Morning Post 1903

Lang’s Morning Post articles for 1903 are somewhat irregular, and it is likely that problems with the OCR have led to missed columns in the list below. Many of the searches that led to a column’s inclusion below did not come up with Lang’s actual column, but rather the Morning Post index or a summary of that day’s contents which led me to find the column. Since the date of the week when Lang’s column appears varies, it could prove quite time consuming to track down all of Lang’s Morning Post columns with certainty. Please do contact me if you find columns that have been omitted in this list.

January

On 6 January 1903, a Morning Post writer comment on Longman’s Magazine notes that Lang was writing about the undecipherability of Napoleon’s handwriting (4), as subject he would return to again in the Morning Post (1905).

“Does Telepathy Explain?” Saturday, 10 Jan. 1903, p. 3. (BNA.) [“Certain American journals of the book trade publish lists of the books most in demand at the circulating libraries. These are usually novels like The Virginians or When Knighthood was in Flower, harmless things enough. But one is suprised by finding that ‘Laws of Psychic Phenomena,’ by Mr. Hudson, an American philosopher, is also popular: not as a novel is popular, of course, but among a small serious minority, no doubt. I have read Mr. Hudson’s book; neither his ideas about evidence as to facts nor his philosophic system make his volume valuable, while there are more amusing ghost stories in many collections. . . . But Mr. Hudson has come home to the bosoms of American readers. . . . Thus, the Rev. Minot J. Savage has written a little book called Can Telepathy Explain? (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)” (in answer to letter queries about Hudson’s book.)]

“Our Insular Ignorance.” Saturday, 24 Jan. 1903, p. 7. (BNA). [Lang discusses the tendency among the learned English to ignore discoveries/writings by fellow Brits, including his own writing, a point of which recently became of interest after it was “rediscovered by a Scandanavian savant”.]

March

Uniformity of the Human Mind.” Saturday, 7 Mar. 1903, p. 7. (BNA.)[Lang considers similarities across cultures: “As each new proof of this uniformity is discovered the learned set to work to show how a people, say, in the Melanesian Isles, has borrowed something—a story, a game, a pattern in art–from another people in Dumbartonshire or Galway, or how both peoples are really but one people, or how one people settled long ago in Skye and in the Solomon Islands.”]

“The Fiery Celt.” Saturday, 21 March 1903, p. 7. “The Celt is not only fiery, he is proud of the title.” [On the Celtic nature and history, including Celts who have clashed with Lang.]

April 

“Discrepancies in Fiction.” Saturday, 4 Apr. 1903, p. 7. (BNA.) [A minute philosopher has recently discovered that Thackeray, in Vanity Fair, makes Dobbin give Mrs. George Osborne a gold watch as a wedding gift, and presently tells us that Mrs. George Osborne had no watch at all. A recent historian has made two statements as completely contradictory on one and the same page, and a still graver author has based a tremendous theory on an idea which he himself has flatly contradicted in the course of his book. Historical writing is in truth a kind of fiction: an author has a system and a ‘plot’–narrative converges from many directions to a given point. Yet the most serious writers contradict themselves so frequently . . . . Historians and scientific writers ought to be made to write novels, ‘not necessary for publication,’ but merely to teach them ‘to jine their flats. . . . Novel writing, or even novel reading, is instructive in the art of avoiding self-contradiction.” Fiction discussed: Vanity FairGreat Expectations, Dombey and Son.]

“The Levity of Queen Elizabeth.” Tuesday, 21 Apr. 1903, p. 3. (BNA.)[On the death of Amy Robsart, first wife of Lord Robert Dudley, the manuscripts Froude copied, a Flemish scholar’s version, and Lang’s insistence that scholars need a photograph of the original.]

“A Case of Collaboration.” Saturday, 25 Apr. 1903, p. 5. (BNA.) [Dumas’s attempt to make the play of the French statesman, M. de Girardin, less absurd fails to please: “If I were the only mastor of this play, [M. de Girardin] said in Parliamentary tones before all the players, ‘I should withdraw it. I think the stuff detestable!” . . . ‘I regret it the more answered Dumas, ‘my dear fellow, because I have done my best to make the stuff less detestable than it was.'”]

