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Title: The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3

Author: Various

Release date: May 22, 2005 [eBook #15876]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

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Unpopular Review

Vol. II, No. 3
July-September, 1914

Published Quarterly at 35 West 32d Street, New York, by

Henry Holt and Company


Unsocial Investments A.S. Johnson
A Stubborn Relic of Feudalism The Editor
An Experiment in Syndicalism Hugh H. Lusk
Labor: “True Demand” and Immigrant Supply Arthur J. Todd
The Way to Flatland Fabian Franklin
The Disfranchisement of Property David McGregor Means
Railway Junctions Clayton Hamilton
Minor Uses of the Middling Rich F.J. Mather, Jr.
Lecturing at Chautauqua Clayton Hamilton
Academic Leadership Paul Elmer More
Hypnotism, Telepathy, and Dreams The Editor
The Muses on the Hearth Mrs. F.G. Allinson
The Land of the Sleepless Watchdog David Starr Jordan
En Casserole

Special to our Readers—Philosophy in Fly Time—Setting Bounds to Laughter (A.S. Johnson)—A Post-Graduate School for Academic Donors (F.J. Mather, Jr.)—A Suggestion Regarding Vacations—Advertisement—Simplified Spelling

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Unsocial Investments

Return to Table of Contents

The “new social conscience” is essentially a class phenomenon. While it pretends to the rôle of inner monitor and guide to conduct for all mankind, it interprets good and evil in class terms. It manifests a special solicitude for the welfare of one social group, and a mute hostility toward another. Labor is its Esau, Capital its Jacob. Let strife arise between workingmen and their employers, and you will see the new social conscience aligning itself with the former, accepting at face value all the claims of labor, reiterating all labor’s formulæ. The suggestion that judgment should be suspended until the facts at issue are established is repudiated as the prompting of a secret sin. For, to paraphrase a recent utterance of the Survey, one of the foremost organs of the new conscience, is it not true that the workers are fighting for their livings, while the employers are fighting only for their profits? It would appear, then, that there can be no question as to the side to which justice inclines. A living is more sacred than a profit.

It is virtually never true, however, that the workers are fighting for their “living.” Contrary to Marx’s exploded “iron law” they probably had that and more before the trouble began. But of course we would not wish to restrict them to a living, if they can produce more, and want all who can’t produce that much to be provided with it—and something more at the expense of others.

It may be urged that the employer’s profits also represent the livings of a number of human beings; but this passes nowadays for a reactionary view. “We stand for [pg 2]man as against the dollar.” If you say that the “dollar” is metonymy for “the man possessed of a dollar,” with rights to defend, and reasonable expectations to be realized, you convict yourself of reaction. “These gentry” (I quote from the May Atlantic) “suppose themselves to be discussing the rights of man, when all they are discussing is the rights of stockholders.” The true view, the progressive view, is obviously that the possessors of the dollar, the recipients of profits and dividends, are excluded from the communion of humanity. Labor is mankind.

The present instance is of course not the only instance in human history of the substitution of class criteria of judgment for social criteria. Such manifestations of class conscience are doubtless justified in the large economy of human affairs; an individual must often claim all in order to gain anything, and the same may be true of a class. Besides, the ultimate arbitration of the claims of the classes is not a matter for the rational judgment. What is subject to rational analysis, however, are the methods of gaining its ends proposed by the new social conscience. Of these methods one of wide acceptance is that of fixing odium upon certain property interests, with a view to depriving them immediately of the respect still granted to property interests in general, and ultimately of the protection of the laws. It is with the rationality of what may be called the excommunication and outlawing of special property interests, that the present paper is concerned.

In passing, it is worth noting that the same ethical spirit that insists upon fixing the responsibility for social ills upon particular property interests—or property owners—insists with equal vehemence upon absolving the propertyless evil-doer from personal responsibility for his acts. The Los Angeles dynamiters were but victims: the crime in which they were implicated was institutional, not personal. Their punishment was rank injustice; inexpedient, moreover, as provocative of further crime, [pg 3]instead of a means of repression. On the other hand, when it appears that the congestion of the slum produces vice and disease, we are not urged by the spokesmen of this ethical creed, to blame the chain of institutional causes typified by scarcity of land, high prices of building materials, the incapacity of a raw immigrant population to pay for better habitations, or to appreciate the need for light and air. Rather, we are urged to fix responsibility upon the individual owner who receives rent from slum tenements. Perhaps we can not imprison him for his misdeeds, but we can make him an object of public reproach; expel him from social intercourse (if that, so often talked about, is ever done); fasten his iniquities upon him if ever he seeks a post of trust or honor; and ultimately we can deprive him of his property. Let him and his anti-social interests be forever excommunicate, outlawed.


In the country at large the property interests involved in the production and sale of alcoholic beverages are already excommunicated. The unreformed “best society” may still tolerate the presence of persons whose fortunes are derived from breweries or distilleries; but the great mass of the social-minded would deny them fire and water. In how many districts would a well organized political machine urge persons thus enriched as candidates for Congress, the bench or even the school board? In the prohibition territory excommunication of such property interests has been followed by outlawry. The saloon in Maine and Kansas exists by the same title as did Robin Hood: the inefficiency of the law. On the road to excommunication is private property in the wretched shacks that shelter the city’s poor. Outlawry is not far distant. “These tenements must go.” Will they go? Ask of the police, who pick over the wreckage upon the subsidence of a wave of reform. Many a rookery, officially abolished, [pg 4]will be found still tenanted, and yielding not one income, but two, one for the owner and another for the police. The property represented by enterprises paying low wages, working men for long hours or under unhealthful conditions, or employing children, is almost ripe for excommunication. Pillars of society and the church have already been seen tottering on account of revelations of working conditions in factories from which they receive dividends. Property “affected by a public use,” that is, investments in the instrumentalities of public service, is becoming a compromising possession. We are already somewhat suspicious of the personal integrity and political honor of those who receive their incomes from railways or electric lighting plants; and the odor of gas stocks is unmistakable. Even the land, once the retreat of high birth and serene dignity, is beginning to exhale a miasma of corruption. “Enriched by unearned increment”—who wishes such an epitaph? A convention is to be held in a western city in this very year, to announce to the world that the delegates and their constituencies—all honest lovers of mankind—will refuse in future to recognize any private title to land or other natural resources. Holders of such property, by continuing to be such, will place themselves beyond the pale of human society, and will forfeit all claim to sympathy when the day dawns for the universal confiscation of land.


The existence of categories of property interests resting under a growing weight of social disapprobation, is giving rise to a series of problems in private ethics that seem almost to demand a rehabilitation of the art of casuistry. A very intelligent and conscientious lady of the writer’s acquaintance became possessed, by inheritance, of a one-fourth interest in a Minneapolis building the ground floor of which is occupied by a saloon. Her first endeavor was to persuade her partners to secure a cancellation of the [pg 5]liquor dealer’s lease. This they refused to do, on the ground that the building in question is, by location, eminently suited to its present use, but very ill suited to any other; and that, moreover, the lessee would immediately reopen his business on the opposite corner. To yield to their partner’s desire would therefore result in a reduction of their own profits, but would advance the public welfare not one whit. Disheartened by her partners’ obstinacy, my friend is seeking to dispose of her interest in the building. As she is willing to incur a heavy sacrifice in order to get rid of her complicity in what she considers an unholy business, the transfer will doubtless soon be made. Her soul will be lightened of the profits from property put to an anti-social use. But the property will still continue in such use, and profits from it will still accrue to someone with a soul to lose or to save.

In her fascinating book, Twenty Years at Hull House, Miss Jane Addams tells of a visit to a western state where she had invested a sum of money in farm mortgages. “I was horrified,” she says, “by the wretched conditions among the farmers, which had resulted from a long period of drought, and one forlorn picture was fairly burned into my mind…. The farmer’s wife [was] a picture of despair, as she stood in the door of the bare, crude house, and the two children behind her, whom she vainly tried to keep out of sight, continually thrust forward their faces, almost covered by masses of coarse, sunburned hair, and their little bare feet so black, so hard, the great cracks so filled with dust, that they looked like flattened hoofs. The children could not be compared to anything so joyous as satyrs, although they appeared but half-human. It seemed to me quite impossible to receive interest from mortgages upon farms which might at any season be reduced to such conditions, and with great inconvenience to my agent and doubtless with hardship to the farmers, as speedily as possible I withdrew all my investment.” And thereby made the supply of money for such farmers [pg 6]that much less and consequently that much dearer. This is quite a fair example of much current philanthropy.

We may safely assume that, however much this action may have lightened Miss Addams’s conscience, it did not lighten the burden of debt upon the farmer, or make the periodic interest payments less painful, and it certainly did put them to the trouble and contingent expenses of a new mortgage. The moral burden was shifted, to the ease of the philanthropist, and this seems to exhaust the sum of the good results of one well intentioned deed. Do they outweigh the bad ones?

So, doubtless, there are among our friends persons who, upon proof that factories in which they have been interested pay starvation wages, have withdrawn their investments. And others who, stumbling upon a state legislature among the productive assets of a railway corporation, have sold their bonds and invested the proceeds elsewhere. It is a modern way of obeying the injunction, “Sell all thou hast and follow me.” And not a very painful way, since the irreproachable investments pay almost, if not quite, as well as those that are suspect.

It is not, however, impossible to conceive of a property owner driven from one position to another, in order to satisfy this new requirement of the social conscience, without ever finding peace. Miss Addams put the money withdrawn from those hideous farm mortgages into a flock of “innocent looking sheep.” Alas, they were not so innocent as they seemed. “The sight of two hundred sheep with four rotting hoofs each was not reassuring to one whose conscience craved economic peace. A fortunate series of sales of mutton, wool and farm enabled the partners to end the enterprise without loss.” Sales of mutton? Let us hope those eight hundred infected hoofs are well printed on the butcher’s conscience.

And the net result of all these moral strivings? The evil investments still continue to be evil, and still yield [pg 7]profits. Doubtless they rest, in the end, upon less sensitive consciences. Marvellous moral gain!


We are bound to the wheel, say the sociological fatalists. All our efforts are of no avail; the Wheel revolves as it was destined. Not so. Our strivings for purity in investments, puny as may be their results in the individual instance, may compose a sum that is imposing in its effectiveness. How their influence may be exerted will best appear from an analogy.

It is a settled conviction among Americans of Puritan antecedents, and among all other Americans, native born or alien, that have come under Puritan influence, that the dispensing of alcoholic beverages is a degrading function. This conviction has not, to be sure, notably impaired the performance of the function. But it has none the less produced a striking effect. It has set apart for the function in question those elements in the population that place the lowest valuation upon the esteem of the public, and that are, on the whole, least worthy of it. In consequence the American saloon is, by common consent, the very worst institution of its kind in the world. Such is the immediate result of good intentions working by the method of excommunication of a trade.

This degradation of the personnel and the institution proceeds at an accelerated rate as public opinion grows more bitter. In the end the evil becomes so serious, so intimately associated with all other evils, social and political, that you hear men over their very cups rise to proclaim, with husky voices, “The saloon must go!” At this point the community is ripe for prohibition: accordingly, it would seem that the initial stages in the process, unpleasant as were their consequences, were not ill-advised, after all. But prohibition does not come without a political struggle, in which the enemy, selected for brazenness and schooled in corruption, employs methods that leave [pg 8]lasting scars upon the body politic. And even when vanquished, the enemy retreats into the morasses of “unenforcible laws,” to conduct a guerilla warfare that knows no rules. Let us grant that the ultimate gain is worth all it costs: are we sure that we have taken the best possible means to achieve our ends?

In the poorer quarters of most great American cities, there is much property that it is difficult for a man to hold without losing the respect of the enlightened. Old battered tenements, dingy and ill lighted tumbledown shacks, the despair of the city reformer. Let us say that the proximity of gas tanks or noisy railways or smoky factories consign such quarters to the habitation of the very poor. Quite possibly, then, the replacement of the existing buildings by better ones would represent a heavy financial loss. The increasing social disapprobation of property vested in such wretched forms leads to the gradual substitution of owners who hold the social approval in contempt, for those who manifest a certain degree of sensitiveness. The tenants certainly gain nothing from the change. What is more likely to happen, is a screwing up of rents, an increasing promptness of evictions. Public opinion will in the end be roused against the landlords; the more timid among them will sell their holdings to others not less ruthless, but bolder and more astute. Attempts at public regulation will be fought with infinitely greater resourcefulness than could possibly have been displayed by respectable owners. Perhaps the final outcome will be that more drastic regulations are adopted than would have been the case had the shifting in ownership not taken place. There would still remain the possibility of the evasion of the law, and it is not at all improbable that the progress in the technique of evasion would outstrip the progress in regulation, thus leaving the tenant with a balance of disadvantage from the process as a whole.

The most illuminating instance of a business interest subjected first to excommunication—literally—and [pg 9]then to outlawry, is that of the usurer, or, in modern parlance, the loan shark. To the mediæval mind there was something distinctly immoral in an income from property devoted to the furnishing of personal loans. We need not stop to defend the mediæval position or to attack it; all that concerns us here is that an opportunity for profit—that is, a potential property interest—was outlawed. In consequence it became impossible for reputable citizens to engage in the business. Usury therefore came to be monopolized by aliens, exempt from the current ethical formulation, who were “protected,” for a consideration, by the prince, just as dubious modern property interests may be protected by the political boss.

Let us summarize the results of eight hundred years of experience in this method of dealing with the usurer’s trade. The business shifted from the control of citizens to that of aliens; from the hands of those who were aliens merely in a narrow, national sense, to the hands of those who are alien to our common humanity. Such lawless, tricky, extortionate loan sharks as now infest our cities were probably not to be found at all in mediæval or early modern times. They are a product of a secular process of selection. Their ability to evade the laws directed against them is consummate. It is true that from time to time we do succeed in catching one and fining him, or even imprisoning him. For which risk the small borrower is forced to pay, at a usurer’s rate.

Social improvement through the excommunication of property interests is inevitably a disorderly process. Wherever it is in operation we are sure to find the successive stages indicated in the foregoing examples. First, a gradual substitution of the conscienceless property holder for the one responsive to public sentiment. Next, under the threat of hostile popular action, the timid and resourceless property owner gives way to the resourceful and the bold. The third stage in the process is a vigorous political movement towards drastic regulation or abolition, [pg 10]evoking a desperate attempt on the part of the interests threatened to protect themselves by political means—that is, by gross corruption; or, if the menaced interest is a vast one, dominating a defensible territory, by armed rebellion, as in our own Civil War. If the interest is finally overwhelmed politically, and placed completely under the ban of the law, it has been given ample time to develop an unscrupulousness of personnel and an art of corruption that long enable it to exist illegally, a lasting reproach to the constituted authorities.


Suppression of anti-social interests by the methods in vogue amounts to little more than their banishment to the underworld. And we can well imagine the joy with which the denizens of the underworld receive such new accessions to their numbers and power. For in the nature of the case, it is inevitable that all varieties of outcasts and outlaws should join forces. The religious schismatic makes common cause with the pariah; the political offender with the thief and robber. Such association of elements vastly increases the difficulty of repressing crime. The band of thieves and robbers in the cave of Adullam doubtless found their powers of preying vastly increased through the acquisition of such a leader as David. The problem of mediæval vagabondage was rendered well-nigh incapable of solution by the fact that any beggar’s rags might conceal a holy but excommunicated friar.

Let us once more review our experience with the usurer. As an outcast he offers his support to other outcasts, and is in turn supported by them. The pawnbroker and the pickpocket are closely allied: without the pawnshop, pocketpicking would offer but a precarious living; without the picking of pockets, many pawnshops would find it impossible to meet expenses. The salary loan shark often works hand in glove with the professional gambler; each procures victims for the other. The “hole-in-the-[pg 11]wall” or “blind tiger” provides a rendezvous for all the outcasts of society. “Boot-legging” is a common subsidiary occupation for the pander, the thief and the cracksman. Where it flourishes, it serves to bridge over many a period of slack trade. Franchises whose validity is subject to political attack, bring to the aid of the underworld some of the most powerful interests in the community. The police are almost helpless when confronted by a coalition of persons of wealth and respectability with professional politicians commanding a motley array of yeggs and thugs, pimps and card-sharpers.

Let us suppose that the developing social conscience places under the ban receipt of private income from land and other natural resources, and that a powerful movement aiming at the confiscation of such resources is under way. It is superfluous to point out that the vast interests threatened would offer a desperate resistance. The warfare against an incomparably lesser interest, the liquor trade, has taxed all the resources of the modern democratic state—on the whole the most absolute political organization known. In no instance has the state come out of the struggle completely victorious; the proscribed interest is yielding ground, if at all, only very slowly. What, then, would be the outcome of a struggle against the vastly greater landed interest? Perhaps the state would be victorious in the end. But for generations the landed interest would survive, if not by title of common law, at least by title of common corruption. And in the course of the conflict, we can not doubt that political disorder would flourish as never before, and that under its shelter private vice and crime would develop almost unchecked.

We should disabuse ourselves of the notion that the will of a mere majority is absolute in the state. The law is a reality only when the outlawed interests represent an insignificant minority. Arbitrarily to increase the outlawed interests is to undermine the very foundations of society.

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The trend of the foregoing discussion, it will be said, is reactionary in the extreme. There are, as all must admit, private interests that are prejudicial to the public interest. Are they to be left in possession of the privilege of trading upon the public disaster—entrenching themselves, rendering still more difficult the future task of the reformer? By no means. The writer opposes no criticism to the extinction of anti-social private interests; on the contrary, he would have the state proceed against them with far greater vigor than it has hitherto displayed. It is important, however, to be sure first that a private interest is anti-social. Then the question is merely one of method. It is the author’s contention that the method of excommunication and outlawry is the very worst conceivable.

We are wont to hold up to scorn the British method of compensating liquor sellers for licenses revoked. It is an expensive method. But let us weigh its corresponding advantages. The licensee does not find himself in a position in which he must choose between personal destitution and the public interest. He dares not employ methods of resistance that would subject him to the risk of forfeiting the right to compensation. He may resist by fair means, but if he is intelligent, he will keep his skirts clear of foul. If his establishment is closed, he is not left, a ruined and desperate man, to project methods for carrying on his trade illicitly. On the contrary, the act of compensation has placed in his hands funds in which he might be mulcted if convicted of violation of the law. And if natural perversity should drive him to illegal practices, he would not find himself an object of sympathy on the part of that considerable minority that resent injustice even to those whom they regard as evil-doers.

There can be little doubt that by the adoption of the principle of adequate compensation, an American commonwealth [pg 13]could extinguish any property interest that majority opinion pronounces anti-social. We may have industries that menace the public health. Under existing conditions the interests involved exert themselves to the utmost to suppress information relative to the dangers of such industries. With the principle of compensation in operation, these very interests would be the foremost in exposing the evils in question. It is no hardship to sell your interest to the public. Does any one feel aggrieved when the public decides to appropriate his land to a public use? On the contrary, every possessor of a site at all suited for a public building or playground does everything in his power to display its advantages in the most favorable light.

And with this we have admitted a disadvantage of the compensation principle—over-compensation. We do pay excessively for property rights extinguished in the public interest. But this is largely because the principle is employed with such relative infrequency that we have not as yet developed a technique of compensation. German cities have learned how to acquire property for public use without either plundering the private owner or excessively enriching him. The British application of the Small Holdings Acts has duly protected the interests of the large landholder, without making of him a vociferous champion of the Acts.

Progressive public morality readers one private interest after another indefensible. Let the public extinguish such interests, by all means. But let the public be moral at its own expense.

A revolting doctrine, it will be said. Because men have been permitted, through gross defect in the laws, to build up interests in dealing out poisons to the public, are they to be compensated, like the purveyors of wholesome products, when the public decrees that their destructive activities shall cease? Because a corrupt legislature once gave away valuable franchises, are we and our children, [pg 14]and our children’s children, forever to pay tribute, in the shape of interest on compensation funds, to the heirs of the shameless grantees? Because the land of a country was parcelled out, in a lawless age, among the unworthy retainers of a predatory prince, must we forever pay rent on every loaf we eat—as we should do, in fact, even if we transformed great landed estates into privately held funds? Did we not abolish human slavery, without compensation, and is there any one to question the justice of the act?

We did indeed extinguish slavery without compensation to the slave owners. But if no one had ever conceived of such a policy we should have been a richer nation and a happier one. We paid for the slaves, in blood and treasure, many times the sum that would have made every slave owner eager to part with his slaves. Such enrichment of the slave owner would have been an act of social injustice, it may be said. The saying would be open to grave doubt, but the doctrine here advanced runs, not in terms of justice, but in terms of social expediency.

And expediency is commonly regarded as a cheap substitute for justice. It is wrongly so regarded. Social justice, as usually conceived, looks to the past for its validity. Its preoccupation is the correction of ancient wrongs. Social expediency looks to the future: its chief concern is the prevention of future wrongs. As a guide to political action, the superiority of the claims of social expediency is indisputable.


In the foregoing argument it has been deliberately assumed that the interests to be extinguished are, for the most part, universally recognized as anti-social. Slavery, health-destroying adulteration, the maintenance of tenements that menace life and morals, these at least represent interests so abominable that all must agree upon the wisdom of extinguishing them. The only point in dispute [pg 15]must be one of method. It is the contention of the present writer that when even such interests have had time to become clothed with an appearance of regularity, the method of extinction should be through compensation. By its tolerance of such interests, the public has made itself an accomplice in the mischief to which they give rise, and accordingly has not even an equitable right to throw the whole responsibility upon the private persons concerned.

Interests thus universally recognized to be evil are necessarily few. In the vast majority of cases the establishment of interests we now seek to proscribe took place in an epoch in which no evil was imputed to them. At first a small minority, usually regarded as fanatics, attack the interests in question. This minority increases, and in the end transforms itself into a majority. But long after majority opinion has become adverse, there remains a vigorous minority opinion defending the menaced interests. A hundred years ago the distilling of spirituous liquors was almost universally regarded as an entirely legitimate industry. The enemies of the industry were few and of no political consequence. Today in many communities the industry is utterly condemned by majority opinion. There is, however, no community in which a minority honestly defending the industry is absolutely wanting. Admitting that the majority opinion is right, it remains none the less true that adherents of the minority opinion would regard themselves as most grievously wronged if the majority proceeded to a destruction of their interests.

Where moral issues alone are involved, we may perhaps accept the view that the well considered opinion of the majority is as near as may be to infallibility. But it is very rarely the case that the question of the legitimacy of a property interest can be reduced to a purely moral issue. Usually there are also at stake, technical and broad economic issues in which majority judgment is notoriously [pg 16]fallible. Thus we have at times had large minorities who believed that the bank as an institution is wholly evil, and ought to be abolished. This was the majority opinion in one period of the history of Texas, and in accordance with it, established banking interests were destroyed by law. It is only within the last fifteen years that the majority of the citizens of that commonwealth have admitted the error of the earlier view.

In the course of the last twenty-five years, notable progress has been made in the art of preserving perishable foods through refrigeration. There are differences of opinion as to the effect upon the public health of food so preserved; and further differences as to the effect of the cold storage system upon the cost of living. On neither the physiological nor the economic questions involved is majority opinion worthy of special consideration. None the less, legislative measures directed against the storage interests have been seriously considered in a large number of states, and were it not for the difficulties inherent in the regulation of interstate commerce, we should doubtless see the practice of cold storage prohibited in some jurisdictions. Those whose property would thus be destroyed would accept their losses with much bitterness, in view of the fact that the weight of expert opinion holds their industry to be in the public interest.

What still further exacerbates the feeling of injury on the part of those whose interests are proscribed, is the fact that the purity of motives of the persons most active in the campaign of proscription is not always clear. Not many years ago we had a thriving manufacture of artificial butter. The persons engaged in the industry claimed that their product was as wholesome as that produced according to the time-honored process, and that its cheapness promised an important advance in the adequate provisioning of the people. We destroyed the industry, very largely because of our strong bent toward conservatism in all matters pertaining to the table. But among the influences [pg 17]that were most active in taxing artificial butter out of existence, was the competing dairymen’s interest.

It is asserted by those who would shift the whole burden of taxation onto land that they are animated by the most unselfish motives, whereas their opponents are defending their selfish interests alone. Yet a common Single Tax appeal to the large manufacturer and the small house-owner takes the form of a computation demonstrating that those classes would gain more through the reduction in the burden on improvements than they would lose through increase in burden on the land. Let it be granted that personal advantage is not incompatible with purity of motives. The association of ideas does not, however, inspire confidence, especially in the breasts of those whose interests are threatened.

Extinction of property interests without compensation necessarily makes our legislative bodies the battleground of conflicting interests. Honest motives are combined with crooked ones in the attack upon an interest; crooked and honest motives combine in its defense. Out of the disorder issues a legislative determination that may be in the public interest or may be prejudicial to it. And most likely the law is inadequately supported by machinery of enforcement: it is effective in controlling the scrupulous; to the unscrupulous it is mere paper. In many instances its net effect is only to increase the risks connected with the conduct of a business.

When England prohibited importation of manufactures from France, the import trade continued none the less, under the form of smuggling. The risk of seizure was merely added to the risk of fire and flood. Just as one could insure against the latter risks, so the practice arose of insuring against seizure. At one time, at any rate, in the French ports were to be found brokers who would insure the evasion of a cargo of goods for a premium of fifteen per cent. At the safe distance of a century and a half, the absurd prohibition and its incompetent administration [pg 18]are equally comic. At the time, however, there was nothing comic in the contempt for law and order thus engendered, in the feeling of outrage on the part of those ruined by seizures, and in the alliance of respectable merchants with the thieves and footpads enlisted for the smuggling trade.


It is a common observation of present day social reformers that an excessive regard is displayed by our governmental organs for security of property, while security of non-property rights is neglected. And this would indeed be a serious indictment of the existing order if there were in fact a natural antithesis between the security of property and security of the person. There is, however, no such antithesis. In the course of history the establishment of security of property has, as a rule, preceded the establishment of personal security, and has provided the conditions in which personal security becomes possible. Adequate policing is essential to any form of security. Property can pay for policing; the person can not. This is a crude and materialistic interpretation of the facts, but it is essentially sound.

How much personal security existed in England, five centuries and a half ago, when it was possible for Richard to carve his way through human flesh to the throne? The lowly, certainly, enjoyed no greater security than the high born. How much personal security exists in the late Macedonian provinces of the Turkish Empire, or in northern Mexico? It is safe to issue a challenge to all the world to produce an instance, contemporary or historical, of a country in which property is insecure and in which human life and human happiness are not still more insecure. On the other hand, it is difficult to produce an instance of a state in which security of property has long been established, in which there is not a progressive sensitiveness about the non-propertied rights of man. It is in the countries [pg 19]where the sacredness of private property is a fetich, that one finds recognition of a universal right to education, of a right to protection against violence and against epidemic disease, of a right to relief in destitution. These are perhaps meagre rights; but they represent an expanding category. The right to support in time of illness and in old age is making rapid progress. The development of such rights is not only not incompatible with security of property, but it is, in large measure, a corollary of property security. Personal rights shape themselves upon the analogy of property rights; they utilize the same channels of thought and habit. One of the most powerful arguments for “social insurance” is its very name. Insurance is recognized as an essential to the security of property; it is therefore easy to make out a case for the application of the principle to non-propertied claims.

Some may claim that the security of property has now fulfilled its mission; that we can safely allow the principle to decay in order to concentrate our attention upon the task of establishing non-propertied rights. But let us remember that we are not removed from barbarism by the length of a universe. The crust of orderly civilization is deep under our feet: but not six hundred years deep. The primitive fires still smoke on our Mexican borders and in the Balkans. And blow holes open from time to time through our own seemingly solid crust—in Colorado, in West Virginia, in the Copper Country. It is evidently premature to affirm that the security of property has fulfilled its mission.


The question at issue, is not, however, the rights of property against the rights of man—or more honestly—the rights of labor. The claims of labor upon the social income may advance at the expense of the claims of property. In the institutional struggle between the propertied and the propertyless, the sympathies of the writer [pg 20]are with the latter party. It is his hope and belief that an ever increasing share of the social income will assume the form of rewards for personal effort.

But this is an altogether different matter from the crushing of one private property interest after another, in the name of the social welfare or the social morality. Such detailed attacks upon property interests are, in the end, to the injury of both social classes. Frequently they amount to little more than a large loss to one property interest, and a small gain to another. They increase the element of insecurity in all forms of property; for who shall say which form is immune from attack? Now it is the slum tenement, obvious corollary of our social inequalities; next it may be the marble mansion or gilded hotel, equally obvious corollaries of the same institutional situation. Now it is the storage of meat that is under attack; it may next be the storage of flour. The fact is, our mass of income yielding possessions is essentially an organic whole. The irreproachable incomes are not exactly what they would be if those subject to reproach did not exist. If some property incomes are dirty, all property incomes become turbid.

The cleansing of property incomes, therefore, is a first obligation of the institution of property as a whole. The compensation principle throws the cost of the cleansing upon the whole mass, since, in the last analysis, any considerable burden of taxation will distribute itself over the mass. The principle is therefore consonant with justice. What is not less important, the principle, systematically developed, would go far toward freeing the legislature from the graceless function of arbitrating between selfish interests, and the administration from the necessity of putting down powerful interests outlawed by legislative act. It would give us a State working smoothly, and therefore an efficient instrument for social ends. Most important of all, it would promote that security of economic interests which is essential to social progress.

[pg 21]

A Stubborn Relic of Feudalism

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There is a persistent question regarding the distribution of property which is of peculiar interest in the season of automobile tours and summer hotels. Most thinking people acknowledge a good deal of perplexity over this question, while on most parallel ones they are generally cock-sure—on whichever is the side of their personal interests. But in this question the bias of personal interest is not very large, and therefore it may be considered with more chance of agreement than can the larger questions of the same class which parade under various disguises.

The little question is that of tipping. After we have squeezed out of it such antitoxic serum as we can, we will briefly indicate the application of it to larger questions.

Tipping is plainly a survival of the feudal relation, long before the humbler men had risen from the condition of status to that of contract, when fixed pay in the ordinary sense was unknown, and where the relation between servant and master was one of ostensible voluntary service and voluntary support, was for life, and in its best aspect was a relation of mutual dependence and kindness. Then the spasmodic payment was, as tips are now, essential to the upper man’s dignity, and very especially to the dignity of his visitor. This feudal relation survives in England today to such an extent that poor men refrain from visiting their rich relations because of the tips. In the great country-houses the tips are expected to be in gold, at least so I was told some years ago. And in England and out of it, Don Cesar’s bestowal of his last shilling on the man who had served him, still thrills the audience, at least the tipped portion of it.

Europe being on the whole less removed from feudal institutions than we are, tipping is not only more firmly [pg 22]established there, but more systematized. It is more nearly the rule that servants’ places in hotels are paid for, and they are apt to be dependent entirely upon tips. The greater wealth of America, on the other hand, and the extravagance of the nouveaux riches, has led in some institutions to more extravagant tipping than is dreamed of in Europe, and consequently has scattered through the community a number of servants from Europe who, when here, receive with gratitude from a foreigner, a tip which they would scorn from an American.

In the midst of general relations of contract—of agreed pay for agreed service, tipping is an anomaly and a constant puzzle.

It would seem strange, if it were not true of the greater questions of the same kind, that in the chronic discussion of this one, so little attention, if any, has been paid to what may be the fundamental line of division between the two sides—namely, the distinction between ideal ethics and practical ethics.

An illustration or two will help explain that distinction:

First illustration: “Thou shalt not kill” which is ideal ethics in an ideal world of peace. Practical ethics in the real world are illustrated in Washington and Lee, who for having killed their thousands, are placed beside the saints!

Second illustration: Obey the laws and tell the truth. This is ideal ethics, which our very legislatures do much to prevent being practical. For instance; they ignore the fact that in the present state of morality, taxes on personal property can be collected from virtually nobody but widows and orphans who have no one to evade the taxes for them. So the legislatures continue the attempt to tax personal property, and a judge on the bench says that a man who lies about his personal taxes shall not on that account be held an unreliable witness in other matters.

Or to take an illustration less radical: it is not in legal testimony alone that ideal ethics require everybody to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—[pg 23]that the world should have as much truth as possible; and if the world were perfectly kind, perfectly honest and perfectly wise (which last involves the first two), that ideal could be realized. For instance, in our imperfect world a man telling people when he did not like them, would be constantly giving needless pain and making needless enemies, whereas in an ideal world—made up of perfect people, there would be nobody to dislike, or, pardon the Hibernicism, if there were, the whole truth could be told without causing pain or enmity. Or again, in a world where there are dishonest people, a man telling everything about his schemes, would have them run away with by others, though in an ideal world, where there were no dishonest people, he could speak freely. In fact, the necessity of reticence in this connection does not even depend on the existence of dishonesty: for in a world where people have to look out for themselves, instead of everybody looking out for everybody else, a man exposing his plans might hurry the execution of competing plans on the part of perfectly honest people.

Farther illustration may be sufficiently furnished by the topic in hand.

In the case of most poor folks other than servants, what to do about it has lately been pretty distinctly settled: the religion of pauperization is pretty generally set aside: almsgiving, the authorities on ethics now generally hold, should be restricted to deserving cases—to people incapacitated by constitution or circumstance from taking proper care of themselves.

Now is tipping almsgiving, and are servants among the deserving classes?

How many people have asked themselves these simple questions, and how many who are educated up to habitually refusing alms unless the last of the questions is affirmatively answered, just as habitually tip servants?

Is tipping almsgiving? Not in the same sense that alms are given without any show of anything in return: the [pg 24]servant does something for the tipper. Yes, but he is paid for it by his employer. True, but only sometimes: at other times he is only partly paid, depending for the rest on tips; and sometimes the tips are so valuable that the servant pays his alleged employer for the opportunity to get them. Yet I know one hotel in Germany, and probably there are others, there and elsewhere, where the menus and other stationery bear requests against tipping. But in that one hotel I know tipping to be as rife as in hotels generally: the customers are not educated up to the landlord’s standard. And here we come to the fundamental remedy for all questionable practices—the education of the people beyond them. But this is simply the ideal condition in which ideal ethics could prevail. Meanwhile we must determine the practical ethics of the actual world.

The servant’s position is different from that of most other wage-earners, in that he is in direct contact with the person who is to benefit from his work. The man who butchers your meat or grinds your flour, you probably never see; but the man who brushes your clothes or waits on your table, holds to you a personal relation, and he can do his work so as merely to meet a necessity, or so as to rise beyond mere necessity into comfort or luxury. Outside of home servants, the necessity is all that, in the present state of human nature, his regular stipend is apt to provide; the comfort or the luxury, the feeling of personal interest, the atmosphere of promptness and cheerfulness and ease, is apt to respond only to the tip. Only in the ideal world will it be spontaneous. In the real world it must be paid for.

And why should it not be—why is it not as legitimate to pay for having your wine well cooled or carefully tempered and decanted, as to pay for the wine itself? The objection apt to be first urged is that it degrades the servant. But does it? He is not an ideal man in an ideal world, already doing his best or paid to do his best. You are not degrading him from any such standard as that, [pg 25]into the lower one of requiring tips: you are simply taking him as he is. True, if he got no tips, he would not depend upon them; but without them he would not do all you want him to; before he will do that, he must be developed into a different man—he must become a creature of an ideal world. You may in the course of ages develop him into that, and as you do, he will work better and better, and tips may grow smaller and smaller, until he does his best spontaneously, and tips have dwindled to nothing. But to withdraw them now would simply make him sulky, and lead to his doing worse than now.

Another objection urged against tips is that they put the rich tipper at an advantage over the poor one. But the rich man is at an advantage in nearly everything else, why not here? The idea of depriving him of his advantages, is rank communism, which destroys the stimulus to energy and ingenuity that, in the present state of human nature, is needed to keep the world moving. In an ideal state of human nature, the man with ability to create wealth may find stimulus enough, as some do to a considerable extent now, in the delight of distributing wealth for the general good; but we are considering what is practicable in the present state of human nature.

Another aspect of the case, or at least a wider aspect, is the more sentimental one where the tip is prompted as reciprocation for spontaneous kindness.

But in the service of private families, as distinct from service to the general public or to visitors it is notorious that constant tipping is ruinous. Occasional holidays and treats and presents at Christmas and on special occasions are useful, as promoting the general feeling of reciprocation. But from visitors the tip is generally essential to ensuring the due meed of respect. Yet we can reasonably imagine a time when it may not be; and even now, for the casual service of holding a horse or brushing off the dust, a hearty “thank you” is perhaps on the whole better than a tip.

[pg 26]Considering the morality of the question all around—the practical ethics as well as the ideal, the underlying facts are that no man ought to be a servant in the servile sense, and indeed no man ought to be poor; and in an ideal world no man would be one or the other. Just how we are to get a world without servants or servile people, is perhaps a little more plain than how we are to get Mr. Bellamy’s world without poor people, which, however, amounts to nearly the same thing. At least we will get a less servile world, as machinery and organization make service less and less personal. Bread has long been to a great extent made away from home; much of the washing is also done away in great laundries, and organizations have lately been started to call for men’s outer clothes, and keep them cleaned, repaired and pressed. There is a noticeable rise, too, in the dignity of personal service: witness the college students at the summer hotels, and the self-respecting Jap in the private family. These influences are making for the ideal world in relation to service, and when we get it, no man will take tips, and nobody will offer them.

But in our stage of evolution, the tip, like the larger prizes, is part of the general stimulus to the best exertion and the best feeling, and is therefore legitimate; but it, like every other stimulus, should not be applied in excess, and the tendency should be to abolish it. The rich man often is led by good taste and good morals to restrain his expenditure in many directions, and there are few directions, if any, in which good taste and good morals more commend the happy medium than in tips. Excess in them, however, is not always prompted by good nature and generosity and reciprocation of spontaneous kindness, but often by desire for comfort, and even by ostentation. But all such promptings require regulation for the same reason that, it is now becoming generally recognized, the promptings of even charity itself require regulation.

The head of one of the leading Fifth Avenue restaurants [pg 27]once said to the writer, substantially: “We don’t like tips: they demoralize our men. But what can we do about it? We can’t stop it, or even keep it within bounds. Our customers will give them, and people who have too much money or too little sense, give not only dollar bills or five dollar bills, but fifty dollar bills and even hundred dollar bills. We have tried to stave off customers who do such things: we believe that in the long run it would pay us to; but we can’t.”

When all the promptings of liberality or selfishness or ostentation are well regulated, we will be in the ideal world. Until then, in the actual world, it is the part of wisdom to regulate ideal ethics by practical ethics—and tip, but tip temperately.

And now to apply our principles to a wider field.

The ideal is that all men should have what they produce. The ideal is also that all men should have full shares of the good things of life. These two ideals inevitably combine into a third—that all men should produce full shares of the good things of life. But the plain fact is that they cannot—that no amount of opportunity or appliances will enable the average day laborer to produce what Mr. Edison or Mr. Hill or even the average deviser of work and guide of labor does. Then even ideal ethics cannot say in this actual world: Let both have the same. That would simply be Robin Hood ethics: rob the man who produces much, and give the plunder to the man who produces little. Hence comes the disguising of the schemes to do it, even so that they often deceive their own devisers. What then do practical ethics say? They can’t say anything more than: Help the less capable to become capable, so that he may produce more. But that is at least as slow a process as raising the servant beyond the stage of tips. Meantime the socialists are unwilling to wait, and propose to rob the present owners of the means of production, and take the control of industry from the [pg 28]men who manage it now, and put it in the hands of the men who merely can influence votes. These men certainly are no less selfish and dishonest than the captains of industry, and are vastly less able to select the profitable fields of industry, and organize and economize industry; whatever product they might squeeze out would be vastly less than now, and it would stick to their own fingers no less than does what the politicians handle now. Dividing whatever might reach the people, without reference to those who produced it, could yield the average man no more than he gets now. That’s very simple mathematics. One of the saddest sights of the day is the number of good people to whom these facts are not self-evident.

In no state of human nature that any persons now living, or the grandchild of any person now living, will witness, could such conditions be permanent. Their temporary realization might be accomplished; but if it were, the able men would not be satisfied with either the low grade of civilization inevitable unless they worked, or with being robbed of the large share of production that must result from their work. The more intelligent of the rank and file, too, would rebel against the conditions inevitably lowering the general prosperity, and they would soon realize the difference in industrial leadership between “political generals” and natural generals. Insurrection would follow, and then anarchy, after which things would start again on their present basis, but some generations behind.

