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foreign policy or doings of that unhappy crew, because, to tell you the truth, the subject is not a pleasant one. It is painful to reflect that England should be laughed at, even in the person of an incompetent representative; and when I think of Lord John Russell at a Congress pass we to something else.
As for domestic legislation, I cannot for the life of me remember any good measures in particular which the Whigs have introduced during the last five years. Lawyers tell me that their Acts are utterly unworkable in practice, and so contradictory as to give rise to more litigation than they allay; and they annually produced a considerable number of abortions to be summarily put to death towards the end of July or the commencement of August, when honourable members were beginning to think longingly of the moors. They always cut a sorry figure as financiers, which is not surprising when we reflect that their Chancellors of the Exchequer were men of the calibre of Wood and Lewis; but they had the singular good fortune to go out this Spring without having produced a budget, which probably saved them from some inconvenience and obloquy. Of their economy I can find no trace in the public accounts, which indeed tell a different tale; but I know that they have been most lavish in the creation of new offices, and have jobbed their patronage to the utmost. Other men have been substantially indebted to their Whig connections besides dear delightful Dowb.
And what is the moral of all this? Simply that no Liberal can honestly or in good faith identify himself with the Whigs. I don't care what the professions of that party may be when out of office, in difficulties, or other wise. I am always ready to accept professions in cases where there has been no trial. We have nothing else to go by, either as regards men or parties, before they have been put to the test; but surely in this instance there has been no lack of patience. We have borne with these men until they became intolerable, and until we were forced to eject them; and is it reasonable to suppose that we should aid in reinstating them now?
For my part, I do not repose an atom of confidence in that battered faction. Credulity has its limits. I do not believe in the genuine repentance of the moribund Mother Cole.
Sir, I distinctly refuse to be humbugged. When I perceive that the Liberal cause is in danger, I shall be prepared to act; till then I respectfully decline to aid the Whigs in their machinations. It seems to me that they wish to put Lord Derby out, not because they are apprehensive that he will legislate and administer contrary to the interests of the country, but because they dread the effect of the contrast. Four months have not elapsed since the Conservative Ministry was formed; and in that short time, with all the disadvantages of a hurried start and want of preparation, they have actually introduced more really good measures than the Whigs were able to devise during five long years; they have restored confidence and cordiality abroad; they have vindicated the British honour; they are actively engaged in the work of wholesome and sound legislation, notwithstanding that their progress has been materially hampered and impeded by the repeated attacks of their antagonists.
It is for the country to decide who are the true Liberals. Certain I am that the Whigs have no title to the name. Many men have called themselves saints and apostles who were neither the one nor the other, but, on the contrary, very lewd fellows, steeped in all manner of iniquity, and the reverse of respectable in their walk. When a rogue wishes to swindle you out of a sovereign, he usually puts on a white neckcloth and black coat, sleeks down his hair, and introduces himself as a collector for a charitable scheme. Could you see him, an hour afterwards, over his third glass of gin-and-water, which your misapplied bounty is to pay for could you hear him facetiously recounting to his fellow-rascals the way in which he tickled his trout and did you out of the money, you would probably thenceforward have less confidence in your own judgment and penetration. In like manner, when a Whig seeks your vote, he does it in the guise of a Liberal. He
pours out his patriotism as from a pump, exhibits the most holy horror at corruption, denounces nepotism, girds at exclusiveness, and very possibly persuades you that he is the purest creature in the universe. Aided by your vote, he and his party come into office. You find them useless, deceitful, prevaricating; untrue to their promises; grasping, greedy, profligate of the public money; regardless of the honour of Britain, and playing fast and loose with its inter
ests-till at last you and your friends combine to kick them out. Lo you! scarce a week has elapsed when there comes a knock to the door. You open. There stands your old acquaintance the Whig, come again to persuade you that he is a Liberal. Under such circumstances there is only one course to be pursued. Slam the door in his face, and tell him to. go to Tavistock ! Yours faithfully,
MR DUSKY'S OPINIONS ON ART.
