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capacity can ever make a statesman, without the higher thoughtfulness that comes from the study of national questions on a great scale. Of Sir William Vernon Harcourt it is more difficult to speak than of any other who occupies a prominent position in the present Cabinet. He is a force still to be revealed. Of his powers as a speaker, and even as a political thinker, there can be no question. His mind ranges freely over the world of politics. He has knowledge, energy, openness of mind. He is capable of infinite pains, at least in the preparation of his speeches, which no doubt was one of the weapons which overthrew the late Administration. His elaborate criticisms, studded with sarcasm and set off with a most effective rhetoric, did much to lay bare the imposture of a sinister foreign policy. His confidence in himself and in his cause gave a sweep to his oratory which made it deadly, and no one, save Mr. Gladstone himself, contributed so much to the results of the late election. He received therefore only what was due in his promotion to the high office which he now holds. He has still to prove that he possesses the higher qualities which can make him successful in such a post, or as a political leader. His mannerism has considerably softened during four months of official parliamentary life, he has learned some due consideration for the feelings of others, and has even at times been humble with a courtesy which suggests the diminution of a self-consciousness which must have otherwise proved a formidable inconvenience in the House of Commons. As there is no doubt of his capacity, so there is good hope that his political convictions are deeper and more steadfast than they once seemed to be, and that no mere love of asserting his own will, but a grave sense of the evils, not merely of boy-imprisonment, but of many other details of our domestic legislation, may stimulate him to an active and enlightened course of home policy. No mere cleverness, however intellectual and well-informed, can secure success in such an important career as that on which Sir William has entered. No one knows this better than he does himself, and the growth of steadfast, pure, and earnest public principles will no doubt mark prominently the future of that
Of lesser men we cannot now speak, and it is the less necessary to do so that, able as many of these men are-like Mr. Fawcett, Dr. Playfair, Mr. Grant Duff, and others-they are none of them powers likely to influence the future much. Mr. Fawcett is a man of undoubted ability, and has earned for himself a highly honourable position as a politician, as he has well deserved the official promotion which he has reached; but, however valuable his guidance on special questions may be, he can never be either a popular or official leader. It is different with men like Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Charles Dilke, the latter of whom especially may yet prove a power in the country. Both of these men have shown high capacities of parliamentary rule; both are men of clear political insight, and possess that determination of judgment which, ripened by experience, and chastened by a wider
and more diversified range of sympathy, may yet lead them to success in statesmanship. But both have still much to learn, and perhaps more to unlearn. A certain rawness and even offensiveness characterised their earlier utterances, and in the case of Mr. Chamberlain was accompanied by a dogmatism and self-assumption essentially Tory in spirit, surprising as the accusation may seem. His complacent and superficial generalisations, when he was busy writing himself into notice in the Fortnightly Review' and elsewhere, might just as readily have developed into a species of Toryism as anything else. His love of domination as the apostle of the Caucus, and his blind resolution to compass political ends by compulsory majorities, rather than by the free and varied expressions of all shades of opinion, showed how imperfectly he understood the genuine principles of Liberalism, and that he cared far more for the triumph of his own ideas than for the education of a free people in ideas of political truth and righteousness. But this headiness belongs to political boyhood in every form. And now that Mr. Chamberlain has fairly reached the stage of political adolescence, there is reason to think that he has put away those things of his youth. Both the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the head of the Local Government Board are doubtless destined to exercise no inconsiderable influence upon the course of the political future.
There are other younger men on the Liberal side, like Mr. Courtney and Mr. Trevelyan, who are capable of becoming factors in the political world, and influencing its destinies. The latter, we hope, may not be altogether seduced into the fascinating paths of literature, for which he has shown such rare fitness. There can be no better school for the study of political problems than sympathetic fellowship with two minds of such marvellous political fertility and largeness of temper as those of Lord Macaulay and Charles James Fox; but we trust that Mr. Trevelyan may return from such charming researches into the less pleasing but still more useful walks of legislative ambition. He and Mr. Grant Duff, whose rare political knowledge gives a statesmanlike flavour to all his work, along with Dr. Playfair, constitute the only contingent of political intelligence which Scotland, with all its dominant Liberalism, can be said to send to the House of Commons; and neither Scotland nor the House can afford to want the services of an intelligence like that of Mr. Trevelyan. It might be wished that Scotland did more to enrich the higher elements of the House of Commons, and to contribute to the healthy growth of the political future. But such a result does not seem likely at present. It has even lost lately some wise and good names, prominent for parliamentary knowledge and varied political experience; and their places have not been refilled. It is all the more necessary that such names as remain should not hide their light.
