, abbeys, and cathedrals on a larger scale to be 
seen in France, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere, but 
they are far less closely grouped, and, on the 
whole, far less carefully preserved. The mere factr 
of their standing clear of mean houses, and being I 
surrounded with beautiful " closes," gives English 
cathedrals a great advantage, in effect, over their 
Continental rivals, while the parish churches of 
England, as a whole, have no competitors on the 
Continent. As for the ancestral mansions thickly 
distributed over every English county, and often 
standing in the midst of ancestral parks, they are 
really unique as stately dwelling-houses, whatever 
superiority in grandeur of design may be claimed for 
a limited number of foreign chdteaux and palaces. 
The chief reason of this difference probably is that 
England has never been conquered for more than 
eight hundred years, and that none of our Civil Wars 
has been carried out with the ruthless barbarity and 
wholesale destruction which desolated Germany in 
the seventeenth century and France during several 
periods of its history. 


But, apart from architectural beauties, I submit 
that England is, on the whole, the most picturesque 
of European countries, except in regard of those 
beauties which depend on the height of moun- 
tains. When I have returned to England from 
the Continent or from America, I have felt that 
I was passing from a deserted saloon or ballroom 
into a well-furnished drawing-room — from landscapes 
of which the ground-colour was brown into land- 
scapes of which the ground-colour is green. Whether 
it be due to soil, climate, the prevailing mode of 
cultivation, the distribution of village homesteads, 
or to more recondite causes, England presents a 
series of rural pictures, sober in colouring, but rich 
in the harmony of picturesque elements, which 
may be sought in vain on the wide plains and 
plateaux of Central Europe. I have sometimes 
fancied that it must have been even more attractive 
to a landscape painter during the Wars of the Roses, 
when all its mediaeval buildings were still intact, but 
with the bloom of decay upon them ; when its forests 
spread over vast areas now covered with populous 
towns ; and when Lancashire, for instance, had not 
been disfigured by factory chimneys blackening the 
very herbage with smoke. But we must remember 
that all the Tudor and Jacobean manor-houses have 
since been erected ; that such places as Oxford and 
Bath were then comparatively squalid little towns ; 
that plantations have beautified some dreary tracts, 
while the destruction of forests has spoiled the 
native charms of more favoured districts : and that 


cultivation, after all, dots a country with farm-houses 
and cottages which are not the least ornamental part 
of its furniture. 

But, while objects of architectural interest are 
distributed pretty evenly over England, there is, of 
course, no such approach to equality in scenery. If 
I were asked to select the most beautiful districts 
in England proper, I should have no difficulty in 
excluding most of the Eastern and several of the 
Midland Counties. Beginning with the Southern 
Counties, 1 should name Surrey, parts of Sussex, 
especially those bordering on Surrey and Hampshire, 
the New Forest, the border-region of Dorsetshire, 
Somersetshire, and Devonshire, the whole of Devon- 
shire, and the hill districts of Somersetshire, including 
Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. In the Midland 
Counties, between the Thames and the Humber, I 
should pick out the Cotswold Hills, the whole border- 
line adjoining Wales, Derbyshire, and Sherwood 
Forest in Nottinghamshire. In the North of Eng- 
land, the first place must be assigned to the Lake 
District, whose finest peaks and valleys are so well 
known that few care to explore the charming sub- 
Alpine country which surrounds them. Next would 
come the Dales of West Yorkshire — perhaps the 
most old-world corner of England, until it was 
invaded by the Midland Eailway — and lastly the 
Cheviot Hills, guarding the Scotch border. The 
Eoman Wall, running along a ridge between New- 
castle and Carlisle, should perhaps be added, as 
combining the highest antiquarian interest with a 


succession of splendid views both northward and 

Having made comparatively few excursions to 
foreign countries during the last forty years, I have 
had the more leisure to explore my own, and, though 
I have never thought of doing so methodically, I 
have probably seen more of the United Kingdom 
than most of my travelled friends. Being once 
challenged to reckon up the private houses in which 
I had stayed in England, Scotland, Wales, and 
Ireland, I was amused to find that they amounted 
to 400, scattered all over the United Kingdom, the 
great majority being residences of modest size, and 
very few of the palatial order. I should be at a loss 
to make out a similar list of hotels, but it would 
certainly be a long one. Many of these houses 
were resting-places on riding or driving expeditions, 
which I have always enjoyed, and recommend to 
people who like moving about independently, and 
do not require constant social excitement. When 
I was on the Western Circuit, as I have already 
mentioned, I twice rode from London to Exeter, 
and about half-way back, on my own horse, stopping 
at the various assize towns, and sometimes paying 
visits en route. I have constantly ridden and driven 
over the whole intervening country, and could hardly 
find myself out of my bearings at any point between 
Canterbury and Hastings on the East, and Dartmoor 
and llfracombe on the West. I have seen very 
little of Cornwall, and there are parts of Devon- 
shire, as well as of Kent, which I have not explored. 


but I have crossed and recrossed in all directions 
the rest of the Southern counties — Surrey and 
Sussex, Berkshire and Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset- 
shire, and Somersetshire. I once rode from Surrey 
to Holnicote, near Minehead, by way of the Hamp- 
shire Downs, Chard, Blackdown, Brendon Hill, and 
Dunkerry Beacon, and hunted on the same horse 
with the Exmoor staghounds. Being advised to 
follow the lead of some knowing local rider, I 
picked out an elderly man on a stout clever- 
looking horse, and found that I was under the 
guidance of Jack Eussell, the famous hunting- 
parson. In the summer of another year, I started 
to ride from London to Scotland along the high 
ground constituting the backbone of England, 
intending to proceed by the Carter Fell Pass 
towards Jedburgh and Edinburgh, but was stopped 
by the lameness of my horse at Buxton. I have 
also traversed many of the Westmoreland, Cumber- 
land, and Yorkshire hills on horseback, besides 
driving in a dogcart on three occasions from Oxforil 
to Kendal or Keswick, and crossing the "Pennine 
range" backwards and forwards by almost every 
practicable road between Leeds and Teesdale. 
One of these, from Kirkby Stephen into the head 
of Swaledale and down to Eichmond, must be one 
of the very wildest and least-frequented carriage- 
tracks in England. In 1880, after staying with 
Lord Bowen near Llangollen, I rode across hill 
and dale by a rough "switchback" route to Lord 
Aberdare's house in Glamorganshire, and have made 


frequent riding-tours in such woodland districts as 
the New Forest, Sherwood Forest, the Chiltern Hills, 
and the Cotswold Hills, which strongly contrast 
with the neighbouring Mendip Hills in being far 
better watered and far better timbered. As I was 
exploring the so-called " Dukeries " in Sherwood 
Forest with a friend, I happened to say that I 
supposed it would be converted before long into 
a national park, to which he replied : "I am sure 
I do not know why it should, so long as we can 
get Dukes to keep it up for us at their own ex- 
pense, and leave the gates open." 

Perhaps no county in England, and certainly no 
other county of its size, offers such a variety of quiet 
and beautiful rides as the county of Surrey, with its 
parallel ranges of chalk and sand hills, its remains 
of the ancient forest on the wealden clay, its richly- 
coloured landscapes, its numerous heaths, its lonely 
tarns modestly called "ponds," its hollow lanes, 
its secluded nooks once haunted by gypsies or 
smugglers and now by artists, its never-failing 
bridle-tracks, and its ever-open -bridle-gates. For 
many of its attractions, and especially for those 
which make it so delightful a riding-ground, as 
well as for the scarcity of great country-houses, 
Surrey is really indebted to the poverty of its soil. 
Had it been as fertile as the fen-country or the 
vale of Taunton, it would have been parcelled out 
and enclosed centuries ago by Norman barons or 
monks, interlaced with hedgerows, and intersected 
with ditches. As it is, there are many spots in it. 


witliin twenty-five miles of London, which retain 
almost all their old - world seclusion, and I have 
myself seen black game on the skirts of Leith Hill 
and Hindhead, while one was taken alive during a 
fire on a heathery but well-frequented common, near 
Peper Harow, not many years ago. If the charm of 
quiet riding consists in a combination of picturesque 
views, fine air, and soft ground, it would be diflS- 
cult to surpass three rides of twenty or thirty 
miles each, which may be enjoyed within the 
borders of Surrey, though, in one case, the starting- 
point is Windsor, in Berkshire. This ride is across 
Windsor Park, by Ascot and Swinley Park, thence 
by solitary avenues of fir said to have been cut 
for George III. during his period of insanity, along 
Chobham Ridges to Fox Hills, over Aldershot, and 
Farnham. It is from a point on this route that, 
according to some military wag, you may survey 
the whole career of the British ofl&cer, from the 
cradle to the grave. He starts at the Orphan 
Asylum, near Bagshot, and proceeds successively 
to Wellington College, Sandhurst, Aldershot, and 
the Stafi" College. Soon afterwards, falling into 
evil courses, he finds his way into the County 
Prison (not in view), and thence into the Woking 
Convict Prison, from which, losing his reason, he 
is transferred to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic 
Asylum, where he dies, and is buried (or cremated) 
at the Woking Cemetery, leaving children, who re- 
commence the vicious circle at the Orphan Asylum. 
The second route is from Reigate to Farnham along 



the North Downs as far as Guildford, and onwards along 
the narrow ridge of the Hog's Back. The last is from 
Reigate along the line of sandhills and intervening 
heaths connecting Leith Hill, Holmbury, Hascombe, 
and Hindhead, whence the excursion might be pro- 
longed through a fine and open country into Sussex 
or Hampshire. The late Sir William Erie, Chief- 
Justice of the Common Pleas, who lived on the 
southern slopes of Hindhead, was an enthusiastic 
admirer of this region, and, though no great rider, 
loved to range over it on horseback. Once, when 
he was Judge of Assize at Guildford, and was riding 
home alone across Hindhead, he met with a little 
adventure which he related to me as more char- 
acteristic of Ireland than of England. It happened 
that certain recent enclosures on the hillside had 
caused much discontent among the "hut-men," and 
provoked reprisals in the nature of agrarian outrage, 
the authors of which had been tried before his 
brother-Judge at Guildford. In the wildest part 
of the road, he was accosted by two or three rough- 
looking men, who spoke of these lawless acts with 
ill-concealed sympathy, but added that he was 
known as a friend of the poor, and assured him 
that his property would be safe against injury ; 
after which, they disappeared in the dusk. It was 
he who erected the cross of Cornish marble which 
now crowns the summit of Hindhead. Here three 
murderers had been gibbeted at the end of the 
last century, and a stone by the roadside, a little 
way below, still commemorates the actual scene 


of the murder by a sadly grim inscription. The 
benevolent feelings of Sir William Erie were shocked 
that so ill-omened a memory should be thus per- 
petuated, and so, by way of exorcising the evil 
spirit, he surrounded his own monument with short 
texts in Latin and English, suggestive of hope, 
peace, and salvation. 

But, as every one knows, neither the broken 
woodland country of Surrey, nor the choice hunting 
country of the Midlands, with plenty of stiflF but 
not breakneck fences, is the best country for that 
class of horsemen who enjoy galloping on elastic 
turf, at a high level, and with extensive views. 
In these respects, I know of no country to match 
the Sussex, Berkshire, and Wiltshire Downs, to 
which should be added that region of Dorsetshire 
comprised in the Autumn Manoeuvres of 1898, and 
combining the attractions of open Downs with those 
of well-kept parks. Such riding cannot be found 
in the so-called " Shires," where, however, large 
grass fields are often connected, for miles together, 
by gates known to local farmers and hunting-men. 
A practised eye, too, will often discern signs of 
old bridle-paths, not yet barred up, which a novice 
would miss ; and if the novice should lose his way 
in making a venture across fields, he may sometimes 
find comfort in the old country maxim, "Where 
there's ricks, there's gates." There is also a strong 
presumption of there being a thoroughfare practi- 
cable for horses between farm and farm, just as foot- 
paths may generally be found leading across country 


from one parish church to another. Of course, no 
one who really cares for riding would trot along 
roads if he could find an equally short route across 
country ; but it is worth noticing that good unbroken 
turf is far more likely to be found at the sides of 
the great trunk-roads of England, too broad for 
their present trafiic, than along narrow cross-roads 
and byways, and this especially holds good of the 
Midland Counties. The main roads have the further 
advantage that, so far as may be, they follow the 
line of high ridges. As for the proper limit of a 
day's journey in riding and driving tours, I should 
be disposed to fix it at an average of twenty-five 
miles. My own practice has been to make longer 
journeys, and rest on alternate days, often at a 
friend's house. No doubt a higher average may 
be maintained by reducing the pace, and it is 
certain that in the olden times men would ride 
fifty or sixty miles a day for a week together, as 
they still do in Australia, South Africa, and South 
America. But the roadsters of those good old days 
were specially bred for the purpose, and the roads 
were not macadamised ; at all events, experience 
shows that modern horses' legs will not stand 
constant hammering over long distances, if they 
are used all the year round. For heavy journeys, 
the average pace should not greatly exceed seven 
miles an hour, exclusive of stoppages, and, in driving 
tours, it is good policy to go very gently uphill, 
making up for lost time on level ground. I confess 
to having always preferred friends' houses, as night- 


quarters, to country hotels. The difficulty is that 
friends' houses are not distributed at convenient 
distances all over England, but this difficulty may 
be abated, in most parts of the country, by a very 
simple expedient. My own plan was to drive on 
thirty or forty miles from each comfortable halting- 
place and fall back on it by train, leaving my 
horse to rest until I rejoined it, or else to push 
on by train on the first day to another comfortable 
halting-place, and bring up my horse and trap on 
the next or following day. 

My experience of English inns is not, on the 
whole, unfavourable, and I do not share the opinion 
of those who think Continental hotels in every respect 
superior. No doubt Switzerland, being largely fre- 
quented by classes who insist on good treatment, 
and are ready to pay for it, deserves a high reputa- 
tion for hotel-keeping ; but there are many excellent 
hotels, patronised by a somewhat different class, in 
the hill districts of the Lake Country and Derby- 
shire, not to speak of North Wales and the High- 
lands. It is the ordinary English country towns 
which are so often very inferior in hotel accom- 
modation to similar towns on the Continent, having 
a number of thriving public-houses, but not one 
hostelry with a standard of comfort above that 
required by commercial travellers. It may truly be 
said that a refined cuisine is hardly to be expected 
where there is no regular demand for meals at stated 
hours, except on market days, but only a chance of 
casual travellers calling in a hurry for mutton-chops ; 


whereas in a French provincial town it is common 
for the lawyer, the doctor, the notary public, and 
the local officials, to breakfast or dine at a table 
d'hdte. But this will not excuse the sad deficiency 
of nearly all our second-class hotels in the neatness, 
appointments, and, above all, the quiet of bedrooms. 
For instance, in all my journeys about England, I 
never remember to have seen an inkstand and 
blotting-book in an hotel bedroom, yet an expendi- 
ture of a few shillings on this and one or two other 
little requisites might give hotel bedrooms a home- 
like air, and save infinite trouble to visitors and 
servants. Again, why should the wine-card of an 
English hotel ofi"er so miserable a choice of third-rate 
wines at prices threefold of their cost, or why should 
visitors have to pay twice over for attendance ? On 
the other hand, good beer and fairly good tea are 
almost always to be had at English inns, the stabling 
is usually good, and I have always found ostlers 
honest and kind to horses, especially if you show by 
your manner that you are likely to "behave like 
a gentleman." The scarcity of inns in high and 
healthy positions is hardly creditable to England. 
Buxton is an exception in this respect, but outside 
Buxton it would be difficult to name ten really 
comfortable hotels at a level of five hundred feet 
or more above the sea. The Lake country does not 
possess one such hotel — for the village of Shap, 
though nearly one thousand feet high, cannot ofiier 
comfort to visitors ; and I know of none that can 
be compared with the better seaside hotels in the 


elevated districts of the Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor, 
Dartmoor, the Cotswold Hills, the Chiltern Hills, or 
the chalk Downs of the Southern Counties. There 
are ideal sites for quiet and luxurious health-resorts 
on the beautiful Surrey Downs within twenty miles 
of London, and yet there is not a single hotel on 
that high and picturesque table-land suitable for the 
myriads of wealthy people inhabiting the West End, 
for whom sumptuous accommodation is provided at 
watering-places along the coasts of Kent, Sussex, 
Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. 

There are other drawbacks in English road- 
travelling which might be easily remedied, and 
ought not to have been tolerated so long. For 
example, the very convenient system of sending 
luggage by post which has prevailed for many years 
on the Continent has yet to be established in Eng- 
land. Sign-posts, which are to be found on out-of- 
the-way footpaths in Switzerland and Germany, are 
often wanting just where they are most needed on 
English cross-roads, and even the great high-roads. 
The name of a village is hardly ever painted up 
at the entrance to it, though it may generally be 
found over the Post Ofl&ce, if there happens to be 
one. Our Ordnance Maps, on the one-inch scale, 
excellent as they are in their way, show no difference 
between highways and byways, green cart-tracks or 
mere farm roads, and metalled roads suitable for 
carriages with springs. For this reason, it is con- 
stantly necessary to question country people, and, 
in doing so, it is a good rule to avoid leading 


questions, which are apt to be answered offhand, 
and with a view to please the questioner. Thus, 
instead of asking "Does that road lead to A.?" 
in which case the reply will probably be in the 
affirmative, it is better to ask " Where does that 
road lead ? " and to follow up this question with 
others showing a knowledge of the map, which may 
elicit the more detailed information required by a 
stranger. Until lately, very little reliance could be 
placed on guide-books by any traveller exploring the 
country on foot or horseback, but this requirement 
has now been supplied by Messrs. Jenkinson, Badde- 
ley, and others, whose handbooks give minute and 
accurate directions even for crossing mountain passes 
where the path is invisible. Still, where mists are 
liable to come on and landmarks are few, no one can 
dispense with a compass. By the aid of one, I have 
steered my way in a dog-cart across high and desolate 
Yorkshire moors near Malham Tarn, where no wheel- 
track could be seen, and, for want of one, farmers 
and huntsmen have lost their way on the South 
Downs very near their own homes. 

