By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A Modern Symposium
Author: Dickinson, G. Lowes (Goldsworthy Lowes), 1862-1932
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Modern Symposium" ***


























SOME of my readers may have heard of a club known as the Seekers.  It
is now extinct; but in its day it was famous, and included a number of
men prominent in politics or in the professions.  We used to meet once
a fortnight on the Saturday night, in London during the winter, but in
the summer usually at the country house of one or other of the members,
where we would spend the week-end together.  The member in whose house
the meeting was held was chairman for the evening; and after the paper
had been read it was his duty to call upon the members to speak in what
order he thought best.  On the occasion of the discussion which I am to
record, the meeting was held in my own house, where I now write, on the
North Downs.  The company was an interesting one.  There was Remenham,
then Prime Minister, and his great antagonist Mendoza, both of whom
were members of our society.  For we aimed at combining the most
opposite elements, and were usually able, by a happy tradition
inherited from our founder, to hold them suspended in a temporary
harmony.  Then there was Cantilupe, who had recently retired from
public life, and whose name, perhaps, is already beginning to be
forgotten.  Of younger men we had Allison, who, though still engaged in
business, was already active in his socialist propaganda.  Angus
MacCarthy, too, was there, a man whose tragic end at Saint Petersburg
is still fresh in our minds.  And there were others of less note;
Wilson, the biologist, Professor Martin, Coryat, the poet, and one or
two more who will be mentioned in their place.

After dinner, the time of year being June, and the weather unusually
warm, we adjourned to the terrace for our coffee and cigars.  The air
was so pleasant and the prospect so beautiful, the whole weald of
Sussex lying before us in the evening light, that it was suggested we
should hold our meeting there rather than indoors.  This was agreed.
But it then transpired that Cantilupe, who was to have read the paper,
had brought nothing to read.  He had forgotten, or he had been too
busy.  At this discovery there was a general cry of protest.
Cantilupe's proposition that we should forgo our discussion was
indignantly scouted; and he was pressed to improvise something on the
lines of what he had intended to write.  This, however, he steadily
declined to attempt; and it seemed as though the debate would fall
through, until it occurred to me to intervene in my capacity as

"Cantilupe," I said, "certainly ought to be somehow penalized.  And
since he declines to improvise a paper, I propose that he improvise a
speech.  He is accustomed to doing that; and since he has now retired
from public life, this may be his last opportunity.  Let him employ it,
then, in doing penance.  And the penance I impose is, that he should
make a personal confession.  That he should tell us why he has been a
politician, why he has been, and is, a Tory, and why he is now retiring
in the prime of life.  I propose, in a word, that he should give us his
point of view.  That will certainly provoke Remenham, on whom I shall
call next.  He will provoke someone else.  And so we shall all find
ourselves giving our points of view, and we ought to have a very
interesting evening."  This suggestion was greeted, if not with
enthusiasm, at least with acquiescence.  Cantilupe at first objected
strongly, but yielded to pressure, and on my calling formally upon him
rose reluctantly from his seat.  For a minute or two he stood silent,
humping his shoulders and smiling through his thick beard.  Then, in
his slow, deliberate way, he began as follows:

"Why I went into politics?  Why did I?  I'm sure I don't know.
Certainly I wasn't intended for it.  I was intended for a country
gentleman, and I hope for the rest of my life to be one; which,
perhaps, if I were candid, is the real reason of my retirement.  But I
was pushed into politics when I was young, as a kind of family duty;
and once in it's very hard to get out again.  I'm coming out now
because, among other things, there's no longer any place for me.
Toryism is dead.  And I, as you justly describe me, am a Tory.  But you
want to know why?  Well, I don't know that I can tell you.  Perhaps I
ought to be able to.  Remenham, I know, can and will give you the
clearest possible account of why he is a Liberal.  But then Remenham
has principles; and I have only prejudices.  I am a Tory because I was
born one, just as another man is a Radical because he was born one.
But Remenham, I really believe, is a Liberal, because he has convinced
himself that he ought to be one.  I admire him for it, but I am quite
unable to understand him.  And, for my own part, if I am to defend, or
rather to explain myself, I can only do so by explaining my prejudices.
And really I am glad to have the opportunity of doing so, if only
because it is a satisfaction occasionally to say what one thinks; a
thing which has become impossible in public life.

"The first of my prejudices is that I believe in inequality.  I'm not
at all sure that that is a prejudice confined to myself--most people
seem to act upon it in practice, even in America.  But I not only
recognize the fact, I approve the ideal of inequality.  I don't want,
myself, to be the equal of Darwin or of the German Emperor; and I don't
see why anybody should want to be my equal.  I like a society properly
ordered in ranks and classes.  I like my butcher or my gardener to take
off his hat to me, and I like, myself, to stand bareheaded in the
presence of the Queen.  I don't know that I'm better or worse than the
village carpenter; but I'm different; and I like him to recognize that
fact, and to recognize it myself.  In America, I am told, everyone is
always informing you, in everything they do and say, directly or
indirectly, that they are as good as you are.  That isn't true, and if
it were, it isn't good manners to keep saying it.  I prefer a society
where people have places and know them.  They always do have places in
any possible society; only, in a democratic society, they refuse to
recognize them; and, consequently, social relations are much ruder,
more unpleasant and less humane than they are, or used to be, in
England.  That is my first prejudice; and it follows, of course, that I
hate the whole democratic movement.  I see no sense in pretending to
make people equal politically when they're unequal in every other
respect.  Do what you may, it will always be a few people that will
govern.  And the only real result of the extension of the franchise has
been to transfer political power from the landlords to the trading
classes and the wire-pullers.  Well, I don't think the change is a good
one.  And that brings me to my second prejudice, a prejudice against
trade.  I don't mean, of course, that we can do without it.  A country
must have wealth, though I think we were a much better country when we
had less than we have now.  Nor do I dispute that there are to be found
excellent, honourable, and capable men of business.  But I believe that
the pursuit of wealth tends to unfit men for the service of the state.
And I sympathize with the somewhat extreme view of the ancient world
that those who are engaged in trade ought to be excluded from public
functions.  I believe in government by gentlemen; and the word
gentleman I understand in the proper, old-fashioned English sense, as a
man of independent means, brought up from his boyhood in the atmosphere
of public life, and destined either for the army, the navy, the Church,
or Parliament.  It was that kind of man that made Rome great, and that
made England great in the past; and I don't believe that a country will
ever be great which is governed by merchants and shopkeepers and
artisans.  Not because they are not, or may not be, estimable people;
but because their occupations and manner of life unfit them for public

"Well, that is the kind of feeling--I won't call it a principle--which
determined my conduct in public life.  And you will remember that it
seemed to be far more possible to give expression to it when first I
entered politics than it is now.  Even after the first Reform
Act--which, in my opinion was conceived upon the wrong lines--the
landed gentry still governed England; and if I could have had my way
they would have continued to do so.  It wasn't really parliamentary
reform that was wanted; it was better and more intelligent government.
And such government the then ruling class was capable of supplying, as
is shown by the series of measures passed in the thirties and forties,
the new Poor Law and the Public Health Acts and the rest.  Even the
repeal of the Corn Laws shows at least how capable they were of
sacrificing their own interests to the nation; though otherwise I
consider that measure the greatest of their blunders.  I don't profess
to be a political economist, and I am ready to take it from those whose
business it is to know that our wealth has been increased by Free
Trade.  But no one has ever convinced me, though many people have
tried, that the increase of wealth ought to be the sole object of a
nation's policy.  And it is surely as clear as day that the policy of
Free Trade has dislocated the whole structure of our society.  It has
substituted a miserable city-proletariat for healthy labourers on the
soil; it has transferred the great bulk of wealth from the
country-gentleman to the traders; and in so doing it has more and more
transferred power from those who had the tradition of using it to those
who have no tradition at all except that of accumulation.  The very
thing which I should have thought must be the main business of a
statesman--the determination of the proper relations of classes to one
another--we have handed over to the chances of competition.  We have
abandoned the problem in despair, instead of attempting to solve it;
with the result, that our population--so it seems to me--is daily
degenerating before our eyes, in physique, in morals, in taste, in
everything that matters; while we console ourselves with the increasing
aggregate of our wealth.  Free Trade, in my opinion, was the first
great betrayal by the governing class of the country and themselves,
and the second was the extension of the franchise.  I do not say that I
would not have made any change at all in the parliamentary system that
had been handed down to us.  But I would never have admitted, even
implicitly, that every man has a right to vote, still less that all
have an equal right.  For society, say what we may, is not composed of
individuals but of classes; and by classes it ought to be represented.
I would have enfranchised peasants, artisans, merchants, manufacturers,
as such, taking as my unit the interest, not the individual, and
assigning to each so much weight as would enable its influence to be
felt, while preserving to the landed gentry their preponderance.  That
would have been difficult, no doubt, but it would have been worth
doing; whereas it was, to my mind, as foolish as it was easy simply to
add new batches of electors, till we shall arrive, I do not doubt, at
what, in effect, is universal suffrage, without having ever admitted to
ourselves that we wanted to have it.

"But what has been done is final and irremediable.  Henceforth,
numbers, or rather those who control numbers, will dominate England;
and they will not be the men under whom hitherto she has grown great.
For people like myself there is no longer a place in politics.  And
really, so far as I am personally concerned, I am rather glad to know
it.  Those who have got us into the mess must get us out of it.
Probably they will do so, in their own way; but they will make, in the
process, a very different England from the one I have known and
understood and loved.  We shall have a population of city people,
better fed and housed, I hope, than they are now, clever and quick and
smart, living entirely by their heads, ready to turn out in a moment
for use everything they know, but knowing really very little, and not
knowing it very well.  There will be fewer of the kind of people in
whom I take pleasure, whom I like to regard as peculiarly English, and
who are the products of the countryside; fellows who grow like
vegetables, and, without knowing how, put on sense as they put on flesh
by an unconscious process of assimilation; who will stand for an hour
at a time watching a horse or a pig, with stolid moon-faces as
motionless as a pond; the sort of men that visitors from town imagine
to be stupid because they take five minutes to answer a question, and
then probably answer by asking another; but who have stored up in them
a wealth of experience far too extensive and complicated for them ever
to have taken account of it.  They live by their instincts not their
brains; but their instincts are the slow deposit of long years of
practical dealings with nature.  That is the kind of man I like.  And I
like to live among them in the way I do--in a traditional relation
which it never occurs to them to resent, any more than it does to me to
abuse it.  That sort of relation you can't create; it has to grow, and
to be handed down from father to son.  The new men who come on to the
land never manage to establish it.  They bring with them the isolation
which is the product of cities.  They have no idea of any tie except
that of wages; the notion of neighbourliness they do not understand.
And that reminds me of a curious thing.  People go to town for society;
but I have always found that there is no real society except in the
country.  We may be stupid there, but we belong to a scheme of things
which embodies the wisdom of generations.  We meet not in
drawing-rooms, but in the hunting-field, on the county-bench, at
dinners of tenants or farmers' associations.  Our private business is
intermixed with our public.  Our occupation does not involve
competition; and the daily performance of its duties we feel to be
itself a kind of national service.  That is an order of things which I
understand and admire, as my fathers understood and admired it before
me.  And that is why I am a Tory; not because of any opinions I hold,
but because that is my character.  I stood for Toryism while it meant
something; and now that it means nothing, though I stand for it no
longer, still I can't help being it.  The England that is will last my
time; the England that is to be does not interest me; and it is as well
that I should have nothing to do with directing it.

"I don't know whether that is a sufficient account of the question I
was told to answer; but it's the best I can make, and I think it ought
to be sufficient.  I always imagine myself saying to God, if He asks me
to give an account of myself: 'Here I am, as you made me.  You can take
me or leave me.  If I had to live again I would live just so.  And if
you want me to live differently, you must make me different.'  I have
championed a losing cause, and I am sorry it has lost.  But I do not
break my heart about it.  I can still live for the rest of my days the
life I respect and enjoy.  And I am content to leave the nation in the
hands of Remenham, who, as I see, is all impatience to reply to my

REMENHAM in fact was fidgeting in his chair as though he found it hard
to keep his seat; and I should have felt bound in pity to call upon him
next, even if I had not already determined to do so.  He rose with
alacrity; and it was impossible not to be struck by the contrast he
presented to Cantilupe.  His elastic upright figure, his firm chin, the
exuberance of his gestures, the clear ring of his voice, expressed
admirably the intellectual and nervous force which he possessed in a
higher degree than any man I have ever come across.  He began without
hesitation, and spoke throughout with the trained and facile eloquence
of which he was master.  "I shall, I am sure, be believed," he said,
"when I emphatically assert that nothing could be more distressing to
me than the notion--if I should be driven to accept it--that the
liberal measures on which, in my opinion, the prosperity and the true
welfare of the country depends should have, as one of their incidental
concomitants, the withdrawal from public life of such men as our friend
who has just sat down.  We need all the intellectual and moral
resources of the country; and among them I count as not the least
valuable and fruitful the stock of our ancient country gentlemen.  I
regretted the retirement of Lord Cantilupe on public as well as on
personal grounds; and my regret is only tempered, not altogether
removed, when I see how well, how honourably and how happily he is
employing his well-deserved leisure.  But I am glad to know that we
have still, and to believe that we shall continue to have, in the great
Council of the nation, men of his distinguished type and tradition to
form one, and that not the least important, of the balances and
counter-checks in the great and complicated engine of state.

"When, however, he claims--or perhaps I should rather say desires--for
the distinguished order of which he is a member, an actual and
permanent preponderance in the state, there, I confess, I must part
company with him.  Nay, I cannot even accept the theory, to which he
gave expression, of a fixed and stable representation of interests.  It
is indeed true that society, by the mysterious dispensation of the
Divine Being, is wonderfully compounded of the most diverse elements
and classes, corresponding to the various needs and requirements of
human life.  And it is an ancient theory, supported by the authority of
great names, by Plato, my revered master, the poet-philosopher, by
Aristotle, the founder of political science, that the problem of a
statesman is so to adjust these otherwise discordant elements as to
form once for all in the body-politic a perfect, a final and immutable
harmony.  There is, according to this view, one simple chord and one
only, which the great organ of society is adapted to play; and the
business of the legislator is merely to tune the instrument so that it
shall play it correctly.  Thus, if Plato could have had his way, his
great common chord, his harmony of producers, soldiers and
philosophers, would still have been droning monotonously down the ages,
wherever men were assembled to dwell together.  Doubtless the concord
he conceived was beautiful.  But the dissonances he would have
silenced, but which, with ever-augmenting force, peal and crash, from
his day to ours, through the echoing vault of time, embody, as I am apt
to think, a harmony more august than any which even he was able to
imagine, and in their intricate succession weave the plan of a
world-symphony too high to be apprehended save in part by our grosser
sense, but perceived with delight by the pure intelligence of immortal
spirits.  It is indeed the fundamental defect of all imaginary
polities--and how much more of such as fossilize, without even
idealizing, the actual!--that even though they be perfect, their
perfection is relative only to a single set of conditions; and that
could they perpetuate themselves they would also perpetuate these,
which should have been but brief and transitory phases in the history
of the race.  Had it been possible for Plato to establish over the
habitable globe his golden chain of philosophic cities, he would have
riveted upon the world for ever the institutions of slavery and caste,
would have sealed at the source the springs of science and invention,
and imprisoned in perennial impotence that mighty genius of empire
which alone has been able to co-ordinate to a common and beneficent end
the stubborn and rebellious members of this growing creature Man.  And
if the imagination of a Plato, permitted to work its will, would thus
have sterilized the germs of progress, what shall we say of such men as
ourselves imposing on the fecundity of nature the limits and rules of
our imperfect mensuration!  Rather should we, in humility, submit
ourselves to her guidance, and so adapt our institutions that they
shall hamper as little as may be the movements and forces operating
within them.  For it is by conflict, as we have now learnt, that the
higher emerges from the lower, and nature herself, it would almost
seem, does not direct but looks on, as her world emerges in painful
toil from chaos.  We do not find her with precipitate zeal intervening
to arrest at a given point the ferment of creation; stretching her hand
when she sees the gleam of the halcyon or the rose to bid the process
cease that would destroy them; and sacrificing to the completeness of
those lower forms the nobler imperfection of man and of what may lie
beyond him.  She looks always to the end; and so in our statesmanship
should we, striving to express, not to limit, by our institutions the
forces with which we have to deal.  Our polity should grow, like a
skin, upon the living tissue of society.  For who are we that we should
say to this man or that, go plough, keep shop, or govern the state?
That we should say to the merchant, 'thus much power shall be yours,'
and to the farmer, 'thus much yours?'  No! rather let us say to each
and to all, Take the place you can, enjoy the authority you can win!
Let our constitution express the balance of forces in our society, and
as they change let the disposition of power change with them!  That is
the creed of liberalism, supported by nature herself, and sanctioned, I
would add with reverence, by the Almighty Power, in the disposition and
order of His stupendous creation.

"But it is not a creed that levels, nor one that destroys.  None can
have more regard than I--not Cantilupe himself--for our ancient crown,
our hereditary aristocracy.  These, while they deserve it--and long may
they do so!--will retain their honoured place in the hearts and
affections of the people.  Only, alongside of them, I would make room
for all elements and interests that may come into being in the natural
course of the play of social forces.  But these will be far too
numerous, far too inextricably interwoven, too rapidly changing in
relative weight and importance, for the intelligence of man to attempt,
by any artificial scheme, to balance and adjust their conflicting
claims.  Open to all men equally, within the limits of prudence, the
avenue to political influence, and let them use, as they can and will,
in combined or isolated action, the opportunities thus liberally
bestowed.  That is the key-note of the policy which I have consistently
adopted from my entrance into public life, and which I am prepared to
prosecute to the end, though that end should be the universal suffrage
so dreaded by the last speaker.  He tells me it is a policy of reckless
abandonment.  But abandonment to what?  Abandonment to the people!  And
the question is, Do we trust the people?  I do; he does not!  There, I
venture to think, is the real difference between us.

"Yes, I am not ashamed to say it, I trust the People!  What should I
trust, if I could not trust them?  What else is a nation but an
assemblage of the talents, the capacities, the virtues of the citizens
of whom it is composed?  To utilize those talents, to evoke those
capacities, to offer scope and opportunity to those virtues, must be
the end and purpose of every great and generous policy; and to that
end, up to the measure of my powers, I have striven to minister, not
rashly, I hope, nor with impatience, but in the spirit of a sober and
assured faith.

"Such is my conception of liberalism.  But if liberalism has its
mission at home, not less important are its principles in the region of
international relations.  I will not now embark on the troubled sea of
foreign policy.  But on one point I will touch, since it was raised by
the last speaker, and that is the question of our foreign trade.  In no
department of human activity, I will venture to say, are the intentions
of the Almighty more plainly indicated, than in this of the interchange
of the products of labour.  To each part of the habitable globe have
been assigned its special gifts for the use and delectation of Man; to
every nation its peculiar skill, its appropriate opportunities.  As the
world was created for labour, so it was created for exchange.  Across
the ocean, bridged at last by the indomitable pertinacity of art, the
granaries of the new world call, in their inexhaustible fecundity for
the iron and steel, the implements and engines of the old.  The
shepherd-kings of the limitless plains of Australia, the Indian ryot,
the now happily emancipated negro of Georgia and Carolina, feed and are
fed by the factories and looms of Manchester and Bradford.  Pall Mall
is made glad with the produce of the vineyards of France and Spain; and
the Italian peasant goes clad in the labours of the Leicester artisan.
The golden chain revolves, the silver buckets rise and fall; and one to
the other passes on, as it fills and overflows, the stream that pours
from Nature's cornucopia!  Such is the law ordained by the Power that
presides over the destinies of the world; and not all the interferences
of man with His beneficent purposes can avail altogether to check and
frustrate their happy operation.  Yet have the blind cupidity, the
ignorant apprehensions of national zeal dislocated, so far as was
possible, the wheels and cogs of the great machine, hampered its
working and limited its uses.  And if there be anything of which this
great nation may justly boast, it is that she has been the first to
tear down the barriers and dams of a perverted ingenuity, and to admit
in unrestricted plenitude to every channel of her verdant meadows the
limpid and fertilizing stream of trade.

"Verily she has had her reward!  Search the records of history, and you
will seek in vain for a prosperity so immense, so continuous, so
progressive, as that which has blessed this country in the last
half-century of her annals.  This access of wealth was admitted indeed
by the speaker who preceded me.  But he complained that we had taken no
account of the changes which the new system was introducing into the
character and occupations of the people.  It is true; and he would be a
rash man who should venture to forecast and to determine the remoter
results of such a policy; or should shrink from the consequences of
liberty on the ground that he cannot anticipate their character.  Which
of us would have the courage, even if he had the power, to impose upon
a nation for all time the form of its economic life, the type of its
character, the direction of its enterprise?  The possibilities that lie
in the womb of Nature are greater than we can gauge; we can but
facilitate their birth, we may not prescribe their anatomy.  The evils
of the day call for the remedies of the day; but none can anticipate
with advantage the necessities of the future.  And meantime what cause
is there for misgiving?  I confess that I see none.  The policy of
freedom has been justified, I contend, by its results.  And so
confident am I of this, that the time, I believe, is not far distant,
when other countries will awake at last to their own true interests and
emulate, not more to their advantage than to ours, our fiscal
legislation.  I see the time approaching when the nations of the world,
laying aside their political animosities, will be knitted together in
the peaceful rivalry of trade; when those barriers of nationality which
belong to the infancy of the race will melt and dissolve in the
sunshine of science and art; when the roar of the cannon will yield to
the softer murmur of the loom, and the apron of the artisan, the blouse
of the peasant be more honourable than the scarlet of the soldier; when
the cosmopolitan armies of trade will replace the militia of death;
when that which God has joined together will no longer be sundered by
the ignorance, the folly, the wickedness of man; when the labour and
the invention of one will become the heritage of all; and the peoples
of the earth meet no longer on the field of battle, but by their chosen
delegates, as in the vision of our greatest poet, in the 'Parliament of
Man, the Federation of the World.'"

WITH this peroration Remenham resumed his seat.  He had spoken, as
indeed was his habit, rather as if he were addressing a public meeting
than a company of friends.  But at least he had set the ball rolling.
To many of those present, as I well knew, his speech and his manner
must have been eminently provocative; and naturally to none more than
to Mendoza.  I had, therefore, no hesitation in signalling out the
Conservative chief to give us the opposite point of view.  He responded
with deliberation, lifting from his chest his sinister Jewish face, and
slowly unfolding his long body, while a malicious smile played about
his mouth.

"One," he began, "who has not the privilege of immediate access to the
counsels of the Divine Being cannot but feel himself at a disadvantage
in following a man so favoured as my distinguished friend.  The
disadvantage, however, is one to which I have had, perforce, to grow
accustomed during long years of parliamentary strife, I have resigned
myself to creeping where he soars, to guessing where he prophesies.
But there is compensation everywhere.  And, perhaps, there are certain
points which may be revealed to babes and sucklings, while they are
concealed from beings more august.  The worm, I suppose, must be aware
of excrescences and roughnesses of the soil which escape the more
comprehensive vision of the eagle; and to the worm, at least, these are
of more importance than mountain ranges and oceans which he will never
reach.  It is from that humble point of view that I shall offer a few
remarks supplementary to, perhaps even critical of, the eloquent
apostrophe we have been permitted to enjoy.

"The key-note of my friend's address was liberty.  There is no British
heart which does not beat higher at the sound of that word.  But while
I listened to his impassioned plea, I could not help wondering why he
did not propose to dispense to us in even larger and more liberal
measure the supreme and precious gift of freedom.  True, he has done
much to remove the barriers that separated nation from nation, and man
from man.  But how much remains to be accomplished before we can be
truly said to have brought ourselves into line with Nature!  Consider,
for example, the policeman!  Has my friend ever reflected on all that
is implied in that solemn figure; on all that it symbolizes of
interference with the purposes of a beneficent Creator?  The policeman
is a permanent public defiance of Nature.  Through him the weak rule
the strong, the few the many, the intelligent the fools.  Through him
survive those whom the struggle for existence should have eliminated.
He substitutes the unfit for the fit.  He dislocates the economy of the
universe.  Under his shelter take root and thrive all monstrous and
parasitic growths.  Marriage clings to his skirts, property nestles in
his bosom.  And while these flourish, where is liberty?  The law of
Nature we all know:

  The good old rule, the ancient plan
  That he should take who has the power,
  And he should keep who can!

"But this, by the witchcraft of property, we have set aside.  Our walls
of brick and stone we have manned with invisible guards.  We have
thronged with fiery faces and arms the fences of our gardens and parks.
The plate-glass of our windows we have made more impenetrable than
adamant.  To our very infants we have given the strength of giants.
Babies surfeit, while strong men starve; and the foetus in the womb
stretches out unformed hands to annex a principality.  Is this liberty?
Is this Nature?  No!  It is a Merlin's prison!  Yet, monstrous, it
subsists!  Has our friend, then, no power to dissolve the charm?  Or,
can it be that he has not the will?

"Again, can we be said to be free, can we be said to be in harmony with
Nature, while we endure the bonds of matrimony?  While we fetter the
happy promiscuity of instinct, and subject our roving fancy to the
dominion of 'one unchanging wife?'  Here, indeed, I frankly admit,
Nature has her revenges; and an actual polygamy flourishes even under
the aegis of our law.  But the law exists; it is the warp on which, by
the woof of property, we fashion that Nessus-shirt, the Family, in
which, we have swathed the giant energies of mankind.  But while that
shirt clings close to every limb, what avails it, in the name of
liberty, to snap, here and there, a button or a lace?  A more heroic
work is required of the great protagonist, if, indeed, he will follow
his mistress to the end.  He shakes his head.  What!  Is his service,
then, but half-hearted after all?  Or, can it be, that behind the mask
of the goddess he begins to divine the teeth and claws of the brute?
But if nature be no goddess, how can we accept her as sponsor for
liberty?  And if liberty be taken on its own merits, how is it to be
distinguished from anarchy?  How, but by the due admixture of coercion?
And, that admitted, must we not descend from the mountain-top of
prophecy to the dreary plains of political compromise?"

Up to this point Mendoza had preserved that tone of elaborate irony
which, it will be remembered, was so disconcerting to English
audiences, and stood so much in the way of his popularity.  But now his
manner changed.  Becoming more serious, and I fear I must add, more
dull than I had ever heard him before, he gave us what I suppose to be
the most intimate exposition he had ever permitted himself to offer of
the Conservative point of view as he understood it.

"These," he resumed, "are questions which I must leave my friend to
answer for himself.  The ground is too high for me.  I have no skill in
the flights of speculation.  I take no pleasure in the enunciation of
principles.  To my restricted vision, placed as I am upon the earth,
isolated facts obtrude themselves with a capricious particularity which
defies my powers of generalization.  And that, perhaps, is the reason
why I attached myself to the party to which I have the honour to
belong.  For it is, I think, the party which sees things as they are;
as they are, that is, to mere human vision.  Remenham, in his haste,
has called us the party of reaction.  I would rather say, we are the
party of realism.  We have in view, not Man, but Englishmen; not ideal
polities, but the British Constitution; not Political Economy, but the
actual course of our trade.  Through this great forest of fact, this
tangle of old and new, these secular oaks, sturdy shrubs, beautiful
parasitic creepers, we move with a prudent diffidence, following the
old tracks, endeavouring to keep them open, but hesitating to cut new
routes till we are clear as to the goal for which we are asked to
sacrifice our finest timber.  Fundamental changes we regard as
exceptional and pathological.  Yet, being bound by no theories, when we
are convinced of their necessity, we inaugurate them boldly and carry
them through to the end.  And thus it is that having decided that the
time had come to call the people to the councils of the nation, we
struck boldly and once for all by a measure which I will never
admit--and here I regret that Cantilupe is not with me--which I will
never admit to be at variance with the best, and soundest traditions of

"But such measures are exceptional, and we hope they will be final.  We
take no delight in tinkering the constitution.  The mechanism of
government we recognize to be only a means; the test of the statesman
is his power to govern.  And remaining, as we do, inaccessible to that
gospel of liberty of which our opponents have had a special revelation,
we find in the existing state of England much that appears to us to
need control.  We are unable to share the optimism which animates
Remenham and his friends as to the direction and effects of the new
forces of industry.  Above the whirr of the spindle and the shaft we
hear the cry of the poor.  Behind our flourishing warehouses and shops
we see the hovels of the artisan.  We watch along our highroads the
long procession of labourers deserting their ancestral villages for the
cities; we trace them to the slum and the sweater's den; we follow them
to the poorhouse and the prison; we see them disappear engulfed in the
abyss, while others press at their heels to take their place and share
their destiny.  And in face of all this we do not think it to be our
duty to fold our arms and invoke the principle of liberty.  We feel
that we owe it to the nation to preserve intact its human heritage, the
only source of its greatness and its wealth; and we are prepared, with
such wisdom as we have, to legislate to that end, undeterred by the
fear of incurring the charge of socialism.

"But while we thus concern ourselves with the condition of these
islands, we have not forgotten that we have relations to the world
outside.  If, indeed, we could share the views to which Remenham has
given such eloquent expression, this is a matter which would give us
little anxiety.  He beholds, as in a vision, the era of peace and
good-will ushered in by the genius of commerce.  By a mysterious
dispensation of Providence he sees cupidity and competition furthering
the ends of charity and peace.  But here once more I am unable to
follow his audacious flight.  Confined to the sphere of observation, I
cannot but note that in the long and sanguinary course of history there
has been no cause so fruitful of war as the rivalries of trade.  Our
own annals at every point are eloquent of this truth; nor do I see
anything in the conditions of the modern world that should limit its
application.  We have been told that all nations will adopt our fiscal
policy.  Why should they, unless it is to their interest?  We adopted
it because we thought it was to ours; and we shall abandon it if we
ever change our opinion.  And when I say 'interest' I would not be
understood to mean economic interest in the narrower sense.  A nation,
like an individual, I conceive, has a personality to maintain.  It must
be its object not to accumulate wealth at all costs, but to develop and
maintain capacity, to be powerful, energetic, many-sided, and above all
independent.  Whether the policy we have adopted will continue to
guarantee this result, I am not prophet enough to venture to affirm.
But if it does not, I cannot doubt that we shall be driven to revise
it.  Nor can I believe that other nations, not even our own colonies,
will follow us in our present policy, if to do so would be to jeopardy
their rising industries and unduly to narrow the scope of their
economic energies.  I do not, then, I confess, look forward with
enthusiasm or with hope to the Crystal Palace millennium that inspired
the eloquence of Remenham.  I see the future pregnant with wars and
rumours of wars.  And in particular I see this nation, by virtue of its
wealth, its power, its unparalleled success, the target for the envy,
the hatred, the cupidity of all the peoples of Europe.  I see them
looking abroad for outlets for their expanding population, only to find
every corner of the habitable globe preoccupied by the English race and
overshadowed by the English flag.  But from this, which is our main
danger, I conjure my main hope for the future.  England is more than
England.  She has grown in her sleep.  She has stretched over every
continent huge embryo limbs which wait only for the beat of her heart,
the motion of her spirit, to assume their form and function as members
of one great body of empire.  The spirit, I think, begins to stir, the
blood to circulate.  Our colonies, I believe, are not destined to drop
from us like ripe fruit; our dependencies will not fall to other
masters.  The nation sooner or later will wake to its imperial mission.
The hearts of Englishmen beyond the seas will beat in unison with ours.
And the federation I foresee is not the federation of Mankind, but that
of the British race throughout the world."

He paused, and in the stillness that followed we became aware of the
gathering dusk.  The first stars were appearing, and the young moon was
low in the west.  From the shadow below we heard the murmur of a
fountain, and the call of a nightingale sounded in the wood.  Something
in the time and the place must have worked on Mendoza's mood; for when
he resumed it was in a different key.

"Such," he began, "is my vision, if I permit myself to dream.  But who
shall say whether it is more than a dream?  There is something in the
air to-night which compels candour.  And if I am to tell my inmost
thought, I must confess on what a flood of nescience we, who seem to
direct the affairs of nations, are borne along together with those whom
we appear to control.  We are permitted, like children, to lay our
hands upon the reins; but it is a dark and unknown genius who drives.
We are his creatures; and it is his ends, not ours, that are furthered
by our contests, our efforts, our ideals.  In the arena Remenham and I
must play our part, combat bravely, and be ready to die when the crowd
turn down their thumbs.  But here in a moment of withdrawal, I at least
cannot fail to recognize behind the issues that divide us the tie of a
common destiny.  We shall pass and a new generation will succeed us; a
generation to whom our ideals will be irrelevant, our catch-words
empty, our controversies unintelligible.

  Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta
    Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt.

"The dust of oblivion will bury our debates.  Something we shall have
achieved, but not what we intended.  My dream may, perhaps, be
furthered by Remenham, and his by me, or, it may be, neither his nor
mine by either.  The Providence whose purposes he so readily divines is
dark to me.  And perhaps, for that reason, I am able to regard him with
more charity than he has always been willing, I suspect, to extend to
me.  This, at any rate, is the moment of truce.  The great arena is
empty, the silent benches vanish into the night.  Under the glimmer of
the moon figures more than mortal haunt the scene of our ephemeral
contests.  It is they which stand behind us and deal the blows which
seem to be ours.  When we are laid in the dust they will animate other
combatants; when our names are forgotten they will blazon others in
perishable gold.  Why, then, should we strive and cry, even now in the
twilight hour?  The same sky encompasses us, the same stars are above
us.  What are my opinions, what are Remenham's?  Froth on the surface!
The current bears all alike along to the destined end.  For a moment
let us meet and feel its silent, irresistible force; and in this moment
reach across the table the hand of peace."

With that he stretched his hand to Remenham, with a kind of pathos of
appeal that the other, though I think he did not altogether like it,
could hardly refuse to entertain.  It was theatrical, it was
un-English, but somehow, it was successful.  And the whole episode, the
closing words and the incomparable gesture, left me with a sense as
though a curtain had been drawn upon a phase of our history.  Mendoza,
somehow, had shut out Remenham, even more than himself, from the field
on which the issues of the future were to be fought.  And it was this
feeling that led me, really a little against my inclination, to select
as the next speaker the man who of all who, made up our company, in
opinions was the most opposed to Remenham, and in temperament to
Mendoza.  My choice was Allison, more famous now than he was then, but
known even at that time as an unsparing critic of both parties.  He
responded readily enough; and as he began a spell seemed to snap.  The
night and the hour were forgotten, and we were back on the dusty field
of controversy.

"THIS is all very touching," he began, "but Mendoza is shaking hands
with the wrong person.  He's much nearer to me than he is to Remenham,
and I don't at all despair of converting him.  For he does at least
understand that the character of every society depends upon its law of
property; and he even seems to have a suspicion that the law, as we
have it, is not what you would call absolute perfection.  It's true
that he shows no particular inclination to alter it.  But that may
come; and I'm not without hope of seeing, before I die, a
Tory-Socialist party.  Remenham's is a different case, and I fear
there's nothing to be made of him.  He does, I believe, really think
that in some extraordinary way the law of property, like the Anglican
Church, is one of the dispensations of Providence; and that if he
removes all other restrictions, leaving that, he will have what he
calls a natural society.  But Nature, as Mendoza has pointed out, is
anarchy.  Civilization means restriction; and so does socialism.  So
far from being anarchy, it is the very antithesis of it.  Anarchy is
the goal of liberalism, if liberalism could ever be persuaded to be
logical.  So the scarecrow of anarchy, at least, need not frighten away
any would-be convert to socialism.  There remains, it is true, the
other scarecrow, revolution; and that, I admit, has more life in it.
Socialism is revolutionary; but so is liberalism, or was, while it was
anything.  Revolution does not imply violence.  On the contrary,
violence is the abortion of revolution.  Do I, for instance, look like
a Marat or a Danton?  I ask you, candidly!"

He certainly did not.  On the contrary, with his short squat figure,
pointed beard and spectacles, he presented a curious blend of the
middle-class Englishman and the German savant.  There was a burst of
laughter at his question, in which he joined himself.  But when he
resumed it was in a more serious tone and somewhat in the manner of a
lecturer.  It was indeed, at that time, very largely by lectures that
he carried on his propaganda.

"No," he said, "socialism may roar; but, in England at any rate, it
roars as gently as any sucking-dove.  Revolution I admit is the goal;
but the process is substitution.  We propose to transform society
almost without anyone knowing it; to work from the foundation upwards
without unduly disturbing the superstructure.  By a mere adjustment of
rates and taxes we shall redistribute property; by an extension of the
powers of local bodies we shall nationalize industry.  But in all this
there need be no shock, no abrupt transition.  On the contrary, it is
essential to our scheme that there should not be.  We are men of
science and we realize that the whole structure of society rests upon
habit.  With the new organization must therefore grow the new habit
that is to support it.  To precipitate organic change is merely to
court reaction.  That is the lesson of all revolution; and it is one
which English socialists, at any rate, have learnt.  We think,
moreover, that capitalist society is, by its own momentum, travelling
towards the goal which we desire.  Every consolidation of business upon
a grand scale implies the development of precisely those talents of
organization without which the socialistic state could not come into
being or maintain itself; while at the same time the substitution of
monopoly for competition removes the only check upon the power of
capital to exploit society, and brings home to every citizen in his
tenderest point--his pocket--the necessity for that public control from
which he might otherwise be inclined to shrink.  Capitalist society is
thus preparing its own euthanasia; and we socialists ought to be
regarded not as assassins of the old order, but as midwives to deliver
it of the child with which it is in travail.

"That child will be a society not of liberty but of regulation.  It is
here that we join issue not only with doctrinaire liberals, but with
that large body of ordinary common-sense Englishmen who feel a general
and instinctive distrust of all state interference.  That distrust, I
would point out, is really an anachronism.  It dates from a time when
the state was at once incompetent and unpopular, from the days of
monarchic or aristocratic government carried on frankly in the
interests of particular classes or persons.  But the democratic
revolution and the introduction of bureaucracy has swept all that away;
and governments in every civilized country are now moving towards the
ideal of an expert administration controlled by an alert and
intelligent public opinion.  Much, it is true, has yet to be done
before that ideal will be realized.  In some countries, notably in the
United States, the necessity of the expert has hardly made itself felt.
In others, such as Germany, popular control is very inadequately
provided for.  But the tendency is clear; and nowhere clearer than in
this country.  Here at any rate we may hopefully look forward to a
continual extension both of the activity and of the intelligence of
public officials; while at the same time, by an appropriate development
of the representative machinery, we may guard ourselves against the
danger of an irresponsible bureaucracy.  The problem of reconciling
administrative efficiency with popular control is no doubt a difficult
one; but I feel confident that it can be solved.  This perhaps is
hardly the place to develop my favourite idea of the professional
representative; but I may be permitted to refer to it in passing.  By a
professional representative I mean one trained in a scientific and
systematic way to elicit the real opinion of his constituents, and to
embody it in practicable proposals.  He will have to study what they
really want, not what they think they want, and to discover for himself
in what way it can be obtained.  Such men need not be elected; indeed I
am inclined to think that the plan of popular election has had its day.
The essential is that they should be selected by some test of
efficiency, such as examination or previous record, and that they
should keep themselves in constant touch with their constituents.  But
I must not dwell upon details.  My main object is to show that when
government is in the hands of expert administrators, controlled by
expert representatives, there need be no anxiety felt in extending
indefinitely the sphere of the state.

"This extension will of course be primarily economic, for, as is now
generally recognized, the whole character of a society depends upon its
economic organization.  Revolution, if it is to be profound, must begin
with the organization of industry; but it does not follow that it will
end there.  It is a libel on the socialist ideal to call it
materialistic, to say that it is indifferent or hostile to the higher
activities.  No one, to begin with, is more conscious than a true
socialist of the importance of science.  Not only is the sociology on
which his position is based a branch of science; but it is a
fundamental part of his creed that the progress of man depends upon his
mastery of Nature, and that for acquiring that mastery science is his
only weapon.  Again, it is absurd to accuse us of indifference to
ethics.  Our standards, indeed, may not be the same as those of
bourgeois society; if they were, that would be their condemnation; for
a new economic régime necessarily postulates a new ethic.  But every
régime requires and produces its appropriate standards; and the
socialist régime will be no exception.  Our feeling upon that subject
is simply that we need not trouble about the ethic because it will
follow of itself upon the economic revolution.  For, as we read
history, the economic factor determines all the others.  'Man ist was
er isst,' as the German said; and morals, art, religion, all the
so-called 'ideal activities,' are just allotropic forms of bread and
meat.  They will come by themselves if they are wanted; and in the
socialist state they will be better not worse provided for than under
the present competitive system.  For here again the principle of the
expert will come in.  It will be the business of the state, if it
determines that such activities ought to be encouraged, to devise a
machinery for selecting and educating men of genius, in proportion to
the demand, and assigning to them their appropriate sphere of activity
and their sufficient wage.  This will apply, I conceive, equally to the
ministers of religion as to the professors of the various branches of
art.  Nor would I suggest that the socialist community should establish
any one form of religion, seeing that we are not in a position to
determine scientifically which, or whether any, are true.  I would give
encouragement to all and several, of course under the necessary
restrictions, in the hope that, in course of time, by a process of
natural selection, that one will survive which is the best adapted to
the new environment.  But meantime the advantage of the new over the
old organization is apparent.  We shall hear no more of genius starving
in a garret; of ill-paid or over-paid ministers of the gospel; of
privileged and unprivileged sects.  All will be orderly, regular, and
secure, as it should be in a civilized state; and for the first time in
history society will be in a position to extract the maximum of good
from those strange and irregular human organizations whose subsistence
hitherto has been so precarious and whose output so capricious and
uncertain.  A socialist state, if I may say so, will pigeon-hole
religion, literature and art; and if these are really normal and
fruitful functions they cannot fail, like other functions, to profit by
such treatment.

"I have thus indicated in outline the main features of the socialist
scheme--an economic revolution accomplished by a gradual and peaceful
transition and issuing in a system of collectivism so complete as to
include all the human activities that are really valuable.  But what I
should find it hard to convey, except to an audience prepared by years
of study, is the enthusiasm or rather the grounds for the enthusiasm,
that animates us.  Whereas all other political parties are groping in
the dark, relying upon partial and outworn formulae, in which even they
themselves have ceased to believe, we alone advance in the broad
daylight, along a road whose course we clearly trace backward and
forward, towards a goal distinctly seen on the horizon.  History and
analysis are our guides; history for the first time comprehended,
analysis for the first time scientifically applied.  Unlike all the
revolutionists of the past, we derive our inspiration not from our own
intuitions or ideals, but from the ascertained course of the world.  We
co-operate with the universe; and hence at once our confidence and our
patience.  We can afford to wait because the force of events is bearing
us on of its own accord to the end we desire.  Even if we rest on our
oars, none the less we are drifting onwards; or if we are checked for a
moment the eddy in which we are caught is merely local.  Alone among
all politicians we have faith; but our faith is built upon science, and
it is therefore a faith which will endure."

WITH that Allison concluded; and almost before he had done MacCarthy,
without waiting my summons, had leapt to his feet and burst into an
impassioned harangue.  With flashing eyes and passionate gestures he
delivered himself as follows, his Irish accent contrasting pleasantly
with that of the last speaker.

"May God forgive me," he cried, "that ever I have called myself a
socialist, if this is what socialism means!  But it does not!  I will
rescue the word!  I will reclaim it for its ancient nobler
sense--socialism the dream of the world, the light of the grail on the
marsh, the mystic city of Sarras, the vale of Avalon!  Socialism the
soul of liberty, the bond of brotherhood, the seal of equality!  Who is
he that with sacrilegious hands would seize our Ariel and prison him in
that tree of iniquity the State?  Day is not farther from night, nor
Good from Evil, than the socialism of the Revolution from this of the
desk and the stool, from this enemy wearing our uniform and flaunting
our coat of arms.  For nigh upon a century we have fought for liberty;
and now they would make us gaolers to bind our own souls.  1789, 1830,
1848--are these dates branded upon our hearts, only to stamp us as
patient sheep in the flock of bureaucracy?  No!  They are the symbols
of the spirit; and those whom they set apart, outcasts from the
kingdoms of this world and citizens of the kingdom of God, wherever
they wander are living flames to consume institutions and laws, and to
light in the hearts of men the fires of pity and wrath and love.  Our
city is not built with Blue books, nor cemented with office dust; nor
is it bonds of red-tape that make and keep it one.  No! it is the
attraction, uncompelled, of spirits made free; the shadowing into
outward form of the eternal joy of the soul!"

He paused and seemed to collect himself; and then in a quieter tone:
"Socialism," he proceeded, "is one with anarchy!  I know the terrors of
that word; but they are the terrors of an evil conscience; for it is
only an order founded on iniquity that dreads disorder.  Why do you
fear for your property and lives, you who fear anarchy?  It is because
you have stolen the one and misdevoted the other; because you have
created by your laws the man you call the criminal; because you have
bred hunger, and hunger has bred rage.  For this I do not blame you,
any more than I blame myself.  You are yourselves victims of the system
you maintain, and your enemy, no less than mine, if you knew it, is
government.  For government means compulsion, exclusion, distinction,
separation; while anarchy is freedom, union and love.  Government is
based on egotism and fear, anarchy on fraternity.  It is because we
divide ourselves into nations that we endure the oppression of
armaments; because we isolate ourselves as individuals that we invoke
the protection of laws.  If I did not take what my brother needs I
should not fear that he would take it from me; if I did not shut myself
off from his want, I should not deem it less urgent than my own.  All
governing persons are persons set apart.  And therefore it is that
whether they will or no they are oppressors, or, at best, obstructors.
Shut off from the breath of popular instinct, which is the breath of
life, they cannot feel, and therefore cannot think, rightly.  And, in
any case, how could they understand, even with the best will in the
world, the multifarious interests they are expected to control?  A man
knows nothing but what he practises; and in every branch of work only
those are fitted to direct who are themselves the workers.
Intellectually, as well as morally, government is eternally bankrupt;
and what is called representative government is no better than any
other, for the governors are equally removed in sympathy and knowledge
from the governed.  Nay, experience shows, if we would but admit it,
that under no system have the rulers been more incompetent and corrupt
than under this which we call democratic.  Is not the very word
'politician' everywhere a term of reproach?  Is not a government office
everywhere synonymous with incapacity and sloth?  What a miserable
position is that of a Member of Parliament, compelled to give his vote
on innumerable questions of which he does not understand the rudiments,
and giving it at the dictation of party chiefs who themselves are
controlled by the blind and brainless mechanism of the caucus!  The
people are the slaves of their representatives, the representatives of
their chiefs, and the chiefs of a conscienceless machine!  And that is
the last word of governmental science!  Oh, divine spirit of man, in
what chains have you bound yourself, and call it liberty, and clap your

"And then comes one and says, 'because you are free, tie yourself
tighter and tighter in your own bonds!'  Are these hands not yours that
fasten the knots?  Why then do you fear?  Here is a limb free; fasten
it quick!  Your head still turns; come, fix it in a vice!  Now you are
fast!  Now you cannot move!  How beautiful, how orderly, how secure!
And this, and this is socialism!  And it was to accomplish this that
France opened the sluices that have deluged the earth with blood!
What! we have broken the bonds of iron to bind ourselves in tape!  We
have discrowned Napoleon to crown ... to crown...."

He looked across at Allison, and suddenly pulled himself up.  Then,
attempting the tone of exposition, "There is only one way out of it,"
he resumed, "the extension of free co-operation in every department of
activity, including those which at present are regulated by the State.
You will say that this is impracticable; but why?  Already, in all that
you most care about, that is the method you actually adopt.  The
activities of men that are freest in the society in which we live are
those of art and science and amusement.  And all these are, I will not
say regulated by, but expressed in, voluntary organizations, clubs,
academies, societies, what you will.  The Royal Society and the British
Association are types of the right way of organizing; and it is a way
that should and must be applied throughout the whole structure.  Every
trade and business should be conducted by a society voluntarily formed
of all those who choose to engage in it, electing and removing their
own officials, determining their own policy, and co-operating by free
arrangement with other similar bodies.  A complex interweaving of such
associations, with order everywhere, compulsion nowhere, is the form of
society to which I look forward, and which I see already growing up
within the hard skin of the older organisms.  Rules there will be but
not laws, rules gladly obeyed because they will have been freely
adopted, and because there will be no compulsion upon anyone to remain
within the brotherhood that approves and maintains them.  Anarchy is
not the absence of order, it is absence of force; it is the free
outflowing of the spirit into the forms in which it delights; and in
such forms alone, as they grow and change, can it find an expression
which is not also a bondage.  You will say this is chimerical.  But
look at history!  Consider the great achievements of the Middle Age!
Were they not the result of just such a movement as I describe?  It was
men voluntarily associating in communes and grouping themselves in
guilds that built the towers and churches and adorned them with the
glories of art that dazzles us still in Italy and France.  The history
of the growth of the state, of public authority and compulsion, is the
history of the decline from Florence and Nuremberg to London and New
York.  As the power of the state grows the energy of the spirit
dwindles; and if ever Allison's ideal should be realized, if ever the
activity of the state should extend through and through to every
department of life, the universal ease and comfort which may thus be
disseminated throughout society will have been purchased dearly at the
price of the soul.  The denizens of that city will be fed, housed and
clothed to perfection; only--and it is a serious drawback--only they
will be dead.

"Oh!" he broke out, "if I could but get you to see that this whole
order under which you live is artificial and unnecessary!  But we are
befogged by the systems we impose upon our imagination and call
science.  We have been taught to regard history as a necessary process,
until we come to think it must also be a good one; that all that has
ever happened ought to have happened just so and no otherwise.  And
thus we justify everything past and present, however palpably in
contradiction with our own intuitions.  But these are mere figments of
the brain.  History, for the most part, believe me, is one gigantic
error and crime.  It ought to have been other than it was; and we ought
to be other than we are.  There is no natural and inevitable evolution
towards good; no co-operating with the universe, other than by
connivance at its crimes.  That little house the brain builds to
shelter its own weakness must be torn down if we would face the truth
and pursue the good.  Then we shall see amid what blinding storms of
wind and rain, what darkness of elements hostile or indifferent, our
road lies across the mountains towards the city of our desire.  Then
and then only shall we understand the spirit of revolution.  That there
are things so bad that they can only be burnt up by fire; that there
are obstructions so immense that they can only be exploded by dynamite;
that the work of destruction is a necessary preliminary to the work of
creation, for it is the destruction of the prison walls wherein the
spirit is confined; and that in that work the spirit itself is the only
agent, unhelped by powers of nature or powers of a world beyond--that
is the creed--no, I will not say the creed, that is the insight and
vision by which we of the Revolution live.  By that I believe we shall
triumph.  But whether we triumph or no, our life itself is a victory,
for it is a life lived in the spirit.  To shatter material bonds that
we may bind closer the bonds of the soul, to slough dead husks that we
may liberate living forms, to abolish institutions that we may evoke
energies, to put off the material and put on the spiritual body, that,
whether we fight with the tongue or the sword, is the inspiration of
our movement, that, and that only, is the true and inner meaning of

"Anarchy is identified with violence; and I will not be so hypocritical
and base as to deny that violence must be one of our means of action.
Force is the midwife of society; and never has radical change been
accomplished without it.  What came by the sword by the sword must be
destroyed: and only through violence can violence come to an end.  Nay,
I will go further and confess, since here if anywhere we are candid,
that it is the way of violence to which I feel called myself, and that
I shall die as I have lived, an active revolutionary.  But because
force is a way, is a necessary way, is my way, I do not imagine that
there is no other.  Were it not idle to wish, I could rather wish that
I were a poet or a saint, to serve the same Lord by the gentler weapons
of the spirit.  There are anarchists who never made a speech and never
carried a rifle, whom we know as our brothers, though perhaps they know
not us.  Two I will name who live for ever, Shelley, the first of
poets, were it not that there is one greater than he, the mystic
William Blake.  We are thought of as men of blood; we are hounded over
the face of the globe.  And who of our persecutors would believe that
the song we bear in our hearts, some of us, I may speak at least for
one, is the most inspired, the most spiritual challenge ever flung to
your obtuse, flatulent, stertorous England:

  Bring me my bow of burning gold,
  Bring me my arrows of desire,
  Bring me my spear; O clouds unfold!
  Bring me my chariot of fire!

  I will not cease from mental fight,
  Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
  Till I have built Jerusalem
  In England's green and pleasant land.

"England!  No, not England, but Europe, America, the world!  Where is
Man, the new Man, there is our country.  But the new Man is buried in
the old; and wherever he struggles in his tomb, wherever he knocks we
are there to help to deliver him.  When the guards sleep, in the
silence of the dawn, rises the crucified Christ.  And the angel that
sits at the grave is the angel of Anarchy."

THUS abruptly he brought to a close his extraordinary peroration, to
which I fear the written word has done but poor justice.  A long
silence followed; in it there was borne to us from below the murmur of
the hidden fountain, the wail of the nightingale.  It was night now;
the moon had set, and the sky was thick with stars.  Among them one
planet was blazing red, just opposite where I sat; and I saw the eyes
of my neighbour, Henry Martin, fixed upon it.  He was so lost in
thought that he did not hear me at first when I asked him whether he
would care to follow on.  But he assented willingly enough as soon as
he understood.  And as he rose I could not help admiring, as I had
often done before, the singular beauty of his countenance.  His books,
I think, do him injustice; they are cold and academic.  But there was
nothing of that in the man himself; never was spirit so alert; and that
alertness was reflected in his person and bearing, his erect figure,
his brilliant eyes, and the tumultuous sweep of his now whitening
beard.  He stood for a moment silent, with his eyes still fixed on the
red star; then began to speak as follows:

"If," he said, "it be true, as certain mystics maintain, that the world
is an effect of the antagonisms of spiritual beings, having their
stations in opposite quarters of the heavens, then, I think, MacCarthy
and myself must represent such a pair of contraries, and move in an
antithetic balance through the cycle of experience.  I, perhaps, am the
Urthona of his prophet Blake, and he the Urizen, or vice versa, it may
be, I cannot tell.  But our opposition involves, on my part at least,
no hostility; and looking across to his quarter of the sky I can
readily conceive how proud a fate it must be to burn there, so red, so
sumptuous, and so superb.  My own light is pale by comparison, a mere
green and blue; yet it is equally essential; and without it there might
be a danger that he would consume the world.  I speak in metaphors,
that I may effect as gently as possible the necessary transition, so
cold and abrupt, from the prophet to the critic.  But you, sir, in
calling upon me, knew what you were doing.  You knew well that you were
inviting Aquarius to empty his watering-pot on Mars.  And Mars, I am
sure, will pardon me if I obey.  Unlike all the previous speakers, I
am, by vocation, a sceptic; and the vocation I hold to be a noble one.
There are people who think, perhaps, indeed, there is almost nobody who
does not think, that action is the sole end of life.  Criticism, they
hold, is a kind of disease to which some people are subject, and which,
in extreme cases, may easily be fatal.  The healthy state, on the other
hand, they think, is that of the enthusiast; of the man who believes
and never doubts.  Now, that such a state is happy I am very ready to
admit; but I cannot hold that it is healthy.  How could it be, unless
it were based upon a sound, intellectual foundation?  But no such
foundation has been or will be reached except through criticism; and
all criticism implies and engenders doubt.  A man who has never
experienced, nay, I will say who is not constantly reiterating, the
process of criticism, is a man who has no right to his enthusiasm.  For
he has won it at the cost of drugging his mind with passion; and that I
maintain is a bad and wrong thing.  I maintain it to be bad and wrong
in itself, and quite apart from any consequences it may produce; for it
is a primary duty to seek what is true and eschew what is false.  But
even from the secondary point of view of consequences, I have the
gravest doubts as to the common assumption that the effects of
enthusiasm are always preponderantly if not wholly good.  When I
consider, for example, the history of religion, I find no warrant for
affirming that its services have outweighed its disservices.  Jesus
Christ, the greatest and, I think, the sanest of enthusiasts, lit the
fires of the Inquisition and set up the Pope at Rome.  Mahomet deluged
the earth with blood, and planted the Turk on the Bosphorus.  Saint
Frances created a horde of sturdy beggars.  Luther declared the Thirty
Years War.  Criticism would have arrested the course of these men; but
would the world have been the worse?  I doubt it.  There would have
been less heat; but there might have been more light.  And, for my
part, I believe in light.  It may, indeed, be true that intellect
without passion is barren; but it is certain that passion without
intellect is mischievous.  And since these powers, which should be
united, are, in fact, at war in the great duel which runs through
history, I take my stand with the intellect.  If I must choose, I would
rather be barren than mischievous.  But it is my aim to be fruitful and
to be fruitful through criticism.  That means, I fear, that I am bound
to make myself unpleasant to everybody.  But I do it, not of malice
prepense, but as in duty bound.  You will say, perhaps, that that only
makes the matter worse.  Well, so be it!  I will apologize no more, but
proceed at once to my disagreeable task.

