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mills, and he does think that the possession of cotton-mills ruined our powers of expression, it is only because they is incompatible with the production of Titians. He hates have first corrupted the sentiments which should be exmachinery as an artist; he hates the mechanical repetition pressed in noble art. of vulgar forms, whether in architecture or “ dry goods,” The problem is probably more complex than Mr. Ruskin which takes the place of the old work where every form is apt to assume. The attempt to divorce art from morality speaks of a living hand and eye behind it. He hates is indeed as illogical and as mischievous as he assumes. steamboats because they come puffing and screaming, and The greater the talent which is prostituted to express base sending their whistles through bis head like a knife when thoughts and gratify prurient tastes, the more it should exhe is meditating on the loveliness of a picture in the once cite our disgust; and the talent so misused will die out silent Venice. He hates railways because they destroy all amongst a race which neglects the laws of morality, or, in patural beauty. There was once a rocky valley between other words, the primary conditions of physical and spiritBuxton and Bakewell, where you might have seen Apollo ual health. The literature of a corrupt race becomes not and the Muses “ walking in fair procession on the lawns of it, only immoral but stupid. And yet the art test is not quite and to and fro among the pinnacles of its crage.” But you so satisfactory as Mr. Ruskin seems at times to assume. Ut- the stupid British public, to wit — thought that you ter insensibility to beauty and the calmest acquiescence in could make money of it; "you enterprised a railroad all manner of ugliness is not incompatible with morality through the valley — you blasted its rocks away, heaped amongst individuals; or what would become of the Disthousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The val- senters? Hymns which torture a musical ear may express ley is gone, and the gods with it; and now, every fool in very sincere religious emotion. Of course, we are above Buxton can be at Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool the Puritan prejudice which regarded all art as more or in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative proc- less the work of the devil; but perhaps we are not, and ess of exchange; you fools everywhere.". The beauty of even the really artistic races were not much better than the English landscape is everywhere defaced by coal-smoke, Puritans. Indeed, we should take but a sad view of the and the purity of English streams defiled by refuse. world if we held that its artistic attainments always measMeanwhile the perfection of the mechanical contrivance ured the moral worth of a nation. which passes for art in England is typified by an ingenious No phenomenon in history is more curious than the performance ticketed “ No. 1” in the South Kensington shortness of the periods during which art has attained any Museum. It is a statue in black and white marble of a high degree of perfection. There have been only two brief Newfoundland dog, which Mr. Ruskin pronounces to be, periods, says Mr. Ruskin, in which men could really make accurately speaking, the “most perfectly and roundly ill-first-rate statues, and even then the knowledge was confined done thing " which he has ever seen produced in art. Its to two very small districts. But if our inferiority in that makers had seen “ Roman work and Florentine work and direction to the Greek and the Florentine artists proves Byzantine work and Gothic work; and misunderstanding that we are equally inferior in a moral sense, we must supof everything had passed through them as the mud does pose that virtue is a plant which flowers but once in a through earthworms, and here at last was their wormcast thousand years. Probably students of history would agree of a production.” Mere inechanical dexterity has abso- that virtue was more evenly, and artistic excellence more lutely supplanted artistic skill.
