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do not succeed in the world," and we shall never forget the very neat hit in a sermon at those "who say 'the race is not to the It swift,' meaning themselves." is probably a sufficient apology for a tendency to which he was thoroughly alive himself to remember the sort of man his father

was. With such a conspicuous instance of fumbling and failure before his eyes, is it to be wondered at that he shrunk from the spectacle of opportunities neglected and talent frittered away? After all, in nine cases out of ten the world is rightly content to apply the rough-and-ready test of success to a man's capacity; and with the great bulk of those who passed under his observation Mr Jowett made no mistake, but, on the contrary, formed an extraordinarily accurate idea of the idiosyncrasy of each. He knew whom to stimulate with a word of encouragement, and whom to spur with a word of reproach. Yet, in the exceptional case, his method broke down; and we can recall more than one instance of some rare character, too finely tempered for the rough work of the world, which the Master seemed persistently to misunderstand and to which he never did justice.

To scholarship in the strict sense of the term Mr Jowett had no serious pretensions.1 Philosophy rather was supposed to be his strong point. It is a little difficult, after an impartial consideration of his published writings, to understand why. During the last ten years of his life, at all events, he had very little of the philo

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sopher about him. who visited him at dessert would get a glass of excellent claret and some sound literary advice, such as "Never make a porch' to your essay," if he had opened with a long and irrelevant exordium. Or perhaps he would be pulled up for some piece of pedantry by the sharp inquiry: "Interrogate your consciousness'! Do you mean, 'Ask yourself'?" But he had no taste for following out the course of an argument, and though he clung tenaciously to the stereotyped views formed thirty or forty years before with no perceptible variation, he seemed to have no recollection of the chain of reasoning by which he had reached them, far less any desire to test or examine them afresh. He frigidly and firmly discouraged all discussion on the origin and explanation of evil, for example, and he held the dilemma in abhorrence. latter savoured of logic, which was a "dodge"; the former of metaphysics, the popular view of which he avowedly shared.


His writings present the same characteristics. They abound in close and pregnant observation of human nature, and in searching analysis of many familiar philosophical and theological phrases. But take him on some question, such as Predestination and Freewill, and you find that he supplies nothing more than a graceful and elegant amplification of several obvious and elementary propositions. "Man is a creature of habit-man is a creature of impulse-man is a creature of circumstances. Que voulez-vous?"

1 It used to be part of the mythology that the brilliant scholar whose help he invoked in revising the first edition of the 'Plato' would sit smoking and working in one room, and from time to time exclaim, "Another howler, Master!" To which the answer would come in a piping voice from the adjoining apartment, "Correct it, Mr

! Correct it!"

he seems to ask. The de quo quæritur being precisely the relation of those truths to one another, and the possibility of their reconciliation, it is neither satisfactory nor stimulating to be told that they need no reconciliation at all, that everything is plain sailing, and that the difficulty of believing at once in an omnipotent and omniscient Deity and in man as a morally free agent is a silly invention of over-subtle divines. This ostrich-like attitude towards the primary difficulties which beset the threshold of every religious system he was most resolute in maintaining. The most flagrant contradictions are explained away by a jaunty reference to the "modes of thought " of a particular age and country, while the explicit statements of a divinely inspired writer are cavalierly brushed aside or reduced to vagueness by the convenient assumption that the author spoke "in a figure."


The more Mr Jowett's attitude towards religion is examined the more amazing will it seem. was well enough aware that in his commentary on the Pauline Epistles, and later on in Essays and Reviews,' he was about to deliver an attack on the orthodox position. This is plain from his anxiety to pick his words, and to present his views in the "least repulsive manner." To the very end he systematically inculcated a degree of "reserve in communicating religious knowledge" (from his own point of view) which would have struck poor Mr Isaac Williams with horror. Yet he seems to have been genuinely surprised and hurt when the pleasant but thin disguise of language was instantly penetrated; when his adroit use of current religious phraseology and his unrivalled

