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ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOKMEN., Issue 10423, 18 September 1897, Supplement
ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOKMEN.
Ai?se of Yesterday. By Marion Crawford. Macmillan and Co., London (per Braithwaite).
This novel is by no moans up to Crawford's average work. The j>rincipal blemish is that the author becomes too much of the essayist, and the plot is therefore overloaded with disquisitions on the American divorce laws, Socialssm, and like subjects that should be discussed in the pages of magazines, in the columns of the PreßS, or in the pulpit. Mr Crawford is particularly strong on the Bacrednesa of the marriage tie, but unnecessarily pessimistic when he declares that if the easy-made divorco of the States becomes genera), " the old significance of the word marriage will be quite lost before our great-grandchildren are dead ; in other words, by the end of the next century at the furthest." As the foreign element of America becomes absorbed and the advantages of national education are extended among its people the dangers to the national life will be diminished. Healthier politics and cleaner living are some of the blessings that will assuredly flow from the men and women of the next century having a better knowledge than their parents of the highest types of morality. " A struggle, the like of whioh has not been seen since the beginning of the world," may come, but the heavy battalions will be on the side of those who will fight for the maintenance of the divinely-created institution of the pure home, and with them will be the victory.
Fordhavi's Feud. By Bertram Metford. Ward, Lock, and Co., London (per Wise.)
Philip Orlebar, the only son of a baronet, is very susceptible to female charms, and falls an easy prey to a pretty face. He might have married happily and lived to a green old age had he recognised the worth of a true woman when he found her. Alma Nozatt was the only woman he truly loved, though he played with the affections of several, and he could have won her had he possessed any strength of character. But he was like clay in the pottei's hands when he came under the influence of Philip Fordham, whom he chose for his guide, philosopher, and friend when he went mountaineering on the Continent. A more thorough-going fiend than this same Philip has never been evolved out of any novelist's inner consciousness. The plot that he conceives for paying off old scores with Orlebar's father, who robbsd him of his wife, is quite Satanic, and its denouement tragic in its intensity.
Interdependence of the Empire in Regard to Naval Defence. Robertson and Co., Melbourne.
In this little brochure Lieutenant Biddlecombe, of the Victorian Navy, who, by the way, is related to the late Sir George Biddlecombe, Master of the Baltic Fleet in 1854, j under Sir Charles Napier, deals effectively ' with his subject, which New Zealanders should learn, mark, and inwardly digest, as, owing to our insular position, the matter discussed by the author is of the utmost importance to us. Interdependence means simply cutting off, or, in other words, the iloet of Federated Australia acting independently of tho British Admiral. We all' know that powerful minds are the most difficult to control, and there are without doubt responsible politicians in some of the colonial Legislatures who think that the proposed Dominion should have control over defence, unfettered by directions from My Lords of the Admiralty. In fact, like the late Lord John Russell, they reg-ird themselves as quite competent to assume command, hoist their flags, and direct naval operations agaiust an enemy ! Just now enthusiasm for Imperial Federation is at its height in theae colonies, and our own Premier has in all probability come back full of nostrums and suggestions for the future management of our military and naval forces. But the vital question is : How can we best defend ourselves from raiders? What is the first axiom of the British Admiral' To find out the whereabouts of the enemy's fleet and to bring about its destruction. Can that be doue better by concentrated command or otherwise ? Only one answer is possible. There must be no division of command ; the British Admiral must always be supreme in British waters. Earth hunger among the nations appears to be as much the rage at the end as it was at the beginning of the century. Germany, France, and Russia have now bases in Eastern waters, within, let U3 say, forty or fifty days' steaming. Assume for a moment that each of tho colonies of the Australasian group constituted a separate naval command, each and all independent of the British Admiral. Would these small, scattered divisions of the fleet be able to guard our coast line or protect our commerce ? New Zealand would then certainly be a tempting morsel for strategetie purposes against the Australian colonies, as all authorities agree. Auckland is the key to the Pacific, and Germany having followed in our footsteps in New Guinea and South Africa, and more recently in China, the outlook should be faced by a federal movement for united defence. A strong, effective fleet of first clasß cruisers as our first line of defence at once suggests itself. The next consideration is: Do we pay our