"Let me say then first, that in listening to the speakers who have
preceded me, while admiring the beauty and ingenuity of the
superstructures they have raised, I have been busy, according to my
practice, in questioning the foundations.  And this is the kind of
result I have arrived at.  All political convictions vary between the
two extremes which I will call Collectivism and Anarchy.  Each of these
pursues at all costs a certain end--Collectivism, order, and Anarchy,
liberty.  Each is held as a faith and propagated as a religion.  And
between them lie those various compromises between faith and
experience, idea and fact, which are represented by liberalism,
conservatism, and the like.  Now, the degree of enthusiasm which
accompanies a belief, is commonly in direct proportion to its freedom
from empirical elements.  Simplicity and immediacy are the
characteristics of all passionate conviction.  But a critic like myself
cannot believe that in politics, or anywhere in the field of practical
action, any such simple and immediate beliefs are really and wholly
true.  Thus, in the case before us, I would point out that neither
liberty nor order are sufficient ends in themselves, though each, I
think, is part of the end.  The liberty that is desirable is that of
good people pursuing Good in order; and the order that is desirable is
that of good people pursuing Good in liberty.  This is a correction
which, perhaps, both collectivist and anarchist would accept.  What
they want, they would say, is that kind of liberty and that kind of
order which I have described.  But as liberty and order, so conceived,
imply one another, the difference between the two positions ceases to
be one of ends and becomes one of means.  But every problem of means is
one of extreme complexity which can only be solved, in the most
tentative way, by observation and experiment.  And opinions based upon
such a process, though they may be strongly held, cannot be held with
the simplicity and force of a religious or ethical intuition.  We
might, conceivably, on this basis adopt the position either of the
collectivist or of the anarchist; but we should do so not as
enthusiasts, but as critics, with a full consciousness that we are
resting not upon an absolute principle, but upon a balance of

"This, then, is the first point I wished to make, that the whole
question is one to be attacked by criticism, not by intuition.  But
now, tested by criticism, both the extreme positions suggest the
gravest possible difficulties and doubts.  In the case of anarchy,
especially, these force themselves upon the most superficial view.  The
anarchist maintains, in effect, that to bring about his ideal of
ordered liberty all you have to do is to abolish government.  But he
can point to no experience that will justify such a belief.  It is
based upon a theory of human nature which is contradicted by all the
facts known to us.  For if men, were it not for government, might be
living in the garden of Eden, how comes it that they ever emerged from
that paradise?  No, it is not government that is the root of our
troubles, it is the niggardliness of Nature and the greed of man.  And
both these are primitive facts which would be strengthened, not
destroyed, by anarchy.  Can it be believed that the result would be
satisfactory?  The anarchist may indeed reply that anything would be
better than what exists.  And I can well understand how some generous
and sensitive souls, or some victims of intolerable oppression, may be
driven into such counsels.  But they are surely counsels of despair.
Or is it possible really to hold--as MacCarthy apparently does--that on
the eve of a bloody revolution, whereby all owners of property will be
summarily deprived of all they have, the friendly and co-operative
instincts of human nature will immediately come into play without
friction; that the infinitely complex problems of production and
distribution will solve themselves, as it were, of their own accord;
that there will be a place ready for everybody to do exactly the work
he wants; that everybody will want to work at something, and will be
contented with the wage assigned him, that there will be no shortage,
no lack of adaptation of demand to supply; and all this achieved, not
by virtue of any new knowledge or new capacity, but simply by a
rearrangement of existing elements?  Does anyone, does MacCarthy
really, in a calm moment, believe all this?  And is he prepared to
stake society upon his faith?  If he be, he is indeed beyond the reach
of my watering-pot.  I leave him, therefore, burning luridly and
unsubdued, and pass on to Allison.

"Allison's flame is gentler; and I would not wish, even if I could,
altogether to extinguish it.  But I am anxious, I confess, to temper
it; for in colour, to my taste, it is a little ghastly; and I fear that
if it increased in intensity, it might even become too hot, though I do
not suggest that that is a present danger.  To drop the metaphor, my
objections to collectivism are not as fundamental as my objections to
anarchy, nor are they based upon any lack of appreciation of the
advantages of that more equitable distribution of the opportunities of
life which I take to be at the bottom of the collectivist ideal.  I do
not share--no man surely who has reflected could share--the common
prejudice that there is something fundamental, natural, and inevitable
about the existing organization of property.  On the contrary, it is
clear to me that it is inequitable; and that the substitution of the
system advocated by collectivists would be an immense improvement, if
it could be successfully carried out, and if it did not endanger other
Goods, which may be even more important than equality of opportunity.
Nor do I hold that in a collectivist state there need be any dangerous
relaxation of that motive of self-interest which every reasonable man
must admit to be, up to a point, the most potent source of all
practical energy.  I do not see why the state should not pay its
servants according to merit just as private companies do, and make the
rewards of ambition depend on efficiency.  In this purely economic
region there is not, so it seems to me, anything absurd or chimerical
in the socialist ideal.  My difficulty here is of a different kind.  I
do not see how, by the democratic machinery contemplated, it will be
possible to secure officials sufficiently competent and disinterested
to be entrusted with functions so important and so difficult as those
which would be demanded of them under the socialist régime.  In a
democracy the government can hardly rise above--in practice, I think,
it tends to fall below--the average level of honesty and intelligence.
In the United States, for example, it is notorious that the whole
machinery of government, and especially of local government, where the
economic functions are important, is exploited by the more unscrupulous
members of the community; and this tendency must be immensely
accentuated in every society in proportion as the functions of
government become important.  A socialist state badly administered
would, I believe, be worse than the state under which we live, to the
same degree in which, when well administered, it would be better.  And
I do not, I confess, see what guarantees socialists can offer that the
administration will be good.  I have far less confidence than Allison
in mere machinery; and I am sure that no machinery will produce good
results in a society where a large proportion of the citizens have no
other idea than to exploit the powers of government in their own
interest.  But such, I believe, is the case in existing societies; and
I do not see by what miracle they are going to be transformed.

"Such is my first difficulty with regard to collectivism.  And though
it would not prevent me from supporting, as in fact I do support,
cautious and tentative experiments in the direction of practical
socialism, it does prevent me from looking to a collectivist future
with anything like the breezy confidence which animates Allison.  And I
will go further: I will say that no man who possesses an adequate
intelligence, and does not deliberately stifle it, has a right to any
such confidence.  Setting aside, however, for the sake of argument,
this difficulty, and admitting the possibility of an honest and
efficient collectivist state, I am confronted with a further and even
graver cause of hesitation.  For while I consider that the distribution
of the opportunities of life is, under the existing system, in the
highest degree capricious and inequitable, yet I would prefer such
inequity to the most equitable arrangement in the world if it afforded
a better guarantee for the realization of certain higher goods than
would be afforded by the improved system.  And I am not clear in my own
mind, and I do not see how anyone can be clear, that collectivism gives
as good a security as the present system for the realization of these
higher goods.  And this brings me back to the question of liberty.  On
this point there is, I am well aware, a great deal of cant talked, and
I have no wish to add to it.  Under our present arrangements, I admit,
for the great mass of people, there is no liberty worth the name;
seeing that they are bound and tied all their lives to the meanest
necessities.  And yet we see that out of the midst of all this chaos of
wrong, there have emerged and do emerge artists, poets, men of science,
saints.  And the appearance of such men seems to me to depend on the
fact that a considerable minority have the power to choose, for good or
for evil, their own life, to follow their bent, even in the face of
tremendous difficulties, and perhaps because of those difficulties, in
the more fortunate cases, to realize, at whatever cost of suffering,
great works and great lives.  But under the system sketched by Allison
I have the gravest doubts whether any man of genius would ever emerge.
The very fact that everybody's career will be regulated for him, and
his difficulties smoothed away, that, in a word, the open road will
imply the beaten track, will, I fear, diminish, if not destroy, the
enterprise, the innate spirit of adventure, in the spiritual as in the
physical world, on which depends all that we call, or ought to call,
progress.  A collectivist state, it is true, might establish and endow
academies; but would it ever produce a Shakespeare or a Michelangelo?
It might engender and foster religious orthodoxy; but would it have a
place for the reformer or the saint?  Should we not have to pay for the
general level of comfort and intelligence, by suppressing the only
thing good in itself, the manifestation of genius?  I do not say
dogmatically that it would be so: I do not even say dogmatically that,
even if it were, the argument would be conclusive against the
collectivist state.  But the issue is so tremendous that it necessarily
makes me pause, as it must, I contend, any candid man, who is not
prejudiced by a preconceived ideal.

"Now, it is not for the sake of recommending any opinion of my own that
I have dwelt on these considerations.  It is, rather, to illustrate and
drive home the point with which I began, that the intellect has its
rights, that it enters into every creed, and that it undermines, in
every creed, all elements of mere irrational or anti-rational faith;
that this fact can only be disguised by a conscious or unconscious
predetermination, not to let the intellect have its say; and that such
predetermination is a very serious error and vice.  It is without shame
and without regret, on the contrary it is with satisfaction and
self-approval, that I find in my own case, my intelligence daily more
and more undermining my instinctive beliefs.  If, as some have held, it
were necessary to choose between reason and passion, I would choose
reason.  But I find no such necessity; for reason to me herself is a
passion.  Men think the life of reason cold.  How little do they know
what it is to be responsive to every call, solicited by every impulse,
yet still, like the magnet, vibrate ever to the north, never so tense,
never so aware of the stress and strain of force as when most
irremovably fixed upon that goal.  The intensity of life is not to be
measured by the degree of oscillation.  It is at the stillest point
that the most tremendous energies meet; and such a point is the
intelligence open to infinity.  For such stillness I feel myself to be
destined, if ever I could attain it.  But others, I suppose, like
MacCarthy, have a different fate.  In the celestial world of souls, the
hierarchy of spirits, there is need of the planet no less than of its
sun.  The station and gravity of the one determines the orbit of the
other, and the antagonism that keeps them apart also knits them
together.  There is no motion of MacCarthy's but I vibrate to it; and
about my immobility he revolves.  But both of us, as I am inclined to
think, are included in a larger system and move together on a remoter
centre.  And the very law of our contention, as perhaps one day we may
come to see, is that of a love that by discord achieves harmony."

THE conclusion of Martin's speech left me somewhat in doubt how to
proceed.  All of the company who were primarily interested in politics
had now spoken; and I was afraid there might be a complete break in the
subject of our discourse.  Casting about, I could think of nothing
better than to call upon Wilson, the biologist.  For though he was a
specialist, he regarded everything as a branch of his specialty; and
would, I knew, be as ready to discourse on society as on anything else.
Although, therefore, I disliked a certain arrogance he was wont to
display, I felt that, since he was to speak, this was the proper place
to introduce him.  I asked him accordingly to take up the thread of the
debate; and without pause his aggressive voice began to assail our ears.

"I don't quite know," he began, "why a mere man of science should be
invited to intervene in a debate on these high subjects.  Politics, I
have always understood, is a kind of mystery, only to be grasped by a
favoured few, and then not by any processes of thought, but by some
kind of intuition.  But of late years something seems to have happened.
The intuition theory was all very well when the intuitions did not
conflict, or when, at least, those who were possessed by one, never
came into real intellectual contact with those who were possessed by
another.  But here, to-night, have we met together upon this terrace,
been confronted with the most opposite principles jostling in the
roughest way, and, as it seems to the outsider, simply annihilating one
another.  Whence Martin's plea for criticism; a plea with which I most
heartily sympathize, only that he gave no indication of the basis on
which criticism itself is to rest.  And perhaps that is where and why I
come in.  I have been watching to-night with curiosity, and I must
confess with a little amusement, one building after another laboriously
raised by each speaker in turn, only to collapse ignominiously at the
first touch administered by his successor.  And why?  For the ancient
reason, that the structures were built upon the sand.  Well, I have
raised no building myself to speak of.  But I am one of an obscure
group of people who are working at solid foundations; which is only
another way of saying that I am a man of science.  Only a biologist, it
is true; heaven forfend that I should call myself a sociologist!  But
biology is one of the disciplines that are building up that general
view of Nature and the world which is gradually revolutionizing all our
social conceptions.  The politicians, I am afraid, are hardly aware of
this.  And that is why--if I may say so without offence--their
utterances are coming to seem more and more a kind of irrelevant
prattle.  The forces that really move the world have passed out of
their control.  And it is only where the forces are at work that the
living ideas move upon the waters.  Politicians don't study science;
that is the extraordinary fact.  And yet every day it becomes clearer
that politics is either an applied science or a charlatanism.  Only,
unfortunately, as the most important things are precisely the last to
be known about, and it is exactly where it is most imperative to act
that our ignorance is most complete, the science of politics has hardly
yet even begun to be studied.  Hence our forlorn paralysis of doubt
whenever we pause to reflect; and hence the kind of blind desperation
with which earnest people are impelled to rush incontinently into
practice.  The position of MacCarthy is very intelligible, however much
it be, to my mind--what shall I say?--regrettable.  There is, in fact,
hardly a question that has been raised to-night that is at present
capable of scientific determination.  And with that word I ought
perhaps, in my capacity of man of science, to sit down.

"And so I would, if it were not that there is something else, besides
positive conclusions, that results from a long devotion to science.
There is a certain attitude towards life, a certain sense of what is
important and what is not, a view of what one may call the commonplaces
of existence, that distinguishes, I think, all competent people who
have been trained in that discipline.  For we do think about politics,
or rather about society, even we specialists.  And between us we are
gradually developing a sort of body of first principles which will be
at the basis of any future sociology.  It is these that I feel tempted
to try to indicate.  And the more so, because they are so foreign to
much that has been spoken here to-night.  I have had a kind of feeling,
to tell the truth, throughout this whole discussion, of dwelling among
the tombs and listening to the voices of the dead.  And I feel a kind
of need to speak for the living, for the new generation with which I
believe I am in touch.  I want to say how the problems you have raised
look to us, who live in the dry light of physical science.

"Let me say, then, to begin with, that for us the nineteenth century
marks a breach with the whole past of the world to which there is
nothing comparable in human annals.  We have developed wholly new
powers; and, coincidentally and correspondingly, a wholly new attitude
to life.  Of the powers I do not intend to speak; the wonders of steam
and electricity are the hackneyed theme of every halfpenny paper.  But
the attitude to life, which is even more important, is something that
has hardly yet been formulated.  And I shall endeavour to give some
first rough expression to it.

"The first constituent, then, of the new view is that of continuity.
We of the new generation realize that the present is a mere transition
from the past into the future; that no event and no moment is isolated;
that all things, successive as well as coincident, are bound in a
single system.  Of this system the general formula is causation.  But,
in human society, the specifically important case of it is the nexus of
successive generations.  We do not now, we who reflect, regard man as
an individual, nor even as one of a body of contemporaries; we regard
him as primarily a son and a father.  In other words, what we have in
mind is always the race: whereas hitherto the central point has been
the individual or the citizen.  But this shifting in the point of view
implies a revolution in ethics and politics.  With the ancients, the
maintenance of the existing generation was the main consideration, and
patriotism its formula.  To Marcus Aurelius, to the Stoics, as later to
the Christians, the subject of all moral duties was the individual
soul, and personal salvation became for centuries the corner-stone of
the ethical structure.  Well, all the speculation, all the doctrine,
all the literature based upon that conception has become irrelevant and
meaningless in the light of the new ideal.  We no longer conceive the
individual save as one in a chain of births.  Fatherless, he is
inconceivable; sonless, he is abortive.  His soul, if he have one, is
inseparable from its derivation from the past and its tradition to the
future.  His duty, his happiness, his value, are all bound up with the
fact of paternity; and the same, mutatis mutandis, is true of women.
The new generation in a word has a totally new code of ethics; and that
code is directed to the end of the perfection of the race.  For, and
this is the second constituent of the modern view, the series of births
is also the vehicle of progress.  It is this discovery that gives to
our outlook on life its exhilaration and zest.  The ancients conceived
the Golden Age as lying in the past; the men of the Middle Ages removed
it to an imaginary heaven.  Both in effect despaired of this world; and
consequently their characteristic philosophy is that of the tub or the
hermitage.  So soon as the first flush of youth was past, pessimism
clouded the civilization of Greece and of Rome; and from this
Christianity escaped only to take refuge in an imaginary bliss beyond
the grave.  But we, by means of science, have established progress.  We
look to a future, a future assured, and a future in this world.  Our
eyes are on the coming generations; in them centres our hope and our
duty.  To feed them, to clothe them, to educate them, to make them
better than ourselves, to do for them all that has hitherto been so
scandalously neglected, and in doing it to find our own life and our
own satisfaction--that is our task and our privilege, ours of the new

"And this brings me to the third point in our scheme of life.  We
believe in progress; but we do not believe that progress is fated.  And
here, too, our outlook is essentially new.  Hitherto, the conceptions
of Fate and Providence have divided the empire of the world.  We of the
new generation accept neither.  We believe neither in a good God
directing the course of events; nor in a blind power that controls them
independently and in despite of human will.  We know that what we do or
fail to do matters.  We know that we have will; that will may be
directed by reason; and that the end to which reason points is the
progress of the race.  This much we hold to be established; more than
this we do not need.  And it is the acceptance of just this that cuts
us off from the past, that makes its literature, its ethics, its
politics, meaningless and unintelligible to us, that makes us, in a
word, what we are, the first of the new generation.

