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literature, and have a direct tendency to discourage independence of thought. They are open to the grave objection of constituting a gigantic system of bribery in favour of a certain class of opinions, and of inducing many who are not conscious hypocrites to stifle their doubts and act falsely with their intellects. To the poor, ambitious, and unbelieving scholar, the Church holds out prospects of the most seductive nature, and he must often hear the voice of the tempter murmuring in his ear, All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' But, grave as are these disadvantages, the literary benefits resulting from Church sinecures, in my judg ment, outweigh them, and they will continue to do so as long as the Church maintains her present latitude of belief, and as long as a considerable proportion of able men can conscientiously join her communion. These appointments have, as a matter of fact, produced many works of great and sterling value, which would never have been written without them, and which are of great benefit to men of all classes and opinions. They discharge a function of the utmost importance in English life, for they form the principal counterpoise to the great prizes attached to the law and to commerce, which would otherwise divert a very disproportionate amount of the talent of the community into these channels. They are especially valuable as encouraging deep research and considerable literary enterprise at a period when, under the influence of the law of supply and demand, literary talent is passing, to a most excessive and deplorable degree, into ephemeral or purely critical writing. Apart from all its other effects, valuable Church patronage, if judiciously employed, may be of inestimable intellectual advantage to the nation. An ingenious man may easily imagine institutions that would confer the same advantages without the attending evils; but ecclesiastical appointments exist; they actually discharge these functions, and it would be practically much more easy to destroy than to replace them. Strong popular enthusiasm may be speedily aroused for the defence or the destruction of an establishment, but considerations such as

I am now urging are of too refined a nature ever to become popular. They are never likely to furnish election cries or party watchwords, and the creation of lucrative appointments, without adequate and engrossing duties being definitely attached to them, is too much opposed to all democratic notions to be in our day a possibility.

Among the means of encouraging the higher intellectual influences, direct Government patronage was in the early part of the eighteenth century conspicuous, and it was bestowed, on the whole, with much disregard of party considerations. Whigs and Tories were in this respect about equally liberal, the Whigs Somers and Montague, and the Tories Harley and St. John being, perhaps, the ministers to whom literature owed most. It was the received opinion of the time that it was part of the duty of an English minister to encourage the development of promising talent, and that a certain proportion of the places and pensions at his disposal should be applied to this purpose. No doubt, this system was sometimes abused, and sometimes had a bad effect upon the character of the recipient; but in itself it implied no degradation. Many of the kinds of labour assisted were of such a nature as to leave no room for sycophancy, and could not otherwise have been carried on, and the practical results were in general eminently beneficial. The splendid efflorescence of genius under Queen Anne was in a very great degree due to ministerial encouragement, which smoothed the path of many whose names and writings are familiar in countless households, where the statesmen of that day are almost forgotten. Among those who obtained assistance from the Government, either in the form of pensions, appointments, or professional promotion, were Newton and Locke, Addison, Swift, Steele, Prior, Gay, Rowe, Congreve, Tickell, Parnell, and Phillips, while a secret pension was offered to Pope, who was legally disqualified by his religion from receiving Government favours. Upon the accession of the Hanoverian dynasty, however, Governmental encouragement of literature almost absolutely ceased. It is somewhat singular that the son of the

Electress Sophia, who had been the devoted friend of Leibnitz, and the nephew of Elizabeth of Bavaria, who had been the most ardent disciple of Descartes, should have proved himself, beyond all other English sovereigns, indifferent to intellectual interests; but George I. never exhibited any trace of the qualities that had made his mother one of the most brilliant, and his aunt one of the most learned, women in Europe. The influence of Walpole was in this respect still more fatal. Himself wholly destitute of literary tastes, he was altogether indifferent to this portion of the national development, and he looked upon the vast patronage at his disposal merely as a means of Parliamentary corruption, of aggrandising his own family, or of providing for the younger sons of the aristocracy. It has been said that one of the great distinctions between ancient and modern political theories is, that in the one the ends proposed were chiefly moral, and in the other almost exclusively material; and this last description, though it does not apply to every portion of English history, was eminently true of the reigns of George I. and of his successor.

