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Title: Rebuilding Britain - A Survey Of Problems Of Reconstruction After The World War
Author: Hopkinson, Alfred, 1851-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Rebuilding Britain

A Survey of Problems of Reconstruction after the World War


Sir Alfred Hopkinson, K.C.

Cassell and Company, Ltd
London, New York and Melbourne


Part I.--The Course


Part II.--Peace






    11. LONG HOURS
    12. WAGES



Part III.--Retrenchment


Part IV.--Reform

    16. THE FIELD
    19. HOUSING
    22. LAW REFORM

Part V.--The Goal


Part I




     _I think I see, as it were above the hill-tops of time,
     the glimmerings of the dawn of a better and a nobler day
     for the country and the people that I love so
     well._--JOHN BRIGHT.

The suggestion has been made to me that in these days of rapid
development, when proposals, so bewildering in their extent, for change
and for reconstruction are being made, it would be useful to present in
popular form and in the compass of a small volume some general statement
of the character of the varied problems which have arisen and of the
principles which should guide in their solution. Possibly it seemed that
a long and varied life engaged in law, politics, and education, which
also had touched to some slight extent on the actual work of certain
departments of Government, and had offered opportunities for travel in
European countries and in the East, might furnish some qualifications
for such a task. It is not one that can be undertaken without a sense of
inadequate knowledge, and still more inadequate power of expression; but
such a challenge cannot be refused, provided that whoever accepts it
believes that he has some things to say which ought to be said, some
lines of thought which ought to be indicated, something to urge, the
truth of which he is thoroughly convinced of. Without such conviction
prevenient, "we doubt not" that books on serious subjects, even if
clever, and public speech either from platform or pulpit, "do verily
have the nature of sin," and the more eloquent they are the worse the
offence; with it, the very incompleteness and imperfection in the mode
of presentation may even stimulate others to more thought, and to make
up deficiencies all the better for themselves.

In attempting such a task, it must be recognised that during the last
three years the attention of so many minds has been devoted to problems
of "reconstruction" after the War, so much has been written and said
about them, so many suggestions made and schemes propounded, so many
commissions of inquiry appointed and reports prepared, that an attempt
at full treatment of the questions involved would require a cyclopaedia
rather than a small volume. No one person would be able ever to read
half of the valuable material already collected bearing on these
problems. To deal effectively with them all would demand several
lifetimes of preliminary special training. The difficulty is increased
by the fact that every week brings something new or some change in the
situation. Some new fact comes to light, some book or article is
published, some speech made, some report issued, or even some Act
passed, which calls for consideration, and it may be for comment.

The effect of the War has undoubtedly been to evoke far more serious
thought on the real problems of life, and also practical activity in
dealing with many of them. The mass of literature, including of course
the considered utterances of men whose words exercise the most influence
in moulding the opinions and guiding the action of others, grows from
day to day. If that literature consisted mainly of bitter and empty
controversy, of the expression of mere opinions, the spinning of
plausible theories or clever presentation of interesting speculations,
it would not be necessary to trouble much about it; but so large a part
contains the statement of important facts or the results of serious
study and of the actual experience of those who are experts in the
special subjects of which they treat, that it is impossible to pass
lightly over what they write or say. There is about a large portion of
this literature an air of reality, an earnest desire to get to the
heart of a matter, to contribute to true knowledge of the various
subjects to which the writers have devoted their attention and to find a
practical solution of the problems involved. Sensationalism or mere
writing for effect is the exception, not the general characteristic of
what is thus being constantly published on various aspects of national

It is inevitable, therefore, that in any attempt to treat the subject as
a whole some important suggestions will appear to have been overlooked
or neglected, and that valuable sources of information and useful
proposals will have escaped notice, while in other cases there will
appear to be repetition, even without acknowledgment of what has already
been said, and said better by others.

The justification for the attempt made in the following pages is that
there are many people who have not the time or inclination to follow up
special questions fully, but may be glad of a summary, and that a mere
sketch-plan of the whole ground to be covered, filled in here and there
in more detail, may have its use as a kind of bird's-eye view by which
the relations of a number of subjects to each other and the general
character of each may be seen.

For convenience of treatment and as an aid to memory the various
problems to be discussed are arranged under three heads; following the
old Victorian watchwords of the party which claimed to be
progressive--Peace, Retrenchment, Reform.

The policy once indicated by these terms may in many cases have been
discarded, and no doubt they were often used in a sense very different
from that in which they must serve in our classification. "Peace" and
"Retrenchment" have been used to cover a policy which by reducing the
Navy would have left us naked to our enemies and a prey to starvation
within a few months from the outbreak of war; "Reform" to denote changes
which pedantry or envy may urge, but which could lead to no useful
practical result. In spite of this, the three words do in fact, like
the words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity--whatever crimes may have been
committed in their name--indicate and express three ideas that we must
have definitely before us in considering what the lines of
reconstruction ought to be.

The spirit--the tone of mind in which the work of reconstruction is
approached--will count for much. First of all, it is essential to have
hope--a real expectation not only that by strenuous effort and wise
foresight the country will meet and overcome the trials which are
inevitable, and the perils which threaten after as well as during the
War, but also that a better and brighter future is in store. Plans must
be framed and action taken under the inspiration of a firm trust that
the ideals we aim at are to be realised, that the "things hoped for"
have a potential actuality. Fatalism in politics--we use the term in the
original sense including ethics--is deadly, whether it is the fatalism
due to a sloppy optimism which is satisfied that somehow things will
come right whatever we do or leave undone, or to a paralysing pessimism
which in cowardly despair accepts the triumph of evil as ordained and
gives up the struggle when the prospects of victory seem dark. It would
be folly not to recognise that not only now, but for years to come there
will be enormous difficulties and terrible dangers to be faced; but it
is possible for our hearts and minds to be filled too much with the
contemplation of them instead of looking to the goal we aim at, and the
steps we must take one by one to reach it.

    Be not over-exquisite
    To cast the fashion of uncertain evils.
    What need a man forestall his date of grief
    And run to meet what he would most avoid?

There may be rocks and breakers--"a ferment of revolution"--ahead, but
the task of the pilot and the crew is to keep their eyes on the channel
through them, and to work the ship in its course to the haven where they
would be.

Secondly, there must be a faith to inspire action, based on a belief in
an essential goodness of human nature and in its capacity for
improvement. Unless such a belief were well founded, democracy would be
a thing to be dreaded and resisted by every means in our power. As
ground for his belief in a better day, Bright speaks--and his language
is prophetic--of the people "sublime in their resolution." It is that
resolution which, in spite of our unprepared condition and of all the
mistakes that have been made, as well as of disasters that could not
have been foreseen, and of a power in the enemy far greater and a
wickedness more diabolical than anyone dreamed of, will "bring victory

To have watched the action of the electorate during the last fifty years
leads to the conclusion that in spite of apparent vacillations it has
been characterised by good sense and good feeling, and that its
judgment, so far as conditions from time to time permitted of its true
expression, has been sound. To go about the country now and see what
earnest and useful work is being quietly done, what loss and suffering
bravely borne, confirms and renews the trust in our fellow-countrymen
which might be shaken if we listened only to the utterances in the Press
and in Parliament.

"Trust in the people" should be a habit of mind--a rule of action
tacitly adopted--not a party watchword. Tell a man or boy--more than
once--that you trust him, and he will probably take it--and not without
a warrant--that you don't, that in fact you have grave doubts but do not
wholly despair. The phrase might be taboo on the platform to raise cheap
cheers but silently recognised in the Cabinet as a guide in action. How
much better would it have been all through the War, and how much better
now, if there were no concealment, except when information given might
assist the enemy, if we knew at once even when things went wrong! There
have been times when it was necessary, in order to know at all what was
really going on, to read the German reports rather than our own, subject
of course to a discount. The difficulty with those German preparations
is to determine whether the discount for intentional falsification
should be 5 per cent. or 90 per cent. Candour, however, leads us rather
to admit the former as generally nearer the mark when military
operations have been the subject of them, at least until the Germans
began to suffer serious defeats in the field.

It would have been far better, too, to have assumed--there was real
ground for the assumption--that the nation was ready and willing at once
to make any sacrifice, to submit to privation, to rouse itself to any
effort if only the necessity for it were made clear, and if it could be
satisfied that so far as possible the burdens would be distributed
equally among all.

Increased taxation properly adjusted has almost been a general demand,
but unfairness in its incidence even on comparatively small matters is
intensely resented. The Food Control Ministry whose orders affect
everybody's daily comfort is positively popular, while the profiteer and
the food-hoarder arouse the bitterest, though perhaps not always
discriminating, indignation. Skilled workmen have been almost driven to
strike, not from want of patriotism, nor from desire for profit out of
the War, but because of the unfairness of leaving their wage at a level
often below that of the unskilled and even of casual importations. The
fatal delays which were sometimes quite unnecessary, in dealing with
complaints have added to the feeling of unrest. Suspicions were even
aroused sometimes that delays were intentional.

A like spirit of confidence is required in the statement of "War Aims."
The higher our aims are put--if put honestly--the more earnest and
complete is the response. Stated as they were by Mr. Asquith, with his
usual masterly precision of language, they received a practically
unanimous and enthusiastic approval. There was nothing sordid in the
motives which induced the best of our youth to offer their lives for
their country's cause.

Before the War it was a lack of "Trust in the people" which contributed
to our unprepared condition. How much nearer would victory have
been--possibly, indeed, there would have been no war--if our Government
and leading men had, instead of carping at the great man who had true
insight, stated plainly and calmly that great perils were threatened,
that it was necessary to set our house in order, to make military
training more general, to use all available knowledge in making ready
the machinery which would be necessary in case war was thrust upon us
suddenly! It was not "the people" who were responsible for the fact that
the storm found us so unprepared. They would not have resented being
told the truth, and asked to act accordingly. Even a candidate for
Parliament may sometimes say what he really thinks, and yet not repel
the electors, as witness one who, being asked long ago what was his view
about "one man one vote," answered, "It is a good question for a school
debating society. Let us talk about something important. Our first need
is a strong navy; without that we should be starving, perhaps eating
each other, or submitting to the most degrading terms, within a few
months of the outbreak of war, and the second is the increased
production of food at home to make us more self-supporting in time of
need. Let us think of these things." He was elected by the votes of the
artizans and agricultural labourers in a constituency where at the
election before there had been a great majority for the opposing
candidate, though he had no personal influence, had spent nothing in
"nursing the constituency," and refused to give pledges or act as a
delegate to register the instructions of any caucus. He died,
politically, without abjuring his faith. It was not the electors who
hastened his decease.

When a democratic Government is definitely established as in England
now, the alternatives for trust are either to hold aloof in despair
awaiting the débâcle, to resist to the bitter end with a result like
that which Stephenson said would occur if a cow attempted to stop his
locomotive, or to try humbug and flattery. You do not flatter those you
trust. We are not speaking of that delightful flattery practised by
Irishmen out of exuberant spirits or to create a genial atmosphere, but
which is so easily succeeded by equally picturesque and imaginative
denunciation. To resent is as foolish as to believe either, though we
must admit that it is often a pleasure to be a recipient of the one and
to hear the other _façon de parler_ addressed to our opponents. For the
stolid Saxon it is a good maxim to tell the truth as pleasantly as
possible, but to tell it plainly, and to be honest in admitting defects
and recognising dangers. We are on the whole rather an ignorant
nation--probably not more so than others, if we except the Germans and
possibly the Scandinavians. We are not, as a rule, clear-headed or
accurate thinkers, though we have generally a large fund of practical
good sense. We lack constructive imagination, but have a certain
originality and real power of initiative in dealing with practical
problems as they arise, and much dogged perseverance in "carrying a
thing through." These, like most other general propositions, are subject
to exceptions and open to many objections, but they contain a sufficient
element of truth to be worth noting.

It is well plainly to recognise that if democracy is to be a blessing
instead of a curse there are three conditions necessary to control and
guide its action. First, with the consciousness of power there must be a
deep sense of responsibility. Secondly, with freedom of action there
must be a law-abiding spirit, a habit of obedience to those laws of
action which control the arbitrary changeful will of the moment. The
prayer of the old Greek poet is one for all time:

    May my lot be to keep a reverence pure in word and deed,
    Controlled by laws, lofty, heaven-born,
    Of which the father is God alone,
    Not by the mortal nature of man begotten
    Never in oblivion lulled to sleep!
    God is mighty within them and grows not old.

Thirdly, there should be an ideal of what we aim at, of what we wish the
nation to become and to do, carefully thought out, and consciously set
before us--its attainment the object of our efforts--and with that must
be combined patient attention and steady work in planning and in taking
each practical step which will tend towards its realisation. Mere
captivating phrases are a will-of-the-wisp leading us to that "dangerous
quag" of revolutionary change into which "even if a good man fall he
will find no bottom for his feet to stand on." Reformation and
revolution are "contraries" though not perhaps "contradictories." Either
for the individual or the nation vague aspiration not followed by
beneficent action is the kind of stimulant which destroys virility. It
renders even virtue sterile, and engenders no new birth.

The Reign of Law is the best protection of Liberty. Arbitrariness--the
term seems the nearest we have to express the idea, but it is not quite
happy, and the use of the more expressive German word "Willkür" might be
pardoned--is as great a danger in a democracy as in an autocracy, and it
is less capable of remedy. The "divine right of the odd man" "to govern
wrong" is too often assumed as an article of political faith. A new
generation may think that to quote from an early Victorian writer is to
appeal to the "dark ages"; but is there not a warning for all time in
Hallam's words, "the absolute Government of the majority is in general
the most tyrannical of any"? It is possible to decapitate a king who
sets himself above the law, or to deport or destroy a reactionary and
tyrannous aristocracy, but against the crimes or follies of an
unrestrained majority there is no appeal. Chaos, "red ruin, and the
breaking up of laws" follow in their steps. A general and deep sense of
responsibility as well as consciousness of power among "the masses" is a
necessary condition for welfare in a country with democratic government.

More of the nation's life and development has been concentrated within
the last four years than would occupy fifty years of Europe or a "cycle
of Cathay" in ordinary times. It has borne sorrows and losses which
would have been overwhelming had it been known beforehand how great
they would be; the call for tremendous efforts for which it was totally
unprepared has been answered with steady resolve and heroic sacrifice.
Faith in human nature has been confirmed. Where there has been failure
it has not been through want of courage or any shrinking from duty on
the part of the rank and file, but rather from deficiencies in
leadership. Imaginative grasp of a position, clear and accurate
thinking, leading to prompt and definite action, can hardly be claimed
as special characteristics of our race, but once satisfied that a thing
has got to be done, that it is "up to them" to do it, checks or defeats,
labour or risks do not count. Sooner or later the task is performed. The
"recoil" of the British again and again after being pressed back is the
striking feature in their history. The spring is not easily wound up,
but it has enormous power, and the events of to-day show that it has not
lost its elasticity. But how much more might have been accomplished, how
much loss and suffering prevented, had knowledge awakened more interest
and a prophetic imagination guided and inspired action directed to a
definite goal, had we set our ideals clearly before us and carefully
thought out the steps to be taken one by one towards their realisation!

The recognition of these conditions is needed now, and will in the
coming changes be needed more and more. Enthusiasm and sanity must be
united to carry us safely forward. Tradition and custom will count for
less either in maintaining or in preventing what is evil. Many old modes
of thought, many old habits which checked us in the downward as well as
hindered us in the upward path, will have been destroyed by the fire
through which we have been passing. We need a conscious plan more than
ever for rebuilding and good workmanship in execution detail by detail.

    Image the whole, then execute the parts.
        Fancy the fabric
    Quite ere you build, ere steel strike fire from quartz,
        Ere mortar dab brick.

Then take the trowel and see that brick by brick each course is truly

But we are not building a new city on unoccupied ground; there are some
foundations truly laid which have withstood the fire and storm and which
cannot be disturbed without both risk and useless toil. There are still
edifices standing to which time has given a beauty and tradition a
sanctity which newer creations cannot possess. They cannot be removed
without irreparable loss. Like any other metaphor, that of rebuilding a
city as compared with the action of a state, of a nation, after a time
of change and trouble, is misleading if pressed too far. Progress for a
nation must rather be the growth and development of a living organism
adapting itself to new conditions or altered environment. We should "lop
the moulder'd branch away," amputate the diseased tissue, as the true
Conservative policy, and tend and foster the healthy growths with utmost
care, as the true method for the Liberal who aims at improvement and
fuller life.

One other thing must be said of the spirit in which the work of
Reconstruction should be undertaken, which goes to the root of the whole
matter, and a word must be used which we would have avoided if
possible--"the word is too often profaned for me to profane it." But
search for a substitute has been unavailing.

There are some words which are better unspoken, except in case of
necessity, that become soiled by common use. The too ready employment of
them may savour indeed of that unctuous tone which makes ordinary
Englishmen and boys squirm. "Conscience" is one. When a man speaks of
his conscience you at once, and quite rightly, begin to suspect him. He
is probably going to refuse some hard task which others are undertaking,
to do something which is offensive to his fellows, or at best, in sheer
obstinacy to insist on a course of conduct which he knows cannot be
justified by reason. Someone has defined "conscience" as the
"deification of our prejudices"; the giving of a kind of divine
authority to something we will insist on doing though it brings no
good, even causes harm, to ourselves and offends and injures others, or
the giving a name which should be sacred as commanding what we want to
do for other reasons. A staunch Nonconformist--one of the clearest
thinkers and probably the finest preacher of the last generation--how he
would have hated the phrase, but one cannot pause for another!--truly
said of the passive resisters in his day, "There is a deal more of
politics than of conscience in their action." Yet there are times when
even the word conscience may have to be used, and no other will suffice.
Another is "Duty"--so often put forward as the excuse for people doing
something stupid, probably something they have been in the habit of
doing and seem unable to give up, but which is really only a nuisance to
themselves and also to others. Yet there are under the abused words
ideas which should be the guide of life.

The third is "Love"--an earnest and intense desire for the welfare of
our fellow-men, keen joy in their happiness, keen sorrow in their
troubles. The word is out and shall not, except perhaps in a quotation,
be used again. To use the word lightly or without grave reason seems
almost a breach of the third clause of the Decalogue, remembering what
is said to be its equivalent by one who of all men who have lived had
the most intimate means of knowing. All work of reconstruction must be
inspired by a spirit of true philanthropy; without that the labour is in
vain. There is no other motive power that can move the world in the path
of true progress.

It will be said that this is both obvious and to be ignored--a platitude
with a flavour of cant. Is it? Do we not hear again and again the appeal
to envy and hatred as motives of action, a desire in social life to pull
down, if levelling up is not immediately practicable? Is not jealousy of
the success of others, whether individuals or classes or states, again
and again what really prompts a policy? Even in dealing with the
countries which are our declared enemies, the desire to injure ought
not to be our guide. If and when they relinquish the aims and cease from
such acts as forced us into war with them and make restitution for the
wrongs they have committed, the right policy is, as far as possible,
having clue regard to the just claims and interest of our friends, to do
what will be for their true benefit also in the long run. No doubt there
is a disgraceful and fatal policy, sometimes adopted by English
Governments, to be resolutely withstood--the policy of trying "to
conciliate our enemies by giving away our friends." We shall hear of it
again in dealing both with Ireland and with certain colonies when
Germany claims their return. On the other hand, the first maxim in all
negotiation, the first principle of sound diplomacy, is always to give
to the other side, and give without grudging, all he wants, provided it
does not interfere with what it is important for your side to secure.
Never be afraid of giving the opposing party too much, provided you get
what your side really ought to have. How often has one heard in
discussing a settlement the objection raised that the other party is
getting too much! It is an old-time fallacy to think that practical good
sense and the highest philanthropy are antagonistic; only be certain
that if in any case they seem to be so, the latter is to prevail.

With a good map you may safely have Mr. Worldly Wiseman's company to the
village of Morality, and visit the "judicious gentleman named Legality"
and "his charming son Civility"--yet find a straight road thence to the
Celestial City without deviating to the "great town" of Carnal Policy.
An apology perhaps is due in the twentieth century for using the
language of an earlier day; but everyone naturally thinks in the
language in which he was brought up, and education is now no doubt
sufficiently general to make allusion recognisable and translation easy.
There are still some survivals from a past generation who prefer even
the "minor prophets" as literature to the most "up-to-date" modern
utterances, though they have long ago relinquished the idea that there
is the slightest personal merit in doing so. Even when the older
language was half forgotten there were within our memory some who would
use it if they could, and perhaps did so when they felt strongly, as a
Scotsman in strange lands may, when deeply moved, revert to what
convention insists on calling his "native doric."

The question may fairly be put to all who are dealing with proposals for
reconstruction: "Is the aim you have in view definitely and clearly to
promote the general benefit?" Most would no doubt be able quite honestly
to answer, "Yes, that is my desire"; but we must go a step farther, "Are
you willing to make that object paramount? If it were proved that in
order to provide decent housing for a number of workers your dividends
would be reduced, are you prepared still to urge that the required
accommodation shall be provided? If the removal or the imposition of a
particular tariff will benefit the community as a whole, are you
prepared to vote for such a change, though owing to it the business in
which you are personally interested may make less profit?" There are
some men whose conduct shows that an answer could be given by them in
the affirmative. When the great majority can so answer with truth, we
need have no fear that the rebuilding of Britain, even if mistakes are
made, will be on sound foundations.

To sum up: in considering each proposal we must first examine the spirit
and the aim. Try the spirit, test the aims put before us by every means
in our power; venture to measure them by the moral canons of the great
thinkers and seers which have stood the test of time. Adopt the rules to
which the acts of those who have benefited mankind have conformed or
which have received the consent of the best--the "golden" rule, hard
though it be to apply rightly and thoroughly, or Kant's principle that
each act of the individual (or community) is to be tested by the
standard whether or no it can be made of universal application, whether
it can command approval if taken as a guide for their actions by other
men or other nations as well as our own. Goodwill and Charity, to be
strong and true, must begin at home, but for their full fruition require
a field which has no bounds.

    That man's the best Cosmopolite
    Who loves his native country best.

Part II





     _Unless a nation, like an individual, have some purpose,
     some ideal, some motive which lies outside of and beyond
     self-interest and self-aggrandisement, war must continue
     on the face of this earth until the day when the last and
     strongest man shall look out upon a world that has been
     depopulated in its pursuit of a false ideal._--NICHOLAS

Paramount in importance above everything else is the establishment and
maintenance of peace between nations. No remedies for disease, no rules
for healthy life will avail, if the arteries through which the
life-blood is pouring away remain open still or are only temporarily
closed and liable after a brief interval to burst out anew. The vitality
of the nation would be gone beyond recovery if another generation of its
best manhood were to be sacrificed and its materiall resources again
squandered to meet the necessities of a great war.

Every day that the War lasts forces on us more clearly the fact that
Science, not only natural science--physics and chemistry--but also the
scientific organisation of the State as an instrument of war, has so
developed the means of destruction as either to blot out humanity or to
leave the greater part of mankind in abject and bitter slavery to the
powers that can wield most effectively the instruments of death and of
torture, if war between the leading nations breaks out again after an
interval of seeming peace. How warfare has changed within living memory!
Five-and-twenty years ago the highest authority on naval construction
spoke with contempt of the submarine as a factor in war at sea. No one
then had solved the old world problem of aerial flight. Some of the most
distinguished men of science regarded the attempts which were then being
made as hopeless. It then seemed still to be a mere dream of poets.
Wireless telegraphy was only a matter of speculation, a thing which a
few only thought of as a possibility of the future. Man has indeed
plucked the fruit of the tree of knowledge for his own destruction. What
may be the result of another quarter of a century of like advancement of
the knowledge of the means of spreading "death throughout the world and
bitter woe"? It may not be, as Dr. Murray Butler says, that the
strongest man will remain alone in a depopulated world. The strongest
may succumb to the inventions for destruction and the survivors may be a
few of those maimed or weakened by disease whom the storm has passed
over as too obscure, of too little importance even for the messengers of
Death to remember and to relieve from their misery. This is not
rhetorical exaggeration. The weapons of offence regularly win in their
race with the weapons of defence. Fortresses that took years to
construct are shattered in a day. The ironclad is sunk by the torpedo.
How very little margin lay between this country and starvation through
action of submarines! Suppose the enemy had possessed five times as many
submarines from the first, would our defensive measures have prevailed?
How small an extension in the enemy's power in the air would have
enabled him in a single night to leave London a mass of ruins, its whole
population which had not fled dying in torment from poisonous gases!
Another five-and-twenty years of advance in scientific knowledge equal
to that of the last five-and-twenty years may easily make such a result

But some man--one of those who never look beyond the next year and their
own street, and expects always to carry on business as usual--will say
that the nations will be exhausted and tired of war, and this War will
be the last. Dare any country trust to that unless a new spirit is
infused into the nations and definite steps are taken to prevent war?
Did those who had the best means of knowledge--the Government of the
day--imagine that such a war as this would break out suddenly? If they
did, they would be guilty of a crime almost unparalleled in leaving us
so unprepared and fiddling with such questions--"Welsh Disestablishment"
and the like--as occupied their time and attention and excited the
political controversies of the months and years immediately preceding
the War.

Assume even that no new war does break out again actually, dare any
nation neglect to keep up its naval and military armaments on a scale
far greater than before? How is the burden to be met when every penny
that can be raised as revenue will be needed to meet the charge on our
gigantic debt and the necessary claims for carrying on Government, to
say nothing of improving the conditions of life? We cannot, nor can
other nations, go on using up capital and borrowing indefinitely. The
choice is between assured peace and certain ruin, even if no war
actually occurs. How can peace be assured? It would be well for some of
those with the requisite historical knowledge and insight to trace
carefully the causes which have led to war in the past, to attempt a
diagnosis of the disease which has again and again devastated the world.
A vain classification might perhaps be made into religious wars,
dynastic wars, trade wars; but is there not one element common almost to
all, namely, the will to power, the desire and intention of some man or
set of men to impose their will on others, regardless of justice, which
forbids the exercise of force to prevent each thinking, speaking, acting
as he will, provided he does not injure the rights of others? It was the
assertion of a claim to dominate which led to the eighty years' war when
Spain tried to impose her yoke on the Netherlands, and blended with
desire for gain a crusade against the faiths which rejected the
supremacy of Rome. Was the Thirty years War a religious war or a
struggle between rulers to assert and extend their powers? Take any one
of the series of long wars, such as those of Louis XIV. or of Napoleon,
under what head of such a classification do they fall? Does not the
common element above mentioned apply to all of them?

The urgency of taking definite steps to secure peace has been recognised
already, much thought has been devoted to it, and schemes even in some
detail have been suggested for dealing with it. The idea of a League of
Nations to secure peace is occupying the attention of many of the wisest
minds and of the statesmen who hold the most responsible positions. It
is meeting with strong popular support, at all events in Britain and in
the United States. France and Italy are examining the proposal. It is
well, however, where attractive phrases are used and schemes proposed,
to subject them carefully to the double test: how far they cover the
ground and meet the real difficulties; and, secondly, how they would
work out in practice in the circumstances which are likely to arise. We
want to look at the question as a whole, to see exactly what we have to
aim at, sometimes to reiterate what seem almost useless truisms. The
obvious is too often overlooked. First we need to recognise the actual
facts, then let the right spirit grow up and become general, and after
that attempt to plan the best machinery and test its probable effect and
efficiency by seeing how it would be expected to work in various special

There are now in the world two fundamentally different ways of looking
at international relations. On the one hand, we have the assertions
expressed definitely in words by many Germans and acted upon
consistently without qualification by the German Government, that
justice is the interest of the stronger; that power and force may be,
and indeed ought to be, exerted by a State without any check on moral
grounds; that a strong nation must realise itself, develop and use its
strength without regard to the so-called rights of the weaker; that
"those should take who have the power, and those should keep who can."
To them Reason, Common Sense, even the Divine Law seem to say: "Assert
thyself; have the will to power." Where such a spirit exists there can
be no binding force in agreements, rules of international law are a
farce, but convenient perhaps at times for embarrassing the action of
opponents who wish to treat them with respect. The dictates of humanity
may be set aside at discretion. With that spirit argument is useless.
With those who are inspired by it there can be no compromise, no truce.
It must be met by force inspired by moral earnestness. In that struggle
the alternative for the world is victory or death. Every man who falls
fighting against such a foe dies a martyr, witnessing by his death that
so far as in him lies the embodied powers of evil shall not prevail.
Unless the Power which thus claims to dominate is defeated it is useless
to talk of peace. On the other hand, it is essential to recognise, and
keep ever before us, the spirit which is opposed to this claim for
domination, this denial of the existence of justice, and to renew in the
whole nation the spirit in which it entered into the War.



     _If any peace after the War is to be permanent there must
     be a settlement not only between territorial claims but
     an arrangement with regard to the machinery by which
     peace will be maintained in the future._

Perhaps the most convenient way to gain a more definite idea of what the
proposal for a League of Nations really means, to understand both its
advantages and the difficulties involved in it, may be to follow the
debate on the subject initiated by Lord Parmoor in the House of Lords in
March of 1918. It shows that the idea of a League of Nations to prevent
war is taking definite shape, and is not regarded by practical
men--statesmen with experience of the actual conduct of international
affairs, and lawyers who as members of the judicial committee of the
Privy Council have had to devote their attention to questions of
international law--as outside the range of practical politics. It shows
also that the idea will stand the test of discussion and calm criticism.

