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with the nominal union, which at this juncture may perhaps be read with some interest, lead one to suppose that the two bodies of office-bearers could hardly have met round the same table without kicking each other's shins. The senior institution exhibits itself as overbearing and dictatorial- the junior as sensitive to every slight. All latent hatreds seem to have sprung into vivid life on the command to be united in peace. The juveniles appear to have taken the matter up, and each college passes a law requiring that its students shall not insult the professors of the other,
CIVILISATION. THE CENSUS.
MY DEAR EUSEBIUS, If you wonder at the speculations with which I have amused myself and bewildered all within reach of inquiry, remember what a celebrated phrenologist said, that I should never make a philosopher: you remarked, So much the better, for that the world had too many already. I am not sure that I was not piqued; and, owing a little spite against these unapproachable superiors-philosophers have rather encouraged a habit of posing them; and finding so many in this my experience inferior to the common-sense portion of mankind, I amuse myself with them, and treat them as monkeys, now and then throwing them a nut to crack a little too hard for them. Wry faces break no syllogisms, so we laugh, and they gravitate in philosophy. What is civilisation? Is that a nut?-a very hard one, indeed. I, at least, cannot tell what it is, in what it consists, or how this summum bonum is to be attained; but I am no philosopher. I have taken many a one by the button, and plunged him head foremost into the chaos of thought, and seen him come out flushed with the suffocation of his dark bewilderment. Less ambitious persons will scarcely stay to answer the question-What is civilisation ? The careless, who cannot answer it, laugh, and think they win in the game of foolishness. Perhaps no better answer can be given, and the laughing philosopher, after all, may be as
VOL. LXXVI.—NO. CCCCLXVIII.
apparently with the same effect, if not intention, as the Irish injunction not to duck the bailiff in the horse-pond. We wonder if the same thing is to be repeated in this day. We have heard it, indeed, maintained from a very grave authority, that nearly all things are possible save the fusion of these institutions; that it may have been easy to unite England and Scotland, or Great Britain and Ireland, but that the eternal laws of the universe show it to be impossible to unite the King's College and University of Aberdeen with the Marischal College and University thereof.
wise as the speaking one. A neighbour, who had been acquainted with the money markets, told me he did not exactly know what it was, but he thought its condition was indicated by the Three-per-cent Consols. An economist of the new school, who happened to be on a visit to him, preferred as a test " American breadstuffs." He argued that such stuffs were the staff of life, supported life, and were, therefore, both civilisation and the end and object of civilisation. My neighbour's son Thomas, a precocious youth of thirteen years of age, stepped forward, and said civilisation consisted in reading, writing, and arithmetic: upon this, a parish boy, the Inspector's pet of the National School, said with rival scorn, "You must go a great deal farther than that
it is knowledge, and knowledge is knowing the etymologies of cosmography and chronology." I asked the red-faced plethoric Farmer Brown;
"What's what!" quoth he, with a voice of thunder, and, like a true John Bull, stalked off in scornful ignorance. My next inquiry was of your playful little friend, flirting Fanny of the Grove, just entering her fifteenth year. "What a question!" said she, and her very eyes laughed deliciously—“ the latest fashions from Paris, to be sure." Make what you please of it, Eusebius; put all the answers into the bag of your philosophy, and shake them well together, your little friend's will have as good a chance as any of coming up 2 F
with a mark of truth upon it. The people that can afford to invent fashions must have a large freedom from cares. There must be classes who neither toil nor spin, yet emulate in grace, beauty, and ornament the lilies of the field. If you were obliged to personify civilisation, would you not, like another Pygmalion, make to yourself a feminine wonder, accumulate upon your stature every grace, vivify her wholly with every possible virtue, then throw a Parisian veil of dress over her, and—oh, the profanation of your old days!-fall down and worship her?
