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Title: A Vision of the Future, Based on the Application of Ethical Principles

Author: Jane Hume Clapperton

Release date: February 21, 2022 [eBook #67463]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Swan Sonnenschein, 1904

Credits: Richard Tonsing and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)


Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Crown 8vo, 443 pp., price 8/6.
Scientific Meliorism and the Evolution of Happiness.

“In the Author we recognize an advanced thinker of a rare and high order.”—Westminster Review.

“We earnestly advise all to read this admirable book.”—Weekly Despatch.

Crown 8vo, 207 pp., cheap edition 6d.
Margaret Dunmore or A Socialist Home.

“The story in the life in La Maison is very well told.”—Literary World.

“In the chapter on Unselfish Love there are some sound and sensible views which might well be adopted without waiting for the advent of The Unitary Home.”—Times.

“Decidedly entertaining.”—Manchester Examiner.


The Application of Ethical Principles


To the Reader

Social Problems are the chief interest and study of my life.

In 1885 I published in London a work entitled Scientific Meliorism and the Evolution of Happiness.

The world of thought has acquired new knowledge since then; and many social changes have occurred. The present volume is not a replica of that work, although, as before, my aim has been to gather together the currents of meliorism pursuing diverse courses throughout society and to throw upon these the light of fresh knowledge gained by investigators of economic and social science; and, above all, the light emanating from philosophic thinkers who recognize that the path of improved outward conditions, and the path of inward progress for man, lie parallel to each other. It is my belief that in this dawning epoch of conscious evolution man may, if he so chooses, push forward the actual life of to-day and merge it into the ideal life of to-morrow.

There has recently occurred a widespread commemoration of the birth of that pure-souled American, who was pre-eminently a teacher of the ideal life. This volume, I hope, will be read in America, viand, to the memory of Emerson I tender homage, while adopting his phrase, “Hitch Your Wagon to a Star,” as the motto of my book.

The toil of man’s daily life alas! is indeed as the straining and jolting of a lumbering wagon,—it grovels, it wallows, it drags wearily, and the soul of the wagoner soars not.

But there are few thinkers who confront the great social question of the hour as not the rescue of the submerged tenth merely, not the elevation of the masses only, but the uplifting of all Humanity to higher levels in the scale of being.

When the great process of social reform is animated and ruled by that lofty aspiration, the lumbering wagon of toil will become a triumphal chariot of moral and spiritual progress.



  Initial Chapter—Happiness 1
Part I—Economics in Modern Life
I The Industrial Revolution 23
II Organized Industry 51
Part II—The Physiological Aspects of the Subject
I The Law of Population 79
II The Problem of Sex 97
III Eugenics or Stirpiculture 114
IV Marriage 131
V Parentage 149
Part III—Abnormal Humanity
  The Elimination of Crime 163
Part IV—Evolution of the Emotions
I The Sentiments of Individual Rights and Social Justice 185
II Rapacity, Pride, Love of Property 202
III Personal Jealousy, National Patriotism 218
  Part V—Education, or Direct Training of Childhood to the Civilized Habit of Mind 237
Part VI—Conditions in Aid of Happy Life in a Developing Civilization
I The Needs of Adolescence 257
II Domestic Reform 268
Part VII—Religion and Religious Life
  Primal Elements in Humanity’s Evolution 287
  Summary 319
  Synopsis 325


The ultimate value of all effort is the production of happiness, and objects excite our interest in so far as we believe them to be conducive to that great and ultimate consummation of existence—Happiness.—J. C. Chatterji.

The age in which we live is one of great activity and general movement. We are passing out of the mindless, genetic, into the rational, conscious epochs of evolution; and while, at every stage of human history, right conduct depends objectively on relatively true thinking, and subjectively, on good impulses, a transitional period such as the present demands special efforts to attain to an adequate and clear conception of the problems of life.

If no correct philosophy of life comes to birth in the thinking centres of our social organism, general conduct will continue harmful to many and inimical to progress.

How may the truth of a philosophy be tested? No better answer, I think, can be given than that of Buddha, of whom it is chronicled that he said 2in reference to a projected philosophy—“After observation and analysis if it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Our theory of life must appeal to the developed reason of civilized man and carry a conviction of its truth. Moreover, it must be all-embracing. Sectional aims and aspirations will never suffice. The aim must be universal, i.e., directed to the well-being of all mankind.

In view of the question: “What is the primary object of human life?” two significant facts are apparent. First, the perpetual aim, conscious or instinctive, of man, as of all physical beings, is to compass the satisfaction of his desires, viz., contentment. Second, however diverse and conflicting may seem the opinions held by popular teachers on the subject, there is nevertheless an essential unity. For all point to some kind of happiness, in the present or future, for oneself, or others, for individuals, or for the race, as the ultimate end of existence.

A close observation of actual life—apart from theories of duty—reveals incontestably that the instinct to seek pleasure and avoid pain is universal and paramount. It is the general force ruling individual conduct. A child shrinks from lessons and seeks play because the one causes painful effort, the other gives pleasurable sensations, unless there are the beginnings of an intellectual sense and the child is what we call studious; in 3that case the sense of effort is overcome by the pleasure of learning, and there is no unwillingness. Or when the representative faculty is strong, the thought of a parent’s or teacher’s approval may be so clear in the young mind as to make the future happiness counterbalance the present effort. But it is always pleasure at the moment, or pleasure in anticipation, or fear of punishment, viz., avoidance of pain, that gives the stimulus to work. The human nature of a tender mother is much the same. She hates to hear her offspring cry, she loves to see them smile. She seems to sacrifice herself to them, but in reality it is not so; for her greatest pains and pleasures reach her through them. Her personal desires, her dearest hopes, are centred in her children. She is proud of their acquirements, ambitious for their future, happy in their success. When she strives to check and discipline them, it is because she dreads, for them and for herself, some baneful consequences should she refrain. She does not act for a selfish end. Her nature is more complex, far wider and deeper than the child’s; but her action is essentially the same. She is avoiding painful and seeking pleasurable sensations, present and future, for herself and her children.

Nor with the poor man is the position different. The pain of hunger or the dread of hunger, for himself or those beings whom he loves, stimulates to a life of continuous and wearing toil. If he submit to present pain, it is that he may avoid 4remote pain, and secure the satisfaction of his most pressing wants.

The leisured classes are differently situated. With conditions of life that place them above the struggle for subsistence, they seek enjoyment according to individual character and tastes. Whatever interests the mind and stirs the emotions pleasurably will be pursued. We speak of this and that career as guided by genius, ambition, benevolence, and so forth, but in every case these qualities of mind have pushed choice in the direction which will gratify the individual.

If we say goodness, not happiness, is the proper aim of life, we must allow that goodness means the aiding to bring happiness to mankind. Religions signifying less than this are unworthy the name of religion. Now it is emphatically the good who keenly suffer in the midst of an evil social state where poverty, misery and crime abound. It has been truly said—“The contrast between the ideal and the actual of humanity lies as a heavy weight upon all tender and reflective minds.” These perceive that goodness, in their own case, has depended largely on the conditions of their lives, while thousands of their fellow-creatures have had little scope for goodness, because born and brought up in degraded, vile conditions they had no power to escape from. It is no consolation to the good to point to a future happy state and to immortality for themselves. The actual is what concerns them. Their feelings get no rest, their 5intellects surge with perpetual efforts to conceive some means of radical reform, some method to secure more goodness and more happiness for all, i.e. for every woman, man and child, alive in the present day.

Turning now to published opinions concerning the object of life, Carlyle taught that conscientious work was the main business of civilized man. “Be indifferent,” he cried, “alike to pleasure and pain; care only to do work, honest, successful work (no futilities) in this hurly-burly world.” He directed attention from abstract ideals of the future to the actual life of the present, pointing out the miseries and shams of the evil social state and powerfully inveighing against its corruptions. To maintain an outward existence of active usefulness and an inward state of quietism and stoicism was Carlyle’s conception of an individual’s duty, but while there was to be no seeking for personal reward he believed this course would result in blessedness, and blessedness meant something purer, nobler, more desirable than happiness. If we take his own history set forth in the Reminiscences as carrying out this theory, we find that in his case it broke down. He toiled and plodded, doing successful work to the end of what appeared a noble, victorious career, but the blessedness never came, or if it did, it was not nobler and purer than happiness. It was a gloomy state, bankrupt of hope and full of querulous, dissatisfied egotism.

George Eliot gave us no theory of life in any of her 6works of genius. The action of her influence is, however, unmistakeable. It was to develop social and sympathetic feeling, to make individuals tolerant and tender towards their fellows, judging none without due regard to his or her surroundings. She has accustomed her thoughtful readers to the scientific aspect of human nature and social life, to watch the manifold relations between the two, the action and interaction of forces without and within, and to see the continuity of causation along with the reforming effect of ceaseless changes. The evolutional conception of life underlies all her work. The pictures are realistic, there is no false colouring and vain delusions, no perfection of character—but aspiration, effort, broad humanity—and no perfect happiness attained. She indicated, however, that the social state wants altering, and readjustments there would conduce to nobler life and greater happiness. She hoped for progress by gradual changes in the outward social system and in inward human nature. “What I look to,” she once said, in conversation with a friend, “is a time when the impulse to help our fellows shall be as immediate and irresistible as that which I feel to grasp” (and as she spoke she grasped the mantelpiece) “something firm if I am falling.” Although George Eliot formulated no theory I conceive she held the belief that happiness for all at all times is the object of life, and to be arrived at, chiefly, through the development of the altruistic or sympathetic side of human nature.

7Some writers teach that culture is most to be desired. The rapid growth of wealth in this country has forced upwards in the social scale a class of people destitute of culture and refinement. This class dominates society and takes the lead in fashion. Luxury and ostentation are everywhere prominent; extravagant modes of living prevail without the comfort of the former simpler and more genial modes, and this is side by side with poverty and destitution that do not decrease. Patronage, with its demoralizing influence on both classes, is the most conspicuous bond between the wealthy and the poor, and vulgarity of mind characterizes the age. There is little to surprise us in the fact that gentle, refined natures withdraw from public life into a narrow sphere, not necessarily a selfish one, but a sphere bounded and circumscribed by their own personal tastes and temperaments. Finding solace in intellectual pursuits and a pure elevated enjoyment in the study of art and literature, they adopt the theory that culture is the proper business of man. Sweetness and light have been held up as the panacea for all the ills of life and the “elevation of the masses” as the true social progress.

Other teachers, thinking less of intelligence than of moral sentiment, point to perfection of character as the aim of life. They recognize the marked diversity in human nature. Some intellects are slow and dull, incapable of being kindled into fervour or brightened into swift reflection, and culture for such is hopeless. But in God’s sight, surely, 8all men are equal. Birds without song have brilliant plumage to compensate the defect, and so with man. The “law of compensation” holds throughout humanity they have said, and, for the most part, hearts are deep and tender even when heads are dull. Our finest works of literature and art may fail to give one pleasurable sensation for lack of the special faculty to apprehend their beauty, but kindness makes the whole world kin. When the noble, generous, sympathetic side of human nature is appealed to there comes a quick response. Happiness is the aim of life, but happiness implies excellence of character, the emotional and moral elevation of all mankind.

That Ruskin’s views were similar to the above we learn from his Crown of Wild Olive. “Education,” he says there, “does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know—it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave. It is not teaching the youth of England the shape of letters and the tricks of numbers, and then leaving them to turn their arithmetic to roguery and their literature to lust. It is, on the contrary, training them into the perfect exercise and kingly continence of their body and souls by kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept and by praise—but, above all, by example.”

From the field of modern science there has come as yet no direct teaching on the subject of life’s duties and purpose, but two of our eminent scientists have thrown out hints that are important and significant. 9The late Professor Huxley says of his own career: “The objects I have had in view are briefly these—To promote the increase of natural knowledge and forward the application of scientific method to all problems of life—in the conviction that there is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and action and the resolute facing of the world as it is when the garment of make-believe by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features is stripped off.” (Methods and Results, Essays by Thomas M. Huxley.)

Professor Sir Oliver Lodge has stated that new paths of investigation are opening up to science. Telepathy, clairvoyance and some other allied psychic states have been tested and found in the range of actual fact. They reveal qualities in man which although special to a few individuals only, are latent it may be in all, and point to an unknown province of nature to which man seems related independently of his five senses. It becomes evident that by the “resolute facing of the world as it is,” science is altering our conception of man’s existence and nature, and extending our vista of his future.

Positivist thinkers, who base their teaching on materialistic philosophy, have bright anticipations for the human race, although ages may elapse before the realization of their hopes; and the existence of poverty and misery in our midst is fully recognized, graphically described, and feelingly deplored. The 10exponents of Positivism are eloquent, cultured, refined. We want a new religion, they say, and without that, no rapid progress can be made. The public mind is all at sea, floating in a chaos of unfixed beliefs, and to reach settled convictions and formulate a creed is the crying need of our times. Religion is a scheme of thought and life whereby the whole effort of individual men and societies of men is concentrated in common and reciprocal activity with reference to a Superior Being which men and societies alike may serve. The Superior Being is collective humanity, and men’s true business is to understand and seek to perfect human nature and the social state.

A marked feature of present-day French literature, we are told, is a reaction of religious sentiment against the rule of scientific naturalism, and religious sentiment dominates in the strangely pathetic and fascinating journal of the Swiss author, Amiel, which has been widely read. “To win true peace,” says Amiel, “a man needs to feel himself in the right road, i.e., in order with God and the Universe. This faith gives strength and calm. I have not got it. Sybarite and dreamer,” so he addresses himself, “will you go on like this to the end for ever, tossed backwards and forwards between duty and happiness, incapable of choice and action? Is not life the test of our moral force? Are not inward waverings temptations of the soul?” To the question—Will all religions be suppressed by science? he replies: “All those that start from a 11false conception of nature, certainly,” and adds reflectively: “If the scientific conception of nature prove incapable of bringing harmony to man, what will happen?” To which he answers: “We shall have to build a moral city without God, without an immortality of the soul.” Then, protesting against Emil de Laveleyes’ notion that civilization could not last without belief in God and a future life, he exclaims: “A belief is not true because it is useful; and it is truth alone—scientific, established, proved and rational truth—which is capable of satisfying now-a-days the awakened minds of all classes.”

I have here presented what is only a meagre reflection of portions of our mental atmosphere, but I know of no clearer, more definite thoughts emanating from influential teachers calculated to throw light on the great enigma of life. It may seem to my readers that on these mental heights unanimity exists as little as on the lower planes of man’s discordant impulses, his confused and conflicting actions. Clearly we have no philosophy of life as groundwork to orderly personal and social action, no religion of vital power to bind the nations in one, no moral code adapted to the complexities of our social relations, and, above all, no steady belief in a universal love to sweeten society from end to end and create the requisite medium in which alone the nobler qualities of human nature will bud and blossom.

Nevertheless the diverse opinions held by the 12above thinkers are not irreconcilable. Carlyle’s “blessedness” is the feeling of harmony with the divine order of development in humanity and the universe, therefore it is identical with Amiel’s “true peace.” The Positivists’ “Supreme Being” is the perfected man whose endowments of sympathetic fellowship, emotional sweetness, intellectual light, moral strength, kingly continence of body and soul, and knowledge of truth are specialized and pointed to by George Eliot, Ruskin, Huxley and others. All have simply given expression to aspiration from the subjective side of their human nature conformably to the evolutionary process within themselves, and the attitude of mind produced thereby in each. Partial, but not contradictory views, characterise those thinkings. Beneath superficial differences there lurks a unanimous belief that harmony of life with conditions—viz., happiness, is the legitimate aim of life. A Humanity steadily moving in a given direction may be infinitely varied in detail, and since the correct philosophy of life must be a wide generalization embracing all, we need not wonder at its slowness to appear. Modern nationalities are only now emerging from the individualistic to pass into the socialistic stage of industrial development. Our popular writers and teachers, springing from a specialized class—not the main body of the people—instinctively show their limitations by individualistic or sectional modes of thought. Mark, for instance, the insufficiency, nay, the pathetic absurdity of the 13thought—Culture will cure the ills of life, in face of the fact that thousands in our midst to-day possess no intellectual desires whatever, while the appetites belonging to their physical nature which forms the very basis of life have never been properly met and satisfied.

In setting forth a definition of happiness we have to recognize the marvellous complexity of human nature. We have to take into account not only variations distinctive in, and native to, separate individuals, but the gradations and variations within each individual arising from progress, or the reverse, in his or her outward condition and inward development. Contentment means the satisfaction of desire. But desire may be directed to the physical plane, the emotional plane, the mental plane, the spiritual plane. The harmony of all life is happiness, and brings blessedness or peace.

Having shown that practically infants, children, young men and women, adults and old people of every social class are similarly engaged in seeking happiness, each according to his tastes and tendencies controlled by his personal, social and spiritual development; having shown also that thinkers and writers offer no condemnation, I proceed to point out that this universal habit is in harmony with evolution. It tends to personal evolution, i.e., to expansion and elevation of character and capacities. Moreover, it tells favourably on general life. It tends to social evolution, i.e., to expansion and elevation of the social organism or collective society 14so long as the method pursued by each individual is unhurtful to the other organic units incorporated in that society.

To seek to attain happiness at the expense of other human beings whose happiness is thereby sacrificed, is of course evil. It is anti-social, or vicious, i.e., it is wholly adverse to personal evolution and social evolution, in other words, to general progress. But given a society that has carefully surrounded its units by conditions of personal freedom (harmonious with general well-being) in which to seek innocent happiness, the normal man or woman on a level with the average of his race is not in any danger of preferring the vicious course.

That we confuse a wholesome love of pleasure with selfishness arises from the fact that individual selfishness unhappily is developed by our present evil system of life. Notwithstanding, it is easy to show the real value of pleasure by its ready alliance with unselfishness. A significant feature is this—people take pleasure in uniting for pleasure. Sensuous pleasures are taken as a rule, socially, it being recognized that to civilized man the presence of the enjoyment of others enhances his personal enjoyment. The physiological effect of pleasure is to promote health and activity. “Every pleasure raises the tide of life; every pain lowers the tide of life,” says Herbert Spencer. The pleasures of love are essentially and pre-eminently invigorating and social. It is only when they are selfishly pursued that evil creeps in, and what should produce 15the purest happiness becomes degraded into a source of misery.

It seems hardly necessary to point out further that asceticism and purism are immoral because directed against an element in happiness. Whenever science finds out means to alleviate suffering or free the condition of pleasure from accidental accompaniments that are evil, it is clearly the duty of man to hail the discovery and apply it that he may add to the sum of human happiness.

Before touching on environment, i.e., the social condition under which alone general happiness becomes possible, I may classify desires into primary and secondary in order to make the subject clearer. Primary desires are those common to all physical beings, the satisfaction of which (in man) is necessary to healthful ordinary social life. Secondary desires are those whose satisfaction is necessary to some individuals, but not to all.

Desires for food, clothing, shelter, also for work alternating with rest, and for love, belong to the first class. They are primary and fundamental. But desires that imply a development of cultured intellect, of delicate sensibilities, of high moral and emotional attainments, of aesthetic tastes, and of spiritual life are secondary desires, i.e., they are not common to all at the present stage of the evolution of man. That they may become so is devoutly to be desired; but if we expect to reach a high standard of life in the social organism without first securing for its individual units the satisfaction 16of primary needs, we indulge a vain delusion. Does a tree throw out fruitful branches before it is rooted in the soil at its base? Development depends on the satisfaction of primary needs, and proportionally to these being made secure will the satisfaction of the higher desires become necessary to happiness.

Now in relation to primary needs, the conditions which it is the duty of society as a whole to secure for the individual are, first: Freedom to act for the end of securing satisfaction of desire; second, opportunity for acquiring the means of satisfaction; third, ability to adopt the means; fourth, protection of life and action. And these conditions have a wide implication. The first implies some control of individual conduct as regards propagation, that each social unit may possess a sound constitution and the comfort of physical health. The second implies access to nature. The third implies education to give knowledge and skill. The fourth implies an organized society with an appropriate, scientifically arranged system of industry.

That our present confused industrial and social system—the survival of an archaic state—is inimical to happiness, few thinkers will deny. Discontent is not confined to the poor. Where wealth abounds there is little, if any, real happiness. “The towers of Westminster,” says Edward Carpenter, “stand up by the river, and within, the supposed rulers contend and argue.... The long lines of princely mansions stretch through Belgravia and Kensington; 17lines of carriages crowd the park; there are clubs and literary cliques and entertainments, but of the voice of human joy there is scarcely a note.... And I saw the many menacing, evil faces, creeping, insincere worm-faces, faces with noses ever on the trail, hunting blankly and always for gain; faces of stolid conceit, of puckered propriety, of slobbering vanity, of damned assurance.

“O faces, whither, whither are you going?

“No God, no truth, no justice, and under it all no love.

“O the deep, deep hunger!

“The mean life all around, the wolfish eyes, the mere struggle for existence, as of man starving on a raft at sea—no room for anything more.

“O the deep, deep hunger of love.”

This picture of the degradation and misery of rich and poor alike is essentially true to fact. Our collective life does not supply the necessary conditions for real happiness in any section of the community; and nothing less than a reconstruction of society and regeneration of its life will suffice to meet the wants of humanity. Immense efforts are put forth in philanthropy and benevolence. Enormous energy is expended in partial or sectional reforms; for quite correctly has it been said that “Reform tends to run on a single rail, the majority of people refusing to study society as an organism of organisms resting on biological law.” (John M. Robertson.) We make no attempt as yet, to prevent waste of energy, to focus the factors of 18meliorism, to mass them, to direct them straight to the causes of evil and apply them effectively there—and that, because we have no carefully constructed scheme of thought and life whereby the whole effort of individual men and societies of men is concentrated in common and reciprocal activity to the end of creating happiness for all.

Social regeneration is necessarily of a two-fold character, embracing action without and action within. The first—which I call objective, signifies collective action on the physical plane adapted to promote and sustain the healthful, happy vitality of a race expected to grow steadily and uniformly in physical, mental, moral and spiritual elevation. The second, which I call subjective, signifies collective action directed to the repression of all the unsocial desires of man—those selfish emotions and narrow affections that alloy the mental and moral structure of human beings and render it impossible to develop the spiritual side of Humanity. The Darwinian laws—supposed by many to be still applicable to man—had relation, not to happiness, but to the preservation of life and the continuance of the race in the genetic, unconscious period of evolution. It is in the conscious period or stage of evolution that happiness evolves. Our present system of social life, if system it can be called, is a chaos of conflicting interests, duties, thoughts, feelings, actions—a prison-house in which the finer qualities and attributes of man can scarcely exist.

Let us put forth all our strength to create out 19of this chaos “the garden in which we may walk.” Let us break down the walls of our prison-house till it “opens at length on the sunlit world and the winds of heaven.” (Edward Carpenter.)



The only safety of nations lies in removing the unearned increments of income from the possessing classes and adding them to the wage-income of the working classes or to the public income in order that they may be spent in raising the standard of consumption.—J. A. Hobson, Contemporary Review, August, 1902.



It is a leading thought in modern philosophy that in its process of development, each institution tends to cancel itself. The special function is born out of social necessities; its progress is determined by attractions or repulsions which arise in society, producing a certain effect which tends to negate the original function.—William Clarke.

If we view the physical aspects of existence in relation to happiness, it is obvious that the satisfaction of desires for food, clothing and shelter stands first in order of urgency in the life of nations.

That modern nationalities are very far from the attainment of this satisfaction of primary wants is lamentably evident to the eye of observers who examine the conditions in which the great majority of their members live. Food to the mass of the people is excessively dear. In order to buy it for his family, a workman has often to spend two-thirds of his weekly wage, leaving one-third only to meet the cost of shelter and clothing, and nothing at all for recreation and instruction.

If we add to this difficulty of satisfying the primary 24needs of a family on average wages, the frequent lack of employment with the consequent lack of any weekly income at all, and the prevalence of low wages, rightly termed starvation-wages, we have before us a picture of the utter inadequacy of our present industrial system to subserve general well-being.

It is necessary to understand something of our present industrial system, its foundations and evolution in the past, if we are to forecast the changes that will occur in the immediate future, when the fast-growing recognition of its manifold failings must inevitably bring about a different order of industry. Private property in land and in other essentials for the production of food, shelter, clothing, etc., lies at the basis of the present system; and since the direct object of private proprietors is not to satisfy the primary needs of the people, but to create individual profits, we cannot wonder that a system thus motived by selfishness works out in a miserable and wholly imperfect manner.

The industrial class may be broadly divided into two sections, employers and employed, while a few highly skilled workers, members of the professions of law, medicine, arts, letters, and science stand in a measure outside this category. Landlords and shareholders as such are an idle section of the community. They absorb the labour of a multitude of workers, while giving no personal service in return. Quite truly has it been said: “The modern form of private property is simply a legal claim to take year 25by year a share of the produce of the national industry without working for it.” (Fabian Essays, page 26).

In comparing past forms with the present forms of industry, a distinguishing feature of the latter is the number of great factories where workers toil long hours, usually in the tending of machines, to turn out for the private profit of their employers, vast quantities of goods destined for retail distribution all over the world. The large organizations of industry, so familiar to us, are of quite recent growth, and already show signs of a coming change as sweeping in its scope as any changes that have occurred in the past. Yet to listen to the expression of opinions that prevail in literary and upper class circles, one would suppose we had reached finality in our social system, and that the conventional tributes paid to proprietors of land and capital in the shape of rent and interest would, as a matter of course, remain legal to the end of time.

Now let us glance at the history of the past. For two centuries after the Norman conquest, intestine war and feudal oppressions embittered the life of the British labourer. He might be called from the plough at any moment to take up arms in his master’s quarrel, and if he sowed seed and saw his fields ripen, the harvest of his hopes might still be cut down by the sword of the forager, or trodden by the hoof of the war-horse. He was bondsman and slave, defenceless in the hands of the lords of the soil, who at best, protected him only in the 26barest necessities of a scanty livelihood—a hut without a chimney, its furniture a great brass pot and a bed valued at a few shillings. (Wade’s History of the Working Classes.) A change for the better came after the plague of 1348, and, when by perpetual warfare with France, men had become more valuable through diminution of their number.

King Edward the Third freed the bondsmen to recruit his armies, and enforced villeinry service was exchanged for service paid by wages—these, however, were ordinarily fixed by statute. In the middle of the eighteenth century wages stood at the ratio of about a bushel and a half of wheat for one week’s labour; by the middle of the nineteenth century they had fallen to what could only purchase one bushel of wheat. (Threading my Way, R. D. Owen, p. 220.) The cause of this change was that meanwhile, two clever men—Arkwright and Watt—had made discoveries which gave an impetus to industry beyond all previous experience. Mechanical aids to production were invented, and the consequent cheapening of products created more and more demand. Machinery and human labour side by side were under stress and strain to meet the call of new desires. Cotton and wool and flax were woven into fabrics and poured out of Great Britain to every quarter of the globe; capital was amassed, and wealthy capitalists bid against each other for more labour still. Agriculturists flocked into towns, factories sprang up in all directions, population 27rapidly increased, and children were sucked into the industrial maelstrom, for health and happiness were in no way considered when remunerative work was offered.

Outwardly the British world had altered. Internal warfare had passed away, and the war-horse was no longer visible in harvest-fields. The scene now presents a resemblance to a huge hive of bees industriously secreting and amassing honey for future use. Great Britain has assumed beyond her own shores a foremost place among civilized nations. The resources of her newly-created wealth seem boundless, and everywhere her power is felt. She can thin the ranks of her population, and swell her army to conquer and suppress the tyrant Napoleon, while keeping at work the enormous leviathan of her own trade and commerce by the deft fingers of her little children. Summer and winter find her tiny bees—infants of seven or eight—at labour in the factories from six a.m. to noon. One hour for dinner is allowed, and they toil on once more till eight o’clock at night.

Were these, then, the “good old times” of which we are proud? At all events they were the times in which England’s greatness was established and vast fortunes were built up, founded upon the industry of young children sweating in factories for thirteen hours a day.

“It was not in exceptional cases,” wrote Robert Dale Owen, when on a tour of inspection of factories with his father in 1815, “but as a rule, that we 28found children of ten years old worked regularly fourteen hours a day, with but half an hour’s interval for the midday meal, eaten in the factory.” In the fine yarn cotton mills, the “temperature usually exceeded 75 degrees,” and in all factories the atmosphere was more or less injurious to the lungs. In some cases “greed of gain had impelled mill-owners to still greater extremes of inhumanity, utterly disgraceful to a civilized nation.” Their mills were run fifteen, sometimes sixteen, hours a day, and children were employed even under the age of eight. “In some large factories, from one-fourth to one-fifth of the children were cripples or otherwise deformed. Most of the overseers openly carried stout leather thongs, and frequently we saw even the youngest children severely beaten.” (Threading my Way, p. 102.) At that period Robert Owen the elder expressed himself thus to the Earl of Liverpool: “It would be clearly unjust to blame manufacturers for practices with which they have been familiar from childhood, or to suppose that they have less humanity than any other class of men.” The system was what Robert Owen condemned, and he strained every nerve to bring about some alterations in the system. He wrote and spoke and agitated for the protection of children by law, and for their compulsory education, and he publicly exposed the ghastly evils that spring from competition unchecked by law, while left free to regulate itself at any amount of cost to life, health, and happiness.

29After the lapse of about four years, the first point aimed at by Robert Owen was gained, and infants became protected by statute from gross oppression. His second point was gained in 1870, when the Government Bill for National Education was passed. And ever since the period of that noble, unselfish life, minds have everywhere been awakening to the truth of his third point, viz., that frightful evils inalienably belong to free industrial competition.

Owen proved that in the year 1816, the machine-saved labour in producing English fabrics—cotton, woollen, flax, and silk—exceeded the work which two hundred million of operatives could have turned out previous to the year 1760. (Threading my Way, p. 218.) The world was richer then to the extent of all this enormous producing power—a power, he thought, surely sent down from Heaven to set man free from the ancient curse that in the sweat of his brow should he eat bread. But what were the actual facts? There was no respite from toil for the workers, no freedom from the curse! Throughout the old and new world, senseless machinery competed with the living sons of toil, or, as Robert Owen expressed it, “a contest goes on between wood and iron on the one hand, human thews and sinews on the other—a dreadful contest, at which humanity shudders, and reason turns astonished away.” (Threading my Way, p. 218.) The problem presented was this: A recent rapid growth of wealth had enriched the few and left many 30in misery; nay more, it had lowered and pressed down the many to depths of degradation previously unknown. Were there no means by which mankind could unitedly work for the benefit of all, and all be made happy as the world grew richer? Political Economy suggested none, and Robert Owen turned from its futile study to that of the facts themselves. He was a manufacturer, in sympathy with employers as well as with employed. He had every opportunity for a practical understanding of the interests involved, and he gave years to the study of this question in a spirit of keen inquiry and ardent devotion to the cause. His ultimate conclusion was that in some form of socialism alone could a remedy for the existent evils of industrial life be found.

Henceforth he laboured to give to the world an object lesson in socialism. He embarked his fortune in bold experiments, which proved—as in the case of New Harmony—financial failures. Into the details of these failures I cannot now enter, nor have we to deal just yet with socialism as a remedy. My present purpose is to show the origin and reality of the evils inherent in the individualistic system of industry—evils on which the argument for socialism is based. And I must reiterate the statement made by John Stuart Mill in 1869, that the fundamental questions relating to property, and to the best methods of production and distribution—questions involved in socialism—require to be thoroughly investigated. Mr. Mill’s opinion 31regarding socialism was that in some future time communistic production might prove well-adapted to the wants and the nature of man, but a high standard of moral and intellectual education would first be necessary, and the passage to that state could only be slow.

Meanwhile the sufferings of the proletariat are as intense as in the days of Robert Owen. The problem which absorbed his energies and wrecked his fortunes remains as yet unsolved, and we, who live when a twentieth century has been entered upon, are daily surrounded by a mass of workers tied hand and foot by poverty and often weighed down by despair. And this is the case, notwithstanding the lapse of a long intermediate period of national prosperity; in spite, also, of the powers of science to enlighten manual labour, the intellectual efforts to advance education, and a boundless benevolence and sympathy ready to embrace all mankind, and give happiness to all, were only the right means devised wherewith to accomplish that end.[1]

1. In the Scotsman of March 16, 1897, this paragraph occurs: “At the meeting of Edinburgh Parish Council yesterday, it was stated that pauperism is increasing, and pointed out that for the month ending 15th ult. there was an increase of 114 applications for individuals for relief, compared with the corresponding period last year!”

It was stated by Mr. Rowntree (whose investigations of this subject are widely known and respected) that one-fourth of the population of Great Britain lives in poverty, either primary or secondary; while 52 per cent. of the cases of primary poverty are due to the principal wage-earner receiving too low a wage to maintain his family in physical efficiency. (Evening News Report, March 22, 1903.)

32Individual benevolence has failed, and that as completely as Robert Owen’s socialism, to cope with general poverty, and the method of Poor Laws has accomplished almost nothing.

In Robert Owen’s day the evils described in factory life belonged specially to Great Britain. That is not the limit, however, now. I need only refer my reader to Henry George’s picture of poverty dogging the footsteps of progress in America and to Professor Goldwin Smith’s corroborative words: “It is a melancholy fact, that everywhere in America we are looking forward to the necessity of a public provision for the poor.” And again: “There will in time be an educated proletariat of a very miserable and perhaps dangerous kind, for nothing can be more wretched and explosive than destitution with the social humiliation which attends it, in men whose sensibilities have been quickened and whose ambition has been aroused.”

The problem respecting appalling poverty in the midst of wealth (it is a poverty marring the happiness of the rich as well as the poor) cries out for solution. It forces itself upon public attention in the old world as in the new. There is no escape from it. The problem must be grappled with by educated reason, and solved by means of the patient exercise of a cold calculation of natural forces. 33Happily it is recognized in its evolutional aspects by many thinkers all over the world. Twenty years ago Charles Letourneau in his Sociology wrote: “In every country which enjoys the European system of civilization, the right of property has ever been in a state of evolution, always tending to give a greater degree of independence to the individual owner; in other words, the evolution is always worked in favour of individual egotism. Who can say that the evolution is now complete, or that we have yet realized the highest ideal system in the disposition of our property? A progressive evolution is, for every society, one of the conditions of existence. The right of proprietorship cannot, therefore, remain stationary.” The period that has elapsed since that passage was written has witnessed a widespread and strong growth of opinion upon these lines.

In the Contemporary Review of February, 1902, Mr. J. A. Hobson thus writes: “... The idea of natural individual rights as the basis of democracy disappears. A clear grasp of society as an economic organism completely explodes the notion of property as an inherent individual right, for it shows that no individual can make or appropriate anything of value without the direct continuous assistance of society.”

The right of proprietorship in land is the first principle to examine. The relation between land and life in its simpler aspects is clear and definite. All classes of land animals—man included—are 34immediately dependent for subsistence upon the produce of land, and when man emerges from slavery, another element, namely, labour, enters into the conditions of his life and becomes, with land, essential to his existence. Of food, fitted for the nourishment of man, uncultivated land produces little save some wild fruits and edible roots, and many wild animals, which he may eat if in hunting them down they do not eat him. But land placed under the additional forces of man’s physical and intellectual energies produces an immense variety of objects—a perfect wealth of raw material, vegetable, animal, mineral—which, yielding to further elaboration through his efforts and genius, all help to create for him a civilized life. This raw material, in short, supplied man with food, shelter, clothing, with the comforts and luxuries his developing nature demands, and with all necessaries to the existence of literature, science, and art.

Passing over the primitive forms of associated life—the nomad and pastoral—we come to the agricultural stage, when labourers on the land are manifestly the all-important social units. They sow, till, and reap the fields. They tend domestic animals, whose skins and wool are made into garments by other members of the group. But the latter depend for food and the raw materials of their industry on the cultivators, who are, if I may so express it, the foundation stones of the simple social structure. To whom does the land belong? To the whole group, and an annual division amongst 35the families for purposes of cultivation takes place, whilst weapons, fishing-boats, tools and other movables are the property of individuals.

Now observe, a change gradually occurs, a change from the communal possession of land to a system of the individual possession of land, and force is the sole cause of this change. External aggression has initiated militant activity, while, in the process of frequent resistance to invasion, and frequent aggression upon others, there is produced the class inequalities which distinguish a militant type of society and a system allowing of individual land-ownership. Land becomes private property in the hands of the bold and crafty, who compel the cultivation of the soil by the landless men of the group, and by prisoners of war spared on condition that they perform hard labour. The institution of slavery thus becomes established, and it is a leading factor in the promotion of civilization. Lords of the soil spend their energies in warlike activities, whilst protecting their slaves and serfs at labour. The produce of that labour is appropriated by the dominant class, and used for its own particular benefit. Its requirements extend much beyond the mere necessaries of existence that it yields to the workers, and slowly there uprises a new form of labour and a large class of labourers, producing a variety of commodities to gratify the desires of pomp-loving, barbaric chiefs.

Now this class, the labour of which is wholly absorbed by the chiefs, must be fed from the produce 36of the land. How is this accomplished? The chiefs, while exacting hard labour from the slaves and serfs, yield them only a bare living. But the proceeds of their labour, over and above the bare living of the producers, is very considerable. There is therefore a large surplus, which, appropriated by the chiefs as rent, is the source of their power. With it they support a large class of landless men engaged in ministering to their own specific wants. Moreover, this class groups itself around the castle of the chiefs, which are filled with military retainers, and here we have the beginnings of towns.

The town population increases steadily with the increase of the surplus produce from land under better conditions of cultivation. Markets and stores are instituted, and a commercial system is introduced. Barter gives way to the use of money, and the entire social organism expands and becomes more complex.

Anon, slavery disappears. But workers on the land—always the most necessary social units—remain poor as before. Competitors for work, in danger of starving, drive no hard bargain with masters who are in full possession of the soil, and able to forbid their growing even the simple fruits and grain required for a meagre living. For food enough to live, they readily pledge the labour of their whole lives, and since nature’s recompense for labour is liberal, there is an abundant surplus produce for landowners to grasp and employ as they choose. Into the towns it is sent, and there 37it stimulates progress—mental and material—and creates new departures in social life.

Class inequalities among town workers increase, and labour becomes organized. The mentally stronger dominate the weaker in the new fields of industry. They direct and control the production of commodities for the use of the dominant class, and succeed in acquiring a greater reward for their work than a meagre living. Out of the surplus produce of the land they become able to secure from their lords a portion which forms the foundation of wealth in a new social class—a class of landless capitalists who, possessing brain power and later money-power, become the supreme factors in altering social conditions. These men promote manufacture and commerce by action similar to the landholders’ methods of promoting agriculture. They press down their workers to a bare living, and take as profits all that competition permits of the results of the joint labour. These profits they apply to the satisfaction of their personal desires and the carrying out of their schemes of manufacturing and commercial enterprise. Finally, they indulge in luxurious living and emulate landholders in the purchase of valuable commodities, thus stimulating certain trades.

Meanwhile, through the intercourse of urban life, mental activity rapidly augments. Education is initiated, aptitude and skill are more and more prized and rewarded. Invention profoundly modifies the primitive modes of production, and genius 38aspires to understand and govern the forces of nature. One direction taken by mental activity eventuates in an important social force, viz., the Church, or religious organization. Many of the best minds in early ages were allied with the priesthood, and the Church’s desire for stately temples, gorgeous shrines, and decorative worship have enormously aided the outward development of architecture, sculpture, painting, and music, and the inward growth of aesthetic capacity. But priests and all whose labour is absorbed by the requirements of religious worship and the constructing of temples, must be fed on the produce of the land. The priesthood is maintained in leisure by rents, tithes, or the voluntary offerings of the people. It is freed from the necessity of industrial labour and military activity, and members within this large class have devoted their leisure to literature, history, philosophy, and art, thereby greatly advancing civilization.

Under increased stability of governments the organization becomes of a mainly industrial type. Nations now possess enormous wealth in the form of material commodities, wealth in the form of intellectual literature and the educational institutions that promote knowledge; wealth in the form of ornament—all that embellishes and makes beautiful the surroundings of human life; and all this wealth has come into existence through the natural action of evolutionary forces—an action creative, step by step, of a system of social interdependence 39and regulation. The prominent features of the system are: First, private property in land; second, great social inequality; third, poverty of manual labourers; fourth, a large town population, and a small or minimum peasant population. Its less prominent but no less decisive feature is the complete social subjugation of the poor by the rich.

The supports of the system through the whole process of its growth have been labourers on the land, and these labourers have scarcely at all partaken of the national wealth. The food they reaped formed the motor force vitalizing and energizing the evolving social organism. Food was the ruling power deciding the growth and extent of economic life, as well as the form of its development. But food-producers have never determined the destination of the surplus food, and in this fact lies the key to a great social problem which students of social science are bound to comprehend. The landholders—and these as a rule have not been workers on the land—have decided the destination of the surplus produce. Up to the present-day landlords—including the proprietors of coal, iron and other mines, capitalist employers of labour, the churches of the nation, and hereditary rulers—are at the fountainhead of modern civilization. It is through their action—caused mainly by selfishness, tyranny, pride, greed—that cultivators and operatives have been kept at maximum toil and been limited in number, while at the same time the land’s resources have developed and improved until land and labour 40united serve to support an enormous mass of population—individuals of entirely distinctive character, activities, social position and social worth, all alike in this one particular—they are daily and hourly consumers of the produce of the land.

A good harvest that is general over the world sends activity like an electric current through the economic system. A bad harvest, if universal, would cause universal depression; not agriculture alone must suffer, but manufacture, commerce, science, art, literature, education, recreation—for on the production of food depends the buying power of the whole trading world. It is true that modern countries are not maintained from their own food resources alone. Also, it is true that the machinery of exchange—money and our vast credit system—enter into the phenomena and confuse the student’s mind. Nevertheless, an all-important fact discloses itself on close investigation, viz., this—the relation of landlordism to modern civilization is not accidental, it is essential and causal.

As already shown, the general drift of the produce of the land has been into the towns; and thither also have migrated the labourers. Machinery and science applied to land cultivation lowered the amount of peasant labour required, but it did not lower the birth-rate. Surplus peasants have been driven by necessity from their homes to the centres of manufacturing industry, and, competing for work there with the operative class, have kept wages low and facilitated the enriching of capitalist 41employers. These men, actuated by personal desires, selfish ambition, and a tendency to mercantile speculation, use their wealth in extending the production of objects that minister to a life of luxury and refinement.

The older political economists mistakenly taught that “all capital, with a trifling exception, was originally the result of saving.” (J. S. Mill’s Political Economy, book 1, chap. 5.) Attention to the history of social evolution, however, proves the fact to be otherwise. Not individual saving, but social seizure, created capital. Its origin, as we have shown, was the surplus produce taken from producers and disposed of by a dominant class. It originated through the selfish quality of rapacity and not through the respectable virtue of prudence, as some capitalists would have us believe. The growth of capital has been enormous since the beginning of the industrial revolution; and at the present moment the riches of a comparatively small number of the owners of our land and capital are colossal and increasing. At the same time, there is no diminution of poverty among workers. Thirty per cent. of the five million inhabitants of London are inadequately supplied with the bare necessaries of life, and about a fourth of the entire community become paupers at sixty-five. I refer my reader to Sidney Webb’s pamphlet, The Difficulties of Individualism.