Lord Lansdowne--to whom, whatever may be thought of some recent
utterances, the country owes a debt of gratitude too little recognised,
especially for his conduct of foreign affairs at a most difficult period
during the Boer War--stated his opinion that "in a league pronouncing a
sentence of international outlawry upon any one country that broke away
from its obligations you would have a material guarantee for the
maintenance of peace." He pointed out how "the existence of such a
league might perhaps have prevented the War in July of 1914, as it was
impossible in that time of clamour and confusion when one suggestion
after another made by those who, like Sir Edward Grey, were working for
peace was rejected, to put forward a definite proposal for dealing with
the dispute in a manner provided for by previous agreement." Lord
Parker, whose authority carries the greatest weight with jurists
everywhere, having the true lawyer's instinct for putting vague
proposals into definite shape, actually presented a draft of heads of
agreement for the establishment of a League.[1] These heads would, to
say the least, form the basis for discussion leading to practical
results. One or two of his proposed clauses may be quoted as expressing
in definite language the fundamental principles which must be the basis
of any such League. The first may appear perhaps only a "pious opinion."
It is really very much more. Assent to it means the complete repudiation
of the ideas which have guided German policy--the ideas which made world
war inevitable, and which will inevitably lead to war in the future
unless they are abandoned. Any nation which assents to the clause tells
the world that it expressly rejects those ideas and agrees that its
action shall be guided by principles diametrically opposed to them.
Assent to a declaration of the kind suggested would certainly affect the
spirit in which international questions are approached in future, and
probably the resulting action also. It runs:

"The League to recognise that war from whatever cause is a danger to our
common civilisation, and that international disputes ought to be settled
on principles of right and justice and not by force of arms." The last
clause dealing with the admission of new members of the League is the
complement of this. There is to be power "to admit a nation as a member
of the League, if satisfied in each case that the nation bona fide
accepts the principle on which the League is founded, and bona fide
intends that international disputes shall thereafter be settled by
peaceful means." It is contemplated, and rightly contemplated, that
there should be a possibility for the Central Empires to join the League
sooner or later, but it can only be on terms of their rulers at the time
saying expressly, "We abjure in the sight of the world and of our own
people those principles of action which German rulers and leaders of
thought have been inculcating for two generations." The choice for
Germany would be either to stand excommunicated from the brotherhood of
nations for ever, or to say plainly, "I declare what my professors and
schoolmasters have for half a century had to teach to be false; the
doctrines of Treitschke and of his disciple von Bernhardi are anathema;
it is infamous to adopt the statement of the German writer that 'It is
of no importance to me whether an action is just or unjust,' or that 'If
I am powerful enough to perform any deed, then I am justified in doing
it.' I renounce such leaders and teachers and all their words and works,
so that I will not follow or be led by them." It may be urged that the
recantation might not be sincere, but it would discredit the authority
of those who attempt to revive the damnable doctrines.[2]

The great difficulty, of course, arises as to the means of enforcing the
agreement against war, of finding some proper and effective sanction to
secure its observance. It may be well to note that throughout this
discussion the word sanction is used in the strict legal sense, meaning
some definite penalty or punishment to be inflicted on a wrong-doer. It
is the existence of such a "sanction" which is the clearest way of
enforcing obedience, and gives a rule of conduct the force of law.

Two definite proposals are made in Lord Parker's scheme. (1) "If an act
of war be committed against any member of the League, the Council is to
notify it, and thereupon every member should (_a_) break off diplomatic
relations with the nation guilty of such act; (_b_) prohibit and take
effective steps to prevent all trade and commerce between itself and the
guilty party; (_c_) place an embargo upon all ships and property of the
guilty nation found in its territorial waters or within its

A very similar suggestion, though not quite so definite, was made by the
present writer in an article on "Sanction in International Law," which
appeared in the Italian Journal "Scientia" in 1916. "The nations might
agree that any belligerent which wilfully violates or invades neutral
territory shall be treated as a moral leper. Without actually going to
war they should cease to have dealings with the invader, forbid all
intercourse of their subjects with the country which violates the
neutral territory."

For the sake of brevity this may be called the "economic boycott," but
it is really very much more than simply economic pressure. It is a
common habit in political discussions to confuse very different things,
to which the same name is given, and the term "economic boycott" is
being used to cover three proposals of very different character. (_a_)
It may mean a permanent exclusion of Germany from the markets of the
world to punish its people for supporting the crimes of its rulers and
incidentally to secure for ourselves a valuable extension of trade by
reason of the exclusion of a rival. (_b_) It may mean a temporary
measure to insure that agreed terms of peace are observed by those who
disregard "mere scraps of paper," to act as a guarantee that restitution
shall be made for wrongs done, to check the revival and extension of the
enemy's armaments, to make the German people feel the disadvantages and
loss caused by their action, and the desirability of joining with
others in repudiating war as a means of settling disputes or asserting
national claims. (_c_) It may mean a sanction for breach of the
stipulations contained in the agreement on which the League of Nations
is founded, i.e., a punishment to be inflicted on anyone who infringes
the agreement he has made--a means of insuring performance of its terms.
It is in this last sense that it is used in the present discussion.

(2) The second sanction proposed in the scheme is of a still more
serious character. The clause to embody it runs as follows:

"Certain members of the League specified in a schedule and to consist of
the chief military and naval powers, should agree, if required to do so
by a resolution of the League, to commence war against the guilty
nation, and to prosecute such war by land and sea until the guilty
nation shall have accepted terms which shall be approved by the League."

This proposal might more effectually prevent wrong-doing, but, even if
carefully guarded as Lord Parker proposes, appears open to serious
objections. There seems grave reason to fear that while intended to
prevent war, it might really be the cause of disputes, and possibly of
war of the most deadly kind. Such a stipulation might cast a terrible
burden on a strong naval power like Great Britain, and have most
disastrous consequences. We are bound to maintain a strong navy to keep
open communication between the different parts of the Empire and also to
protect our food supplies. Without sea power Britain could in a few
months be starved into submission to any terms in case of war, but to
maintain a large navy to be at the beck and call of a Council
representing all the nations who cared to join the proposed League would
be intolerable. Suppose, for example, the United States demanded
satisfaction for some outrage on American subjects, or suppose American
subjects were threatened with massacre in some unsettled country such as
Mexico, and in order to obtain satisfaction or to protect its subjects
sent some warships to a Mexican port and landed an armed force, not with
any object of aggression, but to prevent irreparable injuries. Suppose
Great Britain was of opinion that the American demand was amply
justified, but that a majority of representatives of the League, or
even, as Lord Parker's scheme suggests, a majority of the powers named
in the Schedule, took a contrary view and called on Great Britain to
fulfil the agreement to use her naval force and commence and prosecute
to the bitter end a war against the United States because its Government
had acted at once instead of waiting while the representatives of a
score of other nations were discussing whether any action was
permissible. Would not the alternative between breaking the engagement
and undertaking a bitter and ruinous war against a powerful and friendly
nation put us in an intolerable position? Half a dozen States in the
League might for one reason or another wish to resist the claim of the
United States for redress. Names of States which might possibly so
combine could be given, but it is better to refrain. It is not
inconceivable that German penetration and intrigue at some future time
might promote a combination of the kind. All sorts of influences might
be brought to bear on certain of the States and on their
representatives. Dynastic claims might even affect them.

Unless it be with some country which she can trust and whose Government
and its aims she can thoroughly rely upon, and then only for some
limited and specific purpose, Great Britain, or any other naval or
military power, ought not to bind itself to go to war and employ its
forces. We must be free to reduce those forces or to refrain from
employing them in making war. An engagement which might in
circumstances, the real character of which no one can foresee at
present, compel us to undertake a war at the bidding of others is a
thing to which we ought never to consent. Engagements to make war are
not a safe way of promoting peace. They may possibly be justified where
there is some clearly specified object, some defined case in which
nations ally themselves to prevent some particular wrong, such, for
example, as guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium. Even for a single
specific agreement of this kind a very strong case is required, but that
is a totally different thing from agreeing to provide a kind of world
police to enforce and execute the orders of a Council of heterogeneous
States under conditions the nature of which no one can predict now. We
cannot tell beforehand with any certainty what will be the real
character of the proposed League Council, nor what motives may inspire
its members at some future time, nor whom the majority of them will in
fact represent. It does not necessarily follow that there can be no
sanction of any kind to enforce the rules of International Law or the
decisions of a League of Nations to prevent a breach of international
peace, no penalty attaching to those who disregard those rules or are
guilty of breaking that peace. As already stated, the economic boycott,
every member of the League agreeing to treat an aggressor as an outlaw,
and without actually going to war ceasing to have any dealings with him,
and forbidding all intercourse of its subjects with the peace-breaker,
is likely to be really effective. Lord Shaw, whose interest in the
subject is no new thing, and who has devoted long and careful
consideration to it, later in the debate gave the weight of his
authority as to the efficacy of such measures. "Let it," he said, "be
known once and for all that from the moment a nation becomes a traitor
to the League it becomes, _ipso facto_, an economic outlaw, then the
motive both for being included within and for remaining within the
League will be increased a hundredfold, and wholly for the benefit of

Of course, logically many of the objections which can be urged against
an agreement to make war might also be urged against an agreement for a
boycott of this kind, but in practice the risks in the case of the
boycott would be far less serious. Members of a club might well agree to
expel and to cut a member who assaults another, but it would be a
different matter to agree that, they should be able to order the
strongest man in the club to go to his house and thrash the offender
until he makes such compensation as may seem satisfactory to them. A man
who objected to be put on a "schedule" of members liable to be deputed
for such a mission would not necessarily be a coward. He might possibly
think that the member assaulted did in fact deserve a horse-whipping,
though he might deprecate such a proceeding, and consider that the
affair, or the dispute between the parties, ought to have been dealt
with by the club committee as a case for expulsion. A hatred of
injustice, resentment against wrong, if it really exists in nations and
individuals, will make itself felt. Without it, formal agreements will
be found to be of little use. The objections to a League of Nations
having power practically to order certain of its members to make war do
not in any way prevent the establishment of international tribunals
being followed by useful results. Without any express sanctions to
enforce them as above suggested, their decisions will usually be obeyed
in practice. There is and will be plenty of scope for the action of such
tribunals. A nation may hate war, may recognise its perils and the
inevitable losses involved, but may feel that an unwarrantable claim is
being made against it which it is bound to resist. It may, however, be
perfectly willing to submit the point to any tribunal which even
purports to be impartial, and abide by its decision. In this way some
systems of law have grown up. They began by regulating procedure. Each
of two parties claimed something as his property, was ready to fight to
maintain his right; but such contests might result in injustice, and
were certainly injurious to the peace of the State. In early Roman Law
each party who claimed the object in dispute touched it with his spear,
showing his readiness to fight for it; then some respected citizen--_vir
pietate gravis_--stepped in, and each party, without fear that his
refraining from fighting would expose him to future encroachments on his
rights, could agree to abide by his decision. As time goes on, what was
merely the casual intervention of an arbitrator becomes an habitual
rule, and eventually the fixed law of the land. Custom develops by
general consent into law. Trial by combat may become obsolete in
practice even long before it becomes illegal. There are many cases in
which a man (or a nation) dare not give way, though he knows that it
will cost him more to fight the case. A rough Lancashire manufacturer
was once advised against fighting a difficult case on the ground that
the result was uncertain, and the costs would in any event be very
heavy, more than the value of the matter in dispute. He said afterwards
to his solicitor with some force, "If I give in in this, that ---- will
come into my kitchen, kick me, and ask what business I have there. No,
I'll fight him now." He brought his action and won, and found the
prediction as to costs was only too fully borne out, even though
judgment in the Court of Appeal was finally given in his favour. The man
who says he will not fight in any circumstances invites injuries, though
the man who fights when he could honourably avoid it is pretty sure to
rue his decision.

Where two high-spirited persons are engaged in a dispute, and each is
ready to maintain his cause with the sword, the intervention of a third
may save both from the disasters of a battle. The words of the Douglas
when intervening in a heated contest, "The first who strikes shall be my
foe," may sometimes be a model for the real peacemaker. But he would
certainly have resented the idea of agreeing to keep prepared, ready
armed to fight at the bidding of a number of other chiefs, anyone who
used force to prevent or punish some injury to himself.


[Footnote 1: The death of Lord Parker, which occurred soon after these
words were written, has deprived the country of the services of one of
the few great jurists at a time when they are most sorely needed. There
are many good lawyers, many judicial minds acute in seizing the really
relevant points in a complicated case, but very few, perhaps none, who
united to legal learning and judicial penetration so broad a grasp of
principle and appreciation of the larger issues involved in decisions

[Footnote 2: A passage in Mr. Brailsford's book on a "League of
Nations," published some months before the debate took place, but which
I had not seen when the above lines were written, puts the point most

"We set out to destroy Prussian militarism. It will be destroyed at the
moment when a German Government pledges itself to enter a league based
on arbitration and conciliation."]



After an adjourned debate on June 27th, 1918, in which Lord Curzon
pointed out several practical difficulties that would have to be faced,
the House of Lords, surely not a body to be carried away by any
ephemeral current of popular feeling[3] or captivated by a vague phrase,
passed with practical unanimity a resolution in these terms, "That this
House approves of the principle of a League of Nations, and commends to
His Majesty's Government a study of the conditions required for its
realisation." It in effect declared the "preamble proved," and proposed
that "the clauses" should be considered. At the suggestion of Lord
Bryce--a true friend of peace, if ever there was one--certain words
contained in the original resolution proposing that there should be a
tribunal constituted "whose orders shall be enforceable by adequate
sanction" were omitted. The question of sanction is, no doubt, a crucial
one, but it seemed better to substitute the more general words urging an
inquiry into the conditions necessary for the establishment of a League,
in fact to see generally--looking at the question as a whole--what
definite and practical steps should be taken to bring the League into
existence and define its constitution, aims and powers. In passing such
a resolution the House of Lords was expressing the feeling of the
nation. Its great importance was that by an assembly so critical,
containing men of such varied experience and-with special knowledge both
of law and of foreign affairs, a resolution supporting the idea of a
League was accepted with real unanimity.

It would be most unfortunate if the approval of the proposal to give the
League powers to direct the use of the naval and military forces of
certain of its members were to be made a condition precedent to approval
of the principle of a League and as necessarily implied in it. Earnest
advocates of that principle may dissent entirely from Viscount Grey's
statement in his pamphlet, published about the time when the debate took
place, that "those States that have power must be ready to use all the
force, economic, military or naval, that they possess." "_Anything less
than this is of no value._" They may hold, on the contrary, that a
League might be of great value without any agreement binding certain of
its members to employ--which implies an obligation to maintain--naval
and military forces and armaments at the bidding of the League Council
on a scale and in the manner which would either be settled from time to
time by representatives of other nations or be the subject of some
preliminary agreement. Settling the terms of such an agreement might
involve serious disputes and delay the establishment of the League
indefinitely. The moral influence due to the existence of a League
embracing all nations which regard war as an evil to be stopped if
possible, would be great. A Declaration of Faith, in which those who
hold a common belief give expression to it, has its effect. An agreement
between nations or individuals, even where there is no legal sanction,
would be regarded as something that they will try to carry out. The
breach of such an agreement would excite the "resentment which is the
life-blood of law." Still the risk of disregard of the obligations is
great unless there is a definite material sanction, an evil imposed by
force on a wrong-doer, and no doubt it will be urged that some
objections to employ military and naval power to enforce the obligations
imposed by the League may be raised against the less drastic proposal
for an economic boycott, but in actual working the two things, as
already pointed out, differ enormously. The suggested economic boycott
imposes a similar obligation on all members of the League; all alike can
immediately forbid all intercourse by their subjects with the aggressor,
instead of imposing on certain members the duty of going to war.
Secondly, it does not imply the maintenance of great armaments by any

It is constantly found that a penalty of smaller amount, a less severe
punishment, is more likely to prevent a wrong than a heavier one,
provided that it is prompt and certain. Had Germany known a few months
sooner that Britain would assuredly go to war and put into such war her
whole resources if Belgium were invaded, it is not improbable that that
outrage would never have been committed; but had Germany also known that
the moment her troops crossed the Belgian frontier every German ship in
the United States would be interned, every American citizen punished as
a criminal by the United States Government if he traded with Germany,
that "intercourse" with the aggressor would be at once forbidden, and
that these restraints would be continued until complete restitution had
been made, is it not morally certain that Belgium would not have been
invaded? War might have been prevented. In fear of such an injury to
German trade and commerce, the bankers of Berlin and Frankfort would
have denounced war; the merchants of Hamburg and Bremen would have been
the strongest advocates of peace. A like test might be applied to other
cases of aggression. The effects of breaking off diplomatic--and, still
more, commercial--relationships, although no shot is fired and no
regiment mobilised, and of mere neutrality differ _toto coelo_. The very
people who are least influenced by moral restraints, who scorn justice,
will be most influenced by the financial losses and the destruction of
their trade.

It was, no doubt, right "to commend a study of the question" to His
Majesty's Government, but it is also well to commend to the Government
the desirability of consultation with those outside the Government
departments who have given study to it already. Like other problems, it
should be considered in advance during the War. As Lord Shaw forcibly
pointed out, "The project does not mean the slackening of our efforts or
a weakening of our forces or timidity in our policy in the present War.
If it did I would not be associated with it for one hour."

To quote Lord Grey's words, Germany has to be convinced that force does
not pay, that the aims and policy of her military rulers inflict
intolerable and also unnecessary suffering upon her. The regeneration of
Germany, a real new birth, is necessary if the peace of the world is to
be secured; and surely by now we might have learned that such
regeneration will never come unless Germany is beaten in this War. As
Lord Grey says, "Recent military success and the ascendancy of Prussian
militarism have reduced the advocates of anything but force to silence"
in Germany. As these words are written comes the report of the sinking
of the hospital ship _Llandovery Castle_, followed by cold-blooded and
deliberate murder. The mass of German crime grows daily.

The "economic boycott" above referred to differs absolutely in its aim
and character from the proposal to impose a permanent and continuous
boycott on German commerce to maintain and extend British or other trade
at the expense of Germany. Phrases are sometimes used here which seem to
be almost a repetition of those so dear to the Pan-German party.
"Destroy British commerce that German may replace it," is echoed back as
"Destroy German commerce that British may replace it." The whole idea
that the progress and extension of the trade and industry of one country
is an injury to another is radically false. A spirit of jealousy,
regarding the prosperity of others as involving injury to ourselves, is
a curse to the individual, to the class, or to the nation which is
imbued with it.

To put these questions on the highest moral basis--on a true religious
basis, if you will--is not cant, but only a recognition of the real
facts. The world will without doubt everlastingly perish unless this
true faith is maintained and acted upon. Self-interest and
self-aggrandisement as dominant motives inevitably lead to destruction,
hastened by every advance in the knowledge and in the efficiency of
those who take them as their guides.


[Footnote 3: These words were written before July 9th, and perhaps now
require some modification.]



     _Just so while it is highly important to have
     controversies between nations settled by arbitration
     rather than by war, and the growth of sentiment in favour
     of that peaceable method of settlement is one of the
     great advances in civilisation of this generation; yet
     the true basis of peace among men is to be found in a
     just and considerate spirit among the people who rule our
     modern democracies, in their regard for the rights of
     other countries and in their desire to be fair and kindly
     in the treatment of the subjects which give rise to
     international controversies. The basis of peace and order
     is "the self-restraint of the thousands of people who
     make up the community, and their willingness to obey the
     law and regard the rights of others._"--ELIHU ROOT.

No League of Peace, however, can be sufficient guarantee against a power
which is highly organised, vigorous and united, if it desires war.
Either such a power must be so defeated and so weakened as to be unable
to renew hostilities, or its character so altered as to make it give up
the desire for aggression and domination. As Mr. Gerard points out, "It
is only by an evolution of Germany herself towards Liberalism that the
world will be given such guarantees of future peace as will justify the
termination of this War. Liberalism in this sense does not mean violent
revolution, but does mean a spirit opposed to that which animates the
present Government of Germany, and will continue to do so if no change
is made in that Government." "The whole world," as Mr. Gerard says,
"feels that peace made with its present Government would not be lasting,
that such a peace would mean the detachment of some of the Allies from
the present world alliance against Germany, preparation by Germany in
light of her needs as disclosed by the War, and the declaration of a new
war in which there would be no battle of the Marne to turn back the tide
of German world conquest." No such change of government can be imposed
from without. Every German would resent, and rightly, any such
interference. Mr. Balfour has declared expressly that a claim to change
the form of government in Germany is not one of our war aims. The change
must be a change of spirit, which will not come unless facts prove that
the violent assertion of the claim to domination, to override justice
where self-interest appears to be served thereby, has led to disaster,
and is in reality opposed to self-interest in the long run. As a means
of carrying out the ideas of Germany in its relations with other
countries, it must be admitted that its Government is a singularly
effective machine. It is those ideas which must be given up if a real
change is to be made. The clever devil could have invented nothing
better than the highly organised machinery of the German Government for
doing his work. There are two conditions, at all events, which are
necessary in regard to any such change if permanent peace is to result.

First, that we should not look for a disruption of settled and orderly
government in Germany. The anarchy of Russia does not make for world
peace. Would not a reasonable man, however liberal his views, prefer for
his country the rule of the Kaiser and his devotees to the rule of a
Lenin and of Bolsheviks?

Second, it must be clear that we do not desire the destruction of
Germany--a futile desire, even if not wicked--but its regeneration. No
doubt for a time, whatever happens in Germany, it will be impossible to
forget the crimes that have been committed. British sailors will
naturally refuse all association with those who have been guilty of the
series of murders at sea. Any attempt, however, to exclude Germany from
the markets of the world, permanently to destroy German commerce for all
time, would make permanent peace impossible. To make that a war aim
would be to strengthen every evil influence in Germany, and if done with
the object of securing gain to ourselves by forcible means, would
degrade us almost to the level of those who forced this War upon the
world. It was the purity of our aims that united all the best elements
of the nation in entering upon and in prosecuting the War, and in facing
its losses. It was that which has confirmed the stability of the
alliance, and from the beginning of the War made the best and most
enlightened Americans earnest supporters of our cause, and has finally
brought in the whole American nation, sworn to see the accomplishment of
those aims. The aims with which Britain entered on the War appealed
irresistibly to the people of the whole Empire, and not least to the
imagination of the Indian races. An Indian friend of wide experience and
calm and independent judgment wrote to me at the time, saying he had
never seen anything like the spirit of intense loyalty called out by the
belief of Indians that Britain was taking up a heavy burden to protect
weaker nations from aggression and to maintain justice.[4] Let us keep
those aims pure to the end. It would, of course, be affectation to
suggest that our object in the War is now simply a chivalrous desire to
protect the weak or maintain justice. We now know that it is also to
preserve our own existence as a nation, and that it would be better for
us and our children that Britain should be sunk beneath the sea than
that Germany should achieve a complete victory.

It must be reiterated that until Germans and Austrians can be admitted
to free intercourse with other nations we can have no complete world
peace. For such admission the conditions precedent above stated are
essential. But if these are complied with, we must make our choice
between the possibility of general peace with a League of Nations
embracing all and a state of "veiled and suspended warfare." This
pregnant phrase caught my eye after the foregoing paragraphs were
written. It is one to be remembered.

Although there is no sign at present of a changed spirit in the German
rulers, or in the party which is now dominant in Germany, the prospect
of an alteration in the spirit of the German people is not hopeless,
unless they emerge from the War victorious. A significant passage from a
German paper is quoted by Sir Dugald Clerk in the most valuable and
encouraging address on the "Stability of Britain," delivered by him to
the Royal Society of Arts in 1916. "So the Germans are awakening to a
consciousness of the futility of their dream of domination founded upon
the idea of might, irrespective of the rights of other nations, and they
will ultimately be forced to accept the idea, so strange to them
hitherto, that honesty between nations is as necessary as between man
and man." The whole address should be read as an antidote by any who
take a "gloomy joy in depreciation," as a tonic by those who are
depressed by our failures and apprehensive of our future.

To maintain a real peace based on goodwill, we want to get rid of the
jealous spirit which regards the prosperity of one nation as an injury
to others. "The economic and financial strength of this country is
founded upon the welfare not merely of the British people, but
practically of all countries." "Commerce is not a war. It will be found
that wealth increases simultaneously in industrious nations." "We must
not even forget that a poverty-stricken Germany and Austria would react
on the whole world." "Punish the Germans and Austrians by all
means--they thoroughly deserve it--but do not imagine that by cutting
those nations out of the world's commerce the other nations can be
rendered more wealthy." These general statements do not exclude, of
course, the possibility that it may be found necessary for a time by
"economic pressure" to secure performance by the enemy of certain terms,
nor that, during a period of reconstruction and readjustment, the
conditions affecting certain industries may not demand some special
temporary protection for them. There may for a time have to be
restrictions on certain imports from the enemy countries, and on certain
exports to them, but all such proposals ought to be very jealously
scrutinised, not only in regard to their effect on the particular trades
directly affected, but on the country as a whole. The use of such
weapons often injures those who use them more than those against whom
they are used. Would not a German Minister of Propaganda, or a German
Committee on War Aims, wishing to stimulate active support for the War
among the German masses, be well advised to circulate some of the
resolutions that have been passed by certain bodies in England and
scatter them broadcast in Central Europe, with a few careful glosses and
comments to point the moral? They would be a valuable asset for a German
"ginger group." The open door into and out of this country for
commodities generally has made it an emporium for world trade, and been
one of the main causes why, in spite of deficient home production of
necessaries, we have been able to stand the economic strain of the War.
Striking off the fetters that it has been found necessary to
impose--sometimes with undue strictness and pedantic minuteness--on
British commerce and industry will be one of the first things to be
hoped for from peace. It is impossible to give detailed examples here.
Ask any merchant, he will give you specific instances of the need for a
recovered freedom. Questions are so closely involved with each other
that we may seem to be mixing up national trade interests with the ideal
striving for peace and goodwill. Yet, after all, self-interest rightly
understood and regard for the interests of others, with an honest wish
for their welfare, are not feelings mutually exclusive. There is high
authority for saying that "serving the Lord" is not incompatible with
"diligence in business."

It is quite possible to lay too much stress on the necessity for
definite and formal sanctions to enforce agreements. There are cases in
which the enforcement of a definite penalty for a wrongful act or for
breach of an agreement is very difficult, but in which the "sense of
moral obligation," "respect for public opinion," and "reliance on
principles of mutual consent" do regularly operate so strongly that the
rules of conduct laid down are in fact observed. On the Manchester
Exchange thousands of agreements involving millions of money are made,
the breach of which could not be made the ground of a successful action
at law. The number of cases of repudiation of such agreements is almost
negligible. To plead the Statute of Frauds in an action for non-delivery
or non-acceptance of goods under such informal agreements might be a
defence in the law courts, but would not save the defendant from the
indeterminate but effective penalties due to the feeling of his fellows
that he was acting dishonourably. It is instructive to notice that in
dealing with the question of industrial disputes, which are in many ways
analogous to international, at least where they arise between organised
bodies of employers and of workpeople, the Whitley Committee, in a
supplemental report issued in January, 1918, expressed the opinion: (1)
that no attempt should be made to establish compulsory arbitration or
compulsory legislation to prevent strikes and lock-outs; (2) that there
should be standing arbitration councils or panels of arbitrators to whom
disputes arising could be voluntarily referred; (3) that provision
should be made for independent inquiry and report as to the merits of
trade disputes; (4) that legal penalties for breach of an award or of an
agreement made to settle a trade dispute should not be imposed; (5) that
the decisions of industrial tribunals and arbitrators should be
co-ordinated as far as possible, and that there should be opportunity
for interchange of opinion between the arbitrators whose awards should
be circulated. A body of customary law on the subject would thus grow up
without legal sanction, but of great value in promoting uniformity and
preventing the ill-feeling which would arise from conflicting decisions
in different cases involving similar questions. Those who have taken any
part in deciding questions affecting wages or trade conditions have
found the need of some standard to appeal to, and felt the danger likely
to arise from giving decisions either less or more favourable to either
party than had been given in other districts in similar circumstances.
In an analogous way, decisions of the prize court of one country are
quoted in the courts of other countries, although they are not binding
on them. International Law did exist, and had an important practical
influence. Diplomatists did appeal to it, and the prize tribunals, in
administering the law, stated distinctly that they would be guided by
and would apply the principles of that law, even if the orders issued by
the administrative Government of their own country were at variance with
it. The decision of the Privy Council in the case of the _Zamora_
establishes the principle that the law which prize courts will follow is
International Law, and that they will do so though some Order in Council
may conflict with it.


[Footnote 4: How strong this belief was among many of those who had
often been in opposition to the British Government was shown at a
meeting in Bombay early in the War. The enthusiastic speech of the
chairman, the late Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, one of the ablest and most
persistent critics of British rule in India for very many years, is one
to be remembered.]



We may now state in order certain definite conclusions which appear to
follow from the arguments urged above:--

1.--It is to be expected that during the next thirty years, a period
less than that which has elapsed since the Franco-German War, the
scientific knowledge of the means of carrying on offensive warfare will
have made such advances and become so generally applied, that, if
another world war breaks out, not only will material damage be caused
which can never be repaired, but the best part of the human race will
either be destroyed or suffer deterioration as disastrous as complete
destruction, and that this result will be accompanied by appalling

2.--Unless there is a real assurance of peace, even if actual war does
not break out, the maintenance of armaments and the preparation for war
would place a burden which would be absolutely intolerable on the
leading nations of mankind.

3.--Owing to the close connection through modern means of communication
between one nation and another and the way in which their interests are
interlocked, a war between two States is liable to develop into a world
war. If one nation endeavours to promote its interests by imposing its
will by force on another, the other nations must either stand by while
the injury is done, in which case it is almost certain that the injury
will be repeated by subsequent attacks on some of them, or the nations
must league themselves together to prevent aggression and the assertion
of the claim to ascendancy.

4.--The complete defeat of Germany, and the punishment thereby
inflicted on the German rulers and the people who have supported them,
will be the best vindication of the principles of international justice
possible, and will operate as a sanction for international morality and
a warning against future aggressions or claims to dominate put forward
by Germany or any other State.

5.--The defeat of Germany in the present War, followed by subsequent
pressure on Germany through economic boycott or else by a clearly proved
change in the principles and aims of the German nation, accompanied by a
definite repudiation of the persons and the policy and organisation
which have led to the War, is absolutely essential for the future peace
of the world.

6.--The formation of a League of Nations willing to bind themselves
together for common objects, of which the prevention of war is the most
important, may not only be the most effective way of securing peace but
also provide a means for the consideration and adoption of measures
intended for the common welfare of all. Such a League may, probably
must, come into existence, and its aims and methods be formulated,
before Germany and her Allies could be admitted to it; but as soon as
Germany and her Allies can give adequate assurances that they will adopt
and be bound by the principles laid down as the foundation of the
League, they should be admitted to it. Until this is possible the League
must partake of the nature of a defensive alliance rather than of a
world-wide league of peace.