Being a sportsman's paradise, Scotland is perhaps 
better known to Englishmen than England itself 
My own acquaintance with it is that of a tourist or 
health-seeker, and there are certain districts which I 
have never traversed, such as the central parts of 
Eoss-shire and Inverness-shire, the outer Hebrides, 
and the region about Ben Alder, so graphically 
described by Stevenson in "Kidnapped." Other- 
wise, I may claim a tolerably wide general knowledge 


of it from the English border up to the Shetland 
Islands, and a special knowledge of Deeside and the 
Grampian range. There can, of course, be no com- 
parison between the Scotch Highlands and Switzer- 
land in the grandeur of their mountains and the 
beauty of their valleys, but they possess one advan- 
tage for tourists seeking fine air and health rather 
than an arena for mountaineering prowess. Nothing, 
it is true, can be more invigorating than the climate of 
a Swiss glacier, which must of necessity be on a high 
level, and on which the air, instead of being heated 
by the earth, comes up refrigerated from a surface 
of ice. But, after all, the great majority of Swiss 
tourists spend all their nights and most hours of 
their days in comparatively low valleys, some of 
them so confined and insalubrious that goitre and 
cretinism prevail among the inhabitants. In the 
Highlands, on the contrary, if you are not on a 
mountain, you are very often on an open moor, 
swept by health-giving winds which the mountains 
are not steep enough, or high enough, or far enough 
apart, to intercept. This is an advantage which the 
Highlands also possess, as compared with the English 
Lake District, the mountains of which are, on the 
average, much steeper, and grouped much closer 
together, superior in form, but inferior in colouring. 
A special drawback in Scotch hill-climbing is that 
great expanses of mountain and moor are reserved 
as deer forests, and guarded against trespassers by 
keepers during most of the tourist season, whereas 
the fells of Westmoreland and Cumberland are prac- 


tically left open, or crossed by stone fences which a 
tourist is free to climb over. Though deerstalking 
is certainly a selfish form of recreation, so far as it 
involves shutting up whole mountains and vast tracts 
of moor against the public, and though some High- 
land proprietors have certainly pushed their rights 
too far, I think the grievance has been somewhat 
exaggerated. What mainly concerns the public 
interest is the preservation of footpaths, especially 
across passes connecting the heads of two glens, and 
here good service has been rendered by the Highland 
Association and a similar body in the Lake District. 
As for mountain ascents in Scotland, there are few 
who care to make them nowadays, except where 
there is an undisputed right of way, as there is up 
Ben Lomond, Ben Nevis, or Lochnagar. Unless 
landlords could be compelled to make smooth and 
easy tracks up nameless mountains, not many tourists 
would be found to climb them, whatever the law 
might be, plunging laboriously through bog and 
heather, of which sportsmen think little in the 
pursuit of game. 

The Highlands and islands of Scotland are so full 
of beauties, distributed equally between the coasts 
and the interior, that it would be hopeless to rank 
them in order of merit. If I were asked to name 
the features of scenery which specially dwell in my 
own memory, I should be disposed to begin with 
Cape Wrath, the grandest headland in Great Britain, 
and only to be matched by the cliffs of Donegal. 
Coming southward along the West coast, 1 should 


then single out Loch Hourn as the sternest and 
finest of all the sea-lochs, the jagged peaks of 
the Coolin Hills in Skye, and the equally chaotic 
blocks of granite which crown the summits of Goat 
Fell in Arran. Among inland scenes, none can 
surpass in beauty the well-known district of Loch 
Katrine and the Trossachs, or certain points on the 
course of the Tay ; but I should place in the same 
class with these the ravine of the Findhorn River 
hemmed in by its granite walls, the precipices which 
flank the eastern side of Lochnagar, and those which 
overhang the lonely waters of Loch Avon. The last 
two are most accessible from Braemar, which may 
well be called the Engadine of Great Britain, and 
which is one of the few inland places frequented by 
visitors for the sake of its climate alone. It stands 
on a sloping plateau overlooking the Dee Valley, 1 100 
feet above the sea, being the highest village, except 
Tomintoul, in the island. Buxton is but 100 feet 
lower, and there are inns on Exmoor and Dartmoor 
which are still higher ; but the Braemar air owes 
its specially dry and bracing quality to its coming 
across treeless granite mountains which tap the rain- 
clouds as they sweep over. The glens in the West 
of Scotland are richer in vegetation, by virtue of 
their heavy rainfall, and some of the Western moun- 
tains are bolder in form ; but there is something 
imposing in the almost trackless mass of the Gram- 
pians between the valleys of the Dee and the Spey ; 
and, however tame in outline they may be, as seen 
from without, they turn very precipitous faces to- 


wards each other. The Queen was extremely well 
advised when she fixed her Highland home in this 
district ; and, if it were not protected by the ex- 
clusive policy of the proprietors, it would soon be 
overspread by vulgar jerry-built villas, like Ilfra- 
combe or North Malvern. 

Braemar possesses a further charm in the sim- 
plicity of life which still prevails there, and which 
I have enjoyed during as many as fifteen or sixteen 
summer visits. But neither this nor any part of the 
Highlands is well suited for riding or driving tours. 
The vast expanses of moor are much too rough and 
boggy to be traversed at anything above a foot's 
pace, there are hardly any bridle-paths, and the 
stable accommodation is much below the English 
standard. The great roads, it is true, though few 
and far between, are well kept, and by no means 
unduly steep, even in mountainous districts. The 
fact is, that the worst road-ascents in Great Britain 
are to be found in counties like Devonshire, where 
it is just possible to go up hill and down dale with- 
out resorting to engineering skill, and where the 
old pack-road's have simply been widened into the 
modern carriage-ways. In Scotland, as in Switzer- 
land, the mountains are too high for this ; even 
General Wade had to circumvent them as best he 
could, and his successors in road-making have 
adopted the easiest gradients of which the ground 

I have less acquaintance with the Hebrides than 
with the mainland of Scotland, though I have twice 


visited two of the finest — Skye and Arran. The 
former contains an unusual proportion of dreary- 
scenery ; but in the Coolin Hills, Loch Coruisk, 
the Storr Rock, and Quiraing, it possesses features 
of interest which fully justify its fame. The small 
island of Raasay, between Skye and the West coast, 
was in almost as primitive a state, when I stayed 
there in 1857, as it had been in the days of Dr. 
Johnson. The house of the laird (Mr. Rainy) re- 
mained almost unchanged ; there was no other 
resident gentleman except the minister ; no doctor 
had set foot on the island for many years ; and, 
though mutton and game were plentiful, the islanders, 
three or four hundred in number, were dependent 
not only for beef but also for bread on steamers 
from Glasgow, which lay off the little jetty twice 
a-week in summer and discharged packages into a 
boat, but, I believe, ceased to run in winter. Once 
in the house, perhaps drenched with spray, a visitor 
found true old-fashioned hospitality ; and I par- 
ticularly remember the institution of " hot-pot," a 
savoury concoction of meat, game, and condiments, 
which always seemed to be kept ready on the 
kitchen fire, and was brought up at the shortest 
possible notice to restore warmth and vitality. The 
luxuriance of the fuchsias round the house con- 
trasted pleasantly with the wildness of the back- 



Visits to Ireland — Study of the Irish Land Question — Reminiscences 
of the Vice-Regal Lodge — The " Castle-ayatem " — Phoenix Park 
murders — Their influence on the Home Rule movement — My own 
contributions to Unionist organisation and literature — "Plain 
Facts about Ireland " — The Irish Local Government Act — Eflfect 
of the Home Rule movement on political friendships. 

My first visits to Ireland, beginning with 1845, 
were for the sake of enjoying the scenery or the 
hospitality of friends. In my opinion it cannot be 
compared with Scotland, or even with England, in 
natural beauties, and is not unfairly described as an 
unattractive picture in a handsome frame. A great 
part of the interior is much duller and more devoid 
of striking features than our Midland Counties, but 
there is a belt of most picturesque country round a 
great part of the coast, including the Wicklow 
Mountains, the Mourne Mountains, the environs of 
the Giant's Causeway, the whole of Donegal, Conne- 
mara, much of Limerick, Killarney, and the other 
highlands of Kerry, extending into the South- West 
of Cork. Before railways were developed, most of 
these districts were traversed by Bianconi's cars, and 
nearly fifty years ago tickets for circular tours in 
Ireland might be taken at reasonable prices. I made 

one of these tours in 1852, and reached the most 



westerly point of Ireland on the promontory beyond 
Dingle, where I stayed with a relation. The cheap- 
ness of provisions at Dingle in those days before 
the spread of regular communication would now be 
thought incredible. 1 was assured, on trustworthy 
authority, that a pair of chickens just good enough to 
be put on the table might be got for fourpence or 
less, and the price of eggs, which I have forgotten, was 
on a like scale. The fowls simply multiplied like 
the people, and there was no market for the surplus. 
No one could pass through such a country, even 
as a tourist, without carrying away a strong impression 
of the contrast between it and England, but it was 
not until 1869 that I attempted to see it with the 
eyes of a foreign observer. The Irish Church Act 
had just been passed, and Mr. Gladstone's First Irish 
Land Bill was known to be impending, when my old 
friend Mr. F. W. Gibbs and I visited the North of 
Ireland, with the view of gaining information on 
various aspects of the Land Question. We armed 
ourselves with good introductions, and though neither 
of us was foolish enough to imagine that we could 
master in a few weeks problems which had puzzled 
experts for years or generations, we gained enough 
knowledge at first hand to enable us to understand 
and check the evidence collected in blue-books. 
Both of us published the results of our inquiry, 
Gibbs devoting himself chiefly to an exposition of the 
Ulster custom, while I essayed to present a com- 
pendious review of the whole subject in its historical 
and agrarian aspects, followed by proposals for 


practical legislation. This review originally appeared 
in a volume called " Eecess Studies," but lias since 
been re-published in my " Political Studies." The 
distinctive feature of its constructive portion is a 
suggestion for a Domesday-book survey of all Ireland, 
for the purpose of ascertaining and registering once 
for all the value of landlords' and tenants' interests 
on all estates ; this valuation to be made under 
conditions and by processes there indicated in a 
general way. This judicial assessment being once 
made, it was an essential part of the scheme that no 
tenant should be liable to disturbance without pay- 
ment of the full value of his tenant right, and that 
no further agreements between landlord and tenant 
should be valid in law unless embodied in written 
contracts. I am still of opinion that a settlement of 
the Irish land question on these broad principles 
would have been practicable, equitable, and lasting. 
But the time for it has long since passed. Instead of 
following the precedent set by Stein and Hardenberg, 
and gradually establishing a system of single owner- 
ship, Mr. Gladstone and his colleagues deliberately 
adopted a system of dual ownership to which there 
is no parallel in the civilised world, sacrificing the 
future to the present, and destroying all hope of a 
stable equilibrium in Irish land-tenure, except so far 
as the Irish tenant may become his own landlord by 

During Lord Spencer's first Irish Viceroyalty, I 
was often his guest at the Vice-regal Lodge, and had 
many opportunities of conversing with persons con- 


cerned in the government of Ireland. He was also 
kind enough to discuss Irish affairs very freely with 
me, and to admit me behind the scenes of what is 
called " Dublin Castle." Now, I am quite aware that 
Dublin Castle has been studiously represented, if not 
as the stronghold of English oppression, yet as a 
focus of corruption and abuses ; nor am I prepared to 
deny that in past times it was open to charges of the 
latter kind. But nothing that I saw or heard would 
justify a belief that it is still open to them; much less, 
that the abolition of the Lord-Lieutenancy would be 
in the interest either of the United Kingdom or of 
Ireland. When this measure was contemplated by 
Lord Russell and other Liberals of the old school, it 
recommended itself as part and parcel of the policy 
of assimilation whereby the Irish Channel was to be 
gradually bridged over, and all badges of difference 
obliterated. That policy has now been abandoned 
for the counter-policy of special legislation for 
Ireland ; and the abolition of the Viceroyalty would 
destroy not only a standing monument of Impe- 
rial rule, but a valuable instrument for mediation 
between Irish and English opinion. Torrents of 
abuse have been poured upon "the Castle" by Irish 
demagogues, and it is quite possible that some useful 
reforms might still be introduced into Castle bureau- 
cracy. But the broad fact remains that " the Castle " 
really consists of a few officials, mostly both honest 
and able, far more accessible to Irish influences than 
Under-Secretaries or clerks at the Home Office, and 
traditionally disposed to modify Imperial instructions 


so as to conciliate Irish prejudice. The besetting sin 
of " the Castle " is not its despotism but its weakness ; 
and since the recent extension of local self-govern- 
ment in Ireland — an experiment which no one had 
demanded and from which no one expects the least 
benefit — it has become vitally necessary to strengthen 
the power of the Central Executive, whether it be 
lodged in Dublin Castle, or distributed, as in France, 
among provincial authorities. 

As for the allegation that Ireland is administered 
through Englishmen, the fact is that a much larger 
proportion of Irishmen is to be found in the English 
Civil Service than of Englishmen in the Irish Civil 
Service. While the Lord Chief-Justice of England 
and two or three other English Judges are Irishmen, 
every Judge on the Irish Bench is of Irish birth ; the 
official staff of every Irish Board consists almost 
entirely of Irishmen ; and if the Under-Secretary has 
sometimes of late been an Englishman or a Scotchman, 
it is worthy of remembrance that the last Under- 
Secretary of purely Irish blood — a Eoman Catholic 
of the old stock — was murdered in broad daylight by 
hired Irish assassins in the Phoenix Park. 

No one could be more admirably fitted than Lord 
Spencer to fill the office of an Irish Viceroy. How- 
ever much I may deplore his conversion to Home 
Eule, I shall always hold that if Ireland could be 
continuously governed by such men, as independent 
of the Ministry in office as the Viceroys of India, 
surrounded by a representative Irish Privy Council 
with larger powers than " Dublin Castle " possesses. 


and not vexatiously controlled from Westminster, tlie 
whole aspect of the Irish question would be altered. 
Lord Spencer may have had too much faith in the 
Liberal panaceas for the ills of Ireland, but he was 
a perfectly conscientious, public-spirited, and open- 
minded man, always seeking and welcoming opinions 
from persons of experience or ability, and never taking 
an important step until he was convinced of its 
wisdom. During his first Administration, his Chief 
Secretaries were Mr. Chichester Fortescue and Lord 
Hartington ; but in addition to his ofiicial advisers, he 
was fortunate enough to possess a very honest and 
able counsellor in the Irish Attorney-General, Mr. 
Edward Sullivan, afterwards Master of the EoUs, 
whose premature death facilitaced, to say the least, 
the adoption of a Home Rule policy. His second 
Administration was inaugurated, so to speak, by the 
atrocious murder of Mr. Thomas Burke and Lord 
Frederick Cavendish, whose presence on the spot 
appointed for Burke's assassination was purely acci- 
dental. The circumstances of this most dramatic 
crime are now tolerably well known, but it is not 
generally known that Lord Spencer had just returned 
from a ride which, if prolonged in the direction which 
he meant to have taken, would have brought him on 
the scene of action as a witness, if it had not put 
the murderers to flight. In the following winter, 
I was staying at the Vice-regal Lodge, where the 
strictest guard was still kept, and precautions en- 
forced which strongly resembled a state of siege. 
Most of the Lord-Lieutenant's retinue and guests. 


including myself, were habitually armed with re- 
volvers, the Vice-regal carriages were followed by 
armed detectives on cars, and no one was allowed to 
approach the Lodge after dark without giving the 
pass- word or "countersign" of the day. At this 
time the Phoenix Park assassins were still at large, 
but I believe their names were known to the police 
authorities, who patiently waited until one of them 
should turn "Queen's evidence" — a part ultimately 
played by the infamous Carey. I remember having 
a conversation with a Dublin car-driver, who pro- 
fessed the utmost horror of the murder, and particular 
sympathy with Lord Frederick Cavendish, who could 
have injured nobody, protesting with solemn adjura- 
tions that no Dublin car-driver, like himself, could 
have been concerned in the affair. I told him that 
I could not feel equally sure of this, especially as his 
countrymen were constantly shooting down men as 
innocent as Lord Frederick : and I was so far risrht, 
that a man of this very class afterwards confessed to 
having driven the party. 

I almost shrink from avowing it, and yet I have 
not the smallest doubt, that while the immediate 
effect of the Phoenix Park murders was a strong 
Coercion Act, their ultimate effect was to stimulate 
the Home Rule movement, and pave the way for 
Mr. Gladstone's adoption of it. The man who openly 
declared that the Clerkenwell explosion had sounded 
the doom of the Irish Church, was just the man to 
imagine that ruffians hired with. American money, 
and unknown to respectable Irish Nationalists 


(though afterwards worshipped as martyrs), were 
true representatives of a misguided but genuine and 
terribly earnest patriotism. I happen to know that 
one of his most important coadjutors was more or 
less under this illusion, and led to conclude that, 
since Ireland had not been conciliated by the methods 
in which Liberal politicians had so groundless a faith, 
nothing remained except to let the Home Rulers 
have their own way. Unless I am greatly deceived, 
it was this hopeless sense of impotence, rather than 
any belief in the capacity of the Irish for self- 
government, which impelled other leaders of the 
Liberal Party to follow Mr. Gladstone and Lord 
Spencer like a flock of sheep, and so the task of 
governing Ireland under the Union was abandoned 
in a fit of administrative despair. Had these blind 
guides been able to foresee even the immediate 
future, perhaps "the great betrayal" would never 
have taken place. But they did not foresee that 
a new spirit would be roused among their country- 
men superior to popularity -hunting and time-serving, 
that a body of men called Liberal Unionists would 
actually prefer being in power to being in office until 
a time should come for a strong Unionist Govern- 
ment, and that, under this Government, Ireland, 
instead of breaking out into rebellion, would remain 
quieter and apparently more contented than it has 
been in the present century. One reason why they 
did not foresee this is, that they mistook an exotic 
and artificial agitation for an indigenous and spon- 
taneous rising against intolerable oppression. The 


fact is that Home Rule, like Fenianism, was mainly 
got up and supported from America ; moonlighters, 
agrarian murderers, and assassins (like Joe Brady 
and his accomplices), were also paid out of American 
subsidies, and, when these subsidies failed, both Irish 
disaffection and Irish crime subsided in a highly 
significant way. 