unevenly distributed than we should have conceived posWell
, you reply, we must take the good with the bad. sible. Many conditions, not hitherto determined by social We give up the Newfoundland
dog; but if steam-whistles philosophers, go to producing this rarest of qualities ; and go through your head in Venice, and the railway drives Mr. Ruskin seems often to exaggerate from a tacit assumpthe gods from Derbyshire, you must remember that a num- tion that men who cannot paint or carve must necessarily ber of poor Englishmen and Italians, who never cared be incapable of speaking the truth, or revering love and much for scenery or for pictures, enjoy a common-place purity. pleasure which they must else have gone without. In- Yet it is not to be denied that the test, when applied creased command of the natural forces means increased with due precaution, may reveal much of the moral characcomfort to millions at the cost of a little sentimental enjoy. ter of a nation. The imbecility of our artistic efforts is ment for thousands. But it is precisely here that Mr. Rus- the index of an unloveliness which infects the national life. kin would join issue with the optimists. The lesson which We cannot make good music because there is a want of he has preached most industriously and most eloquently is harmony in our creeds, and a constant jarring between the the essential connection between good art and sound mo- various elements of society. Mr. Ruskin's criticisms of rality. The first condition of producing good pictures or modern life are forcible, though he reasons too much from statues is to be pure, sincere, and innocent. Milton's say- single cases. The shock which he receives from particular ing that a man who would write a heroic poem must make incidents seems to throw him off his balance. He prachis life a heroic poem, is the secret of all artistic excellence. tices the art of saying stinging things, of which the essence A nation which is content with shams in art will put up is to make particular charges which we feel to be true, with shams in its religious or political or industrial life. whilst we are convinced that the tacit generalization is unWe bedaub our flimsy walls with stucco as our statesmen fair. The whistle of the steamboat in Venice sets up such bide their insincerity under platitude. If a people is vile at a condition of nervous irritability, that the whole world heart, the persons who minister to its taste will write de- seems to be filled with its discordant strains. graded poetry and perform demoralizing plays, and paint Mr. Ruskin saw one day a well-dressed little boy leaning pictures which would revolt the pure-minded. The impu
over Wallingford Bridge, and fancied that he was looking dent avowal that the spheres of art and morality should be at some pretty bird or insect. Coming up to him, the little separate is simply an acceptance of a debased condition of boy suddenly crossed the bridge, and took up the same art. And therefore Mr. Ruskin's lectures upon art are apt attitude at the opposite parapet ; his purpose was to spit to pass into moral or religious discourses, as in works pro- from both sides upon the heads of a pleasure party in a fessedly dealing with social questions he is apt to regard passing boat. “ The incident may seem to you trivial," the artistic test as final. The fact that we cannot produce says Mr. Ruskin to his hearers ; and, in fact, most persons Titians is a conclusive proof that we must have lost the would have been content to box the little boy's ears, and moral qualities which made a Titian possible; whilst the possibly would have consoled themselves with the reflection fact that we can produce a cotton-mill merely shows that that, at least, spitting upon Jewish gaberdines is no longer we can cheat our customers, and make rubbish on a gigan- permitted by the police. Mr. Ruskin sees in it a proof of tic scale. An indefinite facility in the multiplication of that absence of all due social subordination and all grace of shoddy is not a matter for exulting self-congratulation. behavior, which “ leaves the insolent spirit and degraded The ugliness of modern life is not due to the disarrange- senses to find their only occupation in malice, and their only ment of certain distinct æsthetic faculties, but the necessary satisfaction in shame.” If the moral be rather too wide mark of moral insensibility. Cruelty and covetousness are for this living fable, Mr. Ruskin has no difficulty in proving the dominant vices of modern society; and if they have from other cases how deeply the ugliness of modern life is
rooted in moral insensibility. Here is another spitting read story books, dance in a vulgar manner, and play vulgar
As he is drawing the Duomo at Pisa, Mr. Ruskin tunes on the piano; they know nothing of any fine art; sees three fellows in rags leaning against the Leaning Tower they read one magazine on Sundays and another on weekand “expectorating loudly and copiously, at intervals of days, and know notbing of any other literature. They half a minute each, over the white marble base of it, which never take a walk; they cannot garden ; the women weir they evidently conceived to have been constructed only to false hair and copy the fashions of Parisian prostitutes; be spit upon." Is their brutality out of harmony with the the men have no intellects but for cheating, no pleasures lessons taught by their superiors ?
except smoking and eating, and “no ideas or any capaci'y There is or was a lovely little chapel at Pisa, built for a of forming ideas of anything that has yet been done of shrine, seen by the boatmen as they first rose on the surge great or seen of good in this world." of the open sea, and bared their heads for a short prayer. Truly, this is a lamentable picture, which we may, if we In 1810 Mr. Ruskin painted it, when six hundred and ten please, set 'down as wanton caricature or as a proof that years had left it perfect; only giving the marble a tempered poor Mr. Ruskin is but speaking the truth when he tells glow, or touching the sculpture with a softer shade.In a us, pathetically enough, of his constant sadness, and dequarter of a century the Italians have grown wiser, and Mr. clares that he is nearly always out of humor.