"I am a blessed Glendoveer; "Tis mine to speak, and yours to hear."
It is quite clear that the Glendoveer of the above couplet was commissioned to deliver to the world a divine message about Art. I argue thus on account of the air of absolute and uncompromising authority with which he announces the conditions of his teaching, Art being a subject on which two opinions ought not to be permitted. To the culpable neglect with which this high commissioner from the Court of Nature was probably treated by the vain and selfsufficient artists of the time, is chiefly to be attributed the lamentable state of Art in general, and Painting in particular, up to eight or ten years ago, when I took up the subject. Since then I am happy to observe that all artists gifted with any degree of talent, and all the public possessing the slightest measure of judgment or reflection, have followed the paths I have so clearly indicated. Of course, as very few artists possess any talent whatever, and the great body of the public is, and must long continue to be, utterly deficient in the qualities I have mentioned, both the authors of fine works and those who patronise and admire them must expect to remain in a minority conspicuously small. But let them be comforted: for as in the stillness and splendour of a summer's evening, when the golden torrents, rushing from their fountains in the west, bathe the sky up to the zenith, where commences
that pale green which heralds the approach of twilight, the chirpings of a few grasshoppers resound shrilly amid the glittering grass, while whole armies of sensual caterpillars, mutely feeding on leaf and flower, crawl unheeded; so, by perpetual self-assertion, and utter contempt of all antagonistic sentiment, may the prophets of Art and their disciples secure to themselves, even among the undiscerning, a share of attention immeasurably greater than their mere numbers or consideration would entitle them to claim.
Without affecting any diffidence which in me would be transparent pretence, or any misgivings as to any opinion I have ever delivered, yet I find it necessary to be cautious in wielding, as I annually do, the trenchant weapon of irresponsible criticism, lest, in its whirlwind evolutions, it might haply lop a limb from some humble but trusty follower. It grieved me much to find that a single word of censure uttered by me some years ago, and which, though perfectly just, was too keen and searching for the sensitive nature of the artist whose work I was criticising, had the effect of causing him to abandon painting as a profession, and to revert to his original calling of an oil-and-colour man, in which I hear he is realising a moderate competence. Excellent, therefore, as it is to have a giant's strength, it will
be easily understood how cautious I must be in the exercise of the perilous gift; and when I refrain from noticing a picture in which I find nothing to praise, it is either because I am unwilling utterly to crush and destroy a painstaking though erring artist, or else because, the painter being a personal friend, I prefer gently correcting him in the privacy of social converse to publicly gibbeting him. By these remarks I wish to guard against the imputation of hesitating in, or shrinking from, the formation of decided opinion on the merits of any picture that ever was painted, which I am always ready to accomplish at the shortest notice, my conclusions being generally directly opposite to those which would be arrived at by most other persons, or, in other words, by those less confident than myself in their own infallibility.
The first thing that strikes me, in the work of the present year, is, that though all other seasons and times of the day are reproduced in landscape (except the pitch dark of a winter's night, which it would be difficult for any one, in the present state of art, to place satisfactorily on canvass), yet that particular state of the atmosphere which exists in the month of August from about five minutes before two to about twenty minutes after, when the sun's sultry and lavish splendour is tinged with some foreboding of his decline, and when Nature is, as it were, taking her siesta, is nowhere sought to be conveyed. I thought, on first looking at a small picture in the east room of the Academy, that this hiatus had been filled up; but, on further study, I perceived that the picture in question had been painted rather earlier (about five-andtwenty minutes before two is the time I should assign to it), and is therefore deficient in many of the chief characteristics of the remarkable period I allude to. How comes it, too, that, amid all the rendering of grass and flowers, there is not a single dandelion-a flower which has often given to me, no less than to Wordsworth, "thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears;" nor a group of toadstools, which can give interest to a foreground else bald and barren;
nor, among the minute studies of insects, a daddy - long-legs, swaying delightedly across the path, and dancing to inaudible music, as the mid-day zephyr waves the slender fabric of his gossamer home. I am surprised, too, to find (so far as my survey has enabled me to note) that there are nowhere any frogs, though every artist who painted out of doors in the first warm days of spring must have heard their choral music from the neighbouring ditches. The old heralds, speaking of the manner of the frog's holding his head, talk of the pride and dignity, or, as they phrase it," the lording" of frogs, and gave them a place in heraldry; and their ideas are generally valuable to artists, and worth studying, both for their literal exactness and their allegorical significance. Let us have some frogs next year.