During the last fifteen years I have been very 
little in Ireland, and my knowledge of Irish affairs 
has been derived from sources accessible to all, but 
I have never lost a very warm interest in them. 
Among the many papers or utterances that I have 
published on Irish policy, I will mention some on 
which I bestowed the greatest care. One entitled 
" The Last Chapter of Irish History " was published 
in 1880, after the rejection of Mr. Gladstone's Com- 
pensation for Disturbance Bill, and before the Report 
of Lord Bessborough's Commission. It contained a 
short review of Irish agrarian legislation, a descrip- 
tion of the reign of terror established by the Land 
League, and an attempt to lay down the condi- 
tions upon which alone a lasting settlement could be 
effected. In the same year I delivered an Address 
at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on " The 
Land Systems of England and of Ireland." In 
December 1881 I delivered another Address, after- 
wards published, in the Hall of Merton College, on 
"The Irish Land Act of 1881 : its origin and its 
consequences," wherein I pointed out the radical 
defects of that most unjust and unstatesmanlike 
measure, but failed to forecast the heritage of con- 


sequential injustice whicli has followed too surely 
upon it. In May 1886 I addressed to the Times 
a letter on " Home Eule and Justice to Ireland," 
designed to show that Home Eule, instead of being 
a real benefit to its people, would, on the contrary, 
be the greatest wrong that Great Britain could in- 
flict upon them. In October 1886 I addressed 
another letter to the Times on " The Grovernment 
of Ireland under the Union," designed to show how 
all the legitimate aims and aspirations of Irish 
patriotism could be far better satisfied by a wise 
development of Pitt's Irish policy, by " a vigorous 
assertion of Imperial authority, combined with an 
unprejudiced and sympathetic regard for Irish in- 
terests and feelings." In this letter I did not shrink 
from anticipating the heresy lately adopted by Mr. 
Arthur Balfour. " Ireland is still a very backward 
country, and messages of peace have not calmed 
religious passion. Why not recognise facts, give up 
the fiction of mixed education in elementary schools, 
and endow a Catholic University ? It is too late 
to pay the priests, or to renew the dependence of 
Maynooth on an annual grant. But it is not too 
late to place the highest education within the reach 
of the Eoman Catholic laity on terms which they 
will accept ; and, whether or not the boon should 
elicit gratitude, it would be a substantial benefit to 

In 1887 I headed a deputation from the Liberal 
Unionist graduates of Oxford, who had joined the 
Liberal Unionist graduates of Cambridge in an 


address to Lord Hartington. This address had been 
drawn up at Cambridge, and accepted by us without 
alteration, as I duly informed Lord Hartington in 
presenting it to him, in conjunction with Sir John 
Seeley, at Devonshire House. Soon afterwards 
(July 20, 1887) I contributed to the Liberal 
Unionist an article on " The Classes and the 
Masses," designed to show the hoUowness, as well 
as the wickedness, of Mr. Gladstone's attempt to 
set instinct above reason, and popular ignorance 
against cultivated opinion — sometimes misguided, or 
even selfish, but never quite fatuous and reckless. 
In November 1887 I delivered a speech at Bath, 
afterwards published by the Liberal Unionist Asso- 
ciation, under the title of " The Real Meaning of 
Home Rule and Coercion." In January 1888 I 
delivered another speech at Oxford, deprecating the 
immediate fusion of Liberal Unionists into the 
Conservative Party, and claiming for them a right 
to stand before the world as the legitimate " heirs 
and representatives of the great historical Liberal 
Party." In April 1888 I addressed to the Times 
a letter on " Ireland a Nation," exposing the absurd 
fallacy that Ireland is a disinherited nation, robbed 
of its national independence by its English con- 
querors. As that fallacy is not yet extinct, I will 
venture to select one passage from this letter. 
" ' Scotland a Nation ' is a sentiment which awakens 
glorious memories ; but ' Ireland a Nation ' is simply 
an unmeaning phrase. The consolidation of the 
Irish provinces and regions under one settled 


government lias been exclusively the work of 
English monarchs and statesmen. The civil and 
political liberties which Ireland now enjoys have 
been conferred on it by England, and by England 
alone. Neither trial by jury, nor Parliamentary J 
representation, nor the freedom of the Press, nor 
the Poor-Law, nor popular education, nor any privi- 
lege of citizenship now common to Irishmen with 
Englishmen, is an institution of Irish origin. They 
were all imported from England, and there is not 
one of them which is not grossly abused, at this 
very moment, by Irishmen, who seem to consider 
an incapacity for the honest exercise of civil rights 
a title and qualification for the duties of national 
self-government." In December 1888 I delivered 
at Oxford an Address on " Unionism the Basis of 
a National Party," on which I shall have more to 
say hereafter. In May 1889 I was Chairman of the 
Liberal Union Club dinner in London, when the late 
Lord Derby was our guest, and spoke chiefly on the 
hopelessly chimerical project of Home Eule with 
limited liability. In November 1889 I delivered 
a speech from the Chair at a Unionist dinner at 
Oxford, in which I dwelt on the duty of Unionists 
to support a Government, under whatever name, 
"which should initiate Liberal measures in a Con- 
servative spirit." In May 1890 I presided at a 
great meeting in the Oxford Corn Exchange, where 
Mr. Chamberlain was the speaker of the evening, 
and my chief task was to provide an appropriate 
prelude to his address. He was extremely well 


received, and, in spite of threats, no disturbance 
occurred to call for the interference of the police, 
or of the " chuckers-out," of whom we had provided 
a sufficient body in reserve, and whom I was amused 
to find described in a private report on the arrange- 
ments as " the party of order." 

After the Home Eule controversy passed into a 
less acute stage, I gladly withdrew from the political 
arena, though I contributed two signed articles in 
January and March 1893 to a series in the Oxford 
Times, originated, I think, by Professor Dicey. The 
subjects of these articles were " The Coming Home 
Eule Bill: a last word to Unionists," and "Present 
Aspects and Prospects of Home Rule." These two 
articles contain my final views on Home Rule, and, 
if that disastrous question should be revived, I could 
wish to be judged by them. I also played a humble 
part, by speech and pen, in rallying Liberal Unionists 
to the support of Lord Valentia at the Oxford City 
elections of 1892 and 1895 ; but, for the most part, 
I have declined platform appearances, and held 
aloof from political gatherings, during the last few 
years. I am well aware that whatever I have said 
or written on this latest phase of the Irish Question 
is of purely ephemeral interest — committed to air 
and inscribed on water, or " buried in the catacombs 
reserved for old newspaper files." Nevertheless, 
I will select a single passage from an article, not yet 
mentioned, which appeared in the National Review 
in 1888, and was entitled "Plain Facts about 
Ireland." This article, as simple in its style as in 


its title, was designed to correct in some degree the 
gross ignorance which then prevailed, as it still 
prevails, among ordinary talkative politicians on 
subjects which form the very alphabet of the Irish 
Question. The following extract contains a sum- 
mary of its conclusions, based on grounds there 
briefly stated, which seem to me even now worthy 
of repetition and consideration. " We have seen, 
in the first place, that Irish nationality is a past 
that was never present ; that whatever sense of 
national unity Ireland now possesses, and all its free 
institutions, it owes to English rule ; that it never 
had a national Parliament worthy of the name till 
it was admitted to partnership in the Imperial 
Parliament ; that its wise surrender of a nominal 
legislative independence was not the nefarious in- 
trigue conjured up by Mr. Gladstone, and was 
justified by the results ; that Ireland has made great 
progress in everything but loyalty under the Union, 
and is now as truly self-governed as any part of 
Great Britain ; that the Viceroy alty and the "Castle 
system " are no monuments or instruments of oppres- 
sion, but rather intermediate links between the 
Central Executive and the Irish people ; that Ireland 
actually enjoys and constantly abuses local franchises 
and institutions nearly the same as those of Great 
Britain ; that ' public opinion ' in the English sense 
does not exist in Ireland ; and that if intermittent 
' coercion ' has failed, the failure of conciliation has 
been still more signal and significant. We have, 
then, rapidly surveyed the essential conditions of 


agrarian disorder in Ireland, and the chief measures 
whereby it has been sought to remedy it at the 
sacrifice of every principle except that of expediency. 
We have seen that no Irish tenant can now be rack- 
rented by his landlord, though he may be ground 
down by the payment of an extortionate tenant- 
right to his predecessor; that his judicial rent may 
be lowered by a Court as prices go down, but cannot 
be raised as prices go up ; that however much his 
rent may be in arrear, he can obtain full compensa- 
tion for improvements on quitting his farm, or sell 
it to the highest bidder ; and that if he wishes to 
buy it out-and-out from his landlord, he is enabled 
to do so by the use of public credit, on such terms 
that his yearly charge will be less than his old rent ; 
in short, that he enjoys the protection of a one-sided 
agrarian code framed expressly for his benefit, and 
securing to him privileges unknown to his fellows 
in the rest of the United Kingdom, on the Conti- 
nent of Europe, in the Colonies, or in the United 
States of America." 

It only remains to be added that, during the 
eleven years since this passage was penned, the 
position of the Irish tenant has been still further 
improved, partly at the expense of his much- 
oppressed landlord, and partly at that of the State, 
especially in the direction of purchase on easier 
terms. As for " local franchises and institutions," 
which have now been assimilated more closely 
than ever to those of Great Britain, it is to be 
feared that a new and ruinous departure will have 


to be recorded by the future historian. For, unless 
Irish character be wholly changed, or Imperial 
statesmanship is stiflfened into far more peremptory 
action than has been displayed for many years, 
I can see but one probable issue to Irish County 
Councils. The safeguards devised to prevent their 
robbing the landlords may prove effectual, but no 
safeguards have been devised, or could prove 
effectual, against their usurping political functions, 
and becoming little Home Eule Parliaments, when 
a fresh wave of revolutionary agitation sets in. If 
this once comes about, I shall be surprised if the 
next step is not a periodical reunion of representa- 
tives from these Councils in Dublin ; one step more, 
and we shall have a Home Rule Convention, loudly 
clamouring for statutory recognition as an Irish 
Parliament. Ten or twelve years ago, I always 
felt, and often confessed, that I found it equally 
impossible to conceive either that Home Rule would 
be carried or that it would not be carried. Being 
pressed to say what, after all, I thought might be 
the issue, I used to reply that I feared Home Rule 
might be introduced, bit by bit, in a form which 
Irish Nationalists would recognise as adequate for 
their ulterior purpose, but which could be repre- 
sented to English Liberals, ignorant of Ireland, as 
a mere reform of local government. I wish that 
this prediction were not likely to come true, and 
that a Unionist Government may not be found 
to have surrendered the key of the Unionist 


This is not the place for an argumentative dis- 
cussion of the Home Rule movement, the history of 
which I was once urged to undertake. If I have not 
seen my way to do so, it is partly because I am not 
sure that we have yet seen the end of the move- 
ment, and partly because, having avowed myself a 
staunch Unionist from the first, and done all in my 
power to withstand Home Rule, I could hardly 
expect to be credited with the historical impartiality 
which, nevertheless, I should have earnestly striven 
to practise. It is possible to believe that a strong 
case may be made out in favour of Home Rule — it is 
even possible to believe that no speech yet delivered 
and no pamphlet yet written has done full justice to 
the strength of that case — and yet to hold that it 
admits of an overwhelming reply, not only from an 
Imperial point of view, but also, and still more, from 
an Irish point of view. " The Case of England against 
Home Rule " has been admirably stated by Professor 
Dicey; "The Case of Ireland against Home Rule'' 
still remains to be stated, and would be far more 
crushing, if stated ably, and, above all, without reserve. 
It is a pity that no speech as telling, comprehensive, 
and outspoken, as that of Lord Clare, in advocating 
the Union in the interest of Ireland, has ever 
been delivered against its wilful destruction. Even 
staunch Unionists like Mr. Lecky, an acknowledged 
master of the subject, have sometimes laid too much 
stress on the connection of Home Rule with the Land 
League, and the personal demerits of Nationalist 
leaders — as if these were the chief reasons against 


a Repeal of the Union, and as if under better leaders 
the experiment might perhaps be safely tried, and 
with some hope of success. For my own part, I 
have yet to be convinced that Irish Nationalism has 
ever had, or is ever likely to have, a better leader 
than Parnell, if the object be to conduct a disastrous 
revolution under constitutional forms. He instigated 
men to wholesale robbery, it is true, and condoned, if 
he did not defend, murder ; but this defiance of the 
sixth and eighth commandments did not shock either 
his Irish adherents or even his English allies. Some 
of these, however, at the bidding of the " Noncon- 
formist conscience," held up their hands in pious 
horror, and actually forsook him, when he was found 
to have committed a breach of the seventh com- 

Had I been challenged beforehand to name those 
of my Liberal friends who would suddenly " find sal- 
vation " in Home Eule, and those who would remain 
faithful to Unionist principles as professed up to 
1886 by the whole Liberal Party, I should assuredly 
have made numerous and grievous mistakes. Even 
now, I find it impossible to discern the lines along 
which the cleavage took place. On both sides were 
found men of apparently independent minds, of 
moderate or " advanced " opinions, with a higher or 
lower standard of political morality, and with greater 
or less knowledge of Ireland. Of one thing, however, 
I remain convinced — that very few English or Scotch 
Home Rulers were honestly converted to a Home 
Rule policy, except under the influence of political 


fatalism. They scarcely affected to believe in its 
merits or probable success, but they were induced to 
regard it as inevitable, since the new Irish Franchise 
had resulted in an enormous Home Kule majority, 
and the people of Great Britain would no longer con- 
sent (as they fancied) to support any Government 
in the measures necessary to keep order in Ireland 
under the Union. Grievous as this delusion was, and 
pitiful as the creed on which it rested, it might have 
been treated as a strange error of judgment on a con- 
stitutional problem, and would not, in itself, have 
justified that loss of confidence, and even of respect, 
which has so deeply affected private friendship during 
the last fourteen years. But the schism between 
Home Rulers and Unionists has never been confined 
to Academical differences of opinion about the merits 
of Home Rule for Ireland, whether from an Imperial 
or from an Irish point of view. As Home Rule had 
been adopted by Mr. Gladstone and his followers 
solely in deference to party exigencies, so it soon 
appeared that party exigencies would require new 
sacrifices of principle, until the larger section of the 
Liberal party drifted further and further away from 
the ancient Liberal moorings, adopting what may be 
called a policy of Separation in all its forms. Foiled 
in their first attempt to repeal the Union with 
Ireland, its leaders shamelessly appealed to Separa- 
tist passions in Scotland and Wales ; and not only 
so, but were driven by a kind of fatal necessity into 
something like an alliance with the forces of disorder 
and of anarchy, of lawlessness and of crime. During 


the crisis of the Free Church Secession in Scotland, 
one of the seceding ministers is said to have publicly 
offered up a prayer in the following words : " Lord, 
pour out upon us more abundantly the spirit of 
Disruption." That prayer, if not repeated by the 
apostles of Home Rule, was certainly fulfilled in 
their practice. Mr. Gladstone's sinister appeal to 
the pride and prejudice of ignorance, his deliberate 
attempt to poison the springs of public life by 
stirring up the enmity of the " masses " against the 
" classes," was perhaps his gravest lapse from patriot- 
ism and statesmanship. It failed, indeed, in its 
immediate object, but its evil effects are not yet 
exhausted. It is easy to say that friendship ought 
never to be disturbed by disputes about polities. So 
it may be said that friendship ought never to be dis- 
turbed by disputes about theology. But supposing 
religion to be the supreme interest of two friends, 
both good Protestants, and to have formed the main 
subject of their unreserved conversation for many 
years, with a full concurrence of sentiment in regard 
to it ; and supposing one suddenly to announce his 
intention of joining the Eoman Catholics, following 
up the announcement by ostentatious homage to 
Romish superstitions and unmeasured abuse of Pro- 
testantism — what are we to say then ? Can mutual 
confidence (not to speak of respect) remain unshaken, 
can they continue to take sweet counsel together on 
the questions nearest their hearts, can they keep up 
the pretence of fundamental sympathy, while the 
one is most earnestly striving to uphold the cause 



which the other is resisting to the death, and flinging 
himself into the arms of men whom the other regards 
with repulsion ? And yet the parallel is by no 
means complete. For it would be a gross injustice 
to compare the worst tenets of the most fanatical 
Papist with those openly avowed and carried into 
action by the evil spirits whom Mr. Gladstone sum- 
moned to his aid, but could not lay at his will. No ; 
it is possible, as I know by happy experience, for 
personal friendship to survive such a shock, but not 
for political friendship. So long as Home Rule was 
a burning question, friends who took different sides 
did wisely to avoid it as a forbidden subject. I 
myself succeeded in never once being drawn into an 
argument with a Home Rule friend. Only, now and 
again, when driven into a corner, I have taken refuge 
in the remark that some of my friends had joined 
the Roman Catholics while some had joiued the 
Home Rulers, and that, as I never discussed the 
worship of the Virgin with the one, so I never dis- 
cussed the worship of Parnell with the other. 



Election to Wardenship of Merton — Educational and social changes at 
Oxford between 1850 and 1881 — Increase of "ladies' society,'' 
claim of degrees for women, growth of specialism, mitigation of 
party-spirit, legislative weakness of the University — Position and 
duties of a Head of a College — Character of modern under- 

Towards tlie end of 1881, Dr. Bullock Marsham, 
then Warden of Merton, was attacked by an illness 
which soon proved fatal. He was ninety-four and a 
half years of age, and had held ofl&ce more than 
fifty-four years, having been elected in 1826, at the 
age of forty. No other Mertonian is known to have 
attained so great an age during a College history of 
six hundred years, and no other Wardenship ap- 
proached to his in duration. Among notable Oxford 
men of the present century, he ranked next in 
longevity to Dr. Eouth, the venerable President of 
Magdalen, who died in 1855, during his hundredth 
year, but Dr. Macbride of Magdalen Hall, Dr. Symons 
of Wadham, and Dr. Hawkins of Oriel — all of whom 
I well remember — had passed the age of ninety when 
they died. My predecessor was a kindly and cour- 
teous old gentleman, more familiar with country life 

than with Academical studies, but not without scholar- 



like tastes, loyally attached to his College, and justly 
popular with the junior members of it. He stood 
manfully by Sir Eobert Peel when he was rejected 
by the University in 1829 on his adhesion to Catholic 
Emancipation, but in 1852 he was himself brought 
forward against Mr. Gladstone as Conservative can- 
didate for the same constituency. Mr. Gladstone 
told me, that when he afterwards called upon him 
with Sir Eobert Inglis, according to ancient custom, 
as M.P. for the University, Dr. Marsham remarked 
on parting — " Well, Sir Eobert, we know that we 
can always trust you to vote on the right side," 
then adding, as he turned to Mr. Gladstone — " And 
permit me to add, Mr. Gladstone, that you will never 
go far wrong if you will only vote with Sir Robert 
Inglis." I had never thought of succeeding him, 
and had no reason to suppose that such would be the 
wish of the Fellows generally, whose choice, I sup- 
posed, might probably fall on some eminent person 
outside our own body. I received an intimation, 
however, that, while one or two of my colleagues 
would naturally prefer a clergyman as Warden, the 
general voice was in favour of inviting me, and this 
invitation ultimately became unanimous. 

