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his memory. We see particularly how there were united in him the qualities that go to make a great historian, and our regret cannot but be keen that the fruit of this ripe learning and wisdom was never gathered. It is because Lord Acton's letters to Miss Gladstone after 1885 touch upon questions which are still matters of controversy that the selection closes with that year. The prospect of their ultimate publication adds a new motive to the desire for longevity. One would be glad, too, if it were possible for them to be accompanied by the letters of the correspondent to whom they were addressed. Sir Henry Taylor was undoubtedly right in saying that the letters written to a man will often tell us as much of him as the letters written by him; and that, even if those he has written are better worth reading than any he has received, still they will be read with more pleasure occurring among others than in a simple sequence. Here and there are allusions which whet one's appetite for a glimpse of the other side of this remarkable correspondence. As it is, according to the principle enunciated by Sir Henry Taylor, one cannot but be impressed with a sense of wonderful gifts and qualities possessed by the veiled figure who stands behind this volume.
The memoir by Mr. Herbert Paul introducing these letters adds to the value of the book. It is much fuller than the well-known biographical sketch written by Mr. Bryce, and, except for an occasional slip, is an excellent piece of workmanship. It is probably through an oversight that Mr. Paul cites the American Constitution as declaring that all men are born equal; but such errors are unfortunate in a publication that is so closely concerned with history. The book is a model of editing; the arrangement of the letters, their annotation, and the care and fulness of the index are merits the more appreciated because they are so seldom found.
De Quincey once suggested that the best way of discovering good letters would be to stop a mail cart and rifle the post-bags of all the correspondence in feminine handwriting. Mention has already been made in this article of two women conspicuous for skill as letter-writers, and it would be easy to add to this list many distinguished names, especially in French literature. Of late years, however, while there have been many collections of brilliant letters by men, there has been a notable lack of similar work produced by women. Last year there was published a collection of letters by Madame Waddington which supplied interesting sketches of the experiences of a diplomat and his family, but could scarcely be said to possess any permanent value. The same ac
count might be given of a volume recently issued under the title of "LETTERS FROM ENGLAND."' It contains extracts from the correspondence of Mrs. George Bancroft during the period (1846 to 1849) of her husband's residence in London as Minister to the Court of St. James'.
Mrs. Bancroft enjoyed the opportunity not only of being present at the most important state and civic functions, but of meeting the most eminent English men and women of the time. The result is disappointing. The account of what she saw is often no more than a catalogue; her reports of dinners at the houses of titled people read like the cablegrams in the society section of the Sunday papers. She rarely goes below the surface and touches the real life of the country. These letters are, nevertheless, edifying through providing material for a comparison of the social conditions and customs of to-day with those of a little more than a half a century ago. A London paper, "The Daily Chronicle," notes, for example, that on her arrival in England Mrs. Bancroft wrote to her relatives at home that she had found it necessary to have two dresses made, one of black velvet and the other of black silk. These two dresses, it appears, sufficed not only for the whole London season, but for a round of country-house visits afterward. "The Daily Chronicle" might well ask: "What has changed in this changing world so much as the American woman?"
Of the character and tastes of Mrs. Bancroft, the letters present a most pleasing picture. She was sufficiently unprejudiced to appreciate the charm of unfamiliar things and ways, while still resolute in her patriotism. She had also the high merit, for one in her position, of absolute sincerity and unpretentiousness. But with all these and other elements of personal attraction there is also needed in a letter-writer intellectual qualifications which in this case seem to have been wanting. Such reflections as those upon the loneliness of life in a foreign land and upon the impossibility of realizing the vastness of a large city at the first glimpse of it are too obvious to be worth printing. The commonplace order of mind which they reveal makes it certain that the correspondence of their author will not win a place among books to be read and re-read.
The present season has been conspicuous for the publication of new and more complete editions of two of the classics of letter-writing. Mrs. Paget Toynbee is editing, and the Oxford Clarendon Press is publishing, a new edition of the letters of Horace Walpole in sixteen vol
New York: C. Scribner's Sons.
umes, the first four of which, covering the years 1732 to 1760, have just appeared. Mr. Thomas Wright, after spending ten years in its preparation, has completed an edition of the letters of William Cowper in four volumes, already published in London and announced for issue here in the autumn. In each instance careful attention has been paid to the text, and many letters never before printed are now given to the public. So much has been written upon the letters of both Walpole and Cowper that any detailed criticism would be a superfluity, if not an impertinence. As one glances, however, through the correspondence of Horace Walpole, it is plain how much his reputation owes to the imperfect development of journalism, especially society journalism, in his day. In these times it would be absurd for any one in touch with the London clubs to supply a distant friend with such gossip as makes up the bulk of these letters. He would find that Mr. Labouchere had anticipated him. The accident which makes the republication of Horace Walpole's letters simultaneous with the publication of Lord Acton's offers a startling contrast. In each instance the writer was an aristocrat, with a large circle of acquaintance in high rank and position; but the two men were as far as the poles apart in their conceptions of public and private life and duty. Walpole had several books to his credit, and was industrious, in a fashion. Acton left little completed work behind him. Yet it was Walpole, not Acton, that was in essence an idler, and regarded the world as an opportunity for personal enjoyment.
