Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XV.: LOMBARD STREET. - The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 10 (The Life)
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CHAPTER XV.: “LOMBARD STREET.” - Mrs. Russell Barrington, The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 10 (The Life) 
The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, ed. Mrs. Russell Barrington. The Works in Nine Volumes. The Life in One Volume. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915). Vol. 10.
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In 1870 the house in Upper Belgrave Street was given up and the Bagehots moved for three years to The Poplars on Wimbledon Common where my husband and I were living.
Early in the year an event occurred of great import in Walter Bagehot’s life. Though Mrs. Bagehot had been suffering from an attack of influenza, her death was quite unexpected. Without pain or any consciousness of the approaching end, she died peacefully at Herd’s Hill in the night of 21st February. The news was telegraphed to The Poplars in the morning after Walter had left for London. My sister forwarded the telegram and he returned at once. My husband had started from Wimbledon by a later train, and met Walter on the platform of Cannon Street Station on his return journey to The Poplars. The news had come to him as a staggering blow. He looked scared, my husband said, and his eyes wild. He exclaimed briefly, as if astonished at the sound of his own words—“My mother is dead”. The great space she had filled in his life for joy and for pain, and the idea that it was all over, stunned him. It was difficult for him to realise life without all that her existence had meant to him. Besides his strong natural affection, a special tenderness towards her had been engendered owing to the great pity he had felt for her. Since he had grown to manhood the relationship between himself and his mother had become somewhat reversed. His had become almost a feeling of motherly care and anxiety—hers one of dependence on his affection and the strength of his judgment. Hardly ever was the idea quite absent from his mind that she might at any moment be wanting him. On returning from her funeral I remember his saying, “The worst of it is, that by many it was looked on as a relief”. Strangely pathetic to him was the idea that such an event should appear in the light of a relief to any one, and yet no one knew better than Walter how natural it was that those who had not loved her should entertain such an idea. “It looks a very desolate home without her,” poor Mr. Bagehot said in greeting my sister on her first coming to Herd’s Hill after Mrs. Bagehot’s death. For some months both Mr. Bagehot’s and Walter’s health appears to have been affected by their loss. In February and in April Mr. Bagehot was very ill and Walter was constantly ailing. On the other hand, the strain on Walter’s nerves occasioned by his mother’s attacks was relaxed, and he felt a sense of freedom that had not been possible up till then.
It was about this time that he became interested in the decorative art of William Morris and his school. He had a fine taste and a quick eye, and easily discerned in this work a distinguished quality which would be lastingly satisfying. Through Ruskin and Arthur Hughes, I had become acquainted with Rossetti, William Morris, and Wolner , the sculptor, and through Miss Octavia Hill, with William De Morgan1 whose work had a special interest for Walter Bagehot he being a son of Professor De Morgan. I had not been slow in giving Walter the benefit of my raptures on the merits of the school of which these were the prophets. In order that he should have a larger library certain changes were being made at Herd’s Hill. He and my sister decided to have this room and others, which were being renovated, hung with Morris papers and the furniture covered with leather provided by Mr. Webb who belonged to Morris’s firm. We drove in from The Poplars to choose these papers in Morris’s original premises in Queen’s Square, Bloomsbury. The moral severity with which these prophets treated decoration and all matters of taste was not at that time quite understood in the rural districts of Somerset. The few smart houses near Herd’s Hill were still decorated by second-hand French designs and white and gilt ornament. Relations and neighbours were puzzled by Walter’s choice. They were inclined to think Morris papers and furniture too plain and “rather queer”. From Highclere, Walter writes: “They (the Carnarvons) are doing a heap of improvements, and among others have gone into Morrisinism, and have done up one of the very best rooms with my paper in my study at Herd’s Hill. You might throw this in my father’s teeth, as he would not believe in it. They are much amused here at my knowing anything about it.”
However, the world of Miss Austen was quickly passing by, and Mr. Bagehot resigned himself easily to any choice in such things made by Walter and my sister.
A literary friend of Bagehot’s, Mr. Bernard Cracroft, was a musician and interested in all the arts. He had been a constant visitor at our house in Upper Belgrave Street. As an amateur violinist he could hardly be excelled. Joachim affirmed he was the best in Europe. He would spend whole mornings and afternoons playing duets with my sister, Mrs. Horan, who was a good amateur pianist. His literary gifts and a notable distinction in Mr. Cracroft’s manners and appearance attracted Walter Bagehot, ever sensitive to “good looks,” so he “excused his music”. But even music itself presented a possible interest to Bagehot. From The Poplars my husband and I would go to the popular concerts at St. James’s Hall, and after the concerts meet Joachim at the Cracrofts’ house in Saville Row. These vivid enjoyments were enlarged on to Walter when we returned to The Poplars. George Eliot and Mr. Lewes were very constant attendants at the popular concerts, and Walter would hear their enthusiasm on the subject of Joachim’s playing when calling at The Priory. Madame Goldschmidt (Jenny Lind) lived in Wimbledon Park. She was a friendly neighbour, and at her house we met Madame Schumann. Music of the best was in the air, and Walter Bagehot never came across any interest that excited those about him without trying to understand the source of it. His mind conceived the idea that possibly he might get to understand in what consisted the great influence music possessed over many natures. Had he lived he would himself, I believe, have experienced some delight in it, as his sensibilities were singularly keen in all other directions.
He was at that time obliged to remain many days at home owing to illness, and would then ask my sister or me to drive to Smith’s library at Wimbledon Station, and bring him some “easy novel, Miss Braddon or the like, not George Eliot, that was work”. Reading, when the book read required no thought, had become a rest to him. It prevented his brain from working on his own severer subjects. For the same reason he liked to play bézique with my sister Mrs. Horan, or with my husband. He would generally ride in the morning, and when at home, and not ill, would drive my sister in the afternoon. Hardly a day passed but there was some intercourse between Park Lodge at one end of Wimbledon Common and The Poplars at the other end. Either Mr. Greg would come to us, or we would drop in on him as we drove to or from London. The Bagehots occasionally dined out and gave dinners in town. They would go to political evening parties, as Walter liked to hear what people had to say on current events, and at Lady Granville’s, Lady Waldegrave’s, Mrs. Gladstone’s, Lady Maine’s and Lady May’s there was much to be gathered of political interest from the talk that went on; otherwise general society had no attraction for him. Old friends he saw constantly, either in London or at The Poplars, and visits to Hampstead to see his Uncle Reynolds were frequent as ever.