The exRuskin watched a workman calmly striking the old marble aggeration is to be lamented, because it lessens the force cross to pieces. Tourists are supposed to be more appre- of his criticism. The remark inevitably suggests itself that ciative, and Mr. Ruskin travelled to Verona in a railway a fair estimate of modern civilization is hardly to be obcarriage with two American girls, specimens of the utmost tained by the process of cutting out of our newspapers result of the training of the most progressive race in the every instance of modern brutality which can be found in world. They were travelling through exquisite midsum- police reports, and setting them against the most heroic mer sunshine, and the range of Alps was clear from the deeds or thoughts of older times. Bill Sykes may be a Lake of Garda to Cadore. But the two American girls bad greater brute than the Black Prince; but there were Bill reduced themselves simply to two “white pieces of putty Sykeses in the days of the Black Prince, and perhaps a that could feel pain;" from Venice to Verona they per- piece of one in the Black Prince himself. Mr. Ruskin, to ceived nothing but flies and dust. They read French speak logically, is a little too fond of the induction by novels, sucked lemons and sugar, and their whole conver- simple enumeration in dealing with historical problems. sation as to scenery was at a station where the blinds had The sinking of the London does not prove conclusively been drawn up. Don't those snow-caps make you cool ? " that Athenians built more trustworthy ships than English“ No; I wish they did.” Meanwhile, at Rome, the slope men; and his declamations against the folly and wickelof the Aventine, where the wall of Tullus has just been ness of modern war, true enough in themselves, cannot laid bare in perfect preservation, is being sold on building make us forget all the massacres, the persecutions, the leases. New houses, that is, will be run up by bad work- | kidnappings, the sellings into slavery, the sacks of cities, men, who know nothing of art, and only care for money and the laying waste of provinces, of good old times, nor making; and whilst “the last vestiges of the heroic works convince us that Grant or Moltke are responsible for worse of the Roman monarchy are being destroyed, the base atrocities than mediæval or classical generals. The comfresco-painting of the worst times of the Einpire is being plex question of the moral value of different civilizations is faithfully copied, with perfectly true lascivious instinct, for not to be settled off'hand by quoting all the striking ininterior decoration." Lust and vanity are the real moving stances which an acute intellect combined with a fervid powers in all this Italian movement. Are we much better imagination and disturbed by an excessive irritability can in England ?
accumulate in proof of human weakness. The brute surMr. Ruskin was waiting a short time ago at the Furness vives in us, it is true, but isolated facts do not prove him to station, which is so tastefully placed as to be the only ob- be more rampant than of old. ject visible over the ruined altar of the Abbey. To him To argue the question, however, would take me far beentered a party of workmen who had been refreshing them- yond my limits and my knowledge. Rather let us admit selves at a tavern established by the Abbot's Chapel. at once that Mr. Ruskin has laid his hand upon ugly They were dressed in brown rags, smoking pipes, all more symptoms. We will not be angry with the physician be. or less drunk, and taking very long steps to keep their cause he takes too gloomy a view of them, but be grateful balance in the direction of motion, whilst laterally securing to anybody who will expose the evil unsparingly. A pesthemselves by hustling the wall or any chance passengers. simist is perhaps, in the long run, more useful than an Such men, as Mr. Ruskin's friend explained to him, would optimist. The disease exists, whether we think of it as a get drunk and would not admire the Abbey ; they were temporary disorder caused by an unequal development, or not only unmanageable, but implied “the existence of as a spreading cancer, threatening a complete dissolution many unmanageable persons before and after them of the organism. Modern society may be passing through a long ancestral and filial unmanageableness. They were a grave crisis to a higher condition, or may be hastening a fallen race, every way incapable, as I acutely felt, of ap- to a catastrophe like that which overwhelmed the ancient preciating the beauty of Modern Painters' or fathoming world. It is in any case plain enough that the old will not the significance of Fors Clavigera.' What are the gradually melt into the new, in spite of all the entreaties amusements and thoughts of such a race, or even of the of epicurean philosophers, but will have to pass through superior social layers ? Go to Margate, a place memorable spasms and dangerous convulsions. The incapacity to to Mr. Ruskin for the singular loveliness of its skies; and paint pretty pictures, to which we might submit with toleryou may see — or newspaper correspondents exaggerate – able resignation, is indeed a proof of a wide.spread discord, a ruffianly crowd insulting the passengers who arrive by which sometimes seems to threaten the abrupt dislocation steamboat in the most obscene language or bathing with of the strongest bonds. Can we explain the cause of the revolting indecency in a promiscuous crowd; or to Glas- evil in order to apply such remedies as are in our power ? gow, and you will see the Clyde turned into a loathsome And here I come to that part of Mr. Ruskin's teaching and stagnant ditch, whilst the poor Glaswegians fancy that which, to my mind, is the most unfortunate. There is a they can import learning into their town in a Gothic case, modern gospel which shows, as be thinks, plain traces of costing £150,000, which is about as wise as to “put a pyx diabolic origin. His general view may be sufficiently ininto a pigsty to make the pigs pious.” Or take a walk in dicated by the statement that he utterly abjures Mr. Mill's the London suburbs. There was once a secluded district “ Liberty,” and holds Mr. Carlyle to be the one true teacher with old country houses, and neatly kept cottages with of modern times. But Mr. Ruskin carries his teaching tiled footpaths and porches covered with honeysuckle. further. The pet objects of his antipathy are the political Now it is covered with thousands of semi-detached villas economists. He believes that his own writings on political built of rotten brick, held together by iron devices. What economy are incomparably the greatest service which he are the people who inbabit them? The men can write and has rendered to mankind, and to establish his own system cast accounts; they make their living by it.