There is no better mark of civilisation than well-dressed feminine excellence, to which men pay obeisance. Wherever the majority do this, there is humanity best perfected. Homer teacheth that, when he exhibits the aged council of statesmen and warriors on the walls of Troy paying homage to the grace of Helen. The poet wished to show that the personages of his Epic were not barbarians, and chose this scene to dignify them. Ruminate upon the answer, "The latest fashions from Paris." What a mass of civilising detail is contained in these few words!-the leisure to desire, the elegance to wear, the genius to invent, the benevolent employment of delicate hands, the trades encouraged, the soft influences-the very atmosphere breathes the most delicate perfume of loves. It is not to the purpose to interpose that this Paris of fashion suddenly turned savage, and revelled in brutal revolution, sparing not man nor woman. It was because, in their anti-aristocratic madness, the unhappy people threw off this reverential respect that the uncivilised portion slaughtered the civilised. It was a vile atheistical barbarism that waged war with civilisation. Think no more of that black spot in the History of Humanity that plague-spot. Rather, Eusebius, turn your thoughts to your work, and fabricate, though it be only in your imagination, your own paradise, and she shall be named Civilisation. In case your imagination should be at this moment dull, rest satisfied with a description of an image now before me, which I think, as a personification, answers the question admirably; for
supposing it to be a portrait from nature, what a civilised people must they be among whom such a wonder was born-not only born, but sweetly nurtured, and arrayed in such a glory of dress! If you think this indicates a foolish extravagant passion, know that this fair one must have "died of old age" some centuries before I was born. There she is, in all her pale loveliness, in a black japan figured frame, over the mantelpiece of my bedroom at H, where I am now writing this letter to you. Mock not, Eusebius; she is, or rather was, Chinese. I look upon her now as giving out her answer from those finely-drawn lips-"I represent civilisation." If I could pencil like that happy painter— happiest in having such uncommon loveliness to sit to him-I would send you another kind of sketch; it would be a failure. Be content with feeble words. First, then, for dress: She wears a brown kind of hat, or cap, the rim a little turned up, of indescribable shape and texture: the head part is blue; around it are flowers, so white and transparent, just suffused with a blush, as if instantaneously vitrified into china. Lovely are they— such as botanical impertinences never scrutinised. On the right side of this cap or hat two cock's feathers, perfectly white, arch themselves, as if they would coquet with the fairer cheek. You see how firm they are, and would spring up strong from the touch, emblems of unyielding chastity. The hair, little of which is seen, is of a chestnut-brown; low down on the throat is a broad band of black, apparently velvet, just peeping above which is the smallest edging of white, exactly like the most modern shirt-collar, fastened above, where it is parted, by a gold clasp. The upper dress is of a pink red, such as we see in Madonna pictures; below this is a dark blue-green shirt-dress, richly flowered to look like enamel; over the shoulders a Madonna kerchief, fastened in a knot over the chest; it is of a clear brownish hue, such as we see in old pictures. The upper red dress does not meet, but terminates on each side with a gold border, of a pattern centre, with two lines of gold. Thus a rather broad space is left across the bosom, which in modern costume is
occupied by a habit-shirt; but such word would ill describe either the colour or the texture here worn; it is of a gossamer fabric, of a most delicately-greenish white, diapered and flowered all over; nothing can be conceived more exquisite than this. It would make the fortune of a modern modiste to see and to imitate it. A clasp of elegant shape fastens skirt to upper dress; the sleeve of upper dress reaches only half-way down the arm; the lower sleeve is of the rich blue-green, but altogether ample. Attitude, slightly bent forward; over the left arm, which crosses the waist, is suspended a fruit-basket of unknown material, and finely patterned, brown in colour, in which are grapes and other fruit; expression, sweetly modest; complexion-how shall it be described? Never was European like it. It is finest porcelain, variegated with that under-living immortal ichor of the old divinities. Eyes clear-cut or pencilled, rather hazel in colour; background, rockwork garden, rising to a hill, on which are trees- but such trees! Aladdin may have seen the like in his enchanted subterranean garden. Then there is a lake, and a boat on it, at a distance, with an awning. She is the goddess, or the queen, of this Elysium, which her presence makes, and has enchanted into a porcelain earth, whose flowers and trees are of its lustre.