No. 18.-"A Man Washing his Hands" (J. Prig). A step in the right direction. The painting of the nail-brush, showing where friction has worn away and channelled the bristles in the middle, is especially good. But how comes it that, the nail-brush having been evidently made use of, the water in the basin is still pellucid, with no soap apparent, either superficially or in solution? This oversight I should not have expected in so clever an artist. Even granting clearness to the water, the pattern of the bottom of the basin visible through it is of a different character from the exterior of the vessel, which is not the case in any specimen of that particular delf which has come under my notice.
No. 24. This is directly imitative both of Titian and George Cruikshank, with Smith's handling, and a good deal of Brown's manner.
No. 29. As I told this artist last year, he is deficient in fulness of form and looseness of texture. He should, therefore, for some years, paint nothing but mops of various colours (without the handles), which would give him woolliness and rotundity. On the other hand, the painter of No. 32 has too much of these qualities, with too little firmness in his darks; and I should recommend him, as a counteracting influence, to study only blocks of coal-not the common
coal (which is too dull), but the kennel or candle coal-a perseverance in which practice he will find attended by the happiest results.
"The Nativity."-This is nearly perfect. The infant, which at first appears to be wearing a broadbrimmed straw-hat, is distinguished by a peculiar halo, in which there is no trace of servile imitation of those absurd pretenders known as the old masters. Thoughtless and superficial observers have objected to the angel holding the lantern, as an office inconsistent with the dignity of the angelic nature; saying, too, that the act has some officiousness, since the lantern might have been placed on the ground or hung on a nail. For my own part, I consider the idea eminently happy, and if one of the other angels had been represented as snuffing the candle with her fingers, my admiration would have been complete.
No. 40. The sky is weak and heavy, the distance too hazy, the middle distance absurd, and the foreground like a cartload of bricks ready for use. However, on the whole, I consider this the leading picture of the year.
No. 501.-I was nearly overlooking this picture, which at first sight seemed unworthy of notice, when a second glance showed me what I conceive to be the print of a man's shoe in the dust of the high-road in the corner of the foreground. This little incident gives poetry to the whole composition, and is quite equal to the memorable invention of Defoe, when he makes Robinson Crusoe discover the print of a foot in the sand. The shoe, a hobnailed one, evidently belongs to the owner of the little white-walled cottage in the middle distance, the smoke from whose chimney curls bluely upward against a sky which has in itself nothing remarkable, but which the late J. M. W. Turner would have filled with magnificent cloud-forms of grandest outline and miraculous colour. One feels at once that the wearer of that shoe was one of our conscripts, fighting our battles against the barren swamp and the dull clod, and that, toilworn and careworn, he passed, in his victorious march, up that dusty
road, to the domestic haven where rest, if not glory, awaited him.
"There were his young barbarians all at play;
There was their Saxon mother-he their sire,
Sweating to make a rich man's holiday."
