« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
the death-rate rises to twenty-three per thousand, a medical and sanitary inquiry of the district is prescribed by law, this mortality being considered due to some preventable cause. not be otherwise in Russia with a death-rate in thirteen of its central provinces of sixty-two per thousand. At a meeting of the Society of Russian Surgeons in 1885, it was expressly given as their opinion that this frightful mortality among the peasants is owing to a deficiency of food.
Professor Dragomanoff adds: “It is a very suggestive fact that Russia is the only country in the world possessing statistical records where the mortality is greater in the country than it is in the cities—the hygienic conditions of life and work in the open air being all in favor of the rural population. In England, for instance, the mortality is 38.8 per cent. higher in towns than in the country; in France, 24 per cent.; and in Sweden, 37 per cent. In Prussia, the difference is less than in any other part of Western Europe—7.1 per cent.; yet even there it is in favor of the villages. In Russia, there are fourteen provinces with a population as great as that of the Austrian Empire, and an area three times as large, in which the death-rate in the villages is higher than that of the towns. In the villages of the province of Moscow the mortality is 33.1 higher than in Moscow city; in the province of St. Petersburg, the difference is 17.5; in Kazan and Kieff, with more than 100,000 inhabitants each, the mortality is less by 37.30 per cent. than in the villages of their respective provinces. It is to be remembered, also, that the hygienic condition of these cities is wretched : more nearly allied to Asiatic than to European towns."
Another startling fact is that the official returns relating to recruits for the army, for the period from 1874 to 1887, published in 1886 by the Central Statistical Board, show that the number of able-bodied young men has decreased every year with appalling regularity. In 1874, when the law of universal military service was for the first time put in action, out of the total number of young people tested by the recruiting commissioners, 70.50 per cent. were accepted as able-bodied. The next year showed even a somewhat higher rate—71.50 per cent. of able-bodied men. But since that date the decrease has gone on
uninterruptedly. It was 69.4 in 1876. Then 69, 68.8, 67.8, 67.7, 65.8, 59.1, and finally in 1883, 59 per cent. This means a decrease of 12.50 per cent. in nine years in the number of ablebodied men among the flower of the nation—that is the youth of twenty years of age, of whom 85.25 per cent. come from the peasantry. These facts need no comment. There is only one explanation. Hunger and poverty have wrought fearful havoc among the rural population of Russia.
Here then is the new danger that threatens Russia. Russian patriots deplore the sad fate which has overtaken so many of their countrymen, but they tell us, with a frankness that is appalling, that the only hope that they now have for their country is that as the disintegration and ruin of the peasantry go on, as it seems sure that they will, the power of the hated dynasty which is on the throne will be so weakened that it will at last be itself involved in the ruin which it has brought on them.
Consider, Lord, the oppression of the oppressor,
The captive straineth at the dungeon-grate.
As snow between the bars of winter trees.
How long, oh Lord of Thunder ? As from afar we watch the progress of events, we cannot but repeat these words of the English poet from whom we have made this quotation : "How long, oh God of thunder ?”
WILLIAM L. KINGSLEY.
ARTICLE II.-MODERN FRENCH ÆSTHETICS.*
It is the fashion now-a-days to praise everything German at the expense of everything French. Even French art suffers from depreciatory comparisons. If a college graduate would study abroad his instructors cry out in chorus: “Go to Berlin.” So he goes; and returns to repeat the refrain: “Go to Berlin! Go to Berlin!”
Especially is the fashion strong in the matter of studies which fall under the general term “Moral and Mental Philosophy." Though the existence of an occasional atheistical, or free thinking, German erudite must be lamented; still all Frenchmen are, as is well known, shallow pated heathen, scatter-brained immoralists, or at best, but plausible hypocrites.
I am inclined to think that language has to do with this judgment. It is easier for the average Anglo-Saxon to acquire a useful, every-day knowledge of German than of French. It is very hard for him to twist his lips and twirl his tongue into the shapes and sizes required by French pronunciation. His nose, also, does not seem to possess the proper orifice for the essential nasal twang; while into German ordinary talk he slips with comparative ease. Moreover, German letters, with but few exceptions, have English sounds, and each letter holds its own in spelling even better than does its English equivalent.
Guizot, somewhere in his “History of Civilization,” advances the pompous boast that no idea becomes universal till France has accepted it and France has passed it round to the rest of mankind. That is putting it somewhat broadly. But I will say, from my own experience, that after reading, or trying to read, German metaphysikers and æsthetikers for years, and after giving the whole thing up in blank despair, I have found rest, comfort, and delightful refreshment in French authors and in French translations of German authors.
Well do I remember the winter I concluded it to be my duty to read Hegel in the original German. Every morning, bright and
* Read at the September meeting of the Social Science Association.
early, I would go at it with grim determination. Yet long before noon, I was filled with sullen despair, and met by the awful question, was I or was I not a born idiot. By chance, I heard that there was in New York a German doctor of philosophy of the name of Brandt who knew all about æsthetics inside and out. I wrote to Brandt and finally arranged to meet him twice a week. Brandt was one of the most learned and delightful gentlemen I ever met; but our Hegel lessons were a sight to be seen. Inside of half an hour he would be striding up and down on one side of the long table which fortunately separated us, scattering chairs and most vigorously and emphatically insisting that the text meant so and so; while I, from my side, mildly protested that neither Hegel in the past, nor he, Brandt, in the present, had the faintest notion of the difference between sense and nonsense. When the fight was over for the day, and the angry clouds had rolled by, it took several “ beers” to reconcile us, but we always parted the best of friends. I have a vague idea that I derived benefit from those discussions, though I could no more explain how than I could put a page of Hegel into simple English. Poor Brandt is dead. No instructor ever lived who left in the hearts of his pupils more tender and affectionate remembrance.
Some years ago a Frenchman of the name of Bénard conceived it to be his duty to give the French people a translation of Hegel, or rather of Hegel's lectures on æsthetics as “ herausgegeben” by one of his pupils named Hotho. Hegel himself left nothing in writing but his illegible notes; and among those who listened to his lectures there were about as many views as to what he had said, or had meant to say, as there were listen
Still Hotho was finally accepted as having had the best and the most attentive, if not the longest, ears.
Bénard's translation is delightful. Any child can understand it. He starts out with the amiable confession that he does not intend to translate literally; for the simple reason, he states, that an author's first duty to himself as well as to his readers is to write things readable. And then he goes on putting into perfectly clear and very excellent French the ideas which if Hegel did not have he at least, according to Bénard, ought to have had. So far as I can make myself acquainted with the