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dexterity in adapting the words of Scripture to suit his own construction were proved to have availed him nothing; and when the true drift of his argument was mercilessly exposed. The truth is, that while from one point of view the premisses of the "Essay on the Interpretation of Scripture. are musty truisms, from another they are sufficient to explode not merely the orthodox conception of Christianity, but also the shapeless and indefinite residuum to which Jowett so piously adhered. As time went on, his scepticism grew bolder and more outspoken. He threw miracles overboard altogether, and it is not easy to say which, if any, of the cardinal doctrines of the faith he retained. Yet on the subject of prayer, for instance, he was as hopelessly irrational (on his own hypothesis) as the most superstitious of his fellow creatures. He makes, indeed, the proviso that no one should pray for anything that may violate the "laws of nature," for with all his dislike of metaphysics he was an abject slave to that most tyrannous and exacting of metaphysical abstractions. None the less he exhorts a friend on his death-bed to pray that he may be spared a little longer; as though his recovery were not, on Jowett's postulates, as much a matter of "law" as the rising of the sun or the precession of the equinoxes. His aim was "to place religion on a rational basis." His method of procedure is to eliminate the vital constituents of religion, and then to find a justification for preserving its lifeless remains, to which it turns out that "reason" is absolutely repugnant. Such solicitude for the shadow when the substance has been destroyed may be very touching and pathetic; but one

cannot wonder that it provoked the powerful invective and the trenchant sarcasm of Mansel's Bampton Lectures,1

The fact is, that the bent of Mr Jowett's mind was neither scholarly nor speculative, but purely literary. Textual criticism he openly contemned, and he justly described the R. V. as a "monument of pedantry." He had a correct and fastidious taste, an acute sensibility to style, a sharp ear for the rhythm and harmony of language. Like his hero Dr Johnson, he read everything. All was fish that came to his net, from Aristophanes to Bunyan, from 'Pride and Prejudice' to 'David Grieve' (which he seems to have read without a murmur), from 'Adam Bede' (which he pronounced very good) to Comte (whom he pronounced very bad). The biography gives us an extraordinary picture of his industry, and in particular of the patience and assiduity with which he polished and repolished his own writings. The world that cares for such things is familiar with the effect; but the world was not before aware of the endless labour expended in perfecting that exquisitely easy yet dignified prose, full of charm and melody, so lucid yet so subtle, old-fashioned yet never archaic, adapting itself so

nicely to the matter in hand, charged with indefinable reminiscences of the best models, yet ever characteristic, ever individual.

We have purposely_refrained from discussing Mr Jowett in private life: in the first place, because we desired to dwell on his public career; and, in the second, because to what his biographers say on that head there is little or nothing to be added. We venture to predict that his memory will long be cherished, both at Oxford and in the world, by thousands who were the recipients of his kindness; and to assert that those number not a few who, with strong propensities and temptations to sloth and indolence, will long be inspired by his example to industry and application. when all who fell within the sphere of his personal influence have passed away we are equally confident that his claim to the recollection of posterity will be found to consist not in his theological or philosophical opinions, crude and ill-digested as they were, but in the fact that, in an age teeming with literary talent and activity, he above all others was imbued with the peculiar genius, saturated with the best traditions, and obedient to the true canons of English style.


1 Why should not Dr Chase or Dr Bellamy give us a history of the orthodox, high-and-dry, Conservative party at Oxford from the date of the first Commission down to, say, the death of Dr Evans? Mansel would, of course, be the most prominent figure in such a work.


THE Easter recess has come and gone, and Parliament is about to enter on that period of the session in which its character for good or evil is usually determined. This year, however, the Government have done so well in the months of February and March that, except as regards Foreign affairs, it may be thought that the critical period is already passed; and that during the next three months they are not likely to encounter any violent or formidable opposition. We must not be too confident on this point, of course. We have learned by sad experience that the art of making bricks without straw may by long practice, combined with some natural aptitude, be carried to a rare pitch of excellence. The goddess of obstruction, like other deities, helps those who help themselves, and is never wanting to her sincere votaries when they wish to make sham criticism look as much as possible like real.