7.--Whether any definite sanction for enforcing the principles on which
the League is founded and the stipulations which it contains can be
imposed or not, the League may be of great value by giving the weight of
international opinion expressly to those principles. Public opinion of
the nations so expressed might often be effective even though not
enforced by a definite sanction.

8.--Of the two definite sanctions proposed, namely, (_a_) the so-called
"economic boycott" and (_b_) the use of the naval and military forces of
the leagued States or of certain States selected from them by
arrangement, the economic boycott which can readily be applied by all
members of the League alike, and that without keeping up any large
armaments, is likely to be effective and is free from the most serious
objections against the other sanction suggested.

9.--So many difficulties would arise in fixing the terms of any
stipulations as to the employment of military and naval forces to carry
into effect the requirements of the League, that to make such provisions
a necessary preliminary condition to the existence of the League from
the outset might indefinitely delay the formation of such a League, and,
further, the discussion of such terms would be likely to lead to
friction. The obligation imposed on certain States might involve a very
heavy burden, first, in keeping up armaments and possibly, later, in
actually going to war. Such stipulations, for reasons above stated and
illustrated, might place the leading powers in a position of great
embarrassment, and might actually themselves become the cause of serious

10.--The practice of making Secret Treaties by which the Sovereigns, the
Foreign Ministers, or the diplomatists of any nation can bind it ought
to be discontinued. The experience of the action of this country as well
as of others during the present War, as well as before it, supports this
conclusion. Negotiations must no doubt be carried on through the
ordinary diplomatic channels, but before a complete and binding
agreement is entered into, the duly constituted representatives of the
popular will should know and give their sanction to what is being done.
On the other hand, for unauthorised persons or any self-constituted
bodies or conferences to attempt to pre-judge such questions and to
carry on negotiations either with regular or irregular representatives
of other nations is pernicious. Such action is likely both to lead to
confusion and to hamper the action of the authorised representatives of
the nation, and is really opposed to sound principles of democracy,
which must be based on the duly expressed will of the nation as a whole,
and not of any section.

11.--Much may be done in settling the terms of peace after the War by
acting so as to remove probable causes of war in the future. The
adoption of some of the methods used in the past, as, for example, at
the Congress at Vienna, is sure to lead to future difficulties. Terms of
peace should not be matters for the kind of bargaining between the
powerful States by which one gives up something in consideration of
another giving up something else in exchange, and the contracting
parties treat smaller States or weaker nations as "pawns" in the game.
Each territory about which any question arises, each subject which has
to be dealt with, should be treated independently in accordance with the
requirements of justice, and especially having regard to the welfare of
the people most directly affected by it. No claim, for example, on the
part of Germany to be compensated for evacuating and making reparation
to Belgium by having some advantage in some other part of the world
should be entertained for a moment. To do so would be equivalent to
bargaining with a criminal as to the compensation to be paid to him for
giving up what he has acquired by his crimes. It is, however, legitimate
in considering the question of self-determination by the people of any
territory to consider how far such people have established or can
establish a peaceful and orderly government, and how far the
arrangements to be made as regards any country or district will affect
the safety of contiguous countries or may give rise to future disputes
and really be productive of war.

12.--Whether a League is established or not, treaties for submitting
disputes to arbitration, and if possible to tribunals permanently
constituted, will still be valuable in the future as in the past. The
decisions of regular tribunals composed of impartial persons who inspire
respect will gradually form a body of customary law, and be precedents
guiding action in the future. The attempt of Germany to override not
only precedents but also express agreements with regard to the conduct
of war, if it fails, does not discredit the value of such attempts as
were made at The Hague to embody in definite form the international law
on the subjects with which they endeavoured to deal. A careful revision
of the provisions agreed to at The Hague in light of subsequent
knowledge is desirable. They only become a dead letter if one nation
utterly disregards them and does so without incurring a penalty in some

13.--It is not desirable to attempt to go into exact detail in all the
arrangements so made. For example, the attempt to enumerate a list of
articles which are to be deemed contraband, as was tried in the
Declaration of London, has led to preposterous results. Articles which
at one time were of no use in war have become, through the advance in
scientific knowledge, the material for making the most deadly and most
cruel instruments in the course of the present War.

14.--An attempt must be made to secure at least partial disarmament.
Provision as to the disarmament of Germany should be one of the terms of
peace. The extent and character of any arrangements as to general
disarmament require separate and detailed consideration. It would
naturally be one of the subjects to be discussed by any League which may
be formed. It is well to note from the outset (a) that a fleet is
essential to the British Empire for purely defensive purposes, and for
maintaining connection between the different parts of the Empire, but a
great reduction in the size of the fleet may be possible by arrangement.
The Allied Powers will recognise that it was the existence of the
British fleet that saved them from defeat, and in some cases from utter
destruction. (6) That for a nation to train its citizens as a defensive
force on the Swiss model may actually tend to preserve peace, and also
have a very useful influence on the morale of a nation. A defensive
force of this kind would not have the character or the aims which make
a great professional army a menace to peace.

15.--Lastly, it is undesirable and would be futile to attempt to set up
a "supernational sovereign authority." The scope of any League--its
powers and its objects--should be clearly defined, and the independent
sovereign States should bind themselves, as contracting parties, to
carry out the terms agreed, and all should agree beforehand as to the
steps they would take to prevent or to punish any violation of those



    _Toi qui nous apportas l'épée_--
    _Le glaive de Justice_--
    _Et nous ordonnas de l'acheter_
    _Fût ce an prix de nos tuniques,_
    _Toi qui renversas les tables des marchants_
    _Installés sous Tes portiques,_
    _Donne à nos bras la foi et la rage à nos coeurs_
    _Afin que la Victoire couronne de fleurs_
    _Le front de nos enfants._--
                  EMILE CAMMAERTS, "Prière Pâques," 1915.

A few still perhaps remain of those who, as under-graduates at the time
of the Franco-German War, remember Dean Stanley's first sermons after
many years of exclusion from the Oxford University pulpit. Using in one
of them his favourite plan of giving life to ancient literature by
modern illustrations and conversely making modern tendencies clearer by
references to ancient thought, he took the words of the Hebrew prophet,
applying them to the troubles and strife of the time. "Who is this that
cometh from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah?" What will emerge from
the bloodshed of war and the chaos of communal revolution? The answer
was given--"It may be, it must be a united Germany; it may be, it must
be a regenerate France."

Truly it has been a regenerate France that, with firm resolve and calm
courage, has suffered and withstood invasion, far different from the
France which in 1870 went to war with light heart, excited and
unprepared, anticipating easy victory. War shattered the Empire and the
true soul of France was found.

Well might the "Song before Sunrise" again greet the purified France:--

    Who is this that rises red with wounds and splendid.
    All her breast and brow made beautiful with scars?

May we soon be able to add the conclusion!--

    In her eyes the light and fire of long pain ended,
    In her lips a song as of the morning stars.

The prophecy in both parts was fulfilled. Germany did indeed become
united, united not only by closer political ties between all its
divisions, but united in its aims and in its methods, conscious of union
and of strength, marvellous in its power of organisation, fitting each
member into his special position in the consolidated state, and moulding
him for the place he was to occupy; drilled from earliest youth how to
act and how to think, his commonest acts done, and very gestures made,
according to rule. Yet they, too, had their ideals. I remember in 1871,
the year after the Franco-German War, meeting a party of Germans who
were unveiling a tablet by the Pasterze Glacier in memory of a comrade
fallen in the war--Karl Hoffman, a pioneer of mountaineering in the
Glockner district--and hearing their impassioned speeches. The mountains
of Austrian Tyrol were to them "die Alpen seines Vaterlandes," and the
song with the refrain, "Lieb Vaterland muss grösser sein" echoed from
the rocks, "My beloved Fatherland must be greater"; may not this be the
expression of a noble patriotism? But it so easily turns to "my country
must have more, must take more," and becomes the very watchword of
greed. "Deutschland über Alles" might perhaps mean first to the German
"My country before everything to me." _Corruptio optimi pessima_, it
easily becomes "Germany over all,"--the country which dominates an
inferior world and is thus the condensed motto of supreme insolence.
"Insolence breeds the tyrant," and the doom the ancient poet prophesies
is the divine ordinance to be fulfilled by the action of man.
"Insolence, swollen with vain thought, mounts to the highest place, and
is hurled down to the doom decreed."

Insolence seems the nearest equivalent for the Greek word [Greek:
hybris], which implies much more. Some translate it "pride." It is a
sense of superiority, greater strength, higher culture, leading to a
claim to dominate the minds and the lives, the destinies, of others, and
then in its arrogant self-assertion to override all laws and all
restraints imposed by justice. It is the exact opposite of the Christian
precept: "Let each esteem other better than himself." This, like some
other Christian precepts, may never have been meant to express the whole
truth, but only that side which men are naturally apt to neglect. It was
hardly necessary to insist that men should defend themselves against
attack, maintain their rights, and keep their self-respect. There are
some crimes, too, which it required no special revelation to condemn;
man revolts from them as _contra naturam_. One of these crimes is
refusal to aid their fellow-countrymen who are fighting against

With the spirit that claims to dominate in its "will to power," to
override the eternal laws of justice, there can be no compromise. Until
that spirit is vanquished, the answer to the question, "Is it peace?"
must be, "What hast thou to do with peace, so long as thy brutal acts
and thy tyrannies are so many?" The order is given to smite. With profit
now we may recall the old narrative,--"And he smote thrice, and stayed.
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have
smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten" the enemy till thou
hadst destroyed his evil will. The work must be completed thoroughly;
but that task once accomplished, to continue war, whether open or
veiled, either to satisfy national hatred and the mere wish for
vengeance, or, still more, in the desire of gain, would be to become--to
use George Herbert's words--"parcel devils in damnation" with those who
have driven or beguiled Germany to crime against humanity and to her own
undoing. It is but too easy for heroic effort and firm determination to
defend the right, to be corrupted either by a spirit of insolence or
greed. Even as we sow the seeds for a fruitful harvest of good, the
arch-enemy may be sowing the tares. On the other hand, to cease from
work and from struggle, either through fear or slackness or weariness,
or even from that pacific temperament which shrinks from contest of any
kind, may have results almost equally fatal. That other prayer of the
Greek poet is for us also. "But I ask that the god will never relax that
struggle which is for the State's true welfare"--"the contest in which
citizen vies with citizen who shall best serve the State."




     _The question for the British nation is--Can we work our
     course pacifically on firm land into the New Era, or must
     it be for us as for others, through the black abysses of
     Anarchy, hardly escaping, if we do with all our struggles
     escape, the jaws of eternal death?_--THOMAS CARLYLE.

It is not only international peace that must be assured. As a necessary
condition for reconstruction comes the need for Peace, peace real and
lasting, and peace all round. There may be times when the nation or the
individual needs the bracing stimulus, if not of war, at least of
competition and of conflict in the realm of thought and in the realm of
action; times when old institutions, old creeds, old systems, old
customs, are fiercely attacked and vigorously defended. The storm clears
the air, and the struggle ends in the survival of the fittest. After the
War the nations, and our own not least, wearied of strife, exhausted by
losses, will need all their energies to repair those losses, to rebuild,
often in quite new form, what the havoc of war has destroyed, and to
adapt themselves to the changed conditions of an altered world. It will
be a time neither for contest nor for rest, but for co-operation, mutual
help in the work, not merely of restoration, but of building up
something better in its place, where the old has been destroyed, or
shown its defects under the strain. For this, Peace is needed, peace not
only between the nations, but peace between different classes and
opposing parties, and even divergent Churches; international,
industrial, political and religious peace. There will be so much that
ought by general agreement to be done, the ideals to be set before us
will have so much in common, their realisation will need so much work in
concert, such concurrence as to the practical steps to be taken, such
goodwill among those who must work together with a common aim, that a
"truce of God" between those who were once opponents may be called for.
For a time at least old shibboleths might be forgotten, and the old
so-called "principles," round which so many barren contests of the past
have been waged, might cease to hamper us in adopting the practical
measures which the exigencies of the time demand.

It is a significant fact, a note of sure and certain hope of the
ultimate result in the struggle against the powers of darkness, that men
are ready now to think and to act on the assumption that complete
victory will be achieved, and that the foundations for reconstruction
may now be laid, even while war is raging most fiercely. This work of
preparation to meet the difficulties that will arise after the War need
not interfere in any way with the paramount necessity of carrying on the
War to a successful issue, or divert the attention of those who are
engaged in that task. It is indeed matter for congratulation that in the
present Parliament, in spite of necessary preoccupation with matters
directly affecting the conduct of the War, a great Parliamentary Reform,
changing and enlarging the basis of representation, has been carried
through, and that the way to a great advance in Education has been made

These great changes have been made with something approaching to general
concurrence. On one question unfortunately proposals made as part of
their considered scheme for electoral reform by a representative
conference were set aside. The influence of old party machinery and a
sluggish reluctance to take the trouble to understand either its
character or its importance prevented the introduction of a system of
proportional representation. The representatives of the caucuses scored
a success towards slamming the door of the House of Commons in the face
of the detached judgment, moderation of language, and independence of
character which Parliament needs. The electors desire to have such
qualities in their representatives, but care is taken to prevent their
giving effect to it. But it is better to let even that question rest for
a time.

It would have been most unfortunate if it had been necessary, after the
War, when delay in dealing with many matters which will be most urgent
would be disastrous, to arouse contests about alterations in the
electorate and mode of election. The new Parliament may, after all, turn
out to be fairly representative of the nation, and may set about the
practical work of reconstruction at once. It would have been an
advantage if the Reform of the House of Lords could also have been
disposed of in the present Parliament, but it is not one of the
questions upon which the welfare of the country will immediately depend.
Everyone admits the need for reform; the abolition of the
"backwoods-man" must come; but it is the men of most experience in
public affairs who regularly attend sittings of the House of Lords, and
they contribute even now a valuable element in promoting useful
legislation as well as in revising and amending the Bills initiated in
another place. Most of the amendments of the Law which marked the latter
half of the nineteenth century were first introduced in the House of

During this time of severe test, it cannot be denied that the House of
Lords has gained in the respect of the nation, that its debates have not
only been dignified but often useful and enlightening, nor that, as at
other times in its past history, it has shown itself to be quite as
ready as the other House to be a guardian of law and of liberty. The
business ability of many of its members has also been conspicuous, and
the value of the experience of those who have taken part in the
government of British possessions beyond the seas and of their knowledge
of other countries has been demonstrated.

Of the Crown and its influence it is unnecessary, perhaps unbecoming,
to say much. It has made for the unity of the Empire, not only as a
symbol, but, so far as the strict limitations of our Constitution
permit, as an active force. The existence of the monarchy and the
character of three successive sovereigns, and their real personal
interest in its people, are among the causes why India has been, and
especially why the Native States have been, as a rule, so loyal in this
time of danger, when the support of the whole Empire was so much needed.
In our own country the example set of ever ready and earnest sympathy
with all who are suffering from the effects of the War, feeling its
strain and bearing its burdens, from the highest to the humblest, and
also of that simplicity of life now so vitally important for all in the
time of general self-denial, which is necessary or, at any rate, a duty
for all, has been one of the real factors in knitting all classes of the
nation together in useful service and willing sacrifice. Could anyone
read the royal speech to the nation on July 6th, 1918, and the words of
the Archbishop of Canterbury at St. Paul's, and of the leaders in
Parliament, without feeling what a mighty influence for good there is in
the British monarchy? Those words were not decorous platitudes demanded
by convention, but the expression of genuine and intense feeling.

    The sober freedom out of which there springs
    Our loyal passion for our temperate kings

is an inheritance of our country which no theoretical discussions about
forms of government can interfere with, unless we are insane enough to
abandon the practical good sense that has brought the nation safely
through so many perils, in deference to some _a priori_ argument about
the best form of government, and the logical result of some so-called
principles. In politics--always using the term in its broad meaning, and
not as denoting the disputes and manoeuvres of parties, like the
contests between the green and blue factions of Byzantium--there is a
strong presumption that whatever is recommended as "logical" is also
foolish. It would be well to prescribe a severe course of Burke for the
_a priori_ theorists, and while they are occupied with it, set ourselves
to the real work. We should not forget, too, that Court influence, which
in some past times fostered corruption in political life, has for eighty
years been as a rule a purifying influence. It would not be easy for any
Minister, pressed by the political exigencies of the hour, to submit,
even for formal approval, to a sovereign who has only the national
interest to think of, perhaps most difficult of all to a high-minded and
clear-headed woman, a course of action that was dishonourable or mean.

However important the influence of the Crown and the functions of a
Second Chamber may be, it is the House of Commons which is the
corner-stone of the Constitution. Through it the will of the nation must
be expressed, and embodied in definite action. The representatives in
that House are those chosen by the nation by regular and legal methods
to exercise their judgment, to enact laws, and to control acts of the
executive. It is essential not only to maintain, but to restore the
position of the House of Commons, and insure for it the respect and
confidence of the people. It is impossible to deny that respect and
confidence have been shaken, and that the position of the House is
threatened from two opposite quarters. We hear it daily spoken of as
"that talking shop"; it has been said that it would be better, instead
of having a fine statue of Cromwell outside, to have a living Cromwell
inside to purge it thoroughly. The story of the officer who, on
returning to England after long residence in the East, asked his father
if "that nonsense was going on still," represents a feeling which is
widespread. The present House of Commons, the existence of which has
been necessarily prolonged, has been the subject of bitter and
contemptuous criticism. Much of that criticism is unfair. In spite of
the fact that its attention had first to be directed to questions
directly affecting the War, it has passed the largest extension of the
franchise ever made, and in doing so without doubt carried out the wish
of the nation. It got rid of the fetters imposed on the free expression
of the will of the electors, and the restrictions placed on the free
selection of candidates of small means, by putting the expenses of
returning officers on public funds, and also by making better provision
for the revision of the register of voters. A number of useful Bills
have been passed, and it has been a means of eliciting information from
the Government which the country ought to have, but which would
otherwise have been withheld. It has voted the necessary supplies for
carrying on the War, and freely and readily assented to the increased
taxation that was essential. Unfortunately it is the practice in a
portion of the Press always to give prominence to the strange antics of
certain members and the vicious attempts made by some to embarrass the
Government in carrying on the War. A scene in the House of Commons is
fully reported; the good work done, especially by certain useful
committees, passes almost unnoticed. It is true, however, that the
character of many of the debates has been regrettable, and that as
regards what is perhaps its most important function, namely, the control
of expenditure, the House has not been able to exercise its functions as
it should.

It was pointed out years ago that the House of Commons was in practice
ceasing to be what it ought, according to Constitutional theory, to be,
"a deliberative assembly of the representatives of the nation discussing
and forming judgments on national policy, instituting legislation and
determining its form," and was becoming simply "a body for registering
the decrees of a Cabinet." In practice it was assumed to be "the duty of
the minority in opposition to find objections to the proposals of the
Government, representing the majority, and to occupy time in voting
against them as often as possible, and on the other hand that it is the
duty of the majority to refrain from discussion, to applaud Ministers,
and to make sure that whatever they propose shall be carried by
undiminished numbers." In this respect the present House is no worse
than its predecessors for the last thirty years; the political truce has
indeed improved matters in some respects. It is at least doubtful
whether under "pre-War conditions" either the Representation of the
People Bill or the Education Bill could have been carried, certainly
they would not have been passed in a form to secure so much general
consent. Instead of such consent, some measure strongly opposed by a
minority might have been forced through by free use of the closure. A
new danger has arisen, however, of a still more serious kind,
threatening the position of the House of Commons. It is that, instead of
national policy being controlled by legislation, settled by a recognised
constitutional body elected according to definite rules and representing
the nation, the real power of initiative and real directing force may
pass to some other body or bodies unknown to the law and representing
only a class or even to certain writers in the popular Press. The House
of Commons, unless its constitutional powers and its independence are
maintained or restored, may become a body for registering and giving
legal sanction to the resolutions of some conference or convention
indefinite in its constitution, but highly organised for the purpose of
making representatives in Parliament mere delegates to carry out the
proposals of the majority of those who themselves had acted as delegates
of a section only of the community.

The course of revolution in Russia should be a warning to all. Russia is
passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where is heard "the
continual howling and yelling of a people under unutterable misery, who
sit there bound in affliction and iron, and over it hang the
discouraging clouds of confusion; death also does always spread his
wings over it. In a word it is every whit a dreadful being utterly
without order." Had there been in Russia a regularly constituted
assembly possessing adequate power and representing the nation as a
whole, including the "bourgeoisie"--who also "are God's creatures"--as
well as workmen, instead of irregular bodies appealing to the greed and
hatred of a class, most of the misery through which Russia is passing
might have been prevented, and the prospects of early restoration would
have been assured. The British nation is too sane, too used to orderly
freedom, to adopt either the spirit or the methods of the Bolsheviks,
but we may hear of them even in this country. They may perhaps give
serious trouble and interfere with progress on sound lines. The historic
House of Commons must be the means of carrying out Reconstruction so far
as legislation, and of controlling it so far as State action is
required. Some changes in its methods will be discussed in the chapters
on Reform, but the maintenance of the Constitution as the best
instrument for promoting orderly, peaceful, and real progress is

The peace we need would only be uselessly disturbed, and the practical
reforms most urgently required would only be delayed by raising
controversial questions about the form of the Constitution. We may well
let them alone, and get on with something that will be of real benefit.



     _There is no more unsafe politician than a
     conscientiously rigid doctrinaire, nothing more sure to
     end in disaster than a theoretic volume of policy that
     admits of no pliability for contingencies._--J.R. LOWELL.

It is often assumed that a change in the form of Government in Germany
would completely alter the attitude and conduct of the nation, and
secure permanent peace, but that alone would not be sufficient. It would
undoubtedly help; for under a more popular Government it would be easier
for a different spirit in the German nation to assert itself.
Democracies, however, have from time to time been aggressive, and have
claimed to dominate their neighbours. A change far deeper than a change
in the form of Government is needed. The claim put forward both by word
and deed to impose the German will on others by organised force of any
kind must be abandoned utterly, if the world is to be really at peace
with Germany and with those whom Germany has been able to compel or to
beguile into alliance with her. The conflict is not simply between
autocracy or oligarchy and democracy, but between different ideals and
diametrically opposed notions of duty. The conception of their State as
an organisation carefully arranged to impose its will on others
regardless of their feelings and their rights must be eradicated.
Democracy and Liberty do not necessarily go together. There may be
democracy without liberty, and it is possible though not probable that
there may be real liberty without the form of democracy. An enlightened
monarch, governing as well as reigning, may express the real will of a
nation more truly than the vote of a majority of representatives; and
individual liberty may be more secure under such a monarch than when it
is dependent on the result of divisions taken when party passion is
running high. But such a rule must lack the element of stability. The
Antonines pass away and Commodus and Heliogabalus rule in their place.
Permanent strength and settled liberty are best secured when the acts of
Government are the expression of the conscious will of the nation as a
whole, where the people think out for themselves the general lines of
action and the Government is their minister. It is not enough that there
should be a just rule in which they acquiesce, but it is they themselves
who should act--through agents, no doubt--and learn the habit of forming
right judgments and acting justly. To deny him a share in political
life--that is, in deciding the action of the State to which he
belongs--is to deprive a man of one of those "activities of the soul
which constitute happiness," to take from him one of the things that
makes a full life for those who really live among their fellows. There
may always be a few who live apart, contemplative souls

    In regions mild, of calm and serene air,
    Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot
    Which men call earth.

Some may build themselves a Palace of Art where they may live alone;
some may sink themselves in luxury or repose in sluggish indifference,
careless of the life of others round them, with neither the heart to
feel nor head to understand anything beyond their own immediate wants.
But the highest aim and fullest life for man generally--as "an animal
more social than the bee"--is

    To go and join head and heart and hand,
    Active and firm to fight the bloodless fight
    Of science, freedom, and the truth in Christ.

Political action may be one of the means of carrying on that fight. Is
it not one of the "rights of man" to be allowed to join in it?

It is, however, not to be forgotten that men acting in the mass, just
as men acting individually, may act under sudden impulse, may do under
the influence of temporary passion, even of a generous emotion, things
which they would regret afterwards, and feel to be an error. Some checks
on such sudden action are most essential in a democracy, because there
is no appeal from its decision. A reverence for tradition, for those
rules of conduct which have stood the test of time, is one restraining
influence, but more formal restraints on sudden decisions and violent
changes are necessary. A single vote of a popular assembly may not
represent the well-considered judgment and permanent will of the people.
Steps may be taken which it is impossible to recall. To insist on an
appeal from "Philip drunk to Philip sober" is not to deprive him of his
real liberty. It is a safeguard, not an infringement of the principles
of true democracy, to provide some body of men of experience who can
exercise an independent judgment, and who, when some violent change is
proposed, have the right and the duty to reply in effect:

    Old things may not be therefore true,
    Oh brother men, nor yet the new;
    Ah, still awhile the old thought retain,
    And yet consider it again.

Such a justification, such a statement of the function of a Second
Chamber, not directly elected, may provoke a histrionic smile among
extreme advocates of so-called popular rights, but has never evoked an
argument which can displace it as based on sound reason and common
sense. There are some changes, too, which ought not to be made without a
specific appeal to the people on that particular issue. To make them as
part of the programme, as one plank in the platform of a party dominant
for the moment, is not to execute but to evade the real will of the
nation. We know by experience how the vote of a popular representative
assembly may represent the opinion of "a bare majority of a bare
majority;" conceivably anything over one-eighth of the nation. A
committee is elected by some eager partisans supposed to represent a
party. That party perhaps represents a bare majority of the
constituency. The caucus chooses a candidate whose views suit a bare
majority of its members who hold the most extreme views. He and others
go to Parliament as representing one party, and a majority of such
members decides what policy shall be adopted. Party discipline compels
the acquiescence of the rest. The machine is cleverly constructed to
make the will of certain party managers of mere sections of the
constituencies the dominant factor. No wonder that they denounce
Proportional Representation as a dangerous fad. Undoubtedly the will of
the people must prevail, but the exercise of that will should depend on
and be the result of their own deliberate judgment. Whether what is done
is a blessing or curse depends not on whether it is the act of an
autocrat, of an aristocracy, or of a democracy, but on the character of
the act and the spirit which prompts it. A great audience in London
recently heard the true position summed up in few words--I quote Dr.
Campbell Morgan from memory--"It is said we want to make the world safe
for democracy. What we really need is to make democracy safe for the




     _To secure industrial peace on terms just and honourable
     to both sides would be to double the national strength
     whether in industry or citizenship._--MEMORANDUM OF THE

Under this head it will be convenient to treat not only of the steps to
be taken to prevent disputes or secure their settlement by peaceful
means, and to promote a more hearty co-operation of employer and
employed, but also of various other questions affecting industry, such,
for example, as increased production and increased saving. Without
industrial peace there will be no industrial or commercial prosperity,
and without a fair amount of prosperity it will be very difficult if not
impossible to preserve industrial peace. As the War proceeds these
questions become more and more urgent; after it, they will be more
serious and more pressing than ever. Already the need for taking certain
steps at once and for preparing a future policy is recognised. Anyone
who wishes to have before him a clear statement of the industrial
situation and of the effects of the War upon it, cannot do better than
read, and read with care, the revised memorandum prepared under the
auspices of the Garton Foundation and published in October, 1916.
Singularly impartial and judicious, it does not gloss over the
difficulties and perils which must be faced, but throughout there is a
note of hopefulness--an anticipation of a better state of things--if
while "the forces of change are visibly at work we do not allow them to
hurry us blindly with them," but "direct them along the path of ordered
progress." Some of the specific remedies suggested, of the proposals
adumbrated, may be open to criticism--criticism is, indeed, invited--but
it is evident that nothing is suggested that has not been the subject of
careful consideration of the facts. Some of the proposals have already
been put into fairly definite form in the Whitley Report, and have
received the approval of the Government. Industrial Councils are to be
established. The object of them will be to consider "constructive
measures for the improvement of industrial conditions and the increase
of efficiency." They will not be confined to specific points of dispute.
They are to be established in industries which are "highly organised,"
where the employer and employed already possess some definite
association or union which represents them respectively. There are to be
national, district, and workshop councils set up. Their object differs
from that of the Conciliation Boards for Arbitration or the Trade Boards
established to settle some specific question such as a minimum wage to
be paid, or some question that has given rise to a dispute between
employers and employed. Such a mode of settlement is a great advance on
leaving differences to be settled by an industrial war--a strike or
lock-out. The Boards will still be needed, just as arbitration tribunals
will be required to settle specific disputes between nations. The aim in
both cases is to substitute arbitration for war (or its equivalent) or
threats of war. Something more is aimed at in the establishment of
Industrial Councils. They contemplate a "continuous and constructive
co-operation of Capital and Management on the one hand and Labour on the
other." They are not tribunals for the settlement of disputes which have
arisen, but joint committees which can discuss and propose methods of
dealing with any question affecting working-conditions generally, e.g.,
the introduction of new machinery and its effect on employment and the
status as well as the wages of the workpeople, and even its economic
effect generally. Suggestions can be made as to changes which may
"increase output or economise effort" and eliminate waste. The effect of
any alterations on the health of those engaged in any industry would be
within their purview. The idea is to promote co-operation, to make all
recognise certain common interests, not merely to adjust competing
claims. In international affairs the nearest analogy would be a League
of Nations for promoting the common interest of all. While, of course,
the main object of such a league is common action to prevent breaches of
the international peace by restraining wrong-doers, it should not be the
sole object. In the case of Industrial Councils the object is to promote
the general welfare of all engaged in the trade and to increase
productive efficiency, as well as to secure fair terms between the
parties and prevent disputes. If such a Council has been established for
any industry Government Departments will consult it, and not the Trade
Board, on any questions affecting that industry; but the constitution of
the Council should make provision by which Trade Boards can be
consulted. Roughly speaking, "the functions of the Trade Board will be
called into operation mainly in the case of the less organised trades,
and the highly organised trades will be the sphere of the Industrial
Councils." These, in their most developed form, will be national,
district, and local.