In October, 1870, Bagehot began writing Lombard Street, the book which together with The English Constitution and Physics and Politics has made his name famous. Unlike his other two complete works it did not appear in numbers. It was not published till the spring of 1873. Bagehot wrote in the “Advertisement” with which he prefaces the volume: “The composition of this little book has occupied a much longer time than, perhaps, my readers may think its length or its importance deserves. It was begun as long ago as the autumn of 1870, and though its progress has often been suspended by pressing occupations and imperfect health, I have never ceased to work at it when I could. . . . I fear that I must not expect a very favourable reception for this work. It speaks mainly of four sets of persons—the Bank of England, Joint Stock Banks other than that Bank, private bankers, and bill brokers, and I am much afraid that neither will altogether like what is said of them. I can only say that the opinions now expressed have not been formed hastily or at a distance from the facts; that, on the contrary, they have been slowly matured in Lombard Street itself, and that, perhaps, as they will not be altogether pleasing to any one, I may at least ask for the credit of having been impartial in my criticism.”
As an estimate of Lombard Street, which may be put in the balance against these extremely modest words written by the author, are the following written by Mr. Hartley Withers, “Lombard Street in 1910,” in an introduction to the edition published by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1912. “It is a wonderful achievement, that a book dealing with the shifting quicksands of the money market should still, after forty years, be a classic of which no one who wishes to understand the subject can afford to be ignorant.”
Mr. Gladstone writes:—
“10 Downing Street,
“My dear Mr. Bagehot,
“I hope that I sent you at the proper time an acknowledgment of your kindness in presenting to me a copy of your work happily named Lombard Street.
“But in my new capacity of Chancellor of the Exchequer I must not be content with that bare acknowledgment.
“I have now read it through attentively, and know not whether most to admire its clearness or its force. I should be disposed, were it worth your while, to fight a little side battle with you about Saving Bank Balances. I do not admit the doctrine of Bank Reserves to be applicable to them without qualification! But I made a step, nay a stride, towards you in the large conversion of Saving Bank Stocks into annuities which brings at short intervals a very large roll of money into the coffers.
“But this is a mere parenthesis, and not meant as any qualification of the thanks which I tender to you for this new and important contribution to the comprehension by the public of the great money question. I expect to spend most of November in town, and hope you will some day look in upon me.”
From Howick, Tesbury, Northumberland, Lord Grey wrote:—
“Dear Mr. Bagehot,
“. . . I have now read your Lombard Street, which I have found very interesting and I have learned from it a great deal of which I was ignorant. It strongly confirms me in my previous opinion as to our currency, for it seems to me that you clearly make out that the danger of the existing state of things is even greater than I had supposed. You hold out to us no hope of escaping under it from a repetition of panics, or of its being possible if they again occur for the Government of the day to refuse to act as their predecessors have done. It may also I think be gathered from what you say, that there is a probability that each succeeding exercise of irregular power by the Government will be carried further and be more lightly adopted than the one before, nor do I perceive that you are able to point out any good grounds for feeling confidence that the Government and the Bank together may not so act as to render a suspension of cash payments almost unavoidable. Indeed if some great political disaster were to happen at the same time that a period of over-spending came to its natural end of a panic, that is what would probably happen.
“But I also agree with you in thinking that however great may be the objections to the existing system it is too firmly established to be suddenly and violently altered. And it is on this ground especially that I think the measure I have recommended would be useful. It nominally would make little difference in the position of the Bank. The Act of 1844 has already professed to divide entirely the trading business of the Bank from the duty of issuing the paper currency, I only propose to make this dividing more real and at the same time to apply more completely than at present the principle which is recognised as the right one with regard to the issue of paper. The importance of the change would consist first in the moral effect on the other Banks in leading them to feel that they must not depend too much on the Bank of England, and secondly in its making it for their interest to have reserves of their own independent of their deposits in the Bank of England. These deposits yield them no interest at all, whereas if they kept the same amount partly in stock and partly in bullion, what was in stock would give them interest though at a low rate, and they would be able at any moment to command the whole amount of their reserve in notes, not only without pressing on the Bank of England or the money market, but with the effect of relieving the market by throwing a fresh supply of cash into it. I should anticipate that all the great joint stock Banks would then be led to keep their reserves themselves, and that by this voluntary action on their part we should soon be relieved from the danger of having practically only a single reserve. I attach so much importance to providing for this and for the sudden expansion of the currency during a panic without a violation of the law, that I should recommend that the Currency Committee should be authorised to accept ⅔ instead of ½ the value of the notes they issued in stock if I were confident that by so far reducing the proportion of bullion given to them for notes, there might not possibly be a danger of their being left with too little bullion to make the convertibility of the notes secure. This might possibly be averted by a stringent provision for the sale of stock to buy bullion whenever it began to fall too low.
“Yours very faithfully,
Mr. William Stanley Jevons, the economist and logician, wrote of Lombard Street:—
“23rd June, 1873.
“I had carefully read the work some time before with the object which I have not been able to carry out, of reviewing it. So far as I am able to judge it is by far the best account which we have of the working of our banking system, and your wonderful power of delicate analysis and description have never been more strikingly applied even in your English Constitution. I cannot entertain a doubt that you fully expose the weak points of our financial system, involving as it does an extreme and perilous economy of capital and bullion. Although certain changes which you suggest would probably be for the better, I do not think that anything can do permanent good except a wide diffusion among bankers and merchants of a correct comprehension of the subject which will lead them to perceive that excessive economy and the absence of any appreciable reserves must give rise to violent fluctuations. It is only the general increase of caution and foresight which can cope with the difficulties arising from the enormous increase of the scale of transactions. Lowe’s bill is a very mild one, and though apparently sound will have no effect beyond rendering acts of indemnity unnecessary. If he could have obliged the Bank to publish the amount of the Banker’s balance (in the aggregate) the effect would have been much greater, but I confess I think legislative remedies will not do much.”
Of Lombard Street Sir William Hunter, a nephew of my father’s and the author, among other important works on India, of Rural Bengal, a book which Bagehot greatly admired, wrote in 1890: “I have just re-read, for the fourth or fifth time, Mr. Bagehot’s Lombard Street. My edition is the fourth, which I purchased in India in 1873, very shortly after the book appeared. If I may venture to say so, it still seems in my judgment to be quite the greatest work on the subject which I have read in any language.”