But I for one do not expect these experiences, especially in America: for here probably enough men have already become property holders to make a sufficient balance of power for the preservation of property. If not, the first step toward ensuring civilization, is helping enough men to develop into property holders, and continue property holders, which general experience declares that they will not unless they develop their property themselves.

[pg 29]

An Experiment in Syndicalism

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During the last twenty years New Zealand has tried many social and economic experiments; these experiments have been made by her own Legislature, and her own people; and as a rule they have been remarkably successful: during the last few months she has had the experience of a new one conducted by strangers, and made at her expense. Fortunately there is reason to believe that this one will be found to have resulted in benefit to New Zealand and its people, while it may prove of service to older and larger countries. It is probable that the most widely known of New Zealand’s experiments is that which aimed at doing justice to employers and employees alike by the substitution for the Industrial strike of a Court of Arbitration, fairly constituted, on which both Workers and Employers were equally represented. This law has been branded by the supporters of the usual Strike policy with the name of “Compulsory Arbitration,” the object being to discredit it in the eyes of the workers, as an infringement of their liberty. The title is unfair and misleading. Unlike most laws, it never has been of universal application either to Workers or Employers, but only to those among them that chose to form themselves into industrial Unions, and to register those Unions as subject to the provisions of the Statute. The purpose of the Statute was an appeal to the common sense of the people, by offering them an alternative method of settling disputes and securing that fair-play for both parties which experience had shown could seldom be secured by the strike. The law, which was first introduced in 1894, had gradually appealed both to workers and employers, as worth trying, and before the close of the last century it [pg 30]had rendered the country prosperous, and had attracted the attention of thoughtful people in many other parts of the world to the “Country Without Strikes.” Efforts were made in several countries to introduce the principle of the New Zealand Statute, but with very little success, as it was generally opposed both by workers and employers:—the workers feeling confident they could obtain greater concessions by the forceful methods of the strike, and the employers suspecting that any Court of Arbitration would be likely to give the workers more than, without arbitration, they could compel the employers to surrender.

In the mean time the statutory substitute for the strike continued to succeed in New Zealand. Nearly every class of town workers, and some in the country, had formed Unions, and registered them under the arbitration law. With a single trifling exception, that was speedily put an end to by the punishment of the Union with the alternative of heavy fine or imprisonment, the country was literally as well as nominally a country without a strike. And it was something more than that: its prosperity increased year by year, and its production of goods—agricultural, pastoral, and manufactured—increased at a pace unequalled elsewhere. Yet the prosperity was most apparent in its effect on the conditions of the workers: under the successive awards of the arbitration court, wages had steadily increased until they had reached a point as high as in similar trades in America, while the cost of living was very little more than half the rate in any town in the United States. To all intelligent observers these facts were evident, and could not be concealed from the workers in other countries, especially in Australia, as the nearest geographically to New Zealand and commercially the most closely connected.

The effect, however, on the workers of Australia was not what might have been expected. Attempts had been made by some of the State Legislatures to introduce arbitration [pg 31]laws more or less like the New Zealand statute, but with very partial success. From the first these laws were opposed by the leaders of the Labor Unions, who naturally saw a menace to their influence in the fact that they became subject to punishment if they attempted to use their accustomed powers over their fellow unionists. The example of New Zealand was lauded in the Australian Legislatures and newspapers, and even in the courts, till at last a feeling of strong antagonism was developed among the more advanced class of socialistic Labor men, and it was decided by their leaders to undertake a campaign in the neighboring Dominion against the system of settling industrial questions by courts, and in favor of substituting the system of strikes, with their attendant power and profit to the Labor leaders. The first steps taken were sending men from Australia or England on lecturing tours through New Zealand, to create dissatisfaction with the Arbitration Courts by representing them as leaning to the side of the employers, and ignoring the claims of the workers. When this had gone on for about a year, workers of various classes were induced to cross from Australia, and join the Unions in New Zealand, for the purpose of influencing their fellow unionists to disloyalty towards the system under which they were registered. These men were generally competent workers and clever agitators, and many of them soon obtained prominence and official position in the Unions. As was natural, a good many of these new-comers were miners—either for coal or gold—and many of them joined the miners’ union at the great gold mine known as the Waihi, from which upwards of thirty million dollars worth of gold had been dug, and which was still yielding between three and four million dollars a year. There were nearly a thousand miners employed there, and all of them were members of a Union that was duly registered under the Arbitration statute.

There had been several questions in dispute between [pg 32]the miners and the owners, and these had been referred to the Arbitration Court some time before the arrival of the new Australian miners. The result, while it favored the Union in some respects, favored the Company in others, and this fact was used by the new-comers to convince the older hands that the Court had been unfair, and that they could secure much better terms for themselves if they would cease work, and so inflict immense loss by permitting the lower levels of the mine to become flooded. After a few months the Union decided to take advantage of the provision of the law which enabled any registered Union to withdraw its registration at six months’ notice. When the time had expired, the Union repeated the demand which had been refused by the Court, and on the refusal of the Company to agree, a strike was at once declared, and the whole of the miners ceased work. This had the effect, within a very short time, of rendering all the deeper levels of the mine unworkable. Close to the mine was a prosperous little town occupied chiefly by the miners and their families, most of the houses being the property of the mining company, and the men continued to occupy the houses while the strike was in progress. Other miners were found who were ready to take their places, but the men in possession refused to move out, and threatened with violence any miners that should attempt to work the mine. The men who had been prepared to work, finding this to be the position, withdrew. As there was no actual violence shown, there seemed to be a difficulty in the way of any interference by the Government: so several months passed, during which the mine lay idle while the miners on strike continued to occupy the houses and pay the very moderate rents demanded from employees of the company. This they were able to do partly from their savings, partly from the sympathetic contributions from Australia, and partly by some of the miners having scattered over the country and got work on the farms, and throwing their earnings into the common fund.

[pg 33]After repeated appeals by the mine-owners to the Government, an arrangement was made that the Company should employ miners willing to become members of a new Union registered under the Arbitration statute, and that the Government should send a police force sufficient to protect these in working the mine, and also to enforce the judgment of the local court in dispossessing the occupants of the houses belonging to the Company. An attempt was made by the strikers to defy this police force and prevent the new Union from working the mine; but when most of the new unionists had been sworn in as special constables, and a number of the militant strikers had been arrested, the others saw that they could not continue the struggle, and within a week or two abandoned the district, giving place to the members of the arbitration Union in both the mine and town.

Thus the first strike organized by the “Federation of Labor” in New Zealand resulted in a failure, but the miners thus defeated and driven from the little town that had been their home, in many cases for a good many years, were naturally embittered by their failure, and became an element of mischief in other districts, and especially in the coal mines, to which they turned when they found it hard to obtain employment in any of the gold mines.

The Australian Federation of Labor and its branch in New Zealand fully appreciated the fact that their first attempt to establish a system of Unionism opposed to the one recognized by the law, having proved a failure, it was necessary either to give up the attempt altogether or to make it more deliberately and on a much wider scale. The method they adopted was one that did credit to their foresight and determination. The Australian Federation is, and has always been, highly socialistic in its policy, and latterly its leaders have adopted and preached syndicalism, as promising to give the workers the control of society. New Zealand, alone among self-governing countries, having struck at the very root of their policy by [pg 34]trying to substitute a statute and a Court for the will of the associated workers, was a very tempting country for syndicalism. An island country which, owing to climate and soil, was specially suited for the production of all kinds of agricultural wealth beyond the needs of its own people, must depend on free access to the ports of other countries. This, it seemed plain, could be prevented by well managed syndicalism. It would be only necessary to organize the seamen who worked the vessels that kept the smaller harbors of such a country in touch with the larger ports at which the ocean going ships loaded and unloaded; and to organize also the stevedores at the larger ports. The bitterness of feeling that had followed the destruction of the Waihi Union, and the loss to its members not only of a good many months of good wages but of the homes they and their families had occupied for years, was a valuable asset in such a campaign. At first, of course, some of the working classes blamed the agents of “The Federation of Labor” who were responsible for the disastrous strike, but it was not difficult to turn attention from the past failure of a single strike, to the certain success that must attend a great syndical strike that would involve all the industries of the country. Most, indeed nearly all, of the disappointed Waihi strikers were ready to join with enthusiasm in carrying out the plans of The Federation, and removed to the places where they could be most effective in preparing the way for what they looked upon as a great revenge. Thus they either joined the old Unions at the principal ports, especially Auckland and Wellington, or formed new Unions, no longer registered under the Arbitration statute, but openly affiliated to The Federation of Labor, which had been established in New Zealand, but was really a branch of the Australian Federation. The four principal ports of New Zealand, indeed the only ports much frequented by the large export and import vessels, are Auckland, Wellington, Lyttleton, and Dunedin, the two first named being in the north island, [pg 35]and the other two in the south. Auckland is considerably the largest city in The Dominion, containing at least 25,000 more inhabitants than Wellington, which is not only the capital of the Dominion, but also the great distributing centre for the South island and the southern part of the North island, at the southern extremity of which it is situated. The remarkable situation of Auckland, on a very narrow isthmus about a hundred and eighty miles from the northern point of the country, is no doubt largely responsible for the growth of the city, which is the chief centre of the young manufactures of the Dominion, and the largest port of export for almost all the country produces, except wool and mutton, which are mainly raised in the South island. Thus it happens that Auckland and Wellington are at present the chief shipping ports of the Dominion, and it was to them that the Federation of Labor turned its chief attention when its leaders had definitely decided to undertake the campaign of syndicalism against the system of arbitration which had prevailed for sixteen years.

There had already been formed Unions of Waterside Workers and Seamen at each of these ports; but they were in all cases registered under the arbitration law, and of course subject to its penalties against both officials and members in cases of any breach of the statute. The Federation’s agents proceeded to collect the members of these unions who were in any way dissatisfied with the existing awards of the Arbitration Courts, and to form them into new Unions outside the statute. They had little difficulty in persuading the men that the new Unions would be free to act in many directions that were barred to the members of the old Unions. A good many of the men were thus persuaded to resign their membership in the existing Unions, and as they were very often the most active members, they gradually persuaded others to leave with them. There was nothing either in the law or custom of the ports to prevent unionists and non-unionists working [pg 36]together on the wharves or the coasting vessels; so within a comparatively short time the members of the new Federation Unions were more numerous than those that clung to the older ones. When this became the case, the officials of the new Unions approached the shipping companies with proposals for an agreement between them and the Federation Unions in some respects more favorable to the employers than the arbitration award under which the older Unions were working, and in this way gained a position which enabled them to undermine the old Unions, till they either died out for want of members or withdrew their registration, and at the end of their six months’ notice merged their Unions in those of The Federation. The Federation’s plans had been so carefully prepared that there was little or no suspicion on the part of the employers or of the public generally as to the true meaning of the movement. It was evident, of course, that it indicated a revolt against the arbitration law, but as the new unions appeared ready to give the employers rather better terms than the old ones, many reasons were found by employers for defending what began to be called the “Free Unions.” In this way things had gone on at the shipping ports for about two years from the failure of the gold miners’ strike at Waihi, before anything happened to open the eyes of the public to the real meaning of what The Federation of Labor had been doing. In that time the new Unions at each of the principal ports of the country had quietly obtained the entire control of the hands at waterside and local shipping, as well as of the Carters Unions. The time had arrived when the syndicalists believed themselves able to compel the public to submit to any demands they might see fit to make.

The occasion finally arose, as might have been expected, at Wellington, where the Federation of Labor had established its head-quarters. There was no definite dispute between the employers and workers, but for a few weeks there had been an uneasy feeling in relation to the Waterside [pg 37]Workers who, it was said, were growing more lazy and slovenly in handling cargo on the wharves and piers. A meeting had been called by The Federation to discuss some grievances of the coal miners at Westport, from which most of the coal landed in Wellington is brought. The meeting was called for the noon dinner hour, and a number of the waterside workers engaged in discharging cargo from a steamer about to sail, at once went to the meeting, and did not return to work in the afternoon. The shipping company at once engaged other men to finish their work, and when the men came back some hours later, they found their places filled up. The new men belonged to the same Union, but the men dispossessed demanded that the new ones should be dismissed at once. When the company refused the demand, the men appealed to the Council of the Federation, who at once called on the Waterside Workers and Seamens Unions at Wellington to cease work. Within a few days the position looked so serious that the Premier invited both parties to a conference, at which he presided in person, in the hope of bringing about an agreement to refer the matters in dispute to an arbitrator to be mutually agreed upon. The officials of The Federation, however, said there was nothing to submit to an arbitrator: they had made a demand, and unless it was complied with by the shipping company and the Union of merchants at Wellington who were in league with the Company in victimizing the men who took part in the meeting in aid of the Coal-miners, the strike must go on. The Merchants and Shipping Company’s Unions pointed out that what had been done was in direct opposition to the terms of the formal agreement signed less than a year before, and they refused to have anything more to do with the Federation on any terms. The conference thus ended in an open declaration of war. The time had evidently come for the Federation of Labor to make good the assertions so often made by its lecturers and agitators, of its power to force the rest of the community to submission. It would be [pg 38]difficult to imagine a more favorable position for carrying such a policy into effect: New Zealand, it must be borne in mind, is a country without an army. For some years past, it is true, a system of military training for all her young men between eighteen and twenty-five has been enforced by law, but except for training purposes, there is no military force in the Dominion, either of regulars or militia; and it is now forty-five years since the last company of British soldiers left its shores. Law has been maintained, and order enforced, by a police force under the control of the Government of the Dominion, and while the force is undoubtedly a good and trustworthy one, its numbers have never been large in proportion to the population. This year the entire force throughout the country is very little more than 850, which includes officers as well as men. It can hardly be wondered at that the officials of The Federation of Labor were convinced that, if they could arrange a general strike of the workers, the police force would be powerless to deal with it. On the failure of the attempt of the Premier to bring about a settlement between the parties by arbitration, the Federation proclaimed a general strike of all Unions affiliated to themselves throughout the country, and of all other Unions that were in sympathy with them in their policy of giving united Labor the control of society. The order to cease work was at once obeyed, as a matter of course, by all the Federation Unions, which practically meant all the workers engaged on vessels registered in the Dominion and trading on the coast, all workers on wharves and piers, carters in the cities, and coal miners throughout the country. The appeal for sympathetic assistance from Unions unconnected with the Federation was largely successful in the chief centres, though it was, of course, a direct defiance of the arbitration law under which they were registered. It has since been discovered that in nearly every case it was brought about by the unprincipled scheming of the secretaries, assisted by a few of the officials, who called [pg 39]meetings, of which notice was given only to a selected minority, and at which the question of joining a sympathetic strike was settled by a large majority of those present, but in fact in many cases a small minority of the whole membership. The sympathetic strike of Arbitration Unions was mainly confined to the cities, and Auckland, as the largest city, was the most affected by it. In Auckland the members of practically every Union ceased work, somewhere about ten thousand persons going on strike simultaneously.

The result during the first days of the strike seemed likely to confirm the expectations of the Federation orators. Industry was practically dead. At every port vessels lay at anchor, having been withdrawn from the wharves before they were deserted by their crews, and the wharves were in the possession of the Waterside strikers. The streets of the cities were empty, and a large proportion of the stores were closed, partly owing to want of business, and partly from fear of violence in case they kept open. These first few days in both New Zealand and Australia were days of triumph for the Federation leaders but the triumph was a short-lived one. The Government of the Dominion did not interfere, indeed, but the public, through their municipal authorities, did. The people of New Zealand have throughout their history been accustomed to manage their own affairs, and within four days of the declaration of war by the syndical Federation, steps were taken to meet the emergency. At Auckland and Wellington it had been evident from the first that the small police force available could not safely attempt to cope with the main body of strikers, or do more than prevent acts of aggressive violence to the citizens and their property. The local authorities, however, had confidence in the general public, and at Auckland, and afterwards at Wellington, the Mayor of the city appealed to the public to come forward as volunteers to maintain law and order, by acting as Special Constables. In both cities the appeal [pg 40]was responded to readily, nearly two thousand young men coming forward at Auckland in twenty-four hours, and upwards of a thousand at Wellington. These were at once sworn in as special constables, and armed with serviceable batons, while all the fire-arms and ammunition for sale in the city was taken charge of and withdrawn from sale by the municipal authorities. In this way the maintenance of order was fairly provided for, and the temporary closing of all licensed hotels by order of the city magistrates removed the danger of riot as the result of intemperance.

There had been some rioting in Wellington, though with little serious injury, but there was nothing that could be called a riot in Auckland. The Federation Unions waited, under the impression that time was on their side, owing to the impossibility of doing anything or getting anything done without the help of the associated workers. This had been the basis of their scheme, but like all such schemes it failed to take into account the instinct of self-preservation on the part of the people outside the Unions. As long as the strike leaders could point to the fleet of vessels lying idle in the harbor, the mills silent, and the street railroads without a moving car, and almost deserted by carts, it was easy for them to persuade their followers that complete victory was only a matter of days, or at most of weeks; they had not remembered that there were others besides themselves and their fellow townsmen interested in the question of a paralyzed industry. The trade that has been making the people of New Zealand increasingly rich during the last twenty years has been mainly derived from the land. Small holdings and close settlement have been the rule, and the rate of production has been increasingly rapid. The exports—mainly the produce of the land—have grown in proportions quite unknown in any other country, and the farmers knew that the prosperity of the country, and most directly of all the workers on the land, depended on the freedom and facilities for shipment of their ports. It was the workers on the [pg 41]land, accordingly, that came to the rescue, and solved the industrial problem. An offer was made by the President of The Farmers’ Cooperative Union to bring a sufficient number of the members into the cities to work the shipping and to prevent any interruption of the work by the men on strike. The offer was at once accepted by the municipal authorities at Auckland and Wellington, and within two days fully eighteen hundred mounted farmers rode into Auckland, and nearly a thousand into Wellington, all prepared to carry on the work and protect the workers. Their arrival practically settled the question. New Waterside Unions were formed at every port, and registered under the provisions of the Arbitration Statute; such of the country workers as were able to do so, enrolled themselves as members of the new Unions; the wharves and water fronts were taken possession of and guarded by the special constables enlisted in the cities, while the streets were patrolled by parties of the mounted volunteers. Within twenty-four hours of their arrival, some of the vessels in harbor had been brought to the wharves, and the work of unloading them was begun.

At first there were many threats of violent opposition on the part of the strikers, and crowds assembled in the principal streets and in the neighborhood of the wharves; but these were dispersed before they became dangerous, by the mounted constables, and a proclamation having been issued by the mayor calling attention to the fact that collections of people that obstructed traffic in the streets were contrary to law, the police and mounted constables cleared the streets, and forcibly arrested any persons who attempted opposition. Within two or three days, at each of the principal cities, new Unions of seamen and of carters had been formed and registered under the arbitration law, and those members of the old Federation Unions who were not enthusiastic, and began to see that the assurances of success were not likely to be realized, began to resign and apply for admission to the new Unions. After about [pg 42]two weeks the Council of The Federation of Labor, recognizing the failure of the sympathetic strike, invited the Unions that were not connected with them to declare the strike at an end, and tried by confining the strike to their own members, to maintain a solid front, which, with the help of the Australian Federation both in money for the strikers and in refusing to handle any goods either from or for New Zealand, they still hoped would carry them to at least a compromise, if not to the victory they had expected. The hopes of the Federation of Labor were not realized. Within a week or two a large proportion of the members of their own Unions, seeing their places filled, and their work being done, not by free labor, which they might hope to deal with, but by new Unions, whose members would be entitled, under the arbitration law, to preference and many other privileges, began to desert and to seek admission to the Arbitration Unions that had taken their place. For a time this was fiercely denied by the Federation officials, but as the days went on, and business of every kind was resumed in the cities, the groups of strikers at street corners and around the Federation head-quarters dwindled away; the hotels were reopened, the shops and stores were busy, the mills were at work, and even the coastal steamers were manned and running, and the federationists were forced to admit that they were hopelessly defeated. For a time they still hoped that the Australian Boycott might save them from absolute disaster, and the Labor Ministry of New South Wales tried to help the Federation by making an appeal to the New Zealand Government to arrange an arbitration to settle the dispute between The Wellington Waterside Workers and the merchants and shipping companies. The absolute refusal of the New Zealand Government to recognize The Federation of Labor, or to interfere with the new Unions under the Arbitration Act that had taken their place, finally settled the question, and completed the defeat of the strikers. The officials of the Federation [pg 43]declared the strike at an end, and the Australian Federation announced that the boycott was also at an end.

At first sight it may seem that, after all, the experiment in syndicalism was on a small scale, and that its lesson can hardly be of great value to a country like America. A little consideration may correct such a misapprehension. New Zealand was deliberately selected by the Syndicalists as a test case, for two reasons. In the first place it was the only country that had for years adopted a policy of justice according to law for both workers and employers, and from the syndicalist’s point of view it was therefore the only country that seriously attacked their own policy by showing that it was unnecessary. In the second place New Zealand was the only country with a population of British origin that could be dealt with practically by itself. With the aid of an Australian boycott it seemed as if her people must be helpless in the hands of the Federation. The result proved to be not only the defeat of the principle of lawless syndicalism, but the destruction of the industrial association that represented it in the country. No compromise was accepted, and except it may be in name, no Union attached to the Federation of Labor remains at work. The question, of course, suggests itself: What was the reason? Minor reasons may be found, no doubt, to account for failure where success was so confidently expected; but there can be little doubt that the real cause is the policy pursued by the Legislature and people of New Zealand for the last twenty years. Syndicalism, like all plans for the over turn, or reform, as their advocates would perhaps prefer to call it, of existing institutions, depends for success on the existence of wrongs by which part of the people is impoverished, while another, and very small part, has more than enough. The workers of our own race, at any rate, have enough common-sense to understand, at least when they are not hysterically excited, that imaginary wrongs are not a sufficient reason for great sacrifices. [pg 44]New Zealand’s legislation has not created an ideal society, it is true; but for twenty years it has proceeded step by step in the direction of righting the wrongs of the past, and giving opportunity to that part of its people that needed it most, on the single condition that they would use it, and respect the rights of others. To such a people, increasing steadily, year by year, in all that makes for well-being, the wild denunciations, and if possible wilder promises, of paid agitators can have little attraction. It may be possible by careful generalship to stir a small section of such a people to the hysterical excitement of an industrial war, but the mass of the people would be certain to resent it, and the movement will be doomed to a speedy collapse.

Other countries have been less enlightened and less fortunate than New Zealand in their legislation, and perhaps still less fortunate in the administration of the laws passed for the betterment of the masses of their people. They have done little to convince the great majority that they are aware of the wrongs that have been done that majority in the supposed interest of the small class of the over rich. They have not provided opportunity for those who hitherto have had none, nor have they even provided a reasonable alternative for industrial warfare. Had they done these things in the past, or were they even to begin honestly to provide for them in the future, they might confidently expect that the reign of industrial warfare, which exasperates their people, and retards the prosperity of their nation, would be as easily and effectually suppressed as the experiment of the Syndicalists has just been in New Zealand.

[pg 45]

Labor: “True Demand” and Immigrant Supply

A Restatement of the Economic Aspects of Immigration Policy

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Recent historians and economists have been showing that it was anything but pure and unadulterated sense of brotherhood that prompted many of our forefathers’ fine speeches about opening the doors of America to the down-trodden and oppressed of Europe. Emerson, fifty years ago, in his essay on Fate noted the current exploitation of the immigrant: “The German and Irish millions, like the Negro, have a great deal of guano in their destiny. They are ferried over the Atlantic, and carted over America, to ditch and to drudge, to make corn cheap, and then to lie down prematurely to make a spot of green grass on the prairie.” Indeed it would not be hard to show that there was always a real or potential social surplus back of our national hospitality to the alien.

The process began long before our great nineteenth century era of industrial expansion. Colonial policies with regard to the immigrant varied according to latitude and longitude. Most of the New England colonies viewed the foreigner with distrust as a menace to Puritan theocracy. New York, Pennsylvania, and some of the Southern colonies were much more hospitable, for economic reasons. That this hospitality sometimes resembled that of the spider to the fly is evident from observations of contemporary writers. That it included whites as well as negroes in its ambiguous welcome is equally evident.

John Woolman writes in his Journal (1741-2): “In a few months after I came here my master bought several [pg 46]Scotchmen as servants, from on board a vessel, and brought them to Mount Holly to sell.” Isaac Weld, traveling in the United States in the last decade of the eighteenth century, noted methods of securing aliens in the town of York, Pennsylvania: “The inhabitants of this town as well as those of Lancaster and the adjoining country consist principally of Dutch and German immigrants and their descendants. Great numbers of these people emigrate to America every year and the importation of them forms a very considerable branch of commerce. They are for the most part brought from the Hanse towns and Rotterdam. The vessels sail thither from America laden with different kinds of produce and the masters of them on arriving there entice as many of these people on board as they can persuade to leave their native country, without demanding any money for their passages. When the vessel arrives in America an advertisement is put into the paper mentioning the different kinds of people on board whether smiths, tailors, carpenters, laborers, or the like and the people that are in want of such men flock down to the vessel. These poor Germans are then sold to the highest bidder and the captain of the vessel or the ship holder puts the money into his pocket.”

These may be, it is true, extreme cases of the economic motive for immigration. But they are quite in line with eighteenth century Mercantilist economic philosophy. Josiah Tucker, for example, in his Essay on Trade, 1753, urges the encouragement of immigration from France, and cites the value of Huguenot refugees. “Great was the outcry against them at their first coming. Poor England would be ruined! Foreigners encouraged! And our own people starving! This was the popular cry of the times. But the looms in Spittle-Fields, and the shops on Ludgate-Hill have at last sufficiently taught us another lesson … these Hugonots have … partly got, and partly saved, in the space of fifty years, a balance in our favour of, at least, fifty millions sterling…. And as England and [pg 47]France are rivals to each other, and competitors in almost all branches of commerce, every single manufacturer so coming over, would be our gain, and a double loss to France.”

The obverse side of the case appears in British hindrances to the free emigration of artisans during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Laws forbade any British subject who had been employed in the manufacture of wool, cotton, iron, brass, steel, or any other metal, of clocks, watches, etc., or who might come under the general denomination of artificer or manufacturer, to leave his own country for the purpose of residing in a foreign country out of the dominion of His Britannic Majesty. Recall the difficulty early American manufacturers encountered in introducing new English improvements in cotton manufacture; a virtual embargo was laid upon the migration of either men or machinery. Recall, too, an expression of American resentment in our Declaration of Independence at this English attitude: “He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.”

On the whole, the economic motive seems to have been uppermost in the minds of both those who fostered and those who opposed foreign immigration into the United States, up to, say, 1870. Likewise in perhaps more than ninety-nine of every hundred cases the economic motive holds in the mind of the present day immigrant, or his protagonist. Escape from political tyranny or religious persecution, at least since the revolutionary period of 1848, has operated only as a secondary motive. The industrial impulse is all the more striking in the so-called “new immigration” from the Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe. The temporary migrant laborer, the “bird of passage,” roams about seeking his fortunes in [pg 48]much the same spirit that certain Middle Age Knights or Crusades camp followers sought theirs. This is in no way to his discredit. It is simply a fact that we are to reckon with when called upon to work out a satisfactory immigration policy. At least its recognition would eliminate a good deal of wordy sentimentality from discussions of the immigration problem.

Professor Fairchild discovered that three things attract the Greek immigrant. First and foremost, financial opportunities. Second, corollary to the first, citizenship papers which will enable him to return to Turkey, there to carry on business under the greater protection which such citizenship confers. There is a hint here to the effect that mere naturalization does not mean assimilation and permanent acceptance of the status and responsibilities of American citizenship. Third, enjoyment of certain more or less factitious “comforts of civilization.”

But the Greeks are by no means untypical. The conclusion of the Immigration Commission as to the causes of the new immigration is that while “social conditions affect the situation in some countries, the present immigration from Europe to the United States is in the largest measure due to economic causes. It should be stated, however, that emigration from Europe is not now an absolute economic necessity, and as a rule those who emigrate to the United States are impelled by a desire for betterment rather than by the necessity of escaping intolerable conditions. This fact should largely modify the natural incentive to treat the immigration movement from the standpoint of sentiment, and permit its consideration primarily as an economic problem. In other words, the economic and social welfare of the United States should now ordinarily be the determining factor in the immigration policy of the Government.”

This delimitation of the immigration problem to its economic aspects led the Immigration Commission to recommend a somewhat restrictionist policy. That they [pg 49]were not without warrant in so delimiting it is evident from the utterances of such ardent opponents of restriction as Dr. Peter Roberts and Max J. Kohler. The latter, writing in the American Economic Review (March, 1912) said: “In fact, the immigrant laborer is indispensable to our economic progress today, and we can rely upon no one else to build our houses, railroads and subways, and mine our ores for us.” Dr. Roberts’ plea is almost identical.

What a glaring misconception of the whole economic and social problem is here involved will appear if we add a clause or two to Mr. Kohler’s sentence. He should have said: “We can rely upon no one else to build our houses, railroads and subways, and mine our ores for us at $455 a year; for workers of native birth but of foreign fathers would cost us $566, and native born White Americans $666 a year.” (See Abstracts of Rep. of Immigr. Comm. vol. i., pp. 405-8.) These are the facts. This is the social situation as it should be stated if a candid discussion of the problem is sought.

Now what are the economic arguments for restricting somewhat the tide of immigration? Several studies of standards of living among American workingmen within the past ten years have shown that a large proportion of American wage earners fall below a minimum efficiency standard. Studies of American wages indicate that only a little over ten per cent of American wage earners receive enough to maintain an average family in full social efficiency. The average daily wage for the year ranges from $1.50 to $2. One-half of all American wage earners get less than $600 a year; three-quarters less than $750; only one-tenth more than $1,000.

Take in connection with these wage figures the statistics for unemployment. The proportion of idleness to work ranges from one-third in mining industries to one-fifth in other industries. In Massachusetts, 1908, manufacturers were unemployed twelve per cent of the working time. [pg 50]Professor Streightoff estimated three years ago that the average annual loss in this country through unemployment is 1,000,000 years of working time. Perhaps one-tenth of working time might be taken as a very conservative general average loss. But the worst feature of the whole problem is that, in certain industries at least, the tendency to seasonal unemployment is increasing. Ex-Commissioner Neill in his report on the Lawrence strike said: “… it is a fact that the tendency in many lines of industry, including textiles, is to become more and more seasonal and to build to meet maximum demands and competitive trade conditions more effectively. This necessarily brings it about that a large number of employés are required for the industry during its period of maximum activity who are accordingly of necessity left idle during the period of slackness.” (Senate Document 870, 62d Cong., 2d sess., 1912.)

If we recall still further that the casual laborer, who suffers most from seasonal unemployment, is the chief stumbling block in the way to a solution of the problem of poverty; that he furnishes the human power in “sweated trades:” that immigrants form the majority of unskilled and sweated laborers; if we remember that there is not a shred of evidence (except the well-meant enthusiasm of the protagonists of the immigrant) to show that immigration has “forced-up” the American laborer and his standard of living, instead of displacing him downward; if we remember that probably 10,000,000 of our people are in poverty, and that though the immigrant may not seek charity in any larger proportions than the poor of native stock, yet he does contribute heavily to our burden of relief for dependents and defectives: we are justified in assuming that an analysis of the causes of poverty confirms the evidence from studies of wages and standards of living as to the depressing effect of the new immigration, in particular, upon working conditions for the American laborer.

[pg 51]Consider, too, the question of “social surplus.” Several American economists, among them Professors Hollander, Patten and Devine, agree that we are creating annually in the United States a substantial social surplus. But it is evident from the figures of wages and standards of living quoted above that the American laborer is not participating as he might expect to participate in this economic advantage. Three factors conspire against him. First, we have yet no adequate machinery for determining exactly what the surplus is, or how to distribute it equitably. Mr. Babson with his “composite statistical charts” has made a beginning in the mathematical determination of prosperity; but it is only a beginning. Second, organized labor is not yet sufficiently organized nor sufficiently self-conscious to perceive and demand its opportunity for a larger share. The significant point here is that recent immigration has hampered and hindered the development of labor organizations, and thus indirectly held back the normal tendency of wages to rise. Third, inadequate education, particularly economic and social education. The adult illiterate constitutes a tremendous educational problem. Over 35 per cent of the “new immigration” of 1913 was illiterate, and this new immigration included over two-thirds of the total. Ignorance prevents the laborer from demanding the very education that would give him a better place in the economic system; it hinders the play of intelligent self-interest; and it actually prevents effective labor-organization, which is one of the surest means of labor-education. Jenks and Lauck, after experience with the Immigration Commission, concluded that “the fact that recent immigrants are usually of non-English speaking races, and their high degree of illiteracy, have made their absorption by the labor organizations very slow and expensive. In many cases, too, the conscious policy of the employers of mixing the races in different departments and divisions of labor, in order, by a diversity of tongues, to prevent concerted action on the [pg 52]part of employés, has made unionization of the immigrant almost impossible.”

For these reasons, and others, we are driven to the conclusion that future policies of immigration must be based on sound principles of social welfare and social economy, and not upon the economic advantage of certain special industries. Whether we want the brawn of the immigrant must be determined by what it will contribute to the general social surplus, and not by what it adds to A’s railroads or B’s iron mines.

We are told that the three classes of our population demanding unrestricted immigration are large employers of unskilled labor, transportation companies, and revolutionary anarchists. Since this is by definition an economic and not a philosophical question, we may neglect the third class. To the other two classes should be directed certain brief tests of economic good faith. Take at its face value their claim that European brawn by the ship-load is indispensable to American industry. It is becoming an accepted maxim that industry should bear its own charges, should pay its own way. American industry has long fought the contract-labor exclusion feature in current immigration law. Suppose we frankly admit that it is much better for the immigrant to come over here to a definite job than to wander about for weeks after he arrives, a prey to immigrant banks, fake employment agents, and other sharks. Suppose, accordingly, we repeal the laws against contract-labor. Let the employer contract for as many foreign laborers as he likes or says he needs. But make the contractor liable for support and deportation costs if the laborers become public charges. Also require him to assume the cost of unemployment insurance. Exact a bond for the faithful performance of these terms, guaranteed in somewhat the same way that National Banks are safeguarded. Immigration authorities now commonly require a bond from the relatives of admitted aliens who seem likely to become public charges, [pg 53]but who are allowed to enter with the benefit of the doubt. Customs and revenue rules admit dutiable goods in bond. Hence the principle of the bond is perfectly familiar, and its application to contract-immigrants would be in no sense an untried or dangerous experiment. It would establish no new precedent: for precedents, and successful ones, are already established, accepted and approved. It would be understood that all admissions of aliens can be only provisional, with no time limit on deportation. It would be understood further—and the plan would work automatically if the contractor were made such a deeply interested party—that intending immigrants must be rigidly inspected, that they be required to produce consular certificates of clean police record, freedom from chronic disease, insanity, etc.

The result of such a scheme would probably cut away entirely contract-labor; for it would not longer pay. But this does not mean barring the gate to all foreign labor. As an aid to the employer and to our own native workingman, we must, sooner or later, and the sooner the better, establish a chain of labor bureaus throughout the Union. The system must be placed under Federal direction, largely because the Department of Labor would be charged, ex officio, with ascertaining the “true demand” for immigrant labor, and it could only accomplish this end effectively through such an employment clearing system. This true demand would, of course, be based not only upon mere numerical excess of calls for labor over demands for jobs, but would also take into account the nature of the work, working conditions, and above all the prevailing level of wages. According to this true demand the Department would adjust a sliding scale of admissions of immigrant laborers.

Much might be said in favor of an absolute embargo upon all immigration until such a body as the Industrial Relations Commission has time to make an authoritative economic survey of the whole country, or until the Unemployment [pg 54]Research Commission recently called for by Miss Kellor could make the three years’ study contemplated by her as the only way out of the unemployment morass. Twenty years ago men of the type of General Walker frankly urged that the immigration gates be closed for a flat period of ten years or so. But the sliding scale plan contemplates no such radical step. Indeed it is radical in no sense whatever. The proposed immigration act now before Congress (The Burnett Bill, H.R. 6060) paves the way for it, and provides a working principle, which apparently is accepted on all sides. Section 3 includes this clause: “That skilled labor, if otherwise admissible, may be imported if labor of like kind unemployed can not be found in this country, and the question of the necessity of importing such skilled labor in any particular instance may be determined by the Secretary of Labor….” A really workable test for immigration, superior by far to the literacy test or any other so far suggested, might easily be developed by simply enlarging the scope of this clause, making it include unskilled as well as skilled labor. No machinery other than that contemplated by the present act would be required.

The immigration problem can never be satisfactorily handled until we fix upon some such means of determining just what the economic need is. There is no danger of hindering legitimate industrial expansion in times of sudden business prosperity: for the transportation companies may be safely trusted to supply in three or four weeks aliens enough to fill all the gaps in the industrial army. Neither would injustice be done to the immigrant himself. On the contrary, he would be assured of a job and respectful consideration when he arrived. The “dago” or the “bohunk” would acquire a new dignity and a more enviable status than he now occupies. The selective process thus involved would much improve the quality of the immigrant admitted, and would incidentally render assimilation of the foreigner all the easier.

[pg 55]The precise details of selection, and the machinery, are mere matters of detail. But the consular service, as long ago suggested by Catlin, Schuyler and others, seems to offer the proper base of operations. We have already recommended charging consuls with viséing certificates from police, medical, and poor-relief authorities. We should further require that declarations of intention to migrate be published (somewhat as marriage banns are published) at local administrative centers (arrondissement, Bezirk, etc.) and at United States consular offices; the consular declaration should be obligatory; perhaps the other might be optional, though in all probability foreign governments would coöperate in demanding it. These validated declarations of intention should be filed in the consular offices. When notice comes from the United States Department of Labor that so many laborers will be admitted from such and such district, the declarations are to be taken up in the order of their filing, and the proper number of persons certified for admission. The apportionment of admissions from each country might be calculated on a basis of its population, also upon the nature of the employment offered, and upon the desirability of the alien himself, his general assimilability, his willingness to become naturalized, to adopt the English language and the American standard of living among efficient workers, etc.,—all as proved by past experience with his countrymen. This plan, in so far as it provides for a sliding scale of admissions, is in line with that proposed by Professor Gulick. He advocates making all nations eligible for admission and citizenship, but would admit them only in proportion as they can be readily assimilated. This would admit annually, say, five per cent of those already naturalized, with their American children. The principle here seems to be that we can assimilate from any land in, and only in, proportion to the number already assimilated from that land. But the difficulty of applying such a test lies in the complexity of the assimilative [pg 56]process. No measure yet exists for assimilation. Anthropologists are convinced that various strains in the populations, for example of France, or Great Britain, which have been dwelling together for centuries, are not by any means assimilated. Mere naturalization is not a sufficient test of assimilation; it is only the expression of a desire to be assimilated; and it may only be a device for the promotion of business success here or in foreign parts, as we have already indicated in the case of the Greeks. Hence in working out the basis of a sound immigration policy, it would seem more practicable to consider first the question of economic utilization rather than assimilation. This, of course, does not exclude from the Secretary of Labor’s judgment the category of assimilability as one of the factors in determining the apportionment of admissions.

It will appear that the plan outlined above limits immigration policy to purely national and economic considerations. But it is, as matters now stand, a national question. And it must remain so for some time to come, even if we are reproached with a narrow Mercantilist economics. The admission of aliens is not yet a fundamental international right, or duty; it is only an example of comity within the family of nations. And the matter must rest in this state of limbo until we develop some institution or method of registering our sentiments of internationalism, and especially of determining international surplus. As it is idle to talk or dream of abolishing poverty until at least the concept of social or national surplus is pretty clearly fixed and its realization either actually at hand or fairly imminent, just so is it vain to expect an international adjustment of the immigration problem on economic grounds until the existence of an international surplus is demonstrated, and the methods of apportioning it worked out.

How soon we may expect these things it is not our province to predict. It is too early to pass final judgment [pg 57]on Professor Patten’s dictum that inter-racial coöperation is impossible without integration, and that races must therefore stand in hostile relations or finally unite. But it is perfectly apparent that we have a long way to travel before the path to integration is cleared. Such assemblages as the First Universal Races Congress which met in London in 1911 can do much to prepare the way. But it must not be forgotten that the German representative at that Congress pleaded for the maintenance of strict racial and national boundaries, and summed up his plea in the rather ominous sentence: “The brotherhood of man is a good thing, but the struggle for life is a far better one.” Meanwhile we need not anticipate serious international difficulties in the way of the sliding-scale plan; for foreign governments are watching the tide of immigration with mixed feelings. They welcome the two or three hundred million dollars sent home annually by alien residents in the United States. But they also resent the dislocations of industry, the fallow fields, the dodging of military service, and the disturbance of the level of prices which such wholesale emigrations inflict upon the mother country.

Since the protagonists of unrestricted immigration have taken largely an economic line of argument, it seemed desirable to accept their terms, and meet them on their own ground. But I should not wish to be misunderstood as limiting the immigration question to its economic phases. When we have said that the latifondisti of Southern Italy are in despair at the scarcity of laborers to work their lands at starvation wages, and that the railway builders and mine operators of America are equally anxious to have those selfsame South Italian laborers for their own exploitive enterprises, we have told a bare half of the tale. There remain all those cultural, educational, political, religious and domestic variations and adjustments which make up the general problem of assimilability of the alien and of the strength of our own national digestion. America had a giant’s undiscriminating appetite [pg 58]in the great days of expansion from 1850 to 1890. But there are many signs, economic and other, that we can no longer play Gargantua and continue a healthy nation. An unwise engineer sometimes over-stokes his boilers, and courts disaster. Is it not equally possible that national welfare may suffer from an over-dose of human fuel in our industry?

[pg 59]

The Way to Flatland

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“The next great task of preventive medicine is the inauguration of universal periodic medical examinations as an indispensable means for the control of all diseases, whether arising from injurious personal habits, from congenital or constitutional weakness, or from social and vocational conditions.” That this declaration by the Commissioner of Health of the city of New York is not the mere expression of an individual opinion, there is abundant evidence. And no one who has watched the growth of other movements towards such regulation of life as only a few years ago would have seemed wholly outside the domain of practical probability can doubt that the “Life Extension” movement, as thus outlined, will rapidly grow into prominence. Nor is there much room for doubt that, whether explicitly contemplated at present or not, compulsion as well as universality is tacitly implied in the movement.

I say that the movement is sure to grow into prominence, that it is a thing which must be seriously reckoned with; I do not say that it will march straight on to victory, or even that it is sure to prevail in the end. It is instructive, in this regard, to hark back to a recent experience in a more special, but yet an extremely important, domain. Several years ago a report on university efficiency was issued under the auspices—though, it should be added, without the official endorsement—of the Carnegie Foundation. The central feature of this report lay in its advocacy of the application to universities of those principles of system and of standardization which have been successfully applied on a large scale to the promotion of industrial efficiency, and are generally referred to by the catch-[pg 60]word, “scientific management.” In spite of the merits of the report in certain matters of detail, and of the high standing of the expert who wrote it in his own department of industrial engineering, the report evoked an almost universal chorus of contemptuous rejection not only in university circles, but also from those organs of public opinion which have any claim to be regarded as enlightened judges in questions of education and culture. The thing seemed to have been laughed out of court. And yet it turned out that a year or two afterwards a full-fledged scheme for carrying out some of the crudest and most objectionable features of this “efficiency” program was presented to the professors of Harvard University, apparently with the expectation that they would fall in with its requirements without hesitation or protest. For some days there seemed to be real danger that this would actually happen. It turned out to be a false alarm; the faculty of the foremost of American universities were guilty of no such supineness. The project was ignominiously shelved, with some sort of explanation that the springing of it on the professors was due to an error or misunderstanding. But that the attempt should have been made, and in a manner that argued so total a lack of any sense of its grossness and crudity, is a significant warning of the extent to which the notions underlying it have fastened upon the general mind.

The story of the eugenics movement in this country affords a striking illustration at once of the almost startling rapidity with which innovating ideas as to the regulation of life gain acceptance, and of the fact that this rapidity is by no means conclusive proof that their progress will be continuous. The one thing clear is that there is a large, active, and influential element in the population that is extremely hospitable to such ideas, and manifests a naïve, an almost childish, readiness to put them into immediate execution. Since, in the nature of things, this element is lively and active—since, too, what is novel and [pg 61]in motion is more interesting than what is old and at rest—at first there is almost sure to be produced a deceptive appearance that the new thing is sweeping everything before it. Just now there is evidently a lull in the onward march of legislative eugenics. This is sufficient proof of the conservatism of the people as a whole; we may be quite sure that anything beyond a very restricted application of eugenical notions will take a long time to get itself established in our laws or even in our customs. Nevertheless, it would be a great mistake to suppose that even the more extreme forms of eugenical doctrine are not forces to be reckoned with as affecting practical possibilities of a not distant future. Though no results may appear on the surface, the leaven is working. It is consonant with tendencies which in so many directions are becoming more and more dominant. So long as those tendencies continue in anything like their present strength, there can be little doubt that the idea of control in the direction of eugenics, like that of the regulation of human life in other fundamental respects, will continue to make headway, and may at any time become one of the central issues of the day.

To adduce prohibition as an illustration of this same character in the thought and the tendencies of our immediate time may seem like forcing the point. It is true, it may be said, that there has been within the past few years a rapid spread of prohibition in almost every part of the country; but the thing itself is sixty years old, has had its periods of advance and recession, and is now, in the fullness of time, reaping the fruits of two generations of agitation, investigation, and education. But to say this is to overlook the distinctive feature of the present situation regarding prohibition in the United States. A Constitutional amendment providing for the complete prohibition of the sale of liquor throughout the Union is pending in Congress. A year ago—probably six months ago—there was hardly a human being in the United States, [pg 62]other than those in the councils of the Anti-saloon League, who had so much as thought of national prohibition as a question of present-day practical politics. Suddenly it is announced that there is a distinct possibility of a prohibition amendment being passed by Congress in the near future; and one of the foremost representatives of the Anti-saloon League states, and with good show of reason, that if the amendment be passed by Congress, its ratification by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States can be only a matter of time. What the probabilities actually are, I do not undertake to say; neither am I concerned at this moment with the merits of the issue itself. What I am concerned with is the simple fact that in this situation, brought upon the country with dramatic suddenness, nobody seems to have been in the least startled, or so much as disturbed in his equanimity. There will of course be a great struggle over the question, sooner or later. But neither in Congress nor in the press has there as yet been any sign of such an assertion of the claims of personal liberty as, at any time previous to the past ten years, would have been sure to be made in such a situation. This collective silence, on an issue affecting so intimately the lives, the habits, the traditions of millions of people, is, in my judgment, by far the most impressive proof of the degree in which the public mind has grown accustomed to the inroads of regulation upon the domain of individuality.

A number of years ago, when the mathematical concept of space of more than three dimensions was attracting great popular interest, an ingenious writer undertook to make the idea intelligible to “the general” by picturing the state of mind in regard to three dimensions of a race of beings whose life and whose sensual experience was limited to space of two dimensions. He gave his little book the title “Flatland,” and it gained wide attention. In his Commencement address at Columbia last year, President [pg 63]Butler had the happy thought of applying the term in the characterization of certain aspects of the intellectual and political life of our time. He was speaking particularly of that absorption in the immediate problems of the day which makes almost impossible a true study and contemplation of the lasting concerns of mankind as embodied in history and literature. “Every ruling tendency,” he said, “is to make life a Flatland, an affair of two dimensions, with no depth, no background, no permanent root.” That this is a literal truth probably neither Dr. Butler nor anyone else would contend; but it hits off with great force and with substantial accuracy the prevailing character of thought in the circles most active and most influential in almost every department of human activity at the present time. And the tendency which President Butler describes as arising out of our absorption in current problems is still more manifest in the spirit of our actual dealings with those problems themselves. On every hand we find a surprising readiness to accept views which explicitly tend to take out of life that which gives it depth and significance and richness. Each one of the four movements we have mentioned affords an illustration of this: in following any one of them we travel straight toward Flatland. They differ very much, one from another; they have very different degrees and kinds of justification; it may be difficult in the case of some of them to strike a balance between the gain and the loss. The remarkable thing—the ominous thing, if we are to suppose that the present tone of thought will long persist—is that the loss involved in the flattening of life, as such, apparently almost wholly fails to get consideration. I say apparently, because there is, no doubt, a deep and strong undercurrent of opposition which, sooner or later, will manifest itself; in speaking of “ruling tendencies” we are apt to mean merely the tendencies that are most in evidence. But after all, it is to these that criticism of contemporary life and thought must, of necessity, be chiefly directed.

[pg 64]As I have already indicated, the attack on individuality and personal dignity in the universities was met in a spirit that is highly gratifying, and which is quite out of keeping with the tendency that I am discussing and deploring. Yet it is doubtful whether, outside the circle of the universities themselves, and of those individuals who are thoroughly imbued with the university spirit, there is any true realization of what it is that constituted the head and front of that offending. If some bureau of research were to present a formidable array of figures showing that the “output” of professorial work could be increased by so and so many per cent. through the adoption of some definitely formulated system of “scientific management,” it is by no means certain that the scheme would not receive powerful support in the highest quarters of efficiency propaganda. We should be told just how many millions of dollars a year we are spending on university education, and just how many of these millions go needlessly to waste. Even the opponents of the “reform” would probably find themselves compelled to use as their most powerful argument this and that example of great practical results which have flowed from letting men of genius go their own way. It would be pointed out that many an investigation which, to the authorities of the time, appeared wholly unpromising, turned out to be of cardinal value. We should be warned that what we gain in a thousand cases through time-clock and card-catalogue methods, might be lost ten times over through the shackling of the initiative of a single man of unrecognized genius. And all this would be very much to the purpose; but it is not upon any such special pleading that the case ought to be made to rest. The loss that would be suffered transcends all these concrete and definable instances of it. It would be pervasive, fundamental, immeasurable. Grievous as might be the injury caused by the prevention of specific achievements of exceptional importance, this would be as nothing in comparison with the intellectual [pg 65]and spiritual loss entailed by the lowering of the human level, the devitalizing of the intellectual atmosphere, which must inevitably follow upon the application of factory methods to university life.

The case of the eugenics propaganda is far more complex. In its origin, and doubtless in some of its present manifestations, it may lay claim to being directed toward aims which are particularly concerned with the higher interests of life. The author of “Hereditary Genius” certainly could not be accused of indifference to the part played in the past, or to be played in the future, by exceptional minds and characters; nor is it necessary to charge any of the present promoters of the propaganda with explicit failure to appreciate the importance of such minds and characters. The criticism is often made, from this standpoint, that the hard-and-fast rules which the eugenists propose would, in point of fact, have put under the ban some of the most illustrious names in the annals of mankind—men whose genius was accompanied with some of the very traits which they hold should most positively be prevented from appearing. But, however weighty this objection to the methods of eugenics may be, it is to be looked upon rather as an item on the debit side of the reckoning than as marking an ingrained defect, a fault at the very heart of the matter. The eugenists may well challenge those who urge merely this kind of objection to show that the losses thus pointed out are great enough to offset the gains, in the very same direction, which they regard their program as promising. Whatever the truth of the matter may be, they can at least set up the contention that, as a mere affair of quantity, genius will do better under their system than without it.

What brings the eugenics movement into the Flatland category is not its attitude toward the question of genius, or perhaps even of singularity, but its attitude toward the life of mankind as a whole—if indeed it can be said to have [pg 66]any attitude toward the life of mankind as a whole. The profound elements of that life seem not to come at all within the range of its contemplation. Of course this does not apply to everything that comes from the eugenics camp, nor to every person that calls himself a eugenist. But on the other hand it is by no means only of the crude projects of half-educated reformers, or the outgivings of the prophets of our popular magazines, that it is true. The agitation has derived much of its impetus, directly or indirectly, from the teachings of men of high scientific eminence who have attacked the question without any apparent realization of its deeper bearings on the whole character of human life. This influence often comes in the shape of exhortations, or suggestions, addressed to the public at a time when attention is centered upon some conspicuous crime or some particular phase of evil in the community; sweeping and radical regulation of the right of parenthood being urged as necessary for the prevention of all such distressing phenomena. Thus, after the attempted assassination of Mayor Gaynor, there was much talk of a “national campaign for mental hygiene,” which should have the effect of “preventing Czolgoszes and Schranks.” Its program was thus indicated by one of the foremost professors of medicine in the United States:

Provision must be made for the birth of children whose brains shall, so far as possible, be innately of good quality; this means the denial of the privilege of parenthood to those likely to transmit bad nervous systems to their offsprings.

What the carrying out of such a programme would mean to mankind at large, how profoundly it would modify those ideas about life, those standards of human dignity and human rights, which are so fundamental and so pervasive that they are taken for granted without express thought in every act and every feeling of all normal men and women—this does not seem ever to trouble the mind of the devotee of universal regulation. He sees the possibility [pg 67]of effecting a certain definite and measurable improvement; that the means by which this is accomplished must fatally impair those elemental conceptions of human life whose value transcends all measurement, he has not the insight or the imagination to recognize. The distinctions of social class, of wealth, of public honor, leave untouched the equality of men in the fundamentals of human dignity. They do not go to the vitals of self-respect; they do not interfere with a man’s sense of what is due to him, and what is due from him, in the primary relations of life. If nature has been unkind to him in his physical or mental endowments, he does not therefore feel in the least disqualified, as regards his family, his friends, his neighbors, the stranger with whom he chances to come into contact, from receiving the same kind of consideration, in the essentials of human intercourse, that is accorded to those who are more fortunate; nor does he feel in any respect absolved from the duty of playing the full part of a man. Under the régime of medical classification—and the “mental hygiene” programme can mean nothing less than that—all this would disappear. Some men would be men, others would be something less. It is true that, so far as regards the imbecile, the insane, and the criminal, such a state of things obtains as it is; but this stands wholly apart from the general life of the race, and has no influence whatever on the habitual feelings and experiences of human beings. The normal life of mankind is shot through and through with the idea that a man’s a man; all that is highest in feeling and conduct is closely bound up with it. Lessen its sway over our feelings and thoughts and instincts, and how much benefit in the shape of “preventing Czolgoszes and Schranks” would be required to compensate for the loss in nobleness, in depth, which human life would suffer?

The prohibition movement belongs, in the main, to a wholly different order of things. The fight against the [pg 68]evils of drink, as it has been carried on for a century or more, has been animated by a moral fervor which classes it rather with the fight against slavery, or with the great revivals of religion, than with those movements which owe their origin to a calculating and cold-blooded perfectionism. Its leaders have been fired with the ardor of a war directed against a devastating monster, to whose ravages was to be ascribed a large part of the misery and wickedness that afflict mankind. It is true that the economic and physiological aspects of the drink question were not ignored; the total-abstinence men were glad enough to have this second string to their bow. But the real fight was not against alcohol as one of many things concerning which the habits of men are more or less unwise; it was a fight against the Demon Rum, the ally of all the powers of darkness. The plea of the moderate drinker was rejected with scorn, not because there was any objection to moderate drinking in itself, but because total abstinence was the only true preventive of drunkenness, and drunkenness must be stamped out if mankind was to be saved. The moderate drinker was censured not because he was wasting his money, or failing to “conserve his efficiency,” but because for the sake of a trivial self-indulgence he was giving countenance to a practice which was consigning millions of his fellow men to wretchedness in this world and to everlasting damnation in the next.

Now this remarkable thing about the present extraordinary manifestation of growth and strength in the prohibition movement is that it is not in the least due to a strengthening of this sentiment. On the contrary, it is safe to say that feeling about drunkenness, about the drink evil in the sense in which it was understood a generation ago, is far less intense than it was then. The prohibition movement in its present stage is not the old prohibition movement advancing to triumph through the onward march of its proselyting zeal; of true prohibitionist zealots the number is probably less, in proportion to the [pg 69]population, than it was forty years ago. Its great accession of strength has come from the growth of that order of ideas which is common to all the “efficiency” movements of the time. And that growth helps it in two ways. On the one hand, to the little army of crusaders against the Demon Rum there has come the accession of a host of men who are not thinking about demons at all, but who calmly hold that the world would be better off without drinking, and that this is an all-sufficient reason for prohibiting it. And on the other hand, millions of persons who, in former days would have cried out against this way of improving the world—against the impairment of personal liberty and the sacrifice of social enjoyment and social variety—have no longer the courage of their convictions. The temper of the time is unfavorable to the assertion of the value of things so incapable of numerical measurement. Against the heavy battalions led by the statisticians, and the experimental psychologists, and the efficiency experts, what chance is there for successful resistance? On the opposing side can be rallied only such mere irregulars as are willing to fight for airy nothings—for the zest and colorfulness of life, for sociability and good fellowship, for preserving to each man access to those resources of relaxation and refreshment which, without injury to others, he finds conducive to his own happiness.

It is hardly necessary to say that, in taking up these various movements, no attempt has been made at anything like comprehensive discussion of their merits. Whatever may be the balance between good and ill in any of them, they all have in common one tendency that bodes danger to the highest and most permanent interests of mankind; and it is with this alone that I am concerned. What that tendency is has, I trust, been made sufficiently clear; but it will perhaps be brought out more distinctly by a consideration of the “Life Extension” [pg 70]propaganda more detailed and specific than that given to the other three.

Conspicuous in the literature of this propaganda is the appeal to standard modern practice in regard to machinery. “Those to whom the care of delicate mechanical apparatus is entrusted,” says the New York Commissioner of Health, “do not wait until a breakdown occurs, but inspect and examine the apparatus minutely, at regular intervals, and thus detect the first signs of damage.” “This principle of periodic inspection,” says the prospectus of the Life Extension Institute, “has for many years been applied to almost every kind of machinery, except the most marvelous and complex of all,—the human body.” To find fault with the drawing of this comparison, with the utilization of this analogy, would be foolish. That many persons would be greatly benefited by submitting to these inspections is certain; it is not impossible that they are desirable for most persons. And the analogy of the inspection of machinery serves excellently the purpose of suggesting such desirability. What is objectionable about its use by the Life Extension propagandists is their evident complacent satisfaction with the analogy as complete and conclusive. Yet nothing is more certain than that, even from the strictly medical standpoint, it ignores an essential distinction between the case of the man and the case of the machine. The machine is affected only by the measures that may be taken in consequence of the knowledge arising from the inspection; the man is affected by that knowledge itself. Whether the possible physical harm that may come to a man from having his mind disturbed by solicitude about his health is important or unimportant in comparison with the good that is likely to be done him by the following of the precautions or remedies prescribed, is a question of fact to which the answer varies in every individual case. It may be that in the great majority of cases the harm is insignificant in comparison with the good. However that may [pg 71]be, the question is there, and it is of itself fatal to the conclusiveness of the argumentum ex machina. That this is not a captious criticism, that it is based on substantial facts of life, ordinary experience sufficiently attests; but it may not be amiss to point to a conspicuous contemporary phenomenon which throws an interesting light on the matter. The Christian Scientists regard the ignoring of disease as the primary requisite for health and longevity. That the Christian Science doctrine is a sheer absurdity, no one can hold more emphatically than the present writer; but it cannot be denied that in thousands of cases its acceptance has been of physical benefit through its subjective effect upon the believer. Personally, I would not purchase any benefit to my physical life at such sacrifice of my intellectual integrity; I mention the point only by way of accentuating the undisputed fact that the presence or absence of concern about health may have a potent influence on one’s bodily welfare.

Although it is a still further digression from the main purpose of this paper, I must permit myself a few words on another point relating to the strictly medical claims of the plan of “universal periodic medical examination.” It is natural that its advocates say nothing about the danger of errors in diagnosis; everybody knows that this danger exists, but sensible men do not allow it to deter them from consulting a physician; in this, as in other affairs of life, they do not cry for the moon, but do the best they can. But it seems to be wholly overlooked by the advocates of the propaganda of “universal periodic examination” that the extent of this danger under present conditions affords no indication at all of what it would be under the system they contemplate. Its cardinal virtue, they constantly proclaim, would be the detection of the very slightest indication of impairment: “The task before us is to discover the first sign of departure from the normal physiological path, and promptly and effectually to apply the brake.” The consequence must necessarily be that for [pg 72]one case of false alarm that occurs today there will be a score, or a hundred, under the new régime. For, in the first place, the individuals seeking advice will not be, as they now are in the main, selected cases in which there is some antecedent presumption that there is something wrong; and secondly, the examiner, bent upon the one great object of overlooking nothing, however slight, will give warnings which, whether technically justifiable or not, will in great numbers of cases have a wholly unjustifiable significance to the mind of the subject. Who shall say how many persons will thus be made to carry through life a burden of solicitude about their health from which, if left to their own devices, they would have been wholly free?

But it is not my design to find fault with this scheme as a matter of medical benefit; if I have ventured to point out some drawbacks, it is only by way of showing that, even from the strictly medical standpoint the cult of uniformity, of standardization, of mechanical perfection, is not free from fault. But the great objection against that attitude of mind which is typified in the appeal to the analogy of machinery is far more vital. Our only interest in a machine is that we shall get out of it as much, and as exact, work as possible. Our interest in our bodies is not so limited. We may deliberately choose to forego the maximum of mechanical perfection for the sake of living our lives in a way more satisfactory to us than a constant care for that perfection would permit. Even the most ardent of health enthusiasts—unless he be an insane fanatic—draws the line somewhere. What he forgets is that other people prefer to draw the line somewhere else. They choose to run a certain amount of risk rather than have their health on their minds. To compel—whether by legal means or by social pressure—every man to take precautions concerning his own body which he deliberately prefers not to take; to make impossible, in this most intimate and personal of all human [pg 73]concerns, the various ways of acting which the infinite varieties of temperament and desire may dictate—this would be such an invasion of personal liberty, such a suppression of individuality, as would strike us all as appalling, had we not grown so habituated to the mechanical, the statistical, measurement of human values—to the Flatland view of life.

What gives to these movements that I have been discussing the character which I have been ascribing to them is not so much the specific things which they severally aim to accomplish, but the spirit in which they are carried on, and perhaps still more the spirit, or want of spirit, with which they are met. It is not that a balance is falsely struck between the benefit of the concrete, circumscribed, measurable improvement aimed at and the injury done to some deeper, more pervading, and quite immeasurable element or principle of life; it is that the balance is not struck at all. The subtler, the less tangible, element is simply ignored. It was not always so. It was not so in the last generation, or the generation before that. The phenomenon is one that is closely bound up with the ruling tendency of thought and action in all directions; it is not an accident of this or that particular agitation. Perhaps in no direction is it more convincingly manifested than in the prevailing tone of opinion, or at least of publicly expressed opinion, in regard to the objects and ideals of universities. That in the present state of the world’s economic and social development on the one hand, and of the various sciences on the other, “service”—that is, service directly conducive to the general good—should be regarded as one of the great objects of universities, is altogether right; that it should be spoken of as their only object, which is the ruling fashion, is most deplorable. The object of a university, said Mill, is to keep philosophy alive; yet it would go hard with the present generation to point to any one more truly and [pg 74]profoundly devoted to the service, the uplifting, of the masses of mankind than was John Stuart Mill. Were he living he would recognize, as thoroughly as the best efficiency man of them all, that the universities of today have opportunities and duties which were undreamed of half a century ago. But he would know, too, that in those activities which are directed to the promotion of practical efficiency, the university is but one of many agencies, and that if it were not doing the work some other means would be found for supplying the demand. Its paramount value he would find now, as he did then, in the service it renders not to the ordinary needs of the community but to the higher intellectual interests and strivings of mankind. That so few of us have the courage clearly to assert a position even distantly approaching this—such a position as was mere matter of course among university men in the last generation—is perhaps the most significant of all the indications of our drift toward Flatland.

[pg 75]

The Disfranchisement of Property

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It is Hawthorne, I think, who tells us that when he was a boy he used once in a while to go down to the wharves in Salem, and lay his hand on the rail of some great East India merchantman, redolent of spices, and thus bring himself in actual touch with the mysterious orient. But there is nothing strange in this: almost anything that we can feel or see may start the flight of fancy, and open to us prophetic visions. This is even true of such dry symbols as figures, for our journalists would never publish statistics as they do, unless they knew that their readers liked to see them. Travellers from other parts of the world have often laughed at our fondness for revelling in the marvellous accounts of our material dimensions, but they should remember that people who do not have a taste for poetry may yet have a taste for romance, and that big figures do appeal to the imagination.

It is true that there may be something portentous in bigness. “Tom” Reed, as he was affectionately called, said many wise things in a jesting way. At a certain crisis in our history he exclaimed: “I don’t want Cuba and Hawaii; I’ve got more country now than I can love.” A foreigner might suppose that our politicians had similarly become terror-stricken at the extent of our wealth and the rate at which it was growing. They may well give the impression that there has been created in the “money power,” a Frankenstein monster, the control of whose murderous propensities has put them at their wit’s end.

Figures are notorious liars; they may arouse emotion if looked at in any light, but they must be looked at in [pg 76]many lights if we would get an emotional effect that is truly worth while. Some very large figures relating to Savings Banks have lately been published. The deposits in these banks amount to over four and two-thirds billions of dollars, and the number of separate accounts is about ten and two-thirds millions. Savings deposits in all banks are about $7,000,000,000, the number of accounts being 17,600,000. Probably the interest paid on the savings banks deposits is 160 millions of dollars a year. I confess that these figures give me much pleasure. I like to think that so many men have taken pains to guard their wives and children against miserable want; that so many women have to some extent made sure of their independence. It would not be surprising to find that twelve millions of families, possibly half the people of the country, were in this way protected against extreme penury. Viewed in this light, the growth of wealth does not seem so terrible. One might paraphrase Burke and say that such wealth as this loses half its evil through losing all its grossness. Indeed one might go further and say that if there were twice as much of this wealth, and every person in the country had an interest in it, it would lose all of its evil.

To young people, this is all dry enough. They like to think of spending money, not of saving it. But it is not at all dry to their elders. It is what St. Beuve said of literary enjoyment, a “pure délice du goût et du coeur dans la maturité.” It is a “Pleasure of the Imagination” that can be appreciated only by those like the old Scottish lawyer, who justified his penurious prudence by saying that he had shaken hands with poverty up to the elbow when he was young, and had no intention to renew the acquaintance. We have not, at least in the Northern part of our country, had the terrible experiences of the people of Europe, who are even now hiding their money in a vague apprehension of danger, inherited from centuries of rapine; but there are few of those who have given hostages to fortune who have not had many hours, and [pg 77]even years, of distressing anxiety concerning the future of their families. The greater the provision made against this heart-corroding care by a people, the happier should that people be.

It seems so unselfish a luxury to revel in these comfortable statistics, that one is tempted to broaden his vision, and take in the four or five billions of assets heaped up by the six or seven millions of people who have insured their lives, and the one hundred and fifty or two hundred millions of dollars paid out yearly to lighten the distress attending the death of husbands and fathers of families,—to say nothing of a much greater sum repaid policy-holders. In many cases, happily, death causes no actual want; but against these cases we may offset the stupendous number of policies insuring against industrial accidents, possibly twenty-five millions of them, representing one quarter of the people of the country—for we may be sure that there are few payments made under these policies that do not actually alleviate suffering. We have here a colossal aggregate of altruism on the part of the policy-holders, an intangible national asset grander than all the material wealth which it represents; for the sordid element in all these savings is necessarily small. There is a point in the old story of the gambler on the Mississippi steamboat who listened attentively to the persuasive arguments of a life-insurance agent; he “allowed” that he was willing to bet on almost any kind of game, but declined to take a hand in one where he had to die to win. It is painful to think of the infinity of petty economies, of all the grievous deprivations, the positive hardships, undergone in so many millions of families, day by day, and year by year, to secure these policies of insurance; but, as Plato said, “the good is difficult.” There is no heroism where there is no self-sacrifice. Whoever is disquieted by the growth of “materialism” may be relieved by reflecting that when so many millions of people are denying themselves present enjoyments in order that [pg 78]others may be spared pain in the future, there is such a leaven of high motive among us as may leaven the whole lump.

It would be easy to keep on in this exalted strain, but perhaps it is a little too much in the style of a life-insurance advertisement. We may correct any such impression, by changing our point of view. When we consider the difficulties and the hindrances in the way of laying up these savings, while the moral effect of the self-sacrifice hitherto involved is enhanced, the question comes up whether this altruistic exertion can be maintained in the future. How many of the ten millions of depositors in the savings banks have considered that their rulers at Washington give away every year in military pensions a sum equal to all, and more than all, the income earned by the four billions of dollars in the banks? When after many years, it seemed that this burden might at last begin to be lightened, it was suddenly increased by the last Congress perhaps thirty millions a year. Why should so many people scrimp, year in and year out, when the equivalent of all the toil and all the self-denial is thus swept away?

Senator Aldrich has told the country that its affairs could be carried on for three hundred millions of dollars a year less than it now pays. He is a very competent witness, and no one has contradicted him. If the attempt had been made, he could perhaps have shown—he could certainly show now—that three hundred millions was an understatement. But this sum is nearly equal to the income earned by the investments of all the savings banks and all the life-insurance companies of the country. If our rulers had borrowed ten billions of dollars at three per cent. and had wasted it all, the country would be financially about where it is now. They have not borrowed this ten billions of dollars, but if Mr. Aldrich is right, they are spending the interest on it. They have in effect mortgaged the wealth of the people to the extent [pg 79]of all their deposits in the savings banks, and all their investments in life-insurance companies, and are wasting the income of these funds faster than it is earned. If anyone thinks this is stating the case too strongly, he may add the waste of our state and municipal rulers to that of those at Washington, and Mr. Aldrich’s figure will seem moderate enough.

People who are comfortably off will reply to all this that we are getting on pretty well, and seem to be on the whole doing better from year to year. There is a well known passage in Macaulay’s History which may be thought to give support to optimism of this kind. “No ordinary misfortune,” he said, “no ordinary misgovernment, will do so much to make a nation wretched as the constant progress of physical knowledge, and the constant effort of every man to better his condition will do to make a nation prosperous.”

No one will deny that the history of England justifies this statement; but let us remember the reason that Macaulay gave for this insuperable prosperity. “Every man has felt entire confidence that the State would protect him in the possession of what had been earned by his diligence and hoarded by his self-denial.”

It is impossible to maintain that every man now feels this entire confidence. The income “earned by his diligence” is henceforth to be taxed at a progressive rate, and the demagogues are already complaining that the rate is not high enough. The inheritance of his family, “hoarded by his self-denial,” protected by the State until within a few years, now pays taxes which amount to the interest on a billion of dollars. We are assured by a railroad officer that three measures of legislation have increased the expenses of his corporation alone by a sum equal to the interest on $32,000,000, with no appreciable benefit to the public. The number of such laws is incalculable, and the cost of complying with them has become [pg 80]an almost intolerable burden. The income of the railroads declines, while their taxes increase, in some cases two or three fold. Lawyers and office holders thrive and are cheerful; investors suffer and tremble.

The people of New York seem just now to be in a way to find out how the enormous taxes which their rulers have levied on them are expended; but New York has no monopoly of corrupt rulers, and the cost of investigating extravagance is itself extravagant. And yet people wonder at the increased cost of living! Unfortunately the oppressions of government do worse than discourage business enterprise; they tend to demoralize society. There are too many men who hesitate to marry because they do not have confidence in the future, too many married people who do not dare to have more than one or two children, if they dare to have any, to make it possible to maintain that there is now no dread of more than ordinary misgovernment.

It is difficult to ascertain the total wealth of the country. The census bureau is notoriously dilatory. Its latest estimate was for 1904, when this aggregate was computed to be $107,000,000,000, or about $1,300 per caput. Assuming this ratio, the wealth of our people should now be over $120,000,000,000; but the figures are largely conjectural. It happens, however, that we possess some figures that are altogether trustworthy. In the year 1909 the Federal Government imposed a tax of one per cent. on the net income of every corporation, joint stock company, or association, including insurance companies, organized for profit, whenever this net income is over $5,000. There are some other exemptions, but they are not sufficient to demand consideration, and may be disregarded. Now we may be absolutely certain of one thing, and that is that the net income of those concerns will not be overestimated. Their net income may be more than what they report for the purposes of taxation, [pg 81]but it surely cannot be less. For the past year it seems probable that this tax will produce nearly thirty-five millions of dollars net income, after deducting all expenses, losses, depreciation, interest on debts and on deposits paid by banks, and dividends from other companies subject to the tax.

It may be more, but it cannot be less. Here our certainty ends. Guesses will vary, but in view of what we know in a general way of the conditions of business during the past year, we may perhaps venture to assume that the net income of these concerns is six per cent. of their real wealth. If this assumption is correct, their total wealth is 60 billions of dollars, or one half of the total wealth of the nation.

This estimate may be confirmed to some extent by other statistics. Calling the physical value of the railroads fourteen billions, their net earnings at five per cent. would be 700 millions, which corresponds well enough with the figures of the government, although some railroad men would make their net earnings much less. We do not know the net income of the untaxed corporations. Their returns would show its amount, but the government does not supply the information. As there must be now nearly 250,000 such corporations, if their average income is only $2,000 a year, the total could be $500,000,000. If it is $4,000, their income would be almost a billion dollars. On a 5 per cent. basis, the wealth of these corporations would be nearly 20 billion dollars. It seems, on the whole, that the wealth held by corporations is probably more than half our total wealth rather than less.

The bearing of these figures on our subject is now apparent. All of this property is disfranchised. It is, economically, to a very great extent disfranchised; politically, it is altogether disfranchised. What I mean by this is that the owners of this wealth, as owners, have very little to say, and nothing to do, about its care and management. Probably [pg 82]more than half of our people are directly or indirectly interested in it as owners. They have been attracted by a desire to share, however humbly, in big and famous enterprises, by the freedom from liability of the portion of their estates outside the particular investments, and by the freedom at death or withdrawal of associates from appraisals and accountings and probable closing of the business, as is the inevitable practice in mere partnerships. Two centuries ago people who saved money could hardly find ways to invest it. The practice of incorporation has enormously increased our wealth by putting a stop to hoarding without interest, stimulating saving, and broadening industry. The number of individual owners of the bonds and stocks of corporations is incalculable, and their holdings added to those of savings banks, insurance companies, trust companies and other fiduciary institutions, churches, hospitals, and colleges, make up a total of almost fabulous extent. It is true that large sums are loaned to persons, and on mortgages of real estate; but for most people such investments are not desirable or convenient, and they are altogether inadequate to absorb the vast sums that are available. In fact probably most investments of this character are now made by corporations who gather the savings of little depositors and premium payers; and it would cost much more to make them in any other way.

Corporations, therefore, are necessary, but they necessarily separate the ownership of wealth from its management. To invest is generally to entrust your money to another, and those who invest in corporations, unless they control them, are economically disfranchised, because the stockholders in all large corporations almost never influence the management of their property, and as a rule do not know anything about it. They don’t because they can’t. A few years ago a very large number of people were much worried by the exposure of some [pg 83]scandalous doings by the managers of certain great life-insurance companies. They would have been very glad to combine and choose better managers if they could; but they couldn’t. Laws were passed for the purpose of enabling the policy-holders to select their trustees, but the only result has been a ridiculous and rather expensive fiasco. As in politics, the rank and file select the managers selected for them by a few men who understand the situation. When many thousands of people own stock in a concern, they live all over this continent and in foreign parts, and it is a physical impossibility to bring them together. They do not know one another, and very few of them know much about the affairs of the concern, and if they know anything of the candidates that may be suggested, it is generally only by hearsay.

How many of the eighty-eight thousand stockholders in the Pennsylvania Railroad, for instance, have ever attended a meeting? For that matter, how many of them have ever studied the report of the railroad? Not one in ten could spare the time to read it, perhaps not one in a hundred could master it. The report may be read in a few hours; it would take as many months, if not years to verify it. Very nearly half these stockholders are women; the average holding is 120 shares, (par $50), and one-sixth of the stockholders own less than 10 shares each. Ten thousand of them are abroad. Much stock is held by trustees, whose beneficiaries are probably very numerous, and totally incompetent to understand railroad management. There are also more than twenty thousand holders of stock in subsidiary corporations controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad. No one can tell the number of bondholders; perhaps there are as many as there are employees, making an aggregate of almost half a million.

Sometimes trustees abuse their office; but on the whole they have done pretty well, and whether they have or not, [pg 84]there is no other way in which large capitals can be managed. All civilization rests on confidence. Such a vast fabric could not be built on confidence unless confidence was deserved. As a matter of fact, a man invests his money just as he invests in a surgeon. He does not think of directing the surgeon how to operate. If the operation does not succeed, he tries another surgeon next time—if there is a next time.

Of course all this applies chiefly to the large corporations. There are many thousands of small ones, having few stockholders, who reside where the business is established. These stockholders know more or less of the details of the business; they can judge to some extent how it is carried on, they are often acquainted with the managers, or are the managers themselves, and if not, they are able sometimes to combine and change the management. And I will anticipate a little and say here that the property of such a corporation located in a small town is often to some extent not politically disfranchised, because the people of the town understand that they are directly interested in the prosperity of the business. But it seems almost impossible for the stockholders to change the management of a large corporation. It has been done a few times. Mr. Harriman notoriously did it by using the money of one concern to buy the stock of another, and that is almost the only way in which it has been done. No doubt there has been an immense deal of combination which has resulted in change of management, but this has not been because the stockholders combined to oust their trustees, but because they thought they saw a good chance to sell their stock to those who would pay high for the control, or to participate in these combinations. There have been a good many cases where an enterprising speculator has managed to get hold of a majority of the stock and change the control, and powerful bankers can sometimes get proxies enough to put a stop to bad management; but spontaneous movements of this kind [pg 85]on the part of the mass of the stockholders are extremely rare.

Beyond dispute then, the great mass of wealth held by corporations is almost wholly under the control of their managers, and not the mass of the owners. Mr. Hill has recently testified that he never knew a stockholder to attend a meeting except to make trouble; by which he perhaps meant that when a single stockholder appeared, it was to get paid for not making trouble.

It need hardly be said that no such thing as legitimate representation of corporate wealth is known in our politics, and the representation of individual wealth is very limited. The theory of government by manhood suffrage, so far as there is any theory, is now entirely personal. In early times the freemen of the town, or little commune, met and legislated according to their needs. To be a freeman one had to own property; to “have a stake in the country.” Nowadays nearly all the men who have no property can vote, and some that have property cannot. In England, they are doing away with “plural voters.” Heretofore it was thought just, when a man owned land in more than one place, that he should have his say in the government of all; but this is now forbidden. The right was never recognized in this country, partly because formerly men seldom owned property in two places, but as transportation improved the conditions changed. The “commuters” are legion. Their business and their capital are under one jurisdiction and their dwellings and families under another; but they can vote in only one. Many thousands of men own houses in both city and country. They could help in the government of both, but are disfranchised in one or the other. Under our complicated systems of registration, they are often disfranchised at both.

Of course when population increases, the town meeting becomes a physical impossibility. There is no more direct [pg 86]legislation; it has to be delegated. The power is transferred to the city councils, and to the state and national legislatures. In other words, the interests of the owners of wealth are put in charge of trustees. According to Hamilton, the theory of our government is that the people will “naturally” choose the wisest of their number to represent them. There is not much basis for this assumption. Rousseau scouted it. According to him, the volonté générale could be ascertained only in the town meeting, and he seriously maintained that the ideal government for the Roman empire was by the gangs of rioters that the politicians marshalled in the Forum at Rome under the name of comitia. All that the theory of our government requires, is that our rulers shall be such men as are designated by the majority of the voters. That they should be wise and good men may accord with the theory of aristocracy; it is no part of the theory of democracy, and is certainly a very small part of the practice.