A memorandum which has official sanction states that the chief duty of
the Trade Boards, on the other hand, is to fix minimum rates of wages
which can be imposed by law. They are needed primarily to insure that in
trades where the workers have no official organisation to guard their
interest a living wage shall be secured for all. They are statutory
bodies set up under an Act of Parliament just passed, and will be
connected with the Ministry of Labour, by which their members are
largely nominated. The work of such Boards is being extended.

Detailed discussion of the character of the work which may be expected
to be done by the councils and of its probable effects would be beyond
the scope of this volume, and would require special knowledge of the
industries concerned. It will vary in different industries and in
different places. In some, success may be confidently expected, in
others there will probably be failures. The aim of the proposal is
certainly one to be desired, and the method for attaining it promises
many beneficial results. There appear to be some dangers involved which
it may be well to consider. Useful work may be hindered owing to, first,
the time and attention required for the meetings and discussions of the
various councils, and the risk that clever and fluent talkers may
prolong debate and generate friction and may perhaps exercise an undue
influence. Probably this will not be found a serious danger. Experience
over a considerable district shows that those who are chosen by the
Trade Unions to represent them are usually clear-headed and businesslike
men, who grasp a point quickly and, while carefully guarding the
interests of those whom they represent, are fair-minded and ready to do
all they can to promote the national interest also. Secondly, there may
be a tendency to interfere too much in questions of management, even
where full and detailed knowledge of trade conditions of the moment and
of possible appliances that may be used is required, and prompt action
may be necessary. A man steering a boat in a storm would hardly succeed
if he had to consult a committee before moving the helm. The object of
the councils would not be to undertake the general management of the
business, but should be directed to the relation of workers and
management, to secure efficiency and greater production, a fair
participation in and distribution of the benefits derived from success,
and wholesome conditions for those engaged in the work, and to avoid
dispute by agreeing action beforehand wherever possible. Thirdly, in
this as in most other cases where power is given to representatives of
organised bodies, there is a risk of undue interference with the
liberty of those who do not belong to them or who are in a minority. A
dead level of uniformity may be secured, experiments and new lines of
action by enterprising and original minds may be interfered with. The
old problem of reconciling high organisation and corporate action with
individual liberty may present itself in an acute form.

Already before the War the tendency to crush out individuality was
becoming stronger and stronger, the private firms of manufacturers were
being squeezed out by highly organised combines, or tempted by high
prices offered to hand over their businesses to them. In banking,
similarly, the absorption and amalgamation of smaller banks has been
going on with startling rapidity. The personal relationship between the
customer and the banker, who would grant loans and overdrafts because he
knew the character and position of the borrower in each case, will no
longer exist. The business was safe enough when the manager of a country
bank probably knew whether a customer's butcher's bills were becoming
excessive. Now everything must be referred to London for decision
according to some fixed general rule. The convenience and the
accommodation of the man with a small account count for very little. A
more serious question is the effect which these amalgamations may have
on the relations between bankers and those who are engaged in
manufacturing business.

The old personal relationship between the mill-owner and his employees,
when his garden adjoined the mill yard, when they spoke of him by his
Christian name, and he knew their family affairs and was ready to help
in time of difficulty and distress and to take a lead in any local
effort or support any local charity, has been rapidly disappearing.
There still are, however, many employers to whom the happiness and
welfare of their workpeople is a matter of deepest concern. They have a
human interest in them, and take a pride in improving the conditions of
their life. They have other aims than simply securing as big a dividend
as possible for the eager shareholders of a huge combine. It is, no
doubt, usually large employers of labour who are thus able and willing
to make provision for the welfare of the people in their employ. Some
have established libraries and reading-rooms, and have provided classes
for giving instruction likely to be useful to the boys and young men
engaged in their works. Conditions of labour would be greatly improved
if the example of the best firms in such matters were generally

The more complete organisation of trades under powerful councils may
tend to a virtual monopoly being obtained by a limited number of large
and influential firms, and the result may be prejudicial to the consumer
by limiting competition. That is not certainly the object, but it may be
an incidental effect of the organisation which is needed for full
development of the system of councils. In some cases State support and
control acting in conjunction with private firms of great influence is
to be introduced to unify an industry under one management. Support and
control may possibly be necessary in some cases, but the extension of
such methods should be jealously watched. In the manufacture of dyes,
for example, it seems that the Government and a very powerful
manufacturing firm or combination are arranging to act together. Those
outside this combination will have no chance of competing. In this
particular case the scheme may be useful, but careful provision is
necessary to protect customers for the commodities produced. It may
become a very serious thing for manufacturers of piece goods when
struggling to maintain their position in the world markets, and the
slightest addition to cost of production may close a market to them, if
they find that they cannot purchase the dyes they require in the
cheapest market, or those who dye goods for them must increase their
charges, because one organisation can fix prices, and import from abroad
is prohibited in order to protect a special home industry.

Possibly it may be necessary for a time to give such protection to
certain industries, involving a preliminary expenditure of a large
capital; but the fact that the dye industry had gone from England to
Germany was, in the opinion of many, due not so much to free and open
competition as to the circumstances that (1) the German producers paid
more attention to systematic chemical research bearing on the industry,
and (2) that our absurd patent law operated to throttle English
production. The founder of the successful firm of Levinstein, Limited,
Mr. Ivan Levinstein, seeing by his own experience how our patent laws
prevented the development of the dye industry in England, devoted years
of work to obtain an alteration of these laws, but with only partial
success. The Government, after very long delays, attempted to deal with
the matter, but it is not yet satisfactorily settled. A Bill on the
subject is now before Parliament. A list can be given of more than a
dozen cases--there may have been many others--in which the
Badische-Anilin Fabrik was plaintiff against firms in this country. The
result was to aid the rapid development of the huge works near Mannheim
now used to manufacture poisonous gases, while the works in this country
were crippled. Strangely enough, it was an English chemist (Sir W.
Perkin) who made the discoveries which led to the development of this
industry; but it is generally possible where competition is keen to take
out subsidiary patents for small improvements which really enable the
subsequent patentee to command the market. Sometimes the root invention
for some reason cannot be made the subject of a valid patent, or the
patent for it expires before its full commercial value has been
realised, and the minor improvements give the holder of patents for them
a virtual monopoly.

All along the line, too, the big firm is favoured at the expense of the
smaller. The position of the small tradesman is often a very hard one.
The shopkeeper in a village or small town near the metropolis pays heavy
rates for the upkeep of roads which are torn to pieces by the heavy
motors of the great distributing firms delivering goods to those who
would otherwise be his customers, perhaps with petrol specially exempted
from taxation. The firm which by widespread advertisements can induce
people to buy an article with some familiar name attached, reaps a
gigantic fortune, while the man who makes the same article and cannot
spend money on advertisement gains a mere pittance. The advertisements
which disfigure the country are not taxed, as in other countries, and
the issue of advertising circulars has been subsidised by the Post
Office, which delivered them at a rate lower than that charged for
delivery of the letters, or even the postcards, of the poorest, though
the trouble involved is the same. The patent laws, again, have been
exploited to protect the large manufacturer, who fences some form of
production by taking out a string of patents often where there is no
meritorious invention at all. The rubbishy specifications are flourished
in the face of a poor competitor, and form a basis for threats which a
man who is not wealthy dare not resist, knowing the heavy cost of
fighting any patent action whether successful or not. "To him that hath
shall be given" ought not to be a maxim to guide legislators or any
department of Government.

To return from this digression. One great advantage of the councils
would be that those who represent the workmen upon them will probably be
men who are actually engaged in manual work in the trades concerned, or
have been so engaged, and who will look at each question practically.
The agitator who lives on grievances and disputes, the politician "on
the make," or the well-meaning and half-informed enthusiast from
outside, is not likely to find a place on councils whose object it is to
see how interests which investors, managers, and workmen have in common
can best be promoted, and how the share of each in the work and its
profits can be more fairly assigned and distributed instead of attention
being concentrated on matters in which their interests seem to be in

Another difficulty of more direct importance with regard to the
proposed councils is already arising. The relative powers and position
of the shop stewards chosen by the men in each works and of the unions
representing industry as a whole in any district have to be settled.
There are also overlapping unions competing for influence and support,
and sometimes doing so by making excessive demands. The events of the
next few months may lead either to an accentuation or to a partial
solution of these questions which are perhaps the most serious at
present affecting industrial peace. It is better not to anticipate.
Prophecy might be falsified too soon and too palpably, and the position,
which changes from week to week, is too critical for anyone to discuss
unless he has full and exact knowledge of the facts and clear
understanding of the way in which undercurrents are setting.



    _Our life is turned_
    _Out of her course wherever man is made_
    _An offering, or a sacrifice, a tool_
    _Or implement, a passive thing employed_
    _As a brute mean, without acknowledgment_
    _Of common right or interest in the end._
                      --WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

There is no doubt that among the causes of unrest one of the most
serious, probably much more so than either employers or workmen are
generally conscious of, is the long hours of work. Those who have had to
hear questions arising out of labour disputes have noticed the state of
tension produced by the weariness and strain of too prolonged and
continuous work. Even in the domestic circle an overworked man is often
found less amiable and more ready to find fault. A harassed manager and
a deputation of jaded workmen may be really very good fellows and yet
find that some comparatively small question raises strong feeling and
mutual recrimination, and then leads to rash action resulting in open
strife, strikes, and lock-outs, and the judicial proceedings which may
be necessary in consequence of them. "A Skilled Labourer," writing in
the _Quarterly Review_, mentions as the first of the four principal
grievances of workmen--"the hours are too long." Long hours have been
accepted on both sides partly because during the War the call of the
country for increased output, especially of munitions, was so urgent,
and partly because it was thought that higher profits would thereby be
obtained, and certainly higher wages earned. It seems, however, well
established that longer hours do not necessarily mean increased output.
There is a limit to the time during which a man can do even routine work
effectively. If men were to be regarded only as machines for turning out
work of a certain class, very long hours would be bad business. Where
the work involves special skill and thought the evil results of long
hours, even measured simply by the gross amount done, are still more
serious. Everyone who has had to do with young students and still more
with parents disappointed by their sons' failures must again and again
have found that the cause of failure was too many hours devoted to
reading. The students acquired the habit of sitting over their books
worrying their minds, but really absorbing nothing. A senior wrangler
has been known to find five or six hours a day of real work at
mathematics as much as he could stand. Of course, work involving little
hard physical exertion and hardly any mental effort can go on much
longer, but the very monotony which in some ways makes it easy, has a
deadening effect. A factory operative minding a "mule" being asked: "Is
it not very hard work always watching and piecing threads?" answered,
"No, but it is very dree work." But the evil effects of too long hours
are not confined to the fact that unrest or disputes arise from the
state of feeling produced nor to the diminution of production due to
fatigue. Recurrent strains continued over a long period indeed
deteriorate even things which are inanimate. The "fatigue of metals" has
been the subject of careful investigations. It is time that fatigue of
human beings, even looked at as machines, were more fully considered.[5]

The great and often permanent physical injury caused by too prolonged
work is specially serious for women. Many women are such willing workers
that they go on overtaxing their strength. Among girls and women
students the fatigue from overstrain in preparing for examinations, from
which boys and men may rapidly recover, often results in permanent
physical and even mental degeneration. Many who have watched the effects
of such continuous study would advocate a complete sabbatical year in
which systematic study should be suspended entirely for girls at some
period between fourteen and eighteen.

It is impossible to have a healthy nation if the majority, or any very
large part of it, work for excessive hours even in the factories where
the best methods are employed to make the conditions as healthy as
possible. Medical men of the highest authority regard the influence of
too prolonged hours of work as one which urgently demands attention.
Enlightened and experienced men of business like Lord Leverhulme have
expressed very strong views on the subject. Man, however, cannot be
looked on as a mere machine for production, nor is even health the only
question for him as a human being. He must have time for other pursuits,
for recreation, for a fuller life. As civilisation and education advance
this need becomes stronger. The duller the work the greater the need for
those who have any natural mental activity to find resources of interest
outside. The pleasure derived from literature and science should be open
to all. No one who knows working people can deny that the demand for it
exists. A fitter on weekly wages used to show in a poor cottage one of
the best collections of British butterflies and moths, made entirely by
himself. Many of them had been captured late at night on Chat Moss. A
hair-dresser has told how to watch the habits of birds was the delight
of his Sunday bicycle rides; his assistant called attention to some
little known poet whose works had a special appeal for him; another said
it was the study in his rare holidays at the seaside and in local
museums of some form of animal life--the name of it, now forgotten,
would convey no meaning to most University graduates--that made his
interest in life. You may find a large audience of workmen interested in
a lecture on Shelley, and some of them as well acquainted with his poems
as the lecturer. Such cases as these may perhaps be exceptional, but
given opportunity and sympathetic help and advice, they might be
multiplied almost indefinitely. Other men want time for cultivation of
allotments, which ought to be within the reach of thousands of urban
workers who find in them a perennial source of interest. A growing
number take a keen pleasure in seeing something of the beauties of their
own country. Tramping through the Yorkshire dales and knowing them well,
it was interesting to meet one who knew them better, and to find that he
was a chimney-sweep, who saved up his earnings to spend his holidays
regularly there.

The success of the Workers' Educational Association shows both the
strength of the demand among the workmen, and sometimes, too, among
working women, for intellectual life and their capacity to make use of
any opportunities offered for regular study. It is to be hoped that its
promoters will not forget that some branches of natural science and
literature, opening new realms of interest removed from the ordinary
cares of life, are at least as important subjects for study as economic
and social problems, and that one of the most important of such problems
is how to give those who must earn their daily bread by work that is
often dull and wearisome, the opportunity of sharing as far as possible
in the intellectual life. We may well wish Mr. Mansbridge and his
friends success as pioneers in the work of reconstruction, and renewed
and extended activity when the pressure of War requirements is removed.
It is to be hoped that the original ideals of the Association may never
be forgotten.

The aim of the Association is neither technical, i.e., to make workmen
better qualified for their special work, nor to attain a higher general
education with a view to their obtaining employment of a different class
and ceasing to be manual workers. It is to enable them, while continuing
to earn their living by manual work, to participate in the fuller life
given by intellectual activity. There are some subjects which can be
pursued and studied _thoroughly_ with pleasure and profit without any
long or exact preliminary training. With some wise guidance in reading
and some stimulating criticism to help him, the workman can really
obtain all that is important from the study of the literature of his own
language--to learn to know and to enjoy the best that has been written.
It is of no importance that he will probably not become a "literary
expert," able to trace the influence of this or that obscure writer of
one age or country on the literature of another. It is to be hoped that
he will not learn the kind of literary jargon affected by so many modern
critics, or attempt in his essays to imitate those who think that
obscurity indicates profundity. There are some sciences, too, especially
certain branches of natural science, which can be pursued by men whose
time is mainly taken up by manual work.

The idea of erecting an educational ladder by which all will proceed
from the elementary to the secondary school and thence to the
University, is a false one. Any such ladder must continue to be narrow
at the top. It is impossible in any economic conditions that we are
likely to see in our time that the majority of our people will be able
to devote their whole lives to study until the age at which a University
course can be finished. Indeed, for all classes there is a modern
tendency to prolong the school period unduly, to keep boys under the
discipline and following the methods of the secondary school until
nineteen years of age, so that they finish a University course, which is
also becoming more prolonged, after twenty-three, and then at last take
up their vocational training. Neither parents nor the nation can afford
to make such a course the normal one. It is no doubt of the greatest
importance to secure a career for special talent so that poverty shall
not prevent a really able boy or girl following such a course of study
as would enable his or her talents to have their full scope. The old
Grammar Schools, especially in the North of England, afford many
examples of poor boys who by means of their school and University
scholarships were enabled to obtain the best training the country could
give, and so attain the highest positions in Church and State. These
must necessarily be the few. It is a cruelty by means of scholarships to
tempt those who have neither the financial means nor exceptional talent
to try for a career in which there will really be no opening for them.
Even with the limited number of scholarships which local authorities
have been able to offer, there have been many cases in which bitter
complaints have been raised that young people had been induced to
prepare themselves for some walk in life in which there was no demand
for their services. Of course, the more knowledge is required in various
industries the more scope there will be for those who have had a long
training, but there is nothing more injurious to the State than to turn
out a number of persons who have had a prolonged academic training, but
who are not able to do something for which there is a demand, and for
which the world is willing to pay. The results of such a course of
action may be seen on a large scale in India. In one of the colleges of
an Indian University in a large manufacturing town, fourteen young
men--very agreeable and frank, outspoken fellows--met at random in one
of the hostels, were asked what, on completing their college course,
they intended to do; twelve answered to become "pleaders," and two hoped
for something in the Government service. None proposed to follow
manufacturing industry, agriculture, or commerce. The legal profession
which they proposed to enter was so crowded that pleaders are said to
have been competing with each other to obtain cases by a kind of Dutch
auction regarding fees, and also to promote litigation wilfully in order
to obtain a living. It is from a kind of "intellectual proletariat" in
all countries, that dangerous political agitators are drawn who take up
political life not to improve the conditions of their fellows, but to
find some sort of a career for themselves, having no useful occupation
to turn to.


[Footnote 5: Since the above lines were written I hear that a Committee
of Inquiry has been appointed by the Government to report on the



     _How shall we better distribute the product of industry,
     and allay the unrest of which we hear so much? There's
     only one way--by improving our methods of production. To
     effect this the earnest and active co-operation between
     those engaged in industry must be employed._

     _... No longer must a man be supported by his union when
     he refuses to mind two lathes because the custom of the
     factory confines him to one. No longer must an employer
     assign as a reason for cutting prices that the man's
     wages are too high.... Each side must endeavour better to
     understand the outlook of the other._--SIR HUGH BELL.

The second grievance mentioned in the _Quarterly_ article already
referred to is: "The wages are too low." To remedy this grievance,
increased productivity, along with greater economy in working, is the
first essential in order to obtain the funds out of which higher wages
can be paid; the second, to get a fair allocation and distribution of
the profit made. Increased benefit will also be a stimulus to better

For a crowded country like ours to maintain a leading position in
industry is obviously a necessary condition either of welfare or
progress. It is of first importance to secure work of high quality. A
highly civilised and trained nation must hold its own by the superior
quality of the articles produced as well as by being able to supply both
its own needs and to compete in prices with others by the quantity of
output. It may be possible, for example, to hold the market for fine
spinning when other countries are well able to supply coarse yarns from
their own factories. Hitherto this country has been able to maintain a
lead in industry largely through causes which are no longer operative.
Thus, we had (1) a settled Government when Germany and Italy were
divided into a number of small and inefficient and often very badly
governed States, when France was exhausted and unsettled, and when
America was only in its infancy; and (2) the advantage due to the fact
that the great discoveries and inventions which advanced industry were
mostly made in Britain, when industry was developing at the close of the
eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. Many of these
inventions were made by manual workers who, by intuitive genius, saw
what was needed to meet the requirements that arose in practice. There
was not then that fund of accumulated scientific knowledge and
experience in existence which anyone must have before he can make any
advance or improvement to-day. There was an interesting print published
some forty years ago giving portraits of the Englishmen who had made
contributions to practical science and who might have been assembled
together in one room in 1808. It included many who made their inventions
as manual workers. Murdock, who invented a new lathe, and developed the
use of coal gas, worked until over forty years old for a wage of a pound
a week; Davy had been apprenticed to an apothecary; Bramah, who invented
a new hydraulic press, once worked with a village carpenter; Bolton and
Watt and Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam hammer, were practical
engineers. Never in the world's history has there been such a galaxy of
practical talent and inventive power as those whose portraits are shown
in this picture. Now a larger amount of preliminary knowledge as to what
has already been done and of the sciences is necessary, in most cases at
least, before useful inventions can be made. The more widely this
scientific knowledge can be made available throughout all classes in the
country the greater is the possibility of maintaining our lead. It is
also important to maintain, so far as technical education can give it,
skill in carrying out methods already established and improving them,
and also in making the worker more adaptable to new conditions and
altered circumstances instead of being a mere machine able to do one
class of work only, and adhering simply to the one rigid method which he
may have learnt. But knowledge and training are not all that is wanted.
It is essential that all classes connected with industry should realise
that increased production in established and well-understood industries
is essential, and that it can only be obtained, first, by willing and
vigorous work on the part of the workman, aiming at producing as much as
possible in the hours during which labour can be efficiently carried on
without detriment to health or depriving the labourer of the
opportunities of enjoying a life outside his daily routine; and,
secondly, by the increased use of the best machinery and labour-saving
appliances and working such machinery to its fullest capacity. Instead
of that, it has often been the policy to restrict the production of each
man's labour, one reason being lest there should not be enough
employment to go round, and also to view the introduction of machinery
which might displace labour with hostility and suspicion. In order to
give the leisure which the workman needs for a full and healthy life,
and to provide a wage which will enable him to secure the comforts which
he rightly desires, as well as to obtain adequate remuneration for those
who manage businesses, and interest on their money for those whose
capital is to be embarked in them, increased production is necessary;
but it cannot be expected that workmen will realise this or desire the
result unless they know certainly that they will obtain at once a
benefit from it. It has too often been the case that where some new
invention has been made, or new machinery introduced, or the conditions
of trade have enabled an industry to be more profitable, the workman has
not shared in the benefits obtained until he has pressed for an increase
of wages, even to the extent of striking or threatening to strike. The
faults and jealousies leading to restricted production are not all on
one side. Cases have arisen when a manager has let out a piece of work
to a group of workmen at a price which has resulted in a larger output
in a given time at less cost, though the amount paid to each man has
been higher owing to increased diligence, yet the employers raised
objections, because the wages earned were "more than such men ought to

It is essential if the workers are to make it their aim to increase
production and to use every effort with that object, that they should
know that of a certainty, and at once, they will get a benefit from what
is done. At present it is commonly the case that in order to obtain an
adequate wage the worker works overtime, and presses to have overtime
work, because the rate of pay for overtime is higher, and that during
the normal hours of work he does less. Cases have actually been known in
which the worst class of workmen play during the greater part of the
week, and then have gone, during the War at all events, to work for the
week-end, including Sunday, at a very high rate of wages at some other
place. In the short time of working at abnormal rates they have gained
as high wages as the steady and efficient workman who keeps steadily at
work through the normal hours. As long as such conditions exist we shall
not have the shorter hours which are necessary for healthy and happy
life, and we shall have the friction and irritation which arise from too
long hours of work. A higher rate of wages during shorter hours of work,
when the work is done with vigour and efficiency, and the certainty that
the wage will be increased if results are favourable, are necessary
conditions for industrial welfare and industrial peace. The wage system
should be so designed as to make it clear that the wage is a share in
the industry's earnings which is to advance as these earnings advance. A
"regulated slide of wages rising with the prosperity of the industry as
a whole" would help to secure this without friction. Methods of
industrial remuneration giving an assurance of thus sharing the benefit
of increased or more economical production are required. A valuable work
on such methods, which are already very various, was published by the
late Mr. David Schloss many years ago. New methods will, no doubt, be
found. The problem, however, is one for judicial treatment by those who
have devoted special study to it.

The methods already tried include the more general adoption of
piece-wage, progressive wage arranged in various ways giving a fixed
rate for the hours worked plus an additional sum proportionate to the
excess of output over a fixed standard, collective piece-work, contract
work, co-operative work, sub-contract, profit-sharing in various forms
including special bonus, product-sharing, and industrial co-operation.

Each method should be considered on its merits, in the light of the
experience already gained, and having regard to its applicability to
each class of industry. The aim and the principles which must guide
endeavours to achieve it are clearly stated by Mr. Schloss:

"But while a reduction of hours of labour, say to eight hours in the
day, may readily be admitted to be on grounds both economic or social
highly desirable, yet it is no less desirable that during those eight
hours every working man in the country shall use his best available
tools and machinery, and, performing as much labour as he can perform
without exerting himself to an extent prejudicial to his health or
inconsistent with his reasonable comfort, produce an output as large as
possible. In the interest of the people as a whole it is expedient that
the remuneration of the labour of the industrial classes shall be
increased, and since this remuneration is paid out of the national
income, it is a matter of great importance not only that the working
classes shall succeed in obtaining for themselves a far ampler share in
the national income than they at present receive, but also that the
productive powers of the working classes shall be exercised in a manner
calculated to secure that this income shall be of the largest possible


[Footnote 6: This chapter is intended to refer to what may be regarded
as normal conditions. In some cases the recent rise in wages has been
excessive. The present position is chaotic, and the ill-advised manner
in which the 12-1/2 per cent. advance was made has added to labour
troubles and will cause great difficulty in the future.]




    _Children of men! the Unseen Power, whose eye_
    _For ever doth accompany mankind,_
    _Hath looked on no religion scornfully_
      _That man did ever find._
                       --MATTHEW ARNOLD.

This is not the place to discuss the merits or demerits of any
theological views or of any system of Church government, but the
question of the influence of religion on the life of the State and the
way in which and conditions under which it can be rightly exercised
cannot be overlooked. There is no doubt whatever that religious
influence might be a most potent and useful factor in Reconstruction,
using the word in the broadest sense. There are some branches of work in
which no other known influence can effect what is required. Leaving
aside for the moment the fact that there are needs of humanity which
religion alone can satisfy, and looking only to social improvement, the
power of religion has been proved again and again, especially in dealing
with the cases that seem most difficult and almost hopeless. In India,
for example, there are certain debased tribes which are habitually
criminal, and have, in fact, by tradition devoted themselves to the
commission of crime. The only agency which has been able to effect a
reclamation and improvement of these tribes is the Salvation Army,
which, by general consent, even of those who have no sympathy with its
particular religious views, has achieved wonderful results. There is no
doubt, too, that some of the worst parts of certain seaports in our own
country have been vastly improved by the same agency. This has been done
by a definite appeal made on religious grounds, and those who have made
it have been inspired by religious motives. It required, however, a body
which had peculiar methods of its own to do it. The basis of the action,
also, of such organisations as the Church Army and the Young Men's and
Young Women's Christian Associations is definitely religious, and the
vigorous and successful way in which their work has been carried on by
such associations is due mainly to the influence of religion. It would
be well for our present purpose to treat the question from a position,
whether real or assumed, of absolute detachment from any particular
religious belief, and from any special religious community. Looked at
even from such a detached position, it appears that the first condition
required to enable religious influence to be effectively exercised is to
secure religious peace. It is impossible to deny that there has been a
kind of jealousy and hostility between those who hold different opinions
about theological and ecclesiastical questions which injures the work of
all. Anyone, for example, who was in the habit of meeting educated
Indians at the time of the Kikuyu controversy could not have helped
noticing the harm done to the cause of the Christian religion by that
controversy. There were Indians, whose attitude to Christianity before
might almost have been called wistful admiration, seeing the brighter
hope and fuller life it opened to all classes, and the universal
brotherhood of men which it proclaimed, who then spoke in an altered
tone, and their feeling seemed to be tinged with a half-concealed and
almost contemptuous pity. How much beneficial action might be taken by
religious bodies acting in co-operation! There is a deep truth in a
remark once made by the late Bishop of Manchester, Dr. Moorhouse, when
speaking of possible co-operation on a certain matter between people
belonging to different religious communities: "It would be so easy did
we only recognise how large is the area covered by things on which we
agree, how important they are, compared with those on which we differ."
Some have felt so keenly the injury done by religious differences that
schemes have been put forward for corporate union of a number of
different Churches. Such union may or may not be possible, but, even if
it is, is it best to bring about such a union by any compromise under
which one side gives up part of what it regards as useful and important
in exchange for a similar concession on the other? May not a kind of
confederation between different bodies for certain purposes, each
maintaining its separate existence, be better than formal incorporation?
May there not be a unity of spirit and bond of peace between those whose
views differ, without either party giving up the iota to which he may
attach importance? Forms devoutly prized and helpful to one man may be
repellent and a hindrance to others.

There is much to be learnt from a saying quoted by Sir Edwin Pears in
writing of certain Mahommedan sects: "The paths leading to God are as
numerous as the breaths of His creatures; hence they consider religious
toleration as a duty." Toleration does not mean simply abstinence from
the thumbscrew and the rack or even the repeal of the Conventicle or the
Five Mile Act, but appreciation of the religious opinions and practices
of others, and due respect for them. Without formal union there may not
only be peace and goodwill between bodies which keep up their separate
organisations, they might also act together heartily and effectively
both in philanthropic work and in combating certain evils for which the
influence of religion is the most effective cure. It is a good sign of
the times that a joint volume has already been published on Religion and
Reconstruction, containing essays by a number of those whose views no
doubt differ widely, but who find no difficulty in uniting in a common
undertaking. The book contains essays by Bishop Welldon, Dr. Orchard,
Monsignor Poock, and others representing different communions, and they
appear to have had no difficulty at all in a joint enterprise of this

Is there any sufficient reason why the leaders of religious thought
belonging to other denominations should not be invited sometimes to
speak in the pulpits of the National Church? They would not use the
occasion for attacking Episcopacy. Conversely it might be a wholesome
thing if a Bishop or other well-known Episcopalian clergyman
occasionally spoke to the great congregations in such familiar London
meeting-places as the Newington Tabernacle or the City Temple. They
might be trusted not to choose Apostolic Succession as their subject.
Joint religious services have already been held, and the practice might
be extended. The Bishop of London has been seen in Hyde Park on the
platform with representative men from the Wesleyans, Independents (it is
pleasanter to use the old name rather than "Congregationalist," which
may be correct, but is hideous), and Presbyterians, with a band from the
Salvation Army in attendance. Such things do good, and are the best
reply to the orators by the Reformers' Tree, whose most effective weapon
is to sneer--not unnaturally--at the enmity amongst Christians. A
"church" parade for the Volunteers has in a village been held in the
Baptist chapel, and many who had never entered a Nonconformist place of
worship before, felt how real "unity of spirit" did exist.