July

“Leprosy and Fish Eating.” 11 July 1903, p. 3. [Lang discusses Joshua Hutchinson’s theory that leprosy was a result of fish eating.]

“Literary Controversy.” Monday, 20 July 1903. p. 10. [BNA.] [The Letters of Phalaria, Clement Shorter, Macaulay’s Essays. Bentley, Boyle, on the Carlyles and Freud, Matthew Arnold, the uses of controversy.]

“The Carlyle Controversy.” [Letter to the Editor. by James Crichton Browne. 22 July 1903. p. 3. (BNA.) [Browne objects to Lang’s portrayal of his having “a bad case” regarding the Carlyles.]

“A Little Royal Mystery.” Saturday, 25 July 1903, p. 5. (BNA). [“The chief end of history, at present, seems to be the provision of materials and plots for historical novels. The authors of these ingenious works, now so wonderfully abundant, do not seem to search very widely or deeply for their raw materials. It may save a novelist trouble if we call his attention to the [fortunes?] of the mysterious eldest son of Charles II, who was at the time of the infant’s birth an exiled Prince of Wales” Charles II, Monmouth, James de la Cloche, the Man in the Iron Mask] [This BNA scan is quite hard to read.]

August

“Gossip on Gossip.” Monday, 13 Aug. 1903, p. 8. (BNA). [Lang responds to the gossiping anecdotes of a Blackwood’s writer, including a discussion on Gladstone, Dean Merivale’s prayers for Gordon in Khartoum, and a canon’s reaction to that prayer, and quite a bit on Professor Jowett, the former master of Balliol and Lang’s own interactions with him. [Lang claims the Blackwood’s writer is “more copious than accurate”]: “We had to take him college essays, and mine was once on some point in political economy. Knowing nothing at all about the science . . . I thought that the easiest plan was to advocate the ideas of Mr. Ruskin in ‘Unto This Last.’ These are pretty advanced. The Master, at the end of the tirade, remarked: ‘I differ from you to much to criticise you.’ Now had he ‘dabbled in Socialism,’ [as the Blackwood’s writer claimed] here was his chance to dabble.” That Jowett “was very fond tolerant of the average undergraduate” and that Lang “introduced him to Mark Twain’s celebrated work, and he read it with unmoved gravity.”]

“New Schools of the Prophets.” Tuesday, 25 Aug. 1903, p. 6. (BNA). “In ancient Israel, we know, there were schools of the Prophets, who at that period were practically the journalists of the country. They gave unsolicited advice publicly and orally, they were usually in opposition to the Government, they would overthrow a dynasty, and there was a Court party among them, which appears usually to have been in the wrong. They were especially copious in their criticism and of foreign policy and no doubt were the mouthpieces of public opinion. . . . An American gentleman has munificently endowed a school of modern prophets, or journalists, in one of his country’s numerous universities. I could wish that he had bestowed the money on Hellenic archaeology, but perhaps the education of journalists is a more pressing need.”

“Macaulay and the Moderns.” Monday, 28 Sep. 1903. p. 7. (BNA). [“Somebody has annotated and somebody else has published a new edition of Macaulay’s Essays, now, by lapse of time, withdrawn from the limited protection afforded by our law of copyright.” [Macaulay, his literary value, and his historical errors.]

October

“Dusting the Varlet’s Jacket.” Wednesday, 2 Oct. 1903, p. 5. [As of 13 Feb. 2020, page five was missing from the BNA scan of The Morning Post.]

November

“The Cup and Ring Puzzle.” Saturday, 7 Nov. 1903, p. 3. (BNA). [Colonel Risett-Carnac recently published in The Royal Asiatic Journal a curious paper on the ancient marks inscribed on rocks in India. These marks are often coplike depressions or such depressions surrounded by one or more rings, or have someone the shape of jews’-harps or of horseshoes, and there are also volutes and serpentine figures, with many others.”]