is to annihilate Ricardo, Mill, and Professor Fawcett. To
give any fair account of his views would be to go too far sistible and unalterable conditions, is foolish as well as into a very profitless discussion. This much, however, I
The shrewder the blows which Mr. Ruskin can must venture to say. Mr. Ruskin's polemics against the aim at the doctrines that life is to be always a selfish economists on their own ground appear to me to imply a struggle, that adulteration is only a “form of competition,” series of misconceptions. He is, for example, very fond of that the only remedy for dishonesty is to let people cheat attacking a doctrine, fully explained (as I should say, each other till they are tired of it, the better; and I only demonstrated) by Mr. Mill, that demand for commodities regret the exaggeration which enables his antagonist to is not demand for labor. I confess that I am unable to un-charge him with unfairness. But the misfortune is this. derstand the reasons of his indignation against this unfor. On that which I take to be the right theory of political tunate theorem ; and the more so because it seems to me to economy, the supposed "inexorable laws" do not, indeed, be at once the most moral doctrine of political economy, describe the action of forces as eternal and unalterable as and that which Mr. Ruskin should be most anxious to es- gravitation ; but they do describe a certain stage of social tablish. It is simply the right answer to that most endur- development through which we must pass on our road to ing fallacy that a rich man benefits his neighbors by profli- the millennium. To cast aside the whole existing organgate luxury.
ization as useless and corrupt is, in the first place, to atMandeville's sophistry reappears in Protean shapes to tempt a Quixotic tilt against windmills. and, in the next the present day. People still maintain in substance that a place, to deny the existence of the good elements which man supports the poor as well as pleases himself by spend- exist, and are capable of healthy growth. The problem is ing money on his own personal enjoyment. In this form, not to do without all our machinery, whether of the mateindeed, Mr. Ruskin accepts the sound doctrine ; but when rial or of the human kind, but to assign to it its proper clothed in the technical language of economists, it seems to place. Mr. Ruskin once said to a minister, who was laact upon him like the proverbial red rag. He is always menting the wickedness in our great cities, “ Well, then, flying at it and denouncing the palpable blunders of men you must not have large cities.” “ That,” replied his whose reputation for logical clearness is certainly as good friend, “is an utterly unpractical saying," and I confess as his own. His indignation seems to blind bim, and is the that I think the minister was in the right. source of a series of questionable statements, which I can- Mr. Ruskin, however, is too impatient or too thoroughnot here attempt to unravel. His attack upon the econo. going to accept any compromise with the evil thing. Covmists is thus diverted into an unfortunate direction. etousness, he thinks, is at the root of all modern evils; our Political economy is, or ought to be, an accurate descrip- current political economy is but the gospel of covetousness; tion of the actual phenomena of the industrial organization our social forms are merely the external embodiment of of society. It assumes that, as a matter of fact, the great our spirit; and our science the servant of our grovelling moving force is competition; and traces amongst men the materialism. We have proved the sun to be a - a splenvarious consequences of that struggle for existence of which didly permanent railroad accident,” and ourselves to be Mr. Darwin has described certain results amongst animals. the descendants of monkeys; but we have become blind to The complex machinery of trade has been developed out the true light from heaven. Away with the whole of the of the savage simplicity by internal pressure, much as detestable fabric founded in sin, and serving only to shelter species on the Darwinian hypothesis have been developed misery and cruelty! Before Mr. Ruskin's imagination has out of more homogeneous races. Now, it is perfectly open risen a picture of a new society, which shall spring from for anybody to say that the conditions thus produced are the ashes of the old, and for which he will do his best to unfavorable to morality at the present day, and that we secure some partial realization. He has begun to raise a should look forward to organizing society on different prin- fund, chiefly by his own contributions, and has already ciples. If Mr. Ruskin had said so much, he would have bought a piece of land. These members of the St. George's found allies instead of enemies amongst the best political Company — that is to be the name of the future commueconomists. Mr. Mill agrees, for instance, with Comte, nity — will lead pure and simple lives. They will cultiand therefore with Mr. Ruskin, that in a perfectly satisfac- vate the land by manual labor, instead of " huzzing and tory social state capitalists would consider themselves as mazing the blessed fields with the Devil's own team;” trustees for public benefit of the wealth at their disposal. | the workmen shall be paid fixed wages; the boys shall They would be captains in an industrial army, and be no learn to ride and sail; the girls to spin, weave, sew, and more governed by the desire of profit than a general by a "cook all ordinary food exquisitely ;” they shall all know desire for prize-money. To bring about such a state of how to sing, and be taught mercy to brutes, courtesy to each things requires a cultivation of the “altruistic” impulses, other, rigid truth-speaking, and strict obedience.
