Page images

are persuaded that the souls of lower creatures survive death like their own, and will do them many a good turn in the next world.

[ocr errors]

In at least one respect the cosmological ideas of the Ainu are singularly advanced-more advanced, indeed, than those current in Europe in the fifteenth century. They hold the world to be round, for the simple and sufficient reason that 'the sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and comes up the 'next morning in the east again.’ This inference cannot have been derived from Japanese or Chinese teaching, which, until rectified by European communications, inculcated the flatness of the earth. It suggests rather a far-off reminiscence. Of astronomy, on the other hand, they are perfectly ignorant. The stars they regard with indifference, except that the Milky Way is called the river of the gods,' and is thought to afford excellent sport to the divine beings who spend their time fishing in it. For the rest, comets, or broom-stars,' are regarded with terror, as forerunners of calamity, while eclipses suggest the approaching decease of the resident deity from whom the affected luminary derives its splendour.

No analogy can be traced between the Mongolian peoples and the Ainu remnants planted among them. Their countenances are of a totally different type. They are alien to them in language, manners, customs, traditions, and religion. Nor is amalgamation possible. The Ainu are proudly averse to change; their barbarism is irretrievable; they lead, as it were, a petrified life; in contact with civilisation, then, nothing remains for them but to perish. In Yezo this natural process of dying out is accelerated by two conditions-the scarcity of good food and the abundance of execrable drink. No restriction whatever is put upon the supplies of saké furnished to them by the Japanese. They get it as wages for work as fishermen; they get it in exchange for furs and hides. Ninety per cent. of the men, accordingly, are estimated to be drunkards. The consumption of saké has, indeed, come to be regarded as a religious duty; it is offered in libations to the gods; worship is not complete, quarrels can hardly be pacified without it. This raising of intoxication into a virtue may be recommended to the notice of evolutionary moralists as an example of the way in which a tribal conscience' is actually formed.

Second only to the use of saké as an element in the dwind

[ocr errors][merged small]

ling of the Ainu population is the growing scarcity of game. The Japanese shoot recklessly, and as a consequence the wild animals, which, to the dependent race, are the staff of life, have retired, in diminished numbers, to less accessible haunts. Fish and seaweed make a very poor substitute for bear-meat and venison. Moreover, the Ainu have never acquired the simple art of curing fish. driven to eat it in a state of semi-decay. their huts, where, as Mr. Landor says, 'than one can see,' the odour of putrid salmon often strikes the fundamental note in the harmony of noisome scents formed by numberless other fetid exhalations.

They are hence In the interior of one can smell more

The Sakhalin Ainu are better cared for. In their case, at least, Russian rule has proved beneficent. For it prohibits the introduction alike of firearms and of spirituous liquors into the convict island. The game is thus preserved for the benefit of the poor forest folk, who are likewise shielded against the brutalising effects of strong drink. They are, indeed, ignorant of the dear-bought pleasures to be derived from it, having never discovered for themselves the use of fermented fluids. No effort has, however, been made to improve them. No patient preacher of glad tidings has ever come among them. They are as their forefathers were. Gradually diminishing as they are in numbers,' to quote from Mr. Howard's pages,' there is a sad pathos in the prospect that, without having ever received any other light than that of nature, within no very distant period 'the last of the Sakhalin Ainu will for the last time have hopelessly seen his fire-god depart to the west, never more to rise upon him or his race for ever.'

[ocr errors]

ART. IX.-Speeches and Addresses on Political and Social Questions. By EDWARD HENRY, Earl of Derby, K.G. 18701891. [Privately printed.]

THE HE contents of this unpretending but important volume have been selected by the executors of the late Earl of Derby from the large repertory of compositions on social and political questions which formed one of the main occupations of his life. There is hardly a subject affecting the welfare and policy of the nation within the last twenty years which was not considered and discussed by Lord Derby, in these and similar addresses, with that consummate impartiality and that lucidity of thought and language which were his distinguishing characteristics. For every one of these papers, however obscure and remote the audience to which it was submitted, was a complete piece of workmanship, elaborated with the care and taste of a writer anxious before all things to attain and express a truth. Lord Derby was not afflicted with the perilous facility of unpremeditated oratory which speaks so much and says so little. On the contrary, whatever he thought it worth while to say, he prepared with great reflection and labour. The result is that, although these addresses were many of them ephemeral, often scattered through the columns of the provincial press, they contain a mass of political wisdom and instruction not easily to be surpassed. Some of them are for the first time collected in the volume before us, from which we shall be enabled to make a few selections in these pages, but we trust the work (for such it may be called) will eventually be submitted to the public in a more complete and comprehensive form. It is the record of a life, not spent in speculative legislation or political adventures, or even in the ordinary conflicts of public life, but devoted rather with indefatigable patience and perseverance to the investigation of practical questions, and to the defence of the fundamental principles of sound government.