"Well, now, assuming this standpoint let us go on to see how some of
the questions look which have been touched upon to-night.  Those
questions have been connected mainly with government and property.  And
upon these two factors, it would seem, in the opinion of previous
speakers, all the interests of society turn.  But from the point where
we now stand we see clearly that there is a third factor to which these
are altogether subordinate--I mean the family.  For the family is the
immediate agent in the production and rearing of children; and this, as
we have seen, is the end of society.  With the family therefore social
reconstruction should start.  And we may lay down as the fundamental
ethical and social axiom that everybody not physically disqualified
ought to marry, and to produce at least four children.  The only
question here is whether the state should intervene and endeavour so to
regulate marriages as to bring together those whose union is most
likely to result in good offspring.  This is a point on which the
ancients, I am aware, in their light-hearted sciolism laid great
stress.  Only, characteristically enough, they ignored the fundamental
difficulty, that nothing is known--nothing even now, and how much less
then!--of the conditions necessary to produce the desired result.  If
ever the conditions should come to be understood--and the problem is
pre-eminently one for science; and if ever--what is even more
difficult--we should come to know clearly and exactly for what points
we ought to breed; then, no doubt, it may be desirable for government
to undertake the complete regulation of marriage.  Meantime, we must
confine our efforts to the simpler and more manageable task of securing
for the children when they are born the best possible environment,
physical, intellectual and moral.  But this may be done, even without a
radical reconstruction of the law of property simply by proceeding
further on the lines on which we are already embarked, by insisting on
a certain standard, and that a high one, of house-room, sanitation,
food, and the like.  We could thus ensure from the beginning for every
child at least a sound physical development; and that without
undermining the responsibility of parents.  What else the state can do
it must do by education; a thing which, at present, I do not hesitate
to say, does not exist among us.  We have an elementary system of cram
and drill directed by the soulless automata it has itself produced; a
secondary system of athletics and dead languages presided over by
gentlemanly amateurs; and a university system which--well, of which I
cannot trust myself to speak.  I wish only to indicate that, in the
eyes of the new generation, breeding and education are the two cardinal
pillars of society.  All other questions, even those of property and
government, are subordinate; and only as subordinate can they be
fruitfully approached.  Take, for example, property.  On this point we
have no prejudices, either socialistic or anti-socialistic.  Property,
as we view it, is simply a tool for producing and perfecting men.
Whether it will serve that purpose best if controlled by individuals or
by the state, or partly by the one and partly by the other, we regard
as an open question, to be settled by experiment.  We see no principle
one way or the other.  Property is not a right, nor a duty, nor a
privilege, either of individuals or of the community.  It is simply and
solely, like everything else, a function of the chain of births.
Whoever owns it, however it is administered, it has only one object, to
ensure for every child that is born a sufficiency of physical goods,
and for the better-endowed all that they require in the way of training
to enable them to perform efficiently the higher duties of society.

"And as property is merely a means, so is government.  To us of the new
generation nothing is more surprising and more repugnant, than the
importance attached by politicians to formulae which have long since
lost whatever significance they may once have possessed.  Democracy,
representation, trust in the people and the rest, all this to us is the
idlest verbiage.  It is notorious, even to those who make most play
with these phrases, that the people do not govern themselves, that they
cannot do so, and that they would make a great mess of it if they
could.  The truth is, that we are living politically on a tradition
which arose when by government was meant government by a class, when
one man or a few exploited the rest in the name of the state, and when
therefore it was of imperative importance to bring to bear upon those
who were in power the brute and unintelligent weight of the mass.  The
whole democratic movement, though it assumed a positive intellectual
form, was in fact negative in its aim and scope.  It meant simply, we
will not be exploited.  But that end has now been attained.  There is
no fear now that government will be oppressive; and the only problem of
the future is, how to make it efficient.  But efficiency, it is
certain, can never be secured by democratic machinery.  We must, as
Allison rightly maintains, have trained and skilled persons.  How these
are to be secured is a matter of detail, though no doubt of important
detail; and it is one that the new generation will have to solve.  What
they will want, in any case, is government.  MacCarthy's idea of
anarchy is--well, if he will pardon my saying so, it is hardly worthy
of his intelligence.  You cannot regulate society, any more than you
can spin cotton, by the light of nature and a good heart.  MacCarthy
mistakes the character of government altogether, when he imagines its
essence to be compulsion.  Its essence is direction; and direction,
whatever the form of society, is, or should be, reserved for the wise.
It is for wise direction that the coming generations cry; and it is our
business to see that they get it.

"I have thus indicated briefly the view of social and political
questions which I believe will be that of the future.  And my reason
for thinking so is, that that view is based upon science.  It is this
that distinguishes the new generation from all others.  Hitherto the
affairs of the world have been conducted by passion, interest,
sentiment, religion, anything but reasoned knowledge.  The end of that
régime, which has dominated all history, is at hand.  The old
influences, it is true, still survive, and even appear to be supreme.
We have had ample evidence to-night of their apparent vitality.  But
underneath them is growing up the sturdy plant of science.  Already it
has dislodged their roots; and though they still seem to bear flower,
the flower is withering before our eyes.  In its place, before long,
will appear the new and splendid blossom whose appearance ends and
begins an epoch of evolution.  That is a consummation nothing can
delay.  We need not fret or hurry.  We have only to work on silently at
the foundations.  The city, it is true, seems to be rising apart from
our labours.  There, in the distance, are the stately buildings, there
is the noise of the masons, the carpenters, the engineers.  But see!
the whole structure shakes and trembles as it grows.  Houses fall as
fast as they are erected; foundations sink, towers settle, domes and
pinnacles collapse.  All history is the building of a dream-city,
fantastic as that ancient one of the birds, changeful as the sunset
clouds.  And no wonder; for it is building on the sand.  There is only
one foundation of rock, and that is being laid by science.  Only wait!
To us will come sooner or later, the people and the architects.  To us
they will submit the great plans they have striven so vainly to
realize.  We shall pronounce on their possibility, their suitability,
even their beauty.  Caesar and Napoleon will give place to Comte and
Herbert Spencer; and Newton and Darwin sit in judgment on Plato and

WITH that he concluded.  And as he sat down a note was passed along to
me from Ellis, asking permission to speak next.  I assented willingly;
for Ellis, though some of us thought him frivolous, was, at any rate,
never dull.  His sunburnt complexion, his fair curly hair, and the
light in his blue eyes made a pleasant impression, as he rose and
looked down upon us from his six feet.

"This," he began, "is really an extraordinary discovery Wilson has
made, that fathers have children, and children fathers!  One wonders
how the world has got on all these centuries in ignorance of it.  It
seems so obvious, once it has been stated.  But that, of course, is the
nature of great truths; as soon as they are announced they seem to have
been always familiar.  It is possible, for that very reason, that many
people may under-estimate the importance of Wilson's pronouncement,
forgetting that it is the privilege of genius to formulate for the
first time what everyone has been dimly feeling.  We ought not to be
ungrateful; but perhaps it is our duty to be cautious.  For great ideas
naturally suggest practical applications, and it is here that I foresee
difficulties.  What Wilson's proposition in fact amounts to, if I
understand him rightly, is that we ought to open as wide as possible
the gates of life, and make those who enter as comfortable as we can.
Now, I think we ought to be very careful about doing anything of the
kind.  We know, of course, very little about the conditions of the
unborn.  But I think it highly probable that, like labour, as described
by the political economists, they form throughout the universe a single
mobile body, with a tendency to gravitate wherever the access is freest
and the conditions most favourable.  And I should be very much afraid
of attracting what we may call, perhaps, the unemployed of the universe
in undue proportions to this planet, by offering them artificially
better terms than are to be obtained elsewhere.  For that, as you know,
would defeat our own object.  We should merely cause an exodus, as it
were, from the outlying and rural districts.  Mars, or the moon, or
whatever the place may be; and the amount of distress and difficulty on
the earth would be greater than ever.  At any rate, I should insist,
and I dare say Wilson agrees with me there, on some adequate test.  And
I would not advertise too widely what we are doing.  After all, other
planets must be responsible for their own unborn; and I don't see why
we should become a kind of dumping-ground of the universe for everyone
who may imagine he can better himself by migrating to the earth.  For
that reason, among others, I would not open the gate too wide.  And,
perhaps, in view of this consideration, we might still permit some
people not to marry.  At any rate, I wouldn't go further, I think, than
a fine for recalcitrant bachelors.  Wilson, I dare say, would prefer
imprisonment for a second offence, and in case of contumacy, even
capital punishment.  On such a point I am not, I confess, an altogether
impartial judge, as I should certainly incur the greater penalty.
Still, as I have said, in the general interests of society, and in view
of the conditions of the universal market, I would urge caution and
deliberation.  And that is all I have to say at present on this very
interesting subject.

"The other point that interested me in Wilson's remarks was not,
indeed, so novel as the discovery about fathers having children, but it
was, in its way, equally important.  I mean, the announcement made with
authority that the human race really does, as has been so often
conjectured, progress.  We may take it now, I suppose, that that is
established, or Wilson would not have proclaimed it.  And we are,
therefore, in a position roughly to determine in what progress
consists.  This is a task which, I believe, I am more competent to
attempt perhaps even than Wilson himself, because I have had unusual
opportunities of travel, and have endeavoured to utilize them to clear
my mind of prejudices.  I flatter myself that I can regard with perfect
impartiality the ideals of different countries, and in particular those
of the new world which, I presume, are to dominate the future.  In
attempting to estimate what progress means, one could not do better, I
suppose, than describe the civilization of the United States.  For in
describing that, one will be describing the whole civilization of the
future, seeing that what America is our colonies are, or will become,
and what our colonies are we, too, may hope to attain, if we make the
proper sacrifices to preserve the unity of the empire.  Let us see,
then, what, from an objective point of view, really is the future of
this progressing world of ours.

"Perhaps, however, before proceeding to analyse the spiritual ideals of
the American people, I had better give some account of their country.
For environment, as we all know now, has an incalculable effect upon
character.  Consider, then, the American continent!  How simple it is!
How broad!  How large!  How grand in design!  A strip of coast, a range
of mountains, a plain, a second range, a second strip of coast!  That
is all!  Contrast the complexity of Europe, its lack of symmetry, its
variety, irregularity, disorder and caprice!  The geography of the two
continents already foreshadows the differences in their civilizations.
On the one hand simplicity and size; on the other a hole-and-corner
variety; there immense rivers, endless forests, interminable plains,
indefinite repetition of a few broad ideas; here distracting
transitions, novelties, surprises, shocks, distinctions in a word,
already suggesting Distinction.  Even in its physical features America
is the land of quantity, while Europe is that of quality.  And as with
the land, so with its products.  How large are the American fruits!
How tall the trees!  How immense the oysters!  What has Europe by
comparison!  Mere flavour and form, mere beauty, delicacy and grace!
America, one would say, is the latest work of the great artist--we are
told, indeed, by geologists, that it is the youngest of the
continents--conceived at an age when he had begun to repeat himself,
broad, summary, impressionist, audacious in empty space; whereas Europe
would seem to represent his pre-Raphaelite period, in its wealth of
detail, its variety of figure, costume, architecture, landscape, its
crudely contrasted colours and minute precision of individual form.

"And as with the countries, so with their civilizations.  Europe is the
home of class, America of democracy.  By democracy I do not mean a mere
form of government--in that respect, of course, America is less
democratic than England: I mean the mental attitude that implies and
engenders Indistinction.  Indistinction, I say, rather than equality,
for the word equality is misleading, and might seem to imply, for
example, a social and economic parity of conditions, which no more
exists in America than it does in Europe.  Politically, as well as
socially, America is a plutocracy; her democracy is spiritual and
intellectual; and its essence is, the denial of all superiorities save
that of wealth.  Such superiorities, in fact, hardly exist across the
Atlantic.  All men there are intelligent, all efficient, all energetic;
and as these are the only qualities they possess, so they are the only
ones they feel called upon to admire.  How different is the case with
Europe!  How innumerable and how confusing the gradations!  For
diversities of language and race, indeed, we may not be altogether
responsible; but we have superadded to these, distinctions of manner,
of feeling, of perception, of intellectual grasp and spiritual insight,
unknown to the simpler and vaster consciousness of the West.  In
addition, in short, to the obvious and fundamentally natural standard
of wealth, we have invented others impalpable and artificial in their
character; and however rapidly these may be destined to disappear as
the race progresses, and the influence of the West begins to dominate
the East, they do, nevertheless, still persist, and give to our effete
civilization the character of Aristocracy, that is of Caste.  In all
this we see, as I have suggested, the influence of environment.  The
old-world stock, transplanted across the ocean, imitates the
characteristics of its new home.  Sloughing off artificial
distinctions, it manifests itself in bold simplicity, broad as the
plains, turbulent as the rivers, formless as the mountains, crude as
the fruits of its adopted country."

"Yet while thus forming themselves into the image of the new world, the
Americans have not disdained to make use of such acquisitions of the
Past as might be useful to them in the task that lay before them.  They
have rejected our ideals and our standards; but they have borrowed our
capital and our inventions.  They have thus been able--a thing unknown
before in the history of the world--to start the battle against Nature
with weapons ready forged.  On the material results they have thus been
able to achieve it is the less necessary for me to dilate, that they
keep us so fully informed of them themselves.  But it may be
interesting to note an important consequence in their spiritual life,
which has commonly escaped the notice of observers.  Thanks to Europe,
America has never been powerless in the face of Nature; therefore has
never felt Fear; therefore never known Reverence; and therefore never
experienced Religion.  It may seem paradoxical to make such an
assertion about the descendants of the Puritan Fathers; nor do I forget
the notorious fact that America is the home of the sects, from the
followers of Joseph Smith to those of Mrs. Eddy.  But these are the
phenomena that illustrate my point.  A nation which knew what religion
was, in the European sense; whose roots were struck in the soil of
spiritual conflict, of temptations and visions in haunted forests or
desert sands by the Nile, of midnight risings, scourgings of the flesh,
dirges in vast cathedrals, and the miracle of the Host solemnly veiled
in a glory of painted light--such a nation would never have accepted
Christian Science as a religion.  No!  Religion in America is a
parasite without roots.  The questions that have occupied Europe from
the dawn of her history, for which she has fought more fiercely than
for empire or liberty, for which she has fasted in deserts, agonized in
cells, suffered on the cross, and at the stake, for which she has
sacrificed wealth, health, ease, intelligence, life, these questions of
the meaning of the world, the origin and destiny of the soul, the life
after death, the existence of God, and His relation to the universe,
for the American people simply do not exist.  They are as inaccessible,
as impossible to them, as the Sphere to the dwellers in Flatland.  That
whole dimension is unknown to them.  Their healthy and robust
intelligence confines itself to the things of this world.  Their
religion, if they have one, is what I believe they call
'healthy-mindedness.'  It consists in ignoring everything that might
suggest a doubt as to the worth of existence, and so conceivably
paralyse activity.  'Let us eat and drink,' they say, with a hearty and
robust good faith; omitting as irrelevant and morbid the discouraging
appendix, 'for to-morrow we die.'  Indeed!  What has death to do with
buildings twenty-four stories high, with the fastest trains, the
noisiest cities, the busiest crowds in the world, and generally the
largest, the finest, the most accelerated of everything that exists?
America has sloughed off religion; and as, in the history of Europe,
religion has underlain every other activity, she has sloughed off,
along with it, the whole European system of spiritual life.
Literature, for instance, and Art, do not exist across the Atlantic.  I
am aware, of course, that Americans write books and paint pictures.
But their books are not Literature, nor their pictures Art, except in
so far as they represent a faint adumbration of the European tradition.
The true spirit of America has no use for such activities.  And even
if, as must occasionally happen in a population of eighty millions,
there is born among them a man of artistic instincts, he is immediately
and inevitably repelled to Europe, whence he derives his training and
his inspiration, and where alone he can live, observe and create.  That
this must be so from the nature of the case is obvious when we reflect
that the spirit of Art is disinterested contemplation, while that of
America is cupidous acquisition.  Americans, I am aware, believe that
they will produce Literature and Art, as they produce coal and steel
and oil, by the judicious application of intelligence and capital; but
here they do themselves injustice.  The qualities that are making them
masters of the world, unfit them for slighter and less serious
pursuits.  The Future is for them, the kingdom of elevators, of
telephones, of motor-cars, of flying-machines.  Let them not idly hark
back, misled by effete traditions, to the old European dream of the
kingdom of heaven.  '_Excudent alii_,' let them say, 'for Europe,
Letters and Art; _tu regere argento populos, Morgane, memento_, let
America rule the world by Syndicates and Trusts!'  For such is her true
destiny; and that she conceives it to be such, is evidenced by the
determination with which she has suppressed all irrelevant activities.
Every kind of disinterested intellectual operation she has severely
repudiated.  In Europe we take delight in the operations of the mind as
such, we let it play about a subject, merely for the fun of the thing;
we approve knowledge for its own sake; we appreciate irony and wit.
But all this is unknown in America.  The most intelligent people in the
world, they severely limit their intelligence to the adaptation of
means to ends.  About the ends themselves they never permit themselves
to speculate; and for this reason, though they calculate, they never
think, though they invent, they never discover, and though they talk,
they never converse.  For thought implies speculation; discovery,
reflection; conversation, leisure; and all alike imply a
disinterestedness which has no place in the American system.  For the
same reason they do not play; they have converted games into battles;
and battles in which every weapon is legitimate so long as it is
victorious.  An American football match exhibits in a type the American
spirit, short, sharp, scientific, intense, no loitering by the road, no
enjoyment of the process, no favour, no quarter, but a fight to the
death with victory as the end, and anything and everything as the means.

"A nation so severely practical could hardly be expected to attach the
same importance to the emotions as has been attributed to them by
Europeans.  Feeling, like Intellect, is not regarded, in the West, as
an end in itself.  And it is not uninteresting to note that the
Americans are the only great nation that have not produced a single
lyric of love worth recording.  Physically, as well as spiritually,
they are a people of cold temperament.  Their women, so much and, I do
not doubt, so legitimately admired, are as hard as they are brilliant;
their glitter is the glitter of ice.  Thus happily constituted,
Americans are able to avoid the immense waste of time and energy
involved in the formation and maintenance of subtle personal relations.
They marry, of course, they produce children, they propagate the race;
but, I would venture to say, they do not love, as Europeans have loved;
they do not exploit the emotion, analyse and enjoy it, still less
express it in manners, in gesture, in epigram, in verse.  And hence the
kind of shudder produced in a cultivated European by the treatment of
emotion in American fiction.  The authors are trying to express
something they have never experienced, and to graft the European
tradition on to a civilization which has none of the elements necessary
to nourish and support it.

"From this brief analysis of the attitude of Americans towards life,
the point with which I started will, I hope, have become clear, that it
is idle to apply to them any of the tests which we apply to a European
civilization.  For they have rejected, whether they know it or not, our
whole scheme of values.  What, then, is their own?  What do they
recognize as an end?  This is an interesting point on which I have
reflected much in the course of my travels.  Sometimes I have thought
it was wealth, sometimes power, sometimes activity.  But a poem, or at
least a production in metre, which I came across in the States, gave me
a new idea upon the subject.  On such a point I speak with great
diffidence; but I am inclined to think that my author was right; that
the real end which Americans set before themselves is Acceleration.  To
be always moving, and always moving faster, that they think is the
beatific life; and with their happy detachment from philosophy and
speculation, they are not troubled by the question, Whither?  If they
are asked by Europeans, as they sometimes are, what is the point of
going so fast? their only feeling is one of genuine astonishment.  Why,
they reply, you go fast!  And what more can be said?  Hence, their
contempt for the leisure so much valued by Europeans.  Leisure they
feel, to be a kind of standing still, the unpardonable sin.  Hence,
also, their aversion to play, to conversation, to everything that is
not work.  I once asked an American who had been describing to me the
scheme of his laborious life, where it was that the fun came in?  He
replied, without hesitation and without regret, that it came in
nowhere.  How should it?  It could only act as a brake; and a brake
upon Acceleration is the last thing tolerable to the American genius.