Ten years earlier, however much I should have 
been gratified by such a proof of confidence, I should 
probably have felt unable to accept the nomination, 
the duties of the Wardenship being practically incon- 
sistent with a Parliamentary career, which had been 
my supreme aim during the best years of my life. 
But I had definitely abandoned this object after my 


defeat in Monmouthsliire, and should have declined 
the offer of any seat except that for the University 
of Oxford, the reversion of which fell opportunely 
to my friend, Sir William Anson, on the death of 
Sir John Mowbray in 1 899. On reflection, therefore, 
I felt that I ought to embrace the opportunity of 
doing good presented by the position thus opened to 
me, though in a wholly different sphere from that in 
which I had desired to employ my best powers, 
which, as I well knew, could never be called out by 
the Headship of a College. I cannot say that 1 
thought myself specially qualified for an office of 
that kind, having no pretence to profound learning, 
nor any keen interest in Academical matters. On 
the other hand, I realised that a non-competitive 
vocation would be, in some respects, more congenial 
to my sensitive temperament, while I was conscious 
of a deep and warm sympathy with my juniors. 
Lord Granville used to say that he doubted whether 
any one else was ever quite so young as he once was. 
I wish I could adopt his saying, but assuredly I was 
never the youngest of the young, or as light-hearted 
as many of my companions. On the other hand, 
since I have become an elderly man, I have never felt 
the least barrier of sentiment between myself and 
younger men, whom I envy too much to be hard 
upon them, and whose failings I never can be extreme 
to mark, except where they proceed from badness or 
hardness of heart. I was also, and had ever been, a 
hearty believer in the College system, which I regard 
as the palladium of the older English Universities, 


and the vital source of their beneficent influence on 
the nation. The result was that I was elected with- 
out opposition on February 17, 1881, and entered 
upon my duties two or three days later. In the 
olden times, three names of eligible candidates were 
submitted by the College to the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, as Visitor, from which he was expected to 
choose the one placed first on the list, though in one or 
two historical cases he insisted on nominating an out- 
sider. The Warden-designate then went up to London 
and received in person the confirmation of his election 
at the Visitor's hands. On his return he was met by a 
deputation of Fellows at the top of Shotover Hill, and 
escorted on horseback into Oxford. On my elec- 
tion, under our new Statutes, it was decided that it 
would be more proper for the Visitor to be ofiicially 
apprised of the fact by two of the Fellows, and to 
notify his confirmation in writing ; but Archbishop 
Tait used to declare that I was only half-appointed, 
since I was not presented to him in person, and I am 
not sure that he was wrong. At all events, on re- 
ceipt of the Visitor's confirmation, the old usage was 
observed at my installation. This usage required 
that I should knock at the College gates, which 
should thereupon be thrown open, that the letters 
of confirmation should then be read, and that, after 
replying briefly to a few words of welcome, I should 
be conducted by the Fellows to the Warden's lodg- 
ings. Many were the congratulations which reached 
me from old friends and others, most of whom 
assumed, with kindly ignorance of my feelings, that 


Academical otium cum dignitate was the climax of 
my lifelong ambition. A truer note was struck by 
one of my oldest friends, Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff, 
who advised me to remember that, while Cabinet 
Ministers were not few in number, and members of 
Parliament were as the sands of the sea-shore for 
multitude, there were not many Wardens of Merton 
in the world. 

The Oxford to which I returned after twenty-five 
years of non-residence was a very difierent place from 
that which I had left in 1856. All the Colleges 
except three had changed their Heads, some twice, 
since that year, and all but one since I took my 
degree in 1854. All the College Statutes had been 
twice remodelled, and the new code framed by the 
second Commission was coming into eflfective opera- 
tion. The complete abolition of religious Tests, 
commenced by the University Reform Act of 1854, 
had already been effected, after a long struggle, by 
the Act of 187 1 ; but, under these new Statutes, 
clerical restrictions on Headships were all but swept 
away, and clerical Fellowships were reduced to a 
minimum. Instead of being held for life on con- 
dition of celibacy. Fellowships were henceforth to be 
held without any such condition, but to be termin- 
able in seven years, provision being made for 
re-election in the case of persons engaged in tuition 
or other service for the College or the University. 
For the great majority of College scholarships a 
maximum value of £80 a year was established, and 
nineteen was fixed as the maximum age for the 


election of scholars. A very large proportion of 
College revenues was diverted from collegiate pur- 
poses, and appropriated to tlie maintenance of new 
Professorships, Eeaderships, and University institu- 
tions, such as the Bodleian Library. Meanwhile, 
the monopoly of Colleges, already weakened by the 
revival of private Halls, had been finally broken down 
by the full recognition of non-collegiate students. 
Keble College had been founded on a novel, and not 
very constitutional, basis ; Magdalen Hall had been 
re-endowed, and re-christened as Hertford College. 
Meanwhile, a restless spirit of progress within the 
University itself had subdivided the Natural Science 
School into several branches, and the School of Law 
and Modern History into two Schools representing 
its two component elements ; a School of Theology 
had been added, and a School of Oriental Languages 
was in contemplation. The portentous question of 
granting degrees to women {but without matriculat- 
ing them) was beginning to loom in the distance. 
With the gradual disappearance of clerical privileges, 
the clerical spirit of the University had been largely 
tempered, and though its religious character had not 
been sensibly impaired by the admission of Non- 
conformists, it had ceased to be a focus of theo- 
logical controversy. There was, however, a great 
preponderance of religious influence on the High 
Church side, well represented by Canon Liddon and 
Bishop King, while the sinister alliance of Ritualism 
and Socialism had already made itself felt. Though 
the energy of Oxford science by no means kept pace 


with the increase of its endowments, it was steadily 
gaining the respect of Europe ; the professoriate had 
received and was still receiving an accession of 
eminent names ; and the work of College tutors, 
instead of being the temporary vocation of Fellows 
waiting for livings, was gradually placing itself on the 
footing of a regular profession. Nearly all the older 
Colleges had extended their buildings, mostly by the 
aid of private munificence ; Magdalen and Trinity 
were about to do so ; and the aggregate number 
of undergraduates, including non-collegiate students, 
had been nearly doubled within some thirty years. 

This internal growth had coincided with three 
educational movements of national importance, one 
originated in concert, and two others in friendly 
rivalry, with the University of Cambridge. The 
first of these was the scheme of local examinations 
for pupils of middle-class schools, established by a 
statute passed at Oxford in 1857, afterwards adopted 
by Cambridge, and now exercising a regulative 
influence on middle - class education throughout 
England. The second, which began in 1873, was 
the examination of public schools by a joint board 
representing the two Universities. The third was a 
movement, initiated at Cambridge, and deserving of 
a better name than " University Extension," whereby 
methodical instruction in various branches of know- 
ledge has been brought within reach of students 
residing in populous centres, at a moderate cost, by 
University lecturers accustomed to address large and 
mixed audiences. Through all these agencies, internal 


and external, Oxford had lost its old-world aspect, 
and something of its traditional character, by the 
year 1881, becoming much less exclusive and more 
cosmopolitan. It had long ceased to be the peculiar 
seminary of the Anglican clergy, and was fast ceasing 
to be the peculiar training-school of the English 
country gentry ; young men of various creeds, and 
even of different colours, were to be seen mingling 
in the inimitable freemasonry of undergraduate life ; 
not only claret, but coffee and temperance beverages 
were challenging the supremacy of port in common 
rooms ; dons were less donnish ; and the general 
tone of Oxford society more nearly resembled that of 
the West End of London than it had done when I 
quitted the University in 1856 — constantly revisit- 
ing it, however, for the purpose of attending College 
meetings and other gatherings. 

One of the greatest contrasts between social life 
in Oxford as it was in my early days and what I 
found it in 188 1 — still more, between what it was 
and what it now is — has been caused by a prodigious 
increase in the number of resident ladies. Fifty 
years ago, with the rarest exceptions, no Tutor was 
or could be married ; Professors could marry, but 
there were very few of them ; while the wives of 
married Heads were mostly elderly people. The 
consequence was, that even dinner-parties were scarce, 
and evening-parties, still more balls, almost unknown 
except in the Commemoration week. I do not re- 
member to have dined out in a family-house above 
three or four times during my undergraduate career ; 


" ladies' society " was a luxury reserved for Vacations, 
and female visitors were still described familiarly as 
" lionesses." Of course all this has long since been 
changed, and the semi- monastic appearance of the 
University as it was fifty years ago has been entirely 
obliterated. To borrow language which I have used 
elsewhere — " a very large proportion of College 
Tutors as well as of Professors are married, and 
many have grown-up daughters, with the inevitable 
result that musical reunions, evening-parties, garden- 
parties, and even " Cinderella " balls, ending before 
midnight, are now quite common in Term-time. It 
has been said that when a tutor marries he is worth 
less and expects more, being less accessible to pupils, 
but more tempted, as the father of a family, to study 
bread- winning at the expense of collegiate interests. 
At all events, his wife cannot be severely blamed if 
she regards the College mainly as a source of income, 
and shows her interest in it by promoting amusement 
rather than study. Probably the passmen have 
gained by this importation of feminine influence, for, 
if they must needs idle away their evenings, it is 
better that they should do so in the refined company 
of ladies ; but it is certain that uien who might 
otherwise be reading hard are sometimes enervated 
by distractions which they follow — not in play-hours, 
but in hours which should be sacred to work. Nor 
does the general society of Oxford consist wholly or 
mainly of those actually engaged in teaching, with 
their families. The increasing number of such 
families, with limited incomes but refined tastes, has 


attracted from all parts of tlie country the same 
class of residents which has long frequented Bath, 
Cheltenham, and Leamington ; indeed, it has been 
discovered that plain living and high thinking can be 
combined in Oxford more easily than in any other 
provincial town. Some of these retired officers and 
Indian civilians have taken an active and a useful 
part, not only in local committees and charities, but 
in certain branches of Academical work. Another 
element which has greatly disturbed Academical re- 
pose, both for good and for evil, is the constant 
influx of visitors from London and elsewhere. For 
some reason not easy to explain, Cambridge, though 
equally accessible and equally hospitable, is less 
frequented by the great London world, and seems to 
be less susceptible of external influences than Oxford 
as it is. But Oxford as it was in the old days of 
coaching, and even in my own time when the rail- 
way had been open for several years, was still an 
Academical town, fifty or sixty miles from the 
metropolis, whose Colleges sheltered not a few con- 
firmed old bachelors doomed to celibacy on pain of 
losing their Fellowships, who had no tutorial duties, 
but who eschewed domestic life, and had perhaps 
never entered a London club or drawing-room. For 
the same reason it could not be overrun by sight- 
seers, especially of the fair sex, absolutely indifi'erent 
to the studies of the place, and treating it only as a 
holiday resort. 

It is needless to add that ladies' Halls were 
not only unknown, but would have seemed a pre- 


posterous innovation, as much out of place in a 
University for men as a masculine Hall would be 
within the precincts of HoUoway College. Somer- 
ville College, as it now calls itself, and Lady Mar- 
garet Hall, had been opened shortly before my return 
to Oxford in 1881. The former was founded on a 
non - sectarian but not a non - religious basis ; the 
latter was from the first a Church institution. Both 
have fulfilled their purpose, if their purpose was 
mainly to provide a quasi-Academical training for 
young ladies destined for the educational profession, 
and incidentally for young ladies more likely to 
develop their higher powers in quasi-Academical 
society than amidst the surroundings of home life. 
It reflects great credit on the discretion of the Lady 
Principals who have presided over them, and on the 
rules laid down for the conduct of students, that no 
scandal has yet arisen from the proximity of these 
Halls inhabited by young women to Colleges in- 
habited by young men. Some of these rules, such 
as those prohibiting attendance at College lectures 
without a chaperone or at least a companion, have 
been gradually and perhaps inevitably relaxed. It 
is to be hoped that relaxations of this kind will not 
be carried too far, lest the spell of immunity from 
evil report should at last be broken. Hitherto the 
lady students have been mostly reading for Honours ; 
if there should ever be a large influx of pass- women 
of the same type as passmen, and bent on having 
" a good time " at Oxford, difiiculties of discipline will 
be greatly aggravated. 


There are many friends of female education to 
whom it appears strange, and even unjust, that 
women should be admitted to Academical lectures 
and examinations, with the privilege of figuring in 
the class-list, though not in the same classes with 
men, and yet should be denied the privilege of 
taking a B.A. degree. The slightest examination 
will show the futility of this notion. The Univer- 
sity was in no way responsible for the immigration 
of female students into Oxford. They came thither 
of their own accord, hoping to obtain Academical 
instruction at a small expense to themselves, instead 
of resorting to independent female Colleges, such as 
that afterwards established under the will of Mr. 
HoUoway. At first, they were taught separately 
by lecturers specially engaged. They were then ad- 
mitted, gradually and as an act of favour, to Univer- 
sity and College lectures, not without injury to the 
interests of male students, in order to facilitate their 
getting the best teaching at the least cost. The 
application for their admission to University ex- 
aminations was long opposed, partly on the ground 
that it would open the door to further claims, and 
concessions were ultimately made, one after another, 
on the positive and repeated assurance of their 
advocates that no claim for admission to degrees was 
contemplated. When a safe interval had elapsed, 
the claim for admission to degrees was duly made, 
and based on the very fact of their having been 
admitted to examinations, which, it was now urged, 
carried with it in justice, and must have been in- 


tended to imply, the right to a formal recognition 
of the student's attainments by the Academical title 
of B.A. Of course, it was earnestly declared that, 
if this were granted, the claim to an M.A. degree 
would never be made, or at least that, if it were 
granted, the recipients would be content with the 
mere status of M.A., without being allowed a share 
in the government of the University. For the 
favourite argument in support of the claim to a B.A. 
degree was that female students educated at Oxford 
were placed at a disadvantage in competing for such 
positions as that of Head-Mistress against candidates 
decorated with the coveted title by other Universi- 
ties. The sufficient reply to such an argument is, 
that it assumes an incredible degree of ignorance 
on the part of Governing Bodies and others dis- 
pensing educational appointments. These bodies 
have before them not only testimonials from the 
Principals of ladies' Halls or Colleges, but evidence 
of the University honours which each candidate may 
have attained, and must be perfectly aware that a 
bare pass-degree attested by the title of B.A. is a 
very inferior qualification to a good class in one of 
the Honour Schools. Moreover, no case of the hard- 
ship alleged could be made good on inquiry. 

A similar question was raised at Cambridge in 
1 896, and a qualified motion to make women eligible 
for B.A. degrees was thrown out by a decisive 
majority of the Senate, swelled by a remarkable 
muster of non-residents. The proposal never reached 
this stage at Oxford, being rejected by an equally 


decisive majority of the resident Masters of Arts 
in Congregation during the same year, after an 
animated though inadequate debate. Strange to 
say, though almost every other reason on either 
side was put forward and discussed, that which 
appears to me the most conclusive, if not the 
weightiest, reason of all was ignored throughout. 
This is the constitutional objection to conferring 
degrees upon persons who have never been members 
of the University at all, and would thus become 
graduates without having been undergraduates. The 
University has no direct cognizance of Somerville 
College or Lady Margaret Hall, any more than of 
HoUoway College. None of these establishments 
is licensed in any way by the University, their 
Principals are appointed by Committees or Councils 
unknown to the University, their students are under 
no sort of University control. Proctorial or other- 
wise, and can be sent in for examinations without 
having satisfied any conditions of residence or stand- 
ing. In a word, the University is in no sense 
responsible for them, except so far as it empowers 
the Delegates of Local Examinations to "use" the 
ordinary degree examinations for their benefit, and 
allows their names to appear in a separate class- 
list. No such indulgence has been conceded to any 
private College for young men entirely outside 
University jurisdiction, but it is quite conceivable 
that it might be conceded. In that case, can any 
one doubt that a claim for degrees on behalf of 
these nondescript and unmatriculated students, per- 


haps resident in Oxford but strangers to all that 
constitutes the common University life, would be 
scouted and laughed out of Court? No — there is 
something to be said for matriculating women, thus 
converting what has been a man's University for 
seven hundred years into a mixed University of the 
American type ; there is even something to be said 
for throwing open to women endowments designed 
exclusively for men, as well as University and 
College offices, including those of the Vice-Chan- 
cellor. Proctors, and collegiate Heads. All this might 
be very unjust, very foolish, and very mischievous, 
but it would not be constitutionally absurd. What 
is a sheer constitutional absurdity is to have young 
ladies studying at Oxford in their present inde- 
pendent and anomalous position, and then to grant 
them degrees, not honoris causd, but as of right, 
upon a mere examination test. 

A notable change had come over the system of 
Oxford lectures and examinations during the interval 
between 1856 and 1881, nor has any reaction against 
this change set in during the last nineteen years. 
The broad general treatment of subjects which used 
to be a distinctive feature of Oxford education had 
given way in many directions to specialism, an off- 
spring of the demand for " Endowment of Research," 
and specialism continues to hold the field. It is 
curious that Goethe, in his Dichtung und Wahreit, 
censures a like tendency among the younger German 
Professors of his own day, attributing it to a some- 
what different cause. He says that "when these 



Professors teach only that they may learn, and more- 
over, if they have talent, anticipate their age, they 
acquire their own cultivation altogether at the cost 
of their hearers, since these are not instructed in 
what they really need, but in that which the Pro- 
fessor finds it necessary to elaborate for himself." 
Now, I willingly allow that, in my own time, there 
was an anti-specialistic tendency sometimes carried 
to extremes. It was then rather the fashion to exalt 
intellectual grasp and insight above the mastery of 
facts, as if mere power could be of much value with- 
out knowledge — as if subtlety of analysis or brilliancy 
of statement were the crown of intellectual great- 
ness, and accuracy of information a secondary accom- 
plishment. Nevertheless, I contend that under " the 
old system " the supreme worth of comprehensive and 
well-proportioned views was more justly appreciated, 
and the all-important art of intellectual generalship 
more thoroughly cultivated. When I came up to 
Oxford in 1850, no one could obtain a first class in 
the LiteroB Humaniores School without reaching a 
high standard in Latin and Greek Scholarship, Philo- 
sophy, and Ancient History, unless, indeed, he were 
so exceptionally strong in one of these studies as to 
compensate for some little weakness in another. 
When Moderations were established in 1852 for the 
special purpose of testing and rewarding Latin and 
Greek scholarship, it was understood that a second- 
rate or third-rate scholar, incapable of verse com- 
position, and below mediocrity in prose composition, 
might nevertheless get a first class in the Final 


" Greats School," by very marked proficiency in 
Philosophy and Ancient History. This may have 
been a salutary alteration, on the whole, but as- 
suredly first class honours in that school no longer 
betoken so complete an intellectual training as they 
once did. 