The supersession of the small by the great industry has given the main fruits of invention 42and the new power over nature to a small proprietary class, upon whom the mass of the people are dependent for leave to earn their living. The rent and interest claimed by that class absorbs, on an average, one-third of the product of labour. The remaining 8d. of the 1s. is then shared between the various classes co-operating in the production, but in such a way that at least 4d. goes to a set of educated workers numbering less than one-fifth of the whole, leaving four-fifths to divide less than 4d. out of the 1s. between them. “The consequence is the social condition we see around us.” (Ibid.)

Thus four out of five of the whole population—the weekly wage-earners—toil perpetually for less than a third of the aggregate product of labour, at an annual wage averaging at most £40 per adult, and are hurried into early graves by the severity of their lives, dying, as regards at least one-third of them, destitute, or actually in receipt of poor law relief.

In town and country, the operatives and peasants, who, united, form one large class engaged in manual labour, resemble Sinbad the Sailor, on whose shoulders rides the Old Man of the Sea. It is they who maintain our leisured classes. The proletariat carries on its back all the rich and their innumerable dependents, more than 300,000 soldiers, an immense navy, a million of paupers, a number of State pensioners, a multitude of criminals, His Majesty and the Royal Family, all Government officials and 43ecclesiastics—a vast host of unproductive consumers throughout society.

Slavery of the many for the comfort and enjoyment of the few! That is all man has attained to, so far, in the evolution of society. And no one who studies the facts of life can deny this impeachment of civilization: “All over the world the beauty, glory, and grace of civilization rests on human lives crushed into misery and distortion.” (Henry George.)

The extremity of contrast between rich and poor has no ethical justification. Under purely ethical conditions, every child born into a nation should have equal chances of life, comforts, and luxuries, with every other child. But, as we know, one British babe may be born to an income of £100,000 a year, and another to no income, but to a constant struggle for bare subsistence and a pauper’s grave at last. The system permitting this is ethically odious. Nevertheless, we have to recognize that, under non-ethical conditions, development has taken place, and we must accept the process as the natural, inevitable result of all prior conditions.

Man’s ethical nature itself is the product of a slow evolution, not yet so advanced as to require and create purely ethical social conditions. Changes in the future will proceed on lines of natural growth, as in the past, but with this supreme difference—the issues will be favourable to general happiness, the advance infinitely more rapid, because aided by conscious human effort.

44All schemes of social reform that are revolutionary are widely chimerical to the thoughtful evolutionist, for were we suddenly to deprive our richer classes of property, privilege, and power, we should simply create a general abasement of our national civilization. Our upper classes, rendered effeminate by ill-spent leisure and all the artificial pleasures of a voluptuous and inane life, are incapable of directing civilization to the highest and noblest ends. Yet it is out of their midst that springs the demand for commodities ministering to all the amenities and refinements of a civilized life. It is refinement alone that demands refinement, culture that demands culture; and were the control of human labour to pass suddenly from the hands of the upper into those of the lower classes, which are still, in the mass, degraded and unenlightened, there would be no effective demand for these commodities, and the science and art implicated in their production would inevitably, though gradually, disappear.

Progressive evolution culminates in social justice, and the principle of private property in land, which implies an injurious monopoly in what is essential to human life (and is therefore socially unjust), is certain to be consciously relinquished at a given stage of the nation’s intellectual and moral advance.

Having traced the evolution of the individualistic system of industry, and seen that the inherent evils of the system have their source in the private ownership of land and capital, which “necessarily involves the complete exclusion of the mere worker, 45as such, from most of the economic advantages of the soil on which he is born, and the buildings, machinery, and railways he finds around him” (Sidney Webb), let me now sum up and state the paramount evils that have to be overcome. For the workers these are—low wages, long hours of toil, difficulty of obtaining work, and, when it is obtained, uncertainty of being permitted to retain it. For the community generally there are further evils, viz., first, the mal-production of commodities made manifest in food adulteration and in a perpetual output of objects that, instead of promoting and conserving civilization, debase and corrupt public taste and morals; and, second, the mal-production of human life, for poverty is a social force that directly tends to racial degeneration. A population born and bred in our city slums becomes physically, mentally, and morally unfit.

The facts of poverty and the unemployed are impossible to deny. Frederick Harrison’s picture is accurate; ninety per cent. of the actual producers of wealth have no home they can call their own beyond the end of the week, have no bit of soil or so much as a room that belongs to them, have nothing of any kind except so much of old furniture as will go in a cart; have the precarious chance of weekly wages, which barely suffice to keep them in health; are separated by so narrow a margin from destitution that a month of bad trade, sickness or unexpected loss brings them face to face with hunger and pauperism. This is the normal state of the 46average workman in town or country. (Report of Ind. Ref. Congress, 1886.)

As regards the children of these workmen, fifty per cent. die before they reach five years of age, while eighteen per cent. only of upper class children die at the same age. The industrial evolution of the last 150 years, with its labour-saving machinery and highly organized masses of wage-workers, has done nothing at all to lessen poverty. Poverty has steadily kept pace with the increase of population.

But observe in the present day there is one significant feature that forces itself upon public attention—a feature revealing to the social student our approach to that stage of evolution spoken of by William Clarke in the passage I quote as motto to this chapter: “Each institution tends to cancel itself.... Its special function and progress produce effects tending to negate the original function.”

If we look minutely into the latest developments of large businesses, we find that the diminution in the number of competitors does not as a rule lead to an easing of the competitive struggle. As Mr. J. A. Hobson observes and demonstrates: “It is precisely in those trades which are most highly organized, provided with the most advanced machinery, and composed of the largest units of capital, that the fiercest and most unscrupulous competition has shown itself.” (Evolution of Capital, p. 120.) There is an increase, in short, of the elements destined to destroy competition. The 47anxiety, arduousness, and wastefulness of strife among the rival competitors, becomes so intolerable that a mutual truce and amalgamation is sought after as a release. When fully realized, the amalgamation becomes a monopoly, and competition, that much vaunted check to counteract the natural rapacity of private capitalists, ceases altogether. Let industrial monopoly be fairly established, and behold! competition, with all its merits, real or assumed, is abrogated.

But industrial monopoly in private hands becomes intolerable to the public, so that invariably, in the long run, the community either puts a forcible stop to the monopoly, or assumes it, and administers it as a State function.

We may confidently assert that as large industries approach to the stage of absorption into monopolies of federated groups of wealthy capitalists, the more general and widespread grows dissatisfaction and resentment on the part of the dispossessed smaller capitalists who have been beaten out of the field.

Now, the trend of movement to-day, through the whole fields of production and distribution, is from business on a small scale to business on a large scale, and the formation of limited companies, rings, trusts, etc. By purchasing raw material in greater quantities an immense saving is effected, and the same occurs in the advertising of goods and in organizing numerous workers instead of a few. These savings make it possible to lower the price of the finished commodity to the public. Hence 48the change from smaller to larger commercial enterprises is favourable to public interests up to a certain point. But the moment monopoly point is reached, the position straightway becomes reversed. Henceforward the public have no protection from a sudden raising of prices, for, the competitive check having been withdrawn, monopolists dominate their respective fields of production and distribution, and the individually selfish forces alone hold sway.

This tendency, then, to larger and larger industrial organization, with its wasteful warfare and other attendant evils, implies a certain advance. It indicates competition working out to its last expression and final breakdown. It points to the supersession of the individualistic industrial system by a collectivist industrial system requiring democratic state-ownership of land and the means of production and distribution of all commodities.

In process of civilizing man has made himself acquainted with many laws of nature, and has learnt so to handle matter as to direct its forces into channels carrying benefit to himself. He has thus become the controller of natural forces in as far as they lie within reach of his mental comprehension and physical activities. It is by this method, and no other, that our advance along the line of material civilization has been accomplished, and all further extension of the comforts and amenities of economic and social life is certain to be obtained through persistence in this available and satisfactory course.

49Now, throughout the domain of non-material civilization, man has never constituted himself controller of natural forces, although, in orders of life inferior to his own, he has guided many vital forces. For instance, there are vegetable and animal forces—all subject to natural law—that he has enlisted in his service and made submissive to his dominion. The forms of vegetable life around us to-day—cereals, fruit-trees, plants, and flowers of infinitely varied tint—bear witness to the art and skill of man; and the animal kingdom, ruled by mysterious biological laws, has provided him with faithful servants obedient to his will, in a life which to dogs and horses is largely artificial.

In the order of his own social life man’s position is wholly different. What we behold, if we take an objective view of a so-called civilized society, is a marvellous variety of complicated movements. These are the outcome of forces pursuing an unbridled course; and that course is always the path of least resistance. As yet there is no intervening force of a collective, mental nature to adapt that course to an ultimate definite aim and purpose, or to harmonize broadly those lines of least resistance with the line of permanent and universal advantage to mankind. As Professor Lester F. Ward expresses it, “Man has made the winds, the waters, fire, steam and electricity do his bidding. All nature, both animate and inanimate, has been reduced to his service.... One class of natural forces still remains the play of chance, and from it, instead of 50aid, he is constantly receiving the most serious checks. This field is that of society itself, these unreclaimed forces are the social forces of whose nature man seems to possess no knowledge, whose very existence he persistently ignores, and which he consequently is powerless to control.” (Dynamic Sociology, vol. I. p. 35.) These unreclaimed social forces—selfishness, rapacity, pride—give activity to the competitive system, and run riot on the basis of private property in land and the means of production. But the present condition of things cannot much longer persist, and a new industrial system, the outcome of far more elevated social forces, is shaping itself rapidly in many minds throughout Europe, America, and the whole civilized world; that system of co-operative industry we have now to consider.



The true organic formula of political as of economic justice is—

“From each according to his powers,
To each according to his needs.”
J. A. Hobson.

Whilst bearing in mind that the present economic system—a system unconsciously produced through the play of selfish forces—was a necessary stage of evolution, and tended to progress so long as savage proclivities in the mass of the people made a closer social union impossible, we have also to recognize the changes, outward and inward, occurring under that system. First, a rise of co-operation, both voluntary and involuntary—in factories and throughout business generally—has taken place, causing evolution to proceed on wider lines. Second, a slow, silent, unstudied, half-unconscious movement has advanced, and in these days eventuated in the conception of a new system which purports to be the form that industrial evolution must assume in the near future. And inasmuch as this new system is less egoistic and more social than 52any system of competition, it will move on ethical lines of progress.

The present system, as we have seen, is based on private property in land and the instruments of production and distribution. In opposition to this, socialism implies that the State or people collectively should own the land and instruments of production and distribution. Further, that the State should organize routine labour and direct the distribution of produce upon this basis, and that throughout society social equality should be established and maintained.

The sentiment of justice and the feelings of sympathy and solidarity, without which no socialized society could exist, are prominent everywhere to-day. They manifest in philanthropic action all over the country, in constant efforts to adjust political and economic forces to lines of social equality and in the revolt of wage-workers, throughout the civilized world, from conditions they are finding intolerable and will not much longer endure.

A wholly unselfish order of life is impossible still, but under any intelligent collectivist system, individual selfishness becomes modified and controlled. Hence we may confidently expect that the strong anti-social feelings fostered by the private property and competitive system of industry will largely subside in the greater fraternity of an organized socialism.

It is significant that ignorant opponents, in their wildly erroneous interpretation of the theory 53of socialism as an equal division of money to all, recognize the gross injustice of the present distribution of wealth. The wrong and misery accruing from the individualistic system of industry are widely felt and freely admitted, while the underlying causes of the evil and the true remedies are not yet understood.

As regards the connexion of socialism with the theories of political economy, I must shortly explain: Political economy is the science of wealth—its production and distribution. But as the science relates exclusively to the present competitive system, the socialist finds in it a full exposure of the evils involved in that system, and ample grounds for striving to bring about its supersession by a system of co-operation on a socialized property basis. There is not and there cannot be any conflict between a true political economy and a scientific socialism. The one describes what is, the other what may be and ought to be. Both recognize that wealth is produced (and it is the only possible way) by the application of labour to land, and its products. In the present system, the individual possession of land and the instruments of production forms the ruling factor, producing inequality in the distribution of wealth and gives the basis on which commercial competition rests. In referring to laws of political economy, it is not unusual to speak as if they were laws of nature, no more to be banished than the law of gravitation. On this assumption there is raised the argument 54that society is forever bound to the present system, with its payments of rent, interest and profits out of the surplus proceeds of labour. Nevertheless, it is easy to see that the so-called laws of economics are only rules of social living springing from motives of human self-seeking exercised within the generally accepted conditions of private property in the essentials of life. It is not necessary for the socialist to contend against any single generalization of political economy; each may be true on its own basis, but, with that basis socialism is at war. Let society relinquish the property basis, and political economy remains applicable only to the past, while in the future the motives of human self-seeking enter upon a fresh career in a more altruistic system.

We must grasp the true nature of the various tributes imposed upon labour—rent, interest, profits and rent of ability—to comprehend their economic bearing. A farm is the private property of a landlord, while it is cultivated by a farmer and his labourers. The proceeds of the industry of the two latter is divided into three portions—the labourers’ wages, the landlord’s rent and the farmer’s profits. The first, dependent on demand and supply in the labour market, is kept down to what will cover the expense of a bare subsistence; and the second is always the highest amount the landlord can extract above the portion the farmer consents to live upon after paying the subsistence wage to his labourers. A landlord’s rapacity, however, is no longer the only factor in determining 55rent, since State interference has been found necessary for protection of farmers in the public interests. The economic bearing of rent is this: it gives effect to the demands of the landlord class for the results of an immense amount of labour applied to the production of varied commodities. As already explained, the produce sold in towns by farmers to pay rent goes, in large measure, to the support of workers who are manufacturing luxuries, objets de luxe, and many meretricious wares that minister to the depraved taste of men and women whose happiness is destroyed by a life of idleness and ennui.

It is not land only, but capital in the shape of railways, factories, workshops, machinery, etc., that are held as private property. For the use of these, therefore, workers pay a tribute called interest on capital. This interest gives effective demand to the wants of a large class of comparatively idle shareholders, who further absorb the services and produce of another great army of workers. The next tribute, namely profits, is a claim connected with the organizing of labour. It represents a prodigious tax levied upon workers, a tax that enables employers and managers—more or less wealthy—to enjoy comforts and luxuries their employés can never command. The fourth tribute has been called the rent of ability. It rests on the non-ethical principle that some people deserve from society a great reward for work they have pleasure in doing, while the toilers engaged 56in irksome, dangerous, dirty, distasteful work—however necessary to the whole community—are only entitled to a pittance wage.

Let us look at the proportional value of rent, interest, profits and rent of ability in their relation to the reward of manual labour. Out of the yearly income of the nation, recently computed at £1,450,000,000, £510,000,000 goes in rent and interest and £410,000,000 in profits and salaries to the ruling classes, while £530,000,000 only is available for payment of wages to manual workers. But when we consider that the latter compose the great mass of the population, and the former a small section or fraction of it only, the enormities involved in the working of our property institutions exhibit their true colours, and the growing sense of justice within civilized humanity revolts wholly from the system. The facts, roughly speaking, are that one-third of the total income of the nation goes to four-fifths of the population, while the remaining one-fifth pockets two-thirds of the income. (See Sidney Webb in Fabian Tract No. 69.)

In the Census of 1891 there were 543,038 adult men who entered themselves as not working for a living. We may assume these belonged chiefly to the wealthy classes, and if we reckon their average incomes at £500 per annum, there emerges a sum of £271,519,000 as approximately the value of the labour they exact each year from workers to whom they render no services in return. Again, 57if we add to the number of these idle men the women and children now living on rent and interest, the above computation falls far short of the reality. And, need it be said, the more there is taken from workers by non-workers, the less must remain for the workers themselves.

To people ignorant of economic principles, the man who spends a good income on personal gratifications appears—in his relations to society—either passive, or active beneficially, inasmuch as he “gives employment,” and his “giving” on these lines is lavish. Moreover, it is considered that the difference between rich and poor is one of natural inequality, of which, if workers complain, they are considered as unreasonable as the invalid who complains that other people are healthy. But the facts admit of no such analogy. The rich owe everything to the poor. They are simply a parasitic class, and the money they spend represents a power (socially permitted) to command and absorb the labour of their fellows. They exact life-long services, for which they bestow no personal service in return. Were we to place a rich man with all his money on an uninhabited island, however fertile, he would at once be reduced to his natural stature. No money would cause his daily comforts to spring up around him, and still less the many luxuries without which he feels his existence has no charm. In order to live he himself must work, for he is the sole representative of the scores of fellow-men on whose labour he 58has hitherto wholly depended for necessaries and all the amenities of a civilized life. The absorption by one of the labour of many is a social arrangement of genetic origin, and is immoral or non-ethical in character.

Socialism is the philosophy of a pure, wholesome, progressive industrial life, to be initiated and maintained by human effort—nay more, it is a veritable Gospel of Peace. And I use the word Gospel advisedly, for the finest religious quality of human nature is not in those beings who calmly pursue a course of spiritual development for themselves, unmindful that the physical part of their fellows craves the food and rest without which the latent soul within cannot manifest itself.

We have seen that in the domain of feeling the stirrings of socialism have for years been agitating the bosom of society, and although the outcome in philanthropic action issues usually in failure, none the less does it spring from the highest and holiest motives of man. But while philanthropy chiefly represents love’s labour lost, there are other and more virile forces in action that are indicative of a coming organic democracy. Observe, for instance, the constant efforts of the people to alter the political and economic strain by State interference. This agitation is a very significant fact. It betrays a hunger for social justice which will certainly increase with the growth of knowledge, public spirit and sensitiveness to personal rights. This hunger can never be fully appeased 59under any system that permits wealth to flow to the lucky, the clever, the cunning, the greedy, and be handed down by inheritance and bequest from generation to generation. No modification of individualism and not even socialism will banish all popular agitation. Communism is the far-distant goal to which it points, for communism alone sets forth as attainable a satisfying equality in all the comforts of life, and since evolution must eventuate in social justice, whatever falls short of this will inevitably contain some conditions of discontent.

But whilst a craving for justice among the masses cries out for State interference, from whence comes the modern view of what justice means? Among the classes it has been considered that the man who is clever, i.e. mentally strong, has a right to a greater reward for labour than the man who is stupid. The origin of this notion is simply the fact that in a competitive system he is able to obtain that superior reward. Power, and not any ethical idea, is the foundation of the notion. The notions of justice prevailing throughout society have all arisen naturally in the past amid the strong and privileged few, and readily have they been accepted by the docile and oppressed many. The clever, not the stupid, have formed public opinion, and that under a purely egoistic impulse. Nevertheless, as evolution passes from the unconscious to the self-conscious stage, reason unites with altruistic feeling to give birth to new conceptions 60that are moulding public opinion to a higher and truer form, and working out on the plane of practical action. The conception of justice involved in socialism is naturally unpalatable to the privileged few, but it goes far to prove the truth of socialism, that the conception is the fruit of the most advanced study of our social organism as a whole, while it coincides precisely with the blindly instinctive pulsations of the central mass of the people.

Turning now from the moral and emotional to the economic and practical side of the question, we are bound to inquire by what methods transition from the present competitive commercial system of industry to the socialism of the future will take effect. For, be it observed, supporters of the latter system not only assert its ethical superiority, but further assert that it is both practicable and economically inevitable.

There are two, and only two, general directions of popular reform: first, the revolutionary—the driving straight at established institutions with the intention of overthrowing them; second, the legislative—the aiming to improve the existing system by co-operative methods and the modification and gradual destruction of its worst features, i.e. its extremes of injustice and inequality. I have to point out how retrograde and futile for the promotion of happiness is sudden revolution. It is the spontaneous method of human passion where intellect is unenlightened on natural evolution 61and causation. It seeks to overturn what, for the time being, is the highest product of evolution, and it would blindly substitute that, which although ethically superior, the society of the time is unable to support. The method of legislative reform, national and municipal, is the rational one; and no other, we may confidently hope, will be tried in the civilized countries of Europe so long as socialists are not harassed and persecuted for their opinion beyond the point of endurance.

Already, as regards legislation in this country, the power of the Demos—the mass of the people—is acutely felt. Step by step our rulers have been compelled to lower the political franchise in order to quell revolutionary tendency and maintain their position. Fear-forces within the social organism have changed direction unnoted at the surface. The classes are secretly more afraid of the people than the people are of the classes; yet the actual burdens borne by the people are in no way lightened. And why is this so? Because the people generally are ignorant of their political power, and still more ignorant of how to wield it favourably to their own interests. As has truly been said: “The difficulty in England is not to secure more political power for the people, but to persuade them to make any sensible use of the power they already have.”

But social forces of persuasion and enlightenment are ready prepared for their guidance. In the upper and lower sections of the middle class, 62men and women whose culture is scientific and whose moral sentiment is advanced, are ranging themselves in the van of the world’s progress, and chiefly through their efforts there is pouring into and penetrating the darkness of the masses a flood of intellectual enlightenment. This process begun has its definite bearings. A growing intelligence in the people will cause the displacement of all authority that is irresponsible. A better selection of legislators will be made, and these, constrained by judicious criticism, will study the principles of social science and learn how best to attain the clear ends of government.

As our masses rise to the full exercise of their political power and the democratic trend of the nation goes forward, no higher motive force than that of self-seeking is required to secure better social conditions. Not only does the ignorant self-seeking of the masses carry weight commanding attention, but the intelligent self-seeking of rulers is a force set in similar direction. To please the majority of constituents is their highest policy; and since food and leisure and education are the essential needs of that majority, such available intellect as the legislative body possesses will be honestly applied to promoting the increase and better distribution of these various necessaries of a civilized life; in short, to promoting the general well-being in so far as the exigencies of the times permit.

I do not deny that self-seeking in rulers has hitherto 63mainly led to the clever hoodwinking of ignorant constituents. I merely assert that we have rounded the point of Cape Danger in that regard. Every step we take on democratic lines, every advance we make in educating the people, removes us further from that danger point. Moreover, I assert that extending the Parliamentary franchise to women of every social class will equally work for good. The new altruistic or philanthropic spirit of the age has laid firm hold of the so-called educated women of to-day. When public responsibility presses these women to self-education in politics, the myriad injustices revealed will cause them to turn from futile individualist charities and concentrate their energies on works of real and lasting social reform. We may confidently anticipate that the British Parliament will become an excellent instrument of Democratic Government when certain reforms—that are already widely agitated—have been carried out. These reforms are that: “The House of Commons should be freed from the veto of the House of Lords, and should be thrown open to candidates from all classes by a system of payment of representatives and a more rational method of election.” (See Fabian Tract No. 70.)

There are two lines of action certain to be pursued by a Parliament growing yearly more democratic. One is the line of protection of labour, the other is that of an active service of the people. Now State interference with trade—in the interests of 64workers—is condemned by the laissez-faire school of economists. Such action is scoffingly termed “grandmotherly legislation.” It is deprecated as injurious to society as a whole, as an outrage on the liberty of the British subject, and an impious desecration of the capitalistic fetish, “Freedom of Contract.” But when the knowledge of facts proves that on one side this so-called freedom signifies freedom of choice between dire starvation and the distasteful terms of an absolute master, surprise is not felt that intelligent men prefer what the ignorant may regard as a species of State bondage. This preference is a feature of the times clearly visible. No doubt, where social equality reigns, individual liberty is a noble attainment; but with inequality in the means of life and the fundamental conditions of social happiness, a State that is honestly striving to restore the balance is a very fount of justice. The quest of the workers is not that of individual liberty, but of a collective liberty, embracing every man, woman and child within the ranks of their own order.

There is no moral principle that condemns State interference, although we may admit that occasionally it has wrought evil instead of good. Failures have been caused by ignorance alike in the rulers and the ruled. But as knowledge of the real problem advances, errors in governing will become less frequent, and the action of the State be marked by a wise adaptation to human needs in view of the greatest happiness possible.

65State regulation is simply a matter of power and expediency. At the present low stage of civilization, for just so long as the ruling power is exercised by a propertied minority, it will prove injurious to the majority; but when the power passes over to the people the evils from which the majority suffer—in so far as they are remediable by society—will be slowly and surely redressed. Our County, District and Parish Councils are important instalments of democracy. These elected bodies, with their increasing powers, are potent to make of the community an ever larger and larger employer of labour, until, at the will of the people, all industries become absorbed, and the collectivist system of labour organization is gradually established. It is evident that the instruments of a thoroughly democratic administration are rapidly perfecting in Great Britain; and when the ideal of socialism dominates the national mind, these will present a ready means of realizing the ideal in practice. Ignorance of the ideal leads many minds into the false assumption that the raising of wages, and to do this the impoverishing of capitalists, is the socialistic sine quâ non in State action. But as Mrs. Bosanquet explains: “In our nineteenth century cry for higher wages we are apt to lose sight of the fact that many things are more important to the working-man than a few shillings added to his weekly income. A good supply of water, well-paved and lighted streets, a market in which he can always obtain wholesome 66food, and properly guarded sanitary conditions, will do more to raise his standard of living above that of his ancestors than any increase of mere money income. With those he can lead a healthy, orderly life on comparatively small wages; without them no rise in wages, however desirable in itself, will enable him to escape danger and disease.” (Rich and Poor, by Mrs. Bernard Bosanquet.)

This puts the case for municipal socialism in a nutshell. No amount of philanthropy, no amount of individual action is likely to provide a parish with a good water supply, properly paved and lighted streets, sanitary dwellings and a well-managed market. (Fabian News.) Yet these are fundamental requisites of general well-being, and another requisite for well-being and progress, dependent upon State action, is education of the people. If the power of the masses and their independence of arbitrary authority grow out of accord with their real knowledge of things, disastrous and bloody revolutions become possible. That in some sort the State must educate the masses is a principle already acknowledged and acted upon. We know, too, with how little success! But as Government loses its evil characteristics and grows enlightened, our State education will be directed to new ends. Its aim will be to impress such knowledge on the rising generations as will prepare them for social life, and instruct them in the means of averting misery and increasing happiness. It will educate them in the science of society 67and true meliorism, in the best methods for repressing anti-social feelings, in the formation of noble ideals of conduct, and in that religion which unites mankind in the region of the heart and makes of their union a living and growing social organism.

But while this is the aim of State education, the exact means adopted may vary. Where parents are superior much may be left in their hands, but inferior parents can never be permitted to train up children in inferior ways at the risk of lowering social purity and health.

I believe the time will arrive when Government, acting on its right of force and expediency, will take up and sequestrate the small class of social units who, defective by nature and evil conditions, are unable to control the injurious tendency to propagate their kind. This degraded minority will be kindly dealt with and allowed all liberty not inconsistent with the careful guarding of public safety. The object to attain would be simply the putting an end to their evil stock.

In the matter of State education, as well as in that of State interference with trade, objections are made on the ground of injustice. “Why,” it is asked, “should a man without children be taxed to educate the children of others? Is it not unjust that the earnings of the prudent should be taken to save the imprudent from the consequences of their own folly?” My answer is that besides being expedient, it is not socially unjust 68and the argument rests on the fact that the rewards of life depend upon the economic conditions of society much more than upon individual effort or merit. The amount of a man’s income is determined by forces not created by justice, and over which he has no personal control. A clever physician may command the fee of a guinea a visit. Let another competent man appear in the neighbourhood and charge half a guinea, the first has to lower his fee or lose his patients, and if he lowers his fee, the sum of the incomes of the two physicians sharing the patients between them will be less than the amount of the single income originally derived from that source. A man’s gains are what the competitive system ordained by society permits him to seize, whether he be working hard or not at all. Within these non-moral conditions an appeal to justice is irrelevant. Outside the non-moral conditions, what justice requires is that all men should be socially equal in respect of two things, viz. liberty and the ordinary comforts of life.

If employers do not deem it unjust to lower wages, neither should they deem it unjust were the State to lower their incomes to the precise amount their employés receive. Society has in the past arbitrarily arranged conditions that favour the few; why should it not now arbitrarily rearrange these conditions favourably to the many? If we take the average amount of all incomes to represent the sum each worker might justly receive, 69we find that a number of people have far more than this sum. The surplus represents then an “unearned increment” obtained by force of circumstance. A still larger number of people, on the other hand, are wholly unable to win, by any effort they may make, the above average amount, even if they work hard and well all their lives. Is it not just and reasonable that the more fortunate are required to give up a portion of their “unearned increment” in order that in the interests of society the children of the less fortunate should be educated? And, again, the improvident and immoral are nature’s defective children. Does not the highest religion demand that they should be tenderly dealt with and spared—if that be possible—all the tortures that nature unaided would bring upon them.

I believe that, under conscious evolution, the State will become in its action more and more philanthropic, simply for this reason—its members will become more and more humane and public-spirited.

Voluntary and State agency, however, will continue to co-exist. Each has its peculiar merits and demerits, and each individual case to be dealt with has its peculiar conditions. Science and experience must in each case therefore decide which agency applies best. There is no foregone conclusion that under State Socialism all private industries will collapse. The principle of the system is that no method of industry, hurtful to 70society as a whole, may exist, and the power of the State shall be rigorously used to protect the interests of the whole, as against conflicting individual interests. Even now it is felt, through the growing democratic spirit, that for our public bodies to take advantage of the struggle for employment of starving, hard-pressed men and women, is a national disgrace. It will soon be a point of honour with the nation to fix a minimum wage for public employés much above the competitive rate. Some County Councils have already been moved to direct that workers employed by them, or under their contracts, should be paid trade-union wages. Parliament has in some cases acted similarly, and when we remember that Government at this moment is the largest employer of labour in the kingdom, we realize that its example in giving wages determined more by equity than by competition will have a raising effect upon wages in private employment.

There is not any danger, however, that the movement of taking over the industries of the country by the State will stop short of the most favourable point. As I write this chapter, the following paragraph has appeared in a socialist journal of to-day: “It is proposed to establish a gigantic trust to control the entire iron-producing interests of the United States. This, of course, is eminently proper from an economic view, as it is a clearly demonstrated fact that production on a large scale is cheaper than production on a 71small scale. Carnegie, Rockefeller and Morgan, proposers of the iron trust, are, from a certain standpoint, benefactors of the race, inasmuch as they will demonstrate the practicability of the co-operative idea on a national scale in production. In due time the people will recognize the folly of allowing these men to reap the whole profits, and the system will be readjusted.”

Another important public event was the introduction into the British Parliament of an Employer’s Liability Bill. “This Bill proceeds,” said its introducer, “on the principle that when a person for his own profit sets in motion agencies which create risks for others, he ought to be civilly responsible.” (The Scotsman Report, May 4, 1897.) Now it goes without saying that the iron trust, and all trusts and commercial rings and monopolies, create the risk of a disastrous rise of prices to the general public, and a consequent greater inequality of wealth possession than even that from which we are suffering acutely to-day. A logical executive, holding the above principle, will inevitably annex to the State these huge outgrowths of the competitive system, will keep down prices to the level required by the general interests, and apply profits to the good of all.

That the time is not far distant when nationalization of the land will take place, appears from the fact that many others besides socialists advocate the measure. But we must not suppose that rent will be abrogated. The State will impose a charge 72on the fertile and well situated lands to create conditions that are fair not only to consumers but to cultivators, whose labour in view of a given result must vary according to the superiority or inferiority of soils and situations. District Councils will in all probability organize agricultural labour, the State only drawing a rent; while to present owners of the land compensation will be made, and, if accustomed to work on the land, salaried positions in the new order offered.

The rent exacted by the State may become the single form of taxation necessary for purposes of administration and for organized labour engaged on such service of the people as does not bring in any profit. But when routine industries bearing on universal needs belong to the State, profits will flow into the national exchequer. It will be possible to gradually increase the State’s payment for labour as the workers become more capable of elevating their standard of life and consuming wisely; while the surplus profits will be available for the organizing of new services to be rendered free.

The carriage and distribution of letters is a comparatively long established State industry. The carriage of human beings should equally become so. The State’s taking over of railways and the municipalities’ taking over of tramways cannot be much longer delayed.

Bread baking and distributing by Government employés is pre-eminently desirable, to put an 73end to adulteration in a primary necessary of life and to prevent the waste of energy which takes place in the present disorganized system. Already there is such a general complaint of the quality of bakers’ bread, that an approved method of baking from pure flour under State control would be welcomed by all who perceive how the racial blood is more or less poisoned and its vitality lowered by what is called “the staff of life.” (A prolonged process of baking breaks up the starch granules, and renders bread more digestible. The extra expense and trouble precludes the adoption of this method by private bakers.)

Again, the health of the nation suffers cruelly from poison germs carried in the medium of milk. But when district councils have organized agricultural labour, dairy produce will be distributed under strict Government control. Emulation will spring up among local authorities all over the country to excel one another in the arts of rapidly acquiring and skilfully managing all industries that affect general health, and thus raising the tide of life within the bounds of their jurisdiction. With this aim broadly accomplished, the minor industries might safely be left for some time in private hands and under a competition modified in a greater degree than now by State inspection for the benefit of workers and consumers.

Among services to be made free to the public, those of transit bulk largely and should probably come first—free railway and steamship service, 74free tramway and cable-car service, to be followed in time by a more or less complete service of free entertainments calculated to develop art and promote a happy, joyous life.

If we cast our thoughts forward and try to realize the action and interaction of these altered social conditions upon society, we can hardly mistake the nature of the changes humanity itself will undergo. With the destruction of the frightful incubus of poverty, human hearts will no longer be wrung by anguish, bitterness, despair. With opportunity freely afforded for regular employment and its ample reward, for decent and wholesome living, and a civic life brightened by many pure pleasures, the degrading and false excitements will cease to allure. Drunkenness, vice, crime will greatly diminish. Instead of the desperate struggle for bread and all that appertains to an animal life pure and simple, a new struggle will arise—a benign, inspiring emulation to attain to and acquire the noble qualities of humanity, the distinctive characteristics of, not the lower animal, but the higher spiritual man.

Respecting the form of government in a Socialistic State, I cannot do better than quote Mr. J. A. Hobson: “A developed organic democracy will have evolved a specialized ‘head,’ an expert official class, which shall draft laws upon information that comes to them from innumerable sources through class and local representation, and shall administer the government, subject to protests 75similarly conveyed.” “The conditions of a really effective expert officialism are two: such real equality of educational opportunities as shall draw competent officials from the whole people; and such a growth of public intelligence and conscience as shall establish the real final control of government for society in its full organic structure.” (Contemporary Review, February, 1902.)



The laws of heredity constitute the most important agency whereby the vital forces, the vigour and soundness of the physical system, are changed for better or worse.—Nathan Allen, M.D., LL.D.



The population question is the real riddle of the Sphinx, to which no political Oedipus has as yet found the answer. In view of the ravages of the terrible monster over-multiplication all other riddles sink into insignificance.—Huxley.

No human life can be maintained without food, and no healthy individual life can be maintained without good food in sufficient quantity; therefore, the relation of numbers to the actual food supply—in other words, the Population Question—stands at the threshold of our social inquiries and at the base of all social reform.

At the beginning of last century, Malthus, who knew nothing of evolution, expounded the doctrine that man tends to increase more rapidly than the means of subsistence; that population and food, like two runners of unequal swiftness chained together, advance side by side, but the pace or natural rate of increase of the former is so immensely superior to that of the latter that it is necessarily greatly checked. And the checks are of two kinds. 80They are either positive—that is, deaths occur from famine, accident, war or disease, and keep down the population so that the means of subsistence are just sufficient to enable the poorer classes barely to exist; or they are preventive—that is, fewer births take place than man is capable of causing.

This doctrine was a fertile germ of thought in the mind of Charles Darwin. He, while conscious to some extent of the process of evolution, was grappling with the great problems of differentiation and genesis of species. How came it that the life which is assumed to develop from low and simple to the highest and most complex forms everywhere exhibited breaks, or sudden changes, in the apparently natural order? Darwin perceived that a key to the enigma lay in the marvellous fecundity of organisms. Each group reproduced its kind in overflowing numbers, and accidental conditions destroyed individuals and groups that failed to secure sufficient food or to protect themselves from enemies. Here were factors of progress, but factors by no means admirable—a murderous slaughter of the weak, a frantic struggle for existence, culminating in violent death or slow starvation, ultimately in extinction. Nevertheless, the medal had two sides, for the race is to the swift, the battle to the strong; bread is the portion of the wise, favour the reward of skill. Should we feel surprise that in a semi-theological and metaphysical era, rather than a scientific one, Darwin formulated his great discovery in terms suggesting not a cruel, but a beneficent Nature? 81His law of natural selection, or survival of the fittest, established itself in many minds as a sacred principle that man could neither deny nor seek to counteract.

Now this conception, carried into the field of economics, confused the minds of men engaged in the study of facts and problems of human life and progress. Political economists had to contemplate a social strife and struggle for existence among men as fierce and relentless as that holding sway in the brute kingdom. And in this struggle society as a whole stood on the side of external nature as opposed to the mass of striving individuals. A genetic, spontaneously developed system of industry favoured a high birth-rate that kept wages low, an unscrupulous exploitation of labour in the interests of capital, a wholesale slaughter of infants, a crushing out or trampling down of the weak, and a perpetual grinding of the face of the poor, while, simultaneously, wealth was multiplying and capital becoming concentrated and easy of control by the so-called princes of industry. Conditions of life to the great mass of the people were fraught with constant misery; yet, since Darwin had demonstrated—in his Origin of Species, published in 1858—that a struggle for existence eventuates in the survival of the fittest, enlightened thinkers, with a few rare exceptions, accepted the cruel facts of industrial life without any conscious moral revolt from the system.

Laissez-faire” was the logical outcome of Darwinian law applied to human affairs, and 82Darwin’s authority dominated the public mind of the period. Christianity was teaching the principle that the poor would be with us always; a poet cheerfully sang “God’s in His Heaven; All’s right with the world; All’s love and all’s law,” and political economists expounded the laws of demand and supply, of rent, of wages, of profits, of interest, etc., without one hint or surmise that man himself was bound to interfere with the action of derivative laws, to modify or even annul them.

Meanwhile an instinct of sympathy, rudimentary in primitive man, was steadily growing and strengthening during all the transitions of tribal, village-communal, feudal and national life, in the stormy militant epoch, till the moment arrived when it compelled man’s interference. Spontaneously, impulsively, individual philanthropy interposed between a suffering humanity on the one hand, and on the other external nature and a social system that were alike relentless. It supported the weak and helped the unfit to survive. It deliberately selected the half-starved, the diseased, the criminals, and enabled them to exist and propagate. Finally it forced society to make laws subversive of the policy of “laissez-faire,” thereby introducing a new order of things, irrespective of all doctrinaire principles or authoritative teaching. That new order of things is socialism, and the genesis of socialism is distinctly to be traced to the vital element in human nature—unselfish sympathy.

The rise and progress of philanthropic action 83carries momentous issues in various directions, both unfavourable and favourable to human welfare. It has made the law of natural selection and survival of the fittest obsolete for us as applied to man. It tends to a lowering of the level of average health and a gradual degenerating of the race through selection of the unfit, and through the power of hereditary transmission. It counteracts the positive or destructive checks to the increase of population, and thereby extends the area of general misery. Nevertheless, at the same time, it increases the strength and the solidarity of human society, and becomes a new law of life. That law may be called “Sympathetic Selection” and “Survival of the Gentle.” Darwin in 1878 acknowledged its existence. He recognized it as a law in human society superseding that of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest.

In 1801 the population of England and Wales was 8,892,536, or let us say about nine millions. Eighty years later it had risen to about twenty-six millions! The increase showed an accelerated rate according to the census returns. Whereas in the ten years between 1841 and 1851 the percentage of increase was 12·65, in those from 1861 to 1871 it was 13·19, and between 1871 and 1881 it was 14·34. In the United Kingdom in 1900 there has been an increase of 18 per cent. since 1880.

Now Malthus had pointed out that with conditions of life comparatively favourable, and an increase of food supply comparatively easy, population 84was found to double itself in twenty-five years or less. Our numbers during these eighty years had been, roughly speaking, trebled! and the increase took place under conditions not favourable but unfavourable to the bulk of the nation. Manufacturing industries had enabled us to purchase food from abroad, and consequently a larger number of children survived. Food, however, cannot always be forthcoming in greater and greater abundance from countries that need more and more of their own food supply, and which, by manufacturing for themselves, are gradually reducing their demand for our manufactured commodities.

Notwithstanding this patent fact, there are social reformers to-day who persist in ignoring the population difficulty, and there are thinkers who, basing their views on Herbert Spencer’s dictum that “man’s fertility will be checked by his individuation,” pass it over lightly. Generally speaking, however, the public conscience is now aroused, and enlightened men and women are tolerably well alive to the fundamental nature and the grave importance of the population question.

“In some parts of the United States of America,” says an able writer, “population has actually doubled itself, apart from immigration, in twenty-five years; and this in the face of the ordinary retarding influences. If such a rate of increase upon the present population of the whole globe were to prevail for only 250 years, there would be left but one square yard of standing room for each individual.”

85Again: “If we grant that a scientific treatment of crops would enable food supplies to keep pace with population, and for this purpose supposing that all the land in the planet Jupiter were available for a market garden, it would not ultimately be want of food but want of room that would put a stop to the increase of the multitude.” But further, the above author—a mathematician—examines what the potentiality of increase represents on the supposition that each individual merely died the natural death of old age. “Under such favourable conditions as the absence of war, famine and disease, the race might treble its numbers in thirty years. To show the significance of the numerical law, let us imagine it to operate undisturbed 3,000 years upon the progeny of a single pair. The number of human beings finally existing would be expressed by twice the 100th power of 3. An easy computation will show that if these people were packed together, allowing six cubic feet of space for each person, they would fill up the whole solar system in every direction, and extend beyond it to a distance 430 times that of the planet Neptune. In fact, a solid sphere of human beings would be formed having a diameter of 2,400,000,000,000 miles. Such considerations lead us to realize the absolute inevitableness of Nature’s checks upon reproduction.” (Social Evolution and the Evolution of Socialism, by George Shoobridge Carr, M.A., Cantab.)

Turning now from scientific speculation to recognized authority in practical politics, let me quote 86from a paper read at the Registrar-General’s office on March 18, 1890, by Dr. William Ogle, Superintendent of Statistics: “The population of England and Wales is, as we all know, growing in a most formidable manner, and though persons may differ in their estimates of the time when that growth will have reached its permissible limits, no one can doubt that, if the present rate of increase be maintained, the date of that event cannot possibly be very remote.”

Premising that the rate of increase is not due to the birth-rate only, but also to a fall in the death-rate, and that voluntary philanthropy and State interference influence the latter, we pass to the consideration of conditions that affect the marriage-rate—consequently the birth-rate—in the artisan and labouring classes, composing the bulk of the nation. The Registrar-General, in his report for the year 1876, wrote as follows: “The state of trade and national industry is strikingly exhibited in the fluctuations of the marriage-rate of the last nine years.... The period of commercial distress, which began about the middle of 1866 and continued during five years ... influenced the marriage-rates of these years, which were 17·5, 16·5, 16·1, 15·9, 16·1 and 16·7 (in the 1,000) respectively. In 1872 and 1873 the working classes became excited under the rapid advance of wages and the diminution of the hours of labour, and the marriage-rates rose to 17·5 and 17·6 respectively.” In his report for 1881 the Registrar-General again accentuated 87this important point: “The marriage-rate reflects with much accuracy the condition of public welfare.” And further on: “The birth-rate was at its maximum in 1876, and fell uninterruptedly from that date year by year in natural accordance with the corresponding decline in the marriage-rate.” These years represented another period of commercial depression. We have here then incontrovertible proof of the national tendency. The mass of our people increase their numbers so soon as they are more comfortable, and the marriage-rate for each year may be called the pulse or indicator of the nation’s economic well-being. Its fluctuations coincide with the upward and downward movements of commercial activity.