"The American genius, I say: but after all, and this is the real point
of my remarks, what America is, Europe is becoming.  We, who sit here,
with the exception, of course, of Wilson, represent the Past, not the
Future.  Politicians, professors, lawyers, doctors, no matter what our
calling, our judgments are determined by the old scale of values.
Intellect, Beauty, Emotion, these are the things we count precious; to
wealth and to progress we are indifferent, save as conducing to these.
And thus, like the speakers who preceded me, we venture to criticize
and doubt, where the modern man, American or European, simply and
wholeheartedly accepts.  For this it would be idle for us to blame
ourselves, idle even to regret; we should simply and objectively note
that we are out of court.  All that we say may be true, but it is
irrelevant.  'True,' says the man of the Future, 'we have no religion,
literature, or art; we don't know whence we come, nor whither we go;
but, what is more important, we don't care.  What we do know is, that
we are moving faster than any one ever moved before; and that there is
every chance of our moving faster and faster.  To inquire "whither" is
the one thing that we recognize as blasphemous.  The principle of the
Universe is Acceleration, and we are its exponents; what is not
accelerated will be extinguished; and if we cannot answer ultimate
questions, that is the less to be regretted in that, a few centuries
hence, there will be nobody left to ask them.'

"Such is the attitude which I believe to be that of the Future, both in
the West and in the East.  I do not pretend to sympathize with it; but
my perception of it gives a peculiar piquancy to my own position.  I
rejoice that I was born at the end of an epoch; that I stand as it were
at the summit, just before the plunge into the valley below; and
looking back, survey and summarize in a glance the ages that are past.
I rejoice that my friends are Socrates and Plato, Dante, Michelangelo,
Goethe instead of Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Pierpont Morgan.  I rejoice that
I belong to an effete country; and that I sit at table with almost the
last representatives of the culture, the learning and the ideals of
centuries of civilization.  I prefer the tradition of the Past to that
of the Future; I value it the more for its contrast with that which is
to come; and I am the more at ease inasmuch as I feel myself divested
of all responsibility towards generations whose ideals and standards I
am unable to appreciate.

"All this shows, of course, merely that I am not one of the people so
aptly described by Wilson as the 'new generation.'  But I flatter
myself that my intellectual apprehension is not coloured by the
circumstances of my own case, and that I have given you a clear and
objective picture of what it is that really constitutes progress.  And
with that proud consciousness in my mind, I resume my seat."

THE conclusion of this speech was greeted with a hubbub of laughter,
approval, and protest confusedly mixed; in the midst of which it
occurred to me that I would select Audubon as the next speaker.  My
reason was that Ellis, as I thought, under cover of an extravagant fit
of spleen, had made rather a formidable attack on the doctrine of
progress as commonly understood by social reformers.  He had given us,
as it were, the first notes of the Negative.  But Audubon, I knew,
would play the tune through to the end; and I thought we might as well
have it all, and have it before it should be too late for the possible
correctives of other speakers.  Audubon was engaged in some occupation
in the city, and how he came to be a member of our society I cannot
tell; for he professed an uncompromising aversion to all speculation.
He was, however, a regular attendant and spoke well, though always in
the sense that there was nothing worth speaking about.  On this
occasion he displayed, as usual, some reluctance to get on to his feet;
and even when he was overruled began, characteristically, with a

"I don't see why it should be a rule that everybody must speak.  I
believe I have said something of the kind before"--but here he was
interrupted by a general exclamation that he had said it much too
often; whereupon he dropped the subject, but maintained his tone of
protest.  "You don't understand," he went on, "what a difficult
position I am in, especially in a discussion of this kind.  My
standpoint is radically different from that of the rest of you; and
anything I say is bound to be out of key.  You're all playing what you
think to be the game of life, and playing it willingly.  But I play
only under compulsion; if you call it playing, when one is hounded out
to field in all weathers without ever having a chance of an innings.
Or, rather, the game's more like tennis than cricket, and we're the
little boys who pick up the balls--and that, in my opinion, is a damned
humiliating occupation.  And surely you must all really think so too!
Of course, you don't like to admit it.  Nobody does.  In the pulpit, in
the press, in conversation, even, there's a conspiracy of silence and
bluff.  It's only in rare moments, when a few men get together in the
smoking-room, that the truth comes out.  But when it does come out it's
always the same refrain, 'cui bono, cui bono?'  I don't take much
account of myself; but, if there is one thing of which I am proud, it
is that I have never let myself be duped.  From the earliest days I can
remember I realized what the nature of this world really is.  And all
experience has confirmed that first intuition.  That other people don't
seem to have it, too, is a source of constant amazement to me.  But
really, and without wishing to be arrogant, I believe the reason is
that they choose to be duped and I don't.  They intend, at all costs,
to be happy, or interested, or whatever it is that they prefer to call
it.  And I don't say they are not wise in their generation.  But I'm
not made like that; I just see things as they are; and I see that
they're very bad--a point in which I differ from the Creator.

"Well, now, to come to to-night's discussion, and my attitude towards
it.  You have assumed throughout, as, of course, you were bound to do,
that things are worth while.  But if they aren't, what becomes of all
your aims, all your views, all your problems and disputes?  The basis
on which you are all agreed, however much you may differ in detail, is
that things can be made better, and that it's worth while to make them
so.  But if one denies both propositions, what happens to the
superstructure?  And I do deny them; and not only that, but I can't
conceive how anyone ever came to accept them.  Surely, if one didn't
approach the question with an irrational bias towards optimism, one
would never imagine that there is such a thing as progress in anything
that really matters.  Or are even we here impressed by such silly and
irrelevant facts as telephones and motor-cars?  Ellis, I should think,
has said enough to dispel that kind of illusion; and I don't want to
labour a tedious point.  If we are to look for progress at all we must
look for it, I suppose, in men.  And I have never seen any evidence
that men are generally better than they used to be; on the contrary, I
think there is evidence that they are worse.  But anyhow, even granting
that we could make things a bit better, what would be the use of doing
it in a world like this?  If the whole structure of the universe is
bad, what's the good of fiddling with the details?  You might as well
waste your time in decorating the saloon of a sinking ship.  Granting
that you can improve the distribution of property, and raise the
standard of health and intelligence and all the rest of it, granting
you could to-morrow introduce your socialist state, or your liberal
state, or your anarchical co-operation, or whatever the plan may
be--how would you be better off in anything that matters?  The main
governing facts would be unaltered.  Men, for example, would still be
born, without being asked whether they want it or no.  And that alone,
to my mind, is enough to condemn the whole business.  I can't think how
it is that people don't resent more than they do the mere insult to
their self-respect involved in such a situation.  Nothing can cure it,
nothing can improve it.  It's a fundamental condition of life.

"If that were all it would be bad enough.  But that's only the
beginning.  For the world into which we are thus ignominiously flung
turns out to be incalculable and irrational.  There are, of course, I
know, what are called the laws of nature.  But I--to tell the honest
truth--I don't believe in them.  I mean, I see no reason to suppose
that the sun will rise to-morrow, or that the seasons will continue to
observe their course, or that any of our most certain expectations will
be fulfilled in the future as they have been in the past.  We import
into the universe our own prejudice in favour of order; and the
universe, I admit, up to a point appears to conform to it.  But I don't
trust the conformity.  Too many evidences abound of frivolous and
incalculable caprice.  Why should not the appearance of order be but
one caprice the more, or even a crowning device of calculated malice?
And anyhow, the things that most concern us, tempests, epidemics,
accidents, from the catastrophe of birth to the deliverance of death,
we have no power to foresee or to forestall.  Yet, in face of all this,
borne home to us every hour of every day, we cling to the creed of
universal law; and on the flux of chaos write our 'credo quia

"Well, that is a heresy of mine I have never found anyone to share.
But no matter.  My case is so strong I can afford to give it away point
by point.  Granting then, that there were order in the universe, how
does that make it any better?  Does it not rather make it worse, if the
order is such as to produce evil?  And how great that evil is I need
not insist.  For it has been presupposed in everything that has been
said to-night.  If it were a satisfactory world you wouldn't all be
wanting to alter it.  Still, you may say--people always do--'if there
is evil there is also good.'  But it is just the things people call
good, even more than those they admit to be evil, that make me despair
of the world.  How anyone with self-respect can accept, and accept
thankfully, the sort of things people do accept is to me a standing
mystery.  It is surely the greatest triumph achieved by the Power that
made the universe that every week there gather into the churches
congregations of victims to recite their gratitude for 'their creation,
preservation, and all the blessings of this life.'  The blessings!
What are they?  Money?  Success?  Reputation?  I don't profess, myself,
to be anything better than a man of the world; but that those things
should be valued as they are by men of the world is a thing that passes
my understanding.  'Well, but,' says the moralist, 'there's always duty
and work.'  But what is the value of work if there's nothing worth
working for?  'Ah, but,' says the poet, 'there's beauty and love.'  But
the beauty and love he seeks is something he never finds.  What he
grasps is the shadow, not the thing.  And even the shadow flits past
and eludes him on the stream of time.

"And just there is the final demonstration of the malignity of the
scheme of things.  Time itself works against us.  The moments that are
evil it eternalizes; the moments that might be good it hurries to
annihilation.  All that is most precious is most precarious.  Vainly do
we cry to the moment: 'Verweile doch, du bist so schön!'  Only the
heavy hours are heavy-footed.  The winged Psyche, even at the moment of
birth, is sick with the pangs of dissolution.

"These, surely, are facts, not imaginations.  Why, then, is it that men
refuse to look them in the face?  Or, if they do, turn at once away to
construct some other kind of world?  For that is the most extraordinary
thing of all, that men invent systems, and that those systems are
optimistic.  It is as though they said: 'Things must be good.  But as
they obviously are not good, they must really be other than they are.'
And hence these extraordinary doctrines, so pitiful, so pathetic, so
absurd, of the eternal good God who made this bad world, of the
Absolute whose only manifestation is the Relative, of the Real which
has so much less reality than the Phenomenal.  Or, if all that be
rejected, we transfer our heaven from eternity to time, and project
into the future the perfection we miss in the present or in the past.
'True,' we say, 'a bad world! but then how good it will be!'  And with
that illusion generation after generation take up their burden and
march, because beyond the wilderness there must be a Promised Land into
which some day some creatures unknown will enter.  As though the evil
of the past could be redeemed by any achievement of the future, or the
perfection of one make up for the irremediable failure of another!

"Such ideas have only to be stated for their absurdity to be palpable.
Yet none the less they hold men.  Why?  I cannot tell.  I only know
that they do not and cannot hold me; that I look like a stranger from
another world upon the business of this one; that I am among you, but
not of you; that your motives and aims to me are utterly
unintelligible; that you can give no account of them to which I can
attach any sense; that I have no clue to the enigma you seem so lightly
to solve by your religion, your philosophy, your science; that your
hopes are not mine, your ambitions not mine, your principles not mine;
that I am shipwrecked, and see around me none but are shipwrecked too;
yet, that these, as they cling to their spars, call them good ships and
true, speak bravely of the harbour to which they are prosperously
sailing, and even as they are engulfed, with their last breath, cry,
'lo, we are arrived, and our friends are waiting on the quay!'  Who,
under these circumstances is mad?  Is it I?  Is it you?  I can only
drift and wait.  It may be that beyond these waters there is a harbour
and a shore.  But I cannot steer for it, for I have no rudder, no
compass, no chart.  You say you have.  Go on, then, but do not call to
me.  I must sink or swim alone.  And the best for which I can hope is
speedily to be lost in the silent gulf of oblivion."

OFTEN as I had heard Audubon express these sentiments before, I had
never known him to reveal so freely and so passionately the innermost
bitterness of his soul.  There was, no doubt, something in the
circumstances of the time and place that prompted him to this personal
note.  For it was now the darkest and stillest hour of the night; and
we sat in the dim starlight, hardly seeing one another, so that it
seemed possible to say, as behind a veil, things that otherwise it
would have been natural to suppress.  A long silence followed Audubon's
last words.  They went home, I dare say to many of us more than we
should have cared to confess.  And I felt some difficulty whom to
choose of the few who had not yet spoken, so as to avoid, as far as
possible, a tone that would jar upon our mood.  Finally, I selected
Coryat, the poet, knowing he was incapable of a false note, and hoping
he might perhaps begin to pull us, as it were, up out of the pit into
which we had slipped.  He responded from the darkness, with the
hesitation and incoherence which, in him, I have always found so

"I don't know," he began, "of course--well, yes, it may be all very
bad--at least for some people.  But I don't believe it is.  And I doubt
whether Audubon really--well, I oughtn't to say that, I suppose.  But
anyhow, I'm sure most people don't agree with him.  At any rate, for my
part, I find life extraordinarily good, just as it is, not mine only, I
mean, but everybody's; well, except Audubon's, I suppose I ought to
say, and even he, perhaps finds it rather good to be able to find it so
bad.  But I'm not going to argue with him, because I know it's no use.
Its all the other people I want to quarrel with--except Ellis, who has
I believe some idea of the things that really count.  But I don't think
Allison has, or Wilson, or most of the people who talk about progress.
Because, if you project, so to speak, all your goods into the future,
that shows that you don't appreciate those that belong to life just as
it is and wherever it is.  And there must, I am sure, be something
wrong about a view that makes the past and the present merely a means
to the future.  It's as though one were to take a bottle and turn it
upside down, emptying the wine out without noticing it; and then plan
how tremendously one will improve the shape of the bottle.  Well, I'm
not interested in the shape of bottles.  And I am interested in wine.
And--which is the point--I know that the wine is always there.  It was
there in the past, it's here in the present, and it will be there in
the future; yes, in spite of you all!"  He flung this out with a kind
of defiance that made us laugh.  Whereupon he paused, as if he had done
something indiscreet, and then after looking in vain for a bridge to
take him across to his next starting-place, decided, as it seemed, to
jump, and went on as follows: "There's Wilson, for instance, tells us
that the new generation have no use for--I don't know that he used that
dreadful phrase, but that's what he meant--that they have 'no use for'
the Greeks, or the Romans, or the Middle Ages, or the eighteenth
century, or anything but themselves.  Well, I can only say I'm very
sorry for them, and very glad I'm not one of them.  Why, just think of
the extraordinary obliquity, or rather blindness of it!  Because you
don't agree with Plato, or Marcus Aurelius, or Saint Francis, you think
they're only fit for the ash-heap.  You might as well say you wouldn't
drink any wine except what was made to-day!  The literature and art of
the past can never be dead.  It's the flask where the geni of life is
imprisoned; you've only to open it and the life is yours.  And what
life!  That it's different from ours is just its merit.  I don't mean
that it's necessarily better; but it preserves for us the things we
have dropped out.  Because we, no more than the men of the past,
exhaust all the possibilities.  The whole wonderful drama of life is
unfolded in time, and we of this century are only one scene of it; not
the most passionate either or the most absorbing.  As actors, of
course, we're concerned only with this scene.  But the curious thing
is, we're spectators, too, or can be if we like.  And from the
spectator's point of view, many of the episodes in the past are much
more interesting, if not more important, than those of the present.  I
mean, it seems to me so stupid--I oughtn't to say stupid, I suppose,
because of course you aren't exactly----"  Whereat we laughed again,
and he pulled himself up.  "What I mean is, that to take the philosophy
or the religion of the past and put it into your laboratory and test it
for truth, and throw it away if it doesn't answer the test, is to
misconceive the whole value and meaning of it.  The real question is,
What extraordinary, fascinating, tragic or comic life went to produce
this precious specimen?  What new revelation does it give of the
possibilities of the world?  That's how you look at it, if you have the
sense of life.  You feel after life everywhere.  You love it when you
touch it.  You ask it no questions about being good or bad.  It just
is, and you are akin to it.  Fancy, for instance, a man being able to
walk through the British Museum and pass the frieze of the Parthenon,
and say he has no use for it!  And why?  Because, I suppose, we don't
dress like that now, and can't ride horses bareback.  Well, so much the
worse for us!  But just think.  There shrieking from the wall--no, I
ought to say singing with the voice of angels--is the spirit of life in
its loveliest, strongest, divinest incarnation, saying 'love me,
understand me, be like me!'  And the new generation passes by with its
nose in the air sniffing, 'No!  You're played out!  You didn't know
science.  And you didn't produce four children a-piece, as we mean to.
And your education was rhetorical, and your philosophy absurd, and your
vices--oh, unmentionable!  No, no, young men!  Not for us, thank you!'
And so they stalk on, don't you see them, with their rational costume,
and their rational minds, and their hard little hearts, and the empty
place where their imagination ought to be!  Dreadful, dreadful!  Or
perhaps they go, say, to Assisi, and Saint Francis comes to talk to
them.  And 'Look,' he says, 'what a beautiful world, if you'd only get
rid of your encumbrances!  Money, houses, clothes, food, it's all so
much obstruction!  Come and see the real thing; come and live with the
life of the soul; burn like a flame, blossom like a flower, flow like a
mountain stream!'  'My dear sir,' they reply, 'you're unclean, impudent
and ignorant!  Moreover you're encouraging mendicancy and superstition.
Not to-day, thank you!'  And off they go to the Charity Organisation
Committee.  It's--it's----"  He pulled himself up again, and then went
on more quietly.  "Well, one oughtn't to get angry, and I dare say I'm
misrepresenting everybody.  Besides, I haven't said exactly what I
wanted to say.  I wanted to say--what was it?  Oh, yes! that this kind
of attitude is bound up with the idea of progress.  It comes of taking
all the value out of the past and present, in order to put it into the
future.  And then you _don't_ put it there!  You can't!  It evaporates
somehow, in the process.  Where is it then?  Well, I believe it's
always there, in life, and in every kind of life.  It's there all the
time, in all the things you condemn.  Of course the things really are
bad that you say are bad.  But they're so good as well!  I mean--well,
the other day I read one of those dreadful articles--at least, of
course they're very useful I suppose--about the condition of the
agricultural labourer.  Well, then I took a ride in the country, and
saw it all in its setting and complete, with everything the article had
left out; and it wasn't so bad after all.  I don't mean to say it was
all good either, but it was just wonderful.  There were great horses
with shaggy fetlocks resting in green fields, and cattle wading in
shallow fords, and streams fringed with willows, and little cheeping
birds among the reeds, and larks and cuckoos and thrushes.  And there
were orchards white with blossom, and little gardens in the sun, and
shadows of clouds brushing over the plain.  And the much-discussed
labourer was in the midst of all this.  And he really wasn't an
incarnate grievance!  He was thinking about his horses, or his bread
and cheese, or his children squalling in the road, or his pig and his
cocks and hens.  Of course I don't suppose he knew how beautiful
everything was; but I'm sure he had a sort of comfortable feeling of
being a part of it all, of being somehow all right.  And he wasn't
worrying about his condition, as you all worry for him.  I don't mean
you aren't right to worry, in a way; except that no one ought to worry.
But you oughtn't to suppose it's all a dreadful and intolerable thing,
just because you can imagine something better.  That, of course, is
only one case; but I believe it's the same everywhere; yes, even in the
big cities, which, to my taste, look from outside much more repulsive
and terrible.  There's a quality in the inevitable facts of life, in
making one's living, and marrying and producing children, in the ending
of one and the beginning of another day, in the uncertainties and fears
and hopes, in the tragedies as well as the comedies, something that
arrests and interests and absorbs, even if it doesn't delight.  I'm not
saying people are happy; sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't.
But anyhow they are interested.  And life itself is the interest.  And
that interest is perennial, and of all ages and all classes.  And if
you leave it out you leave out the only thing that counts.  That's why
ideals are so empty; just because, I mean, they don't exist.  And I
assure you--now I'm going to confess--that often, when I come away from
some meeting or from reading some dreadful article on social reform, I
feel as if I could embrace everything and everyone I come across,
simply for being so good as to exist--the 'bus-drivers, the cabmen, the
shop-keepers, the slum-landlords, the slum-victims, the prostitutes,
the thieves.  There they are, anyhow, in their extraordinary setting,
floating on the great river of life, that was and is and will be,
itself its own justification, through whatever country it may flow.
And if you don't realize that--if you have a whole community that
doesn't realize it--then, however happy and comfortable and equitable
and all the rest of it you make your society, you haven't really done
much for them.  Their last state may even be worse than the first,
because they will have lost the natural instinctive acceptance of life,
without learning how to accept it on the higher plane.

