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To the Editor of “The Times." SIR,— Referring to my letter addressing you upon the subject of the Dutch Ladies' Expedition to the White Nile, I now desire to inform you that, a few days ago, I received a note from Mr. William Speke, jun., brother of the late Captain Speke, enclosing an unfinished letter of the deceased, written, as you will observe, the day prior to his death. This letter I have obtained permission to publish. It will be interesting to your readers, no doubt, as a relic of the renowned traveller, and it is also of value as confirming so fully the statement I made with regard to the condition of the Soudan.
Captain Speke having alluded to the Soudan Consulate, I would say that I have reason to believe that the ex-British Consul was not in any way concerned in the general practices of the traders complained of. I beg to enclose copies, and to request that you will give them publicity. I am, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. TINNE. Briarley, Aigburth, near Liverpool, Oct. 3, 1864.
“Jordans, Ilminster, Somerset, Sept. 26. “MY DEAR SIR,—This letter was found among my brother, Captain Speke's “ things. It is unfinished-probably the last words he wrote, and very likely
among his last thoughts, as I had seen him lately, and he expressed himself overy anxious about Baker, having a great regard for him. I send you his "photograph, as you may like to have it. You can fully sympathise with us, as you have also experienced so great a loss to your family.
“I am, yours truly,
“ WILLIAM SPEKE, Jun. “ John Tinne, Esq., Liverpool.”
“Neston Park, Corsham, Sept. 14. “ DEAR MR. Tinne, I have been delighted by seeing the way in which you “ have been handling the Nile question in The Times of the 12th. The ladies'
accounts of the way they were treated by those ruffians up there is a perfect picture, as far as it goes, of the true state of the system practised in those lands.
“ There is one other reason not alluded to which must have operated to thwart “the ladies' designs-viz., the jealousy the traders are so susceptible of to any
one prying into the nature of the country they have appropriated to themselves. “ Pray do keep working this subject, for no one can do it better than yourself. “No doubt, indeed, a consul is much wanted in the Soudan; but then he should “not be a trader, for no one can trade honestly in those regions.
“I have great fears about the fate of Baker. He ordered Petherick to place a boat for him at Gondokoro this and last year. The boat was there, and the
men with whom Baker went into the interior must have returned to that part, " else we could not have heard of Baker's having gone to Unyoro. This being
necessarily the case, how is it that Baker did not send a line by them to “ Petberick, unless some foul play can answer the question?
"For the love of those you have lost, do bring retribution on the miscreants “ who occasioned it.
“ There is no richer land in the world than the equatorial regions, and “ nothing more of importance to the interests of Egypt, as well as our own "merchants, than that of opening up those lands to legitimate commerce."
ON THE MORAL IDEALS OF SHAKSPEARE.
By the Rev. H. Baar, Ph. Dr.
(READ 14TH APRIL, 1884.)
If we wish thoroughly to know a poet, and to dive into the beauties of his genial works, we must endeavour to find out what great ideas he loved, what sacred matters he espoused, and what superior objects, human or divine, he thought worthy to be brought within the sphere of his poetical realm. That which a poet loves he represents with all the ardour of his inspirited soul ; and, even if it happens that he takes hold of a subject which lies rather far from his usual themes, still he pervades this subject with all the poetic fire of his imagination. The genius of a poet does not show itself in the boldness with which he sketches the outlines of a poem, but is shown rather by the depth of the ideals which he clothes with the grand conceptions that flow from his mind. The ideals of the dramatic poet, however, are to be found within the large domain of morality. And in this respect no poet, either in ancient or modern times, has bequeathed to mankind such eminent creations of moral greatness as Shakspeare. He has of course described vice also, in its manifold forms and shades; but, in making virtue triumphant over all the dark powers of the soul, he has remained faithful in all his works to that great moral ideal which he expressed in Hamlet
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How “infinite in faculties ! in form and moving, how express and “admirable! in action, how like an angel ! in apprehension, “how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of “ animals!”
Shakspeare's noble and gigantic mind could endure nothing that tended to lower or degrade human nature.
** Like an
' inspired prophet, he announces the doctrine of that blessing “which dwells in right, and of that curse which inevitably "follows wrong. The truth of his piercing judgment is never “clouded by the glow of sophistry. On the contrary, that
doctrine bears in every line the stamp of magnanimity and “innate nobleness, through which he succeeds in rending to
pieces the cobweb in which common men drag along their “common-place existence. His soul bore an adamantine “ character in every situation in life, whether he dwelt amidst “the mist of the world, or was stationed on the sunlit heights “ of fame. Everything that moved him drew from him the “ divine electric spark of genius.”
“Many poets have gone down into the darkness of past ages,
* “and the remembrance of them is all that has remained of their "former greatness and influence. But Shakspeare is an excep“tion. He is the great poet of Futurity, not for an age, but “ for all time. Coming generations and distant lands will “listen with exalted pleasure to his godlike oracles; they will ‘ enjoy the state of happiness which he predicted—a freer and “more cheerful futurity-foreseen by his holy longings, and “by his firm belief in the triumph of good on earth.”
After this introduction, I shall go, as shortly as possible, through many works of Shakspeare to show that moral spirit which pervades them. Let us begin with Romeo and Juliet.
I think it was Lessing, the great German critic and author, who, in speaking of this work, asserted that love itself assisted Shakspeare in producing it. Every one must agree with the opinion of this eminent scholar; for the feelings of love awakened in the hearts of the youthful lovers are here so truly and powerfully represented, that they prove to be invincible against a world in arms; arousing the deepest energies of the soul, and enduring the most trying sacrifices. From its softest charm, from the first mutual glance, from the first gentle beating of
the heart, to the storm of passion which shakes the whole human being, love here unfolds to us the boundless richness of its beauty, like a holy music which gradually rises from the softest tone to the full resonance of pealing chords. The whole power of love in this tragedy is depicted with such a sterling truth and idealistic charm, that our materialistic age, which mocks at everything with which poetry invests the human heart, would do well if it could diffuse into the alliances which are daily being formed between man and woman, some of those sincere and true affections which characterise Romeo and Juliet. It was Shakspeare's great moral ideal and firm belief that domestic felicity could only be assured by that depth and power of affection through which two congenial hearts, as if by magic ties, are attracted to each other; and that therefore every attempt to base the sacredness of matrimony upon disparity of age, position, wealth, or other selfish motives, should be discouraged and denounced with all the power of moral indignation. For this purpose the great poet places himself, in matters of love, on the side of that great principle which maintains that freedom of choice should guide us in the accomplishment of our matrimonial ideals, and that no intimidation or constraint whatsoever should influence or obstruct the holy source of our affection. This idea is clearly expressed by Capulet's
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart;
Lies my consent and fair according voice. When Romeo has afterwards won the heart of Juliet, and she asks him for some pledge of his constancy and fidelity, the enraptured lover, in the ecstacy of his feelings, responds to that natural appeal which is made to his heart in the following way:
Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear,