« PreviousContinue »
have the peasants a dominating voice. surance, by introducing school gardens, This is, at least, how the Zemstvos and so on. All this, of course, within were constituted till 1890, when the the narrow limits imposed by the preswould-be "Peasant Tsar" further re- ent economical conditions, but capable, duced the number of peasant dele- like similar beginnings in Western Eugates.
rope, of a considerable extension. It would seem that under such an Another important feature is that the organization the Zemstvos would soon Zemstyos draw into their service a conbecome mere administrative boards, onsiderable number of excellent men, which the country squires would find truly devoted to the people, who in a number of well-paid positions. So it their turn exercise a decided influence was indeed at the outset in some cen- upon the whole of the Zemstvo insti. tral provinces, where the landlords of tution. Here is a country district in the old school had the upper hand. North-Western Russia. Its district asBut on the other hand there were also sembly consists of twenty noblemen provinces, such as Tver (an old nest of elected by the nobility, one deputy from “Decembrists”), Voronezh, Poltava, the clergy (nominated by the Church), partly Ryazán, &c., in which the no- one functionary of the Crown (who bility, owing to various circumstances, sits by right), five deputies elected by took the lead of the reform movement. the second "order" of mixed landIn these provinces, as also in the north owners (merchants, peasant proprieastern ones, in which the peasants etors, &c.), and nine peasants from the dominate, the Zemstvos became an third "order,” representing the village active force for introducing in the vil communities. They decide, let us lages all sorts of useful institutions on say, to open a number of village a democratic basis. These two sorts schools. But the salaries of the teachof Zemstyos became the leaders of the ers are low, the schoolmasters' houses others. This is why, notwithstanding are poor log-huts, and the assembly all the obstacles opposed to them by people know that nobody but a "poputhe Central Government, the Zemstvos, list," who loves the people and looks as a rule, have accomplished some upon his work as upon his mission, thing. They have laid the foundation will come and stay. And so the “popu. of a rational system of popular educa- list" comes in as a teacher. But it is tion. They have placed sanitation in the same with the Zemstvo doctor, who the villages on a sound basis, and is bound to attend to a number of worked out the system which answers villages. He has to perform an inbest the purpose of free medical help credible amount of work, travelling all for the peasants and the laboring the year round, every day, from village classes. They elected Justices of to village, over impassable roads, Peace who were decidedly popular. amidst a poverty which continually And some of the Zemstvos are doing brings him to despair-read only good work by spreading in the villages Tchékoff's novels! And, therefore, nobetter methods of agriculture, by the body but a “populist” will stay. And it supply of improved machinery at cost is the same with the midwife, the price, by spreading cooperative work doctor's aid, the agricultural inspector, shops and creameries, by mutual in the co-operator, and so on. And when
& Taking a district of North-Eastern Russia right, twelve members elected by the first two where, owing to the small number of nobles, orders (three nobles, the remainder are mer. the first two “orders" vote together, we have chants, &c.), and seven peasants representing three functionaries of the Crown sitting by the village communities.
several Zemstvos undertook, with their their concessions to the invitation of a limited budgets, to make house-to- few representatives of the provinces to house statistical inquests in the vil- the Council of State, where they may lages, whom could they find but de take part in its deliberations, this is voted “populists" to carry on the work a gross mistake. Such a measure and to build up that wonderful monu- might have pacified the minds of 1881, ment, the 450 volumes of the Zemstvo if Alexander the Third had honestly inquests? Read Ertel's admirable fulfilled the last will of his father. It novel, Changing Guards, and you will might have had, perhaps, some slight understand the force which these teach effect ten years ago, if Nicholas the ers, doctors, statisticians, &c., repre. Second had listened then to the desent in a province.
mand of the Zemstvos. But now this The more the Zemstvos develop their will do no longer. The energy of the activity, the more this “third element" forces set in motion is too great to be grows; and now it is they—the men satisfied with such a trifiing result. and women on the spot, who toil dur- And if they do not make concessions ing the snowstorm and amidst a ty. very soon, the Court party may easily phos-stricken population-who speak learn the lesson which Louis Philippe for the people and make the Zemstvo learned in the last days of February speak and act for it. A new Russia 1848. In those days the situation at has grown in this way. And this Rus- Paris changed every twenty-four hours, sia hates autocracy, and makes the and therefore the concessions made by Zemstvos hate it with a greater hatred the Ministry always came too late. than any which would have sprung Each time they answered no longer to from theories borrowed from the West. the new requirements. At every step every honest man of the In all the recent discussions nothing Zemstvo finds the bureaucracy-dis- has yet been said about the terrible honest, ignorant, and arrogant-stand economical conditions of the peasants ing in his way. And if these men and the working men in the factories. shout, "Down with autocracy!" it is be- All the resolutions were limited to a cause they know by experience that demand of political rights, and thus autocracy is incompatible with real they seem to imply that the leading progress.