Another fruitful opportunity for joint work is in the realm of study and
of theological education. This object would be promoted by the
establishment in our Universities of theological faculties where a
part--it may be a large part but not the whole--of the training of those
who intend to enter the ministry or for other reasons to devote
themselves to theological study may be carried on. Such a faculty has
been instituted with marked success in Manchester. No test is imposed
except tests of knowledge, but the faculty has been said to be the most
harmonious in the University. Whatever body he belongs to, whatever
Church he wishes to serve, the student could not fail to gain profit
from studying the language of the New Testament under a scholar like the
late Professor Moulton, and would never find anything that--to use the
words of the founder of the University--"could be reasonably offensive
to the conscience of any student." Already the effect of such a faculty
in advancing theological study and still more in uniting members of
different communions in the pursuit of truth has been most marked.

There is one point, however, in considering the influence of religion on
Reconstruction which must be borne in mind. Untold harm has been done in
the past by the intrusion of the lawgiver or the judge into the domain
of religion, and, on the other hand, by the intrusion of the minister of
religion into the domain of the legislator or the magistrate. It is
essential that in dealing with any question of legislation or political
action the clergy and ministers of all denominations, if they take part
at all, should speak as citizens, and not professionally. They, in
virtue of their office, ought not to be, and they have the highest
authority for not claiming to be, judges or lawgivers. They have not,
and ought not to claim, any authority to decide on the lawfulness of
paying tribute to Caesar; any such claim must be strenuously resisted.
The use of religious sanctions as weapons of political warfare is not
wholly obsolete. We hear of it from across St. George's Channel--it
should be condemned like poison gas on the battlefield. And, lastly, it
must never be forgotten that there are certain things with regard to
which attempted suppression by law is certain to result in evil and
disaster. With regard to these things the influence of religion, on the
other hand, may be all-effective if it is kept absolutely distinct from
any question of legislation or of legal penalties. The spheres of
religion and the criminal law must never be confused. Shakespeare, "the
mirror of human nature" for all time, once blended bitter irony with
infinite pathos. "Measure for Measure" has its warning for every age.
It would be well to study the ugliest as well as the most beautiful
parts of that drama, and see what it really means, and what is its

Exercised within its proper sphere the influence of religion may still
be as potent a force now as in the past. It may inspire the right frame
of mind in dealing with every question, may encourage hope, sustain
faith, and diffuse charity.

Reiterated until wearisome we hear the question asked, "What is wrong
with the Church?" sometimes from outside with a tone almost of contempt,
with little, or no care, for remedy if anything be wrong; sometimes from
within with a note of anxiety, uncertain whether it is safe to confess
openly the fact that anything can so be wrong. To the question coming
from within the Church, a voice might answer from the outer galilee, "Is
not what is wrong with the Church--like what is wrong with most of
us--thinking, perhaps talking, too much of itself, considering what
figure it makes in the world, rather than in self-forgetful devotion
giving itself to the work set before it, to delivering some message in
which it intensely believes as necessary for mankind?" It has been
likened to a bride; is not the bride too self-conscious, thinking
whether her garb is not fine enough or too fine, her possessions too
small or too large, her influence too weak or opposition to it too
strong? How much discussion is devoted to the question, what phrases
must be repeated, what forms adopted, to pass the janitor who guards her
doors! As has been truly said, the really useful reform for all of us
would be that each should do his appointed work at least ten per cent.
better than he has done it before. The work to be done should be the
special work assigned to each and for which each is best fitted. We long
for peace, but in settling the constitution of a League of Nations it
will be the jurist not the churchman who will help us. In aiming at
political or industrial peace the practical good sense of the
statesman, the employer, and the workman will best point out what is
wanted; the Church, as such, is better out of the way in framing
legislation. But suppose even that we establish securely international
and political, industrial and social peace, is that peace all we need?
Shall we not still in youth be restless, anxious about the future of our
own lives and the lives of those nearest to us, unsettled by ambitions
for what we may not attain, disappointed at the little progress we make;
restless all through life, disturbed by thoughts of what we desire but
cannot have; restless, most of all, in age, knowing that attainment is
no longer possible, and, if we have attained anything, feeling how
little it is worth? Who will take for his proper sphere to show the way
to a peace which may pass the understanding of those who, in
disappointment and loss and vain endeavour, which will go on even if the
dreams of national and social progress and improvement are realised, and
alike in failure or success, will need that peace more and more as long
as the life of man lasts? Sometimes we see among those round us calm
faces the living "index of a mind" at peace, which make us feel that
there are those working in our midst in whom that peace exists. Let her
tell the way to that and the answer would be, "There is nothing wrong
with the Church; she is fulfilling her mission; ever, as of old, will
glad welcome greet the footsteps of him that bringeth good tidings, that
publisheth peace." [7]


[Footnote 7: The word "Church" is used in the sense which each reader
chooses to attach to it. Definition in such matters leads to

Part III




     _Political economy, as a branch of the science of a
     statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects,
     first, to provide plentiful revenue or subsistence for
     the people or, more properly, to enable them to provide
     such a revenue or subsistence for themselves, and,
     secondly, to supply the slate or commonwealth with a
     revenue sufficient for the public services._--ADAM SMITH.

Taking first the second of the two objects mentioned by Adam Smith, it
will be convenient under the heading of "Retrenchment" to treat not only
the question of economy in the expenditure of the State, but also the
other side of the account, and consider what general lines of action
should be adopted to make revenue balance expenditure, in the first
place by reducing expenditure, and, in the second, by increasing
revenue, in view of the fact that the absolutely necessary expenditure
will be enormously enhanced to meet the interest on the National Debt.
Assuming that the War were to end in the spring of 1919, the debt will
probably amount to about seven thousand millions after allowing for
loans due from the Allies and Dominions so far as they are likely to be
then recoverable. Taking interest at 5 per cent. with a sinking fund of
only half per cent., it is estimated that the permanent annual charge in
respect of the Debt will then be about 380 millions. No doubt part of
the Debt bears interest at a lower rate than 5 per cent., but a portion
has been borrowed at a higher. This is on the assumption that the War
will end within this financial year. Even if the War does end within the
financial year, much of the expenditure occasioned by it must go on
during the period of demobilisation, and during part of that period the
Debt will probably go on growing, as it can hardly be expected that
sufficient revenue can be raised by taxation to meet this continued
expenditure directly due to the War. There will also be for many years
to come a very heavy expenditure on pensions, and, whatever other
savings may be effected, the duty of providing pensions for injured and
disabled sailors and soldiers is paramount, and the provision must be
made generously.

It seems highly probable, therefore, that the annual Debt service will
ultimately amount to nearly 400 millions, and may be much more if the
War goes on over 1919. It is a gigantic burden to bear. Mr. Bonar Law
has stated in the House of Commons that a loan of one thousand millions
represents the labour of ten million men for a whole year, so we may
take it that the annual charge for the National Debt will require the
whole labour of four million men to meet it, and that this charge will
be continuous for many years. The normal expenditure after the War,
apart from Debt service, has been reckoned to be 270 millions. It will
certainly be more unless rigid economy is practised and all the new
schemes which are being proposed involving expenditure of money are
carefully scrutinised to see whether the expenditure is such as the
country ought to undertake in view of its financial obligations. As the
Debt service will be practically constant and irreducible unless revenue
largely exceeds the total annual expenditure, which is very improbable,
it is clear that a strong effort must be made to reduce this expenditure
and also, so far as possible, to increase the State revenue. Unless this
is done there will be a deficit even after the War, and the Debt will
have to be increased to meet it. There is no question of greater
urgency, and it must be resolutely faced. We shall probably find a
disposition, both in the Government and in Parliament, to shirk it. The
influence of the extension of the electorate will, in all likelihood, be
against rather than in favour of economy. There is a common assumption
that people can get the State to pay for things instead of paying for
them themselves; that there is no need to practise personal economy or
to save because the State will provide. Wage-earners who began by
practising some self-denial in order to save have said, "What is the use
of troubling? The man who saves is really no better off than the man who
spends all his earnings, as the State will provide what is required to
meet the needs of the latter."

What, then, can be done to reduce expenditure? It is impossible to do
more than indicate in outline the machinery by which this expenditure is
or might be controlled. During the War, for various reasons, the regular
and ordinary checks on extravagance and waste have almost ceased to
operate. The situation seems to have been getting worse until the
appointment of a Special Committee of the House of Commons on National
Expenditure in July, 1917. The Committee consisted of men with business
knowledge, and its reports have furnished valuable suggestions. On such
a subject anybody who has not direct access to documents and definite
personal knowledge of the work and expenditure of various departments,
and also some personal experience in State finance, may well hesitate to
express an opinion, and will prefer to quote the views of those who have
fuller information and better means of judging. There has been much
waste; what has gone on has even been described as a "wild orgy of
extravagance." The phrase has been used not only by irresponsible
critics, but by business men whose words carry weight. Let us call two
witnesses out of many available.

Mr. H. Samuel, in speaking of the work of the Select Committee, as late
as June 19, 1918, said, in the House of Commons, "that the Committee had
formed the opinion that in some cases the staffs of Government
departments had been swollen beyond all estimation; that they were
frequently ill-organised; that there was much waste of labour and
consequently of money in their establishments; that the Treasury had not
risen to the occasion during the War, and the Committee had regretfully
come to the conclusion that the War Office had been adopting a
deliberately obstructive attitude." Mr. Runciman on the same occasion
stated that "lax expenditure and loose control over distribution of
public money went far beyond the immediate departments concerned. It
went down into every factory, and the general effect was a scale of
national extravagance from which we should recover after the War only
with the greatest difficulty."

We shall not recover at all except by immediate, determined and, above
all, methodical action. Small economies, as Mr. Gladstone long ago
pointed out, are not to be despised. It is no doubt right to put up
notices in Government offices not to put coal on the fire after three
o'clock, but these savings will not go far when half a million can be
thrown away on the bogs and rocks round Loch Doon with no useful result
of any kind, and yet nobody seems to be made responsible for this waste,
nor can anyone say why it was allowed. We hear again and again of
improvident contracts and extravagant purchases, and also of absurd cost
incurred in supervising minute details. Why cannot clear general
authority to act on the spot in certain matters be given to some
responsible person, instead of instituting a system of checks which
often cause great delay as well as expense? A water pipe at a camp wants
some slight repair, costing less than half a sovereign. No one there has
authority to give an order, a well-paid official must be sent a day's
journey to inspect, and incurs expenses far exceeding the cost of the
work to be done. Why is good agricultural land taken for a site when
there is plenty of land near which is waste or of little value? Why does
a well-known firm which has a telephone and a post-bag think it worth
while to pay £15,000 for an introduction to a Government Department? Why
have we heard again and again of prices paid for goods greatly in excess
of the price for which they could be obtained from well-established
firms in the trade? Such instances could be multiplied, but enough has
come to light publicly, and been proved, to show how essential it is to
have some authority to deal with such matters and stop the leakage
which becomes a torrent. Apparently there has been an improvement lately
in many respects, but we are yet a long way from perfection.

There will be an immense dead weight of influence against economy owing
to the fact that so many persons are interested in keeping up and
increasing expenditure. As was said in the debate above referred to, "It
looks as if London were becoming a huge bureaucratic town where everyone
will be working in some Government department or other." One might say
everyone of all ages, remembering a remark made by someone entering a
building near Whitehall, and seeing the crowd of girls and boys in the
corridor, "I thought I was coming to a Government office, but it seems
to be a crêche."

For efficiency as well as for economy a thorough revision of the
executive departments of the Government is necessary. There is no doubt
that the present system has grown up at haphazard. It would be difficult
for anyone to form a clear idea of the duties assigned to or powers
conferred on the various departments, to say who in each department has
authority to do certain acts, or is responsible for seeing that they are
done properly.

To get the best account of the executive departments in England as they
existed before the War we must go to America. Professor A.L. Lowell's
book may be taken as the standard work on that subject. The chapters on
the Executive Departments, the Treasury, and the Civil Service give a
clear and interesting account of the administrative arrangements of the
British Government. He shows how new departments have grown up from time
to time to meet some new want as it arose, but their powers are often
ill defined. Various Boards were created, but in some cases it became an
established practice that the Board should not meet, or a Committee of
Council was set up and the work carried on under the supposed direction
of "my Lords." It was a mere fiction. There has been no clear and
consistent scheme for distributing the work of Government between the
various departments on any intelligible principles.

All are spending money, some of them enormous sums. Staffs are growing
inordinately, much of the work is duplicated, much consists in
communications with other departments which would be unnecessary if the
work of each were better defined.

It should be clear in each department who has authority to decide any
particular question, to incur expenditure, to enter into binding
agreements. The executive government of the country is in a chaotic
state, relieved to some extent by the good sense and good feeling of the
members of the great army of officials who carry it on. No one can deny
that the Civil Service is not only pure, but, taken as a whole, its
members individually are both able and industrious. It is better
organisation that is required. Some of the new Ministries ought to be
scrapped directly the War is over, and the business of others continued
only so far as necessary for winding up. But these new departments will
die hard.

Since the War new departments have grown up like mushrooms, sometimes
without any clear statement of their functions or powers being made, and
there has not been time to settle them at leisure by a course of
practice. The result is overlapping, friction which would be intolerable
but for the good-natured forbearance which English people have for a
state of confusion, waste of time and money in sending minutes, and in
correspondence between different departments, and often delays which
have had most unfortunate results. Does anyone know exactly what are the
respective functions and powers of the Ministry of Reconstruction, the
Ministry of Labour, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Pensions, the
Ministry of National Service, the Board of Works, the Ministry of Food
Control, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, the War Trade
Department, the Home Office, the Local Government Board, the Committee
on Food Production, the Restriction of Enemy Supply Committee, the
Priorities Committees, the Ministry of Munitions, etc., etc. The list
might easily be extended.

A thorough revision of the executive departments is necessary if
government is to be both efficient and economical. There is plenty of
good material in the Civil Service, and it will always be easy to obtain
more. It is the system or want of system that is wrong.

The next question is to provide or restore a more effective general
control over expenditure and impose checks on the growing expenditure
which has been so marked in recent years, even before the War.

The ordinary machinery for dealing with and controlling expenditure is
or should be fourfold.

(1) The spending departments make definite estimates or are supposed to
do so. Since the War, this has not been the rule. Of course, there are
many cases in which it would have been absolutely impossible to let the
items of proposed expenditure be published or discussed in the House of
Commons; but, as soon as War requirements permit it, proper estimates
should again be prepared and pressure put upon the departments to reduce
them. At present the pressure is all the other way; the heads of the
departments apparently like to have a large establishment as well as to
extend their jurisdiction. It is not merely to give their department
more importance and a claim therefore to higher salaries; sometimes it
is the natural tendency of the vigorous man to enlarge the scope of his
influence. _Boni judicis_, says the old maxim, _ampliare
jurisdictionem_. ("It is characteristic of the good judge to extend his
jurisdiction.") It would be a good thing if instead of estimates being
laid directly before a Committee of the whole House of Commons, where
some small item is often the subject of long and acrimonious debate and
millions are passed without comment or consideration in a few minutes,
the estimates of each department were fully considered as a whole by
some small competent Committee of the House, uninfluenced by party
feeling, and representatives of departments could be asked questions on
their estimates.

To compare small things with great, a committee of this kind has been
found of the highest value in institutions where there are various
departments requiring large expenditure. It is usually then felt by each
person who sends in an estimate that it is to the credit of his
department not to make claims for expenditure which cannot be justified.
When the scale and character of the expenditure have been scrutinised
and the estimate has been passed, it is much better to leave a very free
hand as to the exact mode of expenditure. Outside control then becomes
irritating, and is itself a cause of extravagance; it means more
accounts, more correspondence, more consideration of papers.

(2) The Treasury is supposed to have the function of control, but a
change appears to have taken place, and it has now to a great extent
lost its control, and has even itself become a spending body. Professor
A.L. Lowell, in the work above referred to, after speaking of the
Treasury as the department which exhibits in the highest degree the
merits of the British Government, points out that even ten years ago,
"with the waning desire for economy and the growth of other interests,
the Treasury has to some extent lost its predominant position; although
it will no doubt maintain its control over the details of expenditure,
one cannot feel certain that its head will regain the powerful influence
upon general or financial policy exerted thirty years ago." A very
guarded statement, as was becoming in an author writing in another
country at a time when the tendencies to which he alludes were only
beginning to show themselves. Things have advanced during the last ten
years in the direction Professor Lowell indicated as probable, and it is
high time that this advance should be stopped.

We might venture to ask, indeed, the following questions: (i) Has not
the Treasury during the last ten years lost a large portion of its
control, and since the War almost its whole control over expenditure on
a large scale? (ii) Is the Treasury not more concerned with paltry
details than in imposing any real check on the extravagance of spending
departments? (iii) Has not the policy sometimes been actually to
encourage expenditure, and has not there been one case at least, even of
introducing vexatious taxation where the amount collected is far less
than the cost of collection? (iv) What has the Treasury done to prevent
or control "the orgy of extravagance" since the War began? The
department of State which has to do with revenue, with getting as much
as possible and spending only what is necessary, which has the duty of
"making both ends meet," ought to resume its functions and regain its
influence so that the Government may be conducted "on strict business
principles," to use Professor Lowell's phrase, "as it was throughout a
great part of the nineteenth century."

(3) The Cabinet should exercise more controlling power, and recognise
its collective responsibility for keeping down expenditure. As Professor
Lowell points out, the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in
the Cabinet was one of almost commanding influence. In Mr. Gladstone's
time his powerful personality, regularly exercised in favour of national
economy, did certainly have a great effect in preventing extravagance,
and some other Chancellors of the Exchequer no doubt used an influence
in that direction, but can it be safely asserted that there is in the
Cabinet as a whole sufficient attention given to retrenchment?

(4) Lastly, the House of Commons is supposed to control expenditure.
That control has generally been used, and quite rightly, as a means of
calling attention to grievances, and as giving an opportunity for
criticism of the executive; but the House of Commons should also put
pressure on the executive to curtail expenditure, not so much by
discussing small details which would be far better dealt with by such a
small Estimates Examination Committee as suggested, but by using its
influence generally against an increase of expenditure unless a clear
case for it is made out. During the War, Parliamentary control, at least
until the appointment of the Committee above mentioned, seems almost to
have gone. The House of Commons does not now exercise its influence as
it ought, to check extravagance, and probably the more widely the
electorate is extended, as already said, the less will the House of
Commons care to exercise rigid control in favour of economy. It is
always an easy way of getting popularity to be what is called "generous"
when dealing with other people's money. Everyone who looks after the
public interest by trying to prevent expenditure, whether national or
local, which is not imperatively called for, is styled mean and
narrow-minded, and his task is a thankless one. Everyone who wants money
spent will be able to make out a plausible case, either that the amount
is so small or the object is so important that what he asks must be
granted, and he will have some eager constituents to back him up. The
best chance for economy is to have a body of men whose decisions the
House will respect and not overrule, except for really good cause, who
have both the knowledge and the strength of character to go through the
estimates and call attention to the cases in which substantial
reductions could be effected, or proposals for increased expenditure
refused. It will not be an agreeable task, and now probably less popular
than ever. The masses admire lavish expenditure whether by public bodies
or by the private person who spends his money "like a gentleman," and it
is to be feared there will not be much help from the women electors, as
women, although they may practise economy occasionally themselves,
usually regard it as a most objectionable virtue in a man. How often in
families do we find the mother and sisters will admire the
self-indulgent idle youth who spends money freely even if he borrows
from them, rather than the steady, plodding son who, by rigid economy
and personal self-denial, helps to provide them with the means of

Turning to the other side of the account, what can be done to increase
the revenue of the State? It has been estimated that for the year
1919-20 it will amount to £900,000,000, but of this £300,000,000 is
excess profits duty, which can hardly continue--in its present form at
least--beyond the period during which additional expenditure above the
permanent normal requirements is needed, in order to carry out
demobilisation. Putting the permanent charge to meet interest on debt
and the cost of the public services at £670,000,000, there may be a
deficit even if the present rate of taxation is maintained, and the
normal expenditure remains at its existing level. There will be no
surplus for the reduction of debt, or to meet new demands. Some new
sources of revenue must, if possible, be found, and the old ones require

Income tax, if levied on the present system, has touched the extreme
limit. A rate of taxation willingly borne to meet the cost of war while
danger threatened will be felt more and more burdensome as time goes on.
To meet a higher income tax there will be pressure to increase salaries
paid by the Government and all public authorities. An official salary
fixed at £5,000 a year when income tax was one shilling and sixpence,
may be thought insufficient when it is nearly ten shillings including
super-tax. Persons have incurred liabilities for rent and other fixed
payments which they are not able to reduce. All along the line there
will be claims for higher payments for services rendered or goods
supplied. On the other hand, industrial undertakings will have to pay
more for the capital they must borrow to carry on and develop their
work, and 6 per cent. instead of 4 per cent. will have to be paid for
debenture capital now raised by the best industrial companies. For those
who have money to lend, the burden of tax may thus be practically met by
an increased income, but for those whose money is locked up in permanent
investments there will be no indirect relief in higher rates of
interest. Income tax, house duty, and rates will absorb so much that the
margin for voluntary expenditure will be small even out of incomes that
are nominally high.

The death duties, especially where a deceased person leaves a large
family, already cause much hardship. A general increase in the existing
rates of estate duty cannot be made without discouraging thrift. It is a
hardship if it is made impossible for parents to make reasonable
provision for children some of whom may from various causes be unable to
earn for themselves. On the contrary, where there are no children and no
widow to be provided for, death duties might be much increased without
causing hardship. A very much higher legacy duty might be charged in the
case of large sums passing on death to persons other than the widow,
direct descendants, or other near relatives of a deceased person. On
small legacies the present rates should suffice, but there is no moral
claim for distant relatives to be allowed to take large sums. Would
there be any real hardship in imposing a heavy duty of, say, 25 per
cent. on gifts over, say, £1,000 to collateral relations not dependent
on the testator or to strangers? Or there might be a graded scale
according to the remoteness of the relationship. In case of intestacy it
would be often a real advantage to take the _whole property_ for the
State, if there were no relations within the third or fourth degree,
i.e., uncles and aunts, and nephews and nieces being in the third
degree, first cousins in the fourth. Economists for the last hundred
years--Bentham, Mill, and others--have advocated such a change. Nearly
every judge or officer of the Courts who has to do with the
administration of estates would support a change which would do away
with much wasteful litigation and disappoint no reasonable expectations.
No source of revenue should be neglected if it can truly be said that by
imposing the additional taxation proposed there will be (i) no
dislocation of trade or hampering of industry or commerce; (ii) no
discouragement of thrift; (iii) no real hardship; (iv) no great expense
incurred in collection in proportion to the amount raised. It is only
sheer stupidity that refuses to adopt a means of raising even a small
amount when the method proposed for doing so would have positively
beneficial results in other ways.

The land increment duty should be a warning as regards cost of
collection. That cost relatively to the amount produced has been
enormous. But actual cost of collection as returned, represents only a
small part of the expenditure really caused by the tax. The time taken
up in making returns and filling up forms and obtaining the necessary
advice in doing so is a burden on those who own even the smallest landed
property and causes real hardship and injury. It discourages people from
acquiring small properties.

The only other source of additional revenue in immediate contemplation
appears to be the luxury tax. If this can be levied so as to fall on
articles which are really luxuries, i.e., things not required for full
and healthy life, the effect of such a tax should be wholly beneficial.
If, notwithstanding the tax, people go on buying such luxuries the State
will gain. If, on the other hand, the effect of the tax is to check
expenditure on luxuries it will be a gain to the country, because its
productive power and its purchasing power will be used to obtain
articles which are really valuable and do promote national welfare. The
idea that those who spend money on luxuries are helping trade, and so
benefiting others, ought to have been exploded long ago. If the industry
which has been devoted to producing articles which are really useless
were diverted to producing things of utility, the aggregate of human
happiness would be greatly increased. A difficulty in applying the tax
is that the price of an article is little criterion as to whether it is
a luxury or not.

There are two other sources from which additional revenue might be

First, to impose again an export duty on coal. Such a duty would help
rather than hinder British industry. That industry is dependent
absolutely on the supply of coal. British Coal Measures are an asset
which enables the country to keep industries going, but it is a wasting
asset. Deeper and better mining may have upset calculations made by
Professor Jevons many years ago when he warned the country of the
disastrous consequences of using up our coal supplies, but sooner or
later the pinch will come. An export duty ought to be imposed on coal
directly the present war restrictions can be removed. Our stores of coal
cannot be indefinitely increased by increased industry. If the duty
operated to reduce export of coal British manufacturers would gain, and
be able to produce commodities at less cost. If the demand from abroad
were so strong that export did not diminish, the country would gain to
the whole extent of the duty paid by foreign purchasers. The ordinary
arguments in favour of free trade do not support objection to such an
export duty as this. There will be ample demand for all the coal that
can be produced. Even if there were not, it would be well not to use it
up so quickly. There are some kinds of coal, of which the amount
available is very limited, yet until the War broke out quantities of
such coal were freely sent to other countries, some of it to those who
are now at war with us, and so used to help our enemies, who got the
precious mineral cheap because we refused to allow the imposition of an
export duty. Probably the duty when it was tried was not imposed in the
best way, being charged at a fixed rate per ton instead of on an _ad
valorem_ scale, but this fault could easily be corrected. Special
exceptions in favour of Colonies or Allies, or for the supply of certain
places, might be made by arrangement in consideration of some equivalent
favour, or to meet some particular need.

The other suggestion involves more difficulties, and is of a more
far-reaching character. Would it not be possible to replace to some
extent the excess profits duty, which cannot be permanent, by a duty on
"excess dividends," that is, on the amounts paid out of the profits of a
business for the use of capital above a certain percentage? The excess
profits duty, in spite of all its anomalies and the difficulties of
assessment, has saved the financial situation during the War; a tax on
excess dividends might "save the situation" afterwards. When a business
is successful, paying, as many businesses have recently done, dividends
of 30 to 50 per cent., and sometimes even more, the return made to those
who have invested money in them is clearly excessive. From such
profitable businesses those who have the responsible management no doubt
may generally get better remuneration, possibly the workmen may get a
small bonus or share in such profits, but those who by a mere stroke of
good luck have embarked their money in these businesses, shareholders
who very likely know nothing whatever about the conduct of them, benefit
enormously. Such a tax would not discourage thrift or prevent a person
from getting a reasonable return on his savings. Take the case, say, of
two professional men. Both, by hard work and using up their lives in the
effort, manage to make a fair income and bring up their families. One of
them, to make provision for the future, invests £2,000 in safe
securities with fixed rate of interest, and £2,000 in some company whose
business is of a more or less speculative character, but by good fortune
becomes able to pay a dividend of 30 per cent. The other invests a like
sum in firm securities, and £2,000 in another company which turns out a
failure. Neither of them has anything to do with the conduct of the
business of the company in which he invests, but one has got a tip from
some friend or other who thinks he knows of a good thing. The work of
the two men is exactly the same; it is a mere fluke that one gets a huge
return and the other puts his money into a company which, without any
fault on his part, brings in nothing.

The tax suggested would be levied on the excessive profits distributed
in respect of the capital embarked in businesses of every kind. It was
pointed out long ago that a tax thus levied on all alike would be paid
wholly by the capitalist and "would neither affect the prices of the
commodities produced nor the distribution of capital." The duty might be
graded according to the percentage to be received on the capital of
each investor. It might be reasonable for the first 10 per cent. to pay
only the ordinary rate of income tax. Money in fixed permanent
securities may now produce 5 per cent. or 6 per cent., and the
additional 4 per cent. free from the excess duty would be a fair return
for risk and an inducement to enterprise. The rate of excess duty might
be increased according to the excess of profits above 10 per cent. until
when the profits reached, say, 30 per cent. the duty on the amount in
excess of 20 per cent. might be very high. The effect of the tax would
not be to reduce the spending power of the community; it would only be
that the State instead of the individual would to the extent of the duty
obtain the power of purchasing what it required, and discharging its
liabilities with the money it took from excessive profits. The amount of
the tax, the method of grading and mode of levying it, would require
careful consideration; but if the difficulties and inequalities
introduced by the War excess profits duty could be met, there seems no
reason why the difficulties of the tax thus proposed should not be also
solved; at all events, an attempt should be made to see how it would
work out.

Where money is rapidly acquired by some stroke of fortune and is not the
result of steady industry the result is constantly unwise and often
harmful expenditure either by those who have acquired it or their
immediate successors. There is an old Lancashire saying as to fortunes
rapidly made, that there are only three generations from clogs to clogs:
"What is unreasonably gathered is also unreasonably spent by the persons
into whose hands it finally falls." It may be spent "in a stupefying
luxury twice harmful both in being indulged in by the rich and witnessed
by the poor."

There is a great danger to the State at the present time from large
amounts of money rapidly acquired being accumulated in few hands. There
are many signs that we are likely to enter a period which may be
described as the reign of the "nouveaux riches." The great financiers,
the persons with enormous interests in huge combines, will exercise more
and more an undue and dangerous influence on fiscal policy and political
life. The old nobility and the class of country gentlemen will have less
power. Their resources will be seriously crippled, and their families
perhaps extinguished through losses in the War. The middle class, which,
in the last century, exercised the strongest influence on political
life, and from which most of our men of letters and science have sprung,
may now be crushed. On the more highly educated part of the middle
classes whose means are limited the burden of the War has fallen most
heavily. Taxation seems deliberately arranged to place as heavy a burden
as possible on those of the middle classes who have children to bring up
and to educate in the way they think best, and who endeavour to provide
means by which their families can occupy the same position in life which
their parents have done. The rate of income tax paid by a bachelor and a
spinster is increased if they marry, although their necessary expenses
will be enormously increased if they have a family to support. A
bachelor with £500 a year may be living in ease and luxury; if he
marries and has four or five children to educate he may find difficulty
in meeting the needs of his family with £1,500. In the same way the
death duties are absurdly small on the estate of the bachelor who leaves
no family, but are a real hardship on the family of the man who dies
leaving a number of children.