Wherever, Eusebius, this portrait was taken, it was, and is, an epitome, an emblem of high civilisation. It speaks so plainly of all exemption from toil and care, of the unapproachableness of danger. There is living elegance in a garden of peace. It is, in fact, the type of civilisation. What! will the economist, the philosopher of our day, be ready to say,-Civilisation amongst Chinese and Tartars! and that centuries perhaps ago. Civilisation is "The Nineteenth Century !" The glory of the Nineteenth Century is the Press. We are Civilisation. Very well, gentlemen; nevertheless it would be pleasant if you could exhibit a little more peace and quietness, a little less turmoil, a little more unadulterating honesty, a little less careworn look in your streets, as the mark of your boasted civilisation. You are
doing wonders, and, like Katerfelto with his hair on end, are in daily wonderment at your own wonders. You steam-annihilate space and time. You have ripped open the bowels of knowledge, and well-nigh killed her in search of her golden egg. You are full, to the throat and eyes, of sciences and arts. You are hourly astonishing yourselves and the world. Nevertheless, you have one great deficiency as to the ingredients that make up civilisation; you are decidedly too conceited; you lack charity; you count bygone times and peoples as nothing and nobodies: yet you build a great Crystal Palace, and boast of it, as if it were all your own; whereas the whole riches of it, in the elegances of all arts, are imitations of the works of those bygone times and peoples. Who is satisfied with your model-civilisation? Eusebius, is not the question yet to be asked-What is it? in what does it consist? how is it to be obtained? True civilisation has no shams-we have too many, and they arise out of our swaggering and boasting; so that we force ourselves to assume every individual virtue, though we have it not. We are contemptuous; and contempt is a burr of barbarism sticking to us still, even in this "Nineteenth Century," a phrase in the public mouth glorifying self-esteem. I must, for the argument, go back to the Chinese lady in her narrow japanned gilt frame. As I have drawn my curtains, Eusebius, at the dawn of day, and that placid beauty (though not to be admitted in any book of that name) has smiled upon me from lips so delicate, so unvoracious-did she pick grains of rice, like Amine in the Arabian tale?—I verily thought she must have lived in as civilised an age as ours. Yesperhaps she was not very learned, excepting in Chinese romances, and very good learning that is: but neither you nor I, Eusebius, lay very great stress upon knowledge, nor call it "Power," nor think that happiness necessarily grows out of it. One evil of it is, that it unromances the age; and romance-why not say it?romance is a main ingredient in true, honest, unadulterated civilisation. You would prefer being as mad as Don Quixote, and be gifted with his
romance, to being the aptest of matterof-fact economists and material philosophers. Romance, then, springs from the generous heart and mind;-methinks, Eusebius, you are progressing, and reaching one of the ingredients of this said desideratum, "Civilisation." As a people, it may be doubted if we are quite as romantic as formerly; if so, however we may advance in knowledge and sciences, we are really retrograding from the summum bonum of social virtues. I remember once hearing a celebrated physician, who knew as much as most men of mankind, their habits and manners, speak of an American "gentleman," adding, "and he was a savage." You can imagine it possible, that, in the presence and impertinence of Anglo-Saxon vulgarity, the grave and courteous demeanour of a so-called barbarian would be a very conspicuous virtue. I read the other day, in Prince's Worthies of Devon, a quaint passage to the point, which much amused me for its singular expression. It relates to Sir Francis Drake, who, touching at one of the Molucca Islands, was, as the author words it, "by the king thereof, a true gentleman pagan, most honourably entertained. Of this "gentleman pagan" Prince adds, that he told General Drake "that they and he were all of one religion, in this respect, that they believed not in gods made of stocks and stones, as did the Portuguese; and further, at his departure he furnished him with all the necessaries that he wanted." Yet, perhaps, some of the habits of such gentlemen pagans had been scoffed at by Europeans, and often met with worse usage than contempt. Whoever has no consideration for others, no indulgence for habits contrary to his own, though he may be born in nominally the most civilised nation under the sun, is really a barbarian. It was well said that, upon the accidental meeting of the finest drest gentleman, with a powdered head, and a tatooed Indian, he who should laugh first would be the savage. The well-known story of the horror expressed by different people at the disposal of their deceased parents is curious, showing that opposite actions arise from the same feelings. In this case it was of filial piety. One party was asked if
he would bury his father in the earth? He was amazed at the questionshocked. Not for the world; as an act of piety, he would eat him. The other, asked to eat his father, was hurt and disgusted beyond measure. Let us be a little more even in our judgments, and speak somewhat kindly, if we can, of these gentlemen pagans all over the world. We may be often called upon to admire their disinterested heroism, even when lavished upon mistaken objects. Here is an example from the misnamed weaker sex-misnamed, for they are wonderfully gifted with fortitude. I have been reading of a poor young creature, widow of a chief among some cannibal race. She was to have been immolated, according to custom, at the burial of her husband. Her courage at the moment failed her: she was induced by, if I remember rightly, some good missionaries, to fly, and they protected her. In the night she repented of her irresolution, escaped, swam across a river, and presented herself for the sacrifice and the feast. Scholars, you read with love and admiration of Iphigenia at Aulis; her first reluctance; her after self-devotion: you have imagined her youth, her beauty, so vividly painted by the poet. Was Iphigenia more the heroine than this poor girl whom we are pleased to pass unhistoried as a savage? She gave herself up, not only to death, perhaps a cruel one, but with the knowledge that she would be devoured also that night. Iphigenia was certain of funeral honours, of immortal fame, and believed that her sacrifice would insure victory to her father and the Greeks. We have written exercises at school in praise of the suicide of Cato, whose act, in comparison with this poor savage's, was cowardice;-more than that, we have been taught to mouth out with applause the blasphemy of the celebrated hexameter, "Victrix causa Diis placuit sed victa Catoni." Why should we not be a little more even in our judgments? The poor gentlemen pagans of the islands would cut as good a figure as heathen Cato, if their names and deeds could be turned into tolerable Latin, and passed off as of the classical age. Henley, in a letter to Swift, tells the speech of a farmer,
who said, "If I could but get this same breath out of my body, I'd take care, by G-, how I let it come in again!" Henley makes the pithy remark, "This, if it was put into fine Latin, I fancy would make as good a sound as any I have met with."