When I say that half of the property of this country is disfranchised, I mean that the nature of this property is such that it is peculiarly subject to the power of rulers, and that the owners of it have hardly any legitimate way of defending it against the arbitrary exercise of this power. The corporation is created by the legislature; men cannot combine their capitals and avoid unlimited liability for the debts of the combination, unless the law specifically authorizes the proceeding. Of course, if the legislature has power to make such grants, it must have power to alter them. In short, property held by a corporation is held at the will of the legislature, and in a way and to an extent that property held by an individual is not. It is not very easy for the legislature to plunder or blackmail individuals, even when they are disfranchised, because it has to be done by general laws, and direct methods arouse direct opposition. But, as we have seen, stockholders as a class cannot defend their rights, and as things are now, their trustees cannot have much to say concerning [pg 87]the laws that affect their property. Managers of large corporations are now commonly denounced as unfit to be legislators, and are practically excluded from the halls of legislation. In some states they are even specifically disfranchised, so far as holding office is concerned, and, under the new despotism, ironically dubbed the new freedom, every man whose wealth and ability make his aid important to many enterprises, is to be forbidden to participate in more than one. Yet property is almost entirely subject to the disposition of the legislature! not entirely, for the courts afford some protection; but even this is now threatened: we may “progress” so far as to make it unconstitutional for a judge to declare any law unconstitutional.

It goes without saying that half the property of the country will not submit to spoliation without a struggle. If it cannot have representation legitimately, it will try to get it illegitimately or extra legitimately. The managers of corporations have in the past found many ways to influence legislation. Despite the prejudices against them, some of them have had themselves chosen as legislators; even as judges. Some have brought about the election of legislators who would act in their favor, and have even bribed legislators. Until recently it was not even unlawful for these managers to use the money of their stockholders in political contributions; some managers acted on the “Good Lord! Good Devil!” principle. Probably most of the politicians paid no railroad fares. Many of them got passes for their families and their friends; and it was certainly to be expected that they should listen to the requests of those who granted these favors. The situation became grotesque when a great ruler, seeking a nomination to office with the proclaimed purpose of enforcing the laws against rebates and passes, required the railroad managers to furnish him free transportation on his righteous mission.

There were obvious objections to these practices, and [pg 88]public opinion finally compelled our rulers to pass laws prohibiting them. Theoretically the managers of corporations are now effectually disfranchised. They dare not offer themselves as candidates for office. They scarcely dare to favor, even secretly, the choice of rulers who will listen to them. Fortunately, however, they hardly longer dare to offer bribes. Anyone on friendly terms with them is politically a suspicious character. Any lawyer who has been employed by them becomes unavailable as a candidate for office. Our legislators, as was to be expected, at once showed the effect of release from restraint. It has been uncharitably said that in revenge for the loss of their passes and other favors, they attacked the railroads; but there has been considerable voting of more mileage, and our congressmen at least voted themselves ample indemnity in larger salaries, and they opened fire on corporations in general and railroads in particular, with a broadside of statutes. Against this fire the property of millions of small holders in the corporations has been almost defenceless. Some of these statutes are so drawn that the plain business man does not know whether he is a criminal or not; if he could afford to consult the best of lawyers it would not help him much. The only safe course to pursue is to agree with the adversary quickly; to plead guilty to whatever charge is made, and beg for mercy. That one is innocent is immaterial. The expense of litigation is nothing to the rulers of the United States; but it may be ruinous to their subjects. The cost of the commissions and investigations and prosecutions of the last few years has been enormous. Only lawyers can contemplate it without consternation.

True, the managers of large corporations can make their protests heard. They can publish their pleas in the newspapers, and issue pamphlets, and they can appear before committees and commissions, and submit arguments. The managers of small corporations cannot afford such measures. You might as well refer a servant-girl who couldn’t [pg 89]collect her wages, to the Hague Tribunal, as to send a plain business man to Washington to plead his cause.

The animus of these statutes is hostility to great corporations. But it is impossible to legislate against great corporations without hitting the small ones. Take the case of the recent corporation income tax; the 244,000 corporations exempt from the tax had to make out their inventories and keep their books and report their proceedings precisely as if they were liable to the tax. A fine of from $1,000 to $10,000 and a 50 per cent. increased assessment were the penalties for failure. But the cost of complying with all the requirements of the law, for a corporation having an income of two or three thousand dollars, cannot be figured at much less than the tax. Many corporations have no net income. The managers of these concerns are not expert book-keepers, and their returns must be in many cases so inaccurate as to expose them to prosecution if the game were worth the candle. If we assume that the average cost of making out the return is only ten dollars, we have a bill of $2,400,000, which the stockholders, or the employees, or the customers, must pay for the privilege of demonstrating that the small corporations are not liable to pay anything at all.

The corporation income tax law was really an act of popular dislike of corporations exercising great monopolies. Grouping all the little corporations with them was an absurdity and a cruelty.

Corporations have no feelings. They are not wounded by the hostility of legislatures. The managers of corporations of large capital have feelings, and some of them are wounded in their pride by this hostility. But they need not suffer in their pockets. They are abundantly able to protect their own property; they know how to make money on the short side of the market as well as the long side. But the managers of the concerns of small capital are seldom able to do this. Oppressive laws cause suffering to them, to the mere holders of stock in all corporations, [pg 90]to the creditors of all, to the employees, and to the customers. Many of these laws profess to be meant to favor small people as against big people—to restrain the rich corporations so that the poor ones may have more liberty. There is no evidence to show that this result is attained, or that the country would be better off if it were attained. But there is plenty of evidence to show that half the people of the country are suffering from these legislative attacks on their property. The men who manage the great corporations, whatever their faults, are men of enterprise and courage. They are the true progressives; the prosperity that they diffuse among the whole people is ordinarily more than can be destroyed by our progressive politicians. They are now beginning to feel that their rulers are discriminating against them as a class, and are uneasy and disheartened, and reluctant to embark in new enterprises; and the progress of the country is halted by their apprehension. It is not the rich who suffer most: it is “the unemployed,” and the millions of dumb, helpless, struggling thrifty men and women whose hard earned savings constitute a large part of the capital of the corporations; and who are already alarmed at the shrinking value of these savings. It is, perhaps most of all, the mass of ignorant unthrifty poor, whose chief wealth is the wages paid them by the corporations which they are taught to look on as their oppressors.

[pg 91]

Railway Junctions

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In his illuminating essay on The Lantern-Bearers, Stevenson complains of the vacuity of that view of life which he finds expressed in the pages of most realistic writers. “This harping on life’s dulness and man’s meanness is a loud profession of incompetence; it is one of two things: the cry of the blind eye, I cannot see, or the complaint of the dumb tongue, I cannot utter.” And then, with a fine flourish, he declares:—“If I had no better hope than to continue to revolve among the dreary and petty businesses, and to be moved by the paltry hopes and fears with which they surround and animate their heroes, I declare I would die now. But there has never an hour of mine gone quite so dully yet; if it were spent waiting at a railway junction, I would have some scattering thoughts, I could count some grains of memory, compared to which the whole of one of these romances seems but dross.”

“If it were spent waiting at a railway junction” … Here, with his instinct for the perfect phrase, Stevenson has pointed a finger at the one experience which is commonly accepted as the acme of imaginable dulness. This man, who could be happy at a railway junction, could not have found a prouder way of boasting to posterity that he had never “faltered more or less in his great task of happiness.”

It is because railway junctions are the most unpopular places in the world that they have been singled out for praise in The Unpopular Review. Poor places, lonely and forlorn, cursed by so many, celebrated by so few,—surely they have waited over-long for an apologist…. But first of all, in order to be fair, we must consider the customary view of these points of punctuation in the text of travel.

[pg 92]Far up in Vermont, at a point vaguely to the east of Burlington, there is a place called Essex Junction. It consists of a dismal shed of a station, a bewildering wilderness of tracks, and an adjacent cemetery, thickly populated (according to a local legend) with the bodies of people who have died of old age while waiting for their trains. This elegiac locality was visited, many years ago, by the Honorable E.J. Phelps, once ambassador of the United States to the court of St. James’s. He was allotted several hours for the contemplation of the cemetery; and his consequent meditations moved him to the composition of a poem, in four stanzas, which is a little classic of its kind. Space is lacking for a quotation of more than the initial stanza; but the taste of a poem, as of a pie, may conveniently be judged from a quadrant of the whole.—

With saddened face and battered hat

And eye that told of blank despair,

On wooden bench the traveller sat,

Cursing the fate that brought him there.

“Nine hours,” he cried, “we’ve lingered here

With thoughts intent on distant homes,

Waiting for that delusive train

That, always coming, never comes:

Till weary, worn,

Distressed, forlorn,

And paralyzed in every function!

I hope in hell

His soul may dwell

Who first invented Essex Junction!”

It was apparently the purpose of the writer to convey the impression that his period of waiting had been passed without pleasure; but yet we may easily confute him with another quotation from The Lantern-Bearers. “One pleasure at least,” says Stevenson, “he tasted to the full—his work is there to prove it—the keen pleasure of successful literary composition.” Was this honorable author ever moved to such eloquence by an audience with Queen [pg 93]Victoria? Never; so far as we know. Was not Essex Junction, therefore, a more inspiring spot than Buckingham Palace? Undeniably. Then, why complain of Essex Junction?

For, indeed, the pleasure that we take from places is nothing more nor less than the pleasure we put into them. A person predisposed to boredom can be bored in the very nave of Amiens; and a person predisposed to happiness can be happy even in Camden, New Jersey. I know: for I have watched American tourists in Amiens; and once, when I had gone to Camden, to visit Walt Whitman in his granite tomb, I was wakened to a strange exhilaration, and wandered all about that little dust-heap of a city amazing the inhabitants with a happiness that required them to smile. “All architecture,” said Whitman, “is what you do to it when you look upon it;… all music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments”: and I must have had this passage singing in my blood when I enjoyed that monstrous courthouse dome which stands up like a mushroom in the midst of Camden.

I have never been to Essex Junction; but I should like to go there—just to see (in Whitman’s words) what I could do to it. Imagine it upon a windy night of winter, when a hundred discommoded passengers are turned out, grumbling, underneath the stars,—coughing invalids, and kicking infants, and indignant citizens, scrambling haphazard among tottering trunks, and picking their way from train to train. Imagine their faces, their voices, their gesticulations: here, indeed, you will see more than a theatre-full of characters. Or, if human beings do not interest you, imagine the mysterious gleam of yellow windows veiled behind a drift of intermingled smoke and steam. Listen, also, to the clang of bells, the throb and puff of the engines, and the shrill shriek of their whistles. Or peer into the station-shed, made stuffy by the breath of many loiterers; and contrast their death in life with [pg 94]the life in death of those others who loiter through eternity beneath the gravestones of the cemetery. I can imagine being happy with all this (and even writing a paragraph about it afterwards): but, above all, I should like to gather those hundred discommoded passengers upon the station-platform, and to rehearse and lead them in a solemn chant of the refrain of Phelps’s poem. Imagine a hundred voices singing lustily in unison,

“I hope in hell

His soul may dwell

Who first invented Essex Junction,”

under the vast cathedral vaulting of the night, until the adjacent dead should seem to stand up in their graves and join the anthem of anathema…. Who is there so bold to tell me that enjoyment is impossible in such a place as this?

There is very little difference between places, after all: the true difference is between the people who regard them. I should rather read a description of Hoboken by Rudyard Kipling than a description of Florence by some New England schoolmarm. To the poet, all places are poetical; to the adventurous, all places are teeming with adventure: and to experience a lack of joy in any place is merely a sign of sluggish blood in the beholder.

So, at least, it seems to me; for not otherwise can I explain the fact that, like my beloved R.L.S., I have always enjoyed waiting at railway junctions. I love not merely the marching phrases, but also the commas and the semi-colons of a journey,—those mystic moments when “we look before and after” and need not “pine for what is not.” I have never done much waiting in America, which is in the main a country of express trains, that hurl their lighted windows through the night like what Mr. Kipling calls “a damned hotel;” but there is scarcely a country of Europe except Russia whose railway junctions [pg 95]are unknown to me. In many of these little nameless places I have experienced memorable hours: and because the less enthusiastic Baedeker has neglected to star and double-star them, I have always wanted to praise them, in print somewhat larger than his own. Space is lacking in the present article for a complete guide to all the railway junctions of Europe; but I should like to commemorate a few, in gratitude for what befell me there.

There is a junction in Bavaria whose name I have forgotten; but it is very near Rothenburg, the most picturesquely medieval of all German cities. It consists merely of a station and two intersecting tracks. When you enter the station, you observe what seems to be a lunch-counter; but if you step up to it and innocently order food, a buxom girl informs you that no food is ever served there—and then everybody laughs. This pleasant cachinnation attracts your attention to the assembled company. It consists of many peasants, in their native costumes (which any painter would be willing to journey many miles to see), who are enjoying the delicious experience of travel. They are great travelers, these peasants. Once a month they take the train to Rothenburg, and once a month they journey home again, to talk of the experience for thirty days. All of them have heard of Nuremberg [which is actually less than a hundred miles away],—that vast and wonderful metropolis, so far, so very far, beyond the ultimate horizon of their lives. They would like to see it some day—as I should like to see the Taj Mahal—but meanwhile they content themselves with the great adventure of going to Rothenburg,—a city that is really much more interesting, if they could only know. In the very midst of these congregated travelers, I casually set down a suit-case which was plastered over with many labels from many lands; and this suit-case affected them as I might be affected by a messenger from Mars. They spelled out many unfamiliar languages, and a murmur of amazement swept through [pg 96]the entire company when one of them discovered that that suit-case had been to Morocco. Morocco, they assured me, was a place where black men rode on camels; and I had no heart to tell them that it was a country where white men rode on mules. Then another of these travelers—an old man, with a face like one of Albrecht Dürer’s drawings—discovered a label that read “Venezia.” “Is that,” he said, “Venedig?” with a little gasp. “Yes; Venedig,” I responded, “where the streets are water.” Slowly he removed his hat. “Ach, Venedig!” he sighed; and then he stooped down, and, with the uttermost solemnity, he kissed the label…. And then I understood the vast impulsion of that wanderlust which has pushed so many, many Germans southward, to overrun that golden city that is wedded to the sea. I have forgotten the name of that junction, as I said before; but I have never been so happy in Munich as in this lonely station where there is no food.

Speaking of food reminds me of Bobadilla, in southern Spain. Bobadilla sounds as if it ought to be the name of a medieval town, with ghosts of gaunt imaginative knights riding forth to tilt with windmills; but there is no town at all at Bobadilla,—merely two railway restaurants set on either side of several intersecting tracks. For some mysterious reason, passengers from the four quarters of the compass—that is to say, from Cordoba, Granada, Algeciras, or Sevilla—are required to alight here, and eat, and change their trains. I remember Bobadilla as the place where you spend your counterfeit money. Many of the current coins of southern Spain are made of silver; and the rest are made of lead. For leaden five-peseta pieces there is a local name, “Sevillan dollars,” which ascribes their coinage to the crafty artisans of the capital of Andalucia. These pieces, which are plentiful, are just as good as silver dollars—when you can persuade anyone to take them. The currency of any coinage, except gold, depends entirely upon the faith of those who pass and take [pg 97]it and has no reference to its intrinsic value; and, in southern Spain, the leaden dollars serve as counters for just as many commercial transactions as the dollars made of silver. The only difference is that they are commonly accepted only after protest. In every Spanish shop, a slab of marble is built into the counter, and on this slab all proffered coins are slapped before they are accepted by the merchant. The traveler soon learns to fling his change upon the pavement; and many merry arguments ensue regarding the timbre of their ring. I remember how once, in the wondrous town of Ronda, when a beggar had imposed himself upon me as a guide and led me into a church where High Mass was being chanted, I gave him a peseta to get rid of him, and at once he flung it upon the pavement of the church, and chased it, listening, across the nave. Thereafter, he protested loudly that the piece was lead, and disrupted the intoning of the priests. “Very well,” said I, “it is, in any case, a gift; if you don’t want it, I will take it back”: and he accepted it with bows and smiles, and allowed the weary priests to continue their intonings. But Bobadilla is the one place in southern Spain where money is never jingled upon marble. There is no time between trains to quibble over minor matters; and a “Sevillan dollar” accepted from one passenger is blithely handed to another who is traveling in the opposite direction. I discovered this fact on the occasion of my first visit to this interesting junction; and on subsequent occasions I have eaten my fill at one or another of the railway restaurants and settled the account with all the leaden money garnered up from weeks of traveling. There is surely no dishonesty in observing the custom of a country; and Bobadilla may be treasured by all travelers as a clearing-house for counterfeit coins.

Again, in northern France, it was merely by some accident of changing trains that I discovered the lovely little town of Dol. I found myself in Saint Malo, for obvious reasons; and I desired to go to Mont Saint-Michel, for [pg 98]reasons still more obvious—Mother Poulard’s omelettes, and architecture, and the incoming of the tide. Between them—the map told me—was situated Dol. I made inquiries of the porter in the Saint Malo hotel. He responded in English,—the English of Ici on parle anglais. “Dol,” said he, “is a dull place.” He pronounced “Dol” and “dull” in precisely the same manner, and smiled at his sickly pun. I did not like that smile; and I alighted at the town that he despised. It was a little picture-book of a place, with many toy-like medieval houses clustered side by side around a market-place where peasants twisted the tails of cows. I strolled to the cathedral—and found myself mysteriously in England. It was a manly Norman edifice, sane and reticent and strong, set in a veritable English green, with little houses round about, reminding one of Salisbury. I entered the Cathedral; and found the nave to be composed in what is called in England the “decorated” style, and the choir to give hints of “perpendicular.” And then I remembered, with a start, that the ancestors of all that is most beautiful in England had migrated from Normandy, and that here I was visiting them in their antecedent home. “Saxon and Norman and Dane are we;” and all that was Norman in me reached forth with groping hands to grasp the palms of those old builders who reared this little sacrosanct cathedral in the far-off times when one dominion extended to either side of the English Channel.

It was by a similar accident—desiring to transfer myself from Bourges to Auxerre—that I discovered the wonderful junction-town of Nevers, which, despite the guide-books, is more interesting than either of the others. It possesses a Gothic cathedral with an apse at either end, that looks as if two churches had collided and telescoped each other. There is also a Romanesque church at Nevers which is just as simple and as manly as either of the famous abbeys in Caen; and a chateau with rounded towers, which once belonged to Mazarin. But the most amusing [pg 99]feature of this town is that, though Bourges packs itself to bed at ten o’clock, Nevers sits blithely up till twelve, listening to music in cafés, and watching moving-pictures; and this amiable incongruity in a medieval town makes you bless that complication of the time-table which has forced you, against forethought, to stay there over night.

It is difficult for me to remember a railway junction in which there was nothing to do; but perhaps Pyrgos, in Greece, comes nearest to this description. At this point, you change cars on your way from Patras to Olympia. The town is made of mud: that is to say, the single-storied houses are built of unbaked clay. There is nothing to see in Pyrgos. But I amused myself by addressing the inhabitants, in the English language, with an eloquent oration that soon gathered them under my control; and thereafter I set a hundred of them at the pleasant task of trying to push the train for Olympia on its way to take me to the Hermes of Praxiteles. I knew no word of their language, nor did they of mine; but they understood that that train should be started, if human force were sufficient to help the cars upon their way: and finally, when the engine puffed and snorted with a tardily awakened sense of duty, the train was cheered by the entire population as I waved my hand from the rear platform and quoted one of Daniel Webster’s perorations.

Is it—I have often wondered—so difficult as people think, to be happy in an hour “spent waiting at a railway junction”?… The kingdom of happiness is within us; or else there is no truth in our assumption that the will of man is free: and I am inclined to pity a man who, being happy in Amalfi—the loveliest of all the places I have ever seen—cannot also manage to be happy in Pyrgos—or in Essex Junction—and to communicate his happiness to his responsive fellow-travelers.

The true enjoyment of traveling is to enjoy traveling; not to relish merely the places you are going to, but to [pg 100]relish also the adventure of the going. The most difficult train-journey I remember is the twenty-hour trip from Lisbon to Sevilla, with a change of cars in the ghastly early morning at the border-town of Badajoz and another change at noon at the sun-baked, parched, and God-forsaken town of Merida; and yet I relish as red letters on my personal map of Spain a pleasant quarrel over the price of sandwiches at Badajoz and the way a muleteer of Merida flung a colored cloak over his shoulder and posed for an unconscious moment like a painting by Zuloaga.

And this philosophy has a deeper application to life at large: for all life may be figured as a journey, and few there are who are natively equipped for the enjoyment of all the waste and waiting places on the way. The minds of most people are so fixed upon the storied capitals that are featured in those works of fiction known as guidebooks that they are impeded from enjoying the minor stations on their journey. “Hurry me to Sevilla,” cries the traveler—and misses the sight of my muleteer of Merida. In America, our society is crammed with people who fail to enjoy life on five thousand a year because their minds are fixed upon that distant time when they hope to enjoy life on twenty thousand a year. And if ever they attain that twenty thousand they will not enjoy it either; but will merely peer forward to a hypothetical enjoyment at fifty thousand a year. And this is the essence of their tragedy:—they have not learned to wait with happiness.

Is there any reason for this inordinate ambition to “get on”? Louis Stevenson was happier, as a small boy with a bull’s-eye lantern at his belt, than any king upon his throne. The secret of enjoyment is to learn to look about us, to value what our destiny has given us, to transform it into magic by some contributory gift of poetry or humor, to consider with contentment the lilies of the field. The zest of life is in the living of it; and “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

How often, in the roaring and tumultuary tide of life, [pg 101]we meet a man who sighs, “If only I could have a single day in which there was nothing that I had to do, nothing even that I had to think of, how happy I should be!” and yet this self-same man, if set down at a railway junction, will at once bestir himself to seek something to think of, something to do, and will spurn the gift of leisure. The incessant hurry of our current life has tragically lured us to forget the art of loitering. We are no longer able—like Wordsworth, on his “old gray stone”—to sit upon a trunk at some railway junction of our lives and listen reverently to the “mighty sum of things forever speaking.”

One of the loveliest women I have ever known—the late Alison Cunningham—told me a little anecdote of the author of The Lantern-Bearers which, so far as I know, has never yet been published. When little Louis was about five years old, he did something naughty, and Cummy stood him up in a corner and told him he would have to stay there for ten minutes. Then she left the room. At the end of the allotted period, she returned and said, “Time’s up, Master Lou: you may come out now.” But the little boy stood motionless in his penitential corner. “That’s enough: time’s up,” repeated Cummy. And then the child mystically raised his hand, and with a strange light in his eyes, “Hush…,” he said, “I’m telling myself a story….”

And, in the Christian Morals of Sir Thomas Browne, we may read the following passage:—“He who must needs have company, must needs have sometimes bad company. Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself; nor be only content, but delight to be alone and single with Omnipresency. He who is thus prepared, the day is not uneasy nor the night black unto him. Darkness may bound his eyes, not his imagination. In his bed he may lie, like Pompey and his sons, in all quarters of the earth; may speculate the universe, and enjoy the whole world in the hermitage of himself.”

[pg 102]Wordsworth sitting quiescent and receptive in a lakeside landscape, little Louis standing in a corner, Sir Thomas Browne enjoying the whole world in the hermitage of himself:—what a rebuke is offered by these images to those who fret and fume away the leisure that is granted them at all the waiting places of their lives!… These disgruntled travelers nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita miss their privilege and duty of enjoying life merely because they miss the point that life is, in itself, enjoyable. They are so busy reading guide-books to the vague beyond that they shut their minds to all that may be going on about them, or within them, at way-stations. They close their eyes and ears to the immediate. They veto all perception of the here and now. But life itself is always here and now; and, truly to enjoy it, we must learn to look forever with unfaltering eyes into the bright face of immediacy.

And there is another point about railway junctions that reveals an important application to the larger journey of our life. A friend of mine, who is a great lover of painting, had occasion once (and only once) to change trains at Basle, in the course of a journey from Lucerne to Heidelberg. He had to wait two hours at this railway junction; and this time he pleasantly expended in eating many dishes at a restaurant, and amusing the lax porters by teaching them a method of economizing energy in shifting trunks. It should be noted that this friend of mine was not trying to “kill time;” for, like all genuine humanitarians, he of course regards that tragic process as the least excusable of murders. He was entirely happy for two hours in that railway station. But—having packed his guide-book in a trunk—it was not until he reached Darmstadt, some days later, that he discovered that several of the very greatest works of Holbein are now resident in Basle. The two hours that he had spent playing and eating might have been devoted to an examination [pg 103]of many masterpieces of that art which, more than any other, he had crossed the seas to seek. He has never yet been able to return to Basle; but for a sight of those lost portraits of the most honest and straightforward of all German painters, he would gladly sell his memories of both Lucerne and Heidelberg.

Here we have a record of a great disappointment that was occasioned merely by the common habit of despising railway junctions, and presuming them to be inevitably dull. But this same unfortunate presumption, applied to life at large, leads many people to overlook the nearness of some great adventure. Interrogate a thousand men, and you will find that none of them has first set eyes upon his greatest friend in the Mosque of Cordoba or in Trafalgar Square. Every adventure of lasting consequence has confronted all of them, without exception, in some hidden nook or cranny of the world,—some place unknown to fame. Anybody is as likely to meet the woman who is destined to become his wife, at Essex Junction on a wintry night, as in the Parthenon by moonlight in the month of May. The most romantic places in the world are often those that promised, in advance, to be the least romantic.

Since this is so, how can anybody ever dare to shut his eyes to that incalculable imminency of adventure which environs him even when he is merely changing trains on some island-platform of the New York Subway? In our daily living we are never safe from destiny; and who can ever know in what vacuous and sedentary period of his experience he may suddenly be called upon to entertain an angel unawares? It is best to be prepared for anything, at any hour of our lives,—even at those moments that must, perforce, be “spent waiting at a railway junction.”

[pg 104]

Minor Uses of the Middling Rich

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To assert today that the rich are for the most part entirely harmless is to dare much, for the contrary opinion is greatly in favor. Such wholesale condemnation of the rich assumes a more general and a more specific form. They are said to be harmful to the body politic simply because they have more money than the average: their property has been wrongly taken from persons who have a better right to it, or is withheld from people who need it more. But aside from being constructively a moral detriment from the mere possession of wealth, the rich man may do specific harm through indulging his vices, maintaining an inordinate display, charging too much for his own services, crushing his weaker competitor, corrupting the legislature and the judiciary, finally by asserting flagrantly his right to what he erroneously deems to be his own. Such are the general and specific charges of modern anti-capitalism against wealth. Like many deep rooted convictions, these rest less on analysis of particular instances than upon axioms received without criticism. The word spoliation does yeoman service in covering with one broad blanket of prejudice the most diverse cases of wealth. But spoliation is assumed, not proved. My own conviction that most wealth is quite blameless, whether under the general or specific accusation, is based on no comprehensive axiom, but simply on the knowledge of a number of particular fortunes and of their owners. Such a road towards truth is highly unromantic. The student of particular phenomena is unable to pose as the champion of the race. But the method has the modest advantage of resting not on a priori definitions, but on [pg 105]inductions from actual experience; hence of being relatively scientific.

Before sketching the line of such an investigation, let me say that in logic and common sense there is no presumption against the wealthy person. Ever since civilization began and until yesterday it has been assumed that wealth was simply ability legitimately funded and transmitted. Even modern humanitarians, while dallying with the equation wealth = spoliation, have been unwilling wholly to relinquish the historic view of the case. I have always admired the courage with which Mr. Howells faced the situation in one of those charming essays for the Easy Chair of Harper’s. Driving one night in a comfortable cab he was suddenly confronted by the long drawn out misery of the midnight bread line. For a moment the vision of these hungry fellow men overcame him. He felt guilty on his cushions, and possibly entertained some St. Martin-like project of dividing his swallowtail with the nearest unfortunate. Then common sense in the form of his companion came to his rescue. She remarked “Perhaps we are right and they are wrong.” Why not? At any rate Mr. Howells was not permitted to condemn in a moment of compassion the career of thrift, industry and genius, that had led him from a printer’s case to a premier position in American letters, or, more concretely, he received a domestic dispensation to cab it home in good conscience, though many were waiting in chilly discomfort for their gift of yesterday’s bread. The why so and why not of this incident are my real subject. For Mr. Howells is merely a particularly conspicuous instance of the kind of prosperity I have in mind. We are all too much dazzled by the rare great fortunes. The newly rich have spectacular ways with them. By dint of frequently passing us in notorious circumstances, they give the impression of a throng. They are much in the papers, their steam yachts loom large on the waters, they divorce quickly and often, they buy the most egregious, old masters. [pg 106]By such more or less innocent ostentations, a handful stretches into a procession, much as a dozen sprightly supernumeraries will keep up an endless defile of Macduff’s army on the tragic stage. Let us admit that some of the great wealth is more or less foolishly and harmfully spent; my subject is not bank accounts, but people; and very wealthy people constitute an almost negligible minority of the race. Their influence too is much less potent than is supposed. A slightly vulgarizing tendency proceeds from them, but in waves of decreasing intensity. Their vogue is chiefly a succès de scandale. Sensible people will gape at the spectacle without admiration, and even the reader of the society column in the sensational newspapers keeps more critical detachment than he is usually credited with. In any case neither the boisterous nor the shrinking multimillionaire has any representative standing. He is not what a poor person means by a rich person. Ask your laundress who is rich in your neighborhood, and she will name all who live gently and do not have to worry about next month’s bills. True pragmatist, she sees that to be exempt from any threat of poverty is to all intents and purposes to be rich. Her classification ignores certain niceties, but corresponds roughly to the fact, and has the merit of corresponding to government decree. Rich people, since the income tax, are officially those who pay the tax but not the surtax. Families with an income not less than four thousand dollars nor more than twenty thousand comprise the harmless, middling rich. Let us once for all admit that in the surtaxed classes there are many cases of quite harmless wealth, while in the lower level of the rich, harmful wealth will sometimes be found. Such exceptions do not invalidate the general rule that all but a negligible fraction of the rich are included in the first class of income taxpayers—on from four to twenty thousand, that most of the property here held is blamelessly held in good hands—wealth that in no fair estimate can be regarded as harmful. In terms [pg 107]of British currency, our category of the middling rich would include the poorer individuals of the upper classes, the richer persons of the lower middle class, and the upper middle class as a whole. This comparison is made not to apply an alien class system which holds very inadequately here in America, but simply to avow the difficulty of my task of apology. The bourgeoisie is equally suspect among radicals, reactionaries, and artists. My middling rich are nothing other than what an European essayist would quite brazenly call the haute bourgeoisie. It is quite a comprehensive class, made up chiefly of professional men, moderately successful merchants, manufacturers, and bankers with their more highly paid employees, but including also many artists, and teachers of all sorts. Incidentally it is an employing and borrowing class in various degrees, hence especially subject to the exactions of the labor union at one end, and of the great capitalist and the Trust at the other.

The general harmlessness of the wealth of this class rests upon the fact that it is in small part inherited, but mostly earned by individual effort, while such effort has usually been honestly and efficiently rendered and paid for at a moderate rate. In fact the amount of capacity that can be hired for the slightest rewards is simply amazing. It is the distinction of this class as compared both with the wage earning and the capitalist class—both of which agree in overvaluing their services and extorting payment on their own terms—that it respects its work more than it regards rewards. Consider the amount of general education and special training that go to make a capable school superintendent, or college professor; a good country doctor or clergyman—and it will be felt that no money is more honestly earned. This is equally true of many lawyers and magistrates, who are wise counsellors for an entire country side. It is no less true of hosts of small manufacturers who make a superior product with conscience. For the wealth, small enough it usually is, [pg 108]that is thus gained in positions of especial skill and confidence, absolutely no apology need be made. I sometimes wish that the Socialists for whom any degree of wealth means spoliation, would go a day’s round with a country doctor, would take the pains to learn of the cases he treats for half his fee, for a nominal sum, or for nothing; would candidly reckon his normal fee against the long years of college, medical school and hospital, and against the service itself; would then deduct the actual expenses of the day, as represented by apparatus, motor, or horse service—I can only say that if such an investigator could in any way conceive that physician as a spoliator, because he earned twice as much as a master brick-layer or five times as much as a ditch digger—if, I say, before the actual fact, our Socialist investigator in any way grudges that day’s earnings, his mental and emotional confusion is beyond ordinary remedy. And such a physician’s earnings are merely typical of those of an entire class of devoted professional men.

We do well to remind ourselves that the great body of wealth in the country has been built up slowly and honestly by the most laborious means, and accumulated and transmitted by self-sacrificing thrift. A rich person in nine cases out of ten is merely a capable, careful, saving person, often, too, a person who conducts a difficult calling with a fine sense of personal honor and a high standard of social obligation. We are too much dazzled by the occasional apparition of the lawyer who has got rich by steering guilty clients past the legal reefs, of the surgeon who plays equally on the fears and the purses of his patients, of the sensational clergyman who has made full coinage of his charlatanism. All these types exist, and all are highly exceptional. Most rich persons are self-respecting, have given ample value received for their wealth, and have less reason to apologize for it than most poor folks have to apologize for their poverty.

Furthermore: for the maintenance of certain humdrum [pg 109]but necessary human virtues, we are dependent upon these middling rich. It has been frequently remarked that a lord and a working man are likely to agree, as against a bourgeois, in generosity, spontaneous fellowship, and all that goes to make sporting spirit. The right measure of these qualities makes for charm and genuine fraternity; the excess of these qualities produces an enormous amount of human waste among the wage earners and the aristocrats impartially. The great body of self-controlled, that is of reasonably socialized people, must be sought between these two extremes. In short the building up of ideals of discipline and of habits of efficiency and of good manners and of human respect is very largely the task of the middle classes. Whereas the breaking down of such ideals is, in the present posture of society, the avowed or unavowed intention of a considerable portion of laboring men and aristocrats. The scornful retort of the Socialist is at hand: “Of course the middle classes are shrewd enough to practice the virtues that pay.” Into this familiar moral bog that there are as many kinds of morality as there are economic conditions of mankind, I do not consent to plunge. I need only say that the so-called middle class virtues would pay a workman or a lord quite as well as they do a bourgeois. Moreover, while workmen and lords are prone to scorn the calculating virtues of the middle classes, there is no indication that the bourgeoisie has selfishly tried to keep its virtues to itself. On the contrary there is positive rejoicing in the middle classes over a workman who deigns to keep a contract, and an aristocrat who perceives the duty of paying a debt. In fine we of the middle classes need no more be ashamed of our highly unpicturesque virtues than we are of our inconspicuous wealth.

So far from being in danger of suppression, we middling rich people are likely to last longer than the capitalists who exploit us in practice, and the workmen who exploit us on principle. Theoretically, and perhaps practically, [pg 110]the very rich are in danger of expropriation. Theoretically the course of invention may limit or almost abolish all but the higher grades of labor. The need of the more skilful sort of service in the professions, in manufacture, in agency of all sorts, is sure to persist. The socialists expect to get such service for much less than it at present brings, that is to make us poor and yet keep us working. Such a scheme must break down, not through the refusal of the middling rich to keep at work;—for I think there is loyalty enough to the work itself to keep most necessary activities going after a fashion, even under the most untoward conditions;—but because to make us poor is to destroy the conditions under which we can efficiently render a somewhat exceptional service. Our wealth is not an extraneous thing that can be readily added or taken away. It is our possibility of self-education and of professional improvement, it is the medium in which we can work, it is our hope of children. To take away our wealth is to maim us. There is nothing humiliating in such an avowal. It is merely an assertion of the integrity of one’s life and work. As a matter of fact no class is so well fitted to face the threat of a proletarian revolution as we harmless rich. It is the class that produces generals, explorers, inventors, statesmen. A social revolution with its stern attendant regimentation would bear most heavily on the relatively undisciplined class of working people. The disciplined class of the middling rich is better prepared to meet such an eventuality. Accordingly it is no mere selfishness or complacency that leads the middling rich to oppose the pretensions of proletarianism on one side and of capitalism on the other. It is rather the assertion of sound middle class morality against two opposite yet somewhat allied forms of social immorality—the strength that exaggerates its claims, and the weakness that claims all the privileges of strength.

We are useful too as conserving certain valuable ideas. When I mention the idea of the right of private property, I [pg 111]expect to be laughed at by a large class of enthusiasts. Yet all of civilization has been built up on the distinction between meum and tuum. Without this idea there is not the slightest inducement to persistent individual effort nor possibility of progress for the individual or for the race. The fruitful diversities, the germinative inequalities between men all depend on this right. And today the right to one’s own is doubly under attack from the violence of laboring men, and the guile of those in positions of financial trust. The strikers who offer as an argument the burning of a mine or wrecking of a mill, and the directors who manipulate corporation accounts to pay unearned dividends, are both undermining the right of property. Against such counsels of force and fraud, the representatives of the common sense and funded wisdom of mankind are the middling rich. It is an unromantic service—doubtless breaking other people’s windows or scaling their bank accounts is much more thrilling—it is a public service obviously tinged with self-interest, but none the less a public service of high and timely importance. The business of keeping the sanity of the world intact as against the wilder expressions of social discontent, and the uglier expressions of personal envy and greed, may seem to lack zest and originality today. History may well take a different view of the matter. It would not be surprising to find a posthumous aureole of idealism conferred upon those who amid the trumpeting of money market messiahs, and the braying of self-appointed remodellers of the race, simply stood quietly on their own inherited rights and principles.

Such are some not wholly minor uses for the middling rich. Should they be abolished, many of the pleasanter facts and appearances of the world would disappear with them. The other day I whisked in one of their motor cars through miles of green Philadelphia suburbs dappled with pink magnolia trees and white fruit blossoms—everywhere charming houses, velvety lawns, tidy gardens. The establishing of a little paradise like that is of course a [pg 112]selfish enterprise—a mere meeting of the push and foresight of real estate operators with the thrift and sentiment of householders, yet it is an advantage inevitably shared, a benefit to the entire community, an example in reasonable working, living, and playing.

On the side of play we should especially miss these harmless rich. The sleek horses on a thousand bridle paths and meadows are theirs, the smaller winged craft that still protest against the pollution of the sea by the reek of coal and the stench of gasoline; of their furnishing are the graceful and widely shared spectacles not only of the minor yacht racing but of the field sports generally. They constitute our militia. The survival in the world of such gentler accomplishments as fencing, canoeing, and exploration rests with the middling rich. They write our books and plays, compose our music, paint our pictures, carve our statues. The pleasanter unconscious pageantry of our life is conducted by their sons and daughters. To be nice, to indulge in nice occupations, to express happiness—this is not even today a reproach to any one. Indeed if any approach to the dreamed socialized state ever be made, it will come less through regimentation than through imitation of those persons of middle condition who have managed to be reasonably faithful in their duties, and moderate in their pleasures. To keep a clean mind in a clean body is the prerogative of no class, but the lapses from this standard are unquestionably more frequent among the poor and the very rich.

It is instructive in this regard to compare with the newspapers that serve the middling rich, those that address the poor, and those that are owned in the interest of well understood capitalistic interests. The extremes of yellow journalism and of avowedly capitalistic journalism, meet in a preference for salacious or merely shocking news, and in a predilection for blatant, sophistical, or merely nugatory and time-serving editorial expressions. Between the two really allied types of newspapers are a few which [pg 113]exercise a decent censorship over questionable news, and habitually indulge in the luxury of sincere editorial opinion. There are some exceptions to the rule. In our own day we have seen a proletarian paper become a magnificent editorial organ, while somewhat illogically maintaining a random and sensational policy in its news columns. But generally the distinction is unmistakable. Imagine the plight of New York journalism if four papers, which I need not mention, ceased publication. It would mean a distinct and immediate cheapening of the mentality of the city. Then observe on any train who are reading these papers. It is plain enough what class among us makes decent journalism possible.

Much is to be said for the abolition of poverty, and something for the reduction of inordinate wealth. Poverty is being much reduced, and will be farther, the process being limited simply by the degree to which the poor will educate and discipline themselves. We shall never wholly do away with bad luck, bad inheritance, wild blood, laziness, and incapacity: so some poverty we shall always have, but much less than now, and less dire. The fact that the large class of middling rich has been evolved from a world where all began poor, is a promise of a future society where poverty shall be the exception. But such increase of the wealth of the world, and of the number of the virtually rich, will never be attained by the puerile method of expropriating the present holders of wealth. That would produce more poor people beyond doubt—but its effect in enriching the present poor would be inappreciable. You cannot change a man’s character and capacity simply by giving him the wealth of another. In wholesale expropriations and bequests the experiment has been many times tried, and always with the same results. The wealth that could not be assimilated and administered has always left the receiver or grasper in all essentials poorer than he was before. Wealth is an attribute of personality. It is not interchangeable like the parts of a [pg 114]standardized machine. The futility of dispossessing the middling rich would be as marked as its immorality.