The tendency is towards a rapid accumulation of huge fortunes. In
considering the incidence of taxation Bacon's advice might well be
remembered: "Above all things, good policy is to be used that the
treasure and moneys in a State be not gathered into few hands, for
otherwise the State may have great stock and yet starve, for money is
like muck, not good except it be spread."



     _But where is the money to come from? Yes, that is to be
     asked. Let us as quite the first business in this our
     national crisis look not only into our affairs but into
     our accounts and obtain some notion of how we annually
     spend our money, and what we are getting for it. Not the
     public revenue only; of that some account is rendered
     already. But let us do the best we can to set down the
     items of the national private expenditure and know what
     we spend altogether and how._--JOHN RUSKIN.

The revenue and expenditure of the State have already been discussed;
over that the State has a direct control. Over the expenditure of the
nation the control of the State is only indirect. Though the two
questions should be kept distinct, one affects the other. Both are
vitally important and now more serious than ever in view of the huge
debt and other conditions which will exist after the War. How are we to
provide and pay for the commodities we need for the support of the
nation? Before the War the balance required to pay for the excess of
imports over exports was apparently provided, first, by interest on
investments in other countries--Englishmen having provided capital all
over the world--and, second, by freights. A large amount of these
foreign investments has been sold. How far shall we still be a creditor
country after the War? As regards freights, British shipping has
suffered very heavy losses. One of the first duties both during and
after the War must be to repair the losses and increase British tonnage
available for trade. To this end no effort should be spared, and the
State should do all that is possible to foster shipbuilding, or even
undertake the work itself, if possible without interfering, as
unfortunately it has already done, with the output of private
shipbuilding yards.

As regards national as well as State expenditure, it will be essential,
first, to increase the income, and second, to guard against every form
of waste. To increase the income the only way is to increase production
both from the land and the factory (_a_) of things needed for use at
home, (_b_) of things which can be sold abroad, i.e., exported in
exchange for the supplies that must be imported. In both cases it is
necessary to consider not merely the increase in the amount produced or
the volume of trade, but how far are the articles produced for home use
or imported from abroad of real value in promoting the healthy life of
the nation, how far are they things that are really needed. Books on
political economy have sometimes stated that only "value in exchange is
to be considered"; "value in use" is still more important. We want to
ascertain the things that will really do us good, and devote our
energies to the production and importation of such things. The teachings
of the physiologist as to food values, the study of hygiene in its
widest sense, must form part of political economy in the true sense as
well as the laws of supply and demand or the theory of wages or of
foreign exchange or currency.

Some of the methods for obtaining increased production from industry by
better conditions of labour leading to more effective efforts have been
discussed in another chapter; the question of obtaining increased output
from the land so as to produce a larger amount of food for home
consumption will be mentioned in a subsequent chapter dealing with
reconstruction or reform relating to agriculture. Improved forestry may
be regarded as a branch of the same subject.

With regard to expenditure, it will be incumbent on all classes to act
rigorously so as to prevent waste, but it is not to be expected that the
national expenditure as a whole can be greatly reduced as compared with
the pre-War standard. The expenditure of certain classes of people
might, of course, be greatly reduced without any injury to healthy life
or development or in any way impairing real efficiency or even affecting
their happiness; but as regards the majority this is not so. The
conditions of life of the working classes, especially as regards such
matters as housing, require to be improved. It is a wiser expenditure,
not a reduction in expenditure, that must be the aim for them. The
expenditure on drink is, of course, unnecessarily large, and in many
cases absolutely detrimental, and a reduction in this respect is
required for national well-being. The manner of dealing with the
question must be the subject of separate consideration; but it is a
remarkable fact that, though no evil has been more prominent, though for
more than half a century no subject has provoked more discussion, though
none has been the object of more organised attempts at reform, in none
has so little of value been done by State action or legislation, at
least until the establishment of the Board of Control during the War.

A second source of saving would be to prevent the waste of food which
goes on in all classes. It is not only that food is actually thrown
away, but that too little attempt is made to choose and to use the
healthiest and most nutritious forms of food, and there is an
indisposition to try any unaccustomed form of food. If one were asked
what would be the most useful practical reform at the present time,
probably the best answer would be, "Promote more general use of oatmeal
porridge." Attention to the best choice and use of food would do much to
make a healthy nation, and at the same time effect a saving in
expenditure. "Grow more oats and eat them" would be a wise precept for
the nation to follow. With that, an effort must be made to secure a
fuller supply of milk at lower prices. This is vital for the welfare of
the coming generation. The cost of transport and of distribution of milk
might be reduced by better organisation.

Allied to this subject is the enormous waste caused by ignorance of
cookery. A really excellent dinner in France or in Switzerland is often
made from materials which would be despised in this country. Anyone who
is in the habit of roaming about the country on foot or on a bicycle
will know that in many parts it is impossible to get a decent meal; the
provision made is frequently nasty without being cheap. In rural
districts in France delicious meals can be obtained at a lower price.
Domestic economy should be taught in every school, and to people of
every rank, but the teaching should be practical. I remember wishing to
see in an excellent school something of the teaching of domestic
economy, and found the girls and boys, instead of learning to cook, were
learning what was called science, writing down in copy-books "the
operative principle of tea is theme." This kind of pseudo-science,
teaching people to write a jargon which conveys no meaning to their
minds, is one of the things which is called education, but is really
mental demoralisation. The process may be continued, perhaps, in classes
on "practical citizenship" for adolescents, who will be taught to say
"the operative principle for the amelioration of states is
democratisation." Great improvements in the teaching of domestic economy
have been made during the last few years in many places, but there is no
doubt that an enormous amount of waste is due to ignorance and neglect
in the choice and preparation of food.

Again, every possible effort should be made to encourage habits of
thrift, and to provide satisfactory modes of investment for small
savings. As regards this question, War conditions have positively had a
beneficial effect. The need for all classes to contribute to War Loans
has been recognised; facilities to enable the small investor to
contribute have been carefully arranged, and the War Savings Committees
have done admirable work in bringing the question home to the people.
The result has been on the whole most satisfactory. Not only has a very
substantial sum been provided towards meeting the cost of the War, but
habits of thrift have been fostered, and the sense of having a stake in
the country, a direct financial interest in the national funds, makes
for order and will form an element of stability in national life which
will be invaluable.

Notwithstanding the "ingrained prejudice against thrift" among the
majority of all classes, which is a marked characteristic of the English
nation as compared, for example, with the French, the number of holders
of national securities has increased enormously. Before the outbreak of
the War it appears that only 345,100 persons held securities of the
British Government. It was estimated that at the end of the year 1917
Government securities had been distributed among no fewer than 16
million persons, including 10 million holdings of War Savings
Certificates.[8] It was further estimated that "during 1917 over 51
millions were contributed to the Post Office issues of War securities,
which, together with the net value of nearly 64 millions from War
Savings Certificates and an increase of deposits over withdrawals in the
Post Office Savings Bank of no less than £5,683,000, provides in all a
sum of £120,723,000 odd, the total contributions of small investors
during the year." Since the beginning of the War the contributions of
small investors already amount in all to a grand total of about

Care in expenditure and a habit of saving will, in view of the financial
position after the War, be alike necessary; the nation cannot afford
waste in any form; after the War, as well as during the War, the
national welfare demands that any balance beyond what is required for
healthy life should be saved and made available to meet the national
needs, including not only the fulfilment of the national obligations,
which is an imperative condition for the maintenance of credit and
prosperity, but also the provision of the means for future betterment,
material or moral. We do not wish to reduce useful expenditure, but to
get money for what we need by increasing production and by more careful
spending. It will be a time for all classes to refrain from expenditure
on luxuries or ostentation, or in fulfilling those imagined claims which
convention imposes. In different ways almost all classes are fettered by
these conventional obligations. How much of the expenditure of a person
with fairly good income is devoted to things which give him no
additional pleasure and confer no real benefit on himself or others!
Both rich and poor waste great quantities of food, sometimes because
they are afraid of being thought mean if they did not do so. There is a
strange power exercised over our acts and our liberty is curtailed by
the opinions of our neighbours or members of the same class. Much might
be accomplished if we could enlist these conventions on the side of
economy. Why, for example, should it not be considered "worse form" to
take on the plate good food that is not wanted and leave it, than to eat
peas with a knife? How greatly did an alliance with Mrs. Grundy support
morality in mid-Victorian days! If we could turn social observances from
encouraging extravagance to promoting economy, it would go far towards
eliminating national waste.


[Footnote 8: See _Economist_, July 13, 1918.]

Part IV




     _Above all things, order and distribution and singling
     out of parts is the life of despatch._--FRANCIS BACON.

It has been usual to associate the term "reform" mainly with
constitutional changes, and especially with the extension of the
franchise. Fortunately, the present Parliament has dealt with that
question in a manner which makes great further changes unnecessary, and
will leave the new Parliament free to deal with others. Instead of
taking up time with the discussion of alterations in the franchise and
arrangements for elections, the legislative machinery should be ready
for use. But it is not merely to legislation that we have to look. More
and more will depend on the action of executive departments of
Government. Their field of activity has been extended during the War,
and new departments have been established. Some of the new activities
should be continued after the War, others should be stopped as soon as
possible. It will be necessary to discriminate carefully. The powers of
local authorities may be increased, and those authorities may be urged
to more energetic use of them. There will probably be strong demands for
interference by the State and local authorities, and the advantage of
the free action of private individuals is likely to be overlooked,
although where it is possible for a reform to be carried out by private
effort better results are usually obtained, and at less cost than by
action of the State. We are suffering and shall probably continue to
suffer from too much regulation. One of the first reforms will be to
get rid of restrictions which the War has for a time rendered
necessary, to restore liberty of action, and to stop the expenditure
occasioned by State interference wherever such interference is no longer

Using the term "reform" to include all improvements which can be made
either by restoring former conditions or by introducing beneficial
changes, it will be necessary to look into each question separately and
see in what cases and to what extent action by the State is required to
accomplish the end desired. The most convenient course will be to draw
up a list of subjects which ought to be dealt with, and then see how far
(i) legislation, and (ii) executive action by some department are called
for in each case, and how far private action will be effective.

The following appear to be the most important and most urgent matters
which require to be considered either during the War or immediately
after peace is declared. All of them will involve some action on the
part of the State, although in many cases that action will be to enable
voluntary associations or private individuals to take up the work and to
aid them in doing so.

The list, though by no means complete, looks formidable:--

1. Restore constitutional law and liberty.

2. Remove the fetters on trade, commerce and industry.

3. Demobilise the army and decide what naval and military forces will
still have to be maintained, and what provision ought to be made in
regard to military training in the future.

4. Reform the War Office.[9] Reconsider the constitution and procedure
of courts martial, and provide for really judicial inquiry into
grievances. Revive and use the Territorial system.

5. Complete the arrangements for adequate pensions and develop means for
giving such technical training and providing such openings for work as
will enable partially disabled men to earn comfortable subsistence in

6. Provide permanent homes and sanatoria for those who are more
seriously injured, and find suitable light employment for those who can
undertake it.

7. Arrange the best places and provide proper training for discharged
soldiers and sailors (and others) who may be willing to settle on the

8. Consider how to restore the discharged men to their former places or
accustomed work, and how to meet the needs of the temporary workers who
will be displaced.

9. Curtail the vast expenditure on the departments organised for War
work, reducing the staffs and finding other work for those who must be
discharged. Dispense altogether with some of the new Ministries. The
question of employment for women after the War will be most urgent.

10. Organise and correlate the various departments so as to secure more
efficiency, and so assign and arrange the work of each as to avoid
circumlocution, friction and waste.

11. Reconstitute the Cabinet on clearer lines, and let competence for
the work of each department, instead of recognition of party services,
be the guide in appointing the Minister responsible for each.

12. Reform the procedure of the House of Commons to check verbosity and
facilitate business.[10] Delegate certain powers and duties.

13. Find means for raising additional revenue and making the incidence
of taxation fairer. In particular, revise the provisions as to income
tax and death duties, so as to increase revenue without adding to the
hardships and burdens due to the present conditions. Some definite steps
with that object are quite practicable.

14. Examine what industries, if any, are to be specially fostered as
"key industries," and whether this can be done without injury to other
industries or adding to the heavy cost borne by the consumer.

15. Arrange plans for enabling labour to co-operate fully in settling
the conditions under which industry is to be carried on, and make
provision for preventing disputes, increasing production, allocating
profits fairly, and for reducing hours of work without diminishing

16. Provide more and better housing, not only to secure the bare
accommodation necessary for health and decency, but also to make
attractive homes.

17. Increase the productivity of the land and promote agriculture, not
only for financial reasons, but to maintain and induce the growth of a
larger rural population. Stimulate education and research bearing on

18. Develop industrial villages, and also land settlements and
co-operative farming. Multiply allotments, both urban and rural, so far
as economic conditions permit and there is a supply of people desirous
and capable of working them.

19. Introduce methods enabling persons without ready capital to acquire
their cottages or small holdings by paying instalments on reasonable
terms. Why not an Ashbourne Act for England?

20. Control the liquor traffic, not with a view to injure the publican,
but to promote temperance, remembering that the business of the
licensed victualler should be to provide wholesome food as well as
drink, not to act merely as manager of a licensed house for extending
the trade, and enhancing the profits of a brewery or distillery.

21. Simplify the Land Laws and make transfer easier and less costly.

22. Amend the law relating to marriage, and also on some points
affecting personal status and devolution of property on death.

23. Consolidate the Statute Law and amend and codify the Criminal Law.
Carry out the amendment of the Patent Law.

24. Aid the development of Education without destroying the liberty of
teacher or scholar or the variety of methods by too much control, rigid
system, or over-elaborate organisation.

25. Combat disease, encourage research in preventive medicine, and
extend the application of its results. In particular carry on the
campaign against infectious and contagious diseases, and especially
against venereal disease.

26. Make better provision for playing-fields and open spaces, preserve
places of historic interest and natural beauty, and make them accessible
for the enjoyment of those who really care for them.

27. Develop fisheries.

28. Undertake afforestation systematically.

29. Improve and cheapen internal transport, especially by reviving

A fairly long programme, but it might be added to. Some of it is
essential, all of it useful; some of it wants carefully guarding; none
of it is beyond the sphere of practical politics. We cannot afford to
neglect any of the items. All the activities of the Government, of the
Legislature, and of private effort will be needed. It is worth notice
that there is not a single question in the whole list that need divide
Parliament or the country on party lines.

This list deals only with strictly home matters. Concurrently it will
be necessary to deal with international questions, such as the formation
of the League for securing peace, the constitution and regulation of
tribunals for settling disputes, the resuscitation of International Law
and reconsideration of its rules. An attempt should be made towards
assimilating, by arrangement, the laws of the mother country and the
colonies and also of different nations, affecting commerce, and also as
regards personal status--nationality, naturalisation, and the validity
of marriages.

The whole subject of co-operation between different parts of the Empire
in determining its policy and dealing with matters affecting the whole
demands earnest and immediate attention. The totally different question
of the devolution of powers to any parts of the United Kingdom has yet
to be settled. The claims of national sentiment have to be recognised
while the welfare and safety of the whole are secured. What are the
units to be on which powers can be conferred, and what should be their
extent? Who exactly are those whose national claims are being asserted,
and how far are they at unity among themselves? All these questions must
be treated as matters for constructive statesmanship, not as pawns in
party contests. They must be dealt with as practical problems having
regard to the special circumstances of each case, not as opportunities
for embodying some general political theory. There is a commendable
opportunism which knows how to take "occasion by the hand," to do the
wisest thing under the conditions subsisting at the time, as well as a
blameworthy one, which looks out how to use them for personal advantage.
There will be need, too, for the "trimmer on principle"--the man who,
when the boat is going over on one side, deliberately and quickly
transfers his weight to the other, or the steers-man who tacks when the
wind is contrary in order to bring his ship to the port where his
passengers desire to land. Such a man, as was said of Lord Halifax in
the time of Charles II, "must not be confounded with the vulgar crowd of
renegades, for though like them he passed from side to side, his
transition was always in the _direction opposite to theirs_. The party
to which he belonged was the party which at that moment he liked least,
because it was the party of which he had the nearest view. He was,
therefore, always severe upon his violent associates, and was always in
friendly relation with his moderate opponents."

It is obviously impossible to discuss all these questions in a volume,
still less to propound in detail the steps to be taken in dealing with
them. Most of the more pressing ones will be touched upon and some
suggestions made with regard to them; a few worked out rather more fully
as examples. In some cases the remedies are obvious, and could be
applied without difficulty, in others they require great special
knowledge and careful thought, and their application will involve
serious risks unless very great care and skill are used. To appear
dogmatic in speaking of these subjects is inevitable if one would be
definite; mistakes may be made, but "truth emerges from error more
readily than from confusion."


[Footnote 9: The last report of the Select Committee on Expenditure
shows some of the grounds why this is urgent, and that very strong
resolution will be needed to effect reform. The Prime Minister's
determined action in insisting on unity of command for the Allied forces
has already saved the country from enormous losses and done more than
any other action of the Government to bring victory nearer. Any layman
of average intelligence could see that the step was necessary; where did
the opposition come from? There are politicians who would use their
country's troubles to secure a party triumph.]

[Footnote 10: The abuse of the power of asking questions in Parliament
has become a scandal. There are a few persistent persons whose desire to
embarrass a Government they dislike, in carrying on the War, makes them
indifferent to the injury they may do to the national cause. Some check
is necessary. The right to question Ministers is one of the most
important safeguards against improper action by the executive, but the
House of Commons is discredited by the manner in which that right has
often been exercised of late. A report of proceedings in question-time
constantly brings to mind a scene in "Alice in Wonderland," and the
retort made to the arch-interrogator, "Why do you waste time asking
questions to which there is no answer?"]



     _What is long suspended is in danger of being totally
     abrogated._--EDMUND BURKE.

It is hardly too much to say that English Constitutional Law has been
scrapped since the War. Immediately after the establishment of Peace the
first duty will be to restore the old Constitutional Law which has been
suspended to meet the new conditions due to the War, and to revive again
the old safeguards for the liberty and rights of the subject against
arbitrary action by the executive. The nation has rightly acquiesced in
the exercise of powers by the executive during the War in a manner which
nothing but the necessity of the time could justify. Powers to take a
person's property at the will of some executive department without any
definite principle or procedure even for assessing compensation ought at
once to cease when there is no longer immediate urgency for using such
powers to secure the safety of the country. Powers to deprive persons of
their liberty on vague charges, or to try anyone except by ordinary
course of law in the regular Courts, should be discontinued. The Reign
of Law must be re-established to control the executive Government as
well as the private citizen. Nothing is more infectious than a habit of
substituting arbitrary will for law. Tyranny breeds anarchy, and anarchy
tyranny in regular succession, and "the authority of one man over
another not regulated by fixed law or justified by absolute necessity is
tyranny." With the advent of Peace "_Dora_ must disappear."

Even before the War there had been a tendency, on the one hand, to
substitute administrative action for regular judicial procedure, and, on
the other, to allow certain associations to act without regard to law,
to injure individuals and infringe their rights without remedy. That
tendency must be checked or liberty will be destroyed. Law and liberty
as well as law and order are correlative terms. A real control over
expenditure must be re-established and made more effective than it was
even before the necessities of war in our unprepared condition made the
present hand-to-mouth procedure to some extent excusable. The
happy-go-lucky way in which new Ministries and new departments with
vague and ill-defined but enormous powers have been created must come to
an end. We should have some definite and recognised method of
authorising changes in the system of Government. To set aside the
Cabinet which, although it had no legal position, had powers sanctioned
and established by long constitutional custom, and to concentrate
authority in a small body selected and increased or diminished from time
to time at the will of a Prime Minister, was probably necessary for
successful prosecution of the War, but nothing else could justify some
of the irregularities that have been committed.

Doctrines have been put forward sometimes in the Courts during the War
by counsel representing the Crown--i.e., in effect some Ministry--which
would have seemed questionable even in the days of the Stuarts. The
whole of the special War Legislation, both Statutes and Orders of all
kinds, will require to be revised and, unless there is strong reason to
the contrary in any special cases, repealed. The burden of proof should
be on those who think any of this exceptional legislation should be
retained. Of course, care must be taken, especially in matters affecting
commerce and industry, to give due notice of alterations and to change
gradually so as not to prejudice arrangements already made and contracts
in course of fulfilment.

Special attention will have to be given to the early removal of those
restraints on trade--prohibition of exports and imports--which have been
frequently necessary, either to retain in the country what is wanted to
satisfy home requirements or to prevent goods from finding their way to
the enemy, or to ensure that the limited tonnage available is used to
bring the commodities which are vital to meet the pressing needs either
of the forces engaged in War or of the civilian population. These
restraints, however, are not only most harassing to merchants and
involve much additional labour when labour is scarce, but if continued
would prevent this country from carrying on the valuable entrepôt trade
for which its geographical position, its financial resources, and its
command of shipping specially fit it. That trade at least depends on the
maintenance of a policy of the open door both for coming in and going
out. England is a good distributing centre--unless by artificial
restrictions we destroy our opportunities. Merchants and manufacturers
have been very patient as a rule under the fetters it has been thought
necessary to impose to meet War conditions; these fetters should be
removed as soon as possible. Unless this is done they will be fatally
handicapped when Hamburg and Bremen again come into competition with
them as distributing centres for the countries now neutral, and even for
those which have been in alliance with us.

There is sure to be a cry to protect certain industries; in some cases
it may be necessary to do so for a time at least, but every such claim
should be most jealously scrutinised. The interests of any powerful
section of the community always find influential advocates. They can
exercise strong pressure on any Government or on Members of Parliament.
The general interests of the people who have no trade organisation to
support them will be likely to be overlooked. The restoration of freedom
is the first reform that should attend the restoration of Peace.



     _Neither one person nor any number of persons is
     warranted in saying to another human being of ripe years
     that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit
     what he chooses to do with it._--JOHN STUART MILL.

The next task will be the restoration of industry to its ordinary
channels, and the return of the men who have been in the army to
civilian occupations. Mr. Bonar Law has said that nothing has ever
happened more wonderful than the way in which the British Empire has
changed its Peace organisation into a War organisation. To reverse the
process and change the War organisation into a Peace organisation may be
still more difficult. In creating the War organisation enormous sums of
money have been expended, the wheels have been lavishly greased to
enable the new machinery to work. That process cannot continue, as with
the reorganisation after Peace there must also be retrenchment. In the
War Cabinet's Report for 1917 it is said that "1917 may be described as
the year in which State control was extended until it covered not only
national activities directly affecting the military effort but every
section of industry, production, transport, and manufacture." To get rid
of some of that control as regards industry as well as commerce, must be
one of the first steps in reconstruction. State interference not only
involves the expense of an enormous army of officials, inspectors,
clerks, accountants, and others, but also causes friction, while the
regulations which it has been found necessary to impose have been one of
the causes of labour unrest. Any State regulations of labour are rightly
watched with the greatest jealousy. Pledges have been given that
certain pre-War conditions as regards labour shall be re-established as
soon as possible.

During the War the exceptional conditions demanded exceptional measures.
To prevent competition for labour in order to fulfil the enormously
profitable contracts when the demand for munitions was so imperative,
special legislation was found absolutely necessary before the end of the
first year of the War. Employers had to be prohibited from engaging
workmen who had been on munitions work within six weeks before taking up
new employment, unless they had a certificate that the workmen had left
with the former employer's consent, or a tribunal held that consent had
been unreasonably withheld. Many persons who were in a position to form
a sound opinion consider that this provision "saved the situation." At
all events, it prevented the workmen, under the influence of the
inducements offered by competing employers, from running from place to
place to find where the highest wage could be obtained, and dislocating
the work in which they had been engaged.

The provision for manufacture of munitions had to be made very
hurriedly, as it took the Government and the heads of the army a long
time to realise the fact that in a war against the organised forces of
Germany greater quantities of munitions of all sorts, some of an
entirely new kind, would be required by the army and navy. Our infantry
were exposed to the bombardment of the enemy while the British artillery
was unable to reply. Nothing is more wonderful and more creditable to
the Minister who first took charge of the matter, to the heads of
producing firms, and also to the workmen and the leaders of their Trade
unions all over the country, than the way in which new factories were
built, old factories enlarged, and output increased to the utmost. In
the course of a few months rough vacant spaces all over the country were
covered with admirably planned and well organised works. In a short time
employers generally learned to understand and to observe the
restrictions imposed, which were for the common good, though often
irritating to individuals.

There was, however, some dissatisfaction among many of the workmen, and
after two years the provisions as to certificates were repealed, and the
Ministry of Munitions obtained wide powers for giving directions as to
remuneration, and also to prevent munition workers from being taken for
other work. The Ministry also exercised powers for regulating what
workmen of different classes should be allowed to go to various
establishments. Such regulation was and is necessary, but it will be a
relief to British industry when this State control and the restrictions
and regulations it involves can be done away with. The process of
reversion to normal conditions as regards industry will take time,
especially in adapting establishments where the products of the munition
works are articles which are not required in time of peace. Fortunately,
there will be a great demand for labour after the War to resume work
that has been postponed, as well as for new undertakings, especially for
housing and for repairs and renewals in railways, roads, and buildings.
Work that has been put on one side to allow undivided attention to be
given to munitions will require the services of a great number of
persons and help to prevent unemployment which might otherwise arise
when the new army is disbanded.

Of the questions affecting employment after the War, the position of
discharged soldiers and sailors naturally comes first. They may be
divided into two classes, namely, those who are in any way disabled, and
who are discharged during the War suffering from some kind of injury to
limb or to health, and, secondly, those who will be discharged when the
army is demobilised. For the first class, the honour of the nation
demands that proper and liberal provision should be made by pensions,
having regard to the nature and extent of the injury received. For the
totally disabled there must be an adequate subsistence; for the
partially disabled the object will be, in addition to the pension, to
find suitable employment and to train those who wish to take up some new
employment suited to the varied requirements of men who have been
disabled in different ways, and also in which higher remuneration may be
obtained by reason of a skill thus acquired, and the greater demand for
work of the class. It has been estimated that, apart from the provision
for officers, forty millions a year will be required for pensions for
soldiers and sailors. It is an expenditure which the country would least
think of grudging. The Ministry of Pensions, in co-operation with other
Departments concerned, has already taken in hand the question of dealing
with the disabled, not only as regards the regulation and payment of
pensions, but also as to qualifying those who are partially disabled to
take up suitable employment. The work thus begun will have to go on for
a considerable period after the close of the War. So far as inquiries
have at present been made, a large percentage of the partially disabled
men will be able to go back to the employment in which they were engaged
before the War; others will be able to find similar employment without
special training; many will be engaged in various simple light

In selecting men for positions as caretakers, office porters, and others
of a similar kind, good feeling will naturally cause preference to be
given to the men who have met with injury while fighting for their
country. There will be a large number, however, who may wish to take up
employment of a different description from that in which they were
engaged before the War, and they will be glad of the opportunity of
preparing themselves for it. For these men the Ministry, acting in
co-operation with local authorities, and especially with local education
committees, is arranging courses of technical training. During the
period of training a payment, usually about twenty-seven shillings per
week, is made to the men. The character of the training to be given and
the provision to be made for it have been settled with advisory
committees of persons engaged in and well acquainted with the
requirements of the trade. This kind of co-operation and the practice of
taking the advice of members of the trade from the very beginning, have
been invaluable both in preventing mistakes and in creating goodwill
towards the schemes which have been set on foot. The training, of
course, differs according to the needs of different localities, but
already suitable courses have been provided in different places, in
boot-making, tailoring, furniture-repairing, basket-making, building,
printing, aircraft-manufacturing, dental mechanics, and many other
trades. Men who otherwise might have been condemned to useless lives
with a bare subsistence will, through the measures thus taken, be able
to earn a comfortable wage in some employment where their disablement
does not seriously interfere with their work. What has been done in this
matter should be as widely known as possible, and facilities for
training should be extended to give preparation for other suitable

Most of all, it is desirable that as many men as possible should be
trained for agricultural and horticultural work, and should have the
opportunity of healthy outdoor employment. To do such work efficiently,
training for those who have not been brought up to it is, of course,
necessary. This training may be given on farms acquired for the purpose
either by some public authority or by individuals or by philanthropic
associations. Work of the kind has been already started, and should be
extended as fast as any demand for such training is found to exist.
There is, unfortunately, reason to believe that the number of discharged
men able to take up work on the land and desirous of doing so will not
be very large.

In connection with the permanent employment of these disabled men,
schemes have been set on foot which hold out the most attractive
prospects as affording healthier conditions, brighter and pleasanter
homes, and as enabling useful production to go on with efficiency under
conditions in which the life of the worker may be passed in
surroundings which will give some satisfaction to the aesthetic sense.
These schemes include the formation of (i) industrial villages in the
neighbourhood of towns, of which the one at Lancaster, referred to in
the next chapter (p. 145), may be taken as a type, and (ii) new villages
established, or old villages extended in places which are easily
accessible, and not too remote from facilities for the education of
children and from the attractions of a town. In these villages organised
cultivation will be carried on.

Co-operative farming is already being tried. A very interesting and
hopeful experiment in working a farm on co-operative lines under the
management of a skilled director has been made near Maidstone, where a
farm has been acquired by private effort. It has received a name of good
omen--the Vanguard Farm.

Another proposal which may lead to very valuable results is the
establishment of nurseries for forest trees on land reclaimed from the
sea, or in other places where the soil is light and can be acquired at
moderate cost. These and similar schemes, though intended in the first
instance specially for partially disabled men, should be permanent. When
fairly started they are expected to be self-supporting.

It is obviously impossible to treat of all the questions in the long
list given above, and also impossible to deal with any of them
completely. All that can be done is to give a general idea of the kind
of thing that is wanted; then to select a few subjects as furnishing
rather fuller indications of possible lines of action; and then--just as
examples--work out one or two in more detail.

Two subjects, namely, Housing and Agricultural Development, must be
selected, because their vital importance demands attention from all who
care about the welfare of the nation. Another subject, namely, Law
Reform, is selected because it is comparatively easy to say what ought
to be done and to frame Acts embodying the required reforms.



     _Owing to house shortage in Sheffield, two wooden
     pigsties are being inhabited, one by a man and his wife
     and two children, and the other by a man and his wife.
     Both men are discharged soldiers._--DAILY PAPER.