“A Critic of Dickens.” Wednesday, 18 Nov. 1903, p. 5. (BNA). [“Mr. Matthew Arnold maintained that he was not a Wordsworthian, though no man was a more ardent admirer, now and then he was even an imitator, of Wordsworth. He meant, probably, that he was not an injudicious and exclusive admirer who swore by all of Wordsworth, and by nothing else. We may appreciate Burns, without being ‘common Burnsites,’ who often know little of the works of their idol, and whose loyalty, like that of Squire Western, mainly confines itself to drinking healths and abusing the saner critics of the beloved object.” Lang uses the rest of the column to responds to Mr. Lord’s criticism of Dickens.]

“A Strange Discovery.” Monday, 23 Nov. 1903, p. 10. (BNA). [“The strangest antiquarian discovery of the new century has just been published by the Rev. Father José Brenha, Don Ricardo Severo, and Don Rodriguez. So odd and unlooked for are the finds made by these savants that they may interest persons who are little concerned with antiquarianism.” On similar archaeological finds, including stone busts, amulets, etc. in various locations (the Clyde, Portugal, Prussia, Australia, Turkey, America, etc.]

“Conversational Epidemics.” Saturday, 28 Nov. 1903, p. 10. (BNA). [“The following letter, from a young Templar of merit, seems to deserve the attention of our female wits. . . . .” Lang writes a parody much in the style of He, complaining that there is too little variety in conversation and too much of one subject at a time. A few sample quotes: My college tutor and my Plato have taught me (and on this point the Church is with them) that we have immortal minds, which, sure, we ought not only to keep immaculate, but to adorn by the acquisition of varied knowledge. . . . Can rational beings (and rational Heaven intended us to be) pass their hours more usefully and agreeably than in a great diversity of conversation on a delightfully expansive variety of topics? ‘The world is so full of a number of things, / I am sure we should all be as happy as Kings,’ writes the learned Dr. Watts, the inventor of the steam engine, in his ‘Hymns for Infant Minds.’ Even in the public papers, what a multitude of topics may be found for the range of expatiating minds! . . . . There is radium herself, with her mysterious emanations, not accounted for by the dreams of the Gnostics, or even of the Agnostics. . . . “In [my father’s] time, he says, the converse of women was full of variety, roaming from bonnets to boots, from gloves to mantles, touching now on Belinda’s fan, and again on Smilinda’s reputation. One solitary topic, he says did not engross the female mind for a long period, and then yield place to another subject of eloquence equally tyrannical. The fair would hover about the blossoms of art, music, the belles lettres, and the theatre. But now the women. . . are as much enslaved as the men to a single subject at a time. My excellent sire inclines to blame the late Mr. Gladstone for this misfortune. The statesman, he says, made political affairs so engrossing that women could not keep apart from them, and every feminine wit was a ‘Home Ruler’ or an ‘Unionist’ (in the party cant of that age), and could only talk of what ran most in her head. The worthy old man is perhaps too apt to blame Mr. Gladstone for everything of which he disapproves, and even before my father’s day Mr. Addison published some censures on feminine politicians. I cannot hope to succeed where the great Mr. Addison Failed, and to persuade the sex that they will not be less attractive to men of sense and spirit if they admit some variety into their discourses. . . .”

December

“History and Popular History.” Saturday, 26 Dec. 1903, p. 4. (BNA). [“The age of the great Whitewashers is over. In their reaction against popular historical tradition and the view of the past which most of us are taught in childhood, Mr. Froude whitewashed Henry VIII., and more than one writer has white-washed King John, while the amiable Emperor Tiberius goes about now in angel wings, with a halo. . . . Mr. Butler repeats the great central popular fallacy that the Covenanters ‘stood up for religious and civil liberty.’ They stood up for the religious liberty of persecuting Independents, Anabaptists, Episcopalians, Quakers, Catholics, and Biblical critics. . . . There was not much civil liberty when Church courts can sentence a man to outlawry for ecclesiastical offences. Such was the Kirk for which the Covenanters suffered. Though perfectly right in fighting against an impose prelacy they were perfectly wrong in fighting for a Presbyterianism whose pretensions were irreconcilable with civil and religious liberty.” [On Mr. Aleander Smellie’s Men of the Covenant: The Story of the Scottich Church in the Years of Persecution (Melrose) as an “example of the old popular anti-historical tradition”.]

This page was last edited on 13 Feb. 2020.