This essentially personal character of wealth must affect the views of those who would attack what are called the inordinate fortunes. I hold no brief for or against the multi-millionaire. In many cases I believe his wealth is as personal, assimilated and legitimate as is the average moderate fortune. In many cases too, I know that such gigantic wealth is in fact the product of unfair craft and favoritism, is to that extent unassimilated and illegitimate. Yet admitting the worst of great fortunes, I think a prudent and fair minded man would hesitate before a general programme of expropriation. He would consider that in many cases the common weal needs such services as very wealthy people render, he would reflect on the practical benefits to the world, of the benevolent enterprises for education, research, invention, hygiene, medicine, which are founded and supported by great wealth. In our time The Rockefeller Institute will have stamped out that slow plague of the south, the hook worm. To the obvious retort that the government ought to do this sort of thing, the reply is equally obvious, that historically governments have not done this sort of thing until enlightened private enterprise has shown the way. Our prudent observer of mankind in general, and of the very rich in particular, would again reflect that, granting much of the socialist indictment of capital as illgained, common sense requires a statute of limitations. At a certain point restitution makes more trouble than the possession of illegitimate wealth. Debts, interest, and grudges cannot be indefinitely accumulated and extended. It is the entire disregard of this simple and generally admitted principle that has marred the socialist propaganda from the first. From the point of view of fomenting hatred between classes, to make every workingman regard himself as the residuary legatee of all the grievances of all workingmen, at all times, may be clever tactics, it is not a good way of making the workingman [pg 115]see clearly what his actual grievance and expectancy of redress are in his own day and time.

With increasingly heavy income and inheritance taxes, the very rich will have to reckon. Yet the multi-millionaire’s evident utility as the milch cow of the state, will cause statesmen, even of the anti-capitalistic stamp, to waver at the point where the cow threatens to dry up from over-milking. If the case, then, for utterly despoiling the harmful rich, is by no means clear, the prospect for the harmless rich may be regarded as fairly favorable. For the moment, caught between the headiness of working folk, the din of doctrinaires, and the wiles of corporate activity, the lot of the middling rich is not the most happy imaginable. But they seem better able to weather these flurries than the windy, cloud-compelling divinities of the hour. From the survival of the middling rich, the future common weal will be none the worse, and it may even be better.

[pg 116]

Lecturing at Chautauqua

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To render any real impression of the Chautauqua Summer Assembly, I must approach this many-mooded subject from a personal point of view. Others, more thoroughly informed in the arcana of the Institution, have written the history of its development from small beginnings to its present impressive magnitude, have analyzed the theory of its intentions, and have expounded its extraordinary influence over what may be called the middle-class culture of our present-day America. It would be beyond the scope of my equipment to add another solemn treatise to the extensive list already issued by the tireless Chautauqua Press. My own experience of Chautauqua was not that of a theoretical investigator, but that of a surprised and wondering participant. It was the experience of an alien thrust suddenly into the midst of a new but not unsympathetic world; and, if the reader will make allowance for the personal equation, some sense of the human significance of this summer seat of earnest recreation may be suggested by a mere record of my individual reactions.

I had heard of Chautauqua only vaguely, until, one sunny summer morning, I suddenly received a telegram inviting me to lecture at the Institution. I was a little disconcerted at the moment, because I was enjoying an amphibious existence in a bathing-suit, and was inclined to shudder at the thought of putting on a collar in July; but, after an hour or two, I managed to imagine that telegram as a Summons from the Great Unknown, and it was in a proper spirit of adventure that I flung together a few books, and climbed into the only available upper berth on a discomfortable train that rushed me westward.

[pg 117]In some sickly hour of the early morning, I was cast out at Westfield, on Lake Erie,—a town that looked like the back-yard of civilization, with weeds growing in it. Thence a trolley car, climbing over heightening hills that became progressively more beautiful, hauled me ultimately to the entrance of what the cynical conductor called “The Holy City.” A fence of insurmountable palings stretched away on either hand; and, at the little station, there were turn-stiles, through which pilgrims passed within. Most people pay money to obtain admittance; but I was met by a very affable young man from Dartmouth, whose business it was to welcome invited visitors, and by him I was steered officially through unopposing gates. I liked this young man for his cheerful clothes and smiling countenance; but I was rather appalled by the agglomeration of ram-shackle cottages through which we passed on our way to the hotel.

I say “the hotel,” for the Chautauqua Settlement contains but one such institution. It carries the classic name of Athenæum; but the first view of it occasioned in my sensitive constitution a sinking of the heart. The edifice dates from the early-gingerbread period of architecture. It culminates in a horrifying cupola, and is colored a discountenancing brown. The first glimpse of it reminded me of the poems of A.H. Clough, whose chief merit was to die and to offer thereby an occasion for a grave and twilit elegy by Matthew Arnold. Clough’s life-work was a continual asking of the question, “Life being unbearable, why should I not die?”—while echo, that commonplace and sapient commentator, mildly answered, “Why?”: and this was precisely the impression that I gathered from my initial vista of the Athenæum between trees.

On entering the hotel I was greeted over the desk (with what might be defined as a left-handed smile) by one of the leading students of the university with which I am associated as a teacher. He called out, “Front!” in the manner of an amateur who is amiably aping the professional, [pg 118]and assigned me to a scarcely comfortable room.

My first voluntary act in the Chautauqua Community was to take a swim. But the water was tepid, and brown, and tasteless, and unbuoyant; and I felt, rather oddly, as if I were swimming in a gigantic cup of tea. From this initial experience I proceeded, somewhat precipitately, to induce an analogy; and it seemed to me, at the time, as if I had forsaken the roar and tumble of the hoarse, tumultuous world, for the inland disassociated peace of an unaware and loitering backwater.

With hair still wet and still dishevelled, I was met by the Secretary of Instruction,—a man (as I discovered later) of wise and humorous perceptions. By him I was informed that, in an hour or so, I was to lecture, in the Hall of Philosophy, on (if I remember rightly) Edgar Allan Poe. I combed my hair, and tried to care for Poe, and made my way to the Hall of Philosophy. This turned out to be a Greek temple divested of its walls. An oaken roof, with pediments, was supported by Doric columns; and under the enlarged umbrella thus devised, about a thousand people were congregated to greet the new and unknown lecturer.

I honestly believe that that was the worst lecture I have ever imposed upon a suffering audience. I had lain awake all night, in an upper berth, on the hottest day of the year; I had found my swim in inland water unrefreshing; and, at the moment, I really cared no more for Edgar Allan Poe than I usually care for the sculptures of Bernini, the paintings of Bouguereau, or the base-ball playing of the St. Louis “Browns.” This feeling was, of course, unfair to Poe, who is (with all his emptiness of content) an admirable artist; but I was tired at the time. It pained me exceedingly to listen, for an hour, to my own dull and unilluminated lecture. And yet (and here is the pathetic point that touched me deeply) I perceived gradually that the audience was listening not only attentively but [pg 119]eagerly. Those people really wanted to hear whatever the lecturer should say: and I wandered back to the depressing hotel with bowed head, actuated by a new resolve to tell them something worthy on the morrow.

That afternoon and evening I strolled about the summer settlement of Chautauqua; and (in view of my subsequent shift of attitude) I do not mind confessing that this first aspect of the community depressed me to a perilous melancholy. I beheld a landscape that reminded me of Wordsworth’s Windermere, except that the lake was broader and the hills less high, deflowered and defamed by the huddled houses of the Chautauqua settlers. The lake was lovely; and, with this supreme adjective, I forbear from further effort at description. Upon the southern shore, a natural grove of noble and venerable trees had been invaded by a crowded horror of discomfortable tenements, thrown up by carpenters with a taste for machine-made architectural details, and colored a sickly green, an acid yellow, or an angry brown. The Chautauqua Settlement, which is surrounded by a fence of palings, covers only two or three square miles of territory; and, in the months of July and August, between fifteen and twenty thousand people are crowded into this constricted area. Hence a horror of unsightly dormitories, spawning unpredictable inhabitants upon the ambling, muddy lanes.

There have been, in the history of this Assembly, a few salutary fires,—as a result of which new buildings have been erected which are comparatively easy on the eyes. The Hall of Philosophy is really beautiful, and is nobly seated among memorable trees at the summit of a little hill. The Aula Christi tried to be beautiful, and failed; but at least the good intention is apparent. The Amphitheatre (which seats six or seven thousand auditors) is admirably adapted to its uses; and some of the more recent business buildings, like the Post Office, are inoffensive to the unexacting observer. A wooded peninsula, which is pleasantly laid out as a park, projects into [pg 120]the lake; and, at the point of this, has lately been erected a campanile which is admirable in both color and proportion. Indeed, when a fanfaronnade of sunset is blown wide behind it, you suffer a sudden tinge of homesickness for Venice or Ravenna. It is good enough for that. But beside it is a helter-skelter wooden edifice which reminds you of Surf Avenue at Coney Island. Indeed, the Settlement as a whole exhibits still an overwhelmment of the unæsthetic, and appalls the eye of the new-comer from a more considerative world.

On the way back from the lovely campanile to the hotel, I stumbled over a scattering of artificial hillocks surrounding two mud-puddles connected by a gutter. This monstrosity turned out to be a relief-map of Palestine. Little children, with uncultivated voices, shouted at each other as they lightly leaped from Jerusalem to Jericho; and waste-paper soaked itself to dingy brown in the insanitary Sea of Galilee.—Then I encountered a wooden edifice with castellated towers and machicolated battlements, which called itself (with a large label) the Men’s Club; and from this I fled, with almost a sense of relief, to the hotel itself, now sprawling low and dark beneath its Boston-brown-bread cupola.

Thus my first impression of Chautauqua was one of melancholy and resentment. But, in the subsequent few days, this emotion was altered to one of impressible satiric mirth; and, subsequently still, it was changed again to an emotion of wondering and humble admiration. I had been assured at the outset, by one who had already tried it, that, if I stayed long enough, I should end up by liking Chautauqua; and this is precisely what happened to me before a week was out.

But meanwhile I laughed very hard for three days. The thing that made me laugh most was the unexpected experience of enduring the discomfiture of fame. Chautauqua is a constricted community; and any one who lectures there becomes, by that very fact, a famous person [pg 121]in this little backwater of the world, until he is supplanted (for fame is as fickle as a ballet-dancer) by the next new-comer to the platform. The Chautauqua Press publishes a daily paper, a weekly review, a monthly magazine and a quarterly; and these publications report your lectures, tell the story of your life, comment upon your views of this and that, advertise your books, and print your picture. Everybody knows you by sight, and stops you in the street to ask you questions. Thus, on your way to the Post Office, you are intercepted by some kindly soul who says: “I am Miss Terwilliger, from Montgomery, Alabama; and do you think that Bernard Shaw is really an immoral writer?” or, “I am Mrs. Winterbottom, of Muncie, Indiana; and where do you think I had better send my boy to school? He is rather a backward boy for his age—he was ten last April—but I really think that if, etc.”

Then, when you return to the hotel, you observe that everybody is rocking vigorously on the veranda, and reading one of your books. This pleases you a little; for, though an actor may look his audience in the eyes, an author is seldom privileged to see his readers face to face. Indeed, he often wonders if anybody ever reads his writings, because he knows that his best friends never do. But very soon this tender sentiment is disrupted. There comes a sudden resurrection of the rocking-chair brigade, a rush of readers with uplifted fountain-pens, and a general request for the author’s autograph upon the flyleaf of his volume. All of this is rather flattering; but afterward these gracious and well-meaning people begin to comment on your lectures, and tell you that you have made them see a great light. And then you find yourself embarrassed.

It is rather embarrassing to be embarrassed.

One enthusiastic lady, having told me her name and her address, assaulted me with the following commentary:—“I heard you lecture on Stevenson the other day; and ever since then I have been thinking how very much [pg 122]like Stevenson you are. And today I heard you lecture on Walt Whitman: and all afternoon I have been thinking how very much like Whitman you are. And that is rather puzzling—isn’t it?—because Stevenson and Whitman weren’t at all like each other,—were they?”

I smiled, and told the lady the simple truth; but I do not think she understood me. “Ah, madam,” I said, “wait until you hear me lecture about Hawthorne….”

For (and now I am freely giving the whole game away) the secret of the art of lecturing is merely this:—on your way to the rostrum you contrive to fling yourself into complete sympathy with the man you are to talk about, so that, when you come to speak, you will give utterance to his message, in terms that are suggestive of his style. You must guard yourself from ever attempting to talk about anybody whom you have not (at some time or other) loved; and, at the moment, you should, for sheer affection, abandon your own personality in favor of his, so that you may become, as nearly as possible, the person whom it is your business to represent. Naturally, if you have any ear at all, your sentences will tend to fall into the rhythm of his style; and if you have any temperament (whatever that may be) your imagined mood will diffuse an ineluctable aroma of the author’s personality.

This at least, is my own theory of lecturing; and, in the instance of my talk on Hawthorne, I seem to have carried it out successfully in practice. I must have attained a tone of sombre gray, and seemed for the moment a meditative Puritan under a shadowy and steepled hat; for, at the close of the lecture, a silvery-haired and sweet-faced woman asked me if I wouldn’t be so kind as to lead the devotional service in the Baptist House that evening. I found myself abashed. But a previous engagement saved me; and I was able to retire, not without honor, though with some discomfiture.

This previous engagement was a steamboat ride upon the lake. When you want to give a sure-enough party at [pg 123]Chautauqua, you charter a steamboat and escape from the enclosure, having seduced a sufficient number of other people to come along and sing. On this particular evening, the party consisted of the Chautauqua School of Expression,—a bevy of about thirty young women who were having their speaking voices cultivated by an admired friend of mine who is one of the best readers in America; and they sang with real spirit, so soon as we had churned our way beyond remembrance of (I mean no disrespect) the Baptist House. But this boat-ride had a curious effect on the four or five male members of the party. We touched at a barbarous and outrageous settlement, named (if I remember rightly) Bemus Point; and hardly had the boat been docked before there ensued a hundred-yard dash for a pair of swinging doors behind which dazzled lights splashed gaudily on soapy mirrors. I did not really desire a drink at the time; but I took two, and the other men did likewise. I understood at once (for I must always philosophize a little) why excessive drinking is induced in prohibition states. Tell me that I may not laugh, and I wish at once to laugh my head off,—though I am at heart a holy person who loves Keats. This incongruous emotion must have been felt, under this or that influence of external inhibition, by everyone who is alive enough to like swimming, and Dante, and Weber and Fields, and Filipino Lippi, and the view of the valley underneath the sacred stones of Delphi.

Within the enclosure of Chautauqua one does not drink at all; and I infer that this regulation is well-advised. I base this inference upon my gradual discovery that all the regulations of this well-conducted Institution have been fashioned sanely to contribute to the greatest good of the greatest number. That is my final, critical opinion. But how we did dash for the swinging doors at Bemus Point!—we four or five simple-natured human beings who were not, in any considerable sense, drinking men at all.

[pg 124]Then the congregated School of Expression tripped ashore with nimble ankles; and there ensued a general dance at a pavilion where a tired boy maltreated a more tired piano, and one paid a dime before, or after, dancing. One does not dance at Chautauqua, even on moon-silvery summer evenings:—and again the regulation is right, because the serious-minded members of the community must have time to read the books of those who lecture there.

And this brings me to a consideration of the Chautauqua Sunday. On this day the gates are closed, and neither ingress nor egress is permitted. Once more I must admit that the regulation has been sensibly devised. If admittance were allowed on Sunday, the grounds would be overrun by picnickers from Buffalo, who would cast the shells of hard-boiled eggs into the inviting Sea of Galilee; and unless the officers are willing to let anybody in, they can devise no practicable way of letting anybody out. Besides, the people who are in already like to rest and meditate. But alas! (and at this point I think that I begin to disapprove) the row-boats and canoes are tied up at the dock, the tennis-courts are emptied, and the simple exercise of swimming is forbidden. This desuetude of natural and smiling recreation on a day intended for surcease of labor struck me (for I am in part an ancient Greek, in part a mediæval Florentine) as strangely irreligious. All day the organ rumbles in the Amphitheatre (and of this I approved, because I love the way in which an organ shakes you into sanctity), and many meetings are held in various sectarian houses, the mood of which is doubtless reverent—though all the while the rippling water beckons to the high and dry canoes, and a gathering of many-tinted clouds is summoned in the windy west to tingle with Olympian laughter and Universal song. How much more wisely (if I may talk in Greek terms for the moment) the gods take Sunday, than their followers on this forgetful earth!

[pg 125]But we must change the mood if I am to speak again of what amused me in the pagan days of my initiation at Chautauqua. Life, for instance, at the ginger-bread hotel amused me oddly. To one who lives in a metropolis throughout the working months, the map of eating at Chautauqua seems incongruous. Dinner is served in the middle of the day, at an hour when one is hardly encouraged to the thought of luncheon; and at six P.M. a sort of breakfast is set forth, which is denominated Supper. This Supper consists of fruit, followed by buckwheat cakes, followed by meat or eggs; and to eat one’s way through it induces a curious sense of standing on one’s head. After two days I discovered a remedy for this undesired dizziness. I turned the menu upside down, and ordered a meal in the reverse order. The Supper itself was a success; but the waitress (who, in the winter, teaches school in Texas) disapproved of what she deemed my frivolous proceeding. Her eyes took on an inward look beneath the pedagogical eye-glasses; and there was a distinct furrowing of her forehead. Thereafter I did not dare to overturn the menu, but ate my way heroically backward. After all, our prandial prejudices are merely the result of custom. There is no real reason why stewed prunes should not be eaten at three A.M.

But this philosophical reflection reminds me that there is no such hour at Chautauqua. At ten P.M. a carol of sweet chimes is rung from the Italian campanile; and at that hour all good Chautauquans go to bed. If you are by profession (let us say) a writer, and are accustomed to be alive at midnight, you will find the witching hours sad. Vainly you will seek companionship, and will be reduced at last to reading the base-ball reports in the newspapers of Cleveland, Ohio.

At the Athenæum you are passed about, from meal to meal, like a one-card draw at poker. The hotel is haunted by Old Chautauquans, who vie with each other to receive you with traditional cordiality. The head-waitress steers [pg 126]you for luncheon (I mean Dinner) to one table, for Supper to another, and so on around the room from day to day. The process reminds you a little of the procedure at a progressive euchre party. At each meal you meet a new company of Old Chautauquans, and are expected to converse: but many (indeed most) of these people are humanly refreshing, and the experience is not so wearing as it sounds.

But you must not imagine from all that I have said that the life of the lecturer at Chautauqua is merely frivolous. Not at all. You get up very early, and proceed to Higgins Hall, a pleasant little edifice (named after the late Governor of New York State) set agreeably amid trees upon a rising knoll of verdure; and there you converse for a time about the Drama, and for another time about the Novel. In each of these two courses there were, perhaps, seventy or eighty students,—male and female, elderly and young. I found them much more eager than the classes I had been accustomed to in college, and at least as well prepared. They came from anywhere, and from any previous condition of servitude to the general cause of learning; but I found them apt, and interested, and alive.

Now and then it appeared that their sense of humor was a little less fantastic than my own; but I liked them very much, because they were so earnest and simple and human and (what is Whitman’s adjective?) adhesive.

And now I come to the point that converted me finally to Chautauqua. I found myself, after a few days, liking the people very much. In the afternoons I talked in the Doric Temple about this man or that,—selected from my company of well-beloved friends among “the famous nations of the dead”; and the people came in hundreds and listened reverently—not, I am very glad to know, because of any trick I have of setting words together, but because of Stevenson and Whitman and the others, and what they meant by living steadfast lives amid the hurly-[pg 127]burly of this roaring world, and steering heroically by their stars. Some elderly matrons among the listeners brought their knitting with them and toiled with busy hands throughout the lecture; but they listened none the less attentively, and reduced me to a mood of humble wonderment.

For I have often wondered (and this is, perhaps, the most intimate of my confessions) how anybody can endure a lecture,—even a good lecture, for I am not thinking merely of my own. It is a passive exercise of which I am myself incapable. I, for one, have always found it very irksome—as Carlyle has phrased the experience—“to sit as a passive bucket and be pumped into.” I always want to talk back, or rise and remark “But, on the other hand…”; and, before long, I find myself spiritually itching. This is, possibly, a reason why I prefer canoeing to listening to sermons. Yet these admirable Chautauquans submit themselves to this experience hour after hour, because they earnestly desire to discover some glimmering of “the best that has been known and thought in the world.”

These fifteen or twenty thousand people have assembled for the pursuit of culture—a pursuit which the Hellenic-minded Matthew Arnold designated as the noblest in this life. But from this fact (and here the antithetic formula asserts itself) we must deduce an inference that they feel themselves to be uncultured. In this inference I found a taste of the pathetic. I discovered that many of the colonists at Chautauqua were men and women well along in life who had had no opportunities for early education. Their children, rising through the generations, had returned from the state universities of Texas or Ohio or Mississippi, talking of Browning, and the binominal theorem, and the survival of the fittest, and the grandeur and decadence of the Romans, and the entassus of Ionic columns, and the doctrine of laissez faire; and now their elders had set out to endeavor to [pg 128]catch up with them. This discovery touched me with both reverence and pathos. An attempt at what may be termed, in the technical jargon of base-ball, a “delayed steal” of culture, seemed to me little likely to succeed. Culture, like wisdom, cannot be acquired: it cannot be passed, like a dollar bill, from one who has it to one who has it not. It must be absorbed, early in life, through birth or breeding, or be gathered undeliberately through experience. A child of five with a French governess will ask for his mug of milk with an easier Gallic grace than a man of eighty who has puzzled out the pronunciation from a text-book. There is, apparently, no remedy for this. Love the Faerie Queene at twelve, or you will never really love it at seventy: or so, at least, it seems to me. And yet the desire to learn, in gray-haired men and women who in their youth were battling hard for a mere continuance of life itself, and founding homesteads in a book-less wilderness, moved me to a quick exhilaration.

Most of the people at Chautauqua come either from the south or from the middle west. They pronounce the English language either without any r at all, or with such excessive emphasis upon the r as to make up for the deficiency of their fellow-seekers. In other words, these people are really American, as opposed to cosmopolitan; and to live among them is—for a world-wandering adventurer—to learn a lesson in Americanism. Mr. Roosevelt once stated that Chautauqua is the most American institution in America; and this statement—like many others of his inspired platitudes—begins to seem meaningful upon reflection.

At one time or another I have drifted to many different corners of the world; but my residence at Chautauqua was my only experience of a democracy. In this community there are no special privileges. If the President of the Institution had wished to hear me lecture (he never did, in fact—though we used to play tennis together, at which game he proved himself easily the better man) he would [pg 129]have been required to come early and take his chance at getting a front seat; and once, when I ventured to attend a lecture by one of my colleagues, I found myself seated beside that very waitress in the Athenæum who had disapproved of my method of ordering a meal. All the exercises are open equally to anybody—first come, first served—and the boy who blacks your boots may turn out to be a Sophomore at Oberlin. Teachers in Texas high-schools sweep the floors or shave you, and the raucous newsboy is earning his way toward the University of Illinois. All this is a little bewildering at first; but in a day or two you grow to like it.

This free-for-all spirit that permeates Chautauqua reminds me to speak of the economic conduct of the Institution. The only charge—except in the case of certain special courses—is for admission to the grounds. The visitor pays fifty cents for a franchise of one day, and more for periods of greater length, until the ultimate charge of seven dollars and fifty cents for a season ticket is attained. On leaving the grounds, he has to show his ticket; and if it has expired he is taxed according to the term of his delinquent lingering. Once free of the grounds, he may avail himself of any of the privileges of the Assembly. Lectures, on an infinite variety of subjects, are delivered hour after hour; and a bulletin of these successive lectures is posted publicly and printed in the daily paper. Every evening an entertainment of some sort is given in the Amphitheatre, and this is eagerly attended by swarming thousands. The Institution owns all the land within the bounding palisades. Private cottages may be erected by individual builders on lots leased for ninety-nine years; but the Institution owns and operates the only hotel, and exercises an absolute empery over the issuance of franchises to necessary tradesmen. The revenue of the corporation is therefore rich; but all of it is expended in importing the best lecturers that may be obtained, and in furthering the general good of the general assembly. The [pg 130]entire system suggests the theoretic observation that an absolute democracy can be instituted and maintained only by an absolute monarchy. If all the people are to be free and equal, the government must have absolute control of all the revenue. Here is, perhaps, a principle for our presidential candidates to think about.

But I do not wish to terminate this summer conversation on a serious note; and I must revert, in closing, to some of the recreations at Chautauqua. The first of these is tea. Every afternoon, from four to five o’clock, the visitor lightly flits from tea to tea,—making his excuses to one hostess in order to dash onward to another. This is rather hard upon the health, because it requires the deglutition of innumerable potions. I have always maintained that tea is an admirable entity if it be considered merely as a time of day, but that it is insidious if it be considered as a beverage. At Chautauqua, tea is not only an hour but a drink; and (though I am a sympathetic soul) I can only say that those who like it like it. For my part, I preferred the concoction sold at rustic soda-fountains, which is known locally as a “Chautauqua highball,”—a ribald term devised by college men who make up the by-no-means-despicable ball-team. This beverage is compounded out of unfermented grape-juice and foaming fizz-water; and, if it be taken absent-mindedly, seems to taste like something.

But the standard recreation at Chautauqua is the habit of impromptu eating in the open air. Every one invites you to go upon a picnic. You take a steamer to some point upon the lake, or take a trolley to a wild and deep ravine known by the somewhat unpoetic name of the Hog’s Back; and then everybody sits around and eats sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs, and considers the occasion a debauch. This formality resembles great good fun,—especially as there are girls who laugh, and play, and threaten to disconcert you on the morrow when you solemnly arise to lecture on the Religion of Emerson. [pg 131]But picnic-baskets out of doors are rather hard on the digestion.

Perhaps I should record also, as a curious experience, that I was required to appear as one of the guests of honor at a large reception. This meant that I had to stand in line, with certain other marionettes, and shake hands with an apparently endless procession of people who were themselves as bored as were the guests of honor. I determined then and there that I should never run for President,—not even in response to an irresistible appeal from the populace. I had never suspected before that there could be so many hands without the touch of nature in them. I shook hands mechanically, chatting all the while with a humorous and human woman who stood next to me in the line of the attacked—until suddenly I felt the sensitive and tender grasp of a sure-enough hand, reminding me of friends and one or two women it has been a holiness to know. My attention was attracted by the thrill. I turned swiftly—and I looked upon a little bent old woman who was blind. She had a voice, too, for she spoke to me … and,—well, I was very glad that I went to that reception.

And many other matters I remember fondly,—a certain lonely hill at sunset, whence you looked over wide water to distant dream-enchanted shores; the urbanity and humor of the wise directors of the Institution; the manner of many young students who discerned an unadmitted sanctity beneath the smiling conversations of those summer hours; my own last lecture, on “The Importance of Enjoying Life”; the people who walked with me to the station and whom I was sorry to leave; and the oddly-minded student behind the desk of the hotel; and an old man from Kentucky who cared about Walt Whitman after I had talked about his ministrations in the army hospitals; and the trees, and the reverberating organ, and, beneath a benison of midnight peace, the hushed moon-silvery surface of the lake. It is, indeed, a memorable experience to have lectured at Chautauqua.

[pg 132]

Academic Leadership

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Any one who has traveled much about the country of recent years must have been impressed by the growing uneasiness of mind among thoughtful men. Whether in the smoking car, or the hotel corridor, or the college hall, everywhere, if you meet them off their guard and stripped of the optimism which we wear as a public convention, you will hear them saying in a kind of sad amazement, “What is to be the end of it all?” They are alarmed at the unsettlement of property and the difficulties that harass the man of moderate means in making provision for the future; they are uneasy over the breaking up of the old laws of decorum, if not of decency, and over the unrestrained pursuit of excitement at any cost; they feel vaguely that in the decay of religion the bases of society have been somehow weakened. Now, much of this sort of talk is as old as history, and has no special significance. We are prone to forget that civilization has always been a tour de force, so to speak, a little hard-won area of order and self-subordination amidst a vast wilderness of anarchy and barbarism that are with difficulty held in check and are continually threatening to overrun their bounds. But that is equally no reason for over-confidence. Civilization is like a ship traversing an untamed sea. It is a more complex machine in our day, with command of greater forces, and might seem correspondingly safer than in the era of sails. But fresh catastrophes have shown that the ancient perils of navigation still confront the largest vessel, when the crew loses its discipline or the officers neglect their duty; and the analogy is not without its warning.

[pg 133]Only a year after the sinking of the Titanic I was crossing the ocean, and it befell by chance that on the anniversary of that disaster we passed not very far from the spot where the proud ship lay buried beneath the waves. The evening was calm, and on the lee deck a dance had been hastily organized to take advantage of the benign weather. Almost alone I stood for hours at the railing on the windward side, looking out over the rippling water where the moon had laid upon it a broad street of gold. Nothing could have been more peaceful; it was as if Nature were smiling upon earth in sympathy with the strains of music and the sound of laughter that reached me at intervals from the revelling on the other deck. Yet I could not put out of my heart an apprehension of some luring treachery in this scene of beauty—and certainly the world can offer nothing more wonderfully beautiful than the moon shining from the far East over a smooth expanse of water. Was it not in such a calm as this that the unsuspecting vessel, with its gay freight of human lives, had shuddered, and gone down, forever? I seemed to behold a symbol; and there came into my mind the words we used to repeat at school, but are, I do not know just why, a little ashamed of to-day:

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!

Sail on, O Union, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears,

With all its hopes of future years,

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!…

Something like this, perhaps, is the feeling of many men—men by no means given to morbid gusts of panic—amid a society that laughs overmuch in its amusement and exults in the very lust of change. Nor is their anxiety quite the same as that which has always disturbed the reflecting spectator. At other times the apprehension has been lest the combined forces of order might not be strong enough to withstand the ever-threatening inroads of those [pg 134]who envy barbarously and desire recklessly; whereas today the doubt is whether the natural champions of order themselves shall be found loyal to their trust, for they seem no longer to remember clearly the word of command that should unite them in leadership. Until they can rediscover some common ground of strength and purpose in the first principles of education and law and property and religion, we are in danger of falling a prey to the disorganizing and vulgarizing domination of ambitions which should be the servants and not the masters of society.

Certainly, in the sphere of education there is a growing belief that some radical reform is needed; and this dissatisfaction is in itself wholesome. Boys come into college with no reading and with minds unused to the very practice of study; and they leave college, too often, in the same state of nature. There are even those, inside and outside of academic halls, who protest that our higher institutions of learning simply fail to educate at all. That is slander; but in sober earnest, you will find few experienced college professors, apart from those engaged in teaching purely utilitarian or practical subjects, who are not convinced that the general relaxation is greater now than it was twenty years ago. It is of considerable significance that the two student essays which took the prizes offered by the Harvard Advocate in 1913 were both on this theme. The first of them posed the question: “How can the leadership of the intellectual rather than the athletic student be fostered?” and was virtually a sermon on a text of President Lowell’s: “No one in close touch with American education has failed to notice the lack among the mass of undergraduates of keen interest in their studies, and the small regard for scholarly attainment.”

Now, the Advocate prizeman has his specific remedy, and President Lowell has his, and other men propose other systems and restrictions; but the evil is too deep-seated [pg 135]to be reached by any superficial scheme of honors or to be charmed away by insinuating appeals. The other day Mr. William F. McCombs, chairman of the National Committee which engineered a college president into the White House, gave this advice to our academic youth: “The college man must forget—or never let it creep into his head—that he’s a highbrow. If it does creep in, he’s out of politics.” To which one might reply in Mr. McCombs’s own dialect, that unless a man can make himself a force in politics (or at least in the larger life of the State) precisely by virtue of being a “highbrow,” he had better spend his four golden years otherwhere than in college. There it is: the destiny of education is intimately bound up with the question of social leadership, and unless the college, as it used to be in the days when the religious hierarchy it created was a real power, can be made once more a breeding place for a natural aristocracy, it will inevitably degenerate into a school for mechanical apprentices or into a pleasure resort for the jeunesse dorée (sc. the “gold coasters”). We must get back to a common understanding of the office of education in the construction of society, and must discriminate among the subjects that may enter into the curriculum, by their relative value towards this end.

A manifest condition is that education should embrace the means of discipline, for without discipline the mind will remain inefficient, just as surely as the muscles of the body, without exercise, will be left flaccid. That should seem to be a self-evident truth. Now it may be possible to derive a certain amount of discipline out of any study, but it is a fact, nevertheless, which cannot be gainsaid, that some studies lend themselves to this use more readily and effectively than others. You may, for instance, if by extraordinary luck you get the perfect teacher, make English literature disciplinary by the hard manipulation of ideas; but in practice it almost inevitably happens that a course in English literature either degenerates into the dull [pg 136]memorizing of dates and names or, rising into the O Altitudo, evaporates in romantic gush over beautiful passages. This does not mean, of course, that no benefit may be obtained from such a study, but it does preclude English literature generally from being made the backbone, so to speak, of a sound curriculum. The same may be said of French and German. The difficulties of these tongues in themselves, and the effort required of us to enter into their spirit, imply some degree of intellectual gymnastics, but scarcely enough for our purpose. Of the sciences it behooves one to speak circumspectly, and undoubtedly mathematics and physics, at least, demand such close attention and such firm reasoning as to render them an essential part of any disciplinary education. But there are good grounds for being sceptical of the effect of the non-mathematical sciences on the immature mind. Any one who has spent a considerable portion of his undergraduate time in a chemical laboratory, for example, as the present writer has done, and has the means of comparing the results of such elementary and pottering experimentation with the mental grip required in the humanistic courses, must feel that the real training obtained therein was almost negligible. If I may draw further from my own observation I must say frankly that, after dealing for a number of years with manuscripts prepared for publication by college professors of the various faculties, I have been forced to the conclusion that science, in itself, is likely to leave the mind in a state of relative imbecility. It is not that the writing of men who got their early drill too exclusively, or even predominantly, in the sciences lacks the graces of rhetoric—that would be comparatively a small matter—but such men in the majority of cases, even when treating subjects within their own field, show a singular inability to think clearly and consecutively, so soon as they are freed from the restraint of merely describing the process of an experiment. On the contrary, the manuscript of a classical scholar, despite the present dry-rot of philology, [pg 137]almost invariably gives signs of a habit of orderly and well-governed cerebration.

Here, whatever else may be lacking, is discipline. The sheer difficulty of Latin and Greek, the highly organized structure of these languages, the need of scrupulous search to find the nearest equivalents for words that differ widely in their scope of meaning from their derivatives in any modern vocabulary, the effort of lifting one’s self out of the familiar rut of ideas into so foreign a world, all these things act as a tonic exercise to the brain. And it is a demonstrable fact that students of the classics do actually surpass their unclassical rivals in any field where a fair test can be made. At Princeton, for instance, Professor West has shown this superiority by tables of achievements and grades, which he published in the Educational Review for March, 1913; and a number of letters from various parts of the country, printed in the Nation, tell the same story in striking fashion. Thus, a letter from Wesleyan (September 7, 1911) gives statistics to prove that the classical students in that university outstrip the others in obtaining all sorts of honors, commonly even honors in the sciences. Another letter (May 8, 1913) shows that in the first semester in English at the University of Nebraska the percentage of delinquents among those who entered with four years of Latin was below 7; among those who had three years of Latin and one or two of a modern language the percentage rose to 15; two years of Latin and two years of a modern language, 30 per cent.; one year or less of Latin and from two to four years of a modern language, 35 per cent. And in the Nation of April 23, 1914, Prof. Arthur Gordon Webster, the eminent physicist of Clark University, after speaking of the late B.O. Peirce’s early drill and life-long interest in Greek and Latin, adds these significant words: “Many of us still believe that such a training makes the best possible foundation for a scientist.” There is reason to think that this opinion is daily gaining ground among those who are [pg 138]zealous that the prestige of science should be maintained by men of the best calibre.

The disagreement in this matter would no doubt be less, were it not for an ambiguity in the meaning of the word “efficient” itself. There is a kind of efficiency in managing men, and there also is an intellectual efficiency, properly speaking, which is quite a different faculty. The former is more likely to be found in the successful engineer or business man than in the scholar of secluded habits, and because often such men of affairs received no discipline at college in the classics, the argument runs that utilitarian studies are as disciplinary as the humanistic. But efficiency of this kind is not an academic product at all, and is commonly developed, and should be developed, in the school of the world. It comes from dealing with men in matters of large physical moment, and may exist with a mind utterly undisciplined in the stricter sense of the word. We have had more than one illustrious example in recent years of men capable of dominating their fellows, let us say in financial transactions, who yet, in the grasp of first principles and in the analysis of consequences, have shown themselves to be as inefficient as children.

Probably, however, few men who have had experience in education will deny the value of discipline to the classics, even though they hold that other studies, less costly from the utilitarian point of view, are equally educative in this respect. But it is further of prime importance, even if such an equality, or approach to equality, were granted, that we should select one group of studies, and unite in making it the core of the curriculum for the great mass of undergraduates. It is true in education as in other matters that strength comes from union, and weakness from division, and if educated men are to work together for a common end, they must have a common range of ideas, with a certain solidarity in their way of looking at things. As matters actually are, the educated man feels terribly [pg 139]his isolation under the scattering of intellectual pursuits, yet too often lacks the courage to deny the strange popular fallacy that there is virtue in sheer variety, and that somehow well-being is to be struck out from the clashing of miscellaneous interests rather than from concentration. In one of his annual reports some years ago President Eliot, of Harvard, observed from the figures of registration that the majority of students still at that time believed the best form of education for them was in the old humanistic courses, and therefore, he argued, the other courses should be fostered. There was never perhaps a more extraordinary syllogism since the argal of Shakespeare’s gravedigger. I quote from memory, and may slightly misrepresent the actual statement of the influential “educationalist,” but the spirit of his words, as indeed of his practice, is surely as I give it. And the working of this spirit is one of the main causes of the curious fact that scarcely any other class of men in social intercourse feel themselves, in their deeper concerns, more severed one from another than those very college professors who ought to be united in the battle for educational leadership. This estrangement is sometimes carried to an extreme almost ludicrous. I remember once, in a small but advanced college, the consternation that was awakened when an instructor in philosophy went to a colleague—both of them now associates in a large university—for information in a question of biology. “What business has he with such matters,” said the irate biologist; “let him stick to his last, and teach philosophy—if he can!” That was a polite jest, you will say. Perhaps; but not entirely. Philosophy is indeed taught in one lecture hall, and biology in another, but of conscious effort to make of education an harmonious driving force there is next to nothing. And as the teachers, so are the taught.

Such criticism does not imply that advanced work in any of the branches of human knowledge should be curtailed; [pg 140]but it does demand that, as a background to the professional pursuits, there should be a common intellectual training through which all students should pass, acquiring thus a single body of ideas and images in which they could always meet as brother initiates.

We shall, then, make a long step forward when we determine that in the college, as distinguished from the university, it is better to have the great mass of men, whatever may be the waste in a few unmalleable minds, go through the discipline of a single group of studies—with, of course, a considerable freedom of choice in the outlying field. And it will probably appear in experience that the only practicable group to select is the classics, with the accompaniment of philosophy and the mathematical sciences. Latin and Greek are, at least, as disciplinary as any other subjects; and if it can be further shown that they possess a specific power of correction for the more disintegrating tendencies of the age, it ought to be clear that their value as instruments of education outweighs the service of certain other studies which may seem to be more immediately utilitarian.

For it will be pretty generally agreed that efficiency of the individual scholar and unity of the scholarly class are, properly, only the means to obtain the real end of education, which is social efficiency. The only way, in fact, to make the discipline demanded by a severe curriculum and the sacrifice of particular tastes required for unity seem worth the cost, is to persuade men that the resulting form of education both meets a present and serious need of society and promises to serve those individuals who desire to obtain society’s fairer honors. As for the specific need of society at the present day, it is not my purpose to open this matter now, for the good reason that the editor of The Unpopular Review has already permitted me to argue it at length in my article on Natural Aristocracy. Mr. McCombs, speaking for the “practical” man, declares that there is no place in politics for the intellectual aristocrat. [pg 141]A good many of us believe that unless the very reverse of this is true, unless the educated man can somehow, by virtue of his education, make of himself a governor of the people in the larger sense, and even to some extent in the narrow political sense, unless the college can produce a hierarchy of character and intelligence which shall in due measure perform the office of the discredited oligarchy of birth, we had better make haste to divert our enormous collegiate endowments into more useful channels.