But the principle has since been carried very 
much further. Not only is the student encouraged 
at every turn by Professors, tutors, and examiners, 
to specialise his studies, but he is allowed — nay, 
tempted — to concentrate himself on a few questions 
in each examination paper, so as to produce on the 
examiner's mind the impression of having devoted 
himself to special " research." This seems to me a 
grievous error, and one calculated to undermine the 
best characteristic of Oxford culture. The principle 
of specialism, or subdivision of labour, is wholly mis- 
applied when it is applied to education. In the 
mechanical arts, perfection of workmanship can only 
be combined with cheapness if a multitude of work- 
men are employed on separate parts of the same 
article to be manufactured. In extending the fron- 
tiers of any science or branch of literature, it is 
equally necessary that numerous explorers should be 
labouring in separate corners of the same field. But 
the object and sphere of education are entirely difier- 
ent, and it is a gross perversion of specialism to make 
it the guiding principle of the student's efi"orts. He 
should rather be urged to aim, under proper advice, 
at a panoramic survey of a period or subject, to read 
text-books which exhibit it in true proportion, to fill 


in its leading details accurately but not too minutely, 
to cultivate docility rather than critical acumen — in 
short, to remain the student, and not to imitate the 
scientific or literary pioneer. For, after all, the 
special knowledge and exhaustive criticisms which 
the modern first class man brings forth in the schools 
and in Fellowship examinations are almost always 
second-hand, and cannot be otherwise. He cannot 
possibly have sounded for himself the depths of the 
latest problems in Philosophy, History, Philology, or 
Archaeology; but he often displays a marvellous skill 
in reproducing the notes taken down from eminent 
lecturers, and already embodied in essays revised by 
tutors, which he contrives to invest with a genuine 
air of originality. The aff"ectation of philosophical 
omniscience was a foible of the period just before the 
reign of specialism, which is, so far, a wholesome pro- 
test against it, but the self-confidence of sciolism is 
common to both. This attitude of mind, combined 
with constant practice in essay-writing, has a marked 
eflfect in developing certain faculties, and the literary 
ability shown by the best candidates for Oxford 
Fellowships would compare favourably with that 
required for ordinary journalism, or for many suc- 
cessful tours de force in professional and political 
careers. But it may be doubted whether minds and 
characters were not more soundly disciplined, before 
either " generalism " (if I may so call it) or specialism 
was invented — whether Peel or Gladstone, for in- 
stance, with no pretence of " research " and a much 
smaller capital of knowledge, did not go forth from 


the Oxford Schools better equipped for the highest 
work of life than their fluent and learned successors. 
Another change which naturally followed on the 
reforms of 1850-6 was the inroad made upon the 
College system by the introduction of intercollegiate 
lecturing, and the virtual transfer of instruction in 
Natural Science to the University Museum. When 
I came into residence, it was easy enough for each 
College to provide lectures and tuition in all the 
subjects then recognised — Classics (including Ancient 
Philosophy and History), Mathematics, and Logic. 
When a school of Law and Modern History was 
founded in 1853, few Colleges had a tutor competent 
to lecture in either, and still fewer could undertake 
to find lecturers in Natural Science. The consequence 
was that almost all teaching in Natural Science was 
concentrated, from the first, in the Museum, just 
opened very opportunely, with an incomplete appar- 
atus of laboratories and collections, since expanded 
into a scientific palace. Here the student finds 
advantages which he could not get in College, but 
he is no longer under the eye of Tutors well ac- 
quainted with his character, watching his going out 
and coming in, and charged with a general responsi- 
bility for his conduct. However, some Colleges meet 
this difficulty, to some extent, by having a Natural 
Science Tutor of their own, and two or three also 
maintain College laboratories. Meanwhile, the exi- 
gencies of new subjects, the demand for collegiate 
lectures of a more Professorial kind, and the grow- 
ing tendency to specialisation, led to voluntary com- 


binations of Colleges for the purpose of lecturing 
in Honour subjects. These combinations, facilitating 
a division of labour among tutors, have certainly- 
improved the quality of lectures, thereby reducing 
both the attendance at Professorial classes and the 
necessity for private tuition. While the great ex- 
tension of the Professoriate had been advocated in 
the interest of research rather than of education, and 
while its leading spokesmen have always rather dis- 
paraged their educational duties, protesting against 
the very moderate obligations laid upon them by the 
University Commissioners, they did not at all relish 
the process of lecturing to empty benches. Hence 
their proposal that .attendance on their lectures 
should be compulsory upon students taking up their 
subjects, and the doggerel Oxford version of the 
jingo-song which became current twenty years ago : 

" We don't want to lecture, but, by jingo, if we do, 
We'll have a statutable class to spout our lectures to." 

It is a great pity that the Commission of 1877, 
which meddled and muddled so much, did not 
attempt to frame any organic connection between 
the separate orders of Professors, University Readers 
(then first established), and College Tutors — for 
which the system of intercollegiate lectures afforded 
a ready-made basis. Had this been done — had all 
the higher teaching in the University been co- 
ordinated, a great waste of power might have been 
avoided, and the abler College Tutors would have 
been transformed, long ago, in effect if not in name. 


into University sub- Professors, without forfeiting 
their former position. As for pass-lectures, they 
ought hardly to be needed, and could easily be 
given by a body of coaches in the pay of the 

Whether or not the University, as reformed by 
two Commissions, produces more eminent men than 
it did in its unregenerate state, may perhaps be 
doubted, especially by elderly men who, however 
resolved not to lapse into the laudator temporis 
acti, can hardly be expected to regard their juniors 
as apostles or prophets. But there can be no doubt 
that its intellectual life has been greatly enriched 
by the extension of its curriculum, and perhaps 
even by the growth of specialism. A modern 
Erasmus or Casaubon would now find himself far 
more at home in Oxford than he would fifty years 
ago, and an accomplished man of the world would 
be equally in his element, if properly introduced. 
Though Oxford would not presume, and does not 
aspire, to keep pace with her German rivals in the 
multiplication of monographs interesting only to 
savants, a collection of the independent works, and 
still more of valuable articles in literary and scientific 
periodicals (not to speak of journals), written by 
Oxford Professors and Tutors in the course of a 
single year, would efiectually silence those who 
afiect to deplore its intellectual sterility. Nor is 
there any perceptible "note of provincialism" in 
Oxford society. Quite apart from external influ- 
ences, mainly derived from London, a variety of 


interests and occupations now exists among senior 
members of the University which inevitably gathers 
them into many diverse circles. Side by side with 
the older Academical studies, to which so many 
have lately been added, music, art, archaeology, and 
helles lettres in the widest sense of the term, are 
earnestly cultivated by their respective votaries, 
while numerous social clubs, of various hues, effectu- 
ally correct any collegiate spirit of exclusiveness. 
Many of the younger Dons, too, are zealous 
travellers, especially in the Easter Vacations, when 
Oxford parties are generally to be met wandering, 
not only over most countries of Europe, but over 
North Africa and the Levant. Others are keen 
politicians, eagerly taking part in election contests 
far away from Oxford or their own homes. Not that 
political animosity, in ordinary times, runs high in 
Oxford. Every one reads the newspapers, and forms, 
or thinks he forms, his own opinion, but the great 
struggles in Parliament usually excite much less 
strenuous partisanship than purely Academical ques- 

The Home Rule contest formed an exception, 
and here the storm in the Oxford tea-cup raged as 
furiously as in the open sea. I was often amused 
to observe that grave and learned men, who, 
lecturing upon their own ground in Philosophy or 
History, would have been scrupulous and modest 
in their statements, were perfectly " cock-sure " on 
a momentous issue of national policy to which they 
had never given an hour's serious thought, and, 


without possessing a child's knowledge of Ireland, 
would dogmatise confidently on its right and capa- 
city to govern itself. Those who did know some- 
thing about Ireland were, almost to a man. Liberal 
Unionists or Conservatives. Not even this supreme 
test, which severed friendships and divided families 
in the political world, seriously disturbed the even 
tenor of Oxford society, and I do not remember 
that I ever found it necessary to take account of 
it in the assortment of guests for dinner-parties. 
Still less has the peace of Oxford society been 
marred by the odium theologicum within the present 
generation. There was a very slight revival of it 
some years ago, when Mr. Horton, a Nonconformist, 
was nominated to examine in the " Eudiments of 
Faith and Religion," and his name was rejected by 
the University Convocation ; but it very soon died 
out. The tacit concordat now prevailing between 
the two great religious parties at Oxford may be 
dated from the year 1865, when the undignified 
controversy over the endowment of the Greek 
Professorship was closed by a compromise, and the 
defeat of Mr. Gladstone established the ascendency 
of Conservatism in the constituency. Thenceforward, 
a philosophical toleration of opinion has well-nigh 
superseded both the political enmities of the past, 
and the intolerant dogmatism, not confined to one 
party in the Church, which had its origin in the 
Neo-Catholic Revival. 

Academical partisanship, of course, remains, and 
is not altogether an unhealthy symptom. Perhaps 


the most important trial of strength within the last 
twenty years was that, already mentioned, on the 
proposal for admitting women to degrees, but this 
was in the limited and decorous assembly of "Con- 
gregation." A far more tumultuous contest was 
that on the proposal for enlarging the rooms appro- 
priated to Physiology, since this came before " Con- 
vocation," in which all Masters of Art, resident or 
non-resident, several thousands in number, were 
entitled to vote. The proposal was treated by its 
opponents as a formal expression of confidence in 
Dr. Burdon Sanderson, now Sir John Burdon 
Sanderson, then Professor of Physiology, who had 
written in support of Vivisection (duly regulated), 
and was represented as intending to conduct bar- 
barous experiments in the University Museum. The 
combat was, therefore, between the Anti-Vivi- 
sectionists and those who trusted the discretion 
and humanity of Dr. Burdon Sanderson. A vigor- 
ous canvass brought up some hundreds of non- 
residents ; the Sheldonian Theatre was crowded 
and seething with excitement ; telling speeches 
were delivered on both sides, and the proposal was 
ultimately adopted by a considerable majority. A 
comical episode in the proceedings was the half- 
delivered speech of a gentleman who, rising late, 
failed to get a hearing, but was understood to be 
arguing in favour of Vivisection on the ground that 
it had been sanctioned by our Lord Himself when 
He caused the herd of swine to run down a steep 
place into the sea, it being a well-known fact that 


pigs cut their own throats in swimming, and would 
thus vivisect themselves in the midst of the waves. 
Other warm debates and close divisions have taken 
place on the claims of new studies, like English 
and Modern Languages, to "Schools" of their own, 
on projects supposed to involve the relegation of 
Greek to a secondary place in classical examinations, 
on various schemes for University Extension and 
granting certificates in Peedagogy so called, and on 
other schemes for reducing the minimum of resi- 
dence required for a degree ; but none of these 
contests, nor the periodical elections to the Uni- 
versity Council, have been fierce enough to call for 
a regular Academical field-day, like those of earlier 
times. Perhaps the nearest approach to it was on 
the presentation of Air. Cecil Rhodes for a D.C.L. 
degree at the Encaenia in June 1899. It has been 
erroneously supposed that this honour had been 
awarded to him by the University itself several 
years before, when he was unable to attend, and 
that it only remained for him to appear in person 
and assume it. The fact is that it had simply been 
ofi"ered to him, in a preliminary way, by the Uni- 
versity Council, which has no power to confer 
degrees, and could only intimate to him its intention 
of submitting his name to a vote of the University 
Convocation. The proposal, then, came before the 
University itself for the first time at the Encsenia 
of 1899, and there would have been no inconsistency 
whatever in rejecting it, especially as the reasons 
for doing so had arisen since the original offer, and 


the personal composition of the Council had entirely 
changed in the meantime. But it does not follow 
that it would have been either right or politic to 
reject it, and the threatened exercise of the Proctorial 
veto would have been wholly indefensible. As it 
was, an extremely moderate protest was recorded 
against it, admitting that, under the circumstances, 
the University Council for the year could not wisely 
have repudiated the act of their predecessors, what- 
ever might be thought of the discretion shown by 
those who invited Mr. Rhodes to claim his promised 
degree at so inopportune a time. It is needless to 
say that his friends were rallied and increased in 
number by the ill-advised threat of a Proctorial 
veto, and that he received a far more enthusiastic 
welcome than if his title had never been chal- 

When I came to Oxford for the second time as 
a freshman, though as Warden of Merton, one of 
my kind and candid friends whispered to me that 
perhaps it would not be wise to speak too often in 
the University Congregation or Convocation, as if 
my personal ambition were likely to lure me in that 
direction. However, I followed his advice by only 
speaking twice in the former assembly, and never 
in the latter, the fact being that I very soon formed 
the opinion that a very large proportion of time 
spent in Academical legislation was worse than 
wasted. So vast a business as that of University 
administration, embracing, as it does, the manage- 
ment of the Clarendon Press, of large estates, of 


many institutions, and of a great educational 
machinery, demands of necessity an ample amount 
of labour and energy. It was not ill conducted by 
the old Hebdomadal Board, when it was far less 
comprehensive than it now is, and it is not ill 
conducted now by the many Committees or 
" Delegacies " among whom the work is distributed. 
Nor should it be forgotten that all this work is 
carried on by unpaid volunteers, in their spare 
hours, with the assistance of a very few salaried 
officials. But the same praise cannot be bestowed 
on the conduct of legislative business within the 
University. This is partly the fault of the con- 
stitution framed by the first University Commission, 
and partly of the hypercritical and unpractical spirit 
which is the besetting weakness of an Academical 
Society. It might be supposed that, as the initiative 
of all measures rests with the University Council, 
and as this body consists of picked and experienced 
men, no proposal would come before the assembly of 
resident Masters of Arts known as " Congregation," 
without having been thoroughly matured, and 
without being supported by a printed statement of 
reasons. Instead of this, any one of the crude ideas 
which multiply like microbes in the Academical 
atmosphere has a good chance of being taken up, 
sooner or later, by the University Council, if only 
to invite a discussion upon it in Congregation, which 
feels no responsibility for the legislative form that 
may be given to it. The statute or decree em- 
bodying it has probably been loosely drawn in its 


original shape, it is then pulled to pieces and over- 
loaded with amendments, and it is ultimately passed 
without the least foresight of the consequential 
amendments which it may involve. The favourite 
diversion of the younger tutors for the last forty 
years and more has been tinkering examination 
statutes. During this period hardly one Term has 
elapsed without some fresh amendment of them, 
and since they have often been tinkered more than 
once in the same Term, it would be safe to estimate 
that at least 1 50 alterations have been made in them 
since the great reforms of 1850-7. Assuredly no 
student and no tutor could stand an examination 
in the examination statutes themselves, and I have 
sometimes heard the legislative imbecility of the 
University compared with the action of a child 
* pulling up plants to see whether they are growing. 
I believe that at Cambridge this evil is mitigated 
by means of informal conferences, which might be 
worthy of imitation. But it is vain to expect 
business-like and far-sighted legislation from a large 
body of clever men, each thinking himself quite as 
wise as any one else, and under no rules of party 
discipline, especially as they belong to more than 
twenty diflferent Colleges, with different traditions 
and sometimes divergent interests. 

This last cause has hitherto proved fatal to any 
working agreement among Colleges for combined 
scholarship examinations. Thirty or forty years ago, 
each College had a stated time of year for its election 
to scholarships, and examined by itself Parents and 


Masters were tlien guided by various motives in mak- 
ing their choice, the most promising boys at public 
schools being mostly reserved for competitions at 
Balliol and one or two other leading Colleges, and 
few candidates being sent up more than once. Much 
was to be said for this system, and the character 
of each College was shown in its scholarship 
elections. It was thought, however, that examining 
power might be economised by holding common 
examinations for several Colleges, and, since this 
was done, the practice has grown up of entering 
boys for group after group, in the hope of their 
ultimately getting a scholarship, or at least an 
exhibition, somewhere. The Head-masters of public 
schools have again and again complained of the evils 
and hardships entailed by this practice — for which, 
however, they are largely responsible — and have 
earnestly recommended that Colleges should com- 
bine for scholarship examinations in two or three 
large groups during the first half of the year, leaving 
the Michaelmas Term a close-time, for reasons of 
school policy. Attempt after attempt has been 
made to establish co-operation among Colleges on 
these principles, but they have all been defeated 
by collegiate jealousies and self-interest, aggravated? 
by the inherent incapacity of Academical politicians! 
to construct anything that will last. It is fair to 
say, however, that Head-masters haves teadily 
declined to support their vehement appeals to 
Colleges in the aggregate, by putting any real 
pressure on those individual Colleges which are the 


worst offenders, and least disposed to make any 
concessions for the common good. 

After watching the course of University affairs, 
and the method of conducting them, for some little 
time, I clearly realised that no one, and certainly 
not myself, could hope to gain such an influence 
as would enable him to control them effectively, 
or to bring order out of the chaos which satisfied 
a majority of residents, and that infinite time might 
be wasted in the vain endeavour. I therefore 
abandoned the idea of rendering good service in 
the University Council or assemblies, and confined 
myself to Committees entrusted with practical 
duties under fairly definite conditions. For like 
reasons, I allowed it to be known that I was un- 
willing to accept the office of Vice-Chancellor, which 
would naturally have devolved upon me in 1898. 
This office is really an annual one, the Vice-Chancellor 
being the deputy of the Chancellor, and nominated 
by him in the autumn of each year. In old times, 
it was often held by others besides Heads of Colleges, 
but it has long been regarded as tenable by Heads 
only, and is practically offered by the Chancellor 
to each of these in rotation, according to the order 
of their respective elections. At Oxford, it has been 
the custom for the Vice-Chancellor to be thrice re- 
appointed, and to remain in office four years, 
though at Cambridge it is never held for more 
than two years. The Provost of Worcester, who 
stood next before me, having intimated his intention 
of passing his turn, I had seriously to consider 


whether I ought to accept it. Twelve or fifteen 
years earlier I might have done so, resolving to 
become, so far as in me lay, the Prime Minister 
of the University, and relying on the loyal support 
of colleagues. But I should almost certainly have 
failed, and, when I had to face the question at the 
age of sixty-seven, I saw that dignity with drudgery 
but without power was not worth grasping, and that 
any higher aspirations must end in vanity and 
vexation of spirit. On my declining the honour, 
the Warden of Wadham followed my example, 
and the office was ably filled by Sir William Anson, 
the Warden of All Souls, until his election in 1899 
as burgess for the University. It was then declined 
by the Master of University College, and accepted 
by Dr. Fowler, the President of Corpus Christi, who 
thus succeeded to it nineteen years and a half 
sooner than he could have taken it if all his 
seniors (by election) had become Vice-Chancellors, 
and served out their full term of four years. 

The position of a Head in an Oxford College has 
varied considerably at difierent periods of University 
history, and still difiers considerably in difiierent Col- 
leges. During the vicissitudes of Church and State in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Univer- 
sities were treated as instruments of government, 
and each successive body of Commissioners, Protes- 
tant or Catholic, Royalist or Roundhead, proceeded 
at once to expel Heads of the opposite party and 
replace them with Heads of their own party, as the 
surest means of bringing the University into subjec- 

2 A 


tion. Yet the annals of Merton College supply many 
proofs that its Wardens had but limited powers, and 
that recalcitrant Fellows could only be coerced by 
the Visitor. At all events, in recent times, and 
especially under the codes of College statutes framed 
by the last two Commissions, the Head of an Oxford 
College has become little more than primus inter 
pares, with powers infinitely less than are vested in 
the Head-master of a public school. During the 
later part of my predecessor's reign, when the 
Wardenship was almost held in commission, these 
constitutional powers were still further reduced at 
Merton by College bye-laws, and I soon found that 
I must rely upon indirect influence for any real good 
that I could hope to achieve. Such a diminution of 
responsibility is perhaps more conducive to a Head's 
peace of mind than a nearer approach to personal 
government, but I am not equally sure that it is for 
the interest of the College. At all events, Colleges 
are governed, for the most part, by College meetings, 
that is, by all the Fellows who have kept one pro- 
bationary year. Now, if we may trust the well- 
known saying of the late Master of Trinity, all 
Fellows are fallible, even the very youngest of them ; 
and thbugh government by College meeting is a safe- 
guard against some old-fashioned abuses, it is not an 
ideal form of government. Happily, in most Colleges, 
the Fellows are sensible enough to leave ordinary 
cases of discipline in the hands of the Head and 
Tutors, and ordinary eases of estate management in 
the hands of the Bursar, perhaps aided by a Finance 


Committee, reserving the more important matters 
for the decision of the whole Governing Body. 

