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Title: Anticipations - Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human life and Thought
Author: Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946
Language: English
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 III.   DEVELOPING SOCIAL ELEMENTS                   66
  IV.   CERTAIN SOCIAL REACTIONS                    103
   V.   THE LIFE-HISTORY OF DEMOCRACY               143
  VI.   WAR IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY                176
 VII.   THE CONFLICT OF LANGUAGES                   215
VIII.   THE LARGER SYNTHESIS                        245
        TWENTIETH CENTURY                           279




It is proposed in this book to present in as orderly an arrangement as
the necessarily diffused nature of the subject admits, certain
speculations about the trend of present forces, speculations which,
taken all together, will build up an imperfect and very hypothetical,
but sincerely intended forecast of the way things will probably go in
this new century.[1] Necessarily diffidence will be one of the graces of
the performance. Hitherto such forecasts have been presented almost
invariably in the form of fiction, and commonly the provocation of the
satirical opportunity has been too much for the writer;[2] the
narrative form becomes more and more of a nuisance as the speculative
inductions become sincerer, and here it will be abandoned altogether in
favour of a texture of frank inquiries and arranged considerations. Our
utmost aim is a rough sketch of the coming time, a prospectus, as it
were, of the joint undertaking of mankind in facing these impending
years. The reader is a prospective shareholder--he and his heirs--though
whether he will find this anticipatory balance-sheet to his belief or
liking is another matter.

For reasons that will develop themselves more clearly as these papers
unfold, it is extremely convenient to begin with a speculation upon the
probable developments and changes of the means of land locomotion
during the coming decades. No one who has studied the civil history of
the nineteenth century will deny how far-reaching the consequences of
changes in transit may be, and no one who has studied the military
performances of General Buller and General De Wet but will see that upon
transport, upon locomotion, may also hang the most momentous issues of
politics and war. The growth of our great cities, the rapid populating
of America, the entry of China into the field of European politics are,
for example, quite obviously and directly consequences of new methods of
locomotion. And while so much hangs upon the development of these
methods, that development is, on the other hand, a process comparatively
independent, now at any rate, of most of the other great movements
affected by it. It depends upon a sequence of ideas arising, and of
experiments made, and upon laws of political economy, almost as
inevitable as natural laws. Such great issues, supposing them to be
possible, as the return of Western Europe to the Roman communion, the
overthrow of the British Empire by Germany, or the inundation of Europe
by the "Yellow Peril," might conceivably affect such details, let us
say, as door-handles and ventilators or mileage of line, but would
probably leave the essential features of the evolution of locomotion
untouched. The evolution of locomotion has a purely historical relation
to the Western European peoples. It is no longer dependent upon them,
or exclusively in their hands. The Malay nowadays sets out upon his
pilgrimage to Mecca in an excursion steamship of iron, and the
immemorial Hindoo goes a-shopping in a train, and in Japan and
Australasia and America, there are plentiful hands and minds to take up
the process now, even should the European let it fall.

The beginning of this twentieth century happens to coincide with a very
interesting phase in that great development of means of land transit
that has been the distinctive feature (speaking materially) of the
nineteenth century. The nineteenth century, when it takes its place with
the other centuries in the chronological charts of the future, will, if
it needs a symbol, almost inevitably have as that symbol a steam engine
running upon a railway. This period covers the first experiments, the
first great developments, and the complete elaboration of that mode of
transit, and the determination of nearly all the broad features of this
century's history may be traced directly or indirectly to that process.
And since an interesting light is thrown upon the new phases in land
locomotion that are now beginning, it will be well to begin this
forecast with a retrospect, and to revise very shortly the history of
the addition of steam travel to the resources of mankind.

A curious and profitable question arises at once. How is it that the
steam locomotive appeared at the time it did, and not earlier in the
history of the world?

Because it was not invented. But why was it not invented? Not for want
of a crowning intellect, for none of the many minds concerned in the
development strikes one--as the mind of Newton, Shakespeare, or Darwin
strikes one--as being that of an unprecedented man. It is not that the
need for the railway and steam engine had only just arisen, and--to use
one of the most egregiously wrong and misleading phrases that ever
dropped from the lips of man--the demand created the supply; it was
quite the other way about. There was really no urgent demand for such
things at the time; the current needs of the European world seem to have
been fairly well served by coach and diligence in 1800, and, on the
other hand, every administrator of intelligence in the Roman and Chinese
empires must have felt an urgent need for more rapid methods of transit
than those at his disposal. Nor was the development of the steam
locomotive the result of any sudden discovery of steam. Steam, and
something of the mechanical possibilities of steam, had been known for
two thousand years; it had been used for pumping water, opening doors,
and working toys, before the Christian era. It may be urged that this
advance was the outcome of that new and more systematic handling of
knowledge initiated by Lord Bacon and sustained by the Royal Society;
but this does not appear to have been the case, though no doubt the new
habits of mind that spread outward from that centre played their part.
The men whose names are cardinal in the history of this development
invented, for the most part, in a quite empirical way, and Trevithick's
engine was running along its rails and Evan's boat was walloping up the
Hudson a quarter of a century before Carnot expounded his general
proposition. There were no such deductions from principles to
application as occur in the story of electricity to justify our
attribution of the steam engine to the scientific impulse. Nor does this
particular invention seem to have been directly due to the new
possibilities of reducing, shaping, and casting iron, afforded by the
substitution of coal for wood in iron works; through the greater
temperature afforded by a coal fire. In China coal has been used in the
reduction of iron for many centuries. No doubt these new facilities did
greatly help the steam engine in its invasion of the field of common
life, but quite certainly they were not sufficient to set it going. It
was, indeed, not one cause, but a very complex and unprecedented series
of causes, that set the steam locomotive going. It was indirectly, and
in another way, that the introduction of coal became the decisive
factor. One peculiar condition of its production in England seems to
have supplied just one ingredient that had been missing for two thousand
years in the group of conditions that were necessary before the steam
locomotive could appear.

This missing ingredient was a demand for some comparatively simple,
profitable machine, upon which the elementary principles of steam
utilization could be worked out. If one studies Stephenson's "Rocket" in
detail, as one realizes its profound complexity, one begins to
understand how impossible it would have been for that structure to have
come into existence _de novo_, however urgently the world had need of
it. But it happened that the coal needed to replace the dwindling
forests of this small and exceptionally rain-saturated country occurs in
low hollow basins overlying clay, and not, as in China and the
Alleghanies for example, on high-lying outcrops, that can be worked as
chalk is worked in England. From this fact it followed that some quite
unprecedented pumping appliances became necessary, and the thoughts of
practical men were turned thereby to the long-neglected possibilities of
steam. Wind was extremely inconvenient for the purpose of pumping,
because in these latitudes it is inconstant: it was costly, too, because
at any time the labourers might be obliged to sit at the pit's mouth for
weeks together, whistling for a gale or waiting for the water to be got
under again. But steam had already been used for pumping upon one or two
estates in England--rather as a toy than in earnest--before the middle
of the seventeenth century, and the attempt to employ it was so obvious
as to be practically unavoidable.[3] The water trickling into the coal
measures[4] acted, therefore, like water trickling upon chemicals that
have long been mixed together dry and inert. Immediately the latent
reactions were set going. Savery, Newcomen, a host of other workers,
culminating in Watt, working always by steps that were at least so
nearly obvious as to give rise again and again to simultaneous
discoveries, changed this toy of steam into a real, a commercial thing,
developed a trade in pumping engines, created foundries and a new art of
engineering, and almost unconscious of what they were doing, made the
steam locomotive a well-nigh unavoidable consequence. At last, after a
century of improvement on pumping engines, there remained nothing but
the very obvious stage of getting the engine that had been developed on
wheels and out upon the ways of the world.

Ever and again during the eighteenth century an engine would be put upon
the roads and pronounced a failure--one monstrous Palæoferric creature
was visible on a French high road as early as 1769--but by the dawn of
the nineteenth century the problem had very nearly got itself solved. By
1804 Trevithick had a steam locomotive indisputably in motion and almost
financially possible, and from his hands it puffed its way, slowly at
first, and then, under Stephenson, faster and faster, to a transitory
empire over the earth. It was a steam locomotive--but for all that it
was primarily _a steam engine for pumping_ adapted to a new end; it was
a steam engine whose ancestral stage had developed under conditions that
were by no means exacting in the matter of weight. And from that fact
followed a consequence that has hampered railway travel and transport
very greatly, and that is tolerated nowadays only through a belief in
its practical necessity. The steam locomotive was all too huge and heavy
for the high road--it had to be put upon rails. And so clearly linked
are steam engines and railways in our minds that, in common language
now, the latter implies the former. But indeed it is the result of
accidental impediments, of avoidable difficulties that we travel to-day
on rails.

Railway travelling is at best a compromise. The quite conceivable ideal
of locomotive convenience, so far as travellers are concerned, is surely
a highly mobile conveyance capable of travelling easily and swiftly to
any desired point, traversing, at a reasonably controlled pace, the
ordinary roads and streets, and having access for higher rates of speed
and long-distance travelling to specialized ways restricted to swift
traffic, and possibly furnished with guide-rails. For the collection and
delivery of all sorts of perishable goods also the same system is
obviously altogether superior to the existing methods. Moreover, such a
system would admit of that secular progress in engines and vehicles that
the stereotyped conditions of the railway have almost completely
arrested, because it would allow almost any new pattern to be put at
once upon the ways without interference with the established traffic.
Had such an ideal been kept in view from the first the traveller would
now be able to get through his long-distance journeys at a pace of from
seventy miles or more an hour without changing, and without any of the
trouble, waiting, expense, and delay that arises between the household
or hotel and the actual rail. It was an ideal that must have been at
least possible to an intelligent person fifty years ago, and, had it
been resolutely pursued, the world, instead of fumbling from compromise
to compromise as it always has done and as it will do very probably for
many centuries yet, might have been provided to-day, not only with an
infinitely more practicable method of communication, but with one
capable of a steady and continual evolution from year to year.

But there was a more obvious path of development and one immediately
cheaper, and along that path went short-sighted Nineteenth Century
Progress, quite heedless of the possibility of ending in a _cul-de-sac_.
The first locomotives, apart from the heavy tradition of their ancestry,
were, like all experimental machinery, needlessly clumsy and heavy, and
their inventors, being men of insufficient faith, instead of working for
lightness and smoothness of motion, took the easier course of placing
them upon the tramways that were already in existence--chiefly for the
transit of heavy goods over soft roads. And from that followed a very
interesting and curious result.

These tram-lines very naturally had exactly the width of an ordinary
cart, a width prescribed by the strength of one horse. Few people saw in
the locomotive anything but a cheap substitute for horseflesh, or found
anything incongruous in letting the dimensions of a horse determine the
dimensions of an engine. It mattered nothing that from the first the
passenger was ridiculously cramped, hampered, and crowded in the
carriage. He had always been cramped in a coach, and it would have
seemed "Utopian"--a very dreadful thing indeed to our grandparents--to
propose travel without cramping. By mere inertia the horse-cart gauge,
the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge, _nemine contradicente_, established itself in
the world, and now everywhere the train is dwarfed to a scale that
limits alike its comfort, power, and speed. Before every engine, as it
were, trots the ghost of a superseded horse, refuses most resolutely to
trot faster than fifty miles an hour, and shies and threatens
catastrophe at every point and curve. That fifty miles an hour, most
authorities are agreed, is the limit of our speed for land travel, so
far as existing conditions go.[5] Only a revolutionary reconstruction of
the railways or the development of some new competing method of land
travel can carry us beyond that.

People of to-day take the railways for granted as they take sea and sky;
they were born in a railway world, and they expect to die in one. But if
only they will strip from their eyes the most blinding of all
influences, acquiescence in the familiar, they will see clearly enough
that this vast and elaborate railway system of ours, by which the whole
world is linked together, is really only a vast system of trains of
horse-waggons and coaches drawn along rails by pumping-engines upon
wheels. Is that, in spite of its present vast extension, likely to
remain the predominant method of land locomotion--even for so short a
period as the next hundred years?

Now, so much capital is represented by the existing type of railways,
and they have so firm an establishment in the acquiescence of men, that
it is very doubtful if the railways will ever attempt any very
fundamental change in the direction of greater speed or facility, unless
they are first exposed to the pressure of our second alternative,
competition, and we may very well go on to inquire how long will it be
before that second alternative comes into operation--if ever it is to do

Let us consider what other possibilities seem to offer themselves. Let
us revert to the ideal we have already laid down, and consider what
hopes and obstacles to its attainment there seem to be. The abounding
presence of numerous experimental motors to-day is so stimulating to the
imagination, there are so many stimulated persons at work upon them,
that it is difficult to believe the obvious impossibility of most of
them--their convulsiveness, clumsiness, and, in many cases, exasperating
trail of stench will not be rapidly fined away.[6] I do not think that
it is asking too much of the reader's faith in progress to assume that
so far as a light powerful engine goes, comparatively noiseless,
smooth-running, not obnoxious to sensitive nostrils, and altogether
suitable for high road traffic, the problem will very speedily be
solved. And upon that assumption, in what direction are these new motor
vehicles likely to develop? how will they react upon the railways? and
where finally will they take us?

At present they seem to promise developments upon three distinct and
definite lines.

There will, first of all, be the motor truck for heavy traffic. Already
such trucks are in evidence distributing goods and parcels of various
sorts. And sooner or later, no doubt, the numerous advantages of such an
arrangement will lead to the organization of large carrier companies,
using such motor trucks to carry goods in bulk or parcels on the high
roads. Such companies will be in an exceptionally favourable position to
organize storage and repair for the motors of the general public on
profitable terms, and possibly to co-operate in various ways with the
manufactures of special types of motor machines.

In the next place, and parallel with the motor truck, there will develop
the hired or privately owned motor carriage. This, for all except the
longest journeys, will add a fine sense of personal independence to all
the small conveniences of first-class railway travel. It will be capable
of a day's journey of three hundred miles or more, long before the
developments to be presently foreshadowed arrive. One will change
nothing--unless it is the driver--from stage to stage. One will be free
to dine where one chooses, hurry when one chooses, travel asleep or
awake, stop and pick flowers, turn over in bed of a morning and tell the
carriage to wait--unless, which is highly probable, one sleeps

And thirdly there will be the motor omnibus, attacking or developing out
of the horse omnibus companies and the suburban lines. All this seems
fairly safe prophesying.

And these things, which are quite obviously coming even now, will be
working out their many structural problems when the next phase in their
development begins. The motor omnibus companies competing against the
suburban railways will find themselves hampered in the speed of their
longer runs by the slower horse traffic on their routes, and they will
attempt to secure, and, it may be, after tough legislative struggles,
will secure the power to form private roads of a new sort, upon which
their vehicles will be free to travel up to the limit of their very
highest possible speed. It is along the line of such private tracks and
roads that the forces of change will certainly tend to travel, and along
which I am absolutely convinced they will travel. This segregation of
motor traffic is probably a matter that may begin even in the present

Once this process of segregation from the high road of the horse and
pedestrian sets in, it will probably go on rapidly. It may spread out
from short omnibus routes, much as the London Metropolitan Railway
system has spread. The motor carrier companies, competing in speed of
delivery with the quickened railways, will conceivably co-operate with
the long-distance omnibus and the hired carriage companies in the
formation of trunk lines. Almost insensibly, certain highly profitable
longer routes will be joined up--the London to Brighton, for example, in
England. And the quiet English citizen will, no doubt, while these
things are still quite exceptional and experimental in his lagging land,
read one day with surprise in the violently illustrated popular
magazines of 1910, that there are now so many thousand miles of these
roads already established in America and Germany and elsewhere. And
thereupon, after some patriotic meditations, he may pull himself

We may even hazard some details about these special roads. For example,
they will be very different from macadamized roads; they will be used
only by soft-tired conveyances; the battering horseshoes, the perpetual
filth of horse traffic, and the clumsy wheels of laden carts will never
wear them. It may be that they will have a surface like that of some
cycle-racing tracks, though since they will be open to wind and weather,
it is perhaps more probable they will be made of very good asphalt
sloped to drain, and still more probable that they will be of some quite
new substance altogether--whether hard or resilient is beyond my
foretelling. They will have to be very wide--they will be just as wide
as the courage of their promoters goes--and if the first made are too
narrow there will be no question of gauge to limit the later ones. Their
traffic in opposite directions will probably be strictly separated, and
it will no doubt habitually disregard complicated and fussy regulations
imposed under the initiative of the Railway Interest by such official
bodies as the Board of Trade. The promoters will doubtless take a hint
from suburban railway traffic and from the current difficulty of the
Metropolitan police, and where their ways branch the streams of traffic
will not cross at a level but by bridges. It is easily conceivable that
once these tracks are in existence, cyclists and motors other than those
of the constructing companies will be able to make use of them. And,
moreover, once they exist it will be possible to experiment with
vehicles of a size and power quite beyond the dimensions prescribed by
our ordinary roads--roads whose width has been entirely determined by
the size of a cart a horse can pull.[8]

Countless modifying influences will, of course, come into operation. For
example, it has been assumed, perhaps rashly, that the railway influence
will certainly remain jealous and hostile to these growths: that what
may be called the "Bicycle Ticket Policy" will be pursued throughout.
Assuredly there will be fights of a very complicated sort at first, but
once one of these specialized lines is in operation, it may be that some
at least of the railway companies will hasten to replace their flanged
rolling stock by carriages with rubber tyres, remove their rails,
broaden their cuttings and embankments, raise their bridges, and take to
the new ways of traffic. Or they may find it answer to cut fares, widen
their gauges, reduce their gradients, modify their points and curves,
and woo the passenger back with carriages beautifully hung and
sumptuously furnished, and all the convenience and luxury of a club. Few
people would mind being an hour or so longer going to Paris from London,
if the railway travelling was neither rackety, cramped, nor tedious. One
could be patient enough if one was neither being jarred, deafened, cut
into slices by draughts, and continually more densely caked in a filthy
dust of coal; if one could write smoothly and easily at a steady table,
read papers, have one's hair cut, and dine in comfort[9]--none of which
things are possible at present, and none of which require any new
inventions, any revolutionary contrivances, or indeed anything but an
intelligent application of existing resources and known principles. Our
rage for fast trains, so far as long-distance travel is concerned, is
largely a passion to end the extreme discomfort involved. It is in the
daily journey, on the suburban train, that daily tax of time, that
speed is in itself so eminently desirable, and it is just here that the
conditions of railway travel most hopelessly fail. It must always be
remembered that the railway train, as against the motor, has the
advantage that its wholesale traction reduces the prime cost by
demanding only one engine for a great number of coaches. This will not
serve the first-class long-distance passenger, but it may the third.
Against that economy one must balance the necessary delay of a
relatively infrequent service, which latter item becomes relatively
greater and greater in proportion to the former, the briefer the journey
to be made.

And it may be that many railways, which are neither capable of
modification into suburban motor tracks, nor of development into
luxurious through routes, will find, in spite of the loss of many
elements of their old activity, that there is still a profit to be made
from a certain section of the heavy goods traffic, and from cheap
excursions. These are forms of work for which railways seem to be
particularly adapted, and which the diversion of a great portion of
their passenger traffic would enable them to conduct even more
efficiently. It is difficult to imagine, for example, how any sort of
road-car organization could beat the railways at the business of
distributing coal and timber and similar goods, which are taken in bulk
directly from the pit or wharf to local centres of distribution.

It must always be remembered that at the worst the defeat of such a
great organization as the railway system does not involve its
disappearance until a long period has elapsed. It means at first no more
than a period of modification and differentiation. Before extinction can
happen a certain amount of wealth in railway property must absolutely
disappear. Though under the stress of successful competition the capital
value of the railways may conceivably fall, and continue to fall,
towards the marine store prices, fares and freights pursue the sweated
working expenses to the vanishing point, and the land occupied sink to
the level of not very eligible building sites: yet the railways will,
nevertheless, continue in operation until these downward limits are
positively attained.

An imagination prone to the picturesque insists at this stage upon a
vision of the latter days of one of the less happily situated lines.
Along a weedy embankment there pants and clangs a patched and tarnished
engine, its paint blistered, its parts leprously dull. It is driven by
an aged and sweated driver, and the burning garbage of its furnace
distils a choking reek into the air. A huge train of urban dust trucks
bangs and clatters behind it, _en route_ to that sequestered dumping
ground where rubbish is burnt to some industrial end. But that is a
lapse into the merely just possible, and at most a local tragedy. Almost
certainly the existing lines of railway will develop and differentiate,
some in one direction and some in another, according to the nature of
the pressure upon them. Almost all will probably be still in existence
and in divers ways busy, spite of the swarming new highways I have
ventured to foreshadow, a hundred years from now.

In fact, we have to contemplate, not so much a supersession of the
railways as a modification and specialization of them in various
directions, and the enormous development beside them of competing and
supplementary methods. And step by step with these developments will
come a very considerable acceleration of the ferry traffic of the narrow
seas through such improvements as the introduction of turbine engines.
So far as the high road and the longer journeys go this is the extent of
our prophecy.[10]

But in the discussion of all questions of land locomotion one must come
at last to the knots of the network, to the central portions of the
towns, the dense, vast towns of our time, with their high ground values
and their narrow, already almost impassable, streets. I hope at a later
stage to give some reasons for anticipating that the centripetal
pressure of the congested towns of our epoch may ultimately be very
greatly relieved, but for the next few decades at least the usage of
existing conditions will prevail, and in every town there is a certain
nucleus of offices, hotels, and shops upon which the centrifugal forces
I anticipate will certainly not operate. At present the streets of many
larger towns, and especially of such old-established towns as London,
whose central portions have the narrowest arteries, present a quite
unprecedented state of congestion. When the Green of some future
_History of the English People_ comes to review our times, he will, from
his standpoint of comfort and convenience, find the present streets of
London quite or even more incredibly unpleasant than are the filthy
kennels, the mudholes and darkness of the streets of the seventeenth
century to our enlightened minds. He will echo our question, "Why _did_
people stand it?" He will be struck first of all by the omnipresence of
mud, filthy mud, churned up by hoofs and wheels under the inclement
skies, and perpetually defiled and added to by innumerable horses.
Imagine his description of a young lady crossing the road at the Marble
Arch in London, on a wet November afternoon, "breathless, foul-footed,
splashed by a passing hansom from head to foot, happy that she has
reached the further pavement alive at the mere cost of her ruined
clothes."... "Just where the bicycle might have served its most useful
purpose," he will write, "in affording a healthy daily ride to the
innumerable clerks and such-like sedentary toilers of the central
region, it was rendered impossible by the danger of side-slip in this
vast ferocious traffic." And, indeed, to my mind at least, this last is
the crowning absurdity of the present state of affairs, that the clerk
and the shop hand, classes of people positively starved of exercise,
should be obliged to spend yearly the price of a bicycle upon a
season-ticket, because of the quite unendurable inconvenience and danger
of urban cycling.

Now, in what direction will matters move? The first and most obvious
thing to do, the thing that in many cases is being attempted and in a
futile, insufficient way getting itself done, the thing that I do not
for one moment regard as the final remedy, is the remedy of the
architect and builder--profitable enough to them, anyhow--to widen the
streets and to cut "new arteries." Now, every new artery means a series
of new whirlpools of traffic, such as the pensive Londoner may study for
himself at the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue with Oxford Street,
and unless colossal--or inconveniently steep--crossing-bridges are made,
the wider the affluent arteries the more terrible the battle of the
traffic. Imagine Regent's Circus on the scale of the Place de la
Concorde. And there is the value of the ground to consider; with every
increment of width the value of the dwindling remainder in the meshes
of the network of roads will rise, until to pave the widened streets
with gold will be a mere trifling addition to the cost of their

There is, however, quite another direction in which the congestion may
find relief, and that is in the "regulation" of the traffic. This has
already begun in London in an attack on the crawling cab and in the new
bye-laws of the London County Council, whereby certain specified forms
of heavy traffic are prohibited the use of the streets between ten and
seven. These things may be the first beginning of a process of
restriction that may go far. Many people living at the present time, who
have grown up amidst the exceptional and possibly very transient
characteristics of this time, will be disposed to regard the traffic in
the streets of our great cities as a part of the natural order of
things, and as unavoidable as the throng upon the pavement. But indeed
the presence of all the chief constituents of this vehicular
torrent--the cabs and hansoms, the vans, the omnibuses--everything,
indeed, except the few private carriages--are as novel, as distinctively
things of the nineteenth century, as the railway train and the needle
telegraph. The streets of the great towns of antiquity, the streets of
the great towns of the East, the streets of all the mediæval towns, were
not intended for any sort of wheeled traffic at all--were designed
primarily and chiefly for pedestrians. So it would be, I suppose, in any
one's ideal city. Surely Town, in theory at least, is a place one walks
about as one walks about a house and garden, dressed with a certain
ceremonious elaboration, safe from mud and the hardship and defilement
of foul weather, buying, meeting, dining, studying, carousing, seeing
the play. It is the growth in size of the city that has necessitated the
growth of this coarser traffic that has made "Town" at last so utterly

But if one reflects, it becomes clear that, save for the vans of goods,
this moving tide of wheeled masses is still essentially a stream of
urban pedestrians, pedestrians who, by reason of the distances they have
to go, have had to jump on 'buses and take cabs--in a word, to bring in
the high road to their aid. And the vehicular traffic of the street is
essentially the high road traffic very roughly adapted to the new needs.
The cab is a simple development of the carriage, the omnibus of the
coach, and the supplementary traffic of the underground and electric
railways is a by no means brilliantly imagined adaptation of the
long-route railway. These are all still new things, experimental to the
highest degree, changing and bound to change much more, in the period of
specialization that is now beginning.

Now, the first most probable development is a change in the omnibus and
the omnibus railway. A point quite as important with these means of
transit as actual speed of movement is frequency: time is wasted
abundantly and most vexatiously at present in waiting and in
accommodating one's arrangements to infrequent times of call and
departure. _The more frequent a local service, the more it comes to be
relied upon._ Another point--and one in which the omnibus has a great
advantage over the railway--is that it should be possible to get on and
off at any point, or at as many points on the route as possible. But
this means a high proportion of stoppages, and this is destructive to
speed. There is, however, one conceivable means of transit that is not
simply frequent but continuous, that may be joined or left at any point
without a stoppage, that could be adapted to many existing streets at
the level or quite easily sunken in tunnels, or elevated above the
street level,[11] and that means of transit is the moving platform,
whose possibilities have been exhibited to all the world in a sort of
mean caricature at the Paris Exhibition. Let us imagine the inner circle
of the district railway adapted to this conception. I will presume that
the Parisian "rolling platform" is familiar to the reader. The district
railway tunnel is, I imagine, about twenty-four feet wide. If we suppose
the space given to six platforms of three feet wide and one (the most
rapid) of six feet, and if we suppose each platform to be going four
miles an hour faster than its slower fellow (a velocity the Paris
experiment has shown to be perfectly comfortable and safe), we should
have the upper platform running round the circle at a pace of
twenty-eight miles an hour. If, further, we adopt an ingenious
suggestion of Professor Perry's, and imagine the descent to the line
made down a very slowly rotating staircase at the centre of a big
rotating wheel-shaped platform, against a portion of whose rim the
slowest platform runs in a curve, one could very easily add a speed of
six or eight miles an hour more, and to that the man in a hurry would be
able to add his own four miles an hour by walking in the direction of
motion. If the reader is a traveller, and if he will imagine that black
and sulphurous tunnel, swept and garnished, lit and sweet, with a train
much faster than the existing underground trains perpetually ready to go
off with him and never crowded--if he will further imagine this train a
platform set with comfortable seats and neat bookstalls and so forth, he
will get an inkling in just one detail of what he perhaps misses by
living now instead of thirty or forty years ahead.

I have supposed the replacement to occur in the case of the London Inner
Circle Railway, because there the necessary tunnel already exists to
help the imagination of the English reader, but that the specific
replacement will occur is rendered improbable by the fact that the
circle is for much of its circumference entangled with other lines of
communication--the North-Western Railway, for example. As a matter of
fact, as the American reader at least will promptly see, the much more
practicable thing is that upper footpath, with these moving platforms
beside it, running out over the street after the manner of the viaduct
of an elevated railroad. But in some cases, at any rate, the
demonstrated cheapness and practicability of tunnels at a considerable
depth will come into play.

Will this diversion of the vast omnibus traffic of to-day into the air
and underground, together with the segregation of van traffic to
specific routes and times, be the only change in the streets of the new
century? It may be a shock, perhaps, to some minds, but I must confess I
do not see what is to prevent the process of elimination that is
beginning now with the heavy vans spreading until it covers all horse
traffic, and with the disappearance of horse hoofs and the necessary
filth of horses, the road surface may be made a very different thing
from what it is at present, better drained and admirably adapted for the
soft-tired hackney vehicles and the torrent of cyclists. Moreover, there
will be little to prevent a widening of the existing side walks, and the
protection of the passengers from rain and hot sun by awnings, or such
arcades as distinguish Turin, or Sir F. Bramwell's upper footpaths on
the model of the Chester rows. Moreover, there is no reason but the
existing filth why the roadways should not have translucent _velaria_ to
pull over in bright sunshine and wet weather. It would probably need
less labour to manipulate such contrivances than is required at present
for the constant conflict with slush and dust. Now, of course, we
tolerate the rain, because it facilitates a sort of cleaning process....

Enough of this present speculation. I have indicated now the general
lines of the roads and streets and ways and underways of the Twentieth
Century. But at present they stand vacant in our prophecy, not only
awaiting the human interests--the characters and occupations, and
clothing of the throng of our children and our children's children that
flows along them, but also the decorations our children's children's
taste will dictate, the advertisements their eyes will tolerate, the
shops in which they will buy. To all that we shall finally come, and
even in the next chapter I hope it will be made more evident how
conveniently these later and more intimate matters follow, instead of
preceding, these present mechanical considerations. And of the beliefs
and hopes, the thought and language, the further prospects of this
multitude as yet unborn--of these things also we shall make at last
certain hazardous guesses. But at first I would submit to those who may
find the "machinery in motion" excessive in this chapter, we must have
the background and fittings--the scene before the play.[12]


[1] In the earlier papers, of which this is the first, attention will be
given to the probable development of the civilized community in general.
Afterwards these generalizations will be modified in accordance with
certain broad differences of race, custom, and religion.

[2] Of quite serious forecasts and inductions of things to come, the
number is very small indeed; a suggestion or so of Mr. Herbert
Spencer's, Mr. Kidd's _Social Evolution_, some hints from Mr. Archdall
Reid, some political forecasts, German for the most part (Hartmann's
_Earth in the Twentieth Century_, e.g.), some incidental forecasts by
Professor Langley (_Century Magazine_, December, 1884, e.g.), and such
isolated computations as Professor Crookes' wheat warning, and the
various estimates of our coal supply, make almost a complete
bibliography. Of fiction, of course, there is abundance: _Stories of the
Year_ 2000, and _Battles of Dorking_, and the like--I learn from Mr.
Peddie, the bibliographer, over one hundred pamphlets and books of that
description. But from its very nature, and I am writing with the
intimacy of one who has tried, fiction can never be satisfactory in this
application. Fiction is necessarily concrete and definite; it permits of
no open alternatives; its aim of illusion prevents a proper amplitude of
demonstration, and modern prophecy should be, one submits, a branch of
speculation, and should follow with all decorum the scientific method.
The very form of fiction carries with it something of disavowal; indeed,
very much of the Fiction of the Future pretty frankly abandons the
prophetic altogether, and becomes polemical, cautionary, or idealistic,
and a mere footnote and commentary to our present discontents.

[3] It might have been used in the same way in Italy in the first
century, had not the grandiose taste for aqueducts prevailed.

[4] And also into the Cornwall mines, be it noted.

[5] It might be worse. If the biggest horses had been Shetland ponies,
we should be travelling now in railway carriages to hold two each side
at a maximum speed of perhaps twenty miles an hour. There is hardly any
reason, beyond this tradition of the horse, why the railway carriage
should not be even nine or ten feet wide, the width, that is, of the
smallest room in which people can live in comfort, hung on such springs
and wheels as would effectually destroy all vibration, and furnished
with all the equipment of comfortable chambers.

[6] Explosives as a motive power were first attempted by Huyghens and
one or two others in the seventeenth century, and, just as with the
turbine type of apparatus, it was probably the impetus given to the
development of steam by the convenient collocation of coal and water and
the need of an engine, that arrested the advance of this parallel
inquiry until our own time. Explosive engines, in which gas and
petroleum are employed, are now abundant, but for all that we can regard
the explosive engine as still in its experimental stages. So far,
research in explosives has been directed chiefly to the possibilities of
higher and still higher explosives for use in war, the neglect of the
mechanical application of this class of substance being largely due to
the fact, that chemists are not as a rule engineers, nor engineers
chemists. But an easily portable substance, the decomposition of which
would evolve energy, or--what is, from the practical point of view, much
the same thing--an easily portable substance, which could be decomposed
electrically by wind or water power, and which would then recombine and
supply force, either in intermittent thrusts at a piston, or as an
electric current, would be infinitely more convenient for all locomotive
purposes than the cumbersome bunkers and boilers required by steam. The
presumption is altogether in favour of the possibility of such
substances. Their advent will be the beginning of the end for steam
traction on land and of the steam ship at sea: the end indeed of the Age
of Coal and Steam. And even with regard to steam there may be a curious
change of method before the end. It is beginning to appear that, after
all, the piston and cylinder type of engine is, for locomotive
purposes--on water at least, if not on land--by no means the most
perfect. Another, and fundamentally different type, the turbine type, in
which the impulse of the steam spins a wheel instead of shoving a
piston, would appear to be altogether better than the adapted pumping
engine, at any rate, for the purposes of steam navigation. Hero, of
Alexandria, describes an elementary form of such an engine, and the
early experimenters of the seventeenth century tried and abandoned the
rotary principle. It was not adapted to pumping, and pumping was the
only application that then offered sufficient immediate encouragement to
persistence. The thing marked time for quite two centuries and a half,
therefore, while the piston engines perfected themselves; and only in
the eighties did the requirements of the dynamo-electric machine open a
"practicable" way of advance. The motors of the dynamo-electric machine
in the nineteenth century, in fact, played exactly the _rôle_ of the
pumping engine in the eighteenth, and by 1894 so many difficulties of
detail had been settled, that a syndicate of capitalists and scientific
men could face the construction of an experimental ship. This ship, the
_Turbinia_, after a considerable amount of trial and modification,
attained the unprecedented speed of 34½ knots an hour, and His Majesty's
navy has possessed, in the _Turbinia's_ younger and greater sister, the
_Viper_, now unhappily lost, a torpedo-destroyer capable of 41 miles an
hour. There can be little doubt that the sea speeds of 50 and even 60
miles an hour will be attained within the next few years. But I do not
think that these developments will do more than delay the advent of the
"explosive" or "storage of force" engine.

[7] The historian of the future, writing about the nineteenth century,
will, I sometimes fancy, find a new meaning in a familiar phrase. It is
the custom to call this the most "Democratic" age the world has ever
seen, and most of us are beguiled by the etymological contrast, and the
memory of certain legislative revolutions, to oppose one form of
stupidity prevailing to another, and to fancy we mean the opposite to an
"Aristocratic" period. But indeed we do not. So far as that political
point goes, the Chinaman has always been infinitely more democratic than
the European. But the world, by a series of gradations into error, has
come to use "Democratic" as a substitute for "Wholesale," and as an
opposite to "Individual," without realizing the shifted application at
all. Thereby old "Aristocracy," the organization of society for the
glory and preservation of the Select Dull, gets to a flavour even of
freedom. When the historian of the future speaks of the past century as
a Democratic century, he will have in mind, more than anything else, the
unprecedented fact that we seemed to do everything in heaps--we read in
epidemics; clothed ourselves, all over the world, in identical fashions;
built and furnished our houses in stereo designs; and travelled--that
naturally most individual proceeding--in bales. To make the railway
train a perfect symbol of our times, it should be presented as
uncomfortably full in the third class--a few passengers standing--and
everybody reading the current number either of the _Daily Mail_,
_Pearson's Weekly_, _Answers_, _Tit Bits_, or whatever Greatest Novel of
the Century happened to be going.... But, as I hope to make clearer in
my later papers, this "Democracy," or Wholesale method of living, like
the railways, is transient--a first makeshift development of a great and
finally (to me at least) quite hopeful social reorganization.

[8] So we begin to see the possibility of laying that phantom horse that
haunts the railways to this day so disastrously.

[9] A correspondent, Mr. Rudolf Cyrian, writes to correct me here, and I
cannot do better, I think, than thank him and quote what he says. "It is
hardly right to state that fifty miles an hour 'is the limit of our
speed for land travel, so far as existing conditions go.' As far as
English traffic is concerned, the statement is approximately correct. In
the United States, however, there are several trains running now which
average over considerable distances more than sixty miles an hour,
stoppages included, nor is there much reason why this should not be
considerably increased. What especially hampers the development of
railways in England--as compared with other countries--is the fact that
the rolling-stock templet is too small. Hence carriages in England have
to be narrower and lower than carriages in the United States, although
both run on the same standard gauge (4 feet 8½ inches). The result is
that several things which you describe as not possible at present, such
as to 'write smoothly and easily at a steady table, read papers, have
one's hair cut, and dine in comfort,' are not only feasible, but
actually attained on some of the good American trains. For instance, on
the _present_ Empire State Express, running between New York and
Buffalo, or on the _present_ Pennsylvania, Limited, running between New
York and Chicago, and on others. With the Pennsylvania, Limited, travel
stenographers and typewriters, whose services are placed at the disposal
of passengers free of charge. But the train on which there is the least
vibration of any is probably the new Empire State Express, and on this
it is certainly possible to write smoothly and easily at a steady

[10] Since this appeared in the _Fortnightly Review_ I have had the
pleasure of reading 'Twentieth Century Inventions,' by Mr. George
Sutherland, and I find very much else of interest bearing on these
questions--the happy suggestion (for the ferry transits, at any rate) of
a rail along the sea bottom, which would serve as a guide to swift
submarine vessels, out of reach of all that superficial "motion" that is
so distressing, and of all possibilities of collision.

[11] To the level of such upper story pavements as Sir F. Bramwell has
proposed for the new Holborn to Strand Street, for example.

[12] I have said nothing in this chapter, devoted to locomotion, of the
coming invention of flying. This is from no disbelief in its final
practicability, nor from any disregard of the new influences it will
bring to bear upon mankind. But I do not think it at all probable that
aeronautics will ever come into play as a serious modification of
transport and communication--the main question here under consideration.
Man is not, for example, an albatross, but a land biped, with a
considerable disposition towards being made sick and giddy by unusual
motions, and however he soars he must come to earth to live. We must
build our picture of the future from the ground upward; of flying--in
its place.



Now, the velocity at which a man and his belongings may pass about the
earth is in itself a very trivial matter indeed, but it involves certain
other matters not at all trivial, standing, indeed, in an almost
fundamental relation to human society. It will be the business of this
chapter to discuss the relation between the social order and the
available means of transit, and to attempt to deduce from the principles
elucidated the coming phases in that extraordinary expansion, shifting
and internal redistribution of population that has been so conspicuous
during the last hundred years.

Let us consider the broad features of the redistribution of the
population that has characterized the nineteenth century. It may be
summarized as an unusual growth of great cities and a slight tendency to
depopulation in the country. The growth of the great cities is the
essential phenomenon. These aggregates having populations of from eight
hundred thousand upward to four and five millions, are certainly, so far
as the world outside the limits of the Chinese empire goes, entirely an
unprecedented thing. Never before, outside the valleys of the three
great Chinese rivers, has any city--with the exception of Rome and
perhaps (but very doubtfully) of Babylon--certainly had more than a
million inhabitants, and it is at least permissible to doubt whether the
population of Rome, in spite of its exacting a tribute of sea-borne food
from the whole of the Mediterranean basin, exceeded a million for any
great length of time.[13] But there are now ten town aggregates having a
population of over a million, nearly twenty that bid fair to reach that
limit in the next decade, and a great number at or approaching a
quarter of a million. We call these towns and cities, but, indeed, they
are of a different order of things to the towns and cities of the
eighteenth-century world.

Concurrently with the aggregation of people about this new sort of
centre, there has been, it is alleged, a depletion of the country
villages and small townships. But, so far as the counting of heads goes,
this depletion is not nearly so marked as the growth of the great towns.
Relatively, however, it is striking enough.

Now, is this growth of large towns really, as one may allege, a result
of the development of railways in the world, or is it simply a change in
human circumstances that happens to have arisen at the same time? It
needs only a very general review of the conditions of the distribution
of population to realize that the former is probably the true answer.

It will be convenient to make the issue part of a more general
proposition, namely, that _the general distribution of population in a
country must always be directly dependent on transport facilities_. To
illustrate this point roughly we may build up an imaginary simple
community by considering its needs. Over an arable country-side, for
example, inhabited by a people who had attained to a level of
agricultural civilization in which war was no longer constantly
imminent, the population would be diffused primarily by families and
groups in farmsteads. It might, if it were a very simple population, be
almost all so distributed. But even the simplest agriculturists find a
certain convenience in trade. Certain definite points would be
convenient for such local trade and intercourse as the people found
desirable, and here it is that there would arise the germ of a town. At
first it might be no more than an appointed meeting place, a market
square, but an inn and a blacksmith would inevitably follow, an altar,
perhaps, and, if these people had writing, even some sort of school. It
would have to be where water was found, and it would have to be
generally convenient of access to its attendant farmers.

Now, if this meeting place was more than a certain distance from any
particular farm, it would be inconvenient for that farmer to get himself
and his produce there and back, and to do his business in a comfortable
daylight. He would not be able to come and, instead, he would either
have to go to some other nearer centre to trade and gossip with his
neighbours or, failing this, not go at all. Evidently, then, there would
be a maximum distance between such places. This distance in England,
where traffic has been mainly horse traffic for many centuries, seems to
have worked out, according to the gradients and so forth, at from eight
to fifteen miles, and at such distances do we find the country towns,
while the horseless man, the serf, and the labourer and labouring wench
have marked their narrow limits in the distribution of the intervening
villages. If by chance these gathering places have arisen at points
much closer than this maximum, they have come into competition, and one
has finally got the better of the other, so that in England the
distribution is often singularly uniform. Agricultural districts have
their towns at about eight miles, and where grazing takes the place of
the plough, the town distances increase to fifteen.[14] And so it is,
entirely as a multiple of horse and foot strides, that all the villages
and towns of the world's country-side have been plotted out.[15]

A third, and almost final, factor determining town distribution in a
world without railways, would be the seaport and the navigable river.
Ports would grow into dimensions dependent on the population of the
conveniently accessible coasts (or river-banks), and on the quality and
quantity of their products, and near these ports, as the conveniences of
civilization increased, would appear handicraft towns--the largest
possible towns of a foot-and-horse civilization--with industries of such
a nature as the produce of their coasts required.

It was always in connection with a port or navigable river that the
greater towns of the pre-railway periods arose, a day's journey away
from the coast when sea attack was probable, and shifting to the coast
itself when that ceased to threaten. Such sea-trading handicraft towns
as Bruges, Venice, Corinth, or London were the largest towns of the
vanishing order of things. Very rarely, except in China, did they
clamber above a quarter of a million inhabitants, even though to some of
them there was presently added court and camp. In China, however, a
gigantic river and canal system, laced across plains of extraordinary
fertility, has permitted the growth of several city aggregates with
populations exceeding a million, and in the case of the Hankow trinity
of cities exceeding five million people.

In all these cases the position and the population limit was entirely
determined by the accessibility of the town and the area it could
dominate for the purposes of trade. And not only were the commercial or
natural towns so determined, but the political centres were also finally
chosen for strategic considerations, in a word--communications. And now,
perhaps, the real significance of the previous paper, in which sea
velocities of fifty miles an hour, and land travel at the rate of a
hundred, and even cab and omnibus journeys of thirty or forty miles,
were shown to be possible, becomes more apparent.

At the first sight it might appear as though the result of the new
developments was simply to increase the number of giant cities in the
world by rendering them possible in regions where they had hitherto been
impossible--concentrating the trade of vast areas in a manner that had
hitherto been entirely characteristic of navigable waters. It might seem
as though the state of affairs in China, in which population has been
concentrated about densely-congested "million-cities," with pauper
masses, public charities, and a crowded struggle for existence, for many
hundreds of years, was merely to be extended over the whole world. We
have heard so much of the "problem of our great cities"; we have the
impressive statistics of their growth; the belief in the inevitableness
of yet denser and more multitudinous agglomerations in the future is so
widely diffused, that at first sight it will be thought that no other
motive than a wish to startle can dictate the proposition that not only
will many of these railway-begotten "giant cities" reach their maximum
in the commencing century, but that in all probability they, and not
only they, but their water-born prototypes in the East also, are
destined to such a process of dissection and diffusion as to amount
almost to obliteration, so far, at least, as the blot on the map goes,
within a measurable further space of years.

In advancing this proposition, the present writer is disagreeably aware
that in this matter he has expressed views entirely opposed to those he
now propounds; and in setting forth the following body of
considerations he tells the story of his own disillusionment. At the
outset he took for granted--and, very naturally, he wishes to imagine
that a great number of other people do also take for granted--that the
future of London, for example, is largely to be got as the answer to a
sort of rule-of-three sum. If in one hundred years the population of
London has been multiplied by seven, then in two hundred years--! And
one proceeds to pack the answer in gigantic tenement houses, looming
upon colossal roofed streets, provide it with moving ways (the only
available transit appliances suited to such dense multitudes), and
develop its manners and morals in accordance with the laws that will
always prevail amidst over-crowded humanity so long as humanity endures.
The picture of this swarming concentrated humanity has some effective
possibilities, but, unhappily, if, instead of that obvious rule-of-three
sum, one resorts to an analysis of operating causes, its plausibility
crumbles away, and it gives place to an altogether different forecast--a
forecast, indeed, that is in almost violent contrast to the first
anticipation. It is much more probable that these coming cities will not
be, in the old sense, cities at all; they will present a new and
entirely different phase of human distribution.

The determining factor in the appearance of great cities in the past,
and, indeed, up to the present day, has been the meeting of two or more
transit lines, the confluence of two or more streams of trade, and easy
communication. The final limit to the size and importance of the great
city has been the commercial "sphere of influence" commanded by that
city, the capacity of the alluvial basin of its commerce, so to speak,
the volume of its river of trade. About the meeting point so determined
the population so determined has grouped itself--and this is the point I
overlooked in those previous vaticinations--in accordance with _laws
that are also considerations of transit_.

The economic centre of the city is formed, of course, by the wharves and
landing places--and in the case of railway-fed cities by the
termini--where passengers land and where goods are landed, stored, and
distributed. Both the administrative and business community, traders,
employers, clerks, and so forth, must be within a convenient access of
this centre; and the families, servants, tradesmen, amusement purveyors
dependent on these again must also come within a maximum distance. At a
certain stage in town growth the pressure on the more central area would
become too great for habitual family life there, and an office region
would differentiate from an outer region of homes. Beyond these two
zones, again, those whose connection with the great city was merely
intermittent would constitute a system of suburban houses and areas.
But the grouping of these, also, would be determined finally by the
convenience of access to the dominant centre. That secondary centres,
literary, social, political, or military, may arise about the initial
trade centre, complicates the application but does not alter the
principle here stated. They must all be within striking distance. The
day of twenty-four hours is an inexorable human condition, and up to the
present time all intercourse and business has been broken into spells of
definite duration by intervening nights. Moreover, almost all effective
intercourse has involved personal presence at the point where
intercourse occurs. The possibility, therefore, of going and coming and
doing that day's work has hitherto fixed the extreme limits to which a
city could grow, and has exacted a compactness which has always been
very undesirable and which is now for the first time in the world's
history no longer imperative.

So far as we can judge without a close and uncongenial scrutiny of
statistics, that daily journey, that has governed and still to a very
considerable extent governs the growth of cities, has had, and probably
always will have, a maximum limit of two hours, one hour each way from
sleeping place to council chamber, counter, workroom, or office stool.
And taking this assumption as sound, we can state precisely the maximum
area of various types of town. A pedestrian agglomeration such as we
find in China, and such as most of the European towns probably were
before the nineteenth century, would be swept entirely by a radius of
four miles about the business quarter and industrial centre; and, under
these circumstances, where the area of the feeding regions has been very
large the massing of human beings has probably reached its extreme
limit.[16] Of course, in the case of a navigable river, for example, the
commercial centre might be elongated into a line and the circle of the
city modified into an ellipse with a long diameter considerably
exceeding eight miles, as, for example, in the case of Hankow.

If, now, horseflesh is brought into the problem, an outer radius of six
or eight miles from the centre will define a larger area in which the
carriage folk, the hackney users, the omnibus customers, and their
domestics and domestic camp followers may live and still be members of
the city. Towards that limit London was already probably moving at the
accession of Queen Victoria, and it was clearly the absolute limit of
urban growth--until locomotive mechanisms capable of more than eight
miles an hour could be constructed.

And then there came suddenly the railway and the steamship, the former
opening with extraordinary abruptness a series of vast through-routes
for trade, the latter enormously increasing the security and economy of
the traffic on the old water routes. For a time neither of these
inventions was applied to the needs of intra-urban transit at all. For a
time they were purely centripetal forces. They worked simply to increase
the general volume of trade, to increase, that is, the pressure of
population upon the urban centres. As a consequence the social history
of the middle and later thirds of the nineteenth century, not simply in
England but all over the civilized world, is the history of a gigantic
rush of population into the magic radius of--for most people--four
miles, to suffer there physical and moral disaster less acute but,
finally, far more appalling to the imagination than any famine or
pestilence that ever swept the world. Well has Mr. George Gissing named
nineteenth-century London in one of his great novels the "Whirlpool,"
the very figure for the nineteenth-century Great City, attractive,
tumultuous, and spinning down to death.

But, indeed, these great cities are no permanent maëlstroms. These new
forces, at present still so potently centripetal in their influence,
bring with them, nevertheless, the distinct promise of a centrifugal
application that may be finally equal to the complete reduction of all
our present congestions. The limit of the pre-railway city was the limit
of man and horse. But already that limit has been exceeded, and each day
brings us nearer to the time when it will be thrust outward in every
direction with an effect of enormous relief.

So far the only additions to the foot and horse of the old dispensation
that have actually come into operation, are the suburban railways, which
render possible an average door to office hour's journey of ten or a
dozen miles--further only in the case of some specially favoured
localities. The star-shaped contour of the modern great city, thrusting
out arms along every available railway line, knotted arms of which every
knot marks a station, testify sufficiently to the relief of pressure
thus afforded. Great Towns before this century presented rounded
contours and grew as a puff-ball swells; the modern Great City looks
like something that has burst an intolerable envelope and splashed. But,
as our previous paper has sought to make clear, these suburban railways
are the mere first rough expedient of far more convenient and rapid

We are--as the Census Returns for 1901 quite clearly show--in the early
phase of a great development of centrifugal possibilities. And since it
has been shown that a city of pedestrians is inexorably limited by a
radius of about four miles, and that a horse-using city may grow out to
seven or eight, it follows that the available area of a city which can
offer a cheap suburban journey of thirty miles an hour is a circle with
a radius of thirty miles. And is it too much, therefore, in view of all
that has been adduced in this and the previous paper, to expect that
the available area for even the common daily toilers of the great city
of the year 2000, or earlier, will have a radius very much larger even
than that? Now, a circle with a radius of thirty miles gives an area of
over 2800 square miles, which is almost a quarter that of Belgium. But
thirty miles is only a very moderate estimate of speed, and the reader
of the former paper will agree, I think, that the available area for the
social equivalent of the favoured season-ticket holders of to-day will
have a radius of over one hundred miles, and be almost equal to the area
of Ireland.[17] The radius that will sweep the area available for such
as now live in the outer suburbs will include a still vaster area.
Indeed, it is not too much to say that the London citizen of the year
2000 A.D. may have a choice of nearly all England and Wales south of
Nottingham and east of Exeter as his suburb, and that the vast stretch
of country from Washington to Albany will be all of it "available" to
the active citizen of New York and Philadelphia before that date.

This does not for a moment imply that cities of the density of our
existing great cities will spread to these limits. Even if we were to
suppose the increase of the populations of the great cities to go on at
its present rate, this enormous extension of available area would still
mean a great possibility of diffusion. But though most great cities are
probably still very far from their maxima, though the network of feeding
railways has still to spread over Africa and China, and though huge
areas are still imperfectly productive for want of a cultivating
population, yet it is well to remember that for each great city, quite
irrespective of its available spaces, a maximum of population is fixed.
Each great city is sustained finally by the trade and production of a
certain proportion of the world's surface--by the area it commands
commercially. The great city cannot grow, except as a result of some
quite morbid and transitory process--to be cured at last by famine and
disorder--beyond the limit the commercial capacity of that commanded
area prescribes. Long before the population of this city, with its inner
circle a third of the area of Belgium, rose towards the old-fashioned
city density, this restriction would come in. Even if we allowed for
considerable increase in the production of food stuffs in the future, it
still remains inevitable that the increase of each city in the world
must come at last upon arrest.

Yet, though one may find reasons for anticipating that this city will in
the end overtake and surpass that one and such-like relative
prophesying, it is difficult to find any data from which to infer the
absolute numerical limits of these various diffused cities. Or perhaps
it is more seemly to admit that no such data have occurred to the
writer. So far as London, St. Petersburg, and Berlin go, it seems fairly
safe to assume that they will go well over twenty millions; and that New
York, Philadelphia, and Chicago will probably, and Hankow almost
certainly, reach forty millions. Yet even forty millions over thirty-one
thousand square miles of territory is, in comparison with four millions
over fifty square miles, a highly diffused population.

How far will that possible diffusion accomplish itself? Let us first of
all consider the case of those classes that will be free to exercise a
choice in the matter, and we shall then be in a better position to
consider those more numerous classes whose general circumstances are
practically dictated to them. What will be the forces acting upon the
prosperous household, the household with a working head and four hundred
a year and upwards to live upon, in the days to come? Will the resultant
of these forces be, as a rule, centripetal or centrifugal? Will such
householders in the greater London of 2000 A.D. still cluster for the
most part, as they do to-day, in a group of suburbs as close to London
as is compatible with a certain fashionable maximum of garden space and
air; or will they leave the ripened gardens and the no longer brilliant
villas of Surbiton and Norwood, Tooting and Beckenham, to other and less
independent people? First, let us weigh the centrifugal attractions.

The first of these is what is known as the passion for nature, that
passion for hillside, wind, and sea that is evident in so many people
nowadays, either frankly expressed or disguising itself as a passion for
golfing, fishing, hunting, yachting, or cycling; and, secondly, there is
the allied charm of cultivation, and especially of gardening, a charm
that is partly also the love of dominion, perhaps, and partly a personal
love for the beauty of trees and flowers and natural things. Through
that we come to a third factor, that craving--strongest, perhaps, in
those Low German peoples, who are now ascendant throughout the
world--for a little private _imperium_ such as a house or cottage "in
its own grounds" affords; and from that we pass on to the intense desire
so many women feel--and just the women, too, who will mother the
future--their almost instinctive demand, indeed, for a household, a
separate sacred and distinctive household, built and ordered after their
own hearts, such as in its fulness only the country-side permits. Add to
these things the healthfulness of the country for young children, and
the wholesome isolation that is possible from much that irritates,
stimulates prematurely, and corrupts in crowded centres, and the chief
positive centrifugal inducements are stated, inducements that no
progress of inventions, at any rate, can ever seriously weaken. What now
are the centripetal forces against which these inducements contend?

In the first place, there are a group of forces that will diminish in
strength. There is at present the greater convenience of "shopping"
within a short radius of the centre of the great city, a very important
consideration indeed to many wives and mothers. All the inner and many
of the outer suburbs of London obtain an enormous proportion of the
ordinary household goods from half a dozen huge furniture, grocery, and
drapery firms, each of which has been enabled by the dearness and
inefficiency of the parcels distribution of the post-office and railways
to elaborate a now very efficient private system of taking orders and
delivering goods. Collectively these great businesses have been able to
establish a sort of monopoly of suburban trade, to overwhelm the small
suburban general tradesman (a fate that was inevitable for him in some
way or other), and--which is a positive world-wide misfortune--to
overwhelm also many highly specialized shops and dealers of the central
district. Suburban people nowadays get their wine and their novels,
their clothes and their amusements, their furniture and their food, from
some one vast indiscriminate shop or "store" full of respectable
mediocre goods, as excellent a thing for housekeeping as it is
disastrous to taste and individuality.[18] But it is doubtful if the
delivery organization of these great stores is any more permanent than
the token coinage of the tradespeople of the last century. Just as it
was with that interesting development, so now it is with parcels
distribution: private enterprise supplies in a partial manner a public
need, and with the organization of a public parcels and goods delivery
on cheap and sane lines in the place of our present complex, stupid,
confusing, untrustworthy, and fantastically costly chaos of post-office,
railways, and carriers, it is quite conceivable that Messrs. Omnium will
give place again to specialized shops.

It must always be remembered how timid, tentative, and dear the postal
and telephone services of even the most civilized countries still are,
and how inexorably the needs of revenue, public profit, and convenience
fight in these departments against the tradition of official leisure and
dignity. There is no reason now, except that the thing is not yet
properly organized, why a telephone call from any point in such a small
country as England to any other should cost much more than a postcard.
There is no reason now, save railway rivalries and retail
ideas--obstacles some able and active man is certain to sweep away
sooner or later--why the post-office should not deliver parcels anywhere
within a radius of a hundred miles in a few hours at a penny or less for
a pound and a little over,[19] put our newspapers in our letter-boxes
direct from the printing-office, and, in fact, hand in nearly every
constant need of the civilized household, except possibly butcher's
meat, coals, green-grocery, and drink. And since there is no reason, but
quite removable obstacles, to prevent this development of the
post-office, I imagine it will be doing all these things within the next
half-century. When it is, this particular centripetal pull, at any rate,
will have altogether ceased to operate.

A second important centripetal consideration at present is the
desirability of access to good schools and to the doctor. To leave the
great centres is either to abandon one's children, or to buy air for
them at the cost of educational disadvantages. But access, be it noted,
is another word for transit. It is doubtful if these two needs will so
much keep people close to the great city centres as draw them together
about secondary centres. New centres they may be--compare Hindhead, for
example--in many cases; but also, it may be, in many cases the more
healthy and picturesque of the existing small towns will develop a new
life. Already, in the case of the London area, such once practically
autonomous places as Guildford, Tunbridge Wells, and Godalming have
become economically the centres of lax suburbs, and the same fate may
very probably overtake, for example, Shrewsbury, Stratford, and Exeter,
and remoter and yet remoter townships. Indeed, for all that this
particular centripetal force can do, the confluent "residential suburbs"
of London, of the great Lancashire-Yorkshire city, and of the Scotch
city, may quite conceivably replace the summer lodging-house
watering-places of to-day, and extend themselves right round the coast
of Great Britain, before the end of the next century, and every open
space of mountain and heather be dotted--not too thickly--with clumps of
prosperous houses about school, doctor, engineers, book and provision

A third centripetal force will not be set aside so easily. The direct
antagonist it is to that love of nature that drives people out to moor
and mountain. One may call it the love of the crowd; and closely allied
to it is that love of the theatre which holds so many people in bondage
to the Strand. Charles Lamb was the Richard Jefferies of this group of
tendencies, and the current disposition to exaggerate the opposition
force, especially among English-speaking peoples, should not bind us to
the reality of their strength. Moreover, interweaving with these
influences that draw people together are other more egotistical and
intenser motives, ardent in youth and by no means--to judge by the
Folkestone Leas--extinct in age, the love of dress, the love of the
crush, the hot passion for the promenade. Here, no doubt, what one may
speak of loosely as "racial" characteristics count for much. The common
actor and actress of all nationalities, the Neapolitan, the modern
Roman, the Parisian, the Hindoo, I am told, and that new and interesting
type, the rich and liberated Jew emerging from his Ghetto and free now
absolutely to show what stuff he is made of, flame out most gloriously
in this direction. To a certain extent this group of tendencies may lead
to the formation of new secondary centres within the "available" area,
theatrical and musical centres--centres of extreme Fashion and
Selectness, centres of smartness and opulent display--but it is probable
that for the large number of people throughout the world who cannot
afford to maintain households in duplicate these will be for many years
yet strictly centripetal forces, and will keep them within the radius
marked by whatever will be the future equivalent in length of, say, the
present two-shilling cab ride in London.

And, after all, for all such "shopping" as one cannot do by telephone or
postcard, it will still be natural for the shops to be gathered together
in some central place. And "shopping" needs refreshment, and may
culminate in relaxation. So that Bond Street and Regent Street, the
Boulevard des Capuchins, the Corso, and Broadway will still be brilliant
and crowded for many years for all the diffusion that is here
forecast--all the more brilliant and crowded, perhaps, for the lack of a
thronging horse traffic down their central ways. But the very fact that
the old nucleus is still to be the best place for all who trade in a
concourse of people, for novelty shops and art shops, and theatres and
business buildings, by keeping up the central ground values will operate
against residence there and shift the "masses" outwardly.

And once people have been driven into cab, train, or omnibus, the only
reason why they should get out to a residence here rather than there is
the necessity of saving time, and such a violent upward gradient of
fares as will quite outbalance the downward gradient of ground values.
We have, however, already forecast a swift, varied, and inevitably
competitive suburban traffic. And so, though the centre will probably
still remain the centre and "Town," it will be essentially a bazaar, a
great gallery of shops and places of concourse and rendezvous, a
pedestrian place, its pathways reinforced by lifts and moving platforms,
and shielded from the weather, and altogether a very spacious,
brilliant, and entertaining agglomeration.

Enough now has been said to determine the general nature of the
expansion of the great cities in the future, so far as the more
prosperous classes are concerned. It will not be a regular diffusion
like the diffusion of a gas, but a process of throwing out the "homes,"
and of segregating various types of people. The omens seem to point
pretty unmistakably to a wide and quite unprecedented diversity in the
various suburban townships and suburban districts. Of that aspect of
the matter a later paper must treat. It is evident that from the outset
racial and national characteristics will tell in this diffusion. We are
getting near the end of the great Democratic, Wholesale, or Homogeneous
phase in the world's history. The sport-loving Englishman, the sociable
Frenchman, the vehement American will each diffuse his own great city in
his own way.

And now, how will the increase in the facilities of communication we
have assumed affect the condition of those whose circumstances are more
largely dictated by economic forces? The mere diffusion of a large
proportion of the prosperous and relatively free, and the multiplication
of various types of road and mechanical traction, means, of course, that
in this way alone a perceptible diffusion of the less independent
classes will occur. To the subsidiary centres will be drawn doctor and
schoolmaster, and various dealers in fresh provisions, baker, grocer,
butcher; or if they are already established there they will flourish
more and more, and about them the convenient home of the future, with
its numerous electrical and mechanical appliances, and the various
bicycles, motor-cars, photographic and phonographic apparatus that will
be included in its equipment will gather a population of repairers,
"accessory" dealers and working engineers, a growing class which from
its necessary intelligence and numbers will play a very conspicuous part
in the social development of the twentieth century. The much more
elaborate post-office and telephone services will also bring intelligent
ingredients to these suburban nuclei, these restorations of the old
villages and country towns. And the sons of the cottager within the
affected area will develop into the skilled vegetable or flower
gardeners, the skilled ostler--with some veterinary science--and so
forth, for whom also there will evidently be work and a living. And
dotted at every convenient position along the new roads, availing
themselves no doubt whenever possible of the picturesque inns that the
old coaching days have left us, will be wayside restaurants and tea
houses, and motor and cycle stores and repair places. So much diffusion
is practically inevitable.

In addition, as we have already intimated, many Londoners in the future
may abandon the city office altogether, preferring to do their business
in more agreeable surroundings. Such a business as book publishing, for
example, has no unbreakable bonds to keep it in the region of high rent
and congested streets. The days when the financial fortunes of books
depended upon the colloquial support of influential people in a small
Society are past; neither publishers nor authors as a class have any
relation to Society at all, and actual access to newspaper offices is
necessary only to the ranker forms of literary imposture. That personal
intercourse between publishers and the miscellaneous race of authors
which once justified the central position has, I am told, long since
ceased. And the withdrawing publishers may very well take with them the
printers and binders, and attract about them their illustrators and
designers.... So, as a typical instance, one--now urban--trade may
detach itself.

Publishing is, however, only one of the many similar trades equally
profitable and equally likely to move outward to secondary centres, with
the development and cheapening of transit. It is all a question of
transit. Limitation of transit contracts the city, facilitation expands
and disperses it. All this case for diffusion so far is built up
entirely on the hypothesis we attempted to establish in the first paper,
that transit of persons and goods alike is to become easier, swifter,
and altogether better organized than it is at present.

The telephone will almost certainly prove a very potent auxiliary indeed
to the forces making for diffusion. At present that convenience is still
needlessly expensive in Great Britain, and a scandalously stupid
business conflict between telephone company and post-office delays,
complicates, and makes costly and exasperating all trunk communications;
but even under these disadvantages the thing is becoming a factor in the
life of ordinary villadom. Consider all that lies within its
possibilities. Take first the domestic and social side; almost all the
labour of ordinary shopping can be avoided--goods nowadays can be
ordered and sent either as sold outright, or on approval, to any place
within a hundred miles of London, and in one day they can be examined,
discussed, and returned--at any rate, in theory. The mistress of the
house has all her local tradesmen, all the great London shops, the
circulating library, the theatre box-office, the post-office and
cab-rank, the nurses' institute and the doctor, within reach of her
hand. The instrument we may confidently expect to improve, but even now
speech is perfectly clear and distinct over several hundred miles of
wire. Appointments and invitations can be made; and at a cost varying
from a penny to two shillings any one within two hundred miles of home
may speak day or night into the ear of his or her household. Were it not
for that unmitigated public nuisance, the practical control of our
post-office by non-dismissable Civil servants, appointed so young as to
be entirely ignorant of the unofficial world, it would be possible now
to send urgent messages at any hour of the day or night to any part of
the world; and even our sacred institution of the Civil Service can
scarcely prevent this desirable consummation for many years more. The
business man may then sit at home in his library and bargain, discuss,
promise, hint, threaten, tell such lies as he dare not write, and, in
fact, do everything that once demanded a personal encounter. Already for
a great number of businesses it is no longer necessary that the office
should be in London, and only habit, tradition, and minor considerations
keep it there. With the steady cheapening and the steady increase in
efficiency of postal and telephonic facilities, and of goods transit, it
seems only reasonable to anticipate the need for that expensive office
and the irksome daily journey will steadily decline. In other words,
what will still be economically the "city," as distinguished from the
"agricultural" population, will probably be free to extend, in the case
of all the prosperous classes not tied to large establishments in need
of personal supervision, far beyond the extreme limits of the daily hour

But the diffusion of the prosperous, independent, and managing classes
involves in itself a very considerable diffusion of the purely "working"
classes also. Their centres of occupation will be distributed, and their
freedom to live at some little distance from their work will be
increased. Whether this will mean dotting the country with dull, ugly
little streets, slum villages like Buckfastleigh in Devon, for example,
or whether it may result in entirely different and novel aspects, is a
point for which at present we are not ready. But it bears upon the
question that ugliness and squalor upon the main road will appeal to the
more prosperous for remedy with far more vigour than when they are
stowed compactly in a slum.

Enough has been said to demonstrate that old "town" and "city" will be,
in truth, terms as obsolete as "mail coach." For these new areas that
will grow out of them we want a term, and the administrative "urban
district" presents itself with a convenient air of suggestion. We may
for our present purposes call these coming town provinces "urban
regions." Practically, by a process of confluence, the whole of Great
Britain south of the Highlands seems destined to become such an urban
region, laced all together not only by railway and telegraph, but by
novel roads such as we forecast in the former chapter, and by a dense
network of telephones, parcels delivery tubes, and the like nervous and
arterial connections.

It will certainly be a curious and varied region, far less monotonous
than our present English world, still in its thinner regions, at any
rate, wooded, perhaps rather more abundantly wooded, breaking
continually into park and garden, and with everywhere a scattering of
houses. These will not, as a rule, I should fancy, follow the fashion of
the vulgar ready-built villas of the existing suburb, because the
freedom people will be able to exercise in the choice of a site will rob
the "building estate" promoter of his local advantage; in many cases the
houses may very probably be personal homes, built for themselves as much
as the Tudor manor-houses were, and even, in some cases, as æsthetically
right. Each district, I am inclined to think, will develop its own
differences of type and style. As one travels through the urban region,
one will traverse open, breezy, "horsey" suburbs, smart white gates and
palings everywhere, good turf, a Grand Stand shining pleasantly;
gardening districts all set with gables and roses, holly hedges, and
emerald lawns; pleasant homes among heathery moorlands and golf links,
and river districts with gaily painted boat-houses peeping from the
osiers. Then presently a gathering of houses closer together, and a
promenade and a whiff of band and dresses, and then, perhaps, a little
island of agriculture, hops, or strawberry gardens, fields of
grey-plumed artichokes, white-painted orchard, or brightly neat poultry
farm. Through the varied country the new wide roads will run, here
cutting through a crest and there running like some colossal aqueduct
across a valley, swarming always with a multitudinous traffic of bright,
swift (and not necessarily ugly) mechanisms; and everywhere amidst the
fields and trees linking wires will stretch from pole to pole. Ever and
again there will appear a cluster of cottages--cottages into which we
shall presently look more closely--about some works or workings, works,
it may be, with the smoky chimney of to-day replaced by a gaily painted
windwheel or waterwheel to gather and store the force for the machinery;
and ever and again will come a little town, with its cherished ancient
church or cathedral, its school buildings and museums, its
railway-station, perhaps its fire-station, its inns and restaurants, and
with all the wires of the countryside converging to its offices. All
that is pleasant and fair of our present countryside may conceivably
still be there among the other things. There is no reason why the
essential charm of the country should disappear; the new roads will not
supersede the present high roads, which will still be necessary for
horses and subsidiary traffic; and the lanes and hedges, the field paths
and wild flowers, will still have their ample justification. A certain
lack of solitude there may be perhaps, and--

Will conspicuous advertisements play any part in the landscape?...

But I find my pen is running ahead, an imagination prone to realistic
constructions is struggling to paint a picture altogether prematurely.
There is very much to be weighed and decided before we can get from our
present generalization to the style of architecture these houses will
show, and to the power and nature of the public taste. We have laid down
now the broad lines of road, railway, and sea transit in the coming
century, and we have got this general prophecy of "urban regions"
established, and for the present that much must suffice.

And as for the world beyond our urban regions? The same line of
reasoning that leads to the expectation that the city will diffuse
itself until it has taken up considerable areas and many of the
characteristics, the greenness, the fresh air, of what is now country,
leads us to suppose also that the country will take to itself many of
the qualities of the city. The old antithesis will indeed cease, the
boundary lines will altogether disappear; it will become, indeed, merely
a question of more or less populous. There will be horticulture and
agriculture going on within the "urban regions," and "urbanity" without
them. Everywhere, indeed, over the land of the globe between the frozen
circles, the railway and the new roads will spread, the net-work of
communication wires and safe and convenient ways. To receive the daily
paper a few hours late, to wait a day or so for goods one has ordered,
will be the extreme measure of rusticity save in a few remote islands
and inaccessible places. The character of the meshes in that wider
network of roads that will be the country, as distinguished from the
urban district, will vary with the soil, the climate and the tenure of
the land--will vary, too, with the racial and national differences. But
throughout all that follows, this mere relativity of the new sort of
town to the new sort of country over which the new sorts of people we
are immediately to consider will be scattered, must be borne in mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

[At the risk of insistence, I must repeat that, so far, I have been
studiously taking no account of the fact that there is such a thing as a
boundary line or a foreigner in the world. It will be far the best thing
to continue to do this until we can get out all that will probably
happen universally or generally, and in particular the probable changes
in social forces, social apparatus and internal political methods. We
shall then come to the discussion of language, nationality and
international conflicts, equipped with such an array of probabilities
and possibilities as will enable us to guess at these special issues
with an appearance of far more precision than would be the case if we
considered them now.]


[13] It is true that many scholars estimate a high-water mark for the
Roman population in excess of two millions; and one daring authority, by
throwing out suburbs _ad libitum_ into the Campagna, suburbs of which no
trace remains, has raised the two to ten. The Colosseum could, no doubt,
seat over 80,000 spectators; the circuit of the bench frontage of the
Circus Maximus was very nearly a mile in length, and the Romans of
Imperial times certainly used ten times as much water as the modern
Romans. But, on the other hand, habits change, and Rome as it is defined
by lines drawn at the times of its greatest ascendancy--the city, that
is, enclosed by the walls of Aurelian and including all the regiones of
Augustus, an enclosure from which there could have been no reason for
excluding half or more of its population--could have scarcely contained
a million. It would have packed very comfortably within the circle of
the Grands Boulevards of Paris--the Paris, that is, of Louis XIV., with
a population of 560,000; and the Rome of to-day, were the houses that
spread so densely over the once vacant Campus Martius distributed in the
now deserted spaces in the south and east, and the Vatican suburb
replaced within the ancient walls, would quite fill the ancient limits,
in spite of the fact that the population is under 500,000. But these are
incidental doubts on a very authoritative opinion, and, whatever their
value, they do not greatly affect the significance of these new great
cities, which have arisen all over the world, as if by the operation of
a natural law, as the railways have developed.

[14] It will be plain that such towns must have clearly defined limits
of population, _dependant finally on the minimum yearly produce of the
district they control_. If ever they rise above that limit the natural
checks of famine, and of pestilence following enfeeblement, will come
into operation, and they will always be kept near this limit by the
natural tendency of humanity to increase. The limit would rise with
increasing public intelligence, and the organization of the towns would
become more definite.

[15] I owe the fertilizing suggestion of this general principle to a
paper by Grant Allen that I read long ago in _Longman's Magazine_.

[16] It is worth remarking that in 1801 the density of population in the
City of London was half as dense again as that of any district, even of
the densest "slum" districts, to-day.

[17] Be it noted that the phrase "available area" is used, and various
other modifying considerations altogether waived for the present.

[18] Their temporary suppression of the specialist is indeed carried to
such an extent that one may see even such things as bronze ornaments and
personal jewellery listed in Messrs. Omnium's list, and stored in list
designs and pattern; and their assistants will inform you that their
brooch, No. 175, is now "very much worn," without either blush or smile.

[19] The present system of charging parcels by the pound, when goods are
sold by the pound, and so getting a miserly profit in the packing, is
surely one of the absurdest disregards of the obvious it is possible to



The mere differences in thickness of population and facility of movement
that have been discussed thus far, will involve consequences remarkable
enough, upon the _facies_ of the social body; but there are certain
still broader features of the social order of the coming time, less
intimately related to transit, that it will be convenient to discuss at
this stage. They are essentially outcomes of the enormous development of
mechanism which has been the cardinal feature of the nineteenth century;
for this development, by altering the method and proportions of almost
all human undertakings,[20] has altered absolutely the grouping and
character of the groups of human beings engaged upon them.

Throughout the world for forty centuries the more highly developed
societies have always presented under a considerable variety of
superficial differences certain features in common. Always at the base
of the edifice, supporting all, subordinate to all, and the most
necessary of all, there has been the working cultivator, peasant, serf,
or slave. Save for a little water-power, a little use of windmills, the
traction of a horse or mule, this class has been the source of all the
work upon which the community depends. And, moreover, whatever labour
town developments have demanded has been supplied by the muscle of its
fecund ranks. It has been, in fact--and to some extent still is--the
multitudinous living machinery of the old social order; it carried,
cropped, tilled, built, and made. And, directing and sometimes owning
this human machinery, there has always been a superior class, bound
usually by a point of honour not to toil, often warlike, often
equestrian, and sometimes cultivated. In England this is the gentility,
in most European countries it is organized as a nobility; it is
represented in the history of India by the "twice born" castes, and in
China--the most philosophically conceived and the most stably organized
social system the old order ever developed--it finds its equivalent in
the members of a variously buttoned mandarinate, who ride, not on
horses, but on a once adequate and still respectable erudition. These
two primary classes may and do become in many cases complicated by
subdivisions; the peasant class may split into farmers and labourers,
the gentlemen admit a series of grades and orders, kings, dukes, earls,
and the like, but the broad distinction remains intact, as though it
was a distinction residing in the nature of things.[21]

From the very dawn of history until the first beginnings of mechanism in
the eighteenth century, this simple scheme of orders was the universal
organization of all but savage humanity, and the chief substance of
history until these later years has been in essence the perpetual
endeavour of specific social systems of this type to attain in every
region the locally suitable permanent form, in face of those two
inveterate enemies of human stability, innovation, and that secular
increase in population that security permits. The imperfection of the
means of communication rendered political unions of a greater area than
that swept by a hundred-mile radius highly unstable. It was a world of
small states. Lax empires came and went, at the utmost they were the
linking of practically autonomous states under a common _Pax_. Wars were
usually wars between kingdoms, conflicts of this local experiment in
social organization with that. Through all the historical period these
two well-defined classes of gentle and simple acted and reacted upon
each other, every individual in each class driven by that same will to
live and do, that imperative of self-establishment and aggression that
is the spirit of this world. Until the coming of gunpowder, the man on
horseback--commonly with some sort of armour--was invincible in battle
in the open. Wherever the land lay wide and unbroken, and the great
lines of trade did not fall, there the horseman was master--or the
clerkly man behind the horseman. Such a land was aristocratic and tended
to form castes. The craftsman sheltered under a patron, and in guilds in
a walled town, and the labourer was a serf. He was ruled over by his
knight or by his creditor--in the end it matters little how the
gentleman began. But where the land became difficult by reason of
mountain or forest, or where water greatly intersected it, the pikeman
or closer-fighting swordsman or the bowman could hold his own, and a
democratic flavour, a touch of repudiation, was in the air. In such
countries as Italy, Greece, the Alps, the Netherlands, and Great
Britain, the two forces of the old order, the aristocrat and the common
man, were in a state of unstable equilibrium through the whole period of
history. A slight change[22] in the details of the conflict for
existence could tilt the balance. A weapon a little better adapted to
one class than the other, or a slight widening of the educational gap,
worked out into historically imposing results, to dynastic changes,
class revolutions and the passing of empires.

Throughout it was essentially one phase of human organization. When one
comes to examine the final result, it is astonishing to remark the small
amount of essential change, of positively final and irreparable
alteration, in the conditions of the common life. Consider, for example,
how entirely in sympathy was the close of the eighteenth century with
the epoch of Horace, and how closely equivalent were the various social
aspects of the two periods. The literature of Rome was living reading in
a sense that has suddenly passed away, it fitted all occasions, it
conflicted with no essential facts in life. It was a commonplace of the
thought of that time that all things recurred, all things circled back
to their former seasons; there was nothing new under the sun. But now
almost suddenly the circling has ceased, and we find ourselves breaking
away. Correlated with the sudden development of mechanical forces that
first began to be socially perceptible in the middle eighteenth century,
has been the appearance of great masses of population, having quite
novel functions and relations in the social body, and together with this
appearance such a suppression, curtailment, and modification of the
older classes, as to point to an entire disintegration of that system.
The _facies_ of the social fabric has changed, and--as I hope to make
clear--is still changing in a direction from which, without a total
destruction and rebirth of that fabric, there can never be any return.

The most striking of the new classes to emerge is certainly the
shareholding class, the owners of a sort of property new in the world's

Before the eighteenth century the only property of serious importance
consisted of land and buildings. These were "real" estate. Beyond these
things were live-stock, serfs, and the furnishings of real estate, the
surface aspect of real estate, so to speak, personal property, ships,
weapons, and the Semitic invention of money. All such property had to be
actually "held" and administered by the owner, he was immediately in
connection with it and responsible for it. He could leave it only
precariously to a steward and manager, and to convey the revenue of it
to him at a distance was a difficult and costly proceeding. To prevent a
constant social disturbance by lapsing and dividing property, and in the
absence of any organized agency to receive lapsed property, inheritance
and preferably primogeniture were of such manifest advantage that the
old social organization always tended in the direction of these
institutions. Such usury as was practised relied entirely on the land
and the anticipated agricultural produce of the land.

But the usury and the sleeping partnerships of the Joint Stock Company
system which took shape in the eighteenth and the earlier half of the
nineteenth century opened quite unprecedented uses for money, and
created a practically new sort of property and a new proprietor class.
The peculiar novelty of this property is easily defined. Given a
sufficient sentiment of public honesty, share property is property that
can be owned at any distance and that yields its revenue without thought
or care on the part of its proprietor; it is, indeed, absolutely
irresponsible property, a thing that no old world property ever was.
But, in spite of its widely different nature, the laws of inheritance
that the social necessities of the old order of things established have
been applied to this new species of possession without remark. It is
indestructible, imperishable wealth, subject only to the mutations of
value that economic changes bring about. Related in its character of
absolute irresponsibility to this shareholding class is a kindred class
that has grown with the growth of the great towns, the people who live
upon ground rents. There is every indication that this element of
irresponsible, independent, and wealthy people in the social body,
people who feel the urgency of no exertion, the pressure of no specific
positive duties, is still on the increase, and may still for a long time
increasingly preponderate. It overshadows the responsible owner of real
property or of real businesses altogether. And most of the old
aristocrats, the old knightly and landholding people, have, so to speak,
converted themselves into members of this new class.

It is a class with scarcely any specific characteristics beyond its
defining one, of the possession of property and all the potentialities
property entails, with a total lack of function with regard to that
property. It is not even collected into a distinct mass. It graduates
insensibly into every other class, it permeates society as threads and
veins of gold permeate quartz. It includes the millionaire snob, the
political-minded plutocrat, the wealthy sensualist, open-handed
religious fanatics, the "Charitable," the smart, the magnificently dull,
the great army of timid creatures who tremble through life on a safe
bare sufficiency,[23] travellers, hunters, minor poets, sporting
enthusiasts, many of the officers in the British Army, and all sorts and
conditions of amateurs. In a sense it includes several modern royalties,
for the crown in several modern constitutional states is a _corporation
sole_, and the monarch the unique, unlimited, and so far as necessity
goes, quite functionless shareholder. He may be a heavy-eyed sensualist,
a small-minded leader of fashion, a rival to his servants in the gay
science of etiquette, a frequenter of race-courses and music-halls, a
literary or scientific quack, a devotee, an amateur anything--the point
is that his income and sustenance have no relation whatever to his
activities. If he fancies it, or is urged to it by those who have
influence over him, he may even "be a king!" But that is not compulsory,
not essential, and there are practically no conditional restrictions
whatever laid upon him.

Those who belong to this shareholding class only partially, who
partially depend upon dividends and partially upon activities, occur in
every rank and order of the whole social body. The waiter one tips
probably has a hundred or so in some remote company, the will of the
eminent labour reformer reveals an admirably distributed series of
investments, the bishop sells tea and digs coal, or at any rate gets a
profit from some unknown persons tea-selling or coal-digging, to eke out
the direct recompense of his own modest corn-treading. Indeed, above the
labouring class, the number of individuals in the social body whose
gross income is entirely the result of their social activities is very
small. Previously in the world's history, saving a few quite exceptional
aspects, the possession and retention of property was conditional upon
activities of some sort, honest or dishonest, work, force, or fraud. But
the shareholding ingredient of our new society, so far as its
shareholding goes, has no need of strength or wisdom; the countless
untraceable Owner of the modern world presents in a multitudinous form
the image of a Merovingian king. The shareholder owns the world _de
jure_, by the common recognition of the rights of property; and the
incumbency of knowledge, management, and toil fall entirely to others.
He toils not, neither does he spin; he is mechanically released from the
penalty of the Fall, he reaps in a still sinful world all the practical
benefits of a millennium--without any of its moral limitations.

It will be well to glance at certain considerations which point to the
by no means self-evident proposition, that this factor of irresponsible
property is certain to be present in the social body a hundred years
ahead. It has, no doubt, occurred to the reader that all the conditions
of the shareholder's being unfit him for co-operative action in defence
of the interests of his class. Since shareholders do nothing in common,
except receive and hope for dividends, since they may be of any class,
any culture, any disposition, or any level of capacity, since there is
nothing to make them read the same papers, gather in the same places, or
feel any sort of sympathy with each other beyond the universal sympathy
of man for man, they will, one may anticipate, be incapable of any
concerted action to defend the income they draw from society against any
resolute attack. Such crude and obvious denials of the essential
principles of their existence as the various Socialistic bodies have
proclaimed have, no doubt, encountered a vast, unorganized, negative
opposition from them, but the subtle and varied attack of natural forces
they have neither the collective intelligence to recognize, nor the
natural organization to resist. The shareholding body is altogether too
chaotic and diffused for positive defence. And the question of the
prolonged existence of this comparatively new social phenomenon, either
in its present or some modified form, turns, therefore, entirely on the
quasi-natural laws of the social body. If they favour it, it will
survive; when they do not, it will vanish as the mists of the morning
before the sun.

Neglecting a few exceptional older corporations which, indeed, in their
essence are not usurious, but of unlimited liability, the shareholding
body appeared first, in its present character, in the seventeenth
century, and came to its full development in the mid-nineteenth. Was its
appearance then due only to the attainment of a certain necessary degree
of public credit, or was it correlated with any other force? It seems in
accordance with facts to relate it to another force, the development of
mechanism, so far as certain representative aspects go. Hitherto the
only borrower had been the farmer, then the exploring trader had found a
world too wide for purely individual effort, and then suddenly the
craftsmen of all sorts and the carriers discovered the need of the new,
great, wholesale, initially expensive appliances that invention was
offering them. It was the development of mechanism that created the
great bulk of modern shareholding, it took its present shape
distinctively only with the appearance of the railways. The hitherto
necessary but subordinate craftsman and merchant classes were to have
new weapons, new powers, they were to develop to a new importance, to a
preponderance even in the social body. But before they could attain
these weapons, before this new and novel wealth could be set up, it had
to pay its footing in an apportioned world, it had to buy its right to
disturb the established social order. The dividend of the shareholder
was the tribute the new enterprise had to pay the old wealth. The share
was the manumission money of machinery. And essentially the shareholder
represents and will continue to represent the responsible managing owner
of a former state of affairs in process of supersession.

If the great material developments of the nineteenth century had been
final, if they had, indeed, constituted merely a revolution and not an
absolute release from the fixed conditions about which human affairs
circled, we might even now be settling accounts with our Merovingians as
the socialists desire. But these developments were not final, and one
sees no hint as yet of any coming finality. Invention runs free and our
state is under its dominion. The novel is continually struggling to
establish itself at the relative or absolute expense of the old. The
statesman's conception of social organization is no longer stability but
growth. And so long as material progress continues, this tribute must
continue to be paid; so long as the stream of development flows, this
necessary back eddy will endure. Even if we "municipalize" all sorts of
undertakings we shall not alter the essential facts, we shall only
substitute for the shareholder the corporation stockholder. The figure
of an eddy is particularly appropriate. Enterprises will come and go,
the relative values of kinds of wealth will alter, old appliances, old
companies, will serve their time and fall in value, individuals will
waste their substance, individual families and groups will die out,
certain portions of the share property of the world may be gathered, by
elaborate manipulation, into a more or less limited number of hands,
conceivably even families and groups will be taxed out by graduated
legacy duties and specially apportioned income taxes, but, for all such
possible changes and modifications, the shareholding element will still
endure, so long as our present progressive and experimental state of
society obtains. And the very diversity, laxity, and weakness of the
general shareholding element, which will work to prevent its organizing
itself in the interests of its property, or of evolving any distinctive
traditions or positive characters, will obviously prevent its
obstructing the continual appearance of new enterprises, of new
shareholders to replace the loss of its older constituents....

At the opposite pole of the social scale to that about which
shareholding is most apparent, is a second necessary and quite
inevitable consequence of the sudden transition that has occurred from a
very nearly static social organization to a violently progressive one.
This second consequence of progress is the appearance of a great number
of people without either property or any evident function in the social
organism. This new ingredient is most apparent in the towns, it is
frequently spoken of as the Urban Poor, but its characteristic traits
are to be found also in the rural districts. For the most part its
individuals are either criminal, immoral, parasitic in more or less
irregular ways upon the more successful classes, or labouring, at
something less than a regular bare subsistence wage, in a finally
hopeless competition against machinery that is as yet not so cheap as
their toil. It is, to borrow a popular phrase, the "submerged" portion
of the social body, a leaderless, aimless multitude, a multitude of
people drifting down towards the abyss. Essentially it consists of
people who have failed to "catch on" to the altered necessities the
development of mechanism has brought about, they are people thrown out
of employment by machinery, thrown out of employment by the escape of
industries along some newly opened line of communication to some remote
part of the world, or born under circumstances that give them no
opportunity of entering the world of active work. Into this welter of
machine-superseded toil there topples the non-adaptable residue of every
changing trade; its members marry and are given in marriage, and it is
recruited by the spendthrifts, weaklings, and failures of every superior

Since this class was not apparent in masses in the relatively static,
relatively less eliminatory, society of former times, its appearance has
given rise to a belief that the least desirable section of the community
has become unprecedentedly prolific, that there is now going on a "Rapid
Multiplication of the Unfit." But sooner or later, as every East End
doctor knows, the ways of the social abyss lead to death, the premature
death of the individual, or death through the death or infertility of
the individual's stunted offspring, or death through that extinction
which moral perversion involves. It is a recruited class, not a breeding
multitude. Whatever expedients may be resorted to, to mitigate or
conceal the essential nature of this social element, it remains in its
essence wherever social progress is being made, the contingent of death.
Humanity has set out in the direction of a more complex and exacting
organization, and until, by a foresight to me at least inconceivable, it
can prevent the birth of just all the inadaptable, useless, or merely
unnecessary creatures in each generation, there must needs continue to
be, in greater or less amount, this individually futile struggle beneath
the feet of the race; somewhere and in some form there must still
persist those essentials that now take shape as the slum, the prison,
and the asylum. All over the world, as the railway network has spread,
in Chicago and New York as vividly as in London or Paris, the
commencement of the new movement has been marked at once by the
appearance of this bulky irremovable excretion, the appearance of these
gall stones of vicious, helpless, and pauper masses. There seems every
reason to suppose that this phenomenon of unemployed citizens, who are,
in fact, unemployable, will remain present as a class, perishing
individually and individually renewed, so long as civilization remains
progressive and experimental upon its present lines. Their drowning
existences may be utilized, the crude hardship of their lot may be
concealed or mitigated,[24] they may react upon the social fabric that
is attempting to eliminate them, in very astounding ways, but their
presence and their individual doom, it seems to me, will be
unavoidable--at any rate, for many generations of men. They are an
integral part of this physiological process of mechanical progress, as
inevitable in the social body as are waste matters and disintegrating
cells in the body of an active and healthy man.

The appearance of these two strange functionless elements, although the
most striking symptom of the new phase of progressive mechanical
civilization now beginning, is by no means the most essential change in
progress. These appearances involve also certain disappearances. I have
already indicated pretty clearly that the vast irregular development of
irresponsible wealthy people is swallowing up and assimilating more and
more the old class of administrative land-owning gentlemen in all their
grades and degrees. The old upper class, as a functional member of the
State, is being effaced. And I have also suggested that the old lower
class, the broad necessary base of the social pyramid, the uneducated
inadaptable peasants and labourers, is, with the development of
toil-saving machinery, dwindling and crumbling down bit by bit towards
the abyss. But side by side with these two processes is a third process
of still profounder significance, and that is the reconstruction and the
vast proliferation of what constituted the middle class of the old
order. It is now, indeed, no longer a middle class at all. Rather all
the definite classes in the old scheme of functional precedence have
melted and mingled,[25] and in the molten mass there has appeared a vast
intricate confusion of different sorts of people, some sailing about
upon floating masses of irresponsible property, some buoyed by smaller
fragments, some clinging desperately enough to insignificant atoms, a
great and varied multitude swimming successfully without aid, or with an
amount of aid that is negligible in relation to their own efforts, and
an equally varied multitude of less capable ones clinging to the
swimmers, clinging to the floating rich, or clutching empty-handed and
thrust and sinking down. This is the typical aspect of the modern
community. It will serve as a general description of either the United
States or any western European State, and the day is not far distant
when the extension of means of communication, and of the shareholding
method of conducting affairs, will make it applicable to the whole
world. Save, possibly, in a few islands and inaccessible places and
regardless of colour or creed, this process of deliquescence seems
destined to spread. In a great diversity of tongues, in the phases of a
number of conflicting moral and theological traditions, in the varying
tones of contrasting racial temperaments, the grandchildren of black and
white, and red and brown, will be seeking more or less consciously to
express themselves in relation to these new and unusual social
conditions. But the change itself is no longer amenable to their
interpretations, the world-wide spreading of swift communication, the
obliteration of town and country, the deliquescence of the local social
order, have an air of being processes as uncontrollable by such
collective intelligence as men can at present command, and as
indifferent to his local peculiarities and prejudices as the movements
of winds and tides....

It will be obvious that the interest of this speculation, at any rate,
centres upon this great intermediate mass of people who are neither
passively wealthy, the sleeping partners of change, nor helplessly
thrust out of the process. Indeed, from our point of view--an inquiry
into coming things--these non-effective masses would have but the
slightest interest were it not for their enormous possibilities of
reaction upon the really living portion of the social organism. This
really living portion seems at first sight to be as deliquescent in its
nature, to be drifting down to as chaotic a structure as either the
non-functional owners that float above it or the unemployed who sink
below. What were once the definite subdivisions of the middle class
modify and lose their boundaries. The retail tradesman of the towns, for
example--once a fairly homogeneous class throughout Europe--expands here
into vast store companies, and dwindles there to be an agent or
collector, seeks employment or topples outright into the abyss. But
under a certain scrutiny one can detect here what we do not detect in
our other two elements, and that is that, going on side by side with the
processes of dissolution and frequently masked by these, there are other
processes by which men, often of the most diverse parentage and
antecedent traditions, are being segregated into a multitude of
specific new groups which may presently develop very distinctive
characters and ideals.

There are, for example, the unorganized myriads that one can cover by
the phrase "mechanics and engineers," if one uses it in its widest
possible sense. At present it would be almost impossible to describe
such a thing as a typical engineer, to predicate any universally
applicable characteristic of the engineer and mechanic. The black-faced,
oily man one figures emerging from the engine-room serves well enough,
until one recalls the sanitary engineer with his additions of crockery
and plumbing, the electrical engineer with his little tests and wires,
the mining engineer, the railway maker, the motor builder, and the
irrigation expert. Even if we take some specific branch of all this huge
mass of new employment the coming of mechanism has brought with it, we
still find an undigested miscellany. Consider the rude levy that is
engaged in supplying and repairing the world's new need of bicycles!
Wheelwrights, watchmakers, blacksmiths, music-dealers, drapers,
sewing-machine repairers, smart errand boys, ironmongers, individuals
from all the older aspects of engineering, have been caught up by the
new development, are all now, with a more or less inadequate knowledge
and training, working in the new service. But is it likely that this
will remain a rude levy? From all these varied people the world requires
certain things, and a failure to obtain them involves, sooner or later,
in this competitive creation, an individual replacement and a push
towards the abyss. The very lowest of them must understand the machine
they contribute to make and repair, and not only is it a fairly complex
machine in itself, but it is found in several types and patterns, and so
far it has altered, and promises still to alter, steadily, by
improvements in this part and that. No limited stock-in-trade of
knowledge, such as suffices for a joiner or an ostler, will serve. They
must keep on mastering new points, new aspects, they must be intelligent
and adaptable, they must get a grasp of that permanent something that
lies behind the changing immediate practice. In other words, they will
have to be educated rather than trained after the fashion of the old
craftsman. Just now this body of irregulars is threatened by the coming
of the motors. The motors promise new difficulties, new rewards, and new
competition. It is an ill look-out for the cycle mechanic who is not
prepared to tackle the new problems that will arise. For all this next
century this particular body of mechanics will be picking up new
recruits and eliminating the incompetent and the rule-of-thumb sage. Can
it fail, as the years pass, to develop certain general characters, to
become so far homogeneous as to be generally conscious of the need of a
scientific education, at any rate in mechanical and chemical matters,
and to possess, down to its very lowest ranks and orders, a common fund
of intellectual training?

But the makers and repairers of cycles, and that larger multitude that
will presently be concerned with motors, are, after all, only a small
and specialized section of the general body of mechanics and engineers.
Every year, with the advance of invention, new branches of activity,
that change in their nature and methods all too rapidly for the
establishment of rote and routine workers of the old type, call together
fresh levies of amateurish workers and learners who must surely
presently develop into, or give place to, bodies of qualified and
capable men. And the point I would particularly insist upon here is,
that throughout all its ranks and ramifications, from the organizing
heads of great undertakings down to the assistant in the local repair
shop, this new, great, and expanding body of mechanics and engineers
will tend to become an educated and adaptable class in a sense that the
craftsmen of former times were not educated and adaptable. Just how high
the scientific and practical education may rise in the central levels of
this body is a matter for subsequent speculation, just how much
initiative will be found in the lowest ranks depends upon many very
complex considerations. But that here we have at least the possibility,
the primary creative conditions of a new, numerous, intelligent,
educated, and capable social element is, I think, a proposition with
which the reader will agree.

What are the chief obstacles in the way of the emergence, from out the
present chaos, of this social element equipped, organized, educated,
conscious of itself and of distinctive aims, in the next hundred years?
In the first place there is the spirit of trade unionism, the
conservative contagion of the old craftsmanship. Trade Unions arose
under the tradition of the old order, when in every business, employer
and employed stood in marked antagonism, stood as a special instance of
the universal relationship of gentle or intelligent, who supplied no
labour, and simple, who supplied nothing else. The interest of the
employer was to get as much labour as possible out of his hirelings; the
complementary object in life of the hireling, whose sole function was
drudgery, who had no other prospect until death, was to give as little
to his employer as possible. In order to keep the necessary labourer
submissive, it was a matter of public policy to keep him uneducated and
as near the condition of a beast of burden as possible, and in order to
keep his life tolerable against that natural increase which all the
moral institutions of his state promoted, the labourer--stimulated if
his efforts slackened by the touch of absolute misery--was forced to
devise elaborate rules for restricting the hours of toil, making its
performance needlessly complex, and shirking with extreme ingenuity and
conscientiousness. In the older trades, of which the building trade is
foremost, these two traditions, reinforced by unimaginative building
regulations, have practically arrested any advance whatever.[26] There
can be no doubt that this influence has spread into what are practically
new branches of work. Even where new conveniences have called for new
types of workmen and have opened the way for the elevation of a group of
labourers to the higher level of versatile educated men,[27] the old
traditions have to a very large extent prevailed. The average sanitary
plumber of to-day in England insists upon his position as a mere
labourer as though it were some precious thing, he guards himself from
improvement as a virtuous woman guards her honour, he works for
specifically limited hours and by the hour with specific limitations in
the practice of his trade, on the fairly sound assumption that but for
that restriction any fool might do plumbing as well as he; whatever he
learns he learns from some other plumber during his apprenticeship
years--after which he devotes himself to doing the minimum of work in
the maximum of time until his brief excursion into this mysterious
universe is over. So far from invention spurring him onward, every
improvement in sanitary work in England, at least, is limited by the
problem whether "the men" will understand it. A person ingenious enough
to exceed this sacred limit might as well hang himself as trouble about
the improvement of plumbing.

If England stood alone, I do not see why each of the new mechanical and
engineering industries, so soon as it develops sufficiently to have
gathered together a body of workers capable of supporting a Trade Union
secretary, should not begin to stagnate in the same manner. Only England
does not stand alone, and the building trade is so far not typical,
inasmuch as it possesses a national monopoly that the most elaborate
system of protection cannot secure any other group of trades. One must
have one's house built where one has to live, the importation of workmen
in small bodies is difficult and dear, and if one cannot have the house
one wishes, one must needs have the least offensive substitute; but
bicycle and motor, iron-work and furniture, engines, rails, and ships
one can import. The community, therefore, that does least to educate
its mechanics and engineers out of the base and servile tradition of the
old idea of industry will in the coming years of progress simply get a
disproportionate share of the rejected element, the trade will go
elsewhere, and the community will be left in possession of an
exceptionally large contingent for the abyss.

At present, however, I am dealing not with the specific community, but
with the generalized civilized community of A.D. 2000--we disregard the
fate of states and empires for a time--and, for that emergent community,
wherever it may be, it seems reasonable to anticipate, replacing and
enormously larger and more important than the classes of common workmen
and mechanics of to-day, a large fairly homogeneous body--big men and
little men, indeed, but with no dividing lines--of more or less expert
mechanics and engineers, with a certain common minimum of education and
intelligence, and probably a common-class consciousness--a new body, a
new force, in the world's history.

For this body to exist implies the existence of much more than the
primary and initiating nucleus of engineers and skilled mechanics. If it
is an educated class, its existence implies a class of educators, and
just as far as it does get educated the schoolmasters will be skilled
and educated men. The shabby-genteel middle-class schoolmaster of the
England of to-day, in--or a little way out of--orders, with his
smattering of Greek, his Latin that leads nowhere, his fatuous
mathematics, his gross ignorance of pedagogics, and his incomparable
snobbishness, certainly does not represent the schoolmaster of this
coming class. Moreover, the new element will necessarily embody its
collective, necessarily distinctive, and unprecedented thoughts in a
literature of its own, its development means the development of a new
sort of writer and of new elements in the press. And since, if it does
emerge, a revolution in the common schools of the community will be a
necessary part of the process, then its emergence will involve a
revolutionary change in the condition of classes that might otherwise
remain as they are now--the older craftsman, for example.

The process of attraction will not end even there; the development of
more and more scientific engineering and of really adaptable operatives
will render possible agricultural contrivances that are now only dreams,
and the diffusion of this new class over the country side--assuming the
reasoning in my second chapter to be sound--will bring the lever of the
improved schools under the agriculturist. The practically autonomous
farm of the old epoch will probably be replaced by a great variety of
types of cultivation, each with its labour-saving equipment. In this, as
in most things, the future spells variation. The practical abolition of
impossible distances over the world will tend to make every district
specialize in the production for which it is best fitted, and to
develop that production with an elaborate precision and economy. The
chief opposing force to this tendency will be found in those countries
where the tenure of the land is in small holdings. A population of small
agriculturists that has really got itself well established is probably
as hopelessly immovable a thing as the forces of progressive change will
have to encounter. The Arcadian healthiness and simplicity of the small
holder, and the usefulness of little hands about him, naturally results
in his keeping the population on his plot up to the limit of bare
subsistence. He avoids over-education, and his beasts live with him and
his children in a natural kindly manner. He will have no idlers, and
even grand-mamma goes weeding. His nett produce is less than the
production of the larger methods, but his gross is greater, and usually
it is mortgaged more or less. Along the selvage of many of the new roads
we have foretold, his hens will peck and his children beg, far into the
coming decades. This simple, virtuous, open-air life is to be found
ripening in the north of France and Belgium, it culminated in Ireland in
the famine years, it has held its own in China--with a use of female
infanticide--for immemorable ages, and a number of excellent persons are
endeavouring to establish it in England at the present time. At the Cape
of Good Hope, under British rule, Kaffirs are being settled upon little
inalienable holdings that must inevitably develop in the same
direction, and over the Southern States the nigger squats and
multiplies. It is fairly certain that these stagnant ponds of
population, which will grow until public intelligence rises to the pitch
of draining them, will on a greater scale parallel in the twentieth
century the soon-to-be-dispersed urban slums of the nineteenth. But I do
not see how they can obstruct, more than locally, the reorganization of
agriculture and horticulture upon the ampler and more economical lines
mechanism permits, or prevent the development of a type of agriculturist
as adaptable, alert, intelligent, unprejudiced, and modest as the coming

Another great section of the community, the military element, will also
fall within the attraction of this possible synthesis, and will
inevitably undergo profound modification. Of the probable development of
warfare a later chapter shall treat, and here it will suffice to point
out that at present science stands proffering the soldier vague, vast
possibilities of mechanism, and, so far, he has accepted practically
nothing but rifles which he cannot sight and guns that he does not learn
to move about. It is quite possible the sailor would be in the like
case, but for the exceptional conditions that begot ironclads in the
American Civil War. Science offers the soldier transport that he does
not use, maps he does not use, entrenching devices, road-making devices,
balloons and flying scouts, portable foods, security from disease, a
thousand ways of organizing the horrible uncertainties of war. But the
soldier of to-day--I do not mean the British soldier only--still insists
on regarding these revolutionary appliances as mere accessories, and
untrustworthy ones at that, to the time-honoured practice of his art. He
guards his technical innocence like a plumber.

Every European army is organized on the lines of the once fundamental
distinction of the horse and foot epoch, in deference to the contrast of
gentle and simple. There is the officer, with all the traditions of old
nobility, and the men still, by a hundred implications, mere sources of
mechanical force, and fundamentally base. The British Army, for example,
still cherishes the tradition that its privates are absolutely
illiterate, and such small instruction as is given them in the art of
war is imparted by bawling and enforced by abuse upon public drill
grounds. Almost all discussion of military matters still turns upon the
now quite stupid assumption that there are two primary military arms and
no more, horse and foot. "Cyclists are infantry," the War Office manual
of 1900 gallantly declares in the face of this changing universe. After
fifty years of railways, there still does not exist, in a world which is
said to be over devoted to military affairs, a skilled and organized
body of men, specially prepared to seize, repair, reconstruct, work, and
fight such an important element in the new social machinery as a
railway system. Such a business, in the next European war, will be
hastily entrusted to some haphazard incapables drafted from one or other
of the two prehistoric arms.... I do not see how this condition of
affairs can be anything but transitory. There may be several wars
between European powers, prepared and organized to accept the old
conventions, bloody, vast, distressful encounters that may still leave
the art of war essentially unmodified, but sooner or later--it may be in
the improvised struggle that follows the collapse of some one of these
huge, witless, fighting forces--the new sort of soldier will emerge, a
sober, considerate, engineering man--no more of a gentleman than the man
subordinated to him or any other self-respecting person....

Certain interesting side questions I may glance at here, only for the
present, at least, to set them aside unanswered, the reaction, for
example, of this probable development of a great mass of educated and
intelligent efficients upon the status and quality of the medical
profession, and the influence of its novel needs in either modifying the
existing legal body or calling into being a parallel body of more expert
and versatile guides and assistants in business operations. But from the
mention of this latter section one comes to another possible centre of
aggregation in the social welter. Opposed in many of their most
essential conditions to the capable men who are of primary importance in
the social body, is the great and growing variety of non-productive but
active men who are engaged in more or less necessary operations of
organization, promotion, advertisement, and trade. There are the
business managers, public and private, the political organizers,
brokers, commission agents, the varying grades of financier down to the
mere greedy camp followers of finance, the gamblers pure and simple, and
the great body of their dependent clerks, typewriters, and assistants.
All this multitude will have this much in common, that it will be
dealing, not with the primary inexorable logic of natural laws, but with
the shifting, uncertain prejudices and emotions of the general mass of
people. It will be wary and cunning rather than deliberate and
intelligent, smart rather than prompt, considering always the appearance
and effect before the reality and possibilities of things. It will
probably tend to form a culture about the political and financial
operator as its ideal and central type, opposed to, and conflicting
with, the forces of attraction that will tend to group the new social
masses about the scientific engineer.[28]...

Here, then (in the vision of the present writer), are the main social
elements of the coming time: (i.) the element of irresponsible
property; (ii.) the helpless superseded poor, that broad base of mere
toilers now no longer essential; (iii.) a great inchoate mass of more or
less capable people engaged more or less consciously in applying the
growing body of scientific knowledge to the general needs, a great mass
that will inevitably tend to organize itself in a system of
interdependent educated classes with a common consciousness and aim, but
which may or may not succeed in doing so; and (iv.) a possibly equally
great number of non-productive persons living in and by the social

All these elements will be mingled confusedly together, passing into one
another by insensible gradations, scattered over the great urban regions
and intervening areas our previous anticipations have sketched out.
Moreover, they are developing, as it were unconsciously, under the
stimulus of mechanical developments, and with the bandages of old
tradition hampering their movements. The laws they obey, the governments
they live under, are for the most part laws made and governments planned
before the coming of steam. The areas of administration are still areas
marked out by conditions of locomotion as obsolete as the quadrupedal
method of the pre-arboreal ancestor. In Great Britain, for example, the
political constitution, the balance of estates and the balance of
parties, preserves the compromise of long-vanished antagonisms. The
House of Lords is a collection of obsolete territorial dignitaries
fitfully reinforced by the bishops and a miscellany (in no sense
representative) of opulent moderns; the House of Commons is the seat of
a party conflict, a faction fight of initiated persons, that has long
ceased to bear any real relation to current social processes. The
members of the lower chamber are selected by obscure party machines
operating upon constituencies almost all of which have long since become
too vast and heterogeneous to possess any collective intelligence or
purpose at all. In theory the House of Commons guards the interests of
classes that are, in fact, rapidly disintegrating into a number of quite
antagonistic and conflicting elements. The new mass of capable men, of
which the engineers are typical, these capable men who must necessarily
be the active principle of the new mechanically equipped social body,
finds no representation save by accident in either assembly. The man who
has concerned himself with the public health, with army organization,
with educational improvement, or with the vital matters of transport and
communication, if he enter the official councils of the kingdom at all,
must enter ostensibly as the guardian of the interests of the free and
independent electors of a specific district that has long ceased to have
any sort of specific interests at all.[29]...

And the same obsolescence that is so conspicuous in the general
institutions of the official kingdom of England, and that even English
people can remark in the official empire of China, is to be traced in a
greater or lesser degree in the nominal organization and public
tradition throughout the whole world. The United States, for example,
the social mass which has perhaps advanced furthest along the new lines,
struggles in the iron bonds of a constitution that is based primarily on
a conception of a number of comparatively small, internally homogeneous,
agricultural states, a bunch of pre-Johannesburg Transvaals,
communicating little, and each constituting a separate autonomous
democracy of free farmers--slaveholding or slaveless. Every country in
the world, indeed, that is organized at all, has been organized with a
view to stability within territorial limits; no country has been
organized with any foresight of development and inevitable change, or
with the slightest reference to the practical revolution in topography
that the new means of transit involve. And since this is so, and since
humanity is most assuredly embarked upon a series of changes of which we
know as yet only the opening phases, a large part of the history of the
coming years will certainly record more or less conscious endeavours to
adapt these obsolete and obsolescent contrivances for the management of
public affairs to the new and continually expanding and changing
requirements of the social body, to correct or overcome the traditions
that were once wisdom and which are now obstruction, and to burst the
straining boundaries that were sufficient for the ancient states. There
are here no signs of a millennium. Internal reconstruction, while men
are still limited, egotistical, passionate, ignorant, and ignorantly
led, means seditions and revolutions, and the rectification of frontiers
means wars. But before we go on to these conflicts and wars certain
general social reactions must be considered.


[20] Even the characteristic conditions of writing books, that least
mechanical of pursuits, have been profoundly affected by the typewriter.

[21] To these two primary classes the more complicated societies have
added others. There is the priest, almost always in the social order of
the pre-railway period, an integral part, a functional organ of the
social body, and there are the lawyer and the physician. And in the
towns--constituting, indeed, the towns--there appear, as an outgrowth of
the toiling class, a little emancipated from the gentleman's direct
control, the craftsman, the merchant, and the trading sailor,
essentially accessory classes, producers of, and dealers in, the
accessories of life, and mitigating and clouding only very slightly that
broad duality.

[22] Slight, that is, in comparison with nineteenth-century changes.

[23] It included, one remembers, Schopenhauer, but, as he remarked upon
occasion, not Hegel.

[24] A very important factor in this mitigation, a factor over which the
humanely minded cannot too greatly rejoice, will be the philanthropic
amusements of the irresponsible wealthy. There is a growing class of
energetic people--organizers, secretaries, preachers--who cater to the
philanthropic instinct, and who are, for all practical purposes,
employing a large and increasing section of suitable helpless people, in
supplying to their customers, by means of religious acquiescence and
light moral reforms, that sense of well-doing which is one of the least
objectionable of the functionless pleasures of life. The attempts to
reinstate these failures by means of subsidized industries will, in the
end, of course, merely serve to throw out of employment other just
subsisting strugglers; it will probably make little or no difference in
the nett result of the process.

[25] I reserve any consideration of the special case of the "priest."

[26] I find it incredible that there will not be a sweeping revolution
in the methods of building during the next century. The erection of a
house-wall, come to think of it, is an astonishingly tedious and complex
business; the final result exceedingly unsatisfactory. It has been my
lot recently to follow in detail the process of building a private
dwelling-house, and the solemn succession of deliberate, respectable,
perfectly satisfied men, who have contributed each so many days of his
life to this accumulation of weak compromises, has enormously
intensified my constitutional amazement at my fellow-creatures. The
chief ingredient in this particular house-wall is the common brick,
burnt earth, and but one step from the handfuls of clay of the ancestral
mud hut, small in size and permeable to damp. Slowly, day by day, the
walls grew tediously up, to a melody of tinkling trowels. These bricks
are joined by mortar, which is mixed in small quantities, and must vary
very greatly in its quality and properties throughout the house. In
order to prevent the obvious evils of a wall of porous and irregular
baked clay and lime mud, a damp course of tarred felt, which cannot
possibly last more than a few years, was inserted about a foot from the
ground. Then the wall, being quite insufficient to stand the heavy drift
of weather to which it is exposed, was dabbled over with two coatings of
plaster on the outside, the outermost being given a primitive
picturesqueness by means of a sham surface of rough-cast pebbles and
white-wash, while within, to conceal the rough discomfort of the
surface, successive coatings of plaster, and finally, paper, were added,
with a wood-skirting at the foot thrice painted. Everything in this was
hand work, the laying of the bricks, the dabbing of the plaster, the
smoothing of the paper; it is a house built of hands--and some I saw
were bleeding hands--just as in the days of the pyramids, when the only
engines were living men. The whole confection is now undergoing
incalculable chemical reactions between its several parts. Lime, mortar,
and microscopical organisms are producing undesigned chromatic effects
in the paper and plaster; the plaster, having methods of expansion and
contraction of its own, crinkles and cracks; the skirting, having
absorbed moisture and now drying again, opens its joints; the rough-cast
coquettes with the frost and opens chinks and crannies for the humbler
creation. I fail to see the necessity of (and, accordingly, I resent
bitterly) all these coral-reef methods. Better walls than this, and
better and less life-wasting ways of making them, are surely possible.
In the wall in question, concrete would have been cheaper and better
than bricks if only "the men" had understood it. But I can dream at last
of much more revolutionary affairs, of a thing running to and fro along
a temporary rail, that will squeeze out wall as one squeezes paint from
a tube, and form its surface with a pat or two as it sets. Moreover, I
do not see at all why the walls of small dwelling-houses should be so
solid as they are. There still hangs about us the monumental traditions
of the pyramids. It ought to be possible to build sound, portable, and
habitable houses of felted wire-netting and weather-proofed paper upon a
light framework. This sort of thing is, no doubt, abominably ugly at
present, but that is because architects and designers, being for the
most part inordinately cultured and quite uneducated, are unable to cope
with its fundamentally novel problems. A few energetic men might at any
time set out to alter all this. And with the inevitable revolutions that
must come about in domestic fittings, and which I hope to discuss more
fully in the next paper, it is open to question whether many ground
landlords may not find they have work for the house-breakers rather than
wealth unlimited falling into their hands when the building leases their
solicitors so ingeniously draw up do at last expire.

[27] The new aspects of building, for example, that have been brought
about by the entrance of water and gas into the house, and the
application of water to sanitation.

[28] The future of the servant class and the future of the artist are
two interesting questions that will be most conveniently mentioned at a
later stage, when we come to discuss the domestic life in greater detail
than is possible before we have formed any clear notion of the sort of
people who will lead that life.

[29] Even the physical conditions under which the House of Commons meets
and plays at government, are ridiculously obsolete. Every disputable
point is settled by a division, a bell rings, there is shouting and
running, the members come blundering into the chamber and sort
themselves with much loutish shuffling and shoving into the division
lobbies. They are counted, as illiterate farmers count sheep; amidst
much fuss and confusion they return to their places, and the tellers
vociferate the result. The waste of time over these antics is enormous,
and they are often repeated many times in an evening. For the lack of
time, the House of Commons is unable to perform the most urgent and
necessary legislative duties--it has this year hung up a cryingly
necessary Education Bill, a delay that will in the end cost Great
Britain millions--but not a soul in it has had the necessary common
sense to point out that an electrician and an expert locksmith could in
a few weeks, and for a few hundred pounds, devise and construct a
member's desk and key, committee-room tapes and voting-desks, and a
general recording apparatus, that would enable every member within the
precincts to vote, and that would count, record, and report the votes
within the space of a couple of minutes.



We are now in a position to point out and consider certain general ways
in which the various factors and elements in the deliquescent society of
the present time will react one upon another, and to speculate what
definite statements, if any, it may seem reasonable to make about the
individual people of the year 2000--or thereabouts--from the reaction of
these classes we have attempted to define.

To begin with, it may prove convenient to speculate upon the trend of
development of that class about which we have the most grounds for
certainty in the coming time. The shareholding class, the rout of the
Abyss, the speculator, may develop in countless ways according to the
varying development of exterior influences upon them, but of the most
typical portion of the central body, the section containing the
scientific engineering or scientific medical sort of people, we can
postulate certain tendencies with some confidence. Certain ways of
thought they must develop, certain habits of mind and eye they will
radiate out into the adjacent portions of the social mass. We can even,
I think, deduce some conception of the home in which a fairly typical
example of this body will be living within a reasonable term of years.

The mere fact that a man is an engineer or a doctor, for example, should
imply now, and certainly will imply in the future, that he has received
an education of a certain definite type; he will have a general
acquaintance with the scientific interpretation of the universe, and he
will have acquired certain positive and practical habits of mind. If the
methods of thought of any individual in this central body are not
practical and positive, he will tend to drift out of it to some more
congenial employment. He will almost necessarily have a strong
imperative to duty quite apart from whatever theological opinions he may
entertain, because if he has not such an inherent imperative, life will
have very many more alluring prospects than this. His religious
conclusions, whatever they may be, will be based upon some orderly
theological system that must have honestly admitted and reconciled his
scientific beliefs; the emotional and mystical elements in his religion
will be subordinate or absent. Essentially he will be a moral man,
certainly so far as to exercise self-restraint and live in an ordered
way. Unless this is so, he will be unable to give his principal energies
to thought and work--that is, he will not be a good typical engineer. If
sensuality appear at all largely in this central body, therefore,--a
point we must leave open here--it will appear without any trappings of
sentiment or mysticism, frankly on Pauline lines, wine for the stomach's
sake, and it is better to marry than to burn, a concession to the flesh
necessary to secure efficiency. Assuming in our typical case that pure
indulgence does not appear or flares and passes, then either he will be
single or more or less married. The import of that "more or less" will
be discussed later, for the present we may very conveniently conceive
him married under the traditional laws of Christendom. Having a mind
considerably engaged, he will not have the leisure for a wife of the
distracting, perplexing personality kind, and in our typical case, which
will be a typically sound and successful one, we may picture him wedded
to a healthy, intelligent, and loyal person, who will be her husband's
companion in their common leisure, and as mother of their three or four
children and manager of his household, as much of a technically capable
individual as himself. He will be a father of several children, I think,
because his scientific mental basis will incline him to see the whole of
life as a struggle to survive; he will recognize that a childless,
sterile life, however pleasant, is essentially failure and perversion,
and he will conceive his honour involved in the possession of offspring.

Such a couple will probably dress with a view to decent convenience,
they will not set the fashions, as I shall presently point out, but
they will incline to steady and sober them, they will avoid exciting
colour contrasts and bizarre contours. They will not be habitually
promenaders, or greatly addicted to theatrical performances; they will
probably find their secondary interests--the cardinal one will of course
be the work in hand--in a not too imaginative prose literature, in
travel and journeys and in the less sensuous aspects of music. They will
probably take a considerable interest in public affairs. Their _ménage_,
which will consist of father, mother, and children, will, I think, in
all probability, be servantless.

They will probably not keep a servant for two very excellent reasons,
because in the first place they will not want one, and in the second
they will not get one if they do. A servant is necessary in the small,
modern house, partly to supplement the deficiencies of the wife, but
mainly to supplement the deficiencies of the house. She comes to cook
and perform various skilled duties that the wife lacks either knowledge
or training, or both, to perform regularly and expeditiously. Usually it
must be confessed that the servant in the small household fails to
perform these skilled duties completely. But the great proportion of the
servant's duties consists merely in drudgery that the stupidities of our
present-day method of house construction entail, and which the more
sanely constructed house of the future will avoid. Consider, for
instance, the wanton disregard of avoidable toil displayed in building
houses with a service basement without lifts! Then most dusting and
sweeping would be quite avoidable if houses were wiselier done. It is
the lack of proper warming appliances which necessitates a vast amount
of coal carrying and dirt distribution, and it is this dirt mainly that
has so painfully to be removed again. The house of the future will
probably be warmed in its walls from some power-generating station, as,
indeed, already very many houses are lit at the present day. The lack of
sane methods of ventilation also enhances the general dirtiness and
dustiness of the present-day home, and gas-lighting and the use of
tarnishable metals, wherever possible, involve further labour. But air
will enter the house of the future through proper tubes in the walls,
which will warm it and capture its dust, and it will be spun out again
by a simple mechanism. And by simple devices such sweeping as still
remains necessary can be enormously lightened. The fact that in existing
homes the skirting meets the floor at right angles makes sweeping about
twice as troublesome as it will be when people have the sense and
ability to round off the angle between wall and floor.

So one great lump of the servant's toil will practically disappear. Two
others are already disappearing. In many houses there are still the
offensive duties of filling lamps and blacking boots to be done. Our
coming house, however, will have no lamps to need filling, and, as for
the boots, really intelligent people will feel the essential ugliness of
wearing the evidence of constant manual toil upon their persons. They
will wear sorts of shoes and boots that can be cleaned by wiping in a
minute or so. Take now the bedroom work. The lack of ingenuity in
sanitary fittings at present forbids the obvious convenience of hot and
cold water supply to the bedroom, and there is a mighty fetching and
carrying of water and slops to be got through daily. All that will
cease. Every bedroom will have its own bath-dressing room which any
well-bred person will be intelligent and considerate enough to use and
leave without the slightest disarrangement. This, so far as "upstairs"
goes, really only leaves bedmaking to be done, and a bed does not take
five minutes to make. Downstairs a vast amount of needless labour at
present arises out of table wear. "Washing up" consists of a tedious
cleansing and wiping of each table utensil in turn, whereas it should be
possible to immerse all dirty table wear in a suitable solvent for a few
minutes and then run that off for the articles to dry. The application
of solvents to window cleaning, also, would be a possible thing but for
the primitive construction of our windows, which prevents anything but a
painful rub, rub, rub, with the leather. A friend of mine in domestic
service tells me that this rubbing is to get the window dry, and this
seems to be the general impression, but I think it incorrect. The water
is not an adequate solvent, and enough cannot be used under existing
conditions. Consequently, if the window is cleaned and left wet, it
dries in drops, and these drops contain dirt in solution which remain as
spots. But water containing a suitable solvent could quite simply be
made to run down a window for a few minutes from pinholes in a pipe
above into a groove below, and this could be followed by pure rain water
for an equal time, and in this way the whole window cleaning in the
house could, I imagine, be reduced to the business of turning on a tap.

There remains the cooking. To-day cooking, with its incidentals, is a
very serious business; the coaling, the ashes, the horrible moments of
heat, the hot black things to handle, the silly vague recipes, the want
of neat apparatus, and the want of intelligence to demand or use neat
apparatus. One always imagines a cook working with a crimsoned face and
bare blackened arms. But with a neat little range, heated by electricity
and provided with thermometers, with absolutely controllable
temperatures and proper heat screens, cooking might very easily be made
a pleasant amusement for intelligent invalid ladies. Which reminds one,
by-the-by, as an added detail to our previous sketch of the scenery of
the days to come, that there will be no chimneys at all to the house of
the future of this type, except the flue for the kitchen smells.[30]
This will not only abolish the chimney stack, but make the roof a clean
and pleasant addition to the garden spaces of the home.

I do not know how long all these things will take to arrive. The
erection of a series of experimental labour-saving houses by some
philanthropic person, for exhibition and discussion, would certainly
bring about a very extraordinary advance in domestic comfort even in the
immediate future, but the fashions in philanthropy do not trend in such
practical directions; if they did, the philanthropic person would
probably be too amenable to flattery to escape the pushful patentee and
too sensitive to avail himself of criticism (which rarely succeeds in
being both penetrating and polite), and it will probably be many years
before the cautious enterprise of advertising firms approximates to the
economies that are theoretically possible to-day. But certainly the
engineering and medical sorts of person will be best able to appreciate
the possibilities of cutting down the irksome labours of the
contemporary home, and most likely to first demand and secure them.

The wife of this ideal home may probably have a certain distaste for
vicarious labour, that so far as the immediate minimum of duties goes
will probably carry her through them. There will be few servants
obtainable for the small homes of the future, and that may strengthen
her sentiments. Hardly any woman seems to object to a system of things
which provides that another woman should be made rough-handed and kept
rough-minded for her sake, but with the enormous diffusion of levelling
information that is going on, a perfectly valid objection will probably
come from the other side in this transaction. The servants of the past
and the only good servants of to-day are the children of servants or the
children of the old labour base of the social pyramid, until recently a
necessary and self-respecting element in the State. Machinery has
smashed that base and scattered its fragments; the tradition of
self-respecting inferiority is being utterly destroyed in the world. The
contingents of the Abyss, even, will not supply daughters for this
purpose. In the community of the United States no native-born race of
white servants has appeared, and the emancipated young negress
degenerates towards the impossible--which is one of the many stimulants
to small ingenuities that may help very powerfully to give that nation
the industrial leadership of the world. The servant of the future, if
indeed she should still linger in the small household, will be a person
alive to a social injustice and the unsuccessful rival of the wife. Such
servants as wealth will retain will be about as really loyal and servile
as hotel waiters, and on the same terms. For the middling sort of
people in the future maintaining a separate _ménage_ there is nothing
for it but the practically automatic house or flat, supplemented,
perhaps, by the restaurant or the hotel.

Almost certainly, for reasons detailed in the second chapter of these
Anticipations, this household, if it is an ideal type, will be situated
away from the central "Town" nucleus and in pleasant surroundings. And I
imagine that the sort of woman who would be mother and mistress of such
a home would not be perfectly content unless there were a garden about
the house. On account of the servant difficulty, again, this garden
would probably be less laboriously neat than many of our gardens
to-day--no "bedding-out," for example, and a certain parsimony of mown

To such a type of home it seems the active, scientifically trained
people will tend. But usually, I think, the prophet is inclined to over
estimate the number of people who will reach this condition of affairs
in a generation or so, and to under estimate the conflicting tendencies
that will make its attainment difficult to all, and impossible to many,
and that will for many years tint and blotch the achievement of those
who succeed with patches of unsympathetic colour. To understand just how
modifications may come in, it is necessary to consider the probable line
of development of another of the four main elements in the social body
of the coming time. As a consequence and visible expression of the
great new growth of share and stock property there will be scattered
through the whole social body, concentrated here perhaps, and diffused
there, but everywhere perceived, the members of that new class of the
irresponsible wealthy, a class, as I have already pointed out in the
preceding chapter, miscellaneous and free to a degree quite
unprecedented in the world's history. Quite inevitably great sections of
this miscellany will develop characteristics almost diametrically
opposed to those of the typical working expert class, and their
gravitational attraction may influence the lives of this more efficient,
finally more powerful, but at present much less wealthy, class to a very
considerable degree of intimacy.

The rich shareholder and the skilled expert must necessarily be sharply
contrasted types, and of the two it must be borne in mind that it is the
rich shareholder who spends the money. While occupation and skill
incline one towards severity and economy, leisure and unlimited means
involve relaxation and demand the adventitious interest of decoration.
The shareholder will be the decorative influence in the State. So far as
there will be a typical shareholder's house, we may hazard that it will
have rich colours, elaborate hangings, stained glass adornments, and
added interests in great abundance. This "leisure class" will certainly
employ the greater proportion of the artists, decorators, fabric makers,
and the like, of the coming time. It will dominate the world of
art--and we may say, with some confidence, that it will influence it in
certain directions. For example, standing apart from the movement of the
world, as they will do to a very large extent, the archaic, opulently
done, will appeal irresistibly to very many of these irresponsible rich
as the very quintessence of art. They will come to art with uncritical,
cultured minds, full of past achievements, ignorant of present
necessities. Art will be something added to life--something stuck on and
richly reminiscent--not a manner pervading all real things. We may be
pretty sure that very few will grasp the fact that an iron bridge or a
railway engine may be artistically done--these will not be "art"
objects, but hostile novelties. And, on the other hand, we can pretty
confidently foretell a spacious future and much amplification for that
turgid, costly, and deliberately anti-contemporary group of styles of
which William Morris and his associates have been the fortunate
pioneers. And the same principles will apply to costume. A
non-functional class of people cannot have a functional costume, the
whole scheme of costume, as it will be worn by the wealthy classes in
the coming years, will necessarily be of that character which is called
fancy dress. Few people will trouble to discover the most convenient
forms and materials, and endeavour to simplify them and reduce them to
beautiful forms, while endless enterprising tradesmen will be alert for
a perpetual succession of striking novelties. The women will ransack the
ages for becoming and alluring anachronisms, the men will appear in the
elaborate uniforms of "games," in modifications of "court" dress, in
picturesque revivals of national costumes, in epidemic fashions of the
most astonishing sort....

Now, these people, so far as they are spenders of money, and so far as
he is a spender of money, will stand to this ideal engineering sort of
person, who is the vitally important citizen of a progressive scientific
State, in a competitive relation. In most cases, whenever there is
something that both want, one against the other, the shareholder will
get it; in most cases, where it is a matter of calling the tune, the
shareholder will call the tune. For example, the young architect,
conscious of exceptional ability, will have more or less clearly before
him the alternatives of devoting himself to the novel, intricate, and
difficult business of designing cheap, simple, and mechanically
convenient homes for people who will certainly not be highly
remunerative, and will probably be rather acutely critical, or of
perfecting himself in some period of romantic architecture, or striking
out some startling and attractive novelty of manner or material which
will be certain, sooner or later, to meet its congenial shareholder.
Even if he hover for a time between these alternatives, he will need to
be a person not only of exceptional gifts, but what is by no means a
common accompaniment of exceptional gifts, exceptional strength of
character, to take the former line. Consequently, for many years yet,
most of the experimental buildings and novel designs, that initiate
discussion and develop the general taste, will be done primarily to
please the more originative shareholders and not to satisfy the demands
of our engineer or doctor; and the strictly commercial builders, who
will cater for all but the wealthiest engineers, scientific
investigators, and business men, being unable to afford specific
designs, will--amidst the disregarded curses of these more intelligent
customers--still simply reproduce in a cheaper and mutilated form such
examples as happen to be set. Practically, that is to say, the
shareholder will buy up almost all the available architectural talent.

This modifies our conception of the outer appearance of that little
house we imagined. Unless it happens to be the house of an exceptionally
prosperous member of the utilitarian professions, it will lack something
of the neat directness implicit in our description, something of that
inevitable beauty that arises out of the perfect attainment of ends--for
very many years, at any rate. It will almost certainly be tinted, it may
even be saturated, with the secondhand archaic. The owner may object,
but a busy man cannot stop his life work to teach architects what they
ought to know. It may be heated electrically, but it will have sham
chimneys, in whose darkness, unless they are built solid, dust and
filth will gather, and luckless birds and insects pass horrible last
hours of ineffectual struggle. It may have automatic window-cleaning
arrangements, but they will be hidden by "picturesque" mullions. The
sham chimneys will, perhaps, be made to smoke genially in winter by some
ingenious contrivance, there may be sham open fireplaces within, with
ingle nooks about the sham glowing logs. The needlessly steep roofs will
have a sham sag and sham timbered gables, and probably forced lichens
will give it a sham appearance of age. Just that feeble-minded
contemporary shirking of the truth of things that has given the world
such stockbroker in armour affairs as the Tower Bridge and historical
romance, will, I fear, worry the lucid mind in a great multitude of the
homes that the opening half, at least, of this century will produce.

In quite a similar way the shareholding body will buy up all the clever
and more enterprising makers and designers of clothing and adornment, he
will set the fashion of almost all ornament, in bookbinding and printing
and painting, for example, furnishing, and indeed of almost all things
that are not primarily produced "for the million," as the phrase goes.
And where that sort of thing comes in, then, so far as the trained and
intelligent type of man goes, for many years yet it will be simply a
case of the nether instead of the upper millstone. Just how far the
influence and contagion of the shareholding mass will reach into this
imaginary household of non-shareholding efficients, and just how far the
influence of science and mechanism will penetrate the minds and methods
of the rich, becomes really one of the most important questions with
which these speculations will deal. For this argument that he will
perhaps be able to buy up the architect and the tailor and the decorator
and so forth is merely preliminary to the graver issue. It is just
possible that the shareholder may, to a very large extent--in a certain
figurative sense, at least--buy up much of the womankind that would
otherwise be available to constitute those severe, capable, and probably
by no means unhappy little establishments to which our typical engineers
will tend, and so prevent many women from becoming mothers of a
regenerating world. The huge secretion of irresponsible wealth by the
social organism is certain to affect the tone of thought of the entire
feminine sex profoundly--the exact nature of this influence we may now

The gist of this inquiry lies in the fact that, while a man's starting
position in this world of to-day is entirely determined by the
conditions of his birth and early training, and his final position the
slow elaborate outcome of his own sustained efforts to live, a woman,
from the age of sixteen onward--as the world goes now--is essentially
adventurous, the creature of circumstances largely beyond her control
and foresight. A virile man, though he, too, is subject to accidents,
may, upon most points, still hope to plan and determine his life; the
life of a woman is all accident. Normally she lives in relation to some
specific man, and until that man is indicated her preparation for life
must be of the most tentative sort. She lives, going nowhere, like a
cabman on the crawl, and at any time she may find it open to her to
assist some pleasure-loving millionaire to spend his millions, or to
play her part in one of the many real, original, and only derivatives of
the former aristocratic "Society" that have developed themselves among
independent people. Even if she is a serious and labour-loving type,
some shareholder may tempt her with the prospect of developing her
exceptional personality in ease and freedom and in "doing good" with his
money. With the continued growth of the shareholding class, the
brighter-looking matrimonial chances, not to speak of the glittering
opportunities that are not matrimonial, will increase. Reading is now
the privilege of all classes, there are few secrets of etiquette that a
clever lower-class girl will fail to learn, there are few such girls,
even now, who are not aware of their wide opportunities, or at least
their wide possibilities, of luxury and freedom, there are still fewer
who, knowing as much, do not let it affect their standards and
conception of life. The whole mass of modern fiction written by women
for women, indeed, down to the cheapest novelettes, is saturated with
the romance of _mésalliance_. And even when the specific man has
appeared, the adventurous is still not shut out of a woman's career. A
man's affections may wander capriciously and leave him but a little
poorer or a little better placed; for the women they wander from,
however, the issue is an infinitely graver one, and the serious
wandering of a woman's fancy may mean the beginning of a new world for
her. At any moment the chances of death may make the wife a widow, may
sweep out of existence all that she had made fundamental in her life,
may enrich her with insurance profits or hurl her into poverty, and
restore all the drifting expectancy of her adolescence....

Now, it is difficult to say why we should expect the growing girl, in
whom an unlimited ambition and egotism is as natural and proper a thing
as beauty and high spirits, to deny herself some dalliance with the more
opulent dreams that form the golden lining to these precarious
prospects? How can we expect her to prepare herself solely, putting all
wandering thoughts aside, for the servantless cookery, domestic
Kindergarten work, the care of hardy perennials, and low-pitched
conversation of the engineer's home? Supposing, after all, there is no
predestinate engineer! The stories the growing girl now prefers, and I
imagine will in the future still prefer, deal mainly with the rich and
free; the theatre she will prefer to visit will present the lives and
loves of opulent people with great precision and detailed correctness;
her favourite periodicals will reflect that life; her schoolmistress,
whatever her principles, must have an eye to her "chances." And even
after Fate or a gust of passion has whirled her into the arms of our
busy and capable fundamental man, all these things will still be in her
imagination and memory. Unless he is a person of extraordinary mental
prepotency, she will almost insensibly determine the character of the
home in a direction quite other than that of our first sketch. She will
set herself to realize, as far as her husband's means and credit permit,
the ideas of the particular section of the wealthy that have captured
her. If she is a fool, her ideas of life will presently come into
complete conflict with her husband's in a manner that, as the fumes of
the love potion leave his brain, may bring the real nature of the case
home to him. If he is of that resolute strain to whom the world must
finally come, he may rebel and wade through tears and crises to his
appointed work again. The cleverer she is, and the finer and more loyal
her character up to a certain point, the less likely this is to happen,
the more subtle and effective will be her hold upon her husband, and the
more probable his perversion from the austere pursuit of some
interesting employment, towards the adventures of modern money-getting
in pursuit of her ideals of a befitting life. And meanwhile, since "one
must live," the nursery that was implicit in the background of the first
picture will probably prove unnecessary. She will be, perforce, a
person not only of pleasant pursuits, but of leisure. If she endears
herself to her husband, he will feel not only the attraction but the
duty of her vacant hours; he will not only deflect his working hours
from the effective to the profitable, but that occasional burning of the
midnight oil, that no brain-worker may forego if he is to retain his
efficiency, will, in the interests of some attractive theatrical
performance or some agreeable social occasion, all too frequently have
to be put off or abandoned.

This line of speculation, therefore, gives us a second picture of a
household to put beside our first, a household, or rather a couple,
rather more likely to be typical of the mass of middling sort of people
in those urban regions of the future than our first projection. It will
probably not live in a separate home at all, but in a flat in "Town," or
at one of the subordinate centres of the urban region we have foreseen.
The apartments will be more or less agreeably adorned in some decorative
fashion akin to but less costly than some of the many fashions that will
obtain among the wealthy. They will be littered with a miscellaneous
literature, novels of an entertaining and stimulating sort
predominating, and with _bric-à-brac_; in a childless household there
must certainly be quaint dolls, pet images, and so forth, and perhaps a
canary would find a place. I suspect there would be an edition or so of
"Omar" about in this more typical household of "Moderns," but I doubt
about the Bible. The man's working books would probably be shabby and
relegated to a small study, and even these overlaid by abundant copies
of the _Financial_--something or other. It would still be a servantless
household, and probably not only without a nursery but without a
kitchen, and in its grade and degree it would probably have social
relations directly or intermediately through rich friends with some
section, some one of the numerous cults of the quite independent

Quite similar households to this would be even more common among those
neither independent nor engaged in work of a primarily functional
nature, but endeavouring quite ostensibly to acquire wealth by political
or business ingenuity and activity, and also among the great multitude
of artists, writers, and that sort of people, whose works are their
children. In comparison with the state of affairs fifty years ago, the
child-infested household is already conspicuously rare in these classes.

These are two highly probably _ménages_ among the central mass of the
people of the coming time. But there will be many others. The _ménage à
deux_, one may remark, though it may be without the presence of
children, is not necessarily childless. Parentage is certainly part of
the pride of many men--though, curiously enough, it does not appear to
be felt among modern European married women as any part of their
honour. Many men will probably achieve parentage, therefore, who will
not succeed in inducing, or who may possibly even be very loth to
permit, their wives to undertake more than the first beginnings of
motherhood. From the moment of its birth, unless it is kept as a pet,
the child of such marriages will be nourished, taught, and trained
almost as though it were an orphan, it will have a succession of bottles
and foster-mothers for body and mind from the very beginning. Side by
side with this increasing number of childless homes, therefore, there
may develop a system of Kindergarten boarding schools. Indeed, to a
certain extent such schools already exist, and it is one of the
unperceived contrasts of this and any former time how common such a
separation of parents and children becomes. Except in the case of the
illegitimate and orphans, and the children of impossible (many
public-house children, _e.g._), or wretched homes, boarding schools
until quite recently were used only for quite big boys and girls. But
now, at every seaside town, for example, one sees a multitude of
preparatory schools, which are really not simply educational
institutions, but supplementary homes. In many cases these are conducted
and very largely staffed by unmarried girls and women who are indeed, in
effect, assistant mothers. This class of capable schoolmistresses is one
of the most interesting social developments of this period. For the most
part they are women who from emotional fastidiousness, intellectual
egotism, or an honest lack of passion, have refused the common lot of
marriage, women often of exceptional character and restraint, and it is
well that, at any rate, their intelligence and character should not pass
fruitlessly out of being. Assuredly for this type the future has much in

There are, however, still other possibilities to be considered in this
matter. In these Anticipations it is impossible to ignore the forces
making for a considerable relaxation of the institution of permanent
monogamous marriage in the coming years, and of a much greater variety
of establishments than is suggested by these possibilities within the
pale. I guess, without attempting to refer to statistics, that our
present society must show a quite unprecedented number and increasing
number of male and female celibates--not religious celibates, but
people, for the most part, whose standard of personal comfort has such a
relation to their earning power that they shirk or cannot enter the
matrimonial grouping. The institution of permanent monogamous
marriage--except in the ideal Roman Catholic community, where it is
based on the sanction of an authority which in real Roman Catholic
countries a large proportion of the men decline to obey--is sustained at
present entirely by the inertia of custom, and by a number of
sentimental and practical considerations, considerations that may very
possibly undergo modification in the face of the altered relationship of
husband and wife that the present development of childless _ménages_ is
bringing about. The practical and sustaining reason for monogamy is the
stability it gives to the family; the value of a stable family lies in
the orderly upbringing in an atmosphere of affection that it secures in
most cases for its more or less numerous children. The monogamous family
has indisputably been the civilizing unit of the pre-mechanical
civilized state. It must be remembered that both for husband and wife in
most cases monogamic life marriage involves an element of sacrifice, it
is an institution of late appearance in the history of mankind, and it
does not completely fit the psychology or physiology of any but very
exceptional characters in either sex. For the man it commonly involves
considerable restraint; he must ride his imagination on the curb, or
exceed the code in an extremely dishonouring, furtive, and
unsatisfactory manner while publicly professing an impossible virtue;
for the woman it commonly implies many uncongenial submissions. There
are probably few married couples who have escaped distressful phases of
bitterness and tears, within the constraint of their, in most cases,
practically insoluble bond. But, on the other hand, and as a reward that
in the soberer, mainly agricultural civilization of the past, and among
the middling class of people, at any rate, has sufficed, there comes
the great development of associations and tendernesses that arises out
of intimate co-operation in an established home, and particularly out of
the linking love and interest of children's lives....

But how does this fit into the childless, disunited, and probably
shifting _ménage_ of our second picture?

It must be borne in mind that it has been the middling and lower mass of
people, the tenants and agriculturists, the shopkeepers, and so forth,
men needing before all things the absolutely loyal help of wives, that
has sustained permanent monogamic marriage whenever it has been
sustained. Public monogamy has existed on its merits--that is, on the
merits of the wife. Merely ostensible reasons have never sufficed. No
sort of religious conviction, without a real practical utility, has ever
availed to keep classes of men, unhampered by circumstances, to its
restrictions. In all times, and holding all sorts of beliefs, the
specimen humanity of courts and nobilities is to be found developing the
most complex qualifications of the code. In some quiet corner of Elysium
the bishops of the early Georges, the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the
contemporary French and Spanish courts, the patriarchs of vanished
Byzantium, will find a common topic with the spiritual advisers of the
kingdoms of the East in this difficult theme,--the theme of the
concessions permissible and expedient to earnest believers encumbered
with leisure and a superfluity of power.... It is not necessary to
discuss religious development, therefore, before deciding this issue. We
are dealing now with things deeper and forces infinitely more powerful
than the mere convictions of men.

Will a generation to whom marriage will be no longer necessarily
associated with the birth and rearing of children, or with the immediate
co-operation and sympathy of husband and wife in common proceedings,
retain its present feeling for the extreme sanctity of the permanent
bond? Will the agreeable, unemployed, childless woman, with a high
conception of her personal rights, who is spending her husband's
earnings or income in some pleasant discrepant manner, a type of woman
there are excellent reasons for anticipating will become more
frequent--will she continue to share the honours and privileges of the
wife, mother, and helper of the old dispensation? and in particular,
will the great gulf that is now fixed by custom between her and the
agreeable unmarried lady who is similarly employed remain so inexorably
wide? Charity is in the air, and why should not charming people meet one
another? And where is either of these ladies to find the support that
will enable her to insist upon the monopoly that conventional sentiment,
so far as it finds expression, concedes her? The danger to them both of
the theory of equal liberty is evident enough. On the other hand, in the
case of the unmarried mother who may be helped to hold her own, or who
may be holding her own in the world, where will the moral censor of the
year 1950 find his congenial following to gather stones? Much as we may
regret it, it does very greatly affect the realities of this matter,
that with the increased migration of people from home to home amidst the
large urban regions that, we have concluded, will certainly obtain in
the future, even if moral reprobation and minor social inconveniences do
still attach to certain sorts of status, it will probably be
increasingly difficult to determine the status of people who wish to
conceal it for any but criminal ends.

In another direction there must be a movement towards the relaxation of
the marriage law and of divorce that will complicate status very
confusingly. In the past it has been possible to sustain several
contrasting moral systems in each of the practically autonomous states
of the world, but with a development and cheapening of travel and
migration that is as yet only in its opening phase, an increasing
conflict between dissimilar moral restrictions must appear. Even at
present, with only the most prosperous classes of the American and
Western European countries migrating at all freely, there is a growing
amount of inconvenience arising out of these--from the point of view of
social physiology--quite arbitrary differences. A man or woman may, for
example, have been the injured party in some conjugal complication, may
have established a domicile and divorced the erring spouse in certain
of the United States, may have married again there with absolute local
propriety, and may be a bigamist and a criminal in England. A child may
be a legal child in Denmark or Australia, and a bastard in this austerer
climate. These things are, however, only the first intimations of much
more profound reactions. Almost all the great European Powers, and the
United States also, are extending their boundaries to include great
masses of non-Christian polygamous peoples, and they are permeating
these peoples with railways, printed matter, and all the stimulants of
our present state. With the spread of these conveniences there is no
corresponding spread of Christianity. These people will not always
remain in the ring fence of their present regions; their superseded
princes, and rulers, and public masters, and managers, will presently
come to swell the shareholding mass of the appropriating Empire.
Europeans, on the other hand, will drift into these districts, and under
the influence of their customs, intermarriages and interracial reaction
will increase; in a world which is steadily abolishing locality, the
compromise of local concessions, of localized recognition of the "custom
of the country," cannot permanently avail. Statesmen will have to face
the alternative of either widening the permissible variations of the
marriage contract, or of acute racial and religious stresses, of a vast
variety of possible legal betrayals, and the appearance of a body of
self-respecting people, outside the law and public respect, a body that
will confer a touch of credit upon, because it will share the stigma of,
the deliberately dissolute and criminal. And whether the moral law
shrivels relatively by mere exclusiveness--as in religious matters the
Church of England, for example, has shrivelled to the proportions of a
mere sectarian practice--or whether it broadens itself to sustain
justice in a variety of sexual contracts, the nett result, so far as our
present purpose goes, will be the same. All these forces, making for
moral relaxation in the coming time, will probably be greatly enhanced
by the line of development certain sections of the irresponsible wealthy
will almost certainly follow.

Let me repeat that the shareholding rich man of the new time is in a
position of freedom almost unparalleled in the history of men. He has
sold his permission to control and experiment with the material wealth
of the community for freedom--for freedom from care, labour,
responsibility, custom, local usage and local attachment. He may come
back again into public affairs if he likes--that is his private concern.
Within the limits of the law and his capacity and courage, he may do as
the imagination of his heart directs. Now, such an experimental and
imperfect creature as man, a creature urged by such imperious passions,
so weak in imagination and controlled by so feeble a reason, receives
such absolute freedom as this only at infinite peril. To a great number
of these people, in the second or third generation, this freedom will
mean vice, the subversion of passion to inconsequent pleasures. We have
on record, in the personal history of the Roman emperors, how freedom
and uncontrolled power took one representative group of men, men not
entirely of one blood nor of one bias, but reinforced by the arbitrary
caprice of adoption and political revolution. We have in the history of
the Russian empresses a glimpse of similar feminine possibilities. We
are moving towards a time when, through this confusion of moral
standards I have foretold, the pressure of public opinion in these
matters must be greatly relaxed, when religion will no longer speak with
a unanimous voice, and when freedom of escape from disapproving
neighbours will be greatly facilitated. In the past, when depravity had
a centre about a court, the contagion of its example was limited to the
court region, but every idle rich man of this great, various, and widely
diffused class, will play to a certain extent the moral _rôle_ of a
court. In these days of universal reading and vivid journalism, every
novel infraction of the code will be known of, thought about, and more
or less thoroughly discussed by an enormous and increasing proportion of
the common people. In the past it has been possible for the churches to
maintain an attitude of respectful regret towards the lapses of the
great, and even to co-operate in these lapses with a sympathetic
privacy, while maintaining a wholesome rigour towards vulgar vice. But
in the coming time there will be no Great, but many rich, the middling
sort of people will probably be better educated as a whole than the
rich, and the days of their differential treatment are at an end.

It is foolish, in view of all these things, not to anticipate and
prepare for a state of things when not only will moral standards be
shifting and uncertain, admitting of physiologically sound _ménages_ of
very variable status, but also when vice and depravity, in every form
that is not absolutely penal, will be practised in every grade of
magnificence and condoned. This means that not only will status cease to
be simple and become complex and varied, but that outside the system of
_ménages_ now recognized, and under the disguise of which all other
_ménages_ shelter, there will be a vast drifting and unstable population
grouped in almost every conceivable form of relation. The world of
Georgian England was a world of Homes; the world of the coming time will
still have its Homes, its real Mothers, the custodians of the human
succession, and its cared-for children, the inheritors of the future,
but in addition to this Home world, frothing tumultuously over and
amidst these stable rocks, there will be an enormous complex of
establishments, and hotels, and sterile households, and flats, and all
the elaborate furnishing and appliances of a luxurious extinction.

And since in the present social chaos there does not yet exist any
considerable body of citizens--comparable to the agricultural and
commercial middle class of England during the period of limited
monarchy--that will be practically unanimous in upholding any body of
rules of moral restraint, since there will probably not appear for some
generations any body propounding with wide-reaching authority a new
definitely different code to replace the one that is now likely to be
increasingly disregarded, it follows that the present code with a few
interlined qualifications and grudging legal concessions will remain
nominally operative in sentiment and practice while being practically
disregarded, glossed, or replaced in numberless directions. It must be
pointed out that in effect, what is here forecast for questions of
_ménage_ and moral restraints has already happened to a very large
extent in religious matters. There was a time when it was held--and I
think rightly--that a man's religious beliefs, and particularly his
method of expressing them, was a part not of his individual but of his
social life. But the great upheavals of the Reformation resulted finally
in a compromise, a sort of truce, that has put religious belief very
largely out of intercourse and discussion. It is conceded that within
the bounds of the general peace and security a man may believe and
express his belief in matters of religion as he pleases, not because it
is better so, but because for the present epoch there is no way nor
hope of attaining unanimous truth. There is a decided tendency that
will, I believe, prevail towards the same compromise in the question of
private morals. There is a convention to avoid all discussion of creeds
in general social intercourse; and a similar convention to avoid the
point of status in relation to marriage, one may very reasonably
anticipate, will be similarly recognized.

But this impending dissolution of a common standard of morals does not
mean universal depravity until some great reconstruction obtains any
more than the obsolescence of the Conventicle Act means universal
irreligion. It means that for one Morality there will be many
moralities. Each human being will, in the face of circumstances, work
out his or her particular early training as his or her character
determines. And although there will be a general convention upon which
the most diverse people will meet, it will only be with persons who have
come to identical or similar conclusions in the matter of moral conduct
and who are living in similar _ménages_, just as now it is only with
people whose conversation implies a certain community or kinship of
religious belief, that really frequent and intimate intercourse will go
on. In other words, there will be a process of moral segregation[31] set
up. Indeed, such a process is probably already in operation, amidst the
deliquescent social mass. People will be drawn together into little
groups of similar _ménages_ having much in common. And this--in view of
the considerations advanced in the first two chapters, considerations
all converging on the practical abolition of distances and the general
freedom of people to live anywhere they like over large areas--will mean
very frequently an actual local segregation. There will be districts
that will be clearly recognized and marked as "nice," fast regions,
areas of ramshackle Bohemianism, regions of earnest and active work,
old-fashioned corners and Hill Tops. Whole regions will be set aside for
the purposes of opulent enjoyment--a thing already happening, indeed, at
points along the Riviera to-day. Already the superficial possibilities
of such a segregation have been glanced at. It has been pointed out that
the enormous urban region of the future may present an extraordinary
variety of districts, suburbs, and subordinate centres within its
limiting boundaries, and here we have a very definite enforcement of
that probability.

In the previous chapter I spoke of boating centres and horsey suburbs,
and picturesque hilly districts and living places by the sea, of
promenade centres and theatrical districts; I hinted at various fashions
in architecture, and suchlike things, but these exterior appearances
will be but the outward and visible sign of inward and more spiritual
distinctions. The people who live in the good hunting country and about
that glittering Grand Stand, will no longer be even pretending to live
under the same code as those picturesque musical people who have
concentrated on the canoe-dotted river. Where the promenaders gather,
and the bands are playing, and the pretty little theatres compete, the
pleasure seeker will be seeking such pleasure as he pleases, no longer
debased by furtiveness and innuendo, going his primrose path to a
congenial, picturesque, happy and highly desirable extinction. Just over
the hills, perhaps, a handful of opulent shareholders will be pleasantly
preserving the old traditions of a landed aristocracy, with servants,
tenants, vicar, and other dependents all complete, and what from the
point of view of social physiology will really be an arrested contingent
of the Abyss, but all nicely washed and done good to, will pursue home
industries in model cottages in a quite old English and exemplary
manner. Here the windmills will spin and the waterfalls be trapped to
gather force, and the quiet-eyed master of the machinery will have his
office and perhaps his private home. Here about the great college and
its big laboratories there will be men and women reasoning and studying;
and here, where the homes thicken among the ripe gardens, one will hear
the laughter of playing children, the singing of children in their
schools, and see their little figures going to and fro amidst the trees
and flowers....

And these segregations, based primarily on a difference in moral ideas
and pursuits and ideals, will probably round off and complete themselves
at last as distinct and separate cultures. As the moral ideas realize
themselves in _ménage_ and habits, so the ideals will seek to find
expression in a literature, and the passive drifting together will pass
over into a phase of more or less conscious and intentional
organization. The segregating groups will develop fashions of costume,
types of manners and bearing, and even, perhaps, be characterized by a
certain type of facial expression. And this gives us a glimpse, an
aspect of the immediate future of literature. The kingdoms of the past
were little things, and above the mass of peasants who lived and obeyed
and died, there was just one little culture to which all must needs
conform. Literature was universal within the limits of its language.
Where differences of view arose there were violent controversies,
polemics, and persecutions, until one or other rendering had won its
ascendency. But this new world into which we are passing will, for
several generations at least, albeit it will be freely
inter-communicating and like a whispering gallery for things outspoken,
possess no universal ideals, no universal conventions: there will be the
literature of the thought and effort of this sort of people, and the
literature, thought, and effort of that.[32] Life is already most
wonderfully arbitrary and experimental, and for the coming century this
must be its essential social history, a great drifting and unrest of
people, a shifting and regrouping and breaking up again of groups, great
multitudes seeking to find themselves.

The safe life in the old order, where one did this because it was right,
and that because it was the custom, when one shunned this and hated
that, as lead runs into a mould, all that is passing away. And
presently, as the new century opens out, there will become more and more
distinctly emergent many new cultures and settled ways. The grey expanse
of life to-day is grey, not in its essence, but because of the minute
confused mingling and mutual cancelling of many-coloured lives.
Presently these tints and shades will gather together here as a mass of
one colour, and there as a mass of another. And as these colours
intensify and the tradition of the former order fades, as these cultures
become more and more shaped and conscious, as the new literatures grow
in substance and power, as differences develop from speculative matter
of opinion to definite intentions, as contrasts and affinities grow
sharper and clearer, there must follow some very extensive modifications
in the collective public life. But one series of tints, one colour must
needs have a heightening value amidst this iridescent display. While the
forces at work in the wealthy and purely speculative groups of society
make for disintegration, and in many cases for positive elimination, the
forces that bring together the really functional people will tend more
and more to impose upon them certain common characteristics and beliefs,
and the discovery of a group of similar and compatible class interests
upon which they can unite. The practical people, the engineering and
medical and scientific people, will become more and more homogeneous in
their fundamental culture, more and more distinctly aware of a common
"general reason" in things, and of a common difference from the less
functional masses and from any sort of people in the past. They will
have in their positive science a common ground for understanding the
real pride of life, the real reason for the incidental nastiness of
vice, and so they will be a sanely reproductive class, and, above all,
an educating class. Just how much they will have kept or changed of the
deliquescent morality of to-day, when in a hundred years or so they do
distinctively and powerfully emerge, I cannot speculate now. They will
certainly be a moral people. They will have developed the literature of
their needs, they will have discussed and tested and thrashed out many
things, they will be clear where we are confused, resolved where we are
undecided and weak. In the districts of industrial possibility, in the
healthier quarters of the town regions, away from the swamps and away
from the glare of the midnight lights, these people will be gathered
together. They will be linked in professions through the agency of great
and sober papers--in England the _Lancet_, the _British Medical
Journal_, and the already great periodicals of the engineering trades,
foreshadow something, but only a very little, of what these papers may
be. The best of the wealthy will gravitate to their attracting
centres.... Unless some great catastrophe in nature break down all that
man has built, these great kindred groups of capable men and educated,
adequate women must be, under the operation of the forces we have
considered so far, the element finally emergent amidst the vast
confusions of the coming time.


[30] That interesting book by Mr. George Sutherland, _Twentieth Century
Inventions_, is very suggestive on these as on many other matters.

[31] I use the word "segregation" here and always as it is used by
mineralogists to express the slow conveyance of diffused matter upon
centres of aggregation, such a process as, for example, must have
occurred in the growth of flints.

[32] Already this is becoming apparent enough. The literary "Boom," for
example, affected the entire reading public of the early nineteenth
century. It was no figure of speech that "everyone" was reading Byron or
puzzling about the Waverley mystery, that first and most successful use
of the unknown author dodge. The booming of Dickens, too, forced him
even into the reluctant hands of Omar's Fitzgerald. But the
factory-syren voice of the modern "boomster" touches whole sections of
the reading public no more than fog-horns going down Channel. One would
as soon think of Skinner's Soap for one's library as So-and-so's Hundred
Thousand Copy Success. Instead of "everyone" talking of the Great New
Book, quite considerable numbers are shamelessly admitting they don't
read that sort of thing. One gets used to literary booms just as one
gets used to motor cars, they are no longer marvellous, universally
significant things, but merely something that goes by with much
unnecessary noise and leaves a faint offence in the air. Distinctly we
segregate. And while no one dominates, while for all this bawling there
are really no great authors of imperial dimensions, indeed no great
successes to compare with the Waverley boom, or the boom of Macaulay's
History, many men, too fine, too subtle, too aberrant, too unusually
fresh for any but exceptional readers, men who would probably have
failed to get a hearing at all in the past, can now subsist quite
happily with the little sect they have found, or that has found them.
They live safely in their islands; a little while ago they could not
have lived at all, or could have lived only on the shameful bread of
patronage, and yet it is these very men who are often most covetously
bitter against the vulgar preferences of the present day.



In the preceding four chapters there has been developed, in a clumsy
laborious way, a smudgy, imperfect picture of the generalized civilized
state of the coming century. In terms, vague enough at times, but never
absolutely indefinite, the general distribution of the population in
this state has been discussed, and its natural development into four
great--but in practice intimately interfused--classes. It has been
shown--I know not how convincingly--that as the result of forces that
are practically irresistible, a world-wide process of social and moral
deliquescence is in progress, and that a really functional social body
of engineering, managing men, scientifically trained, and having common
ideals and interests, is likely to segregate and disentangle itself from
our present confusion of aimless and ill-directed lives. It has been
pointed out that life is presenting an unprecedented and increasing
variety of morals, _ménages_, occupations and types, at present so
mingled as to give a general effect of greyness, but containing the
promise of local concentration that may presently change that greyness
into kaleidoscopic effects. That image of concentrating contrasted
colours will be greatly repeated in this present chapter. In the course
of these inquiries, we have permitted ourselves to take a few concrete
glimpses of households, costumes, conveyances, and conveniences of the
coming time, but only as incidental realizations of points in this
general thesis. And now, assuming, as we must necessarily do, the
soundness of these earlier speculations, we have arrived at a stage when
we may consider how the existing arrangements for the ostensible
government of the State are likely to develop through their own inherent
forces, and how they are likely to be affected by the processes we have

So far, this has been a speculation upon the probable development of a
civilized society _in vacuo_. Attention has been almost exclusively
given to the forces of development, and not to the forces of conflict
and restraint. We have ignored the boundaries of language that are flung
athwart the great lines of modern communication, we have disregarded the
friction of tariffs, the peculiar groups of prejudices and irrational
instincts that inspire one miscellany of shareholders, workers,
financiers, and superfluous poor such as the English, to hate,
exasperate, lie about, and injure another such miscellany as the French
or the Germans. Moreover, we have taken very little account of the fact
that, quite apart from nationality, each individual case of the new
social order is developing within the form of a legal government based
on conceptions of a society that has been superseded by the advent of
mechanism. It is this last matter that we are about to take into

Now, this age is being constantly described as a "Democratic" age;
"Democracy" is alleged to have affected art, literature, trade and
religion alike in the most remarkable ways. It is not only tacitly
present in the great bulk of contemporary thought that this "Democracy"
is now dominant, but that it is becoming more and more overwhelmingly
predominant as the years pass. Allusions to Democracy are so abundant,
deductions from its influence so confident and universal, that it is
worth while to point out what a very hollow thing the word in most cases
really is, a large empty object in thought, of the most vague and faded
associations and the most attenuated content, and to inquire just
exactly what the original implications and present realities of
"Democracy" may be. The inquiry will leave us with a very different
conception of the nature and future of this sort of political
arrangement from that generally assumed. We have already seen in the
discussion of the growth of great cities, that an analytical process may
absolutely invert the expectation based on the gross results up-to-date,
and I believe it will be equally possible to show cause for believing
that the development of Democracy also is, after all, not the opening
phase of a world-wide movement going on unbendingly in its present
direction, but the first impulse of forces that will finally sweep round
into a quite different path. Flying off at a tangent is probably one of
the gravest dangers and certainly the one most constantly present, in
this enterprise of prophecy.

One may, I suppose, take the Rights of Man as they are embodied in the
French Declaration as the ostentations of Democracy; our present
Democratic state may be regarded as a practical realization of these
claims. As far as the individual goes, the realization takes the form of
an untrammelled liberty in matters that have heretofore been considered
a part of social procedure, in the lifting of positive religious and
moral compulsions, in the recognition of absolute property, and in the
abolition of special privileges and special restrictions. Politically
modern Democracy takes the form of denying that any specific person or
persons shall act as a matter of intrinsic right or capacity on behalf
of the community as a whole. Its root idea is representation. Government
is based primarily on election, and every ruler is, in theory at least,
a delegate and servant of the popular will. It is implicit in the
Democratic theory that there _is_ such a thing as a popular will, and
this is supposed to be the net sum of the wills of all the citizens in
the State, so far as public affairs are concerned. In its less perfect
and more usual state the Democratic theory is advanced either as an
ethical theory which postulates an absence of formal acquiescence on the
part of the governed as injustice, or else as a convenient political
compromise, the least objectionable of all possible methods of public
control, because it will permit only the minimum of general
unhappiness.... I know of no case for the elective Democratic government
of modern States that cannot be knocked to pieces in five minutes. It is
manifest that upon countless important public issues there is no
collective will, and nothing in the mind of the average man except blank
indifference; that an electional system simply places power in the hands
of the most skilful electioneers; that neither men nor their rights are
identically equal, but vary with every individual, and, above all, that
the minimum or maximum of general happiness is related only so
indirectly to the public control that people will suffer great miseries
from their governments unresistingly, and, on the other hand, change
their rulers on account of the most trivial irritations. The case
against all the prolusions of ostensible Democracy is indeed so strong
that it is impossible to consider the present wide establishment of
Democratic institutions as being the outcome of any process of
intellectual conviction; it arouses suspicion even whether ostensible
Democracy may not be a mere rhetorical garment for essentially
different facts, and upon that suspicion we will now inquire.

Democracy of the modern type, manhood suffrage and so forth, became a
conspicuous phenomenon in the world only in the closing decades of the
eighteenth century. Its genesis is so intimately connected with the
first expansion of the productive element in the State, through
mechanism and a co-operative organization, as to point at once to a
causative connection. The more closely one looks into the social and
political life of the eighteenth century the more plausible becomes this
view. New and potentially influential social factors had begun to
appear--the organizing manufacturer, the intelligent worker, the skilled
tenant, and the urban abyss, and the traditions of the old land-owning
non-progressive aristocratic monarchy that prevailed in Christendom,
rendered it incapable--without some destructive shock or convulsion--of
any re-organization to incorporate or control these new factors. In the
case of the British Empire an additional stress was created by the
incapacity of the formal government to assimilate the developing
civilization of the American colonies. Everywhere there were new
elements, not as yet clearly analyzed or defined, arising as mechanism
arose; everywhere the old traditional government and social system,
defined and analyzed all too well, appeared increasingly obstructive,
irrational, and feeble in its attempts to include and direct these new
powers. But now comes a point to which I am inclined to attach very
great importance. The new powers were as yet shapeless. It was not the
conflict of a new organization with the old. It was the preliminary
dwarfing and deliquescence of the mature old beside the embryonic mass
of the new. It was impossible then--it is, I believe, only beginning to
be possible now--to estimate the proportions, possibilities, and
inter-relations of the new social orders out of which a social
organization has still to be built in the coming years. No formula of
definite re-construction had been evolved, or has even been evolved yet,
after a hundred years. And these swelling inchoate new powers, whose
very birth condition was the crippling, modification, or destruction of
the old order, were almost forced to formulate their proceedings for a
time, therefore, in general affirmative propositions that were really in
effect not affirmative propositions at all, but propositions of
repudiation and denial. "These kings and nobles and people privileged in
relation to obsolescent functions cannot manage our affairs"--that was
evident enough, that was the really essential question at that time, and
since no other effectual substitute appeared ready made, the working
doctrine of the infallible judgment of humanity in the gross, as
distinguished from the quite indisputable incapacity of sample
individuals, became, in spite of its inherent absurdity, a convenient
and acceptable working hypothesis.

Modern Democracy thus came into being, not, as eloquent persons have
pretended, by the sovereign people consciously and definitely assuming
power--I imagine the sovereign people in France during the first
Revolution, for example, quite amazed and muddle-headed with it all--but
by the decline of old ruling classes in the face of the _quasi_-natural
growth of mechanism and industrialism, and by the unpreparedness and
want of organization in the new intelligent elements in the State. I
have compared the human beings in society to a great and increasing
variety of colours tumultuously smashed up together, and giving at
present a general and quite illusory effect of grey, and I have
attempted to show that there is a process in progress that will amount
at last to the segregation of these mingled tints into recognizable
distinct masses again. It is not a monotony, but an utterly disorderly
and confusing variety that makes this grey, but Democracy, for practical
purposes, does really assume such a monotony. Like 'infinity', the
Democratic formula is a concrete-looking and negotiable symbol for a
negation. It is the aspect in political disputes and contrivances of
that social and moral deliquescence the nature and possibilities of
which have been discussed in the preceding chapters of this volume.

Modern Democracy first asserted itself in the ancient kingdoms of
France and Great Britain (counting the former British colonies in
America as a part of the latter), and it is in the French and
English-speaking communities that Democracy has developed itself most
completely. Upon the supposition we have made, Democracy broke out first
in these States because they were leading the way in material progress,
because they were the first States to develop industrialism, wholesale
mechanisms, and great masses of insubordinate activity outside the
recognized political scheme, and the nature and time and violence of the
outbreak was determined by the nature of the superseded government, and
the amount of stress between it and the new elements. But the detachment
of a great section of the new middle-class from the aristocratic order
of England to form the United States of America, and the sudden
rejuvenescence of France by the swift and thorough sloughing of its
outworn aristocratic monarchy, the consequent wars and the Napoleonic
adventure, checked and modified the parallel development that might
otherwise have happened in country after country over all Europe west of
the Carpathians. The monarchies that would probably have collapsed
through internal forces and given place to modern democratic states were
smashed from the outside, and a process of political re-construction,
that has probably missed out the complete formal Democratic phase
altogether--and which has been enormously complicated through
religious, national, and dynastic traditions--set in. Throughout
America, in England, and, after extraordinary experiments, in France,
political democracy has in effect legally established itself--most
completely in the United States--and the reflection and influence of its
methods upon the methods of all the other countries in intellectual
contact with it, have been so considerable as practically to make their
monarchies as new in their kind, almost, as democratic republics. In
Germany, Austria, and Italy, for example, there is a press nearly as
audible as in the more frankly democratic countries, and measurably akin
in influence; there are constitutionally established legislative
assemblies, and there is the same unofficial development of powerful
financial and industrial powers with which the ostensible Government
must make terms. In a vast amount of the public discussion of these
States, the postulates of Democracy are clearly implicit. Quite as much
in reality as the democratic republics of America, are they based not on
classes but upon a confusion; they are, in their various degrees and
with their various individual differences, just as truly governments of
the grey.

It has been argued that the grey is illusory and must sooner or later
pass, and that the colour that will emerge to predominance will take its
shape as a scientifically trained middle-class of an unprecedented
sort, not arising out of the older middle-classes, but replacing them.
This class will become, I believe, at last consciously _the_ State,
controlling and restricting very greatly the three non-functional masses
with which it is as yet almost indistinguishably mingled. The general
nature of its formation within the existing confusion and its emergence
may, I think, with a certain degree of confidence, be already forecast,
albeit at present its beginnings are singularly unpromising and faint.
At present the class of specially trained and capable people--doctors,
engineers, scientific men of all sorts--is quite disproportionally
absent from political life, it does not exist as a factor in that life,
it is growing up outside that life, and has still to develop, much more
to display, a collective intention to come specifically in. But the
forces are in active operation to drag it into the centre of the stage
for all that.

The modern democracy or democratic quasi-monarchy conducts its affairs
as though there was no such thing as special knowledge or practical
education. The utmost recognition it affords to the man who has taken
the pains to know, and specifically to do, is occasionally to consult
him upon specific points and override his counsels in its ampler wisdom,
or to entrust to him some otherwise impossible duty under circumstances
of extreme limitation. The man of special equipment is treated always as
if he were some sort of curious performing animal. The gunnery
specialist, for example, may move and let off guns, but he may not say
where they are to be let off--some one a little ignorant of range and
trajectory does that; the engineer may move the ship and fire the
battery, but only with some man, who does not perfectly understand,
shouting instructions down a tube at him. If the cycle is to be adapted
to military requirements, the thing is entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel
Balfour. If horses are to be bought for the British Army in India, no
specialist goes, but Lord Edward Cecil. These people of the governing
class do not understand there is such a thing as special knowledge or an
inexorable fact in the world; they have been educated at schools
conducted by amateur schoolmasters, whose real aim in life--if such
people can be described as having a real aim in life--is the episcopal
bench, and they have learnt little or nothing but the extraordinary
power of appearances in these democratic times. To look right and to be
of good report is to succeed. What else is there? The primarily
functional men are ignored in the ostensible political scheme, it
operates as though they did not exist, as though nothing, in fact,
existed but the irresponsible wealthy, and the manipulators of
irresponsible wealth, on the one hand, and a great, grey, politically
indifferent community on the other. Having regard only to the present
condition of political life, it would seem as though this state of
affairs must continue indefinitely, and develop only in accordance with
the laws of inter-action between our charlatan governing class on the
one hand, and the grey mass of governed on the other. There is no way
apparent in the existing political and social order, whereby the class
of really educated persons that the continually more complicated
mechanical fabric of social life is developing may be expected to come
in. And in a very great amount of current political speculation, the
development and final emergence of this class is ignored, and attention
is concentrated entirely upon the inherent process of development of the
political machine. And even in that it is very easy to exaggerate the
preponderance of one or other of what are really very evenly balanced
forces in the machine of democratic government.

There are two chief sets of parts in the machine that have a certain
antagonistic relation, that play against each other, and one's
conception of coming developments is necessarily determined by the
relative value one gives to these opposing elements. One may compare
these two groups to the Power and the Work, respectively, at the two
ends of a lever.[33] On the one hand there is that which pays for the
machine, which distributes salaries and rewards, subsidizes newspapers
and so forth--the central influence.[34] On the other hand, there is
the collectively grey voting mass, with certain prejudices and
traditions, and certain laws and limitations of thought upon which the
newspapers work, and which, within the confines of its inherent laws,
they direct. If one dwell chiefly on the possibilities of the former
element, one may conjure up a practical end to democracy in the vision
of a State "run" entirely by a group of highly forcible and intellectual
persons--usually the dream takes the shape of financiers and their
associates, their perfected mechanism of party control working the
elections boldly and capably, and their public policy being directed
towards financial ends. One of the common prophecies of the future of
the United States is such a domination by a group of trust organizers
and political bosses. But a man, or a group of men, so strong and
intelligent as would be needed to hold an entire party machine within
the confines of his--or their collective--mind and will, could, at the
most, be but a very transitory and incidental phenomenon in the history
of the world. Either such an exploitation of the central control will
have to be covert and subtle beyond any precedent in human
disingenuousness, or else its domination will have to be very amply
modified indeed, by the requirements of the second factor, and its
proceedings made very largely the resultant of that second factor's
forces. Moreover, very subtle men do not aim at things of this sort, or
aiming, fail, because subtlety of intelligence involves subtlety of
character, a certain fastidiousness and a certain weakness. Now that the
garrulous period, when a flow of language and a certain effectiveness of
manner was a necessary condition to political pre-eminence, is passing
away, political control falls more and more entirely into the hands of a
barristerish intriguing sort of person with a tough-wearing, leathery,
practical mind. The sort of people who will work the machine are people
with "faith," as the popular preachers say, meaning, in fact, people who
do not analyze, people who will take the machine as it is,
unquestioningly, shape their ambitions to it, and--saving their
vanity--work it as it wants to go. The man who will be boss will be the
man who wants to be boss, who finds, in being boss, a complete and final
satisfaction, and not the man who complicates things by wanting to be
boss in order to be, or do, something else. The machines are governed
to-day, and there is every reason to believe that they will continue to
be governed, by masterful-looking resultants, masters of nothing but
compromise, and that little fancy of an inner conspiracy of control
within the machine and behind ostensible politics is really on all fours
with the wonderful Rodin (of the Juif Errant) and as probable as
anything else in the romances of Eugene Sue.

If, on the other hand, we direct attention to the antagonistic element
in the machine, to Public Opinion, to the alleged collective mind of the
grey mass, and consider how it is brought to believe in itself and its
possession of certain opinions by the concrete evidence of daily
newspapers and eloquent persons saying as much, we may also very readily
conjure up a contrasted vision of extraordinary demagogues or newspaper
syndicates working the political machine from that direction. So far as
the demagogue goes, the increase of population, the multiplication of
amusements and interests, the differentiation of social habits, the
diffusion of great towns, all militate against that sufficient gathering
of masses of voters in meeting-houses which gave him his power in the
recent past. It is improbable that ever again will any flushed
undignified man with a vast voice, a muscular face in incessant
operation, collar crumpled, hair disordered, and arms in wild activity,
talking, talking, talking, talking copiously out of the windows of
railway carriages, talking on railway platforms, talking from hotel
balconies, talking on tubs, barrels, scaffoldings, pulpits--tireless and
undammable--rise to be the most powerful thing in any democratic state
in the world. Continually the individual vocal demagogue dwindles, and
the element of bands and buttons, the organization of the press and
procession, the share of the machine, grows.

Mr. Harmsworth, of the London _Daily Mail_, in a very interesting
article has glanced at certain possibilities of power that may vest in
the owners of a great system of world-wide "simultaneous" newspapers,
but he does not analyze the nature of the influence exercised by
newspapers during the successive phases of the nineteenth century, nor
the probable modifications of that influence in the years to come, and I
think, on the whole, he inclines very naturally to over estimate the
amount of intentional direction that may be given by the owner of a
paper to the minds and acts of his readers, and to exceed the very
definite limits within which that influence is confined. In the earlier
Victorian period, the more limited, partly educated, and still very
homogeneous enfranchised class, had a certain habit of thinking; its
tranquil assurance upon most theological and all moral and æsthetic
points left political questions as the chief field of exercise for such
thinking as it did, and, as a consequence, the dignified newspapers of
that time were able to discuss, and indeed were required to discuss not
only specific situations but general principles. That indeed was their
principal function, and it fell rather to the eloquent men to misapply
these principles according to the necessity of the occasion. The papers
did then very much more than they do now to mould opinion, though they
did not direct affairs to anything like the extent of their modern
successors. They made roads upon which events presently travelled in
unexpected fashions. But the often cheaper and always more vivid
newspapers that have come with the New Democracy do nothing to mould
opinion. Indeed, there is no longer upon most public questions--and as I
have tried to make clear in my previous paper, there is not likely to be
any longer--a collective opinion to be moulded. Protectionists, for
example, are a mere band, Free Traders are a mere band; on all these
details we are in chaos. And these modern newspapers simply endeavour to
sustain a large circulation and so merit advertisements by being as
miscellaneously and vividly interesting as possible, by firing where the
crowd seems thickest, by seeking perpetually and without any attempt at
consistency, the greatest excitement of the greatest number. It is upon
the cultivation and rapid succession of inflammatory topics that the
modern newspaper expends its capital and trusts to recover its reward.
Its general news sinks steadily to a subordinate position; criticism,
discussion, and high responsibility pass out of journalism, and the
power of the press comes more and more to be a dramatic and emotional
power, the power to cry "Fire!" in the theatre, the power to give
enormous value for a limited time to some personality, some event, some
aspect, true or false, without any power of giving a specific direction
to the forces this distortion may set going. Directly the press of
to-day passes from that sort of thing to some specific proposal, some
implication of principles and beliefs, directly it chooses and selects,
then it passes from the miscellaneous to the sectarian, and out of touch
with the grey indefiniteness of the general mind. It gives offence here,
it perplexes and bores there; no more than the boss politician can the
paper of great circulation afford to work consistently for any ulterior

This is the limit of the power of the modern newspaper of large
circulation, the newspaper that appeals to the grey element, to the
average democratic man, the newspaper of the deliquescence, and if our
previous conclusion that human society has ceased to be homogeneous and
will presently display new masses segregating from a great confusion,
holds good, that will be the limit of its power in the future. It may
undergo many remarkable developments and modifications,[35] but none of
these tend to give it any greater political importance than it has now.
And so, after all, our considerations of the probable developments of
the party machine give us only negative results, so long as the grey
social confusion continues. Subject to that continuance the party
machine will probably continue as it is at present, and Democratic
States and governments follow the lines upon which they run at the
present time.

Now, how will the emergent class of capable men presently begin to
modify the existing form of government in the ostensibly democratic
countries and democratic monarchies? There will be very many variations
and modifications of the methods of this arrival, an infinite
complication of detailed incidents, but a general proposition will be
found to hold good. The suppression of the party machine in the purely
democratic countries and of the official choice of the rich and
privileged rulers in the more monarchical ones, by capable operative and
administrative men inspired by the belief in a common theory of social
order, will come about--peacefully and gradually as a process of change,
or violently as a revolution--but inevitably as the outcome either of
the imminence or else of the disasters of war.

That all these governments of confusion will drift towards war, with a
spacious impulse and a final vehemence quite out of comparison greater
than the warlike impulses of former times, is a remarkable but by no
means inexplicable thing. A tone of public expression, jealous and
patriotic to the danger-point, is an unavoidable condition under which
democratic governments exist. To be patriotically quarrelsome is
imperative upon the party machines that will come to dominate the
democratic countries. They will not possess detailed and definite
policies and creeds because there are no longer any detailed and
definite public opinions, but they will for all that require some
ostensible purpose to explain their cohesion, some hold upon the common
man that will ensure his appearance in numbers at the polling place
sufficient to save the government from the raids of small but determined
sects. That hold can be only of one sort. Without moral or religious
uniformity, with material interests as involved and confused as a heap
of spelicans, there remains only one generality for the politician's
purpose, the ampler aspect of a man's egotism, his pride in what he
imagines to be his particular kind--his patriotism. In every country
amenable to democratic influences there emerges, or will emerge, a party
machine, vividly and simply patriotic--and indefinite upon the score of
any other possible consideration between man and man. This will hold
true, not only of the ostensibly democratic states, but also of such
reconstituted modern monarchies as Italy and Germany, for they, too, for
all their legal difference, rest also on the grey. The party conflicts
of the future will turn very largely on the discovery of the true
patriot, on the suspicion that the crown or the machine in possession is
in some more or less occult way traitorous, and almost all other matters
of contention will be shelved and allowed to stagnate, for fear of
breaking the unity of the national mechanism.

Now, patriotism is not a thing that flourishes in the void,--one needs a
foreigner. A national and patriotic party is an anti-foreign party; the
altar of the modern god, Democracy, will cry aloud for the stranger men.
Simply to keep in power, and out of no love of mischief, the government
or the party machine will have to insist upon dangers and national
differences, to keep the voter to the poll by alarms, seeking ever to
taint the possible nucleus of any competing organization with the
scandal of external influence. The party press will play the watch-dog
and allay all internal dissensions with its warning bay at some adjacent
people, and the adjacent peoples, for reasons to be presently expanded,
will be continually more sensitive to such baying. Already one sees
country yelping at country all over the modern world, not only in the
matter of warlike issues, but with a note of quite furious commercial
rivalry--quite furious and, indeed, quite insane, since its ideal of
trading enormously with absolutely ruined and tradeless foreigners,
exporting everything and importing nothing, is obviously outside reason
altogether. The inexorable doom of these governments based on the grey,
is to foster enmity between people and people. Even their alliances are
but sacrifices to intenser antagonisms. And the phases of the democratic
sequence are simple and sure. Forced on by a relentless competition, the
tone of the outcries will become fiercer and fiercer; the occasions of
excitement, the perilous moments, the ingenuities of annoyance, more and
more dramatic,--from the mere emptiness and disorder of the general
mind! Jealousies and anti-foreign enactments, tariff manipulations and
commercial embitterment, destructive, foolish, exasperating obstructions
that benefit no human being, will minister to this craving without
completely allaying it. Nearer, and ever nearer, the politicians of the
coming times will force one another towards the verge, not because they
want to go over it, not because any one wants to go over it, but because
they are, by their very nature, compelled to go that way, because to go
in any other direction is to break up and lose power. And, consequently,
the final development of the democratic system, so far as intrinsic
forces go, will be, not the rule of the boss, nor the rule of the trust,
nor the rule of the newspaper; no rule, indeed, but international
rivalry, international competition, international exasperation and
hostility, and at last--irresistible and overwhelming--the definite
establishment of the rule of that most stern and educational of all

At this point there opens a tempting path, and along it historical
precedents, like a forest of notice-boards, urge us to go. At the end of
the vista poses the figure of Napoleon with "Cæsarism" written beneath
it. Disregarding certain alien considerations for a time, assuming the
free working out of democracy to its conclusion, we perceive that, in
the case of our generalized state, the party machine, together with the
nation entrusted to it, must necessarily be forced into passionate
national war. But, having blundered into war, the party machine will
have an air of having accomplished its destiny. A party machine or a
popular government is surely as likely a thing to cause a big disorder
of war and as unlikely a thing to conduct it, as the wit of man, working
solely to that end, could ever have devised. I have already pointed out
why we can never expect an elected government of the modern sort to be
guided by any far-reaching designs, it is constructed to get office and
keep office, not to do anything in office, the conditions of its
survival are to keep appearances up and taxes down,[36] and the care
and management of army and navy is quite outside its possibilities. The
military and naval professions in our typical modern State will subsist
very largely upon tradition, the ostensible government will interfere
with rather than direct them, and there will be no force in the entire
scheme to check the corrupting influence of a long peace, to insist upon
adequate exercises for the fighting organization or ensure an adequate
adaptation to the new and perpetually changing possibilities of untried
apparatus. Incapable but confident and energetic persons, having
political influence, will have been permitted to tamper with the various
arms of the service, the equipment will be largely devised to create an
impression of efficiency in times of peace in the minds of the general
voting public, and the really efficient soldiers will either have
fretted themselves out of the army or have been driven out as political
non-effectives, troublesome, innovating persons anxious to spend money
upon "fads." So armed, the New Democracy will blunder into war, and the
opening stage of the next great war will be the catastrophic breakdown
of the formal armies, shame and disasters, and a disorder of conflict
between more or less equally matched masses of stupefied, scared, and
infuriated people. Just how far the thing may rise from the value of an
alarming and edifying incident to a universal catastrophe, depends upon
the special nature of the conflict, but it does not alter the fact that
any considerable war is bound to be a bitter, appalling, highly
educational and constitution-shaking experience for the modern
democratic state.

Now, foreseeing this possibility, it is easy to step into the trap of
the Napoleonic precedent. One hastens to foretell that either with the
pressure of coming war, or in the hour of defeat, there will arise the
Man. He will be strong in action, epigrammatic in manner, personally
handsome and continually victorious. He will sweep aside parliaments and
demagogues, carry the nation to glory, reconstruct it as an empire, and
hold it together by circulating his profile and organizing further
successes. He will--I gather this from chance lights upon contemporary
anticipations--codify everything, rejuvenate the papacy, or, at any
rate, galvanize Christianity, organize learning in meek intriguing
academies of little men, and prescribe a wonderful educational system.
The grateful nations will once more deify a lucky and aggressive
egotism.... And there the vision loses breath.

Nothing of the sort is going to happen, or, at any rate, if it happens,
it will happen as an interlude, as no necessary part in the general
progress of the human drama. The world is no more to be recast by chance
individuals than a city is to be lit by sky rockets. The purpose of
things emerges upon spacious issues, and the day of individual leaders
is past. The analogies and precedents that lead one to forecast the
coming of military one-man-dominions, the coming of such other parodies
of Cæsar's career as that misapplied, and speedily futile chess
champion, Napoleon I. contrived, are false. They are false because they
ignore two correlated things; first, the steady development of a new and
quite unprecedented educated class as a necessary aspect of the
expansion of science and mechanism, and secondly, the absolute
revolution in the art of war that science and mechanism are bringing
about. This latter consideration the next chapter will expand, but here,
in the interests of this discussion, we may in general terms anticipate
its gist. War in the past has been a thing entirely different in its
nature from what war, with the apparatus of the future, will be--it has
been showy, dramatic, emotional, and restricted; war in the future will
be none of these things. War in the past was a thing of days and
heroisms; battles and campaigns rested in the hand of the great
commander, he stood out against the sky, picturesquely on horseback,
visibly controlling it all. War in the future will be a question of
preparation, of long years of foresight and disciplined imagination,
there will be no decisive victory, but a vast diffusion of conflict--it
will depend less and less on controlling personalities and driving
emotions, and more and more upon the intelligence and personal quality
of a great number of skilled men. All this the next chapter will expand.
And either before or after, but, at any rate, in the shadow of war, it
will become apparent, perhaps even suddenly, that the whole apparatus of
power in the country is in the hands of a new class of intelligent and
scientifically-educated men. They will probably, under the development
of warlike stresses, be discovered--they will discover
themselves--almost surprisingly with roads and railways, carts and
cities, drains, food supply, electrical supply, and water supply, and
with guns and such implements of destruction and intimidation as men
scarcely dream of yet, gathered in their hands. And they will be
discovered, too, with a growing common consciousness of themselves as
distinguished from the grey confusion, a common purpose and implication
that the fearless analysis of science is already bringing to light.
They will find themselves with bloodshed and horrible disasters ahead,
and the material apparatus of control entirely within their power.
"Suppose, after all," they will say, "we ignore these very eloquent and
showy governing persons above, and this very confused and ineffectual
multitude below. Suppose now we put on the brakes and try something a
little more stable and orderly. These people in possession have, of
course, all sorts of established rights and prescriptions; they have
squared the law to their purpose, and the constitution does not know us;
they can get at the judges, they can get at the newspapers, they can do
all sorts of things except avoid a smash--but, for our part, we have
these really most ingenious and subtle guns. Suppose instead of our
turning them and our valuable selves in a fool's quarrel against the
ingenious and subtle guns of other men akin to ourselves, we use them in
the cause of the higher sanity, and clear that jabbering war tumult out
of the streets."... There may be no dramatic moment for the expression
of this idea, no moment when the new Cromwellism and the new Ironsides
will come visibly face to face with talk and baubles, flags and
patriotic dinner bells; but, with or without dramatic moments, the idea
will be expressed and acted upon. It will be made quite evident then,
what is now indeed only a pious opinion, namely, that wealth is, after
all, no ultimate Power at all, but only an influence among aimless,
police-guarded men. So long as there is peace the class of capable men
may be mitigated and gagged and controlled, and the ostensible present
order may flourish still in the hands of that other class of men which
deals with the appearances of things. But as some supersaturated
solution will crystallize out with the mere shaking of its beaker, so
must the new order of men come into visibly organized existence through
the concussions of war. The charlatans can escape everything except war,
but to the cant and violence of nationality, to the sustaining force of
international hostility, they are ruthlessly compelled to cling, and
what is now their chief support must become at last their destruction.
And so it is I infer that, whether violently as a revolution or quietly
and slowly, this grey confusion that is Democracy must pass away
inevitably by its own inherent conditions, as the twilight passes, as
the embryonic confusion of the cocoon creature passes, into the higher
stage, into the higher organism, the world-state of the coming years.


[33] The fulcrum, which is generally treated as being absolutely
immovable, being the general belief in the theory of democracy.

[34] In the United States, a vast rapidly developing country, with
relatively much kinetic wealth, this central influence is the financial
support of the Boss, consisting for the most part of active-minded,
capable business organizers; in England, the land where irresponsible
realized wealth is at a maximum, a public-spirited section of the
irresponsible, inspired by the tradition of an aristocratic functional
past, qualifies the financial influence with an amateurish, indolent,
and publicly unprofitable integrity. In Germany an aggressively
functional Court occupies the place and plays the part of a permanently
dominant party machine.

[35] The nature of these modifications is an interesting side issue.
There is every possibility of papers becoming at last papers of
world-wide circulation, so far as the language in which they are printed
permits, with editions that will follow the sun and change into
to-morrow's issue as they go, picking up literary criticism here,
financial intelligence there, here to-morrow's story, and there
to-morrow's scandal, and, like some vast intellectual garden-roller,
rolling out local provincialism at every revolution. This, for papers in
English, at any rate, is merely a question of how long it will be before
the price of the best writing (for journalistic purposes) rises actually
or relatively above the falling cost of long distance electrical type
setting. Each of the local editions of these world travelling papers, in
addition to the identical matter that will appear almost simultaneously
everywhere, will no doubt have its special matter and its special
advertisements. Illustrations will be telegraphed just as well as
matter, and probably a much greater use will be made of sketch and
diagram than at present. If the theory advanced in this book that
democracy is a transitory confusion be sound, there will not be one
world paper of this sort only--like Moses' serpent after its miraculous
struggle--but several, and as the non-provincial segregation of society
goes on, these various great papers will take on more and more decided
specific characteristics, and lose more and more their local references.
They will come to have not only a distinctive type of matter, a
distinctive method of thought and manner of expression, but distinctive
fundamental implications, and a distinctive class of writer. This
difference in character and tone renders the advent of any Napoleonic
master of the newspaper world vastly more improbable than it would
otherwise be. These specializing newspapers will, as they find their
class, throw out many features that do not belong to that class. It is
highly probable that many will restrict the space devoted to news and
sham news; that forged and inflated stuff made in offices, that bulks
out the foreign intelligence of so many English papers, for example. At
present every paper contains a little of everything, inadequate sporting
stuff, inadequate financial stuff, vague literary matter, voluminous
reports of political vapourings, because no newspaper is quite sure of
the sort of readers it has--probably no daily newspaper has yet a
distinctive sort of reader.

Many people, with their minds inspired by the number of editions which
evening papers pretend to publish and do not, incline to believe that
daily papers may presently give place to hourly papers, each with the
last news of the last sixty minutes photographically displayed. As a
matter of fact no human being wants that, and very few are so foolish as
to think they do; the only kind of news that any sort of people clamours
for hot and hot is financial and betting fluctuations, lottery lists and
examination results; and the elaborated and cheapened telegraphic and
telephonic system of the coming days, with tapes (or phonograph to
replace them) in every post-office and nearly every private house, so
far from expanding this department, will probably sweep it out of the
papers altogether. One will subscribe to a news agency which will wire
all the stuff one cares to have so violently fresh, into a phonographic
recorder perhaps, in some convenient corner. There the thing will be in
every house, beside the barometer, to hear or ignore. With the
separation of that function what is left of the newspaper will revert to
one daily edition--daily, I think, because of the power of habit to make
the newspaper the specific business of some definite moments in the day;
the breakfast hour, I suppose, or the "up-to-town" journey with most
Englishmen now. Quite possibly some one will discover some day that
there is now machinery for folding and fastening a paper into a form
that will not inevitably get into the butter, or lead to bitterness in a
railway carriage. This pitch of development reached, I incline to
anticipate daily papers much more like the _Spectator_ in form than
these present mainsails of our public life. They will probably not
contain fiction at all, and poetry only rarely, because no one but a
partial imbecile wants these things in punctual daily doses, and we are
anticipating an escape from a period of partial imbecility. My own
culture and turn of mind, which is probably akin to that of a
respectable mechanic of the year 2000, inclines me towards a daily paper
that will have in addition to its concentrated and absolutely
trustworthy daily news, full and luminous accounts of new inventions,
new theories, and new departures of all sorts (usually illustrated),
witty and penetrating comments upon public affairs, criticisms of all
sorts of things, representations of newly produced works of art, and an
ample amount of ably written controversy upon everything under the sun.
The correspondence columns, instead of being an exercising place for
bores and conspicuous people who are not mercenary, will be the most
ample, the most carefully collected, and the most highly paid of all
departments in this paper. Personal paragraphs will be relegated to some
obscure and costly corner next to the births, deaths, and marriages.
This paper will have, of course, many pages of business advertisements,
and these will usually be well worth looking through, for the more
intelligent editors of the days to come will edit this department just
like any other, and classify their advertisements in a descending scale
of freshness and interest that will also be an ascending scale of price.
The advertiser who wants to be an indecent bore, and vociferate for the
ten millionth time some flatulent falsehood about a pill, for instance,
will pay at nuisance rates. Probably many papers will refuse to print
nasty and distressful advertisements about people's insides at all. The
entire paper will be as free from either greyness or offensive stupidity
in its advertisement columns as the shop windows in Bond Street to-day,
and for much the same reason,--because the people who go that way do not
want that sort of thing.

It has been supposed that, since the real income of the newspaper is
derived from advertisements, large advertisers will combine in the
future to own papers confined to the advertisements of their specific
wares. Some such monopoly is already attempted; several publishing firms
own or partially own a number of provincial papers, which they adorn
with strange "Book Chat" columns conspicuously deficient in their
information; and a well-known cycle tyre firm supplies "Cycling" columns
that are mere pedestals for the Head-of-King-Charles make of tyre. Many
quack firms publish and give away annual almanacks replete with
economical illustrations, offensive details, and bad jokes. But I
venture to think, in spite of such phenomena, that these suggestions and
attempts are made with a certain disregard of the essential conditions
of sound advertisement. Sound advertisement consists in perpetual
alertness and newness, in appearance in new places and in new aspects,
in the constant access to fresh minds. The devotion of a newspaper to
the interest of one particular make of a commodity or group of
commodities will inevitably rob its advertisement department of most of
its interest for the habitual readers of the paper. That is to say, the
newspaper will fail in what is one of the chief attractions of a good
newspaper. Moreover, such a devotion will react upon all the other
matter in the paper, because the editor will need to be constantly alert
to exclude seditious reflections upon the Health-Extract-of-Horse-Flesh
or Saved-by-Boiling-Jam. His sense of this relation will taint his
self-respect and make him a less capable editor than a man whose sole
affair is to keep his paper interesting. To these more interesting rival
papers the excluded competitor will be driven, and the reader will
follow in his wake. There is little more wisdom in the proprietor of an
article in popular demand buying or creating a newspaper to contain all
his advertisements than in his buying a coal pit for the same purpose.
Such a privacy of advertisement will never work, I think, on a large
scale; it is probably at or near its maximum development now, and this
anticipation of the advertiser-owned paper, like that of hourly papers,
and that wonderfully powerful cosmic newspaper syndicate, is simply
another instance of prophesying based only on a present trend, an
expansion of the obvious, instead of an analysis of determining forces.

[36] One striking illustration of the distinctive possibilities of
democratic government came to light during the last term of office of
the present patriotic British Government. As a demonstration of
patriotism large sums of money were voted annually for the purpose of
building warships, and the patriotic common man paid the taxes gladly
with a dream of irresistible naval predominance to sweeten the payment.
But the money was not spent on warships; only a portion of it was spent,
and the rest remained to make a surplus and warm the heart of the common
man in his tax-paying capacity. This artful dodge was repeated for
several years; the artful dodger is now a peer, no doubt abjectly
respected, and nobody in the most patriotic party so far evolved is a
bit the worse for it. In the organizing expedients of all popular
governments, as in the prospectuses of unsound companies, the
disposition is to exaggerate the nominal capital at the expense of the
working efficiency. Democratic armies and navies are always short, and
probably will always be short, of ammunition, paint, training and
reserve stores; battalions and ships, since they count as units, are
over-numerous and go short-handed, and democratic army reform almost
invariably works out to some device for multiplying units by fission,
and counting men three times instead of twice in some ingenious and
plausible way. And this must be so, because the sort of men who come
inevitably to power under democratic conditions are men trained by all
the conditions of their lives to so set appearances before realities as
at last to become utterly incapable of realities.



In shaping anticipations of the future of war there arises a certain
difficulty about the point of departure. One may either begin upon such
broad issues as the preceding forecasts have opened, and having
determined now something of the nature of the coming State and the force
of its warlike inclination, proceed to speculate how this vast
ill-organized fourfold organism will fight; or one may set all that
matter aside for a space, and having regard chiefly to the continually
more potent appliances physical science offers the soldier, we may try
to develop a general impression of theoretically thorough war, go from
that to the nature of the State most likely to be superlatively
efficient in such warfare, and so arrive at the conditions of survival
under which these present governments of confusion will struggle one
against the other. The latter course will be taken here. We will deal
first of all with war conducted for its own sake, with a model army, as
efficient as an imaginative training can make it, and with a model
organization for warfare of the State behind it, and then the
experience of the confused modern social organism as it is impelled, in
an uncongenial metamorphosis, towards this imperative and finally
unavoidable efficient state, will come most easily within the scope of
one's imagination.

The great change that is working itself out in warfare is the same
change that is working itself out in the substance of the social fabric.
The essential change in the social fabric, as we have analyzed it, is
the progressive supersession of the old broad labour base by elaborately
organized mechanism, and the obsolescence of the once valid and
necessary distinction of gentle and simple. In warfare, as I have
already indicated, this takes the form of the progressive supersession
of the horse and the private soldier--which were the living and sole
engines of the old time--by machines, and the obliteration of the old
distinction between leaders, who pranced in a conspicuously dangerous
and encouraging way into the picturesque incidents of battle, and the
led, who cheered and charged and filled the ditches and were slaughtered
in a wholesale dramatic manner. The old war was a matter of long dreary
marches, great hardships of campaigning, but also of heroic conclusive
moments. Long periods of campings--almost always with an outbreak of
pestilence--of marchings and retreats, much crude business of feeding
and forage, culminated at last, with an effect of infinite relief, in
an hour or so of "battle." The battle was always a very intimate
tumultuous affair, the men were flung at one another in vast excited
masses, in living fighting machines as it were, spears or bayonets
flashed, one side or the other ceased to prolong the climax, and the
thing was over. The beaten force crumpled as a whole, and the victors as
a whole pressed upon it. Cavalry with slashing sabres marked the
crowning point of victory. In the later stages of the old warfare
musketry volleys were added to the physical impact of the contending
regiments, and at last cannon, as a quite accessory method of breaking
these masses of men. So you "gave battle" to and defeated your enemy's
forces wherever encountered, and when you reached your objective in his
capital the war was done.... The new war will probably have none of
these features of the old system of fighting.

The revolution that is in progress from the old war to a new war,
different in its entire nature from the old, is marked primarily by the
steady progress in range and efficiency of the rifle and of the
field-gun--and more particularly of the rifle. The rifle develops
persistently from a clumsy implement, that any clown may learn to use in
half a day, towards a very intricate mechanism, easily put out of order
and easily misused, but of the most extraordinary possibilities in the
hands of men of courage, character, and high intelligence. Its precision
at long range has made the business of its care, loading and aim
subsidiary to the far more intricate matter of its use in relation to
the contour of the ground within its reach. Even its elaboration as an
instrument is probably still incomplete. One can conceive it provided in
the future with cross-thread telescopic sights, the focussing of which,
corrected by some ingenious use of hygroscopic material, might even find
the range, and so enable it to be used with assurance up to a mile or
more. It will probably also take on some of the characters of the
machine-gun. It will be used either for single shots or to quiver and
send a spray of almost simultaneous bullets out of a magazine evenly and
certainly, over any small area the rifleman thinks advisable. It will
probably be portable by one man, but there is no reason really, except
the bayonet tradition, the demands of which may be met in other ways,
why it should be the instrument of one sole man. It will, just as
probably, be slung with its ammunition and equipment upon bicycle
wheels, and be the common care of two or more associated soldiers.
Equipped with such a weapon, a single couple of marksmen even, by reason
of smokeless powder and carefully chosen cover, might make themselves
practically invisible, and capable of surprising, stopping, and
destroying a visible enemy in quite considerable numbers who blundered
within a mile of them. And a series of such groups of marksmen so
arranged as to cover the arrival of reliefs, provisions, and fresh
ammunition from the rear, might hold out against any visible attack for
an indefinite period, unless the ground they occupied was searched very
ably and subtly by some sort of gun having a range in excess of their
rifle fire. If the ground they occupied were to be properly tunnelled
and trenched, even that might not avail, and there would be nothing for
it but to attack them by an advance under cover either of the night or
of darkness caused by smoke-shells, or by the burning of cover about
their position. Even then they might be deadly with magazine fire at
close quarters. Save for their liability to such attacks, a few hundreds
of such men could hold positions of a quite vast extent, and a few
thousand might hold a frontier. Assuredly a mere handful of such men
could stop the most multitudinous attack or cover the most disorderly
retreat in the world, and even when some ingenious, daring, and lucky
night assault had at last ejected them from a position, dawn would
simply restore to them the prospect of reconstituting in new positions
their enormous advantage of defence.

The only really effective and final defeat such an attenuated force of
marksmen could sustain, would be from the slow and circumspect advance
upon it of a similar force of superior marksmen, creeping forward under
cover of night or of smoke-shells and fire, digging pits during the
snatches of cessation obtained in this way, and so coming nearer and
nearer and getting a completer and completer mastery of the defender's
ground until the approach of the defender's reliefs, food, and fresh
ammunition ceased to be possible. Thereupon there would be nothing for
it but either surrender or a bolt in the night to positions in the rear,
a bolt that might be hotly followed if it were deferred too late.

Probably between contiguous nations that have mastered the art of war,
instead of the pouring clouds of cavalry of the old dispensation,[37]
this will be the opening phase of the struggle, a vast duel all along
the frontier between groups of skilled marksmen, continually being
relieved and refreshed from the rear. For a time quite possibly there
will be no definite army here or there, there will be no controllable
battle, there will be no Great General in the field at all. But
somewhere far in the rear the central organizer will sit at the
telephonic centre of his vast front, and he will strengthen here and
feed there and watch, watch perpetually the pressure, the incessant
remorseless pressure that is seeking to wear down his countervailing
thrust. Behind the thin firing line that is actually engaged, the
country for many miles will be rapidly cleared and devoted to the
business of war, big machines will be at work making second, third, and
fourth lines of trenches that may be needed if presently the firing line
is forced back, spreading out transverse paths for the swift lateral
movement of the cyclists who will be in perpetual alertness to relieve
sudden local pressures, and all along those great motor roads our first
"Anticipations" sketched, there will be a vast and rapid shifting to and
fro of big and very long range guns. These guns will probably be fought
with the help of balloons. The latter will hang above the firing line
all along the front, incessantly ascending and withdrawn; they will be
continually determining the distribution of the antagonist's forces,
directing the fire of continually shifting great guns upon the apparatus
and supports in the rear of his fighting line, forecasting his night
plans and seeking some tactical or strategic weakness in that sinewy
line of battle.

It will be evident that such warfare as this inevitable precision of gun
and rifle forces upon humanity, will become less and less dramatic as a
whole, more and more as a whole a monstrous thrust and pressure of
people against people. No dramatic little general spouting his troops
into the proper hysterics for charging, no prancing merely brave
officers, no reckless gallantry or invincible stubbornness of men will
suffice. For the commander-in-chief on a picturesque horse sentimentally
watching his "boys" march past to death or glory in battalions, there
will have to be a loyal staff of men, working simply, earnestly, and
subtly to keep the front tight, and at the front, every little isolated
company of men will have to be a council of war, a little conspiracy
under the able man its captain, as keen and individual as a football
team, conspiring against the scarcely seen company of the foe over
yonder. The battalion commander will be replaced in effect by the
organizer of the balloons and guns by which his few hundreds of splendid
individuals will be guided and reinforced. In the place of hundreds of
thousands of more or less drunken and untrained young men marching into
battle--muddle-headed, sentimental, dangerous and futile
hobbledehoys--there will be thousands of sober men braced up to their
highest possibilities, intensely doing their best; in the place of
charging battalions, shattering impacts of squadrons and wide
harvest-fields of death, there will be hundreds of little rifle battles
fought up to the hilt, gallant dashes here, night surprises there, the
sudden sinister faint gleam of nocturnal bayonets, brilliant guesses
that will drop catastrophic shell and death over hills and forests
suddenly into carelessly exposed masses of men. For eight miles on
either side of the firing lines--whose fire will probably never
altogether die away while the war lasts--men will live and eat and sleep
under the imminence of unanticipated death.... Such will be the opening
phase of the war that is speedily to come.

And behind the thin firing line on either side a vast multitude of
people will be at work; indeed, the whole mass of the efficients in the
State will have to be at work, and most of them will be simply at the
same work or similar work to that done in peace time--only now as
combatants upon the lines of communication. The organized staffs of the
big road managements, now become a part of the military scheme, will be
deporting women and children and feeble people and bringing up supplies
and supports; the doctors will be dropping from their civil duties into
pre-appointed official places, directing the feeding and treatment of
the shifting masses of people and guarding the valuable manhood of the
fighting apparatus most sedulously from disease;[38] the engineers will
be entrenching and bringing up a vast variety of complicated and
ingenious apparatus designed to surprise and inconvenience the enemy in
novel ways; the dealers in food and clothing, the manufacturers of all
sorts of necessary stuff, will be converted by the mere declaration of
war into public servants; a practical realization of socialistic
conceptions will quite inevitably be forced upon the fighting State. The
State that has not incorporated with its fighting organization all its
able-bodied manhood and all its material substance, its roads, vehicles,
engines, foundries, and all its resources of food and clothing; the
State which at the outbreak of war has to bargain with railway and
shipping companies, replace experienced station-masters by inexperienced
officers, and haggle against alien interests for every sort of supply,
will be at an overwhelming disadvantage against a State which has
emerged from the social confusion of the present time, got rid of every
vestige of our present distinction between official and governed, and
organized every element in its being.

I imagine that in this ideal war as compared with the war of to-day,
there will be a very considerable restriction of the rights of the
non-combatant. A large part of existing International Law involves a
curious implication, a distinction between the belligerent government
and its accredited agents in warfare and the general body of its
subjects. There is a disposition to treat the belligerent government, in
spite of the democratic status of many States, as not fully representing
its people, to establish a sort of world-citizenship in the common mass
outside the official and military class. Protection of the non-combatant
and his property comes at last--in theory at least--within a measurable
distance of notice boards: "Combatants are requested to keep off the
grass." This disposition I ascribe to a recognition of that obsolescence
and inadequacy of the formal organization of States, which has already
been discussed in this book. It was a disposition that was strongest
perhaps in the earliest decades of the nineteenth century, and stronger
now than, in the steady and irresistible course of strenuous and
universal military preparation, it is likely to be in the future. In our
imaginary twentieth century State, organized primarily for war, this
tendency to differentiate a non-combatant mass in the fighting State
will certainly not be respected, the State will be organized as a whole
to fight as a whole, it will have triumphantly asserted the universal
duty of its citizens. The military force will be a much ampler
organization than the "army" of to-day, it will be not simply the fists
but the body and brain of the land. The whole apparatus, the whole staff
engaged in internal communication, for example, may conceivably not be
State property and a State service, but if it is not it will assuredly
be as a whole organized as a volunteer force, that may instantly become
a part of the machinery of defence or aggression at the outbreak of
war.[39] The men may very conceivably not have a uniform, for military
uniforms are simply one aspect of this curious and transitory phase of
restriction, but they will have their orders and their universal plan.
As the bells ring and the recording telephones click into every house
the news that war has come, there will be no running to and fro upon the
public ways, no bawling upon the moving platforms of the central urban
nuclei, no crowds of silly useless able-bodied people gaping at
inflammatory transparencies outside the offices of sensational papers
because the egregious idiots in control of affairs have found them no
better employment. Every man will be soberly and intelligently setting
about the particular thing he has to do--even the rich shareholding sort
of person, the hereditary mortgager of society, will be given something
to do, and if he has learnt nothing else he will serve to tie up parcels
of ammunition or pack army sausage. Very probably the best of such
people and of the speculative class will have qualified as cyclist
marksmen for the front, some of them may even have devoted the leisure
of peace to military studies and may be prepared with novel weapons.
Recruiting among the working classes--or, more properly speaking, among
the People of the Abyss--will have dwindled to the vanishing point;
people who are no good for peace purposes are not likely to be any good
in such a grave and complicated business as modern war. The spontaneous
traffic of the roads in peace, will fall now into two streams, one of
women and children coming quietly and comfortably out of danger, the
other of men and material going up to the front. There will be no
panics, no hardships, because everything will have been amply
pre-arranged--we are dealing with an ideal State. Quietly and
tremendously that State will have gripped its adversary and tightened
its muscles--that is all.

Now the strategy of this new sort of war in its opening phase will
consist mainly in very rapid movements of guns and men behind that thin
screen of marksmen, in order to deal suddenly and unexpectedly some
forcible blow, to snatch at some position into which guns and men may be
thrust to outflank and turn the advantage of the ground against some
portion of the enemy's line. The game will be largely to crowd and
crumple that line, to stretch it over an arc to the breaking point, to
secure a position from which to shell and destroy its supports and
provisions, and to capture or destroy its guns and apparatus, and so
tear it away from some town or arsenal it has covered. And a factor of
primary importance in this warfare, because of the importance of seeing
the board, a factor which will be enormously stimulated to develop in
the future, will be the aerial factor. Already we have seen the captive
balloon as an incidental accessory of considerable importance even in
the wild country warfare of South Africa. In the warfare that will go on
in the highly-organized European States of the opening century, the
special military balloon used in conjunction with guns, conceivably of
small calibre but of enormous length and range, will play a part of
quite primary importance. These guns will be carried on vast mechanical
carriages, possibly with wheels of such a size as will enable them to
traverse almost all sorts of ground.[40] The aeronauts, provided with
large scale maps of the hostile country, will mark down to the gunners
below the precise point upon which to direct their fire, and over hill
and dale the shell will fly--ten miles it may be--to its billet, camp,
massing night attack, or advancing gun.

Great multitudes of balloons will be the Argus eyes of the entire
military organism, stalked eyes with a telephonic nerve in each stalk,
and at night they will sweep the country with search-lights and come
soaring before the wind with hanging flares. Certainly they will be
steerable. Moreover, when the wind admits, there will be freely-moving
steerable balloons wagging little flags to their friends below. And so
far as the resources of the men on the ground go, the balloons will be
almost invulnerable. The mere perforation of balloons with shot does
them little harm, and the possibility of hitting a balloon that is
drifting about at a practically unascertainable distance and height so
precisely as to blow it to pieces with a timed shell, and to do this in
the little time before it is able to give simple and precise
instructions as to your range and position to the unseen gunners it
directs, is certainly one of the most difficult and trying undertakings
for an artilleryman that one can well imagine. I am inclined to think
that the many considerations against a successful attack on balloons
from the ground, will enormously stimulate enterprise and invention in
the direction of dirigible aerial devices that can fight. Few people, I
fancy, who know the work of Langley, Lilienthal, Pilcher, Maxim, and
Chanute, but will be inclined to believe that long before the year A.D.
2000, and very probably before 1950, a successful aeroplane will have
soared and come home safe and sound. Directly that is accomplished the
new invention will be most assuredly applied to war.

The nature of the things that will ultimately fight in the sky is a
matter for curious speculation. We begin with the captive balloon.
Against that the navigable balloon will presently operate. I am inclined
to think the practicable navigable balloon will be first attained by the
use of a device already employed by Nature in the swimming-bladder of
fishes. This is a closed gas-bag that can be contracted or expanded. If
a gas-bag of thin, strong, practically impervious substance could be
enclosed in a net of closely interlaced fibres (interlaced, for example,
on the pattern of the muscles of the bladder in mammals), the ends of
these fibres might be wound and unwound, and the effect of contractility
attained. A row of such contractile balloons, hung over a long car which
was horizontally expanded into wings, would not only allow that car to
rise and fall at will, but if the balloon at one end were contracted
and that at the other end expanded, and the intermediate ones allowed to
assume intermediate conditions, the former end would drop, the expanded
wings would be brought into a slanting condition over a smaller area of
supporting air, and the whole apparatus would tend to glide downwards in
that direction. The projection of a small vertical plane upon either
side would make the gliding mass rotate in a descending spiral, and so
we have all the elements of a controllable flight. Such an affair would
be difficult to overset. It would be able to beat up even in a fair
wind, and then it would be able to contract its bladders and fall down a
long slant in any direction. From some such crude beginning a form like
a soaring, elongated, flat-brimmed hat might grow, and the possibilities
of adding an engine-driven screw are obvious enough.

It is difficult to see how such a contrivance could carry guns of any
calibre unless they fired from the rear in the line of flight. The
problem of recoil becomes a very difficult one in aerial tactics. It
would probably have at most a small machine-gun or so, which might fire
an explosive shell at the balloons of the enemy, or kill their aeronauts
with distributed bullets. The thing would be a sort of air-shark, and
one may even venture to picture something of the struggle the deadlocked
marksmen of 1950, lying warily in their rifle-pits, will see.

One conceives them at first, each little hole with its watchful,
well-equipped couple of assassins, turning up their eyes in expectation.
The wind is with our enemy, and his captive balloons have been
disagreeably overhead all through the hot morning. His big guns have
suddenly become nervously active. Then, a little murmur along the pits
and trenches, and from somewhere over behind us, this air-shark drives
up the sky. The enemy's balloons splutter a little, retract, and go
rushing down, and we send a spray of bullets as they drop. Then against
our aerostat, and with the wind driving them clean overhead of us, come
the antagonistic flying-machines. I incline to imagine there will be a
steel prow with a cutting edge at either end of the sort of aerostat I
foresee, and conceivably this aerial ram will be the most important
weapon of the affair. When operating against balloons, such a
fighting-machine will rush up the air as swiftly as possible, and then,
with a rapid contraction of its bladders, fling itself like a knife at
the sinking war-balloon of the foe. Down, down, down, through a vast
alert tension of flight, down it will swoop, and, if its stoop is
successful, slash explosively at last through a suffocating moment.
Rifles will crack, ropes tear and snap; there will be a rending and
shouting, a great thud of liberated gas, and perhaps a flare. Quite
certainly those flying machines will carry folded parachutes, and the
last phase of many a struggle will be the desperate leap of the
aeronauts with these in hand, to snatch one last chance of life out of
a mass of crumpling, fallen wreckage.

But in such a fight between flying-machine and flying-machine as we are
trying to picture, it will be a fight of hawks, complicated by bullets
and little shells. They will rush up and up to get the pitch of one
another, until the aeronauts sob and sicken in the rarefied air, and the
blood comes to eyes and nails. The marksmen below will strain at last,
eyes under hands, to see the circling battle that dwindles in the
zenith. Then, perhaps, a wild adventurous dropping of one close beneath
the other, an attempt to stoop, the sudden splutter of guns, a tilting
up or down, a disengagement. What will have happened? One combatant,
perhaps, will heel lamely earthward, dropping, dropping, with half its
bladders burst or shot away, the other circles down in pursuit.... "What
are they doing?" Our marksmen will snatch at their field-glasses,
tremulously anxious, "Is that a white flag or no?... If they drop now we
have 'em!"

But the duel will be the rarer thing. In any affair of ramming there is
an enormous advantage for the side that can contrive, anywhere in the
field of action, to set two vessels at one. The mere ascent of one
flying-ram from one side will assuredly slip the leashes of two on the
other, until the manoeuvring squadrons may be as thick as starlings in
October. They will wheel and mount, they will spread and close, there
will be elaborate manoeuvres for the advantage of the wind, there will
be sudden drops to the shelter of entrenched guns. The actual impact of
battle will be an affair of moments. They will be awful moments, but not
more terrible, not more exacting of manhood than the moments that will
come to men when there is--and it has not as yet happened on this
earth--equal fighting between properly manned and equipped ironclads at
sea. (And the well-bred young gentlemen of means who are privileged to
officer the British Army nowadays will be no more good at this sort of
thing than they are at controversial theology or electrical engineering
or anything else that demands a well-exercised brain.)...

Once the command of the air is obtained by one of the contending armies,
the war must become a conflict between a seeing host and one that is
blind. The victor in that aerial struggle will tower with pitilessly
watchful eyes over his adversary, will concentrate his guns and all his
strength unobserved, will mark all his adversary's roads and
communications, and sweep them with sudden incredible disasters of shot
and shell. The moral effect of this predominance will be enormous. All
over the losing country, not simply at his frontier but everywhere, the
victor will soar. Everybody everywhere will be perpetually and
constantly looking up, with a sense of loss and insecurity, with a vague
stress of painful anticipations. By day the victor's aeroplanes will
sweep down upon the apparatus of all sorts in the adversary's rear, and
will drop explosives and incendiary matters upon them,[41] so that no
apparatus or camp or shelter will any longer be safe. At night his high
floating search-lights will go to and fro and discover and check every
desperate attempt to relieve or feed the exhausted marksmen of the
fighting line. The phase of tension will pass, that weakening opposition
will give, and the war from a state of mutual pressure and petty combat
will develop into the collapse of the defensive lines. A general advance
will occur under the aerial van, ironclad road fighting-machines may
perhaps play a considerable part in this, and the enemy's line of
marksmen will be driven back or starved into surrender, or broken up and
hunted down. As the superiority of the attack becomes week by week more
and more evident, its assaults will become more dashing and
far-reaching. Under the moonlight and the watching balloons there will
be swift noiseless rushes of cycles, precipitate dismounts, and the
never-to-be-quite-abandoned bayonet will play its part. And now men on
the losing side will thank God for the reprieve of a pitiless wind, for
lightning, thunder, and rain, for any elemental disorder that will for a
moment lift the descending scale! Then, under banks of fog and cloud,
the victorious advance will pause and grow peeringly watchful and
nervous, and mud-stained desperate men will go splashing forward into an
elemental blackness, rain or snow like a benediction on their faces,
blessing the primordial savagery of nature that can still set aside the
wisest devices of men, and give the unthrifty one last desperate chance
to get their own again or die.

Such adventures may rescue pride and honour, may cause momentary dismay
in the victor and palliate disaster, but they will not turn back the
advance of the victors, or twist inferiority into victory. Presently the
advance will resume. With that advance the phase of indecisive contest
will have ended, and the second phase of the new war, the business of
forcing submission, will begin. This should be more easy in the future
even than it has proved in the past, in spite of the fact that central
governments are now elusive, and small bodies of rifle-armed guerillas
far more formidable than ever before. It will probably be brought about
in a civilized country by the seizure of the vital apparatus of the
urban regions--the water supply, the generating stations for electricity
(which will supply all the heat and warmth of the land), and the chief
ways used in food distribution. Through these expedients, even while the
formal war is still in progress, an irresistible pressure upon a local
population will be possible, and it will be easy to subjugate or to
create afresh local authorities, who will secure the invader from any
danger of a guerilla warfare upon his rear. Through that sort of an
expedient an even very obdurate loser will be got down to submission,
area by area. With the destruction of its military apparatus and the
prospective loss of its water and food supply, however, the defeated
civilized State will probably be willing to seek terms as a whole, and
bring the war to a formal close.

In cases where, instead of contiguous frontiers, the combatants are
separated by the sea, the aerial struggle will probably be preceded or
accompanied by a struggle for the command of the sea. Of this warfare
there have been many forecasts. In this, as in all the warfare of the
coming time, imaginative foresight, a perpetual alteration of tactics, a
perpetual production of unanticipated devices, will count enormously.
Other things being equal, victory will rest with the force mentally most
active. What type of ship may chance to be prevalent when the great
naval war comes is hard guessing, but I incline to think that the naval
architects of the ablest peoples will concentrate more and more upon
speed and upon range and penetration, and, above all, upon precision of
fire. I seem to see a light type of ironclad, armoured thickly only over
its engines and magazines, murderously equipped, and with a ram--as
alert and deadly as a striking snake. In the battles of the open she
will have little to fear from the slow fumbling treacheries of the
submarine, she will take as little heed of the chance of a torpedo as a
barefooted man in battle does of the chance of a fallen dagger in his
path. Unless I know nothing of my own blood, the English and Americans
will prefer to catch their enemies in ugly weather or at night, and then
they will fight to ram. The struggle on the high seas between any two
naval powers (except, perhaps, the English and American, who have both
quite unparalleled opportunities for coaling) will not last more than a
week or so. One or other force will be destroyed at sea, driven into its
ports and blockaded there, or cut off from its supply of coal (or other
force-generator), and hunted down to fight or surrender. An inferior
fleet that tries to keep elusively at sea will always find a superior
fleet between itself and coal, and will either have to fight at once or
be shot into surrender as it lies helpless on the water. Some
commerce-destroying enterprise on the part of the loser may go on, but I
think the possibilities of that sort of thing are greatly exaggerated.
The world grows smaller and smaller, the telegraph and telephone go
everywhere, wireless telegraphy opens wider and wider possibilities to
the imagination, and how the commerce-destroyer is to go on for long
without being marked down, headed off, cut off from coal, and forced to
fight or surrender, I do not see. The commerce-destroyer will have a
very short run; it will have to be an exceptionally good and costly
ship in the first place, it will be finally sunk or captured, and
altogether I do not see how that sort of thing will pay when once the
command of the sea is assured. A few weeks will carry the effective
frontier of the stronger power up to the coast-line of the weaker, and
permit of the secure resumption of the over-sea trade of the former. And
then will open a second phase of naval warfare, in which the submarine
may play a larger part.

I must confess that my imagination, in spite even of spurring, refuses
to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocate its crew and
founder at sea. It must involve physical inconvenience of the most
demoralizing sort simply to be in one for any length of time. A
first-rate man who has been breathing carbonic acid and oil vapour under
a pressure of four atmospheres becomes presently a second-rate man.
Imagine yourself in a submarine that has ventured a few miles out of
port, imagine that you have headache and nausea, and that some ship of
the _Cobra_ type is flashing itself and its search-lights about whenever
you come up to the surface, and promptly tearing down on your descending
bubbles with a ram, trailing perhaps a tail of grapples or a net as
well. Even if you get their boat, these nicely aerated men you are
fighting know they have a four to one chance of living; while for your
submarine to be "got" is certain death. You may, of course, throw out a
torpedo or so, with as much chance of hitting vitally as you would have
if you were blindfolded, turned round three times, and told to fire
revolver-shots at a charging elephant. The possibility of sweeping for a
submarine with a seine would be vividly present in the minds of a
submarine crew. If you are near shore you will probably be near
rocks--an unpleasant complication in a hurried dive. There would,
probably, very soon be boats out too, seeking with a machine-gun or
pompom for a chance at your occasionally emergent conning-tower. In no
way can a submarine be more than purblind, it will be, in fact,
practically blind. Given a derelict ironclad on a still night within
sight of land, a carefully handled submarine might succeed in groping
its way to it and destroying it; but then it would be much better to
attack such a vessel and capture it boldly with a few desperate men on a
tug. At the utmost the submarine will be used in narrow waters, in
rivers, or to fluster or destroy ships in harbour or with poor-spirited
crews--that is to say, it will simply be an added power in the hands of
the nation that is predominant at sea. And, even then, it can be merely
destructive, while a sane and high-spirited fighter will always be
dissatisfied if, with an indisputable superiority of force, he fails to

No; the naval warfare of the future is for light, swift ships, almost
recklessly not defensive and with splendid guns and gunners. They will
hit hard and ram, and warfare which is taking to cover on land will
abandon it at sea. And the captain, and the engineer, and the gunner
will have to be all of the same sort of men: capable, headlong men, with
brains and no ascertainable social position. They will differ from the
officers of the British Navy in the fact that the whole male sex of the
nation will have been ransacked to get them. The incredible stupidity
that closes all but a menial position in the British Navy to the sons of
those who cannot afford to pay a hundred a year for them for some years,
necessarily brings the individual quality of the British naval officer
below the highest possible, quite apart from the deficiencies that must
exist on account of the badness of secondary education in England. The
British naval officer and engineer are not made the best of, good as
they are, indisputably they might be infinitely better both in quality
and training. The smaller German navy, probably, has an ampler pick of
men relatively, is far better educated, less confident, and more
strenuous. But the abstract navy I am here writing of will be superior
to either of these, and like the American, in the absence of any
distinction between officers and engineers. The officer will be an

The military advantages of the command of the sea will probably be
greater in the future than they have been in the past. A fleet with
aerial supports would be able to descend upon any portion of the
adversary's coast it chose, and to dominate the country inland for
several miles with its gun-fire. All the enemy's sea-coast towns would
be at its mercy. It would be able to effect landing and send raids of
cyclist-marksmen inland, whenever a weak point was discovered. Landings
will be enormously easier than they have ever been before. Once a wedge
of marksmen has been driven inland they would have all the military
advantages of the defence when it came to eject them. They might, for
example, encircle and block some fortified post, and force costly and
disastrous attempts to relieve it. The defensive country would stand at
bay, tethered against any effective counter-blow, keeping guns,
supplies, and men in perpetual and distressing movement to and fro along
its sea-frontiers. Its soldiers would get uncertain rest, irregular
feeding, unhealthy conditions of all sorts in hastily made camps. The
attacking fleet would divide and re-unite, break up and vanish,
amazingly reappear. The longer the defender's coast the more wretched
his lot. Never before in the world's history was the command of the sea
worth what it is now. But the command of the sea is, after all, like
military predominance on land, to be insured only by superiority of
equipment in the hands of a certain type of man, a type of man that it
becomes more and more impossible to improvise, that a country must live
for through many years, and that no country on earth at present can be
said to be doing its best possible to make.

All this elaboration of warfare lengthens the scale between theoretical
efficiency and absolute unpreparedness. There was a time when any tribe
that had men and spears was ready for war, and any tribe that had some
cunning or emotion at command might hope to discount any little
disparity in numbers between itself and its neighbour. Luck and
stubbornness and the incalculable counted for much; it was half the
battle not to know you were beaten, and it is so still. Even to-day, a
great nation, it seems, may still make its army the plaything of its
gentlefolk, abandon important military appointments to feminine
intrigue, and trust cheerfully to the homesickness and essential modesty
of its influential people, and the simpler patriotism of its colonial
dependencies when it comes at last to the bloody and wearisome business
of "muddling through." But these days of the happy-go-lucky optimist are
near their end. War is being drawn into the field of the exact sciences.
Every additional weapon, every new complication of the art of war,
intensifies the need of deliberate preparation, and darkens the outlook
of a nation of amateurs. Warfare in the future, on sea or land alike,
will be much more one-sided than it has ever been in the past, much more
of a foregone conclusion. Save for national lunacy, it will be brought
about by the side that will win, and because that side knows that it
will win. More and more it will have the quality of surprise, of
pitiless revelation. Instead of the seesaw, the bickering interchange of
battles of the old time, will come swiftly and amazingly blow, and blow,
and blow, no pause, no time for recovery, disasters cumulative and

The fight will never be in practice between equal sides, never be that
theoretical deadlock we have sketched, but a fight between the more
efficient and the less efficient, between the more inventive and the
more traditional. While the victors, disciplined and grimly intent, full
of the sombre yet glorious delight of a grave thing well done, will,
without shouting or confusion, be fighting like one great national body,
the losers will be taking that pitiless exposure of helplessness in such
a manner as their natural culture and character may determine. War for
the losing side will be an unspeakable pitiable business. There will be
first of all the coming of the war, the wave of excitement, the
belligerent shouting of the unemployed inefficients, the flag-waving,
the secret doubts, the eagerness for hopeful news, the impatience of the
warning voice. I seem to see, almost as if he were symbolic, the grey
old general--the general who learnt his art of war away in the vanished
nineteenth century, the altogether too elderly general with his
epaulettes and decorations, his uniform that has still its historical
value, his spurs and his sword--riding along on his obsolete horse, by
the side of his doomed column. Above all things he is a gentleman. And
the column looks at him lovingly with its countless boys' faces, and the
boys' eyes are infinitely trustful, for he has won battles in the old
time. They will believe in him to the end. They have been brought up in
their schools to believe in him and his class, their mothers have
mingled respect for the gentlefolk with the simple doctrines of their
faith, their first lesson on entering the army was the salute. The
"smart" helmets His Majesty, or some such unqualified person, chose for
them, lie hotly on their young brows, and over their shoulders slope
their obsolete, carelessly-sighted guns. Tramp, tramp, they march, doing
what they have been told to do, incapable of doing anything they have
not been told to do, trustful and pitiful, marching to wounds and
disease, hunger, hardship, and death. They know nothing of what they are
going to meet, nothing of what they will have to do; Religion and the
Ratepayer and the Rights of the Parent working through the
instrumentality of the Best Club in the World have kept their souls and
minds, if not untainted, at least only harmlessly veneered, with the
thinnest sham of training or knowledge. Tramp, tramp, they go, boys who
will never be men, rejoicing patriotically in the nation that has thus
sent them forth, badly armed, badly clothed, badly led, to be killed in
some avoidable quarrel by men unseen. And beside them, an absolute
stranger to them, a stranger even in habits of speech and thought, and
at any rate to be shot with them fairly and squarely, marches the
subaltern--the son of the school-burking, shareholding class--a slightly
taller sort of boy, as ill-taught as they are in all that concerns the
realities of life, ignorant of how to get food, how to get water, how to
keep fever down and strength up, ignorant of his practical equality with
the men beside him, carefully trained under a clerical headmaster to use
a crib, play cricket rather nicely, look all right whatever happens,
believe in his gentility, and avoid talking "shop."... The major you
see is a man of the world, and very pleasantly meets the grey general's
eye. He is, one may remark by the way, something of an army reformer,
without offence, of course, to the Court people or the Government
people. His prospects--if only he were not going to be shot--are
brilliant enough. He has written quite cleverly on the question of
Recruiting, and advocated as much as twopence more a day and billiard
rooms under the chaplain's control; he has invented a military bicycle
with a wheel of solid iron that can be used as a shield; and a war
correspondent and, indeed, any one who writes even the most casual and
irresponsible article on military questions is a person worth his
cultivating. He is the very life and soul of army reform, as it is known
to the governments of the grey--that is to say, army reform without a
single step towards a social revolution....

So the gentlemanly old general--the polished drover to the
shambles--rides, and his doomed column march by, in this vision that
haunts my mind.

I cannot foresee what such a force will even attempt to do, against
modern weapons. Nothing can happen but the needless and most wasteful
and pitiful killing of these poor lads, who make up the infantry
battalions, the main mass of all the European armies of to-day, whenever
they come against a sanely-organized army. There is nowhere they can
come in, there is nothing they can do. The scattered invisible marksmen
with their supporting guns will shatter their masses, pick them off
individually, cover their line of retreat and force them into wholesale
surrenders. It will be more like herding sheep than actual fighting. Yet
the bitterest and cruellest things will have to happen, thousands and
thousands of poor boys will be smashed in all sorts of dreadful ways and
given over to every conceivable form of avoidable hardship and painful
disease, before the obvious fact that war is no longer a business for
half-trained lads in uniform, led by parson-bred sixth-form boys and men
of pleasure and old men, but an exhaustive demand upon very
carefully-educated adults for the most strenuous best that is in them,
will get its practical recognition.[43]...

Well, in the ampler prospect even this haunting tragedy of innumerable
avoidable deaths is but an incidental thing. They die, and their
troubles are over. The larger fact after all is the inexorable tendency
in things to make a soldier a skilled and educated man, and to link him,
in sympathy and organization, with the engineer and the doctor, and all
the continually developing mass of scientifically educated men that the
advance of science and mechanism is producing. We are dealing with the
inter-play of two world-wide forces, that work through distinctive and
contrasted tendencies to a common end. We have the force of invention
insistent upon a progress of the peace organization, which tends on the
one hand to throw out great useless masses of people, the People of the
Abyss, and on the other hand to develop a sort of adiposity of
functionless wealthy, a speculative elephantiasis, and to promote the
development of a new social order of efficients, only very painfully and
slowly, amidst these growing and yet disintegrating masses. And on the
other hand we have the warlike drift of such a social body, the
inevitable intensification of international animosities in such a body,
the absolute determination evident in the scheme of things to smash such
a body, to smash it just as far as it is such a body, under the hammer
of war, that must finally bring about rapidly and under pressure the
same result as that to which the peaceful evolution slowly tends. While
we are as yet only thinking of a physiological struggle, of complex
reactions and slow absorptions, comes War with the surgeon's knife. War
comes to simplify the issue and line out the thing with knife-like

The law that dominates the future is glaringly plain. A people must
develop and consolidate its educated efficient classes or be beaten in
war and give way upon all points where its interests conflict with the
interests of more capable people. It must foster and accelerate that
natural segregation, which has been discussed in the third and fourth
chapters of these "Anticipations," or perish. The war of the coming time
will really be won in schools and colleges and universities, wherever
men write and read and talk together. The nation that produces in the
near future the largest proportional development of educated and
intelligent engineers and agriculturists, of doctors, schoolmasters,
professional soldiers, and intellectually active people of all sorts;
the nation that most resolutely picks over, educates, sterilizes,
exports, or poisons its People of the Abyss; the nation that succeeds
most subtly in checking gambling and the moral decay of women and homes
that gambling inevitably entails; the nation that by wise interventions,
death duties and the like, contrives to expropriate and extinguish
incompetent rich families while leaving individual ambitions free; the
nation, in a word, that turns the greatest proportion of its
irresponsible adiposity into social muscle, will certainly be the nation
that will be the most powerful in warfare as in peace, will certainly be
the ascendant or dominant nation before the year 2000. In the long run
no heroism and no accidents can alter that. No flag-waving, no
patriotic leagues, no visiting of essentially petty imperial personages
hither and thither, no smashing of the windows of outspoken people nor
seizures of papers and books, will arrest the march of national defeat.
And this issue is already so plain and simple, the alternatives are
becoming so pitilessly clear, that even in the stupidest court and the
stupidest constituencies, it must presently begin in some dim way to be
felt. A time will come when so many people will see this issue clearly
that it will gravely affect political and social life. The patriotic
party--the particular gang, that is, of lawyers, brewers, landlords, and
railway directors that wishes to be dominant--will be forced to become
an efficient party in profession at least, will be forced to stimulate
and organize that educational and social development that may at last
even bring patriotism under control. The rulers of the grey, the
democratic politician and the democratic monarch, will be obliged year
by year by the very nature of things to promote the segregation of
colours within the grey, to foster the power that will finally supersede
democracy and monarchy altogether, the power of the scientifically
educated, disciplined specialist, and that finally is the power of
saints, the power of the thing that is provably right. It may be
delayed, but it cannot be defeated; in the end it must arrive--if not
to-day and among our people, then to-morrow and among another people,
who will triumph in our overthrow. This is the lesson that must be
learnt, that some tongue and kindred of the coming time must inevitably
learn. But what tongue it will be, and what kindred that will first
attain this new development, opens far more complex and far less certain
issues than any we have hitherto considered.


[37] Even along such vast frontiers as the Russian and Austrian, for
example, where M. Bloch anticipates war will be begun with an invasion
of clouds of Russian cavalry and great cavalry battles, I am inclined to
think this deadlock of essentially defensive marksmen may still be the
more probable thing. Small bodies of cyclist riflemen would rush forward
to meet the advancing clouds of cavalry, would drop into invisible
ambushes, and announce their presence--in unknown numbers--with
carefully aimed shots difficult to locate. A small number of such men
could always begin their fight with a surprise at the most advantageous
moment, and they would be able to make themselves very deadly against a
comparatively powerful frontal attack. If at last the attack were driven
home before supports came up to the defenders, they would still be able
to cycle away, comparatively immune. To attempt even very wide flanking
movements against such a snatched position would be simply to run risks
of blundering upon similar ambushes. The clouds of cavalry would have to
spread into thin lines at last and go forward with the rifle. Invading
clouds of cyclists would be in no better case. A conflict of cyclists
against cyclists over a country too spacious for unbroken lines, would
still, I think, leave the struggle essentially unchanged. The advance of
small unsupported bodies would be the wildest and most unprofitable
adventure; every advance would have to be made behind a screen of
scouts, and, given a practical equality in the numbers and manhood of
the two forces, these screens would speedily become simply very
attenuated lines.

[38] So far, pestilence has been a feature of almost every sustained war
in the world, but there is really no reason whatever why it should be
so. There is no reason, indeed, why a soldier upon active service on the
victorious side should go without a night's rest or miss a meal. If he
does, there is muddle and want of foresight somewhere, and that our
hypothesis excludes.

[39] Lady Maud Rolleston, in her very interesting _Yeoman Service_,
complains of the Boers killing an engine-driver during an attack on a
train at Kroonstadt, "which was," she writes, "an abominable action, as
he is, in law, a non-combatant." The implicit assumption of this
complaint would cover the engineers of an ironclad or the guides of a
night attack, everybody, in fact, who was not positively weapon in hand.

[40] Experiments will probably be made in the direction of armoured
guns, armoured search-light carriages, and armoured shelters for men,
that will admit of being pushed forward over rifle-swept ground. To such
possibilities, to possibilities even of a sort of land ironclad, my
inductive reason inclines; the armoured train seems indeed a distinct
beginning of this sort of thing, but my imagination proffers nothing but
a vision of wheels smashed by shells, iron tortoises gallantly rushed by
hidden men, and unhappy marksmen and engineers being shot at as they
bolt from some such monster overset. The fact of it is, I detest and
fear these thick, slow, essentially defensive methods, either for land
or sea fighting. I believe invincibly that the side that can go fastest
and hit hardest will always win, with or without or in spite of massive
defences, and no ingenuity in devising the massive defence will shake
that belief.

[41] Or, in deference to the Rules of War, fire them out of guns of
trivial carrying power.

[42] A curious result might very possibly follow a success of submarines
on the part of a naval power finally found to be weaker and defeated.
The victorious power might decide that a narrow sea was no longer, under
the new conditions, a comfortable boundary line, and might insist on
marking its boundary along the high-water mark of its adversary's
adjacent coasts.

[43] There comes to hand as I correct these proofs a very typical
illustration of the atmosphere of really almost imbecile patronage in
which the British private soldier lives. It is a circular from some one
at Lydd, some one who evidently cannot even write English, but who is
nevertheless begging for an iron hut in which to inflict lessons on our
soldiers. "At present," says this circular, "it is pretty to see in the
Home a group of Gunners busily occupied in wool-work or learning
basket-making, whilst one of their number sings or recites, and others
are playing games or letter-writing, but even quite recently the members
of the Bible Reading Union and one of the ladies might have been seen
painfully crowded behind screens, choosing the 'Golden Text' with
lowered voices, and trying to pray 'without distraction,' whilst at the
other end of the room men were having supper, and halfway down a dozen
Irish militia (who don't care to read, but are keen on a story) were
gathered round another lady, who was telling them an amusing temperance
tale, trying to speak so that the Bible readers should not hear her and
yet that the Leinsters _should_ was a difficulty, but when the Irishmen
begged for a song--difficulty became _impossibility_, and their friend
had to say, '_No._' Yet this is just the double work required in
Soldiers' Homes, and above all at Lydd, where there is so little safe
amusement to be had in camp, and none in the village." These poor
youngsters go from this "safe amusement" under the loving care of "lady
workers," this life of limitation, make-believe and spiritual servitude
that a self-respecting negro would find intolerable, into a warfare that
exacts initiative and a freely acting intelligence from all who take
part in it, under the bitterest penalties of shame and death. What can
you expect of them? And how can you expect any men of capacity and
energy, any men even of mediocre self-respect to knowingly place
themselves under the tutelage of the sort of people who dominate these
organized degradations? I am amazed the army gets so many capable
recruits as it does. And while the private lives under these conditions,
the would-be capable officer stifles amidst equally impossible
surroundings. He must associate with the uneducated products of the
public schools, and listen to their chatter about the "sports" that
delight them, suffer social indignities from the "army woman," worry and
waste money on needless clothes, and expect to end by being shamed or
killed under some unfairly promoted incapable. Nothing illustrates the
intellectual blankness of the British army better than its absolute
dearth of military literature. No one would dream of gaining any profit
by writing or publishing a book upon such a subject, for example, as
mountain warfare in England, because not a dozen British officers would
have the sense to buy such a book, and yet the British army is
continually getting into scrapes in mountain districts. A few unselfish
men like Major Peech find time to write an essay or so, and that is all.
On the other hand, I find no less than five works in French on this
subject in MM. Chapelet & Cie.'s list alone. On guerilla warfare again,
and after two years of South Africa, while there is nothing in English
but some scattered papers by Dr. T. Miller Maguire, there are nearly a
dozen good books in French. As a supplement to these facts is the
spectacle of the officers of the Guards telegraphing to Sir Thomas
Lipton on the occasion of the defeat of his Shamrock II., "Hard luck. Be
of good cheer. Brigade of Guards wish you every success." This is not
the foolish enthusiasm of one or two subalterns, it is collective. They
followed that yacht race with emotion! is a really important thing to
them. No doubt the whole mess was in a state of extreme excitement. How
can capable and active men be expected to live and work between this
upper and that nether millstone? The British army not only does not
attract ambitious, energetic men, it repels them. I must confess that I
see no hope either in the rulers, the traditions, or the manhood of the
British regular army, to forecast its escape from the bog of ignorance
and negligence in which it wallows. Far better than any of projected
reforms would it be to let the existing army severely alone, to cease to
recruit for it, to retain (at the expense of its officers, assisted
perhaps by subscriptions from ascendant people like Sir Thomas Lipton)
its messes, its uniforms, its games, bands, entertainments, and splendid
memories as an appendage of the Court, and to create, in absolute
independence of it, battalions and batteries of efficient professional
soldiers, without social prestige or social distinctions, without bands,
dress uniforms, colours, chaplains or honorary colonels, and to embody
these as a real marching army perpetually _en route_ throughout the
empire--a reading, thinking, experimenting army under an absolutely
distinct war office, with its own colleges, depôts and training camps
perpetually ready for war. I cannot help but think that, if a hint were
taken from the _Turbinia_ syndicate, a few enterprising persons of means
and intelligence might do much by private experiment to supplement and
replace the existing state of affairs.



We have brought together thus far in these Anticipations the material
for the picture of a human community somewhere towards the year 2000. We
have imagined its roads, the type and appearance of its homes, its
social developments, its internal struggle for organization; we have
speculated upon its moral and æsthetic condition, read its newspaper,
made an advanced criticism upon the lack of universality in its
literature, and attempted to imagine it at war. We have decided in
particular that unlike the civilized community of the immediate past
which lived either in sharply-defined towns or agriculturally over a
wide country, this population will be distributed in a quite different
way, a little more thickly over vast urban regions and a little less
thickly over less attractive or less convenient or less industrial parts
of the world. And implicit in all that has been written there has
appeared an unavoidable assumption that the coming community will be
vast, something geographically more extensive than most, and
geographically different from almost all existing communities, that the
outline its creative forces will draw not only does not coincide with
existing political centres and boundaries, but will be more often than
not in direct conflict with them, uniting areas that are separated and
separating areas that are united, grouping here half a dozen tongues and
peoples together and there tearing apart homogeneous bodies and
distributing the fragments among separate groups. And it will now be
well to inquire a little into the general causes of these existing
divisions, the political boundaries of to-day, and the still older
contours of language and race.

It is first to be remarked that each of these sets of boundaries is
superposed, as it were, on the older sets. The race areas, for example,
which are now not traceable in Europe at all must have represented old
regions of separation; the language areas, which have little or no
essential relation to racial distribution, have also given way long
since to the newer forces that have united and consolidated nations. And
the still newer forces that have united and separated the nineteenth
century states have been, and in many cases are still, in manifest
conflict with "national" ideas.

Now, in the original separation of human races, in the subsequent
differentiation and spread of languages, in the separation of men into
nationalities, and in the union and splitting of states and empires, we
have to deal essentially with the fluctuating manifestations of the
same fundamental shaping factor which will determine the distribution of
urban districts in the coming years. Every boundary of the
ethnographical, linguistic, political, and commercial map--as a little
consideration will show--has indeed been traced in the first place by
the means of transit, under the compulsion of geographical contours.

There are evident in Europe four or five or more very distinct racial
types, and since the methods and rewards of barbaric warfare and the
nature of the chief chattels of barbaric trade have always been
diametrically opposed to racial purity, their original separation could
only have gone on through such an entire lack of communication as
prevented either trade or warfare between the bulk of the
differentiating bodies. These original racial types are now inextricably
mingled. Unobservant, over-scholarly people talk or write in the
profoundest manner about a Teutonic race and a Keltic race, and
institute all sorts of curious contrasts between these phantoms, but
these are not races at all, if physical characteristics have anything to
do with race. The Dane, the Bavarian, the Prussian, the Frieslander, the
Wessex peasant, the Kentish man, the Virginian, the man from New Jersey,
the Norwegian, the Swede, and the Transvaal Boer, are generalized about,
for example, as Teutonic, while the short, dark, cunning sort of
Welshman, the tall and generous Highlander, the miscellaneous Irish,
the square-headed Breton, and any sort of Cornwall peasant are Kelts
within the meaning of this oil-lamp anthropology.[44] People who believe
in this sort of thing are not the sort of people that one attempts to
convert by a set argument. One need only say the thing is not so; there
is no Teutonic race, and there never has been; there is no Keltic race,
and there never has been. No one has ever proved or attempted to prove
the existence of such races, the thing has always been assumed; they are
dogmas with nothing but questionable authority behind them, and the onus
of proof rests on the believer. This nonsense about Keltic and Teutonic
is no more science than Lombroso's extraordinary assertions about
criminals, or palmistry, or the development of religion from a solar
myth. Indisputably there are several races intermingled in the European
populations--I am inclined to suspect the primitive European races may
be found to be so distinct as to resist confusion and pamnyxia through
hybridization--but there is no inkling of a satisfactory analysis yet
that will discriminate what these races were and define them in terms
of physical and moral character. The fact remains there is no such thing
as a racially pure and homogeneous community in Europe distinct from
other communities. Even among the Jews, according to Erckert and Chantre
and J. Jacobs, there are markedly divergent types, there may have been
two original elements and there have been extensive local intermixtures.

Long before the beginnings of history, while even language was in its
first beginnings--indeed as another aspect of the same process as the
beginning of language--the first complete isolations that established
race were breaking down again, the little pools of race were running
together into less homogeneous lagoons and marshes of humanity, the
first paths were being worn--war paths for the most part. Still
differentiation would be largely at work. Without frequent intercourse,
frequent interchange of women as the great factor in that intercourse,
the tribes and bands of mankind would still go on separating, would
develop dialectic and customary, if not physical and moral differences.
It was no longer a case of pools perhaps, but they were still in lakes.
There were as yet no open seas of mankind. With advancing civilization,
with iron weapons and war discipline, with established paths and a
social rule and presently with the coming of the horse, what one might
call the areas of assimilation would increase in size. A stage would be
reached when the only checks to transit of a sufficiently convenient
sort to keep language uniform would be the sea or mountains or a broad
river or--pure distance. And presently the rules of the game, so to
speak, would be further altered and the unifications and isolations that
were establishing themselves upset altogether and brought into novel
conflict by the beginnings of navigation, whereby an impassable barrier
became a highway.

The commencement of actual European history coincides with the closing
phases of what was probably a very long period of a foot and
(occasional) horseback state of communications; the adjustments so
arrived at being already in an early state of rearrangement through the
advent of the ship. The communities of Europe were still for the larger
part small isolated tribes and kingdoms, such kingdoms as a mainly
pedestrian militia, or at any rate a militia without transport, and
drawn from (and soon drawn home again by) agricultural work, might hold
together. The increase of transit facilities between such communities,
by the development of shipping and the invention of the wheel and the
made road, spelt increased trade perhaps for a time, but very speedily a
more extensive form of war, and in the end either the wearing away of
differences and union, or conquest. Man is the creature of a struggle
for existence, incurably egoistic and aggressive. Convince him of the
gospel of self-abnegation even, and he instantly becomes its zealous
missionary, taking great credit that his expedients to ram it into the
minds of his fellow-creatures do not include physical force--and if that
is not self-abnegation, he asks, what is? So he has been, and so he is
likely to remain. Not to be so, is to die of abnegation and extinguish
the type. Improvement in transit between communities formerly for all
practical purposes isolated, means, therefore, and always has meant, and
I imagine, always will mean, that now they can get at one another. And
they do. They inter-breed and fight, physically, mentally, and
spiritually. Unless Providence is belied in His works that is what they
are meant to do.

A third invention which, though not a means of transit like the wheeled
vehicle and the ship, was yet a means of communication, rendered still
larger political reactions possible, and that was the development of
systems of writing. The first empires and some sort of written speech
arose together. Just as a kingdom, as distinguished from a mere tribal
group of villages, is almost impossible without horses, so is an empire
without writing and post-roads. The history of the whole world for three
thousand years is the history of a unity larger than the small kingdom
of the Heptarchy type, endeavouring to establish itself under the stress
of these discoveries of horse-traffic and shipping and the written word,
the history, that is, of the consequences of the partial shattering of
the barriers that had been effectual enough to prevent the fusion of
more than tribal communities through all the long ages before the dawn
of history.

East of the Gobi Pamir barrier there has slowly grown up under these new
conditions the Chinese system. West and north of the Sahara Gobi barrier
of deserts and mountains, the extraordinarily strong and spacious
conceptions of the Romans succeeded in dominating the world, and do,
indeed, in a sort of mutilated way, by the powers of great words and
wide ideas, in Cæsarism and Imperialism, in the titles of Czar, Kaiser,
and Imperator, in Papal pretension and countless political devices,
dominate it to this hour. For awhile these conceptions sustained a
united and to a large extent organized empire over very much of this
space. But at its stablest time, this union was no more than a political
union, the spreading of a thin layer of Latin-speaking officials, of a
thin network of roads and a very thin veneer indeed of customs and
refinements, over the scarcely touched national masses. It checked,
perhaps, but it nowhere succeeded in stopping the slow but inevitable
differentiation of province from province and nation from nation. The
forces of transit that permitted the Roman imperialism and its partial
successors to establish wide ascendancies, were not sufficient to carry
the resultant unity beyond the political stage. There was unity, but not
unification. Tongues and writing ceased to be pure without ceasing to
be distinct. Sympathies, religious and social practices, ran apart and
rounded themselves off like drops of oil on water. Travel was restricted
to the rulers and the troops and to a wealthy leisure class; commerce
was for most of the constituent provinces of the empire a commerce in
superficialities, and each province--except for Italy, which latterly
became dependent on an over-seas food supply--was in all essential
things autonomous, could have continued in existence, rulers and ruled,
arts, luxuries, and refinements just as they stood, if all other lands
and customs had been swept out of being. Local convulsions and
revolutions, conquests and developments, occurred indeed, but though the
stones were altered the mosaic remained, and the general size and
character of its constituent pieces remained. So it was under the
Romans, so it was in the eighteenth century, and so it would probably
have remained as long as the post-road and the sailing-ship were the
most rapid forms of transit within the reach of man. Wars and powers and
princes came and went, that was all. Nothing was changed, there was only
one state the more or less. Even in the eighteenth century the process
of real unification had effected so little, that not one of the larger
kingdoms of Europe escaped a civil war--not a class war, but a really
_internal_ war--between one part of itself and another, in that hundred
years. In spite of Rome's few centuries of unstable empire, internal
wars, a perpetual struggle against finally triumphant disruption seemed
to be the unavoidable destiny of every power that attempted to rule over
a larger radius than at most a hundred miles.

So evident was this that many educated English persons thought then, and
many who are not in the habit of analyzing operating causes, still think
to-day, that the wide diffusion of the English-speaking people is a mere
preliminary to their political, social, and linguistic disruption--the
eighteenth-century breach with the United States is made a precedent of,
and the unification that followed the war of Union and the growing
unification of Canada is overlooked--that linguistic differences,
differences of custom, costume, prejudice, and the like, will finally
make the Australian, the Canadian of English blood, the Virginian, and
the English Africander, as incomprehensible and unsympathetic one to
another as Spaniard and Englishman or Frenchman and German are now. On
such a supposition all our current Imperialism is the most foolish
defiance of the inevitable, the maddest waste of blood, treasure, and
emotion that man ever made. So, indeed, it might be--so, indeed, I
certainly think it would be--if it were not that the epoch of post-road
and sailing-ship is at an end. We are in the beginning of a new time,
with such forces of organization and unification at work in mechanical
traction, in the telephone and telegraph, in a whole wonderland of
novel, space-destroying appliances, and in the correlated inevitable
advance in practical education, as the world has never felt before.

The operation of these unifying forces is already to be very distinctly
traced in the check, the arrest indeed, of any further differentiation
in existing tongues, even in the most widely spread. In fact, it is more
than an arrest even, the forces of differentiation have been driven back
and an actual process of assimilation has set in. In England at the
commencement of the nineteenth century the common man of Somerset and
the common man of Yorkshire, the Sussex peasant, the Caithness cottar
and the common Ulsterman, would have been almost incomprehensible to one
another. They differed in accent, in idiom, and in their very names for
things. They differed in their ideas about things. They were, in plain
English, foreigners one to another. Now they differ only in accent, and
even that is a dwindling difference. Their language has become ampler
because now they read. They read books--or, at any rate, they learn to
read out of books--and certainly they read newspapers and those scrappy
periodicals that people like bishops pretend to think so detrimental to
the human mind, periodicals that it is cheaper to make at centres and
uniformly, than locally in accordance with local needs. Since the
newspaper cannot fit the locality, the locality has to broaden its mind
to the newspaper, and to ideas acceptable in other localities. The word
and the idiom of the literary language and the pronunciation suggested
by its spelling tends to prevail over the local usage. And moreover
there is a persistent mixing of peoples going on, migration in search of
employment and so on, quite unprecedented before the railways came. Few
people are content to remain in that locality and state of life "into
which it has pleased God to call them." As a result, dialectic purity
has vanished, dialects are rapidly vanishing, and novel differentiations
are retarded or arrested altogether. Such novelties as do establish
themselves in a locality are widely disseminated almost at once in books
and periodicals.

A parallel arrest of dialectic separation has happened in France, in
Italy, in Germany, and in the States. It is not a process peculiar to
any one nation. It is simply an aspect of the general process that has
arisen out of mechanical locomotion. The organization of elementary
education has no doubt been an important factor, but the essential
influence working through this circumstance is the fact that paper is
relatively cheap to type-setting, and both cheap to authorship--even the
commonest sorts of authorship--and the wider the area a periodical or
book serves the bigger, more attractive, and better it can be made for
the same money. And clearly this process of assimilation will continue.
Even local differences of accent seem likely to follow. The itinerant
dramatic company, the itinerant preacher, the coming extension of
telephones and the phonograph, which at any time in some application to
correspondence or instruction may cease to be a toy, all these things
attack, or threaten to attack, the weeds of differentiation before they
can take root....

And this process is not restricted to dialects merely. The native of a
small country who knows no other language than the tongue of his country
becomes increasingly at a disadvantage in comparison with the user of
any of the three great languages of the Europeanized world. For his
literature he depends on the scanty writers who are in his own case and
write, or have written, in his own tongue. Necessarily they are few,
because necessarily with a small public there can be only subsistence
for a few. For his science he is in a worse case. His country can
produce neither teachers nor discoverers to compare with the numbers of
such workers in the larger areas, and it will neither pay them to write
original matter for his instruction nor to translate what has been
written in other tongues. The larger the number of people reading a
tongue, the larger--other things being equal--will be not only the
output of more or less original literature in that tongue, but also the
more profitable and numerous will be translations of whatever has value
in other tongues. Moreover, the larger the reading public in any
language the cheaper will it be to supply copies of the desired work.
In the matter of current intelligence the case of the speaker of the
small language is still worse. His newspaper will need to be cheaply
served, his home intelligence will be cut and restricted, his foreign
news belated and second hand. Moreover, to travel even a little distance
or to conduct anything but the smallest business enterprise will be
exceptionally inconvenient to him. The Englishman who knows no language
but his own may travel well-nigh all over the world and everywhere meet
some one who can speak his tongue. But what of the Welsh-speaking
Welshman? What of the Basque and the Lithuanian who can speak only his
mother tongue? Everywhere such a man is a foreigner and with all the
foreigner's disadvantages. In most places he is for all practical
purposes deaf and dumb.

The inducements to an Englishman, Frenchman or German to become
bi-lingual are great enough nowadays, but the inducements to a speaker
of the smaller languages are rapidly approaching compulsion. He must do
it in self-defence. To be an educated man in his own vernacular has
become an impossibility, he must either become a mental subject of one
of the greater languages or sink to the intellectual status of a
peasant. But if our analysis of social development was correct the
peasant of to-day will be represented to-morrow by the people of no
account whatever, the classes of extinction, the People of the Abyss.
If that analysis was correct, the essential nation will be all of
educated men, that is to say, the essential nation will speak some
dominant language or cease to exist, whatever its primordial tongue may
have been. It will pass out of being and become a mere local area of the
lower social stratum,--a Problem for the philanthropic amateur.

The action of the force of attraction of the great tongues is
cumulative. It goes on, as bodies fall, with a steady acceleration. The
more the great tongues prevail over the little languages the less will
be the inducement to write and translate into these latter, the less the
inducement to master them with any care or precision. And so this attack
upon the smaller tongues, this gravitation of those who are born to
speak them, towards the great languages, is not only to be seen going on
in the case of such languages as Flemish, Welsh, or Basque, but even in
the case of Norwegian and of such a great and noble tongue as the
Italian, I am afraid that the trend of things makes for a similar
suppression. All over Italy is the French newspaper and the French book.
French wins its way more and more there, as English, I understand, is
doing in Norway, and English and German in Holland. And in the coming
years when the reading public will, in the case of the Western nations,
be practically the whole functional population, when travel will be more
extensive and abundant, and the inter-change of printed matter still
cheaper and swifter--and above all with the spread of the telephone--the
process of subtle, bloodless, unpremeditated annexation will conceivably
progress much more rapidly even than it does at present. The Twentieth
Century will see the effectual crowding out of most of the weaker
languages--if not a positive crowding out, yet at least (as in Flanders)
a supplementing of them by the superposition of one or other of a
limited number of world-languages over the area in which each is spoken.
This will go on not only in Europe, but with varying rates of progress
and local eddies and interruptions over the whole world. Except in the
special case of China and Japan, where there may be a unique
development, the peoples of the world will escape from the wreckage of
their too small and swamped and foundering social systems, only up the
ladders of what one may call the aggregating tongues.

What will these aggregating world-languages be? If one has regard only
to its extension during the nineteenth century one may easily incline to
overrate the probabilities of English becoming the chief of these. But a
great part of the vast extension of English that has occurred has been
due to the rapid reproduction of originally English-speaking peoples,
the emigration of foreigners into English-speaking countries in
quantities too small to resist the contagion about them, and the
compulsion due to the political and commercial preponderance of a
people too illiterate to readily master strange tongues. None of these
causes have any essential permanence. When one comes to look more
closely into the question one is surprised to discover how slow the
extension of English has been in the face of apparently far less
convenient tongues. English still fails to replace the French language
in French Canada, and its ascendency is doubtful to-day in South Africa,
after nearly a century of British dominion. It has none of the
contagious quality of French, and the small class that monopolizes the
direction of British affairs, and probably will monopolize it yet for
several decades, has never displayed any great zeal to propagate its
use. Of the few ideas possessed by the British governing class, the
destruction and discouragement of schools and colleges is,
unfortunately, one of the chief, and there is an absolute incapacity to
understand the political significance of the language question. The
Hindoo who is at pains to learn and use English encounters something
uncommonly like hatred disguised in a facetious form. He will certainly
read little about himself in English that is not grossly contemptuous,
to reward him for his labour. The possibilities that have existed, and
that do still in a dwindling degree exist, for resolute statesmen to
make English the common language of communication for all Asia south and
east of the Himalayas, will have to develop of their own force or
dwindle and pass away. They may quite probably pass away. There is no
sign that either the English or the Americans have a sufficient sense of
the importance of linguistic predominance in the future of their race to
interfere with natural processes in this matter for many years to come.

Among peoples not actually subject to British or American rule, and who
are neither waiters nor commercial travellers, the inducements to learn
English, rather than French or German, do not increase. If our initial
assumptions are right, the decisive factor in this matter is the amount
of science and thought the acquisition of a language will afford the man
who learns it. It becomes, therefore, a fact of very great significance
that the actual number of books published in English is less than that
in French or German, and that the proportion of serious books is very
greatly less. A large proportion of English books are novels adapted to
the minds of women, or of boys and superannuated business men, stories
designed rather to allay than stimulate thought--they are the only
books, indeed, that are profitable to publisher and author alike. In
this connection they do not count, however; no foreigner is likely to
learn English for the pleasure of reading Miss Marie Corelli in the
original, or of drinking untranslatable elements from _The Helmet of
Navarre_. The present conditions of book production for the English
reading public offer no hope of any immediate change in this respect.
There is neither honour nor reward--there is not even food or
shelter--for the American or Englishman who devotes a year or so of his
life to the adequate treatment of any spacious question, and so small is
the English reading public with any special interest in science, that a
great number of important foreign scientific works are never translated
into English at all. Such interesting compilations as Bloch's work on
war, for example, must be read in French; in English only a brief
summary of his results is to be obtained, under a sensational
heading.[45] Schopenhauer again is only to be got quite stupidly
Bowdlerized, explained, and "selected" in English. Many translations
that are made into English are made only to sell, they are too often the
work of sweated women and girls--very often quite without any special
knowledge of the matter they translate--they are difficult to read and
untrustworthy to quote. The production of books in English, except the
author be a wealthy amateur, rests finally upon the publishers, and
publishers to-day stand a little lower than ordinary tradesmen in not
caring at all whether the goods they sell are good or bad. Unusual
books, they allege--and all good books are unusual--are "difficult to
handle," and the author must pay the fine--amounting, more often than
not, to the greater portion of his interest in the book. There is no
criticism to control the advertising enterprises of publishers and
authors, and no sufficiently intelligent reading public has
differentiated out of the confusion to encourage attempts at critical
discrimination. The organs of the great professions and technical trades
are as yet not alive to the part their readers must play in the public
life of the future, and ignore all but strictly technical publications.
A bastard criticism, written in many cases by publishers' employees, a
criticism having a very direct relation to the advertisement columns,
distributes praise and blame in the periodic press. There is no body of
great men either in England or America, no intelligence in the British
Court, that might by any form of recognition compensate the
philosophical or scientific writer for poverty and popular neglect. The
more powerful a man's intelligence the more distinctly he must see that
to devote himself to increase the scientific or philosophical wealth of
the English tongue will be to sacrifice comfort, the respect of the bulk
of his contemporaries, and all the most delightful things of life, for
the barren reward of a not very certain righteous self-applause. By
brewing and dealing in tied houses,[46] or by selling pork and tea, or
by stock-jobbing and by pandering with the profits so obtained to the
pleasures of the established great, a man of energy may hope to rise to
a pitch of public honour and popularity immeasurably in excess of
anything attainable through the most splendid intellectual performances.
Heaven forbid I should overrate public honours and the company of
princes! But it is not always delightful to be splashed by the wheels of
cabs. Always before there has been at least a convention that the Court
of this country, and its aristocracy, were radiant centres of moral and
intellectual influence, that they did to some extent check and correct
the judgments of the cab-rank and the beer-house. But the British Crown
of to-day, so far as it exists for science and literature at all, exists
mainly to repudiate the claims of intellectual performance to public

These things, if they were merely the grievances of the study, might
very well rest there. But they must be recognized here because the
intellectual decline of the published literature of the English
language--using the word to cover all sorts of books--involves finally
the decline of the language and of all the spacious political
possibilities that go with the wide extension of a language.
Conceivably, if in the coming years a deliberate attempt were made to
provide sound instruction in English to all who sought it, and to all
within the control of English-speaking Governments, if honour and
emolument were given to literary men instead of being left to them to
most indelicately take, and if the present sordid trade of publishing
were so lifted as to bring the whole literature, the whole science, and
all the contemporary thought of the world--not some selection of the
world's literature, not some obsolete Encyclopædia sold meanly and
basely to choke hungry minds, but a real publication of all that has
been and is being done--within the reach of each man's need and desire
who had the franchise of the tongue, then by the year 2000 I would
prophesy that the whole functional body of human society would read, and
perhaps even write and speak, our language. And not only that, but it
might be the prevalent and everyday language of Scandinavia and Denmark
and Holland, of all Africa, all North America, of the Pacific coasts of
Asia and of India, the universal international language, and in a fair
way to be the universal language of mankind. But such an enterprise
demands a resolve and intelligence beyond all the immediate signs of the
times; it implies a veritable renascence of intellectual life among the
English-speaking peoples. The probabilities of such a renascence will
be more conveniently discussed at a later stage, when we attempt to draw
the broad outline of the struggle for world-wide ascendency that the
coming years will see. But here it is clear that upon the probability of
such a renascence depends the extension of the language, and not only
that, but the preservation of that military and naval efficiency upon
which, in this world of resolute aggression, the existence of the
English-speaking communities finally depends.

French and German will certainly be aggregating languages during the
greater portion of the coming years. Of the two I am inclined to think
French will spread further than German. There is a disposition in the
world, which the French share, to grossly undervalue the prospects of
all things French, derived, so far as I can gather, from the facts that
the French were beaten by the Germans in 1870, and that they do not
breed with the _abandon_ of rabbits or negroes. These are considerations
that affect the dissemination of French very little. The French reading
public is something different and very much larger than the existing
French political system. The number of books published in French is
greater than that published in English; there is a critical reception
for a work published in French that is one of the few things worth a
writer's having, and the French translators are the most alert and
efficient in the world. One has only to see a Parisian bookshop, and to
recall an English one, to realize the as yet unattainable standing of
French. The serried ranks of lemon-coloured volumes in the former have
the whole range of human thought and interest; there are no taboos and
no limits, you have everything up and down the scale, from frank
indecency to stark wisdom. It is a shop for men. I remember my amazement
to discover three copies of a translation of that most wonderful book,
the _Text-book of Psychology_ of Professor William James,[ERRATUM: for
'The Text Book of Psychology,' _read_ 'The Principles of Psychology'.]
in a shop in L'Avenue de l'Opera--three copies of a book that I have
never seen anywhere in England outside my own house,--and I am an
attentive student of bookshop windows! And the French books are all so
pleasant in the page, and so cheap--they are for a people that buys to
read. One thinks of the English bookshop, with its gaudy reach-me-downs
of gilded and embossed cover, its horribly printed novels still more
horribly "illustrated," the exasperating pointless variety in the size
and thickness of its books. The general effect of the English book is
that it is something sold by a dealer in _bric-à-brac_, honestly sorry
the thing is a book, but who has done _his_ best to remedy it, anyhow!
And all the English shopful is either brand new fiction or illustrated
travel (of '_Buns with the Grand Lama_' type), or gilded versions of the
classics of past times done up to give away. While the French bookshop
reeks of contemporary intellectual life!

These things count for French as against English now, and they will
count for infinitely more in the coming years. And over German also
French has many advantages. In spite of the numerical preponderance of
books published in Germany, it is doubtful if the German reader has
quite such a catholic feast before him as the reader of French. There is
a mass of German fiction probably as uninteresting to a foreigner as
popular English and American romance. And German compared with French is
an unattractive language; unmelodious, unwieldy, and cursed with a
hideous and blinding lettering that the German is too patriotic to
sacrifice. There has been in Germany a more powerful parallel to what
one may call the "honest Saxon" movement among the English, that queer
mental twist that moves men to call an otherwise undistinguished preface
a "Foreword," and find a pleasurable advantage over their
fellow-creatures in a familiarity with "eftsoons." This tendency in
German has done much to arrest the simplification of idiom, and checked
the development of new words of classical origin. In particular it has
stood in the way of the international use of scientific terms. The
Englishman, the Frenchman, and the Italian have a certain community of
technical, scientific, and philosophical phraseology, and it is
frequently easier for an Englishman with some special knowledge of his
subject to read and appreciate a subtle and technical work in French,
than it is for him to fully enter into the popular matter of the same
tongue. Moreover, the technicalities of these peoples, being not so
immediately and constantly brought into contrast and contact with their
Latin or Greek roots as they would be if they were derived (as are so
many "patriotic" German technicalities) from native roots, are free to
qualify and develop a final meaning distinct from their original
intention. In the growing and changing body of science this counts for
much. The indigenous German technicality remains clumsy and compromised
by its everyday relations, to the end of time it drags a lengthening
chain of unsuitable associations. And the shade of meaning, the limited
qualification, that a Frenchman or Englishman can attain with a mere
twist of the sentence, the German must either abandon or laboriously
overstate with some colossal wormcast of parenthesis.... Moreover,
against the German tongue there are hostile frontiers, there are hostile
people who fear German preponderance, and who have set their hearts
against its use. In Roumania, and among the Slav, Bohemian, and
Hungarian peoples, French attacks German in the flank, and has as clear
a prospect of predominance.

These two tongues must inevitably come into keen conflict; they will
perhaps fight their battle for the linguistic conquest of Europe, and
perhaps of the world, in a great urban region that will arise about the
Rhine. Politically this region lies now in six independent States, but
economically it must become one in the next fifty years. It will almost
certainly be the greatest urban region in all the world except that
which will arise in the eastern States of North America, and that which
may arise somewhere about Hankow. It will stretch from Lille to Kiel, it
will drive extensions along the Rhine valley into Switzerland, and fling
an arm along the Moldau to Prague, it will be the industrial capital of
the old world. Paris will be its West End, and it will stretch a
spider's web of railways and great roads of the new sort over the whole
continent. Even when the coal-field industries of the plain give place
to the industrial application of mountain-born electricity, this great
city region will remain, I believe, in its present position at the
seaport end of the great plain of the Old World. Considerations of
transit will keep it where it has grown, and electricity will be brought
to it in mighty cables from the torrents of the central European
mountain mass. Its westward port may be Bordeaux or Milford Haven, or
even some port in the south-west of Ireland--unless, which is very
unlikely, the velocity of secure sea-travel can be increased beyond that
of land locomotion. I do not see how this great region is to unify
itself without some linguistic compromise--the Germanization of the
French-speaking peoples by force is too ridiculous a suggestion to
entertain. Almost inevitably with travel, with transport communications,
with every condition of human convenience insisting upon it, formally or
informally a bi-lingual compromise will come into operation, and to my
mind at least the chances seem even that French will emerge on the upper
hand. Unless, indeed, that great renascence of the English-speaking
peoples should, after all, so overwhelmingly occur as to force this
European city to be tri-lingual, and prepare the way by which the whole
world may at last speak together in one tongue.

These are the aggregating tongues. I do not think that any other tongues
than these are quite likely to hold their own in the coming time.
Italian may flourish in the city of the Po valley, but only with French
beside it. Spanish and Russian are mighty languages, but without a
reading public how can they prevail, and what prospect of a reading
public has either? They are, I believe, already judged. By A.D. 2000 all
these languages will be tending more and more to be the second tongues
of bi-lingual communities, with French, or English, or less probably
German winning the upper hand.

But when one turns to China there are the strangest possibilities. It is
in Eastern Asia alone that there seems to be any possibility of a
synthesis sufficiently great to maintain itself, arising outside of,
and independently of, the interlocked system of mechanically sustained
societies that is developing out of mediæval Christendom. Throughout
Eastern Asia there is still, no doubt, a vast wilderness of languages,
but over them all rides the Chinese writing. And very strong--strong
enough to be very gravely considered--is the possibility of that writing
taking up an orthodox association of sounds, and becoming a world
speech. The Japanese written language, the language of Japanese
literature, tends to assimilate itself to Chinese, and fresh Chinese
words and expressions are continually taking root in Japan. The Japanese
are a people quite abnormal and incalculable, with a touch of romance, a
conception of honour, a quality of imagination, and a clearness of
intelligence that renders possible for them things inconceivable of any
other existing nation. I may be the slave of perspective effects, but
when I turn my mind from the pettifogging muddle of the English House of
Commons, for example, that magnified vestry that is so proud of itself
as a club--when I turn from that to this race of brave and smiling
people, abruptly destiny begins drawing with a bolder hand. Suppose the
Japanese were to make up their minds to accelerate whatever process of
synthesis were possible in China! Suppose, after all, I am not the
victim of atmospheric refraction, and they are, indeed, as gallant and
bold and intelligent as my baseless conception of them would have them
be! They would almost certainly find co-operative elements among the
educated Chinese.... But this is no doubt the lesser probability. In
front and rear of China the English language stands. It has the start of
all other languages--the mechanical advantage--the position. And if only
we, who think and write and translate and print and put forth, could
make it worth the world's having!


[44] Under the intoxication of the Keltic Renascence the most diverse
sorts of human beings have foregathered and met face to face, and been
photographed Pan-Keltically, and have no doubt gloated over these
collective photographs, without any of them realizing, it seems, what a
miscellaneous thing the Keltic race must be. There is nothing that may
or may not be a Kelt, and I know, for example, professional Kelts who
are, so far as face, manners, accents, morals, and ideals go,
indistinguishable from other people who are, I am told, indisputably
Assyroid Jews.

[45] _Is War Now Impossible?_ and see also footnote, p. 210.

[46] It is entirely for their wealth that brewers have been ennobled in
England, never because of their services as captains of a great
industry. Indeed, these services have been typically poor. While these
men were earning their peerages by the sort of proceedings that do
secure men peerages under the British Crown, the German brewers were
developing the art and science of brewing with remarkable energy and
success. The Germans and Bohemians can now make light beers that the
English brewers cannot even imitate; they are exporting beer to England
in steadily increasing volume.



We have seen that the essential process arising out of the growth of
science and mechanism, and more particularly out of the still developing
new facilities of locomotion and communication science has afforded, is
the deliquescence of the social organizations of the past, and the
synthesis of ampler and still ampler and more complicated and still more
complicated social unities. The suggestion is powerful, the conclusion
is hard to resist, that, through whatever disorders of danger and
conflict, whatever centuries of misunderstanding and bloodshed, men may
still have to pass, this process nevertheless aims finally, and will
attain to the establishment of one world-state at peace within itself.
In the economic sense, indeed, a world-state is already established.
Even to-day we do all buy and sell in the same markets--albeit the
owners of certain ancient rights levy their tolls here and there--and
the Hindoo starves, the Italian feels the pinch, before the Germans or
the English go short of bread. There is no real autonomy any more in
the world, no simple right to an absolute independence such as formerly
the Swiss could claim. The nations and boundaries of to-day do no more
than mark claims to exemptions, privileges, and corners in the
market--claims valid enough to those whose minds and souls are turned
towards the past, but absurdities to those who look to the future as the
end and justification of our present stresses. The claim to political
liberty amounts, as a rule, to no more than the claim of a man to live
in a parish without observing sanitary precautions or paying rates
because he had an excellent great-grandfather. Against all these old
isolations, these obsolescent particularisms, the forces of mechanical
and scientific development fight, and fight irresistibly; and upon the
general recognition of this conflict, upon the intelligence and courage
with which its inflexible conditions are negotiated, depends very
largely the amount of bloodshed and avoidable misery the coming years
will hold.

The final attainment of this great synthesis, like the social
deliquescence and reconstruction dealt with in the earlier of these
anticipations, has an air of being a process independent of any
collective or conscious will in man, as being the expression of a
greater Will; it is working now, and may work out to its end vastly, and
yet at times almost imperceptibly, as some huge secular movement in
Nature, the raising of a continent, the crumbling of a mountain-chain,
goes on to its appointed culmination. Or one may compare the process to
a net that has surrounded, and that is drawn continually closer and
closer upon, a great and varied multitude of men. We may cherish
animosities, we may declare imperishable distances, we may plot and
counter-plot, make war and "fight to a finish;" the net tightens for all

Already the need of some synthesis at least ampler than existing
national organizations is so apparent in the world, that at least five
spacious movements of coalescence exist to-day; there is the movement
called Anglo-Saxonism, the allied but finally very different movement of
British Imperialism, the Pan-Germanic movement, Pan-Slavism, and the
conception of a great union of the "Latin" peoples. Under the outrageous
treatment of the white peoples an idea of unifying the "Yellow" peoples
is pretty certain to become audibly and visibly operative before many
years. These are all deliberate and justifiable suggestions, and they
all aim to sacrifice minor differences in order to link like to like in
greater matters, and so secure, if not physical predominance in the
world, at least an effective defensive strength for their racial, moral,
customary, or linguistic differences against the aggressions of other
possible coalescences. But these syntheses or other similar synthetic
conceptions, if they do not contrive to establish a rational social
unity by sanely negotiated unions, will be forced to fight for physical
predominance in the world. The whole trend of forces in the world is
against the preservation of _local_ social systems however greatly and
spaciously conceived. Yet it is quite possible that several or all of
the cultures that will arise out of the development of these
Pan-this-and-that movements may in many of their features survive, as
the culture of the Jews has survived, political obliteration, and may
disseminate themselves, as the Jewish system has disseminated itself,
over the whole world-city. Unity by no means involves homogeneity. The
greater the social organism the more complex and varied its parts, the
more intricate and varied the interplay of culture and breed and
character within it.

It is doubtful if either the Latin or the Pan-Slavic idea contains the
promise of any great political unification. The elements of the Latin
synthesis are dispersed in South and Central America and about the
Mediterranean basin in a way that offers no prospect of an economic
unity between them. The best elements of the French people lie in the
western portion of what must become the greatest urban region of the Old
World, the Rhine-Netherlandish region; the interests of North Italy draw
that region away from the Italy of Rome and the South towards the Swiss
and South Germany, and the Spanish and Portuguese speaking halfbreeds
of South America have not only their own coalescences to arrange, but
they lie already under the political tutelage of the United States.
Nowhere except in France and North Italy is there any prospect of such
an intellectual and educational evolution as is necessary before a great
scheme of unification can begin to take effect. And the difficulties in
the way of the pan-Slavic dream are far graver. Its realization is
enormously hampered by the division of its languages, and the fact that
in the Bohemian language, in Polish and in Russian, there exist distinct
literatures, almost equally splendid in achievement, but equally
insufficient in quantity and range to establish a claim to replace all
other Slavonic dialects. Russia, which should form the central mass of
this synthesis, stagnates, relatively to the Western states, under the
rule of reactionary intelligences; it does not develop, and does not
seem likely to develop, the merest beginnings of that great educated
middle class, with which the future so enormously rests. The Russia of
to-day is indeed very little more than a vast breeding-ground for an
illiterate peasantry, and the forecasts of its future greatness entirely
ignore that dwindling significance of mere numbers in warfare which is
the clear and necessary consequence of mechanical advance. To a large
extent, I believe, the Western Slavs will follow the Prussians and
Lithuanians, and be incorporated in the urbanization of Western Europe,
and the remoter portions of Russia seem destined to become--are indeed
becoming--Abyss, a wretched and disorderly Abyss that will not even be
formidable to the armed and disciplined peoples of the new civilization,
the last quarter of the earth, perhaps, where a barbaric or absentee
nobility will shadow the squalid and unhappy destinies of a multitude of
hopeless and unmeaning lives.

To a certain extent, Russia may play the part of a vaster Ireland, in
her failure to keep pace with the educational and economic progress of
nations which have come into economic unity with her. She will be an
Ireland without emigration, a place for famines. And while Russia delays
to develop anything but a fecund orthodoxy and this simple peasant life,
the grooves and channels are growing ever deeper along which the
currents of trade, of intellectual and moral stimulus, must presently
flow towards the West. I see no region where anything like the
comparatively dense urban regions that are likely to arise about the
Rhineland and over the eastern states of America, for example, can
develop in Russia. With railways planned boldly, it would have been
possible, it might still be possible, to make about Odessa a parallel to
Chicago, but the existing railways run about Odessa as though Asia were
unknown; and when at last the commercial awakening of what is now the
Turkish Empire comes, the railway lines will probably run, not north or
south, but from the urban region of the more scientific central
Europeans down to Constantinople. The long-route land communications in
the future will become continually more swift and efficient than Baltic
navigation, and it is unlikely, therefore, that St. Petersburg has any
great possibilities of growth. It was founded by a man whose idea of the
course of trade and civilization was the sea wholly and solely, and in
the future the sea must necessarily become more and more a last resort.
With its spacious prospects, its architectural magnificence, its
political quality, its desertion by the new commerce, and its terrible
peasant hinterland, it may come about that a striking analogy between
St. Petersburg and Dublin will finally appear.

So much for the Pan-Slavic synthesis. It seems improbable that it can
prevail against the forces that make for the linguistic and economic
annexation of the greater part of European Russia and of the minor
Slavonic masses, to the great Western European urban region.

The political centre of gravity of Russia, in its resistance to these
economic movements, is palpably shifting eastward even to-day, but that
carries it away from the Central European synthesis only towards the
vastly more enormous attracting centre of China. Politically the Russian
Government may come to dominate China in the coming decades, but the
reality beneath any such formal predominance will be the absorption of
Russia beyond the range of the European pull by the synthesis of Eastern
Asia. Neither the Russian literature nor the Russian language and
writing, nor the Russian civilization as a whole have the qualities to
make them irresistible to the energetic and intelligent millions of the
far East. The chances seem altogether against the existence of a great
Slavonic power in the world at the beginning of the twenty-first
century. They seem, at the first glance, to lie just as heavily in
favour of an aggressive Pan-Germanic power struggling towards a great
and commanding position athwart Central Europe and Western Asia, and
turning itself at last upon the defeated Slavonic disorder. There can be
no doubt that at present the Germans, with the doubtful exception of the
United States, have the most efficient middle class in the world, their
rapid economic progress is to a very large extent, indeed, a triumph of
intelligence, and their political and probably their military and naval
services are still conducted with a capacity and breadth of view that
find no parallel in the world. But the very efficiency of the German as
a German to-day, and the habits and traditions of victory he has
accumulated for nearly forty years, may prove in the end a very doubtful
blessing to Europe as a whole, or even to his own grandchildren.
Geographical contours, economic forces, the trend of invention and
social development, point to a unification of all Western Europe, but
they certainly do not point to its Germanization. I have already given
reasons for anticipating that the French language may not only hold its
own, but prevail against German in Western Europe. And there are certain
other obstacles in the way even of the union of indisputable Germans.
One element in Germany's present efficiency must become more and more of
an encumbrance as the years pass. The Germanic idea is deeply interwoven
with the traditional Empire and with the martinet methods of the
Prussian monarchy. The intellectual development of the Germans is
defined to a very large extent by a court-directed officialdom. In many
things that court is still inspired by the noble traditions of education
and discipline that come from the days of German adversity, and the
predominance of the Imperial will does, no doubt, give a unity of
purpose to German policy and action that adds greatly to its efficacy.
But for a capable ruler, even more than for a radiantly stupid monarch,
the price a nation must finally pay is heavy. Most energetic and capable
people are a little intolerant of unsympathetic capacity, are apt on the
under side of their egotism to be jealous, assertive, and aggressive. In
the present Empire of Germany there are no other great figures to
balance the Imperial personage, and I do not see how other great figures
are likely to arise. A great number of fine and capable persons must be
failing to develop, failing to tell, under the shadow of this too
prepotent monarchy. There are certain limiting restrictions imposed upon
Germans through the Imperial activity, that must finally be bad for the
intellectual atmosphere which is Germany's ultimate strength. For
example, the Emperor professes a violent and grotesque Christianity with
a ferocious pro-Teutonic Father and a negligible Son, and the public
mind is warped into conformity with the finally impossible cant of this
eccentric creed. His Imperial Majesty's disposition to regard criticism
as hostility stifles the public thought of Germany. He interferes in
university affairs and in literary and artistic matters with a quite
remarkable confidence and incalculable consequences. The inertia of a
century carries him and his Germany onward from success to success, but
for all that one may doubt whether the extraordinary intellectuality
that distinguished the German atmosphere in the early years of the
century, and in which such men as Blumenthal and Moltke grew to
greatness, in which Germany grew to greatness, is not steadily fading in
the heat and blaze of the Imperial sunshine. Discipline and education
have carried Germany far; they are essential things, but an equally
essential need for the coming time is a free play for men of initiative
and imagination. Is Germany to her utmost possibility making capable
men? That, after all, is the vital question, and not whether her policy
is wise or foolish, or her commercial development inflated or sound. Or
is Germany doing no more than cash the promises of those earlier days?

After all, I do not see that she is in a greatly stronger position than
was France in the early sixties, and, indeed, in many respects her
present predominance is curiously analogous to that of the French Empire
in those years. Death at any time may end the career of the present
ruler of Germany--there is no certain insurance of one single life. This
withdrawal would leave Germany organized entirely with reference to a
Court, and there is no trustworthy guarantee that the succeeding Royal
Personality may not be something infinitely more vain and aggressive, or
something weakly self-indulgent or unpatriotic and morally indifferent.
Much has been done in the past of Germany, the infinitely less exacting
past, by means of the tutor, the Chamberlain, the Chancellor, the
wide-seeing power beyond the throne, who very unselfishly intrigues his
monarch in the way that he should go. But that sort of thing is
remarkably like writing a letter by means of a pen held in lazy tongs
instead of the hand. A very easily imagined series of accidents may
place the destinies of Germany in such lazy tongs again. When that
occasion comes, will the new class of capable men on which we have
convinced ourselves in these anticipations the future depends--will it
be ready for its enlarged responsibilities, or will the flower of its
possible members be in prison for _lèse majesté_, or naturalized
Englishmen or naturalized Americans or troublesome privates under
officers of indisputably aristocratic birth, or well-broken labourers,
won "back to the land," under the auspices of an Agrarian League?

In another way the intensely monarchical and aristocratic organization
of the German Empire will stand in the way of the political synthesis of
greater Germany. Indispensable factors in that synthesis will be Holland
and Switzerland--little, advantageously situated peoples, saturated with
ideas of personal freedom. One can imagine a German Swiss, at any rate,
merging himself in a great Pan-Germanic republican state, but to bow the
knee to the luridly decorated God of His Imperial Majesty's Fathers will
be an altogether more difficult exploit for a self-respecting man....

Moreover, before Germany can unify to the East she must fight the
Russian, and to unify to the West she must fight the French and perhaps
the English, and she may have to fight a combination of these powers. I
think the military strength of France is enormously underrated. Upon
this matter M. Bloch should be read. Indisputably the French were beaten
in 1870, indisputably they have fallen behind in their long struggle to
maintain themselves equal with the English on the sea, but neither of
these things efface the future of the French. The disasters of 1870 were
probably of the utmost benefit to the altogether too sanguine French
imagination. They cleared the French mind of the delusion that personal
Imperialism is the way to do the desirable thing, a delusion many
Germans (and, it would seem, a few queer Englishmen and still queerer
Americans) entertain. The French have done much to demonstrate the
possibility of a stable military republic. They have disposed of crown
and court, and held themselves in order for thirty good years; they have
dissociated their national life from any form of religious profession;
they have contrived a freedom of thought and writing that, in spite of
much conceit to the contrary, is quite impossible among the
English-speaking peoples. I find no reason to doubt the implication of
M. Bloch that on land to-day the French are relatively far stronger than
they were in 1870, that the evolution of military expedients has been
all in favour of the French character and intelligence, and that even a
single-handed war between France and Germany to-day might have a very
different issue from that former struggle. In such a conflict it will be
Germany, and not France, that will have pawned her strength to the
English-speaking peoples on the high seas. And France will not fight
alone. She will fight for Switzerland or Luxembourg, or the mouth of the
Rhine. She will fight with the gravity of remembered humiliations, with
the whole awakened Slav-race at the back of her antagonist, and very
probably with the support of the English-speaking peoples.

It must be pointed out how strong seems the tendency of the German
Empire to repeat the history of Holland upon a larger scale. While the
Dutch poured out all their strength upon the seas, in a conflict with
the English that at the utmost could give them only trade, they let the
possibilities of a great Low German synthesis pass utterly out of being.
(In those days Low Germany stretched to Arras and Douay.) They
positively dragged the English into the number of their enemies. And
to-day the Germans invade the sea with a threat and intention that will
certainly create a countervailing American navy, fundamentally modify
the policy of Great Britain, such as it is, and very possibly go far to
effect the synthesis of the English-speaking peoples.

So involved, I do not see that the existing Germanic synthesis is likely
to prevail in the close economic unity, the urban region that will arise
in Western Europe. I imagine that the German Empire--that is, the
organized expression of German aggression to-day--will be either
shattered or weakened to the pitch of great compromises by a series of
wars by land and sea; it will be forced to develop the autonomy of its
rational middle class in the struggles that will render these
compromises possible, and it will be finally not Imperial German ideas,
but central European ideas possibly more akin to Swiss conceptions, a
civilized republicanism finding its clearest expression in the French
language, that will be established upon a bilingual basis throughout
Western Europe, and increasingly predominant over the whole European
mainland and the Mediterranean basin, as the twentieth century closes.
The splendid dream of a Federal Europe, which opened the nineteenth
century for France, may perhaps, after all, come to something like
realization at the opening of the twenty-first. But just how long these
things take, just how easily or violently they are brought about,
depends, after all, entirely upon the rise in general intelligence in
Europe. An ignorant, a merely trained or a merely cultured people, will
not understand these coalescences, will fondle old animosities and stage
hatreds, and for such a people there must needs be disaster, forcible
conformities and war. Europe will have her Irelands as well as her
Scotlands, her Irelands of unforgettable wrongs, kicking, squalling,
bawling most desolatingly, for nothing that any one can understand.
There will be great scope for the shareholding dilettanti, great
opportunities for literary quacks, in "national" movements, language
leagues, picturesque plotting, and the invention of such "national"
costumes as the world has never seen. The cry of the little nations
will go up to heaven, asserting the inalienable right of all little
nations to sit down firmly in the middle of the high-road, in the midst
of the thickening traffic, and with all their dear little toys about
them, play and play--just as they used to play before the road had

And while the great states of the continent of Europe are hammering down
their obstructions of language and national tradition or raising the
educational level above them until a working unity is possible, and
while the reconstruction of Eastern Asia--whether that be under Russian,
Japanese, English, or native Chinese direction--struggles towards
attainment, will there also be a great synthesis of the English-speaking
peoples going on? I am inclined to believe that there will be such a
synthesis, and that the head and centre of the new unity will be the
great urban region that is developing between Chicago and the Atlantic,
and which will lie mainly, but not entirely, south of the St. Lawrence.
Inevitably, I think, that region must become the intellectual,
political, and industrial centre of any permanent unification of the
English-speaking states. There will, I believe, develop about that
centre a great federation of white English-speaking peoples, a
federation having America north of Mexico as its central mass (a
federation that may conceivably include Scandinavia) and its federal
government will sustain a common fleet, and protect or dominate or
actually administer most or all of the non-white states of the present
British Empire, and in addition much of the South and Middle Pacific,
the East and West Indies, the rest of America, and the larger part of
black Africa. Quite apart from the dominated races, such an
English-speaking state should have by the century-end a practically
homogeneous citizenship of at least a hundred million sound-bodied and
educated and capable _men_. It should be the first of the three powers
of the world, and it should face the organizing syntheses of Europe and
Eastern Asia with an intelligent sympathy. By the year 2000 all its
common citizens should certainly be in touch with the thought of
Continental Europe through the medium of French; its English language
should be already rooting firmly through all the world beyond its
confines, and its statesmanship should be preparing openly and surely,
and discussing calmly with the public mind of the European, and probably
of the Yellow state, the possible coalescences and conventions, the
obliteration of custom-houses, the homologization of laws and coinage
and measures, and the mitigation of monopolies and special claims, by
which the final peace of the world may be assured for ever. Such a
synthesis, at any rate, of the peoples now using the English tongue, I
regard not only as a possible, but as a probable, thing. The positive
obstacles to its achievement, great though they are, are yet trivial in
comparison with the obstructions to that lesser European synthesis we
have ventured to forecast. The greater obstacle is negative, it lies in
the want of stimulus, in the lax prosperity of most of the constituent
states of such a union. But such a stimulus, the renascence of Eastern
Asia, or a great German fleet upon the ocean, may presently supply.

Now, all these three great coalescences, this shrivelling up and
vanishing of boundary lines, will be the outward and visible
accompaniment of that inward and social reorganization which it is the
main object of these Anticipations to display. I have sought to show
that in peace and war alike a process has been and is at work, a process
with all the inevitableness and all the patience of a natural force,
whereby the great swollen, shapeless, hypertrophied social mass of
to-day must give birth at last to a naturally and informally organized,
educated class, an unprecedented sort of people, a New Republic
dominating the world. It will be none of our ostensible governments that
will effect this great clearing up; it will be the mass of power and
intelligence altogether outside the official state systems of to-day
that will make this great clearance, a new social Hercules that will
strangle the serpents of war and national animosity in his cradle.

Now, the more one descends from the open uplands of wide generalization
to the parallel jungle of particulars, the more dangerous does the road
of prophesying become, yet nevertheless there may be some possibility of
speculating how, in the case of the English-speaking synthesis at least,
this effective New Republic may begin visibly to shape itself out and
appear. It will appear first, I believe, as a conscious organization of
intelligent and quite possibly in some cases wealthy men, as a movement
having distinct social and political aims, confessedly ignoring most of
the existing apparatus of political control, or using it only as an
incidental implement in the attainment of these aims. It will be very
loosely organized in its earlier stages, a mere movement of a number of
people in a certain direction, who will presently discover with a sort
of surprise the common object towards which they are all moving.

Already there are some interesting aspects of public activity that,
diverse though their aims may seem, do nevertheless serve to show the
possible line of development of this New Republic in the coming time.
For example, as a sort of preliminary sigh before the stirring of a
larger movement, there are various Anglo-American movements and leagues
to be noted. Associations for entertaining travelling samples of the
American leisure class in guaranteed English country houses, for
bringing them into momentary physical contact with real titled persons
at lunches and dinners, and for having them collectively lectured by
respectable English authors and divines, are no doubt trivial things
enough; but a snob sometimes shows how the wind blows better than a
serious man. The Empire may catch the American as the soldier caught the
Tartar. There is something very much more spacious than such things as
this, latent in both the British and the American mind, and observable,
for instance, in the altered tone of the Presses of both countries since
the Venezuela Message and the Spanish American War. Certain projects of
a much ampler sort have already been put forward. An interesting
proposal of an interchangeable citizenship, so that with a change of
domicile an Englishman should have the chance of becoming a citizen of
the United States, and an American a British citizen or a voter in an
autonomous British colony, for example, has been made. Such schemes
will, no doubt, become frequent, and will afford much scope for
discussion in both countries during the next decade or so.[47] The
American constitution and the British crown and constitution have to be
modified or shelved at some stage in this synthesis, and for certain
types of intelligence there could be no more attractive problem. Certain
curious changes in the colonial point of view will occur as these
discussions open out. The United States of America are rapidly taking,
or have already taken, the ascendency in the iron and steel and
electrical industries out of the hands of the British; they are
developing a far ampler and more thorough system of higher scientific
education than the British, and the spirit of efficiency percolating
from their more efficient businesses is probably higher in their public
services. These things render the transfer of the present mercantile and
naval ascendency of Great Britain to the United States during the next
two or three decades a very probable thing, and when this is
accomplished the problem how far colonial loyalty is the fruit of Royal
Visits and sporadic knighthoods, and how far it has relation to the
existence of a predominant fleet, will be near its solution. An
interesting point about such discussions as this, in which indeed in all
probability the nascent consciousness of the New Republic will emerge,
will be the solution this larger synthesis will offer to certain
miserable difficulties of the present time. Government by the elect of
the first families of Great Britain has in the last hundred years made
Ireland and South Africa two open sores of irreconcilable wrong. These
two English-speaking communities will never rest and never emerge from
wretchedness under the vacillating vote-catching incapacity of British
Imperialism, and it is impossible that the British power, having
embittered them, should ever dare to set them free. But within such an
ampler synthesis as the New Republic will seek, these states could
emerge to an equal fellowship that would take all the bitterness from
their unforgettable past.

Another type of public activity which foreshadows an aspect under which
the New Republic will emerge is to be found in the unofficial
organizations that have come into existence in Great Britain to watch
and criticize various public departments. There is, for example, the
Navy League, a body of intelligent and active persons with a distinctly
expert qualification which has intervened very effectively in naval
control during the last few years. There is also at present a vast
amount of disorganized but quite intelligent discontent with the tawdry
futilities of army reform that occupy the War Office. It becomes
apparent that there is no hope of a fully efficient and well-equipped
official army under parliamentary government, and with that realization
there will naturally appear a disposition to seek some way to military
efficiency, as far as is legally possible, outside War Office control.
Already recruiting is falling off, it will probably fall off more and
more as the patriotic emotions evoked by the Boer War fade away, and no
trivial addition to pay or privilege will restore it. Elementary
education has at last raised the intelligence of the British lower
classes to a point when the prospect of fighting in distant lands under
unsuitably educated British officers of means and gentility with a
defective War Office equipment and inferior weapons has lost much of its
romantic glamour. But an unofficial body that set itself to the
establishment of a school of military science, to the sane organization
and criticism of military experiments in tactics and equipment, and to
the raising for experimental purposes of volunteer companies and
battalions, would find no lack of men.... What an unofficial syndicate
of capable persons of the new sort may do in these matters has been
shown in the case of the _Turbinia_, the germ of an absolute revolution
in naval construction.

Such attempts at unofficial soldiering would be entirely in the spirit
in which I believe the New Republic will emerge, but it is in another
line of activity that the growing new consciousness will presently be
much more distinctly apparent. It is increasingly evident that to
organize and control public education is beyond the power of a
democratic government. The meanly equipped and pretentiously conducted
private schools of Great Britain, staffed with ignorant and incapable
young men, exist, on the other hand, to witness that public education is
no matter to be left to merely commercial enterprise working upon
parental ignorance and social prejudice. The necessary condition to the
effective development of the New Republic is a universally accessible,
spacious, and varied educational system working in an atmosphere of
efficient criticism and general intellectual activity. Schools alone are
of no avail, universities are merely dens of the higher cramming, unless
the schoolmasters and schoolmistresses and lecturers are in touch with
and under the light of an abundant, contemporary, and fully adult
intellectuality. At present, in Great Britain at least, the headmasters
entrusted with the education of the bulk of the influential men of the
next decades are conspicuously second-rate men, forced and etiolated
creatures, scholarship boys manured with annotated editions, and brought
up under and protected from all current illumination by the kale-pot of
the Thirty-nine Articles. Many of them are less capable teachers and
even less intelligent men than many Board School teachers. There is,
however, urgent need of an absolutely new type of school--a school that
shall be, at least, so skilfully conducted as to supply the necessary
training in mathematics, dialectics, languages, and drawing, and the
necessary knowledge of science, without either consuming all the leisure
of the boy or destroying his individuality, as it is destroyed by the
ignorant and pretentious blunderers of to-day; and there is an equally
manifest need of a new type of University, something other than a happy
fastness for those precociously brilliant creatures--creatures whose
brilliance is too often the hectic indication of a constitutional
unsoundness of mind--who can "get in" before the portcullis of the
nineteenth birthday falls. These new educational elements may either
grow slowly through the steady and painful pressure of remorseless
facts, or, as the effort to evoke the New Republic becomes more
conscious and deliberate, they may be rapidly brought into being by the
conscious endeavours of capable men. Assuredly they will never be
developed by the wisdom of the governments of the grey. It may be
pointed out that in an individual and disorganized way a growing sense
of such needs is already displayed. Such great business managers as Mr.
Andrew Carnegie, for example, and many other of the wealthy efficients
of the United States of America, are displaying a strong disinclination
to found families of functionless shareholders, and a strong disposition
to contribute, by means of colleges, libraries, and splendid
foundations, to the future of the whole English-speaking world. Of
course, Mr. Carnegie is not an educational specialist, and his good
intentions will be largely exploited by the energetic mediocrities who
control our educational affairs. But it is the intention that concerns
us now, and not the precise method or effect. Indisputably these rich
Americans are at a fundamentally important work in these endowments, and
as indisputably many of their successors--I do not mean the heirs to
their private wealth, but the men of the same type who will play their
_rôle_ in the coming years--will carry on this spacious work with a
wider prospect and a clearer common understanding.

The establishment of modern and efficient schools is alone not
sufficient for the intellectual needs of the coming time. The school and
university are merely the preparation for the life of mental activity in
which the citizen of the coming state will live. The three years of
university and a lifetime of garrulous stagnation which constitutes the
mind's history of many a public schoolmaster, for example, and most of
the clergy to-day, will be impossible under the new needs. The
old-fashioned university, secure in its omniscience, merely taught; the
university of the coming time will, as its larger function, criticize
and learn. It will be organized for research--for the criticism, that
is, of thought and nature. And a subtler and a greater task before those
who will presently swear allegiance to the New Republic is to aid and
stimulate that process of sound adult mental activity which is the
cardinal element in human life. After all, in spite of the pretentious
impostors who trade upon the claim, literature, contemporary literature,
is the breath of civilized life, and those who sincerely think and write
the salt of the social body. To mumble over the past, to live on the
classics, however splendid, is senility. The New Republic, therefore,
will sustain its authors. In the past the author lived within the limits
of his patron's susceptibility, and led the world, so far as he did
lead it, from that cage. In the present he lives within the limits of a
particularly distressful and ill-managed market. He must please and
interest the public before he may reason with it, and even to reach the
public ear involves other assiduities than writing. To write one's best
is surely sufficient work for a man, but unless the author is prepared
to add to his literary toil the correspondence and alert activity of a
business man, he may find that no measure of acceptance will save him
from a mysterious poverty. Publishing has become a trade, differing only
from the trade in pork or butter in the tradesman's careless
book-keeping and his professed indifference to the quality of his goods.
But unless the whole mass of argument in these Anticipations is false,
publishing is as much, or even more, of a public concern than education,
and as little to be properly discharged by private men working for
profit. On the other hand, it is not to be undertaken by a government of
the grey, for a confusion cannot undertake to clarify itself; it is an
activity in which the New Republic will necessarily engage.

The men of the New Republic will be intelligently critical men, and they
will have the courage of their critical conclusions. For the sake of the
English tongue, for the sake of the English peoples, they will set
themselves to put temptingly within the reach of all readers of the
tongue, and all possible readers of the tongue, an abundance of living
literature. They will endeavour to shape great publishing trusts and
associations that will have the same relation to the publishing office
of to-day that a medical association has to a patent-medicine dealer.
They will not only publish, but sell; their efficient book-shops, their
efficient system of book-distribution will replace the present haphazard
dealings of quite illiterate persons under whose shadows people in the
provinces live.[48] If one of these publishing groups decides that a
book, new or old, is of value to the public mind, I conceive the
copyright will be secured and the book produced all over the world in
every variety of form and price that seems necessary to its exhaustive
sale. Moreover, these publishing associations will sustain spaciously
conceived organs of opinion and criticism, which will begin by being
patiently and persistently good, and so develop into power. And the more
distinctly the New Republic emerges, the less danger there will be of
these associations being allowed to outlive their service in a state of
ossified authority. New groups of men and new phases of thought will
organize their publishing associations as children learn to talk.[49]

And while the New Republic is thus developing its idea of itself and
organizing its mind, it will also be growing out of the confused and
intricate businesses and undertakings and public services of the present
time, into a recognizable material body. The synthetic process that is
going on in the case of many of the larger of the businesses of the
world, that formation of Trusts that bulks so large in American
discussion, is of the utmost significance in this connection.
Conceivably the first impulse to form Trusts came from a mere desire to
control competition and economize working expenses, but even in its very
first stages this process of coalescence has passed out of the region of
commercial operations into that of public affairs. The Trust develops
into the organization under men far more capable than any sort of public
officials, of entire industries, of entire departments of public life,
quite outside the ostensible democratic government system altogether.
The whole apparatus of communications, which we have seen to be of such
primary importance in the making of the future, promises to pass, in the
case of the United States at least, out of the region of scramble into
the domain of deliberate control. Even to-day the Trusts are taking over
quite consciously the most vital national matters. The American iron and
steel industries have been drawn together and developed in a manner that
is a necessary preliminary to the capture of the empire of the seas.
That end is declaredly within the vista of these operations, within
their initial design. These things are not the work of dividend-hunting
imbeciles, but of men who regard wealth as a convention, as a means to
spacious material ends. There is an animated little paper published in
Los Angeles in the interests of Mr. Wilshire, which bears upon its
forefront the maxim, "Let the Nation own the Trusts." Well, under their
mantle of property, the Trusts grow continually more elaborate and
efficient machines of production and public service, while the formal
nation chooses its bosses and buttons and reads its illustrated press. I
must confess I do not see the negro and the poor Irishman and all the
emigrant sweepings of Europe, which constitute the bulk of the American
Abyss, uniting to form that great Socialist party of which Mr. Wilshire
dreams, and with a little demonstrating and balloting taking over the
foundry and the electrical works, the engine shed and the signal box,
from the capable men in charge. But that a confluent system of
Trust-owned business organisms, and of Universities and re-organized
military and naval services may presently discover an essential unity of
purpose, presently begin thinking a literature, and behaving like a
State, is a much more possible thing....

In its more developed phases I seem to see the New Republic as (if I may
use an expressive bull) a sort of outspoken Secret Society, with which
even the prominent men of the ostensible state may be openly affiliated.
A vast number of men admit the need but hesitate at the means of
revolution, and in this conception of a slowly growing new social order
organized with open deliberation within the substance of the old, there
are no doubt elements of technical treason, but an enormous gain in the
thoroughness, efficiency, and stability of the possible change.

So it is, or at least in some such ways, that I conceive the growing
sense of itself which the new class of modern efficients will develop,
will become manifest in movements and concerns that are now
heterogeneous and distinct, but will presently drift into co-operation
and coalescence. This idea of a synthetic reconstruction within the
bodies of the English-speaking States may very possibly clothe itself in
quite other formulæ than my phrase of the New Republic; but the need is
with us, the social elements are developing among us, the appliances are
arranging themselves for the hands that will use them, and I cannot but
believe that the idea of a spacious common action will presently come.
In a few years I believe many men who are now rather aimless--men who
have disconsolately watched the collapse of the old Liberalism--will be
clearly telling themselves and one another of their adhesion to this new
ideal. They will be working in schools and newspaper offices, in
foundries and factories, in colleges and laboratories, in county
councils and on school boards--even, it may be, in pulpits--for the time
when the coming of the New Republic will be ripe. It may be dawning even
in the schools of law, because presently there will be a new and
scientific handling of jurisprudence. The highly educated and efficient
officers' mess will rise mechanically and drink to the Monarch, and sit
down to go on discussing the New Republic's growth. I do not see,
indeed, why an intelligent monarch himself, in these days, should not
waive any silliness about Divine Right, and all the ill-bred pretensions
that sit so heavily on a gentlemanly King, and come into the movement
with these others. When the growing conception touches, as in America it
has already touched, the legacy-leaving class, there will be fewer new
Asylums perhaps, but more university chairs....

So it is I conceive the elements of the New Republic taking shape and
running together through the social mass, picking themselves out more
and more clearly, from the shareholder, the parasitic speculator and the
wretched multitudes of the Abyss. The New Republicans will constitute an
informal and open freemasonry. In all sorts of ways they will be
influencing and controlling the apparatus of the ostensible governments,
they will be pruning irresponsible property, checking speculators and
controlling the abyssward drift, but at that, at an indirect control, at
any sort of fiction, the New Republic, from the very nature of its
cardinal ideas, will not rest. The clearest and simplest statement, the
clearest and simplest method, is inevitably associated with the
conceptions of that science upon which the New Republic will arise.
There will be a time, in peace it may be, or under the stresses of
warfare, when the New Republic will find itself ready to arrive, when
the theory will have been worked out and the details will be generally
accepted, and the new order will be ripe to begin. And then, indeed, it
will begin. What life or strength will be left in the old order to
prevent this new order beginning?


[47] I foresee great scope for the ingenious persons who write so
abundantly to the London evening papers upon etymological points, issues
in heraldry, and the correct Union Jack, in the very pleasing topic of a
possible Anglo-American flag (for use at first only on unofficial

[48] In a large town like Folkestone, for example, it is practically
impossible to buy any book but a "boomed" novel unless one has
ascertained the names of the author, the book, the edition, and the
publisher. There is no index in existence kept up to date that supplies
these particulars. If, for example, one wants--as I want (1) to read all
that I have not read of the work of Mr. Frank Stockton, (2) to read a
book of essays by Professor Ray Lankaster the title of which I have
forgotten, and (3) to buy the most convenient edition of the works of
Swift, one has to continue wanting until the British Museum Library
chances to get in one's way. The book-selling trade supplies no
information at all on these points.

[49] One of the least satisfactory features of the intellectual
atmosphere of the present time is the absence of good controversy. To
follow closely an honest and subtle controversy, and to have arrived at
a definite opinion upon some general question of real and practical
interest and complicated reference, is assuredly the most educational
exercise in the world--I would go so far as to say that no person is
completely educated who has not done as much. The memorable discussions
in which Huxley figured, for example, were extraordinarily stimulating.
We lack that sort of thing now. A great number of people are expressing
conflicting opinions upon all sorts of things, but there is a quite
remarkable shirking of plain issues of debate. There is no answering
back. There is much indirect answering, depreciation of the adversary,
attempts to limit his publicity, restatements of the opposing opinion in
a new way, but no conflict in the lists. We no longer fight obnoxious
views, but assassinate them. From first to last, for example, there has
been no honest discussion of the fundamental issues in the Boer War.
Something may be due to the multiplication of magazines and newspapers,
and the confusion of opinions that has scattered the
controversy-following public. It is much to be regretted that the laws
of copyright and the methods of publication stand in the way of
annotated editions of works of current controversial value. For example,
Mr. Andrew Lang has assailed the new edition of the "Golden Bough." His
criticisms, which are, no doubt, very shrewd and penetrating, ought to
be accessible with the text he criticizes. Yet numerous people will read
his comments who will never read the "Golden Bough;" they will accept
his dinted sword as proof of the slaughter of Mr. Fraser, and many will
read the "Golden Bough" and never hear of Mr. Lang's comments. Why
should it be so hopeless to suggest an edition of the "Golden Bough"
with footnotes by Mr. Lang and Mr. Fraser's replies? There are all sorts
of books to which Mr. Lang might add footnotes with infinite benefit to
every one. Mr. Mallock, again, is going to explain how Science and
Religion stand at the present time. If only some one would explain in
the margin how Mr. Mallock stands, the thing would be complete. Such a
book, again, as these "Anticipations" would stand a vast amount of
controversial footnoting. It bristles with pegs for discussion--vacant
pegs; it is written to provoke. I hope that some publisher, sooner or
later, will do something of this kind, and will give us not only the
text of an author's work, but a series of footnotes and appendices by
reputable antagonists. The experiment, well handled, might prove
successful enough to start a fashion--a very beneficial fashion for
authors and readers alike. People would write twice as carefully and
twice as clearly with that possible second edition (with footnotes by X
and Y) in view. Imagine "The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture" as it
might have been edited by the late Professor Huxley; Froude's edition of
the "Grammar of Assent;" Mr. G. B. Shaw's edition of the works of Mr.
Lecky; or the criticism of art and life of Ruskin,--the "Beauties of
Ruskin" annotated by Mr. Whistler and carefully prepared for the press
by Professor William James. Like the tomato and the cucumber, every book
would carry its antidote wrapped about it. Impossible, you say. But is
it? Or is it only unprecedented? If novelists will consent to the
illustration of their stories by artists whose chief aim appears to be
to contradict their statements, I do not see why controversial writers
who believe their opinions are correct should object to the checking of
their facts and logic by persons with a different way of thinking. Why
should not men of opposite opinions collaborate in their discussion?



If the surmise of a developing New Republic--a Republic that must
ultimately become a World State of capable rational men, developing
amidst the fading contours and colours of our existing nations and
institutions--be indeed no idle dream, but an attainable possibility in
the future, and to that end it is that the preceding Anticipations have
been mainly written, it becomes a speculation of very great interest to
forecast something of the general shape and something even of certain
details of that common body of opinion which the New Republic, when at
last it discovers and declares itself, will possess. Since we have
supposed this New Republic will already be consciously and pretty freely
controlling the general affairs of humanity before this century closes,
its broad principles and opinions must necessarily shape and determine
that still ampler future of which the coming hundred years is but the
opening phase. There are many processes, many aspects of things, that
are now, as it were, in the domain of natural laws and outside human
control, or controlled unintelligently and superstitiously, that in the
future, in the days of the coming New Republic, will be definitely taken
in hand as part of the general work of humanity, as indeed already,
since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the control of
pestilences has been taken in hand. And in particular, there are certain
broad questions much under discussion to which, thus far, I have
purposely given a value disproportionately small:--

While the New Republic is gathering itself together and becoming aware
of itself, that other great element, which I have called the People of
the Abyss, will also have followed out its destiny. For many decades
that development will be largely or entirely out of all human control.
To the multiplying rejected of the white and yellow civilizations there
will have been added a vast proportion of the black and brown races, and
collectively those masses will propound the general question, "What will
you do with us, we hundreds of millions, who cannot keep pace with you?"
If the New Republic emerges at all it will emerge by grappling with this
riddle; it must come into existence by the passes this Sphinx will
guard. Moreover, the necessary results of the reaction of irresponsible
wealth upon that infirm and dangerous thing the human will, the
spreading moral rot of gambling which is associated with irresponsible
wealth, will have been working out, and will continue to work out, so
long as there is such a thing as irresponsible wealth pervading the
social body. That too the New Republic must in its very development
overcome. In the preceding chapter it is clearly implicit that I believe
that the New Republic, as its consciousness and influence develop
together, will meet, check, and control these things; but the broad
principles upon which the control will go, the nature of the methods
employed, still remain to be deduced. And to make that deduction, it is
necessary that the primary conception of life, the fundamental,
religious, and moral ideas of these predominant men of the new time
should first be considered.

Now, quite inevitably, these men will be religious men. Being
themselves, as by the nature of the forces that have selected them they
will certainly be, men of will and purpose, they will be disposed to
find, and consequently they will find, an effect of purpose in the
totality of things. Either one must believe the Universe to be one and
systematic, and held together by some omnipresent quality, or one must
believe it to be a casual aggregation, an incoherent accumulation with
no unity whatsoever outside the unity of the personality regarding it.
All science and most modern religious systems presuppose the former, and
to believe the former is, to any one not too anxious to quibble, to
believe in God. But I believe that these prevailing men of the future,
like many of the saner men of to-day, having so formulated their
fundamental belief, will presume to no knowledge whatever, will presume
to no possibility of knowledge of the real being of God. They will have
no positive definition of God at all. They will certainly not indulge in
"that something, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness" (not
defined) or any defective claptrap of that sort. They will content
themselves with denying the self-contradictory absurdities of an
obstinately anthropomorphic theology,[50] they will regard the whole of
being, within themselves and without, as the sufficient revelation of
God to their souls, and they will set themselves simply to that
revelation, seeking its meaning towards themselves faithfully and
courageously. Manifestly the essential being of man in this life is his
will; he exists consciously only to _do_; his main interest in life is
the choice between alternatives; and, since he moves through space and
time to effects and consequences, a general purpose in space and time is
the limit of his understanding. He can know God only under the semblance
of a pervading purpose, of which his own individual freedom of will is a
part, but he can understand that the purpose that exists in space and
time is no more God than a voice calling out of impenetrable darkness is
a man. To men of the kinetic type belief in God so manifest as purpose
is irresistible, and, to all lucid minds, the being of God, save as that
general atmosphere of imperfectly apprehended purpose in which our
individual wills operate, is incomprehensible. To cling to any belief
more detailed than this, to define and limit God in order to take hold
of Him, to detach one's self and parts of the universe from God in some
mysterious way in order to reduce life to a dramatic antagonism, is not
faith, but infirmity. Excessive strenuous belief is not faith. By faith
we disbelieve, and it is the drowning man, and not the strong swimmer,
who clutches at the floating straw. It is in the nature of man, it is in
the present purpose of things, that the real world of our experience and
will should appear to us not only as a progressive existence in space
and time, but as a scheme of good and evil. But choice, the antagonism
of good and evil, just as much as the formulation of things in space and
time, is merely a limiting condition of human being, and in the thought
of God as we conceive of Him in the light of faith, this antagonism
vanishes. God is no moralist, God is no partisan; He comprehends and
cannot be comprehended, and our business is only with so much of His
purpose as centres on our individual wills.

So, or in some such phrases, I believe, these men of the New Republic
will formulate their relationship to God. They will live to serve this
purpose that presents Him, without presumption and without fear. For the
same spacious faith that will render the idea of airing their egotisms
in God's presence through prayer, or of any such quite personal
intimacy, absurd, will render the idea of an irascible and punitive
Deity ridiculous and incredible....

The men of the New Republic will hold and understand quite clearly the
doctrine that in the real world of man's experience, there is Free Will.
They will understand that constantly, as a very condition of his
existence, man is exercising choice between alternatives, and that a
conflict between motives that have different moral values constantly
arises. That conflict between Predestination and Free Will, which is so
puzzling to untrained minds, will not exist for them. They will know
that in the real world of sensory experience, will is free, just as new
sprung grass is green, wood hard, ice cold, and toothache painful. In
the abstract world of reasoning science there is no green, no colour at
all, but certain lengths of vibration; no hardness, but a certain
reaction of molecules; no cold and no pain, but certain molecular
consequences in the nerves that reach the misinterpreting mind. In the
abstract world of reasoning science, moreover, there is a rigid and
inevitable sequence of cause and effect; every act of man could be
foretold to its uttermost detail, if only we knew him and all his
circumstances fully; in the abstract world of reasoned science all
things exist now potentially down to the last moment of infinite time.
But the human will does not exist in the abstract world of reasoned
science, in the world of atoms and vibrations, that rigidly predestinate
scheme of things in space and time. The human will exists in this world
of men and women, in this world where the grass is green and desire
beckons and the choice is often so wide and clear between the sense of
what is desirable and what is more widely and remotely right. In this
world of sense and the daily life, these men will believe with an
absolute conviction, that there is free will and a personal moral
responsibility in relation to that indistinctly seen purpose which is
the sufficient revelation of God to them so far as this sphere of being

The conception they will have of that purpose will necessarily determine
their ethical scheme. It follows manifestly that if we do really
believe in Almighty God, the more strenuously and successfully we seek
in ourselves and His world to understand the order and progress of
things, and the more clearly we apprehend His purpose, the more assured
and systematic will our ethical basis become.

If, like Huxley, we do not positively believe in God, then we may still
cling to an ethical system which has become an organic part of our lives
and habits, and finding it manifestly in conflict with the purpose of
things, speak of the non-ethical order of the universe. But to any one
whose mind is pervaded by faith in God, a non-ethical universe in
conflict with the incomprehensibly ethical soul of the Agnostic, is as
incredible as a black horned devil, an active material anti-god with
hoofs, tail, pitchfork, and Dunstan-scorched nose complete. To believe
completely in God is to believe in the final rightness of all being. The
ethical system that condemns the ways of life as wrong, or points to the
ways of death as right, that countenances what the scheme of things
condemns, and condemns the general purpose in things as it is now
revealed to us, must prepare to follow the theological edifice upon
which it was originally based. If the universe is non-ethical by our
present standards, we must reconsider these standards and reconstruct
our ethics. To hesitate to do so, however severe the conflict with old
habits and traditions and sentiments may be, is to fall short of faith.

Now, so far as the intellectual life of the world goes, this present
time is essentially the opening phase of a period of ethical
reconstruction, a reconstruction of which the New Republic will possess
the matured result. Throughout the nineteenth century there has been
such a shattering and recasting of fundamental ideas, of the
preliminaries to ethical propositions, as the world has never seen
before. This breaking down and routing out of almost all the cardinal
assumptions on which the minds of the Eighteenth Century dwelt securely,
is a process akin to, but independent of, the development of mechanism,
whose consequences we have traced. It is a part of that process of
vigorous and fearless criticism which is the reality of science, and of
which the development of mechanism and all that revolution in physical
and social conditions we have been tracing, is merely the vast imposing
material bye product. At present, indeed, its more obvious aspect on the
moral and ethical side is destruction, any one can see the chips flying,
but it still demands a certain faith and patience to see the form that
ensues. But it is not destruction, any more than a sculptor's work is

The first chapter in the history of this intellectual development, its
definite and formal opening, coincides with the opening of the
nineteenth century and the publication of Malthus's _Essay on
Population_. Malthus is one of those cardinal figures in intellectual
history who state definitely for all time, things apparent enough after
their formulation, but never effectively conceded before. He brought
clearly and emphatically into the sphere of discussion a vitally
important issue that had always been shirked and tabooed heretofore, the
fundamental fact that the main mass of the business of human life
centres about reproduction. He stated in clear, hard, decent, and
unavoidable argument what presently Schopenhauer was to discover and
proclaim, in language, at times, it would seem, quite unfitted for
translation into English. And, having made his statement, Malthus left
it, in contact with its immediate results.

Probably no more shattering book than the _Essay on Population_ has ever
been, or ever will be, written. It was aimed at the facile Liberalism of
the Deists and Atheists of the eighteenth century; it made as clear as
daylight that all forms of social reconstruction, all dreams of earthly
golden ages must be either futile or insincere or both, until the
problems of human increase were manfully faced. It proffered no
suggestions for facing them (in spite of the unpleasant associations of
Malthus's name), it aimed simply to wither the Rationalistic Utopias of
the time and by anticipation, all the Communisms, Socialisms, and
Earthly Paradise movements that have since been so abundantly audible in
the world. That was its aim and its immediate effect. Incidentally it
must have been a torturing soul-trap for innumerable idealistic but
intelligent souls. Its indirect effects have been altogether greater.
Aiming at unorthodox dreamers, it has set such forces in motion as have
destroyed the very root-ideas of orthodox righteousness in the western
world. Impinging on geological discovery, it awakened almost
simultaneously in the minds of Darwin and Wallace, that train of thought
that found expression and demonstration at last in the theory of natural
selection. As that theory has been more and more thoroughly assimilated
and understood by the general mind, it has destroyed, quietly but
entirely, the belief in human equality which is implicit in all the
"Liberalizing" movements of the world. In the place of an essential
equality, distorted only by tradition and early training, by the
artifices of those devils of the Liberal cosmogony, "kingcraft" and
"priestcraft," an equality as little affected by colour as the equality
of a black chess pawn and a white, we discover that all men are
individual and unique, and, through long ranges of comparison, superior
and inferior upon countless scores. It has become apparent that whole
masses of human population are, as a whole, inferior in their claim upon
the future, to other masses, that they cannot be given opportunities or
trusted with power as the superior peoples are trusted, that their
characteristic weaknesses are contagious and detrimental in the
civilizing fabric, and that their range of incapacity tempts and
demoralizes the strong. To give them equality is to sink to their
level, to protect and cherish them is to be swamped in their fecundity.
The confident and optimistic Radicalism of the earlier nineteenth
century, and the humanitarian philanthropic type of Liberalism, have
bogged themselves beyond hope in these realizations. The Socialist has
shirked them as he has shirked the older crux of Malthus. Liberalism is
a thing of the past, it is no longer a doctrine, but a faction. There
must follow some newborn thing.

And as effectually has the mass of criticism that centres about Darwin
destroyed the dogma of the Fall upon which the whole intellectual fabric
of Christianity rests. For without a Fall there is no redemption, and
the whole theory and meaning of the Pauline system is vain. In
conjunction with the wide vistas opened by geological and astronomical
discovery, the nineteenth century has indeed lost the very habit of
thought from which the belief in a Fall arose. It is as if a hand had
been put upon the head of the thoughtful man and had turned his eyes
about from the past to the future. In matters of intelligence, at least,
if not yet in matters of ethics and conduct, this turning round has
occurred. In the past thought was legal in its spirit, it deduced the
present from pre-existing prescription, it derived everything from the
offences and promises of the dead; the idea of a universe of expiation
was the most natural theory amidst such processes. The purpose the
older theologians saw in the world was no more than the
revenge--accentuated by the special treatment of a favoured minority--of
a mysteriously incompetent Deity exasperated by an unsatisfactory
creation. But modern thought is altogether too constructive and creative
to tolerate such a conception, and in the vaster past that has opened to
us, it can find neither offence nor promise, only a spacious scheme of
events, opening out--perpetually opening out--with a quality of final
purpose as irresistible to most men's minds as it is incomprehensible,
opening out with all that inexplicable quality of design that, for
example, some great piece of music, some symphony of Beethoven's,
conveys. We see future beyond future and past behind past. It has been
like the coming of dawn, at first a colourless dawn, clear and spacious,
before which the mists whirl and fade, and there opens to our eyes not
the narrow passage, the definite end we had imagined, but the rocky,
ill-defined path we follow high amidst this limitless prospect of space
and time. At first the dawn is cold--there is, at times, a quality of
terror almost in the cold clearness of the morning twilight; but
insensibly its coldness passes, the sky is touched with fire, and
presently, up out of the dayspring in the east, the sunlight will be
pouring.... And these men of the New Republic will be going about in the
daylight of things assured.

And men's concern under this ampler view will no longer be to work out
a system of penalties for the sins of dead men, but to understand and
participate in this great development that now dawns on the human
understanding. The insoluble problems of pain and death, gaunt,
incomprehensible facts as they were, fall into place in the gigantic
order that evolution unfolds. All things are integral in the mighty
scheme, the slain builds up the slayer, the wolf grooms the horse into
swiftness, and the tiger calls for wisdom and courage out of man. All
things are integral, but it has been left for men to be consciously
integral, to take, at last, a share in the process, to have wills that
have caught a harmony with the universal will, as sand grains flash into
splendour under the blaze of the sun. There will be many who will never
be called to this religious conviction, who will lead their little lives
like fools, playing foolishly with religion and all the great issues of
life, or like the beasts that perish, having sense alone; but those who,
by character and intelligence, are predestinate to participate in the
reality of life, will fearlessly shape all their ethical determinations
and public policy anew, from a fearless study of themselves and the
apparent purpose that opens out before them.

Very much of the cry for faith that sounds in contemporary life so
loudly, and often with so distressing a note of sincerity, comes from
the unsatisfied egotisms of unemployed, and, therefore, unhappy and
craving people; but much is also due to the distress in the minds of
active and serious men, due to the conflict of inductive knowledge, with
conceptions of right and wrong deduced from unsound, but uncriticised,
first principles. The old ethical principles, the principle of
equivalents or justice, the principle of self-sacrifice, the various
vague and arbitrary ideas of purity, chastity, and sexual "sin," came
like rays out of the theological and philosophical lanterns men carried
in the darkness. The ray of the lantern indicated and directed, and one
followed it as one follows a path. But now there has come a new view of
man's place in the scheme of time and space, a new illumination, dawn;
the lantern rays fade in the growing brightness, and the lanterns that
shone so brightly are becoming smoky and dim. To many men this is no
more than a waning of the lanterns, and they call for new ones, or a
trimming of the old. They blame the day for putting out these flares.
And some go apart, out of the glare of life, into corners of obscurity,
where the radiation of the lantern may still be faintly traced. But,
indeed, with the new light there has come the time for new methods; the
time of lanterns, the time of deductions from arbitrary first principles
is over. The act of faith is no longer to follow your lantern, but to
put it down. We can see about us, and by the landscape we must go.[51]

How will the landscape shape itself to the dominant men of the new time
and in relation to themselves? What is the will and purpose that these
men of will and purpose will find above and comprehending their own?
Into this our inquiry resolves itself. They will hold with Schopenhauer,
I believe, and with those who build themselves on Malthus and Darwin,
that the scheme of being, in which we live is a struggle of existences
to expand and develop themselves to their full completeness, and to
propagate and increase themselves. But, being men of action, they will
feel nothing of the glamour of misery that irresponsible and sexually
vitiated shareholder, Schopenhauer, threw over this recognition. The
final object of this struggle among existences they will not understand;
they will have abandoned the search for ultimates; they will state this
scheme of a struggle as a proximate object, sufficiently remote and
spacious to enclose and explain all their possible activities. They will
seek God's purpose in the sphere of their activities, and desire no
more, as the soldier in battle desires no more, than the immediate
conflict before him. They will admit failure as an individual aspect of
things, as a soldier seeking victory admits the possibility of death;
but they will refuse to admit as a part of their faith in God that any
existence, even if it is an existence that is presently entirely erased,
can be needless or vain. It will have reacted on the existences that
survive; it will be justified for ever in the modification it has
produced in them. They will find in themselves--it must be remembered I
am speaking of a class that has naturally segregated, and not of men as
a whole--a desire, a passion almost, to create and organize, to put in
order, to get the maximum result from certain possibilities. They will
all be artists in reality, with a passion for simplicity and directness
and an impatience of confusion and inefficiency. The determining frame
of their ethics, the more spacious scheme to which they will shape the
schemes of their individual wills, will be the elaboration of that
future world state to which all things are pointing. They will not
conceive of it as a millennial paradise, a blissful inconsequent
stagnation, but as a world state of active ampler human beings, full of
knowledge and energy, free from much of the baseness and limitations,
the needless pains and dishonours of the world disorder of to-day, but
still struggling, struggling against ampler but still too narrow
restrictions and for still more spacious objects than our vistas have
revealed. For that as a general end, for the special work that
contributes to it as an individual end, they will make the plans and the
limiting rules of their lives.

It is manifest that a reconstructed ethical system, reconstructed in the
light of modern science and to meet the needs of such temperaments and
characters as the evolution of mechanism will draw together and develop,
will give very different values from those given by the existing systems
(if they can be called systems) to almost all the great matters of
conduct. Under scientific analysis the essential facts of life are very
clearly shown to be two--birth and death. All life is the effort of the
thing born, driven by fears, guided by instincts and desires, to evade
death, to evade even the partial death of crippling or cramping or
restriction, and to attain to effective procreation, to the victory of
another birth. Procreation is the triumph of the living being over
death; and in the case of man, who adds mind to his body, it is not only
in his child but in the dissemination of his thought, the expression of
his mind in things done and made, that his triumph is to be found. And
the ethical system of these men of the New Republic, the ethical system
which will dominate the world state, will be shaped primarily to favour
the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in
humanity--beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds, and a
growing body of knowledge--and to check the procreation of base and
servile types, of fear-driven and cowardly souls, of all that is mean
and ugly and bestial in the souls, bodies, or habits of men. To do the
latter is to do the former; the two things are inseparable. And the
method that nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world,
whereby weakness was prevented from propagating weakness, and cowardice
and feebleness were saved from the accomplishment of their desires, the
method that has only one alternative, the method that must in some cases
still be called in to the help of man, is death. In the new vision death
is no inexplicable horror, no pointless terminal terror to the miseries
of life, it is the end of all the pain of life, the end of the
bitterness of failure, the merciful obliteration of weak and silly and
pointless things....

The new ethics will hold life to be a privilege and a responsibility,
not a sort of night refuge for base spirits out of the void; and the
alternative in right conduct between living fully, beautifully, and
efficiently will be to die. For a multitude of contemptible and silly
creatures, fear-driven and helpless and useless, unhappy or hatefully
happy in the midst of squalid dishonour, feeble, ugly, inefficient, born
of unrestrained lusts, and increasing and multiplying through sheer
incontinence and stupidity, the men of the New Republic will have little
pity and less benevolence. To make life convenient for the breeding of
such people will seem to them not the most virtuous and amiable thing in
the world, as it is held to be now, but an exceedingly abominable
proceeding. Procreation is an avoidable thing for sane persons of even
the most furious passions, and the men of the New Republic will hold
that the procreation of children who, by the circumstances of their
parentage, _must_ be diseased bodily or mentally--I do not think it will
be difficult for the medical science of the coming time to define such
circumstances--is absolutely the most loathsome of all conceivable sins.
They will hold, I anticipate, that a certain portion of the
population--the small minority, for example, afflicted with
indisputably transmissible diseases, with transmissible mental
disorders, with such hideous incurable habits of mind as the craving for
intoxication--exists only on sufferance, out of pity and patience, and
on the understanding that they do not propagate; and I do not foresee
any reason to suppose that they will hesitate to kill when that
sufferance is abused. And I imagine also the plea and proof that a grave
criminal is also insane will be regarded by them not as a reason for
mercy, but as an added reason for death. I do not see how they can think
otherwise on the principles they will profess.

The men of the New Republic will not be squeamish, either, in facing or
inflicting death, because they will have a fuller sense of the
possibilities of life than we possess. They will have an ideal that will
make killing worth the while; like Abraham, they will have the faith to
kill, and they will have no superstitions about death. They will
naturally regard the modest suicide of incurably melancholy, or diseased
or helpless persons as a high and courageous act of duty rather than a
crime. And since they will regard, as indeed all men raised above a
brutish level do regard, a very long term of imprisonment as infinitely
worse than death, as being, indeed, death with a living misery added to
its natural terror, they will, I conceive, where the whole tenor of a
man's actions, and not simply some incidental or impulsive action, seems
to prove him unfitted for free life in the world, consider him
carefully, and condemn him, and remove him from being. All such killing
will be done with an opiate, for death is too grave a thing to be made
painful or dreadful, and used as a deterrent from crime. If deterrent
punishments are used at all in the code of the future, the deterrent
will neither be death, nor mutilation of the body, nor mutilation of the
life by imprisonment, nor any horrible things like that, but good
scientifically caused pain, that will leave nothing but a memory. Yet
even the memory of overwhelming pain is a sort of mutilation of the
soul. The idea that only those who are fit to live freely in an orderly
world-state should be permitted to live, is entirely against the use of
deterrent punishments at all. Against outrageous conduct to children or
women, perhaps, or for very cowardly or brutal assaults of any sort, the
men of the future may consider pain a salutary remedy, at least during
the ages of transition while the brute is still at large. But since most
acts of this sort done under conditions that neither torture nor
exasperate, point to an essential vileness in the perpetrator, I am
inclined to think that even in these cases the men of the coming time
will be far less disposed to torture than to kill. They will have
another aspect to consider. The conscious infliction of pain _for the
sake of the pain_ is against the better nature of man, and it is unsafe
and demoralizing for any one to undertake this duty. To kill under the
seemly conditions science will afford is a far less offensive thing. The
rulers of the future will grudge making good people into jailers,
warders, punishment-dealers, nurses, and attendants on the bad. People
who cannot live happily and freely in the world without spoiling the
lives of others are better out of it. That is a current sentiment even
to-day, but the men of the New Republic will have the courage of their

And the type of men that I conceive emerging in the coming years will
deal simply and logically not only with the business of death, but with
birth. At present the sexual morality of the civilized world is the most
illogical and incoherent system of wild permissions and insane
prohibitions, foolish tolerance and ruthless cruelty that it is possible
to imagine. Our current civilization is a sexual lunatic. And it has
lost its reason in this respect under the stresses of the new birth of
things, largely through the difficulties that have stood in the way, and
do still, in a diminishing degree, stand in the way of any sane
discussion of the matter as a whole. To approach it is to approach
excitement. So few people seem to be leading happy and healthy sexual
lives that to mention the very word "sexual" is to set them stirring, to
brighten the eye, lower the voice, and blanch or flush the cheek with a
flavour of guilt. We are all, as it were, keeping our secrets and
hiding our shames. One of the most curious revelations of this fact
occurred only a few years ago, when the artless outpourings in fiction
of certain young women who had failed to find light on problems that
pressed upon them for solution (and which it was certainly their
business as possible wives and mothers to solve) roused all sorts of
respectable people to a quite insane vehemence of condemnation. Now,
there are excellent reasons and a permanent necessity for the
preservation of decency, and for a far more stringent suppression of
matter that is merely intended to excite than at present obtains, and
the chief of these reasons lies in the need of preserving the young from
a premature awakening, and indeed, in the interests of civilization, in
positively delaying the period of awakening, retarding maturity and
lengthening the period of growth and preparation as much as possible.
But purity and innocence may be prolonged too late; innocence is really
no more becoming to adults than a rattle or a rubber consoler, and the
bashfulness that hampers this discussion, that permits it only in a
furtive silly sort of way, has its ugly consequences in shames and
cruelties, in miserable households and pitiful crises, in the production
of countless, needless, and unhappy lives. Indeed, too often we carry
our decency so far as to make it suggestive and stimulating in a
non-natural way; we invest the plain business of reproduction with a
mystic religious quality far more unwholesome than a savage nakedness
could possibly be.

The essential aspect of all this wild and windy business of the sexual
relations is, after all, births. Upon this plain fact the people of the
emergent New Republic will unhesitatingly go. The pre-eminent value of
sexual questions in morality lies in the fact that the lives which will
constitute the future are involved. If they are not involved, if we can
dissociate this relationship from this issue, then sexual questions
become of no more importance than the morality of one's deportment at
chess, or the general morality of outdoor games. Indeed, then the
question of sexual relationships would be entirely on all fours with,
and probably very analogous to, the question of golf. In each case it
would be for the medical man and the psychologist to decide how far the
thing was wholesome and permissible, and how far it was an aggressive
bad habit and an absorbing waste of time and energy. An able-bodied man
continually addicted to love-making that had no result in offspring
would be just as silly and morally objectionable as an able-bodied man
who devoted his chief energies to hitting little balls over golf-links.
But no more. Both would probably be wasting the lives of other human
beings--the golfer must employ his caddie. It is entirely the matter of
births, and a further consideration to be presently discussed, that
makes this analogy untrue. It does not, however, make it so untrue as to
do away with the probability that in many cases the emergent men of the
new time will consider sterile gratification a moral and legitimate
thing. St. Paul tells us that it is better to marry than to burn, but to
beget children on that account will appear, I imagine, to these coming
men as an absolutely loathsome proceeding. They will stifle no spread of
knowledge that will diminish the swarming misery of childhood in the
slums, they will regard the disinclination of the witless "Society"
woman to become a mother as a most amiable trait in her folly. In our
bashfulness about these things we talk an abominable lot of nonsense;
all this uproar one hears about the Rapid Multiplication of the Unfit
and the future of the lower races takes on an entirely different
complexion directly we face known, if indelicate, facts. Most of the
human types, that by civilized standards are undesirable, are quite
willing to die out through such suppressions if the world will only
encourage them a little. They multiply in sheer ignorance, but they do
not desire multiplication even now, and they can easily be made to dread
it. Sensuality aims not at life, but at itself. I believe that the men
of the New Republic will deliberately shape their public policy along
these lines. They will rout out and illuminate urban rookeries and all
places where the base can drift to multiply; they will contrive a land
legislation that will keep the black, or yellow, or mean-white squatter
on the move; they will see to it that no parent can make a profit out of
a child, so that childbearing shall cease to be a hopeful speculation
for the unemployed poor; and they will make the maintenance of a child
the first charge upon the parents who have brought it into the world.
Only in this way can progress escape being clogged by the products of
the security it creates. The development of science has lifted famine
and pestilence from the shoulders of man, and it will yet lift war--for
some other end than to give him a spell of promiscuous and finally cruel
and horrible reproduction.

No doubt the sentimentalist and all whose moral sense has been
vigorously trained in the old school will find this rather a dreadful
suggestion; it amounts to saying that for the Abyss to become a "hotbed"
of sterile immorality will fall in with the deliberate policy of the
ruling class in the days to come. At any rate, it will be a terminating
evil. At present the Abyss is a hotbed breeding undesirable and too
often fearfully miserable children. _That_ is something more than a
sentimental horror. Under the really very horrible morality of to-day,
the spectacle of a mean-spirited, under-sized, diseased little man,
quite incapable of earning a decent living even for himself, married to
some underfed, ignorant, ill-shaped, plain and diseased little woman,
and guilty of the lives of ten or twelve ugly ailing children, is
regarded as an extremely edifying spectacle, and the two parents
consider their reproductive excesses as giving them a distinct claim
upon less fecund and more prosperous people. Benevolent persons throw
themselves with peculiar ardour into a case of this sort, and quite
passionate efforts are made to strengthen the mother against further
eventualities and protect the children until they attain to nubile
years. Until the attention of the benevolent persons is presently
distracted by a new case.... Yet so powerful is the suggestion of
current opinions that few people seem to see nowadays just what a
horrible and criminal thing this sort of family, seen from the point of
view of social physiology, appears.

And directly such principles as these come into effective operation, and
I believe that the next hundred years will see this new phase of the
human history beginning, there will recommence a process of physical and
mental improvement in mankind, a raising and elaboration of the average
man, that has virtually been in suspense during the greater portion of
the historical period. It is possible that in the last hundred years, in
the more civilized states of the world, the average of humanity has
positively fallen. All our philanthropists, all our religious teachers,
seem to be in a sort of informal conspiracy to preserve an atmosphere of
mystical ignorance about these matters, which, in view of the
irresistible nature of the sexual impulse, results in a swelling tide of
miserable little lives. Consider what it will mean to have perhaps half
the population of the world, in every generation, restrained from or
tempted to evade reproduction! This thing, this euthanasia of the weak
and sensual, is possible. On the principles that will probably animate
the predominant classes of the new time, it will be permissible, and I
have little or no doubt that in the future it will be planned and

If birth were all the making of a civilized man, the men of the future,
on the general principles we have imputed to them, would under no
circumstances find the birth of a child, healthy in body and brain, more
than the most venial of offences. But birth gives only the beginning,
the raw material, of a civilized man. The perfect civilized man is not
only a sound strong body but a very elaborate fabric of mind. He is a
fabric of moral suggestions that become mental habits, a magazine of
more or less systematized ideas, a scheme of knowledge and training and
an æsthetic culture. He is the child not only of parents but of a home
and of an education. He has to be carefully guarded from physical and
moral contagions. A reasonable probability of ensuring home and
education and protection without any parasitic dependence on people
outside the kin of the child, will be a necessary condition to a moral
birth under such general principles as we have supposed. Now, this
sweeps out of reason any such promiscuity of healthy people as the late
Mr. Grant Allen is supposed to have advocated--but, so far as I can
understand him, did not. But whether it works out to the taking over of
the permanent monogamic marriage of the old morality, as a going
concern, is another matter. Upon this matter I must confess my views of
the trend of things in the future do not seem to be finally shaped. The
question involves very obscure physiological and psychological
considerations. A man who aims to become a novelist naturally pries into
these matters whenever he can, but the vital facts are very often hard
to come by. It is probable that a great number of people could be paired
off in couples who would make permanently happy and successful monogamic
homes for their sound and healthy children. At any rate, if a certain
freedom of regrouping were possible within a time limit, this might be
so. But I am convinced that a large proportion of married couples in the
world to-day are not completely and happily matched, that there is much
mutual limitation, mutual annulment and mutual exasperation. Home with
an atmosphere of contention is worse than none for the child, and it is
the interest of the child, and that alone, that will be the test of all
these things. I do not think that the arrangement in couples is
universally applicable, or that celibacy (tempered by sterile vice)
should be its only alternative. Nor can I see why the union of two
childless people should have an indissoluble permanence or prohibit an
ampler grouping. The question is greatly complicated by the economic
disadvantage of women, which makes wifehood the chief feminine
profession, while only for an incidental sort of man is marriage a
source of income, and further by the fact that most women have a period
of maximum attractiveness after which it would be grossly unfair to cast
them aside. From the point of view we are discussing, the efficient
mother who can make the best of her children, is the most important sort
of person in the state. She is a primary necessity to the coming
civilization. Can the wife in any sort of polygamic arrangement, or a
woman of no assured status, attain to the maternal possibilities of the
ideal monogamic wife? One is disposed to answer, No. But then, on the
other hand, does the ordinary monogamic wife do that? We are dealing
with the finer people of the future, strongly individualized people, who
will be much freer from stereotyped moral suggestions and much less
inclined to be dealt with wholesale than the people of to-day.

I have already shown cause in these Anticipations to expect a period of
disorder and hypocrisy in matters of sexual morality. I am inclined to
think that, when the New Republic emerges on the other side of this
disorder, there will be a great number of marriage contracts possible
between men and women, and that the strong arm of the State will insist
only upon one thing--the security and welfare of the child. The
inevitable removal of births from the sphere of an uncontrollable
Providence to the category of deliberate acts, will enormously enhance
the responsibility of the parent--and of the State that has failed to
adequately discourage the philoprogenitiveness of the parent--towards
the child. Having permitted the child to come into existence, public
policy and the older standard of justice alike demand, under these new
conditions, that it must be fed, cherished, and educated, not merely up
to a respectable minimum, but to the full height of its possibilities.
The State will, therefore, be the reserve guardian of all children. If
they are being undernourished, if their education is being neglected,
the State will step in, take over the responsibility of their
management, and enforce their charge upon the parents. The first
liability of a parent will be to his child, and for his child; even the
dues of that darling of our current law, the landlord, will stand second
to that. This conception of the responsibility of the parents and the
State to the child and the future runs quite counter to the general
ideas of to-day. These general ideas distort grim realities. Under the
most pious and amiable professions, all the Christian states of to-day
are, as a matter of fact, engaged in slave-breeding. The chief result,
though of course it is not the intention, of the activities of priest
and moralist to-day in these matters, is to lure a vast multitude of
little souls into this world, for whom there is neither sufficient food,
nor love, nor schools, nor any prospect at all in life but the
insufficient bread of servitude. It is a result that endears religion
and purity to the sweating employer, and leads unimaginative bishops,
who have never missed a meal in their lives, and who know nothing of the
indescribable bitterness of a handicapped entry into this world, to draw
a complacent contrast with irreligious France. It is a result that must
necessarily be recognized in its reality, and faced by these men who
will presently emerge to rule the world; men who will have neither the
plea of ignorance, nor moral stupidity, nor dogmatic revelation to
excuse such elaborate cruelty.

And having set themselves in these ways to raise the quality of human
birth, the New Republicans will see to it that the children who do at
last effectually get born come into a world of spacious opportunity. The
half-educated, unskilled pretenders, professing impossible creeds and
propounding ridiculous curricula, to whom the unhappy parents of to-day
must needs entrust the intelligences of their children; these
heavy-handed barber-surgeons of the mind, these schoolmasters, with
their ragtag and bobtail of sweated and unqualified assistants, will be
succeeded by capable, self-respecting men and women, constituting the
most important profession of the world. The windy pretences of "forming
character," supplying moral training, and so forth, under which the
educationalist of to-day conceals the fact that he is incapable of his
proper task of training, developing and equipping the mind, will no
longer be made by the teacher. Nor will the teacher be permitted to
subordinate his duties to the entirely irrelevant business of his
pupils' sports. The teacher will teach, and confine his moral training,
beyond enforcing truth and discipline, to the exhibition of a capable
person doing his duty as well as it can be done. He will know that his
utmost province is only a part of the educational process, that equally
important educational influences are the home and the world of thought
about the pupil and himself. The whole world will be thinking and
learning; the old idea of "completing" one's education will have
vanished with the fancy of a static universe; every school will be a
preparatory school, every college. The school and college will probably
give only the keys and apparatus of thought, a necessary language or so,
thoroughly done, a sound mathematical training, drawing, a wide and
reasoned view of philosophy, some good exercises in dialectics, a
training in the use of those stores of fact that science has made. So
equipped, the young man and young woman will go on to the technical
school of their chosen profession, and to the criticism of contemporary
practice for their special efficiency, and to the literature of
contemporary thought for their general development....

And while the emergent New Republic is deciding to provide for the
swarming inferiority of the Abyss, and developing the morality and
educational system of the future, in this fashion, it will be attacking
that mass of irresponsible property that is so unavoidable and so
threatening under present conditions. The attack will, of course, be
made along lines that the developing science of economics will trace in
the days immediately before us. A scheme of death duties and of heavy
graduated taxes upon irresponsible incomes, with, perhaps, in addition,
a system of terminable liability for borrowers, will probably suffice to
control the growth of this creditor elephantiasis. The detailed
contrivances are for the specialist to make. If there is such a thing as
bitterness in the public acts of the New Republicans, it will probably
be found in the measures that will be directed against those who are
parasitic, or who attempt to be parasitic, upon the social body, either
by means of gambling, by manipulating the medium of exchange, or by such
interventions upon legitimate transactions as, for example, the legal
trade union in Great Britain contrives in the case of house property and
land. Simply because he fails more often than he succeeds, there is
still a disposition among sentimental people to regard the gambler or
the speculator as rather a dashing, adventurous sort of person, and to
contrast his picturesque gallantry with the sober certainties of honest
men. The men of the New Republic will be obtuse to the glamour of such
romance; they will regard the gambler simply as a mean creature who
hangs about the social body in the hope of getting something for
nothing, who runs risks to filch the possessions of other men, exactly
as a thief does. They will put the two on a footing, and the generous
gambler, like the kindly drunkard, in the face of their effectual
provision for his little weakness, will cease to complain that his worst
enemy is himself. And, in dealing with speculation, the New Republic
will have the power of an assured faith and purpose, and the resources
of an economic science that is as yet only in its infancy. In such
matters the New Republic will entertain no superstition of _laissez
faire_. Money and credit are as much human contrivances as bicycles, and
as liable to expansion and modification as any other sort of prevalent
but imperfect machine.

And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal
with the black? how will it deal with the yellow man? how will it tackle
that alleged termite in the civilized woodwork, the Jew? Certainly not
as races at all. It will aim to establish, and it will at last, though
probably only after a second century has passed, establish a world-state
with a common language and a common rule. All over the world its roads,
its standards, its laws, and its apparatus of control will run. It will,
I have said, make the multiplication of those who fall behind a certain
standard of social efficiency unpleasant and difficult, and it will have
cast aside any coddling laws to save adult men from themselves.[52] It
will tolerate no dark corners where the people of the Abyss may fester,
no vast diffused slums of peasant proprietors, no stagnant
plague-preserves. Whatever men may come into its efficient citizenship
it will let come--white, black, red, or brown; the efficiency will be
the test. And the Jew also it will treat as any other man. It is said
that the Jew is incurably a parasite on the apparatus of credit. If
there are parasites on the apparatus of credit, that is a reason for the
legislative cleaning of the apparatus of credit, but it is no reason for
the special treatment of the Jew. If the Jew has a certain incurable
tendency to social parasitism, and we make social parasitism impossible,
we shall abolish the Jew, and if he has not, there is no need to abolish
the Jew. We are much more likely to find we have abolished the Caucasian
solicitor. I really do not understand the exceptional attitude people
take up against the Jews. There is something very ugly about many Jewish
faces, but there are Gentile faces just as coarse and gross. The Jew
asserts himself in relation to his nationality with a singular
tactlessness, but it is hardly for the English to blame that. Many Jews
are intensely vulgar in dress and bearing, materialistic in thought, and
cunning and base in method, but no more so than many Gentiles. The Jew
is mentally and physically precocious, and he ages and dies sooner than
the average European, but in that and in a certain disingenuousness he
is simply on all fours with the short, dark Welsh. He foregathers with
those of his own nation, and favours them against the stranger, but so
do the Scotch. I see nothing in his curious, dispersed nationality to
dread or dislike. He is a remnant and legacy of mediævalism, a
sentimentalist, perhaps, but no furtive plotter against the present
progress of things. He was the mediæval Liberal; his persistent
existence gave the lie to Catholic pretensions all through the days of
their ascendency, and to-day he gives the lie to all our yapping
"nationalisms," and sketches in his dispersed sympathies the coming of
the world-state. He has never been known to burke a school. Much of the
Jew's usury is no more than social scavenging. The Jew will probably
lose much of his particularism, intermarry with Gentiles, and cease to
be a physically distinct element in human affairs in a century or so.
But much of his moral tradition will, I hope, never die.... And for the
rest, those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow
people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency?

Well, the world is a world, not a charitable institution, and I take it
they will have to go. The whole tenor and meaning of the world, as I see
it, is that they have to go. So far as they fail to develop sane,
vigorous, and distinctive personalities for the great world of the
future, it is their portion to die out and disappear.

The world has a purpose greater than happiness; our lives are to serve
God's purpose, and that purpose aims not at man as an end, but works
through him to greater issues.... This, I believe, will be the
distinctive quality of the New Republican's belief. And, for that
reason, I have not even speculated whether he will hold any belief in
human immortality or no. He will certainly not believe there is any
_post mortem_ state of rewards and punishments because of his faith in
the sanity of God, and I do not see how he will trace any reaction
between this world and whatever world there may be of disembodied lives.
Active and capable men of all forms of religious profession to-day tend
in practice to disregard the question of immortality altogether. So, to
a greater degree, will the kinetic men of the coming time. We may find
that issue interesting enough when we turn over the leaf, but at present
we have not turned over the leaf. On this side, in this life, the
relevancy of things points not in the slightest towards the immortality
of our egotisms, but convergently and overpoweringly to the future of
our race, to that spacious future, of which these weak, ambitious
Anticipations are, as it were, the dim reflection seen in a shallow and
troubled pool.

For that future these men will live and die.


[50] As, for example, that God is an omniscient mind. This is the last
vestige of that barbaric theology which regarded God as a vigorous but
uncertain old gentleman with a beard and an inordinate lust for praise
and propitiation. The modern idea is, indeed, scarcely more reasonable
than the one it has replaced. A mind thinks, and feels, and wills; it
passes from phase to phase; thinking and willing are a succession of
mental states which follow and replace one another. But omniscience is a
complete knowledge, not only of the present state, but of all past and
future states, and, since it is all there at any moment, it cannot
conceivably pass from phase to phase, it is stagnant, infinite, and
eternal. An omniscient mind is as impossible, therefore, as an
omnipresent moving body. God is outside our mental scope; only by faith
can we attain Him; our most lucid moments serve only to render clearer
His inaccessibility to our intelligence. We stand a little way up in a
scale of existences that may, indeed, point towards Him, but can never
bring Him to our scope. As the fulness of the conscious mental existence
of a man stands to the subconscious activities of an amoeba or of a
visceral ganglion cell, so our reason forces us to admit other possible
mental existences may stand to us. But such an existence, inconceivably
great as it would be to us, would be scarcely nearer that transcendental
God in whom the serious men of the future will, as a class, believe.

[51] It is an interesting byway from our main thesis to speculate on the
spiritual pathology of the functionless wealthy, the half-educated
independent women of the middle class, and the people of the Abyss.
While the segregating new middle class, whose religious and moral
development forms our main interest, is developing its spacious and
confident Theism, there will, I imagine, be a steady decay in the
various Protestant congregations. They have played a noble part in the
history of the world, their spirit will live for ever, but their formulæ
and organization wax old like a garment. Their moral austerity--that
touch of contempt for the unsubstantial æsthetic, which has always
distinguished Protestantism--is naturally repellent to the irresponsible
rich and to artistic people of the weaker type, and the face of
Protestantism has ever been firm even to hardness against the
self-indulgent, the idler, and the prolific, useless poor. The rich as a
class and the people of the Abyss, so far as they move towards any
existing religious body, will be attracted by the moral kindliness, the
picturesque organization and venerable tradition of the Roman Catholic
Church. We are only in the very beginning of a great Roman Catholic
revival. The diversified countryside of the coming time will show many a
splendid cathedral, many an elaborate monastic palace, towering amidst
the abounding colleges and technical schools. Along the moving platforms
of the urban centre, and athwart the shining advertisements that will
adorn them, will go the ceremonial procession, all glorious with banners
and censer-bearers, and the meek blue-shaven priests and barefooted,
rope-girdled, holy men. And the artful politician of the coming days,
until the broom of the New Republic sweep him up, will arrange the
miraculous planks of his platform always with an eye upon the priest.
Within the ample sheltering arms of the Mother Church many eccentric
cults will develop. The curious may study the works of M. Huysmans to
learn of the mystical propitiation of God, Who made heaven and earth, by
the bedsores of hysterical girls. The future as I see it swarms with
Durtals and Sister Teresas; countless ecstatic nuns, holding their Maker
as it were _in deliciæ_, will shelter from the world in simple but
costly refuges of refined austerity. Where miracles are needed, miracles
will occur.

Except for a few queer people, nourished on "Maria Monk" and suchlike
anti-papal pornography, I doubt if there will be any Protestants left
among the irresponsible rich. Those who do not follow the main current
will probably take up with weird science-denouncing sects of the
faith-healing type, or with such pseudo-scientific gibberish as
Theosophy. Mrs. Piper (in an inelegant attitude and with only the whites
of her eyes showing) has restored the waning faith of Professor James in
human immortality, and I do not see why that lady should stick at one
dogma amidst the present quite insatiable demand for creeds. Shintoism
and either a cleaned or, more probably, a scented Obi, might in vigorous
hands be pushed to a very considerable success in the coming years; and
I do not see any absolute impossibility in the idea of an after-dinner
witch-smelling in Park Lane with a witchdoctor dressed in feathers. It
might be made amazingly picturesque. People would attend it with an air
of intellectual liberality, not, of course, believing in it absolutely,
but admitting "there must be Something in it." That Something in it!
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," and after that he is
ready to do anything with his mind and soul. It is by faith we

And, of course, there will be much outspoken Atheism and Anti-religion
of the type of the Parisian Devil-Worship imbecilities. Young men of
means will determine to be "wicked." They will do silly things that will
strike them as being indecent and blasphemous and dreadful--black masses
and suchlike nonsense--and then they will get scared. The sort of thing
it will be to shock orthodox maiden aunts and make Olympus ring with
laughter. A taking sort of nonsense already loose, I find, among very
young men is to say, "Understand, I am non-moral." Two thoroughly
respectable young gentlemen coming from quite different circles have
recently introduced their souls to me in this same formula. Both, I
rejoice to remark, are married, both are steady and industrious young
men, trustworthy in word and contract, dressed in accordance with
current conceptions, and behaving with perfect decorum. One, no doubt
for sinister ends, aspires to better the world through a Socialistic
propaganda. That is all. But in a tight corner some day that silly
little formula may just suffice to trip up one or other of these men. To
many of the irresponsible rich, however, that little "Understand, I am
non-moral" may prove of priceless worth.

[52] _Vide_ Mr. Archdall Read's excellent and suggestive book, "The
Present Evolution of Man."


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