And here I am glad to find confirmation of my belief in the stalwart old Boke Named the Governour, published by Sir Thomas Elyot in 1531, the first treatise on education in the English tongue, and still, after all these years, one of the wisest. It is no waste of time to take account of the theory held by the humanists when study at Oxford and Cambridge was shaping itself for its long service in giving to the oligarchic government of Great Britain whatever elements it possessed of true aristocracy. Elyot’s book is equally a treatise on the education of a gentleman, and on the ordinance of government; for, as he says elsewhere, he wrote “to instruct men in such virtues as shall be expedient for them which shall have authority in a weal public.” I quote from various parts of his work with some abridgment, retaining the quaint spelling of the original, and I beg the reader not to skip, however long the citation may appear:

Beholde also the ordre that god hath put generally in al his creatures, begynning at the moste inferiour or base, and assendynge upwarde; so that in euery thyng is ordre, and without ordre may be nothing stable or permanent; and it may nat be called ordre, excepte it do contayne in it degrees, high and base, accordynge to the merite or estimation of the thyng that is ordred. And therfore hit appereth that god gyueth nat to euery man like gyftes of grace, or of nature, but to some more, some lesse, as it liketh his diuine maiestie. For as moche as understandyng is the most excellent gyfte that man can receiue in his creation, it is therfore congruent, and accordynge [pg 142]that as one excelleth an other in that influence, as therby beinge next to the similitude of his maker, so shulde the astate of his persone be auanced in degree or place where understandynge may profite. Suche oughte to be set in a more highe place than the residue where they may se and also be sene; that by the beames of theyr excellent witte, shewed throughe the glasse of auctorite, other of inferiour understandynge may be directed to the way of vertue and commodious liuynge….

Thus I conclude that nobilitie is nat after the vulgare opinion of men, but is only the prayse and surname of vertue; whiche the lenger it continueth in a name or lignage, the more is nobilitie extolled and meruailed at….

If thou be a gouernour, or haste ouer other soueraygntie, knowe thy selfe. Knowe that the name of a soueraigne or ruler without actuall gouernaunce is but a shadowe, that gouernaunce standeth nat by wordes onely, but principally by acte and example; that by example of gouernours men do rise or falle in vertue or vice. Ye shall knowe all way your selfe, if for affection or motion ye do speke or do nothing unworthy the immortalitie and moste precious nature of your soule….

In semblable maner the inferiour persone or subiecte aught to consider, that all be it he in the substaunce of soule and body be equall with his superior, yet for als moche as the powars and qualities of the soule and body, with the disposition of reason, be nat in euery man equall, therfore god ordayned a diuersitie or pre-eminence in degrees to be amonge men for the necessary derection and preseruation of them in conformitie of lyuinge….

Where all thynge is commune, there lacketh ordre; and where ordre lacketh, there all thynge is odiouse and uncomly.

Such is the goal which the grave Sir Thomas pointed out to the noble youth of his land at the beginning of England’s greatness, and such, within the bounds of human frailty, has been the ideal even until now which the two universities have held before them. Naturally the method of training prescribed in the sixteenth century for the attainment of this goal is antiquated in some of its details, but it is no exaggeration, nevertheless, to speak of the Boke Named the Governour as the very Magna Charta of [pg 143]our education. The scheme of the humanist might be described in a word as a disciplining of the higher faculty of the imagination to the end that the student may behold, as it were in one sublime vision, the whole scale of being in its range from the lowest to the highest under the divine decree of order and subordination, without losing sight of the immutable veracity at the heart of all variation, which “is only the praise and surname of virtue.” This was no new vision, nor has it ever been quite forgotten. It was the whole meaning of religion to Hooker, from whom it passed into all that is best and least ephemeral in the Anglican Church. It was the basis, more modestly expressed, of Blackstone’s conception of the British Constitution and of liberty under law. It was the kernel of Burke’s theory of statecraft. It is the inspiration of the sublimer science, which accepts the hypothesis of evolution as taught by Darwin and Spencer, yet bows in reverence before the unnamed and incommensurable force lodged as a mystical purpose within the unfolding universe. It was the wisdom of that child of Stratford who, building better than he knew, gave to our literature its deepest and most persistent note. If anywhere Shakespeare seems to speak from his heart and to utter his own philosophy, it is in the person of Ulysses in that strange satire of life as “still wars and lechery” which forms the theme of Troilus and Cressida. Twice in the course of the play Ulysses moralizes on the causes of human evil. Once it is in an outburst against the devastations of disorder:

Take but degree away, untune that string,

And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets

In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters

Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,

And make a sop of all this solid globe:

Strength should be lord of imbecility,

And the rude son should strike his father dead:

Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong,

[pg 144]

Between whose endless jar justice resides,

Should lose their names, and so should justice too.

Then every thing includes itself in power,

Power into will, will into appetite.

And, in the same spirit, the second tirade of Ulysses is charged with mockery at the vanity of the present and at man’s usurpation of time as the destroyer instead of the preserver of continuity:

For time is like a fashionable host

That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,

And with his arms outstretch’d, as he would fly,

Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,

And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not virtue seek

Remuneration for the thing it was;

For beauty, wit,

High birth, vigor of bone, desert in service,

Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all

To envious and calumniating time.

To have made this vision of the higher imagination a true part of our self-knowledge, in such fashion that the soul is purged of envy for what is distinguished, and we feel ourselves fellows with the preserving, rather than the destroying, forces of time, is to be raised into the nobility of the intellect. To hold this knowledge in a mind trained to fine efficiency and confirmed by faithful comradeship, is to take one’s place with the rightful governors of the people. Nor is there any narrow or invidious exclusiveness in such an aristocracy, which differs in its free hospitality from an oligarchy of artificial prescription. The more its membership is enlarged, the greater is its power, and the more secure are the privileges of each individual. Yet, if not exclusive, an academic aristocracy must by its very nature be exceedingly jealous of any levelling process which would shape education to the needs of the intellectual proletariat, and so diminish its own ranks. It cannot [pg 145]admit that, if education is once levelled downwards, the whole body of men will of themselves gradually raise the level to the higher range; for its creed declares that elevation must come from leadership rather than from self-motion of the mass. It will therefore be opposed to any scheme of studies which relaxes discipline or destroys intellectual solidarity. It will look with suspicion on any system which turns out half-educated men with the same diplomas as the fully educated, thinking that such methods of slurring over differences are likely to do more harm by discouraging the ambition to attain what is distinguished than good by spreading wide a thin veneer of culture. In particular it will distrust the present huge overgrowth of courses in government and sociology, which send men into the world skilled in the machinery of statecraft and with minds sharpened to the immediate demands of special groups, but with no genuine training of the imagination and no understanding of the longer problems of humanity, with no hold on the past, “amidst so vast a fluctuation of passions and opinions, to concentre their thoughts, to ballast their conduct, to preserve them from being blown about by every wind of fashionable doctrine.” It will set itself against any regular subjection of the “fierce spirit of liberty,” which is the breath of distinction and the very charter of aristocracy, to the sullen spirit of equality, which proceeds from envy in the baser sort of democracy. It will regard the character of education and the disposition of the curriculum as a question of supreme importance; for its motto is always, abeunt studia in mores.

Now this aristocratic principle has, so to speak, its everlasting embodiment in Greek literature, from whence it was taken over into Latin and transmitted, with much mingling of foreign and even contradictory ideas, to the modern world. From Homer to the last runnings of the Hellenic spirit you will find it taught by every kind of precept and enforced by every kind of example; nor was [pg 146]Shakespeare writing at hazard, but under the instinctive guidance of genius, when he put his aristocratic creed into the mouth of the hero who to the end remained for the Greeks the personification of their peculiar wisdom. In no other poetry of the world is the law of distinction, as springing from a man’s perception of his place in the great hierarchy of privilege and obligation, from the lowest human being up to the Olympian gods, so copiously and magnificently set forth as in Pindar’s Odes of Victory. And Æschylus was the first dramatist to see with clear vision the primacy of the intellect in the law of orderly development, seemingly at variance with the divine immutable will of Fate, yet finally in mysterious accord with it. When the philosophers of the later period came to the creation of systematic ethics, they had only the task of formulating what was already latent in the poets and historians of their land; and it was the recollection of the fulness of such instruction in the Nicomachean Ethics and the Platonic Dialogues, with their echo in the Officia of Cicero, as if in them were stored up all the treasures of antiquity, that raised our Sir Thomas into wondering admiration:

Lorde god, what incomparable swetnesse of wordes and mater shall he finde in the saide warkes of Plato and Cicero; wherin is ioyned grauitie with dilectation, excellent wysedome with diuine eloquence, absolute vertue with pleasure incredible, and euery place is so infarced [crowded] with profitable counsaile, ioyned with honestie, that those thre bokes be almoste sufficient to make a perfecte and excellent gouernour.

There is no need to dwell on this aspect of the classics. He who cares to follow their full working in this direction, as did our English humanist, may find it exhibited in Plato’s political and ethical scheme of self-development, or in Aristotle’s ideal of the Golden Mean which combines magnanimity with moderation, and elevation with self-knowledge. If a single word were used to describe the [pg 147]character and state of life upheld by Plato and Aristotle, as spokesmen of their people, it would be eleutheria, liberty: the freedom to cultivate the higher part of a man’s nature—his intellectual prerogative, his desire of truth, his refinements of taste—and to hold the baser part of himself in subjection; the freedom, also, for its own perfection, and indeed for its very existence, to impose an outer conformity to, or at least respect for, the laws of this inner government on others who are of themselves ungoverned. Such liberty is the ground of true distinction; it implies the opposite of an equalitarianism which reserves its honors and rewards for those who attain a bastard kind of distinction by the cunning of leadership, without departing from common standards—the demagogues who rise by flattery. But it is, on the other hand, by no means dependent on the artificial distinctions of privilege, and is peculiarly adapted to an age whose appointed task must be to create a natural aristocracy as a via media between an equalitarian democracy and a prescriptive oligarchy or plutocracy. It is a notable fact that, as the real hostility to the classics in the present day arises from an instinctive suspicion of them as standing in the way of a downward-levelling mediocrity, so, at other times, they have fallen under displeasure for their veto on a contrary excess. Thus, in his savage attack on the Commonwealth, to which he gave the significant title Behemoth, Hobbes lists the reading of classical history among the chief causes of the rebellion. “There were,” he says, “an exceeding great number of men of the better sort, that had been so educated as that in their youth, having read the books written by famous men of the ancient Grecian and Roman commonwealths concerning their polity and great actions, in which books the popular government was extolled by that glorious name of liberty, and monarchy disgraced by the name of tyranny, they became thereby in love with their forms of government; and out of these men were chosen the [pg 148]greatest part of the House of Commons; or if they were not the greatest part, yet by advantage of their eloquence were always able to sway the rest.” To this charge Hobbes returns again and again, even declaring that “the universities have been to this nation as the Wooden Horse was to the Trojans.” And the uncompromising monarchist of the Leviathan, himself a classicist of no mean attainments, as may be known by his translation of Thucydides, was not deceived in his accusation. The tyrannicides of Athens and Rome, the Aristogeitons and Brutuses and others, were the heroes by whose example the leaders of the French Revolution (rightly, so far as they did not fall into the opposite, equalitarian extreme) were continually justifying their acts:

There Brutus starts and stares by midnight taper,

Who all the day enacts—a woollen-draper.

And again, in the years of the Risorgimento, more than one of the champions of Italian liberty went to death with those great names on their lips.

So runs the law of order and right subordination. But if the classics offer the best service to education by inculcating an aristocracy of intellectual distinction, they are equally effective in enforcing the similar lesson of time. It is a true saying of our ancient humanist that “the longer it continueth in a name or lineage, the more is nobility extolled and marvelled at.” It is true because in this way our imagination is working with the great conservative law of growth. Whatever may be in theory our democratic distaste for the insignia of birth, we cannot get away from the fact that there is a certain honor of inheritance, and that we instinctively pay homage to one who represents a noble name. There is nothing really illogical in this: for, as an English statesman has put it, “the past is one of the elements of our power.” He is the wise democrat who, with no opposition to such a decree of Nature, endeavors to control its operation by expecting noble service where the memory of nobility abides. When [pg 149]last year Oxford bestowed its highest honor on an American, distinguished not only for his own public acts but for the great tradition embodied in his name, the Orator of the University did not omit this legitimate appeal to the imagination, singularly appropriate in its academic Latin:

… Statim succurrit animo antiqua illa Romae condicio, cum non tam propter singulos cives quam propter singulas gentes nomen Romanum floreret. Cum enim civis alicujus et avum et proavum principes civitatis esse creatos, cum patrem legationis munus apud aulam Britannicam summa cum laude esse exsecutum cognovimus; cum denique ipsum per totum bellum stipendia equo meritum, summa pericula “Pulcra pro Libertate” ausum,… Romanae alicujus gentis—Brutorum vel Deciorum—annales evolvere videmur, qui testimonium adhibent “fortes creari fortibus,” et majorum exemplis et imaginibus nepotes ad virtutem accendi.

Is there any man so dull of soul as not to be stirred by that enumeration of civic services zealously inherited; or is there any one so envious of the past as not to believe that such memories should be honored in the present as an incentive to noble emulation?

Well, we cannot all of us count Presidents and Ambassadors among our ancestors, but we can, if we will, in the genealogy of the inner life enroll ourselves among the adopted sons of a family in comparison with which the Bruti and Decii of old and the Adamses of to-day are veritable new men. We can see what defence against the meaner depredations of the world may be drawn from the pride of birth, when, as it sometimes happens, the obligation of a great past is kept as a contract with the present; shall we forget to measure the enlargement and elevation of mind which ought to come to a man who has made himself the heir of the ancient Lords of Wisdom? “To one small people,” as Sir Henry Maine has said, in words often quoted, “it was given to create the principle of [pg 150]Progress. That people was the Greek. Except the blind forces of Nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in its origin.” That is a hard saying, but scarcely exaggerated. Examine the records of our art and our science, our philosophy and the enduring element of our faith, our statecraft and our notion of liberty, and you will find that they all go back for their inspiration to that one small people, and strike their roots into the soil of Greece. What we have added, it is well to know; but he is the aristocrat of the mind who can display a diploma from the schools of the Academy and the Lyceum, and from the Theatre of Dionysus. What tradition of ancestral achievement in the Senate or on the field of battle shall broaden a man’s outlook and elevate his will equally with the consciousness that his way of thinking and feeling has come down to him by so long and honorable a descent, or shall so confirm him in his better judgment against the ephemeral and vulgarizing solicitations of the hour? Other men are creatures of the visible moment; he is a citizen of the past and of the future. And such a charter of citizenship it is the first duty of the college to provide.

I have limited myself in these pages to a discussion of what may be called the public side of education, considering the classics in their power to mould character and foster sound leadership in a society much given to drifting. Of the inexhaustible joy and consolation they afford to the individual, only he can have full knowledge who has made the writers of Greece and Rome his friends and counsellors through many vicissitudes of life. It is related of Sainte-Beuve, who, according to Renan, read everything and remembered everything, that one could observe a peculiar serenity on his face whenever he came down from his study after reading a book of Homer. The cost of learning the language of Homer is not small; but so are all fair things difficult, as the Greek proverb runs, and the reward in this case is precious beyond estimation.

[pg 151]Nor need we forget another proverb from Greece, with its spirit of “accommodation”—that the half is sometimes greater than the whole. Even a moderate acquaintance with the language, helped out by good translations (especially in such form as the Loeb Classics are now offering, with the original and the English on opposite pages), will go a surprising length towards keeping a man, amid the exactions of a professional or otherwise busy life, in possession of the heritage to which our age has grown so perilously indifferent.

[pg 152]

Hypnotism, Telepathy, and Dreams

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A good many good judges find the world more out of joint, and moving with a more threatening rattling, than at any previous time since the French Revolution, and think that this is largely because the machine has lost too much of that regulation it used to get from the religions. Much of the regulation came from an interest in things wider than those directly revealed by sense.

Possibly a revival of such an interest may be promised by the recent indications of a range of our forces, both physical and psychic, far wider than previous experience has indicated. This leads us to invite attention to some unusual psychic phenomena evinced by persons of exceptional sensibilities not yet as well understood, or even as carefully investigated, as perhaps they deserve to be. The physical phenomena are outside of our present purpose.

There are hundreds of well authenticated reports of super-usual visions. The vast majority of them, however, were experienced when the percipients were in bed, but believed themselves awake. But almost everybody has often believed himself awake in bed, when he was only dreaming. Hence the probability is overwhelming that most of these super-usual experiences were had in dreams.

But it is certain that not all were, at least in dreams as ordinarily understood; but there seems to be a waking dream state. Foster’s visions virtually all came while he was awake, and they were generally at once described by him as if he were describing a landscape or a play. At times he very closely identified himself with some personality of his visions, and acted out the personality, just as Mrs. Piper has habitually done. The following is an [pg 153]approximate instance, quoted by Bartlett (The Salem Seer, p. 51f.):

Says a writer in the New York World, Dec. 27, 1885:

… While we were talking one night, Foster and I, there came a knock at the door. Bartlett arose and opened it, disclosing as he did so two young men plainly dressed, of marked provincial aspect…. I saw at once that they were clients, and arose to go. Foster restrained me.

“Sit down,” he said. “I’ll try and get rid of them, for I’m not in the humor to be disturbed….”

Foster hinted that he had no particular inclination to gratify them then and there, but they protested that they had come some distance, and, with a characteristically good-natured smile, he gave in….

Then follows an account of a fairly good séance—taps on the marble table, reading pellets, describing persons, etc., until I thought Foster was tired of the interview and was feigning sleep to end it. All of a sudden he sprang to his feet with such an expression of horror and consternation as an actor playing Macbeth would have given a good deal to imitate. His eyes glared, his breast heaved, his hands clenched….

“Why did you come here?” cried Foster, in a wail that seemed to come from the bottom of his soul. “Why do you come here to torment me with such a sight? Oh, God! It’s horrible! It’s horrible!… It is your father I see!… He died fearfully! He died fearfully! He was in Texas—on a horse—with cattle. He was alone. It is the prairies! Alone! The horse fell! He was under it! His thigh was broken—horribly broken! The horse ran away and left him! He lay there stunned! Then he came to his senses! Oh! his thigh was dreadful! Such agony! My God! Such agony!”

Foster fairly screamed at this. The younger of the men … broke into violent sobs. His companion wept, too, and the pair of them clasped hands. Bartlett looked on concerned. As for me, I was astounded.

“He was four days dying—four days dying—of starvation and thirst,” Foster went on, as if deciphering some terrible hieroglyphs written on the air. “His thigh swelled to the size of his body. Clouds of flies settled on him—flies and vermin—and he chewed his own arm and drank his own blood. He died mad. And my God! he crawled three miles in those four days! Man! Man! that’s how your father died!”

So saying, with a great sob, Foster dropped into his chair, [pg 154]his cheeks purple, and tears running down them in rivers. The younger man … burst into a wild cry of grief and sank upon the neck of his friend. He, too, was sobbing as if his own heart would break. Bartlett stood over Foster wiping his forehead with a handkerchief….

“It’s true,” said the younger man’s friend; “his father was a stock-raiser in Texas, and after he had been missing from his drove for over a week, they found him dead and swollen with his leg broken. They tracked him a good distance from where he must have fallen. But nobody ever heard till now how he died.” …

Now it is hardly to be supposed that the young visitor could ever have had this scene in his mind as vividly as Foster had. In that case where and how did Foster get the vividness and emotion? How do we get them in dreams? He dreamed while he was awake.

As Bartlett quotes this, and as it declares him to have been present, he of course attests it by quoting it. So in each of Bartlett’s quoted cases, the original witness is the reporter in the newspaper, and Bartlett, who was present (he was Foster’s traveling companion and business agent) thus confirms it. We know Mr. Bartlett personally, and have thorough confidence in his sanity and sincerity. We have also been at the pains to learn that he commands the confidence and respect of his fellow townsmen in Tolland, Connecticut, where he is passing a green old age. Moreover, he does not interpret these phenomena by “spiritism.”

We also had a sitting with Foster, in which he undoubtedly showed abundant telepathy, and satisfied us that he was fundamentally honest, though not always discriminating between his involuntary impressions, and his natural impulses to help out their coherence and interest.

Those who explain these things by denying their existence, were at least excusable thirty, or even twenty, years ago, but since the carefully sifted and authenticated and recorded evidence of recent years, especially that gathered by the Society for Psychical Research, the makers [pg 155]of such explanations simply put themselves in the category of those who, in Schopenhauer’s day, denied the telopsis which is now quite generally recognized. He said their attitude should not be called skeptical, but merely ignorant. This brings to mind an excellent very practical friend who read the first number of this Review, and praised it, but said: “Don’t fool any more with Psychical Research and Simplified Spelling.” We refrained from saying that we had not known that he had ever studied either, and we would not say it here if we were not confident that his aversion from the subject will prevent his reading this.

To return to the manifestations: here are some other cases where Foster identified himself with a personality of his vision. (Bartlett, op. cit., 93.)

From Sacramento Record, December 8, 1873:

Foster at one time seized A.’s hand, explaining, “God bless you, my dear boy, my son. I am thankful I at last may speak to you. I want you to know I am your father, who loved you in life and loves you still. I am near to you; a thin veil alone separates us. Good-by. I am your father, Abijah A——”

“Good heavens!” exclaimed A——, “that was my father’s name, his tone, his manner, his action.”

“And,” said Foster, “it was a good influence; he was a man of large veneration.”

The above indicates what we will provisionally call Possession. But it is not possession to the extent of complete expulsion of the original consciousness, as in the trances of Home, Moses, and Mrs. Piper.

And which is the following? (Bartlett, op. cit., 103):

[Letter to editor, written Nov. 30, 1874]

New York Daily Graphic: … He told me he saw the spirit of an old woman close to me, describing most perfectly my grandmother, and repeating: “Resodeda, Resodeda is here; she kisses her grandson.” Arising from his chair, Foster embraced and kissed me in the same peculiar way as my grandmother did when alive.

[pg 156]But here the Possession seems complete (Bartlett, op. cit., 140). From the Melbourne Daily Age:

Mr. Foster … in answer to the question, What he died of? suddenly interrupted, “Stay, this spirit will enter and possess me,” and instantaneously his whole body was seized with quivering convulsions, the eyes were introverted, the face swelled, and the mouth and hands were spasmodically agitated. Another change, and there sat before me the counterpart of the figure of my departed friend, stricken down with complete paralysis, just as he was on his death-bed. The transformation was so life-like, if I may use the expression, that I fancied I could detect the very features and physiognomical changes that passed across the visage of my dying friend. The kind of paralysis was exactly represented, with the palsied hand extended to me to shake, as in the case of the original. Mr. Foster recovered himself when I touched it, and he said in reply to one of my companions that he had completely lost his own identity during the fit, and felt like waves of water flowing all over his body, from the crown downwards.

Now for some tentative explanation of these rather unusual proceedings. It is generally known that a hypnotized person will imagine things and do things willed by the hypnotizer, that the sensibility of persons to hypnotism varies, and that persons frequently hypnotized become increasingly susceptible to the influence.

Now what is ordinarily called thought transference has all these symptoms, and the combined indications seem to be that persons who readily experience thought-transference are specially susceptible to hypnotic influence, and get the transferred thought from almost anybody, just as the recognized hypnotic subject gets it from his hypnotizer; and that persons of excessive sensibility, like Foster, Home, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Piper and mediums generally—the genuine ones,—simply get their impressions hypnotically from their sitters.

But this explanation (?) by no means covers the whole situation. In the first place, it does not cover the vividness and the emotional content often displayed by the [pg 157]sensitive. The sitter is very seldom conscious of anything approaching it. It comes nearer to, in fact almost seems identical with, the frequent vividness and intensity of dreams. But where do dreams come from, whether in sleep, or in a waking “dream state” like that of Foster and many other sensitives? They don’t come from any assignable “sitter.” This present scribe dreams architecture and bric-a-brac finer than any he ever saw, or than any ever made. Yet he is no architect, or artist of any kind. Where does it all come from?

Dreams, moreover, are filled with memories of forgotten things. Where do they come from? Dreams, too, are by no means devoid of truths not previously known to the dreamer, or, it would sometimes seem, to anybody else. Where do they come from?

Du Prel and his school say they come from a “subliminal self,” and Myers picks up the term and spreads it through Anglo-Saxondom. But those queer dreams frequently include persons who oppose the self—argue with it, and even down it, sometimes very much for its information, regeneration and increased stability. That does not seem like a house divided against itself; such an one, we have on very high authority, is apt to fall. James, cornered by his studies in Psychical Research, was inclined to posit a “cosmic reservoir” of all thoughts and feelings that ever existed, and of potentialities of all the thoughts and feelings that are ever going to exist; and under various designations, this cosmic reservoir or,—it seems a better metaphor—the cosmic soul filling it, and dribbling into our little souls,—is a guess of virtually all the philosophers from James back to Plato, and farther still—into the mists.

Moreover this guess is powerfully backed up by another guess: men’s speculations have been reaching back for the beginning of mind, until they recognize that a consistent doctrine of evolution finds no beginning, and demands mind as a constituent of the star-dust, and, when it really [pg 158]comes down to the scratch, is unable to imagine matter unassociated with mind. This is admirably expressed by James (Psychology I, 140):

If evolution is to work smoothly, consciousness in some shape must have been present at the very origin of things. Accordingly we find that the more clear-sighted evolutionary philosophers are beginning to posit it there. Each atom of the nebula, they suppose, must have had an aboriginal atom of consciousness linked with it; and, just as the material atoms have formed bodies and brains by massing themselves together, so the mental atoms, by an analogous process of aggregation, have fused into those larger consciousnesses which we know in ourselves and suppose to exist in our fellow-animals.

That mind is not limited to this connection with matter, we see proved a posteriori every day by the appearance from some source, it may be only from the memories of survivors, of minds whose accompanying matter is long since dissipated.

Moreover, in life, the matter is changing constantly and entirely—“renewed once in seven years.” Yet not only does the “plan,” the “idea,” of the material man remain the same, but his mind grows for forty, sixty, sometimes eighty years, while the body begins to go down hill at twenty-eight.

Moreover, we never see the sum of matter in the universe increasing, and we do see the sum of mind increasing every time two old thoughts coalesce into a new one, or even every time matter assumes a new form before a perceiving intelligence, not to speak of every time Mr. Bryan or Mr. Roosevelt opens his mouth. We cite these last as the extreme examples of increase—in quantity. We see another sort of increase every time Lord Bryce takes up his pen—the mental treasures of the world are added to—the contents of the cosmic reservoir worthily increased—the cosmic soul greater and more significant than before.

Parts of it farther and farther removed in time and space [pg 159]seem to be manifesting themselves through the sensitives every day: so the evidence is increasing that none of it has ever been extinguished. The evidence that any part has been, is merely the evidence that it has stopped flowing through each man when he dies. But there are pretty strong indications that it has welled up occasionally through another man, and yet with the original individuality apparently even stronger than it was in the first man—strong enough to make an alien body—Foster’s, in the instances quoted, look and act like the original twin body.

Yet while the cosmic soul idea seems very illuminating, and even stimulating, as far as it goes, it soon lands us in the swamp of paradox surrounding all our knowledge. How reconcile it with our individuality—the individuality as dear as life itself—virtually identical with life itself? Well, we can’t reconcile them, at least just yet. But we can pull our feet up from the swamp, and make a step that may be towards a reconciliation. Each of our brains is a network of channels through which the cosmic soul flows; and there are no two brains alike—hence our individuality.

But those brains perish. Must individuality be conceded at the cost of our mental continuity? Perhaps not. Grant even the original mind-atom to be a constituent, or inseparable companion, of an original matter-atom (wouldn’t it be more up to date to say vibration in each case?), mind, as we have already tried to demonstrate, is not limited, as matter seems to be, to those primitive atoms.

The vague but almost unescapable notion of the cosmic soul also opens up some hint of an explanation of hypnotism, including, of course, thought transference. These vague hints or gleams on the borderland of our knowledge are of course something like what must be such hints of what we know as color, as go through the pigment spots [pg 160]on the surface of one of the lower creatures. Such as our limits are, we can express them only in metaphors. But for that matter all of our language beyond a few material conceptions, is metaphor from them. Well, on the hypothesis (or facing the fact, if you prefer) of the cosmic soul, telepathy, hypnotism and all that sort of thing at once affiliates itself with all our easy conceptions of interflow—in fluids, gases, sounds, colors, magnetism, electricity, etc. It’s all a vague groping, but there seems something there which, as we evolve farther, we may get clearer impressions of.

Well, to return to our sheep. Foster didn’t get the clearness and intensity of his visions from the comparatively indistinct and placid impressions in his sitters’ minds. There must be something more than hypnotism from the sitter.

Now here is a tougher case which opens a new element of the problem. It is from The Autobiography of a Journalist, by W.J. Stillman, Boston, 1901, Vol. I, pp. 192-4: Not many of our older readers will require any introduction of Stillman. For the younger ones, we may say that he was a very eminent art-critic; spent most of the latter half of his life abroad, being part of the time our consul at Crete; wrote a history of the Cretan Rebellion, and other books; and was a regular correspondent of The Nation, and of The London Times. We never knew his veracity questioned.

Here is the story:

A “spiritual medium,” Miss A. was “under the control” of Stillman’s dead cousin “Harvey.” The “possession” seems to have been throughout free from trance. Stillman says:

I asked Harvey if he had seen old Turner, the landscape painter, since his death, which had taken place not very long before. The reply was “Yes,” and I then asked what he was doing, the reply being a pantomime of painting. I then asked if Harvey could bring Turner there, to which the reply was, “I do not know; I will go and see,” upon which Miss A. said, [pg 161]“This influence [Harvey’s. Editor] is going away—it is gone”; and after a short pause added, “There is another influence coming, in that direction,” pointing over her left shoulder. “I don’t like it,” and she shuddered slightly, but presently sat up in her chair with a most extraordinary personation of the old painter in manner, in the look out from under the brow, and the pose of the head. It was as if the ghost of Turner, as I had seen him at Griffiths’s, sat in the chair, and it made my flesh creep to the very tips of my fingers, as if a spirit sat before me. Miss A. exclaimed, “This influence has taken complete possession of me, as none of the others did. I am obliged to do what it wants me to.” I asked if Turner would write his name for me, to which she replied by a sharp, decided negative sign. I then asked if he would give me some advice about my painting, remembering Turner’s kindly invitation and manner when I saw him. This proposition was met by the same decided negative, accompanied by the fixed and sardonic stare which the girl had put on at the coming of the new influence. This disconcerted me, and I then explained to my brother what had been going on, as, the questions being mental, he had no clue to the pantomime. I said that as an influence which purported to be Turner was present, and refused to answer any questions, I supposed there was nothing more to be done.

But Miss A. still sat unmoved and helpless, so we waited. Presently she remarked that the influence wanted her to do something she knew not what, only that she had to get up and go across the room, which she did with the feeble step of an old man. She crossed the room and took down from the wall a colored French lithograph, and, coming to me, laid it on the table before me, and by gesture called my attention to it. She then went through the pantomime of stretching a sheet of paper on a drawing-board, then that of sharpening a lead pencil, following it up by tracing the outlines of the subject in the lithograph. Then followed in similar pantomime the choosing of a water-color pencil, noting carefully the necessary fineness of the point, and then the washing-in of a drawing, broadly. Miss A. seemed much amused by all this, but as she knew nothing of drawing she understood nothing of it. Then with the pencil and her pocket handkerchief she began taking out the lights, “rubbing-out,” as the technical term is. This seemed to me so contrary to what I conceived to be the execution of Turner that I interrupted with the question, “Do you mean to say that Turner rubbed out his lights?” to which she gave the [pg 162]affirmative sign. I asked further if in a drawing which I then had in my mind, the well-known “Llanthony Abbey,” the central passage of sunlight and shadow through rain was done in that way, and she again gave the affirmative reply, emphatically. I was so firmly convinced to the contrary that I was now persuaded that there was a simulation of personality, such as was generally the case with the public mediums, and I said to my brother, who had not heard any of my questions [He says above that they were mental. Ed.] that this was another humbug, and then repeated what had passed, saying that Turner could not have worked in that way.

Six weeks later I sailed for England, and, on arriving in London, I went at once to see Ruskin, and told him the whole story. He declared the contrariness manifested by the medium to be entirely characteristic of Turner, and had the drawing in question down for examination. We scrutinized it closely, and both recognized beyond dispute that the drawing had been executed in the way that Miss A. indicated. Ruskin advised me to send an account of the affair to the Cornhill, which I did; but it was rejected, as might have been expected in the state of public opinion at that time, and I can easily imagine Thackeray putting it into the basket in a rage.

I offer no interpretation of the facts which I have here recorded, but I have no hesitation in saying that they completed and fixed my conviction of the existence of invisible and independent intelligences to which the phenomena were due.

To me they seem perhaps the nearest I have come to a communication of something not known to any earthly intelligence, and yet it may have been so known.

When manifestations of this general nature first attracted systematic study, they were attributed, as already stated, to telepathy from the sitter. Stillman knew Turner, and as Stillman had an artist’s vividness of impression, the sensitive could have got from him a pretty good idea of Turner, and have acted it out. But how about the innumerable cases not unlike the Foster cases quoted, where sensitives get impressions much more vivid than the sitter appears capable of holding, and act them out with dramatic verisimilitude of which the sitter is absolutely incapable; and how about the innumerable [pg 163]cases where the sensitive gets impressions and memories which the sitter never had?

These have been accounted for as being picked up from absent persons, by a kind of wireless telegraphy, for which we have ventured, with the assistance of a couple of Grecian friends, to suggest the name teloteropathy.

Well! In this Turner case, somebody somewhere, may have known what neither the sensitive nor Stillman knew of Turner’s method of work, and the sensitive’s wireless may have picked up all those detailed impressions and dramatic impressions of them from that unknown somebody. But is that any easier to swallow than that old Turner himself was the somebody—that his share of the cosmic soul, or a sufficient portion of his share, flowed into or hypnotized the sensitive, and made her act as she did?

And now let us go on to some of the developments of these phenomena manifested by Mrs. Piper. Unlike the manifestations already given, hers are not from waking dreams, but from dreams in trance. Moreover, so far the sensitives have manifested impressions of but one personality at a time, but Mrs. Piper has manifested one by speech and, at the same time, another by writing, the expressions of the two apparent personalities progressing independently, with full coherence and consistency. Moreover, in many of her trances she seemed as if surrounded by a crowd of persons endeavoring, with different degrees of success, to express themselves through her, or she endeavoring to express them. All this of course, is counter to the impression prevailing during the early years of her career, that her soul had left her body, and the body was “possessed” by a postcarnate soul expressing itself through her. The present aspect of the facts is more as if she had impressions such as we all have in dreams, of any number of personalities around her. Some of her typical manifestations may give still further indications of interflowing of mental impressions.

[pg 164]The George “Pelham” famous in the annals of Psychical Research was a friend of the present writer, and his alleged postcarnate self appeared through Mrs. Piper to the following effect. There could not have been anything cooked up about it; it was my first and only sitting with Mrs. Piper, who knew nothing about me or my friends. In fact, the old theories of some form of fraud, now, in the light of the vast accumulation of later knowledge, seem ridiculous. However the phenomena have to be explained, that explanation is out of date.

G.P. speaks.—“A” [assumed initial. Ed.] “is in a critical state. He’s not himself now. He’s terribly depressed.” Sitter—“Can you tell anything [more] about A?” G.P.—“Friend of yours in body.” S.—“Of Hodgson?” [Who was present. This question and the following were mild “tests”: I knew the man well. Ed.] G.P.—“Yes.” S.—“Did I ever know him?” G.P.—“Yes, you knew him very well. You’re connected with him.” S.—“Through whom?” G.P.—“Do you know any B——?” [assumed initial. Ed.] S.—“Are A. and I connected through B?” G.P.—“Write to B. and he’ll tell you all about it.”

It turned out later that A. actually was low in his mind, and that B., whom nobody present knew, was trying to get him occupation. I knew nothing whatever about any such circumstances, nor did Hodgson. To suppose that Mrs. Piper did, would be absurd. But they were known to other minds “in the body,” and hence the medium’s utterance of them is open to the interpretation of teloteropathy. Similar instances are not rare, but the interpretation of teloteropathy seems to be rapidly losing probability.

In this instance, I was “connected with” B., but only so far as he had become a professor at Yale long after my graduation: I did not know him personally. But my intimate connection with A. was not only direct, but through several persons intimate with us both, including G.P. when living. Mere telepathy, certainly mere telepathy [pg 165]from my mind, would have “spotted” some one of these connections much more readily than the alleged one with B., which was hardly a connection at all.

The simplest solution for the whole business, though perhaps not the most “scientific,” or even probable, is that the spirit of G.P. was troubled about A. and habitually thinking of me at the University Club as a Yale man, on my turning up at the séance, was reminded of the solution of A.’s troubles proposed through B., and wanted me to help.

And now to this rather commonplace manifestation comes an interesting sequel illustrating the reach of mind spoken of at the outset. Out of a perfectly clear sky came to me in New York on April 8, 1894, the message from G.P., to look out for A., who was low in his mind, and that B. was trying to get a place for him. On May 29th, Hodgson writes me as follows, showing that the same thing had come up through the heteromatic writing of A.’s wife at Granada in Spain, and meant nothing to her or to A.

—You may be interested in the inclosed. Keep private. [This injunction is of course outlawed by time, but I still conceal the names of the parties. Ed.] and please return. I am writing from my den, and haven’t copy of your sitting at hand. But I remember that something was said at your sitting re B. and A.

(Copy of Enclosure.)

Granada, May 6, 1894.

“Dear H.[odgson]:

“Those suggestions from Geo. that I write to B. prove interesting in the light of what I first learned here: that he had been lamenting my silence and had been urging me to a place as —— [at] Yale where he is. I had no notion of this move on his part till four days ago when I received a letter telling me. Of course nothing came of it, but anything less known than that cannot be imagined. The message came once earlier thro’ [his wife. Ed.] to whom George wrote it [heteromatically. Ed.]. George [in life. Ed.] never heard of B. nor saw him, nor did we ever speak of B. to Geo. or Phinuit…. Of course I don’t want mention made of the effort of B. to get me the Yale place. What [pg 166]Geo. said was to write to B.; he is a good friend of yours [i.e., of A. Ed.]

“All send kind messages. Yrs. ever.

Being intensely busy, and not as much interested in the matter as later experiences have made me, I did not at the moment catch the full purport of Hodgson’s letter, or write him till June 5th, and did not keep any copy that I can find of my letter. He wrote me on the 8th:

“Thanks for yours of June 5th, with return of A.’s letter. I knew nothing whatever of the circumstances connected with B., neither, so far as I can tell by cross-questioning, did Mrs. Piper.”

And I, the present scribe, certainly did not. A. did not. B. alone did, with whatever persons he may have approached on the matter, and Mrs. Piper had presumably never seen one of the group. So where did Mrs. Piper and Mrs. A. get it? The only answers that seem possible are that she and Mrs. A. either got it teloteropathically from one of those absent, or that the postcarnate George Pelham himself wrote her about it, and also told me of it through Mrs. Piper’s organism in New York, and four days later was working it into a cross-correspondence through Mrs. A. in Spain. At first blush the latter seems easier; and I am not sure but that it does on reflection.

Hodgson’s letter continues:

“I never knew of any B. connected with Yale. When B. was first mentioned at the sitting, I had a vague notion that some B. or other had gone to England or France as United States consul. I also knew the name of —— —— B. [a celebrated author. Ed.], and met her after she became Mrs. C. two or three years ago.

“On questioning Mrs. Piper, which I did by referring to books first, I found that she remembered the name of —— —— B. when I mentioned it, and connected it in some way with [a certain book. Ed.], which was widely circulated some years ago. This was the only B. that she seemed to know anything about….