fair proportion to accomplish this end 1 At present the joint contribution of the colonies to Imperial naval defence is £269,ooo—hardly sufficient to provide one first class . cruiser. And yet we expect the Mother Country to do everything for us in tho "shape of external defence. Authorities are agreed and enough has been written on the subject—that a largo expenditure on stationary forts, to the detriment of moving forts, is wasteful and comparatively useless. Moving forts, in the shape of cruisers, must always be of paramount importance. So perfect has become the Intelligence Department of the Imperial Navy that the Admiralty nowadays knows more about the movements of i the Continental squadrons than do the local I authorities. At any moment Britain may be plunged into war with a Continental Power, and we must be prepared for any emergency. | If AustralianFederationis to be accomplished defence must be a prime factor, and the establishment of a naval reserve, with a guardship here and another there for drilling purposes, would be a great encouragement to our youth, besides acting as a feeder to the combinations of the central command. The British Empire has been built on the foundations of Britain's commerce, and her colonies must sink or swim with her. Mr Wilson's words (written in reference to Trafalgar Day) to the Navy League are pregnant of meaning. The importance of Trafalgar is greater to-day than when Lord Xelson died. The Empire has had time for peaceful expansion. But for Trafalgar India and the colonies would now be ruled by other hands, and Her Majesty the Queen would have been the Sovereign of a small State instead of the head of a vast Empire, herself. . . . The danger that prolonged peace aud prosperity may cause men to forget that omnipotence of our national existence is an unanswerable reason why the Queen's subjects should remember Trafalgar Day and the lessons that it taught us. The vast commerce of the Empire needs the maintenance of an all-powerful navy, the expenditure on which is actually equivalent to an insurance fund. Let it not be forgotten that towards this enormous expenditure—this year it amounts to £20,000,000 theae self-governing colonies contribute just one-seventy-fifth part. The balance (seventyfour - seventy-fifths) is paid by the taxpayers of Great Britain. Don't let us be lulled into thinking that we possefs a security that we have not.
The August number of the 'Windsor' ought to find its way into the hands of all lovers of cricket, as it contains an instalment of the work on cricket which Prince Ranjitsinhji is writing for 'Blackwood's.' Other contributions that will repay perusal are Mr Hydcs's interview with George Grosmith, Kleckmann's paper "on 'The Cooperators at Work in London,' and Mr Hailey on photographing racehorses. No publisher would take Rider Haggard's first book, and he had to pay for the production of it himself. • She' was written in six weeks. Mr Haggard, unlike most sensational writers, has never kept a note book. He dictates all his work to a typist, but not until he has already written out the story in his own handwriting. Anthony Hope Hawkins being asked if he would write a book on America after hie reading tour through, the States in the fall, answered :—" Not if you treat me well over there. Indeed, I will be there toolonpto write my impressions. I understand that no traveller ever writes a book who stays in
a country more than a week, and I will be in America three montbß at the least." The new story-which Mr H. B. Marriot Watson is writh'g for 'Harpnrs' will be a tale of adventure oil Stevensonian lines. ' The New Zealand Cricketers' Annual for 1897' is to hand. It has, besides records of the various clubs during the past season, reports of the New Z -aland Cricket Council, well written and impartial accounts of the Queenslanders' and Australians' tours, and the whole of the interprovincial series of matches. A. B. Williams aud Arthur H. Fisher are rightly selected as thu year's champions in their respective departments. Messrs Abel, Dykes, and Co , of Auckland, are to he complimented on the excellence of their work.
_ We have received the annual report of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia for 1896-97. In the introduction, after mention is made of the fact that the society was the first federal institution in Australasia, having embraced Fiji within its jurisdiction in 1886, we are told that
A very wide field of vigilance and activity is open to this society. Not only so, but much labor and expense must of necessity be entailed, both m providing the requisite life-saving appliances and in diffusing information for restoring the apparently dead from drowning, hanging, lightning, cold, heat, noxious vapors, apoplexy, or intoxication, regard also being had to suggesting the simplest remedies in case of sunstroke, snakebite, and other accidents peculiar to these colonies ; to which have been added rules for the pntection of life from fire. The vital statistics of the Australasian colonies show that the number of deaths from accidental causes is very consioerable, and to avert such, or even a small proportion of them, is the aim of the society. This society has alreadydealt with 1,653 cases, and made 1,221 awards for saving or attempting to save life.