When we turn to the letters of Cowper, we find neither Walpole's easy cynicism nor Acton's strenuous devotion to learning, but the placid cheerfulness of one who could be content with the quiet and simplicity of the countryside. At the Cowper centenary of 1900, Mr. Clement Shorter surprised many of his hearers by emphasizing the sanity of Cowper as his distinctive characteristic. His fits of melancholia have so impressed the popular mind that it was possible even for Mrs. Browning to speak of him as a maniac. The true Cowper, however, depicts himself in the letters, whose charm, recognized by the most competent judges, is especially significant of their writer's quality of mind when we remember that he neither lived in the centre of political and social life and movement, nor had access to a large library. Cowper, buried in his village with his eighteen books, showed, indeed, that it is not the material to his hand that makes the man of genius.
HERBERT W. HORWILL.
THE EDUCATIONAL OUTLOOK.
MR. ALFRED MOSELY thoroughly believes in the United States. Back in his Kimberley days he saw diamond mining changed by the efforts of American mining engineers from an unremunerative occupation to one of the most important industries in the world. Gardner Williams, of California, and his friend Louis Seymour, he says, were "the first to put mining in South Africa on a sound basis." His admiration of the expert skill of these and other American engineers in the diamond fields awakened in him the wish to visit the United States. He wanted to see for himself what sort of country it was that was "responsible for sending so many level-headed men to the Cape." What he saw on his first visit was an astounding revelation to him. A true patriot, he wanted the United Kingdom to reap the benefit of our ways of doing things. Accordingly, he organized two commissions to learn at first hand the causes of our wonderful success in commerce and industry. The first commission was to investigate the question: "How is it that the United States can afford to pay half dollar in wages where we pay a shilling, and yet compete with us in the markets of the world?" The second commission was to look for the deeper, educational causes of our prosperity. The task entrusted to this educational commission was to ascertain to what extent the schools of the United States were to be credited with the development of the national character and our remarkable progress in industry and commerce.
The character and plans of Mr. Mosely's Educational Commission, together with observations made by several of the members, were discussed in the January issue of THE FORUM. I have now before me the printed reports, joint and individual, of all the commissioners. A very interesting preface by Mr. Mosely accompanies the collection, which forms a book of four hundred pages. The chief value of the Commission to the United Kingdom must not, of course, be looked for in the statements embodied in these reports. The forty to fifty thousand dollars the enterprise must have cost Mr. Mosely would make the average cost per printed page more than one hundred dollars. There is not one
report which is worth so much a page. But each of the commissioners is a man of weighty influence in Great Britain. The new experiences gathered and new convictions formed by them on their visits to our educational institutions will become sources of effective arguments and endeavors in British school-reform movements. Here the real measure of Mr. Mosely's investment must be looked for. ports themselves form an exceedingly valuable contribution to the critical study of the efficiency of public education in the United States and of the well-springs of our envied prosperity.
Nevertheless, the re
The Commission is, to a man, very emphatic in its praises of the intense honesty of our national belief in universal education free to all the people. The growing importance of the United States in the world's affairs may be regarded as a fruit of the practical phases of this belief. The joint report asserts that "although, in the past, the belief in education has been the effect rather than the cause of American prosperity, during the past quarter of a century education has had a powerful and far-reaching influence; and it cannot be doubted that in the future it will become more and more the cause of industrial and commercial progress and of national well-being."
This is a cautious enough statement. It bears the mark of the Irish Jesuit member of the Commission, the Rev. Prof. Finlay, who asserts that "the schools have not made the people what they are, but the people, being what they are, have made the schools." At the same time, Mr. Finlay states that the unskilled laborer of America is supplied from abroad, since no boy or girl in the schools looks forward to "digging and delving as a means of livelihood." The education supplied in the schools prepares the boys for more remunerative pursuits requiring brains and initiative. The daughters of the poorer parents, Mr. Finlay found, enter upon office work or go into the skilled trades after they leave school. He said it was "noticeable in the case of all these girl artisans that they brought with them to their duties those habits of cleanliness, neatness, and order in their persons and their work, which it is a chief aim of the American school to inculcate and to form." Finlay expresses unbounded admiration also at the success of the common schools in training to English forms of speech the children of the immense number of foreign immigrants, and in imbuing them with sentiments of American patriotism. Perhaps, after all, the schools have contributed largely to the making of the people what they are. Mr. Finlay certainly supplies abundant testimony to establish the claim.
The most satisfactory statement contained in the Mosely reports