President Woodrow Wilson writes:—
“His (Bagehot’s) Lombard Street is the most outwardly serious of his greater writings. It is his picture of the money market, whose public operations and hidden influences he exhibits with his accustomed, apparently inevitable lucidity. He explains as perhaps only he could explain, the parts played in the market by the Chancellors of the Exchequer whose counsellor he often was, by the Bank of England, and by the joint-stock banks, such as his own in Somersetshire; the influences, open and covert, that make for crisis or for stability—the whole machinery and the whole psychology of the subtle game and business of finance. There is everywhere the same close intimacy between the fact and the thought. What he writes seems always a light playing through affairs, illuminating their substance, revealing their fibre.”
Much of stirring public interest happened in the year 1870. Bagehot had brought forward the question of the Irish land tenure at the Political Economy Club dinner as early as 4th February, and on 15th February, in a speech of three hours, Mr. Gladstone propounded the nature of the bill in the House. On 31st May it was passed. Mr. Forster brought forward his famous Education Bill and this was passed without a division. Lord Clarendon died in June and Mr. Bright retired in December. On 10th July War was declared by France against Prussia in the French Chamber; on 1st September the Emperor of the French surrendered himself and his army of 80,000 men to the King of Prussia.
It was seven years after the notable articles on “The Emperor of the French” were written, that a scene occurred which I can very vividly recall. On that 1st September, 1870, while Walter, my husband, and I were lunching together at The Poplars, a telegram was brought in; Walter read it out aloud. “Emperor Napoleon surrendered with army of 80,000 to the Germans at Sédan.” He uttered a low exclamation and gave an expressive jerk of his head. The news impressed him greatly; the curtain had dropped on the career which he had watched for twenty years with a strange, almost personal interest. Suddenly, dramatically, Napoleon III. had given up the game. To quote Bagehot’s words, the Emperor had a mind “daring in idea; recoiling before the difficult and hazardous; shrinking from the irrevocable, and certain not to venture on the desperate”.
The following extracts are from his article in the Economist of 20th August, 1870, “The Collapse of Cæsarism”:—
“The marvellous failure of the French Imperial system to effect that which seemed most likely to be within its power, the complete military organisation of France, and the still more marvellous success of the Prussian system in the attainment of that end for Prussia—a success such as, if you consider the proportion between the military strength attained and the wealth and population of the nation which has attained it, is not to be paralleled in the history of the world—present a very instructive contrast. You can hardly say that in France it is ‘personal government’ which has failed, without admitting that in some true sense in Germany it is ‘personal government’ which has succeeded. . . . We think we may say safely that it is Cæsarism that has utterly failed in France—meaning by Cæsarism, that peculiar system of which Louis Napoleon—still, we suppose, nominally the Emperor of the French—is the great exponent, which tries to win directly from a plébiscite, i.e., the vote of the people, a power for the throne to override the popular will as expressed in regular representative assemblies, and to place in the monarch an indefinite ‘responsibility’ to the nation, by virtue of which he may hold in severe check the intellectual criticism of the more educated classes and even the votes of the people’s own delegates. That is what we really mean by Cæsarism, the abuse of the confidence reposed by the most ignorant in a great name to hold at bay the reasoned arguments of men who both know the popular wish and also are sufficiently educated to discuss the best means of gratifying those wishes. A virtually irresponsible power obtained by one man from the vague preference of the masses for a particular name, that is Cæsarism, and that is a system which has undoubtedly undergone a sudden and frightful collapse such as none but the very worst hereditary monarchies in Europe have sustained. The reverse for France is infinitely greater than the reverse of 1866 for Austria. Everyone knew that Austria was a weak, divided, and all but bankrupt State, torn by the internal divisions of populations of the most diverse blood, language, and religion, and behind the world in the application of science to the military arts. With France it was in every respect different. Homogeneous, as few States in Europe are homogeneous—animated by but one spirit in relation to this particular war—if not leading the military science of the day, at least known to be one among the leaders—rich in money—full of credit—high in military pride—there was hardly one element of failure which she had in common with Austria, and yet her reverses have been as signal and all but as complete. . . .
“We hold, therefore, that Napoleon has failed, not only through that loneliness of power which has given him no natural allies among the educated people of France, and compelled him to seek the aid of men of little honour or scrupulousness, but that he has failed also exactly in consequence of his abject dependence on that ignorant Conservatism of the peasantry to which he has looked for the popularity of his régime.”
For the June number of the Fortnightly Review, 1870, Bagehot wrote “Bad Lawyers or Good,” and for the Metaphysical Society a paper “On the Emotion of Conviction” which was published in the April number of the Contemporary Review, 1871. The organiser of this Metaphysical Society was Mr. James Knowles (Sir James Knowles) the then editor of the Contemporary Review, but who is better known as the editor of the Nineteenth Century Review, which he afterwards became. By profession an architect, he had designed Lord Tennyson’s house in Surrey. Poets, Philosophers, Theologians, serious thinkers belonging to all denominations, were invited to join the Metaphysical Society provided they were distinguished as thinkers. Tennyson, Cardinal Manning, Dean Stanley, Gladstone, Huxley, Hutton, Ward, Bagehot, Dr. Martineau, Froude, Magee, Bishop of Peterborough, Greg, Professor Clifford, all these and more than these were members. They dined together about once a month, and a paper was read which led off the discussion on the subject chosen for debate. Bagehot found these meetings extremely interesting. He would often retail to us something of what passed at them. The discussions revived trains of thought which he and Mr. Hutton had shared together, lines of argument which they had threshed out in conversation or correspondence in earlier days. The area of such speculations was enormously widened when discussed at the Metaphysical Society. To hear the views of those as various in their tenets of belief as were Dr. Ward, Martineau, Dean Stanley, Huxley, Bishop Magee and Clifford, when arguing on the same subject, naturally enlarged greatly the aspect of each subject. In the same year, 1871, Mr. Froude read a paper on “Evidence,” Dean Stanley one on “Authority,” each being discussed with perfect freedom. Many of the papers were published in the Contemporary Review, but the discussions that followed were treated as confidential.
Bagehot had for some years belonged to the Political Economy Club and found the debates which took place after the dinners given by the Club, very suggestive. Many ideas which found expression in the Economic Studies most probably germinated during the discussions of this Society. Bagehot’s mind was ever alert in seizing a suggestion, and such suggestions were ever fruitful in creating an original thought. There was no “padding”—to use the word he invented in the literary sense it is now used—in his intellectual life, all was ingeniously to the point.
