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the impossible invariably happened. The poor boy who defies the master of the workhouse school; the orphan illtreated by the grudging kindred with whom he has sought shelter; the cabin boy victimized by a whole ship's company, from the captain who engages him and then drives him to go ashore unpaid to escape blows, to the worthless shipmate who bullies him; the penniless, half-starved little wanderer in a strange land succored by a chance acquaintance, adopted by him and then deprived of his good offices at the moment when they are most needed; the forced enlistment, the dramatic incidents on the battle-field, capture and discharge, all these are the stuff of which novels are made, and he whose life includes any one of these details, must relate it carefully or be suspected of borowing from fiction. If to these be added the finding of Livingstone and the rescue of Emin, and the tale of years of exploration, and the return to England, the refusal to make money by African investments; the marriage in Westminster Abbey, the election to Parliament, the happy days in making a home for himself and the grandly submissive year of waiting for death-might not doubt be excusable? About half of "The Autobiography of Henry M. Stanley" now newly published was written to appear in that form, but the rest is taken from his journals and published books and is none the less his. The closing chapter describing his last illness, death, and burial is Lady Stanley's and is proudly yet touchingly written. Some pages of "Thoughts" taken from his note books, a good index and a map of Africa follow. Scattered here and there in the book are eleven portraits of Stanley himself, one of Lady Stanley, a view of the cottage in which he was born, of the workhouse of St. Asaph, of Furze Hill, his last home, and of his grave. The "In troduction," written by Stanley, is such
a piece of self-revelation as one does not often meet. He says that from having been the most loving of boys he has become so changed by experience that he can love but one in a million; that he has not been happy, but believes that he has finished the work that he was sent to do, and was not sent into the world to be happy or to search for happiness. If he were not happy, he was certainly honored by all men of science who could judge his work, but naturally England gave him only the poor reward of Knighthood, refused to accept his suggestions as to guarding and improving the treasure which he laid at her feet, for the asking idly gave it to continental neighbors, in one case at least because an Emperor was so much interested in the flora and fauna. That is England's little way. envy made him her prey almost from the moment when Mr. Gordon Bennett's frank full confidence in him was made known; he was insulted by all manner of statements as to his nationality, birth and young manhood, and when he triumphantly found Livingstone, there was as much abuse as praise in the shout that arose. In Parliament Stanley found his advice on African matters was as little heeded as that of Lord Roberts himself. Truly he had reason to confine his self-congratulation to the assertion that he had done that which he was sent to do. Of one thing, however, the man to whom Westminster was closed cannot be deprived. As long as English is read the story of his long, brave marches, his kindness to helpless nations, his refusal to accept the smallest share in the natural profit accruing from his work will give him a place among those whose lives speed boys on the straight road of duty and teach maidens what goals boys should be advised to seek. Houghton Mifflin Company.
As for the United States,
No. 3413 December 4, 1909
English Literature of To-Day.
By Austin Philips
1. Eight Months of President Taft. By Sydney Brooks
The United States Through Foreign Spectacles. By John T.
621 SPECTATOR 628 ATHENEUM 630
To the So-Called Venus of Milo. By Eugene Lee-Hamilton.. 578
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EIGHT MONTHS OF PRESIDENT TAFT.
