« AnteriorContinuar »
another sort, arising from a different was that in enriching it he at the same cause, and, in our opinion, of a very time made it fixed and enduring. But threatening character.
he could not endow it with strength to France, for more than a century, has resist the fluctuations of political been in a permanent state of feverish power. This very wealth constitutes unrest. She is permeated with a leaven an attraction for the covetous and of discord which causes her govern- source from which to draw in case of ments to be uncertain, unsettled, and need. Is the Institute necessarily of short duration. An orator in Parlia- closed field? May not other classes ment well expressed this one day when, pass the elastic boundary which has in a moment of sincerity, he said: "The successively been opened or shut to adpresent régime is of perpetual mit new classes or eliminate them? change.” The past is no guarantee for Even at the present moment two satelthe future; the cruellest things are lites are gravitating around it: the done; injustice and wrongdoing have Academy of Medicine and the National borrowed the mask of legality, and in Agricultural Society. Both have fairly the name of the law people have been close connections with the governpillaged and massacred. The same ment; might not the latter widen the may occur again. In the past, noisy doorway in order to admit them? and unscrupulous minorities have And, if this were done, is it certain that seized the reins of power and prepared the Institute would keep entirely the the way for the advent of despotism, place assigned to it by the prince in his and can any one say we shall not see generous designs? All these questions them again-that the mob would not present themselves when one examines now listen to and follow them?
the consequences which may The Institute of France, consisting of pectedly result from political changes, the five Academies, was not created by or from embarrassments caused by an the convention, as has been said. Be- impending crisis. fore the convention there
six If politicians were able to abolish the Academies, all of which were dissolved six old Academies by a stroke of the in 1793, and when, two years later, the pen, they may just as easily do away, Convention tried to re-establish them one of these days, with the present In- . under the name of the Institute, it only stitute and its five Academies. In allowed three of the old Academies to France the learned societies have alform part of the new body. It is there ways been an object of suspicion on the fore misleading to try to make it ap- part of the government, either because pear that the late duke, in endowing it has feared the influence wielded by the present Institute, desired to attach those intellectual centres, or because it his gift to the Convention's narrow and has met with resistance when it has paltry scheme. The Convention put tried to thrust upon them its nominees. aside the Académie Française on the Fear and wounded vanity-no other plea that elevation of character, intel- motives are needed by the powers that lectual worth, poetry, eloquence, and be to commit an act of violence. And genius were elements hostile to the once the Institute suppressed, what spirit of the Revolution. This was the would become of the late prince's mag reason it offered for having suppressed nificent donation? It would revert to the company founded by Richelieu. the State. If an act of Parliament
Since 1795 until now the Institute has should be necessary, it would readily continued its way, not without heavy be passed by the force of the idea that trials, but on the whole with credit to the State alone is the legitimate guaritself and advantage to the community. dian and curator of the nation's treasThe Duc d'Aumale, in endowing it with ures. Always the raison d'Etat-more
quasi-royal appanage, wished to powerful in France than human reason. spare it further ordeals and settle to
Whatever else may be the destiny in some extent its destinies. His idea store for it, the Duc d'Aumale's dona
tion is none the less a great and gener- once glorious countries man has turned ous act, an act inspired by a broad and the forces of nature to the destruction sincere liberalism. It has nothing of his home. How far the desolation about it which is not in complete ac- and decadence, so manifest in every cordance with the known character of Mediterranean country from Spain to him of whom M. Edouard Hervé, a fel- Syria, is the fault of man, how far also low Academician of his, has said that a natural process, are questions hard he had “that pleasingly original capac- to settle in exact proportion, and still ity of sharing the ideas of the likely to be long under debate, but France while retaining all the courtli- there is no doubt of the co-operation of ness of the old régime ... Few men both destructive agencies. In the West (adds M. Hervé) could so well hold the human factor is the more obvious, their own with the best authorities on but as we go eastward the cosmic facthe most varied topics, or discuss with tor appears more plainly. Thus it is no such superiority any question of litera- longer a matter of speculation but of ture, art, military science." We geographical fact that a comparison of ourselves often saw him at the Agricul- maps of the Caspian twenty years ago tural Society of France, modestly pre- with those of today shows a lamentable siding over the Forest Cultivation Sec- shrinkage; vast spaces of what tion, upon whose discussions he used to then not only marsh but
blue bring to bear his wide practical knowl- water being now represented solely by edge. With his great good sense he ar- drifting sand. How this means for the ways succeeded in leading back the de- surrounding regions still hotter winds, baters, however divergent might be still scantier rainfall, need hardly be their views, to the common ground of explained. And though in this climatic general principles. France was not change the ancient cycle of “lean years wise enough to utilize his talents, and fat years” is discernible, record which were such as are rarely found and observation alike show how the united in one man, but the moral and evil accumulates, the lean ever devourintellectual inheritance left by him ing the fat. will not be lost as an example, and it How this advancing desiccation of will be more enduring than Chantilly Asia reacts upon Europe, alike in cliitself.