On 2nd July, 1870, Bagehot’s Tribute to Lord Clarendon appeared in the Economist. “The late Lord Clarendon,” he wrote, “belonged to a very small and very remarkable class of peers. There are many peers, as the lawyers, who have no birth, but who worked hard in their youth; and there are also many who have the highest birth, and have never worked the least. There are many who have earned rank, and many who have inherited rank. But it is rare to find a peer who inherits his rank and yet who knows what it is to earn his bread. . . . When Lord Clarendon was in the Excise Office in Dublin and all through his younger life, there was but a distant probability of his coming to the title, and he had to work really for his bread. And the training of his young days was probably of use to him always.
“To the last week of his death he was a curiously unremitting worker. With somewhat peculiar hours and times he got through more work probably in the twenty-four hours than most administrators of his time, and finished it all with care and accuracy. There were none of the gratuitous blunders and hurried errors which mostly characterise the work of one who is so much praised for great activity; everything was carefully considered and carefully executed.
“Perhaps it is not unconnected with this praise that there was an indescribable repose about Lord Clarendon’s manner and appearance. No one who saw him, in his later years at least, would have ever thought him a specially active man. He seemed a very calm, sensible, and singularly courteous old gentleman; and it would scarcely have occurred to a casual observer that he was an exceedingly indefatigable worker. But those who have watched the habits of men of business in politics and out of it will have seen many cases in which a still and quiet man who does not seem to be doing much, and probably is talking of something quite different, has in matter of fact and at the week’s end accomplished much more than the ‘rushing mighty wind’; the very energetic man who is never idle or at rest and who has no thought but his office business. A still man like Lord Clarendon has time to think what he will do, and most incessant men are apt to act before they have thought, and therefore land where they should not, or else lose half their time in sailing back again.
“It was, perhaps, the result of Lord Clarendon’s early training that he always took great interest in commerce, and whenever he had the power steadily used the agency of the Foreign Office for its advantage. . . . In one respect we are not inclined to join in the universal praise which within the last few days Lord Clarendon has received. He has been greatly praised as a writer, and no doubt he wrote not only with great facility but with much elegance. But there is one great difficulty about almost all his despatches. Each sentence is clear, and no word brings you to a stop; but yet after a few paragraphs a careful reader suddenly pauses to think where he is and what he has assented to. And even when he reads the paragraphs over again he will not always find it easy to be sure that he sees the limits of what was meant and the limits of what was not meant. The limpid flow of delicate words takes him steadily on, but where at any precise instant he is he cannot be very confident. For the old intercourse of foreign Courts this sort of style has immense advantages: it gives no present offence, and, having no marked sentences, leaves no barbed words for after irritation. . . .
“But we do not need now to dwell at length on a point so subordinate. It is much for a man of Lord Clarendon’s standing to have written nearly perfectly in the old style, it is no ground for serious blame to him that he did not invent a new style. He will be remembered by posterity as a Minister singularly suited to the transition age in which he lived, and as possessing both the courtly manners which are going out, and also the commercial tastes and the business knowledge which are coming in. Some critics will, as we have said, find fault with his want of special designs and of a far-reaching policy. But to this generation of Englishmen this was no fault at all. . . . And for an age like this Lord Clarendon was a fitting Minister, for he had a wise sagacity to interfere as little, and to refrain from acting as much as prudence rendered possible.”
On “The Retirement of Mr. Bright,” Bagehot wrote in the Economist of 24th December, 1870:—
“The retirement of Mr. Bright from the Cabinet, owing to failing health, will give all the older readers of the Economist a peculiar feeling of sadness. A new generation is attaining life and vigour to whom the ‘Anti-Corn Law League’ is a matter of history. If you chance to speak of it as ‘the League’ as we always used to speak of it, they ask ‘What League?’ But the great majority of active men still remember the details of that great agitation, and how Mr. Bright’s voice rang full and penetrating, second in power only to one if second to any, over those great open stages. That Mr. Bright has to abandon active administration will come home to many as an unwelcome hint that it is time for them to give up themselves.
“If, as has been said, ‘it is a proud thing to have millions of opponents and no enemy,’ Mr. Bright has a full right to be proud. Persons at a distance who disapprove of his principles, and who only think of him as an incarnation of them, undoubtedly hate him with a strong political hatred; but no one brought close to him does so. There is an evident sincerity and bluff bona fides about him, which goes straight to the hearts of Englishmen. We have been often amused to see how much, in the depths of Tory districts where ‘John Bright’ was bitterly execrated, the regular residents were puzzled because their own M.P.’s and the most conservative people who went to London always mentioned him with geniality and toleration, and if young, would say, in the modern dialect—‘Well, after all, he is a great institution’.”
In 1871, besides Lombard Street, Bagehot was still working at Physics and Politics. He also wrote another article for the Fortnightly Review on “Senior’s Journals”. Mr. Gladstone had affirmed in the Edinburgh Review that “unhappily we scarcely possessed in England the kind of writer who abroad is called a publicist”. Bagehot thought Mr. Senior “came very near to it”.
Though constantly interrupted in his work by illness, Bagehot nevertheless managed to write pretty continuously for the Economist. When too ill to go into London, Mr. Giffen would come to The Poplars to see him and arrange matters relative to the editing of the paper. Before Mr. Giffen joined the staff, Bagehot, as a rule, wrote the money article himself. After that time the actual writing of these articles was generally done by Mr. Giffen after consultation with Bagehot.
Sir Robert Giffen writes in his article on “Bagehot as an Economist”:1 “It was my happy fortune,” in the last nine years of his life, “to be intimately associated with him in the conduct of the Economist newspaper. During this period, accordingly, I had not only to discuss topics of political economy with him, especially the topics of banking and the money market, incessantly, but I had to know his mind so thoroughly on all leading subjects of the day as to be able to write in accordance with his views when he was himself at a distance.”
1871 was a year of stirring excitements in France, the year of the siege of Paris, the Commune, anarchism and Civil War, the destruction of the Column in the Place Vendome, part of the Tuilleries and other monuments and buildings in Paris; the assembly at Bordeaux to settle terms of peace, and the subsequent meeting at Versailles, when M. Thiers and Jules Favre signed these terms and Bismarck accepted their signatures. On all these thrilling events Bagehot wrote in the Economist. He had early mastered the characteristic qualities of the French nature, consequently all the events resulting therefrom in this crisis of their national life he watched with peculiar interest.