In this connexion we have also to note that the most rapid growth of our population is taking place in the great industrial centres, the mining, manufacturing and trading districts; and the type that there prevails is necessarily affecting the British race.

By the Parliamentary return of marriages, births and deaths registered in England and Wales in the year 1881, it appeared that in different districts the percentages of marriages varied considerably. It was greater in the mining, manufacturing and trading districts than in the farming districts, and much higher in London than in the provinces. In the district comprising Hertford, Buckingham, Oxford, Bedford, Cambridge, the rate equalled twelve persons per annum for each thousand of the 88population. In London it was eighteen persons for each thousand, and in the divisions which comprise Yorkshire and Lancashire the rate was sixteen and seventeen persons to each thousand. As regards births, the proportions stated were somewhat similar. In London there were thirty-five births to one thousand of the population, whilst in the southeastern division there were only thirty-one; but the rate rose again to thirty-five and thirty-six in the great manufacturing districts of the Midlands and the North.

Dr. Ogle’s examination of statistics on the subject shows that this state of things has continued, in its main features, up to the present day. “Men marry,” he says, “in greater numbers when trade is brisk. The fluctuations in the marriage-rate follow the fluctuations in the amount of industrial employment.” “The rates vary very greatly in the different registration counties.” “In London the rate is invariably high. Almost all the counties in which the marriage-rate is high are counties in which the population is also high of women engaged in industrial occupations, and therefore presumably in receipt of independent wages, while all the counties in which the marriage-rate is very low are also counties in which but a very small population of the women are industrially occupied.” The general drift of the figures leads to the conclusion that early marriage is most common where there is the largest amount of employment for women.

The age at which marriage takes place is examined 89by Dr. Ogle as “a subject of scarcely less importance than the rate in its bearing upon the growth of the population.” And the point is of special interest in view of the fact that delayed marriage was valued by Malthus as a desirable preventive check. Dr. Ogle finds that the lowest average age at marriage for both bachelors and spinsters, viz., 25·6 and 24·2 respectively, was in 1873, the year in which the marriage-rate was highest; and from that date to the present time the ages have gone up gradually but progressively in harmony with the general decline in the marriage-rate. In 1888 the average age of bachelors at marriage was 26·3 years, and of spinsters was 24·7.

Observe of late years there has been a slight decline of the marriage-rate and a certain retardation of marriage, consequently the birth-rate has fallen, but says Dr. Ogle, “so also has the death-rate, and almost in equal amount; so that the balance between the two, or natural increment of the population, has practically scarcely changed. We may,” he observes, “dismiss altogether the notion that any adequate check to the increase of population is hereafter to be found in retardation of marriage. Such retardation may defer the day when a stationary population will be necessary, but, when that day has come, will be insufficient to prevent further growth. If a stationary population is to be obtained by simple diminution of the marriage-rate, that rate would have to be reduced 45 per cent. below the lowest point it has ever yet reached. In 90short, almost one-half of those who marry would have to remain permanently celibate. This seems as hopeless a remedy as the retardation.” He makes clearer still this important matter: “If one-quarter of the women who now marry were to remain permanently celibate, and the remaining three-quarters were to retard their marriages for five years, the birth-rate would be reduced to the level of the present death-rate. It is manifest that if the growth of population is hereafter to be arrested ... by increase of permanent celibacy, or by retardation of marriage, these remedies will have to be applied on a scale so enormously in excess of any experience as to amount to a social revolution.”

What, then, is the present position?

Population tends to increase faster than actual subsistence. Obviously it cannot outrun the supply of food because people cannot live upon nothing. There ensues therefore a state of chronic starvation among the most helpless, and premature deaths keep population reduced to the means of subsistence.

Let us glance at facts concerning London alone. London now contains over 4,300,000 persons. Three hundred thousand of these earn less than 18s. per week per family, and live in a chronic state of want. One person in every five will die in the workhouse, hospital, or lunatic asylum. Moreover, the percentage is increasing. Considering that comparatively few of the deaths are those of children, it is probable that one of every four London adults will be driven into these refuges to die.

91One in every eleven of the whole population is a pauper. One in every five of persons over 65 is a pauper. The appalling statistics of the pauperism of the aged are carefully concealed in all official returns. In 1885 Canon Blackley found that 42·7 per cent. of deaths of persons over 60 in twenty-five rural parishes were those of paupers. Very many children in the Board Schools go to school without sufficient food unless supplied gratuitously. Over 30,000 persons in London have no home but the fourpenny “doss-house” or the causal ward. (Fabian Tracts, Nos. 10 and 17.)

The death-rate of children in the poorest districts of the East End of London is three times as great as among the rich at the West End. In barbarous ages the death-rate was, as far as we can learn, far higher than now, and even now the death-rate of children in Russia is extremely high.

We have little cause to rejoice in the absence of famine, pestilence and war so long as the lowering of the death-rate—by sanitation, the hospital system and the outcome generally of sympathetic feeling—increases the proportion of human beings in a state of chronic want, and produces a gradual enfeeblement and deterioration of the human race. Yet it is inconceivable that rationalized man could withhold his efforts to reduce the death-rate in the future because of the fatal effects of his philanthropic action in the past.

Darwin acknowledged this dilemma. In the year 1878 he somewhat sadly wrote: “The evils that 92would follow by checking benevolence and sympathy in not fostering the weak and diseased would be greater than by allowing them to survive and procreate.” Ten years later Professor Huxley wrote: “So long as unlimited multiplication goes on, no social organization which has ever been devised, no fiddle-faddling with the distribution of wealth, will deliver society from the tendency to be destroyed by the reproduction within itself in its intensest form of that struggle for existence, the limitation of which is the object of society.” (Nineteenth Century, February, 1888.)

Further than this he did not go; Huxley, like Darwin, brings us up to the dilemma and leaves us there. Not such, however, is the position of all scientific men in the present day. “We stand on the threshold of a new departure in social evolution,” says the author already quoted, “a new and potent factor in the process is about to make itself felt. This factor is man’s intellect.... The intelligence of man will act intelligently; population will not be subjected to mere haphazard restriction; it will be regulated with a wise adaptation of means to an end.” (Social Evolution and the Evolution of Socialism, G. S. Carr, pp. 65, 66.) Man’s intelligence already perceives the right policy to pursue. It is to lower the birth-rate, to limit births to a proportion conformable with the food supply; in other words, to create a painless, instead of a painful, equalization of births and deaths.

Is there any other means of escape from the 93existent dilemma? I answer, there is none. Emigration has sometimes been regarded as an efficient check to over-population, and Dr. Ogle allows that “hitherto some of the excess of births over deaths has been met by emigration, or rather by excess of emigration over immigration; but never on such a scale as to free the country from more than one-twentieth part of its redundant growth.” Moreover, this minimum of good is counterbalanced by evil, for emigration “carries off the more vigorous and enterprising of our working men to the necessary deterioration of the residue left at home.” And further: “The facilities for successful emigration are yearly diminishing; the time must inevitably come—sooner or later—when this means of reducing our population will altogether fail us.”

In view of the obvious tendency of better conditions—when brought about—to create a reduction of the death-rate and an acceleration of the birth-rate, eventuating in an increase of general misery, neither Malthus, Darwin, Huxley, nor any other great teacher of the past, has given us applicable and available counsel. There only remains for us now to consider Herbert Spencer’s opinion regarding this all-important matter. He is credited with the demonstration of a law of population wider than the laws discerned by Malthus and Darwin. The law is this: “Other things equal, multiplication and individuation vary inversely, i.e. the rate of reproduction of all living things becomes lowered as the development is raised, and conversely.” 94(Lecture on “Claims of Labour,” Edin., 1886, Patrick Geddes.)

We have to do with this so-called law in respect only of its bearing on practical action. The corollary deduced from it is: Individuate, educate and refine your masses, for the rate of increase will fall as organisms rise in the scale of culture.

Now what are our prospects of any rapid advance in individuation (development and culture) among the seething masses of a people who are helpless and frightfully overcrowded by the action of the very law which individuation is to counteract? In how long a period will the process be likely to take effect? It is on the answer to these questions that the worth of the principle as a law of practical guidance for humanity must depend.

Accepting it as a fact that in the families of our higher classes the average number is distinctly smaller than in the families of our lower classes, let us look for a moment at some of the causes creating this difference. First, in the higher classes men may have mistresses whose children are unacknowledged; and frequently they form the marriage tie with heiresses whose hereditary tendency is necessarily—as expounded by Francis Galton—towards sterility. Second, women of the higher classes are often delicate. They cannot support the strain of frequent maternity. Is this a condition that, in an advancing civilization, will persist? By no means. The ideal of womanhood, as of manhood, points to strength, not weakness—“a 95combination of brain power and skill with bodily health and vigour. Many intellectual men are physically robust and capable in a polygamous state of patriarchal propagation.” (Over-population, John M. Robertson.) And it is impossible to doubt that a rational education, embracing free play to activities hitherto denied to the sex, and promoting physical development, will lift women to a superior level of health and of physiological capacity. Third, the higher classes avail themselves to some extent of neo-Malthusian preventive checks, whereas the mass of the people are either ignorant of them or opposed to their use. Fourth, enforced celibacy in the case of a large proportion of women of the cultured classes is a cause of relatively fewer numbers. Obviously it is from the “warrens of the poor” that prolific life persistently springs. There we have the highest rate of genesis; and as the refined restrain propagation and limit their numbers, the poor enter the breach and fill up the ranks from their own inferior stock. Now, mark the result. The individuating process is checked, and ultimately fails, through the crowding out of the individuated. What occurs, naturally, inevitably, by the action of the process is a gradual subsidence, finally a limiting of the individuating factor, the very social force to which Herbert Spencer directs attention! Surely it suffices to point out “that no theory of the ultimate effects of mere refinement on rate of increase can give us help while nine-tenths of the human race are not refined, and not 96visibly in the way of becoming so.” (Over-population, John M. Robertson.)

We are compelled to dismiss Herbert Spencer’s “law of population” as irrelevant to the situation, and to declare that he has no more solved the riddle of the Sphinx than have Malthus, Darwin and Huxley.

The population problem, as it faces us to-day, is serious beyond all comparison. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of finding its true solution. But while thousands of men and women are ready now to admit the seriousness, nowhere as yet has a movement appeared of united action applicable and adequate to the exigency.



How glorious will be the awakening when man’s desires will be honoured, his passions utilized, his labour exalted, whilst life is loved, and ever and ever creates love afresh.—Zola.

The Law of Population derives its force from an innate, powerful instinct or passion in man, the unguarded exercise of which brings about reproduction of the species. The thing therefore of greatest importance to general well-being is the discovery of means whereby to prevent this imperious instinct dominating and controlling the reproductive conditions—which imperatively need to be governed by reason and moral sense.

The sexual instinct, irresponsibly exercised, keeps population up to the margin of the means of subsistence—whatever that may be at the time—perpetuates disease, constitutional weakness and inherited taint, and frustrates the community’s best efforts to make life easier and happier to all.

My immediate purpose is to show that the prevention 98of all this evil is possible, for rational man may slowly and surely guide the above vital instinct into a new course—a course that will lead to the redemption of his physical nature, the purifying and elevating of his intellectual and emotional nature, and the direct creation of social virtue and happiness.

I must first point out the obstacles standing in the way of this fundamental far-reaching readjustment. There is a fatal ignorance of the true nature of the instinct in question, there is an obstinate prejudice that prevents frank discussion of the subject, there is Puritan or ascetic feeling that shuns pleasure as evil, and there is an optimistic fatalism which, basing itself on Darwinian law—already superseded by man’s interference—persists in the laissez-faire policy, however suicidal.

Sexual relations form the background of human life and are the primary sources of our finest emotions. Therefore the instinct that prompts to sex-union ought to hold a supremely honourable place in public estimation, and be carefully guarded from reproach and every hurtful or degrading condition. This great factor in physical and emotional life stands, at present, in disgrace. It is ignominiously repressed, it produces heart-rending misery and unmitigated evil. Publicly and in current literature, either it is ignored (hypocritically) or misjudged and condemned; and all the time privately it is intensely felt; and in every direction throughout society its licentious, furtive indulgence 99swirls into the vicious circles of destruction, the broken hearts and lives of women, the fallen dignity and besmirched consciences of men.

If we look at the matter of sexual intercourse calmly and in the light of pure reason alone, we must perceive that its intrinsic qualities are good, not evil. It creates happiness in the giving and receiving of pleasure, and the physiological exaltation connected with pleasure promotes individual health and buoyancy. To quote Herbert Spencer: “Pleasure increases vitality and raises the tide of life.” If man “eats and drinks immoderately,” said W. R. Greg, “nature punishes him with dyspepsia and disease; but nature never forbids him to eat when he is hungry and to drink when he is thirsty, provided he does so with discretion. Indeed, she punishes him equally if he abstains, as if he exceeds.” Mr. Greg further showed that the action of nature is precisely similar in respect of the sexual function. If man indulges to excess, he is punished by premature exhaustion, with appropriate maladies, not otherwise however. On the contrary, enforced and total abstinence is punished often, if not habitually, by “nervous disturbance and suffering and by functional disorder.” (Enigmas of Life, Chapter II.) Observe also the sexual desire “is the especial one of all our animal wants which is redeemed from animalism by being blended with our strongest and least selfish affections; which is ennobled by its associations in a way in which the appetites of eating and drinking and sleeping can 100never be ennobled in a degree to which the pleasures of the eye and ear can be ennobled only by assiduous and lofty culture.” (Enigmas of Life. W. R. Greg, p. 71.) We have no fastidious recoil from eating and drinking because these are merely animal functions. We take pains to improve our methods of preparing food, and we embellish our repasts with super-sensual surroundings in order to elevate the nutritive functions and free them from grossness or brutality. The fundamentally animal nature of sexual passion does not imply brutality, it is sociable to a far greater degree than eating or drinking, and this element of sociality purifies and ennobles, causing the function to become the basis of tender unselfish love. In its physiological aspect we may rest assured that the average normal human being has as little inherent tendency to sexual excess as to gluttony or drunkenness.

But apart from the question of excess, an attitude of mind towards the whole subject is common which must be condemned. This attitude consists of an element of shame, misnamed delicacy, and a sense of moral superiority. Women chiefly cherish the feeling, but men pay homage to it, with the result that in no friendly communion of men and women does it seem compatible with good taste to discuss questions of sex.

All vulgar allusions to love, all flippant talk on the subject of sex are distinctly contrary to good taste, they dishonour human nature, but I submit that it is an outrage on common sense, and an 101immoral action, when students of the Population—or any other grave social question—allow this spurious delicacy to interfere with their facing the whole facts of life, or to bias judgment in reasoning from the facts.

On the publication of my previous volume, Scientific Meliorism and the Evolution of Happiness, in 1885, a woman of superior intellect and attainments reviewed the book. One passage in her criticism stands thus: “A certain instinct that in such matters the instinct of reprobation is as healthy as it is superficially unreasonable, may make one sicken at the suggestions of neo-Malthusianism.” (The Academy of May 15th, 1886.) Such squeamishness is no indication of health or good taste. Its unreasonableness condemns it, and the source from which it springs is prejudice induced through specific conditions. The reviewer appears to suspect as much, for, later she remarks: “One cannot put down the book without a greatly increased sense of the supreme necessity of criticizing all established theories and institutions and of the supreme duty of refraining from precipitate action.” This is a sentiment one can endorse, and I appeal to all my readers, especially to women, to refrain from forming any judgment on any part of this difficult, all-important problem, until they have mastered the subject in all its aspects. To pursue the opposite course is to act irrationally and immorally. It causes to spring up in other minds the prejudice which distorts and disguises truth.

102In nutritive functions, all repulsive animalism becomes overborne, as human nature refines and civilizes, and in a profounder sense the brutality of sex-passion vanishes through the growth of a higher love, which has for its dominant quality—not eagerness for possession—but unselfish tenderness. This tenderness, permeating the individual and extending its benign influence into society, issues in the gentle manners and virtuous actions that seem to spring directly from a universal principle of sympathy and love.

The scientific exposition of the phenomena has long been before the public. G. H. Lewes, in his Problems of Life and Mind, demonstrated that whilst the individual functions of man (alimentation being one of these) arise in relation to the cosmos, his general functions, including sex-appetite, arise in relation to the social medium, and “animal impulses become blended with human emotions,” until “in process of evolution, starting from the merely animal appetite of sexuality, we arrive at the purest and most far-reaching tenderness.” The social instincts, which he calls analogues of the individual instincts, tend more and more to make “sociality dominate animality and thus subordinate personality to humanity.” (Problems of Life and Mind, vol. 1, p. 159.)

It is only recently that the full significance of these facts has begun to influence general thought and to create a revolt against the unscientific attitude of mind that covers the sexual instinct with contumely 103and hypocritical disdain. There dawns in consequence a new light upon the afflicting problem of our social impurity. It is seen that the horrible struggle for existence which makes grief and pain, exhausting mental effort and physical restraint, enter so largely into the lot of unhappy man, is the paramount evil to cast out. “The wonderful cycles of normal life are for ever clean and pure.” (The New Spirit, Havelock Ellis.) And with far more of sex-union—especially for the young—and all the tender social joys that emanate from that union, and far more of ease and happiness in life, there becomes possible a great increase of goodness.[2]

2. It is well to know moments of material happiness, since they teach us where to look for loftier joys.—Wisdom and Destiny, by Maurice Maeterlinck.

The late James Hinton spoke truly of the matter when he said: “Sensuous pleasure will be to the moral life of the future as sense-impressions are to the knowledge of the present, and with the same history. It will not be a thing put aside as evil or degrading or misleading, but recognized as the very basis and means of the life, and used with enhancements and multiplied powers undreamt of by us.” And again, “This is what sets the soul on fire—the union of goodness and pleasure. It is a new possibility, a hope we never saw before, a means whereby all may be brought into goodness.” (The Law Breaker, pp. 275, 236.) The key to the position, he points out, is the taking of pleasure 104unselfishly and with complete regard to the happiness of others.

The region of sex is indeed to this day unreclaimed, but, as Mr. Ellis asks: “Why should the sweetening breath of science be guarded from this spot? Our attitude towards this part of life affects profoundly our attitude towards life altogether.” (The New Spirit, pp. 127, 125). Which of us has not felt the truth of that deep saying of Thoreau’s that “for him to whom sex is impure there are no flowers in nature.”

It is precisely here that development in the sense of purity gives a sure hope of moral regeneration. And very remarkable is it that as in the old days when prophetic poetry took the lead in all religious reforms so now we have art in the van of social reform boldly confronting the great enemies of progress—ignorance, pride, prejudice and malicious insinuation. When Ibsen’s “Ghosts” was first put upon the stage of a London theatre, a dramatic critic delivered himself thus: “It is a dream of revolt—the revolt of the ‘joy of life’ against the gloom of hidebound, conventional morality, the revolt of the natural man and woman, the revolt of the individual against the oppression of social prejudice. The joy of life, the joy of life—it rings like a clarion through the play.” (Star of March 14th, 1891.) The fine women of Ibsen’s creation speak out upon questions of sex with a pure, earnest candour that breathes a new morality, and this moral element is one of the central features in Whitman’s attitude 105towards sex. For the lover, there is nothing in the loved one impure or unclean; a breath of passion has passed over, and all things are sweet. For most of us this influence spreads no farther, for the man of strong moral instinct it covers all human things in infinitely widening circles; his heart goes out to every creature that shares the loved one’s delicious humanity, henceforth there is nothing human that he cannot touch with reverence and love. Leaves of Grass is penetrated by this moral element. (The New Spirit, Havelock Ellis, p. 123.)

Walt Whitman himself says: “Difficult as it will be, it has become, in my opinion, imperative to achieve a shifted attitude from superior men and women towards the thought and fact of sexuality as an element in character, personality, the emotions, and a theme in literature.” (How I made a Book. An Essay by Walt Whitman.)

The principles underlying the new morality may be thus stated: Goodness does not consist in starving or denying any normal animal appetite, therefore chastity in the sense of total abstinence is essentially immoral. Life is not so prodigal of joys that man can wisely forego any source of innocent happiness, hence asceticism has no place in a rational theory and code of morals. The course for rational man to adopt in reference to sexual appetite is duly to satisfy and regulate it; and by removing every loathsome condition that superinduces degradation, to compel it to raise 106the tide of life in promoting individual comfort and general virtue.

To the reader who grasps the population problem it may seem that this moral code would place society on the horns of a painful dilemma, for while morality is said to require a closer union between the sexes than has hitherto prevailed, propagation—which is the actual result of that union—must be limited to an extent hitherto unknown, and by many people deemed impossible of attainment. By its patient investigations of nature, however, science here comes to the rescue of those whose standpoint in viewing the sexual problem is one of ardent sympathy with the essential needs and the moral aspirations of man in a social position truly pathetic.

Physiology has revealed that sexual organs are naturally divided into amative and reproductive organs, each class functionally distinct from the other. Amative organs relate primarily to sexual union, while reproductive organs relate primarily to impregnation and gestation. The process of reproduction may take place without use of the amative organs by simply bringing spermatozoa to ova (this has been done), and on the other hand the amative organs can be exercised without effecting reproduction. Sexual intercourse and procreation are not vitally related, as they are ordinarily assumed to be.

Moreover, the instincts connected with sexual union and with offspring are separate and distinct. In popular, confused thought, a reproductive 107instinct is attributed to animals and man. In reality, no direct instinct to reproduce the species exists. Animals unite sexually from an instinct directed to a pleasurable exercise of function; and although, in man, the relation has been made complex by his knowledge of the facts of reproduction and of social life, the sexual instinct is connected solely with pleasure and social feeling—not with reproduction. On the other hand, instincts associated with the presence and nurture of the young are not sexual or related to sexual passion. Therefore any doctrine requiring man’s exercise of the sexual function to be restricted to the end of reproduction is without justification in nature and directly conflicts with the facts of life.

The sexual act, in the natural order of things, is only occasionally in accidental relation to the reproductive process, for with married people in a thousand acts only a dozen may be reproductive. If social morality then requires the satisfaction of normal sexual feeling—and I think I have shown this to be the case—the desideratum is to prevent at will instead of leaving to accident the above occasional relation, and make the separation between amative and reproductive conditions as complete as their functional separation.

An American writer has well said: “If there is one social phenomenon which human ingenuity ought to bring completely under the control of the will, it is the phenomenon of procreation.” “Just as everyone is his own judge of how much he shall 108eat and drink, of what commodities he wants to render life enjoyable, so everyone should be his own judge of how large a family he desires, and should have power in the same degree to leave off when the requisite number is reached.” (Lester F. Ward. Dynamic Sociology, vol. 2, p. 465.) The Bible Communists of Oneida Creek practised voluntary control over the propagative function during thirty years with marked success. The number of births was regulated in accordance with the wishes of the community, and such careful attention was paid to the laws of heredity that no children of defective organisms or unsound constitutions were born. Were man universally intelligent and morally self-controlled, the knowledge of physiological facts and of invention applied to those facts would suffice to create general spontaneous limitation of the birth-rate and hygienic propagation of species. But one has only to think of the battered humanity in the back slums of every great city—the physical, mental and moral weaklings of our degraded populace—to realize that it is fantastic folly to expect individual intelligence under vicious and utterly depressing conditions, to counteract habit and save society from a rising tide of overwhelming numbers, the product of random pregnancy and sportive chance.

It cannot be a solution nor even a relief to the population difficulty that the intelligent—comparatively few—should limit their families so long as the masses refuse or fail to limit theirs. When 109society, becoming fully alive to the imminent danger of a too rapid birth-rate solves the population and social problems combined—in the only way possible—it will facilitate and promote the use of scientific checks to conception, and, if necessary, exact their adoption by some legislative device. (See Social Control of the Birth-rate, by G. A. Gaskell.)

By the aid of these personal means of avoiding or preventing conception the desired complete separation of amative and reproductive conditions is effected. Love is set free to rule in its own domain, and reason controls procreation to the infinite benefit of all future generations. In an article by Mr. J. Holt Schooling in the Contemporary Review for February, 1902, entitled “The Natural Increase of Three Populations,” it is shown how widely in the United Kingdom the use of preventive checks has spread within the last twenty years. The writer says in comparing the birth-rates of Germany, England and France since 1880: “There has been a fall in the birth-rate during each period in each country. But England’s fall has been larger than all; larger than the fall in the French birth-rate. During 1880–1884 there were 323 births per year per 10,000 of our population; during 1895–1899 there were only 291 births per year per 10,000 of population—a yearly fall of 32 births per 10,000 of population. France’s fall was 28 births and Germany’s fall was only 10 births, although Germany’s birth-rate was higher throughout 110than that of England or of France.” This is very satisfactory, and in regard to the strength of a nation that depends upon the adults, and there are more adults in a population where the children are fewer. The death-rate in England during the last twenty years has been always the lowest of the three countries.

At the present moment, society has no scientific sex-philosophy whatever. It affects to be governed by Puritanism—a vague doctrine belonging to the past history of the race and not in connexion with any ethical code directed to the development of goodness through a careful regard to the happiness of man and the satisfaction of his normal human nature. Puritanism, whether affected or real, spreads abroad hypocrisy, deceit, lying; it tends to licentiousness in men and the utter defilement of women, to social disorder and decay. Above all, it frustrates the development of that higher love, which, having animalism allied, but subordinate, fills the mind with exquisite emotion and creates unselfish delights.

Many years ago Miss Martineau wrote: “A thing to be carefully remembered is that asceticism and licentiousness universally co-exist. All experience proves this, and every principle of human nature might prophesy the proof. Passions and emotions cannot be extinguished by general rules.” (How to observe Morals and Manners, p. 169.) Puritanism ignores the sexual needs of the young. In a scientific age man is bound to recognize physiological 111reasons for early satisfaction of the sexual appetite and physiological reasons for delayed parentage.

Of the former, I have here to say that an early moderate stimulation of the female sexual organs (after puberty is reached) tends, by the law of exercise promoting development of structure, to make parturition in mature life easy and safe; and that the healthy functional and emotional life of love and gratified passion is the best preventive of hysteria, chlorosis, love melancholy, and other unhappy ailments to which our young women are cruelly and barbarously exposed, and which, I do not hesitate to say, make them in many cases feel their youth to be an almost insufferable martyrdom.

There are no less serious sexual evils which overtake masculine youth, if continent, namely, persistent and miserable cravings, abnormally directed instinct, spermatorrhoea, self-abuse; and these are usually hidden from sight and knowledge in consequence of a feeling that, in sexual matters, adults have no sympathy with the young.

In Lecky’s History of European Morals, vol. 2, p. 301, prostitution is thus referred to:—“However persistently society may ignore this form of vice, it exists, nevertheless, and on the most gigantic scale, and an evil rarely assumes such inveterate and perverting forms as when it is shrouded in obscurity and veiled by a hypocritical appearance of unconsciousness. The existence in England of unhappy women, sunk in the very 112lowest depths of vice and misery ... shows what an appalling amount of moral evil is festering uncontrolled, undiscussed and unalleviated under the fair surface of decorous society.” The number of London prostitutes was estimated at 80,000 in the year 1870. Since then, it has probably increased. In Paris, according to Von Dettingen, the actual number at that period was upwards of 60,000; in Berlin, 25,000 to 30,000. In Hamburg, in 1860, every ninth woman above the age of 15 was a prostitute, and in Leipzig the women depending principally or exclusively on prostitution was estimated at 2,000. This field of prostitution encloses whole armies of women finding there their only means of earning a miserable livelihood and a corresponding number of victims claimed by death and disease. (Woman in the Past, Present and Future. August Bebel, pp. 100–101.)

The prostitute, in her thousands; the married drudge, weary of child-bearing; the desolate old maid; these are all alike victims to social oppression. They are compelled to abstain from, or compelled to engage in, a specific function which is only natural, pleasurable, healthful and virtuous in the absence of all tyranny. Love to be real must be prompted by personal desire, and free to express itself in unhurtful conditions: I mean conditions that involve individual liberty, social respect and human dignity. The facts of prostitution alone would amply suffice to put Puritanism out of court in social reform. As a result of conduct, it has no 113control over vicious propensities, whilst it restrains tormentingly impulses that are normal and virtuous, that need only fitting conditions of healthful freedom.

Discarding asceticism and conventional purism as alike immoral, the social reforms that are based on a knowledge of human nature and a knowledge of the possibilities allied with conscious evolution, will bring all the institutions of our social life into accordance with the needs of the individual; and one essential condition of happy life is sexual love, with such union of the sexes as conforms to the general or collective interests.

In view of the law of population, and the fact that science has made plain how practically to separate the amative from the reproductive conditions of physical union, the love of the sexes can harmonize with the highest interests of our collective social life, and eugenics, not sexual love, may become paramount in generation.

What social morality requires is that the forces of philoprogenitiveness and a public conscience combined should dominate the function of reproduction, while love is left free from coercive control in the sphere of individual life.



The first step towards the reduction of disease is beginning at the beginning to provide for the health of the unborn.—Dr. Richardson.

The whole theory concerning heredity and its marvellous influence for good or evil is a nauseous draught for mankind to swallow. No wonder we revolt instinctively from a doctrine that charges tender parents with transmitting an evil heritage to the offspring they passionately love. “Although many important books draw attention to the facts, as far as they are ascertained, these momentous facts have as yet made no impression on the general mind.” (Scientific Meliorism and the Evolution of Happiness, p. 329.) This statement is no longer true. It was written in 1884, and since then immense strides have been made in the realization of the action of heredity. The subject is frequently and persistently brought forward now, and urged upon the attention of the public. Zola’s mère idée is not found only in French fiction, the new Russian 115school of fiction is permeated by it; and even in England some novelists, following in the footsteps of George Eliot, are assuming a scientific attitude towards life, and the facts of heredity are not ignored.

Moreover, in science and in all high-class criticism of life the doctrine of heredity is directly taught.

Apart from purely literary work, the examination of criminal statistics as a whole, and the practical observations of physicians, doctors, dentists, schoolmasters, poor-guardians, systematized and made public at congresses and stored in scientific handbooks so inexpensive as to be well within reach of all students—these, I say, combine to impress upon the general mind the conviction that racial degeneracy is a palpable fact; and that inheritance is prime factor in the degenerating process. And recently indeed a suspicion of danger in over-estimating this factor has been publicly expressed. Whereas formerly, it is said, a child was supposed to be born with a mind like a clean sheet of paper, on whose fair surface we might write what we chose, opinion points in the present day to an opposite extreme, viz., this, that the hereditary tendencies born with the child determine its future career, and that education cannot modify this destiny in any essential respect. Now, to disallow the importance of education as also a prime factor in progress is an error of judgment; but so long as the human race continues scourged by sickness, martyred by pain, demoralized by disease and innate debility, 116and decimated by premature death, it is not possible for thinkers to over-estimate the profound significance for weal or woe of this question of heredity.

Where individual life is not menaced by poverty or destitution, disease is the bane of existence, the barrier to physical comfort and to both mental and moral advance. Alas! how few of us have any permanent possession of sound health. In spite of medical science, sanitary protection, progress made during the last hundred years in knowledge of pathological conditions, and vast resources now at our command for subduing and mitigating every form of physical evil, disease dogs our footsteps from infancy to maturity and onwards to the grave. We have the young attacked by consumption, the middle-aged suffering from failing health, the aged struck by paralysis or bowed down by rheumatism; and everywhere we meet husbands and wives permanently saddened by the loss of the chosen companion of their life, and mothers whose light-hearted buoyancy died out for ever when the babe, prized beyond all treasure, was snatched from their arms to be laid in our appallingly numerous children’s graves.

In order to form an approximately correct conception of disease, we must glance for a moment at the conditions of health. Life in all its forms, physical or mental, morbid or healthy, is in close relation to the individual organism and external forces. Health, as the consequence and evidence of a successful adaptation to the conditions of 117existence, implies the preservation, well-being and development of the organism; while disease marks a failure in organic adaptation to external conditions, and leads to disorder, decay and death.

If we could perceive all the conditions, outward and inward, and take them into account, a distinct line of causation would become apparent. We should find disease no more an accident than the storm that breaks upon the seaboard or the volcanic flames that burst from the mountain top. The extreme complexity and delicacy of biological phenomena precludes a wide grasp of conditions in individual cases, but scientific investigation has established the point that of the antecedents to disease the largest proportion is some heritage of weakness transmitted from parents—some disabilities for healthy life resulting from a bad descent.

When, for instance, mental anxiety produced by adverse circumstances is said to have made a man mad, there is implied some inherent infirmity of nervous element which has co-operated. “Were the nervous system in a state of perfect soundness and in possession of that reserve power which it then has of adapting itself, within certain limits, to the varying external conditions, it is probable,” says Maudsley, “that the most unfavourable circumstances would not disturb permanently the relation and initiate mental disease. But when unfavourable action from without conspires with an infirmity of nature within, then the conditions of disorder are established and a discord or madness 118is produced.” (The Physiology and Pathology of the Mind, p. 199.)

Thus although outward circumstances often decide the character of a disease, inherited infirmity is its primary cause. A being liable to madness, if subjected to anxiety, may, under different conditions, acquire not madness but consumption. A child may fall a victim to the special ailment from which one or both parents suffered; but equally it is possible that disease in him may assume a totally different form. All that can be affirmed with certainty is this: of diseased parents the offspring invariably inherit a constitution liable to “some kind of morbid degeneration, or a constitution destitute of that reserve power necessary to meet the trying occasions of life!”

The trying occasions of life have multiplied with every new complexity in social structure; and there has been no corresponding increase of constitutional strength; but, on the contrary, a growing feebleness of physique and instability of nerve-function. “Our children in these times,” remarks Dr. Richardson, “are our reproach. Where is there a healthy child? You may put before me a child showing to the unskilled mind no trace of disease.... It is sure to have some inherited failure. We are as yet unacquainted with all the phenomena of disease that pass in the hereditary line.... We admit, as proved, scrofula or struma, cancer, consumption, epilepsy, rheumatism, gout. It would be wrong to limit the hereditary proclivities 119of disease to this list. The further my own observations extend, the stronger is the impression made on my mind that the majority of the phenomena of disease have hereditariness of character.” (Diseases of Modern Life, p. 38.) Sir James Paget and Sir William Jenner gave evidence of a similar kind before a Committee of the House of Lords in 1882. From the former eminent physician’s speech I may quote one passage: “We now know that certain diseases of the lungs, liver and spleen are all of syphilitic origin, and the mortality from syphilis in its later forms is every year found to be larger and larger, by its being found to be the source of a number of diseases which previously were referred to other origins.” (The Times Report, August 11th, 1882.)

In August Bebel’s work on Woman, her Position in the Past, Present and Future, this passage occurs: “With regard to the decimating effects of venereal disease, we will only mention that in England between 1857 and 1865 the authenticated cases which ended fatally amounted to over 12,000, among which no fewer than 69 per cent. were children under twelve months, the victims of parental infection.” (p. 101.)

Of the original source from which syphilis sprang, of its implication in the sex problem, and of the ultimate eradication of its virus—to be attained only by the true solution of the sex problem—we cannot here speak; the point under immediate consideration is the fact that the civilized races of 120mankind persist in propagating and perpetuating disease. They unscrupulously bring into the world individual organisms that are pre-destined to failure because not endowed with the potential qualities indispensable to complete and successful life.

In America the same conditions are noted and publicly referred to. Mr. Nathan Allen, M.D., before a medical society at Massachusetts, reported: “A gradual change is taking place in the organization of our New England people—a change which has occurred principally within the last two or three generations. The nervous temperament with all its advantages and disadvantages is becoming too predominant for other parts of the body. The frame-work of the body generally is not so large ... the countenance is paler, the features are more pointed and not so expressive of health. We have a larger class of diseases arising from general debility ... we have more disease of the brain and nervous system, more sudden deaths from apoplexy, paralysis, and also diseases of the heart. In sound healthy stock we have in a far higher degree the recuperative powers of nature; while the original constitution is feeble, diseases of almost every kind become complicated, and their treatment more difficult as well as doubtful in result.”

Laws of inheritance affect the moral as well as the physical and mental health of the nation. Their action is fatally legible in the public records of crime. Not that many criminals inherit 121the actual attributes of crime—brutality, cruelty, malignity, propensity to abnormal sexual practices—these develop through the interaction of external with internal forces—but the ordinary criminal is born deficient in the elemental qualities necessary to the establishment of the average moral nature.

From observations carried on in English prisons, it appears that in these days of careful school-board education 25 per cent. of prisoners can neither read nor write, and a certain number are quite incapable of receiving and benefiting by school instruction. “The memory and reasoning powers are so utterly feeble that attempts to school them is a waste of time.” (Crime and its Causes, William Douglas Morrison, of H.M. Prison, Wandsworth, p. 195.) Intellectually, criminals are “unquestionably less gifted than the rest of the community”; emotionally they “have the family sentiment only feebly developed,” and morally the will is “morbidly variable.” A prisoner may be animated by good resolutions, anxious to do what is right, often possessing a sense of moral responsibility, yet may plunge again and again into crime from the absence of a sustained power of volition. “Persons afflicted in this way are generally convicted for crimes of violence, such as assault, manslaughter, murder. They experience real sentiments of remorse, but neither remorse nor penitence enables them to grapple with their evil star. The will is stricken with disease, and the man is dashed 122hither and thither a helpless wreck on the sea of life.”

The harmony of the social organism depends upon congruity of thought and feeling in its members and upon action made promptly conformable through exercise of the power of control centred in the inner part or spiritual nature of man.

A criminal is an unsocial man, an undeveloped being, one, generally speaking, whose pregenital stock was below par, and failed in the conservation, development and transmission of a physical, mental and moral capacity equalling that of the average of his race. The physical debility or inherited tendency to nerve weakness—so universal in the present day—has clearly a causal relation with the increase of crime deplored by the principal authorities on the subject in Europe and America.

In the United States we are told by Mr. D. A. Wells and by Mr. Howard Wines, an eminent specialist in criminal matters, that crime is steadily increasing at a faster rate than in due proportion to the increase of population. Nearly all the chief statisticians abroad tell the same tale. Dr. Mischler, of Vienna, and Professor Von Liszt, of Marburg, draw a deplorable picture of the increase of crime in Germany. In France, the criminal problem is as formidable and perplexing as in Germany. M. Henri Joli estimates that crime has increased 133 per cent. within the last half century, and is steadily rising. Taking Victoria as a typical Australasian colony, we find that even in the antipodes, which 123are not vexed to the same extent as Europe with social and economic difficulties, crime is persistently raising its head ... it is a more menacing danger among the Victorian Colonists than it is at home. (Crime and its Causes, W. D. Morrison. Published in 1891, pp. 12 and 13.)

While physical degeneracy creates crime, a non-moral life on the other hand causes further physical deterioration. The pursuit of wealth for purely personal ends is pre-eminently anti-social. Breadth of thought and social feeling grow impossible to the man whose life is devoted to the business of amassing riches; and Dr. Henry Maudsley gives it as his conviction, based upon wide observation of family life, that such men are extremely unlikely to beget healthy children. In cases where the father has toiled upwards from poverty to vast wealth, “I have witnessed the results,” he says, “in a degeneracy mental and physical of his offspring which has sometimes gone as far as extinction of the family in the third or fourth generation. I cannot but think after what I have seen that the extreme passion for getting rich does predispose to mental degeneration in the offspring, either to moral defect or to moral and intellectual deficiency, or to outbreaks of positive insanity under the conditions of life.” (The Physiology and Pathology of the Mind, p. 206.)

This fact alone is amply sufficient to condemn an industrial system that creates monopolies, concentrates wealth, stimulates greed, degrades the upper 124classes by superfluous luxury, the lower by envy, poverty, despair, and tends generally to physical, mental and moral decay. But were the entire economic system judiciously reconstructed, fatal elements would remain so long as man fails to grapple with the biological problem and fails to bring the great life forces of reproduction under conscientious direction and control.

Gravitation and all well studied mechanical and chemical forces have been adapted by man to special purposes in relation with his civilized life; even so must the sexual forces that belong to his basic existence be in their turn dominated and made conformable with his higher moral and spiritual needs. In this regard his primary need is that there shall be no transmission of disease or constitutional debility from one generation to another; but that the entire strength of the laws of heredity shall create an improvement of stock and thereby lift humanity to a higher level of physical health and efficiency.

In seeking the true method of attaining this end, it is our duty to look first to the teaching of the great founders of social philosophy. Without their invaluable services in discovering and setting forth the one unbroken process of law which “connects all phenomena from the motion of molecules and the courses of the suns to the phenomena of human thought and the destinies of nations” (J. M. Robertson), no intellects could to-day grasp the causes of misery and, conceiving the possibility of circumventing 125these causes, devise a scheme of scientific action to reverse the trend of general movement and evolve conditions of genuine and universal happiness.

In this sphere, however—the sphere of eugenics, or improvement of the human stock, as also in regard to the population and sex problems—Darwin and Herbert Spencer have failed us. The mind of the former, habituated to dwell on the favourable aspects of the struggle for existence during the early epochs of man’s history, was blind to the consequences of the genesis and growth of the broadly social element in man. Barbarous man could let cosmic forces prevail to exterminate the weak. Sympathetic man is compelled by virtue of his enlarged subjective nature to institute a new struggle, viz., a struggle against the struggle for existence (a phrase used by Lange), and already his triumph is everywhere visible in the survival of the unfit to struggle.

Darwin opposed the proposal to restrain population on the score that this would minimize the struggle which had created civilization in the past and which must needs, he thought, carry it on in the future, and both Darwin and Herbert Spencer “assumed that a generalization which sums up the progressive forces of a collectively unconscious society, i.e. a society without the conception of evolution and of a universal sociology, must equally sum up the progressive principles of a collectively conscious society, a society which has realized 126evolution and is constructing a universal sociology. Though they themselves are our greatest helpers towards such consciousness, they failed to realize that our attainment of it must revolutionize human history.” (Modern Humanists, J. M. Robertson, p. 234).

Turning then to less illustrious men, Mr. Francis Galton is our most advanced teacher in the field of eugenics. He faces the problem of race regeneration and has put forth a scheme or policy of action, resting on Dr. Matthews Duncan’s alleged facts regarding the relative fertility in early and late marriages. He shows that a group of a hundred mothers whose marriages and those of their daughters should take place at the age of twenty, would, in the course of a few generations, breed down a group of a hundred mothers whose marriages and those of their daughters were delayed until the age of twenty-nine. Let us then, he reasons, promote by every means in our power the early marriage of human beings of superior quality, whilst we discountenance early marriage in those social members who are less favourably endowed. And “few,” he says, “would deserve better of their country than those who determine to live celibate lives through a reasonable conviction that their issue would probably be less fitted than the generality to play their part as citizens.” (Inquiries into Human Faculty, p. 336.)