Under such a constitution, it may well be asked, 
and reformers of the last generation were profane 
enough to ask persistently, What is the use of Heads, 
and why should not all their work be delegated, for 
instance, to Senior Tutors? This is not an easy 
question to answer, and I, for one, should despair 
of answering it successfully, if Heads treated their 
moral duties as co-extensive with their legal duties. 
Not very long ago, some of them at Oxford actually 
did so, and it was a received opinion at Cambridge 
that, so far as concerned his College, a Head might 
lead the life of an Epicurean God, presiding at 
College meetings, no doubt, but leaving all the 
burden of disciplinary superintendence to fall on 
the "Tutor" or (as at Trinity) the "Tutors." It is 
right, however, to remember that at both the Univer- 
sities, while indolent Heads might be mere ornamental 
figure-heads of their Colleges, and almost wholly 
ignorant of their " men," they had to conduct the 
whole business of the University itself, since distri- 
buted among representative Councils and Committees. 
At present, no Oxford Head would be respected who 
did not take an active part in all College business, 
financial, disciplinary, or general ; and I may confi- 
dently say that no Head, old or young, is now to be 
found in Oxford who regards his post as a sinecure, 
or ignores its moral responsibilities. From an educa- 
tional point of view, I never could approve of the 
suggestion that Heads, unless abolished, should be 


compelled to lecture — perhaps at the age of ninety — 
but, as a matter of fact, some are actively engaged 
in tutorial work, others in bursarial work, and all in 
daily co-operation with their younger colleagues. If 
a Head is at all worthy of his position, he should 
exercise a liberal hospitality, represent his College 
honourably in the University and the outer world, 
promote harmony among the Fellows, enter into 
kindly relations with the undergraduates, and show 
himself the friend, if he cannot make himself the 
adviser, of every one in the College, not excluding 
the servants. If I may speak of myself, I have been 
in the habit of going to Chapel regularly, dining in 
Hall on guest nights, inviting all the Fellows and 
undergraduates to my own house every Term, and 
attending all College Committees, disciplinary, finan- 
cial, or otherwise ; and I know that some of my 
brother - Heads take more upon themselves, being 
allowed, and almost required, by the custom of their 
Colleges to do so. A considerable demand is made 
upon the time of all Heads by interviews at all hours, 
not only with present members of the College, young 
and old, but with past members of the College visit- 
ing Oxford, to whom the Head is the permanent 
centre of the society. A still larger amount of time 
must be occupied in conducting official correspondence 
with parents desiring admission for their sons, in 
replying to miscellaneous letters on College afiairs, 
often involving a reference to College archives, and 
in writing testimonials for young members of the 
College seeking appointments. Many of the appoint- 


ments sought are tutorships, and I have sometiraes ■ 
wondered that men who have scraped through pass- 
examinations with difficulty, showing little capacity 
for learning, should boldly profess, and in some cases 
should actually exhibit, a capacity for teaching. All 
Heads, too, should take a share in University admini- 
stration, and with some this involves many hours' 
work in the week, to which others add a share in 
City administration, or in the management of local 
institutions. All this, it may be said, could be done 
by a Senior Tutor with an increased salary ; and, if 
the Universities should ever be reformed again under 
the auspices of Social Democracy, Headships of Col- 
leges will probably be among the first offices to be 
swept away, on grounds of strict economy. But it 
will not prove so easy to find Senior Tutors capable 
of discharging efficiently all the duties of Heads in 
addition to their own ; and, though a few hundreds 
a year might be saved by the abolition of a Headship, 
it is very doubtful whether the College system itself 
would long survive the removal of its keystone. 

Holding these views, I always treated my Col- 
lege duties as a first charge upon my time, and never 
allowed any other engagement, however attractive, 
to interfere with them. From the first, I was 
anxious to make friends with the younger members 
of my own College, and found no difficulty whatever 
in doing so, without the least prejudice to our re- 
spective positions. Here the Head of a College has 
some little advantage over a Tutor. Among young 
University men there is a tendency to regard any one 


wlio took his degree ten years ago as the oldest of 
old fogeys ; the more so, if he is a Don of their own 
College, armed with disciplinary authority. But, 
as I used to say, if you only wait long enough, you 
cease to be a fogey at all, the distance between your 
age and theirs being no longer measurable by under- 
graduate standards, and you can mix with them 
freely on terms of social equality ; the more so, if 
you are known to have lived in the great world, and 
are not, like a Tutor, under the daily obligation of 
correcting their faults. Thus, I have occasionally 
taken part in meetings of undergraduate societies in 
College, and presided at bump-suppers, when our 
boat had won special distinction on the river. My 
experience of my juniors at Merton, and not only at 
Merton, has led me to form a favourable estimate of 
the rising generation. This estimate, which I see no 
reason to modify, was expressed in an article of mine 
which appeared in the Nineteenth Century for August 
1898, and from which I will venture to borrow a 
passage descriptive of young Oxford : — 

" There is, of course, equal variety in the habits and 
characters of undergraduates ; but here the contrast be- 
tween the present and the past is yet more striking, while 
the distinctive influence of Oxford life is more conspicuous. 
Young men will always be young men, and far more 
interesting to men no longer young than it is possible or 
desirable for them to understand. But the young men 
who now throng the streets and quadrangles of Oxford are 
very unlike their fathers and grandfathers ia appearance, 
in manners, and in sentiment. The utmost possible free- 
dom of custom is now openly tolerated. ' Men ' are 


expected to wear gowns in chapel, in hall, and at lectures, 
but mostly walk about their own colleges bareheaded; 
some of them do not even possess a cap, but rely on 
borrowing one from a friend to call upon a proctor or 
attend an out-college lecture. Still, it is a rule that caps 
and gowns must be worn in the streets after dark on pain 
of a fine, but the rule which prescribes the same uniform 
during the forenoon has long been in abeyance. Young 
fellows in complete deshabille, and with their knees bare, 
may now be seen flocking towards the river even in the 
forenoon, and in the afternoon Oxford is alive with oars- 
men, football players, cricketers, or athletes of the running 
ground, mingling freely with ladies, in an undress which 
assuredly would have shocked the sense of propriety in 
former generations. A similar laxity prevails in the per- 
mission of smoking in college quadrangles, and of wearing 
shooting-coats at hall dinners, as well as in the general 
freedom and ease which characterises the manners of the 
modern undergraduate. It would be a mistake, however, 
to suppose that such freedom and ease is inconsistent 
with genuine courtesy and respect for others. On the 
contrary, ladies of all ages may and do walk about the 
streets and suburbs of Oxford ' unprotected,' without 
having reason to fear the slightest rudeness ; and senior 
members of the University, with ordinary tact, find no 
difficulty in maintaining pleasant and natural relations 
with their juniors, without the least effort or constraint on 
either side. 

" This gentleness and frankness in the rising generation 
of Oxford men, especially shown in their relation with each 
other, is partly, no doubt, the result of more sensible and 
kindly training at home and at school ; but it is also, and 
in a great degree, the result of University life, as may be 
proved by the very appreciable difference between the 
freshman and the man in his third or fourth year. The 
improvement is all the more notable because the Uni- 
versity is much less aristocratic than it was in the early 
part of the century, and the new elements which have 


doubled the number of its undergraduates are entirely 
drawn from the middle or ' lower-middle ' classes. HappUy, 
it betokens no lack of healthy boyishness, pluck, or high 
spirits. The Oxford youth of the present day are as young 
in character as undergraduates ever were, if they are not 
still younger, and quite as fond of fun. The popularity of 
football, which used to be neglected as too rough and 
boyish a game for manhood, is a good illustration of this 
youthfulness, especially as it is among the cheapest of 
games, and can be played by the poorest man as well as 
by the richest. The same quality sometimes breaks out 
in juvenile escapades more worthy of schoolboys, which 
occupy a very undue place in the popular conception of 
Oxford. Indeed, there is an amusing contrast between the 
follies into which even quiet and thoughtful young men 
are occasionally betrayed by their gregarious instincts and 
the habitual good sense and good feeling shown by the 
same men acting individually. Upon the whole, it may be 
said with confidence that Oxford undergraduates, as a class, 
are more virtuous, better conducted, and better informed 
than their predecessors in the reigns of George III. and 
George IV., though it must be added in justice that they 
get their virtue and their knowledge on easy terms. Not 
having been persecuted at school for obeying the elemen- 
tary precepts of Christianity, or left to puzzle out then- 
lessons by the aid of miserable dictionaries, grammars, 
and text-books (perhaps in Latin), they attain a higher 
average level of morality, of information, and of culture. 
But it may be doubted whether that strength of character 
and independence of intellect which is developed by hard- 
ship and stern discipline is not less common than in the 
olden days." 



Literary work at Merton— Articles and addresses on Socialism — Ser- 
vice on the City Council of Oxford — Experience of magistrates' 
work — The Governing Body of Eton College. 

My life at Merton was an easy one, conapared with 
that which I had led in London as a journalist, and 
my ofl&cial duties in the College and the University 
left me a good deal of leisure for literary work, as 
well as for occasional public service. During the 
years 188 1-2, I contributed to periodicals not only 
three articles already mentioned on Irish agrarian 
questions,^ but two others on " The Claim of Tenant- 
right for British Farmers," and "The State and 
Prospects of British Agriculture in 1882." In the 
former of these I sought to show that indefeasible 
Tenant right, like that conceded to Irish farmers, 
could not possibly be conceded with any semblance 
of justice to English farmers, and that " an equally 
plausible claim might be advanced on behalf of con- 
sumers to restrict the price of farm produce, or on be- 

1 " The Last Chapter of Irish History," " The Land Systems of England 
and of Ireland," and " The Irish Land Act of 1881 : its origin and its 


half of labourers to fix a minimum rate of farm-wages." 
At the same time, I suggested a gentler method 
of securing the legitimate ends desired, by means of 
"Compulsory enactments, to be operative only where 
the parties should have failed to embody their agree- 
ment in a lease of a certain duration." The second 
article concluded with the following passage : " The 
hierarchy of landlord, tenant farmer, and labourer 
will continue long, and perhaps for ever, to be dis- 
tinctive of our rural economy. But it is probable 
that, in the agrarian constitution of the future, 
peasant-proprietorship and farmer-proprietorship, co- 
operative farming and cottage-farming, will prevail 
over a far larger area than at present. The English 
land -system, as we see it, is not so much a spon- 
taneous growth as an artificial creation, and it has 
been moulded not so much by skilful farmers study- 
ing the interests of agriculture, as by skilful lawyers 
and land agents studying interests of an entirely 
diff"erent nature. When English land-owners, as a 
body, cease to be almost sleeping partners, and bring 
to bear on the business of cultivation the same in- 
telligence and energy which are the life of British 
manufactures, there will be less need for appointing 
fresh Agricultural Commissions, and if they should 
be appointed, their Reports will probably breathe a 
far less desponding spirit." In November 1883, and 
in April 1884, two articles by me appeared in the 
Nineteenth Century, the one on "The Progress of 
Democracy in England," the other on "Democracy 
and Socialism." In February 1886, I delivered an 


Address (afterwards published), at the Birmingham 
and Midland Institute, on "The Socialistic Ten- 
dencies of Modern Democracy," and I have since 
dealt with the same question in other Addresses on 
the "Fallacies of Modern Socialism," at Sutton 
Coldfield, and elsewhere. It is much too large a 
question to be discussed in a volume of " Remini- 
scences," but I may say, in a word, that I regard 
Socialism as the most pernicious, while it is the most 
demonstrably false, delusion of our age. What makes 
it the more dangerous in this country is, that it has 
been taken up, under the plausible alias of " Chris- 
tian Socialism," by a section of the clergy, most of 
whom are quite ignorant of political economy, and 
little know the nature of the evil spirit which they 
are evoking. Christian Socialism, as preached by 
Maurice and Kingsley was a very different thing, 
however unwise they may have been in adopting 
such an appellation. Its creed was simply that of 
Christian philanthropy ; its system was simply that 
of co-operation in its widest sense. But, as it did 
not rob Peter to pay Paul, it would not have satisfied 
the Social Democrats of our time, or the young 
"priests" who are duped by them. I believe the 
explanation of this unholy alliance between young 
priests and Social Democrats to be very simple. 
The young Socialist priest is, above all, desirous, and 
that with the best of motives, to gain influence among 
the people. To do this, he feels that he must con- 
ciliate and please them somehow, but he cannot in 
conscience help making heavy demands on their faith 


and conduct. He dares not seek to win popularity 
by making light of tke Christian religion or the 
moral law, but he scruples not to win it at the ex- 
pense of political and economical truth, adopting the 
narrowest prejudices of trades-unionism with very 
slight modifications, and sanctioning, if he does not 
foment, those class-enmities which it is part of his 
sacred mission to assuage. 

I had always felt strongly drawn towards his- 
torical studies, and had meditated writing a serious 
work on more than one historical subject, including 
" The Wars of the Eoses." If I abandoned such 
projects, it was largely due to reasons which I have 
some hesitation in avowing. One reason was that, 
so far as I have observed, serious works depend for 
their success, in these days, far less upon their in- 
trinsic merits than on skill in advertising and pro- 
curing favourable reviews. Another reason was 
that, however ably an historical writer may have 
delineated his subject, and however brilliant his style, 
he is liable to be disparaged by the critics, and 
discredited with the public, unless by grubbing in 
archives never ransacked before, and perhaps barren 
of interest, he has satisfied the modern craze for " re- 
search." Now and then, a book like Green's "History 
of the English People," deserves, and obtains, a wide 
circulation by virtue of its real value, but such ex- 
ceptions are rare, and I fear that others capable of 
producing solid contributions to historical literature 
have been deterred by the same motives which 
deterred me. However, I bestowed some labour on 


the history of my own College, and of the University. 
In 1885, a volume by me entitled, "Memorials of 
Merton College," was published by the Oxford His- 
torical Society, containing the substance of lectures 
on Merton history, with short biographical notices of 
Wardens and Fellows, up to the early part of the 
last century.^ In 1886, another volume by me, con- 
taining a compendious summary of University history 
within a compass of some 220 pages, appeared in a 
series called " Epochs of Church History," edited by 
Bishop Creighton. Some of my critics affected sur- 
prise at not finding in this summary, rigorously 
limited in length, subordinate details which might 
fairly be expected in a classical History of the Univer- 
sity, extending over several large volumes ; for my 
own part, I shall be satisfied if my readers find in it 
an accurate account of the leading events, arranged 
in just proportion, and expressed in good English. 
These volumes were followed by an article on " The 
Evangelical Eevival of the Eighteenth Century," 
which in its origin formed an episode in University 
history, but could not be given an adequate place in 
my little synopsis, and by an article on " Oxford in 
the Middle Ages," being a review of Mr. Maxwell 
Lyte's excellent " History of the University," from 
the earliest times to the year 1530— a work which 
■has never been fully appreciated, and which remains 
to be completed. In 1890 I was invited to deliver 

1 A more complete History of Merton College, partly founded on 
materials inaccessible to me, has since been published by my colleague, 
Mr. B. W. Henderson. 


a course of three lectures at the Eoyal Institution 
on "The place of Oxford University in English 
History." These lectures covered much the same 
ground as Mr. Gladstone's more famous Romanes 
Lecture delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre at 
Oxford a year or two afterwards, except that Mr. 
Gladstone availed himself freely of Mr. H. Rashdall's 
later researches into the origin of European Univer- 
sities. My own lectures have never been published, 
but were reprinted in my " Literary Fragments," 
privately issued in 1 89 1 . 

In the year 1889, the municipal constitution of 
Oxford, which had been highly anomalous, was 
entirely remodelled. The old Local Board, on which 
the University had been represented, was merged 
in the new City Council, in which three Aldermen 
and seven ordinary Councillors, being one-sixth of 
the whole body, were allotted to the University. I 
was elected one of the University Aldermen, and sat 
for three years on the Council. During this period, 
I was favourably impressed by the public spirit and 
capacity for business generally shown by my associates 
from the City ; indeed, I could have wished that some 
of the latter quality could have been transfused into 
certain Academical conclaves. Only two burning 
questions emerged from the ordinary topics of dis- 
cussion, while I was on the Council, and on both 
the old feud between the City and the University 
flickered up into life. One was the proposed erection 
of a statue to Cardinal Newman on a conspicuous 
site in Broad Street, which the Duke of Norfolk and 


other Catholics had oflFered to provide at their own 
expense, and which had been provisionally accepted 
by some influential citizens. Considering that it 
was intended to place it within twenty or thirty 
yards of the stone marking the spot on which Ridley, 
Latimer, and Cranmer were burned to death, I could 
not but agree with Sir M. E. Grant DuflF's remark 
that, except Smithfield, no more inappropriate site 
could have been selected in all England for a 
memorial to Newman. But, apart from this objec- 
tion, a large majority of Academical residents felt 
strongly that Newman was not the one alumnus of the 
University who should be singled out as the first to 
receive this unique honour, while his connection with 
the City was of the very slightest. The knowledge 
of this disapproval on the part of the University, 
was enough to inflame the zeal of citizens into a 
white heat of hero-worship. Men who had been 
adverse to public monuments in Oxford, who had 
probably never read a line of Newman's writings 
except the hymn " Lead, kindly Light," and whose 
Nonconformist bias would naturally have been alto- 
gether on the other side, became enthusiastic advo- 
cates of the statue, and roundly denounced the 
bigotry of their University colleagues. They carried 
their point, but the Duke of Norfolk wisely declined 
to foment an angry controversy at Oxford over the 
memory of Newman, and withdrew the ofi'er of his 

The other question which revived the ancient 
and ever-latent antagonism between the University 


and City was one of which the source may be traced 
far back into the Middle Ages. It was the question 
of the Vice-Chancellor's peculiar jurisdiction in causes 
to which members of the University are parties, and, 
still more specially, over charges against dissolute 
women parading the streets. It happened that an 
alleged miscarriage of justice in a case of this kind 
had excited a violent agitation against the Vice- 
Chancellor's jurisdiction at Cambridge, and, though 
no similar miscarriage was alleged at Oxford, its 
citizens were resolved not to lag behind those of 
Cambridge in the assertion of their liberties. A 
further grievance was the necessity of obtaining the 
Vice- Chancellor's license for the performance of any 
stage-play or public entertainment of a like character 
within the precincts of the City. It is not easy to 
justify such privileges, in theory, but it is quite 
certain that, in practice, they are hardly ever abused, 
and work well for the maintenance of good order in 
the City no less than in the University. Indeed, it 
has been doubted whether some of the shrewdest 
citizens really desire their abolition, partly on this 
very ground, and partly because they are loth to 
part with a time-honoured but harmless irritant, 
which serves a useful purpose in local elections. 
Many a conference has taken place between the rival 
authorities, and at one time a reasonable compromise 
had been framed, but it was thrown over by the City 
Council, and the dispute is still outstanding, though 
means have been taken, by private arrangement, to 
diminish the risk of its becoming acute. The fact is 


that public opinion, both in and out of Oxford, 
greatly exaggerates both the Vice-Chancellor's legal 
powers, and, still more, those of the Proctors. The 
Act of George IV., on which the latter are supposed 
to rest, and which does create a more stringent 
control over the streets of Oxford than exists in 
London, practically vests this control not in the 
Proctors, but in the Oxford constabulary, including 
the " bulldogs " or sworn constables in the pay of 
the University, but also including all the constables 
in the pay of the City. "When the matter was being 
discussed at a Committee of the City Council, I 
pointed out this popular fallacy, but earnestly 
advised that nothing should be done to undeceive 
the people who cherished it. For, as I ventured to 
argue, though every one on the Committee knew 
that Vice-Chancellors are almost always just and 
capable magistrates, sitting in an open court and not 
in a secret chamber (as was often stated), and though 
it was equally well known to us that Proctors exer- 
cised their very limited rights with discretion, yet it 
was highly expedient that the disorderly classes 
should continue to regard the Vice-Chancellor in the 
light of an inquisitor and the Proctors as constantly 
resorting to arbitrary search and arrest, since this 
wholesome delusion operated to protect the youth 
of the City as well as of the University against the 
notorious seductions of the Haymarket and Picca- 
dilly. I also pointed out that the same statute 
which gave the Vice-Chancellor a veto on theatrical 
performances gave the Mayor, too, a concurrent veto, 

2 B 


and that, if this statute were repealed, supposing 
the Vice-Chancellor wished to patronise a highly 
improper and demoralising stage-play, the Mayor 
would not be able to stop it. These arguments were 
not accepted as decisive, but they were received as 
possessing the merit of novelty. 