Through our old friend, Mme. Mohl, we heard many particulars of the actual state of things during the siege, and the Commune. She had fled to London before the horrors began, leaving M. Mohl and her precious cats, whom she loved, in charge of the old confidential servant, Julie. When she returned to 120, Rue du Bac, the cats were no more. They had fallen victims to the starving populace during the siege. Mme. Mohl was heartbroken and hated the Emperor Napoleon, to whom she attributed all the misfortunes of France, with more violent hatred than ever. When all was quiet in Paris, M. Mohl came to London to escort her back. They, Mr. Goschen and Mr. and Mrs. Townsend, dined with the Bagehots to discuss all the strange things that had come to pass within the past twelve months. Such discussion between M. Mohl and Bagehot was most instructive. On the general condition of France, Bagehot had written nine articles in the Economist besides many more on the particular events of the war, and on the terms of peace. He thought these exorbitant and Bismarck too unmerciful to the conquered. On home politics his articles on “Mr. Lowe on Education,” “Mr. Forster and Educational Compulsion,” “Mr. Lowe as Chancellor of the Exchequer,” “Mr. Lowe’s warning,” give in short the history of the important questions before the House, but perhaps at the time this book is written, the most generally interesting of Bagehot’s articles in the Economist of that year, would be that on “Mr. Gladstone on Home Rule for Ireland” with reference to his speech delivered at Aberdeen.
“Mr. Gladstone on Home Rule for Ireland.
“The Prime Minister’s speech at Aberdeen cannot at any rate be charged with that tendency to intellectual hesitation and finesse which is the favourite taunt of his opponents. In speaking of the Irish cry for Home Rule, Mr. Gladstone drew no fine distinctions, and came to no ambiguous conclusion. He asked if the United Parliament was to be broken up because it could not or would not do justice to Ireland, or only to please the Irish fancy. If the former were alleged the answer was that for the last three years the United Parliament has been eagerly engaged in doing for Ireland what it would hardly have done for either England or Scotland—no doubt because neither England nor Scotland stood in need of the measures granted as Ireland did, but none the less did this sufficiently demonstrate the perfect willingness and capacity of the United Parliament to redress all real Irish grievances. If the latter were alleged, that the Irish do not choose to take even good government from the hands of a United Parliament, then the answer is that on that head the Irish have only the right to vote with the other members of the Union; the whole Union has a right to decide what is in this respect for the common benefit, and unless any party can allege that their individual interests are trampled on by the Union, the whole Union has a right to say whether union or separation will best promote the interests of all. And this in point of fact, as everybody knows, Great Britain has long ago decided. In Mr. Gladstone’s own vigorous words, ‘can any sensible man, can any rational man suppose that, at this time of day, in this condition of the world, we are going to disintegrate the great capital institutions of this country for the purpose of making ourselves ridiculous in the sight of all mankind, and crippling any power we possess forbestowing benefits throughlegislation on the country to which we belong?’
“That is clear, forcible language which may, we hope, have the effect of showing the Home Rule party in Ireland that while Ireland may gain almost anything that is reasonable and just from the Imperial Parliament, she will not gain the repeal of the Union for which that party is now crying out, and which would be indeed in many respects far more mischievous to British interests, and perhaps even to Irish interests, than absolute independence.
“Indeed it is hard to conceive anything more mischievous than the opening of an indefinite and indefinitely increasable number of debatable issues between Great Britain and Ireland, such as would be not merely suggested but forced on the public by the division of duties between an Irish and British Parliament. It is difficult enough to divide the sphere of properly municipal or country from properly central and Parliamentary powers, and almost impossible to do so beneficially without giving Parliament an absolute overriding power in case of conflict. But this difficulty would not only be enhanced a thousand times by the great importance, unity, and national coherence of an Irish Parliament, but it would be quite impossible to give the Imperial (or as it would then be, Federal) Parliament a power to override the decisions of an Irish Parliament without provoking something like a rebellion on every separate occasion. It may be said, perhaps, that this difficulty has never been felt in the United States, where the State powers and the Federal powers are divided by a hard and fast line, which neither State nor Federation have the power to overleap. But in point of fact the difficulty has been felt and felt very keenly, and though not for precisely the same reasons as it would be felt in this case, yet for a similar class of reasons, namely, because the genius and policy of a certain group of the States diverged very widely from the genius and policy of the remainder, the Secession War was in fact a State revolt against the Central power, and though that Secession was due not to race, but to a ‘domestic institution’ of a most potent and mischievous kind, yet difference of race and religion conjointly are certainly quite capable of producing as great a chasm of feeling between the different members of a Federation as in any difference in ‘domestic institutions’. Only consider for a moment what an Irish Parliament would be disposed to feel if it found itself compelled to impose taxes for a war in which the sympathies of Ireland were directly opposed to the sympathies of Great Britain, or were even hindered from imposing taxes for some purely Irish object by the weight of the taxation for imperial purposes which it disapproved. Is it even inconceivable that such a Parliament could long exist without becoming a centre of the fiercest disloyalty and even treason? Or put aside questions of finance, and look only at ecclesiastical policy. Would not it be very probable that one of the first efforts of Ireland’s separate Parliament would be to re-establish a Church in Ireland, but not this time a Protestant but a Catholic Church—an effort which would probably give rise to civil war unless England interfered to thwart the wish of the Catholic party, in which case the danger of a violent disruption would arise again from another cause? It is in fact as plain as common sense can make it to all who look at the condition of Ireland with impartial eyes, that ‘Home Rule’ would be but the first step in a series of virulent disputes as to the political relations of the two islands, which could hardly be except in separation, or reconquest, with all the evils that that would bring in its train. The Home Rule party would certainly be imprudent, but they would be far more logical, if they were to raise a cry at once for an Independent Irish Republic.”
The very stirring public events of 1871 were followed on the continent and in England by a comparative lull. In the spring of 1872 Bagehot was writing the preface to the second edition of the English Constitution. While he was completing it, Mr. Sanford, his old college friend, was staying at The Poplars, and was consulted by Bagehot as to the advisability of leaving out the historical chapter in the book as Mr. Freeman had quarrelled with certain views expressed in this chapter. Mr. Sanford, a sound authority of history,1 advised its retention believing Bagehot’s view to be the correct one, and Mr. Sanford’s advice was taken. When the second edition was ready for publication in July, Bagehot made the acquaintance of Baron Von Holtzandorf who was about to translate the English Constitution into German, and was then attending the Prison Congress in London, and invited him and Mr. Sanford to dinner to discuss this muted point. When this German edition appeared, the newspaper which was Bismarck’s organ referred to the English Constitution, as Bagehot revealed it, as “Eine République in weissen glacé Handschuh” (a republic in white kid gloves). It was also in that July that Walter finished his supplementary chapter to Physics and Politics.