In examination for official appointments he would have attention paid to a candidate’s ancestral qualifications as well as his personal ability. The man of 127inherited sound constitution and average ability should be preferred to the man of superior ability who belongs to a delicate and short-lived family. The former will in all probability become the more valuable servant of the two. Some scheme should be devised by which to bestow marks for family merit, to put, as it were, a guinea stamp to the sterling guinea’s worth of natural nobility; and this, he conceives, might set a great social avalanche in motion. It would open the eyes of every family, and of society at large, to the importance of marriage alliance with a good stock; it would introduce the subject of race as a permanent topic of consideration, and lead to a careful collecting of family histories and noting of those facts which are absolutely necessary for guidance in right conduct. Late marriage, as advised by Malthus, Mr. Galton utterly condemns. The prudent alone are influenced by that doctrine, and it is, he says, a most pernicious rule of conduct in its bearing upon race. His policy, then, is early and fruitful marriage for the best specimens of our race, and widespread celibacy in the case of those less highly favoured, whilst everywhere the sentiment should prevail that eugenics, or the improvement of the human stock, is the primary consideration in marriage and the guiding principle in sex relations.

This theory I hold to be one-sided, and the policy misleading and to some extent false. Mr. Galton ignores the fundamental principle of social life, viz., that the happiness of all, at all times, should be the 128aim and object of rational man, and he mistakes the quality of human nature in highly civilized man. To demand celibacy of men and women whose defective organisms it is not desirable to perpetuate, would be in hundreds and thousands of instances to sacrifice unnecessarily present happiness to future gain—to build up the comfort and enjoyment of coming generations at the expense of the comfort and enjoyment of our own generation. The sentiment of justice repudiates this action as well as condemns the reverse position of a reckless self-indulgent procreating to the deterioration of the human stock, whilst reason distinctly shows that individual liberty, in respect of marriage, is a social necessity perfectly compatible with the well-being of all. Physical regeneration of race will not be achieved by an overstrained morality that does violence to the emotional human nature of the normal and average man.

Mr. Galton’s system of social reform accords in some respects with that which it is the purpose of this work to set forth. Both systems premise teaching that it is man’s duty and within his power to improve the physical, intellectual and moral structure of his race. He may, in part, achieve this by intelligent forethought and careful action in exercising the function of propagating his kind. Population must not be kept up by consumptives or persons whose pedigree is tainted by any disease known to be hereditary, and public opinion must enforce the necessary restraints. (Temporary illness 129ought also to be considered. It is when parents are in their best state of health only that they are morally justified in bringing children into the world.)

Of these, celibacy is a restraint commended and advised by Mr. Galton, whilst scientific meliorism deliberately rejects it, for celibacy is a vital evil, destroying individual happiness and tending obviously to social disorder. Wherever love in its highest form exists between two individuals, union is eminently desirable; but if either or both be afflicted by disease or hereditary taint, the sacrifice demanded of them is to carefully abstain from giving birth to children. Whether the means adopted be those of natural self-control or of artificial aids to self-control will depend on the views of the individuals immediately concerned, and in this matter society has no right of interference.

It is the business, however, of society to sweep away ignorance and make it possible for the poor as well as the rich to enter on the right path voluntarily, and where, from physical or moral degeneracy, self-regulation is impossible, society must exercise authority and coercively restrain the vital social force of propagation. It will not be by means of the lonely lives celibacy entails that civilized men and women will refrain from having children disqualified for useful citizenship. We shall, to quote the late poet laureate’s words, “move upward, working out the beast, and let the ape and tiger die,” by other means more worthy of humanity, i.e. by socialized 130freedom and sex equality; by intelligent self-control voluntarily practised (with or without artificial appliance), and by control, enforced wherever necessary by the State in fulfilment of its responsible duty—the careful guardianship of the congenital blood of future generations.

In the savage epoch of our history, the force of natural selection produced survival of the fittest. From that epoch we have long since passed into a semi-civilized epoch in which the force of sympathetic selection produces a miserable state of indiscriminate survival; we have now to pass forward to the epoch in which the rational force of a wise, intelligent selection will systematically secure the birth of the physically fit.



Marriage is that union of the sexes which is most in accordance with the moral and physical necessities of human beings and which harmonizes best with their other relations of life.—Richard Harte.

It is of vast importance to bear clearly in mind that all the great social institutions that confront us to-day are of genetic origin and evolution. They have not been devised by man to bring about the true end of all intelligent effort—namely, happiness. They are simply the undesigned, unforeseen results of various natural and social forces of the past. They survive through their tendency to maintain the existence of the race. They subserve life, not happiness. It is not my intention to treat marriage historically and trace back the various forms of it to their social origins. It is sufficient to bear in mind the fact of the natural, undevised origin of every form, including that form of monogamy which prevails in the most civilized countries of to-day. A priori, we should have expected that monogamy, being the ideal sex-union of the civilized races of 132Western Europe, would have been everywhere the last form to appear; that, in short, its fitness to survive all other forms would be shown by lateness of development as well as by superior qualifications for satisfying the needs of a highly developed humanity. This is not so, however. Mr. Herbert Spencer gives reasons for believing that monogamy dates as far back as any other marital relation. “Indeed, certain modes of life necessitating wide dispersion such as are pursued by the lowest forest tribes in Brazil and the interior of Borneo—modes of life which in earlier stages of human evolution must have been commoner than now—hinder other relations of the sexes.” (Sociology, vol. i. p. 698.) Two of the lowest tribes of savages existing, the Wood-Veddahs of Ceylon and the Bushmen of South Africa, are customarily monogamous. It is plain, therefore, that if monogamy is to be reckoned the final form of sexual relations, no argument can be based on any theory of its recent date in evolution. The opinion must seek to rest upon different ground—upon the quality of the institution, its fitness and adequateness, not only to human needs in the present system of society, but in the reformed system of the future.

While a number of primitive tribes are monogamous, as also are certain monkeys and birds, many civilized peoples have adopted polygamy, sometimes openly, at other times in a masked form. Polyandry is also a form of marriage not uncommon among semi-civilized peoples, as the Nairs of Malabar, the Kandyans of Ceylon and the Tibetans.

133The Nairs are especially interesting because there is among them a regulated system of complex marriage which will compare in its results very favourably with the monogamous marriage of Western nations. The rule of the Matriarchate prevails, “inheritance is from mother to daughter and from the uncle to the children of the eldest sister; the household is directed by the mother or the eldest girl; polyandry and polygamy exist side by side or are inextricably mixed. Thus each woman is the wife of several men, each of whom has in turn several wives.” (Elisee Reclus, Primitive Folk, p. 162.) The men are under well-understood obligations to assist in the support of the domestic establishments, while the children look up to their mothers and uncles as their special protectors. The result of these customs on the status of women is most remarkable. It is said that “in no country are women more influential and respected than in Malabar.” (Ibid. p. 156.) The Nair lady may possess property, choose her own husbands and rule her own children. Marriage is not, as elsewhere, the taking possession of a woman by the man, but is really her emancipation from male thraldom. It puts her as nearly on a footing of social equality with the man as is possible in a semi-militant community. What is it that has decided the selection or unconscious choice—if we may call it so—of matrimonial usage among the various races of mankind, since no special form is necessarily connected with the degree of general civilization? The conditions 134and exigencies of social life; and as those conditions and exigencies change in the future, matrimonial usages will also change. As a matter of fact, every possible method, speaking generally, has been adopted. Sometimes a regulated promiscuity—for each man claimed his rights—sometimes the mixed polyandric and polygamic household; occasionally simple polyandry or polygamy; at other times monogamy; marriage experimental also, as with the Redskins of Canada, who pair and unite for a few days, then quit each other if the trial has not proved satisfactory to both parties; or temporary marriage as in the case of the Jews in Morocco, who unite for three or six months according to agreement; or free marriages as those of the Hottentots and Abyssinians, who marry, part, and remarry at will; or partial, as the marriages of the Assanyeh Arabs, which only bind the parties for certain days of the week. Every possible general method, I repeat, has been tried, and when the practice hit upon has served human needs and also promoted the solidarity and increase of the group, it has tended to persist.

In tracing the evolution of the modern European form of monogamous marriage, we become aware that at a very early period, and for a long time subsequently, the wife was regarded as the absolute property of the husband. The wife was a bought or a captured article, and like other articles of property was at the entire disposal of the owner to use, sell, lend or abuse as he thought fit. The Roman 135law makes no essential difference between the marital law and the law of property, and modern marriage laws in the different States of Europe and America treat the wife as if she were in a very large degree a personal possession of her husband.

The history of modern marriage, in short, is the history of man’s domination of woman and the measures he has taken to assume, assert and establish his rights of possession. Amid changing outward conditions of life, he has made good his claim to control her destiny in accordance with his own varying desires.

In appraising the value of our much-vaunted monogamy, we must clearly understand that its legal basis is not, and never was, a strong personal adhesion of sympathy and affection, but a compact respecting personal property, involving in the cases where the “contracting parties are possessed of wealth, both property in person and in things.” It is quite legal, and indeed quite respectable, for marriages to be formed on a pecuniary and social foundation, into which love does not enter. The woman who sells herself in marriage to a man for the sake of money and position is not regarded as a prostitute, but as a respectable, “honest” woman who has made a “fortunate” marriage.

To understand how thoroughly marriage is based upon property and not upon love, it should suffice to contemplate the grounds on which legal divorce is granted. Divorce is not granted, in this country at least, on proofs of incompatibility of nature and 136absence of affection, but on proof of adultery, in which co-respondents may be compelled to pecuniarily compensate the husband on account of having made use of his wife without his permission as her owner. Connivance by the husband precludes the granting of a divorce. Man’s supremacy and woman’s subjection become evident in the fact that no amount of simple adultery in a husband can be made the ground of a divorce, nor is a wife able to claim any pecuniary compensation from the paramours of a husband. Matrimony, at this epoch, is for the most part a “commercial transaction,” but in the words of Herbert Spencer, “already increased facilities for obtaining divorce point to the probability that whereas in those early stages during which permanent monogamy was being evolved, the union by law (originally the act of purchase) was regarded as the essential part of marriage and the union by affection non-essential; and whereas at present the union by law is thought the more important and the union by affection the less important, there will come a time when the union by affection will be held of primary moment, and the union by law as of secondary moment; and hence reprobation of marital relations in which the union by affection has dissolved. That this conclusion will seem unacceptable to most is probable, I may say certain.” (Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 788.)

Herbert Spencer strikes here at the very foundation of modern marriage. Moreover, in making 137affection rule sexual relations, he opens up all the possibilities of other forms of marriage than the monogamous, for affection may not only be transitory, but unrestricted to one. In face of the barbarous origin of marriage, there exists no reason why people of liberal thought should make a dogged, pious stand at monogamy while lightly dismissing promiscuity, polygamy, polyandry as disreputable forms of sex-union. Mr. Spencer holds that “the monogamic form of the sexual relation is manifestly the ultimate form,” but he gives no reasons to prove his case that are not sufficiently disproved by the form of marriage existing among the Nairs. Again, the fact of the numerical equality of the sexes does not make monogamy the only suitable form, although it supplies a reasonable objection to pure polygamy and pure polyandry. Mr. Spencer says that “monogamy is a pre-requisite to a high position of women.” Here he plainly overlooks the facts of the respected and comparatively independent position of women among peoples practising mixed polygamy and polyandry under fixed rules and regulations.

With the actual facts of life before us, we are forced to admit that under the régime of man’s dominancy and woman’s subjection, monogamy has been gross throughout all history, while with polyandry it has not been so. Note, in this regard, one fact alone—jealousy, that mean, selfish emotion which destroys the happiness of so many lives, is not in evidence among the simple polyandric Nairs. 138The associated husbands live on a good understanding with one another, there is a complete absence of jealousy. Which of us can say, in view of the monogamy that surrounds us: Tolstoi’s graphic picture, “the wild beast of jealousy began to roar in its den,” applies only to a marriage in fiction? It is to monogamy that we owe the typical domestic tyrant and many tyrannous attributes that survive in modern masculine human nature. Monogamy, too, has always been accompanied by other sexual relations in which both sexes are degraded and one sex is socially and physically ruined. As Mr. W. E. H. Lecky has pointed out, monogamy on one side of the shield implies prostitution on the other.

In its normal form, monogamy signifies the attachment of one man to one woman, involving—first, permanent and exclusive sexual union; second, conjoint domestic life; third, the generating and rearing of a family; fourth, social intercourse in the class of society to which the parties belong. Beyond these features of marriage, the economic and social forces of the age bring about in the vast majority of marriages a constant subjection of the wife to the husband, by reason of her being dependent on him for her living, and a general freedom to the husband but not to the wife to commit adultery. There is usually compelled also lateness of marriage, which implies unhealthful, painful conditions of life in the celibate youth of both sexes. I will ask here: Ought we to look upon permanency and exclusiveness as essential elements in the form of sex-union best 139suited to humanity at the present stage of its evolving civilization? Permanency is necessarily essential to our ideal of the final form of marriage, for the strongest, most valuable bond of affection implies it, and loss of love from whatever cause is a real calamity. But where that calamity has already befallen, for society to enforce a mere outward permanency of the matrimonial bond is irrational—the counterfeit union is productive only of private misery and public disorder. And further, under our present wretched economic conditions, the struggle for bread and absence of leisure and freedom in the case of the workers, and, amid the upper classes, frequent financial difficulties, false notions and customs of propriety and etiquette—all these combine to make it rare indeed that a man or woman chances to meet and unite with his or her counterpart or true life companion.

Commercialism is no safe guide in the quest for a vital, permanent sex-union, and until commercialism wholly disappears, the exigencies of life demand freedom of divorce to rectify unavoidable errors of judgment in matrimony, and make more possible the forming of ties that are truly and naturally permanent.

As human beings become more moral inwardly and create the outward conditions in which they can live a truly moral existence, Mr. Emerson’s principle that the great essentials in human conduct are to escape from all false ties and to reveal ourselves as we are, will be more and more acknowledged and 140acted upon. Great thinkers like Milton in the past and Herbert Spencer in the present, condemn as contrary to religion and reason a permanency that involves falsity or absence of love. “It is a less breach of wedlock,” says Milton, “to part with wise and quiet consent betimes, than still to foil and profane that mystery of joy and union with a polluting sadness and perpetual distemper; for it is not the outward continuing of marriage that keeps whole that covenant, but whatsoever does most according to peace and love, whether in marriage or in divorce, he it is that breaks marriage least, it being so often written that ‘Love only is the fulfilment of every commandment.’” (John Milton, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, chap. v.) Divorce made attainable to all men and women, rich and poor, without any disgraceful accompaniment, is a necessary condition of progress. And in effect, each nation of Western Europe accepts and facilitates divorce concurrently with its advance in civilization.

Not long ago, in my hearing, a Roman Catholic barrister, whose practice makes him familiar with all that occurs in the Divorce Court, delivered himself to this effect: “My church anathematises divorce, and to my mind she is right. But I am not the fool to think that the divorce law passed in our Statute Books in the year 1858 will ever be annulled or departed from. In the interests of morality, the pressing desideratum is that the basis of divorce be made the same for man and woman. It is a crying iniquity that whereas a husband by avoiding 141physical force, may legally be as unfaithful to his marriage vows as he chooses, and may tyrannize over and trample under his feet the feelings of his wife, one single slip in an unguarded moment on her part, one act of adultery committed, it may be in a fit of despair, entitles him by law to repudiate her summarily as barbarian husbands dismissed their wives.”

While permanency is eminently valuable in sexual relations, can we venture to say the same as regards exclusiveness? This distinctive quality of exclusiveness is not an extension of love, but a narrowing of it down—a restraint upon personal feeling. When woman wins her freedom and is no longer under any circumstances man’s dependent and slave, but his friend and comrade in the battle of life, will she restrain the physical expression of sex-love, yet fearlessly respond to all the tender ties certain to unite her with the opposite sex? To give at present a dogmatic reply is impossible. Personally, my instincts—so far as I know them—accord with Herbert Spencer’s dictum: the ultimate form of sexual relation will be monogamic; but I recognize my own limitations. Since the women of my generation are children of bond-slaves, hampered within and without by survivals from an epoch of sex subjection wherein man’s dominancy superimposed upon woman a chastity he repudiated for himself, the standpoint from which the freed being of the future will decide her sex-morality is not in the grasp of my apprehension.

142Nevertheless, the immediate path of progress is distinctly marked out. I agree with the author who holds the opinion that: “Better indeed were a Saturnalia of free men and women than the spectacle which, as it is, our great cities present at night.” (Edward Carpenter.) But set women free “from the mere cash-nexus to a husband, from the money slavery of the streets, from the nameless terrors of social opinion, and from the threats of the choice of perpetual virginity or perpetual bondage,” and we need not fear for sex-morality. “Sex in man is an organized passion, an individual need or impetus; but in woman it may more properly be termed a constructive instinct, with the larger signification that that involves.... Nor does she often experience that divorce between the sentiment of love and the physical passion which is so common with men. Sex with her is a deep and sacred instinct, carrying with it a sense of natural purity.” (Woman, Edward Carpenter, p. 9.) And from woman herself let me quote a passage occurring in a women’s journal: “Love is an emotion separate from sex-impulse, it may or may not exist in co-relation to it. The testimony easily taken from the lives of many women is to the effect that love enters not into the impulse which, active and unrestrained on the part of those to whom they are yoked for life, has created for them a life which can be called by no name save slavery.” (Shafts, October, 1895.) Again, turning to the opposite sex, Havelock Ellis states (in his study of Man and Woman, Contemporary Science 143Series) that: “In women men find beings who have not wandered so far as men from the typical life of earth’s creatures; women are for men the human embodiments of the restful responsiveness of Nature.”

I am convinced that however polygamous the male-sex—under a system of industrial commercialism may appear—the great mass of our women are not licentious and not polyandrous in tendency. While a Saturnalia of free men and women would, as compared with present sexual conditions, be a preferable evil, we need not in our forecast of the future dread such a Saturnalia, or face its possibility. It is a libel on humanity to assume that no self-restraints are inherent to withhold mankind from sexual excesses when freed from control by Church and State. And although it might be said that “the growing complexity of man’s nature would be likely to lead him into more rather than fewer sex relations, on the other hand it is obvious that as the depth and subtlety of any attachment that really holds him increases, so does such attachment become more permanent and durable and less likely to be realized in a number of persons.... In man and woman we find a distinct tendency towards the formation of this double unit of wedded life ... and while we do not want to stamp such natural unions with any false irrevocability or dogmatic exclusiveness, what we do want is a recognition to-day of the tendency to their formation as a natural fact independent of any artificial laws.” (Marriage, Edward Carpenter, p. 31.)

144The natural restraints or checks upon undue indulgence in sex-intercourse extend from the physical or material plane to the spiritual plane. These are—considerations of health; feelings of unselfishness and social duty; and a spiritual, i.e. an ideal, conception of humanity and of all the manifold relations of life.

Unselfishness is pre-eminently the natural check and regulator of sex relations, and not until love is emancipated from selfishness will it reach an ideal form. If we love unselfishly we desire the happiness and freedom of the being loved even to the extent of self-abnegation; tyranny and jealousy become impossible. All natural checks will necessarily strengthen and grow as humanity rises higher in the scale of being; moreover, education is bound—under racial progress—to become to each succeeding generation a much more adequate guide than hitherto. Even in the present day, it would not be difficult to get youths and girls at the age of romance to understand that “though they may have to contend with some superfluity of passion in early years, the most permanent and deeply-rooted desire within them will, in all probability, lead them at last to find their complete happiness and self-fulfilment only in a close union with a life-mate”; to understand also that “towards this end they must be prepared to use self-control, to prevent the aimless straying of their passions, and patience and tenderness towards the realization of the union when its time comes.” (Edward Carpenter.) This teaching would bring to 145the young a far truer conception of the sacredness of marriage than our marriage laws and customs give.

It must never be forgotten, however, that this question of marriage and every other social question must be viewed in relation to kindred topics. A sectional treatment of society will surely mislead if we fail to recall the changes going forward in every department of life, and the close connexion that exists between the forces of social and individual evolution. Scientific meliorism implies a reconstruction of domestic life; and, within the new environment, the instructing of youth and its guidance in sex-conduct will become comparatively easy. Nor is it only by the training and guidance of youth that marriage will be favourably affected in a new domestic system. The tendency to tyranny within the home—an abhorrent feature of past monogamy—will have no opportunity to appear; and two undesirable female types—the idle fine lady and the household drudge—will become as extinct as the dodo.

Outside the precincts of home, large social and industrial changes will promote the disappearance of the prostitute, and finally there will emerge the truly emancipated woman, fearless and enlightened—a capable guide to man in the task of consciously subordinating passions that are selfish and transitory to those deeper attachments and higher emotions that give birth to spiritual love. “Is marriage a failure?” has been boldly asked and widely discussed 146in comparatively recent years; and that the audible answer—sadly re-echoed in thousands of hearts—was in the affirmative, shows a wholesome awakening to facts—an awakening that inevitably precedes all real reforms in an epoch of conscious evolution.

So permeated with selfishness is the mental atmosphere surrounding all questions of sex that the rule of life I here indicate will be utterly distasteful to those who accept the régime of custom. Yet as regards morality or an ethical code, there are two, and two only, logical attitudes of mind. Either we must think of the stamping out of all sexual feeling on the ground of its purely animal nature, and limiting physical union to the utmost that is compatible with perpetuation of species; or we must think of a gradual elevating of sexual instinct and action to a dignified position in human life with due consideration for the desires and needs of every one after puberty is reached. The first is practically impossible to the vast majority of the race at its present stage of development. They would simply refuse submission to the intolerable restraints necessitated. In effect, the ascetic answer to problems of sex is no actual solution, but a shelving of the fundamental question, with a tacit acceptance of the prodigious evils around us in respect both of sex-union and the advent of children. The only rational course is that of elevating and regulating these relations in view of human happiness. This implies a steady repression of anti-social emotions and persistent cultivation 147of unselfishness. Our marital habits of selfish appropriation and jealous control are in direct opposition to the moral elevation of sexual instinct. Selfishness degrades where it penetrates, and the problem is to rescue our sexual forces from selfishness, and utilize these forces, i.e. make them subserve the interests of social virtue. Hitherto, they have been ignored and neglected—a result of false thinking and ascetic teaching, while in actual life they have run riot, creating incalculable evils.

The British race publicly professes monogamy and preaches to the young a Puritan doctrine. Privately the drama enacted would disgrace a civilization of the Middle Ages. In the lower classes wife-beating and murder, in the upper classes the hideous revelations of the Divorce Court, witness to the impurity and the misery of our boasted monogamy. We tolerate licence, we condemn and conceal vicious propensities; we harbour a social evil of gigantic magnitude, we permit hypocrisy to prevail, we instigate the young to form self-interested mercantile marriages. We are corrupt in our social life and mentally debased, for we refuse to think out a rational code of sex morals, and without that we shall never attain to a lofty conception, a true ideal of what life ought to be. Our modern monogamy in its inwardness is not falsely pictured in this indictment: “The commercialism which buys and sells all human things; the narrow physical passion of jealousy; the petty sense of private property in another person; social opinions and legal enactments, 148have all converged to choke and suffocate wedded love in egoism, lust and meanness.” (Edward Carpenter’s Marriage, p. 38.)

In view of general happiness and virtue, we must seek the abrogation of all laws based on or involving sex-inequality. And, further, that marriage may become transformed into a sacred, sympathetic and permanent bond—a deeper and truer relation of life—we must seek facilities for divorce or the abrogation of the specific law that binds beings together for life in ill-assorted or artificial unions.



The simple fact that the birth of a human being, the image of God, as religious people say, is in so many cases regarded as of very much less importance than that of a domestic animal, proves the degraded condition in which we live.—August Bebel.

The reproduction of species yields to no other special function of life in respect of importance and the wide scope of its vital issues. Notwithstanding that vast numbers of illegitimate children are born in every civilized country where monogamy reigns, this function of reproduction is popularly regarded as allied with marriage in the order of a natural and necessary consequence—a result irrespective of human will. Now scientific meliorism makes a clear distinction between marriage and parentage on the ground that, while the former comparatively is of insignificant importance to the interests of humanity in general, parentage is of vital moment to these interests; moreover, between the two there exists no integral or essential 150relation. On the one hand, progeny spring from unions not legalized by marriage; on the other, many married people, swayed by motives chiefly egoistic, but sometimes altruistic, are consciously exercising a voluntary restraint over propagation.

The late Matthew Arnold tells us that when gazing on one occasion in company with a benevolent man upon a multitude of slum children eaten up with disease, half-sized, half-fed, half-clothed, neglected by their parents, without health, without home, without hope, the good man said: “The one thing really needful is to teach these little ones to succour one another, if only with a cup of cold water.” Mr. Arnold promptly rejected that theory. “So long as the multitude of these poor children is perpetually swelling,” said he, “they must be charged with misery to themselves and us, whether they help one another with a cup of cold water or no, and the knowledge how to prevent them accumulating is what we want.” That knowledge is no longer inaccessible to man. There are known rational methods by which to keep the populating tendency within due limits, and at the same time to promote individual prudence, foresight and self-dependence.

Neo-Malthusianism, with its power of subjugating the law of population and deferring parentage, is a new key to the social position, and neo-Malthusian practice has already taken root in British society. The discovery is of vast significance, so great are its latent possibilities of promoting 151universal happiness. But as long as reproduction of human physical life is left to haphazard, and the rule of private, personal interests alone, without any honourable recognition, intelligent guidance, or moral and economic support, the immediate effect on national life is, and will continue to be, the very reverse of beneficial.

Matthew Arnold’s exhortation in respect of the slum children was: “We must let conscience play freely and simply upon the facts of the case; we must listen to what it tells us of the intelligible law of things as concerns these children, and what it tells us is that a man’s children are not really sent any more than the pictures upon his walls or the horses in his stable are sent, and that to bring people into the world when one cannot afford to keep them and oneself decently, or to bring more of them into the world than one can afford to keep thus, is by no means an accomplishment of the Divine Will or a fulfilment of nature’s simplest laws, but is contrary to reason and the will of God.” (Culture and Anarchy, p. 246.)

This remonstrance addressed to the rich (these alone have pictures on their walls and horses in their stables) may have had some effect, for certain it is that in the upper classes artificial checks to conception are now widely used, while slum children show no tendency to proportionately diminish in number. Individuals whose standard of living is high, and whose pecuniary means are small, or who are thoughtful, intelligent, prudent, either 152refrain from marriage, or, marrying, check propagation. The natural result is that children of the comparatively superior types are becoming numerically weaker than children of the thoughtless, reckless members of society who exercise their reproductive powers to the utmost. It is supremely important that we should recognize how parentage bears upon human life and happiness in far wider relations than either sexual union alone or marriage alone.

Maintenance of species has hitherto been accomplished at an enormous sacrifice of individual life. The requirement that there shall arise a full number of adults in successive generations is fulfilled by means which subordinate the existing and next succeeding members of the species in various degrees. (See Herbert Spencer’s Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 621.)

Among low forms—inferior to the human organism—the germs of new individuals are produced in immense numbers, the larger part of the parental substance being sometimes transformed into these germs. Birth here may be immediately followed by the death of the parent organism, and an immense mortality of the young may take place—consequent on defenceless exposure, insufficient food and other untoward conditions. “Of a million minute ova left uncared for, the majority are destroyed before they are hatched, so that very few have considerable amounts of individual life.” (Ibid. p. 622.)

153Throughout the course of evolution the natural order in moving from higher to higher types is a gradual decrease of this condition, viz. the sacrifice of individual life to the life of the species, and at the same time an increase of compensating pleasures allied with the reproductive function. When illustrating this natural order, Herbert Spencer points to the methods among fishes and amphibians contrasted with those among birds and mammals. The spawn of the former when safely deposited is generally left to its fate.[3] There is physical cost to adults with apparently no accompanying gratifications. Birds and mammals, however, carefully rear and tend their offspring. “The activities of parenthood are sources of agreeable emotions, just as are the activities which achieve self-sustentation.”

3. There are exceptions to the rule, as in the case of the male stickleback.

Passing from the less intelligent vertebrates which produce many young at short intervals and abandon them at an early age, to the more intelligent higher vertebrates which produce few young at longer intervals and aid them for longer periods, this principle clearly emerges—“While the rate of juvenile mortality is diminished, there results both a lessened physical cost of maintaining the species and an augmented satisfaction of the affections.” (Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 628.)

There is no reversal of this genetic order of nature in the epoch of conscious evolution. The processes 154are different, because man possesses developed intellect, aided by scientific knowledge and invention as a new and skilled ally in the struggle to maintain his species at less and less cost of individual life and happiness; but the general forward movement takes precisely the same course. With the highest evolved type of man this sacrifice of individual life to the species is reduced to a minimum, while the interests of species are conserved in a painless, a wholly superior manner. And, further, the entire range of domestic feelings—parental, filial, fraternal and intimately social, become extended and increasingly capable of bestowing enduring pleasure. The ultimate goal is easy maintenance of species, without—to any unpleasurable extent—subordinating single members of species to that end.

Love of offspring, as already explained, has no reproductive instinct at its base. It is a feeling—superimposed on organic nature—dependent on family life or arrangements that involve parental care and more or less of adult activity directed to the well-being of the young. This sentiment of love of offspring or philoprogenitiveness, is well established in the British race; but with rampant poverty in our midst, can we wonder that in hundreds of thousands of individual cases the paternal relation—so capable of filling the heart with tender emotions and joy—creates an actual disgust, or a feeling of despair, malignancy, even injustice, as is shown in the touching little satire, 155Ginx’s Baby. Ginx frankly gave his wife notice that, as his utmost efforts could scarcely maintain their existing family, if she ventured to present him with any more, either single or twins ... “he would most assuredly drown him.” Later, when the arrival of number thirteen is imminent—the wife being unable longer to hide the impending event—Ginx fixed his determination by much thought and a little extra drinking. He argued thus: “He wouldn’t go on the parish. He couldn’t keep another youngster to save his life. He had never taken charity and never would. There was nothink to do with it but drown it.”

Nor is even the maternal relation proof against bitterness in untoward conditions, although the feelings will be differently expressed, and may possibly assume a pious garb. “I’ve ’ad my fifteen or my twenty on ’em, but, thank ’eaven, the churchyard ’as stood my friend.” These or similar words have often been heard in an English factory town. The women speaking thus were not otherwise callous or incapable of mother-love. They were gentle, patient, toiling drudges, who had had the philoprogenitiveness of average human nature and the tender joys of maternity perverted into secret care and open hypocritical cant by the physical strain of a too-frequent child-bearing, combined with the miseries of ceaseless labour, pinched means, and comfortless, crowded homes.

The frequent advent of children who are unwelcome 156to their own parents in a society no longer ignorant of the scientific means by which its weakest members may avoid parentage, without any destruction of life or any injury to sexual function, is marvellously irrational, and it indicates divergence from the well-marked path of evolutional progress.

Opposition to neo-Malthusian practice arises from primitive conceptions of life (conceptions antecedent to evolutional theory), while all the various undefined scruples painfully experienced by individuals are survivals of the sentiment allied with these false conceptions. Prejudice dies slowly, as ignorance is dispelled by the growing light of new knowledge.

I have shown that asceticism is an immoral principle, the action of which tends to fill individual life with gloom and depression, and to thwart or counteract general happiness. I have also shown the absolute necessity for retarding the multiplication of human beings to suit the limits of available subsistence. And now, after pointing out that philoprogenitiveness—which is the groundwork of domestic and social virtue, and ought to be the mainspring of reproduction of species—is continually liable to be strained, depressed or perverted into anti-social bitterness in parental bosoms among the lower classes, I must ask the question: How otherwise than by the easiest method known to science could the difficulties of the position be met and overcome?

157Messrs. Patrick Geddes and J. A. Thomson, in their treatise on the Evolution of Sex, urge the necessity of what they call “an ethical rather than a mechanical prudence after marriage, of a temperance recognized to be as binding on husband and wife as chastity on the unmarried.” (The Evolution of Sex, p. 297.) But what do these gentlemen mean by the temperance here recommended? It is surely well known that the birth of a large family is perfectly consistent with a sparing, most temperate exercise of the procreative function; and surely also it would be folly on our part to look for parental conduct controlled by ethical motive in the warrens of the poor of our large cities, from whence springs an important section of the national life. (Social Control of the Birth Rate, Pamphlet by G. A. Gaskell.)

In the homes of the upper classes, adorned with all the amenities and refinements of civilization, parental prudence results mainly from egoistic motive. Practical reformers will hesitate to assume that those—the less favoured social units—are likely to surpass these in moral elevation, and demean themselves generally in a superior manner! But further, a parental prudence, dispensing with mechanical methods of checking propagation, may even prove the converse of ethical conduct. Advanced sexual morality requires a free and healthful exercise of sexual function. That such freedom is not possible under present social conditions is irrelevant to the question at 158issue; the point is that conduct unnecessarily traversing this advanced sexual morality is not in accordance with rationalized social ethics; it has no scientific basis.

Parental morals must conform to the principle indicated by Herbert Spencer—reduce to a minimum the sacrifice of individual life and happiness to the life of the species; augment to the maximum the joys of affection involved in parental relations. This is possible to a race among which are beings of low intelligence and unrestrained passion only by bringing into play the laws of heredity through rational breeding. But rational breeding depends on an appeal to ordinary egoistic motive and practical resort to the painless mechanical means of checking conception.

There is no general unwillingness to limit their families among the poor; what is lacking consists simply in power of control over the physical conditions of fertility. To see children half-starved and wives sickly and miserable is no more pleasant to parents of the Ginx order than to those of us who view it from a safe distance; and there is ample intelligence to perceive the connexion between, on the one hand, discomfort and poverty attendant on a family of ten or twelve, on the other, comparative comfort allied with a family of only three or four.

A code of ethics covering the interests of the entire nation commands strenuous effort on the part of all thoughtful, intelligent people to make 159the artificial checks known to the thoughtless and unintelligent. It is not by proudly rejecting scientific invention in this matter that we shall attain to development of higher and higher types of man, but by skilfully using it as a powerful ally in our struggle to maintain and regenerate species at less and less cost to individual happiness.

Apart altogether from man’s partial practice of neo-Malthusian art, under egoistic motives, civilization has created an interference with the original order of race preservation under generous or altruistic motive. Social feeling slowly developing revolts—in detail—from the cruel method of the law of natural selection. It spontaneously supersedes that law by one of sympathetic selection. But whereas the former law issued in survival of the fittest, the latter issues day by day in indiscriminate survival, and consequent race deterioration. A controlled rate of increase is not therefore the only position to which reason and science must guide us; we have further to escape from the disastrous consequences of the above law and pass to conditions of life evolved under the benign influence of a rational and moral law—a law of social selection, resulting in appropriate birth, or the birth of the socially fit.

There are thousands of our present day population with whom family life is no whit superior to that of birds, whose pairing is immediately followed by rapid breeding and a complete scattering of the brood when the young are barely fledged. 160A wise philanthropy in line with the march of progressive evolution may lift these thousands to the level of the higher vertebrates, “which produce few young at longer intervals and give them aid for longer periods.” The recalcitrant minority refusing to practice parental prudence must be treated by society as abnormal individuals, incapable of rising to the standard of average civilized human nature, and these must be subjected to social restraint.



Men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.
—From In Memoriam.


Many a man thinks that it is his goodness which keeps him from crime, when it is only his full stomach. On half allowance, he would be as ugly and knavish as anybody. Don’t mistake potatoes for principles.—Carlyle.

A normal child of five years once asked the meaning of this expression—“hanging a murderer,” and after explanation said eagerly, “But will hanging the man make that other man alive again?” On receiving a negative reply, the remonstrance burst forth, “Then why kill him, since when he is dead we can never make him good again?”

This is a true picture of the thinking and feeling about crime which is natural to the best types of our present-day humanity. These demand that our punishments shall either reform the criminal or protect society effectively from his malfeasance. As a matter of fact, our criminal code and whole machinery and procedure relative to crime accomplish neither, and this is freely admitted by men 164whose position enables them to judge accurately and entitles them to express an opinion.

Mr. Justice Matthew has said at the Birmingham Assizes that the present state of the criminal law is a hundred years behind the times. Sir Edmund Du Cane, Chairman of the Directors of Convict Prisons, says of the solitary system practised in our penal prisons: “It is an artificial state of existence, absolutely opposed to that which nature points out as the condition of mental, moral and physical health.... The minds of the prisoners become enfeebled by long-continued isolation.” In the Official Report of the Departmental Committee on Prisons, 1895, these words occur: “The prisoners have been treated too much as a hopeless or worthless part of the community. The moral condition in which a large number of prisoners leave the prison, and the serious number of recommittals, have led us to think there is ample cause for a searching inquiry into the main features of prison life.” The late Judge Fitz-Stephen published his History of the Criminal Law in 1883, and pointed there to “notorious evils of which it is difficult,” said he, “to find a satisfactory remedy.” Nevertheless, he put down his finger on the crucial spot when he wrote “the law proceeds upon the principle that it is morally right to hate criminals. It confirms and justifies that sentiment by inflicting upon criminals punishment which expresses it.”

But it is not right to hate criminals. It is morally 165wrong, i.e. it is contrary to these laws of nature, by which alone an elevated and happy social life may be attained. The emotion of hatred creates vibrations producing evil on the moral plane, as certainly as discordant sounds, acting on sensitive ears, produce discomfort; and, if persisted in, produce organic disorganization on the physical plane. Hence, all punishment or legal procedure directed against crime, having hatred at its foundation, or historic base, must fail. On the negative side, hatred has proved ineffectual in protecting society from crime. On the positive side, it increases the anti-social feelings, whose natural outcome is crime, and frustrates, or annuls, the human forces of love, which already widely existent, and swaying humanity’s best types, are the true evolutional factors by which to annihilate crime.

Mr. Justice Matthew was simply asserting a fact of social science when he stated that the criminal law is out of date. It consists with a primitive stage of social life; but it is totally inconsistent with even the semi-civilization of to-day. The fundamental discord between our action and feeling relative to crime declares itself in the uncertainty of a criminal’s fate and the steady survival of his type. But, my reader, while accepting Justice Matthew’s premise, may doubt the conclusion at which Judge Fitz-Stephen arrived—that vindictiveness or hate lies at the root of our criminal code, and that our punishments express it. Moreover, he may condemn by anticipation 166a supposed tendency on my part to censure all punishments, and rely solely on a laissez-faire system of dealing with crime. Scientific meliorism, however, does not imply anarchy or the absence of governing law. Its methods repudiate the laissez-faire principle in every department of life, for this reason: Our developed faculties and accumulated knowledge make untenable the negative or inert position. We are impelled in an epoch of conscious evolution to take positive action favourable to progress.

My contention is this: love of all men, not hatred of any man or class of men ought to be the basis of our criminal code. Modern science, experience and skill are competent to redeem the criminal class, speaking generally, and in exceptional cases, where redemption is impossible, can render the criminal innocuous to society, while giving him throughout life such innocent happiness as a being organically defective may enjoy.

This thesis embraces a very wide range of action. It means the systematic rational treatment of evil-doers, from the refractory infant and juvenile pickpocket to the burglar, the fraudulent bankrupt, the felon, the traitor, the murderer, and if any exist, the born criminal. It signifies, in short, a complete science complementary to that of true education. For whereas the latter comprises all manner of attractive stimuli to noble living, this is the science of necessary social restraints to be applied in nursery, school and prison with 167the universal gentleness which springs from universal love. The purpose to be aimed at is, first, improving character by restraining obnoxious tendencies; second, reforming character already become anti-social; third, protecting society from all corrupt infusion that might proceed from morally diseased character.

A leading principle of the criminal law of Great Britain is that punishment be adjusted in proportion to the supposed magnitude of each individual offence. If we study this principle, we must perceive the truth of Judge Fitz-Stephen’s allegation, for what connexion has it with the reformation of the criminal? A judge or a jury makes no attempt to compute the amount of prison restraint and discipline necessary to reformation, nor are they possessed of facts for forming a judgment. Their whole attention has been focussed on the crime, not on the character of the criminal, or the antecedent and future conditions affecting the character. Neither does the judicial sentence connect itself proportionately with the mischief done to society. A fraudulent banker or commercial speculator, whose downfall involves the ruin of thousands, is not dealt with, as compared with a petty thief, on a scale of severity expressive of the magnitude of suffering entailed. And the petty thief, who steals the rich man’s goods, as compared with the criminal who beats and abuses his wife, is adjudged a severer penalty—a measure of punishment indicating the superior value of 168goods over wives, which is a sentiment appropriate only to barbarous times.

These anomalies, however, are explainable. Our laws have descended to us from a barbarous age, when might was right, irrespective of justice; and from a race whose punishments sprang from revenge, and were roughly proportioned to the feeling of revenge. They are little else than reactionary forces, of which some are always present in an inchoate society. Their inapplicability to the task of reforming criminals is easily proved.

In Scotland in a single year not fewer than “six hundred and ninety persons were committed to prison who had been in confinement at least ten times before. Of these, three hundred and ninety-three had been in prison at least twenty times before, and twenty-three at least fifty times!” (Hill on Crime, p. 28.) These figures speak for themselves. Our whole system is glaringly unscientific. We do not remove the conditions that act as causes of crime. We punish, and sometimes severely, yet we let loose again offenders not one whit more prepared than before to withstand the temptations of freedom. We calmly support and approve an enormous expenditure of public funds upon criminals and crime; we carefully select good men to be prison managers, officers and chaplains; we secure cleanliness and sanitation within the prisons, and so forth; but these efforts are utterly futile because the system is wrong—the 169criminal law of Great Britain is based upon a false, an irrational principle.

The causes of crime within our province to deal with are of a two-fold nature—objective and subjective. Poverty, i.e. hunger and want, a slum environment, rough handling in infancy and childhood, a mischievous training and the absence of all conditions favourable to gentle, virtuous life—these are some of the objective causes creating crime which society is bound to remove. Among causes deciding the innate character of every newly-born babe, the forces of heredity stand out conspicuously. I have demonstrated that aggregate humanity, in a scientific age, has the means of controlling these forces and directing them to the production of physical, mental and moral health in the individual, and consequently in the community. The born criminal type may become gradually improved by careful and wise treatment under life-long restraints. Meanwhile, to seek reformation of this type, by prison discipline alone, and treat it by methods adapted to corrigible culprits, is a folly dishonouring to the developed reason of man. We have abundant evidence that the type exists. Mr. Frederick Hill, late Inspector of Prisons, says: “Nothing has been more clearly shown in the course of my inquiries than that crime is hereditary to a considerable extent ... it proceeds from father to son in a long line of succession.” (Hill on Crime, p. 55.) Mr. J. B. Thomson, Resident Surgeon of the Perth Prison, 170states of the facts of prison life: “They press on my mind the conviction that crime in general is a moral disease of a chronic and congenital nature, intractable when transmitted from generation to generation.” And Mr. George Combe, speaking of prisons in the United States of America, wrote: “I have put the question to many keepers of prisons whether they believed in the possibility of reforming all offenders. From those whose minds were humane and penetrating, I have received the answer—they did not, for experience had convinced them that some criminals are incorrigible by any human means hitherto discovered. These incorrigibles,” says George Combe—and this is the point to observe, “were always found to have defective organizations; ... they are morally idiotic; and justice, as well as humanity, dictates our treating them as patients. They labour under great natural defects; ... to punish them for actions proceeding from these natural defects is no more just or beneficial to society than it would be to punish men for having crooked spines or club feet.” (George Combe’s Moral Philosophy, p. 306.) And I could refer to many more authorities on the subject were it necessary.