These addresses, useful and instructive in themselves, are not less valuable as a record of the character of their author, which is, we think, less known and less understood by the world than that of any statesman filling so conspicuous a position in society. Lord Derby was not a contentious politician. He inherited none of the impetuous partisanship of a Rupert in debate. Party contests and party triumphs were comparatively indifferent to him on

personal grounds; he valued them only for the principles they embodied or defended. The contemplative powers of his intellect were incomparably stronger than his powers of action. He viewed the subjects of controversy less as an advocate or a champion than as a judge. Although, therefore, politics and the government of the country were the chief interest of his life, he never aimed at the leadership of a party, nor would he have accepted it if it had been within his reach. Without vanity, without ambition, without ostentation, he never sought

[ocr errors]

'to clutch the golden keys, To mould a mighty state's decrees, Or shape the whisper of the throne,'

though during forty years he filled at intervals many of the principal offices of state, in all of which he left traces of his moderation and judgement. In our judgement nothing shows more forcibly the greatness of his character than his inflexible adherence to the minor duties of his great station, from the chairmanship of sessions to the administration of a fund or a charity. A man' (he said in one of his speeches) must work in his vocation. Those who cannot do work for the future must work for the present; those 'who cannot do great things must be content to do small things; and if they do them to the best of their power, that is all that anybody has a right to ask.' Nothing was neglected which lay upon his path. Such was his conception of public and private duty as the head of one of the historic houses of England, ranking with the chiefs of the British Liberal aristocracy, who have played no inconsiderable part in critical times in defence of the true liberties of Parliament and the country.

[ocr errors]

Nothing would have induced Lord Derby to stoop to a base alliance or to the artifices of parliamentary management in order to support a falling party and a dishonest cause. The selfish intrigues of party agents, wirepullers, and needy seekers of votes irrespective of principles, gave him a sense of nausea and disgust. For, beneath a manner which was more cold than conciliatory to the world, there lay a depth of shyness and intense sensitiveness, known only to those who enjoyed his intimacy. His latent sympathies broke forth in an intense desire to contribute to the welfare. of the nation by judicious counsel and advice; by his zeal in support of the liberal principles to which he was devoted; by his exact performance of every duty which he undertook;

by the munificent use of his fortune in promoting all such works of charity and education as he believed to be beneficial; and by his sedulous care of the interests of his numerous dependents. This, however, is not the time or place to dwell upon the personal details of his character. Our object on the present occasion is simply to lay before our readers some of the remarkable passages in which these addresses abound, bearing in mind that the parliamentary and political speeches of Lord Derby are not included in this selection, and that the subjects chosen by preference relate chiefly to social topics, and to the results, not too confidently hoped for, from the progress of education and rational legislation.


We will begin with Lord Derby's very emphatic declaration of his opinions on the momentous subjects of peace and In a speech which he delivered to a deputation at the Foreign Office in 1877, during the period when he held the position of Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he thus expressed himself:

'For my part, believing that unless a war is necessary it is a crime, I think we ought to be most careful to do and say nothing that may tend unnecessarily to bring it about.' (P. 190.)

A necessity in the eyes of one statesman may not be so in the eyes of another, but here Lord Derby states a deliberate opinion that a war which is unnecessary is not a blunder, not an error of judgement, but a crime. In other words, he would risk much for the sake of peace; peace was the main object to be aimed at. He understood from reading and from experience the manner in which the sum of national happiness is for a time destroyed by war too well to be under any delusion as to the glory or the aggrandisement to be obtained from it. His sympathies were with a peace party, though he was not in theory a peace-at-any-price statesman. In his speech on unveiling the statue of Mr. Bright in 1891, it is obvious that the same opinion prevails. Formulating Mr. Bright's four cardinal political ideas, he states one to be the folly of war'-and he continues, after pointing out the results of Mr. Bright's advocacy of the first three:

'On questions of peace or war it is not in the nature of things that an equally decisive result should be obtained, because in that matter no State can regulate its actions solely by its own wishes. It is not always true between nations that it takes two to make a quarrel. When the state of Europe in this century is matter of historical record, it will be no slight set-off against the many undoubted gains of civilisa

« PreviousContinue »