Early in the year 1873 the curtain fell finally on the Napoleonic era. The Emperor Napoleon died on 9th January and was buried at Chiselhurst, 2,000 Frenchmen being present at the funeral. In the Economist of 11th January, 1873, Bagehot writes: “The death of the Emperor Napoleon throws a flood of light upon his later life. The delays, hesitations and vacillations, together with the febrile irritability with which he pressed forward his idea of a new plébiscite, may be attributed to the growing, though secret influence of his malady. Under its influence he ceased to be able to examine into details, lost his confidence in old friends, and began to indulge in the despondency which sent him in 1870 to the field a man beaten in advance.”
Bagehot wrote at least fifteen articles on France and French affairs in the Economist during that year, one of especial interest in the number dated 13th December on “The Condemnation of Marshal Bazaine,” for having betrayed his country by capitulating with the enemy during the siege of Metz.
The impeachment of the Marshal was, he points out, after the expulsion of M. Thiers. He gives an impressive description of the splendour of the trial that took place at Versailles, and the manner in which, what in reality meant a political move, was dramatised into a scene made to assume the appearance of an heroic outburst of patriotic indignation. “Not only the French themselves, with their national passion for Spectacle, but the whole of civilised Europe have been impressed by the splendour of this trial, the solemnity of the issue, the dignity of the tribunal, the highly wrought eloquence of the prosecution and the defence, the rigorous severity of the sentence, and the passionate protest of the accused.”
Bagehot was au fait with the characteristic moods of the French and the methods they take to conceal their political intrigues. He passes by this splendid drama and sets to work to probe the real motives which made the party in power wish “to re-open, by an inquiry into the circumstances of the capitulation of Metz, the whole story of Bonapartist mismanagement and corruption”.
In January, 1873, Mr. Graves, the Member for Liverpool, died, and Bagehot was approached as to whether he would stand as the Liberal candidate for the vacant seat, but this he declined.
On 13th March, 1873, the Gladstone Ministry resigned on the Irish University Bill. Bagehot writes on the event in the Economist. “Some years since a great traveller who had braved unnumbered hardships fell by a petty accident while shooting in this country. And the fate of the great ministry of Mr. Gladstone has been in popular feeling at least somewhat similar. After attempting more than any Ministry for many years, and after achieving more, on a sudden it has fallen on what seems a question of infinitesimal magnitude.” Mr. Disraeli, however, declined office, and on 17th March, Mr. Gladstone announced in Parliament that he had undertaken to reconstruct the Ministry. Bagehot writes that this was a piece of good fortune. “The evils of a Government in a minority are so great that we are most anxious to save the nation from them; the Conservative party has on three occasions in twenty years made the experiment and it has found that, bad and painful as the trial is for the nation, it is far worse and more painful for the party which makes it. No one can wish—Mr. Disraeli owns that he does not wish—to revive such a Government as we saw in 1852, in 1858, and in 1867. The worst state of Parliamentary Government is a coalition of Conservatives and Radicals, or as they say in France of the extreme Right, and the extreme Left. The effect of it is that, as in 1867, the Conservatives pass much more than most Radicals really wish, and that they pass it unwillingly, reluctantly, and believing that they are doing harm.”
The Bagehots travelled abroad for two months in the autumn of 1873, beginning by a pilgrimage to Metz and the battlefield of Gravelotte. They went on to Strasburg, Freiburg, Schaffhausen, Meran and Botzen. Here they caught sight of the Dolomite mountains, and on one evening watched the strange eerie sight far up in the sky, the socalled Rosengarten, when, after the sun has set, a rosy hue strikes their sharp peaks, isolating them from the world below—a world already fading into the shades of night. The Bagehots pursued their travels from Botzen and visited Innsbruck, Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart, Baden and returned home by Brussels and Ghent, stopping at any small place between the big towns marked by special beauty of scenery or by an historical or political association. Bagehot carried his mind with him during his holidays, and few of his travels were planned without their being linked to some interest, literary, historical or political. When back in England they decided to take a house in South Kensington for the winter. Driving to and from The Poplars was becoming irksome to Walter, especially during the winter months.
In February, 1874, at the change of Ministry, Lord Carnarvon returned to the Colonial Office. He wrote to Bagehot: “I hardly know whether I am really a subject for congratulation or no, but I hope that I have done right in taking my present office. I hope I may get the chance of a quiet talk with you when the confusion and skurry of the present are over. How I pity any one who has to undertake the Colonial Office with no previous knowledge of it. Chaos would be a trifle compared to what he would pass through.”
On 7th February appeared in the Economist the first of four articles on the change of ministry. Mr. Gladstone had been in for six years from 1868; then Mr. Disraeli took his place as Prime Minister, and likewise reigned for six years, Mr. Gladstone returning in 1880.
“The Conservative Majority” is the first of these four articles. “For the first time for nearly thirty years there is the prospect of a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. It requires more thought than we have as yet had time to give to realise a state of things so new and so different from that to which we have been so long accustomed. We shall only hazard for the present one or two isolated remarks.
“First, if one party or other must hold power with a small majority, the Conservative is the better of the two. In the first place its majorities are more to be relied upon. The Liberals, being a movement party, want to move in various directions, and it is difficult to induce them to keep together; but as the Conservatives wish to go nowhere, they are not tempted to diverge. The Liberals are, too, a much more various body by class, education, and character than the Conservatives, though the diversities among the latter are increasing. The opinions and votes of Liberals differ more than those of Conservatives because the men differ more. In consequence, a Conservative majority of twenty is a far better thing for the business of the country than a Liberal majority of the same number, for the Government can always be sure that its majority will attend and support it. Secondly, if the Liberals have only a small majority, the working of the constitution is dependent on the Irish Home Rulers. Nothing is stronger than its weakest part, and as the Home Rulers count as part of the Liberal majority, that majority is apt to be weakened, or perhaps annihilated, by its secession. But a Conservative majority is in no similar danger. It does not depend on Home Rulers at all. The worst that they can do is to vote against it in conjunction with all the other Liberals, but even if they do so the Conservative majority outnumbers them, and is a majority still. A Conservative Government is not intrinsically to be desired, but at least it delivers us from the rule of the faction which is anti-English in essence, and which wishes to destroy the Empire.”