Accepting the theory that our born-criminals are victims of moral disease, the question arises—how should we treat them? Fifty years ago we sorely maltreated our victims to mental disease. We bound them hand and foot, we punished them sternly for their congenital defects, we shunned 171and hated them, and because they were martyrs to a pitiful disease we made them also the victims of unnecessary and cruel sufferings. Few men to-day could glance without a shudder at the record of our treatment of lunatics. We consign the history gladly to oblivion, and point to changes betokening the better feeling of to-day. “No one thinks of sending a madman to a lunatic asylum for a certain number of days, weeks or months. We carefully ascertain that he is unfit to be at large, and that those in whose hands we are about to place him act under due inspection and have the knowledge and skill which afford the best hope for his cure; that they will be kind to him, and inflict no more pain than is necessary for his secure custody ... we leave it to them to determine if, or when, he can be safely liberated.” (Hill on Crime, p. 151.)

These are the lines on which also should run our treatment of moral disease. If a man is unfit morally to be at large, we must narrow the conditions of his life, but make it as enjoyable within the coercive restraints as is compatible with improvement. And on no account must we restore his liberty until those who professionally and officially watch his daily conduct are convinced that he will not again be likely to abuse that liberty.

But apart altogether from individual delinquents, the subjective racial tendency to crime demands special treatment, and in this regard I maintain that the enlightened action of an advanced society 172will be analogous to the ignorant action of an earnest church in the Middle Ages with precisely opposite results. “The long period of the Dark Ages, under which Europe lay, was due, I believe, in a very considerable degree,” says Francis Galton, “to the celibacy enjoined by religious orders on their votaries. Whenever a man or woman was possessed of a gentle nature that fitted him or her to deeds of charity, to meditation, to literature or to art, the social condition of the time was such that they had no refuge elsewhere than in the bosom of the church. But the church preached and exacted celibacy. The consequence was that these gentle natures had no continuance, and by a policy so singularly unwise and suicidal that I am hardly able to speak of it without impatience, the church brutalized the breed of our forefathers. She acted as if she aimed at selecting the rudest portion of the community to be alone the parents of future generations. She practised the arts which breeders would use who aimed at creating ferocious, currish and stupid natures. No wonder that club law prevailed for centuries over Europe; the wonder is, that enough good remained in the veins of Europeans to enable their race to rise to its present very moderate level of natural morality.” (Hereditary Genius, F. Galton, p. 356.)

A humane society, guided by rational forces in the epoch of conscious evolution, will practise the policy of the church of the Middle Ages on a different class of subjects. It will gather poor 173criminals into its bosom, and secure for them a safe and happy refuge while exacting celibacy. The racial blood shall not be poisoned by moral disease. The guardians of the present-day social life dare not be careless of future social life and the happiness of generations unborn; therefore the criminal breed must be forcibly restrained from perpetuating its kind. Now mark the result. Not gentle natures—as in the case of the church—but the innately vicious natures will have no continuance. The criminal type slowly but surely disappears.

To promote the contentment and comfort of congenital criminals within their asylum or prison home an alternative to celibacy might be offered, viz. surgical treatment, to render the male incapable of reproduction. (The treatment indicated is not the operation ordinarily performed upon some domestic animals; this, applied to human beings, would be morally and physically injurious. Particulars of the appropriate method were published in the British Medical Journal as early as May 2, 1874, at p. 586.) Were this course voluntarily chosen, the sexes might intermingle without danger to posterity; and since fuller social life tends to make all human beings happier, these convicts would become more manageable, and coercive restraints cease to be indispensable.

But the criminal stock is not great when compared with the actual crimes of to-day. Crime in a vast measure is simply produced by the outward 174accidental conditions of life—an evil environment and a grossly inadequate training. If we alter the environment of our masses—by establishing a new industrial system that banishes poverty from the land, by initiating a Malthusian and neo-Malthusian practice that puts the physical life on a healthy basis, by creating a family life suitable to man’s emotional nature, and supplying a true education that embraces scientific restraints on all anti-social tendencies—then, but not till then, will crime and the criminal type alike become things of the past.

We are surrounded to-day in our reformatories and board schools, in our homes and on our streets, by children of naïvely-disobedient or rebellious tendency. These are the embryo criminals of a few years hence. When a clever romanticist makes one his hero, and describes the development of trickiness in the child, and how he uses it as a weapon of defence against the “polissman” whom he defies, trips up and otherwise evades (Cleg Kelly, by Crockett), we read the account without compunction, nay, we relish the humour of the situation, and half approve the issue! Yet this assuredly is no legitimate outcome of childish bravery and sportiveness. Our levity arises from the underlying conviction, or the universal feeling begotten of genetic evolution, that the policeman’s jurisdiction here is flagrantly inappropriate.

Infantile disobedience and full-fledged crime seem far apart, but they are united by an inward 175deteriorating process, an outward chain of trespasses more or less petty. The links are all there, connecting the tender babe and fascinating street-arab with the thief and murderer. Similarly, on the moral plane, flow the sequences of cause and effect that bring retribution—that inalienable feature of the law of evolution. The crime that society deplores is the natural penalty for society’s neglect of children; and there is no escape from the penalty as long as the cause continues. Nor can society plead ignorance here. Herbert Spencer and Ruskin have spoken out plainly on this subject. “What we need is cessation from all these antagonisms which keep alive the brutal elements of human nature, and persistence in a peaceful life, giving unchequered play to the sympathies.” (Herbert Spencer on Arbitration.) “It is,” says Ruskin, “the lightest way of killing to stop a man’s breath. But if you bind up his thoughts by lack of true education, if you blind his eyes, if you blunt his hopes, if you steal his joys, if you stunt his body and blast his soul ... this you think no sin!” Verily, there is sin, acknowledged by the noblest, wisest of men, and brought home to us on the lips of babes—“Why kill the man, since when he is dead we can never make him good again!”

Society has to compass the task of making men good from the beginning; and in exceptional cases, where the task is impossible, the victims are simply society’s patients, to be impounded without hurt. We are as able to protect our social life from moral 176as from mental lunatics. The initial step, however (hardly yet taken), is to pass from the mental attitude of a barbarous race, whose habits of defence are those of arbitrary punishment, to that of a civilized nation bent on reforming its criminals, and treating its morally diseased members with uniform humanity and brotherly love. As yet the resources of man’s reason and scientific knowledge and aptitude have never been called into play to devise a system of consecutive restraints on the “brutal elements,” a system to make men good from the beginning by “working out the beast.”

The crux of the problem is how to imbue children painlessly with the truth that social life has responsibilities and limitations, obedience to which is indispensable. And I submit that this may be done in the homes and nurseries of the future, under a scientifically adapted system of training. Hard blows and even chiding tones of the human voice must have no place in childhood’s environment, but authority may be exercised through the use of a simple appliance for limiting infant freedom. When baby trespasses against some natural law of health or social life, of which he knows nothing, he is gently but promptly and firmly placed in a baby-prison standing within reach, viz. a goodly-sized basket, high at the sides, softly cushioned all round and weighted, so that it cannot be overturned by the infant culprit, who, if refractory, may kick or scream in safety there 177till the paroxysm passes, and he falls asleep. On waking he recalls vaguely, when older, more clearly the occurrence, and he becomes lightly possessed by a subtle sense of authority quite distinct from individual kindness or unkindness. His human relations are unhurt by the necessary training in infancy. He has been checked in wrong-doing without any wrong association of ideas, and without an awakening of anti-social feeling.

I have seen an ignorant nurse teach a child to seek solace for pain in an anti-social emotion! “Beat the naughty chair that has hurt poor baby’s head,” was the evil counsel, and the child held out to the chair struck his tiny revengeful blows, and was kissed and caressed in consequence. This happened in a rich man’s nursery. Could one blame the ignorant nurse? Her infancy was passed in a city slum, and in every such locality children swarm who freely strike out both in self-protection and brutal aggressiveness. From birth these little ones live more or less in an atmosphere of savage assault. Tyranny and force are the ruling conditions of their childhood, and the natural result—under the unalterable law of cause and effect—is this: vindictive, barbaric feeling is carried hither and thither throughout society at large, and degrades every social class.

When home-life in the middle classes has been reorganized, and nursery training is the outcome of scientific thought, children there at least will escape this taint. They will pass from nursery 178to schoolroom with nerves that have never been unnecessarily jarred. They will be physically stronger, and in temperament more serene. Reared without harshness, they will know no craven fear; and since the native attitude of childhood towards elders never seen angry or cross is that of confiding love, teachers will have no difficulty in bringing into play the tender emotions that are natural checks upon evil doing, and natural incentives to effort in action that is right. If playfulness intrudes, and the serious work of a class is hindered by some little urchin’s fun, the master or mistress needs neither to scold nor to cane the offender, for unspoken satisfaction and dissatisfaction are quickly perceived and responded to by children unused to punishment or an elder’s frown.

But even in the schoolroom an appeal to mechanism may sometimes prove useful. An instrument called “a characterograph” was described by its inventor to an Edinburgh audience half a century ago. This instrument for registering had been in use in Lady Byron’s Agricultural School at Ealing Grove, with moral effects markedly beneficial. There were many comments in the press of that period. It supersedes all necessity for prizes, place-taking, or any kind of reward or punishment, and renders unnecessary the master’s expressing anger or irritation—“the worst example a teacher can set to his pupils.” (Mr. E. T. Craig was inventor of the characterograph.)

If we bear in mind that the supreme object of 179training is social solidarity, and that social solidarity rests fundamentally on tender relations between the old, the young, and the middle-aged, we shall recognize the wisdom of elders resigning at the earliest possible moment all manifestations of personal authority. The average boy and girl, if well trained, has at fifteen, or about that age, moral powers sufficiently developed to control innate propensities. At that epoch to the young themselves should be relegated the ruling of youthful conduct in the interests of society. Not to the young singly, however, but in their corporate capacity. The organizing of juvenile committees and conduct clubs will ensue. I need not, however, treat of these here. They belong to the subject of general education, and I am merely touching on training in its relations to specific crime.

The point in social science to emphasize is this: At every stage of the nation’s history its moral health or disease is the actual resultant of previous conditions of its child-life throughout the length and breadth of the land. At the present moment the public mind is astray on this subject. There is no understanding of the restraints necessary on infantile wrong-doing, the wholesome because painless checks to apply to juvenile delinquents. Science must guide us to the right path of action, society must enlist parental authority, or, if need be, coerce the child to take the indicated course. By the absence of wholesome checks and the presence of brutal conditions in childhood we suffer 180a vast amount of preventible crime. We evolve the criminal by sins of omission outside the prison; we brutalize him further inside the prison by undue, ill-adapted restraints.

Very significant was the experience of Mr. Obermair, of the State Prison in Munich. When appointed governor there, he found from six to seven hundred prisoners in the worst state of insubordination, and whose excesses he was told defied the harshest, most stringent discipline. The prisoners were chained together. The guard consisted of about 100 soldiers, who did duty not only at the gates and round the walls, but in the passages, and even in the workshops and dormitories; and, strangest of all, from twenty to thirty large dogs of the bloodhound breed were let loose at night in the passages and courts to keep watch and ward. The place was a perfect pandemonium, comprising the worst passions, the most slavish vices, and the most heartless tyranny within the limits of a few acres.

Mr. Obermair quickly dispensed with dogs, and nearly all the guards. He gradually relaxed the harsh system, and treated the prisoners with a consideration that gained their confidence. In the year 1852 Mr. Baillie Cochrane visited the prison, and his account is as follows: “The gates were wide open, without any sentinel at the door, and a guard of only twenty men idling away their time in a room off the entrance hall.... None of the doors were provided with bolts and bars; the 181only security was an ordinary lock, and as in most of the rooms the key was not turned, there was no obstacle to the men walking into the passage.... Over each workshop some of the prisoners with the best characters were appointed overseers, and Mr. Obermair assured me that when a prisoner transgressed a regulation, his companions told him ‘es ist verboten,’ and it rarely happened that he did not yield to the will of his fellow-prisoners. Within the prison walls every description of work is carried on ... each prisoner by occupation and industry maintains himself. The surplus of his earnings is given him on release, which avoids his being parted with in a state of destitution.” (This account is taken from Herbert Spencer’s Essay on Prison Ethics.) It is then clearly proved by actual experience that rough handling and brutal words—bolts and bars and bloodhounds—are alike unnecessary in the case of first offenders and in the case of the “desperate gang.”

But, turning once more from the criminal to the ultimate causes of crime, these are—destitution, or more or less grinding poverty, inherited disease, ignorance and all the degraded nurture that crushes the humanities and develops the brutalities of man. A scientific treatment of crime will eradicate these various causes of crime. No summary methods are applicable. There is no short cut to the end in view; but by patient perseverance in the scientific meliorism indicated in my chapters on Industrial Life, Sex Relations and Parentage, 182and to be further explained in those on Education and Home Life, the forces brought into play will prove effective in social redemption. They are essentially radical and all-embracing. Within reformatories and prisons there may be partially supplied the training for forming and reforming character that is nowhere present in the homes and schools of the lower classes to-day. Those criminals who are not structurally defective may recover moral health, and become virtuous or at least harmless social units. In all such cases liberty should be restored; but the State can never be justified in discharging its rescued criminals without resources and without protection. They must be supplied with work, i.e. some means of self-support, and guarded from dangers besetting the critical period of liberation. The educating of ignorant criminals, the reforming of corrigible criminals, the restraining from further crime of incurable criminals—these are duties of the State.

The time, however distant, will finally arrive when science, applied for generations to the task of skilfully removing all the causes of crime, will accomplish that glorious aim. By attention to the laws of heredity, by checking the too rapid increase of population, by the moral training of every member of the community, and by well-ordered, happy, domestic, industrial and social life, the criminal nature will die out, and crime itself be simply historical—a thing to study with interest, an extirpated social disease.



We must never forget that human aspirations, human ideals, are as much a part of the phenomena which makes up this causally-connected Universe as the instincts and appetites that are common to man and the other animals.—David G. Ritchie.



The dawning century will have to undertake a new education of mankind if we are not to relapse.... New inventions are less needed than new ethics.—Dr. Max Nordau.

Herbert Spencer tells us that: “Free institutions can only be properly worked by men, each of whom is jealous of his own rights and sympathetically jealous of the rights of others—who will neither himself aggress on his neighbour in small things or great, nor tolerate aggression on them by others.”

The state of mind or sentiment to which Mr. Spencer here points is complex. It comprises an egoism that is not anti-social, and an altruism that is broadly social. The genesis of this sentiment is intellectual, implying a recognition in some sort of the laws of nature, by virtue of which individual rights do not conflict with nature’s harmonies or its fundamental organic unity. It is possible, therefore, only to a race comparatively advanced, i.e. intellectually 186endowed; but the children and children’s children of that race may possess the sentiment of individual rights as an instinct with no apprehension whatever of its source or its justification. Its alliance with, and perfect conformity to, natural law are certainly not understood, and confusion is increased in the public mind by the unscientific teaching of the daily press. Here, for instance, is a paragraph from a middle-class journal. “Law is command, control. Nature is instinctive force, and can neither give nor receive laws. There are no laws of nature, and there are no rights of man. We are using meaningless phrases when we speak of either. Man has no natural rights any more than the wolf and the bear. All rights are conventional.”

Now, before man had made a direct study of nature, and, marking the invariability of sequence in the precision of its phenomena, had attached to that invariability the term “laws of nature,” the word “law” denoted a lawgiver issuing arbitrary commands. It is in this primitive sense that our journalist uses the word “law.” He entirely ignores its appropriation by science and the modern acceptation of the term “laws of nature.” Nature has no arbitrary commands, he says, and therefore infers no laws. We admit the premise while denying the inference. The laws of health are invariable, although they do not necessarily dominate, since other and opposing laws of disorganization may at any moment get the upper hand. Man is competent to disregard the laws of life; but if he so acts, another 187course of natural order is initiated, and he becomes subject to pathological laws which conduct him steadily to the grave. Necessity without arbitrary command rules in the cosmos; and if happiness, which all humanity desires, is attained, it will be by conforming to all the laws of nature that favour that end. Within, there are the laws of human organization, without, the laws of circumstance or environment. The humanity that has intellect and scientific knowledge may, by union and co-operation, take a firm advantage of these laws or uniformities of nature and march steadily forward, controlling the forces of nature by a willing obedience to natural law.

No sooner, observe, does this control become possible than natural rights come into existence. Man rises in the scale of being to a sphere of self-direction and comparative liberty. The wolf and bear and all wild animals are on the lower level, and have no natural rights. They are controlled by forces external to themselves, and the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest is the law of destiny to them. It is not so, however, with the horse, dog, cat, etc., for man has lifted all domesticated animals from under the rule of genetic forces, and placed them under the rule of reasoned forces. He controls their breeding, limits their numbers, and gives them a happy life consistent with his own. Further, he claims for them and concedes to them natural rights; and note this point, the last phrase of our journalist’s misleading paragraph is strictly true: “All rights are 188conventional.” Convention means by tacit agreement, and it is by tacit agreement on the part of civilized men that rights of men and rights of animals exist and are respected. An impulse of the higher life, viz., a law of sympathy, impels civilized man to seek happiness for other beings as well as himself, and intelligence shows him that individual happiness promotes general happiness, and further that no individual happiness is possible without a certain amount of personal liberty.

Individual rights, then, are a claim for a certain amount of personal liberty, and the sentiment of individual rights is an unconscious inward preparedness to defend that claim. It lies at the very foundation of modern ethics, since from it there springs the outward equipoise of egoistic and altruistic forces, the inward, subtle, delicate sense of equitable relations, in other words, justice—the moral backbone of the modern conscience.

Let us see how we treat, in our nurseries, this foundation of ethics, this sentiment of individual rights. We enter a middle-class nursery where a baby and his sister Jessie, a child of three years of age, are side by side on the floor. An impulse seizes baby to clutch the doll, which Jessie holds firmly. Baby screams and nurse turns round and lifts him in her arms. “See, Jessie,” she says, “he wants your doll, surely you will be kind to baby brother?” She takes the doll from Jessie and gives it to the infant. Jessie throws herself on the ground and kicks and screams. A paroxysm of 189emotion sweeps over her, and until the wave has spent itself tranquillity in nerve or muscle is simply impossible. But the nurse, ignorant of the fact that the child is for the moment bereft of any power of self-control, commands her to be still, and when not obeyed, she scolds her severely. Finally she puts her in a corner, and there poor Jessie sobs and weeps till pure exhaustion brings her to passivity and an abject state of mind which nurse calls “being good again.” She signifies her approval of it by a kiss of forgiveness as unmerited as the previous anger.

Now here we have an emotion supremely important to the welfare of humanity rudely desecrated in infancy. There was nothing base, sordid, exclusive or even selfish in the tempest of feeling that swept away the placidity of Jessie’s little soul. Mingled together there was an impulse to defend her personal rights and a hot indignation that any infringement of these rights should occur. And the whole was a wave of the complex forces destined to weld society into an organic whole, capable of maintaining free institutions. When the nurse through ignorance punished the child for the involuntary expression of a virtuous social-emotion, she was opposing the very order of nature that genetic evolution is striving to attain; she was checking the progress of modern civilization.

Later in the day Jessie with her doll restored to her arms is happy again. Baby plays with his rattle on nurse’s knee; but Jessie thinks, “My 190dolly is a baby too and wants a rattle.” She takes the rattle out of baby’s hands to give to dolly. Baby shouts and kicks, and nurse is furious. She slaps Jessie and calls her a “naughty child.” There is no ebullition of anger this time, although the tender little fingers ache from the rude blow. Jessie shrinks aside with a subdued air. Had her former rebellion been an impulse of pure vindictiveness it would have repeated itself now. It had no such feature. It revealed the fact that Jessie was the offspring of a self-dependent, self-protective race preparing for a new stage of social evolution, and her aspect at the present crisis reveals the same. She did not know she was in the wrong; but vaguely she felt it. She had trespassed on baby’s rights, and conscience dumbly stirred in her infant bosom. If intelligence is strong the child questions silently, “Why may baby take my doll when I may not take his rattle?” The nurse will give no answer. Her province is to feed and cleanse and clothe her charges, and, if need be, punish action. But the motive springs of action lie quite beyond her range, and what is the consequence? If Jessie’s intellect predominates over her emotional quality, her conscience may develop, although under adverse conditions; but if the balance tends the other way the position is fatal. The child gathers her ideas of right and wrong from the frowns and smiles, the slaps or kisses of an ignorant woman who is ruling the nursery with an authority purely barbaric, and the budding conscience of a modern civilization 191adapts itself to the archaic environment and reverts or lapses backward.

Further, observe, the nurse strove to create—in this case, at least—sympathy towards a baby brother. Was this wise? It was not wise, although well-intentioned. Sympathy never develops under command, and to order a child to be kind at the moment when an aggression has been made on his or her rights is like commanding a steam-engine to move forward without turning on the steam! Moreover, baby, young as he was, suffered mentally and morally by the event. He learned an evil lesson, viz., that if he cried he would probably get what he wanted. Vigorously, though unconsciously, he will pursue that vicious course and act up to the principle.

Does my reader inquire “What should the nurse have done?” She should have instantly removed the baby, saying gently to Jessie, “Children must never take things from one another. Not even a baby can be permitted to do that, and we must teach him better. But see he is so young, he does not know the doll is yours, not his. Would you like to lend it to him for a little? No? Ah, well he cannot have it then, but come and help me to amuse him that he may forget the doll.” The older child puts down her treasure to fondle her baby brother, and there are ten chances to one that by-and-bye her sympathy—called out naturally and not by command—carries her a step further, and she says: “Nurse, baby may hold my doll for a 192little now.” Later, when the brilliant idea occurs that dolly would enjoy the rattle, Jessie understands—she does not blindly, vaguely feel, she knows—that she must not trespass on baby’s rights. She restrains her impulse therefore to snatch the rattle, and in this self-control she is exercising the noblest faculty of her nature under the dominion of a moral conscience—a sense of justice or equivalence of rights.

And now we pass from an upper middle-class nursery to any British boys’ school or playground. We find that quarrels there arise not so much from the simple barbarous impulses of cruelty, hatred, revenge, fear, as from a different source—an effective sense of personal rights unbalanced by an equally effective sense of sympathy with the rights of others. The phenomenon here is justice in embryo, self-conscious, but lacking development on the altruistic side. “It isn’t” or “it wasn’t fair” is a phrase frequently upon a schoolboy’s lips, and it is remarkable with what courage and dignity an urchin of ten or twelve will criticize a master’s treatment of him, and perhaps tell the man of fifty to his face that this or that “wasn’t fair.”

Were every boy as eager that all human beings—schoolmasters included—should be as fairly treated as he himself, the only further regulation of conduct necessary would be a clear intelligence to discern truth from falsehood in every case of misdemeanour. Instructed intelligence is however a minus quantity, and the sympathetic jealousy for the rights of others 193that exists here and there amongst boys in minor quantity, gets deflected from its true course. It links boys of one age together in a mutual fellowship that excludes masters and all others. Nor is this difficult to understand. Mutual interests is the soil in which sympathy grows; but with arbitrary authority in the field, also conflicting desires, and no distinct teaching on the subject, the deeper relations of life, I mean the mutual interests of teacher and taught and of the whole school as a social unity, are often ignored. To shield a companion from punishment, at all hazards, becomes virtue in a schoolboy’s eyes, and antagonisms spring up with confused notions of right and wrong, and a general impulse to falsehood and deceit in special directions. These are menacing features of character for the social life of the future. Men of introspection have recognized in themselves the baneful after-effects of the clannishness engendered at school. Robert Louis Stevenson bewailed the extreme difficulty he had in forcing himself to perform a distinct public duty. It involved some exposure dishonourable to a former schoolmate! “I felt,” he said, “like a cad!”

From middle-class nurseries where authority is chiefly barbaric and the budding conscience is hurt, children destined to become the élite of a future society and its rulers, pass into schools where there is no clear and definite training for the emotional nature, no scientific development of the social, and repression of the anti-social impulses. From school 194the student passes to college or university, and is emancipated more or less from outward control. When he enters upon the duties and pleasures of adult life he presents, in many ways, an element of social danger, for this simple reason, his native bumptiousness, his sense of individual rights is not held in check by an intelligent understanding of, and feeling of sympathy with, the equal rights of others. The groundwork of the modern conscience has been tampered with while authority—propelled by genetic forces of evolution—has gradually relaxed and fallen back before the free-born British schoolboy. By our present system of education we destroy infant virtue in the nursery and in the school. We dwarf that sympathy which should grow and expand till it bursts forth in manhood into deeds of rectitude, justice, love, manifesting the threefold quality of human nature which alone is competent to lift the whole area of man’s existence into line with cosmic order. Our schools are yearly pouring into the busy world a rich harvest of human aptitudes that are quickly absorbed in activities mercantile, professional, legislative, but the outcome of these activities is not tuning life into social harmony, it is merely increasing national wealth, and that without any marked increase of plenty and pleasure to the nation at large. The picture presented is one of perpetual warfare—an outward struggle in money-making for oneself and family, an inward contentious spirit that reveals itself abroad in our blatant imperialism, at home in class antagonisms—the 195whole re-acting fatally on individual character and lowering the general standard of civilized life. Generous enthusiasms die down, the emotional nature hardens, till intelligence itself is dimmed and becomes incapable of any wide outlook that entails unselfish effort.

As a rule—though with honourable exceptions—our compatriots advanced in life do not fulfil the promise of their youth; and with forces of nature amenable to man’s will, if wisely directed, real progress in this scientific age is wofully sluggish. We focus attention on environments that press on adults only, and in seeking reform overlook the environments that vitally effect our infant population, therefore the adult life of the future.

How different is our action in other directions. In horticultural nurseries, for instance, progress is not sluggish. Scientific discovery and methods of practice are applied and promptly produce definite results. The composite plants are distinguished from simple plants, and while all are secured in necessary conditions of healthy life—good soil, air, light, etc.—those receive from the gardener a special fostering care. He studies the laws of differentiation, the peculiarities of each organism with its hidden possibilities of varied efflorescence, and by fitting environment to wider issues, watching them day by day, nourishing every tendency favourable, checking every tendency unfavourable, he induces an outburst of blossom as varied in colour and form as it is marvellous in beauty or grace, and that in spite 196of the fact that unaided by natural forces he is utterly powerless to make a blade of grass grow.

That human plants give promise of blossoming into a moral beauty as yet undreamed of by the British public is patent to any wise observer of the confused social life of to-day. Our greatest realists in fiction note the point. We have George Meredith putting into the mouth of his hero, Matthew Weyburn, these significant words: “Eminent station among men doesn’t give a larger outlook ... I have come now and then across people we call common, slow-minded, but hard in their grasp of facts and ready to learn and logical. They were at the bottom of wisdom, for they had in their heads the delicate sense of justice upon which wisdom is founded ... that is what their rulers lack. Unless we have the sense of justice abroad like a common air there’s no peace and no steady advance. But these humble people had it. I felt them to be my superiors. On the other hand, I have not felt the same with our senators, rulers and lawgivers. They are for the most part deficient in the liberal mind.” (Lord Ormont and his Aminta.)

As regards physical health, I have shown the necessity for stirpiculture and the birth of the fit; as regards mental and moral health, i.e. Humanity’s efflorescence on higher planes—the need of the times is less eugenics than education and training. Germs of truth, justice, love, lie latent in the basic structure of our half-civilized race, and so long as we neglect or destroy these germs it were folly to desire material 197of finer quality. “Our raw material is of the very best,” said the headmistress of a London Board School, “our children are full of generous impulses and fearless spontaneity. I sometimes think the no-rule in the homes of the masses a better preparation for life than the factitious training given in homes of the classes. But our teachers are so few and so seldom scientifically enlightened that we spoil very much of the good material.” On behalf of the classes my reader might argue that susceptibility to beauty or the aesthetic sentiment with its creative expression in art belongs almost exclusively to the upper section of society, and is deemed by some social reformers the very foundation of moral life, the basis of the ethical temper.

It is not my purpose to provoke comparison between the classes and the masses, and I fully recognize the value of the fine arts as factors in the general elevation of life and character, but I submit that evolution does not pursue the same line of development in the various races of mankind, and in the British race an advanced ethical temper is in process of formation quite irrespective of the fine arts and the aesthetic sentiment.

Dr. Le Bon laid before the French Geographical Society an account of a primitive group of people, numbering several hundred thousand, who inhabit a remote region high up among the Carpathian mountains. Of this people, the Podhalians, he says, “they are born improvisatori, poets and musicians, singing their own songs, set to music 198of their own composition. Their poetry is tender and artless in sentiment, generous and elevated in style.” He attributes these qualities to the wealth of spontaneous resources possessed by natures which neither know violent passions nor unnatural excitements. The British race, moulded by different conditions—geographical and historical—has developed differently. Great masses of our population are wholly insensitive to the influences of art. The picture drawn by Wordsworth of his Peter Bell comes nearer to our native uncultured type—

A primrose by the river’s brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more.
The soft blue sky did never melt
Into his heart, he never felt
The witchery of the soft blue sky.

Nevertheless, through another channel he was touched to the quick. Thrilled into sudden sweetness and pathos by the sight of a widow’s tears—

In agony of silent grief
From his own thoughts did Peter start;
He longs to press her to his heart
From love that cannot find relief.

The hard life of our workers has undoubtedly deprived them, as yet, of any widespread aesthetic development, but the chords of their vital part, if played upon, produce a sentient state far removed from the rudimentary stage. It is a product of centuries of evolution.

199This humanity will move forward to higher planes of existence, and a spiritual plenitude—of which aestheticism is by no means the crown and glory, but only an imperfect foretaste—by two convergent paths trodden concurrently. These are a steady growth in social qualities and the happiness that flows from these qualities, the creation, in short, of organic socialism; and the opening up outwardly of channels of sympathy and community of interests throughout the whole nation, causing the banishment of class distinctions, the establishment of an organized socialism. Perfection in art is not the appropriate ideal for this age, but perfection in social life, and it is not from a love of art to a love of mankind and the practices of moral rectitude that our masses will advance. It is by the practice of all the humanities on ever broader, deeper lines, until the nation, vibrating with harmonized life, frames new visions of art, and strengthens all the well-springs of art’s creation.

The aestheticism that belongs exclusively to one social class neither elevates general morals nor produces the noblest art. Its narrowing influences are exemplified in Lord Chesterfield’s advice to his son: “If you love music, go to operas, concerts, and pay fiddlers to play to you; but I insist on your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a contemptible light; ... few things would mortify me more than to see you bearing a part in a concert with a fiddle under your chin.” Lord Chesterfield belonged to a past 200century, but the spirit of his thought is not dead; it manifests prominently to-day. In my own experience a lady novelist was invited to a London At Home, and accepted conditionally. If evening costume were necessary she must decline, but if less ceremonious dress were permissible she would gladly appear, and the hostess consenting, she did so. Now I heard a large group of middle-class ladies passionately condemning this action, on the ground that aestheticism had been outraged and the rules of society set at nought by a blot in rooms otherwise beautiful. Yet the novelist had been tastefully attired, that was freely admitted. She had sinned merely in nonconformity to fashion and in covering her neck and arms. Can we seriously believe that the type of humanity to which these ladies belong is developing the liberal mind which alone may create and support the highest morality, the noblest art? Are we not compelled to recognize the truth of Mr. J. H. Levy’s profound remark: “In the present stage of human progress the aesthetic and the moral are conterminate at neither end. Aesthetic emotion may be roused in us by that which is ethically odious, and moral feeling may be called up by that which is artistically ugly.” (The National Reformer.)

The true ethical temper is engendered by a complexity of social attractions issuing in an inward sense of justice and the delicate equipoise of natural rights between meum and tuum. The 201task before us is to unite the half-conscious, instinctive justice already existent with an intellectual apprehension and clear understanding of right and wrong, in other words, to complete the modern conscience; and in view of this task we must distinctly realize that the sentiment of what is proper and improper in conventional society has no ethical value, and is a false guide to conduct.



The facts which it is at once most important and most difficult to appreciate are what may be called the facts of feeling.—Lecky.

The area of man’s emotional life is one of vast magnitude. It lies behind the scenes of his outward existence, yet it interpenetrates the social structure throughout, and stretches beyond it to distances we know not whence or whither. Mysterious as this region is, no sooner does man aspire to control the social forces of collective life, as he already largely controls the natural forces of physical life, than he is compelled to apply his reason scientifically to the phenomena of human emotions, and to contemplate, trace out and master there the general features of the process of evolution.

In the case of personal development the task is comparatively easy. A child’s feelings are simple, not compound. For the most part they seem vague and indefinite, always fleeting and 203evanescent; but as the child grows his powers of feeling grow likewise and alter in character. Their childish simplicity passes away; they augment in mass, they become complex, more permanent and coherent in their nature, and far more delicate in susceptibility. Consequently the breadth of range, the depth and richness of emotion possible in an adult, as compared with the emotions of a child, are as the music of an organ to the sweet notes that lie within the compass of a penny whistle.

In racial development evolution of feeling has not pursued one invariable course. Distinctive sentiments and modes of feeling characterize the different races of mankind as well as distinctive outward features, and the impressing on a plastic race of these divergent states of feeling is mainly, though not entirely, due to external conditions—not climatic and geographical conditions only, but also the form of civilization that had taken root and moulded the habits and customs of the race. Greek civilization, for instance, tended to develop largely the aesthetic group of feelings, while in Scotland these feelings, through outward influences I must not pause to consider, have been stunted in growth, and moral sentiments have had a deeper and firmer development.

Amongst barbarous tribes of men the violent emotions—anger, fear, jealousy, revenge—generally speaking, hold sway; but there are also in various parts of the world uncivilized communities where these fierce passions are little known, and where, 204in consequence of the absence of warlike surroundings, the gentle, tender sentiments that have for their foundation family ties and peaceful social life, prevail, and are considerably developed.

The conditions of emotional evolution in a given race, then, are complex. We have to bear in mind a threefold environment—cosmic, planetary, social—pressing upon individual life and powerfully swaying the emotional part of it. Social environment is pre-eminently potent in modifying emotional characteristics; yet the prime factor of change in social environment springs from this region of feeling, and this factor may, under rational guidance, take a path of direct and rapid progression.

British civilization is the product of a turbulent, militant stage of evolution, an epoch of military glory, followed by a long period of industrial development and commercial activity. We inherit a survival of virtues and vices from each of these evolutional stages. To the first we attribute our courage, independence and proper pride, both national and individual; and we are apt to suppose that without the experience of military glory our manly John Bull would have been a milk-sop. That may or may not be true; but when we infer that the above characteristics depend fundamentally and absolutely upon a military environment we are vastly mistaken. Observe what is said by travellers and missionaries of certain unwarlike tribes found in India and the Malay Peninsula. 205The Jakuns are inclined, we are told, to gratitude and beneficence, their tendency being not to ask favours, but to confer them. The Arifuras have a very excusable ambition to gain the name of rich men by paying the debts of their poorer fellow-villagers! One gentle Arifura, who had hoped to be chosen chief of his village and was not, met his disappointment with the spirit of a philosopher and philanthropist, saying: “What reason have I to grieve? I still have it in my power to assist my fellow-villagers.” When brought into contact with men of an opposite type—hardy, fierce and turbulent, they have no tendency to show the white feather. The amiable Dhimal is independent and courageous, and resists “with dogged obstinacy” injunctions that are urged injudiciously. The Jakun is extremely proud—his pride showing itself in refusals to be domesticated and made useful to men of a different race and therefore alien to himself. The simple-minded Santal has a “strong natural sense of justice, and should any attempt be made to coerce him, he flies the country. The Santal is courteous and hospitable, whilst at the same time he is free from cringing.” Dalton writes of the Hos—a tribe belonging to the same group as the Santals—“a reflection on a man’s honesty or veracity may be sufficient to send him to self-destruction”; and of the Lepchas, Hooker says, “In all my dealings with them they have proved scrupulously honest.... They cheer on the traveller by their 206unostentatious zeal in his service, and when a present is given to them, it is divided equally among many without a syllable of discontent or a grudging look or word.”[4]

4. Herbert Spencer, Principles of Sociology, vol. 2, pp. 628, 630, 631.

From these facts we gather that a number of virtues associated in our minds with Western civilization are present amid barbarous tribes, and that the vices associated by us with barbarism—cruelty, dishonesty, treachery, selfishness—are in some cases glaringly absent. Human nature is not dependent on culture or Christianity to humanize and make it lovable. There is that in the very groundwork of its nature which renders it capable of developing, under favourable conditions, into what is admirable, pure and gracious. The traits given us of these peoples show virtue, truth, generosity, moral courage and justice, and what nobler, more elevated sentiments have as yet been found in civilized man?

The favourable conditions are an entire absence of warlike surroundings and warlike training, hence an absence also of any inheritance of warlike proclivities. These tribes “have remained unmolested for generation after generation; they have inflicted no injuries on others.” Their social or unselfish feelings have been fostered and nourished by the sympathetic intercourse of a peaceful life.

In a purely military state unselfish feelings are 207necessarily repressed, whilst the bold, keen, hard and cruel side of human nature is liberally developed. To hate an enemy and avenge an injury are manly virtues. The predatory instincts are useful and approved. Treachery is not discredited, and the man clever enough to take advantage of an enemy and successfully intrigue against him may be ranked among the gods! The plunderer who falters not in keen pursuit of prey and in the hour of victory shows relentless cruelty is deemed heroic. No thought of happiness or misery to others gives him pause; military glory is his absorbing aim, and in the intervals of peace his callous nature manifests in ruling with tyrannic power slavish subordinates, who bend and cringe before him.

Now let us glance at two of these militant characteristics, viz. rapacity and personal pride, with a view to observe how their survival into our industrial epoch has vitiated the national life.

The purely militant stage of British development has passed, and the outward form of our collective life is industrial, not military. A sanguinary path of glory has no intrinsic fascination for our people, and there is no national desire to conquer and rule over races established on other parts of the earth’s surface, however superior to ours may be their climate and quarters. Nevertheless, within the last half century we have fought battles and shed blood copiously in China, Persia, Afghanistan, Abyssinia, Egypt, South Africa and elsewhere. 208Seldom, however, has the nation itself clamoured for war. In the year 1854 a relapse into militant mood occurred, and, in spite of unwillingness on the part of individual rulers, the Government yielded to a sinister wave of barbaric feeling in the nation—a martial frenzy that impelled to the Crimean War. Since that period wars have originated from other causes than the will of the nation. Our people, immersed in a painful struggle for livelihood at home, are indifferent to the rights and wrongs of the many squabbles into which we flounder abroad. General malevolence has no part in this matter; our real collective attitude towards foreigners is one of friendliness, combined with an impulse to the peaceful exchange of commodities, kind words and gentle arts—the whole provocative of love, not hatred.

The fundamental causes of war, then, have been: first, the commercial interests of a capitalist class, or, if expressed in terms of feeling, the desire in that class for increased wealth—a desire partly the product of inherited rapacity, a sentiment descended to us from our militant epoch; second, national pride—a pride which has kindled animosities, embroiled us in disputes and dragged us into wars, the pettiness of whose small beginnings is only matched by the pettiness of British conduct throughout their whole extent. But both this rapacity and this national pride belong almost exclusively to our ruling classes. Their existence 209is explained by the action of outward conditions on special sections of the community. The British passed suddenly out of a period of constant fighting and feud into a period of frantic industrial activity. Feudal chiefs and their descendants became grasping landlords. There also sprang up a class of sharp-witted, keen-sighted men, whose native rapacity strengthened in the genial hot-bed of our brilliant commercial success. A tremendous start in the international race after wealth was secured to Great Britain by her possession of iron, coal, etc. She absorbed riches from every quarter of the globe, and mercantile triumph swelled the pride already deeply implanted in our industrial organizers, our politicians and plenipotentiaries. The great mass of the people were differently affected by industrial conditions. Workers of every description, packed together in towns and factories, rapidly developed the qualities of intimate social life, and out-grew, in the main, the savage instincts of militancy. Our commercial wars and Imperialistic policy are fruits—not of the nation’s brutality, its greed, or its pride, but of its simple ignorance and its blind trust in individuals peculiarly unfitted by inheritance and personal bias to guide it aright in relations with other, and especially with weaker, nations. All the wars of recent times—a record of cruel bloodshed causing needless sorrow and suffering to the innocent—have been instigated by the ruling classes under the dominion of rapacity and pride. 210When these ruling classes are dispossessed of supreme power, and civilized democracies assume public responsibility with political supremacy, the day of disarming of nations will dawn. The world’s workers who, apart from their rulers, have no tendency to undue accumulation or national pride, but whose bias, on the contrary, is towards sympathetic co-operation in industry, will strenuously seek the joys and blessings of universal peace.

But although the war-spirit of the ancient Briton dies out and general brutality declines, individual brutality, practised privately, is common enough. Class tyranny, sex tyranny, and much of domestic tyranny are rampant; and the co-relative feelings, viz. abject fear giving rise to hatred, anger, malice, cunning and despicable meanness of soul, are all strongly in evidence.

The industrial system that succeeded our military system is of no genuinely social type. It is distinctly contentious, and when we consider how it has pressed for about a century upon a plastic race inwardly prone to every vice engendered by militancy, the matter for surprise perhaps is that we are as good as we are.

In classifying emotional states there is a sentiment which, if not begotten, has at least been bred, nourished and widely diffused during our industrial epoch—I mean the sentiment, love of property. On no subject are opposite opinions more strongly and disputatiously held than on the question of the nature and value of this sentiment. 211It is claimed by some as not only the chief support of present-day society, but the prime evolutional factor of our entire civilization. A savage only cares to secure the things he is in immediate need of. He lacks imagination to picture what he may want to-morrow, also intelligence to provide for future contingencies and sympathetic desire to provide for the wants of others.

No sooner, however, does an established government give safe protection to individual property than prudence and forethought appear. The man who acquires property soon surrounds himself with comforts, and inspires in others the desire to follow his example. Social wealth accumulates, and energies are set free for further development. Some social units become complex, intellectual tastes and love of travel arise, and works of art—the treasure-trove of earlier civilizations—are impounded to lay the foundation of artistic life in the later civilization. Aesthetic culture now grows rapidly. Painting, poetry, music abound, and men may be lifted above the meaner cares of existence to an inward freedom, where sympathy expands through the exercise of elevated thought and feeling. Is not love of property, then, a sentiment to honour and conserve? Its genesis and history certainly command respect; but the already quoted case of the Podhalians proves that by no means is it an essential in human evolution. To that primitive people, as Dr. Le Bon 212has shown, riches have no charms; they are poor, living principally upon oats made into cakes and goat’s milk. They enjoy perfect health and live long. They are quick in apprehension, fond of dancing, singing, music and poetry. There is clearly no development here of the property-sense, yet the Podhalians have a very considerable development of that group of emotions we term aesthetic and regard as an evidence of high refinement and culture. We are not therefore logically entitled to claim that were British love of property and British cupidity greatly diminished, art as a consequence must needs decay and the race revert into barbarism.