It is young, rising, and generously intelligent politicians that are needed on both sides-men who are willing to wait, and to give
much study to political problems before they venture upon their solution-men of catholic rather than of provincial or sectarian sympathies, of reforming rather than of radical zeal. All that can be well said is that there are more elements of promise in the present Parliament than the last, if there are also grounds of distrust. The least thoughtful must be struck by the extent to which the government of the country is in the hands of men who are past middle life, and how the note of younger politicians on both sides is that of lawless individualism rather than of broad, well-educated capacity. There is a lack of subordination, and too little realisation of the need of training and discipline as a prime condition of all political usefulness. The new member is hardly fledged when he begins to try his wings, and soars in forward and aimless rhetoric for the delighted amazement of his constituency afar off; or, still worse, in some active line of his own by which the whole world may see what a clever fellow he is. The old idea of education under a political chief, which was still the governing one in Mr. Gladstone's political youth, and in conformity with which he acquired his enormous range of political knowledge, has well-nigh passed away, and men pass from the country house, or the newspaper office, or from the army, or from doing nothing, to the senate, and believe that they are full-grown politicians, capable of handling all the weapons of one of the most difficult of arts. In the present House of Commons, and not least on the Conservative side, there has been already abundant evidence of this lack of subordination, and of the forwardness of younger and less competent politicians to take the reins out of the hands of their betters. There are really rising men on the Conservative side, men both of knowledge and competency to rule; but they are not to be found, or at least the best are not to be found, among the so-called fourth party, which probably annoyed Sir Stafford Northcote during the last session far more than they disturbed Lord Hartington. Such men must come to heel if they are to do any good, and learn to serve before they try to rule. And the lesson is in some respects as much needed on the other side. There were extreme Liberal members who ventured to address Lord Hartington in an utterly unbecoming manner during a well-remembered discussion towards the beginning of last session. This lack of tone on either side is fatal to a high growth of political intelligence. And intelligence-brain power qualified and governed by moral instinct-is what is needed above all in the political sphere, as in every other sphere of activity in this world. With a high range of intelligence there will always be largeness of comprehension, patience in the solution of political problems, a Liberalism sanguine for the future, while conservative of all that is good in the past, eager for the amelioration of our social and religious state without fanaticism, or any thought that the gravest political changes can work changes in the opinions, feelings, and tendencies which-far more than any legislative framework-constitute the real national life of this old empire. A Radicalism which
ignores this, and, in deference to new-spun theories, would break down national institutions at many points, under the idea that class distinctions and religious and social jealousies would disappear with them, is ignorant alike of history and of political science. Nothing can be more unlike true Liberalism than such democratic dogmatism. The fate of Liberalism and of the country-for that the fate of Liberalism and the country is indissolubly united appears to us certain-will depend on its resistance to impulses so really alien to it as some that now run alongside of it. It is because our present leaders, and especially he who is clearly the heir of the supremacy of the Liberal party, are men of large intelligence and of varied and enlightened experience-willing to be taught by the popular instinct, while also striving to guide it-that we believe that the destinies of the country are safe in their hands, and that not merely the present difficulties in Ireland and the East, but many coming difficulties, will reach under their hands a beneficent issue.
No. 611 (No. cxxxI. N. 5.)
AN EARLY CELTIC COLLEge.
N the wide space of sea between the south-east coast of Mull and the mainland of Lorne, to the west of Scarba and Jura, there is a group of six small islands called the Garveloch Islands.' They lie out of the steamboat track of tourists to Oban and the Hebrides, and are therefore rarely visited. In the magnificent archipelago which bursts upon the gaze of the traveller as he emerges from the Crinan Canal and passes out through the wide portals of the Dorus Mohr, this group of islands may escape notice altogether, and yet when sailing close to them they exhibit some of the finest sea-cliffs on the west coast of Scotland. Rising two or three hundred feet sheer from deep water, they form for nearly three miles, a sublime rampart, on which the elements have carved their grand runes in many a fissure and rugged ledge. Here and there they have crystallised into splendid basaltic columns not unworthy of Staffa and the Giant's Causeway; and at short intervals enormous trap-dykes run up through them, some of which have been excavated by the action of the waves, forming caves and clefts into which the sea dashes with a sullen roar. The natural brown of the basalt is deepened in some places by the beating upon it of incessant tempests into a kind of black bloom, giving to the cliffs a peculiarly stern iron look, repellent of all life; in other places they are brightened by the most brilliant mural vegetation; lichens giving them a golden or hoary appearance, and mosses softening their haggard features with a tinge of verdure. Myriads of sea-fowl have made their nests in the ledges of the precipices; and their white forms may be seen clearly relieved against the dark background, as they rise in clouds frightened by the shouts of the boatmen, and fill the air with their deafening cries. While on some projecting point a scart or green-crested cormorant sits, and stretching forth its long neck, looks down at the spectator sailing past with its wild uncanny eye, seeming the very demon of the solitude.
It is hard to realise, what the signs around emphatically indicate, that this region, so peaceful now, was once the scene of the wildest convulsions. These lofty cliffs were upheaved by subterranean fires, and those mountains of Mull which look so quiet and cold in the serenity of heaven flared as active volcanoes upon the lurid horizon. Soundings here show in one place a sudden abyss six or seven hundred feet deep, and in another a shallow tableland that comes within a few fathoms of the surface, indicating violent plutonic disturbance. The mountains of Mull are supposed to have been no less than 14,000 feet high, excelling Etna in sublimity; and their reduction to their present low level, the highest point having an elevation of