In the Economist of 14th February, 1874, Bagehot reviews Mr. Gladstone’s Ministry:—
“Most Governments since 1832 have been deficient in the essence of a Government—power. They have not been backed by a sufficient majority to enable them to do what they liked; sometimes they have not had a majority at all; generally they have had only a ‘working majority,’ as it is called—a majority that is, enough to enable them to transact the common work of Parliament, but not enough to enable them to enact their own ideas or to propose large reforms adverse to great interests. There have, indeed, been only two Governments of immense power since 1832. The first is the Whig Government which followed the Reform Act of that time; and that was no doubt a Government which achieved much, and which has a great name in history. But Mr. Disraeli long ago pointed out its defect: it was not ‘presided over by a guiding and original mind’. Lord Grey belonged to a past period; he represented a great tradition, but he was not a great reality. When he passed the Reform Act his special work was almost done. Lord Althorp was a country gentleman of strong character, but he had no great abilities, and had no taste for office, and wished, as he said, that he was ‘back among his pheasants and his fowling-piece’. The influence of Lord Russell, defective as it was, did not begin to predominate till the omnipotence of the Whigs was passed; before he ruled, the Conservative reaction of those years had begun. In consequence the efforts of the Whig Cabinet of 1832 wanted effect and unity; they were often most excellent, but they were never so impressive as they ought to have been, and they are now most insufficiently borne in mind because they did not emanate from, and were not associated with, a single mind of vast vigour and ability. The commanding element in life and history is a great person. One Napoleon is worth fifty common generals; he can do far more, and what he does will be infinitely better remembered. No Cabinet can effectually rule this country if it is a Cabinet only—if it is not itself ruled by a great Prime Minister. The element of greatness nobody will deny to Mr. Gladstone’s Government. Any time this five years it has been easy to hear almost every kind of criticism on Mr. Gladstone; it is particularly easy now when everybody is finding out that they have always been Conservatives. But no one ever hinted that on a great subject, and when his mind was made up, he did not carry his Cabinet before him, and penetrate their policy with his peculiar personality.
“The only other Government of similar power since 1832 is that of Sir Robert Peel, which succeeded the election of 1841. This Government was followed by a great majority, and ruled by a great Prime Minister; but it was utterly weak in another way—it had no characteristic measures, and is now known by uncharacteristic measures. It was elected to maintain Protection, and it abolished Protection; to maintain the Corn Laws, and it abolished the Corn Laws. Except the Bank Act of 1844, which is an outlying matter, the Government of Sir Robert Peel is known only by its recantations. A first-rate Government embodies in acts and laws the principle of a preconceived policy, but Sir Robert Peel’s Government abandoned its own previous policy and adopted that of its adversaries.
“In this respect the Government of Mr. Gladstone is indisputably superior. It has, as everybody admits, been faithful to the principles which it announced. A single mistake in the Education Act is the sole exception which can even be fancied. The Government entered office with a list of congenial measures, and it passed these and others.
“The result of our comparison therefore is that the administration of Mr. Gladstone is much superior to all others since 1832, save two, in force and power; and that to one of these two it is superior in possessing a suitable great man, and to the other in having passed suitable great measures. When posterity compares the two, it will probably say that Mr. Gladstone is not by several degrees so great an administrator as Sir R. Peel, but that he is by at least as many degrees a greater orator. To equal or rival Mr. Gladstone’s Budget speeches we must go farther back, to those of Pitt, and the remains of Pitt’s speeches are too fragmentary to enable us to say what was their merit in comparison. Neither Sir Robert Peel nor Mr. Gladstone can of course be put in the first order of statesmen; both their careers have one fatal fault; they were converted assailants—they ended by enacting what they began by opposing. But Mr. Gladstone has been far more fortunate. Sir Robert Peel, by changes of opinion, twice destroyed his party and Government; but Mr. Gladstone has never destroyed either, and lived to enact his truest and best ideas with the approbation of our strongest recent party and the aid of our strongest recent Government. But in another respect Sir Robert Peel was far happier. He left a school of able and attached political pupils; but, whether from difference of time or character, Mr. Gladstone will leave none. When he retires there will be no Gladstonite, though there were Peelites for so many years.”
Of the new Conservative Government Bagehot writes, in concluding an article in the Economist of 21st February, 1874:—
“If its policy be good, it will last long; if its policy be foolish, its end may not be far off. A policy of unmixed Conservatism is contrary to the irresistible conditions of life. There is a special cause in politics requiring change. One generation is, without ceasing, passing away, another is coming on to take its place—the new generation and the old differ in innumerable particulars. They think different thoughts, use different words, live a different life. The mere externals—the gait and dress and the houses of the two—are unlike, and, therefore, their politics cannot be the same. Changes in laws, changes in administration, changes in policy are incessantly requisite; the old laws, the old administration, the old policy, will not fit ‘the new men,’ will annoy and irritate them, and will be cast off with speed and anger.”
The last of the four mentioned articles is on “The Structure of the New Government”.
“Mr. Disraeli’s Cabinet is remarkable,” he writes, “in one respect because it is the smallest of late years. It has only twelve members whereas Mr. Gladstone’s had at various times either fifteen or sixteen, and we think some others have had as many. The smaller number was much more in accordance with the old custom of the Constitution, and Mr. Disraeli has been much praised for returning to the former practice.”
Bagehot’s interest in theological questions was kept alive in several directions in the winter of 1874-75. When dining with Mr. Knowles, the Hon. Secretary of the Metaphysical Society, he made the acquaintance of Bishop Colenso. On December Mr. Greg read a paper at a meeting of the Society on “Revelation,” which formed subject for private discussion between Bagehot and him. Sir FitzJames Stephen read a paper at the meeting of 12th January which treated “of a theory of Cardinal Newman’s as to believing in mysteries”. On this occasion Mr. Gladstone was in the chair. The famous controversy between Cardinal Newman and Mr. Gladstone on the “Vatican Decrees” was taking place at that time. The latter had written his first pamphlet on the subject, and a long account of Dr. Newman’s answer to it, framed in a letter to the Duke of Norfolk, appeared in The Times.