Herbert Spencer tells us “that in some established societies there has been a constant exercise of the feeling which is satisfied by a provision for the future, and a growth of this feeling so great that it now prompts accumulation to an extent beyond what is needful.” (1st vol. of Essays, 2nd series, p. 132.)

That point has been overpassed by the British. What we have now to struggle against are varied evils arising from a glut of national wealth (but I do not mean by this term commodities of intrinsic value, only wealth representing an acknowledged claim on the labour of others) and a frightful inflation of the sentiments allied with wealth, which at one time were useful, but for generations have been producing outward vice and inward misery and corruption.

213The British merchant goes on accumulating long after he has amply provided for himself and family, and many a poor man feels towards that other’s wealth precisely as a savage feels towards his fetish. He is filled with reverence, admiration, desire and a sense of distance from the golden calf that makes him hopeless, abject, despairing.

The American millionaire, as depicted by Mr. Howells, will, “on a hot day, when the mortal glare of the sun blazes in upon heart and brain, plot and plan in his New York office till he swoons at the desk.” Such a man is as much a victim to over-development of acquisitiveness as the drunkard is victim to an undue development of the love of stimulants, and in each case the depraved taste carries ruin to the individual and havoc into society. Social unity is rent in twain. A life of exuberant wealth and extravagant expenditure runs parallel with one of constant, inescapable poverty, and so long as the nation continues to heap up riches in private possession, just so long must we reap an emotional harvest of envy, malice, private animosities, class hatreds and a subtle estrangement of heart throughout the length and breadth of the land. Yet even the great poet Tennyson in his writings exalts into a worthy motive for holy wedlock this sentiment—love of property. An affectionate father, in the poem, “The Sisters,” exhorts his daughters thus: “One should marry, or ... all the broad lands will pass collaterally”!

214The small accumulator whose petty hoard of gold was gloated over piece by piece has long been labelled miser. He is publicly condemned, and in literature derided. But the merchant-prince who, already wealthy, devotes days and years and his whole mind and heart to business; the proprietor of broad lands who adds acre to acre, and anxiously meditates on their passing collaterally; the rich capitalist who craftily seeks to lower wages in the interests of employers; the gambler on the Stock Exchange; the market manipulator whose predatory instincts are so pleasurably excited by risks and gains that he will hazard in the game all that nobler men hold precious—these beings, I say, are as worthy of scorn and infinitely more baneful than the miser. They must take their true place by his side in public estimation. They are social deformities, morally diseased. In other words, these men are incapable of moral duty, which consists in “the observance of those rules of conduct that contribute to the welfare of society—the end of society being peace and mutual protection, so that the individual may reach the fullest and highest life attainable by man.” (Huxley’s Life, vol. ii. p. 305.)

In the preceding chapter I have shown that the self-regarding sentiment exercised with due consideration for the welfare of others is a social virtue. It promotes national prosperity and personal improvement. But self-regarding actions, induced by this master-passion over-acquisitiveness, 215invariably issue in automatic selfishness and general deterioration.

In regard to aesthetic emotions also the cleavage between rich and poor has a fatal significance. A luxurious, idle, for the most part, inane, life led by the rich, profoundly influences the poor; not by creating anti-social feeling only, but by checking aesthetic development. In the city of many slums there is also a west-end of gay shops filled with objects de luxe, of showily dressed women, profligate men, theatre, music-hall and ball-room entrances, at which to stand gazing as into a fairy peep-show. Suggestion here plays a mischievous part. Poverty hinders the purchase of all commodities that possess any real artistic value, but commercial enterprise has flooded the markets with meretricious imitations. East-end shops reflect the glitter and glow of west-end attractions, and the ignorant, spell-bound by suggestion, become possessors of that which degrades and vulgarizes taste or the sense of the beautiful. Now that science partially dominates thought, our eyes have been opened to the fact of essential unity in human groups. We may trace the cause of a social evil to a special section or class, but the effects of that cause radiate forth till they touch every section or class. Dwellers in the west-end cannot escape disease propagated by the vilely unwholesome conditions of life at the east-end. Micro-organisms of disease are wafted from hither to thither, and on the physical plane social unity 216is recognized. A like continuity exists on the non-physical side. Minds are as closely united by psychical law as bodies by physical law. The experienced facts of hypnotism make this clear, and the logical inference is that in Western civilization the vices of wealthy classes infect and corrupt the masses.

That the imagination of the great mass of our people should be snared and their evolutional progress thwarted by mental suggestion from a banal, vicious life led by a comparatively small portion of the nation, is an outrage on civilization. It renders it imperative that the cause of this evil, viz., our contentious, i.e. our competitive system of industry, should be fundamentally changed.

For every group of human beings the steady growth of those social qualities which create happiness and the steady advance in intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual life, depend on a close community of interests and the constant opening up of fresh channels of sympathy throughout the group. But the British racial group has lost this community of interests—this primary condition of steady growth. It is split up into, first, a class of property possessors made effeminate by ill-spent leisure, often inflated by pride, and at all times demanding the artificial pleasures of a luxurious life; second, a class striving to amass property, a class whose thoughts and desires circle round and centre in property, and who to acquire it often sacrifice serenity of mind, health of body, 217and even life itself; and third, the mass of the people who, having no property, are yet enslaved by it, and who on the emotional side of their human nature are debased and corrupted by the mental state of the classes.

As evolution approaches the era of manhood of human reason it becomes conscious, and demands a national effort to improve. That effort first appears in the strenuous, scientific study of life as it is, in attempts at social reconstruction, and at improvement in public and private education. It is seen to be necessary to stamp out all the militant and predatory instincts of mankind by ethical nurture and training, while all the gentle, gracious qualities of mankind must be carefully guarded and nourished, until, in every social unit the effort to improve is habitual, i.e. has become “the essential mode of its being.” (J. McGavin Sloan.)



“Jealousy is cruel as the grave.”

We shall progress faster by diligent striving to fashion the feeling of the time and stir it from the intellectual apathy which is the chiefest curse of the State.—Alex. M. Thomson.

The danger that confronts the new century is the recrudescence of racial antipathies and national animosities.—Hermann Adler.

The passion of jealousy has a long and significant history, and a pedigree more ancient than the allied sentiment, love of property, which has just been considered. The passion was useful to the welfare of the tribe at an early period, but it survives as purely a vice in the midst of consolidated nations, for it is essentially anti-social, not necessary to general welfare, and impossible to be exercised sympathetically or for the good of others. If I am jealous it means that I have a source of personal delight that I would guard from others and monopolise if I could. The happiness may 219be self-produced or rest on a being whom I love. In both cases it causes within me fears of interference, suspicion of my fellows, and a general tendency to dislike, nay, even to hate them if they dare to meddle with my secret joy. The emotion is fundamentally selfish, and when an individual is sympathetic all round he becomes incapable of it. He has risen above the egoistic passion of jealousy.

Mr. Darwin tells us that amongst savages addicted to “intemperance, utter licentiousness and unnatural crimes, no sooner does marriage, whether polygamous or monogamous, become common than jealousy leads to the inculcation of female virtue.” This gives the clue to the problem of jealousy’s evolutional value. It has played a part in the destiny of woman, and tended to shape her emotional nature. Its history is inextricably intertwined with hers, in all the varying degrees of servitude that mark her slow advance from a condition of absolute chattelism to one of rational equality with man.

By virtue of superior strength man has acted on the theory that he was made for God, and woman for him! and in the process of establishing his dominancy jealousy appeared and aided powerfully the gradual development of a new emotion—constancy, a social grace and virtue as certain to wax and grow as jealousy is to wane and slowly disappear.

In literature one finds a reflection of the entire 220history of jealousy and all its consecutive changes from barbarous times through the ages, when frequent duels witnessed to the honourable place it held in public estimation down to the present day, when it is somewhat discredited, and duelling—in Great Britain at least—has ceased altogether. To track this history were impossible here; I can only point to one or two significant pictures.

The play of “Othello” depicts the barbarous social conditions in which jealousy flourishes. Shakespeare reveals both the anti-social nature of the passion and the intellectual weakness of the mind that harbours it. “Trifles light as air,” says Iago, “are to the jealous confirmation strong as proofs of holy writ.” And in effect Othello is incapable of sifting evidence. The poor device of the stolen handkerchief seals the fate of Desdemona! Woman’s subject position is plainly set forth, and the foundations of the passion in masculine master-hood and pride of power are fully exposed. Othello’s wife must be his slave and puppet. “Out of my sight,” he cries, and patiently she goes. “Mistress,” he calls, and she returns. “You did wish,” he says to Lodovico, “that I would make her turn.” Desdemona is the very type of patient, gentle, enslaved womanhood, the ideal woman of a rough, brutal age. Her father describes her as—

A maiden never bold;
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush’d at herself.

221Observe, however, inwardly she is more advanced than the men. She perceives the low nature of jealousy, and to Emilia says touchingly, “My noble Moor is true of mind, and made of no such baseness as jealous creatures are.” Alas, for her generous confidence! And when the base passion transforms her “noble Moor” into a monster of cruelty, she, true to the type of her sex at the period, resembles a pet dog that fawns upon and licks the hand that strikes him. This patient moan is all her utterance—

’Tis meet I should be used so, very meet,
How have I been behaved that he might stick
The small’st opinion on my least misuse.

The only dignity she shows is in her refusal to display her sorrow before Emilia:

Do not talk to me, Emilia;
I cannot weep, nor answer I have none.

Jealousy and duelling flourished long after the Shakesperian period. Prose fiction in the eighteenth century is full of the subject of masculine rivalry in the appropriation of the female sex. The woman passionately desired is the prize or reward of a victory in which the hero has manifested adroitness in arts of bloodshed. Feminine will plays no part in the decision to which man the heroine shall belong, and the rivals for her possession make no pretence of superior character as a claim on her favour. The gentle spiritual qualities that alone create union of heart and mind seem unknown. Master-hood, an apotheosis of 222force, is the key to the drama; and the rapid rise of the novel in public esteem shows that pleasurable sensations were closely allied with the barbarous actions and feelings that belong to a militant age.

Early in the nineteenth century George Eliot draws the hero of her first great novel (Adam Bede) in the act of picking a quarrel with a rival for a woman’s love. She shows jealousy in him springing chiefly from a sense of property in Hetty. The wounded pride and self-importance of a too despotic nature finds relief in fighting Arthur Donnithorne. In Middlemarch the transition to a higher stage of evolution is marked. She gives us there a graphic picture of a woman wrestling with jealousy in the secrecy of her own chamber, and correctly places in the tenderly emotional nature of that sex the primary impulse to subdue the vile passion. Female jealousy made no appeal to arms, but in a thousand subtle ways it was sending forth currents of anti-social force, and without a widespread feminine repudiation of jealousy no clear advance to higher social life was possible. Dorothea is a true type of progressing womanhood. She gains a victory in the noble warfare we see her waging inwardly, and, rising far above the vile passion, she goes forth to her rival in a glow of generous emotion that not only compels the confidence of the latter, but for the time draws that selfish, narrow nature up to the level of her own.

There is no false note in this picture, and if we 223glance at the transcript of real life at the period we may easily find its counterpart. The well-known writer, Mrs. Jamieson (in her Commonplace Book) relates: “I was not more than six years old when I suffered, from the fear of not being loved, and from the idea that another was preferred before me, such anguish as had nearly killed me! Whether those around me regarded it as a fit of ill-temper or a fit of illness I do not know. I could not then have given a name to the pang that fevered me, but I never forgot that suffering. It left a deep impression, and the recollection was so far salutary that in after life I guarded myself against the approaches of that hateful, deformed, agonizing thing which men call jealousy, as I would from an attack of cramp or cholera. If such self-knowledge has not saved me from the pain, at least it has saved me from the demoralizing effects of the passion, by a wholesome terror and even a sort of disgust.”

The knell of a departing phase of inner life was sounding when womanhood acquired the power to sift evidence from childish recollections, to detect the utter uselessness of the suffering jealousy creates and the ignominy of allowing it to become a cause of suffering at all.

Mrs. Jamieson stands on the threshold of a new era, for critical intellect here enters the sphere of the emotions, and these, yielding to guidance and control, human reason is henceforth a prime factor in emotional evolution.

224But further, sympathy when developed to a certain point inevitably leads men astray if not guided by reason. Let me here relate a sequence of events that occurred in my own experience.

Two girls became deeply attached; they worked and studied together, and their friendship was a source of constant joy. In course of time, however, one married, and the other girl felt forsaken. She suffered from jealousy, and imagined that the husband would suffer similarly if she kept her place in her friend’s affections. A husband’s right amounted, in her view, to a monopoly of a wife’s tenderness. She strove, therefore, to loosen the bond of friendship; to cool her own ardent affection and make no claims, lest it should disturb conjugal bliss. The action was brave and prompted by sympathy, but it did not make for happiness. In a few short years the wife on her deathbed spoke thus to her former friend: “Why did you separate yourself from me? How could you think my love would change? I have been happy in my husband and child, but love never narrowed, it widened me. There was plenty of room for friendship, too. I sorely missed you, and felt your loss threw a shadow over my married life.”

Sympathy alone, then, is no unerring guide to conduct. Nevertheless, in a society permeated by true knowledge of the nature of the emotions and their significance in evolution primitive good-feeling may evolve, passing through each stage 225from the basic or simple to the complex, and every generous emotion prove accordant with the truth of things, and therefore productive of inward joy and outward right action, i.e. action tending to general welfare even in all the labyrinthine complexities of a high civilization. Emotion accordant with the truth of things—that is the crux of the position; and again I can best illustrate the point by reference to events that occurred within my own knowledge—events, too, by no means uncommon. During eight years a girl was engaged to marry a man we shall call Roger. He was in India and she in England. They corresponded, but meanwhile an intimacy sprang up between the girl and another man—we may call him Mark—to whom unwittingly her heart went out more warmly than it had ever done to Roger. She thought the relation to Mark was one of pure friendship, and he knew nothing of her engagement to Roger. The latter’s approaching return to England, however, opened the girl’s eyes to her true position, and on Mark it fell as a cruel blow. He had courted affection and responded to it in all sincerity, and was merely withheld from an open avowal by the consciousness of, as yet, insufficient means to justify his suit in the eyes of her parents. When concealment was at an end the problem to him seemed simple enough. “Which do you love best?” he asked, and added dominantly, “he is the man you should marry.” The girl was not convinced. The knowledge that 226she could not love Roger best filled her with tenderness towards him. Her emotional nature—wide enough to embrace both rivals with sympathy—could give no decision, and intellect was confused by false teaching in childhood. “Duty,” she thought, “is always difficult; ought I not then to choose the hardest path of the two before me, and give up Mark?” In this grave dilemma she turned for advice to an elderly man on whose judgment she felt reliance. Bravely and truthfully she stated her case, innocently betraying that ignorance and the wish to do right were dangerously near carrying her into action that was wrong. “Let us reverse the position,” said her mentor. “Roger, we shall suppose, has written to you to come out to India and marry him, the fact being he has fallen in love with another girl. He did not mean to do that. His heart slipped away from you to her unconsciously, and he is shocked, and blames himself, not wholly without cause. But being an honourable man, he reasons with himself thus: ‘I am bound to keep my engagement to Mary; I will do so, and strive to make her happy.’ He meets you then with a lie in his heart, not on his tongue, for he will say nothing of your rival and of his sacrifice and pain. Would you be happy, think you? Would you miss nothing? And if later you discovered the truth, would you feel that the generous action was a just one to you?” “No, no,” she cried, “I never could wish him to sacrifice his happiness 227to mine; I would infinitely rather he told me the truth, and married the other girl.” “Precisely so,” said her friend, “the truth is always best; but I see you think Roger is less unselfish than you are! Is that just to him?” “I hardly know,” she murmured, “men are jealous, are they not?” “Jealous, ah, well, we men are frail, no doubt! But were I Roger, I tell you frankly, it would not mend matters to me that I had won my wife without the priceless jewel of her love. Be true to yourself, my young friend, that means also justice to him, and fling to the winds all fears that make you swerve from the path of open rectitude.” The girl fulfilled her difficult task. She relinquished the heroic mood, met her first lover with perfect candour, and a short time later became Mark’s wife. “Roger freed me at once,” she said to her wise mentor; “he’d rather have my friendship, which is perfectly sincere, than love with a strain of falseness. Oh, I am glad, and yet I know he grieves; I would give much to be able to console him!” “Ah,” said her friend, “beware of sentimentality and self-importance there. Roger’s consolation will come through his own true heart. In time he will love again. See to it that you ‘let the dead past bury its dead.’”

Loyalty to truth is not firmly rooted in humanity, while without truth as its guiding principle social feeling, constantly rising, overflows old channels and floods with new dangers the semi-civilization 228of the present. There is no escape at this juncture from the absolute necessity of developing the critical faculty and applying it to the social questions of the day; in other words, using reason, intelligence, knowledge, as the guides and controllers of feeling.

We turn now from personal emotions to an emotion that sways mankind collectively, and manifests itself in still more direful results than those of individual jealousy. Patriotism, like jealousy, is of ancient origin, and at one time possessed social utility. Without it there could hardly have occurred the transformation of vagrant tribes into massive communities solidly established on one portion of the earth’s surface and sectionally swarming to other portions as occasion requires.

The original element holding a tribe together has been termed by a recent sociologist “consciousness of kind,” i.e. a feeling not dependent on intellectual congeniality or emotional sympathy, but simply on nearness in place, time and blood. With tribal growth cohesion proves necessary to self-protection from adverse environments, whether of natural forces, wild animals or human foes. Experience reveals that union is strength, and hostility to other tribes fosters union in opposition. The inward attitude becomes complex; it embraces cohesion and repulsion; it is essentially a union in enmity. Now we have seen how in boyhood an innocent camaraderie or esprit de corps begets injustice to schoolmasters, and balks 229the development of the modern conscience; similarly here there are ethical dangers inseparable from a sentiment that beginning in “consciousness of kind” expands into sociality, yet has a converse side of hostility and hate. At the present day patriotism and international warfare are closely combined. The student of life who knows that the general trend of evolution is towards a reign of universal peace, recognizes that although nations have been consolidated by outward warfare and inward patriotism, this sentiment, so limited in range and so largely anti-social, can be no virtue for all time. Patriotism belongs to the militant stage of national history, and as regards Great Britain it is plainly out of date. Its action is not good, but evil.

The war in South Africa begun in 1899 was not caused by racial enmity, but by mercantile enterprise. Economic forces involved in Great Britain’s competitive commercial system were the prime factors in its creation, but without the existence of a vague unintelligent patriotic sentiment in the country generally the Government would not have been supported by the people in the prosecution of that war. Our enfranchised masses, fired by a sudden enthusiasm and racked by sympathy in the brave deeds and cruel sufferings of our soldiers and sailors, saw the phantasmagoria of modern warfare in false colours. Imagination was grasped and controlled by a press working—though half-unconsciously—in the interests of a 230special mercantile class; and while tender emotions overflowed in generous help to one’s own kind, a sympathy stimulated by public laudation, the reverse side of the picture was ignored. But in this, as in all wars, sympathy had its counterpoise in antagonism and rancorous enmity. All the brutal instincts latent in a race that had fought its way to supremacy among European Powers were roused afresh and stirred into fatal activity, and the evolving modern conscience and sentiments of justice, honour, truth towards all men, were checked and overborne by a loyalty that condones the fierce primitive passions. Hatred and uncharitableness were even voiced from some pulpits, and the term Pro-Boer was opprobriously launched at those lovers of peace who tried to defend their country’s foes from exaggerated blame. It was skilfully handled to promote militant enthusiasm, and discountenance all criticism of militant action and feeling.

On the emotional side of human nature inimical effects of warfare were wholly disregarded, and opinions on the subject of war given forth by a so-called educated class of men and eagerly imbibed by an ignorant public were confused, often false and shamefully misleading. One of these pseudo-teachers alleged that the wars of past times indicated chronic disease, but militarism in the present was useful, because in the home-life of the nation the restraints of authority are becoming weak (Capt. Mahan). And an eminent 231statesman announced his impression that the South African war was “designed to build up those moral qualities which are after all the only solid and the only permanent foundation on which any empire can be built”! (Mr. Balfour’s speech at Manchester; Scotsman’s Report, January 9, 1900.)

But the true method of judging an event is to exercise comparison, taking into account a far greater mass of social phenomena than that of the immediate present. Now the careful study of past history has proved that an outbreak of militant fraternity, combined with indulgence in the principle of enmity, leaves a society less fraternal than before in regard to the labours of peace and of building up; and against the claim that military training is a good preparation for civic life there lies the whole testimony of civilization. Further, the survival of militancy frustrates the solving of our great social problems, and the recent relapse to the militarist ideal is a grave hindrance to that social science which would provide the true ways of humanizing defective types. (I refer my reader for a fuller statement on these lines to Mr. J. M. Robertson’s Patriotism and Empire.) “After Waterloo,” says Mr. Robertson, “it seems to have been realized by the intelligence of Europe that militarism and imperialism had alike pierced the hands that leant on them.” Nevertheless, they reappeared, as we know, galvanized into fatal activity in human affairs, at the close of the nineteenth century.

232Again, the action of international capitalism and the ideal of imperialism have been analysed from the standpoint of social philosophy by Mr. J. A. Hobson, an advanced and logical thinker on economic questions. His conclusion is that the driving forces of aggressive imperialism are the organized influences of certain professional and commercial classes which have definite economic advantages to gain by assuming a spurious patriotism, and the most potent of all these influences emanates from the financier. The power of financiers, exerted directly upon politicians and indirectly through the press upon public opinion, is, perhaps, so says Mr. Hobson, the most serious problem in public life to-day.[5]

5. The Contemporary Review of January, 1900.

It is not by sanguinary conflicts in which victory turns on superior numbers, superior arms, and superior cunning in military tactics, that a nation’s greatness is built up at this period of the world’s history. What progress demands is not more of national wealth and international power; it is a better system of industrial life and a finer type of humanity—men and women of clear intellectual insight, high moral courage, unselfish instincts and humane sentiments guiltless of narrow exclusiveness. These men and women, discerning ideally the best methods of building up a nation’s greatness on the happiness of its people, will aid our half-civilized races to embody that ideal on 233the physical plane, and to educate their children to live up to it and show forth all its beauty.

In the mental basis of a high spiritual life even now our children are a reproach, for here and there they emit sparks indicative of embryonic sentiment in advance of practice around them. At the height of the Boer War a child in his nursery on being told that his nurse was opening a tin of boar’s head for breakfast, exclaimed, every feature quivering with sudden disgust, “Catch me eat my enemy’s head.”

When a nation repudiates with similar disgust that wholesale destruction of life, which is no whit less evil than the cannibalism of an earlier date, then will war and patriotism cease to be—their place taken by a civilization standing firm on the foundation of human happiness and love.

Given such outward conditions of life as are favourable to a freer exercise of the noblest social attributes and impulses of man, and the ethical temper will prevail. By ethical temper I mean not only the absence of all animosities that engender conflict, but the presence of a strong sense of personal rights and an equally strong protectiveness over the rights of others—a national impulse, in short, to an equivalence of liberty and social comfort for all mankind. But this justice is a supremely complex emotion—the one of all others that demands most of human capacity. It rests upon mental development, i.e. a universal enlargement of mind.

234Industrial changes there must be, but these alone will not secure progress; we need true education, for in the deeper strata of existence—the region of feeling, the movements of change must be guided from the old order to the new. Hence the vital importance of moral education—an education that will create an intelligent appreciation of truth wherever presented, and bind all men together in loyalty to truth.



We acquire the virtues by doing the acts.
We become builders by building.


Next in importance to the inborn nature is the acquired nature which a person owes to his education and training; not alone to the education which is called learning, but to that development of character which has been evoked by the conditions of life.—Dr. H. Maudsley.

We are beginning to realize the responsibilities that rest on each generation of adults in respect of the life evolving around us. It is not merely the structure and texture of civilization that is affected by every passing generation, it is the intrinsic quality of the human life to follow.

We have seen how the laws of heredity largely decide the physical embodiment of the coming lives as a resultant of the reproductive action of parents whether motived by ethical principle or by unrestrained animal passion. We have now to consider the second great human factor in man’s evolution, viz. nurture or education, which depends in its highest terms upon sound knowledge and the application of that knowledge by men and women of the period. In an advanced scientific age, the 238reproductive forces of man will be socially controlled and guided to the creation of normal, i.e. healthy, physical life; while the whole apparatus of nurture, or the entire range of influence, playing upon childhood, will manifest a rational adaptation of means to a special end, namely, the elevation of humanity.

Adaptation necessarily becomes more difficult with the growing complexities of evolving humanity, but never has man’s intellect been stronger than to-day to grapple with difficult problems, or so furnished with the facts required in dealing with this problem of education.

The marvellous scientific discoveries of the nineteenth century and the practical uses to which these discoveries are put, have created in man a new attitude towards external nature. All Western nations partake of the scientific bent. They are interpenetrated by reverence for science, and are conscious that its method of close observation and study of nature is the direct road to material progress. This bent is influencing school education. There are few thoughtful teachers to-day who do not recognize that some hours spent at intervals in country lanes and fields, on the sea-shore, or in a farm-yard, with children free to observe according to native impulse, when followed by careful instruction concerning the objects observed, are of far more value than weeks of book-learning indoors.

In many parts of America “nature-studies” on this plan are worked into the public school curriculum.[6] 239But adaptation implies also a fuller knowledge of the rudimentary faculties which are to be scientifically nurtured, and here again America has taken the lead. In its “child-study” movement, now spreading in this country, an effort is made to apprehend nature’s processes in unfolding mental powers; and the inference is that teachers may thwart progress by traversing the true order of mental development. This clearly indicates the entrance of a scientific spirit into the field of education. It shows regard for the order of nature, willingness to be guided by knowledge of that order, and a conviction that the laws of a child’s inner being must be respected and no arbitrary compulsion exercised in bringing him into harmony with the laws of the environment.

6. The schools of to-day are made more and more into miniature worlds where children are taught how to live. The actual industries of the world as well as its art galleries, museums and parks are being utilized as part of public school equipment. The children are taken to the shops, the markets, the gardens, etc. The New Spirit of Education, by Arthur Henry, Munsey’s Magazine, 1902.

A child’s capacities, however, are not centred in his intellect. On the passional side of his being, his spontaneous impulses of desire, fear, joy, grief, love, hatred, jealousy, etc., have to be studied, and educative forces found for their guidance and control. Moreover, the ultimate aim is not his subjection to fixed rules of life, but the establishment within the heart of the child of a supreme rule over all his passions. And again, every child has characteristics 240indicative of the course of development undergone by the special race to which he belongs. The geographical position and primitive industry of that race, its conquests and failures in struggling upwards from savagery to a measure of civilization—all have left an impress in specific effects.

In respect of our formal methods of giving instruction there is much that is open to discussion; but the points usually raised are the best means of teaching grammar, history, geography, arithmetic, and so forth, not the far more important question of how best to achieve an all-round development in face of the organic unity and marvellous multiplicity of qualities in the child of a civilized race. Great improvement has taken place in every branch of school teaching both as regards the knowledge of teachers and the methods they adopt in imparting the knowledge; nevertheless, these improvements are minor matters as compared with the general question before us.

During the rise and progress of our industrial system based on individualism, the constant fluctuations of trade, the competing of machinery against human labour, the perpetual danger of getting thrown out of work, the utter failure of thrift as any protection from intermittent poverty—have been factors eminently calculated to produce a highly nervous type of humanity. Children of that type may happily prove bright and eager amid wretched surroundings, but it were folly to expect them to show any impulse towards a high standard 241of living, any outlook beyond the immediate present, or any inherent check upon action socially immoral.

On the other hand, our city workers have sprung mainly from an agricultural class whose scattered families presented the defects of a low order of life reared in isolation. Many of these defects have been counteracted by segregation within towns, however unfavourable in other directions that may have proved. The close proximity of beings affected by the same fateful conditions, the actual sorrowing and rejoicing together have expanded the emotional nature and engendered true sympathy. Professor Huxley once said, “It is futile to expect a hungry and squalid population to be anything but violent and gross.” Yet we have an immense population of workers, often hungry, and at all times environed more or less by squalor, whose average character is not violent and gross, but distinctly humane.

Turning from the masses to the classes we find some points of difference between the rich and the poor, viz. differences following from the diverse industrial conditions. Leisure, as commanded by the rich, has made mental development possible wherever desire prompted intellectual effort, and the magnificent record of last century’s achievements in discovery of truth, acquisition of knowledge, and promotion of artistic skill, is a gain to the world at large—a gain made possible by accumulation of wealth unequally distributed. But intellectual faculty has frequently been depraved through its 242devotion to wealth production. The true aims of life are lost sight of by chiefs of industry whose emotional nature has hardened under the daily spectacle of struggling fellow-beings, on whose labour their fortunes are built up. The dignity of useful labour has had no vogue in general education. An opposite principle—that the highest dignity consists in being served by others and in possessing the means of constraining and exploiting the labour of others, is impressed on the children of our classes by the whole play of circumstance around them. The property-sense has become unduly developed, and a selfish mammon-worship holds the place which an altruistic public spirit ought to hold in the inner life of a civilized people. It is true that a showy charity—a patronage by the rich of the poor—is everywhere present throughout society, but that which creates and supports it is a sentiment wholly different from the simple kindness of the poor to the poor. It is without the essential features of that charity that “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own ... thinketh no evil.”

Now the scientific spirit of to-day, in observing the uncontrolled play of middle-class children, has discovered how great is their interest and joy in the spontaneous exercise of the faculty of make-believe. Costly toys will readily be thrown aside to take part in a game of “pretended” housekeeping or shopkeeping, or acting the part of father, mother, nursemaid, or cook. And herein there lies, says one of our advanced teachers, “a powerful hint how to 243keep children’s attention alive while cultivating to the utmost their imaginative, observing, constructive and correlating faculties. We must dramatize our school education and connect school ideally with real life.” (Mr. Howard Swan; his introductory lecture at the opening of Bedford Park School.)

But the “powerful hint” goes deeper. It points to an instinct or a deeply implanted desire and capacity for actual work on the part of children of a practical race. To play at work is pleasurable, to do work more pleasurable still. Yet in blindness to the fact that in drawing out into action every rudimentary faculty favourable to happy life lies the true path of education or an all-round development, society has shut off middle and upper-class children from the sight and hearing of household labour. In nurseries, amid artificial toys, their daily routine is to seek amusement self-centred; and as in these days of small rather than large families, nursery children are often solitary, there is a systematic repression both of natural activities and infolded natural emotions. The same repressions are carried forward into school life. Dramatized teaching may connect school ideally with real life, but it cannot satisfy a child’s cravings for the real, and the companionship of children of similar age will never call out the complex forces of a many-sided emotional nature. It is not playing at life that is required for education, it is the sharing of life’s duties of service, and constant opportunity given for the practice of varied humanities.

244The children of our superior workers may perchance fare better if the mother is a capable woman, and the home not overcrowded. The lighter parts of her work are shared by the little ones, and to help mother in sweeping and dusting, washing cups and saucers, and placing them neatly in the cupboard, etc., are not only interesting and useful occupations, they are educative, for they imply a simultaneous training of the eye, the fingers, the mental faculties and the heart. But overcrowding, the miserable housing of the poor, and the early age at which infant school-life begins, makes such home-training difficult even to the best of mothers, while to the upper classes—frost-bound in artificial domestic customs, all home-training seems impossible.

Nothing, however, should deter a student of evolution from proclaiming that the home-life of our people will largely decide the nation’s future. Unless the great problem of the housing of the poor is rightly solved, and unless educated women become roused to the necessity of a changed home-life in the interests of their children, and set themselves voluntarily to the task of domestic reform within their own circle, the social state can never be greatly improved.

All children born in a civilized nation have a right to education. That this principle has been fully acknowledged is evidenced by our Educational Acts and the innumerable Board Schools that stud the country. But as long as population among the masses rises without check, the highest aim of 245education, viz. the development and elevation of individual character must, as regards their children, remain in abeyance. The only practicable line of action is to gather them together into large schools, and while bestowing general instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, etc., to subject them to some hours of systematic guidance and control. This signifies obedience to rule and order—a useful discipline to juveniles of Bohemian nature, and it is the only method of restraining tendencies to licence, without rousing a spirit of revolt. Fresh air, wholesome food, ample bathing, and the play of sunlight and colour upon nerves of sensation—these stimulate bodily health, while music, and the personal influence of high-minded teachers, throw into vibration finer nerves of sensibility, and elevate the mental and moral tone. But beyond this point, large schools are incapable of scientific adaptation to the needs of a modern education in a rapidly socializing community.

It was in the year 1837 that there issued from the press a work on education written by Isaac Taylor, who there lays down this proposition: “If large schools were granted to be generally better adapted to the practical ends of education than private instruction, the welfare of society on the whole demands also the other method. The school-bred man is of one sort, the home-bred man of another—the community has need of both. Hence no tyranny of fashion is more to be resisted than such as would render a public education compulsory and 246universal.”[7] Notwithstanding this warning, the tyranny of fashion is carrying us yearly more and more into the production of school-bred women, as well as school-bred men. Our girls’ high schools are replicas of our boys’ public schools, and society suffers still more from the loss of the home-bred woman than the home-bred man.

7. Home Education, p. 22.

Again, the late Professor D’Arcy W. Thompson, in his charmingly-written Day-dreams of a Schoolmaster, gives us the fruits of a ripe experience gained during twelve years of boyhood in a large public school, and many years of manhood as teacher of classics in schools and university. His boyhood, he tells us, was dreary because of the monotonous routine. He was “fed on dull books, and the manuals were in many cases mere tramways to pedantry. His mental training was a continuous sensation of obstruction and pain. His spiritual parts were furrowed.” (Observe, there were no nature-studies at that period.) The incitement to effort was the cane or the tawse, and flogging, he believes, never instils courage, it has transformed many a boy into a sneak. “Let us discard punishment,” says the Professor, “and endeavour to make our pupils love work.” The whole educational system in his day was mechanical and artificial, yet when he strove to initiate new methods the boys were withdrawn from his charge. Parents understood little of true education. They were slaves to custom. “How is it,” he asks, “that fathers with a personal 247experience like my own send their boys to school?” He answers: “They say to themselves, ‘Depend upon it if there were no virtue in birching and caning, in Latin verses and Greek what-you-may-call-’ems, they would not have held their ground so long amongst a practical people like ourselves!’ So Johnnie is sent to the town grammar school and the great time-honoured gerund-stone turns as before, and will turn to the last syllable of recorded time.” For the gerund-stone he would substitute an easy vivâ voce conversational method of instruction in all elementary classes, and throughout the school; for coercion, the more than hydraulic pressure of a persistent, continuous gentleness.

Thirty years before the Day-dreams was published, one writer at least was open-eyed to the defects of school education. He charged parents with adopting the new boarding-school system because it spared them some responsibility, and children were apt to be teasing and importunate. “Boys advance at school quickly,” he said, “in knowledge of the auxiliary verbs, the mysteries of syntax and the stories of gods and goddesses; but I am confident that the reason why women generally are so much better disposed than men is this: they live domestically and familiarly. They are penetrated with the home-spirit, they are imbued with all its influences, their memory is not fed to plethora while the heart is left to waste and perish. No daughter of mine shall ever be sent to school; at home the heart, wherein are the issues of all good, develops itself 248from day to day. There children ripen in their affections. There they learn their humanities, not in the academic sense, but in the natural and true one.”[8]

8. Self-Formation, by Capel Lofft, vol. 1, p. 42.

Where, alas! do we find to-day the daughters of the classes who are not sent to school? Our girls’ high schools overflow; and that, not by the action of State control, but by the voluntarily assumed yoke and tyranny of fashion. Girls emerging from these schools are not “so much better disposed than men.” They are certainly not domesticated and imbued with a home-spirit. They may have gained in refinement—even to fastidiousness! and in the knowledge of Latin and Greek, or what is called the higher culture, but they are characterized generally by a spirit of pleasure-seeking. They become, in many cases, what has aptly been called “nonsense women, prepared only to lead butterfly lives.”

Now, parents who shirk the responsibility and effort entailed in shaping their children’s characters to the best of their ability can only expect their own self-indulgence to become intensified in the lives of their children. Let me not, however, be here misunderstood. The movement for the higher education of women is a step forward in civilization. Many women are born with great mental capacity, and without the specific intellectual culture now obtainable the world would lose much, while the nonexercise 249of such native powers creates inward misery. But culture, according to Matthew Arnold, implies the study of perfection, and the late Professor Huxley’s ideal is expressed as follows:—“That man has had a liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and pleasure all the work that as a mechanism it is capable of; whose intellect is clear, with all its parts of equal strength and in smooth working order; whose mind is stored with a knowledge of the great and fundamental truths of Nature and of the laws of her operations; one who—no stunted ascetic—is full of life and fire, but whose passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous will, the servant of a tender conscience; who has learnt to love all beauty, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as himself. Such an one and no other has had a liberal education, for he is as completely as man can be in harmony with nature.” (An Address at South London Working Men’s College, January, 1869.)

Childhood is characterized by sensational activity. The reflective and reasoning powers lie comparatively dormant. Mobile sensibility is the distinguishing feature of childhood, and parents and teachers taking advantage of the law of nature whereby pleasurable sensation stimulates growth should train children step by step to the enjoyment of useful activities, to physical and manual dexterity; to simple efforts in pursuit of knowledge; to infantile firmness in discharge of duty; to unconstrained 250dignity in defence of the right, and sympathetic jealousy over the rights of others; to gentleness towards all mankind; to admiration of all that is noble in character, to veneration of age, experience and virtue; and to the love of truth and justice and personal devotion to both. These are the qualities of human nature that make for real civilization; and further progress requires their steady development in the race.

Now, these qualities cannot be evoked by school methods nor even by the easy vivâ voce conversational instruction proposed by Professor Thompson. An indispensable factor in the process is a rich, full, domestic environment, an atmosphere suffused with affection and vibrating with varied activities—a home-life, in short, where the delicate qualities of noble character will not be commanded to come forth, but will come of themselves through the play of circumstance, i.e. by the action of example and gentle sympathetic co-operation.

In upper-class houses, even where wealth and luxury abound, there are none of the diverse and liberal domestic surroundings conducive to early training. The first essential is that the nurseries be freed from all physical, mental and moral forces that belong to a comparatively primitive stage of evolution. Nurses drawn from the masses—however carefully selected—are incompetent by nurture for training infants in the best way. The authority they have known has been archaic, and elements of barbarism have been near them from babyhood, 251while education as yet has done little to raise their intelligence to the plane of civilized thought. Hence an ordinary nurse, of kindly and affectionate disposition, may seriously misdirect the budding conscience of a babe, as I have shown in my chapters on Emotional Life.

To women of great attainments and culture the training of infancy properly belongs, and that training in the homes of the classes will be of the highest value to the State. The problem of how to create in childhood a ready obedience to authority without jarring the nerves, or checking freedom unnecessarily, is a very difficult one. It requires a cultured intelligence to grasp the problem and carry out the true method of its solution. The aim in the training of infancy is to develop superior types of men and women by evoking the higher qualities of human nature in a sphere of comparative liberty. A babe in the nursery, let us say, has had his attention caught by the flames leaping up in the well-guarded grate. He creeps towards them and pushes his fingers through the wires of the guard. The educated nurse gently lifts him to a safe distance, but he starts creeping again to the fire. Now there are in the nursery some baskets of different size and depth, all softly lined and weighted. Baby is put into one of these to amuse himself with a toy until the fascinating flames are forgotten.

An older child flings her ball in another child’s face. Nurse tells her the ball might hurt, but on persistence in the selfish amusement she, too, is 252firmly placed in a larger basket or nursery prison, and must stay there till the impulse to be disobedient has passed off; for the principle which guides nurse in the training of these infants is this: liberty abused must be abridged.

After a few such experiences the little ones feel that a network is around them—a network of authority never physically painful and that has no connection with anger.

As the reasoning powers develop they feel that liberty is theirs in the straight course of obedience to authority, and later they find that this authority represents a knowledge of the laws of nature, for when in garden and field they join in the nature-study lessons, they discover that if plants creep into unfavourable conditions, they languish; if animals run counter to laws of health, they suffer and die.

From nursery to home-training the infants pass forward. Their nerves have never been irritated by harshness, nor their affections repressed, and their impulses to unhurtful activities are of normal strength. In the more advanced training now given, the aim is no longer to impress automatically, but rationally to guide the growing intelligence. Blind obedience is not required, but every command is explained and related to the facts of happy and healthful life. At this point a discriminating judgment is profoundly necessary, and the child should be studied individually, for to each there comes the right moment when self-rule is possible, 253and unless outward restraints are wisely withdrawn that power of self-rule may be injured.

The human types to be desired are not slavish, but independent beings, capable of noble service to God and man; and choosing to do right because they know true happiness lies that way.

At sixteen or upwards the young thus trained may safely leave home for high school or university, in pursuit of the special instruction required for their future career. An education that has laid the foundation of noble character, comes to no abrupt conclusion. The love of truth when firmly implanted prompts to the acquisition of new knowledge, and knowledge is boundless as the universe. Fields of science become the happy hunting-ground of minds that are markedly intellectual, and although self-culture supersedes formal instruction, and original research supersedes the following of authority, education moves continuously and steadily forward.

“The environment,” says Clifford Harrison, “that lies open to men rationally developed is as vast as the ideal that lies before them. This environment is not a spiritual matter merely; not of the soul alone, but of body, mind, soul and spirit; not of heaven only, but of earth as well; not of eternity and a beyond, but of time and here.”





The woman’s cause is man’s: they rise or sink
Together, dwarf’d, or godlike, bond or free:
       ·       ·       ·       ·       ·
If she be small, slight-natured, miserable,
How shall men grow?

Adolescence is a critical period in the life of an individual. At that period, character, speaking generally, fully manifests, and the life is decided for good or evil. What advanced ethics requires is that each adult generation should deliberately examine its inheritance from the previous, less conscious, less informed epoch, in order to detect and destroy every social snare that entangles unwary feet in adolescence; and to devise the best methods of bringing to the young the wisdom and sympathy of their seniors.

In the autobiography of the late Anthony Trollope (vol. 1, p. 69), some facts of his own adolescence are stated in a spirit as generous as it is candid. His fate, like that of thousands of young men in his day, and in the present day, was to live at that critical time in a town, surrounded by all the attractions 258that a keen competitive commercialism has created to supplement profits—though at the expense of young men’s money and morals—and with no private retreat save a solitary lodging, a shelter, but in no sense a home. “No allurement to decent respectability,” he says, “came in my way.” For the spending of his evenings, the choice lay between what he calls “questionable resorts” and sitting alone reading or drinking tea. “There was no house in which I could habitually see a lady’s face and hear a lady’s voice, and in these circumstances the temptations of loose life will almost certainly prevail with a young man; at any rate they prevailed with me.”[9] Similar evidence may be found in a realistic, powerful novel, Jude the Obscure. Mr. Thomas Hardy there depicts the tragedy of unfulfilled aims, the shipwreck of what might have been a noble life; and the cause of shipwreck is pointed out in the words of the dying Jude: “My impulses and affections were too strong ... a man without advantages should be as cold-blooded as a fish and as selfish as a pig to have a really good chance of being 259one of his country’s worthies.” Now, affection and the impulse to love purely can never be too strong for the interests of general evolution, therefore we are entitled to assume that the environment is at fault. The fact that thousands of young men deprived of healthy home-life succumb to the temptations of city-life, condemns our industrial competition. Public consciousness has not grasped the needs and dangers of adolescence, and the slowly evolving community-conscience disregards the terrible penalty paid in general degradation for retaining a system of industry that produces among other evils “questionable resorts where young men see life in false, delusive colours.” These and all other injurious outcomes of our tragic struggle for the necessaries and amenities of life, will persist until the individualistic system of industry disappears, i.e. is superseded by a rational collectivist system. Standing as we do on the verge of conscious evolution, that time is not yet, but something may be done by parents and guardians of youth to counteract the evils of a transitional epoch.