idea of the agitation was to obtain, These are, then, the various elements first, political rights, and to leave the which are arraigned in Russia against discussion of the economical questions the old institutions. Will autocracy to the future representative Governyield, and make substantial concessions ment. If this were so, I should see in
in time, because time plays an im- such a one-sidedness the weak point mense part under such conditions? of the agitation. However, we have alThis we do not know. But that they ready in the resolutions of the comnever will be able any more to stop mittees on the Impoverishment of Centhe movement, this is certain. It is tral Russia a wide programme of said that they think at the Winter changes, required by the peasants Palace to pass a few measures in favor themselves, and it would be of the of the peasants, but to avoid making greatest importance to circulate this any constitutional concessions. How- programme at once in the villages. ever, this will not help. Any improve- It is quite certain that every Russian ment in the condition of the peasants even the poorest of the peasants-is will be welcome. But if they think interested in the destruction of the that therefore they will be able to limit secular political yoke to which all Russia is harnessed. But the destruction the educated classes, what the intenof that yoke, if it has to be done in tions of the latter are concerning the reality, and not on paper only, is an im- great problem which is now at this mense work, which cannot be accom- very moment facing millions of Rusplished unless all classes of society, sian peasants: "How to live till the and especially the toiling classes, join next crop?" Let us hope, therefore, in it. Autocracy has its outgrowths in that those who have started the presevery village. It is even probable that ent agitation with so much energy will no progress in the overthrow of that in- also see that they must tell the ninety stitution will be made so long as the million Russian peasants the improvepeasant masses do not bring their in ments in the economical conditions of surrections to bear upon the decisions the toiling masses which they can exof the present rulers. They must be pect under the new régime, in addition told, therefore, frankly and openly by to the acquisition of political rights. . The Nineteenth century and After.
RECOLLECTIONS OF ARTHUR SULLIVAN.
There is sound sense in one of the I confess, however, that, in my opinion, rules laid down by the Sacred College biographies of men of mark in science, that no member of the Catholic literature, or art had better, with very Church, however saintly their lives may rare exception, be left unwritten till have been, however venerable their the judgment of posterity has conreputation may be at the time of their firmed the estimate placed on them by death, can be canonized till half-a- their contemporaries. Their works surcentury at least has come and gone vive them; and by these works they since they joined the majority. I have must in the end be judged. Of late often wished that a similar unwritten years, however, hardly a week passes law could be enforced with respect to without the issue of some elaborate biographies. Nowadays, and especially biography narrating the sayings and in our own country, no man who has doings of minor politicians, public made any mark in his day is con- officials, men of letters, clerics, and sidered by his friends or relatives to artists who doubtless played creditable have received due recognition of his parts in their respective careers, but services unless a bulky biography is who are never likely to be known, published containing full and appre even by name, when their own generaciative records of his private life and tion has been gathered to its fathers. his public career. In the case of men In the category of biographies that, of eminence, such as Mr. Gladstone, as I hold, might have well been left who have taken a leading share in unwritten I should include the memoir politics an exception may fairly be of Sir Arthur Sullivan whose author made. After all, they are part and is Mr. Findon. I find no fault with the parcel of their country's history, and biography as it stands, except that it memoirs written by contemporaries, contains certain strictures on third and published while their memory was parties which might give unnecessary still green, may be useful for historians pain should they be regarded as repreof a future day, whose duty it will be senting the personal opinions of Sir to narrate the true story of our time. Arthur. I agree—in as far as I am
competent to do so—with the views ex- years ago, I had undertaken the editorpressed by Mr. Findon as to Sullivan's ship of the Observer newspaper, which high musical attainments, and I believe at that period stood in sore need of rethe recital of the meagre incidents of organization. In those bygone days, I Sullivan's public career is substantially remember my old friend E. L. Blancorrect. My objection to the memoir is chard remarking to me "that the one that it fails to make its readers ac- faculty required for dramatic and quainted with the man as he was musical criticism was a copious repknown to those who knew him other, ertory of complimentary adjectives." wise than by repute. I attribute this Unmindful of this advice, I thought failure not so much to any deficiency the public might appreciate a more on the part of Mr. Findon as to the independent tone of musical criticism inherent difficulties of the task. When than was then in vogue. There being all is said and done, there is little to a vacancy in the post of musical critic be written about the life of Arthur of the Observer, I called on Arthur Sullivan, as known to the outer world, Sullivan, to ascertain whether he was except in connection with his career disposed to write the musical criticisms as a musician and a composer. No for the Observer. He accepted the proeducated man can be more hopelessly posal subject to the understanding that ignorant of the art of music than I am either of us remained at liberty to myself, but from my literary and terminate the engagement if for any journalistic experience I have learnt reason it should prove unsatisfactory. thus much: that it is the rarest thing Shortly afterwards a new opera by an in the newspaper world to find a musl- almost unknown but not impecunious cal critic who can write about musical composer was brought out in London, subjects in such a way as to make and on the following Sunday Sullivan's his criticisms interesting or even intelli- notice appeared in our columns. I was gible to the non-musical public. I am personally much struck with the artinot cognizant-though on this, as in cle. The style was as clear as the all matters connected with music, I handwriting-and to those who knew speak with the greatest hesitation of Sullivan's writing at this period of his any biography of a celebrated British life that is saying a good deal. I have musician which has enrolled itself forgotten, or do not trouble myself to amidst the standard classics of British recall, the names of the opera and its literature. Whether this is due to the composer. All I care to remember is fault of the biographers, of the subject that the criticism was distinctly unmatter of the biographies, or of the favorable, and formed a marked conreading public, is a question I am in trast to the wishy-washy eulogistic competent to answer. Be the cause notices which appeared in most of our what it may, there can, I think, be no contemporaries, and in consequence it doubt as to the fact.