It reconciles me in great measure to the inequalities of the gifts of fortune, and to the necessity that almost seems to exist for a class which takes on itself the manual labour of the world, when I consider that we derive from thence the elements of purest pathos in art. No. 520. 66 Venus and Adonis" (D. Corum, R.A.)--The great charm for me in this picture is the total absence of all sensual imagination in its treatment. The goddess, purified from all taint of earth-born passion, with the immortal light of divine friendship beaming in her lustrous eyes, invites the reluctant youth to seat himself beside her on the glowing couch of amaranths and asphodels (with some gentianella and one or two ragged robins skilfully introduced), which have sprung responsively to the pressure of her roseate feet; while, in the distance, the fatal boar is seen whetting against the trunk of a blackthorn in full blossom the remorseless tusks which are shortly to be imbrued in the stream of the boy's young life. A similar purity of thought distinguishes the 'Susannah and the Elders," by the same artist, and quite marks a new epoch in art. The Elders, grave men of most reverend appearance, approach the beautiful woman in her bath, evidently for the purpose of studying the flowing outline of her form and the delicate articulations of her joints (the ankles are especially well drawn). Lovers of exalted art, they come, with words of courteous greeting on their lips, to study in leisure and privacy the combinations of lines and gradations of flesh-colour with which Nature in her most perfect efforts delights to exercise the reasoning powers of man; while the matron, clothed on in chastity," calmly awaits their coming. "Satyrs and Nymphs Dancing," by the same hand, is equally removed from the gross impurity which the
subject would have derived from the licentious Poussin, and the hideous immorality of a modern quadrille. "Potiphar's Wife" is another illustrious instance of the power of Mr D. Corum to give new life to old subjects. The wife of the great Egyptian noble holds in her hand a roll of papyrus covered with specimens of early Egyptian art, to which she seeks to direct Joseph's attention (by the by, the style of these drawings, especially the man in profile with two eyes, belongs to the time of the later Pharaohs, and not to the pre-Mosaic period); but without success, for the youth, in whose countenance the struggle between curiosity and bashfulness is exhibited in a very remarkable manner, turns resolutely away from his kind instructress. Altogether the treatment of the whole of these works reminds me strongly of the manner of Fra Puri
No. 650.-This artist had better go without delay to Venice. He He will find in one of the vaults of one of the churches there (I forget which) a picture without a name, but which I know to be an indubitable Paul Veronese. The whole composition is fine; but I would particularly note the third hair from the top in the right whisker of the cat in the corner, the painting of which is very precious. This he should study in a reverential spirit, and I will answer for the result.
"The Dead Stonebreaker." - On nothing have I ever insisted more strongly than on the absolute necessity of painting altogether in the open air, with all the accessories of the scene that are to be transferred to the canvass actually present; and here I am happy to see an illustration of the good effect of following
my advice. I have no doubt that this picture was painted strictly under these conditions. Ribald critics may perhaps object that, as atmospheres of that extreme purpleness (as if mulberry-juice were substituted for the ordinary vehicle) are very rare, and that as the mere work of the picture must have occupied several weeks, these infrequent opportunities must have extended over a great length of time, during which the deceased stonebreaker would have become a skeleton, while the weasel could scarcely be expected to remain so long looking at the body. Nevertheless I adhere entirely to my opinion; and I am thus reminded of one particular count of the heavy indictment I formerly brought against that perverter of nature and impostor in art, Claude Lorraine. I pointed out that in a picture of his in the National Gallery, the shadows of two different objects are falling in opposite directions; and this I noted as a blemish, or rather one amid a mass of blemishes. I now perceive that this was owing to the fact that, for once, Claude was honestly studying from nature out of doors; and being absorbed in his miserable work (for the absorption of the artist in his efforts by no means depends on their value), he did not perceive that the sun, which was on his left hand when he began to paint in the morning, had gone round to his right before he left off, and consequently threw the shadows in the opposite direction. This is the only occasion on which I have ever found it necessary to alter an opinion I had once expressed; and I freely admit that what I formerly censured I now consider the sole merit to be found in this painter's numerous works, and he is entitled to so much posthumous fame as my approval in this solitary instance can confer.
No. 902. A fine example of what may be called the botanico-geologicoastronomico style of art. Here the primeval masses of the old red sandstone, the granitic boulders, which, ere they became fixed for ever, hissed in fierce fusion round the sweltering materials of the chaotic globe, the grey slate, the gneiss, the feldspar, and the gypsum, lend their multiform variety