9. More recently still the world has been afforded a glance into the inner history of a life destined to noble uses and high achievements. In the meridian of his fame Professor Huxley wrote thus to Charles Kingsley: “Kicked into the world a boy without guide or training, or with worse than none, I confess to my shame that few men have drunk deeper of all kinds of sin than I. Happily my course was arrested in time—before I had earned absolute destruction—and for long years I have been slowly and painfully climbing, with many a fall, towards better things.”—Life of Professor Huxley, vol. 1, p. 220.

Progress in an evolving society largely depends upon true union, i.e. mental, emotional and spiritual union of the sexes. But a careful examination of the prominent movements in society, and especially the various divisions of the woman’s emancipation movement, reveals that all are defective through inattention to this fundamental need. They do not aim at social conditions in which solidarity of heart and soul will naturally ensue.

260The woman movement is the issue in great measure of pent-up forces of youth in the female sex of the upper classes. It is less the revolt of labour against poverty, injustice, and overtaxed strength, than a revolt from enforced idleness on the part of the victims of wealth. The position is graphically put before us by the late Charles Reade in his amusing tale The Woman Hater.

Fanny Dover, a common enough type of upper-class femininity, appears to the woman-hater a mere shallow-minded, selfish coquette, till suddenly at an unexpected emergency she assumes new and very different colours. “How is this?” he exclaims. “You were always a bright girl and no fool, but not exactly what humdrum people call good ... you are not offended?” “The idea,” says Fanny, “why I have publicly denounced goodness again and again.” “Yes, and yet you turn out as good as gold!... I have watched you; you are all over the house to serve two suffering women. You are cook, housemaid, nurse and friend to both of them. In an interval of your time so creditably employed you cheer me up with your bright little face and give me wise advice! Explain the phenomenon.” “My dear Harrington, if you cannot read so shallow a character as I am, how will you get on with those ladies upstairs ... but there, I will have pity on you. You shall understand one woman before you die ... give me a cigarette.... What women love and can’t do without if they are young and spirited, is excitement. I am one who pines for it. Society 261is so constructed that to get excitement you must be naughty. Waltzing ... flirting, etc., are excitement, ... dining en famille, going to bed at ten, etc., are stagnation; good girls mean stagnant girls; I hate and despise these tame little wretches; I never was one and never will be. But look here, we have two ladies in love with one villain—that is exciting. One gets nearly killed in the house—that is gloriously exciting; the other is broken-hearted. If I were to be a bad girl and say: ‘It is not my business; I will leave them to themselves and go my little mill-round of selfishness as before, why what a fool I must be! I should lose excitement. Instead of that I run and get things for the Klosking—excitement. I cook for her and nurse her and sit up half the night—excitement. Then I run to Zoe and do my best for her or get snubbed—excitement. Then I sit at the head of your table and order you—excitement. Oh! it is lovely.’ ‘Shall you be sorry when they both get well and routine re-commences?’ Of course I shall; that is the sort of good girl I am.”

This youthful exuberance or restlessness is favourable to social advance, and the woman movement has accomplished good service in claiming and turning it to useful account. But here, as in all partial reforms, new evils dog the footsteps of the new good effected. To-day we have numerous city workers of the female as well as the male sex, compelled by the exigencies of their labour to live far apart from their nearest and dearest, in solitary lodgings like 262Anthony Trollope, or at best in the make-believe homes limited to inmates of one sex. I do not infer that these girls fall under any special temptations to licence, but, deprived as they are of the immediate influences of early associations and the subtle tendernesses of home-life, I hold it impossible that their emotional human nature should not suffer loss. Their need for the happy and useful exercise of activities which were running into mischievous courses, is satisfactorily met, but at the expense of domestic traits, and these are precisely what lie at the root of human fellowship—that union of heart and soul which is indispensable to true progress.

Some social reformers regard the higher education of women movement as a potent factor in uniting men and women through the mutual interests of cultured thought. A knowledge, however, of Greek, Latin, the classics, etc., accomplishes little so long as the sexes are not educated together, and this form of culture has no direct bearing on elevation of character and development of the emotional side of human nature. Cricket, golf, and all our fashionable out-door sports have done more, in creating mutual interests and furthering progress by securing for girls greater social freedom than was previously theirs, and Mr. H. W. Massingham spoke truly when he said: “No special complications have followed in any marked degree the vast extension that has taken place in the field of girls’ free companionship with men. Yet what would our fathers have thought 263of it?”[10] But sports are for the hours of leisure, and ample leisure belongs only to the idle or to a minor section of female workers. Meanwhile we have thousands of young women, of different calibre to Fanny Dover, whose noblest attribute, viz. their innate capacity for all the finer vibrations of social feeling, is never called into play.

10. Ethical World, June, 1900.

Amid all the kaleidoscopic scenes of our transition period, a new figure of womanhood has undoubtedly appeared—a type not characterized by frivolity or love of excitement, but by strenuousness, sincerity, refinement, moral courage, a will-force in short, that breaking through selfish limitations seeks nobler spheres of action. This will-force is subject to constant recoil. It is thrown back on itself by adverse conditions of society, of industry, of private individual life.

In Jude the Obscure this new type of woman is skilfully sketched. Susan Bridehead is a creature of high aspiration, rich inward resources and manifold imperfections. She has foibles and feminine vanities, but the human nature is essentially large-minded, generous, truthful. “I did not flirt,” she says to Jude, “but a craving to attract and captivate, regardless of the injury it might do, was in me ... my liking for you is not as some women’s perhaps, but it is a delight in being with you of a supremely delicate kind ... I did want and long to ennoble some man to high aims.” Here we have love transferred from the lower reaches of pure sensation to 264a higher level of tender sentiment, and energized from the intellectual plane. This denotes a slow evolution of ages during which all the grossness, i.e. the coarser vibrations of primitive love, are transmuted into the finer vibrations of sympathetic, altruistic feeling.

It is important to see clearly the distinction between primitive and modern love, in order that no confusion may arise in contemplating the ideal social life that scientific meliorism forecasts. The intrinsic quality of primitive love is illustrated in Mrs. Bishop’s description of her favourite horse’s attachment. “I am to him an embodiment of melons, cucumbers, grapes, pears, peaches, biscuits and sugar, with a good deal of petting and ear-rubbing thrown in!” Human attachments based on these pleasurable sensations or simple animal appetites and passions, form the main soldering ingredients in humanity’s mass; but love’s development has marched concurrently with true civilization, and to men and women in the van of civilization one chief cause of misery to-day is repression of the normal, healthy impulse to pure and unselfish love.

Unselfishness is the distinguishing feature of higher forms of love, and an unselfishness that had its origin not in conjugal union but in motherhood. Mr. Finck, in his study of love’s evolution, puts it thus: “The helpless infant could not survive without a mother’s self-sacrificing care, hence there was an important use for womanly sympathy which caused it to survive and grow while man immersed 265in wars and struggles remained hard of heart and knew not tenderness.... Selfishness in a man is perhaps less offensive because competition and the struggle for existence necessarily foster it.” (Henry Finck’s Primitive Love, pp. 160–161.) The social need for a specialized unselfishness has tended to differentiate the sexes emotionally, and in process of building up the entire structure of social life the pressure of outward forces has carried this differentiation further. I am not then traversing the natural laws of evolution when I assume that all questions relating to women are at this date pre-eminently important.

The population problem, as I have shown, can only be solved through a diminution of the birth-rate, and throughout the British nation the family group is breaking up. It is disintegrating especially in the upper and middle classes.

The movement towards industrial socialism is the outcome of masculine thought and energy. Man is its mainspring, although many thoughtful women take part in it. Conversely, the house-ruler, woman, must be the mainspring of a movement towards domestic socialism, although no success will accrue without the steadfast aid and co-operation of man. That some women are already fitted to begin this great work is evident from much of our female public service. Let me quote some words recently spoken of lady-workers by a male critic, Mr. H. W. Massingham: “They have moral courage and refinement. They do not tire more easily than men; 266they do not shirk the detail work; they take to drudgery.” Pioneers of the new movement must be religious in the best sense, i.e. their philosophy must bring into touch the worlds seen and unseen, inspiring action conducive to personal and universal happiness.

The task before them is of double intent, viz. of immediate utility and of far-reaching benefit. It will attract inferior natures as well as the superior, for a well-organized modern home will present more convenience, comforts and embellishments than the family homes of the past or present, and at smaller expense. Herein a certain danger lurks. Pioneers will have to guard against dropping out of the enterprise its supreme purpose and main evolutional value, viz. the raising humanity on to higher levels of happiness. There is no other policy to this end than that of domestically uniting the sexes from infancy, in order that in the idealistic period of adolescence soul may meet soul with fearless unreserve and young men and women realize by experience that in the pure realms of thought and feeling the closest union is possible. It is this union manifesting in dual sympathy that will become the liberating force of the world, and in it and through it woman’s emancipation will be complete.

Woman is not undevelopt man
But diverse ...
Yet in the long years liker must they grow;
The man be more of woman, she of man;
He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
267She mental breadth, nor fail in child-ward care
Till at the last she set herself to man,
Like perfect music unto noble words;
And so these twain upon the skirts of time,
Sit side by side ...
Dispensing harvest, sowing the To-be,
Self-reverent each and reverencing each
Distinct in individualities,
But like each other ev’n as those who love.
Then comes the statelier Eden back to men;
       ·       ·       ·       ·       ·
Then springs the crowning race of humankind,
May these things be!
The Princess.Tennyson.


The animating spring of all improvement in individuals and in societies is not the knowledge of the actual but the conception of the possible.—H. Martineau.

How shall the new era be inaugurated? By ceasing to strive for self and family; by thinking of both only as instruments of the common weal.—Prof. A. W. Bickerton.

The model family home of the British middle class half a century ago comprised a father and mother of sound constitution and domestic habits with a group of children of both sexes—a group large enough to supply companionship to one another, and a family income sufficient for comfortable maintenance and recreation, occasional travel and the free exercise of hospitality. If homes of this type were widely and firmly established throughout the land they might be competent to breed, nurture and send forth into the world a good average material of human life for repairing waste and building up the British nation. But in the present epoch such homes are exceedingly rare, and the trend of social 269forces and modern ideas alike make for their becoming still rarer.

To speak only of the more obvious factors of change, State action in reference to the education of the young lifts children of the masses at almost an infantile age out of the effective control of family life, and in our centres of national industry economic forces bring about a hasty pairing and breeding, with an abrupt scattering of the brood that resembles the nesting of birds rather than the home-making of rational beings; while so immature are the heads of these evanescent family homes that the break-up is by no means an unmitigated evil.

Among the classes, forces of a higher, more penetrative order are working similarly. Prudence is acting towards the restraint of population in a manner that narrows the basis of family groups and shortens the natural term of their existence; and under a new impulse of right reason and high resolve the educated section of the female sex is deliberately forsaking the domestic hearth to share the world’s labour with man. These concurrent movements in society are destroying family life on the old lines, and by the homes of the present, individual needs are met only temporarily and provisionally.

One conspicuous result is an ever-increasing discomfort to the aged. They are stranded in homes become empty, or wander abroad seeking touch with their kind. Distinctly are they shunted off the rails of busy life before a lowered vitality 270prompts to inertia. The British “Philistine” lacks sentiment. Old age makes no special appeal to him, and he is content to bestow on relatives no longer young a brief moment of his precious time, a fragment of his tenderness. At an earlier stage of our social evolution the mature in years were centres of a rich, full, domestic life, and pivots on which turned the wider social life encircling it. At the present stage of that evolution the young and the comparatively young focus and absorb the whole sunshine of life, while the guardians of their infancy pass into declining years enveloped in gloom.

This premature effacement entails on society a double loss—first, the loss interiorly of that individual happiness which intensifies and raises the tide of life; second, the loss of activities guided by and based upon mellow experience.

Society is too materialistic to recognize that human beings physically on the down-grade may be psychically on the up-grade, and pre-eminently fitted to inspire and promote progress. But in thinking of latent possibilities realizable in a better environment we are bound not to judge by average humanity, but by the superior types of the preceding generation. The old age of W. E. Gladstone, Harriet Martineau, Mary Somerville, and others was neither gloomy nor unproductive. The last-mentioned at the age of eighty-one turned her attention to writing a book on microscopic science. “I seemed,” she says, “to resume the perseverance 271and energy of my youth. I began it with courage, though I did not think I could live to finish it.” She did, however, finish it, and lived to the age of ninety-two, maintaining at all times her habits of study and a full social intercourse with many friends. (From Personal Recollections, by her Daughter.)

It is not intellectual powers only that are running to waste. Under the double pressure of competition in trade and competition in the labour market, good manual workers are found ineffective and dismissed at an earlier age than formerly.

An immense mass of our industrial population is forced by circumstance into the workhouse when still comparatively active, and life there is but a gloomy vacant existence—a complete suppression of the best faculties of body and mind.

Comparing the past with the present in respect of the old age of workers, we are told by Professor Thorold Rodgers that village homes were centres of multifarious occupations, in which naturally the aged, if able, would take part. And in towns, although streets were narrow, at the rear of the houses there were gardens where old and young together spent the long summer evenings. “Not long ago,” says the American Social Science Committee Report of 1878, “the farm found constant employment for the men of the family—the women had abundant employment in the home, there was carding, spinning, weaving.” “And the neverending labour of our grandmothers must not be forgotten, who with nimble needle knit our stockings 272and mittens. The knitting-needle was in as constant play as their tongues, whose music only ceased under the power of sleep.... Now no more does the knitting-needle keep time to the music of their tongues, for the knitting-machine in the hands of one little girl will do more work than fifty grandmothers. Labour-saving machinery has broken up and destroyed our whole system of household and family manufacture, when all took part in the labour and shared in the product to the comfort of all.”

The system that has superseded that of “household and family manufacture” has been adverse to the aged from the first, and neglect of old age has become a wrong-doing that eats like a canker into our social life.

As Professor Bickerton well remarks: “Unhappiness is the disease of social life, and misery is an indication that there is something wrong with our social system. Just as it is unreasonable to expect bodily health under insanitary conditions, so we cannot look for social concord and joy unless mankind be placed in circumstances that suit his social nature. Man has been considered too exclusively as a producing machine with subsidiary mental capacity, whereas he is essentially a moral being with deep emotions and universal sympathies. The cure for the uncleanliness of society is not difficult. The plans for the edifice of human life are obtainable. What are the plans? Those laws of nature which are concerned in the development of mankind. What is the cure? Such understanding of the 273principles of evolution and such consonant action as shall restore to the race an environment befitting its humanity.” (The Romance of the Earth.)

Nevertheless, we cannot return to a system of household and family manufacture. To relinquish mechanical aids to production would be contrary to, not consonant with, evolution. A civilized race outgrows its primitive conditions of life and industry—new wine must be put into new bottles.

The immediate step of advance as regards manual labour is this—in our centres of local administration there should be organized municipal employment with shortened hours for elderly people, the wage to be supplemented by pensions ample enough to secure for these workers an honourable social standing instead of a pauper’s dole. But a closer adaptation to humanity’s needs may be quickly achieved by the classes where poverty plays a less part in the social phenomena. Of present conditions Mr. Escott, in his England, its People, Polity and Pursuits, thus speaks: “The nation is only an aggregate of households. Modern society is possessed by a nomadic spirit which is the sure destroyer of home ties. The English aristocracy flit from mansion to mansion during the country-house season; they know no peace during the London season. Existence for the wealthy is one unending whirl of excitement, admitting small opportunity for the cultivation of the domestic affections. The claims of society have continually acquired precedence of the duties of home.”

274In the middle class, however, wedged in between the rich and the poor, the greatest factor of change is the servant difficulty, and this difficulty we must glance at in its causal relations.

Civilized communities divide broadly into two parts—productive units whose labour supplies what is needful for existence, and unproductive units whose existence depends on the labour of others. The latter have been correctly termed “parasites.” M. Jean Massart explains in his scientific scrutiny of social phenomena,[11] that during the period of our industrial development a force of integration has gradually strengthened the main body of the social organism, giving it power to resist in some degree the burden of parasitism. Consequently arbitrary authority and slavish subserviency have abated, and two movements affecting family life in the middle class are discernible—first, there is an increasing revolt from domestic service as a form of labour directly opposed to the spirit of independence that is growing in workers and to the force of integration which by ranging them shoulder to shoulder is preparing them for a new form of industrial life; second, sons of the aristocracy and daughters of the middle class are joining the ranks of producers with some sense of the dignity of labour and the degradation of a purely parasitic existence. Social parasitism is not organic. It is an extraneous condition induced in a society developing its civilization. No man is necessarily a parasite; he acquires the 275character in the course of his life history, and happily the young are refusing to acquire it.

11. Parasitism, Organic and Social, p. 121.

Observe, then, it is not in one or two sections of our community life, but in all sections that diverse causes are producing one uniform result—the break-up of the family home; and behind all the more superficial causes there is working a profound factor of change in the centripetal or constructive and the centrifugal or destructive forces of nature. Whilst the latter destroys old forms, the former prepares for the new form—prepares, not only by an integration of workers, but by a fresh inspiration of love and desire for work. Hence women and men endowed with reason, knowledge and practical skill may bring the life of their own immediate circle into express and positive line with this constructive, profoundly evolutional, movement.

Domestic reform implies the relinquishment of that whole system of household labour that requires the combination of a subject with a parasitic class. Co-operation among equals takes the place of masterful authority and slavish subjection, and heavy labour will be relieved by scientific appliance. Labour-saving contrivances in family homes hardly exist. There has been little spur to invention on these lines. But, as in industrial fields, a saving of money, material and labour by the use of machinery has followed the introduction of organized co-operation, so, doubtlessly, a similar process will follow the gradual adoption of organized co-operation within the home. This is not the solution 276of the servant problem merely. It has a far wider significance. Many educated women who are now seeking useful work and economic independence outside of home-life will find these within the domestic circle, and further will find that it is possible to combine such necessary conditions of dignified life with fulfilment of duty alike to the aged and to the young.

Pioneers who aim at social solidarity must in practice recognize labour as the indispensable basis of social life and social institutions. All methods of wage-payment dependent on industrial competition will be repudiated for a system that acknowledges every form of useful work as entitling the worker to financial independence; and in the emotional sphere, with its possibilities of inner union and solidarity, who can measure the impetus towards the desired goal that will be given by the setting of the solitary in families and the re-gathering of the old into the bosom of a rich, full, domestic life.

Let us suppose that from fifteen to twenty groups—they may be families or groups of friends—combine and pass out from their numerous separate houses into one large commodious dwelling built for them or bought and adapted to their purpose. The bedrooms are furnished on the continental plan with accommodation for writing, reading, solitary study, or rest by day, and all the latest improvements in lighting, heating and ventilating, etc. By the rules of the house—except for cleaning—no one enters these rooms uninvited by the inmate, who has 277there at all times, if wished, perfect privacy and the most thorough personal comfort. Two eating apartments are placed contiguous to the kitchens, and by taking advantage of every invention to facilitate cooking and serving, the lady-cooks and attendants may place prepared food on the table and sit down to partake of it with their friends. One wing of the house is set apart for nurseries and nursery training, another for school teaching, inclusive of indoor kindergarten; a music-room well-deafened enables the musical to practise many instruments without jarring the nerves of others; a playroom for the young and a recreation-room set apart for whist and chess, etc., a billiard room, and if desired, a smoking room; a large drawing-room where social enjoyment is carefully promoted every evening, a library or silent room where no interruption to reading is permitted, these, and a few small boudoirs for intercourse with special friends form the chief outer requirements of the ideal collectivist home.

All the details of household management may safely be left to pioneers of the new woman movement; it belongs only to scientific meliorism to point out the general features and structure of the reformed domestic system and to show its vitally important position in relation to any rational scheme of wide-reaching social reform.

Humanity as a whole has to climb upward in the scale of being and to leave behind it the individual or family selfishness allied with animal passions that 278are purely anti-social; it has further to develop that self-respect that allied with heart-fellowship brings in its train all the social virtues that distinguish the man from the brute. Germs of that self-respecting life are with us even now, but the soil in which they will spring up to vigorous growth must be created, i.e. brought together by man himself. The fitting of character to a new domestic system should not be difficult in the case of children under wise training, for it is as easy to acquire good habits in childhood as bad habits, and the wholesome atmosphere of a well-regulated superior home will powerfully and painlessly aid in shaping the young. But for the grown-up to alter personal habits, and adapt thought and feeling to a new order of every-day life, the task is not easy. It may press heavily on the ordinary adult at the initial stage of the movement. Happily that task may be rendered easier by mutual criticism kindly and gravely exercised. The method was practised for upwards of thirty years in the Oneida Creek Community with a marked success. Criticism, says one of the members, is a boon to those who seek to live a higher life and only a bugbear to those who lack ambition to improve. It was to the community a bond of love and an appeal to all that is noblest, most refined and elevated in human nature; it helped a man out of his selfishness in the easiest, most kindly way possible. Whereas in ordinary life the interference of the busybody, the tongue of the tale-bearer, the shaft of ridicule, the venom of malice, are unavoidable—in the Community 279such criticizing was almost unknown. It was bad form for anybody to speak complainingly of anyone else, because criticism was the prerogative of the Community, and was instituted to supersede all evil-speaking or back-biting. Nor was it an occasion for direct fault-finding merely. Those criticizing were always glad to dilate on the good qualities of their subject, and to express their love and appreciation of what they saw to commend. (Abel Easton, Member of the Oneida Community.)

Another member, Allan Estlake, thus speaks: “Criticism was a barrier to the approach of unworthy people from without, and equally a bar to the development of evil influences within.” The practice was not original. Mr. Noyes found it established in a select society of missionaries he had joined previous to his forming the Oneida Community.

One of the weekly exercises of this society, he tells us, was a frank criticism of each other’s character for the purpose of improvement. The mode of proceeding was this: At each meeting the member whose turn it was, according to alphabetic order, to submit to criticism, held his peace while the others one by one told him his faults. This exercise sometimes crucified self-complacency, but it was contrary to the rules of society for any one to complain. I found much benefit in submitting to this ordeal both while I was at Andover and afterward.[12] If a number of young men adopted criticism 280as a means of improvement it should not be more difficult to pioneers of the new domestic life, young and old, provided they have the same desire to improve. It might be irksome to the young, until they had learned to profit by it, as all discipline is at first, but when “our young people,” says Mr. Estlake, “had formed habits in harmony with their means of improvement they learned to love the means by which they had progressed and to rejoice in the results of sufferings that were incident only to their inexperience.”[13]

12. The Oneida Community, Allan Estlake, p. 65.

13. The Oneida Community, Allan Estlake, p. 66.

Personal habits in the new domestic life will be judged in their relation to the general interests of the household, and regulations made to safeguard these interests. Cleanliness, orderliness, punctuality are essential to home comfort, but conventional etiquette destroys the geniality of domestic freedom. While simple rules of a positive kind are strictly observed, the negative rule of non-interference with personal habits that are unhurtful to others will be the most stringent of all, and for this reason—happiness is the great object to attain, and a supreme condition of happiness is the free interaction of social units without intrusive interference.

Committees will be necessary—for organizing labour on a method that will ensure variety to workers and frequent leisure—for consultation on the best means to adopt in training children individually—for management of the finances—for recreative 281arrangements—and for purposes of general direction and control.

Authority will of course devolve on these committees chosen by members of the household from among themselves. Every relic of primitive despotism must be banished from the home: it is a self-acting republic. Since children reared in the home will be one day responsible citizens of a republican state, it were well to enlist them early in the work of committees. They will learn thereby to subordinate personal desire to the will of the majority, and to co-operate in action for the common weal. The amusements and conduct of children are well within range of their own understanding, and although supervision by adults is necessary, great freedom should be allowed them in the management of their conduct clubs and amusement committees.

The relinquishment of personal property is not desirable at the present stage of social evolution; for individuals—and there may be some—who, however willing, are unable to adapt themselves to the new system, should possess the power to return to the old system without let or hindrance.

Nevertheless, be it sooner or later, the ideal collectivist home of the future will realize, though at first imperfectly, the beautiful conception held by Isaac Taylor of the ideal family home of the past. Here is the picture: “Home is a garden, high-walled towards the blighting northeast of selfish care. In the home we possess a main means of raising the happiest feelings to a high pitch and 282keeping them there. No disparagement, no privation is to be endured by some for the aggrandizement or ease of others. Along with great inequalities of dignity, power and merit, there is yet a perfect and unconscious equality in regard to comforts, enjoyments and personal consideration. There is no room for grudges or individual solicitude. Whatever may be the measure of good for the whole the sum is distributed without a thought of distinction between one and another. Refined and generous emotions may thus have room to expand, and may become the fixed habits of the mind. Within the circle of home each is known to all, and all respect the same principles of justice and love. There is therefore no need for that caution, reserve or suspicion that in the open world are safeguards against the guile, lawlessness and ferocity of a few.”[14] There, too, may be wholly discarded that reticence with which, as with a cloak, the modern, civilized man, says Lucas Mallet, strives to hide the noblest and purest of his thought.

14. Home Education, Isaac Taylor, pp. 33 and 34.

The new system fully worked out will make homes permanent instead of transitory. It will check the premature sending of girls out into the world and the tendency of young life generally to drift. It will develop industrial activities and give effective household labour. It will lessen the sordid cares of humanity and increase its social joys. It will create an environment calculated to restrain 283tempestuous youth and cause every selfish passion to subside in the presence of mutual love. It will perfect education by co-ordinating the life of the young and securing that the entire juvenile orbit is governed by forces of fixed congruity. It will provide every comfort for old age and garner its dearly-bought experience. It will promote healthy propagation causing the birth of the fit; it will facilitate marriage of the affections and make early marriage possible. It will tend infancy in a wholly superior manner, and by scientific breeding, rearing, training, produce future citizens of the State of a higher intellectual, moral and spiritual type.





Section 1

Is this material universe self-sufficient and self-contained, or is not the “other conception,” the true one, viz. “that of a universe lying open to all manner of spiritual influences, permeated through and through with a divine spirit, guided and watched by living minds acting through the medium of law indeed, but with intelligence and love behind the law; a universe by no means self-sufficient or self-contained, but with feelers at every pore groping into another supersensuous order of existence where reigns laws hitherto unimagined by science, but laws as real and as mighty as those by which the material universe is governed?”—Sir Oliver Lodge, “The Outstanding Controversy between Science and Faith,” Hibbert Journal for October, 1902.

To the man of Western civilization, whose environment in youth was a domestic atmosphere of Sabbath-day Christian orthodoxy and week-day religious indifference along with a social atmosphere of commercial individualism and the steady pursuit of sense pleasures, it is no easy task to form a correct judgment regarding the true position of religion and its relative worth in evolution.

A study of the subject reveals that not only the more and less civilized races of mankind have each 288some specialized form of religion, but the non-civilized savage tribes of the earth are similarly endowed. Their worship may be degraded to the last degree, but it holds them in its grasp, and in studying these facts we are compelled to believe that humanity is so constituted that its deepest needs are only to be expressed through and by religion.

The various religions of the world must have been essential to evolution, since evolution, as applied to man, signifies the ample, thorough development of every integral part of human nature in each individual. But while recognizing religion as a necessary expression of human nature and a supreme characteristic of man, we have also to realize that its forms are as various as the distinctive differences amongst men, and that changes from time to time inevitably occur for good or evil in every religion. None are stationary, none are perfect. And the spiritual verities which lie at the base of all are constantly overlaid by superstitions, while the external forms harden and grow inoperative for good.

Now, on the theory that religion is in effect necessary to evolution, and further, that it represents fundamentally an emanation from the plane of spirit, i.e. from a region transcending our phenomenal existence, what would nineteenth century intelligence a priori expect of the various divergent religious systems? That amid variations, some striking similarities would exist to indicate the 289identity of their original source. It would expect also to find some statement of facts in nature not otherwise known to man, some recognition of the stupendous movement of evolution—the elucidation of which in its physical aspect is the grand achievement of modern science—and some hint of the laws governing that movement. Further, it would expect to find guidance to right conduct and some indications of the paramount purpose and end of universal life.

Hitherto, as it happens, the investigating spirit of modern science has concerned itself little with theological matters; and the recognized exponents of our own racial theology are incompetent judges here. Their training has made of them religious specialists so interpenetrated by sectarian dogma that they are incapable of assuming the mental attitude of a genuine criticism claiming no superiority for Christianity over other great religions, save such value of position as lies in its later birth and development. Outside the churches, however, comparative theology is not neglected, and it is freely admitted now by many earnest students of the subject that all the great religions of the world possess spiritual, ethical and philosophical ideas in common.

Hinduism deals with startling facts of the invisible world. In the Vedas[15] it teaches that consciousness 290is the foundation or groundwork of all nature, that matter and force are instinct with conscious life. Behind these is the great unmanifested Deity—the “Unknowable” of our own Spencerian philosophy—the Illimitable, Eternal, Absolute, Unconditioned Source of the Universe, incognizable and inconceivable to the finite faculties of man. With manifestation there appears the threefold aspect of Deity—the supreme Logos of the Universe—a Unity in Trinity and a Trinity in Unity, the reflection of which as Consciousness, Substance, Force, runs throughout nature, and is also shown in the Christian and other creeds and the Pauline description of man’s triune constitution—body, soul and spirit. The doctrine of evolution is taught in Hinduism on far wider lines than the modern intellectual conception lays down. The latter, dealing with outward appearance, bases itself on physical phenomena. The former transcends phenomenal existence and human experience. It embraces the superlatively great, the infinitely small and complex, and presents a cosmogony evolutional throughout, while it points to a spiritual development for the individual so extensive and sublime that the Western mind, unused to metaphysical thought, is unable to grasp and clothe it in words. In this philosophy there is no stultifying of human endeavour by the view of the soul’s opportunities as confined to three score years and ten. That span of life makes but a single page in the soul’s vast evolutional history, for at the centre 291of Hinduism lies a rock-bed of belief in re-incarnation—that process of nature which accomplishes the gradual growth and spiritual elevation of humanity by means of the individual soul’s successive returns to physical life, with intervening periods of spiritual rest or latency. The threefold nature of man gives him touch with three levels of existence, and Hindu religion represents him bound to a wheel unceasingly turning in three worlds, viz. a world of waking consciousness or the physical body, and of two other worlds to which he passes successively at and after death, and in which he works out his latest earthly experience and assimilates all its fruit, then returns through the gateway of birth to begin a fresh course of discipline and learning.

15. It is from the study of the Vedas that the educated Hindu seeks to derive his creed. I refer my reader to Mr. J. E. Slater’s Higher Hinduism in relation to Christianity.

Turning from the transcendental to the scientific and practical sides of Hinduism, we find an external worship and broad polity calculated to regulate human conduct in every relation of life, religious, national, social, family and personal—the entire system founded on the law of causation on all planes of being. By our own scientists, that law is recognized on the physical plane as the invariable sequence of cause and effect. Hinduism regards it as working also on higher planes, and terms it the law of action or Karma—the moral retribution which brings out inexorably in one life the results following from causes arising in previous lives. Responsibility therefore rests with every self-conscious, reflective being, and divine justice is 292shown reconcilable with the free-will of man through the union of Karma and re-incarnation. “God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.”

The religion of the Parsis, i.e. the modern form of Zoroastrianism, has equally with Hinduism a metaphysical philosophy, and an outward worship, while mingled with all there is an astronomical teaching based on the same conception of nature as is found in Hinduism, viz. that it is the manifestation, in infinitely varied forms, of the one universal consciousness or mind. The constitution of humanity is two-fold. Spirit and matter are two distinct and different principles, both are in man; and he is capable of siding definitely with either. The ethic of Zoroastrian faith is based on the belief that he will throw himself on the side of the pure, that he will battle for it and maintain it. To be at all times actively on the side of purity is a clear personal duty. The devout Zoroastrian must keep the earth pure and till it religiously. He must perform the functions of agriculture as a service to the gods, for the earth is the pure creature of Ahura Mazdao—the Supreme Spirit to be guarded from all pollution. And passing from the outer to the inner life of the individual, the constantly-repeated maxim is this: I withdraw from all sins by pure thoughts, pure deeds, pure words.

In Taoism, a religion of China of earlier date than Hinduism or Zoroastrianism, there exists a fragment of ancient scripture called the Classic of Purity, 293wherein man is regarded as a trinity, viz. spirit, mind, body. To quote from Mr. Legge’s translation: “Now the spirit of man loves purity, but his mind disturbs it. The mind of man loves stillness, but his desires draw it away. If he could always send his desires away, his mind would of itself become still. Let his mind be made clean, and his spirit will of itself become pure.” (Here we have the idea, expressed in all religions, of the conflict between the higher and lower nature in man and the necessity for spirit to dominate mind and body. Refer to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, vii. 15, 21, 22 and 23.)

Again, Buddhism has absorbed the attention of modern Oriental scholars through the fascination of the Buddha’s purity and elevation of thought. There are two divisions of this faith, viz., the Mahayana, that of the Northern Church, found in Tibet, Nepaul, China, Corea, and Japan, and the Hinayana, that of the Southern Church, found in Ceylon, Burmah, Siam, etc. The Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) is closely allied to Hinduism in its teachings regarding the spiritual world, the continuing ego of individual man, the life after death, the rites and ceremonies of worship, and the mystic side of personal religion. In the Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle) of the Southern Church, much of this mystic teaching has been dropped, nevertheless it retains a wonderful system of ethics, with appeals made to human reason, and a constant attempt to justify and render intelligible the foundations on 294which the morals are built. Buddhism is clearly the daughter of the more ancient Hinduism. Its scriptures are the echo of the Hindu scriptures, and the general teachings, while thrown into a less metaphysical form, are penetrated with the Hindu spirit. Causation is in both an unbroken law. In the Dhammapada, for instance, it is written: “If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage. He who has done what is evil cannot free himself of it, he may have done it long ago or afar off, he may have done it in solitude, but he cannot cast it off.”

Buddha taught that evil is overcome only by its opposite, i.e. good: “Let every man overcome anger by love, let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth,” etc., etc. And here the religion is closely in touch with Christian ethics: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,” etc. “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” With regard to man’s destiny, Buddha’s teachings build on his hearers’ acceptance of the Hindu doctrine of re-incarnation.

(In the Pali Canon occur these words: “The Bhikshee [the disciple] sees, with eye divine, beings dropping away and reappearing, he knows them reaping according to their several karma, degraded and ennobled, beautiful and ugly, well-placed and 295ill-placed.” From this and many other passages of the Pali Canon “it is clear and evident and beyond a shadow of doubt,” says J. C. Chatterji, “that the Buddha taught the identity of the re-incarnating ego, though he did not give it that name. He called it Consciousness or Vignana.”—Theosophical Review, Jan., 1898, p. 415.) Without that his system falls to the ground. The path of salvation he points to implies a persistent course of personal effort, and he who would tread that path must open his mind to discriminate between things that are transitory and those that are real and permanent. To the former belong all the pleasures of sense, every earthly desire and ambition, and every selfish thought.

Deep within man’s nature, however, there lies hid a germ or seed of the permanent. This will persist throughout all the ages amid the fleeting phantasmagoria of many lives, and this he must cherish, nourish, develop. He must resist and renounce the corrupting influences of the flesh. He must master his passions, steady his mind, and control, enlighten and elevate his thoughts. Further, he must purify his emotions and actions, pervading the world with a “heart of love, far-reaching, grown great and beyond measure.” (The Tevijja Sutta.) Finally, the individual consciousness will expand, until, able to function in subtler vehicles than those of physical matter, the man passes out of the chrysalis state of formal existence to emerge upon higher levels of life and reach at length the Buddhist Nirvana—that 296supreme crown of immortality and acme of conscious bliss.

This pilgrimage of the soul through many births and deaths, with its steadfast struggles and gradual liberation from all earthly debasing entanglements, forms a striking contrast to certain teachings of the modern Christian Churches. Dogma there presents to us an undeveloped helpless soul, as playing—within a circumscribed area of earth’s surface—its one little game of experimental life. The fate of the soul for all eternity hangs in the balance, all its chances for weal or woe depending on a single throw of the dice. And what are the terms of the game? Conditions of life so adverse, in millions of cases, that defeat is a foregone conclusion. No wonder civilized men with a seedling of justice in the soul, reject the whole scheme of nature allied with this dogma, and frankly disavow religious faith.

But the question arises, how does it happen that Christianity, with an ethic fundamentally the same as that of every other great religion of the world, diverges so completely here? Is it conceivable that Christianity, while of Divine origin, has become in process of time dwarfed and deformed to the extent even of losing some essential features? It holds, as sectarian pulpits represent it, no doctrine of re-incarnation, and appears to have no clear basis of metaphysical or philosophic thought. Moreover, it has elements impossible to reconcile with the mental and emotional developments of a scientific 297and intellectual age. The anthropomorphic conception of Deity, the almost literal interpretation of the Jewish allegory of creation, the personalization of the metaphysical and mystic Trinity; the approval of the barbarous sacrifices and vengeful Deity of the Old Testament; the anti-evolutional doctrine of the vicarious Atonement in the New Testament; the crude ideas concerning the soul, heaven and hell; and the absence of any evolutional theory applied to human destiny—all these, and above all the ignorance and pride that claim for this particular form of religion a unique position in the world’s history, and assume that it alone and no other religion is the revelation of God to man, show an ample justification for the fact that the most intelligent men and women of Western civilization stand outside the Christian Churches to-day, or are in them from motives that have nothing to do with devout religious feeling.

If, however, we turn to the history of the Church and search its ancient records, or if unable ourselves to grapple with the problem, we place confidence in the evidence of students who have done so, we find that an entirely new light is thrown on Christianity and its real position. In the writings of the Christian Fathers, there is a constant reference made to grades of members and teaching within the early Church. First, the general members, and from those the pure in life went into a second grade. The latter formed the “few chosen” from the many called. But beyond these were the “chosen of the 298chosen,” who, “with perfect knowledge lived in perfection of righteousness according to the law.” Clement of Alexandria, one of the greatest of the Fathers of the Church, wrote: “It is not to be wished that all things should be exposed indiscriminately to all and sundry, or the benefits of wisdom communicated to those who have not, even in a dream, been purified in soul ... nor are the mysteries of the word to be expounded to the profane.” Origen tells us that Jesus conversed with His disciples in private, and especially in their most secret retreats, concerning the Gospel of God; but the words He uttered have not been preserved. And when Celsus assailed Christianity as a secret system, Origen replied such a notion was absurd, “but that there should be certain doctrines not made known to the multitude and which are revealed after the exoteric doctrines have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophic systems, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric.” Elsewhere he explains that Scripture is threefold in meaning, that it is the “flesh” for simple men, the “soul” for the more instructed, the “spirit” for the “perfect,” and in corroboration he quotes from Scripture the words of St. Paul, “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,” and “we speak wisdom amongst them that are perfect.”

We have here, then, more than a trace of some deeper teaching than appears on the surface of Christianity, some mine of hidden truth too sacred 299and profound for open display to the undiscerning multitude. Is it not evident that Christianity contains at its centre, known only to the few, the same transcendental and spiritual conceptions, the same supra-physical and mystical philosophy as the ancient religions contain? But if this be so, how came the most precious truths of religion to be apparently lost?

They were lost through the uncomprehending ignorance of the early followers of the Master, Christ, and the sectarian bigotry of ecclesiastics who cut themselves apart from the holders of the inner teaching and, becoming a majority, overcame the learned few, stamping as heretics the last remnants known as Christian Gnostics, Manicheans, Pelasgians, and Arians, all of whom, counted schismatics, were eventually crushed out through cruel persecution by the victorious orthodox Latin and Greek Churches. Nevertheless, some fragments of the hidden wisdom of the early teaching have survived in the uncomprehended symbols of the creeds and ceremonies of the Churches. (I refer my reader to Mr. C. W. Leadbeater’s work, The Christian Creed.)

That re-incarnation and Karma formed part of the original teaching is, I think, abundantly evident. In Gnosticism and Manicheism they were apparent. The Christian Fathers speak plainly of these doctrines, and Origen refers to Pythagoras, Plato and Empedocles as holding them. Moreover, Jesus Christ is made to utter a clear statement concerning John the Baptist, that implies the doctrine of re-incarnation, 300and his answer to the question about a blind man, “who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” shows the acceptance in the early Church of both doctrines. The whole incident reveals that the subject of re-incarnation was familiar to the followers of Christ, and Josephus expressly states that the Pharisees held the doctrine of re-birth. There is then little doubt that in the early Church the belief was widely spread, but later at a General Council—a Council held after darkness had begun its reign—it was formally condemned and stamped as a heresy.

Bearing in mind the view that all the great religions come from the same spiritual source, it is significant to find the following in the writings of a rigid Roman Catholic historian, viz. A. F. Ozanam: “Having burst over the borders of the country to which it had once been confined, Buddhism at the year 61 B.C. made a new appearance on the scene, and invaded all Northern Asia.... This great movement could not but influence the West. It effected its entrance (into Christendom) through the Gnostic sects. The Gnosis was the designation of a higher science or initiation reserved for a handful of chosen spirits.” Again, speaking of the Manicheans, he says: “It is difficult to decide whether Manes drew his system originally from these Buddhist sources or found the teaching which he handed down to his disciples held by former Gnostic sects, themselves impregnated with the Oriental doctrine.” (Ozanam’s History of Civilization in 301the Fifth Century, vol. i. pp. 247 and 254.) It is easy to see that this Oriental doctrine was none other than the hidden wisdom of Jesus and Paul as well as of Buddha.

The special doctrine of re-incarnation is said to be absent in the fragments of the Avesta and in the Zend commentaries, and absent also in the latter Pahlavi doctrines. It is not held by the modern Parsis. “On the other hand,” says G. R. S. Mead, B.A., M.R.A.S., “Greek writers emphatically assert that the doctrine of re-incarnation was one of the main tenets of the Magian tradition.” The same author elsewhere remarks: “Since Bardaisan, like all the great Gnostics, believed in re-incarnation, such a conception as the resurrection of the physical body was nothing but a gross superstition of the ignorant.” (The Theosophical Review for March, 1898, p. 17.)

To judge Christianity fairly, it was necessary to know something of its origin, its antecedents and the early phases of its life. We had to follow the history of its early sects and observe the changes effected in the Church by forces playing upon it from without. The Church gradually rose into a position of social influence and authority, from which it again declined, and it was during the latter condition that in its struggles to maintain power and supremacy amid adverse forces it dropped out the mystic beliefs difficult of apprehension by Western minds; it ceased to order and classify its adherents, and it ultimately adapted its doctrines to the materialistic 302spirit of the dawning era of modern science.[16] Nevertheless, the Church retained its pure ethical teaching. It has held up to view the noble unselfish life of its founder Jesus of Nazareth. No one could deny that during the period even of its degradation, this religion has proved to millions of human beings a source of vital comfort and joy, and to some extent of spiritual light.