It can never be a matter of indifference to a country what qualities lead naturally to social eminence, and it was a necessary consequence of this neglect of literature that a great change passed over the social position of its possessors. Formerly high intellectual attainments counted in society for almost as much as rank or wealth. Addison had been made a Secretary of State. Prior had been despatched on important embassies. Swift had powerfully influenced the policy of a ministry. Steele was a conspicuous Member of Parliament. Gay was made Secretary to the English ambassador at the Court of Hanover. In the reign of the first two Georges all this changed. The Government, if it helped any authors, helped only those who would employ their talents in the lowest forms of party libel, and even then on the most penurious scale. The public was still too small to make literature remunerative. The great nobles, who took their tone from the Court and Government, no longer patronised it, and the men of the highest genius

or of the greatest learning were the slaves of mercenary booksellers, wasted the greater part of their lives in the most miserable literary drudgery, lived in abject poverty, and rarely came in contact with the great, except in the character of suppliants. It was in the reign of George I. that Steele, struck down by the ingratitude of the party he had so faithfully served, closed a career, which had been pre-eminently useful to his country, in poverty and neglect; that Ockley concluded his "History of the Saracens' in a debtor's prison; that Bingham composed the greater part of his invaluable work on the 'Antiquities of the Christian Church' in such necessity that it was with the utmost difficulty he could obtain the books that were indispensable to his task. It was in the reign of George II. that Savage used to wander by night through the streets of London for want of a lodging, that Johnson spent more than thirty years in penury, drudgery, or debt, that Thomson was deprived by Lord Hardwicke of the small place in the Court of Chancery which was his sole means of subsistence, that Smollett was compelled to degrade his noble genius to unworthy political libels, and at last, after a life which was one long struggle for bread, died in utter poverty in a foreign land. And at this very time literature in the neighbouring country had acquired a greater social influence than in any other period of recorded history. No contrast, indeed, can be more complete than that which was in this respect presented by England and France. That brilliant French society which Rousseau1 and so many others have painted, was, no doubt, in many respects corrupt, frivolous, and chimerical, but it had at least carried the art of intellectual conversation to an almost unexampled perfection, and it was pervaded and dignified by a genuine passion and enthusiasm for knowledge, by a noble, if delusive confidence in the power of intellect to regenerate mankind. This intellectual tone was wholly wanting in society in England. Horace Walpole, who reflected very faithfully the

1 Nouvelle Heloise, 2me partie. See, too, the admirable sketch of

French society at this period in
Taine's Ancien Régime.

fashionable spirit of his time, always speaks of literary pursuits as something hardly becoming in a gentleman, and of such men as Johnson and Smollett as if they were utterly contemptible. The change in the position of writers was at least as injurious to society as to literature. It gave it a frivolous, unintellectual, and material tone it has never wholly lost.1

We must, however, make an exception to this censure. The influence of Queen Caroline in patronage was for many years most judiciously exercised. This very remarkable woman, who governed her husband with an absolute, sway in spite of his infidelities, and who often exhibited an insight into character, a force of expression, and a political judgment worthy of a great statesman, was the firmest of all the friends of Walpole, and deserves a large share of the credit which is given to his administration. She first fully reconciled her husband to him. She supported him through innumerable intrigues, and every act of policy was determined together by the minister and the Queen before it was submitted to the King. Unlike Walpole, however, and unlike her husband, who despised every form of literature and art, she had strong intellectual sympathies, which she sometimes displayed with a little pedantry, but which on the whole she exercised to the great advantage of the community. She was the friend and correspondent of Leibnitz,2

Chesterfield has noticed the contrast in the usual conversation of the fashionable circles of the two capitals. It must be owned that the polite conversation of the men and women of fashion in Paris, though not always very deep, is much less futile and frivolous than ours here. It turns at least upon some subject, something of taste, some point of history, criticism, and even philosophy; which, though probably not quite so solid as Mr. Locke's, is, however, better and more becoming rational beings than our frivolous dissertations upon the weather or upon whist.'-Letters to his Son, April

22, 1752.

So another writer observes, A knowledge of books, a taste in arts, a proficiency in science, was formerly regarded as a proper qualification in a man of fashion. . . . It will not, I presume, be regarded as any kind of satire on the present age to say that among the higher ranks this literary spirit is generally vanished. Reading is now sunk at best into a morning's amusement.'-Browne's Estimate of the Times, i. 41-42.

2 It is curious how extremely badly she wrote French. Her letters are so misspelt and ungrammatical as to be sometimes nearly unintel

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