ページの画像
PDF
ePub

suppressed, and that travellers arriv- and passed into the limbo of Croming in London on Saturday night were well's failures. For there was substinot allowed admission to an inn unless tuted the new constitution accepted by they would engage not to go out into Parliament in 1657. Here, at last, it the streets except to attend divine wor- may be said we are on firm constituship, till Monday morning. Who shall say tional ground. Parliament has reto what extent the reaction against Puri- gained its power, its right of voting tanism was fostered, not by Puritan supplies, of forbidding the exclusion of legislation, but by the actual enforce- elected members by the mere will of ment of degrees which hitherto had sel- the Council, and so forth. Yet, even dom reached the stage of practice?

when Oromwell had secured a means But, it may be asked, was not gov- of re-establishing his darling system, ernment by Major-Generals a purely the Cromwellian oligarchy was now to military rule, having nothing to do with be looked for less in the Council than constitutional ideas? The fact is that in the House of Lords. That body was the memory of that generation fixed deliberately organized with the intenon the military side and forgot the con- tion of checking the errors of the peostitutional. Just as every one talked- ple. After the Protector had once nomas they talk now-of the Protector and inated its members from amongst his said nothing about his council, so they leading supporters, no new member talked of Major-Generals, and said could take his seat without the consent nothing about the commissioners asso- of the House, so that if any future Prociated with them. The Major-General tector should think of creating peersno doubt was, so to speak, the noun- as a Queen afterwards did after the substantive; and the commissioners the Peace of Utrecht-in order to bring noun-adjective. Yet the one was in- that House into conformity with the complete without the other. The sys- House of Commons, the sitting memtem transferred to the counties was bers could reject them, and thereby dealmost identical with the one accepted fy all the vehemency of a House of in the centre of the national govern- Commons, even if it had the nation bement. It was a Cromwellian oligarchy hind it. That such a scheme should have stiffened by its dependence on an en- been adopted sounds like midsummerergetic soldier, accustomed to the man- madness. That it so adopted agement of men, and having ideas of shows that Cromwell, even in accepting government which his colleagues had constitutional in the place of military been selected to assist him in carrying rule, battled to the last for that Puritan out. The main difficulty lay not with oligarchy without which his govern. the counties, but with the corporations. ment was doomed. We may condemn, How Cromwell proposed to deal with as I have already said, the line of corporations by the erection of a Crom- thought which considered the maintenwellian oligarchy has been shown by ance of such a system possible. We Mr. Round in The Nineteenth Century have no right to charge Cromwell with for December last. His paper, inter- conscious tyranny and law-breaking, esting and important in itself, is much because he strove, with the utmost vermore interesting and important if read satility, to mould his government in in the light of surrounding events. such a fashion as to place it above the

Major-Generals and commissioners, waves of popular discontent. however, failed to secure acceptance,

Samuel R. Gardiner.

was

The Contemporary Review.

“THE BEST HUNDRED BOOKS FOR CHILDREN.”

The list of one hundred books for children, just compiled by the united efforts of nearly a thousand readers of the Daily News, is interesting, but it is hardly admirable. This list has been used by the judges as their touchstone in judging the prize of £10; for, according to the terms of the competition, the award was to go to the sender of the list which approximated to it most nearly.

First, of this plébiscite list. It is interesting, because it shows what nearly a thousand readers regard as (here we quote the Daily News' original announcement) the "Best Hundred Books for Children, selected with the immediate object of furnishing suggestions which may possibly be of use to the corporation of West Ham in a most excellent scheme which they have on foot: the establishment of a Children's Library for the use of their borough."

It will be noted that under the express terms of the competition all competitors were constituted literary advisers, so to speak, to the West Ham authorities. They were not asked to determine what are now the most popular books in the nursery. They were asked to advise as to what books should be placed in the hands of children by a responsible body, anxious to form a good library for children.

Here, then, is the plébiscite list, with the number of votes given to each book:

Alice Through the Lookingglass,

723 Waterbabies,

712 Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare,

706 Uncle Tom's Cabin,

705 Treasure Island,

705 Swiss Family Robinson,

691 Ivanhoe,

670 Gulliver's Travels,

650 Westward Ho!

632 Jungle Book,

575 Wide Wide World,

520 Æsop's Fables,

517 Heroes,

505 Hereward the Wake,

488 Masterman Ready,

484 Jackanapes,

467 Carrots,

460 Eric,

427 Kidnapped,

406 Last of the Mohicans,

382 Lays of Ancient Rome,

356 Story of a Short Life,

355 The Talisman,

349 Little Men,

344 Blue Fairy Book,

341 Black Beauty,

337 Saint Winifred's,

336 Madam How and Lady Why, 335 Mr. Midshipman Easy,

331 Stories from Homer,

328 King Solomon's Mines,

327 Children of the New Forest, 322 The Rose and the Ring,

320 David Copperfield,

315 A Flat Iron for a Farthing, 306 Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea,

302 The Daisy Chain,

301 John Halifax, Gentleman,

289 Tanglewood Tales,

287 The Old Curiosity Shop,

284 Uncle Remus,

283 Coral Island,

282 Second Jungle Book,

280 Parables from Nature,

278 At the Back of the North Wind,

277 Jessica's First Prayer,

275 Don Quixote,

273 A Peep Behind the Scenes, 270

[blocks in formation]

244

Boy's Own Annual,

265 Ministering Children,

261 Red Fairy Book,

258 Child's Garden of Verse, 254 Round the World in Eighty Days,

252 Good Wives,

245 Feats on the Fiord, Lamplighter,

243 Lorna Doone,

243 From Log Cabin to White House,

241 The Cuckoo Clock,

236 The Little Duke,

236 Dickens's Christmas Books, 235 Helen's Babies,

234 Longfellow's Poems,

230 Oliver Twist,

230 Scott's Poems,

221 The Vicar of Wakefield, 216 Fairyland of Science,

215 Vice Versa,

213 In the Days of Bruce,

212 Heir of Redcliffe,

211 Queechy,

210 Fifth Form at St. ominic's, 206 Three Midshipmen,

206 Dove in the Eagle's Nest, 205 Kenilworth,

205 Peter Simple,

203 Misunderstood,

202 Sweetheart Travellers,

201 Child's History of England, 200 Christmas Carol,

200 Sandford and Merton,

199 The Schonberg-Cotta Family, 198 Christie's Old Organ,

197 Six to Sixteen,

197 Pickwick Papers,

192 Jan o' the Windmill,

191 A Gentleman of France,

190 Girl's Own Annual,

185 Voyage of the “Sunbeam,” 185 Quentin Durward,

183 Little Meg's Children,

179

[ocr errors]

simply the books which are believed to be most popular with children. Indeed, we are disposed to accept it as a fairly veracious statement of the obvious reading-tastes of the nursery. But as an advisory document compiled for transmission to West Ham the list is a failure. As a matter of fact it has already reached West Ham; and Mr. A. Cotgreave, of the West Ham Library, has given his views upon it. These are just what we should have anticipated. Mr. Cotgreave feels “bound to say that, after due consideration, I believe that the larger number would more merit the title of popular than of best.” Mr. Cotgreave holds and we agree with him that a children's library-formed as any such library should be, with a mingling of sympathy and sagacity-ought to include a fair proportion of interesting and simple works of a higher order than mere story-books." He adds, “I therefore regret to see how entirely these instructive books are excluded from the competition lists from which your analysis is made.” Certainly nothing would be a lamer action on the part of the West Ham authorities than the adoption of the Daily News' plébiscite selection-a selection for which, of course, ou contemporary is not responsible. To dismiss it, it contains: 89 stories, 4 books of poetry, 2 books of science, 1 book of travels, 1 biography, 3 annuals (mainly fiction).

We now come to the list which-by approximating most closely to the plébiscite list-has taken the prize. It was sent in by Miss May Price Williams, and its agreement with the standard list is represented by the fraction 61-100; that is to say, it names 61 books which are approved by the united wisdom of all the competitors, and 39 books which are not so ratified. It is on these 39 that we at once concentrate our attention, and we are not surprised to find that the competitor, who has shown by at least 61 inclusions, that

The most conspicuous feature of this list is the enormous dominance of fiction. No fewer than eighty-nine of the books named come under this head. Thus, only eleven books are left to represent science, travel, biography, poetry, natural history, and what not. A pretty commentary on the wisdom of the many-headed! The conviction grows that this "standard" list reveals

[blocks in formation]

way of histories, deeds, and natural wonders.

The Daily News has published one of the unsuccessful lists-sent in by Miss Grace Mackay. This deserves the praise awarded to its workmanlike qualities. It is impossible, withont more space than we can afford, to compare Miss Mackay's list with the plébiscite and “champion" lists. It will be found in the Daily News of January 30. But it has many good inclusions, and if it errs, it is on the side of solidity; yet four books of natural history can hardly be too many in a hundred, nor six books of travels, nor five of biography, nor three of poetry.