"And that is why--now comes what I really do care about, and what I've
been wanting to say--that is why there is nothing so important for the
future or the present of the world as poetry.  Allison, for instance,
and Wilson would be different men if only they would read my works!
I'm not sure even if I may say so, that Remenham himself wouldn't be
the better."  Remenham, however, smilingly indicated that he had read
them.  Whereat Coryat rather comically remarked, "Oh, well!  Yes!
Perhaps then my poetry isn't quite good enough.  But there's
Shakespeare, and Milton, and--I don't care who it is, so long as it has
the essential of all great poetry, and that is to make you feel the
worth of things.  I don't mean by that the happiness, but just the
extraordinary value, of which all these unsolved questions about Good
and Evil are themselves part.  No one, I am sure, ever laid down a
great tragedy--take the most terrible of all, take 'Lear'--without an
overwhelming sense of the value of life; life as it is, life at its
most pitiless and cruel, with all its iniquities, suffering,
perplexity; without feeling he would far rather have lived and had all
that than not have lived at all.  But tragedy is an extreme case.  In
every simpler and more common case the poet does the same thing for us.
He shows us that the lives he touches have worth, worth of pleasure, of
humour, of patience, of wisdom painfully acquired, of endurance, of
hope, even I will say of failure and despair.  He doesn't blink
anything, he looks straight at it all, but he sees it in the true
perspective, under a white light, and seeing all the Evil says
nevertheless with God, 'Behold, it is very good.'  You see," he added,
with his charming smile, turning to Audubon, "I agree with God, not
with you.  And perhaps if you were to read poetry ... but, you know,
you must not only read it; you've got to feel it."

"Ah," said Audubon, "but that I'm afraid is the difficulty."

"I suppose it is.  Well--I don't know that I can say any more."

And without further ado he dropped back into his seat.

SITTING next to Coryat was a man who had not for a long time been
present at our meetings.  His name was Harington.  He was a wealthy
man, the head of a very ancient family; and at one time had taken a
prominent part in politics.  But, of late, he had resided mainly in
Italy devoting himself to study and to the collection of works of art.
I did not know what his opinions were, for it so happened that I had
never heard him speak or had any talk with him.  I had no idea,
therefore, when I called upon him, what he would be likely to say, and
I waited with a good deal of curiosity as he stood a few moments
silent.  It was now beginning to get light, and I could see his face,
which was unusually handsome and distinguished.  He had indeed the air
of a seventeenth-century nobleman, and might, except for the costume,
have stepped out of a canvas of Van Dyck.  Presently he spoke in a rich
mellow voice and with a gravity that harmonized with his bearing.

"Let me begin with a confession, perhaps I ought even to say an
apology.  To be among you again after so many years is a privilege; but
it is one which brings with it elements of embarrassment.  I have lived
so long in a foreign land that I feel myself an alien here.  I hear
voices familiar of old, but I have forgotten their language; I see
forms once well known, but the atmosphere in which they move seems
strange.  I am fresh from Italy; and England comes upon me with a
shock.  Even her physical aspect I see as I never saw it before.  I
find it lovely, with a loveliness peculiar and unique.  But I miss
something to which I have become accustomed in the south; I miss light,
form, greatness, and breadth.  Instead, there is grey or golden haze,
blurred outlines, tender skies, lush luxurious greenery.  Italy rings
like metal; England is a muffled drum.  The one has the ardour of
Beauty; the other the charm of the Picturesque.  I dwell upon this
because I seem to see--perhaps I am fanciful--a kindred distinction
between the north and the south in quality of mind.  The Greek
intelligence, and the Italian, is pitiless, searching, white as the
Mediterranean sunshine; the English and German is kindly, discreet,
amiably and tenderly confused.  The one blazes naked in a brazen sky;
the other is tempered by vapours of sentiment.  The English, in
particular, I think, seldom make a serious attempt to face the truth.
Their prejudices and ideals shut them in, like their green hedges; and
they live, even intellectually, in a country of little fields.  I do
not deny that this is soothing and restful; but I feel it--shall I
confess--intolerably cooping.  I long for the searching light, the wide
prospect; for the vision of things as they really are.  I have
consorted too long with Aristotle and Machiavelli to find myself at
home in the country of the Anglican Church and of Herbert Spencer."
Here he paused, and seemed to hesitate, while we wondered what he could
be leading up to.  Then, resuming, "This may seem," he went on, "a long
introduction; but it is not irrelevant; though I feel some hesitation
in applying it.  But, if the last speaker will permit me to take my
text from him, I would ask him, is it not a curiously indiscriminate
procedure to affirm indifferently value in all life?  A poet
surely--and Coryat's practice, if he will allow me to say so, is
sounder than his theory--a poet seeks to render, wherever he can find
it, the exquisite, the choice, the distinguished and the rare.  Not
life, but beauty is his quest.  He does not reproduce Nature, he
imposes upon her a standard.  And so it is with every art, including
the art of life itself.  Life as such is neither good nor bad, and,
Audubon's undistinguishing censure is surely as much out of place as
Coryat's undistinguishing approval.  Life is raw material for the
artist, whether he be the private man carrying out his own destiny, or
the statesman shaping that of a nation.  The end of the artist in
either case is the good life; and on his own conception of that will
depend the value of his work.

"I recall to your minds these obvious facts, at the risk of being
tedious, because to-night, seeing the turn that our discussion has
taken, we must regard ourselves as statesmen, or as would-be statesmen.
And I, in that capacity, finding myself in disagreement with everybody,
except perhaps Cantilupe, and asking myself the reason why, can only
conclude that I have a different notion of the end to be pursued, and
of the means whereby it can be attained.  All of you, I think, except
Cantilupe, have assumed that the good life, whatever it may be, can be
attained by everybody; and that society should be arranged so as to
secure that result.  That is, in fact, the democratic postulate, which
is now so generally accepted not only in this company but in the world
at large.  But it is that postulate that I dispute.  I hold that the
good life must either be the privilege of a few, or not exist at all.
The good life in my view, is the life of a gentleman.  That word, I
know, has been degraded; and there is no more ominous sign of the
degradation of the English people.  But I use it in its true and noble
sense.  I mean by a gentleman a man of responsibility; one who because
he enjoys privileges recognizes duties; a landed proprietor who is
also, and therefore, a soldier and a statesman; a man with a natural
capacity and a hereditary tradition to rule; a member, in a word, of a
governing aristocracy.  Not that the good life consists in governing;
but only a governing class and those who centre round them are capable
of the good life.  Nobility is a privilege of the nobleman, and
nobility is essential to goodness.  We are told indeed, that Good is to
be found in virtue, in knowledge, in art, in love.  I will not dispute
it; but we must add that only a noble man can be virtuous greatly, know
wisely, perceive and feel finely.  And virtue that is mean, knowledge
that is pedantic, art that is base, love that is sensual are not Goods
at all.  A noble man of necessity feels and expresses himself nobly.
His speech is literature, his gesture art, his action drama, his
affections music.  About him centres all that is great in literature,
science, art.  Magnificent buildings, exquisite pictures, statues,
poems, songs, crowd about his habitation and attend him from the cradle
to the grave.  His fine intelligence draws to itself those of like
disposition.  He seeks genius, but he shuns pedantry; for his knowledge
is part of his life.  All that is great he instinctively apprehends,
because it is akin to himself.  And only so can anything be truly
apprehended.  For every man and every class can only understand and
practise the virtues appropriate to their occupations.  A professor
will never be a hero, however much he reads the classics.  A
shop-walker will never be a poet, however much he reads poetry.  If you
want virtue, in the ancient sense, the sense of honour, of courage, of
self-reliance, of the instinct to command, you must have a class of
gentlemen.  Otherwise virtue will be at best a mere conception in the
head, a figment of the brain, not a character and a force.  Why is the
teaching of the classics now discredited among you?  Not because it is
not as valuable as ever it was, but because there is no one left to
understand its value.  The tradesmen who govern you feel instinctively
that it is not for them, and they are right.  It is above and beyond
them.  But it was the natural food of gentlemen.  And the example may
serve to illustrate the general truth, that you cannot revolutionize
classes and their relations without revolutionizing culture.  It is
idle to suppose you can communicate to a democracy the heritage of an
aristocracy.  You may give them books, show them pictures, offer them
examples.  In vain!  The seed cannot grow in the new soil.  The masses
will never be educated in the sense that the classes were.  You may
rejoice in the fact, or you may regret it; but at least it should be
recognized.  For my own part I regret it, and I regret it because I
conceive that the good life is the life of the gentleman.

"From this it follows that my ideal of a polity is aristocratic.  For a
class of gentlemen presupposes classes of workers to support it.  And
these, from the ideal point of view, must be regarded as mere means.  I
do not say that that is just; I do not say it is what we should choose;
but I am sure it is the law of the world in which we live.  Through the
whole realm of nature every kind exists only to be the means of
supporting life in another.  Everywhere the higher preys upon the
lower; everywhere the Good is parasitic on the Bad.  And as in nature,
so in human society.  Read history with an impartial mind, read it in
the white light, and you will see that there has never been a great
civilization that was not based upon iniquity.  Those who have eyes to
see have always admitted, and always will, that the greatest
civilization of Europe was that of Greece.  And of that civilization
not merely an accompaniment but the essential condition was slavery.
Take away that and you take away Pericles, Phidias, Sophocles, Plato.
Dismiss Greece, if you like.  Where then will you turn?  To the Middle
Ages?  You encounter feudalism and serfdom.  To the modern world?  You
run against wage-labour.  Ah, but, you say, we look to the future.  We
shall abolish wage-labour, as we have abolished slavery.  We shall have
an equitable society in which everybody will do productive work, and
nobody will live at the cost of others.  I do not know whether you can
do this; it is possible you may; but I ask you to count the cost.  And
first let me call your attention to what you have actually done during
the course of the past century.  You have deposed your aristocracy and
set up in their place men who work for their living, instead of for the
public good, merchants, bankers, shop-keepers, railway directors,
brewers, company-promoters.  Whether you are better and more justly
governed I do not pause to enquire.  You appear to be satisfied that
you are.  But what I see, returning to England only at rare intervals,
and what you perhaps cannot so easily see, is that you are ruining all
your standards.  Dignity, manners, nobility, nay, common honesty
itself, is rapidly disappearing from among you.  Every time I return I
find you more sordid, more petty, more insular, more ugly and
unperceptive.  For the higher things, the real goods, were supported
and sustained among you by your class of gentlemen, while they deserved
the name.  But by depriving them of power you have deprived them of
responsibility, which is the salt of privilege; and they are rotting
before your eyes, crumbling away and dropping into the ruck.  Whether
the general level of your civilization is rising I do not pronounce.  I
do not even think the question of importance; for any rise must be
almost imperceptible.  The salient fact is that the pinnacles are
disappearing; that soon there will be nothing left that seeks the
stars.  Your middle classes have no doubt many virtues; they are, I
will presume, sensible, capable, industrious, and respectable.  But
they have no notion of greatness, nay, they have an instinctive hatred
of it.  Whatever else they may have done, they have destroyed all
nobility.  In art, in literature, in drama, in the building of palaces
or villas, _nihil tetigerunt quod non faedaverunt_.  Such is the result
of entrusting power to men who make their own living, instead of to a
class set apart by hereditary privilege to govern and to realize the
good life.  But, you may still urge, this is only a temporary stage.
We still have a parasitic class, the class of capitalists.  It is only
when we have got rid of them, that the real equality will begin, and
with it will come all other excellence.  Well, I think it possible that
you might establish, I will not say absolute equality, but an equality
far greater than the world has ever seen; that you might exact from
everybody some kind of productive work, in return for the guarantee of
a comfortable livelihood.  But there is no presumption that in that way
you will produce the nobility of character which I hold to be the only
thing really good.  For such nobility, as all history and experience
clearly shows, if we will interrogate it honestly, is the product of a
class-consciousness.  Personal initiative, personal force, a freedom
from sordid cares, a sense of hereditary obligation based on hereditary
privilege, the consciousness of being set apart for high purposes, of
being one's own master and the master of others, all that and much more
goes to the building up of the gentleman; and all that is impossible in
a socialistic state.  In the eternal order of this inexorable world it
is prescribed that greatness cannot grow except in the soil of
iniquity, and that justice can produce nothing but mediocrity.  That
the masses should choose justice at the cost of greatness is
intelligible, nay it is inevitable; and that choice is the inner
meaning of democracy.  But gentlemen should have had the insight to
see, and the courage to affirm, that the price was too great to pay.
They did not; and the penalty is that they are ceasing to exist.  They
have sacrificed themselves to the attempt to establish equity.  But in
that attempt I can take no interest.  The society in which I believe is
an aristocratic one.  I hold, with Plato and Aristotle, that the masses
ought to be treated as means, treated kindly, treated justly, so far as
the polity permits, but treated as subordinate always to a higher end.
But your feet are set on the other track.  You are determined to
abolish classes; to level down in order to level up; to destroy
superiorities in order to raise the average.  I do not say you will not
succeed.  But if you do, you will realize comfort at the expense of
greatness, and your society will be one not of men but of ants and bees.

"For Democracy--note it well--destroys greatness in every kind, of
intellect, of perception, as well as of character.  And especially it
destroys art, that reflection of life without which we cannot be said
to live.  For the artist is the rarest, the most choice of men.  His
senses, his perception, his intelligence have a natural and inborn
fineness and distinction.  He belongs to a class, a very small, a very
exclusive one.  And he needs a class to appreciate and support him.  No
democracy has ever produced or understood art.  The case of Athens is
wrongly adduced; for Athens was an aristocracy under the influence of
an aristocrat at the time the Parthenon was built.  At all times Art
has been fostered by patrons, never by the people.  How should they
foster it?  Instinctively they hate it, as they hate all superiorities.
It was not Florence but the Medici and the Pope that employed
Michelangelo; not Milan but Ludovic the Moor that valued Leonardo.  It
was the English nobles that patronized Reynolds and Gainsborough; the
darlings of our middle class are Herkomer and Collier.  There have been
poets, it is true, who have been born of the people and loved of them;
and I do not despise poetry of that kind.  But it is not the great
thing.  The great thing is Sophocles and Virgil, a fine culture wedded
to a rich nature.  And such a marriage is not accomplished in the
fields or the market-place.  The literature loved by democracy is a
literature like themselves; not literature at all, but journalism,
gross, shrieking, sensational, base.  So with the drama, so with
architecture, so with every art.  Substitute the mass for the patron,
and you eliminate taste.  The artist perishes; the charlatan survives
and flourishes.  Only in science have you still an aristocracy.  For
the crowd sees that there is profit in science, and lets it go its way.
Because of the accident that it can be applied, it may be
disinterestedly pursued.  And democracy hitherto, though impatiently,
endures an ideal aim in the hope of degrading its achievement to its
own uses.

"Such being my view of democratic society I look naturally for elements
that promise not to foster, but to counteract it.  I look for the germs
of a new aristocracy.  They are hard to discover, and perhaps my
desires override my judgment.  But I fancy that it will be the very
land that has suffered most acutely from the disease that will be the
first to discover the remedy.  I endorse Ellis's view of American
civilization; but I allow myself to hope that the reaction is already
beginning.  I have met in Italy young Americans with a finer sense of
beauty, distinction, and form, than I have been able to find among
Englishmen, still less among Italians.  And once there is cast into
that fresh and unencumbered soil the seed of the ideal that made Greece
great, who can prophecy into what forms of beauty and thought it may
not flower?  The Plutocracy of the West may yet be transformed into an
Aristocracy; and Europe re-discover from America the secret of its past
greatness.  Such, at least, appears to me to be the best hope of the
world; and to the realization of that hope I would have all men of
culture all the world over unite their efforts.  For the kingdom of
this earth, like that of heaven, is taken by violence.  We must work
not with, but against tendencies, if we would realize anything great;
and the men who are fit to rule must have the courage to assume power,
if ever there is to be once more a civilization.  Therefore it is that
I, the last of an old aristocracy, look across the Atlantic for the
first of the new.  And beyond socialism, beyond anarchy, across that
weltering sea, I strain my eyes to see, pearl-grey against the dawn,
the new and stately citadel of Power.  For Power is the centre of
crystallization for all good; given that, you have morals, art,
religion; without it, you have nothing but appetites and passions.
Power then is the condition of life, even of the life of the mass, in
any sense in which it is worth having.  And in the interest of
Democracy itself every good Democrat ought to pray for the advent of

ALL of our company had now spoken except two.  One was the author,
Vivian, and him I had decided to leave till the last.  The other was
John Woodman, a member of the Society of Friends, and one who was
commonly regarded as a crank, because he lived on a farm in the
country, worked with his hands, and refused to pay taxes on the ground
that they went to maintain the army and navy.  If Harington was
handsome, Woodman was beautiful, but with beauty of expression rather
than of features, I had always thought of him as a perfect example of
that rare type, the genuine Christian.  And since Harington had just
revealed himself as a typical Pagan, I felt glad of the chance which
brought the two men into such close juxtaposition.  My only doubt was,
whether Woodman would consent to speak.  For on previous occasions I
had known him to refuse; and he was the only one of us who had always
been able to sustain his refusal, without unpleasantness, but without
yielding.  To-night, however, he rose in response to my appeal, and
spoke as follows:

"All the evening I have been wondering when the lot would fall on me,
and whether, when it did, I should feel, as we Friends say, 'free' to
answer the call.  Now that it has come, I am, I think, free; but not,
if you will pardon me, for a long or eloquent speech.  What I have to
say I shall say as simply and as briefly as I can; and you, I know,
will listen with your accustomed tolerance, though I shall differ even
more, if possible, from all the other speakers, than they have differed
from one another.  For you have all spoken from the point of view of
the world.  You have put forward proposals for changing society and
making it better.  But you have relied, for the most part, on external
means to accomplish such changes.  You have spoken of extending or
limiting the powers of government, of socialism, of anarchy, of
education, of selective breeding.  But you have not spoken of the
Spirit and the Life, or not in the sense in which I would wish to speak
of them.  MacCarthy, indeed, I remember, used the words 'the life of
the spirit.'  But I could not well understand what he meant, except
that he hoped to attain it by violence; and in that way what I would
seek and value cannot be furthered.  Coryat, again, and Harington spoke
of the good life.  But Coryat seemed to think that any and all life is
good.  The line of division which I see everywhere he did not see at
all, the line between the children of God and the children of this
world.  I could not say with him that there is a natural goodness in
life as such; only that any honest occupation will be good if it be
practised by a good man.  It is not wealth that is needed, nor talents,
nor intellect.  These things are gifts that may be given or withheld.
But the one thing needful is the spirit of God, which is given freely
to the poor and the ignorant who seek it.  Believing this, I cannot but
disagree, also, with Harington.  For the life of which he spoke is the
life of this world.  He praises power, and wisdom, and beauty, and the
excellence of the body and the mind.  In these things, he says, the
good life consists.  And since they are so rare and difficult to
attain, and need for their fostering, natural aptitudes, and leisure
and wealth and great position, he concludes that the good life is
possible only for the few; and that to them the many should be
ministers.  And if the goods he speaks of be really such, he is right;
for in the things of the world, what one takes, another must resign.
If there are rulers there must be subjects; if there are rich, there
must be poor; if there are idle men there must be drudges.  But the
real Good is not thus exclusive.  It is open to all; and the more a man
has of it the more he gives to others.  That Good is the love of God,
and through the love of God the love of man.  These are old phrases,
but their sense is not old; rather it is always new, for it is eternal.
Now, as of old, in the midst of science, of business, of invention, of
the multifarious confusion and din and hurry of the world, God may be
directly perceived and known.  But to know Him is to love Him, and to
love Him is to love His creatures, and most all of our fellow-men, to
whom we are nearest and most akin, and with and by whom we needs must
live.  And if that love were really spread abroad among us, the
questions that have been discussed to-night would resolve themselves.
For there would be a rule of life generally observed and followed; and
under it the conditions that make the problems would disappear.  Of
such a rule, all men, dimly and at moments, are aware.  By it they were
warned that slavery was wrong.  And had they but read it more truly,
and followed it more faithfully, they would never have made war to
abolish what they would never have wished to maintain.  And the same
rule it is that is warning us now that it is wrong to fight, wrong to
heap up riches, wrong to live by the labour of others.  As we come to
heed the warning we shall cease to do these things.  But to change
institutions without changing hearts is idle.  For it is but to change
the subjects into the rulers, the poor into the rich, the drudges into
the idle men.  And, as a result, we should only have idle men more
frivolous, rich men more hard, rulers more incompetent.  It is not by
violence or compulsion, open or disguised, that the kingdom of heaven
comes.  It is by simple service on the part of those that know the law,
by their following the right in their own lives, and preaching rather
by their conduct than by their words.

"This would be a hard saying if we had to rely on ourselves.  But we
have God to rely on, who gives His help not according to the measure of
our powers.  A man cannot by taking thought add a cubit to his stature;
he cannot increase the scope of his mind or the range of his senses; he
cannot, by willing, make himself a philosopher, or a leader of men.
But drawing on the source that is open to the poorest and the weakest
he can become a good man; and then, whatever his powers, he will be
using them for God and man.  If men do that, each man for himself, by
the help of God, all else will follow.  So true is it that if ye seek
first the kingdom of heaven all these things shall be added unto you.
Yes, that is true.  It is eternal truth.  It does not change with the
doctrines of Churches nor depend upon them.  I would say even it does
not depend on Christianity.  For the words would be true, though there
had never been a Christ to speak them.  And the proof that they are
true is simply the direct witness of consciousness.  We perceive such
truths as we perceive the sun.  They carry with them their own
certainty; and on that rests the certainty of God.  Therein is the
essence of all religion.  I say it because I know.  And the rest of
you, so it seems to me, are guessing.  Nor is it, as it might seem at
first, a truth irrelevant to your discussion.  For it teaches that all
change must proceed from within outward.  There is not, there never has
been, a just polity, for there has never been one based on the love of
God and man.  All that you condemn--poverty, and wealth, idleness and
excessive labour, squalor, disease, barren marriages, aggression and
war, will continue in spite of all changes in form, until men will to
get rid of them.  And that they will not do till they have learnt to
love God and man.  Revolution will be vain, evolution will be vain, all
uneasy turnings from side to side will be vain, until that change of
heart be accomplished.  And accomplished it will be in its own time.
Everywhere I see it at work, in many ways, in the guise of many
different opinions.  I see it at work here to-night among those with
whom I most disagree.  I see it in the hope of Allison and Wilson, in
the defiance of MacCarthy, in the doubt of Martin, and most of all in
the despair of Audubon.  For he is right to despair of the only life he
knows, the life of the world whose fruits are dust and ashes.  He
drifts on a midnight ocean, unlighted by stars, and tossed by the winds
of disappointment, sorrow, sickness, irreparable loss.  Ah, but above
him, if he but knew, as now in our eyes and ears, rises into a crystal
sky the first lark of dawn.  And the cuckoo sings, and the blackbird,
do you not hear them?  And the fountain rises ever in showers of silver
sparks, up to the heaven it will not reach till fire has made it
vapour.  And so the whole creation aspires, out of the night of
despair, into the cool freshness of dawn and on to the sun of noon.
Let us be patient and follow each his path, waiting on the word of God
till He be pleased to reveal it.  For His way is not hard, it is joy
and peace unutterable.  And those who wait in faith He will bless with
the knowledge of Himself."

As he finished it was light, though the sun had not yet risen.  The
first birds were singing in the wood, and the fountain glistened and
sang, and the plain lay before us like a bride waiting for the
bridegroom.  We were silent under the spell; and I scarcely know how
long had passed before I had heart to call upon Vivian to conclude.

I have heard Vivian called a philosopher, but the term is misleading.
Those who know his writings--and they are too few--know that he
concerned himself, directly or indirectly, with philosophic problems.
But he never wrote philosophy; his methods were not those of logic; and
his sympathies were with science and the arts.  In the early age of
Greece he might have been Empedocles or Heraclitus; he could never have
been Spinoza or Kant.  He sought to interpret life, but not merely in
terms of the intellect.  He needed to see and feel in order to think.
And he expressed himself in a style too intellectual for lovers of
poetry, too metaphorical for lovers of philosophy.  His Public,
therefore, though devoted, was limited; but we, in our society, always
listened to him with an interest that was rather enhanced than
diminished by an element of perplexity.  I have found it hard to
reproduce his manner, in which it was clear that he took a conscious
and artistic pleasure.  Still less can I give the impression of his
lean and fine-cut face, and the distinction of his whole personality.
He stood up straight and tall against the whitening sky, and delivered
himself as follows:

"Man is in the making; but henceforth he must make himself.  To that
point Nature has led him, out of the primeval slime.  She has given him
limbs, she has given him brain, she has given him the rudiment of a
soul.  Now it is for him to make or mar that splendid torso.  Let him
look no more to her for aid; for it is her will to create one who has
the power to create himself.  If he fail, she fails; back goes the
metal to the pot; and the great process begins anew.  If he succeeds,
he succeeds alone.  His fate is in his own hands.

"Of that fate, did he but know it, brain is the lord, to fashion a
palace fit for the soul to inhabit.  Yet still, after centuries of
stumbling, reason is no more than the furtive accomplice of habit and
force.  Force creates, habit perpetuates, reason the sycophant
sanctions.  And so he drifts, not up but down, and Nature watches in
anguish, self-forbidden to intervene, unless it be to annihilate.  If
he is to drive, and drive straight, reason must seize the reins; and
the art of her driving is the art of Politics.  Of that art, the aim is
perfection, the method selection.  Science is its minister, ethics its
lord.  It spares no prejudice, respects no habit, honours no tradition.
Institutions are stubble in the fire it kindles.  The present and the
past it throws without remorse into the jaws of the future.  It is the
angel with the flaming sword swift to dispossess the crone that sits on
her money-bags at Westminster.

"Or, shall I say, it is Hercules with the Augean stable to cleanse, of
which every city is a stall, heaped with the dung of a century; with
the Hydra to slay, whose hundred writhing heads of false belief, from
old truth rotted into lies, spring inexhaustibly fecund in creeds,
interests, institutions.  Of which the chief is Property, most cruel
and blind of all, who devours us, ere we know it, in the guise of
Security and Peace, killing the bodies of some, the souls of most, and
growing ever fresh from the root, in forms that but seem to be new,
until the root itself be cut away by the sword of the spirit.  What
that sword shall be called, socialism, anarchy, what you will, is small
matter, so but the hand that wields it be strong, the brain clear, the
soul illumined, passionate and profound.  But where shall the champion
be found fit to wield that weapon?

"He will not be found; he must be made.  By Man Man must be sown.  Once
he might trust to Nature, while he was laid at her breast.  But she has
weaned him; and the promptings she no longer guides, he may not blindly
trust for their issue.  While she weeded, it was hers to plant; but she
weeds no more.  He of his own will uproots or spares; and of his own
will he must sow, if he would not have his garden a wilderness.  Even
now precious plants perish before his eyes, even now weeds grow rank,
while he watches in idle awe, and prates of his own impotence.  He has
given the reins to Desire, and she drives him back to the abyss.  But
harness her to the car, with reason for charioteer, and she will grow
wings to waft him to his goal.  That in him that he calls Love is but
the dragon of the slime.  Let him bury it in the grave of Self, and it
will rise a Psyche, with wings too wide to shelter only the home.  The
Man that is to be comes at the call of the Man that is.  Let him call
then, soberly, not from the fumes of lust.  For as is the call, so will
be the answer.

"But for what should he call?  For Pagan?  For Christian?  For neither,
and for both.  Paganism speaks for the men in Man, Christianity for the
Man in men.  The fruit that was eaten in Paradise, sown in the soul of
man, bore in Hellas its first and fairest harvest.  There rose upon the
world of mind the triple sun of the Ideal.  Aphrodite, born of the
foam, flowered on the azure main, Tritons in her train and Nereids,
under the flush of dawn.  Apollo, radiant in hoary dew, leapt from the
eastern wave, flamed through the heaven, and cooled his hissing wheels
in the vaporous west.  Athene, sprung from the brain of God, armed with
the spear of truth, moved grey-eyed over the earth probing the minds of
men.  Love, Beauty, Wisdom, behold the Pagan Trinity!  Through whose
grace only men are men, and fit to become Man.  Therefore, the gods are
eternal; not they die, but we, when we think them dead.  And no man who
does not know them, and knowing, worship and love, is able to be a
member of the body of Man.  Thus it is that the sign of a step forward
is a look backward; and Greece stands eternally at the threshold of the
new life.  Forget her, and you sink back, if not to the brute, to the
insect.  Consider the ant, and beware of her!  She is there for a
warning.  In universal Anthood there are no ants.  From that fate may
men save Man!

"But the Pagan gods were pitiless; they preyed upon the weak.  Their
wisdom was rooted in folly, their beauty in squalor, their love in
oppression.  So fostered, those flowers decayed.  And out of the
rotting soil rose the strange new blossoms we call Faith, and Hope, and
Charity.  For Folly cried, 'I know not, but I believe'; Squalor, 'I am
vile, but I hope'; and the oppressed, 'I am despised, but I love.'
That was the Christian Trinity, the echo of man's frustration, as the
other was the echo of his accomplishment.  Yet both he needs.  For
because he grows, he is dogged by imperfection.  His weakness is mocked
by those shining forms on the mountain-top.  But Faith, and Hope, and
Charity walk beside him in the mire, to kindle, to comfort and to help.
And of them justice is born, the plea of the Many against the Few, of
the nation against the class, of mankind against the nation, of the
future against the present.  In Christianity men were born into Man.
Yet in Him let not men die!  For what profits justice unless it be the
step to the throne of Olympus?  What profit Faith and Hope without a
goal?  Charity without an object?  Vain is the love of emmets, or of
bees and coral-insects.  For the worth of love is as the worth of the
lover.  It is only in the soil of Paganism that Christianity can come
to maturity.  And Faith, Hope, Charity, are but seeds of themselves
till they fall into the womb of Wisdom, Beauty, and Love.  Olympus lies
before us, the snow-capped mountain.  Let us climb it, together, if you
will, not some on the corpses of the rest; but climb at least, not
fester and swarm on rich meadows of equality.  We are not for the
valley, nor for the forests or the pastures.  If we be brothers, yet we
are brothers in a quest, needing our foremost to lead.  Aphrodite,
Apollo, Athene, are before us, not behind.  Majestic forms, they gleam
among the snows.  March, then, men in Man!

"But is it men who attain?  Or Man?  Or not even he, but God?  We do
not know.  We know only the impulse and the call.  The gleam on the
snow, the upward path, the urgent stress within, that is our certainty,
the rest is doubt.  But doubt is a horizon, and on it hangs the star of
hope.  By that we live; and the science blinds, the renunciation maims,
that would shut us off from those silver rays.  Our eyes must open, as
we march, to every signal from the height.  And since the soul has
indeed 'immortal longings in her' we may believe them prophetic of
their fruition.  For her claims are august as those of man, and appeal
to the same witness.  The witness of either is a dream; but such dreams
come from the gate of horn.  They are principles of life, and about
them crystallizes the universe.  For will is more than knowledge, since
will creates what knowledge records.  Science hangs in a void of
nescience, a planet turning in the dark.  But across that void Faith
builds the road that leads to Olympus and the eternal gods."

By the time he had finished speaking the sun had risen, and the glamour
of dawn was passing into the light of common day.  The birds sang loud,
the fountain sparkled, and the trees rustled softly in the early
breeze.  Our party broke up quietly.  Some went away to bed; others
strolled down the gardens; and Audubon went off by appointment to bathe
with my young nephew, as gay and happy, it would seem, as man could be.
I was left to pace the terrace alone, watching the day grow brighter,
and wondering at the divers fates of men.  An early bell rang in the
little church at the park-gate; a motor-car hooted along the highway.
And I thought of Cantilupe and Harington, of Allison and Wilson, and
beyond them of the vision of the dawn and the daybreak, of Woodman, the
soul, and Vivian, the spirit.  I paused for a last look down the line
of bright statues that bordered the long walk below me.  I fancied them
stretching away to the foot of Olympus; and without elation or
excitement, but with the calm of an assured hope, I prepared to begin
the new day.





Plato and His Dialogues

La. Cr. 8vo.  6s.

"A lifetime of friendship with the Greek poet-philosopher inspires this
handbook to the dialogues, a handbook free from dryness or the vices of
the text-book."--_New Statesman_

After Two Thousand Years

A Dialogue Between Plato and a Modern Young Man

Cr. 8vo.  Second Impression  6s.

"Packed with ideas of immediate and topical significance."--_Daily

The International Anarchy, 1904-1914

Demy 8vo.  17s. 6d.

"It is very much the best analysis of the international events leading
to the Great War which has so far appeared."--_The Nation_

The European Anarchy

Cr. 8vo.  Third Impression  3s. 6d.

"This is one of the shrewdest books on the causes of war that we have
read."--_The Economist_

Documents and Statements Relating to Peace Proposals and War Aims,
December 1916-1918

Demy 8vo.  8s. 6d.

"A quite indispensable companion to the history of war."--_The

War: Its Nature, Cause and Cure

Cr. 8vo.  Third Impression Cloth 3s. 6d., paper 2s. 6d.

"Mr. Lowes Dickinson's book, with its nervous provocative style, its
clear and vivid presentation of facts, is a contribution for which we
owe him gratitude."--_The Spectator_

Causes of International War

Swarthmore International Handbook

Cr. 8vo.  Second Edition  Paper 2s. 6d.

"An admirable study of the fundamental causes of war."--_Daily Herald_

The Choice Before Us

Demy 8vo.   Third Impression   7s. 6d.

"A noble book which everyone should read."--_Daily News_

The Meaning of Good: A Dialogue

Cr. 8vo.  Sixth Edition

A brilliant discussion which, apart from its great dialectical
interest, cannot fail to clarify the thoughts of every reader upon his
conception of the nature of Good.

Justice and Liberty

A Political Dialogue

Cr. 8vo.  New Impression  6s.

The following are among the chapter headings of this remarkable work:
Forms of Society, The Institution of Marriage, The Institution of
Property, Government, The Importance of Political Ideals as Guides to
Practice, The Relation of Ideals to Facts.

Religion and Immortality

Fcap. 8vo.  1s. 6d.

Four essays of which the titles are "Faith and Knowledge," "Optimism
and Immortality," "Is Immortality Desirable," "Euthanasia."


A Criticism and a Forecast

Fcap. 8vo.  Fifth Impression  1s. 6d.

Mr. Lowes Dickinson's main object is to raise the question of the
relation of Religion to Knowledge.  Believing that all Knowledge must
be attained by the method of science, he shows that a broad agnosticism
is not of necessity inconsistent with the religious attitude, which may
prove of definite help in the conduct of life.

The Magic Flute

A Fantasia in Prose and Verse based on Mozart's Opera

Cr. 800.  Third Impression   Quarter Canvas, 4s. 6d.

"His fantasia, half prose as it is, is beautiful ... all through there
is the spirit of the Magic Flute and at times almost the music."--_The

Letters from John Chinaman

Fcap. 8vo.  Ninth Impression  1s. 6d.

In the form of letters the author explains China to the European.  No
less important, however, is the presentation of our own civilization as
viewed by an outsider whose standards are not those which, from birth,
we have been accustomed to take for granted.


Being Notes of Travel

Cr. 8vo.  6s.

A series of articles recording impressions of travel in America and
Asia.  In a concluding essay the author suggests that the civilization
of India implies an outlook fundamentally different from that of the
West, and that, essentially, the other countries of the Far East are
nearer to the West than to India.

An Essay on the Civilizations of India, China and Japan

Fcap. 8vo.  Third Edition  2s.

The report of the author's travels as a Fellow of the Albert Kahn
Travelling Fellowship.  He shows the general spirit and character of
the civilizations of India, China and Japan and suggests the probable
effects of their contact with the civilization of the West.

Revolution and Reaction in Modern France, 1789-1871

Cr. 8vo.   New Edition   7s. 6d.

"Mr. Lowes Dickinson's brilliant sketch has stood the test of time....
A masterly summary."--_The Observer_

The Contribution of Ancient Greece to Modern Life

Cr. 8vo.  Paper 1s., Cloth 2s.

The author's last work, published just after his death.  "A piece of
singularly limpid, undecorated, musical prose."--_Sunday Times_.

_All prices are net_


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Modern Symposium" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.