“Yours sincerely,
R. Hodgson.”

[pg 167]Now does not all this give a strong impression of an interflow among minds all over—in New York (the place of the sitting), Granada (Mrs. A.’s place of sojourn), Boston (A.’s home), New Haven (B.’s home), and the universe in general (G.P.’s apparent home)—of an interflow free from the limitations of time and space, and independent of all means of communication known to us?

This impression tends to grow deeper with farther study. We have had a cross-correspondence between two incarnate intelligences and one apparently postcarnate. Mr. Piddington has unearthed a cross-correspondence between one apparently postcarnate intelligence and seven “living” ones.

Perhaps the significance of cross-correspondences justifies a little more specific treatment, and even the repetition of a paragraph from the first number of this Review. The topic has lately attracted more attention from the S.P.R. than any other.

If Mrs. Verrall in London and Mrs. Holland in India both, at about the same time, write heteromatically about a subject that they both understand, that is probably coincidence; but if both write about it when but one of them understands it, that is probably teloteropathy; and if both write about it when neither understands it, and each of their respective writings is apparently nonsense, but both make sense when put together, the only obvious hypothesis is that both were inspired by a third mind.

There are many instances of strict cross-correspondence of this type. The one we have given was perhaps more impressive than a stricter one would be apt to be.

Accounts of sittings generally suggest apparent intercommunication independent of time and space between [pg 168]postcarnate intelligences: often the controls say that they will go and find other controls, and, generally, after a short interval, the new control manifests. It is impossible to read many of the accounts, whether one regards them as fictitious or not, without getting an impression—like that given by a good story-teller, if you please, of a life outside this one, among a host of personalities who communicate freely with each other and, through difficulties, with us. The nature of the communication we have already tried to express by “interflow.” But all metaphors are weak beside the impression of the Cosmic Soul that has been brought to most of those who have persistently studied the phenomena, as to nearly all those who have speculated a priori on the nature of mind.

Judged by the foregoing specimens, the literature of what we are provisionally considering as hypnotic telepathy would not be regarded as very cheerful. As a whole, however, the pictures it presents from an alleged postcarnate life, are cheerful, and some of them very attractive.

Below are some from an alleged George Eliot. They are from notes of Piper sittings kindly placed at our disposal by Professor Newbold.

To my taste the matter savors very little of the reputed author. And yet assuming for the moment that our great authors survive in a fuller life, presumably they would have to communicate under very embarrassing conditions: for not only would they have to cramp themselves to produce work comprehensible here, but the System of Things would have to limit them, lest their competition should upset the whole system of our literary development, or rather would have involved a different one from the beginning.

My first reading of the alleged George Eliot matter inclined me to scout it entirely. It is certainly not in all particulars what that great soul would have sent from a better world if she had been permitted to communicate [pg 169]anything more profound than we have been left to find out for ourselves, or even if she had had the commonplace chance to revise her manuscript. But on reflection I realized that, although the matter came through Mrs. Piper, it could not have come from her, wherever it came from; and that if George Eliot were communicating tidings naturally within our comprehension, and merely descriptive of superficial experience as distinct from reflection, and were communicating, through a poor telephone, words to be recorded by an indifferent scribe, this material would not seem absolutely incongruous with its alleged source, and to a reader knowing that the stuff claimed to be hers, might possibly suggest the weakest possible dilution or reflection of her. Yet in ways which I have no space for, it abounds in the sort of anthropomorphism that might be expected from the average medium or average sitter, but not from George Eliot.

And now, since writing the last paragraph and going through the material half a dozen times more, I have about concluded, or perhaps worked myself up to the conclusion, that if a judicious blue pencil were to take from it what could be attributed to imperfect means of communication, and what could be considered as having slopped over from the medium, there would be a pretty substantial and not unbeautiful residuum which might, without straining anything, be taken for a description by George Eliot, of the heaven she would find if, as begins to seem possible, she and the rest of us, have or are to have heavens to suit our respective tastes. But what would have to be taken out is often ludicrously incongruous with George Eliot, and taking it out would certainly be open to serious question.

Yet whatever may be the qualities, merits, or demerits of this “George Eliot” matter, what character it has is its own, and different materially from any I have seen recorded from any other control. What is vastly more important, despite the lapses in knowledge, taste, and [pg 170]style, which negative its being the unmodified production of George Eliot, it nevertheless presents, me judice, the most reasonable, suggestive, and attractive pictures of a life beyond bodily death that I know of: it is not a reflection of previous mythologies, it is congruous with the tastes of what we now consider rational beings, and might well fill their desires; and it tallies with our experiences—in dreams. Yet it is not a great feat of imagination; but in recent times no great genius has attacked the subject, and George Eliot would not have been expected to devote her imagination to it, which raises a slight presumption that what is told is really told by her from experience.

If I had to venture a guess as to how it came into existence, I should guess that somebody within range, hardly Mrs. Piper herself, had been reading George Eliot, or about George Eliot, and the musk-melon pollen had affected the cucumbers. Professor Newbold, for instance, was entirely able involuntarily to create and telepath the stories, and better shaped ones. Some real George Eliot influence may have flowed in too, but on that my judgment is in suspense.

“George Eliot” comes in abruptly to Hodgson, on February 26, 1897. After a few preliminaries, in response to a remark of Hodgson’s on her dislike of and disbelief in spiritism, she says:

“… You may have noted the anxiety of such as I to return and enlighten your fellow men. It is more especially confined to unbelievers before their departure to this life.”

This remark and the persistent efforts of the alleged G.P. who, living, was a thorough skeptic, would seem strongly “evidential.”

March 5, 1897.
Hodgson sitting.

[G.E. writes:] “Do you remember me well?… I had a sad life in many ways, yet in others I was happy, yet I have never known what real happiness was until I came here…. I was an unbeliever, in fact almost an agnostic when I left my [pg 171]body, but when I awoke and found myself alive in another form superior in quality, that is, my body less gross and heavy, with no pangs of remorse, no struggling to hold on to the material body, I found it had all been a dream….” R.H.: “That was your first experience?” G.E.: “… The moment I had been removed from my body I found at once I had been thoroughly mistaken in my conjectures. I looked back upon my whole life in one instant. Every thought, word, or action which I had ever experienced passed through my mind like a wonderful panorama as it were before my vision. You cannot begin to imagine anything so real and extraordinary as this first awakening…. I awoke in a realm of golden light. I heard the voices of friends who had gone before calling to me to follow them. At the moment the thrill of joy was so intense I was like one standing spellbound before a beautiful panorama. The music which filled my soul was like a tremendous symphony. I had never heard nor dreamed of anything half so beautiful….

“Another thing which seemed to me beautiful was the tranquillity of everyone. You will perhaps remember that I had left a state where no one ever knew what tranquillity meant.”

March 13, 1807: “I was speaking about the songs of our birds. Then the birds seemed to pass beyond my vision, and I longed for music of other kinds…. When, to my surprise, my desires were filled…. Just before me sat the most beautiful bevy of young girls that eyes ever rested upon. Some playing stringed instruments, others that sounded and looked like silver bugles, but they were all in harmony, and I must truly confess that I never heard such strains of music before. No mortal mind can possibly realize anything like it. It was not only in this one thing that my desires were filled, but in all things accordingly. I had not one desire, but that it was filled without any apparent act of myself.

“I longed to see gardens and trees, flowers, etc. I no sooner had the desire than they appeared…. Such beautiful flowers no human eye ever gazed upon. It was simply indescribable, yet everything was real…. I walked and moved along as easily as a fly would pass through a ray of sunlight in your world. I had no weight, nothing cumbersome, nothing…. I passed along through this garden, meeting millions of friends. As they were all friendly to me, each and every one seemed to be my friend…. I then thought of different friends I had once known, and my desire was to meet some one of them, when like [pg 172]every other thought or desire that I had expressed, the friend of whom I thought instantly appeared.”

How much all this is like dreams!

March 27, 1897. (A good deal of confusion, out of which appears) “He will insist upon calling me Miss, but let him if he wishes. I am very much Mrs. Never mind so long as it suits him….

“I have a desire for reading, when instantly my whole surrounding is literally filled with books of all kinds and by many different authors…. When I touched a book and desired to meet its author, if he or she were in our world, he or she would instantly appear. [Is this purely incidental reiterated claim for female authors, by one of them, ‘evidential,’ or was Mrs. Piper ingenious enough to invent it? Ed.]….”

The change of the instrument below is a specially dreamlike touch.

March 30, 1897. “I wished to see and realize that some of the mortal world’s great musicians really existed, and asked to be visited by some one or more of them. When this was expressed, instantly several appeared before me, and Rubinstein stood before me playing upon an instrument like a harp at first. Then the instrument was changed and a piano appeared and he played upon it with the most delightful ease and grace of manner. While he was playing the whole atmosphere was filled with his strains of music.”

She wanted to see Rembrandt, and he came, with a quantity of pictures. She wanted a symphony, and an orchestra “of some thirty musicians” at once appeared and gave her several, which she enjoyed to the full.

Now George Eliot was a remarkably good musician. If she wanted an orchestra, she would have wanted at least sixty, and probably more than a hundred. Perhaps they do these things with more limited resources in Heaven? Such an incongruity as this, and the inane dilution of the writing (which of course does not appear at its worst in the selected passages) make a genuine George Eliot control hard to predicate, and yet this control, like virtually every other one, is an individuality, and is less unlike [pg 173]George Eliot than is any other control I know. Will difficulties of communication or any other tertium quid, make up the difference? I first read the record with repulsion, and now find in it some elements of attraction.

Do you care for a little more? She wanted to see “angels,” and gives a very pretty picture of an experience with a bevy of children. Telepathy from the sitter will hardly account for the following, especially the strange turn at the end, which is signally dreamlike.

“I being fond, very fond of writers of ancient history, etc., felt a strong desire to see Dante, Aristotle and several others. Shakespeare if such a spirit existed. [An odd bunch of ‘writers of ancient history’! Ed.] As I stood thinking of him a spirit instantly appeared who speaking said ‘I am Bacon.’ … As Bacon neared me he began to speak and quoted to me the following words ‘You have questioned my reality. Question it no more. I am Shakespeare.’”

June 4, 1897. “… Speak to me for a moment and if you have anything to say in the nature of poetry or prose would you kindly recite a line or two to me. It will give me strength to remain longer than I could otherwise do. [R.H. recites a poem of Dowden’s beginning,

‘I said I will find God and forth I went

To seek him in the clearness of the sky,’ etc. Excitement.]

G.E.: ‘I will go and see G. and return presently (R.H.: Who says that?) I do. (R.H.: I do not understand what you mean by G.) I do. My husband. Do you not know I had a husband? (R.H.: Do you mean by G. Mr. George Henry Lewes?) [Hand is writing Lewes while I am saying George Henry] Lewes. Yes I do. Oh I am so happy. And when I did not mistake altogether my deeds I am more happy than tongue can utter.”

As bearing on her feeling for Lewes not many months after his death, the foregoing does not correspond with some widely credited but unpublished allegations.

Now does not all this read as if Mrs. Piper were dreaming of George Eliot, just as any of us might dream? Its quality seems as if it might be a transcript of one of my own dreams, with the important exceptions that the dreamer wrote it all out, and that it is made up from a [pg 174]series of dreams, coming up at intervals for about six months, and apparently only when Hodgson was present, though there are records of George Eliot appearing to other sitters at other seances.

We have, then, groped our way to a vague notion of a dream-life on the part of certain sensitives, which seems to participate in another life, in some ways similar, that is led by intelligences who have passed beyond the body.

We are not saying that this interpretation of the phenomena is the correct one: on the contrary we are constantly haunted by a suspicion that any day it may be exploded by some new discovery. But we do say, with considerable confidence, that of all the interpretations yet offered—even including the pervasive one that “the little boy lied,” it surpasses all the others in the portion of the facts that it fits, and in the weight attached to it by the most capable students—even by James, who, however, did not accept it as established, though he gave many indications that he felt himself likely to. Myers definitely accepted it, not from the impressions of the sensitives, but from having them capped by a veridical impression of his own. Through the church service one Sunday morning, he felt an inner voice assuring him: “Your friend is still with you.” Later he found that Gurney, with whom he had a manifestation-pact, had died the night before. We are not aware that Myers ever published this, but he told it to the present writer and presumably to others. The convictions of Hodgson and Sir Oliver Lodge were interpretations of the phenomena of the sensitives, though Hodgson, it is now known, was probably mainly influenced by communications from the alleged postcarnate soul of all possible ones most dear to him.

But to return to the sensitives. They seem to be somnambulists who talk out and write out what they see and hear in their dreams. What they see, and consequently [pg 175]what they say, is a good deal of a jumble. They see and hear persons they never saw before. Sometimes they identify themselves more or less with these personalities. Mrs. Piper nearly always does. Those others say many things, and very often correct things, unknown to sensitives, to anybody present, or to anybody else that can be found. Rather unusual among ordinary dreamers, but by no means unprecedented. But from here on the experiences of the sensitives are more and more unusual.

Some of the people Mrs. Piper (I speak of her as the representative of a class) never saw before, and of whom she never saw portraits, she identifies from photographs. Very few people have done that: perhaps very few have had the chance. There have been many times when I am sure I could, if photographs had been presented.

Her personalities and those of many sensitives are nearly always “dead” friends, not of the sensitives, but of the sitters, and abound in indications of genuineness in scope and accuracy of memory, in distinctness of individual recollections and characteristics, and in all the dramatic indications that go to demonstrate personalities. She sees and hears these personalities again and again, and keeps them distinct in feature and character.

Now what do we mean by personalities? Is one, after all, anything more or less than an individualized aggregate of cosmic vibrations, physical and psychical, with the power of producing on us certain impressions. You and I know our friends as such aggregates, and nothing more.

And what do we mean by discarnate personalities? In most minds, the first answer will probably bear a pretty close resemblance to Fra Angelico’s angels, and very nice angels they are! But to some of the more prosy minds that have thought on the subject in the light of the best and fullest information, or misinformation, probably the answer will be more like this: A personality, incarnate or postcarnate, in the last analysis, is a manifestation of the Cosmic Soul. From that the raw material is supplied [pg 176]with the star dust, and later, through our senses, from the earliest reactions of our protozoic ancestors, up to our dreams; and the material is worked up into each personality through reactions with the environment. Thus it becomes an aggregate of capacities to impress another personality with certain sensations, ideas, emotions. As already said, the incarnate personality impresses us thru certain vibrations. But after that portion of the vibrations constituting “the body” disappears, there still abides somewhere the capacity of impressing us, at least in the dream life. Perhaps it abides only in the memory of survivors, and gets into our dreams telepathically, though that is losing probability every day; and, with our anthropomorphic habits, we want to know “where” this capacity to impress us abides. The thinkers generally say: In the Cosmic reservoir, which I would rather express as the psychic ocean, boundless, fathomless, throbbing eternally. It seems to be made up of the original mind-potential plus all thoughts and feelings that have ever been. And into this ocean seem to be constantly passing those currents that we know as individualities, that can each influence, and even intermingle with, other individualities, here as well as there: for here really is there. While each does this, it still retains its own individuality. This is, of course, a vague string of guesses venturing outward from the borderland of our knowledge. It may be a little clearer, the more we bear in mind that the apparent influencings and interminglings seem to be telepathic.

Now apparently among the accomplishments of a personality, does not necessarily inhere that of depressing a scale x pounds: for when that capacity is entirely absent, from the apparent personalities who visit us in the dream state, they can impress us in every other way, even to all the reciprocities of sex. But for some reasons not yet understood, with ordinary dreamers these impressions are not as congruous, persistent, recurrent, or regulable in [pg 177]the dream life as in the waking life. But with Mrs. Piper, Hodgson after his death, and especially G.P. and others, were about as persistent and consistent associates as anybody living, barring the fact that they could not show themselves over an hour or two at a time, which was the limit of the medium’s psychokinetic power, on which their manifestations depended. But that these personalities are not in time to be evolved so that they will be more permanent and consistent with dreamers generally, would be a contradiction to at least some of the implications of evolution.

Accepting provisionally the identity of a postcarnate life with the life indicated in dreams, are there any further indications of its nature? There are some, which may lend some slight confirmation to the theory of identity.

It seems to show itself not only in the visions of the sensitives, but in the dream life of all of us. If Mrs. Piper’s dream state (I name her only as a type) is really one of communication with souls who have passed into a new life, dream states generally may not extravagantly be supposed to be foretastes of that life. And so far as concerns their desirability, why should they not be? Our ordinary dreams are, like the dreams of the sensitives, superior to time, space, matter and force—to all the trammels of our waking environment and powers. In dreams we experience unlimited histories, and pass over unlimited spaces, in an instant; see, hear, feel, touch, taste, smell, enjoy unlimited things; walk, swim, fly, change things, with unlimited ease; do things with unlimited power; make what we will—music, poetry, objects of art, situations, dramas, with unlimited faculty, and enjoy unlimited society. Unless we have eaten too much, or otherwise got ourselves out of order in the waking life, in the dream life we seldom if ever know what it is to be too late for anything, or too far from anything; we freely fall from chimneys or precipices, and I suppose it will soon be aeroplanes, [pg 178]with no worse consequences than comfortably waking up into the everyday world; we sometimes solve the problems which baffle us here; we see more beautiful things than we see here; and, far above all, we resume the ties that are broken here.

The indications seem to be that if we ever get the hang of that life, we can have pretty much what we like, and eliminate what we don’t like—continue what we enjoy, and stop what we suffer—find no bars to congeniality, or compulsion to boredom. To good dreamers it is unnecessary to offer proof of any of these assertions, and to prove them to others is impossible.

The dream life contains so much more beauty, so much fuller emotion, and such wider reaches than the waking life, that one is tempted to regard it as the real life, to which the waking life is somehow a necessary preliminary. So orthodox believers regard the life after death as the real life: yet most of their hopes regarding that life—even the strongest hope of rejoining lost loved ones—are realized here during the brief throbs of the dream life.

There seems to be no happiness from association in our ordinary life which is not obtainable, by some people at least, from association in the dream life. And as this appears to exist between incarnate A and postcarnate B, there is at least a suggestion that it may exist between postcarnate A and postcarnate B, and to a degree vastly more clear and abiding than during the present discrepancy between the incarnate and postcarnate conditions? This of course assumes, that B’s appearance in A’s dream life, just as he appeared on earth (though, as I know to be the case, sometimes wiser, healthier, jollier, and more lovable generally), is something more than a mild attack of dyspepsia on the part of A.

Dreams do not seem to abound in work, and are often said not to abound in morality, but I know that they sometimes do—in morality higher than any attainable in our waking life. Certainly the scant vague indications [pg 179]from the dream suggestions of a future life do not necessarily preclude abundant work and morality, any more than work and sundry self-denials are precluded on a holiday because one does not happen to perform them. Moreover, the hoped-for future conditions may not contain the necessities for either labor or self-restraint that present conditions do: they may not be the same dangers there as here in the dolce far niente, or in Platonic friendships.

Men are not consistent in their attitude regarding dreams. They admit the dream state to be ideal—constantly use such expressions as “A dream of loveliness,” “Happier than I could even dream,” “Surpasses my fondest dreams,” and yet on the other hand they call its experience “but the baseless vision of a dream.” What do they mean by “baseless”? Certainly it is not lack of vividness or emotional intensity. It is probably the lack of duration in the happy experiences, and of the possibility of remembering them, and, still more, of enjoying similar ones at will. Yet the sensitives do both in recurrent instalments of the dream life, and like the rest of us, through the intervening waking periods, after the first hour or so, generally know nothing of the dreams. It is not vividness of the dream life itself that is lacking, but vividness in our memories of it. James defines our waking personality as the stream of consciousness: the dream life gives no such stream. To-night does not continue last night as to-day continues yesterday. The dream life is not like a stream, but more like a series, though hardly integral enough to be a series, of disconnected pools, many of them perhaps more enchanting than any parts of the waking stream, but not, like that stream, an organic whole with motion toward definite results, and power to attain them. But suppose the dream life continues after the body’s death, and under direction toward definite ends, at least so far as the waking life is, and still free from the trammels [pg 180]of the waking life—suppose us to have at least as much power to secure its joys and avoid its terrors as we have regarding those of the waking life; and with all the old intimacies which it spasmodically restores, restored permanently, and with the discipline of separation to make them nearer perfect. What more can we manage to want?

The suggestion has come to more than one student, that when we enter into life—as spermatozoa, or star dust if you please—we enter into the eternal life, but that the physical conditions essential to our development into appreciating it, are a sort of veil between it and our consciousness. In our waking life we know it only through the veil; but when in sleep or trance, the material environment is removed from consciousness, the veil becomes that much thinner, and we get better glimpses of the transcendent reality.

Does it not seem then as if, in dreams, we enter upon our closer relation with the hyper-phenomenal mind? All sorts of things seem to be in it, from the veriest trifles and absurdities up to the highest things our minds can receive, and presumably an infinity of things higher still. They appear to flow into us in all sorts of ways, presumably depending upon the condition of the nerve apparatus through which they flow. If that is out of gear from any disorder or injury, what it receives is not only trifling, but often grotesque and painful; while if it is in good estate, it often receives things far surpassing in beauty and wisdom those of our waking phenomenal world.

Apparently every dreamer is a medium for this flow, but dreamers vary immensely in their capacity to receive it—from Hodge, who dreams only when he has eaten too much, or Professor Gradgrind who never dreams at all, up to Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Piper.

As oft remarked, dreams generally are nonsense, but some dreams, or parts of some dreams, are perhaps the most significant things we know. Each vision, waking or sleeping, must have a cause, and as an expression of that [pg 181]cause, must be veridical. On the one hand, the cause of a trivial dream is generally too trivial to be ascertained: it may be too much lobster, or impaired circulation or respiration; while on the other hand (and here the paradox seems to be explained), the cause of an important dream must, ex vi termini, be some important event. But important events are rare, and therefore significant dreams are rare; while trivial events are frequent, and therefore trivial dreams are frequent.

The important and rare event may be such a conjunction of circumstances and temperaments as makes it possible for a postcarnate intelligence, assuming the existence of such, to communicate with an incarnate one. That such apparent communications are rare tends to indicate their genuineness.

Now to develop a little farther the time-honored hypothesis of a cosmic soul as explaining dreams, and supported by them.

Admit, provisionally at least, that the medium is merely an extraordinary dreamer. Does a man do his own dreaming, or is it done for him? Does a man do his own digesting, circulating, assimilating, or is it done for him? If he does not do these things himself, who does? About the physical functions through the sympathetic nerve, we answer unhesitatingly: the cosmic force. How, then, about the psychic functions? Are they done by the cosmic psyche?

Like respiration, they are partly under our control, but that does not affect the problem. Who runs them when we do not run them, even when we try to stop them that we may get to sleep? Even when, after they have yielded to our entreaties to stop, and we are asleep, they begin going again—without our will. The only probability I can make out is that our thinking is run by a power not ourselves, as much as our other partly involuntary functions.

[pg 182]To hold that a man does his own dreaming—that it is done by a secondary layer of his own consciousness—is to hold that we are made up of layers of consciousness, of which the poorest layer is that of what we call our waking life, and the better layers are at our service only in our dreams—that when a man is asleep or mad he can solve problems, compose music, create pictures, to which, when awake and in his sober senses, and in a condition to profit by his work, and give profit from it, he is inadequate.

Nay more, the theory claims that a man’s working consciousness—his self—the only self known to him or the world, will hold and shape his life by a set of convictions which, in sleep, he will himself prove wrong, and thereby revolutionize his philosophy and his entire life. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to attribute all such results—the solutions of the problems, the music, the pictures, the corrections of the errors—to a power outside himself?

I cannot believe that there’s anything in my individual consciousness which my experience or that of my ancestors has not placed there—in raw material at least; or that in working up that raw material I can exert any genius in my sometimes chaotic dreams that I cannot exert in my systematized waking hours. All the people I meet and talk with in my dreams may have been met and talked with by me or my forebears, though I don’t believe it; but the works of art I see have not been known to me or my ancestors or any other mortal; nor have I any sign of the genius to combine whatever elements of them I may have seen, into any such designs. And when in dreams other persons tell me things contrary to my firmest convictions, in which things I later discover germs of most important workable truth, the persons who tell me that, and who are different from me as far as fairly decent persons can differ from each other, are certainly not, as the good Du Prel would have us believe, myself. All these things are [pg 183]not figments of my mind—if they are figments of a mind, it’s a mind bigger than mine. The biggest claim I can make, or assent to anybody else making, is that my mind is telepathically receptive of the product of that greater mind.

Here are some farther evidences of the greater mind, given by Lombroso (After Death, What?, 320f.):

It is well known that in his dreams Goethe solved many weighty scientific problems and put into words many most beautiful verses. So also La Fontaine (The Fable of Pleasures) and Coleridge and Voltaire. Bernard Palissy had in a dream the inspiration for one of his most beautiful ceramic pieces….

Holde composed while in a dream La Phantasie, which reflects in its harmony its origin; and Nodier created Lydia, and at the same time a whole theory on the future of dreaming. Condillac in dream finished a lecture interrupted the evening before. Kruger, Corda, and Maignan solved in dreams mathematical problems and theorems. Robert Louis Stevenson, in his Chapters on Dreams, confesses that portions of his most original novels were composed in the dreaming state. Tartini had while dreaming one of his most portentous musical inspirations. He saw a spectral form approaching him. It is Beelzebub in person. He holds a magic violin in his hands, and the sonata begins. It is a divine adagio, melancholy-sweet, a lament, a dizzy succession of rapid and intense notes. Tartini rouses himself, leaps out of bed, seizes his violin, and reproduces all that he had heard played in his sleep. He names it the Sonata del Diavolo, …

Giovanni Dupré got in a dream the conception of his very beautiful Pietà. One sultry summer day Dupré was lying on a divan thinking hard on what kind of pose he should choose for the Christ. He fell asleep, and in dream he saw the entire group at last complete, with Christ in the very pose he had been aspiring to conceive, but which his mind had not succeeded in completely realizing.

It is a quite frequent experience that a person perplexed by a problem at night finds it solved on waking in the morning. Efforts to remember, which are unsuccessful before going to sleep, on waking are often found accomplished.

[pg 184]A dream is a work of genius, and in many respects, perhaps most, especially in vividness of imagination, the best example we have. It is the most spontaneous, constructed with the least effort from fewest materials, the least restrained, and often immeasurably surpassing all works of waking genius in the same department. A genius gets a trifling hint, and being inspired by the gods (anthropomorphic for: flowed in upon by the cosmic soul?) builds out of the hint a poem or a drama or a symphony. You and I build dreams surpassing the poem or the drama or the symphony, but our friends Dryasdust and Myopia inquire into our experiences, and sometimes find a little hint on which a dream was built, and then all dreams are demonstrated things unworthy of serious consideration. Is it not a more rational view that the fact that the soul can in the dream state elaborate so much from so little, indicates it to be then already in a life which has no limits?

Havelock Ellis, in his World of Dreams, says (p. 229):

Our eyes close, our muscles grow slack, the reins fall from our hands. But it sometimes happens that the horse knows the road home even better than we know it ourselves.

He puts “the horse” outside of the dreamer plainly enough here. He further says (p. 280).

If we take into account the complete psychic life of dreaming, subconscious as well as conscious, it is waking, not sleeping, life which may be said to be limited…. Sleep, Vaschide has said, is not, as Homer thought, the brother of Death, but of Life, and, it may be added, the elder brother….

He quotes from Bergson (Revue Philosophique, December, 1908, p. 574):

This dream state is the substratum of our normal state. Nothing is added in waking life; on the contrary, waking life is obtained by the limitation, concentration, and tension of that diffuse psychological life which is the life of dreaming…. To be awake is to will; cease to will, detach yourself from life, become disinterested: in so doing you pass from the waking [pg 185]ego to the dreaming ego, which is less tense, but more extended than the other.

Ellis continues (p. 281):

I have cultivated, so far as I care to, my garden of dreams, and it scarcely seems to me that it is a large garden. Yet every path of it, I sometimes think, might lead at last to the heart of the universe.

But with the exception of a few spasmodic inspirations, the records of dreams, ordinary or from the sensitives, contain nothing new—nothing to relieve man from the blessed necessity of eating his bread, intellectual as well as material, in the sweat of his brow; and, perhaps more important still, little to make the interests or responsibilities of this life weaker because of any realized inferiority to those of a possible later life.

It would apparently be inconsistent in Nature, or God, if you prefer, to start our evolution under earthly conditions, educating us in knowledge and character through labor and suffering, but at the same time throwing open to our perceptions, from another life, a wider range of knowledge and character attainable without labor or suffering.

I have no time or space or inclination to argue with those who deny a plan in Nature. He who does, probably lives away from Nature. It appears to have been a part of that plan that for a long time past most of us should “believe in” immortality, and that, at least until very lately, none of us should know anything about it. Confidence in immortality has been a dangerous thing. So far we haven’t all made a very good use of it. Many of the people who have had most of it and busied themselves most with it, so to speak, have largely transferred their interests to the other life, and neglected and abused this one. “Other-worldliness” is a well-named vice, and positive evidence of immortality might be more dangerous than mere confidence in it.

[pg 186]All this, I think, supports the notion that whatever, if anything, is in store for us beyond this life, it would be a self-destructive scheme of things (or Scheme of Things, if you prefer) that would throw the future life into farther competition with our interests here, at least before we are farther evolved here. Looking at history by and large, we children have not generally been trusted with edge tools until we had grown to some sort of capacity to handle them. If the Mesopotamians or Egyptians or Greeks or Romans had had gunpowder, it looks as if they would have blown most of themselves and each other out of existence, and the rest back into primitive savagery, and stayed there until the use of gunpowder became one of the lost arts. But the new knowledge of evolution has given the modern world a new intellectual interest; and the new altruism, a new moral one. The reasons for doing one’s best in this life, and doing it actively, are so much stronger and clearer than they were when so many good people could fall into asceticism and other-worldliness, that perhaps we are now fit to be trusted with proofs of an after life. It is very suggestive that these apparent proofs came contemporaneously with the new knowledge tending to make them safe; and equally suggestive that it is when we have begun to suffer from certain breakdowns in religion, that we have been provided with new material for bracing it up.

At the opposite extreme, it also is suggestive that these new indications that our present life is a petty thing beside a future one, have come just when modern science has so increased our control over material nature that we are in peculiar danger of having our interest in higher things buried beneath material interests, and enervated by over-indulgence in material delights.

If it be true that, roughly speaking, we are not entrusted with dangerous things before we are evolved to the point where we can keep their danger within bounds, the fact that we have not until very lately, if yet, been entrusted [pg 187]with any verification of the dream of the survival of bodily death, would seem to confer upon the spiritistic interpretation of the recent apparent verifications, a pragmatic sanction—an accidental embryo pun over which the historic student is welcome to a smile, and which, since the preceding clause was written, I have seen used in all seriousness by Professor Giddings. Conclusive or not, that “sanction” is certainly an addition to the arguments that existed before, including the general argument from evolution. And, so far as the phenomena go to establish the spiritistic hypothesis, surely they are not to be lightly regarded because as yet they do not establish it more conclusively.

When during the last century science bowled down the old supports of the belief in immortality, there grew up a tendency to regard that belief as an evidence of ignorance, narrowness, and incapacity to face the music. May not disregard of the possible new supports be rapidly becoming an evidence of the same characteristics?

When the majority of those who have really studied the phenomena of the sensitives, starting with absolute skepticism, have come to a new form of the old belief; and when, of the remaining minority, the weight of respectable opinion goes so far as suspense of judgment, how does the argument look? Isn’t it at least one of those cases of new phenomena where it is well to be on guard against old mental habits, not to say prejudices?

Is it not now vastly more reasonable to believe in a future life than it was a century ago, or half a century, or quarter of a century? Is it not already more reasonable to believe in it than not to believe in it? Is it not already appreciably harder not to believe in it than it was a generation ago?

So far as I can see, the dream life, from mine up to Mrs. Piper’s, vague as it is, is an argument for immortality based on evidence.

[pg 188]The sensitives are not among the world’s leading thinkers or moralists—are not more aristocratic founders for a new faith than were a certain carpenter’s son and certain fishermen; and only by implication do the sensitives suggest any moral truths, but they do offer more facts to the modern demand for facts.

Spiritism has a bad name, and it has been in company where it richly deserved one; but it has been coming into court lately with some very important-looking testimony from very distinguished witnesses; and some rather comprehensive minds consider its issues supreme—the principal issues now upon the horizon, between the gross, luxurious, unthinking, unaspiring, uncreating life of today, and everything that has, in happier ages, given us the heritage of the soul—the issues between increasing comforts and withering ideals—between water-power and Niagara.

The doubt of immortality is not over the innate reasonableness of it: the universe is immeasurably more reasonable with it than without it; but over its practicability after the body is gone. We, in our immeasurable wisdom, don’t see how it can work—we don’t see how a universe that we don’t begin to know, which already has given us genius and beauty and love, and which seems to like to give us all it can—birds, flowers, sunsets, stars, Vermont, the Himalayas, and the Grand Canyon; which, most of all, has given us the insatiable soul, can manage to give us immortality. Well! Perhaps we ought not to be grasping—ought to call all we know and have, enough, and be thankful—thankful above all, perhaps, that as far as we can see, the hope of immortality cannot be disappointed—that the worst answer to it must be oblivion. But on whatever grounds we despair of more (if we are weak enough to despair), surely the least reasonable ground is that we cannot see more: the mole might as well swear that there is no Orion.

[pg 189]

The Muses on the Hearth

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“How to be efficient though incompetent” is the title suggested by a distinguished psychologist for the vocational appeals of the moment. Among these raucous calls none is more annoying to the ear of experience than the one which summons the college girl away from the bounty of the sciences and the humanities to the grudging concreteness of a domestic science, a household economy, from which stars and sonnets must perforce be excluded. We have, indeed, no quarrel with the conspicuous place now given to the word “home” in all discussions of women’s vocations. Suffragists and anti-suffragists, feminists and anti-feminists have united to clear a noble term from the mists of sentimentality and to reinstate it in the vocabulary of sincere and candid speakers. More frankly than a quarter of a century ago, educated women may now glory in the work allotted to their sex. The most radical feminist writer of the day has given perfect expression to the home’s demand. Husband and children, she says, have been able to count on a woman “as they could count on the fire on the hearth, the cool shade under the tree, the water in the well, the bread in the sacrament.” We may go farther and say that our high emprise does not depend upon husband and children. Married or unmarried, fruitful or barren, with a vocation or without, we must make of the world a home for the race. So far from quarrelling with the hypothesis of the domestic scientists, we turn it into a confession of faith. It is their conclusions that will not bear the test of experience. Because women students can anticipate no more important career than home-making, it is argued that within their four undergraduate years training should be given in the practical [pg 190]details of house-keeping. Any woman who has been both a student and a housekeeper knows that this argument is fallacious.

Before examining it, however, we must clear away possible misunderstandings. Our discussion concerns colleges and not elementary schools. Those who are loudest in denouncing the aristocratic theory of a college education must admit that colleges contain, even today, incredible as it sometimes seems, a selected group of young women. It is also true that the High Schools contain selected groups. Below them are the people’s schools. The girls who do not go beyond these are to be the wives of working men, in many cases can learn nothing from their mothers, and before marriage may themselves be caught in the treadmill of daily labor. It is probable that to these children of impoverished future we should give the chance to learn in school facts which may make directly for national health and well-being. But the girls in the most democratic state university in this country are selected by their own ambition, if by nothing else, for a higher level of life. Their power and their opportunities to learn do not end on Commencement Day. The higher we go in the scale of education, until we reach the graduate professional schools, the less are we able and the less need we be concerned to anticipate the specific activities of the future.

Furthermore, we are discussing colleges of “liberal” studies, not technical schools. Into the former have strayed many students who belong in the latter. The tragic thing about their errantry is that presidents and faculties, instead of setting them in the right path, try to make the college over to suit them. The rightful heirs to the knowledge of the ages are despoiled. The most down-trodden students are those who cherish a passion for the intellectual life. Among these are as many women as men. If domestic science were confined to separate schools, as all applied sciences ought to be, we should have nothing but praise for a subject admirably conceived, and [pg 191]often admirably taught. In these schools it may be studied by such High School graduates as prefer to deal with practical rather than with pure science, and, in a larger way, by such college graduates as wish to supplement theory with practice for professional purposes. But in liberal colleges domestic science is but dross handed out to seekers after gold. Against its intrusion into the curriculum no protest can be too stern.

Faith in this study seems to rest upon the belief that the actual experiences of life can be anticipated. This is a fallacy. There is no dress rehearsal for the rôle of “wife and mother.” It is a question of experience piled on experience, life piled on life. The only way to perform the tasks, understand the duties, accept the joys and sorrows of any given stage of existence is to have performed the tasks, learned the duties, fought out the joys and sorrows of earlier stages. In so far as “housekeeping” means the application of principles of nutrition and sanitation, these principles can be acquired at the proper time by an active, well-trained mind. The preparation needed is not to have learned facts three or five or ten years in advance, when theories and appliances may have been very different, but to have taken up one subject after another, finding how to master principles and details. This new subject is not recondite nor are we unconquerably stupid. To learn as we go—discere ambulando—need not turn the home into an experiment station.

But “every woman knows” that housekeeping, when it is a labor of love and not a paid profession, goes far deeper than ordering meals or keeping refrigerators clean, or making an invalid’s bed with hospital precision. We are more than cooks. We furnish power for the day’s work of men, and for the growth of children’s souls. We are more than parlor maids. We are artists, informing material objects with a living spirit. We are more even than trained nurses. We are companions along the roads of pain, comrades, it may be, at the gates of death. Back [pg 192]of our willingness to do our full work must lie something profounder than lectures on bacteria, or interior decoration, or an invalid’s diet or a baby’s bath. Specific knowledge can be obtained in a hurry by a trained student. What cannot be obtained by any sudden action of the mind is the habit of projecting a task against the background of human experience as that experience has been revealed in history and literature, and of throwing into details the enthusiasm born of this larger vision. She is fortunate who comes to the task of making a home with this habit already formed. Her student life may have cast no shadow of the future. When she was reading Æschylus or Berkeley, or writing reports on the Italian despots, or counting the segments of a beetle’s antennæ, she may not have foreseen the hours when the manner of life and the manner of death of human beings would depend upon her. She was merely sanely absorbed in the tasks of her present. But in later life she comes to see that in performing them, she learned to disentangle the momentary from the permanent, to prefer courage to cowardice, to pay the price of hard work for values received. Age may bring what youth withholds, a sense of humor, a mellow sympathy. But only youth can begin that habitual discipline of mind and will which is the root, if not of all success, at least of that which blooms in the comfort of other people. Carry the logic of the vocation-mongers to its extreme. Grant that every girl in college ought someday to marry, and that we must train her, while we have her, for this profession. Then let the college insist on honest work, clear thinking and bright imagination in those great fields in which successive generations reap their intellectual harvest. Captain Rostron of the Carpathia once spoke to a body of college students who were on fire with enthusiasm for the rescuer of the Titanic’s survivors. He ended with some such words as these: “Go back to your classes and work hard. I scarcely knew that night what orders were coming out when I opened my [pg 193]mouth to speak, but I can tell you that I had been preparing to give those orders ever since I was a boy in school.” Many a home may be saved from shipwreck in the future because today girls are doing their duty in their Greek class rooms and Physics laboratories.

But this fallacy of domesticity probes deeper than we have yet indicated. It is, in the last analysis, superficial to ticket ourselves off as house-keepers or even as women. What are these unplumbed wastes between housekeepers and teachers, mothers and scholars, civil engineers and professors of Greek, senators and journalists, bankers and poets, men and women? A philosopher has pointed out that what we share is vastly greater than what separates us. We walk upon and must know the same earth. We live under the same sun and stars. In our bodies we are subject to the same laws of physics, biology and chemistry. We speak the same language, and must shape it to our use. We are products of the same past, and must understand it in order to understand the present. We are vexed by the same questions about Good and Evil, Will and Destiny. We all bury our dead. We shall all die ourselves. Back of our vocations lies human life. Back of the streams in which we dabble is that immortal sea which brought us hither. To sport upon its shore and hear the roll of its mighty waters is the divine privilege of youth.