16. Tertullian complains: “They have all access alike; they hear alike, they pray alike, even heathens if any such happen to come among them.”

The tendency of Protestantism was to assert the claims of all men—the weak and childish as well as the thoughtful and intellectually strong—to a clear understanding of the Church’s whole teaching. In pursuance of a policy to meet this demand, the Church gave forth a simplified presentation of God and Nature that contradicts the plainest facts of science, and creates within minds of deeper, more expanded faculty, a conscientious revolt from the Christian faith to an attitude of honest scepticism. Outside the Church, however, other forces of evolution have prevailed to carry man forward, and to-day there exists an earnest and devout spirit of inquiry, and a strong dissatisfaction with the purely materialistic theory of Nature.

Conspicuous among the forces of change are, first, the study of physical phenomena on scientific methods, a study which, by convincing the Western mind of a profound mystery behind all phenomena, gives fresh impulse to speculative thought, and 303rouses effort to reach and apprehend the law of evolution. Second, the study of psychic phenomena revealing modes of consciousness hitherto ignored, and impelling science to penetrate the hidden recesses of our psychic activities and investigate some of the heights and depths of man’s inner constitution. Third, the historical studies that throw new light on the marvellous civilizations of the past and those religions that are more ancient than Christianity.

Whatever the ultimate outcome of these studies may prove, it is clear that the perspective of early faiths—their range and reach—was vaster than that of current Christianity, and this perception is creeping into our popular literature and laying hold of public thought. For instance, a recent writer remarks: “The modern scientific revelation of stellar evolution and dissolution seems a prodigious confirmation of Buddhist theories of cosmical law.” And again, “With the acceptance of the doctrine of evolution old forms of thought crumbled, new ideas arose to take the place of worn-out dogmas, and we have a general intellectual movement in directions strangely parallel with Oriental philosophy.” (Lafcadio Hearn’s Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life.)

This movement necessarily will advance only by carrying with it, i.e. convincing step by step, the reason of man, and seeing that Oriental philosophy has the doctrines of re-incarnation and Karma at its foundation, these must be tested and the fact ascertained 304whether or not they are consistent with the laws of phenomenal existence already discovered and believed in by the Occidental mind. “To-day,” says Lafcadio Hearn, “for the student of scientific psychology, the idea of pre-existence passes out of the realm of theory into the realm of fact,” and he quotes in corroboration of this statement Professor Huxley’s opinion of the theory—“None but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity. Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the world of reality, and it may claim such support as the great argument from analogy is capable of supplying.” (Evolution and Ethics, p. 61, Ed. 1894.)

At this epoch of the world’s history, the humanity that exists is of an infinitely varied character. At one end of the scale, we have in savages the simplest forms of racial types, at the other the most complex forms, and between these every conceivable variant. The distinctions go deeper as we ascend the scale, and there are no two beings alike in their powers of abstract thinking, the nature of their intellectual, emotional and moral qualities, and the groupings of these qualities—in a word, their individualities. Now one thing demanded by the developed intellects of this age is a generalization that will cover and explain these perplexing differences. The law of heredity does this to a very limited extent only. So far as the physical structure is concerned it explains much; but when we come to the mental and moral 305developments, its insufficiency is apparent. Genius and idiocy may be found springing up from the same parent stock and under identical conditions of training in childhood. Variety of character will appear in children of the same family from almost the moment of birth. One infant comes into the world handicapped by a sullen temper and vicious disposition, another with the most lovable traits. It is inconceivable that these incongruous effects flow from congruous causes on the physical plane. And were we able to logically accept these physical causes as adequate, no civilized being could morally respect the ordering of a universe wherein innocent souls newly created enter life handicapped by vicious propensities. Either the Power behind all phenomena is a malevolent Power, or the universe is a chaos—the inconsequent outcome of random chance.

These painful alternatives cease their troubling, however, and all perplexities gradually disappear as the mind of man grows into a clear apprehension of evolution in its full significance. The basic law of evolution is that all existence proceeds in cycles, each having its objective and subjective arc. In other words, there is a constant flow of motion and consciousness from without within and from within without. On the lowlier levels of life, this law is observed and science based upon it. In the vegetable kingdom, the leaves, stalk and flower of a specific plant perish as completely as though they had never existed; but the subjective entity remains, and in due course it reappears, clothed in 306a different vestment of cells, the same in all the details of its intricate form.

In the insect kingdom, all the wonderful changes that transform a crawling slimy caterpillar into a glorious vision of beauty and grace takes place in silence and darkness—from within without. Here the law of evolution takes a wider range than in the vegetable kingdom. Form, function, habit, all are changed, yet we know by actual observation that the soaring butterfly and crawling caterpillar are intrinsically one and the same. Moreover, the whole process of change is accomplished in the pupa stage independently of that food supply which—to the scientific conception—seems indispensable in the generation and continuation of vital force. (I must here refer my reader to the full discussion of this subject in chapters v. and vi. of Dr. Jerome A. Anderson’s Re-incarnation—A Study of the Human Soul.)

Now in our habit of regarding humanity in its higher aspect as the acme or crown of terrestrial life, we are apt to forget the potent connexions that link it with life in general. But re-incarnation, if we would judge it philosophically, must not be wrenched from its place in the order of nature and studied as an isolated fragment.

“All evolution consists,” says Mrs. Besant, “of an evolving life passing from form to form as it evolves, and storing up the experience gained through the forms; the re-incarnation of the human soul is not the introduction of a new principle into 307evolution, but the adaptation of the universal principle to meet conditions rendered necessary by the individualization of the continually evolving life.” (The Ancient Wisdom, p. 234.) The doctrine of human evolution summed up in the term re-incarnation cannot be proved in the same sense as a new discovery in physics can be proved—that goes without saying. But we may claim that it can be so nearly proved by reasoning that no intelligent being who correctly apprehends the idea and applies it with patience to the experience of existence, whether in or out of the body, can fail to believe it as fully, for example, as the modern scientific world believes in the electro-magnetic theory of light. That theory is no longer argued about. It is the only theory that will explain all the facts. And of re-incarnation in a higher domain we may equally affirm it is the only theory that explains the facts and is consonant with all the known laws of nature. It is luminous with a truly scientific aspect. It satisfactorily accounts for the inherent differences in character that heredity leaves unexplained, and it renews our faith in love and wisdom as underlying the phenomena of earthly existence, notwithstanding present appearances.

But add to this the fact that every great religion of the world, except modern Christianity, holds it more or less completely, whilst Christianity also originally held it; and if a spiritual and ethical theory of the universe be tenable, then cultured minds rejecting re-incarnation must either have 308failed to study the subject in its antecedents and bearings, or they must be by constitution profoundly unphilosophical. (I refer my reader here to chap. iii. of Mr. A. P. Sinnett’s Growth of the Soul.)

After all, it is a comparatively few men and women who seek intellectual clearness of vision, and are restless of soul till they grasp a theory of the universe and an interpretation of life that alike may satisfy head and heart—the mass of mankind is unthinking. And as we contemplate the stupendous task of evolution in developing each individual soul out of the embryonic condition of the savage to a conscious control and exercise of all the divine potencies of a perfected spiritual man, we feel no surprise that the major part of humanity stands yet in its childhood. Unequal development is the natural corollary of general evolution. The heart of modern man, however, is for the most part in advance of his head, and it is here, viz. on the emotional side of human nature, that religion—no matter what the specific form may have been—has ministered to man’s needs and proved an all-important factor of evolution.

Revelation, as Lessing (who believed in re-incarnation) declares, has been the education of the human race. “It did not,” he says, “give anything that human reason left to itself would not arrive at, but it gave the most important of these things earlier”—that is, before the reasoning faculties were fully developed in man. (Lessing’s Treatise: The 309Education of the Human Race, translated by the Rev. F. W. Robertson.)

The founders of every religion—the great and wise ones of the earth—have guided the race in its slow and gradual ascent from infancy to manhood, and even through the degeneration to which every religion has been subjected from human ignorance and selfishness.

Section 2

We have now to turn from racial religions to personal religion, and as the springs of individual conduct lie earlier in the heart than in the head, spiritual developments begin there. It is in accordance with natural order that the right conduct and simple devotion of millions of human beings, intellectually blind, should yet aid the steady advance of evolution towards its highest goal.

The pilgrim soul pressing forward through a long series of births and deaths has a chequered career of conquest and defeat, until, experience guiding effort and overcoming waywardness, the animal stage of existence has been distanced and left behind. But each of these pilgrim souls pursues a path specifically its own, that is, differing from that of every other pilgrim soul. The paths pursued are divided by Eastern thought into three distinct classes. First, that of action; second, that of devotion; third, that of wisdom. In the first class are to be found men and women of infinitely varied powers taking part 310in all the activities of the world, and striving with keenness to attain certain desired results. Commencing, it may be, with low, selfish, narrow motives of action, these gradually alter and improve, till motive and action alike have become pure, unselfish and directed to the widest beneficence. Such types of humanity tread the first path, that of action, and in it are harvesting precious experience. They are developing interiorly the powers that make for righteousness.

To the second class belong all the world’s sincere religionists, those beings whose regard—whether of fear or love—goes out to an ideal person. The person, observe, may be of low or of high grade in accordance with the subjective development of the individual worshipper. As the object of devotion becomes purified, love casts out fear, and advance on this path proceeds. Men and women adoring their conception of Krishna, or Buddha, of Ahura Mazdao, or of Jesus Christ, are treading the path of devotion, and may rise to the highest emotions of altruism, the most selfless service of the Supreme, thus harmonizing ever more and more the human will and the Divine will.

Pilgrims of the third and smallest class are men and women whose constant desire and endeavour is to search out the truth of things. In the earlier grades of this path will be found scientific investigators of physical phenomena; more advanced on the path are materialist philosophers and all individuals directing their efforts to an examination 311of man in the regions of emotion and mind. Above these again are the men and women whose search is into the innermost nature of things, and who, in the intensity of that search, lose more and more their feeling of self, and merge themselves in Divine knowledge.

To summarise the three paths: The first is a progress through human activities from motives of self to motives of highest altruism. The second is a progress through religious emotions, from fear of an invisible demon, to the most selfless love of an ideal person and unswerving devotion to true ideals. The third is a progress from the simplest efforts to discover truth to the acquisition of Divine wisdom by means of the immensely increased faculties of the perfected man.

These three paths, like different ways up a mountain, meet at the top, where pilgrims attain to the qualities of all, and not only of the one path mainly traversed by each. All attain in the end to the fullest development of human power and faculty, and to complete liberation from the chain of births and deaths. That personal goodness and religious zeal are the measure of spiritual development is only the Church’s view, and it ignores a large part of human efforts and activities. Without personal goodness certainly no spiritual life is possible, but beyond the acme of personal goodness to lofty heights of knowledge, of wisdom, of transcendent love and benevolence, rises the pilgrim human soul under Divine tuition.

312We have now to inquire wherein the pilgrims resemble one another? The feature common to all is the inner attitude of self-surrender. It may spring from impulse or a half-unconscious sense of duty. Or, it may result from the reasoning faculty, from reason controlling and directing conduct with a full consciousness of responsibility. Again, it may be allied with all the sacred aspirations and inspirations that follow upon a long course of development, but whatever the cause and degree, this attitude of mind makes it possible for the spiritual forces working in and through humanity as a whole to manifest there, expanding the heart and mind, and creating a further soul-evolution.

There is a law in nature which has been well called the pulse of our planetary system, a law of giving out. It involves no absolute and ultimate sacrifice; and it is the only law by which progress and exaltation in nature can be actually achieved. Now this law is a central part of the teaching of every great religion. The Logos, we are told, in bringing into existence an infinitude of centres of consciousness, made the voluntary sacrifice of limiting His own boundless life. This thought is expressed in the Christian Scriptures thus: “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” This first great outbreathing of the life of the Logos is the earliest presentation of the law of sacrifice—that law which prescribes that at every stage of evolution life and energy shall be given out for the benefit of some consciousness on a lower grade than the giver. This 313great principle of evolution is manifest in the unselfish benevolence of all good men and women; even when they are working as yet in blind obedience to the scarcely articulate impulses of their awakening spiritual natures. (I refer my reader to p. 452 of Mr. A. P. Sinnett’s The Growth of the Soul.)

To our minds pain seems necessarily connected with sacrifice, but pain proceeds wholly from discord within the sacrificer, i.e. from antagonism between the higher part of his nature which is willing to give, and the lower part whose satisfaction lies in grasping and keeping. The process required in each case is a turning from the selfish, individualistic attitude to that of a social, altruistic giving—a giving joyfully for love’s sake. The transition naturally involves some pain, for the conscious will has to gradually master the animal part of the nature, and subordinate it to the higher self.

Man is, in the order of evolution, primarily subject to animal desires. His consciousness moves on the sensuous plane of existence, and he clings to the physical elements in nature. By-and-bye he learns to relinquish an immediate material good for a future good equally material—it may be a greater worldly prosperity for himself or his family. This sacrifice is not essentially noble, but it prepares the way for a harder lesson, and one that calls out a deeper faculty within him. Here again the process is one of exchange, but not of one form of sensuous good for another. It is the exchange of material possessions or sense pleasures for something of an 314entirely different order in nature—a reward not visible, nay, possibly far off beyond the tomb.

When humanity was in its childhood, religion inculcated and pressed upon it this form of sacrifice; and as we ponder the martyr lives that stud the pages of history we recognize the fact that thousands of human beings practised the precept, and learned to endure, as seeing the invisible, to stand morally upright without earthly prop, to value spiritual companionship and joy in an inner life of purity and peace when outward conditions were adverse and dark.

A later, far higher phase of the law of sacrifice, is that wherein no reward is thought of, or desired. Reaching manhood, humanity grapples with the duties and accepts all the grave responsibilities of an advanced evolutional stage. Duty becomes the motor of action, self-mastery and love of one’s fellows the very keynotes of man’s music. The animal part of his nature becomes subordinate to the higher self. The third great lesson of sacrifice works within, the lesson, viz. to do right simply because it is right, to give because giving is owed by each to all, and not because giving will in any shape be pleasing to or rewarded by God.

During the various stages of progress, the pain aspect of sacrifice is clearly seen. Nevertheless, a soul’s passionate grip upon things physical and sensuous relaxes, and a day arrives when to give spontaneously, freely, lavishly, is purest joy. Then is man’s life merging into Divine life, and sacrifice 315is no more pain. Vital dissonances cease to rend man’s heart, for his inner consciousness has soared above the selfish separateness of phenomenal existence into realms of nature where unity and love are the all-prevailing principles of life. We know these principles in action through the beautiful, selfless earthly pilgrimage of Him we call the Saviour of Mankind, whose whole career was an At-one-ment with the Divine.

The “Vicarious Atonement” doctrine of Western faiths to-day is both an ecclesiastical device for increasing priestly power and a misapprehension of the law we have been considering—the law of sacrifice, by which the worlds are made, by which the worlds are living now, and by which alone the union of man with God is brought about. That noble doctrine of antiquity was changed by Mediæval Christianity into a picture of the Godhead—Father and Son, in opposition to one another—a picture that “shocks all reverence, and outrages reason by bringing all manner of legal quibbles into the relationship between the Spirit of God and man.” (Four Ancient Religions, Annie Besant, p. 166.) Again, a race whose reasoning faculties are developed must needs repudiate the Church’s dogma of “Imputed Righteousness”—a righteousness not inwrought or attained to, but applied externally—a covering to what is corrupt and base, yet deemed sufficient to secure a perfunctory pardon of sin, a non-merited Divine favour.

The real At-one-ment with the Divine, whereof 316Jesus the Christ is our Archetype, admits of no substitutions, no subterfuges, makes no fictitious claims. It signifies an actual transformation or process of change, the inner consciousness passing from the lower to function on higher levels of being.

It is easy, however, to apprehend how the necessity of thinking of all supra-physical things, i.e. the finer phenomena of existence, by means of analogies and figures of speech that are purely physical, led to much of error in the earlier stages of human development; and there is a sense in which the “robe of righteousness” is a not inapt analogy or figure. When speaking of the pilgrimage of the soul, the picture presented is that of a concrete toiler, ascending slowly, breathing heavily, sighing and evidencing effort to all our outer senses, yet we know that the soul’s best efforts are mostly hidden from sight and hearing and touch. But no confusion arises. The mental conception to which the figure points is that of efforts as great though directed to evils that are chiefly mental, emotional, moral, not physical. Similarly, the “robe of righteousness” figure must not be overstrained. Man’s soul is clothed upon by, or clothes itself in (it matters not which, we say) robes or garments of flesh, and of finer physical elements than flesh, elements intangible to his five senses. The flesh garment or body is constantly changing, and so are the bodies of desire and of thought. The changes occur through the action and interplay of diverse subtle forces. Fresh elemental matter is borne in from 317without to replace the atoms of structures tending to decompose, while a process of selection, determination and assimilation proceeds through the action of forces within.

But the same laws of growth apply to realms of nature less open to observation, and a careful selection and choice of material is as potent and necessary in building the bodies of desire and thought as in building the body of solid flesh. And what are the available materials here? In the hidden life of our own thought and feeling we are conscious of an unceasing flow of transient states, or we may express it, currents of emotional and mental vibrations reaching us from we know not whence, waves breaking upon us from without. If we deliberately choose the elevated moods, the purest, swiftest vibrations, and seek habitually to retain these and make them our own, sweetness and light must inevitably characterize the habitation we are slowly building for our inner consciousness. In other words, the vehicles of our feeling and thought will become as “robes of righteousness.”

Desires, passions, emotions form what has been called the astral body;[17] aspiration and thought or the action of reason, imagination and the artistic faculties, create a still subtler, or mind-body, while the blend of the two is what we are accustomed to observe as ruling character. And when the physical is cast off at death, man’s consciousness passes into 318his subtle bodies and into regions of bliss whither we may not follow, but of which St. Paul gives us a glimpse when he says “we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, Eternal in the Heavens.”

17. A real body of subtle matter interpenetrating the flesh body and visible to some clairvoyants.

Now, to minds permeated by cruder ideas of man’s body and soul the above will seem mystical and unreal. Nevertheless, there are many minds, scientifically trained to a close observation of the manifold phenomena of life with all the finer forces and elements in nature, that are ready to accept a truer conception of the complex constitution of man. To all such, the proof of the actual existence of these transcendental vehicles of consciousness lies in hypnotic and other psychic phenomena, and in the evidence of experience. For, given a certain amount of intimate intercourse, and the man within the man shows himself to the eye of his friend through expression, attitude, gesture. But what the mental eye sees behind the veil of flesh must exist in some form. Hence the eye discerns not the consciousness, but its phenomenal garment or vehicle, and the texture organized is coarse, brutal, degraded or animal, sensuous, selfish, or of a finer and purer nature, divinely human, indicating the grade and quality of the animating principle or soul within.



Passing back once more from personal religion, or the rise and purification of the inner nature of the individual man, to the great subject of religion in general, we must again have recourse to physical analogies or figures of speech. A mighty stream or current of spiritual vibrations has flowed from the beginning behind the circumstances of history; and each branch of the human family has caught up, retained, and manifested a portion thereof. But the manifestations have at all times been governed by the receptive capacity of the particular race and its inherent distinctions. Every formulated religion is of dual complexion: first, the initial motive, which is spiritual; second, the expression, which is due to ideas, and these are furnished by the mind. The creeds, dogmas, rituals, are outgrowths of the age, civilization and locality.

Christianity has ostensibly been the religion of Western Europe during a long period of development in all the material appliances of a civilized life when mental and physical forces, engaged in accumulating wealth, have dominated this development 320and tended to depress and destroy the higher impulses and aspirations of man. Christianity, already weakened by errors that had crept in, was unable to withstand the corrupting influences of a money-making age. It adapted itself to the sternly practical business-like son of the West, and dropped out much of the imaginative and reflective side of its teaching. But the “old order changeth,” and, as has been shown in previous chapters, one great department of civilized life, viz. the prevailing system of industry, is hastening to its dissolution. That system has been tried in the furnace of a longsuffering, patient experience, and found to create national wealth in abundance, while utterly failing to subserve general well-being, and bring about a just arrangement of social conditions.

Through all the channels of the nation’s best thinking there has sounded low, but clear as a clarion note, a call to social reform, and now, in the depths of industrial confusion, amid dumb despair and loud-voiced public discontent, the still small voice of conscience speaks audibly, and a stirring of dry bones over the whole field of action, betokens the awakening to a new era of existence. Spiritual vibrations have loosened the foundations of our materialized, selfish life, and pierced through the crust of callous indifference to the heart of the nation. A new tenderness lurks there. It prompts to the entire overthrow of our hideous industrial warfare and the substitution of a well-ordered system based, reared and maintained through the action of wide-reaching 321love. But love was the distinguishing feature of early Christianity, and the genius of its teaching. Through the figure of family life, with its tender ties, unselfish actions and unity of interests and feeling, did Christianity strive to allure to the broader, higher, deeper love that embraces all mankind and manifests throughout all human relations.

Pioneers of the social revolution may abjure the churches, creeds and rituals, and boast themselves agnostic, but none the less are they aiding the reembodiment, on this material plane, of the true religious spirit, or the birth of a religion fitted for the nation’s age and civilization.[18]

18. Mr. Lester F. Ward (in his new work published in 1903) formulates a distinction between human and animal societies by saying that the environment transforms the animal while man transforms the environment. This transformation constitutes what he calls “achievement,” and is the characteristic feature in human progress. The products of “achievement” are not material things. They are methods, ways, principles, devices, arts, systems, institutions.

The Church, it is true, gives no formal countenance to the industrial revolution, but that does not disprove my contention that it is the distinctive religious movement of this age, and that it is in line and harmony with the religious movements of former ages. These may seem to have been less secular than this, but they always embraced a reformation of social and individual life. The actual distinction arises from the Church’s own deficiencies, and from 322the greater elaboration of modern society, causing an almost undue prominence to be given to the outward changes necessary at the beginning of a modern reformation. The Church must inevitably conform itself to the industrial revolution. It must reform itself from within; and this is clearly perceived by many of its members.

Whilst I write a conference of the Young Men’s Christian Association is taking place. A question discussed was: “What is the cause of young men’s drifting away from the Church?” One speaker remarked that to his mind the cause was the want of fixity of opinion on the great fundamentals of their common Christianity. Young men found that ministers were not agreed upon what they preached, and until the Church made up its mind as to what was really the truth, there could be no remedy for this drifting. Another speaker said he knew young men who hated the Church, and said it was not consistent. They pointed to the slum dwellings in their great cities, and asked what the Church was doing to remedy the state of affairs there disclosed. In fact, they said: “Salvation is hardly worth the taking, it’s so mixed up with money-making. If the Church was to reach young men, it must take up a more consistent attitude with regard to all social questions.” (From the Scotsman.)

But religion is not of the Church alone, religion appertains to the totality of life; and the right ordering of all the conditions of the nation’s material 323existence is the first step in the attainment of a national religious life. For, observe, the broad current of spiritual vibrations encompassing the race can have no free course and ingress to thrill the nerves and quicken the pulse of the nation so long as there endures a fierce, brutal struggle for the means of potential life—a struggle that hardens the heart and coarsens the fibre of rich and poor alike. The movement we call Economic Socialism is a veritable recurrence of the cry of the Prophet Esaias: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”[19]

19. What profits it to the human Prometheus that he has stolen the fire of heaven to be his servant, and that the spirits of the earth and of the air obey him, if the vulture of pauperism is eternally to tear his very vitals and keep him on the brink of destruction?—Huxley.

The Church militant must adjust itself without and within to the social industrial revolution, to a wider development than hitherto in man’s reasoning powers, and to a profound impulse in man—an impulse born of experience—that is carrying him towards the vast region of philosophic mysticism which lies behind the common Christian creeds and doctrines. The poet caught the shadow of coming events when he wrote—

So all intolerable wrong shall fade,
No brother shall a brother’s rights invade,
But all shall champion all:
Then shall men bear with an unconquered will
And iron heart the inevitable ill;
O’er pain, wrong, passion, death, victorious still
And calm, though suns should fall.
324Oh priests who mourn that reverence is dead,
Man quits a fading faith, and asks instead
A worship great and true.
I know that there was once a church where men
Caught glimpses of the gods believed in then:
I dream that there shall be such church again—
O dream, come true, come true.
W. M. W. Call.


The world has a purpose.... That purpose aims not at man as an end, but works through him to greater issues.—H. G. Wells.

Man has already furthered evolution very considerably, half unconsciously and for his own personal advantage, but he has not yet risen to the conviction that it is his religious duty to do so deliberately and systematically.—Francis Galton.

More than a century has elapsed since Pope’s line was written: “The proper study of mankind is man,” yet it is only of recent years that physiology has entered upon the proper method of that study. Discoveries made in the last century have thrown fresh light on individual human nature. The marvellous potency of thought has been demonstrated, and the momentous fact of diverse states of basic consciousness made apparent—the fact, namely, that the mind of individual man is not functionally limited to his physical consciousness.

Again, that every human being should have freedom to be happy was realized by many at an earlier epoch; but what the essential nature might be of 326a happiness that could satisfy the conflicting desires of humanity differentiated in all its units—seemed an insoluble problem. Psychology, however, indicates the solution of that problem, for it shows that individual happiness is intimately bound up with, and dependent upon, general happiness. The “subliminal or unconscious mind,” otherwise termed the super-physical consciousness that is common to all mankind knows no settled peace and comfort while the areas of physically conscious life are scenes of perpetual conflict. Man to be truly happy must be so collectively and not merely individually or sectionally.

Now the scheme of social reform I advocate points the way to a unification of thought that working itself out through the diverse channels of visible life will eject the causes of evil, bring order where chaos has reigned, and slowly but surely establish the foundations of universal peace. As Richard Harte has well said: “Human beings at present are like a number of little magnets thrown promiscuously into a heap, with their poles pointing in every direction, and wasting their strength in opposing each other. These little magnets have to point in the same direction that they may become bound together into one great magnet, all powerful to attract good, all powerful to repel evil.”

The new system of action bases its thought on the complexity of human nature. It recognizes that the component cells of the physical body are lives 327which must suffer if the laws of their well-being are not subserved, and the suffering translates itself into pain or into sub-conscious distressful melancholy. It perceives that the social instincts of man hitherto thrust back and crushed are: “the various needs of universal attraction all tending towards unity, striving to meet and mingle in final harmony” (Zola). And further it apprehends that a lofty aspiration—a divine impulse—hovers on the threshold of consciousness waiting to enter as brutal passions and vicious propensities are conquered and dispossessed.

The evils that infest and corrupt our social life and that man must deliberately uproot and eliminate before general happiness becomes possible are—poverty, i.e. a life-long struggle to obtain food, shelter, clothing; the birth of individuals weak and unfit; disease, premature death; enforced celibacy; late marriage; drunkenness; disorganization of family life; prostitution; war; and industrial competition; social injustice and inequality; individual tyranny; crime; barbarous treatment of criminals; disrespect of natural function and consequent injury to health; conventional folly; social repression of innocent enjoyment; religious bigotry; the feebleness of religious guidance and confusion of religious thought.

Partial views of society as well as of individual human nature have hitherto prevailed and given birth to specifics of all kinds for the cure of the diseases of society, and these in the growing tenderness 328of humanity, have been eagerly adopted and applied, to prove disappointing in the main. The new system deals with society as a whole and throughout all its parts. It requires a full comprehension of each and all the groups or classes of social phenomena and their inter-relations.

Viewing society as a whole, we realize that there are no remedial specifics in the case, that general happiness will be obtained only by a process of evolution, and that the process is one of continual readjustment of multitudinous relations, or unceasing adaptation of individual human life to a social environment, and of social environment to individual human life. The evolution of social environment proceeds towards the highest ethical state which implies a system of society based upon justice and equality. But the realization of this state requires a perfected humanity, hence the path of progress is also in the gradual improvement of individuals—the creation of a superior race whose spontaneous impulses will construct and support a perfected social system.

Unconscious evolution has carried us forward from savagery through many transitions to a state of civilization which, though grossly imperfect, contains within it a new element of advance. Here and there throughout society the power of love and reason combined has become strong, and aided by a scientific knowledge of man and the conditions of his life, it is capable of design, and of intensifying the action of evolutionary forces and immensely increasing 329their momentum. Reason, however, must invent an effective policy of meliorism which so unites the practical methods of reform as that each will add strength to all, and the result prove a powerful factor of change in the society on which it is brought to bear.

The strife of competition throughout the whole sphere of industrial life gives free play to selfishness and the passion of militancy, and permeates society with the warlike spirit.

Advance in morals is the sure step to a better and happier future; but man’s moral nature is largely conditioned by heredity, training and environment, while these, at present, are all unfavourable to a high moral state. A progressive system of general reform therefore has to embrace and combine rational breeding, rational training and a rational order of life in which sympathy and co-operation will take the place of individual competition, and general happiness—not wealth—be the clear aim of man.

The conscious element in evolution is as yet too weak to alter society much or rapidly, but in all civilized countries—Germany, France, Belgium, etc., as well as Great Britain,—changes towards the collective control of land and capital and the reorganization of industry on collectivist principles, have begun, and it is of supreme importance that other changes, equally necessary, should be initiated to advance pari-passu with those.

A central source of corruption is to be found in 330the disintegration of the ancient family group—the unfitness of an archaic domestic system to achieve the ends of rational training and the acquiring of habits of rational breeding. At the same time there is a growth in social feeling and a spread of public opinion in favour of industrial socialism with some legislative and local action to carry it out, that together, present conditions propitious to change in domestic living and sexual custom. Consequently a reconstruction of domestic life on modern principles among educated people fitted to adapt life to moral ends is pre-eminently a feature of the new order.

At present excessive labour on the part of the proletariat, and enforced idleness on the part of many men and women within the classes, are fatal to progress. Vital forces are exhausted on the one hand, repressed on the other, while the sub-conscious feeling that craves unity and solidarity is outraged and restrained. To restore work to its legitimate place in human life is a primary aim of the new domestic system. That system must be built up on the principle that work for the benefit of all is the duty and privilege of each, and without a due share of social labour no normal man or woman in health can attain to inward peace.

As regards religion, man’s abstract thought must purge itself from materialized ideals, his concrete thought from selfish aims, for he is essentially a religious being and psychical studies affirm that within him there lie latent faculties that relate him 331to worlds unseen—worlds as yet unrealizable in human consciousness.

In the visible world religious forces must be directed to the great work of social reform. To unselfishly promote the welfare of generations unborn is a profoundly religious course of action. The purest, noblest feelings of man may be enlisted in the cause of progress through union—for social reconstruction, scientific education, gentle training of the young, associated domestic life, facilitation of happy marriage—and for the comfort of all mankind, whether good or bad, clever or dull, fortunate or unfortunate.

Co-operation in work to the banishment of idleness and its accompanying misery ennui is the primary object of the new domestic system, but other ends to attain are—economy, by means of joint labour and joint expense to the relief of monetary anxieties and domestic worries; stability of social position, i.e. no member needing to fear that his home will break up independently of his wishes; social intercourse and enjoyment relieved of conventional etiquette or tyranny; freedom for friendship between the sexes and such conditions of family union as will promote mental capacity and altruistic sentiment in each individual; early marriage without disregard of social responsibility and based upon mutual knowledge of character, habits and tastes; a fitting refuge for old age, rendering impossible the premature destruction of valuable social forces which age alone can supply, and securing the 332material, intellectual and emotional surroundings necessary for comfort up to the last moment of life.

In the lower social strata where any reconstruction of family life is not yet possible, what is immediately required is a gradual rise of wages with steady improvement in all the conditions of industrial labour. Society also must relinquish such patronage of the poor as fosters their too rapid increase, undermines their self-dependence and tends generally to deterioration of race. Parental responsibility must be strongly inculcated and strictly upheld. Public teaching should be given in all natural laws affecting society, especially the laws of health, increase, and heredity; and, under conditions respectful to human dignity, Malthusian doctrine should be taught, and a knowledge of neo-Malthusian method very carefully imparted.

In the higher social strata within the newly constructed modern homes sexual conduct and parentage with its far-reaching results for good or evil must be controlled or guided into the path of racial regeneration. The scientific study of man’s nature gives sexual passion an honourable position relatively to human life. It rests on the conscience of each adult generation as an imperative social duty to influence the young generation in such wise as that this great passion shall subserve physical and social health and cease to create degradation.

A due activity in growing organs strengthens organic function; therefore, with early marriages 333and freedom to young love, checked only by scientific knowledge of the laws of health, propagation at the age of maturity is bound to put forth vitality of good quality. In conscious evolution sexual functions are no longer regarded as essentially allied with propagation. They are regarded, however, as properly subject in youth to parental and social control; and that control acts as a perpetual restraint upon licentious, dissolute tendencies and a shield to the young love that seeks personal happiness consistent with domestic purity.

No less potent is the action of control in another direction. Physiology of sex and the laws of inheritance are carefully studied by guardians of domestic peace who, rejecting the ordinary and vulgar conception accept the teaching of science, and science points to philoprogenitiveness, or love of offspring, as the proper motor force in reproduction. Were this force the antecedent cause of parentage throughout the nation, disease and premature death would be undermined and gradually subside. “Indiscriminate survival” gives way before that “rational selection and birth of the fit” which is a fundamental condition of social well-being—the master-spring to a rapid evolution of general happiness.

The transition, however, from our present state of confused sentiment, illogical thought, and disastrous action in the field of eugenics or stirpiculture, to clearness of purpose and consistency of life, must necessarily be a work of extreme delicacy and patient 334endeavour. Its achievement requires the nuclei of collectivist homes. Its nurture must take place in the bosom of a superior domestic life. The process, in short, implies an alteration in humanity itself, to be brought about by such preparatory alteration in outward conditions as will set up and bring into play the constant interaction of new social forces.

Individualism in domestic life vitiates the movement towards socialism outside domestic life, for it gives us misshapen units unfit for a better social system—a system that seeks to banish tyranny, despotism, pride, self-will and every anti-social emotion in order to establish the perfect justice and equality that are essential to the highest ethical state. It is a necessity of socialism to lay hold of the family and fashion it anew so that it may produce a superior material of human life, i.e. individual men and women whose enjoyments lie chiefly in sympathy and whose spontaneous impulses are towards an essentially social life.

And further, not only is our present domestic system wholly incapable of dealing with sex relations so as to adapt them to stirpiculture, not only is it so feeble as to be absolutely impotent in the regulation of the conduct of masculine youth outside its boundaries, but it is destitute also of elements required in the organizing of a progressive educational system.

Home education has almost disappeared in the disintegration of family life, while in society the 335strong forces of aggregation which under diverse conditions of industry and convention group mankind in sections have moulded schools to massive proportions. The youth of the nation is in a great measure cut off from the home influences which are calculated to teach mankind “humanities, not in the academic but in the real sense.” It is congregated in universities and large schools for superior culture and day schools for culture of a less exalted order. In the former, young men and maidens are separated. Domesticity—the quality in human nature on which depends the consolidation of society, is disregarded, whilst to the development of mutual interests, affinity of tastes, harmony of habits and unanimity of social aims between the sexes no attention is paid during the plastic period of life when individual character is in process of determination. In day schools boys and girls are often associated, but under such conditions of mechanical routine, cramming, conflicting and alternating authorities, irregular and erratic forces of moral control, as to make these schools provocative of evil, fostering every anti-social instinct of man.

Co-ordination in the life of the young is the demand of the new system of general reform. The nursery, school and playground must be harmonized, and the entire juvenile orbit, within and without the home, governed by intellectual and moral forces of fixed congruity. The object and aim of true education is the fullest development of an individual’s 336best powers of thought, feeling, action, by means of their happy exercise at every stage of growth from childhood to maturity. Now book-learning or culture in schools accomplishes very little, but a direct study of nature is an incomparable aid to this end. Each object and process in nature from that of the infinitely great to the infinitely small—if fittingly dealt with by teachers—is instinct with charm for the young of an intelligent race. It excites imagination, awakens thought, kindles enthusiasm, stimulates every latent mental faculty, while the endless variation of beauty in nature—under training to close observation—makes aesthetic appeal to the sense perceptions, and in calling forth wonder, admiration, delight adds richness immeasurably to the quality of human life. Nevertheless the springs and checks of a true education lie deep in a world of feeling. For their exercise home-life is indispensable. Family love is the primary motor force in the education of the feelings, and without the presence of a wide domestic circle habitually fostering the sympathetic and repressing the selfish emotions no high water-mark of civilization will be reached.

There is in man a group of emotions of comparatively recent origin requiring scientific treatment of the utmost delicacy and precision. On the further development of that group depends in a very special manner the rapid evolution of an ethical social system. The group is threefold—egoistic, altruistic, moral. It comprises a sense of personal 337rights, a sympathetic jealousy for the rights of others, an intellectual and moral sentiment of justice, or equivalence of liberty and social comfort for all mankind. The first element is already very perceptible throughout society. The second is more rare; it must be strengthened or assiduously created in the nursery, schoolroom and domestic circle by a system of training whose characteristic is extreme gentleness. The tender shoots of sympathetic jealousy are incapable of growth in an environment of harsh sound or brutal force. Hence the authority that begets antagonism has no place in the perfected education of the future.

As the young emerge from childhood the responsibilities of life become aids in education, and immensely develop the above emotions. Discipline of conduct within their own order appertains to the young; whilst society, within and without the domestic circle, demands the thorough regulation of young life. Conduct clubs and combinations for a variety of social ends, both sexes taking part, arise among the young; and these promote in the highest degree the healthy growth of such virtuous emotion and habits in the individual as are indispensable to ethical socialism. The method adopted is a just and intelligent criticism to which the youthful mind has previously been trained.

Since pride of birth, pride of wealth and habits of domination and luxury are all unfavourable to the growth of a moral sentiment of social justice, it is not in the upper ranks of society we need look 338for the public spirit that will devise methods of gradually equalizing the labour of life and its rewards and undermining present class distinctions. As little likely is the sentiment of social justice to spring spontaneously in a fortunate capitalist class where pride of acquisition strongly opposes the principle that reward should not be proportioned to personal capacity—that mental labour has no title to inordinate distinction, but that other useful exertion ethically requires fullness of reward. Reconstruction is necessarily a growth from below. From the proletariat comes the impulse towards industrial reconstruction, and it is in the middle class—and the less wealthy section of that class—that the beings exist who by segregation may form collectivist homes capable of by-and-bye aggregating into the solid foundation of a pure and elevated republican society.

Education in these homes where mixture of ages, from the white-haired centenarian to the infant in arms, creates all manner of tender ties, where gentleness and love are the main stimuli in training, where authority is exercised consistently and reasonably, and replaced at maturity by reason and self-control—must eventuate in the production of a superior moral and intellectual type.

The order of social evolution, computed roughly, is as follows: In the first stage, social equality exists; it is an epoch of savagery. In the second stage, differentiation issuing in class distinctions takes place; the birth of social inequality and injustice 339arising naturally through exercise of superior brute force and cunning. Civilization has here its genesis; and coercion, tyranny, robbery, injustice, avarice, love of power, inequality, are stimuli of civilization and prime elements in the formation of strong nations. Individuals who are inferior, then whole classes socially weak, are compelled by forces, individual and social, to minister to the wants of the strong and superior. Civilization nurtured by inequality and injustice develops in the superior classes of society and slowly spreads downwards. In the third stage, reaction occurs, prompted by civilization itself! Justice and liberty develop in the lower or inferior social classes and spread very slowly upwards without destroying a civilization, become inherent in the superior type of man. The fourth stage is one of readjustment in which civilization becomes general and there is a gradual return to social equality. Ultimately society will have no class distinctions of the present order, no idlers or parasites, no poor and no coercive government. Voluntary co-operation or concerted action for social ends is a self-regulating, self-controlling force which, when fully developed in the new domestic and industrial systems is able to dominate society throughout its length and breadth.

The path of social reform I advocate has now, in its main features, been placed before my readers.

Outside the general policy that will cause the direct action of the system to become a great factor of social change, however, there are sundry courses 340of less direct action, it is bound to pursue. These bear relation to, first, pauperism and patronage of the poor; second, the proletariat; third, the criminal classes; fourth, the position of woman; fifth, the young; sixth, conventionalism; seventh, political action.

In the first relation the specific policy is to carefully discriminate between benevolence that is beneficial and benevolence that is mischievous in its results on social well-being. Whilst exercising the former, it gives no support to charities that hurt the independence of the poor, or relieve them of parental responsibility. In reproduction it discountenances and opposes the social force of indiscriminate selection which results in survival of the unfit. It seeks to initiate and press forward the counteracting social force of intelligent selection, which brings about the birth of the fit.

In the second relation, the specific policy strenuously supports combinations of workers for the raising of wages, mutual help and democratic political aims preparatory to general socialism.

In the third relation, the specific policy strives to enlighten public opinion upon the nature of crime and the philosophic principles of its treatment. It elaborates a new method in which vindictiveness, the essence of punishment, has no existence; but gentleness towards all evil-doers issues in, first, the effectual protection of society; second, the reform of corrigible criminals; third, the gradual extinction 341of crime. It urges upon government a cautious deliberate adoption of this method.

In the fourth relation, the action of the policy is to promote the enfranchisement of women, and at every point aid the movement of advance to the position of social equality of sex.

In the fifth and sixth relations, it inculcates by admonition and example, and especially among the young, a return to simplicity of manners, habits and dress. It repudiates conventional etiquette, and opposes the tyranny of fashion. It promotes the association of the sexes in youth under condition of adult control, whether the union be that of marriage, of friendship or of simple intercourse and companionship. It discountenances and takes no part in the excitements of an artificial, frivolous society, but it creates and fosters the vigorating excitements of useful labour, alternating with unconstrained and “tranquil delights.”

In the seventh relation, the specific policy agitates for alteration of the marriage laws, the laws of inheritance of property and the land laws. Equality of sex is required as the basis of the marriage law, accompanied by the condition of easy divorce in order to facilitate the dissolution of false ties in favour of the true. The laws affecting children require adaptation to the ethics of social justice and sex equality. Laxity must give way to strictness in respect of parentage; and child-birth be recognized as an event bearing directly upon the interests of the general public. Hence modification 342here entails the recognition of illegitimate children and the counteracting of the vicious tendency to shirk parental duty and social responsibility. The land and property laws must be adjusted to a levelling process—the action of paring down large estates and diminishing the massive proportions of private property so slowly as to create no individual suffering or social confusion, such legislative measures being directed, however, to land nationalization and nationalization of capital as their final aim.

In conclusion, let me add, I claim to have shown that “science in the economic field gives certain facts from which a line of social evolution may be foreshadowed,” and that religion and science give, in wider fields, facts and principles that point to lines of illimitable progression for man. “Whether these lines will be followed depends not upon immutable laws beyond our control, but upon the human will.” The general policy I advocate is distinctly reliable so long as it rests on scientific methods and knowledge, but no question is finally exhausted. In the sphere of rational reform free-thought must ever be considered and respected.

New occasions teach new duties;
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.


Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.

  1. Silently corrected obvious typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  2. Retained archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.