"Dat inania verba, Dat sine mente sonum." But still, with the passage of the Voluntary Schools Bill the Government have got off their hands the most contentious measure of the session, and it is hardly likely that any of the principal Bills which remain to be considered will be met in a similar spirit, or resisted with the same futile pertinacity. Even if any inclination existed to repeat the same tactics, the punishment which awaited them as soon as Mr Balfour took the command into his own hands may perhaps deter the Radicals from running their heads against a stone wall a second time.


For the effect of Mr Balfour's combined tact and energy will not end with the triumph of the Voluntary Schools Bill. It will be felt all through the session. We have not changed our opinion with regard to the disappointment inflicted on many of his followers by the admission that the bill could not be passed in time for the schools to reap the benefit of it during the current year. But it, nevertheless, had to be passed before Easter; and no sooner had the battle fairly begun in the House of Commons than Mr Balfour put his back into the work, and showed what stuff he was made of. any of his opponents calculated on finding him the same easy-going Minister which he appeared to be last session, they were soon undeceived. He has fully justified Sir William Harcourt's prediction which we quoted in 'Maga' last September; and we may venture, perhaps without undue vanity, to believe that he has not been wholly deaf to some advice addressed to him by ourselves. Sir W. Harcourt, after pointing out the cause of his comparative failure last year, prophesied that he would mend: and he has mended. We urged on his attention the absolute necessity of exercising with firmness the powers which Parliament had placed in his hands for carrying on the work of the country, and he has so exercised them. We readily allowed that the closure was not a weapon to which Conservatives were naturally inclined. We could all wish that it had been possible to dispense with such an instrument, and that both the dignity of Government and the practical utility of the House

of Commons could have been preserved by means less at variance with its traditions. But no other mode of saving either the one or the other presented itself. Within the last quarter of a century the character of the House of Commons has been completely changed. Old members of the House will all concur in this opinion. It has changed in two ways. First of all, in its constituent elements; and secondly, in its respect for those unwritten laws which were sufficient at one time to ensure the transaction of public business with all proper despatch and all due deliberation. For the latter part of the change we are indebted to the Irish members who first set the example of defying authority, and proclaimed their intention of reducing the House of Commons to impotence. For the other we are indebted, of course, to the extension of the franchise, which, though probably inevitable, and in many respects beneficial, has had a decidedly unfavourable effect on parliamentary debate.

The spectacle of insubordination and contempt for precedent and prescription acting on a new class of members ignorant of Parliament and thinking ignorance independence, destitute of that social education which is the best antidote to presumption and often supplies the place of experience, and having only to satisfy constituencies who know no more than themselves, has introduced a new leaven into the popular Assembly, making it nearly as unlike the Parliament of Peel and Russell as theirs was unlike the Parliament of Fox and Pitt. It is not all at once that changes of this nature are fully recognised and appreciated. Statesmen may,

for some years, find themselves perplexed by new conditions, the nature and tendency of which they only imperfectly comprehend. Leaders on both sides, with halting steps and doubtful minds, have been feeling their way towards a remedy. Sir W. Harcourt seems to have been the first to come to a clear understanding with himself upon this subject. And his employment of the closure while Leader of the House of Commons should have been sufficient to open the eyes of all parties to the real truth. But it took the humiliating lesson of last session to bring it thoroughly home to the Conservative mind; and now we have good reason to believe that another will not be necessary. It remains to be seen, we said last autumn, "whether better management alone can enable the Government to be equally lenient without being equally unfortunate." There has been better management, much better management; but it is evident that this alone would not have enabled them to pass the School Bill into law by the first week in April, had not Mr Balfour come to the conclusion that the closure must now be regarded as "a regular and necessary organ of our Parliamentary procedure."1

We expect, then, as we have already said, that the decisive attitude assumed by Mr Balfour during the first three months of the session-and it was not only on the Voluntary Schools Bill that his intervention was required – will not be without a marked effect upon the proceedings of the three last. There is no reason to doubt that he will go on as he has begun. And if the Opposition

once understand that Government

1 See "The Closure and Common-sense,

39 6

Maga,' July 1896.

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