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Certainly, Mr. Grote did begin the resetting of Greek names in England. As I was writing about English literature, it did not occur to me to speak about the practice of Germans, when writing German. I never said anything about Képkupa, or Corfu. I said that Mr. Grote writes Korkyra. So he does. I wonder that Mr. Freeman did not assert that, in objecting to Krete, I thought Candia, was the same word. All this reminds me of my old master at school, when determined to make out that one of us ought to be caned.
Mr. Freeman's reason for eviscerating English history of the Battle of Hastings is the danger' that somebody might think (as a critic once did) that Taillefer sang his song on the sea-shore. I can face even this danger, rather than cease to speak of the Battle of Hastings. And he asks me if I think it pedantic to speak of the Battle of Stamford-bridge. Certainly not : that is the name by which I have always heard of it. I might think it pedantic to write Stantford-brigge, as William of Malmesbury does.
As to Buonaparte, I was well aware that this was the original form of the family name, and was used by Napoleon in his early career. But the absolute de facto ruler of a nation has certainly the official right to change the spelling of his own name. And as Napoleon when Emperor did this, there is an end of the matter. Our grandfathers, Scott included, treating him as the “Corsican bandit, naturally stuck to the old name, by way of saying Corsican. But to speak in 1886 of either Buonaparte,' is to carry lampoons into history. I neither said, nor implied, that Capet and Guelph are hereditary surnames. I suggested that Terrorists and O'Donovan Rossa possibly thought they were. With regard to the title under which my essay appeared in January, it happens that I did not so write it, nor did I see the actual title until the Review was published. Mr. Freeman seems inclined to give a new sense to the word “pedantic.' He suggests that it means accurate,' the making words answer facts. Not so! No amount of accuracy'can be pedantic; but singularity' may be, when it is uncouth and needless. It is pedantic to twist old words into new forms, and to try to turn old names into battle-cries and badges.
Names and words are current coin of the realm; which, for public convenience, have definite values ; and to clip and deface them is to debase the linguistic currency. It is the part of a good citizen and a sensible man to carry on his transactions in the current coin, taking them and counting them at their official value. If a man, in order to make his words answer to facts, and not to raise any • false ideas,' were to cut a five-shilling piece in two, and to offer the bits as two half-crowns, the public would call him crazy, and the police would treat him as a smasher.' Mr. Freeman is really trying to pass amongst the lieges Saxon sceats and scillings, as if they were good current coin. The first magistrate before whom he is brought will tell him that sceats and scillings are not now in circulation, and that private persons have not the right of coining.
Of course in this matter of spelling there are very real and important points behind. It is a serious evil to unsettle the language. It is unkind to throw fresh stumbling-blocks in the way of education. All singularity in forms, without motive or without adequate motive, is a fresh difficulty, and a source of offence. The plan of trampling under foot all French influences, or other influences, is a one-sided plan, a short-sighted plan. To give tithe of mint and anise in Old-English names, and to leave all the weightier names in universal history in their vulgar shapes, is a misleading purism. If we tried to torture all names in history out of their current forms and into their contemporary orthography, if we tried with the modern alphabet to represent the various sounds of a hundred different languages, to spell the same name in a dozen different forms, according to the century of which we are speaking—this would produce a literary chaos. And, since there is no adequate reason for specially selecting any one epoch or any one race for this equivocal distinction, it is the part of good sense, and good English, to be content with the current names long familiar to us in the best literature. These names, no doubt, do differ moderately, and from time to time, as language grows, changes in form are spontaneously adopted. But the claim of any scholar, however eminent, of any knot of scholars (and I look on the knot of Old-English scholars as amongst the most eminent of our time) to sweep the board of the familiar names for one particular epoch, and systematically to force on us and on our children another language in names--this is a bad claim and ought to be resisted.
And now let me say that I have no kind of quarrel with Mr. Freeman, of whose works I am a diligent student and a humble admirer. I am very much against any process of trampling under foot, and against all uncouth forms of good old names. In this matter I am the real conservative. It will not do for the Old-English people to say that they are merely reviving an ancient practice. Mr. Hyndman might as well declare that the meeting in Hyde Park was only a revival of the Witenagemot. It is I who am defending the practice of learned men, of the men of the widest learning, even in this particular subject. The idea that Mr. Freeman, in this debate, represents Truth, Fact, Scholarship, and Research, and that I represent nothing but frivolous trifling with serious learning, is a mere hallucination of his own. I am asking Mr. Freeman and his followers to conform to the practice of an authority at least as great as their own—that of the Bishop of Chester. Dr. Stubbs, in his great work, follows a form of names, eminently wise, practical, and decisive. He finds nothing difficult, nothing false, in writing Alfred and Edward, Clovis and Canute, Anglo-Saxon and the Battle of Hastings. He has often introduced Old-English forms, such as Hume did not use ; but then he makes no attempt to sweep the board of all the names in ordinary use.
