M. Brutus.


Although in his habits a professed student, he could not resolve to withdraw to the shades of philosophy from the fiery glare of a season of revolution. The thirst of lucre still beset him; the victor caressed and the vanquished courted him; he was a greater man to-day than yesterday, and the path of official distinction seemed safe and flowery. With Brutus, by circumstances a revolutionary partizan, by temper a sophist, the conspiracy would never have originated ; the admission of his inherent weakness is the fairest extenuation of his crime. But the deaths of all their more distinguished leaders had elevated him to undue importance among the remnant of his party. His uncle's renown seemed to shed its light upon him, and he was supposed to inherit the political spirit of the hero whose disciple he had avowed himself in the tranquil walks of science. The name of Brutus forced its possessor into prominence as soon as royalty began to be discussed. The Roman people were neither moralists nor genealogists, but they had imbibed from the traditions of four hundred and fifty years an unreflecting horror of the mere title of King, and admiration not less blind for the name of the first of the Consuls.

• The weakness of Brutus's character may be estimated by the means which were employed to work upon him. A bit of paper affixed to the statue of the ancient hero with the words, “Would thou “ wert alive!” billets thrust into his hands, inscribed “Brutus, thou “ sleepest,” “ Thou art no Brutus!” shook the soul of the philosopher to its centre. His vanity had already been excited by a compliment attributed to Cæsar, which was no doubt reported to him, “Brutus “ only waits for this dry skin ;” implying that he, of all the Romans, was the most capable of succeeding to pre-eminence. Cassius, who was brother-in-law to Brutus, and admitted to his familiar intimacy, watched narrowly the effect of these incentives to his ambition, and led him gradually to the point at which he could venture to disclose the deed which was in contemplation. Brutus, adroitly plied, embraced the schemes of the conspirators, and assumed the place of chief adviser, which was, at least in appearance, tendered to him. The renowned name became at once a charm of magic potency.'

We have endeavoured to trace the leading idea of Mr. Merivale's work, as represented in its first two volumes. We have been precluded by our limits from entering into any details except such as directly bear upon the two leading principles which, in our opinion, impart to the History of the Romans under the Empire’a sterling and original value. We may add that the style is vigorous, and the arrangement lucid; that the descriptions are often striking, and that the occasional episodes are skilfully introduced. Our readers will perceive that Mr. Merivale's undertaking is nothing less than to bridge over no small portion of the interval between the interrupted work of Arnold and the commencement of Gibbon. He comes, therefore, between "mighty opposites.' It is praise enough that in this, his first instalment, he proves himself no unworthy successor to the two most gifted historians of Rome whom English literature has yet produced. Mr. Merivale, in his preface, pays a just and graceful tribute to the memory and the labours of his most recent and able predecessor in the field of Roman annals. It is honourable to the Universities, and it is agreeable to remember that Oxford and Cambridge have, in one generation, contributed to historical science two such works as the late Dr. Arnold's and the volumes we have just surveyed. The fact of their production will help to reconcile the public mind to the polemical zeal of one of these learned corporations, and to the narrow round of studies, until lately, upheld by the other. We trust that the example will not be thrown away, and that our literature, in its graver departments at least, will be recruited from the academic camp with less dependence upon foreign enlistment. We have willingly naturalised the labours of Boeckh, Müller, and Niebuhr; yet their adoption has been accompanied with regret for the comparative barrenness of English scholarship. But with such examples before us, as those of Bishop Thirlwall and Mr. Grote in one department of ancient history, and of Dr. Arnold and Mr. Merivale in another, we have, for the future, good hopes that our native growth will at least rival in excellence our Continental supplies.

ART. III. -- 1. Minutes of the Committee of Council on Edu

cation for 1848-49-50. 2. The Church of England and the Committee of Council on

Education. By G. A. DENISON, Vicar of East Brent. 3. Remarks on the Crusade against the Educational Plans of the

Committee of Council. By R. Dawes, Vicar of King's Som

borne. 4. The Privy Council and the National Society. By H. P.

HAMILTON, Rector of Wath and Rural Dean. 5. National Education and Church Extension. By the Venerable

J. SINCLAIR, Archdeacon of Middlesex. 6. The Social Condition and Education of the People in England

and Europe. By Joseph Kay, M. A., Barrister-at-Law. 7. Juvenile Depravity. A Prize Essay. By H. WORSLEY,

M. A., Rector of Easton. 8. How much longer are we to go on teaching nothing more than

was taught two or three Centuries ago ? By M. E. IT t cannot be without a reason that at this stage of the world's

history, the Education Question is going the round of the civilised portion of it. If all classes partook alike in the


Church and State Education.


progress of knowledge, the old relations of society would remain ; there would be no widening of the intervals of the classes; and the boundaries between one class and another would not be drawn more sharply than heretofore. But it reaches them one after another in slow succession, and spreads itself unequally. Thus the distances of the different grades are widened, and the ranks separated. We forget when we see danger to ourselves in the efforts making to educate labouring men, what a prodigious start we have made of late years in advance of them, - how much ground there is for them to gain before they can come within the same distance of ourselves as heretofore — that the farmer is by education farther removed from the labourer than he was,—and that for the like reason he is himself no longer the companion of the clergyman or the squire. Nothing can be more erroneous than to look upon the advancement of knowledge as a means towards fusing and levelling the classes, or than to qualify as an innovation whatever is done to elevate the social condition of the labouring man. It is but a restoring of the old relations, a re-adjustment of the former balance of society: a wise precaution to maintain that distribu-' tion of its parts which has been found to be consistent with the safe working of the whole machine.

The altered relation of the labourer and employer is well put by Mr. Worsley in his . Essay on Juvenile Depravity,' and he has illustrated it by the following quotation from the labourer poet Bloomfield. A little more polished, and it might have been from Crabbe.

• Such were the days, – of days long past I sing,
When pride gave place to mirth without a sting;
Ere tyrant custom strength sufficient bore,
To violate the feelings of the poor :
To leave them distanced in the maddening race,
Where'er refinement shows his haughty face:
Nor causeless hated;—'tis the peasant's curse,
That hourly makes his wretched station worse ;
Destroys life's intercourse; the social plan
That rank to rank cements, as man to man.
Wealth flows around him ; fashion lordly reigns ;
Yet poverty is his and mental pains.
Methinks I hear the mourner thus impart
The stifled murmurs of his wounded heart ;
“ Whence comes this change, ungracious, irksome, cold,
Whence the new grandeur that mine eyes behold ?
The widening distance which I daily see-
Has wealth done this? then wealth 's a foe to me.”.

BLOOMFIELD's Summer. The progress of knowledge has not only widened the dis

[ocr errors]

tance of the employers from the employed; it has increased the difficulty of rising from the one class into the other. The first step for the agricultural labourer was to the small renting farmer, and the next to the yeoman; but, thanks to our improvements in agriculture, and the accumulation of capital, small farms are rapidly disappearing from the face of the country and large properties are swallowing small freeholds. It is • stated, says Mr. Worsley (without, however, giving us his authority for this statement), that about the year 1770 the • lands of England were divided between no fewer than 250,000 families; but that at the close of the revolutionary war in

1815 they were found to be concentrated in the hands of * 32,000.'* The absorption of small farins is thus lamented by Bloomfield :

• Can my sons re from this paternal hand
The profits with the labours of the land ?,
No: though indulgent Heaven its blessing deigns,

Where's the small farm to suit my scanty means ? ' The labourer's hope of rising in the world, says Mr. Worsley, is a forlorn one. • There is no graduated ascent up which he 'may toil step by step with patient drudgery. Several rounds in the ladder are broken away and gone.' (P.53.) To be sure, he is no longer in the eye of the law adstrictus glebæ -- unless it be the law of settlement - and he is so far, above the born thrall that misery is not slavery; but being once a labourer he must always remain one, and inasmuch as he has taken the farmer for his master instead of the baron, he has made a change probably for the worse.

And so of the thrifty and industrious town labourer or operative, who, as a first step to independence, was accustomed to invest his savings in a little shop, or start as a small manufacturer. Small manufactories and small shops are disappearing with small farms, annihilated by the cost of machinery and by the new commercial principle of turning large capitals rapidly upon small profits. Many of our present manufacturers or their fathers were workmen. This will not be the case with the next generation. Manual skill and industry no longer avail; machinery and capital are beating them out of the field. The eminent engineers fifty, or even twenty years ago, were workmen who had advanced themselves by their intelligence and

* Worsley, p. 53. There is certainly some such general impression : but we have never heard of any reliable statistics ; while a friend has assured us that he found the contrary to be the case on examining the poll-books someway back of Kent and Sussex. The fact, if generally true, may only show that the funds and saving-banks are now more popular investments.


Separation of Classes.


industry. Very few of those to whom they have given place are of this class. The mechanical and manufacturing arts are, moreover, passing rapidly into sciences, to the successful pursuit of which knowledge is required, and a well-disciplined understanding. To enter the learned professions or to advance in the army or navy has in like manner become more difficult than heretofore to men of humble station. The country grammar school no longer affords the facilities that it did to the son of the small tradesman to get on in the Church or at the Bar; the deserving warrant officer has not the same chance that he had of getting his son enrolled as a midshipman, and it is yet more uncommon than it used to be for a soldier to advance from the ranks. The same in the Dockyards and the Public Offices. Everywhere the obstacle of education is interposed. There is surely a danger to society in this heavier loading of all its safetyvalves.

Scarcely less grievous to the workman than the increased separation of his class from the rest, and the greater difficulty of rising out of it, is the sense of personal inferiority of which he is now made far more conscious than heretofore. The farm labourer no longer sits at the same board and partakes of the same substantial fare with the farmer; the master-artificer of the olden time, now become a manufacturer, has foresworn the society of his journeymen ; and the trader, advanced to be a merchant, is seen no more living under the same roof with his shopmen and apprentices. Whoever has studied the character of the operative classes will know how strong is the sentiment of self-respect among them, and how keenly, when wounded, it irritates their sense of the disparities of their condition. They view, in consequence, those in the social scale immediately above them with less favourable eyes than they once did.

It is another result of the progress of knowledge that it has made the moral difficulties of the poor man's position greater. He seems to stand out from the classes above him in yet more striking contrast as to his moral, than his material condition, and seems separated from them in this respect by a wider interval. The facilities to evil, and the attractions of vice have increased as liberty and civilisation have advanced; so that he is, in a moral point of view, less favourably situated than formerly. Whilst the state of ignorance in which he is left interdicts to him any other gratifications than such as are sensual, he finds commercial enterprise, science, and capital all in league to minister to his appetites. Take the case of intoxicating liquors as an example; to cheapen which to the workman's use, humane and educated men combine, in the way of business, to unite their VOL. XCII. NO. CLXXXV.


« 前へ次へ »