There will be no rest, and should be none, until every industrious man
or woman who wishes to have a real home can have one, where everyone who
has children can bring them up under conditions where decency can be
maintained and healthy life be possible. It is a question of urgency in
rural as well as in urban districts, in the most remote places equally
with the great cities. In this matter it is no case of having to create
or stimulate a desire for improvement. The demand has existed for years,
but after the War will be more imperative than ever. Somehow or other it
must be supplied more fully. Attempts have been made again and again to
deal with the question. Its importance is recognised and special
inquiries are now being made as to the best means to be adopted. It is
stated that at the present time half a million additional houses for
working people are required, and that 100,000 more should be provided
annually to meet the normal increase of population and to replace houses
which have to be demolished.

It will be necessary to consider, first, the provision to be made to
meet the existing shortage of house accommodation both in urban and
rural districts. At present a large portion of the population cannot
find a home or even any kind of accommodation that affords reasonable
comfort and decency. Since the War, in some places, such as Barrow, the
conditions have been absolutely intolerable, and when those who are
engaged in the army abroad return, the state of things in some districts
may be worse. The President of the Local Government Board recently
stated that 1,103 local authorities in England and Wales had reported
that houses for the working classes were required in their areas, and
that the number of houses they needed probably exceeded 300,000. As
above stated, the total requirement is much greater. The deficiency of
accommodation has been one of the prime causes of labour unrest; the
prices charged for any kind of shelter have been enormous; in some cases
the same bed is occupied by one set of people immediately the prior
occupants have gone to work, and "the bed is never even cold." The
overcrowding of agricultural labourers and their families in miserable
cottages, often out of repair and letting in the rain, has long been a
scandal. Something has been done by benevolent landowners, who build
cottages which they let on terms which bring little return for the money
spent on them; but it is quite impossible to rely either on the working
of the law of supply and demand or on private benevolence for meeting
the difficulty. Strong and immediate action by the State is needed.
Adequate powers should be given to local authorities, and pressure put
upon them, if needed, to ensure that such powers are exercised. Such
action is already being taken, and compulsory powers to acquire land
will be given. In assessing compensation, the great urban landowner who
has done nothing to contribute to the growth of the town or to promote
its industries, ought not to receive the full value of the land, as
enhanced by the necessary expansion of the town and thereby converted
into building land, with an added amount for compulsory purchase. The
manner in which the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act has been worked has
added enormously to the burden of most great public undertakings. The
compensation awarded has often been outrageous, and the expense incurred
in assessing it one of the grossest scandals. It would be easy to give
numerous instances from actual experience.

But there is not only need for more accommodation, but also for more
attractive accommodation. There is no reason why the home of a human
family should as a rule be, as it is in most of the towns in England at
present, a hideous object. What has been done at Port Sunlight, at
Bournville and other places shows that, by proper forethought and wise
expenditure, small houses which it is a pleasure instead of a pain to
look upon, can be provided. Another good example of what can be done may
be seen in the change effected in the residences for the poorer classes
made on the property of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners at Walworth in
South London. What is now a pleasant exception ought to be a regular
rule. Means ought also to be taken to ensure that urban workers should
have the opportunity of obtaining an allotment, if not adjoining, at
least within reasonable distance of their homes, where they may grow
fruit and vegetables and enjoy what is, after all, one of the greatest
of the quiet pleasures of life, watching the growth of the plants which
they have cultivated, and enjoying the products.

Round some towns, the estates of great landowners form a ring fence
barring any growth of the town until, when trade is good and the town is
expanding, extravagant prices can be obtained for the land of which they
have the monopoly. High ground rents are fixed when trade is inflated,
jerry-builders then start erecting houses, borrowing sometimes from
building societies the whole amount required to enable them to build,
and the houses are either sold or let at very high rents. The cottages
are put up in the cheapest possible way consistent with the by-laws of
the local authorities. When a cycle of bad trade occurs the property
falls in value, it goes out of repair, tenants have no interest whatever
in keeping it decent, it falls into a disgusting condition, mortgagees
foreclose. In many cases the building societies that have lent money on
the property to its full value, by arrangement between the secretary of
the society and the speculative builder, have gone into liquidation, and
the industrious people who have placed their money in the societies
have lost their investments. And last, there have even been disputes
between the owner of the ground rent who wishes to re-enter and the
local authority as to the payment of charges for making streets in the
district which has fallen into decay. This is no fancy picture. Those
who have had legal practice over a period of years in some of our large
towns will confirm it from their own experience.

There is no valid reason why, when land is converted from agricultural
land into building land in the neighbourhood of a large town without any
effort on the part of the landowner, a definite portion of such land
should not be set aside for allotments or open spaces without payment,
on the same grounds that a person who is erecting buildings on the land
is obliged to comply with building regulations to secure proper
sanitation, although it might be more profitable to build without any
regard whatever for the health of the prospective tenants. Of course, it
may not always be possible to set aside a portion of any given piece of
land which is sold for building, but in that case the landowner should
contribute an equivalent value out of the proceeds of the land which he
sells towards providing the allotments or open spaces required elsewhere
in the neighbourhood. Such a provision would not be really burdensome,
as no contribution either in land or money would be made except at the
time when a largely increased revenue was to be derived from the land.
It is not to be forgotten that the large urban landlord usually pays no
rates towards meeting the requirements of the town, and receives the
full amount of the rent fixed practically for all time at a period of
inflation, although the rates may have enormously increased to meet the
cost of the things which the municipality has to provide for the needs
of a large and industrious but often very poor population.

An example has been given of what private enterprise may do in providing
not merely accommodation for working people, but accommodation with
really attractive surroundings, in the action taken by the family of
the late Sir Thomas Storey, at Lancaster. They, under the advice of one
of the highest authorities on town planning, Mr. T.H. Mawson, have given
an estate adjoining the town, which will be laid out in an attractive
manner, with avenues arranged to afford pleasing prospects. The primary
object at present is to provide homes in the neighbourhood of a factory
to be erected where disabled soldiers may engage in some kind of
suitable manufacturing work, but the scheme is intended to be permanent.
The houses will be near the factory; there will be playgrounds,
drying-grounds, probably garden allotments, a hostel for single men, a
reading-room, and some place of amusement. The development of industrial
villages by private enterprise, encouraged in every possible way, is one
of the most hopeful things to look forward to in the rebuilding of
Britain. There can be no greater pleasure for anyone who has any vision
of what the future of housing accommodation for the working classes may
be than to read Mr. Mawson's charming volume on "Industrial Villages for
Partially Disabled Soldiers and Sailors as an Imperial Obligation."

Another useful means of improving the conditions of housing for working
people has been adopted in many places by carrying on the movement
initiated by Octavia Hill. Property has been acquired and placed under
the management of some voluntary association, usually of ladies, who
will collect rents of reasonable amount and see that the property and
its surroundings are kept in proper condition. Various associations of
the kind have been established; the Manchester Housing Company, Limited,
may be taken as an example of such arrangements for managing urban
cottage property. In the last report it is stated that the Company has
owned or managed 114 houses, and the directors are assured that the
sanitary conditions under which the tenants are housed have steadily
conduced to the lowering of the death-rate. The personal interest taken
in the tenants as well as in the houses by the managers has had a
marked influence for good. The scheme is self-supporting, and in 1917 a
dividend of 4-1/2 per cent, was paid.

Lastly, there should be some method, provided by public authority,
through which workers or other persons of small means can become owners
of their houses. Building societies came into existence with this
object, and were put under statutory regulation by the Legislature in
1836, and subsequently by an Act of 1874. In many cases facilities given
by building societies have been very useful in accomplishing the
original objects of such societies; in other cases, for reasons above
indicated, they have been a failure. By using the credit of the
Government money to enable properties to be acquired can be obtained, or
could have been obtained, at a lower rate. Instalments covering interest
at that rate and providing a sinking fund towards the repayment of the
principal would be of substantially less amount than the subscriptions
to the building societies, and would not exceed the rents tenants have
been accustomed to pay without any prospective advantage. Schemes to
practise thrift and to induce people to take a greater interest in their
homes and to enable them to acquire homes which are really attractive on
reasonable terms are to be encouraged by every means which the
Legislature or private individuals can adopt without causing
pauperisation. The object can be achieved on fair business terms and
without substantial risk of loss. Under the Ashbourne and the Wyndham
Acts in Ireland there has been, at all events until recently,
practically no failure to pay the required instalments.

A committee has been appointed to investigate the housing question, and
its reports will no doubt contain valuable suggestions for dealing
practically and at once with a matter so vitally important to the
rebuilding of Britain.



     _In all kingdoms this first and original art
     [agriculture]--this foundation of all others--must be
     pursued and encouraged, or the rest will faint and be
     languid._--ARTHUR YOUNG.

The most important practical reform of all is to make the land more
productive, to put it to the most profitable use. By profitable use we
do not mean using it so as to bring the owner the largest return in
money per acre, aiming at the largest net profit by reducing expenditure
as much as possible and growing whatever will fetch the highest price at
least cost of production. The really useful object is to lay out and use
all the land of the country in such a way as to produce the greatest
aggregate of commodities which are of real intrinsic value for use or
which can be exchanged for useful commodities coming from other nations;
in particular to produce in our own country as much wholesome food as
possible, and in so doing to support as large an agricultural population
as possible in reasonable comfort and health. To grow in our own country
a larger proportion of the food we consume is necessary, first, in order
to meet our own needs from our own internal resources, and so reduce the
amount which has to be paid to other countries for the commodities they
supply; secondly, in case of war, to avoid the risk of starvation and
reduce the strain on the Navy and on the Mercantile Marine due to the
necessity of bringing the larger part of the essential food of the
country overseas and also, what may be equally important, to avoid the
distress which may be caused owing to the country being unable to
provide the means of payment for the immense proportion of the food
required which must be brought from overseas. It was long ago pointed
out that the "trades by which the British people has believed it to be
the highest of destinies to maintain itself cannot now long remain
undisputed in its hands."

The next object is to increase the agricultural population. It has been
found again and again in other countries as well as our own that a large
and healthy agricultural population is essential to keep up the physique
of a nation. The town folk tend to decay unless constantly replenished
by influx from the country. One good effect of the War has been to
direct attention to the vital importance of this subject, and careful
inquiries have been made and useful steps taken which have had the
effect of greatly increasing the home production of food.

The subject is treated clearly in a popular way in a book published in
1917 on Agriculture after the War by Sir A.D. Hall, now secretary of the
Board of Agriculture, and in fuller detail in the report of a committee
of which Lord Selborne was chairman. The report was published at the
beginning of 1918; some of the proposals have been already acted upon,
others will no doubt be the basis of future action by the Board of
Agriculture and the Ministry of Reconstruction.

Before the War the imports of food less re-exports amounted to about 229
millions annually, or, to put the case in another way, about half of the
total food consumed in the British Islands was brought overseas; but "if
the most essential foodstuff, wheat, is considered, less than one-fifth
of what we required was produced in the country." The position was one
of terrible insecurity; but for the efficiency of the Navy the country
would have been starved into complete submission in this War, and its
prosperity and liberty would have been lost for ever. After the War the
financial question of the continued ability of the nation to pay for the
food we require is probably the most serious we have to face. The first
remedy for the existing state of things is the increase of tillage.
Assuming that the same pecuniary profit can be obtained by using any
land for tillage as for pasture or other purposes, it is obvious that it
is right to do everything possible to get that land devoted to tillage,
first, as national insurance for the reasons above stated, and, second,
to support a larger population under healthy conditions. One of the
great causes of discontent, of vagrancy, and of distress in the
sixteenth century was certainly the conversion of large tracts which had
formerly been arable into pasture land, because the land laid down as
pasture would produce a larger profit to the owner though it supported a
much smaller population and required far less labour. A considerable
portion of the rural population was thrown out of employment and the
supply of food was diminished. Again and again the decay of the
agricultural population has been the ground of complaint. Goldsmith
speaks of it beautifully and pathetically in the "Deserted Village," and
the process went on, becoming year after year a greater national peril;
but the Government and Parliament seemed to care little about it, so
that even during the last forty years, according to the statement of Sir
A.D. Hall, "the productivity of the land of Great Britain as a whole has
declined." Although a far larger rent might be obtained from the wealthy
who use a great part of Scotland for shooting than could be obtained
from crofters, national welfare demands that it should be used for
crofts and to raise the population which has supplied our armies with
many of the finest soldiers and the whole Empire with many of its best
colonists. Of course, there are large tracts of such a character that
people cannot support themselves in tolerable comfort by tilling them,
and it is better that land of that kind should be used for sheep if
possible, and, in cases where even this is impossible, for deer forests
or grouse moors, subject to reasonable public rights of access.

Among the measures which may be taken to increase the home production
of food the following may be mentioned:--

1.--_Improved farming or intensification of agriculture under the
existing system._ It is admitted that English, and perhaps still more
Scottish, farming at its best is admirably conducted. Fortunately, very
many of the large landowners are themselves keenly interested in
agriculture and take a pride in promoting it. It is perhaps not
generally known what a useful and valuable trade the country carries on
in the export of pedigree stock. The prices obtained for the best bred
British bulls, rams and boars are very high. An extension over all
suitable parts of the country of the highest type of British farming
would add to the wealth of the country immensely.

Connected with this subject is the promotion of agricultural education,
and along with that of agricultural research. Very great advances have
been made of recent years, and it would be an utterly false economy to
starve productive work of this kind. It ought to be held a disgrace for
a country landowner not to have some knowledge of agriculture and
interest in it.

2.--_Industrialised farms_, i.e., the organisation of large farms to be
managed as business enterprises under the control of a general manager.
If farming was thus carried on on a large scale machinery would be
employed to its full advantage, and there would be economy in buying and
selling wholesale and avoiding waste in preparing for and placing
commodities on the market. The most highly trained, skilled and
energetic management would be obtained for farms of this kind. It is to
be noticed that, although some commodities can equally well be produced
by small culture, it is generally only on a large scale that cereals can
be profitably cultivated.

3.--_Co-operative farming._--The subject is one of special interest, as
co-operative farming in some form was historically the basis of the
whole system of society in many countries. Experiments in co-operative
farming may be tried with advantage. They may take various forms. It
will, no doubt, be found that in certain branches of farming, such as
dairy farming in some districts, co-operative action is almost necessary
to success. The experience of Denmark has shown how much can be done to
keep up a definite standard in butter, for example, by sending milk to
some large, well-equipped and well-managed dairy. Such establishments
have also far better opportunities for dealing with transport and

4.--_Colonies of Small Holdings._--It is to be hoped that when the
troops are demobilised, and the Small Holdings Acts are put into fuller
operation, the number of small holdings will be increased. A population
of independent yeomen is the best reservoir of the manhood of any
country. No finer race has existed than the statesmen who cultivated the
small farms among the hills of Cumberland and Westmorland.

5.--_There is a great deal of land, both on the seashore and in inland
districts, which might be reclaimed._--The cost of such work would be
heavy, but the return in greater aggregate production and in providing
means to support a larger country population would be most important.
This question will be alluded to briefly in Chapter XXI.

6.--_Important industries_, such as basket-making and many others, might
be carried on in rural districts along with their principal work by
those engaged in agriculture or horticulture, just as Swiss peasants by
wood carving, when agricultural operations are impossible, produce a
number of articles for which there is a substantial demand in other

7.--Last, and perhaps the most interesting and important step of all, is
_to increase allotments._ The demand for allotments, both by the
agricultural population in rural districts and by the urban population
who are engaged in industrial or even in commercial pursuits in the
forge towns, is very keen. The effect of the War and the more pressing
need for home-grown food have stimulated the demand, and in trying to
meet it, both the Board of Agriculture and private individuals and
local authorities have done splendid work, which ought to be recognised
as one of the most beneficial movements which have taken place within
living memory. More than seventy years ago William Howitt called
attention to the advantages derived from the system of urban allotments
adopted near his own town of Nottingham, and attention has been
subsequently drawn to the subject, but its importance was not fully
realised until the outbreak of the War. An enormous advance has already
been made, and if the right steps are taken for securing more permanence
of tenure, and for obtaining land on fair terms near to the homes of the
workers, a far greater and more lasting advance will be made. The number
of allotments in England and Wales before the War was about 570,000. It
is estimated that now there are upwards of 1,400,000. The urban
allotments have increased enormously, an interest has been added to the
lives of many workers; their supply of wholesome food of their own
growing has been increased and the health of these urban workers
promoted. At present the total area taken up by allotments is about
200,000 acres. If half of these are devoted, say, to growing potatoes
and produce an average of seven tons per acre, the allotment holders in
England and Wales would this year grow "700,000 tons of the most
essential war-time crop practically on the spot where the crop is to be
consumed." It appears that, taking the whole of England and Wales, there
was an allotment holding for one household in twelve before the War. On
May 1st, 1918, one household in five held an allotment. In the county
boroughs before the War one household in thirty-two possessed an
allotment, now the proportion is one household in nine, and the process
is going on. It is the most encouraging development, whether looked at
from the economic point of view or from the point of view of national
health and happiness, that has taken place within living memory. The
urban allotments are regularly worked by persons who are engaged in
various forms of industry during the greater part of their time, and it
is found that the allotments must be small, usually about fifteen to an
acre. They ought to be as near as possible to the homes of the people
who work them. One of the reasons pointed out for the slow development
of the system, even where it has been so successful as in Nottingham
long before the War, was the distance of the allotments from the homes
of the workers. In town planning there should be an attempt wherever
possible to arrange for allotments close to the new small dwellings
which are erected. It will be essential, however, to insist (i) on more
permanent tenure for those who work their allotments properly and keep
them in good condition; (ii) that the land required should be obtained
on reasonable terms. Some landowners have themselves voluntarily taken
the matter in hand, but in other cases compulsion will be necessary,
and, as already stated, it will be right that where the land has been
agricultural or vacant land, bringing in a small or even no return, the
price or rent paid for it should be based on its agricultural value plus
some reasonable addition, and not on the enormously enhanced value of
the land as land which has become building land owing to the growth of
the urban population in the neighbourhood. It will be desirable to
arrange by co-operative or municipal action for the supply of seeds,
plants and fertilisers, and also for the sale of any surplus produce not
required by the holder for his own use.

The admirable work which is being done by the Board of Agriculture in
encouraging allotments ought to be recognised and supported in every
possible way.



     _Thou, too, great father of the British floods,_ _With
     joyful pride survey'st our lofty woods,_ _Where towering
     oaks their growing honours rear_ _And future navies on
     thy shores appear._--ALEXANDER POPE.

We shall use the word afforestation here to denote the steps to be taken
for promoting the growth of timber on a large scale. The original sense
in which it is employed in any historical or legal work is quite
different. There it means turning a track of land into a forest, and a
forest did not mean land covered with timber trees, but a "certain
territory of woody grounds and fruitful pastures, privileged for wild
beasts and fowles of the forest to rest and abide in," in "the
protection of the King for his princely delight and pleasure." It was
subject to special jurisdiction, and special officers were appointed
over it "to the end that it may the better be preserved and kept for a
place of recreation and pastime meet for the royal dignity of a prince."
The Forest Laws were oppressive, and for the purpose of afforestation
many wrongs were committed. In the Crown forests, like Epping Forest and
the New Forest, there were a number of commoners who had special rights
of pasture and of taking certain things from the forest, such as
firewood "that might do them good." It is by the assertion of such
ancient rights of common that Epping Forest has been preserved as a
place of recreation for the people of East London, and that so much of
the New Forest remains open land. The latter is a source of perennial
enjoyment to those who visit it, and maintains the successors of the
old forest commoners in prosperity, due largely to the fact that they
can graze ponies there and feed pigs on the acorns and beechmast.
Whatever steps are taken to promote the growth of timber--and much has
been done from time to time in the New Forest with that object--it is
important that these valuable common rights should be preserved, and
that the value of open lands for the health and recreation of the people
should not be overlooked.

The need for systematic action and for the Government to take steps to
promote the growth of timber in the United Kingdom has been pointed out
from time to time. The Board of Agriculture in 1911 drew up a memorandum
pointing out that "British forestry was far behind that of other leading
European States," and that "the growing of timber had never in this
country been recognised as a business"; that "there had been no
continuity of policy with regard to it." When the War broke out it
appears that only eight per cent, of the total amount of timber required
for home use was grown in the United Kingdom, ninety-two per cent, had
to be brought from oversea. The War showed how perilous and how costly a
thing it is to neglect home production of necessaries.

When all our shipping was required for other purposes, it was a most
serious matter to take up tonnage with a cargo so bulky as timber,
occupying probably more ship space in proportion to its value than any
other. More timber was required for huts and sheds, for railway
sleepers, and a variety of other purposes. For the construction of
aircraft special kinds of timber were needed. The demand for pit props
in enormous quantities was urgent and continuous. At the same time the
loss of shipping through submarine action became very serious.
Fortunately our French Allies had been more provident in conserving and
promoting their home supplies. Forestry in France had been carefully
fostered by the Government. To take one example alone, the Landes, the
district near the coast between Bordeaux and Bayonne, which had once
been a region of dreary marsh, shifting sand, or scanty pasture, had
been turned into splendid forest by wise forethought a century ago, and
yielded great supplies of valuable timber. Science has pointed out many
ways in which small and waste wood also can be used for the production
of a number of substances necessary in peace and still more urgently
required in war. The Landes country was noted for its production of
rosin. Thousands of cups into which it exudes from cuts in the trees are
to be seen when passing through the forests in that region.

Shortage of tonnage during the War made it necessary to use the home
supply of wood of the United Kingdom to the fullest extent. A controller
of timber supplies was appointed, though, as usual, rather late in the
day. Under his energetic management a very large part of the timber
needed was obtained in this country. It was essential to get all that
was possible, but the result is inevitable "that we shall have to face a
period in which production will be much below even the low figure which
it had reached before the War. Not only have mature crops been felled in
all parts of the United Kingdom, but thousands of acres of young or
immature woods have been felled for pit-wood and other purposes, or have
been thinned to a degree which renders clearing and replanting
absolutely essential."

One painful result has also been to deprive certain places of the
beautiful trees which gave the countryside there its special charm.
There is no plainer case for taking in hand the question of
reconstruction at once, for framing a clear policy as to the steps to be
used to repair the losses caused by war, and to ensure that in the
future we shall not be so completely dependent on supplies from abroad
through neglect of the possibilities of production at home. A Committee,
under the chairmanship of Mr. F.D. Acland, was appointed in July, 1916,
"to report upon the best means of conserving and developing the woodland
and forestry resources of the United Kingdom, having regard to the
experience gained during the War." The report of that Committee, dealing
with the whole subject, was issued in 1918, and is a model of clear
statement, and a mine of information made readily accessible. It gives a
full survey of the present position, and sets forth a "forest policy
recommended" which is definite and worked out in detail. The Committee
find that "the timber position at home is bad, that prospects of supply
from abroad are becoming doubtful, that ample supplies in time of
emergency are a national necessity of the very first importance, that
they can only be secured for certain if the timber be grown at home, and
finally, that it is essential for the State to take a very much more
active part in forestry than it has been content to take in the past."
State action is becoming, perhaps, too much the fashion--free individual
action is generally far better--but in this matter, which is one of
"national insurance," State action is necessary, and reasons of a
conclusive character are given--such as the long period required before
the crop can be matured and any return obtained, and the uncertainty as
to the future conditions and factors on which its ultimate
profitableness will depend--showing why the matter should be taken in
hand by the State. Such action would, of course, not exclude individual
or local action; indeed, private enterprise might also be helped by the
State in many ways, including the giving of expert advice and making the
results of the best scientific research available to all.

The work of afforestation would provide a healthy and suitable
employment for discharged soldiers who preferred a country life to
resuming their occupations in towns. The number taking up forest work,
however, would probably be very small. There are also some branches of
forest work which would be suitable for partially disabled soldiers. A
very interesting scheme has been framed for establishing forest
nurseries on reclaimed lands. One specially suitable site has been
suggested on the shore of the River Kent at the head of Morecambe Bay,
near Grange-over-Sands, where land was reclaimed after the making of the
Furness Railway. The reclaimed land would be suitable for a forest
nursery for raising young trees. The soil is light, so the work would be
healthy and would not be too strenuous. The scheme has been worked out
in detail, and an attractive description of it is given by Mr. Mawson.
There are other places where reclaimed land or other land with light and
suitable soil might be used for such nurseries. Partially disabled men
might also be trained for the lighter kinds of forest work, such, for
example, as the "marking of thinnings." It is of a technical character,
but does not involve any serious physical strain.



     _I should not be an advocate for the repeal of any law
     because it happened to be in opposition to temporary
     prejudices, but I object to certain laws because they are
     inconsistent with the deliberate and permanent opinion of
     the public._--SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.

Compared with some of the other great questions involved in
Reconstruction, mere reforms in the law may often seem almost trivial,
but they have the advantage of being easier to handle than social and
economic reforms. It is not so difficult to state exactly what is
wanted, to embody the proposals in definite shape in a Bill, and to pass
it if the Parliamentary machine is properly used. The incapacity of
Parliament to deal with remedial legislation embodied in a Bill clearly
drawn is often exaggerated. A reform merely in Parliamentary procedure
would go far to remedy the existing congestion. A case could be quoted
from very short Parliamentary experience where a private member,
surprised at getting first place in the ballot, adopted a friend's
suggestion to attempt a long-needed practical reform. The subject has
too much technical difficulty to be explained here, but the Bill was
drafted in an hour or two, passed the House of Commons early one
afternoon without alteration, and the House of Lords with slight verbal
changes. It became law in two or three weeks, and the Act is now used
with beneficial results in the Courts almost daily. A real injustice was
prevented and practical inconvenience removed, but the measure was
nearly wrecked by some theorists who wished to extend the principle of
the Bill logically, as they said, but in a manner which would have made
it virtually unworkable, without benefit to a single human being. A
small matter, but instructive.

Much may be learned from the procedure of Grand Committees. In some, at
least, the average length of speeches is about three minutes, and they
are confined to the definite point in hand. Members vote according to
their view of the merits, knowing what they are voting about, and may
defeat the Government without causing a political crisis. A case has
occurred where the representative of the Government, who knew little of
the subject in question, was left in a minority of one against a solid
vote of the rest of the Committee. "Downstairs" the point might have
been decided the other way by a score or two of members rushing in, as
Sir George Trevelyan once described it, "between two mouthfuls of soup,"
asking, "Are we Ayes or Noes?" and shepherded into a division lobby

Another step needed to aid Law Reform would be the appointment of a
Minister of Justice, whose business it would be to consider proposed
reforms, to see that they were put into proper shape and to assist in
getting them passed. The same Minister might have the duty of attending
to arrangements for the convenient and prompt administration of justice,
but should have no judicial functions of any kind and should not
interfere in any way with the action of the Courts. It is impossible to
guard too jealously against substituting decisions of any department of
Government for the law of the land as declared and administered by the
regular Courts of Justice. Mr. Samuel Garrett, the President of the Law
Society, dealt with the question very fully in January, 1918, in an
address which has since been published. We may view the establishment of
another new Ministry with something like horror, but a strong case is
made out for it here. Definite functions are suggested for such a
Ministry, and it is probable that it might in the long run save expense
as well as promote efficiency. Mr. Garrett very forcibly says:

"Law Reform hangs fire for want of an officer of State armed with the
power of conducting the necessary inquiries and investigations, and
supplying the necessary driving force to initiate and prepare the
requisite legislative measures and to pass them through Parliament, and
with strength to overcome the _vis inertiae_ of a preoccupied and
ill-informed public and the active opposition of vested interests.
Without such an officer the cause of reform is hopeless." It is now and
in the immediate future that such reform is, and will be, most pressing.
A reformed is naturally also a reforming Parliament as it was after

There are a large number of reforms in the law which ought to be taken
in hand at once. The nature of the amendments needed is clear; all that
is required is that they should be brought in proper form before
Parliament, and that the Government should use its influence to get them
passed. It would be difficult for the Lord Chancellor to see to this
work efficiently and regularly along with his other duties, and it is
certainly impossible for the Law Officers, whose duty it is to represent
the Crown in the Courts and to advise the Government on questions of
law, to undertake this duty. It could be done if a capable solicitor or
barrister who had experience of cases relating to property, not just a
successful advocate but a lawyer well acquainted with the practical
difficulties which make amendment in the law desirable, were put in
charge of the work.

It is a complete mistake to imagine that devolution to other bodies of
the legislative powers of Parliament would do what is required in this
respect. Such a delegation as regards many subjects would make confusion
worse confounded. Questions relating to marriage and personal status,
naturalisation, the law of companies, all branches of commercial law,
the law of contracts, and the law relating to devolution of property,
should be dealt with by one body, whose aim should be to assimilate the
law on these subjects over as wide an area as possible. Endless trouble,
litigation and uncertainty arise from an unnecessary variety of laws on
such subjects as these. It would be well, indeed, with regard to such
subjects, to endeavour to assimilate the law of the Colonies and of the
Mother Country, and to enter into negotiations with other countries to
facilitate their commercial intercourse by enacting similar laws on
subjects of this kind as far as may be.