I am asking for no rigid system of spelling, for no absolute fixity, for nothing which has not the sanction of the most eminent scholars and the best writers. When men of the learning of the Bishop of Chester, Sir Henry Maine, Sir James Stephen, and so many more of our contemporaries, to say nothing of Hallam, Milman, and those departed, can write Alfred and Edward, I think little children need not be crammed, in the name of truth,' with whole pages of Ælfthryths and Ælfgifus.
JUBILEE OF THE REFORM CLUB.
WRITERS about the London Club-houses, including the late Peter Cunningham who was usually most accurate and trustworthy, state that the Reform Club was founded between the years 1830 and 1832. They also assert that the club was designed to aid in carrying the measures for the improved representation of the people, which then agitated the country, and were hotly debated in Parliament. It is true that the Carlton Club was founded by the Duke of Wellington and his friends with the special object of opposing Parliamentary reform in all aspects and at all times; but the founders of the Reform Club had no reason to concern themselves about the Bills for the representation of the people which became law on the 7th of June, 1832. This memorable date preceded by four years the formation of the Reform Club. Between the years 1830 and 1832 Parliamentary reform owed nothing to the support of a political club, and lost nothing owing to opposition from one.
It is true that the authors and supporters of the Reform Bills which, after a protracted, an arduous, and embittered struggle, were incribed on the Statute Book, belonged to Brooks's Club, which was then, and still is, regarded as the headquarters of the Whig party. It is equally true, however, that Brooks's was not founded with any political purpose nor conducted to attain any political object. In former days its members were as deeply absorbed in the game of hazard as in the game of politics. Whilst the present members delight in maintaining the traditions of plain Whig principles, the club itself stands aloof now, as it has systematically done heretofore, from the drudgery of organising and marshalling the forces of the Liberal party. • The Westminster Reform Club was the first political club formed on the modern type with the express view of upholding the Liberal banner, and furthering the Liberal cause. Its members met together for the first time on the 7th of March, 1834, and they occupied the house numbered 24 Great George Street, Westminster, of which Mr. Alderman Wood was the owner. This club took an active part in the political affairs of the day: three months after its establishment a deputation of its members went to give good advice to Earl Grey. The members disdained any subordination to the Whigs. They plumed themselves upon being Radicals who saw no finality in the Reform Acts, and who ardently desired legislation of a character so sweeping as to appear to the Whigs equivalent to revolution. This club ceased to exist two years after it was founded. Whigs could not join it, and the Radical party was not strong enough to maintain it. Among its members were the most conspicuous Radicals of the time—men like Daniel O'Connell and Feargus O'Connor, Colonel Perronet Thompson, and Joseph Hume. Another member, who afterwards became the leader and idol of the Tory party, was the Earl of Beaconsfield.
Two years after the Westminster Reform Club was founded, and when its prolonged existence seemed most improbable, several ardent politicians resolved to form a political club which should not be exclusively Whig like Brooks's, nor exclusively Radical like the Westminster, but which should offer a place of meeting and action for all shades and sections of the Liberal party. The Right Honourable Edward Ellice was the originator of the new club. Though a staunch Whig, he clearly read the signs of the times which indicated that, if the Whigs would retain their influence, they must pot be too fastidious and exclusive in their demeanour towards other and equally sincere Liberals. He had been Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary at War, and for a short time a member of the Cabinet in Earl Grey's first Administration. As a party man he did good service. His advice was highly valued, being sought for and followed on critical occasions. He was unpopular as well as able-his temper was so trying that he was commonly known among his contemporaries by the nickname of• Bear Ellice.
Mr. Ellice was both a thoroughly practical man and a keen politician, and, having made up his mind to establish a new club, he set about the task with great energy. In the first place, however, he made an appeal to his fellow-members at Brooks'-, to the effect that they should enlarge their club-house and elect six hundred new members. He probably contemplated that the club should leave St. James's Street and return to Pall Mall, wbere it was originally situated, and occupy a finer house than the one in St. James's Street. A large majority of the members rejected Mr. Ellice's proposition, whereupon he said, “Well, gentlemen, we mean to start a club which will beat yours.' He summoned those who agreed with him to meet at his own house and discuss the establishment of a new club. At the meeting held in Mr. Ellice's drawing-room the Reform Club was constituted; rules were drawn up and agreed to, those present becoming the original members, and a committee being appointed to elect others. Mr. Coppock took minutes of the proceedings. The name of the club was the subject of much discussion and some difference of opinion. The names of Fox, Hampden, Grey, and Milton were proposed and rejected in succession. It was eventually found that the name · Reform' divided the meeting the least, and most completely expressed the views of the founders of the club.
The club was commonly known for a time as the New Reform, to distinguish it from the Westminster Reform. The reason for this