I did not mean to induce a belief, Eusebius, that the Chinese excelled in the fine arts when I wrote down the description of the Chinese lady. The portrait had its peculiarities, and would not have been hung upon the line in the Royal Academy. I only chose it for its historical expression, which spoke of civilisation of manners, of security, and as containing in itself things which civilised people boast of. But there the argument is not very much in favour of this our "Nineteenth Century;" for the chiefest works of art in painting are of the cinque cents. It is not pretended that we have thrown into oblivious shade the masters of old celebrity; nor that we have made better statues than did Phidias and Praxiteles; nor excelled the Greeks in architecture; nor even the artist builders of the ages which we are pleased to style "Dark;" so that we have at least lost some marks of civilisation. Nay, to come to nearer times for comparison: It would be a hard thing for our swaggerers to find a dramatist willing to be taken by the collar, and contrasted face to face with the portraits of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, taking their plays as their representatives. There were worthies of a high romance in the civilised days of the "Glorious Gloriaua." What marks of essential civilisation are visible in the comedies of Shakespeare-what delightful mixture of the real and unreal-the mind springing from its own natural elasticity above the fogs and blight of worldly business, that ever tend to keep the spirits from rising! And why say comedies? Tragedies too. How fresh is the atmosphere mankind seem then to breathe. Humanity is made lovable or dignified. If we might judge of civilisation from the works of writers of that age, we might be justified in pronouncing it most civilised, for it was governed by a vivid and romantic spirit. Take as contrast the literature of Queen Anne's boasted time. It is quite of another
spirit. There is a descending, a degradation of the whole mind. There begins visible worldliness. We see man taking his part in the affairs of the world for what he can get as an individual. There is a prominence of the business, and less made of the enjoyments of life;-the commercial spirit predominating, which has since overwhelmed the imaginative faculties, and buried the better, the more civilised pleasures of life, under the weight of avarice. We are, my dear Eusebius, too money-loving and money-getting to deserve the name of a thoroughly civilised people. Is a true and just perception of the fine arts a sign of civilisation? What is admired
what is eagerly purchased-what intellectual food do the purchases convey? Is the mere visual organ gratified by the lowest element of the arts-imitation-or the mind's eye enlarged to receive and love what is great and noble? In one sense, undoubtedly, the art of living is better understood, because, the romance of life fading away, personal comforts and little luxuries become exigencies, and engross the thoughts, filling up the vacancies that romance has left. Shall I shock you, my dear Eusebius, if I add my doubts if liberty is either civilisation or a sign of it? Great things have been done in the world, where there has been little of it enough, as well as where there has been much. The fine arts are certainly not much indebted to it.
There is much in the question which yet remains to be considered. The questioned may well ask, as did the heathen philosopher on one more important, and of an infinite height and depth-another day of thought to answer it, and each succeeding day another still. Is civilisation that condition in which all the human faculties may be so continually exercised, as to make the more intellectual moral and religious being? when the plant humanity, like every other plant, shall by cultivation assume a new character and even appearance? I fear this condition necessarily implies a degradation also. For as in no state do the many reach the high standard, equality must be destroyed, so that inferiority will not only have its moral mark, but also its additional toil, far