March 4th in Washington was a day of snow and sleet and slush and harsh, tempestuous winds. It completely ruined what is never perhaps a very imposing or a very well-managed ceremony, the inauguration of a new American President. Yet from one standpoint there was a certain humorous propriety in the fury of the elements. If it was anything but a harmonious prelude to the reign of tranquility which Mr. Taft was expected to usher in, it was a not incongruous finale to a Presidency which even its friends admitted to have been belligerent, and which its enemies described as not less than convulsive. That Mr. Roosevelt's term of office should end in a blizzard seemed more natural than that Mr. Taft's should begin in one. From the latter America looked, first of all, for peace. I do not mean external peace-that was taken as a matter of course-but internal peace-peace between the White House and Congress, and between the President and the world of business and finance. After the excursions and alarms of the Roosevelt régime the people were prepared to listen to the calmer voice of reasoned persuasion. Mr. Roosevelt's sledge-hammer methods were doubtless suited to the conditions in which he found himself. The moral sense of America when he entered the White House was all but asleep, and organized wealth ruled the country. It is a fair contention that no agency less powerful than his stentorian voice and the proddings of his "big stick" could have awakened the one or dethroned the other. His policies, moderate in themselves, seemed revolutionary only because of the heat and combativeness with which he advocated them. Much of that heat was certainly temperamental; but much also was due to a
conviction that a milder and less sensational propaganda was doomed to failure. The movement Mr. Roosevelt initiated was primarily a moral, and not a social, political, or economic movement; and evangelists, as we know, are often obliged, like other folk, to beat a drum before they can collect an audience. To bring home to the minds and hearts and consciences of his fellow-countrymen the necessity of honesty in public and private life; of justice between class and class; of humanizing the relations between employer and employed; of asserting the supremacy of national over private interests, of enforcing obedience to the law upon rich and poor alike, and of rescuing the natural wealth and resources of the country from improvident exploitation-this was the great task to which Mr. Roosevelt addressed himself. It was not a task that could be accomplished by gentle ratiocination. It required for its successful performance a certain force and extravagance of language which Mr. Roosevelt, for his part, was only too ready to supply. Nor was it a task that could be carried through without a considerable disturbance of settled habits and encrusted standards. The President, no doubt, made that disturbance greater than it might have been by his slashing harangues and the vehemence of his attack. But that an upheaval of some sort there had to be if the millionaire and the Boss were not to rule America indefinitely seems to me incontestable. Now that the turmoil has subsided, pretty nearly all Americans appear to agree that Mr. Roosevelt's policies were fundamentally right; that he taught both the people and the plutocracy a much-needed lesson, and that he rendered American civilization a great and enduring serv
ice, first, in convincing the heads of the big corporations that they had more to gain by keeping within the law than by breaking it, by taking the public into their confidence than by conducting all their operations behind a veil of secrecy, and by abandoning illegal and dishonorable practices than by persevering in them; and, secondly, in creating a public opinion at once more sensitive to social and economic shortcomings and injustices, and more swift to condemn political and business methods that a decade ago were all but universally condoned.
There was a feeling, however, strongest, of course, in Wall Street, but discernible also among the mass of the people, that Mr. Roosevelt's too aggressive and spectacular tactics had served their turn, and that it was for Mr. Taft to continue the work of readjustment and reform with the minimum of disturbance to political and economic stability. The American people had no wish to see Mr. Roosevelt's policies either reversed or abandoned, but they hoped it might be possible to prosecute them with less violence and with greater regard for the nerves of the commercial world. They expected Mr. Taft to follow in his predecessor's footsteps, but more warily and with a less reverberant tread; to develop his policies, but less volcanically, with fewer outbursts, in a better temper, and with more dignity. The task was one eminently congenial both to the new President's views and to his personality, and the hope of America was that the moral upheaval which Mr. Roosevelt brought about with so much turmoil and friction might, under the mellower direction of his successor, bear fruit in legislation that would be passed and accepted unanimously. Everything seemed to favor Mr. Taft when he stepped into the White House. Both Houses of Congress were in the control of his party; there was a universal
disposition to accept his advent to office as the beginning of an era of confidence and good feeling; and he found ready to hand the atmosphere and the state of mind most propitious for the kind of constructive work in which he excels. He has, moreover, a reflective, probing, disentangling mind; he is strong, cautious, and serene; his mountainous geniality makes innumerable friends and no enemies; he is almost startlingly unprovocative; his gift of lubricating sagacity is precisely the gift most likely to ensure harmony between the White House and Congress; and he is thoroughly experienced in the work of administration., All this and the further fact that he himself subscribed to and had taken a large part in formulating the Roosevelt policies, pointed to his Presidency as a time of quiet, progressive, and valuable achievement. Anyone, indeed, knowing the speaker and his circumstances could have foretold the tone and substance of his Inaugural Address. It outlined a practical and unalarming programme in sober and restrained language. Mr. Taft began by endorsing the Roosevelt policies, and hinted at the measures which next month he will definitely ask Congress to pass for the purpose of clinching them. His stand on the Army and Navy in no way differed from his predecessor's. In what he said about reforming the currency and banking laws, about the Panama Canal, about ship subsidies, and about the use of injunctions in labor disputes, there was little or nothing that Mr. Roosevelt had not said before him. The main purpose of the Address was to reiterate the necessity of an immediate and effective revision of the Tariff, a problem which Mr. Roosevelt with more prudence than statesmanship had consistently passed by. It contained, however, three suggestions that were really noticeable. The first favored a graduated inheritance tax. The second