In The Times on the 15th of January appeared Gladstone’s letter to Lord Granville resigning the leadership of the Liberal party in the House of Commons, and on the following day appeared Bagehot’s article in the Economist on his resignation.
“In one respect Mr. Gladstone is unique. Many statesmen have written books in retirement, and some have ostentatiously commended it. But ordinarily those books are tame and those commendations forced. Now that they feel no longer the excitement of the Senate or of office, all else seems tasteless to them, and you can trace that langour in every phrase they utter. But no one can say this of Mr. Gladstone. His writings in retirement may or may not be too many; they may or may not be models of style; but no one can say that they do not show the keenest interest in their subjects. If he writes in the Quarterly, you wonder at the unusual vigour of the anonymous contributor; if he writes on the ‘Vatican Decrees,’ you admire the minute research and the zeal of disputation which no divine can surpass. In Homeric criticism his eagerness is almost greater: it has long been said of him that he ‘cared as much about the sons of Priam as if they had votes on a division,’ and, in fact, he can pursue, with elastic energy, inquiries which most bookworms would call tedious. And in all this exceptional earnestness there is not a vestige of affectation. It is the simple expression of an intense nature, which singular to say is both variable and concentrated, which pours itself in a hundred pursuits, but which for the time being is absorbed in each.
“This is the real explanation of Mr. Gladstone’s resignation. He can withdraw into comparative retirement, because he can be absorbingly occupied in retirement. If he hears from a distance the din of Parliamentary battle, he is not overpowered with melancholy musing; his compensations are at hand; his study is no place of calm to him, for it is alive with ‘hot thought’ and rings with controversies for which he cares.
“That Mr. Gladstone has judged wisely for himself in resigning the leadership of the Liberal Party we cannot doubt. There can be little pleasure in leading that party in its present state, and there must be much vexation. It will be impossible to please everybody, and easy not to please anybody. The toil of attending Parliament merely to ‘watch the proceedings’; to sit opposite to a Government in anxious hope that it may make some mistake, and with little to say if it does not; to detect errors in figures and poke amendments into clauses,—is an excellent training for young members, but a dismal employment for a finished statesman. In Mr. Gladstone’s case it would be particularly melancholy, for it would be a striking contrast to his own Government. After just having achieved much of which even those who question the policy do not doubt the greatness, it would be pitiable to be occupied for session after session in framing minute criticism on measures of which those who approve the object cannot deny the mediocrity. . . .
“The Liberal Party is, by admission, divided: what some wish others reject; what some think an indispensable good others think an irreparable calamity. And many expect Mr. Gladstone to discover the word of the enigma, the measure which is to bring them together. But he cannot do so at this moment, nor can anyone else. Such measures must ‘grow’; they cannot be made. A new race of ideas must be formed. Long controversies and many agitations will be necessary before the Liberal Party will be united upon a single plan, and before the nation will be prepared to accept it of them.
“If anything should happen to the present Prime Minister, and if Mr. Gladstone perseveres in retiring, two great parties in the State will be left with what in the cotton market would be called ‘best middling’ statesmen and with no others. And we believe that the effect will be to make politics as a study less elevating and less instructive to the English people than they have been used to find it. The spectacle of the contentions of first-rate men on subjects which the many care for is the best and almost the only way of bringing home to the many what high mental ability really is, and how completely they are themselves destitute of it. What such men do by intentional benefit is less instructive than that which they confer by the unintentional spectacle of what they are. This it appears likely we may before long much want. As a contemporary of Pitt and Fox said when they had passed away, ‘We are left with pigmies whom we know to be pigmies, because we have measured them with giants’.”
In the autumn of 1874 the Bagehots travelled in France, visiting Veveys, Clermont in Auvergne, Royat, Mont Dore, Vichy. While at Vichy Walter heard of Monsieur Guizot’s death. His funeral took place on 15th September at Val Ricker, near Lisieux, where the Bagehots had visited him. From Vichy Bagehot sent an article on him for the Economist. “The announcement of the death of M. Guizot will take the minds of many back to the cold February evenings in 1848, when London, long used to political calm, was convulsed by a new excitement, when we heard cried in rapid succession, ‘Resignation of Guizot,’ ‘Flight of Louis Philippe,’ ‘Proclamation of the Republic,’ and when the present chapter of European politics began. M. Guizot lived to see many events and many changes, but none which restored him to pre-eminence, or which made him once more a European personage. His name was never cried in the London streets again.” Bagehot goes on to say how unlike M. Guizot was to the idea which English people form of a Frenchman. “ ‘A Puritan born in France by mistake,’ is the description which will most nearly describe him to an ordinary Englishwoman. . . . The French national character is much more various than it is supposed to be according to common English ideas, and the stern variety which M. Guizot represents is one of the most remarkable.”
[Page 412, line 18,]for Wolner read Woolner.
[Page 413, last line,]for Saville read Savile.
[Page 430, line 14,]for muted read mooted.
[1 ] Ruskin had some years previously given over his London property in Marylebone to Miss Octavia Hill, who had carried on the management of it on enlightened lines. Her sister Miranda had started the Kyrle Society, and both sisters held that to bring some beauty into the lives of the poor was no less a duty than to supply their material needs. In one courtyard in Marylebone Road they instituted May-day festivals. The houses round the court were dull and ugly-looking enough. Miss Hill planned an alleviation to this dullness in the form of a frieze of De Morgan tiles, beautiful in colour, meaning, and design, which should run round the courtyard on the front of the houses. One sunny morning she and I went to Chelsea to the old-fashioned house in Cheyne Row where Mr. De Morgan then lived and worked, to choose the decoration for this May-day festival court. We walked through the house and the workshops into the little garden where stood the one solitary kiln in which were burnt tiles and vases, epoch-making treasures in the history of English pottery. There we arranged with Mr. De Morgan for the making of the frieze. In those days he little thought of being a writer of novels.
[1 ] The Fortnightly Review, 1st April, 1880.
[1 ] John Langton Sanford, Barrister-at-Law, Lincoln’s Inn, was the author of “Studies and Illustrations of the Great Rebellion, Estimates of the Kings of England, from William the Conqueror to George III.,” and in conjunction with Mr. Meredith Townsend a series of papers which appeared first in the Spectator entitled “The Great Governing Families of England”. Mr. Sanford was preparing an important historical work when his eyesight failed and it was never written. He died shortly after Walter Bagehot.