In view of these facts, the society have a right to expect cordial and liberal support from all the colonies. We note that, in the hope of encouraging pupils in our public and privato schools' to become proficient both in the theoretical and practical knowledge of life-saving from drowning, the Board of Directors have decided to offer medals and certificates for annual competition. This year the Queen's bronze medallion, a silver medallion, and two certificates are announced for campetition. A woman visiting the State prison at Sing Sing, New York, not long ago, asked the warden what book from the institution's library was most popular among the convicts. His answer was: "By long odds, Charles Reade's 'Never Too Late to Mend.'" Says the ' Philadelphia Press,' in commenting upon this: " The very title of tho work implies hope as to restoration of a loat manhood, and its other readers will remember that it deals with the ultimate prosperity of one particular felou. Surely Charles Reade would have desired no greater tribute to his ' Never Too Late to Mend' than that bestowed upon it by the Sing Sing prisoners." It is ten years since Mr Bellamy's short socialistic romance, 'Looking Backward,' succeeded in interesting and amusing the public. And now the author hns been illadvised enough to write a sequel, entitled 'Equality.' In the interval he has been taken very seriously indeed, and has quile ousted the former reputation of Mr Henry George as the American social theorist par excellence. So Mr Bsllamy now feels that in ' Looking Backward' he was not able "to get in all I wished to say.-' That is, indeed, a terrible ideal for a writer. Who that ever started with the divine inspiration, or even only a cacoethes scribendi, has aspired to put " all that he wanted to say" into one book ? Regretfully we have to come to the conclusion that Mr Bellamy did put in practically all that most people will want ti read. ' Looking Backward' was short and suggestive and sketchy. ' Equality,' with its long-winded and rather amateur discussions of political economy in all its most dismal bearings, reminds one of nothing so forcibly as Mr W. J. Bryan's 600 speeches on tho silver question. There is altogether too much powder in the jam this time. One or two uew things we learn about Mr Bellamy's Utopia. In 2000 a.d. the women all wear rational dress, and, as a consequence, the then man has an entirely new " view-point" of the then woman. It made Mr Julian West (the mesmerised survivor from the nineteenth century) blush; so we suppose it will be something very important. When he first grasped the "viow-point" he flushed for shame ; but wild horses will not drag from him the reason why. Then Mr Bellamy has one complete surprise for us in the cJotheß line. In 2000 A.D. they don't wash. This may sound rather reactionary; but the reason is that all clothes are made of a sort of paper, and, once soiled, they are burnt. In fact, the Utopians take a wrinkle from the Chinese idea of a pocket-handkerchief. Carpets and upholstery generally follow the same rule ; and the rooms are all made with tiled or other hard-fiuished surfaces, so that a hose can be turned on to clean ceiling, walls, and floor. It is a comfort to think that there is some use left for soap and water. Mr Bellamy does not tell'us that any method has been devised by which the human body shall no longer require tubbinc. On the contrary, public baths are kept open day and night all the year round, and the future American public sports itself habitually in salt water. We are not told how the water agrees with the paper bathingdresses, nor, indeed, whether the future American gentlemen or ladies wear such antiquated superfluities at all. Perhaps the "view-point" hall something to do with that. Then they have all become vesetarians in diet. No more flesh food. There is."a scientitl. system of alimentation," supplied by the botanists and chemists; and the physical product is a very superior being indeed. In fact, there is ho plain woman or undeveloped man in this forward community. Some of these points may perhaps arouse discussion on Mr Bellamy's new book; but the elaborate essays on the theoretioal side of his socialism are only a bore. The fact that Mr Bellamy makes his school children of the future ho pat with question and answer in political economy, and so exceedingly priggish and conceited in their criticisms of these effete times, does not impress us (' St. James's') with an unqualified desire to leap a century and asaociace with them.