mate and in history, would need a volALPHONSE DE CALONNE.
ume to follow out, rather than a sentence; but broadly we may state the thesis that behind the personality of
the sultan, behind the disordered emFrom The Contemporary Review. pire, behind the puzzled politicians of CYPRUS, ACTUAL AND POSSIBLE.
the hour, behind the dramatic detail of A STUDY IN THE EASTERN QUESTION.
Armenian and Cretan, of Greek and Up from Larnaka, the port, to Nico- Turkish misery, there is going on now sia, the central capital, the journey, as of old the cosmic drama of geologic most of the way, is more desolate than and climatic change. We see how the beautiful. Yet before hurrying on, let peasant suffers from drought, but we us pause for a moment to interpret it. forget that the shepherd suffers even This desolation is the work not of na- more; and we shall better understanu ture but of man. That sea margin of the phenomenon of the oft repeated fenn swamp, that dry torrent bed, pastoral invasions throughout history, these barren hill slopes, these skeleton from the Kurds of yesterday, through hills, all go back for their explanation Turks and Huns and Tartars of old, to tbe always wasteful and often wan. back to still earlier immigrations-perton destruction of forests which has haps of our Aryan forefathers alsobeen the crime of almost every succes- when we see them driven from their sire race. Nowhere better can we see ancient, well-watered paradise-garden the lamentable way in which in these by the flaming sword of drought, the
pitiless arrows of the desert sun. And ever even resisted its foreign masters? as men's philosophy is the generaliza. Obviously it is because Crete is a laby. tion of their lives, their religion, rinth of mountain citadels, almost each their 'theology, express its ideals, we village having its natural hill fort-far see how there must needs have arisen too costly an aggregate to storm, even in the world two main classes of reli- for the six powers; whereas from this gious life-theories, active and passive, high centre of the Cyprus plain a small as well as of life-occupations. We garrison has always been able to domiunderstand better the active Aryan, nate the whole island, striking at will who would fain react against nature into the two isolated mountain ranges and conquer her, so that for Zoroaster glen by glen. For its own inhabitants he that plants a tree or digs a well Crete is more defensible than Rob fights with Ormuzd against the desert Roy's country; Cyprus, in the main, alAhriman; but we understand better most as little so as Egypt. also the passive submission to destiny Before us lies Nicosia, a miniature of the Oriental religions proper, as the Damascus, with its minarets and inevitable philosophy of the pastoral palms. At its western side, too, stands nomad, the resignation of the Arab a goodly mass of eucalyptus, and Asiatic overpowered by na pletely purifying the once-feverish city ture. The labor-ethic of Zoroaster moat, and showing what the island the carol of Hafiz, the death-song of might have been had Cypriote and Omar Khayyam are thus no mere lit- Briton alike during the last eighteen erary and individual contrasts, but the years given more thought to planting voices of an historic sequence of geo- and less to politics. The massive ranigraphic, economic, and social change. parts, the quaint labyrinthine streets, Each is, in its way, a classic, as the su- the goodly Venetian and Turkish preme expression of one phase or sea- houses, each with its glimpse of son of regional and national life. The caded court and its gleam of golden first gives the note of strenuous and oranges, the half-Oriental bazaar, the hopeful spring, the next recalls the rose stately cathedral-mosque, the ruined and nightingale of summer, but the Latin churches, the quaint Byzantine third crushes the last vintage of a land ones, the spacious gardens with their whose vines are uprouted by pastoral innumerable palms, give endless conquest, because also ruined by cosmic succession of pictures among which one fate.
might wander, or sketch, or photoMeantime a new landscape is open graph for many days. All possibie exing. We have crossed the hills, and the cursions conveniently radiate from this vast Messaorian plain lies before us, central strategic point.