It is amazing to find how few of all the many hundreds of children's books which have poured from the press in, say, the last ten years, have been included in the lists. The proportion of such books is almost infinitesimal, and whether we take the fact in connection with the plébiscite list or the "champion" list, the fact is significant.

Miss Price's list is better than the standard list inasmuch as it combines sympathetic knowledge of what children like in the way of stories, fancy, and fun, with a certain good judgment of what they may be led to like in the

The Academy,

THE CLOUD IN NORTH AFRICA.

The conquest of Africa by Europe tury torrents of blood, and much of it will not be so easy a matter as the di- European blood, will be set flowing in plomatists who arranged the Conference North Africa. The word "Senoussi" of Brussels probably imagined. They conveys to the Englishman scarcely were preoccupied with plans for sooth- any meaning, but to officers of the Ining away or preventing European jeal- telligence Department in Egypt, to ousies, and never seriously considered French "administrators" in Tunis and the possibilities of effective resistance Algiers, to one or two of the Consulsfrom Africans themselves. The process General in Morocco, and to the Sultan of conquest, which was advancing by of Turkey it is a word of most alarmleaps and bounds, has, however, been ing import. The great religious chief seriously interrupted by a rising in the of the Hinterland of Tunis who calls South, the revolt of the only community himself the “Senoussi” and holds his which is at once white and African, and Court at Jerabub, in Libya, has, there is it may be still more gravely impeded the strongest reason to believe, gathby a vast insurrection in the North. It ered into his fold not only a large secis by no means inconceivable that with- tion of the "Moorish”-that is, the halfin the first decade of the coming cen- caste Arab-population of Northern Africa, but nearly the whole of the con- oussi gave the signal hundreds of thouverts whom the Arab missionaries have sands of brave swordsmen and riflefor the last sixty years been making bearers would precipitate themselves among the negro tribes. The slaves in

upon the Europeans and the Turks, particular have, it is said, been spec- who between them hold North Africa. ially addressed, and have accepted the The time of the outburst is, of course, faith with eagerness as promising them uncertain, but many reasons forbid the a new dignity as well as a chance of supposition that there will be long defreedom. Negroes once converted to lay. The Senoussi, who was recognized Islam, as we see in the instance of the as absolute chief forty years ago, has Hausas, become fine soldiers; and all been extending his power and making along the southern shore of the Medi- preparations for the whole of that peterranean, for a distance of at least riod, and if he is to do anything in his twelve hundred miles into the interior, lifetime he must proclaim the Jehad the blacks are affiliating themselves to very soon. The destruction of the the society of which the Senoussi is Mahdi has, it is believed, at once irrithe head. It is believed upon evidence tated and relieved him, while bringing which will one day startle Eurppe that a large accession of force to his stan. the Senoussi gives absolute orders to dard by the extinction of all religious twenty millions of followers, to whom authority in Africa other than his own. his army of missionaries—there are fif- His followers .grow weary with waitteen hundred of them, Mr. Threlfall ing, they are aware in some dim way, says in the Nineteenth Century-are that Europe is unceasingly pressing continually adding proselytes. All these forward, on the Nile, on the Zambesi, men accept Mahommedanism in its on the Niger, on the Congo, and they Wahabee form--that is, practically in see that even the Shereefian throne, to its original form-as a religion licen- them a great throne, is shaking under tious in some respects, but strictly as- the pressure. They would rather, percetic in others, propagandist in the haps, wait for a great European conhighest degree, and with the thought vulsion, but the patience even of Orienfor central dogma that to die fighting tals has limits, and incidents occurring the infidel is the one certain expiation in the far Hinterland of Africa of that cleanses from all sin. Large sec- which Europe knows nothing may at tions of the tribes are well armed, any moment give the necessary imthough only with scimitars and rifles- petus to chiefs who believe with all at least there is no clear evidence of their hearts that God can give them modern artillery--and all are filled at the victory as easily to-day as any numonce with the fierce Mahommedan ber of years hence. There is unrest pride, which is like no other pride, be- among all Mahommedans, a fierce concause no other has the support of a sciousness that they are losing, and a revelation, and with an irremovable decision that the hour has arrived when dread and detestation of the white they must fight or disappear may be races. Whether this is quite shared by more sudden and more widely spread the pure negroes, when left to them- than Europeans believe. The final orselves, is doubtful; but that i is felt der once given would be distributed by the half-caste Arabs is beyond from missionary to missionary. There is doubt, and the negro, when converted, nothing to do but assemble in arms takes from them his teaching. No one, with a month's commissariat, and in a we believe, who has really studied the few weeks all North Africa through a subject now questions that if the Sen- belt fifteen hundred miles deep would

« 前へ次へ »