And which must be the work of many generations to come. they shall all learn Latin, and the history of five cities,
But Mr. Ruskin in his wrath attributes to all economists Athens, Rome, Venice, Florence, and London. Leading the vulgar interpretation of their doctrines. He calmly "contented lives, in pure air, out of the way of unsightly assumes that political economists regard their own science objects, and emancipated from unnecessary mechanical as a body of " directions for the gaining of wealth, irrespect- occupation,” the little community will possess the first conively of the consideration of its moral sources.'
ditions for the cultivation of the great arts; for great art is poses that they deny that wages can be regulated otherwise the expression of a harmonious, noble, and simple society. than by competition, because they assert that wages are so Let us wish Mr. Ruskin all success ; and yet the path he regulated at present; and that they consider all desires to is taking is strewed with too many failures to suggest much be equally good because they begin by studying the phe- hopefulness even, we fear, to himself. Utopia is not to nomena of demand and supply without at the same moment be gained at a bound ; and there will be some trouble in considering the moral tendencies implied. He supposes finding appropriate colonists, to say nothing of competent that because for certain purposes, a thinker abstracts from leaders. The ambition is honorable, but one who takes so moral considerations, he denies that moral considerations melancholy a view of modern society as Mr. Ruskin must have any weight. He might as well say that physiology fear lest the sons of Belial should óe too strong for him. consists of directions for growing fat, or that it is wrong to We say that truth must prevail, and that all good work study the laws of nutrition because they show how poisons lasts. Some of us may believe it, but how an those bemay be assimilated as well as good food.
lieve it who see in all past history nothing but a record Mr. Ruskin's wrath, indeed, is not thrown away, for of dismal failures, of arts flourishing only to decay, and there are plenty of popular doctrines about political econ- religions rising to be corrupted almost at their source ? omy which deserve all that he can say against them. I What Mr. Ruskin thinks of such matters is perhaps never read a passage in which reference is made to the given most forcibly in a singularly eloquent and pathetic "inexorable laws of supply and demand,” or to “economic | Tecture, delivered at Dublin, and republished in the first science,” without preparing myself to encounter a soph volume of his collected works. The subject is the Mysistry, and probably an immoral sophistry. To regard the tery of Life and its Arts, and it is a comment on the mel. existing order of things as final, and as imposed by irre- ancholy text,“ What is your life? It is even as a vapor
that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away." | ble. By all means let us preach or practice that doctrine, That truth which we all have to learn, has been taught to and take such comfort as we can in it; but the mystery Mr. Ruskin as to others by bitter personal experience. remains and presses upon all sensitive minds. That Mr. He speaks a little too mournfully, as it may seem to his Ruskin is inclined to deepen its shades, and indeed to take readers, of his own failures in life. For ten years he tried a rather bilious view of the universe, may be inferred from to make his countrymen understand Turner, and they will this brief account of his sentiments. Indeed, the common not even look at the pictures exhibited in the public gal- taunt against Calvinism often occurs in a rather different leries. He then labored more prudently at teaching archi- form. Why don't you go mad, it is said, if you really betecture, and found much sympathy; but the luxury, the lieve that nine tenths of mankind are destined to unuttermechanism, and the squalid misery of English cities choked able and never-ending torments? But no creed known the impulse ; and he turned from streets of iron and pal- amongst men can quite remove the burden. The futility aces of crystal to the carving of the mountains and the of human effort, the rarity of excellence, the utter helpless. color of the flower. And still, he says, he could tell of ness of reason to reduce to order the blindly struggling repeated failure; for, indeed, who may not tell of failure masses of mankind, the waste and decay and confusion who thinks that the seeds sown upon stubborn and weed which we see around us, are enough to make us hesitate choked soil are at once to develop into perfect plants ? before answering the question. What is the meaning of it The failure, however, whether exaggerated or real, made all ? A sensitive nature, tortured and thrust aside by the mystery of life deeper.