If any difference is to be made in the education of boys and girls, it must be with the purpose of giving to future women more that is “unvocational,” “unapplied,” “unpractical.” As it happens, such studies as these are the ones which the mother of a family, as well as a teacher or writer, is most sure to apply practically in her vocation. The last word on this aspect of the subject was said by a woman in a small Maine town. Her father had been a day laborer, her husband was a mechanic. She had five children, and, of course, did all the house-work. She also belonged to a club which studied French history. To a foolish expression of surprise that with all her little children [pg 194]she could find time to write a paper on Louis XVI she retorted angrily: “With all my children! It is for my children that I do it. I do not mean that they shall have to go out of their home, as I have had to, for everything interesting.” But the larger truth is that the value of a woman as a mother depends precisely upon her value as a human being. And it is for that reason that in her youth we must lead one who is truly thirsty only to fountains pouring from the heaven’s brink. It might seem cruel if it did not merely illustrate the law of risk involved in any creative process, that the more generously women fulfil the “function of their sex” the more they are in danger of losing their souls to furnish a mess of pottage. The risk of life for life at a child’s birth is more dramatic but no truer than the risk of soul for body as the child grows. In the midst of petty household cares the nervous system may become a master instead of a servant, a breeder of distempers rather than a feeder of the imagination. The unhappiness of homes, the failure of marriage, are due as often to the poverty-stricken minds, the narrowed vision of women as to the vice of men.

Their sense is with their senses all mix’d in,

Destroyed by subtleties these women are.

George Meredith’s prayer for us, “more brain, O Lord, more brain!” we shall still need when “votes for women” has become an outworn slogan.

No one claims that character is produced only by college training or any other form of education. There are illiterate women whose wills are so steady, whose hearts are so generous, and whose spirits seem to be so continuously refreshed that we look up to them with reverence. They have their own fountains. It would be a mistake to suppose that because they are “open at the outlet” they are “closed at the reservoir.” But there is a class of women who are impelled toward knowledge (as still others are impelled toward music or art) and whose success in anything [pg 195]they do will depend upon their state of mind. We ought to assume that the girls who go to college belong to this class, however far from the springs of Helicon they mean to march in the future. It is a terrible thing that we should think of taking one hour of their time while they are in college for any course that does not enrich the intellect and add to the treasury of thoughts and ideas upon which the woman with a mind will always be drawing. Spirit is greater than intellect, and may survive it in the course of a long life. But in the active years, for this kind of woman, the mental life becomes one with the spiritual. A lusty serviceableness will issue from their union. If mental interests seem sterile, the cure, as far as the college is concerned with it, is to deepen, not to lessen the love of learning. The renewal of sincerity, humility and enthusiasm in the age-old search for truth is more necessary than the introduction of new courses, which must be applied to be of value, and which at this time in a girl’s experience, and under these conditions, can give only partial and superficial data.

Our lives are subject to a thousand changes. In the home as well as out of it, we shall meet, face to face, fruition and disappointment, rapture and pain, hope and despair. In these tests of the soul’s health what good will domestic science do us? Not by sanitation is sanity brought forth. Women do not gather courage from calories, nor faith from refrigerators. But every added milestone along the road from youth to age shows us the truth of Cicero’s claim, made after he had borne public care and known private grief, for the faithful, homely companionship of intellectual studies: “For other things belong neither to all times and ages nor all places; but these pursuits feed our growing years, bring charm to ripened age, adorn prosperity, offer a refuge and solace to adversity, delight us at home, do not handicap us abroad, abide with us through the watches of the night, go with us on our travels, make holiday with us in the country.”

[pg 196]Upon women, in crucial hours, may depend the peace of the old, the fortune of the middle-aged, the hopefulness of the young. In such an hour we do not wish to be dismissed as were the women of Socrates’s family, who had had no part in the bright life of the Athens of which he was taking leave. Shall we become the bread in the sacrament of life, ourselves unfed? the fire on the hearth, ourselves unkindled?

[pg 197]

The Land of the Sleepless Watchdog

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If from almost any given point in the United States you start out towards the Southwest, you will reach in time the Land of the Sleepless Watchdog. On each of the scattered farms, defending it against all intruders, you will find a band of eager and vociferous dogs—dogs who magnify their calling because they have no other, and who, by the same token lose all sense of proportion in life. It is “theirs not to reason why,” but to put up warnings and threats, and to be ready for the fight that never comes.

If you enter a domain without previous understanding with them, you are powerless for mischief, for you are in the center of a publicity beside which any other publicity is that of a hermit’s cell. The whole farm knows where you are, and all are suspicious of your predatory intentions. You can have none under these conditions. Meanwhile the whole pack voices its opinion of you and your unworthiness.

This is supposing that you are actually there. If you are not, it amounts to the same thing. Every dog knows that you meant to be there, or at any rate, that to be there was the scheme of someone equally bad. The slightest rustle of the wind, the call of a bird, the ejaculation responsive to a flea—any of these, anything to set the pack going.

And one pack starts the next. And the cries of the two start the third and the fourth, and each of these reacts on the first. The cry passes along the line, “We have him at last, the mad invader.” There being no other enemy, they cry out against each other. And of late [pg 198]years, since the barbed wire choked the cattle ranges, and gave pause to the coyote, there has been no enemy. But the dogs are there, though their function has passed away. It is but a tradition—a remembrance. Only to the dogs themselves does any reality exist.

Yet, such is the nature of dogs and men, the watchdog was never more numerous nor more alert than today. He was never in better voice, and having nothing whatever to do, he does it to the highest artistic perfection. At least one justification remains. Civilization has not done away with the moon. In the stillness of night, its great white face peeps over the hills at intervals no dog has yet determined. Under this weird light, strange shadowy forms trip across the fields. The watchdogs of each farm have given warning, and the whole countryside is eager with vociferation.

Men say the Sleepless Watchdog’s bark is worse than his bite. This may be, but it is certain that his feed is worse than both bark and bite together. In the language of economics, the Sleepless Watchdog is an unremunerative investment. He has “eaten his master out of house and home,” and by the same token, he imagines that he himself is now the master.

By this time, the gentle but astute reader has observed that this is no common “Dog Story,” but a parable of the times we live in; and that the real name of the Land of the Sleepless (but unremunerative) Watchdog is indeed Europe.

And because of the noisy and costly futility of the whole system in his own and other countries, Professor Ottfried Nippold of Frankfort-on-the-Main, has made a special study of the Watchdogs of Germany.

The good people of the Fatherland some forty years ago were drawn into a great struggle with their neighbors beyond the Rhine. To divert his subjects’ attention from their ills at home, the Emperor of France wagered his [pg 199]Rhine provinces against those of Prussia, in the game of War. The Emperor lost, and the King of Prussia took the stakes: for in those days it was a divine right of Kings to deal in flesh and blood.

The play is finished, the board is cleared, Alsace and Lorraine were added to Germany, and the mistake is irretrievable. A fact accomplished cannot be blotted out. But hopeless as it all is, there are watchdogs who, on moonlight nights, call across the Vosges for revenge—for honor, for War, War, War. And the German watchdogs cry War, War, War. The word sounds the same in all languages. The watchdogs bark, but the battle will never begin.

It is Professor Nippold’s purpose, in his little book Der Deutsche Chauvinismus, to show that the clamor is not all on one side. The watchdogs of the Paris Boulevards are noisy enough, but those of Berlin are just the same. And as these are not all of Germany, so the others are not all of France. A great, thrifty, honest, earnest, cultured nation does not find its voice in the noises of the street. On the other hand, Germany, industrious, learned, profound and brave, is busy with her own affairs. She would harm no one, but mind her own business. But she is entangled in mediæval fashions. She has her own band of watchdogs, as noisy, as futile, as unthinkingly clamorous as ever were those of France. The “Sleepless Watchdog” in France is known as a Chauvinist, in England as a Jingo, in Prussia as a Pangermanist. They all bay at the same moon, are excited over the same fancies; they hear nothing, see nothing but one another. All alike live in an unreal world, in its essentials a world of their own creation. With all of them the bark is worse than the bite, and their “Keep” is more disastrous than both together.

And as each nation should look after its own, Dr. Nippold lists—blacklists if you choose—the Chauvinists of Germany.

[pg 200]At first glance, they make an imposing showing. A long series of newspapers, dozens of pamphlets, categories of bold and impressive warnings against the schemes of England and France, a set of appeals in the name of patriotism, of religion, of force, of violence. A long-drawn call to hate, to hate whatever is not of our own race or class; and above all the banding together of the “noblest” profession as against the encroachments of mere civilians, of men whose hands are soiled with other stains than blood.

We have, first and foremost, General Keim, Keim the invincible, Keim the insatiable, Keim of the Army-League, Keim the arch hater of England and of Russia and of France, Keim the jewel of the fighting Junker aristocracy of Prussia—the band of warriors who despise all common soldiers—“white slave” conscripts, and with them all civilians, who at the best are only potential common soldiers. “War, war, on both frontiers,” is Keim’s obsessing vision. War being inevitable and salutary, it cannot come too soon. The duty of hate, he urges on all the youth of Germany, maidens as well as men. It is said that Keim is the only man of the day who can maintain before an audience of Christians such a proposition as this: “We must learn to hate, and to hate with method. A man counts little who cannot hate to a purpose. Bismarck was hate.”

From Gaston Choisy’s clever character sketch of General Keim, we learn that as a soldier or tactician, he was a man of no note. He has no ability as a thinker or as a speaker, but this he has: “the courage of his vulgarity.” “At the age of 68, suffering from Bright’s Disease, he travelled all Germany, his great head always in ebullition, gathering everywhere for the war-fire all the news, all the stories and all the lies susceptible of aiding the Cause.” “Without Bismarck’s authority, he had his manner—a mixture of baseness, of atrocious joviality, a studied cynicism and a lack of conscience.” “How generous are [pg 201]circumstances! The spirit of Von Moltke the silent, with the speech of an enfant terrible, an endless flow of language, an endless course of words.”

To the Chauvinists of France, Keim is indeed Germany. As to his own country, Von Ferlach sagely remarks: “Keims and Keimlings unfortunately are all about us. But they are a vanishing minority.” The great culture peoples do not hate one another. (“Die grossen Kultur-volker hassen einander nicht.”)

Next on the black list, comes General Frederick von Bernhardi, with his Germany and the Next War, the need to obliterate France, while giving the needed chastisement to England. A retired officer of cavalry, said to be disgruntled through failure of promotion, a tall, spare, serious, prosy figure, a writer without inspiration, a speaker without force. Germany has never taken him seriously; for he lacks even the clown-charm of his rival Keim, but the mediæval absurdities and serious extravagances in his defense of war are well tempered to stir the eager watchdogs in the rival lands. In spite of his pleas, “historical, biological and philosophical,” for war, he is a man of peace, for which, in the words of General Eichhorn, “one’s own sword is the best and strongest pledge.”

Doubtless other retired officers hold views of the same sort, as do doubtless many who could not be retired too soon for the welfare of Germany. Into the nature of their patriotism, the Zabern incident has thrown a great light. “Other lands may possess an army,” a Prussian officer is quoted as saying, “the army possesses Germany.”

The vanities and follies of Prussian militarism are concentrated in the movement called Pangermanism. Behind this, there seem to be two moving forces, the Prussian Junker aristocracy, and the financial interests which center about the house of Krupp. The purposes of Pangermanism seem to be, on the one hand, to prevent parliamentary government in Germany; and on the other, to take part in whatever goes on in the world outside. [pg 202]Just now, the control of Constantinople is the richest prize in sight, and that fateful city is fast replacing Alsace in the passive role of “the nightmare of Europe.” The journalists called Conservative find that “Germany needs a vigorous diplomacy as a supplement to her power on land and sea, if she is to exercise the influence she deserves.” And a vigorous foreign policy is but another name for the use of the War System as a means of pushing business. From the daily press of Germany may be culled many choice examples of idle Jingo talk, but analysis of the papers containing it shows their affiliation with the “extreme right,” a small minority in German politics, potent only through the indiscretions of the Crown Prince, and through the fact that the Constitution of Germany gives its people no control over administrative affairs. The journals of this sort—the Tägliche Rundschau, the Berliner Post, the Deutsche Tageszeitung, and the Berliner Neueste Nachrichten are the property of Junker reactionists, or else, like the Lokal Anzeiger, the Rheinisch-Westphalische Zeitung, the organs merely of the War trade House of Krupp. Out from the ruck of hack writers, there stands a single imposing figure, Maximilian Harden, the “poet of German politics,” who “casts forth heroic gestures and thinks of politics in terms of æsthetics, the prophet of a great, strong and saber-rattling nation,” whose force shall be felt everywhere under the sun.

Bloodthirsty pamphlets in numbers, are listed by Nippold. But the anonymous writers (“Divinator,” “Rhenanus,” “Lookout,” “Deutscher,” “Politiker,” “Activer General” and “Deutscher Officier”) count for less than nothing in personal influence. They do little more than bay at the moon.

Impressive as Nippold’s list seems at first, and dangerous to the peace of the world, after all one’s final thought is this: How few they are, and how scant their influence, as compared with the wise, sane, commonsense of sixty millions of German people. The two great papers that [pg 203]stand for peace and sanity, the Berliner Tageblatt and the Frankfurter Zeitung, with the Münchener Neueste Nachrichten, are read daily by more Germans than all the reactionary sheets combined. The Socialist organ Vorwaerts, avowedly opposed to monarchy as well as to militarism, carries farther than all the organs of Pangermanism of whatever kind.

We may justly conclude that the war spirit is not the spirit of Germany, a nation perforce military because the people cannot help themselves. So far as it goes, it is the spirit of a narrow clique of “sleepless watchdogs” whose influence is waning, and would be non-existent were it not for the military organization which holds Germany by the throat, but which has pushed the German people just as far as it dares.

A second lesson is that while forms of government, and social traditions, may differ, the relation of public opinion towards war is practically the same in all the countries of Western Europe. It is in its way the test of European civilization. Each nation has its “sleepless watchdogs,” and those of one nation fire the others, when the proper war scares are set in motion by the great unscrupulous group of those who profit by them. The war promoters, the apostles of hate, form a brotherhood among themselves, and their success in frightening one nation reacts to make it easier to scare another.

This the reader may remember, as a final lesson. There is no civilized nation which longs for war. There is nowhere a reckless populace clamoring for blood. The schools have done away with all that. The spread of commerce has brought a new Earth with new sympathies and new relations, in which international war has no place.

If you are sure that your own nation has no design to use violence on any other, you may be equally sure that no other has evil designs on you. The German fleet is not built as a menace to England; whether it be large or small should concern England very little. Just as little does the [pg 204]size of the British fleet bear any concern to Germany. The German fleet is built against the German people. The growth of the British army and navy has in part the same motive. Armies and navies hold back the waves of populism and democracy. They seem a bulwark against Socialism. But in the great manufacturing and commercial nations, they will not be used for war, because they cannot be. The sacrifice appalls: the wreck of society would be beyond computation.

But still the sleepless watchdogs bark. It is all that they can do, and we should get used to them. In our own country, whatever country it may be, we have our own share of them, and some of them bear distinguished names. No other nation has any more, and no nation takes them really seriously, any more than we do. And one and all, their bark is worse than their bite, and the cost of feeding them is doubtless worse than either.

[pg 205]

En Casserole

Return to Table of Contents

Special to our Readers

Those of you who have not received your Reviews on time will probably now find a double interest in the article in the last number, on Our Government Subvention to Literature. In conveying periodicals so cheaply, not only is Uncle Sam engaged in a bad job, but he is doing it cheaply, and consequently badly, and he has more of it than he can well handle. He is at length carrying them as freight, and most of you know what that means. We are receiving complaints of delay on all sides, and an appreciable part of the unwelcome subvention Uncle Sam is giving us, goes in sending duplicates of lost copies. We don’t acknowledge any obligation, legal or moral, to do this; but we love our subscribers—more or less disinterestedly—and try to do them all the kinds of good we can. Partly to enable us to do that, as long as the subvention is given, we follow the example of the excellent Pooh Bah, and put our pride (and the subvention) into our pockets. Even if we did not love our subscribers so, we should have to do the pocketing all the same, because our competitors do. Competitors are always a very shameless sort of people.

We wish, however, that Uncle Sam would keep his subvention in his own pocket, and so lead to a higher plane all competitors in the magazine business, including some of those who don’t want to rise to a higher plane. The best of such a proceeding on his part would be that he would also, through the complicated influences described in the article referred to encourage up to a higher plane [pg 206]those who write for popular magazines. Those who write for The Unpopular Review are, of course, on the highest possible plane already. This remark is made solely for the benefit of readers taking up the Review for the first time. To others it is superfluous, and if there is anything we try to avoid, it is, as we have so many times to tell volunteer contributors, superfluities. Even popularity we do not try to avoid, but—!

The foregoing paragraph was written with little thought of what was coming to be added to it. You and we have something to be proud of. Our Review has been doing its part in saving all Europe from the waste of hundreds of millions of money, and the literatures of all Europe from a degradation like that through which our own is passing. Read the following letter:

Dear Mr. [Editor]:

I have already sent a line through —— thanking you for the copy of The Unpopular Review, which you were good enough to send me, but I should like to repeat my thanks to you again direct, and at the same time, tell you how the Review has been of service to European publishers.

The article in the last number entitled Our Government Subvention to Literature naturally interested me very much from a personal point of view, but the statistics you give showing the effect of second class matter rate on book sales was very valuable to me as the representative of the English Publishers on the Executive Committee of the International Publishers Congress.

At the Congress held at Budapest last June, a resolution was adopted instructing the Congress to press for a reduced rate of postage on periodicals, and an international stamp. The steps to be taken in order to carry out this resolution were discussed at the meeting of the Committee last week held at Leipzig, when I produced the copy of your article, and gave the Committee a summary of the statistics. The result was the unanimous decision to take no further steps in the matter.

I tremble to think of what might have happened if I had not had your article before me, for the point of view which you have put forward was one that had not occurred to anyone else connected with the Congress, and if the resolution had not been cut out at this last meeting of the Executive Committee, it would [pg 207]have gone before the Postal Conference which is to be held in Madrid this autumn, backed by practically every European country.

I feel we all owe you a debt of gratitude for bringing out the facts so clearly, and believe that you will like to know what has taken place.

While we are not slow to take all the credit that our supporters and ourselves are entitled to in this matter, we should be very slow tacitly to accept the lion’s share of it, which is due to Colonel C.W. Burrows of Cleveland, who supplied all of the facts and nearly all of the expression of the article in question, and who has for years, lately as President of the One Cent Letter Postage League, been devoting himself with unsparing energy and self-sacrifice to stopping the waste of money and capacity that the mistaken outbreak of paternalism we are discussing has brought upon the country.

Demos is a good fellow—when he behaves himself, and that generally means when he is not abused or flattered; but how supremely ridiculous, not to say destructive, he is when he gets to masquerading in the robes of the scholar or the judge; and how criminal is the demagogue who seeks personal aggrandisement by dangling those robes before him.

Our modesty has been so anesthetized by the preceding letter, that it permits us to show you, in strict confidence of course, a paragraph from another. A new subscriber, apparently going it blind on the recommendation of a friend, writes:

“I am told it is the best gentleman’s magazine in the United States.”

Now, somehow, “gentleman” is a word that we are very chary of using. We couldn’t put that remark on an advertising page, but perhaps there is no inconsistency in putting it here, and confessing that we like it—and that we even suspect that we have always had a subconscious idea that [pg 208]it was just what we were after—that it includes, or ought to include, about everything that we are trying to accomplish. In any interpretation, it is certainly an encouragement to keep pegging away.

Most of our readers probably remember a letter on pp. 432-3 of the Casserole of the April-June number, from an individual who thought we were trying to humbug the wage-receiving world into a false and dangerous contentment with existing conditions. This inference was probably drawn from our insistent promulgation of the belief that a man’s fortune depends more upon himself than upon his conditions.

As a contrast to that remarkable letter, it is a great pleasure to call attention to the following still more remarkable one. It is from a printer—not one in our employ.

I wish to congratulate you on the excellence of the Review, both from a literary and mechanical standpoint. As a “worker,” “a member of the Union,” it might be inferred that I endorse the views of the critics given on page 432 of the second number. Not so. It is such views as his that harm the unthinking—those who think capital is the emblem of wickedness.

I believe that individual merit and worth are the only things worth while. The workman who puts his best efforts into his labor, and takes a personal pride in making his productions as nearly perfect as possible, will be recognized, and his individual worth to his employer will raise him above the “common level.” All this rot about a “ruling oligarchy” “grinding down the poorer class” is dangerous. The man who has no ambition above ditch digging, and who endeavors to throw out as little dirt in a day as he possibly can, will always be one of “the submerged.” It lies with each one—outside of unavoidable physical or mental infirmities—whether he shall rise or sink.

Again I must congratulate you on the stand you are taking in The Unpopular Review. I “take” and read twenty to twenty-five magazines and for over forty years have been trying to educate myself to a right way of thinking, and the result is I believe as above briefly outlined.

Especially good is The Greeks on Religion and Morals, also The Soul of Capitalism, Trust-Busting as a National Pastime, and Our Government Subvention to Literature.

[pg 209]Possibly some of you are disappointed at not finding this number as full as the daily papers of wisdom on War and the Mexican situation. In one sense we are disappointed ourselves: for we had made arrangements for at least one article of that general nature from one of our best qualified contributors; but when it came time to write it (speaking by the calendar), he showed the excellence of his qualifications by saying that, considering the situation and the function of this Review, it was not time—that the situation had not yet become mature enough or broad enough for any general conclusions—for any treatment beyond that already well given by the newspapers and other organs of frequent publication, and that they were giving all the details called for. We will wait, then, and try to philosophize when the time comes.

We find, however, that with little deliberate intention on our part, this number has turned out “seasonable” in another sense, and hope you will find it so. Witness the articles on Chautauqua, and Railway Junctions, and Tips (entitled A Stubborn Relic of Feudalism) and several others.

Philosophy in Fly Time

In the old days, before the destruction of the white pines removed the chief source of American inventiveness—the universal habit of whittling—every boy had a jackknife, and also had boxes, sometimes of wood, sometimes of writing paper, in which he kept flies. Now he has neither flies nor jackknife.

Then, when he wanted a fly, nine times out of ten he could catch one with a sweep of the hand. That was before the fly was charged with an amount of bad deeds, if they really were as bad as represented, which would have destroyed the human race long before the plagues of Egypt; or if not before the fly plague, would have caused that plague to leave no Egyptians alive to enjoy the later ones. With these new opinions of the fly, began a crusade against him; and now the boys can’t have any more fun with [pg 210]him—that is, only good boys can—the kind that catch him with illusive traps, for a cent a hundred. The other kind of boys may occasionally be sports enough to hunt him with the swatter; but it’s pretty poor hunting: for the game is so shy that generally before you get within reach of him, he is off: so swatting him is difficult, while catching him by hand, as we boys used to, is virtually impossible.

Now for some questions profound enough to befit our pages. (I) Have only a select group of very alert and quick flies survived? or (II) Have the flies told each other that that big clumsy brute with only two legs to walk on, and two aborted ones which do all sorts of foolish things—the brute with only one lens to an eye (though he sometimes puts a glass one over it) and a pitifully aborted proboscis—the brute that has no wings, and can’t get ahead more than about once his own length in a second—that this clumsy brute had at last got so jealous of the six legs, hundred-lensed eyes, proboscis, wings and speed of the fly, that he had started a new crusade against him, and must be specially avoided?

Then, after it is ascertained whether the timidity of the flies is because this story has been passed around among them, or only because men have already killed off all but the specially quick and timid ones; we hope our investigators may find an answer to the farther question: (III) How, if a tenth of what some folks say against flies is true, the human race has so long survived?

To avoid misapprehension, it should be added that despite the availability, in our boyhood, of flies as playmates, we don’t like ‘em, especially when they light on our hands to help us write articles for this Review.

Setting Bounds to Laughter

That there is even a measure of personal liberty on the earth, is one of our most pointed proofs that the universe is governed by design. For liberty is loved neither [pg 211]by the many nor by the few; its defense has always been unpopular in the extreme, and can be manfully undertaken only in an age of moral heroism. The present is no heroic age, and hence our personal rights fall one by one, without defense, and apparently without regret. The losses thus incurred must be left to future historians to weigh and to lament. There is, however, one of our natural rights, now cruelly beset by its enemies, that is too precious to surrender to the threnodies of the future historians. This is the right to laugh.

It is scarcely a quarter of a century since the first appearance of organized efforts to curb the spirit of laughter. All good men and women were hectored into believing that one should weep, not laugh, over the absurdities of men in their cups. Next, we were warned that it is unseemly and unChristian to laugh at a fellow-man’s discomfiture—an awkward social situation, a sermon or a political oration wrecked by stage fright, or a poem spoilt by a printer’s stupidity. Under shelter of the dogma that to laugh at the ridiculous is unlawful, there have recently grown into vigor multitudinous anti-laughter alliances, racial, national and professional. Not many years ago a censorship of Irish jokes was established, and this was soon followed by an index expurgatorious of Teutonic jokes. Our colored fellow citizens promptly advanced the claim that jokes at the expense of their race are “in bad taste”; and country life enthusiasts solemnly affirmed that the rural and suburban jokes are nothing short of national disasters. A recent press report informs us that the suffragette joke has been excluded from the vaudeville circuits throughout the country. And the movement grows apace. Domestic servants, stenographers, politicians, college professors, and clergymen are organizing to establish the right of being ridiculous without exciting laughter.

But what does it all matter? What is laughter but an old-fashioned aid to digestion, more or less discredited by [pg 212]current medical authority? It is time we learned that laughter has a social significance: it is the first stage in the process of understanding one’s fellow man. Professor Bergson to the contrary notwithstanding, you can not laugh with your intellect alone. An essential element of your laughter is sympathy. You can not laugh at an idiot, nor at a superman. You can not laugh at a Hindoo or a Korean; you can hardly force a smile to your lips over the conduct of a Bulgar, a Serb, or a Slovak. You are beginning to find something comic in the Italian, because you are beginning to know him. And all the world laughs at the Irishman, because all the world knows him and loves him.

When Benjamin Franklin walked down the streets of Philadelphia, carrying a book under his arm, and munching a crust of bread, just one person observed him, a rosy maiden, who laughed merrily at him. As our old school readers narrated, with naïve surprise, this maiden was destined to become Franklin’s faithful wife. And yet psychology should have led us to expect such a result. The stupidest small boy making faces or turning somersaults before the eyes of his pig-tailed inamorata, evidences his appreciation of the sentimental value of the ridiculous. When did we first grant some small corner in our hearts to the Chinese? It was when we were introduced to Bret Harte’s gambler:

For ways that are dark and tricks that are vain,

The heathen Chinee is peculiar.

The natural history of the racial or professional joke is easily written. At the outset it is crude and cruel, wholly at the expense of the group represented. In time the world wearies of an unequal contest, and we have a new order of jokes, in which the intended victim acquits himself well. This, too, gives way to a higher order, in which race, nationality or profession is employed merely as [pg 213]a cloak for common humanity. The successive stages mark the progress in assimilation, induced, in large measure, by laughter. There is no other social force so potent in creating mutual understanding and practical fraternity of spirit; in establishing the essential unity of mankind underneath its phenomenal diversity. Setting bounds to laughter: why, this is to indenture the angel of charity to the father of lies and the lord of hate.

A Post Graduate School for Academic Donors

At a recent meeting of an University Montessori Club the case of donors to colleges and universities was reported on by a special committee. The majority report drew a pretty heavy indictment. It was shown that the givers to colleges and universities seldom considered the real needs of their beneficiaries. Donors liked to give expensive buildings without endowment for upkeep, liked to give vast athletic fields, rejoiced in stadiums, affected memorial statuary and stained glass windows, dabbled in landscape gardening, but seldom were known either to give anything unconditionally or, specifically, to destine a gift for such uninspiring needs as more books or professors’ pay. The result of giving without first considering the needs of the benefited college or university, was that every gift made the beneficiary more lopsided. Certain universities were almost capsized by their incidental architecture. Others were subsidizing graduate students to whom the conditions of successful research were denied. Still others were calling great specialists to the teaching force without providing the apparatus for the pursuit of these specialties. Others preferred to offer financial aid to students who were poor—in every sense. Donors apparently without exception had single-track minds. They saw plainly enough what they wanted to give, but never took the pains to see the donation in its relation to the institution as a whole. The majority report, which was [pg 214]drawn by our famous Latinist, Professor Claudius Senex, concluded with the despairing note Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. The minority report was delivered orally by young Simpson Smith of the department of banking and finance. He “allowed” that everything alleged by the majority report was true, but saw no use in dwelling on such truths, since donors always had done and always would do just as they darned pleased.

The Club took a more hopeful view of the case, and it was voted that our Club should resolve itself into the trustees and faculty of a Post Graduate School for Academic Donors. Our committee recommended that we qualify our advanced students by conferring the lower degree of Heedless Donor (H.D.) every year upon all givers who can be shown to have given at random. No method of instruction seemed more appropriate than the seminar plan of practical exercises based on concrete instances. The first laboratory experiment was performed in the presence of a Seminar of seven H.D.’s. in a specially called meeting of married professors attired only in bath gowns borrowed from the crews and base ball teams. Into this assembly the class of H.D.’s was suddenly introduced. They naturally inquired into the meaning of the spectacle, and were informed that in no case did the mere salary of these professors enable them to wear clothes at all. “But you do usually wear clothes?” inquired a student of a favorite professor. “How do you get them?” “By University extension lecturing at ten dollars a lecture” was the quiet answer. Another professor explained that he got his clothes by tutoring dull students, another by book reviewing. One somewhat shamefacedly said the clothes came from his wife’s money. One declined to answer, and, as a matter of fact, his clothes are habitually first worn by a more fortunate elder brother.

On the whole the results of our first seminary exercise were satisfactory. One student immediately drew a considerable check for the salary fund, another, who [pg 215]had been planning to give a hockey rink, said he would think things over. Still a third deposited forty pairs of slightly worn trousers with the university treasurer, “for whom it might concern.” Only one accepted the demonstration contentedly. He admitted that low pay and extra work were hard on the Professors, but he also felt that these outside activities advertised the university and were good business. Of course you wore out some professors in the process, but you could always get others.

Our second seminary exercise was of a less spectacular sort. The post graduate donors were each provided with a bibliography. This in every instance contained the titles of books that a particular professor or graduate student in the university would need to consult for his studies of the ensuing week. It was briefly explained by Professor Senex that original research could not be successfully accomplished without reference to all the original sources and to the writings of other scholars. The bibliographies ran from ten titles or so to nearly a hundred, according to the nature of the particular research involved. The exercise consisted in going to the university library and matching these titles of desiderata with the books actually in the catalogue. After varying intervals, the post graduate donors returned with their report. Nobody had found more than half the books sought for: many had found less.

The effect of this demonstration was interesting. The donor who had tended towards the hockey rink, instead transferred his $100,000 to the book purchase fund. He said he guessed the old place needed real books more than it needed artificial ice. Others followed his example according to their ability.

The student who was satisfied with our bath robe faculty meeting, came back from the library equally pleased. He had not compared his bibliography with the catalogue, but a brief general inspection had convinced him that there were already more books in the library than anybody [pg 216]could read. His intention held firm to give his Alma Mater a tower higher than any university tower on record and containing a chime of bells that periodically played the college song. The tower was naturally to bear his name, which was also his dear mother’s.

A Suggestion Regarding Vacations

Why wouldn’t it be well for the country colleges to shorten their summer vacations, and lengthen their winter ones? Then urban students would not, for so long a period in summer, be put to their trumps to find out what to do with themselves; and, what is more important, in winter both faculty and students would have increased opportunity for metropolitan experience. In the summer vacations, the cities are empty of music, drama, and most else of what makes them distinctively worth while. Intellectually, the country needs the city at least as much as, morally, the city needs the country.


We are disposed to do a little gratuitous advertising for good causes. Below is the first essay. It is perfectly genuine. Please send us some more.

Help Wanted. From a young gentleman of education, leisure and energy, who desires to devote a part of his time, in connection with scholars and philanthropists, to a reform of world-wide importance. Such a person may possibly learn of a congenial opportunity by addressing.

Care ofThe Unpopular Review.

A few hundred persons of the kind whose help is sought by this advertisement would have the salvation of the republic in their hands. But somehow those who have the leisure generally lack the desire; and those who have the desire generally lack the leisure.

[pg 217]

Simplified Spelling

After receiving, in answer to the invitation in our first number, a few bitter objections to simplified spelling, we have felt like apologizing each time we approached the subject. Perhaps the best apology we can make is that apparently the majority of our readers are interested in it. Therefore we hope that the others will tolerate as equably as they can, the devotion of a little space to it in the interest of the majority. Perhaps the objectors may ultimately be able to settle the difficulty as we and our house have settled another unconquerable nuisance—the dandelions on our lawns—: we have concluded to like them.

Our recent correspondence regarding Simplified Spelling has developed a few points which we submit to those who abominate it, those who favor it, and those who, like the eminent school-superintendent we have already quoted, and like ourselves for that matter, do both:

To a leading Professor of Greek:

I am more hopeful than you that the repetition of a consonant beginning the second syllable of a dissyllable, to close the preceding syllable, as in “differ”, “fiddle”, “gobble”, etc., wil “be generally accepted”, especially in view of the fact that it is alreddy “generally accepted”, and needs only to be extended to a minority of words.

“Annutther” is not “a fair illustration”. On the contrary, it is an exception that I probably was very injudicious to call any attention to; and the trouble with you scholars, I find all the way thru, is that you permit those little exceptions to influence you too much. If a good simplification is ever effected, it will be by cutting Gordian knots, and you all of you seem absolutely incapable of anything of the kind. I don’t expect anyhow to make much out of a man who will spell “peepl” “peopl”. Imagine all this said with a grin, not a frown!!

You wil never get back to “the old sounds” of the vowels, in God’s world.

As to the long sounds, I am going in for all I am worth on the double vowels. I alreddy agree with the English Society on [pg 218]“faather”, “feel” and “scuul”, and am going to do all I can for niit, and for spredding the oo in floor and door into snore, more, hole, poke, etc. “Awl”, “cow” and “go” are spelt wel, and their spelling shoud be spred. These seem to be the lines of least resistance. I find that they work first-rate in my own riting.

You make enuf serious objections to diacritical marks, but my serious objection to them is that they ar obstacles to lerners, especially forreners.

From his answer:

All right; I catch the grin, and cheerfully grin back. The business of a scholar (Emerson’s “man thinking”, Plato’s [Greek: philosophos]) is to take as long views as he can; in this case, to look far beyond the possibilities of my life-time. The more you people with the shorter views, as I venture to think them, agitate for and practise each little partial solution, the more you help on the threshing out which must go on for many years before we can arrive at any general solution. So, more power to your elbow!

Meantime my own spelling will continue to be—like the conventional spelling of the printers of today—a hodge-podge of inconsistencies, quite indefensible on rational grounds, and varying with circumstances. Of course the rational way to spell people is piipl, or pipl.

Which we think is an attempt to bolster up a lost cause.

From another reader:

Your closing sentence in the first number of The Unpopular Review states with a most distressing combination of vowels and outlandish collocation of consonants that you would like to hear from your readers on the subject…. Z is not a pretty letter, and to see it so frequently usurping the place so long held by s is far from gratifying to the eye….

Suppose you establish to your own satisfaction a method for assigning sound values; how will you reach the differences in vowel sounds that prevail in the United States? The New Englander’s mouthing of a differs from that of the Northern New Yorker, and both differ greatly from that of the Southerner—indeed, in the different Southern States there is variation…. At first I was interested in simplified spelling, but the eccentricities developed by its advocates alienated me long since, so I beg of you, drop it.

[pg 219]From our answer:

I delayed thanking you for your letter of the 29th until there should be time for you to see the April-June number.

I hope you are feeling better now.

If you are not, I do not think I can do much to console you, because when a man has been irritated into that position where the alleged beauty of a letter counts in so serious a question, he is probably beyond mortal help.

I have no desire “to reach the differences in vowel sounds that prevail in the United States”. There is not much difference among cultivated people. Probably a fair standard would be the conversation at the Century Club, where there are visitors from Maine to California, and hardly any noticeable difference in pronunciation.

There seems to be no disagreement among authorities that a simplified spelling would save a great deal of time among children….

Of course I have not been able to answer most of the letters I have received on the subject. I single yours out because you have had a fall from grace, and I feel guilty of having had something to do with it, by presenting stronger meat than was necessary, in our January number. I have fought on the Executive Committee of the Spelling Board against publishing anything of the English S.S.S.’s proposed improvements, for fear of arousing such prejudice as yours; and yet in our first number, I was insensibly led into, myself, publishing things that looked just as outlandish.

As I said at the outset, I hope you feel better since seeing the April-June number, and should be glad to know how you do feel.

From his reply:

Thank you very much for the courtesy of your letter of 9th April. I was surprised to receive it, as I did not suppose that your multifarious duties would permit you to notice my rather feeble protest. I was somewhat amused that you should think my irritation so extreme as to call for an effort to console me. I am sure I appreciate your attempt to do so. But really, I was not so hard hit as you thought, because I do not expect in my day (I am no longer a young man) to see the champions of “simplified spelling” (some of it seems to me the reverse of “simplified”) gain such headway as to materially mar my pleasure in the printed page, for I do not believe you will allow the atrocities of the last few pages of your first number to creep [pg 220]into the delightful essays which render The Unpopular Review such pleasant and profitable reading….

I do not think any great respect is due the opinion of those who think that a simplified spelling would save a great deal of time among children, for it also seems to have its rules which will present as much difficulty to memorize as do the peculiarities of our present system….

Why thru? U does not always have the sound of double o—very rarely in fact. Why not throo—if the aim is to make the written sign correspond to the sound. Thru suggests huh.

From our answer:

Regarding “thru”, you justly say that u does not always have the sound of oo. The only sound of oo worthy of respect, with which I have an acquaintance, is in “door” and “floor”. The idea of using it to represent a u sound is perhaps the culminating absurdity of our spelling.

Your statement that simplified spelling “seems to have its rules which will present as much difficulty to memorize as do the peculiarities of our present system” overlooks the advantage that writing with a phonetic alphabet, like those of Europe, has over writing with purely conventional characters, as in China. Now English writing is probably the least phonetic in Europe. Simplifying it in any of the well-known proposed methods would be making it more phonetic, and consequently easier. At present it is a mass of contradictions, and the rules that can be extracted from it are overburdened with exceptions. Simplification will decrease both the exceptions and the rules themselves. There are now several ways of representing each of many sounds, and therefore several “rules” to be learned for each of such sounds. Simplification will tend to reduce those rules to one for each sound, and so far as it succeeds, will not “present as much difficulty to memorize as do the peculiarities of our present system.”

All the degrees of reformed spelling now in use are professedly but transitional. They may gradually advance into a respectable degree of consistency, but we expect that to be reached quicker by a coherent survival among the warring elements proposed by the S.S.S., the S.S.B. and the better individual reformers. Probably there is already more agreement than disagreement among these elements.

[pg 221]While the others are fighting it out, the various transition styles will do something to prepare parents to accept a more nearly perfect style for their children, and perhaps take an interest in seeing the various counsels of perfection fight each other.

A few words have already found their way into advertisements—tho, thru, thoro (a damnable way of spelling thurro), and the shortened terminal gram(me)s, og(ue)s and et(te)s; and these and a few more have found their way into correspondence on commonplace subjects; and the interest in the topic, especially among educators, is spreading. But most of the inconsistencies will probably bother and delay children and forreners until they are given something with some approach to consistency.

After we fight to something like agreement on a system, how are we to get it going?

It does not seem extravagant to expect that as soon as the weight of scholarly opinion endorses a vocabulary from our present alphabet consistent enough to afford a base for a reasonable spelling book, spelling books and readers will be prepared for the schools, and adopted by advanced teachers. Many are clamoring for such now. When the youngsters have mastered these, which they will do in a small fraction of the time wasted on their present books, they will of their own accord pick up without troubling their teachers a knowledge of the present forms. This they have always done when their teaching has been by the various phonetic methods with special letters, and have done both in much less time than they have needed for learning in the ordinary way. But they will prefer the reasonable forms, and this demand the publishers will probably not be slow to supply.