When I ceased to be Alderman for the University 
at the expiration of my term in 1892, I did not offer 
myself for re-election, having found it difficult to pull 
a labouring oar on the City Council, without neglect- 
ing other duties. But I have always done my best 
to promote friendly relations between leading men 
in the City and University, therein following the 
example and advice of the late Professor T. H. Green, 
who did more than any one else to break down the 
middle wall of partition between them. In accordance 
with a hint from him, I have made it a practice since 
1 88 1 to gather together mixed parties, representative 
of both, in my own house, after the municipal elections 
in November, and I have reason to believe that some 
good has indirectly resulted from these little reunions. 
I have also been for many years on the Governing 
Body of the Oxford High School for Boys, one of the 
best City institutions, which has done much to bring 
forward promising lads from elementary schools, and 
to give them the means of earning academical 
distinction. It is hardly to be expected that a 
complete social amalgamation can be effected between 
University and City — at least, as long as ladies 
dominate society, emphasising a marked difference 
of habits and culture between the commercial and 


non-commercial sections of the English middle-class. 
But, for all other purposes, the rapprochement of Town 
and Gown is yearly gaining strength, and a sufficient 
proof of its reality is furnished by the fact that while 
the City buildings were being reconstructed, during 
the height of the controversy over jurisdiction, all 
the municipal business was conducted in the Ex- 
amination Schools, lent for the occasion by the 

In the meantime, I had been put into the Com- 
mission of the Peace by Sir Henry Dashwood, then 
Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, who had been my 
only supporter among country gentlemen in my 
contests at Woodstock. Thenceforth, I was tolerably 
regular in my attendance at the BuUingdon Petty 
Sessions, held weekly at Oxford, but exercising juris- 
diction over the large district encircling Oxford on 
the east and north-east beyond the City boundary. 
This district included Burcote, the residence of Mr. 
Jabez Balfour, and I remember that, on two occasions, 
that gentleman attended our Bench, and gave us the 
benefit of his counsels, as a brother-magistrate. It 
has been the popular opinion, from Shakespeare's 
time downwards, that magistrates' cases are of the 
simplest possible kind, and are decided ofiTiand, with 
more or less common-sense, but without much regard 
to law, or much necessity for consulting law-books. 
Having practised for two or three years at the Somer- 
setshire and Bath Quarter Sessions, I was under no 
such illusion, and my experience on the Bench causes 
me to wonder that it should ever have prevailed so 


widely. The cases of crime which come before 
magistrates are not so grave as those received for the 
Quarter Sessions or the Assizes, but the great diffi- 
culty of all, the difficulty of weighing conflicting 
evidence, is just the same in all courts of justice. 
The frequent changes in the criminal law must be 
studied by magistrates as much as by judges, and 
two such changes, very recently made, have imposed 
a heavy burden upon them. One of these is the law 
enabling prisoners to give evidence on oath, which 
applies to all criminal trials, though not, according 
to most authorities, to inquests before Grand Juries. 
The other is the law under which magistrates are 
charged with the whole responsibility of granting 
certificates of exemption from Vaccination, a law 
which reflects little credit on the wisdom or moral 
courage of Parliament. There are many other classes 
of cases, outside the criminal law, with which magis- 
trates have to deal, requiring constant references 
to the Statute-book and an accurate knowledge of 
procedure. If serious mistakes are seldom made, it 
is chiefly because magistrates' clerks are generally 
very competent lawyers, and the most experienced 
magistrate is generally put into the chair. In both 
these respects, we of the BuUingdon Bench have been 
very fortunate, being assisted by a clerk thoroughly 
versed in all branches of magistrates' law, while our 
late Chairman, Mr. Thornhill, was a trained barrister 
with every judicial qualification, and has been 
replaced by a worthy successor in Sir William Anson. 
No doubt, magistrates, who personally know the 


character of prisoners tried before them, may some- 
times find it rather hard to exclude that knowledge 
from their minds in estimating the weight of evi- 
dence, but their colleagues are on their guard against 
any prejudice of this kind. Whatever Mr. Labouchere 
may say, I have observed no want of sagacity and love 
of justice on the magisterial bench, nor any disposi- 
tion to punish crimes against property more severely 
than crimes against the person — a bias which I should 
condemn as strongly as he does. But magistrates, 
like all judges, have to consider many circumstances 
which do not appear in abridged newspaper reports. 
A man, for instance, may be sentenced to one or two 
months' imprisonment for some petty theft hardly 
deserving a week's imprisonment if it were a first 
ofience, but perhaps the magistrates had before them 
a long list of previous convictions. Or a husband 
may be let off with a light penalty, after beating his 
wife, for which the angry censor would have sentenced 
him off-hand to a sound flogging, regardless of the 
fact that the law gives no such power. But, apart 
from this slight difficulty, perhaps the magistrates had 
good reason to believe that he acted under the greatest 
provocation, or that a light penalty would be greatly 
preferred by the wife, and conduce to future domestic 
peace ; whereas the censor has perhaps not pictured 
to himself the return of the flogged husband to the 
bosom of his family. The new element introduced 
by Chairmen of District Councils, sitting as ex officio 
magistrates, has yet to be more fully tested, and 
may possibly incline to weakness in vaccination 


cases, for instance ; but I can speak very favour- 
ably of the judicial capacity shown by my ex officio 

■ In the year 1887 I was elected to represent the 
University of Oxford on the Governing Body of Eton 
College. This body is a good specimen of those 
created under the Public Schools Commission for the 
government of what may be called the leading schools 
of England. The Provost of Eton is, ex officio, its 
chairman, the Provost of King's College is next in 
precedence, and most of the other nine members are 
nominated by various learned corporations, one being 
elected by the masters of Eton itself, and one being 
appointed by the Lord Chief-Justice of England. 
Among the members so appointed have been two ex- 
Lord Chancellors, the late Lord Selborne and Lord 
Herschell, and the present Lord Chancellor, Lord 
Halsbury. Notwithstanding the eminence, and press- 
ing engagements, of some among the Governors, the 
attendance at meetings has generally been regular, 
and our proceedings have always been conducted in 
a spirit of friendly harmony. Still, it may perhaps 
be doubtful whether so large and heterogeneous a 
Governing Body is really the best machinery for 
ruling the affairs of a school like Eton, or rather for 
ruling that part of its affairs which is not within the 
very comprehensive province of the Head-master. 
The most essential function of a Governing Body is 
the appointment, and, in the last resort, the dis- 
missal of the Head-master ; and all are agreed that 
he should be left, as far as possible, supreme in all 


matters of discipline and school administration. But 
it would be easy, if it were proper, to specify a 
multitude of subjects, from the management of landed 
estates and house property down to the regulation of 
petty domestic charges in boarding-houses, on which 
the intervention of an independent authority is all 
but necessary. What that authority should be, is 
too delicate a question for me to discuss. I will only 
suggest that, while a large Governing Body may be 
more trustworthy for the purpose of appointing a 
Head-master, a smaller Governing Body, thoroughly 
conversant with the school affairs, and meeting at 
short intervals, might be more efficient for purposes 
of general control. In my opinion, the immense 
popularity of Eton among the richest classes, and the 
increasing number of entries for boarding-houses, 
involves difficulties which are not equally felt in 
any other public school, and on which I will touch 
lightly. On the one hand, too many parents of this 
type care little how their sons are taught, so long 
as they are made happy, and would not support 
the masters in enforcing upon them even a mini- 
mum of industry. On the other hand, the vested 
interests, real or imaginary, of assistant-masters 
founding their expectations on a rising market, are 
liable to become a formidable obstacle to arrange- 
ments which may be thought necessary in the 
interests of the school. Many of such difficulties 
arise out of the system whereby the incomes of 
senior masters are chiefly derived from the profits 
of boarding-houses, and there are those who have 


the audacity to challenge the absolute perfection 
of that system. 

The administration of Eton has often been the 
subject of public criticism, and I, for one, do not 
deprecate such criticism, though it is apt to be 
strangely misdirected. For instance, I have some- 
times heard the Governing Body of Eton accused of 
a niggardly parsimony in bricks and mortar, whereas 
those who remember the school as it was "in the 
forties," when I was a boy, might accuse us, with 
far more justice, of extravagance in the provision of 
buildings and playgrounds. Some of our critics have 
conjured up the ominous vision of a Government 
Inspector sent down, under the new Secondary Edu- 
cation Act, to spy out the weak points of the School. 
If such an Inspector were commissioned to study the 
Eton system, as a whole, and to examine not only 
schoolrooms, boarding-houses, and educational plant, 
but the efficiency of teaching, the standard of industry 
among the learners, and the educational results 
achieved, I confess that I should await his judgment 
with some anxiety. In this case, I fear that he would 
discover shortcomings wholly different from a defi- 
ciency in domestic comfort or means of recreation, 
and would be impressed, not by the scantiness of the 
school accommodation in any department, still less 
by the cheapness of Eton education, but, on the con- 
trary, by the fact that expenditure so lavish, both 
from the pockets of parents and from the endow- 
ments of the College, should produce so little fruit of 
an intellectual kind. But if he were a competent 


inspector, he would not throw all the blame of this 
upon the masters, well knowing how difficult it is for 
masters to enforce industry, unless loyally supported 
by parents. Nor would he fail to appreciate the 
success of Eton not only in turning out gentlemen, 
but in turning out men eminently qualified for the 
public service in all its branches. 

If, however, he were to look at Eton with the eyes 
of an architect and surveyor, he would surely form a 
very favourable impression. In the first place, he 
would of course admire the grandeur of our noble 
College Chapel, and he would hear with surprise that, 
when it proved too small to contain the whole School 
at once, the expedient of using it for two sections of 
boys in turns was barely considered, and a new Lower 
Chapel was built at a cost of many thousand pounds. 
He would next discover that within the last forty 
years two immense blocks of schoolrooms had been 
erected, so that at present there are three or four 
times as many schoolrooms as there were under Dr. 
Hawtrey, the worst of which is better than the best 
of those which then served for 700 or 800 boys. 
Being informed that none of the old rooms was heated 
in any way, and that all were overcrowded, he would 
not see any extravagance in this very liberal increase 
of accommodation ; but he would hardly be prepared 
to learn that, in the opinion of Eton masters, each of 
nearly sixty assistants ought to have a separate class- 
room for himself, that twenty specially-constructed 
rooms have been claimed for musical teaching alone, 
and that, although Natural Science has already two 


laboratories, a very large extension of buildings is 
still demanded for that branch of study. If he should 
pursue his inquiries a little further, he would find 
that about £40,000 were spent in the course of four- 
teen years in the construction and conversion of school 
buildings, over and above the large sums invested by 
house-masters in the erection and improvement of 
boarding-houses . 

Knowing how large a space athletic sports occupy 
in the life of English public schools, he would as- 
suredly not grudge the greatest of them an ample 
proportion of cricket grounds, football grounds, and 
other appliances for games, but he would as certainly 
be amazed by the scale of our resources for outdoor 
amusement. Foremost among these he would reckon 
the river Thames itself, which Eton, alone of public 
schools, possesses as an accessory to its splendid 
recreation grounds on land, and which occupies the 
athletic energies of at least half the boys during the 
whole summer. Then he would learn that, while at 
Rugby and Harrow respectively less than sixteen and 
less than eighteen acres are allotted to cricket, the old 
Eton playing fields, containing nearly ten acres of 
cricket ground, have been enlarged within the last 
twenty years by the addition of new grounds cover- 
ing above 100 acres, and costing upwards of £50,000. 
He would learn that part of this enormous area had 
been allotted to football, a game which already 
possessed grounds of its own large enough to excite 
the envy of any other school, not to speak of 
racquet-courts or fives-courts, or of the great extent 


of practically open country over which Eton boys 
can and do range freely. Upon the whole, there- 
fore, I do not think an impartial Inspector would 
pass a severe judgment on the provision made at 
Eton for athletic exercises, or on its School buildings, 
including the boarding-houses, in which each boy has 
a separate bed-room. 




Foundation of tlie " Oxford University Unionist League " — My Presi- 
dential address — Motion against me before the Special (Parnell) 
Commission for contempt of Court alleged to be committed in a 
passage of this address — My appearance and affidavit — Dismissal 
of the case — Lord Bramwell's letter — Memorial from Oxford 

In accepting the Wardenship of Merton, I aban- 
doned all idea of a Parliamentary career, and felt 
that, however lawful, it would not be expedient to 
engage actively in political struggles within the 
University or City of Oxford. On this principle, 
I declined overtures from the Liberal Party in the 
City and in the new division of Mid-Oxfordshire, as 
well as in other constituencies, and, so far as I re- 
member, my only political speeches in Oxford before 
1886 were an Address on "Household Suflfrage in 
Counties," delivered in May 1884, and an Address on 
" The Duty of Moderate Liberals at the coming Elec- 
tion," delivered in November 1885. My reason for 
this reticence was not that I had become indifferent 
to politics after ceasing to be an effective, but chiefly 
that I held a position which I think inconsistent 

with the rough and vehement partisanship of elec- 



tioneering. Above all, I recognised that, as towards 
the College, and especially towards its junior mem- 
bers, my character was non-political, and I carried 
this view so far that I have never once allowed 
myself to be drawn into any political discussion 
in the Merton Common-Eoom, or in conversation 
with undergraduates. As a citizen, and as one 
whose life had been spent in forming political con- 
victions, I should not have felt it right to suppress 
those convictions, but I would not bandy arguments 
upon them, or attempt to propagate them in Oxford. 
The Home Eule crisis forced me to deviate for 
once, to a certain extent, from these principles. 
Here was no ordinary issue of party-politics, but 
the deliberate alliance of those who adhered to 
Gladstone, with a body of men whom they had 
denounced as guilty of a criminal and all but 
treasonable conspiracy. Whether or not the alliance 
was struck for the purpose of securing a great party 
majority, was to me a secondary question ; it was 
enough for me that it was a base surrender of in- 
terests which I, in common with the whole Liberal 
party in Great Britain, had maintained as sacred, 
and the vital importance of which my study of 
Ireland had brought home to me ever more and 
more. In such an emergency I felt it a duty to 
show my colours, and, though I seldom appeared 
on a platform, I supported the Unionist cause as 
a speaker at Rugby, Bath, Cambridge, and Farn- 
ham, where my nephew, St. John Brodrick, now 
Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, held a meeting, 


as candidate for the Guildford Division of Surrey. 
I was also among the leading promoters of a Liberal 
Unionist Association for Oxfordshire, of which the 
backbone was supplied by University men — among 
whom I may name Mr. P. Lyttelton Gell, my 
nephew by marriage, upon whom much of the hard 
work devolved. We always succeeded in keeping 
up the best possible relations with the Conserva- 
tives, and the crown of our success was the return 
of Unionist members, in 1895, for all three Divisions 
of Oxfordshire, as well as for the City of Oxford. 
I was fortunate enough to assemble all of these, 
together with both the Unionist members for the 
University, the Unionist member for the City, the 
Lord-Lieutenant of the county, the Bishop of the 
diocese, and many of our fellow-labourers, at an 
Unionist dinner-party in my own house on Novem- 
ber I of that year. But I am here anticipating the 
course of events, and must recur to a little episode 
which rudely disturbed my quiet life during the 
winter of 1888-89, ^^^ attracted some public atten- 
tion. This episode arose, under circumstances which 
require explanation, out of the violent controversy 
which raged over the publication of the celebrated 
articles on " Parnellism and Crime " by the Times 
newspaper. It will be remembered that some of 
these articles contained what purported to be fac- 
similes of letters signed by Mr. Parnell and other 
Nationalist leaders, which letters were said to show 
complicity with the Phoenix Park murders and other 
crimes. Of course, these accusations were furiously 


resented by the Home Rule members, and Mr. Par- 
nell at last took up the challenge of the Times by 
instituting an action for libel, but in the meantime a 
Special Commission was appointed by Parliament to 
inquire into all the questions, including that of the 
letters, which had been raised in the obnoxious articles. 
Of this Commission Sir James Hannen was Presi- 
dent, with Mr. Justice Day and Mr. Justice (now 
Lord Justice) A. L. Smith for his colleagues. It 
sat for several months in 1888 and 1889, with the 
result that its report has been quoted ever since by 
Home Rulers as an acquittal on the smaller issues, 
and by Unionists as a conviction on the larger 

It happened that while the Special Commission 
was sitting, I had taken the chief part in founding 
a society called the " Oxford University Unionist 
League," and had become its President. In an 
address delivered at the first meeting of this body on 
December i, 1888, I frankly admitted that I had 
long hesitated to do anything which might seem 
like encouraging political agitation among the 
younger members of the University. I stated that, 
in my opinion, the University, as a place of education 
and learning, was not a suitable arena for politics, 
and that, if it were, it would seldom be well for 
undergraduates to mix themselves up prematurely 
with political controversy. I justified my departure 
from academical neutrality partly on the ground that 
the country was in the throes of a great national 
crisis, making it the duty of all patriotic citizens to 


stand together shoulder to shoulder, in presence of 
a common enemy and of an overwheming danger ; 
partly on the ground that unscrupulous eflforts had 
been made in Oxford itself " to enlist recruits in the 
service of the National League — a body which is now 
on its trial for crimes which shock humanity." 
" The Irish Question," I said, " has ceased to be a 
question of mere party politics — it has ceased to 
be a merely political question, and has become 
mainly a moral question. The Liberals, headed by 
Mr. Gladstone, have entered into an open alliance 
with men who receive their instructions and draw 
their pay from the foreign enemies of Great Britain, 
who have declared war against Civil Government 
itself, and who defy the supremacy of the law. We 
Unionists might almost say of them in the language 
of Scripture : ' Our princes are rebellious, and have 
become the companions of thieves.' There is but 
one answer to such an alliance. It is the formation 
of a counter-alliance — that is, of a National Party — 
and I know no reason why the formation of such a 
party embracing Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, 
should not begin at Oxford." 