*pachydermatous and apathetic persons, may well be driven All enduring success, he says, arises from a faith in hu- to rash revolt and basty denunciations of society in general. man nature or a belief in immortality; and his own failure At worst, and granting him to be entirely wrong, he has was due to a want of sufficiently earnest effort to under certainly more claims on our pity than on our contempt. stand existence or of purpose to apply his knowledge.
And for a moral, if we must have a moral, we can only But the reflection suggested a stranger mystery. The arts remark, that on the whole Mr. Ruskin supplies a fresh prosper only when endeavoring to proclaim Divine truth; illustration of the truth, which has both a cynical and an and yet they have always failed to proclaim it. Always elevating side to it, that it is amongst the greatest of all at their very culminating point they have become “minis- blessings to have a thick skin and a sound digestion. ters to lust and pride.” And we, the hearers, are as apathetic as the teachers. We listen as in a languid dream and care nothing for the revelation that comes. fess to believe that men are dropping into hell before our
SPIRIT-PHOTOGRAPHS.1 faces or rising into heaven; and we don't much care about it, or quite make up our minds one way or the other. Go
We now approach a subject which cannot be omitted in to the highest and most earnest of religious poets. Milton any impartial sketch of the evidences of Spiritualism, since evidently does not believe his own fictions, consciously demonstration it is possible to obtain, of the objective
it is that which furnishes perhaps the most unassailable adapted from heathen writers; Dante sees a vision of far inore intensity; but it is still a vision only; a vision full reality of spiritual forms, and also of the truthful nature of of grotesque types and fancies, where the doctrines of the
the evidence furnished by seers when they describe figures
visible to themselves alone. Christian Church become subordinate to the praise, and are
It has been already indionly to be understood by the help of a Florentine maiden.
cated - and it is a fact, of which the records of SpirituOr take men still greater because raised above controversy
alism furnish ample proof — that different individuals posand strife. What have Homer and Shakespeare to tell us
sess the power of seeing such forms and figures in very of the meaning of the world ? Both of them think of men
variable degrees. Thus, it often happens at a séance, that as the playthings of a mad destiny, where the noblest
some will see distinct lights of which they will describe
passions are the means of bringing their heroes to helpless nothing at all.
the form, appearance, and position, while others will see ruin. The Christian poet differs from the heathen chiefly the rest will naturally impute it to their imagination; but
If only one or two persons see the lights, in this, that he recognizes no gods nigh at hand, and that by a petty chance the strongest and most righteous perish
there are cases in which only one or two of those present
are unable to see them. There are also cases in which all without a word of hope. And meanwhile, the wise men of the earth, the statesmen and the merchants, can only that they see the same objects is proved by their all agree
see them, but in very different degrees of distinctness; yet tell us to cut each other's throats, or to spend our whole ing as to the position and the movement of the lights. energies in heaping up useless wealth.