It is impossible, without taking up too much space and entering too much
into technical detail, to do more than indicate in general terms some of
the reforms in the law which demand early attention. The following may
be given as examples:

(1) The complete revision of the Statute Law, consolidating the law on
each subject as far as possible, and in some cases amending it at the
same time. The present state of English Statute Law is a disgrace to any
civilised nation. There are subjects on which it is almost impossible to
say what the law is, owing, amongst other causes, to the pernicious
habit of legislation by reference from one statute to another. Judges,
the legal advisers to parties in litigation, clerks to local
authorities, and others, ought to have in compendious form before them
the whole Statute Law on a subject under discussion. Much good and very
laborious work has been done under the direction of the Committee on
Statute Law, but their duties should be extended and fuller facilities
afforded for more complete and more rapid revision. These powers should
include that of presenting at the same time to Parliament minor
incidental amendments in the Statute Law which would remove doubts and
inconsistency, and get rid of obsolete provisions. Either a Minister of
Justice or one of the existing Ministers along with his other duties
should be definitely responsible for seeing that the work is done
without undue delay or expense. Probably a small Joint Committee of
Lords and Commons might consider any cases where amendments were made,
and, if they approved of the revised and consolidated Statutes, the
Committee stage in both Houses might be dispensed with, and a single
reading of the Bill of revision or even merely "to lay it on the table"
would be quite sufficient to preserve the general authority of
Parliament over legislation of this kind. A small executive department
should be established under the direction of the Minister for dealing
with all details and drafting the proposed Bills. There should be a
permanent head of such a department with a small but efficient staff and
proper accommodation for carrying on the work, which would be
continuous, in order not only to put but to keep the Statute Law in
proper form. The head of such a department should have a very free hand
as regards the mode of carrying on the work, subject to certain general
regulations laid down as to the scope of his duties, and the expense
that might be incurred, and the department should be free from some at
least of the ordinary conditions relating to the Civil Service. With the
advantage of existing experience, such a department might be constituted
on sound lines within a week or two, and its work would result in saving
time and trouble to Courts, to local authorities, to private
individuals, and to various government departments themselves. The cost
of such a department would be covered over and over again by the
improvements effected. It is a comparatively small matter, but the lines
of action are so clear and so definite, and it would be so easy to make
the necessary arrangements in a few days, that it might be taken as an
example of the way to effect a reform promptly.

The huge mass of emergency legislation which has come into existence
since the War would no doubt require separate consideration. That
exceptional legislation will have to be revised and almost the whole of
it repealed, in some cases at once and in others within a short time
after the close of the War. This question is already engaging the
attention of the Government. It is not an easy task, but the transition
to freedom should be made as rapidly as possible. The action to be
taken, however, in many cases, will very closely affect trade, and in
these cases the question is not one primarily for lawyers; even the
officials with most experience will require the advice and guidance of
those who know each trade practically. The more anyone in the discharge
of official duties learns of the course of trade in any commodity the
more he will recognise the necessity for practical knowledge of the
conditions of _that_ trade, and the futility of attempting to deal with
any question affecting it without hearing those who have been actually
engaged in it. What an intelligent open-minded man might expect to
happen is very often exactly what does not in fact happen. It is
tempting to give concrete examples which have forced themselves into
notice, but limitation of space forbids.

(2) The law on certain subjects should now be codified. This is a
different question from the revision of the Statute Law and the
introduction of something like order into that chaos. It is, however,
probable that a general codification now would do harm, and there are
strong grounds for contending that Case Law, with its capacity for
growth and adaptation to new conditions as they arise and to unforeseen
circumstances, is often more convenient and indeed more scientific than
a code. Criminal Law, however, at least so far as it relates to
indictable offences, ought to be embodied in a definite and complete
code, and in the process of codification certain amendments might be

(3) The law as to murder and homicide, for example, urgently requires
considerable amendment. The present state of the law classing together
as murder acts of totally different character and decreeing the
punishment of death for all alike is most unsatisfactory, and in some
cases revolting to the moral sense. The whole doctrine of "constructive
murder" should be done away with, and only those acts treated as murder
and punishable with death where the accused intended deliberately the
death of his victim, and was not acting under great provocation or under
the kind of mental distress or anxiety which might be reasonably
supposed to affect his--it might indicate the usual nature of such
cases better to say "her"--judgment and power of control.

There are also a number of alterations in the law relating to the
devolution of property, and to personal status which ought to be made by
the new Parliament at an early date. Most of them have been suggested
long ago, but as no party capital was to be made out of law reforms,
such reforms have generally been neglected unless taken up by a Lord
Chancellor or some other legal authority with political influence. A few
of these alterations may be enumerated.

(4) The devolution of real estate in case of intestacy should be
assimilated to that of personal estate. The present state of the law is
often a great injustice, especially to women, and women will now be in a
position to demand its amendment. If a man dies intestate, leaving a
wealthy son and half a dozen daughters quite unprovided for, the son
takes all the real property, and the daughters may be left penniless,
but if the property happens to be leasehold for 1,000 years, the
daughters share equally. The present state of the law is a survival of
the time when ownership of freehold land implied personal service.

(5) Estates tail might be abolished or at least alienation of such
estates made simpler.

(6) Copyhold tenure with its inconvenient incidents should be converted
into freehold.

(7) Both as a means of raising revenue, and to prevent useless
litigation without in any way discouraging thrift or disappointing
legitimate expectations, the State should take the whole property as to
which anyone dies intestate without leaving near relations. The whole
subject of Death Duties needs reconsideration; a mere increase of these
duties all round would cause intolerable hardship in some cases and
would discourage people from attempting by careful foresight to make
provision for those dependent on them, but when very large sums devolve
on death to persons who are not dependents, the State might take a much
larger portion of a deceased person's property than it does at present.
If a multi-millionaire dies without leaving a wife or lineal
descendants, there would be no hardship in taking fifty per cent. of his
property--not devoted to charitable purposes--for the State. It would
not be difficult to frame provisions to meet the possibility of
settlements being made to evade the duty.

(8) Legitimation by subsequent marriage would remove many cases of great
hardship, and might aid in inducing fathers to recognise their duties to
children for whose existence they are responsible, and also to the
mothers of such children.

(9) A regular form of legal adoption should be provided by which,
subject to some form of public sanction to secure that the adopting
parents are fit and able to take such responsibility, persons might give
children, whom they desire to adopt, a recognised legal position. The
losses caused by the War make this question one of increased practical

(10) The reform of the law as to marriage ought not to be longer
delayed. The question has already been carefully considered by the
Commission of which Lord Gorell was chairman. This subject will, no
doubt, provoke controversy, and it is impossible to discuss it fully
here, but delay may have serious consequences.

The above incomplete list will be sufficient to indicate in a fairly
definite way some of the work that has to be done in Law Reform. It is
certainly a heavy task, but in almost all cases the lines on which
reform could be carried out are clear, and it only requires that the
matter should be resolutely taken in hand. If a small expert committee
to consider each branch of the subject and draft the necessary Bills
were appointed, or some Minister were made definitely responsible for
attending to such matters, and if the procedure in Parliament were
reformed as suggested, the congestion in Parliament need not prevent
these reforms from being carried through rapidly.



     _Find us men skilled, make a new Downing Street fit for
     the new era._--THOMAS CARLYLE.

No one will imagine that the long list of questions that have been
mentioned covers the whole field of reconstruction, still less that the
answers suggested are complete. Some of the suggestions made may be
fruitful, others not. Enough has been said to show how huge that task
is, and how it will need for its accomplishment all the knowledge and
wisdom, and all the energy available. It is, therefore, clear that every
proposal which may be made must be examined on its merits, not as it
affects any party or personal interests, and that those who are elected
to decide or appointed to deal with any matter shall in each case be
chosen because of their fitness for the work assigned, not because their
influence or support may be useful to any party or coterie.

Political life from bottom to top must be purified if reform is to be
carried out on just and sound lines. On this question plain speaking is
essential. For some time elements of corruption have been growing up in
English politics, which it will be one of the first duties of the
electorate and of a new and reformed Parliament to get rid of. The very
word "politician" has become a term of contempt. The country is alive to
the evil and ought to insist that it shall be promptly dealt with. The
task is not an agreeable one. Those who have anything personally to gain
or to lose in political life will naturally shrink from it. At the same
time, nothing is worse than to overstate the case, and nothing easier
than to create an atmosphere of suspicion without definite evidence.
Directly the word "purity" is mentioned in any sense, there is a
tendency to put forward something startling, "to pander to the lust for
the lurid." It would be an excellent thing to put a tax on the use of
adjectives, at all events in the discussion of any question of politics
or morals, as fines are sometimes imposed for the unnecessary or
offensive expletives employed as a common form of emphasis.

One or two definite changes could be made which would go far to promote
political purity. (1) No "honour" should be conferred on any Member of
Parliament while he retains his seat there. It ought to be considered
sufficient honour to belong to that assembly. Gratitude to a Government
for personal favours of this kind, either already conferred or to come,
should not enter as a disturbing element affecting a man's political
action. There is much to be said for the rule that acceptance of an
office of profit under the Crown vacates a seat in the House of Commons.
The rule should apply to the acceptance of any honour. Perhaps an
exception might be made allowing a limited number of members, who had
served at least ten years in Parliament, to be placed on the Privy
Council on the advice of a Select Committee of the House. Such a course
would strengthen the Privy Council by the addition of experienced men
who had won the respect of their fellow-members irrespective of party,
but had never taken office. An appointment so made would neither be the
reward of docility or assiduity in attending divisions, nor a
prophylactic against too critical tongues; it would be a mark of respect
from those whom long association had given the means of judging. There
are some men in every Parliament whose high character and unobtrusive
work through a long period of service have won the special regard of
their fellow-members, even though opposed to them in politics, and an
opportunity of expressing that feeling would be welcomed. The selection
would be a real honour, and would be bestowed in recognition of
independence of character and steady useful work. Peerages might still
be conferred on the advice of the Prime Minister, as a peerage renders
the recipient incapable of sitting in the House of Commons, and the
existence of Ministries does not depend on votes in the Lords.

(2) The party whips ought to have nothing to do with the conferment of
honours of any kind, whether on members of the House of Commons or
others. The considerations which must be uppermost in the mind of a
whip, whose duty it is to fill the division lobbies for his party, ought
not to affect the fountain of honour.

(3) The accounts of the party associations ought to be published. It may
be right for well-to-do people who feel keenly on political questions to
contribute to help party organisation, to aid in providing the money
necessary to enable promising men, who have not the means for paying
their own election expenses, to contest a seat and to enter Parliament.
There is nothing derogatory to a candidate in accepting assistance of
the kind. Many men who were unable to fight an election without it,
would prefer to have it openly stated that they had received such
assistance. Why should a young man whom a poor constituency would like
to adopt, and who can only afford, say, £100 towards the cost of
contesting a seat, object to his constituents knowing that the balance
had been found from funds provided by others who wish well to the cause
he is advocating? If the system is wrong, let it be abolished; if right,
why try to preserve secrecy?

(4) No one should be allowed to contribute to party funds who has
received a peerage or other "honour" within a given period, and if
anyone has contributed to such funds before receiving an honour the
amount paid should be publicly announced. Everyone has heard, and anyone
acquainted with what goes on could give instances, of cases where a
contribution has been asked from those whose services to the community
are supposed to be recognised by some title of honour.

A change is needed in the method of selecting candidates. Two examples
will illustrate the kind of thing that takes place.

A.B. had made a respectable fortune in a well-known and useful business,
and retired to a comfortable home in Parkshire. His practical good sense
and knowledge of affairs had made him a useful member of the county
council, and he was a regular supporter of all benevolent movements in
the district. A vacancy was expected in the parliamentary representation
of the neighbouring borough of Slowcombe, and A.B., feeling the call to
a larger sphere of usefulness--prompted also by Mrs. A.B., for whose
charming social qualities the society of Slowcombe was unable, and the
antiquated exclusiveness of Parkshire families was unwilling, to afford
sufficient scope--desired to fill the vacancy. The party managers were
approached, and were delighted to find so suitable a candidate, provided
that A.B. would agree to spend at least £---- a year "in nursing the
constituency," which was unable to move without such nursing. It is
better not to name the amount asked lest it should lead to a painful
identification of the real name of the place, and also because it was so
large that it would be discredited by all except the unfortunate
candidates for similar places. A.B. was compelled to answer, "It is more
than I can possibly afford," and added in his own mind, "Would it be
right if I could?" He has had to console himself with growing roses and
breeding pigs, and attending the county bench; no doubt in every way a
valuable member of society, but the larger sphere of usefulness is
closed to him.

Dyeborough is a town where business methods are better understood. The
late member having resigned, the chairman and agent for one party,
greatly exercised as to the means of providing for the expenses of
attending to the register and maintaining local interest in the
principles of the party, and in the "great cause" which it supports,
wisely communicated with "headquarters." As to what passes there,
religious silence should be observed. There is no evidence available,
and to pry into such mysteries were profane, but shortly afterwards it
is announced that Mr. X., with the highest recommendations, will address
the association. The local managers are quietly informed that he is
willing to pay all expenses of the local organisation, to subscribe to
the party clubs, and to spend money freely in the constituency. X.
appears from Weissnichtwo with a bevy of carpet bags and some heavy
cheque books. He is a man of business, has "made money"--meaning usually
acquired money of other people by any means not forbidden by law. The
oratorical arts which served to influence prospective shareholders are
sufficient to fill the prepared caucus with at least an appearance of
enthusiasm, and the open-minded candidate has sufficient democratic
sentiment to adopt every plank in the party programme, or "any other
damned nonsense" that he thinks will be agreeable. The virtuous
Dyeborough yields to the golden shower, and embraces the charming
stranger. It takes his subscriptions with content, and watches his
career with pride. A far-seeing sporting man offers two to one that in
three years the new member will be recognised by a title--of course a
"marketable title" suggests a lawyer--but no one is rash enough to take
up the bet. (No wonder that Proportional Representation or any other
proposal which would interfere with the working of such a convenient
system is rejected by the party politicians.) Everyone has been
satisfied. The local party managers have been relieved from all anxiety,
the local charities and political clubs add handsome subscriptions to
their lists, headquarters and the whips have--to put the case
mildly--not diminished their funds, and can reckon on a safe seat and
steady vote. X. has entered on a career of public service marked at each
step by successive honours. The only drawback is that if he should be
translated to "another place," it would be found that the borough had
become accustomed to such a scale of expenditure from its member that
"no one but a very rich and ambitious man would venture to come forward
as a candidate there." It offers, however, a splendid chance for a
Socialist who can make unlimited promises as to the benefits that he and
his friends could confer by taking the money of other people and
distributing it in a liberal spirit. As for X., we must see that talents
so pre-eminent are not lost to the State, and if no Ministerial office
is vacant we must create one, and ask no questions as to its cost or the
nature of its operations.

Could these claims on the purse as a condition in the selection of
candidates be prevented, a great step would be taken towards purifying
political life. If the question were resolutely faced, the abuse could
be stopped. The late Lord James, when in charge of the Corrupt Practices
Bill, was told that the stringent clause limiting election expenses
would wreck his scheme. He persisted, and afterwards said that it was
that clause which did most to help the Bill through, because so many
country gentlemen who had suffered through agricultural depression gave
it their hearty support as affording a means of freeing them from the
extortionate claims of a set of persons who used an election to obtain
money for imaginary services to the unfortunate candidates.

To read in the various biographical memoirs and reminiscences which have
been published during the last twenty years how Cabinets have been put
together, may amuse the cynical and evoke interest in those who watch
politics as a game, but is painful to the citizen who wishes to see the
country well governed, and who suffers if it is not. Sometimes, indeed,
the formation of a Ministry seems more like the distribution of loot
among successful campaigners, or a tactical disposition of the officers
for continuing a contest than the provision of the best means and
selection of the best men for each part of the work of governing the

In spite, however, of some glaring instances where such appointments
have led to disaster or serious loss, the result has, on the whole, been
not so bad as might have been expected. Those who have won their way in
the open conflicts in Parliament and the country have been men who have
played a fair game according to the rules. Their personal characters
have stood high. Dishonourable action has been rare, almost unknown. As
a rule, the abilities of those called to the Front Bench have probably
been rather above the average among the country gentlemen, lawyers and
men of business who have been associated with them; a few have shown
conspicuous ability; most by experience of affairs soon gain a special
aptitude in dealing with them. Anyhow the open recognition of party
claims publicly recognised is infinitely better, as Burke urged, and
history from his day to ours proves, than backstairs influence or merely
personal ties, and still more than using official position as a tribute
to wealth, and the advantages which wealth can confer on those who do it
homage. It is the system which is to blame, not the men to be condemned.
Those who denounce the members of a Government most fiercely would be
only too happy to accept an invitation to meet them at dinner. Ask the
most eloquent writer of philippics who has known, say a score of
Ministers on both sides personally, and who is reasonably tolerant,
modest and candid, which of them does he believe really to be either a
knave or a fool; he will answer, "None, though I am not quite sure about
X." We all have our ineradicable antipathies. Fortunately there is
something forensic about English political contests. The astonished
client sees the advocates who have been hottest in conflict walking away
arm in arm. We must make allowance for the requirements of the forum,
and at the same time be thankful that while there may be something
rotten in the state of politics, those who become prominent in political
life are honourable men. To some it may seem half an insult to state the
fact, but the kind of talk both public and private too frequently heard
to-day makes it necessary to insist upon it. Even Members of Parliament
on the opposite side are as a rule quite respectable citizens. To
maintaining a correct attitude of antagonism too close knowledge of
opponents may sometimes be a hindrance, and it was not without reason
that one engaged in a violent controversy on being told that if he knew
Y., his antagonist, he would be sure to like him, replied, "That is the
reason why I have always refused an introduction to him."

Lastly, when the right men have been selected, they should be supported,
their acts and proposals, of course, criticised if necessary, but not
made the subject of perpetual and irritating nagging, or dull refusal to
understand and appreciate what they are doing and aiming at. They may
not expect gratitude. Most people learn in the course of life that
recognition given and gratitude shown for any work done varies inversely
as the trouble they have taken, and the difficulty of the task, even if
it has been successfully carried through, but while they are engaged in
it they must claim not to be hindered and thwarted in their work by
those who can prove that every possible way of doing something which
must be done is wrong, but never show the right way to do it. It is
marvellous how some of those in the most responsible positions manage to
get through their business at all in face of the constant sniping of
those who, like the Scots elder in the story, can neither work nor pray,
but can "object." The splendid service rendered to the country by the
present Prime Minister in bringing about a unity of command was carried
through in face of bitter and persistent opposition set up both by those
who claimed to be guarding the proper position of the military
profession, and also by those who do not regard victory in the War as an
object of their desire.

In the earlier part of 1918, when speaking of a question above mentioned
to one whose services had been called for by the State to meet special
difficulties, the conversation somehow turned to speaking of our ages,
and he, said of himself: "I wish I were twenty years younger, that I
might see the results of what is going on now." It is the natural
attitude of the true worker to think of the "far goal." He has been
called away in the midst of his work, and "from this side" will not see
what is to come in these next twenty years, but the history of this age
will be very incomplete if it does not record and show the deep
significance of the fact that one who undertook a task bristling with
difficulties, affecting the daily life of almost everybody, subjecting
it to many restraints, who never felt under "an obligation to the
popular," won more general regard--it might fairly be said
affection--than any other Minister in so short a time. But if the nation
appreciated the Minister, we may be sure that the Minister appreciated
the nation which accepted inconveniences and restraints with so little
grumbling and such ready acquiescence.

Does not everything point to the fact that one of the most necessary
reforms is to appoint as Minister for each department the most capable
man to do the work required there, one who has the knowledge and
foresight to direct aright, instead of looking round to see which of the
various offices to be filled will satisfy the "claims" of such and such
a politician?

Above all, we want to see the Government of the country kept free from
the influence of financial rings or of commercial organisations which
may exercise an undue power in determining national policy. Patriotic
feeling may be exploited to promote the self-interest of sections of the
community. Those who direct the State should never be involved, whether
directly or indirectly, in schemes which have for their object the
acquisition of individual gain at the expense of the nation as a whole.

Part V




     _So from day to day and strength to strength you shall
     build up indeed by art, by thought, and by just will an
     ecclesia of England of which it shall not be said, "See
     what manner of stones are here," but "See what manner of
     men._"--JOHN RUSKIN.

One subject most vital to all progress on sound lines, which affects not
only present reconstruction, but the whole future of the nation, and
involves not only definite action now but also steady and continuous
action in all future time, has been deliberately omitted. The question
of Education, of the training of the coming generation on right lines,
requires separate treatment in a way more complete and thorough, if it
is to be of any use at all, than can be given to it incidentally among a
large number of other subjects.[11] The Education Act, which was passed
in 1918 with so much goodwill, will give opportunities for the
development of education, but whether it is a benefit or not will depend
on how it is used and the kind of education given. The example of
Germany shows how education, highly organised at every stage, reduced to
a system in accordance with theories thought out most carefully, may
have disastrous effects. From the Kindergarten to the University the
Germans have had their completely graded system extending to all classes
of society; they have elaborated their theories with care, and applied
them thoroughly at every stage. Thoughtful students of education, both
in this country and in America, have made German methods the subject of
their study, and offered to them when they could the flattery of
imitation. Those who wished to learn the best methods of teaching have
made the works of Herbart their text-book; they have studied the work
of Kirchensteiner and attended the lectures of Rein at Jena. To know the
last thesis published in a German university had become a necessary
qualification for recognition as a scholar, and the best passport for an
appointment to many of the higher teaching posts in England. But the
emphatic warning comes from the experience of Germany that even the very
perfection of educational systems and methods may be used so as to be a
curse to the country which has adopted them. Published statistics show
that juvenile crime, often of the most revolting kind, is rampant, and
has been increasing in Germany, that suicides have become common even
amongst the very young. The highly efficient mental drill provided by
German education, even the devotion to knowledge shown by the German
people, whatever benefits it may once have conferred, applied as it now
is, must be recognised as one of the causes why Germany, so long as it
retains its present spirit and its present aims, has come to be rightly
regarded as an enemy to mankind. It is essential that there should be
something more than a keen desire to acquire knowledge of every sort,
and to apply it for practical purposes--the Germans have that
pre-eminently; or a love of order and organisation and a persistent and
plodding industry in carrying out plans that have been carefully thought
out beforehand--the Germans have that also; or an intense devotion to
the Fatherland--the German people have a fervent and perfectly genuine
love for their country. The moral downfall of Germany, and the material
losses which she will suffer whatever the other results of the War may
be, are not simply due either to autocracy or to the domination of an
aristocratic class, or to deficiencies in art--the power to make things
well--or in thought--the power to plan a course of action clearly--but
to the absence of a "just will." The regeneration of Germany means the
substitution of a just for an unjust will, not simply the spread of
democratic ideals, desirable though these may be, nor the substitution
of democratic for autocratic or aristocratic government. For our own
nation, too, a "just will" amongst all classes of the community is the
necessary condition for future welfare.

Another warning is necessary. In elaborate plans for reconstruction and
reorganisation by more deliberate and far-reaching action of the State
and of organised associations there is often a risk of impairing or even
destroying individual liberty. The more complete organisation and
reduction to definite system of education, for example, may result in
hampering free thought and action both of teacher and scholar. For them,
as for an army, it is the "initiative" that counts. In industry, in
commerce, in political life, and also in intellectual and even in
religious life, there is a danger that the free development of the
individual may be checked and healthy growth prevented by
over-regulation. In education especially, "self-determination" within
reasonable limits is as necessary for the well-being of the individual
as it is in government for the well-being of nations. We may dread the
extended exercise of the powers of "directors of education" when they go
beyond administration and include the choice of subjects and of methods.
The best educational movement of our day--the Boy Scouts
Association--was initiated and is carried on without the intervention of
the State or of local authorities.

In conclusion two other points may be offered for consideration. In our
methods of education do we not find the idea more and more prevalent
that it is necessary for all, in order to be thorough, to devote their
time and energy to exact manipulation? It is true that you cannot make a
good chemist, or even apothecary, without giving days and weeks to exact
use of balances or to watching filter papers and the like but the mere
layman may learn in a short time with profit the meaning of a chemical
equation, and find a kind of diagrammatic knowledge sufficient to meet
all he requires. To discard what is irrelevant to the purpose is one of
the most difficult but most important things to be learned. Instead of
using "Euclid" as a means of teaching scholars to reason, they are
expected to use compasses carefully to make circles round--a matter of
no importance whatever for the matter in hand--but it diverts their
attention from the true object of study. There is a lesson for others in
the highly emphasised remark once addressed by a great advocate to his
junior who was taking an over-elaborate note, "Stop that scratching and
attend to the case." But intellectually the worst of all is the danger
that education will be directed to teaching and to learning mere
phrases. It saves thought and provides us with a kind of paper currency
conventionally accepted, though of no real value. In every subject we
study, in every department of life, in law, in politics, and in
religion, the domination of the phrase fetters thought and perverts
action. It is tempting to give examples, but we must forbear.

"Time is our tedious song should here have ending," but those who can
never see the accomplishment of what they hope for, the old "who dream
dreams," may be forgiven if they try once more to get some vision of the
land which others "if strong and of a good courage" will "go in to
possess." It may, perhaps, in the sunset light seem brighter from far
off than those who first enter it will find it to be, or, it may be, the
distant prospect discloses but a part of what they will conquer.

Again the question will be asked, What will emerge from this struggle,
this untold bloodshed, these bitter losses and widespread destruction,
what will be the harvest that this "red rain" will make to grow, what
Church will spring from the blood of the martyred youth--a great
multitude which no man can number? Again we may answer, as after the war
half a century ago, so short in its duration, and so limited in its
extent as compared with the World War of to-day, "For the victors Union,
for the vanquished Regeneration." Who will the victors be? Rightly shall
we think first of our own land of Britain with all the dominions that
form the Empire built up by the labour and the valour of its sons and
called by its name, united now by the closer bonds of common efforts,
common sacrifices and common resolves, loyal to one throne, the symbol
of its unity, cherishing one record of heroic deeds, the example and the
inspiration for the generations to come; above all, as a country that is
"at unity with itself," free from intestine war of party against party,
creed against creed, and class against class.

But this War has not been a war of Empire against Empire, of Nation only
against Nation. It has been waged by the alliance of the people all over
the world who believe in justice, in a law which says, "Thou shalt not,
because thou hast the power and the will to thine own advantage, use
that power to dominate others and exercise that will regardless of their
rights." The victors will be all the Nations who are leagued together to
resist such a claim, and the union must be a union of all who joined in
the struggle with that common purpose, united when peace comes in the
prayer and the determination that there shall be war no more. Yet the
prospect opens for a union wider even than that. Those who took no part
in the conflict, some perhaps because the peril was too deadly, their
opportunity of defence too weak, may also join the League. Some, like
the Swiss, have served the cause of humanity by their generous reception
of sick and wounded. Some, like the Norwegians, have themselves suffered
cruel wrongs by the ruthlessness of our foes.

Lastly, we must look forward to the possibility of a real peace with
Germany, a readmission of Germany to the commonwealth of Nations, a
restoration in the future of friendly intercourse with the German

Never again shall we of the older generation cross the German frontier
save in answer to some clear call of imperative duty. We should be
more--or perhaps less--than human to wish it. Day after day we have read
or our eyes have seen the reiterated and continued acts of infamy done
under the direction of those whom the majority of the German people not
only submit to as their rulers, but follow willingly as their guides.

Nor for years to come will many of the men of younger age risk the
chance of contact with those who were responsible for or committed such
crimes as they have witnessed from the day when German troops first
entered Belgium four years ago to the sinking of the last hospital ship
or last murder of wounded men and of nurses under the shadow of the Red

But a new generation will follow us who may find and may accept a
welcome from a younger German race who had no part in the sins against
humanity committed by the Germans of to-day. Some, indeed, of that
younger race will have learned from their own fathers who suffered for
them, to detest those crimes.

For another generation of Englishmen it may be possible once again to
find even in Germany something to enjoy and to admire. They may watch
from the Schlossgarten at Heidelberg the sun go down beyond the Rhine
over Alsace, then again united to France; they may wander again in
friendly talk with some forester under the pines of the Schwarzwald and
listen to the singing of the familiar Volkslieder--Tannenbaum or Haiden
Röslein--by a people who have a natural gift for song; they may in
Nuremberg again look with delight on the marvels in stone wrought by its
craftsmen or seek out the hidden meanings in the mystic art of Albrecht
Dürer; perhaps be whirled along in the Isar "rolling rapidly" through
the baths of Munich or plunge in the crystal depths of the König See;
from the highlands of Bavaria they may lift up their eyes to the long
ranges of the snowy Alps of Tyrol, and, as the decennial cycle comes
round and the reverent peasants re-enact the sacred drama, may make
their pilgrimage to Ammergau and share the thrill passing along the
crowded benches when the children's voices are heard, and they enter,
waving their palm branches, that those who watch their beautiful
counterfeit may recall, with imagination vivid like a child's, another
procession of joyous children, nineteen hundred years ago.

The rest of mankind would be the poorer if it were cut off for ever from
some of the things which Germany has given and might again give to the
world in the realm of thought--in science and literature--and in music;
things which have added and may again add to the knowledge and to the
beauty of life. But let there be no mistake. Such a future is possible
only if the powers which are dominant in Germany are utterly destroyed;
but that is not enough, there must be a regeneration of the German
people. The alternative for Germany must be either exclusion from
intercourse with the rest of mankind save those who desire to share in
her crimes, and who will also share in her outlawry, or a change of
spirit and of purpose in the nation. If such a change comes, we "dare be
known to think" that the renewal of friendly relations with the German
people is an object we desire to attain.

For us, too, comes the double warning. Strange voices are already heard
among us; some seem like echoes of the German spirit we are fighting to
exorcise, others of that anarchic spirit still more fatal that makes a
lawless democracy the most deadly foe of liberty and ordered progress.
If we in our turn make self-interest, regardless of the rights of
others, our guide, find in hatred, envy and jealousy our stimulus to
action, victory will confer no lasting blessing and the end of this War
will bring no real peace. The recognition of dangers threatened must be
for us the incentive to greater effort, with plans more carefully
thought out and clearer understanding of the true goal we are striving
to reach. Keeping our highest ideals always before us, labouring
steadily day by day, moving forward step by step, though the way may be
long, we may look with confidence to their attainment.

The earth moves onward, revolving in its course, bearing with it our
older generation towards the inevitable night; it may be to the utter
darkness where "there is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom,"
or, "as the holy sages once did sing," when that night comes, "Creation"
may "be widen'd in man's view," revealing the infinite depths and
innumerable bright Existences which the light of common day has hidden.
But whatever our destiny may be, let us trust, as we leave the sunshine
of life behind, that those gleams of hope for mankind, "faint beams that
gild the west" as our stormy day closes, are to the younger race which
is following on, the rising of a glorious dawn.


[Footnote 11: Perhaps a volume on Education, supplementary to the
present work, may be issued at some future time.]

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