■ Our London correspondent'writes as follows under date July 23 : The new edition of Mr Gisborne's ' New Zealand Rulers and Statesmen/published this week, brings that work up to date, and contains some frank but not ill-natured appreciations of Mr Seddon and his associates. Many of the remarks about the Premiers seem singularly shrewd, and will be confirmed by those who have been privileged to meet the right hon. gentleman in England. It is, for instance, most true that Mr Seddon shows to little advantage when making speeches. If he would be brief his inflated and often incoherent style wouldn't matter, but the longer he goes on the more intoxicated he becomes with his own verbosity, aud the more tiresome to listen to. The Anglo-colonial community in London have compared him wonderingly with Mr Waid, whilst they thanked Providence for Mr W. P. Reeves. The Agent-GeneraL sutlers, like the Premier, from a tendency to prolixity; but he's interesting, and often eloquent, on great occasions, and witty and generally felicitous on small ones. Mr Gisborne says : Mr Seddon, _ as leader of the House, has not learned the difficult art of governing men iu the management of two opposing parties. He concedes too much to his own side and too little to the other. When he is angry—which is not often, for he is good-natured and placable-he runs round the Opposition benches like Talus with an iron flail. He hates to be thwarted. He knows what he wants, and is not happy till he gets it. Naturally rather autocratic and domineering, circumstances have tended to confirm him iu a habit so often fatal to Premiers. He has lost within the last year, by death and retirement, three leading members of his Ministry, and has practically been during the session of 1896, in addition to Premier (quite enough for an ordinary man), his own ColoP. 1 ? 1 Treasurer and his own Minister of Public Works This plurality of Seddons in the Cabinet naturally lead him to think, if not to say with Like Mi- Gladstone, Mr Seddon is a devourer nf work He does not, however, devote his spa™ half-hours to stud es of Homer. versifiVaHnn « Horace, or lucubrations of Locke. He KtoLi! own business; but out of mere exuberancea?a sessional pastime, he fires off, to the Pallerv a w fantastic fads in the shape of Bills titles, which are meant for show and not f£ lnue and, fortunately for all concernedl do nnt .„! "seif they, ever reach, second Sr tl" T> relaxation Mr Seddon turns up fresg'and to his ordinary work of a political Ceromi*'three statesmen at once," with^ B i n Kr appetite for more. WhateverfaultsV^£ ble progressive, prudent policy W d sound finance,
ToMr Reeves Mr Gisborne is fairly flatter* lng. He says : ■ Mr Reeves is considered by some to be oninionf^M? 1 ?* an ? not conciliatory. These are S T?T oft F n Been " clever youths, and 6 U i lf » o h E h ? S thfem ' h f wiU - n ° doubt/soon A?^ e bec ? ffl fs oWer and more expertSS^ri^- 86^ ,s nd of I!t «rature, andTs a good wnter and-a.. eloquent speaker. He is a lU,wl3n«dAnI U ,wl3 n « d A n ."J? vancd Liberal in the wuse of Labor and State Socia ism ; and iudeed Wwkt he has written and spoken'on th«e fubShis hv Z S Tn m^ en f a l ly wtth thSated E? p&I? K Us t° hls , O PP He ieldonTfaib tL cJm be '& . a PP la ,»Be. His retirement from the fceddon Min-stiy has left a gap which has greatly, weakened it. and which ft wMbe ver? adc ICU ""l ,oSsiWe . for MrSeddon to fill Of Mr John M'Kenzie Mr Gisborne says : He is a, very good Land Minister. The one object of his heart is to have land occupied by real settlers and to get rid of mere speculators. His wish is to inscribe j„ \ etteTS over th door of every laud office:~ " Death to Dummyism, Life to .Settlement. He speaks rapidly, and with a strong accent. His speeches are, on the whole attentively listened to, and though often provocative of luterruptions, are sensible and sincere. Me has worked hard, and to a considerable extent successfully, in the administration of his land policy.
ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOKMEN., Issue 10423, 18 September 1897, Supplement
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