The great with a noble sierra for its northern south road, for instance, takes us over wall. A palm-oasis lightens the hill and dale to Limassol, the second notonous foreground; around it lies a seaport of the island-indeed, the first group of strange little flat-topped hills, for some things-carobs and wine espescarped away by denudation from the cially. adjacent plateau, one capped with the Riding westward through the rich remnant of a megalithic citadel, the plain of Limassol, as well clothed as an Acropolis of an old king of Cyprus who English park, with rounded masses of paid his tribute to Assyria in Heze. the carob-tree amid level corn-land, we kiah's day. From a point like this we come to the ancient manor and tower of command the whole amphiti tre of Kolossi, whither the Templars Cyprus and understand almost at treated after their expulsion from the glance the historic contrast of Cyprus Holy Land, and whence they sailed to and Crete. Why should the Cretans re- moet their doom. At a glance one sees main half unconquered (that is, uncon- the secret of that sorcery whereby they querable) from Spartan days to the were said to amass the wealth which present hour, while Cyprus has hardly cost them so dear; it was the simple
agricultural art of shrewdly choosing of her living trees a deeper nature-lore soil and climate, of wisely managing than that which only dissects and claswater supply; in a word, whatever sifies again reveals to us the living their symbolism and ritual may have dryad, moving, breathing, light-discernbeen, their wealth-sorcery was that of ing, sensitive, so a deeper economics the irrigator and farmer, of the vine- and politics, a deeper and newer, yet yard and the olive-press.
older and simpler, social science-that To the matter-of-fact modern, espe- is social wisdom-than that of our cially to the boastingly practical man, party strife begins to appear; and we with his instinctive preference for il- see in these old fables and visions not lusory paper investments, all historic merely ancient poetry, ancient myassociations
suspicious, senti. thology, but ancient science, ancient mental, savoring of anything save per- truth. manent security and safe return. But Our every-day agricultural and ecohere, as everywhere else, the would-be nomic science often forgets that with economic Philistine is non-economic. agricultural things there go agriculFor on the least consideration these bis- tural thoughts, the one as real and as toric positions are justified; people pros- permanent as the other. But the more pered longest there, and so have left thoughtful comparative agriculturist is most mark; for it is surely where popu- wont to point out, for instance, how lation was most numerous and most the traditional turbulence of Corsica is rich that it could leave most tombs or associated with its chestnut forests and treasures, could best build temple or its impenetrable “maquis;" how the tower. Here or anywhere it is just misery of Sicily is almost as closely aswhere one ruling civilization after the sociated with the prickly pear as Irish other fixed itself, just where we find poverty with the potato; or how the the mark of Phænician priest or Greek useful carob, with its lavish yet irdespot, of Roman proconsul or Byzan. regular shower of coarse fruit without tine ruler, of medieval abbot or grand- labor, is the very tree of the prodigal. master, or where Turkish conqueror The associations of agriculture with has been followed in his turn by Greek social culture, and of both with spiritusurer, that your shrewd agricultural uality and cult, as this of Pallas and prospector, after keen scrutiny of soil her olive-tree, which to the Philistine and climate, of water and health, will even as scholar, seem mere old-world probably fix himself in turn, and often poetic fancies, are the very constants find the very strategic point of old the of social geography; permanent laws, best for market or port to-day.