I have ventured to quote this passage, not only 
as containing an early forecast of the present 
Unionist Coalition, then in the clouds, but also as 
throwing light upon another paragraph in the same 
address, upon which a motion for contempt of Court 
was actually founded. The full text of that para- 
graph, abridged in the report of the London papers, 
is given in the affidavit which I submitted to the 


Court, and which I reproduce on a later page of this 
chapter. It may appear incredible to any one who 
reads it fairly, and ought to have been impossible, 
that an utterance of this kind, ironical on the face of 
it, and perfectly harmless, even if it had been serious, 
should be treated for a moment as a " contempt of 
Court "—that is, as adapted, if not intended, to inter- 
fere with the course of justice. But things which are 
impossible are constantly happening, and the Special 
Commissioners innocently fell into a trap skilfully 
devised for the purpose of shielding another person 
at my expense. On December 14, 1888, an applica- 
tion was made by the Attorney-General before the 
Commission against Mr. William O'Brien, described 
as the proprietor of United Ireland, for a contempt 
of Court, alleged to have been committed by the 
publication of an article in that paper. This article, 
read in Court, was represented to convey not only 
libellous reflections on the conduct of the prosecution, 
but gross imputations on the impartiality of the 
Court itself. Before the President had expressed 
any opinion upon it, Mr. Eeid, Q.C., as counsel for 
Mr. Dillon, Mr. E. Harrington, and other Irish mem- 
bers of Parliament, started up and made a similar 
application against myself, founded on a passage, 
carefully divorced from its context, in the condensed 
Times report of " what purports to be " the address 
delivered by me on December i. This passage he 
declared to be " a clear comparison of Mr. Davitt 
and Mr. Dillon with an infamous criminal." He 
stated that the matter had been under his considera- 

2 c 


tion for several days, but that he shrunk from pressing 
it on the attention of the Court until the Attorney- 
General brought his charge against Mr. O'Brien. In 
other words, the language used by me, thus garbled, 
was to be treated as a set-off to that used by Mr. 
O'Brien, in the hope that the Court might deal the 
same measure to both of us. This ruse proved 
entirely successful, but in one important respect I 
received scantier justice than Mr. O'Brien. In his 
ease, the Court pointed out more than once the neces- 
sity of " a proper affidavit," as well as notice, unless 
the requirement of an affidavit should be waived, 
and Mr. O'Brien's proprietorship of United Ireland 
admitted. This was forthwith done on his behalf by 
Mr. Reid, and the Attorney-General further stated, 
without contradiction, that the proprietorship had 
already been proved at an earlier stage of the proceed- 
ings. In my case, no such affidavit was required, and 
the President, without any more inquiry, authorised 
Mr. Reid to give me notice to appear on the first day 
of the next sitting, that is to say, on January 14, 
1889. For, though it had been proposed to sit on 
the following day, or the following Tuesday, in order 
to deal with both applications promptly, it turned, out 
that Mr. O'Brien was in Ireland, and. so they were 
allowed to stand over during the recess. 

The preposterous charge thus sprung upon me 
first came to my notice through a placard sum- 
marising the contents of an evening newspaper, which 
I happened to see at the Richmond Station. On 
reaching London, I immediately took steps to inform 


the President that I should appear in Court the next 
morning and answer for myself, little knowing that 
an adjournment of a whole month had been arranged, 
during which interval I should have this sword hang- 
ing over me. I was most anxious to conduct my own 
case, feeling sure that, by a plain statement of the cir- 
cumstances, and a simple rehearsal of the paragraph 
containing the sentences extracted, I could easily 
expose and explode the whole proceeding. However, 
in deference to the advice of Sir Henry James (now 
Lord James), I determined to seek legal assistance, 
and, as he felt himself unable to speak on my behalf 
(being already engaged as Counsel for the Times), 
I placed myself in the hands of Mr. Alfred Lyttelton, 
already a rising barrister, on whose tried friendship 
I knew that I could thoroughly rely. It was decided 
that my answer to the application should be embodied 
in an affidavit, drawn by myself, to which Mr. 
Lyttelton should add any remarks or explanations 
which he might find necessary. On Jan. 14, when 
the Court resumed its sittings after the recess. Sir C. 
Russell, now Lord Russell, made another application 
for a contempt of Court against the Worcester Daily 
Times, the hearing of which was postponed, after 
an earnest protest by the President against the 
multiplication of such interruptions. The Attorney- 
General then brought forward the case of Mr. O'Brien, 
who, being present, elected to speak for himself, and 
made a spirited defence of the article in United 
Ireland, part of which, had I followed him, I might 
have been disposed to adopt. After a brief reply 


from the Attorney-General, the Court reserved its 
decision, and my own case was called on. Having 
defined my position in a most conciliatory tone, Mr. 
Lyttelton proceeded to read my affidavit, which I 
here subjoin verbatim, as it contains the whole sub- 
stance of my argument, — an argument which ought 
never to have been required at all, and mainly con- 
sisted in the interpretation of language which clearly 
interpreted itself : 

"In answer to the application made to this Honour- 
able Court by Mr. Raid, Q.C., on the 14th day of 
December last, I, George Charles Brodrick, make oath 
and say as follows : — 

" I. I desire respectfully to state that I do not disavow 
the substance of the words cited by Mr. Raid, but that 
I do repudiate, most strongly and most indignantly, the 
construction which it is sought to force upon them. I 
deny absolutely that in the passage cited I said anything 
constituting or resembling a ' contempt of Court,' either 
by showing disrespect towards the Special Commission — 
for which no man entertains a higher respect than I do 
— or by commenting directly or indirectly on its pro- 
ceedings, or by prejudging any one of the issues now 
before the Commission. 

"2. I respectfully submit for the consideration of the 
Court the circumstances under which I spoke and the 
context of the passage cited. I was addressing a private 
assembly, mainly composed of Oxford undergraduates, 
and my one object in the introductory paragraph to which 
exception is taken, was to ridicule, in a spirit of good- 
humoured banter, the love of innovation and of sensational 
notoriety-hunting prevalent in a certain school of young 
Oxford politicians. This is self-evident on the face of the 
paragraph itself, which I here subjoin, and the whole 


of whicli, as the Court will see, is conceived in that 
spirit : — 

"'And first I would point out that our main object 
is defensive. That is more than our opponents can say. 
Their policy and tactics are essentially aggressive, and this 
— strange to say — gives them a great advantage, specially 
in appealing to young Oxford minds. Some of you may 
remember the old Parliamentary squib in which the 
Radical reformers are described as framing a motion, 
" to abolish the sun and the moon," and if such a measure 
were proposed by Mr. Gladstone, I do believe that it would 
be easier to get up an association in Oxford to support 
the abolition of those ancient institutions than it would 
be to rouse enthusiasm in favour of maintaining them. 
And so we have not only a Home Rule League, which 
imdergraduates of advanced views have been earnestly 
pressed to join, but also, as I understand, an Oxford 
branch of the National League, with a Nonconformist 
minister for its president, which has not yet taken any 
very active part in organising outrage, so far as I know, 
but which may yet succeed in attracting the attention of 
the Parnell Inquiry Commission. We have also already 
had visits from Mr. H. George, Mr. Hyndman, Mr. Davitt 
Mr. Dillon, and Mr. Healy, and my impression is that if 
the Whitechapel murderer could be identified, he would 
be invited to lecture by an Oxford club which I could 
name if I thought proper.' 

" 3. There are three allusions of the same character 
in this paragraph. I would ask whether the first is to 
be construed seriously as attributing to Mr. Gladstone 
an intention to move for the abolition of the heavenly 
bodies? If not, is the second to be construed seriously 
as attributing to an Oxford branch of the National League 
the design of organising outrage, and thus coming within 
the cognisance of the Commission ? If not, is the last 
to be construed seriously as purporting to associate and 
compare, in respect of criminality, gentlemen represented 


before the Commission — and not only these, but Mr. 
Henry George and Mr. Hyndman — with the most atrocious 
of unknown murderers ? The very extravagance of the 
supposed parallel is enough to rebut so absurd a con- 
struction. However, since it has been gravely urged, I 
hasten to admit that if such had been the real purport of 
the allusion, I should have been guilty of a grievous 
impropriety and injustice towards the gentlemen named, 
including Mr. H. George and Mr. Hyndman, as well as 
those represented before the Commission. But I can 
assure the Court, and I can assure these gentlemen — if 
they care to accept my assurance — that no such idea ever 
crossed my mind. The single idea present to my mind 
was the idea of notoriety, and not that of criminality. 
Having named several gentlemen notorious for their 
advocacy of extreme opinions on various subjects, all of 
whom had been invited to lecture at Oxford, I suggested, 
by way of climax and reductio ad absurdum, the invita- 
tion of the Whitechapel murderer, simply as the most 
notorious personage that occurred to me. Perhaps it was 
not the most felicitous illustration which could have been 
chosen, but I am certain that no man who heard me 
understood me for one moment to associate Irish National- 
ists with the Whitechapel murderer in point of crvtninality , 
and I maintain that no rational man reading the passage 
would put so preposterous a construction upon it. 

" 4. The rest of the speech referred to in the summons 
has been greatly abridged in the Times report, which 
embodies but one-third of the original. It contains strong 
expressions of political convictions, which I believe that 
I share with the whole Unionist party, and strong reflec- 
tions on the revolutionary movement in Ireland; but I 
submit that it contains no expression of opinion upon the 
subject matter of the present inquiry, nor any statement 
imputing criminality to Mr. Reid's clients, or calculated 
to prejudice in the smallest degree the conduct of these 
proceedings. Not only had I no such intention, but I 


abstained throughout from touching upon topics which 
might appear to fall within the jurisdiction of this Com- 
mission, acknowledging, as I do, that it is the duty of 
every fair-minded man to suspend his judgment on all 
matters which are now sub judice. 

" 5. This is my explanation, and I leave it with entire 
confidence in the hands of the Court. If I have erred 
unwittingly, I beg to express my sincerest regret. But 
I submit to the Court — as a matter of reason and common- 
sense — that my words, fairly interpreted, were perfectly 
innocent. Were it necessary or relevant, I should be 
prepared to contend that I did not overstep the legitimate 
bounds of political discussion. But this is not the ques- 
tion before the Commission. The question before the 
Commission is exclusively one of 'contempt of Court.' 
Now, I submit once more to the Court, that I said not 
a word that can possibly be construed to show disrespect 
for its authority, or to comment directly or indirectly on 
its proceedings, or to prejudge any one of the issues now 
pending before it. I therefore appeal to the Court, most 
respectfully, but most earnestly, to acquit me honourably 
of an offence which, I declare on my honour, was as 
remote from my thoughts as it is repugnant to my 
character. George C. Beodbick." 

After reading this afl&davit, Mr. Lyttelton com- 
mented on the delay in taking proceedings against 
me, as a proof that Mr. Reid's charge was " in the 
nature of a counter claim." He went on to submit 
" that it would be a monstrous injustice, if words 
which are absolutely innocent in themselves should 
have an odious construction placed upon them, 
simply because complaint has been made against 
another person with whom Mr. Brodrick has 
no connection whatever." Instead of withdraw- 


ing from this offensive construction, Mr. Eeid, in 
reply, insisted that it was the natural one, until Mr. 
Justice A. L. Smith pointed out that it was nega- 
tived by the suppressed context. Mr. Eeid then fell 
back on the contention that I ought at all events to 
have expressed regret if my language was capable 
of that construction, whereupon Sir J. Hannen 
pointed out that I had distinctly expressed that 
conditional regret, and Mr. Lyttelton emphatically 
repeated the disavowal made in the affidavit itself. 
Nothing remained but a formal declaration from the 
President, that, upon a perusal of the whole pas- 
sage containing the words impugned, the Court 
accepted my assurance and saw no cause for its 

So ended this frivolous and vindictive attempt to 
damage the Unionist cause through me, — as though 
I had any claim to be treated as a standard-bearer 
of the party. On the same day, and on a later 
occasion. Sir James Hannen, whom I knew per- 
sonally, expressed a wish to discuss the matter 
privately with me, but I firmly declined, and, on 
his pressing me, told him plainly that I feared I 
could not do so, without being guilty of a real 
contempt of Court. It is needless to say that, while 
I received a shower of condolences and congratu- 
lations from Unionist and even non-Unionist friends, 
I was vilified for some weeks by the Home Rule 
press. Out of many sympathetic letters I select 
that of Lord Bramwell, as expressing the deliberate 
judgment of an eminently judicial mind : — 


"17 Oadogan Place, 
Jan. 25, 1889. 

"Dear Me. Beodrick, — I have read the speech, and 
for the first time rightly understood and known what it 
was that you said. I am utterly surprised that any one 
could have considered it a contempt of Court, or any 
imputation on the Home Rulers. And, as to saying that 
you liken them to the Whitechapel murderer, it is pre- 
posterous. You say that in Oxford there are people with 
extravagant notions, and in particular one club which 
would give a hearing to the Whitechapel murderer. So 
far from saying that the Home Rulers are murderers, you 
by implication say that they are not. For you say that 
certain persons had been to Oxford, and that even the mur- 
derer would be invited by one club. Besides, George and 
Hyndman are not Home Rulers, or at least not notorious 
as such. It really was outrageous to charge this as a 
contempt. I thought Reid ungracious, and, to say the 
truth, I thought Hannen cold. / cannot hut think now 
that he ought to have severely denounced the proceeding, 
I have the highest regard and respect for him. He is the 
perfection of a judicial character. I wonder if he appre- 
hended the matter rightly. — Very truly yours, 

" Bramwell." 

A few weeks later a kindly memorial was 
presented to me, bearing the signatures of some 
130 Oxford friends, including several professed 
Home Rulers. It repudiated indignantly the false 
accusation of which I had been the subject, and I 
valued it highly as a gratifying proof of confidence, 
but, as it was marked " private," it was of course 
useless as a protest or protection against public 
attacks. A more eflfective testimonial from my 
fellow-Unionists was an invitation to preside at the 


next dinner of the Liberal Unionist Club, when 
Lord Derby was the chief guest. I accepted this 
office, but on the morning of the appointed day came 
the news of John Bright's death. The dinner was 
therefore put oflF until May i8, 1889, when I was in 
the chair, and Lord Derby made a characteristic 
speech, full of inspired common-sense, in the utter- 
ance of which he was so great a master. 



Fallacies of forecasts — Temptations of optimism in retrospect — Ground 
for a hopeful view of the national health. 

No man can look back over a life of nearly seventy 
years, and forward into the opening vista of a new 
century, without framing to himself some estimate 
of his own times, and even some forecast of those 
which are to follow them. Such forecasts, however, 
whether optimistic or pessimistic, must needs be 
highly delusive, if, indeed, they are not in their very 
nature presumptuous. One simple reason for this is 
that, although we may clearly discern tendencies, we 
cannot possibly know which of them are destined to 
die away, and which of them to prevail. Another 
is, that very much — though not so much as hero- 
worshippers believe — must depend on the action of 
epoch-making individuals, whose birth and death are 
equally beyond the range of prediction. The men 
of the eighteenth century would have been quite 
impotent to cast the horoscope of the nineteenth 
century, and who are we that we should rashly 
attempt to cast the horoscope of the twentieth 
century ? It is but a few years since my old friend, 
Mr. C. H. Pearson, indulged in speculations of this 


kind in his volume entitled "National Life and 
Character." They attracted great attention, were 
treated with great respect, and purported to rest 
on an almost scientific basis. Yet the war between 
China and Japan, with its momentous sequel, was 
sufficient to upset some of his most important con- 
clusions, and had he lived to revise them by the 
light of those events, he must have rewritten much 
of his work. No — let us frankly recognise the fact 
that we can no more foretell the future course of 
national life than we can that of individual life, 
though in both cases we may do something to influ- 
ence that course. 

Retrospect, no doubt, is safer than prophecy, and 
yet how few retrospective eulogies of the Queen's 
reign, put forth in the Jubilee years of 1887 and 
1897, were untainted by a certain ^w de siecle spirit 
of self-complacency. We justly congratulated our- 
selves on our progress in material civilisation, typi- 
fied by railways, steam - vessels, telegraphs, and 
engineering works ; on our social progress, as repre- 
sented by the spread of education and refinement in 
manners ; on our intellectual progress, chiefly shown 
in the marvellous development of Natural Science ; 
on the constant growth of inventions for the increase 
of human comfort and the relief of human sufi"ering. 
But who ventured to point out that in the ominous 
advance of Socialism, and what Socialists call " Mili- 
taryism," we are confronted with two portentous 
evils and dangers to civilisation, which go far to 
balance its conquests in other directions ? Certain it 


is that we seem to be further removed from the 
Millennium of social and international peace than we 
appeared to be some fifty years ago, however grateful 
we may and ought to be for the benefits that we 
have secured in the meantime. Whatever be the 
subject on which we are tempted to claim superiority 
to former ages, we may find something to rebuke 
our vanity, and to warn us against undue admiration 
of our own times. 

After all, however, it is a legitimate and profit- 
able question whether, on the whole, our world is a 
better world than that in which our grandfathers 
were living before the Queen's accession. Now, if 
the happiness of men, women, and children be the 
supreme test of world-bettering, as it should be the 
supreme aim of statesmanship, there is surely no 
self-deception in believing that we in this country 
have indeed reached a higher stage. The mere fact 
that population has been doubled is not in itself 
conclusive, for misery and crime might possibly have 
increased in still greater proportion ; but the plain 
fact that we have twice as many fellow-citizens as 
before, with less misery and less crime than before, 
cannot but indicate an accession of human happi- 
ness. Most of the unfavourable symptoms which 
now cause us anxiety are outweighed by a general 
improvement in the national health. Life is assuredly 
better worth living for the mass of the poor than it 
was two generations ago ; they are better paid, better 
fed, better housed, better clothed, better taught, and 
better provided with innocent recreations. No less 


true is it that life is more enjoyable for all those of 
the middle and upper classes who know the meaning 
of reasonable enjoyment. Luxury and the love of 
pleasure may be carried to excess, but the innocent 
luxuries of one age are the comforts of the next, and 
a taste for refined pleasures, such as those of Music 
and Art, is not only an important element of happi- 
ness, but in harmony with the highest ideal of life. 
Let us take comfort in the belief that English society 
at the end of the nineteenth century is permeated 
with public spirit and the sense of public duty to 
a degree which atones for many grievous failings. 
Ours is not an age of faith ; it is not even a religious 
age, if religion be measured by spiritual devotion ; 
yet it is an age in which a truly Christian philan- 
thropy is no longer confined to philanthropists or to 
Christians, but has been accepted by the national 
conscience as it never was in the olden days. 
Whether the new gospel of philanthropy will be 
perverted into the creed of Socialism, or purified and 
ennobled by a new inspiration of personal and prac- 
tical Christianity, is a problem reserved for another 
century. For us, " that is a secret which lies behind 
the veil." 

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