Turn from the Again, what some see as merely luminous clouds, others wise men to the humble workers, and we learn a lesson of a kind. The lesson is mainly the old and simple In other cases all present see the form – whether hand,
will see as distinct human forms, either partial or entire. taught in various forms by many men who have felt the face, or entire figure – with equal distinctness. Again, painful weight of the great riddle too much for them, that we are to work and hold our tongues. All art consists in
the objective reality of these appearances is sometimes the effort to bring a little more order out of chaos; and proved
by their being
touched, or by their being seen to the sense of failure and imperfection is necessary to stimu
move objects, - in some cases heard to speak, in others late us to the work. Whatever happiness is to be obtained
seen to write, by several persons at one and the same time; is found in the struggle against disorder. And yet what unmistakably recognizable as that of some deceased friend
the figure seen or the writing produced being sometimes has been effected by all the past generations of man The first of human arts is agriculture, and yet there are
A volume could easily be filled with records of this class of unreclaimed deserts in the Alps, the very centre of Europe, witnesses; and a considerable selection is to be found in
appearances, authenticated by place, date, and names of which could be redeemed by a year's labor, and which still
the works of Mr. Robert Dale Owen. blast their inhabitants into idiocy. And in India (Mr. Ruskin was referring to the Orissa famine) balf a million
Now, at this point, an inquirer, who had not pre-judged of people died of hunger, and we could not bring them a
the question, and who did not believe his own knowledge few grain of rice. Clothing is the next of the arts, and jecting all evidence 'for facts which he had hitherto con:
of the universe to be so complete as to justify him in reyet how many of us are even decently clad? And of building, the art which leaves the most enduring remains, fairly say, “ Your evidence for the appearance of visible
sidered to be in the highest degree improbable, might nothing is left of the greatest part of all the skill and strength that have been employed but fallen stones to en
tangible, spiritual forms, is very strong; but I should like
to have them submitted to a crucial test, which would cumber the fields and the streams. “ Must it be always thus ?” asks Mr. Ruskin ; " is our
quite settle the question of the possibility of their being
due to a coincident delusion of several senses of several life forever to be without profit, without possession ?” The
1 This chapter is taken from the second part of a long and curious paper only answer to be given is a repetition of the old advice, entitled “A Defence of Modern Spiritualism," by A. R. Wallace. Fortto do what good work we can, and waste as little as possi. I nightly Review for May and June, 1874.
persons at the same time; and, if satisfactory, would dem- hind the background, was dressed in black. This is the onstrate their objective reality in a way nothing else can do. first spirit-photograph taken in England, and it is perhaps
If they really reflect or emit light which makes them vis- more satisfactory on account of the suddenness of the imible to human eyes, they can be photographed. Photograph pulse under which it was taken, and the great white patch them, and you will have an unanswerable proof that your which no impostor would have attempted to produce, and human witnesses are trustworthy." Two years ago we which taken by itself, utterly spoils the picture. A few could only bave replied to this very proper suggestion, days afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Guppy and their little boy that we believed it had been done and could be again went without any notice. Mrs. Guppy sat on the ground done, but that we had no satisfactory evidences to offer. holding the boy on a stool. Her husband stood behind, Now, however, we are in a position to state, not only that looking on. The picture thus produced is most remarkait has been frequently done, but that the evidence is of ble. A tall female figure, finely draped in white, gauzy such a nature as to satisfy any one who will take the robes, stands directly bebind and above the sitters, looking trouble carefully to examine it. This evidence we will down on them and holding its open hands over their heads, now lay before our readers, and we venture to think they as if giving a benediction. The face is somewhat Eastern, will acknowledge it to be most remarkable.
and, with the hands, is beautifully defined. The white Before doing so it may be as well to clear away a pop- robes pass behind the sitters' dark figures without in the ular misconception. Mr. Lewes advised the Dialectical least showing through. A second picture was then taken Committee to distinguish carefully between "facts and as soon as a plate could be prepared; and it was fortunate inferences from facts.” This is especially necessary in the it was so, for
resulted in a most remarkable test. Mrs. case of what are called spirit-photographs. The figures Guppy again knelt with the boy; but this time she did not which occur in these, when not produced by any human stoop so much, and her head was higher. The same white agency, may be of " spiritual" origin, without being fig- figure comes out equally well defined, but it has changed its ures “of spirits.” There is much evidence to show that position in a manner exactly corresponding to the slight change they are, in some cases, forms produced by invisible in- of Mrs. Guppy's position. The bands were before on a telligences, but distinct from them. In other cases the level; now one is raised considerably higher than the other intelligence appears to clothe itself with matter capable of so as to keep it about the same distance from Mrs. Guppy's being perceived by us ; but even then it does not follow head as it was before. The folds of the drapery all correthat the form produced is the actual image of the spiritual spondingly differ, and the head is slightly turned. Here, form. It may be but a reproduction of the former mortal then, one of two things is absolutely certain. Either there form with its terrestrial accompaniments, for purposes of was a living, intelligent, but invisible being present, or recognition.
Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, the photographer, and some fourth Most persons have heard of these “ghost-pictures," and person, planned a wicked imposture, and have maintained how easily they can be made to order by any photographer, it ever since. Knowing Mr. and Mrs. Guppy so well as I and are therefore disposed to think they can be of no use do, I feel an absolute conviction that they are as incapable as evidence. But a little consideration will show them of an imposture of this kind as any earnest inquirer after that the means by which sham ghosts can be manufactured truth in the department of natural science. being so well known to all photographers, it becomes easy The report of these pictures soon spread. Spiritualists to apply tests or arrange conditions so as to prevent im- in great numbers came to try for similar results, with vary. position. The following are some of the more obvious : ing degrees of success ; till after a time rumor of imposture
1. If a person with a knowledge of photography takes arose, and it is now firmly believed by many, from suspicious his own glass plates, examines the camera used and all the appearances on the pictures and from other circumstances, accessories, and watches the whole process of taking a that a large number of shams have been produced. It is picture, then, if any definite form appears on the negative certainly not to be wondered at if it be so. The photograbesides the sitter, it is a proof that some object was pres- pher, remember, was not a spiritualist, and was utterly ent capable of reflecting or emitting the actinic rays, puzzled at the pictures above described. Scores of persons although invisible to those present. 2. If an unmistakable came to him, and he saw that they were satisfied if they got likeness appears of a deceased person totally unknown to a second figure with themselves, and dissatisfied if they did the photographer. 3. If figures appear on the negative not. He may have made arrangements by which to satisfy having a definite relation to the figure of the sitter, who everybody. One thing is clear; that if there has been imchooses his own position, attitude, and accompaniments, it posture, it was at once detected by spiritualists themselves; is a proof that invisible figures were really there. 4. If a if not, then spiritualists have been quick in noticing what figure appears draped in white, and partly behind the appeared to indicate it. Those, however, who most strongly dark body of the sitter without in the least showing assert imposture allow that a large number of genuine picthrough, it is a proof that the white figure was there at tures have been taken. But, true or not, the cry of imposthe same time, because the dark parts of the negative are ture did good, since it showed the necessity for tests and transparent, and any white picture in any way superposed for independent confirmation of the facts. would show through. 5. Even should none of these tests The test of clearly recognizable likenesses of deceased be applied, yet if a medium, quite independent of the friends has often been obtained. Mr. William Howitt, who photographer, sees and describes a figure during the sit- went without previous notice, obtained likenesses of two ting, and an exactly corresponding figure appears on the sons, many years dead, and of the very existence of one of plate, it is a proof that such a figure was there.
which even the friend who accompanied Mr. Howitt was Every one of these tests have now been successfully ap- ignorant. The likenesses were instantly recognized by plied in our own country, as the following outline of the Mrs. Howitt; and Mr. Howitt declares them to be "perfect facts will show.
and unmistakable.” (Spiritual Magazine, October, 1872.) The accounts of spirit-photography in several parts of Dr. Thompson of Clifton, obtained a photograph of himself
, the United States caused many spiritualists in this country accompanied by that of a lady he did not know. He sent to make experiments; but for a long time without success. it to his uncle in Scotland, simply asking if he recognized Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, who are both amateur photogra- a resemblance to any of the family deceased. The reply pbers, tried at their own house, and failed. In March, was that it was the likeness of Dr. Thompson's own mother, 1872, they went one day to Mr. Hudson's, a photographer who died at his birth ; and there being no picture of her living near them (not a spiritualist), to get some cartes de in existence, he had no idea what she was like. The uncle visite of Mrs. Guppy.
After the sitting, the idea suddenly very naturally remarked, that he “could not understand
of recognition have occurred, but í ground, and had a picture taken. There came out behind will only add my personal testimony. A few weeks back I him a large, indefinite, oval, white patch, somewhat re- myself went to the same photographer's for the first time, sembling the outline of a draped figure. Mrs. Guppy, be- and obtained a most unmistakable likeness of a deceased