attracted a certain amount of attention. These remarks pretty well exhaust Within a few days of its appearance all I have to say on the Life of Sir I received intimations to the effect that Arthur Sullivan which has recently this style of criticism was viewed with been published. What I have to say disfavor in the quarters whence musifurther applies to Sullivan rather as a cal advertisements were issued, and man than as a musician. The first that the continuance of such criticisms time I made his acquaintance was, would involve the withdrawal of the curiously enough, in connection with musical advertisements. I had to conmusical criticism. Some thirty odd sider other people's interests as well as
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXVI. 1366
my own, and I came at once to the our having a common friend in the conclusion that-to put the matter person of Frederick Clay, the son of plainly-the game was not worth the James Clay, tben M.P. for Hull. candle. It was, as I held, no part of Memories are so short-lived in the my duty as an editor to elevate the world in which we both passed many tone of musical criticism, and I enter years of our lives that I am afraid to tained grave doubts as to whether many of my readers the name of Fred there was a sufficient public interested Clay will be well-nigh unknown. At in musical notices to increase our cir- the period of which I speak, he was a culation to such an extent as would clerk in the Treasury, and acting as have compensated us for the money private secretary to George Glyn, the loss accruing from the withdrawal of Whip of Mr. Gladstone's first Adminisoperatic and concert advertisements. I tration, who, later on, succeeded his had therefore no option except to dis brother as Lord Wolverton. Clay was, charge the somewhat unpleasant task I have reason to know, a most efficient of informing Sullivan that I had de secretary, and would in all likelihood termined to discontinue his notices. have risen very high in the public serNothing could be more charming than vice if he had not insisted on resigning the way in which he received my com his clerkship upon his father's death. munication. He assured me that he Fortunately or unfortunately, as one appreciated fully the reasons of my may choose to think, he had-or beaction, and added that he had already lieved he had-sufficient means to live entertained doubts as to whether it in comfort without his official salary, was prudent for him, as a musician and was anxious to devote himself to himself, to criticise in print members the study of music, to which he was of his own profession. We parted on passionately attached. He had before the friendliest terms. The article in this published a number of songs, question was, to the best of my belief, some of which had attracted considerathe one and only musical criticism ble notice. I have often heard Sulliwhich Sullivan ever contributed to the van express an opinion that Fred Clay Press, and I can say with even greater had higher musical talent than he himcertainty that it was the one and only self possessed, and might have been attempt ever made by me to improve a great musician if he had ever devoted the status of British music as an art. himself seriously to the study of the
This incident-which with another art. Sullivan was singularly free from man might easily have led to a perma- any professional jealousies, and was nent estrangement-formed the com- perhaps inclined to overestimate the mencement of a lifelong friendship. I talents of his friends. However this learnt from it how singularly free Sul- may be, Clay applied himself to music livan was from the personal vanity too late to make any real progress, and which is often said to be inseparable soon involved himself in pursuits fatal from the artistic nature. I realized to serious study of any kind. The how fair-minded and how sensible he story of a wasted life is one sad to was in business matters. I discerned read, sadder still to tell. After many the sweetness of temper, the kindliness losses and disappointments, borne with of heart, and the affectionate disposi. imperturbable cheeriness, the tide tion which rendered him so charming seemed to have turned for a moment a companion, so true a friend.
in Fred Clay's favor. He had been My intimate acquaintance with Sul commissioned to write the music for a livan was, however, brought about by spectacular piece brought out at the