that is, of human life, material, social, Farther on, above the pretty village and moral, throughout the Mediterof Episcopi, stands the noble Acropolis ranean lands. From one side has of ancient Curium, its temples shat started the living mythologist with his tered, its hippodrome now a long ellipse “Golden Bough,” from another indeof ruin amid returning natural forest, pendently sets out the thinking agriculits valleys filled with tombs. Past pic- turist and botanist with his social geog. turesque cliff and precipice and landslip raphy. But already they begin to goes the winding hill-path; above the meet; and both begin to see how, for endless pistacia-scrub rise thousands of the future as for the past, the longwild olives and wild carobs, each await- tended olives stand with the house of ing the grafter. Once amid all this peace, and how amid the deep-rooted wildness we find a little long-forgotten palms there is literally flowing, albeit grove of ancient olives, their silvery silently and to the surface view unseen, vesture, their undying youth full of the the water which bears the essential solemn beauty of the Holy Wisdom her- concrete possibility of restoring at self. For Pallas of the olive-grove is once material and social order, and no dead goddess, as they teach that with these the moral order also, of reknow of her only in books. As in each newing the sound social mind in sound
economic embodiment. In such ways medan tolerance with it, the more since both begin to understand the tradi- the first nomad conquerors are comtional sacredness of the palm-tree, and paratively few and mostly of simple to think out together how the palm- and temperate lives, and the social oasis became the holy city, the goal of struggle is thus abated for a season. pilgrimage, at length the prototype of But, as it returns, faith sours into fanatParadise. With water or irrigation goes icism, order becomes oppression, and ever the water of a bettered social and repression reverts to massacre. In the individual life.
natural Western protest against these, Nor need we stop short of practical however, the elemental facts of geopolitics. In town, where we see of the graphical economics are forgotten, their Eastern question only its daily urban ultimate developments in religion, discussion and detail, it may
government (and the degeneration of strange to think or speak, especially of these), are next interpreted as the initial the things townsfolk profess to settle, cause, and thus we get the common cruin terms of the thoughts and labors of sading speech and leading article. In the rustic year. But if the desired ways like this one comes to hunger less “Reforms," mean anything, they ad- for the morning newspaper, to think mittedly involve corresponding finan- less of anything powers or politicians cial reforms, fiscal reforms; and where may vote or say, but to see more and there are practically no manufactures, more clearly with Candide, “Il faut and commerce turns on agricultural cultiver son jardin.” And thus we go output, what can these reforms come home to Nicosia to buy and tend that down to but agriculture? So the first-seen palm-oasis, to reopen its Eastern Question is ultimately ruined wells, to mend its broken cisAgricultural Question. One main inep- terns; for here for Arab or Turk is the titude of the Great Powers has been old-world earthly paradise. But here, the agricultural ineptitude of their also, the Greek may find his olive and representatives, who have been diplo- plant his vine, the Persian his fig and matic or military, parliamentary or almond, the Jew adorn his simple feast journalistic, almost to a man. Their with citron and pomegranate, the Arfutility is but the common urban in- menian tend his grove of mulberries. capacity to govern agricultural popula- Around all these, too, there is room for tions, to deal with rustic questions. the roaming flock, the half-wild shep
Let us start afresh, however, from herd. Thus we may read, and, if it this most generalized aspect of the may be, write, in silent yet living and Eastern question as fundamentally eco- spreading symbol, what is so bard to nomic and agricultural; let us get back say in these days of futile word and to the source of its persistent antago- bloody deed, that the future of the nism of races and religions in the im- East lies not in the struggle, not in the memorial duel of nomad and sedentaryvictorious or beaten isolation of its con. of shepherd and peasant. Thus we are trasted races, but in their co-operation ready to understand, in the mass or in as complementary races; not in the cou. detail, the reciprocal aggressions of flict, but in the synthesis, of its fragflock and field, and to study, in the mentary philosophies, in such union of jealous antagonism of the shepherd and labor and thought as may again literfield-watchman around the Cyprus ally lead from the ruined well its lifevillage, the "cellular pathology” of the giving waters, and melt also from these body politic.
frozen religions their imprisoned water With the advance of disforesting and of life. For wherever at this moment desiccation, of mutual impoverishment, two Easterns are quarrelling in their comes on the economic ruin of both. poverty, four or six or ten might soon In a terrible wave of conquest, the be co-operating in wealth and peace. philosophy and religion of destiny At once the actual cleansing and triumphs, yet the moment of Moham- opening of the ruined wells of our oasis